Bit: The Isaac Asimov Literary Doomsday Device
Episode: 104- Women of the Prehistoric Planet
(The bridge. The desk has been replaced with a gray couch. Joel is sitting down, Tom is reading
from a notebook on the couch back.)
Tom: Joel, This Is YOUR LIFE! (Canned applause.)
You were an ambitious young man who began his life in space as a custodian for Gizmonic Institute. Do you remember
Crow (off-camera): There's an unidentified satellite straying into our orbital path!
Joel: Oh, that's easy. It's my old friend Crow,
I think he's talking about the time we partied with the fellas from Salyut Seven.
Crow (runs in): Joel! Joel! Help! Big satellite! Big! Death! Danger! Wreckage! Ouch! Sting! Pain- hey, where did this
couch come from anyway?
Joel: Oh, I found it in one of the crates down
in the loading bay, I thought I'd redecorate. What's this about a death satellite?
Crow: Oh yeah, uh... BIG! BIG DEATH SATELLITE!
OH, BIG! PAIN! LOOK, RUN! HELP! HELP!
Joel: Just settle down, come up here, come up
here and sit down, tell me all about it. Just take a few deep breaths, that's all right...(Crow climbs into Joel's
Crow (calmer): Well, there's a big satellite out there and we're gonna collide with it, and--
Joel: WHAT?! (Joel jumps up, and Crow yelps
as he hits the floor) Oh, Cambot, give me an exterior of the ship, quick! (Exterior shot. There is indeed a satellite
in front of the SOL.) Jeepers!
Crow: What's goin' on?
Joel: Get behind the couch you two, the redcoats
are comin'! (Interior shot. Tom is behind the couch, Crow has made a cushion fort and is hiding in it. Joel walks
in in a harness with handles and a baseball cap on, which he constantly adjusts for effect.) Allright, little death
satellite, Joelie's got the Exo-Pinchers on and he's nobody's sweetheart! You an' me, goin' round and round, *mano
a mano*. Here comes lunch. Gimme the exo. (Exterior shot. Exo-Pinchers grapple with the satellite.)
Joel (voice over): That's right, little doomsday machine, come to papa, feel my steel! (Cocky, fakey laugh) Now, to bring
it inside. Cambot, gimme the interior shot! (Interior. The couch is gone, and the huge satellite now takes up the
space. Crow & Tom pop up from behind it.)
Crow: Do you HAVE to bring everything you find
in space into the living room?
Tom: Sure looks like a doomsday device allright.
Joel, are we up a creek here?
Joel: It's a doomsday machine allright, and
I think I accidentally activated its self-destruct mechanism. I'd say we have roughly an hour to disarm this thing.
DD Satellite (Chime): Correction, you have an hour and thirty-seven minutes to disarm, and yes, you
ARE up a creek. (Commercial sign.)
Joel: Oh, golly... and we got Commercial Sign
on top of everything!
(Joel and the Bots are crowded around the Doomsday Satellite)
Joel: This makes no sense at all. Whoever heard
of a doomsday machine with a fold-lock top in it?
Crow: Hey, hey Joel! Look, I found an instruction
manual right there, see?
Joel: Thanks... (picks up a big thick book)
It says "Isaac Asimov's Literary Doomsday Machine." It's the instruction manual, it must be over a thousand
pages long! How typical!
Tom: "Literary Doomsday?" Isn't that
when your library fines exceed the price of the book?
Crow: Uh, I thought it was every time Jackie
Collins makes it to the best-seller list.
Joel: Now settle down, you goonheads. We got
this doomsday machine to disarm, and... well, we gotta check the manual. Let's see... it looks like it's translated
from Korean or something?
Tom: They must've subcontracted the satellite
Crow: I don't get it. Asimov must've gone mad.
Why would anyone wanna make a doomsday machine?
Joel: Well, he's probably mad 'cause no-one
is as smart as him, or else that L. Ron Hubbard has more followers than him.
Tom: Well, didn't Asimov try to establish the
Church of the Super-Quiz once?
