Rent A Family (Part 2)

From The Joe Frank Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Rent A Family (Part 2)[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Barbara Sohmers, Mark Hammer, Arthur Miller, Tim Jerome, Nick Ullett, Carolyn Swift, Larry Block, Lynn, Sarah, Carmen, Thomas, Timo, Sharon, Christa
Scripted Actors, Improv Actors, Panel Discussion, 59 minutes
Preceded by: Rent A Family (Part 1)
Followed by: Rent A Family (Part 3)

"See there's Wendy, she's climbing up on the top of the sliding board."

Rent A Family (Part 2) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1987.


Eleanor (Barbara Sohmers) describes pictures of Wendy and Diane playing, etc.

7:20: The proprietor (Larry Block) talks about Rent-A-Family, says they're enrolling families headed by single men.

10:10: Joe introduces himself to a family he rented, Sharon and her daughters Christa and Sarah.

13:20: Eleanor calls Arthur (Mark Hammer); she still loves him.

16:10: Eleanor calls Arthur: she's in trouble: her car broke down.

19:20: Panelist #3 (Nick Ullett) tells of meeting a Spanish-speaking woman outside a cathedral. She speaks no English, he only basic Spanish, but they have a conversation. He gets in her car, she drives out to a finca (estate). They have sex. She shoots a dog howling outside the window.

24:10: Panelist #2 (Arthur Miller) tells of a dream in which he meets his boss (a woman), who ties him down to a bed, says she's going to tell him a secret, then he wakes up. It puzzles him. He has a strong yearning for grapefruit.

27: Joe and Sharon discuss her Rent-A-Family experience. She says, 'I'm an artist.' Other people may speak under the music later in this segment.

30:40: Eleanor calls Arthur. She says somebody's in the house, she's scared. Kathy (Carolyn Swift) gets on the line, tells her this has to stop.

33:20: Eleanor calls Arthur, says she's going to shoot herself if he won't talk to her. Arthur is dubious.

36:10: Proprietor tells of living out west, taking a bunch of drugs, riding his motorcycle to Mexico.[1] He stops to eat, a woman asks him when he's going to take her for a ride. He says what about now. He takes her home, they have sex. She won't leave for 3 days. He acts crazily to scare her off.

39:50: Panelist #2 tells of seeing a woman at the anthropology library of the institute (unnamed) then in his class, finds her fascinating but never talks to her. He meets her again years later, disappointed that she's now ordinary.

44:20: Panelist #3 tells of a woman raising money for the school for the deaf come to his door. He invites her in, they have tea and cookies and sex after she puts her scarf around his eyes so he's blind.

49:50: Eleanor calls Arthur. She's worried about Wendy and Diane. He insists they don't exist.

52:40: Panelist #2 says the energy generated during intercourse is being used for electrical power. Panel discusses this.

54: Proprietor tells of perfect relationship. He was a bartender, met Barbara, his ideal of Norse beauty. After about 4 weeks it ended; he didn't know why.[2]

Legacy Synopsis

The woman from part 1, Eleanor, narrates film clips of her children. Panel discussion: childrens' experience in RAF. Joe enrolls in the program and meets another woman and her daughter. Eleanor calls her ex, Arthur, on the phone, desperately begs him to come back to her, claims her car has broken down and she needs help. A man talks about meeting a woman who speaks another language at a cathedral, they make love and she shoots a dog. A man dreams of being tied to a bed. The other woman talks to Joe about her experience in RAF. More interview sound clips. Eleanor calls her ex again, claims someone's in her house, says she will shoot herself. Larry sleeps with a crazy person who then refuses to leave his house. A man invites a deaf woman in to his house, she ties a scarf over her eyes, and they make love. Arthur tells Eleanor that their children don't exist. A man describes having had the perfect relationship.


Shared Material

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "The performers were Barbara Sohmers, Mark Hammer, Larry Block, Nick Ullett, Tim Jerome, Carolyn Swift-Hammer, Arthur Miller, and Lynn, Sarah, Carmen, Thomas, Timo, Sharon, and Christa. This program was recorded by Phil Capp at M&I Studios in New York City, and at KCRW by Tom Strother. Technical production by Tom Strother."


  • This show was so emotionally powerful, that the actors involved often broke down in tears (in real life) during the taping.


  1. Larry Block tells a similar story in Waiting For Karma.
  2. Larry Block tells a similar story in Karma (Part 1).
  3. This is the Rent A Family panel discussion theme: it plays before and during its appearances.