The Loved One

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The Loved One[1]
In The Dark
Original Broadcast Date
Grace Zabriskie, Arthur Miller, Laura Esterman, Lester Nafzger, Farley Ziegler, Heidi Nordberg, Harvey Perr, Joe Frank
Serious Monologue, Absurd Monologue, Scripted Actors, 28 minutes
Preceded by: Prayer (Remix)
Followed by: Five Part Dissonance (Remix)

"When I was in high school, I hung out with a tall, skinny guy named Howard."

The Loved One is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series In The Dark. It was originally broadcast in 1993.


Joe tells of Howard, his high school friend, a year older; his father had died when he was young, his mother was an alcoholic. Howard asks Joe to kiss him.

His senior year, Howard finds out he's about to inherit a million dollars from his grandparents. Howard wants Joe to manage his business[1] ideas. Joe goes to community college; Howard squanders his inheritance renting a mansion, buying expensive cars, etc.

'After a number of years' Howard runs out of money, has to sell all his stuff, ends up broke and homeless. Joe has graduated from college, has a real job. Howard moves in with him, becomes too familiar, cooking and cleaning. He paints pictures, but can't sell them.

Joe works his way up at work, an importer of expensive vases. The abusive boss likes him too much, makes a pass at him. Joe quits, plans to move out. Faced with the news, Howard throws his pictures out the window then jumps.

Joe visits his friends Vince and Diane in San Francisco. Diane has fallen out of love with Vince, asks Joe to make love to her, tears at his clothes; when Joe refuses, she shoots herself.

10:20: 'Is it the smoldering beauty of my purple eyes… - Joe is the most beautiful, charming, intelligent person in the world, all men and women want to be with him.[2]

19:20: Desperate women and men call Joe, plead with him to make love to them.

23:20: Joe's in north Redondo Beach.[3] Nichole sings along with the jukebox. Joe has a shot of Old Taylor.[4]

24:00: 2 fat bikers get loud, grab a Korean girl. Joe stands up to them, gets punched; the bartender throws them out. Nichole tells Joe he did a good thing. She takes him on her motorcycle to her old high school, jumps the fence, goes to the pool. She takes off her clothes, wants Joe to take off his; he demurs - she calls him 'Grandpa'. She swims then takes him to her apartment, which is trashy. She tells him that her parents took her to amusement park at the end of a pier[5] when she was a girl; in the house of mirrors she saw the face of a beautiful man, which turns out to be Joe's, wants to make love to him. Joe puts her off by claiming he has a girlfriend, a nurse; claims he's a physician. After Joe leaves Nichole comes after him on her motorcycle; Joe evades her, she hits a parked car and crashes.

Legacy Synopsis

Stories of people who feel drawn to Joe. Howard goes into a downward spiral and ends up living with Joe. Joe works at a wholesale boutique for Earl, who finds that Joe is the only one who can understand him. Joe moves into friends Vincent and Diane's guest cottage. Joe describes in detail the curse of being so beautiful as people find him so alluring, they want to kiss and hug him - even despite his attempt to live in disguise. A series of desperate messages left for Joe on an answering machine. Joe defends a woman in a bar.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[C]reated in collaboration with Michael Meloan and David Rapkin. The story editor was Farley Ziegler. Recorded and mixed by Theo Mondle. The performers were Joe Frank, Laura Esterman, Lester Nafzger, Grace Zabriskie, Arthur Miller, Heidi Nordberg, Harvey Perr, and Farley Ziegler. Special thanks to Jennifer Ferro."


The monologue in this show about Joe's cursed beauty also appears in the show The Loved One (Remix)/Lover Man, and Waiting For The Bell


  1. far-fetched
  2. Later used in The Loved One (Remix)/Lover Man (it's the opening) and Waiting For The Bell.
  3. a small city in Los Angeles county, on the ocean, expensive
  4. a noted bourbon from Kentucky
  5. there used to be one on Santa Monica pier, just up the beach