Joel: Now, knock it off you spinach-chins. I
gotta read this manual. (Opens manual) "Step One: It will be very enjoyable for you to separate the ocular
filter coupling up from the decapacitor which is stout... and yellow sometimes." Crow, you better scan this
and give me the instructions.
Crow (scanning noises): Got it!
Joel: Oh, brother... (digs into satellite innards)
Crow: Ooookaaay. "Most very kindly, find
the Lookie Switch which is nice and sitting there with green label which leaves you singing."
Joel: I *think* I got it...
Crow: Okay, "Carefully disregard and do
not do the very wrong thing or much confusion will result"... tell me about it... "with sparks, flowers
and loud report on some models." (Pause) "Glue Bat-Man to CG detail omitted for clarity"?!
Joel: This is really confusing.
Tom: Who WROTE this, Charlie Callas?
Crow: Hey, oh! Oh, wait, there's more! It says
uhhh... "Clip red wire likes you best with firm hand and glad heart..."
Joel: Okay, I think that oughtta do it... (The
satellite then sprays Joel in the eyes with Silly String and laughs. Joel stays very still in embarrassment.)
Crow: "... but first, clip the blue wire.
Got you, scrawny man." (pause) Well, that's what it said.
(Joel is still digging into the doomsday satellite, while Crow and Tom hover around not being
Crow: Now, it's the green wire, Joel, definately
Joel: Look, who's holding the screwdriver here
Tom: I give up. Who?
Joel: Oh, that's enough from the Peanut Gallery.
Thanks a lot, you two.
Crow: Aw heck Joel, go ahead and clip the blue
wire. It's just a doomsday machine. If it goes off, it's not like we're gonna be around to experience oblivion.
Tom: By oblivion, do you mean experiential oblivion,
or phenomenal-logical oblivion?
Crow: Hmm, interesting distinction. Let's define
our terms, shall we?
Tom: Well Kierkegard would always say that--
Joel: Listen, you screwheads, you better knock
it off or I'll brain you both with my ball-peen hammer! Now knock it off!
Crow: Hmm, an interesting reaction to a logically
defined supposition. I think Camus would have theorized differently...
Joel: Oh, listen Mister Smart-Alec Guy... what
wire would Camus cut?
Tom: Well, he'd cut the blue one I think, and
if he was still around after that, he'd cut the green one!
Joel (Obviously exasperated, covers his eyes
and points into the satellite with the screwdriver):
Eenie meenie miney mo, catch a robot...
Tom: Ah, the Samuel Beckett method!
Crow: Joel, you're playing dice with the Universe,
I hope you realize that.
DD Satellite (Chime): Welcome! You have passed through the first three thresholds of the Isaac Asimov
Literary Satellite! Enter the disarm code or enjoy the consequences. Remember, this and all literary works of the
last century are the sole property of Isaac Asimov and his many affiliates. Thank you for intruding, you have five
Crow: Quick Joel, cut EVERY wire!
Joel: It's not gonna work, it needs an access
Tom: Uh, uh, try "Ego"!!
Joel: I'll try "I, Robot"!!
DD Satellite: (BUZZ!) I'm sorry, the correct entry would have been "copyright" (Joel and Bots
groan), you now have six nanoseconds to realize the consequences. (There is a cloud of smoke, and when it clears...
Joel and the robots all have glasses and huge sideburns and are babbling non-stop. "Annotating" comes
up a lot. They pause, and often make gumming motions with their mouths.)
Joel: This cockamamie satellite's turned us
all into duplicate Isaac Asimovs!
Crow: Hey, do you think it's a conspiracy?
Tom: Oh, no, I covered the conspiracy topic
in my ten-volume history of assassinations and coups!
Joel: This is TERRIBLE, you guys!
Crow: Oh, I don't know, at least now I'll have
something to write about. You know, I've been thinking about annotating the Manhattan phone directory.
Tom: Oh, look, it's Commercial Sign. That'll
fit nicely into my volume on the effects of advertising on the human psyche. (All three begin babbling again.)