Once upon a time there was a soap opera called Happily Ever After, in which all the usual soap opera-y things happened, but mainly a dude waking up from a coma after a billion years (or three. I mean, whatever.)
Unfortunately for the man in the coma, former child actor Devon ‘Don’t Call me Sonny’ Lane, his newly conscious role doesn’t come with more screen time – his character is going back to Philadelphia to his wife and kids and it’s all happening off screen – in short, he’s fired.
Amazingly enough though, Joanna Rollins – star of Ever After – happens to live in the same apartment building as our heroine. Seriously though, what were the odds of that?
Our Heroine, it turns out, has just returned from Washington DC (no doubt solving some sort of international crisis because that’s how she rolls), and is collecting her mail from everyone’s favourite doorman Ahmed, when Joanna discovers she has accidentally picked up some of JB’s mail. Jess recognises her from the show, she doesn’t get to watch it often and she’s dying to know what happens next. Joanna invites Jess in for some tea, but Jess declines, saying she needs to get inside to check her messages. At that moment Devon Lane appears, baying about how he needs to talk to Joanna. Jess is excited to meet the former child star, but Devon doesn’t quite feel the same way.
Jessica quickly excuses herself, leaving Joanna and Sonny the Douche to duke it out in the hallway – it would appear Sonny and Joanna have had an on-again off-again thing that a) Sonny blames for his getting fired and b) Joanna thinks is very much over. JB listens to the blue while she puts the kettle on, but a banging on the door gets her back into the action – Joanna is freaked out, and tells Jess to lock the door before Sonny can get in. Jess puts the chain on and Sonny starts bashing the door but stops after a patented Jessica Fletcher scolding. He promises he’ll be back, but leaves.
Job done, thinks JB, as she turns to Joanna, but Joanna is busy watching herself on TV.
Out on Long Island, a man named Walter Bowman is on an exercise bike also watching Joanna’s performance with some interest – apparently he is planning to marry her. His personal trainer Bo agrees she is a stunning looking woman. They are soon joined by Walter’s daughter Marci and her boyfriend Teddy.
Teddy has a business proposal for Walter – ROLLERCOASTERS! ROLLERCOASTERS EVERYWHERE! MOAR ROLLERCOASTERS – but makes the mistake of switching the television off so Walter has his undivided attention.
Marci(a) is furious that her father would rather watch dreadful television than listen to her boyfriend’s (dreadful) business plan, and doubly so when her father informs her that he is marrying Joanna. Apparently he kept it quiet until his divorce from Marci(a)’s mother went through, but now that’s over and done with the bells can ring.
(Cut to the soon to be ex Mrs Bowman finding out about the wedding in the newspaper and blowing a gasket)
But you can’t stop true love Fletcherfans, and especially not true love at the registery office surrounded by paparazzi and film cameras.
The ceremony begins, but is interrupted by the arrival of everyone’s least favourite former child star Sonny Lane, who demands that Joanna not go through with it.
Across town, JB is watching it all go down from her desk.
(Sidebar: My desk is clearly not living up to the standard thrown down by our Heroine:)
I would however point out that while JB has flowers on her desk, I have a TARDIS and a Lego Ghostmobile, so I think I am following her teachings mostly kind of, whatever I have a TARDIS.
Sonny rages on, but Joanna declares that she loves Walter. Sonny goes nuts and security escort him out.
The next day, Our Favourite Doorman is reading all about the chaos at the wedding ceremony when Sonny Lane walks through the lobby. Ahmed, bless him, tells Sonny he’s under strict orders not to let him into the apartment and anyway Joanna is out. Sonny tells him he’s not here to see Joanna he’s here to get something that belongs to him – a painting. Ahmed says sorry but there’s nothing he can do, but is distracted by a painter trying to use the guest elevator instead of the service elevator. By the time he sorts that crisis out Sonny has disappeared.
Upstairs, JB is hard at work on her next book when she gets a knock at the door – an art appraiser by the name of Irwin Fisk has arrived to appraise a painting of Joanna’s and was told Jess had a key to let him in. Jess finds the key and goes to let Fisk into the apartment – apparently Joanna is selling a Von Hockhauser, and he is a fan of the artist’s work, especially the large nudes with the plump bottoms.
Joanna and Walter arrive just in the nick of time, and they all go into the apartment together to discover the aforementioned big butt-ed nude slashed to hell. Joanna is convinced it’s Devon, he gave her the painting, and Walter is inclined to agree. (Irwin Fisk takes himself home to mourn not getting his hands on a plump nude).
Walter calls the police, and a friendly local sergeant comes down to take statements. He clearly finds the whole thing baffling, from Ahmed’s tales of spurned lovers and painters sneaking into lifts, and men with keys slashing up paintings that they own anyway. He tells Joanna that there’s not a lot he can do, despite the threats he made on TV. If he makes good on a threat, then he can do something.
But we’ll be dead, says Joanna.
