Dear Annie

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Dear Annie [1]
Series
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
1986
Cast
Joe Frank
Format
Serious Monologue, 55 minutes
Preceded by: Photography
Followed by: Rain

I tell myself she's too young for me, that that's our problem, the difference of fifteen years between us.

Dear Annie is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1986.

Synopsis

Joe tells of his relationship with a woman 15 years younger, his misgivings.[1] She acts childishly, gets carried away by stray animals, animals dead in the street, in movies.

4:00: They're friends with a married couple Joe's age, the Barnwells, whom they visit often.

5:50: Joe tells Annie she'll outlive him by 30 years because she's younger and healthier. She can't take it seriously. Joe describes himself being dead.

8:40: Joe tells of his birthday celebration at the Barnwells'. Joe acts out a heart attack.

10:00: Joe narrates writing a letter to Annie telling her that their relationship must end, over the sound of, and in sync with, a typewriter. Joe says he doesn't want them to end up a bitterly-unhappy couple like their parents.[2]

12:20: Joe describes habits of hers that annoy him: using too much toilet paper; driving in the passing lane; driving too fast up to red lights and turns, having to brake sharply; not wearing a seat belt; parking too far from the curb. Annie's unsympathetic.

18:00: Waiting for friends at a restaurant, Annie objects to the way an old couple has dressed 2 young girls.

18:50: Joe visits Annie in California where she's relocated for a year. They drive down US 1[3] to Malibu.[4]

19:20: They eat at a buffet in a club, where they stuff themselves and complain about how narcissistic Californians are about their looks. It's New Year's Eve. Joe tells her about 2 old lovers of his. She cries.

23:20: Joe narrates writing a letter to Annie telling her that their relationship must end, over the sound of, and in sync with, a typewriter. Joe says he doesn't want them to end up a bitterly-unhappy couple like their parents.

25:40: A married couple, the man, a colleague of Annie's at work, has invited them to dinner. On their way home Joe comments on the man's effeminacy. Annie chides Joe for his competitiveness.

26:20: Annie wakes up after an erotic dream about Jim, a man she knows at work. She wants to make love to Joe; he demurs. They drive into town to visit thrift shops, but they're closed. Browsing in a used bookstore Annie sees a bakery, wants a cookie, Joe wants to wait until they go back to the car; the bakery is closed when they get out. When they get to the track[5] she sees she's low on fuel, will have to drive back to town for diesel. She's frustrated.

28:20: Their love-making has begun to suffer.

28:50: Joe imagines coming home to find her hanged from his chinning bar.

30:20: Joe describes their early relationship, when she lived in graduate student housing, how he felt out of place with people so young. She spent weekends at Joe's. She wanted Joe to visit at her housing, come to their parties. Joe didn't because it would have made him feel uncomfortable. They argued.

33:40: Joe narrates writing a letter to Annie telling her that their relationship must end, over the sound of, and in sync with, a typewriter. Joe says he doesn't want them to end up a bitterly-unhappy couple like their parents.

35:50: Joe tells of being in a restaurant with a friend, who tells of her ex-boyfriend, starts crying, leaves. Annie tells Joe he wants to kiss him goodbye.

36:30: Joe imagines breaking up, the pluses and minuses of solitude. Joe tries to store up reasons to break up, but forgets them.

38:20: Joe lists all the reasons why now isn't a good time to break up.

39:20: Joe recalls the time he wanted to run away when he was 7 or 8. His parents had the grace to help him leave and gave him a face-saving way to stay.

40:50: Joe tells of being self-conscious when eating alone in a restaurant, is sure the other single men he sees in restaurants aren't happy about it.

42:20: Joe notices Annie circling apartments for rent in the paper, can't imagine her living in a seedy building, tells her to stop, takes her out to dinner.

43:20: Joe lists the various feelings he has about her, positive and negative.

44:20: Joe ruminates on the nature of love, how others use the word, is unsure he has ever felt it. He and friends argue about it.

46:20: Joe says he used to think that the women he enjoyed talking to on the phone were the ones he liked best, but discovered he often didn't like them in person.

47:30: Joe imagines grieving Annie's departure.

48:30: Joe tells us what he likes about a woman, how he feels about her when he watches her sleeping.

49:40: From the window of their hotel room Joe watches Annie at the pool.

50:40: Joe narrates writing a letter to Annie telling her that their relationship must end, over the sound of, and in sync with, a typewriter. Joe says he doesn't want them to end up a bitterly-unhappy couple like their parents.

Legacy Synopsis
  • Monologue: contemplating his younger lover Annie and her childlike habits. Correcting her verbal errors. Wrestling and laughing together. The idea she might outlive him seems impossible and hilarious to her. He presses the issue. Her birthday: he feigns death, an old joke he likes to play.
  • Joe writes a farewell letter to Annie. We hear him typing as he composes.
  • More on Annie: she uses vast quantities of toilet paper. She's one of those annoying people who cruises in the left lane, a huge pet peeve of Joe's. Arguments and scenarios over seat belts. More arguments. At a club in Malibu on New Years Eve. When she cries, it makes him feel like he wants to be with her forever.
  • The breakup letter to Annie again.
  • More stories of sad, frustrated Annie. He imagines her suicide.
  • On their early arguments over the social issues caused by their age difference.
  • The letter to Annie again.
  • Annie kissing Joe goodbye at a restaurant. Annie's cycles of rage and apology. Wanting to break up but being unable to--there's always a reason he can't leave her. Remembering he time he almost ran away from home as a youngster. Self-consciousness eating alone at a restaurant. Loneliness. Annie shopping for apartments. All his conflicting emotions about her: love and hate, pride and shame. On the nature of love. "To me, love is inviolable, sacred. This is why I don't feel up to it." Imagining his apartment without her stuff.
  • Remembering closeness and physical intimacy with Annie.
  • The letter again, fading out as the show closes.

Music

  • This program contains no music other than drones

Miscellanea

  • The only music of this program consists of a "drone" derived from the stringed instruments heard during the introductory ~26 seconds of "More Colours" by Eberhard Weber (from The Colours Of Chloë, 1974).
  • In other programs a drone is produced using a synthesizer/sampler, has a more vocal sound, and is a key feature of many programs.
  • Joe re-uses the segments beginning at 36:30, ending at 46:20 in Karma Redux, except the woman in 'redux' isn't named, nor is an age difference mentioned; it's set in Washington, DC; the location isn't mentioned in 'Annie'

Footnotes

  1. Joe was 15 years older than the woman he had a relationship with in Karma (Part 1)
  2. He says 'our parents', not 'my parents', which indicates he knows about Annie's parents.
  3. Joe must mean California 1; US 1 is a highway along the east coast, from the Key West to Fort Kent, Maine, at the Canadian border.
  4. Annie's in Ventura County? Santa Barbara?
  5. Why are they going to a track? It has cinders, so it seems to be an athletic track.