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Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, 57 minutes
Preceded by: Road To Hell
Followed by: Bad

One afternoon I drove by a voluptuous, scantily dressed female hitchhiker.

Nausea is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1989.


0:30: Joe sees a beautiful hitchhiker. He pulls over, offers her a ride. She refuses, accuses him of wanting to take advantage of her. Joe drives back, watches. She refuses dozens of offers for rides. That night, she drives her Ferrari to an apartment building.

5:00: Joe checks into the hotel opposite her building. With binoculars her watches her, nude, writing a summary of her day's offers on a computer. She noticed Joe, watching. Joe sees that all the windows of the hotel are occupied by people watching the 'hitchhiker'.

7:10: She blows up the hotel. Joe remembers events from his life: eating cookie dough his mother made; his cousin Jasper pushing him down the stairs on a bicycle, into the street, being struck by a car; that he was adopted.

11:10: 'Notes on women in bed': 'Women with long, painted fingernails', 'Women with frizzy hair', 'Left-handed women', 'Women who love animals', 'Women who are screamers', 'Women who wear lots of perfume', 'Women with enormous breasts'.

16:10: Joe tells about his father, who wrote books in France, won the last Nobel prize in literature. Ingmar Bergman filmed the festival given in his honor. Bergman later dressed as a female member of a 1938 Berlin cabaret troupe, sings art songs. (Thunderstorm in the background)

19:20: Joe is missing something in his life, can't feel fulfillment.

20:20: He thinks of taking up sailing, then remembers Frederick and Josephine who did, became incapable of living on land, ended up in Willowfern.

24:50: He thinks of singing madrigals, then remembers how that turned out for Spiderbaum.

25:30: He thinks of taking up martial arts, learning to turn people's sarcasm and hostility back upon them. This turned out badly for Furstenmacher, who attacked everyone verbally. He retired to a stone compound in the forest, talks to no one, developed a split personality that argued with itself.

28:50: Joe wonders why others at the office mistreat him, then other odd thoughts.

31:10: Joe likes to imagine he's a driver at the Indianapolis 500. He wins in glory.

37:50: Joe describes the rain, how it makes people feel.

40:00: Joe tells of a man who, while watching the rain, has decided that his wife is a stranger to him, he has to leave. He packs books and clothes while his wife alternately pleads with him to stay and curses his misbehavior. He walks out in the rain. He realizes he's forgotten his medicine. He stays in a decrepit motel. The rain stops; his nausea comes on.[1]

Legacy Synopsis
  • Joe watches an attractive fake hitchhiker.
  • Notes on women in bed.
  • Joe's father published novels in France, authored distorted titles, won the last Nobel prize in literature. Nobel prize in literature replaced by other prizes.
  • Something is missing from my life.
  • Fredrick and Josephine find debauchery as sailors in the far east, go mad, imagine that they are at sea, fish from their apartment, and become monks.
  • Becoming a monk and developing polyps.
  • Verbal martial arts and being compelled to use it against everyone. "
  • Why did [people do things]" monologue, random pondering.
  • Joe is a race car driver.
  • Monologue on rain - man knows he has to leave his wife before the rain ends.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[P]erformed by Joe Frank, and created in collaboration with Arthur Miller and David Rapkin. It was recorded and mixed by Jeff Sykes."


  • The beginning of this show is the premise of Joe's Playboy Video The Hitchhiker

Shared Material

The last segment was adapted for The Box.


  1. re-used in The Box