Bitter Pill

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Bitter Pill[1]
The Other Side
Original Broadcast Date
December 3, 2000
Larry Block, Maude Gaines, Joe Frank
Serious Monologue, Absurd Monologue, Telephone, Singing, 53 minutes
Preceded by: Brothers
Followed by: Sunday Morning Service

"If I could write something it would be about, uh you know, equating one's mother to a sun."

Bitter Pill is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series The Other Side. It was originally broadcast on December 3, 2000.


Larry talks with Joe about what he'd write for his mother's 80th birthday, how he doesn't want to talk about decline, which Joe thinks is unavoidable.

2:30: Joe tells us about Danny, whom he knew in high school; Danny was a brilliant musician. Joe plays a tape of his girlfriend, Donna, singing along to Danny playing the piano when they were 16. Joe says Donna fashioned herself after Chris Connor. She sings 'Like someone in love'

5:30: Joe says that Danny and he went to the same college. Danny was brilliant, wrote musicals every year for the college. After college he wrote songs recorded by Andy Williams and Tony Bennett, for TV and film, but not the Broadway musicals he wanted to write. He married Linda, but had a rocky relationship. Despite agreeing not to have children Linda got pregnant; Danny wanted her to get an abortion; she didn't. Danny was afraid and angry at Linda. After the child, Jenny, was born Danny loved her deeply, was irrationally afraid that something would harm her. Danny and Linda separated when Jenny was young, had joint custody. Jenny displayed OCD behavior, became depressed. Danny's health failed.

12:50: Maude Gaines (20) tells Joe about high school, how terrible it was: 'everyone was a speed addict, everyone had to go to rehab, everyone I knew had divorced parents…'

13:20: Larry tells Joe about his mother's birthday party. It was at the Middle Bay country club.[1] Joe says his parents belonged to the much-better North Shore country club.[2] They slang each other's country club.

18:10: Larry describes his mother's birthday party. They recur to the Middle Bay/North Shore argument.

21:40: Joe says he was married and divorced years ago; it seems remote. He says he's happy with his life now, has friends, doesn't covet marriage and parenthood. He talks about misbehaving children. He expects all relationships to fail. He looks at decrepit old people, wonders if that's the fate of all of us.

26:20: Maude Gaines can't wait to have children and a house, be an artist - all sorts of great things. Her actual relationships never work out.

28:30: Larry tells Joe about the blown-up picture of his mother.

31:40: Maude Gaines says she's never made love, or even kissed, someone she loved, only people she didn't. She recounts her first time.

35:40: Larry tells Joe about his sleepless night before his mother's birthday party, worried about what to say. He read 'The runaway bunny'.[3]

41:40: Joe tells us that his mother has grown more dependent on her cat, Prince, since the death of everyone in her generation, including her husband.[4] She spoils Prince; Prince abuses her. Joe hates Prince, imagines the cruel death he'll inflict on him after his mother dies.

47:40: Larry tells Joe about how his mother was.

49:30: Maude Gaines says she's still young enough to manage her life without professional help; Joe suggests therapy. She claims to understand herself completely.

51:40: It sounds like more of Danny and Donna, performing 'I remember you'

Legacy Synopsis
  • Larry Block: a celebration for his mother's 80th birthday; comparing country clubs; The Runaway Bunny.
  • Monologue: high school buddy "Danny" the musician and his depressed daughter; Either/Or and the impossibility of escaping misery; Joe not having children; children are terrorists and vampires.
  • Maude Gaines: The ideal future and having children; bad sex; therapy.


Additional credits

From the broadcast, 'You've been listening to Joe Frank "The other side". This program was called "Bitter pill" with Larry Block, Maude Gaines, and Joe Frank - production by J. C. Swiatek and Bob Carlson, production assistance: Esmé Gregson, music consultant: Thomas Golubić'


I find Donna's singing more impressive than Danny's playing.Arthur Peabody (talk) 22:43, 21 January 2022 (EST)

Maude Gaines is almost a parody of a 20-year-old.Arthur Peabody (talk) 22:43, 21 January 2022 (EST)

External links


  1. This exists where Larry says.
  2. Which is near Chicago, not where Joe says it is.
  3. Also mentioned in Karma Crash
  4. Theodore Frank,'Freddy', died in 1995.