I hope it don’t happen. Says the friendly local sergeant.
Feeling less than impressed, Joanna and Walter head out to Long Island, where Joanna is about to meet the ex for the first time. While she freshens up, Marci(a) and Miriam greet Walter. Marci(a) departs in tears when Walter claims Teddy has been stealing the silverware, and Walter orders Miriam out when she informs him she wasn’t sleeping with his chauffeur, she was too busy sleeping with his personal trainer, Bo.
Which reminds me
Joanna is amazed to think that her precious little Walty-Walty ever shared a bed with such a heinous creature and proceeds to make out with him, until Bo arrives, having been summoned by Walter, who is unimpressed that his beloved personal trainer was nailing his wife. Bo is booted, with pay.
The next evening, JB and Joanna are hanging out drinking tea. Joanna is bemoaning her thoroughly un-glamourous lifestyle but JB says if she’s learned anything it’s that success comes from within, not out there in the world (Life Lesson #66).
Joanna realises she’s late to call Walter and uses the phone in JB’s room. He tells her it’s the chef’s night off and he’s going to have some low sodium soup after his workout so Joanna invites JB out for some “divinely authentic” Chinese food which JB can’t resist. Unfortunately for Walter (but fortunately for the premise of this TV show), when he goes to the closet after his workout he is met with a shotgun blast to the chest.
Long Island Police roll in, in the form of Sheriff Beals and Deputy Ginger Billis. Ginger is quite pleased with herself when she finds the murder weapon stashed under the bed, and announces that she followed the rules of discovery and it totes doesn’t have fingerprints on it. You go Ginger. You do you.
Joanna and JB arrive, storming the press throng and making it into the house. While Joanna delicately wipes a tear from her eye Jessica quickly takes control of the investigation, noting dents in the butt of the shotgun which Ginger (and therefore the sheriff) think happened when the gun got tossed under the bed. JB is not so sure, and asks to take a look at the crime scene.
Ginger takes JB through the crime scene, and tells her that Walter wasn’t shot in the back, he copped both barrels to the chest. The best they can figure out is that the killer hid in the closet and waited for Walter, except it was a closet full of women’s clothes so it doesn’t make sense.
“Unless the killer was waiting for a woman.” Says JB.
Downstairs, the Sheriff is getting a precise explanation of just why Joanna thinks Sonny is the killer when the ME calls in a time of death – some time between 6 and 8 o’clock. JB arrives just in time to remember that Joanna called her husband about 6:45, and so most likely Walter was killed about 7:05pm.
Joanna spots Sonny lurking on the balcony and starts shrieking. Ginger goes out and drags him in for questioning – but he has a rock solid alibi. He was in the casting office reading for a part at the time of the murder, verified by the casting director who begs Ginger to arrest Sonny for being a psycho.
The next morning Jess comes down to breakfast where Marci(a) is eating and Teddy is trying to pitch his rollercoaster idea. He tries it on JB but she’d rather talk about where they were the night before. They were off eating oysters in the Hamptons, which might be code for something I have no idea. Joanna appears, to declare she can’t take it any more she’s going to the studio to film more Happily Ever After and tells Marci(a) she’ll be staying in the town house and not to take anything out of the house until the will gets read. As Joanna and JB are getting ready to leave, a car screeches up the driveway, only just missing them thanks to JB’s quick thinking. It’s Sonny, wondering if there’s a chance for him and Joanna now that Walter has shuffled off.
JB returns to her apartment where Ahmed tells her Miriam Bowman has been waiting for Joanna for a while. Miriam tells JB she feels awful about what happened, if she hadn’t told Walter about Bo then he wouldn’t have been alone in the house and she just wants to apologise to Joanna. JB wants to talk to Bo though, and Miriam points her in the direction of his gym. It’s soon apparent that Bo knows nothing, about the murder or life.
JB’s last stop is to the previously mentioned casting agent, Dorothy Fremont, who is in the middle of casting prostitutes for a TV show that is almost definitely Law and Order. She tells JB that Sonny turned up a day late claiming he hadn’t been told the audition had been changed and raged all over the place until security got called. Jessica stares at a lamp and has an epiphany.
Everyone’s favourite over-actor, along with everyone’s least favourite former child star, combined to kill Walter. Except it was mostly Joanna. Because I still don’t really know.
Before I go, three things – I just discovered that my email forwarding thing wasn’t working so if you’ve sent an email to email@example.com I’ve only just found it (and sent a very late reply) so my bad but thank you guys so much for telling me how much you’re enjoying the blog!
Thing the second – You may have noticed a donate button pop up on the side of the blog. Think of it as a tip jar – the posts will still be coming and make less sense than ever, but if one particularly tickles your fancy I’d love it if you could hit the donate button. It would mean a lot.
Thing part 3 – I’m going offline for a couple of weeks to attend to some things, least of which is a wedding (huzzah) but never fear I shall return.
So until next time, dear reader.