Do you remember the TV show Inside-Out Boy? It was an excellent piece of claymation that ran on Nickelodeon for a few years in the late 80s/early 90s. Fast forward to a couple of decades ago, and I had an idea for some new stories set in the Inside-Out Boy world. Not content to sit on an idea I liked, I wrote a few spec scripts, and hunted down the production company that had produced the original series. As it turned out, they liked it. We started talking about the possibility, and it was a slim possibility, that we could move forward with the idea. Then…then 9/11 happened, and they were in New York, and that was it. But I still like the idea. Here’s one of those spec scripts.
Inside-Out Boy In:
The Grass Is Always Greener On The Inside-Out
SCENE: Bird’s-eye view of a suburban neighborhood at dusk; kids playing, lawns being mowed. This wholesome vision is shattered by the sound of a—
YOUNG GIRL’S VOICE
Help! Leave me alone, you bullies!
CUT TO: An access alley behind a garage with garbage cans, etc. Two punky looking teenage boys are teasing a cute young girl (Carla). They have taken her bike.
Give me back my bike or I’ll tell my dad!
Ooooh, I’m really scared! She’s gonna tell her daddy!
Not if we put her in a garbage can…come on, Stu, let’s get her…
They approach her menacingly.
CUT TO: Close-up of Carla, looking terrified, as the shadows of the boys fall across her. She trips and falls.
CUT TO: The two boys approaching, from Carla’s P.O.V.
VOICE FROM OUT-OF-FRAME
Hey! Why don’t you dorks pick on someone your own size!
The punks look around puzzled.
Who said that?!
VOICE FROM OUT-OF-FRAME
Inside-Out Boy leaps down from the garage roof, landing on top of a garbage can. He waves his arms and sticks out his tongue at the boys, making loud noises, exploiting his inside-out-ness. The punks become scared little kids and run away screaming. Inside-Out Boy watches them go.
Hah, that’ll teach ‘em.
I.O.B. turns back toward Carla, and really sees her for the first time.
CUT TO: Close-up of Carla’s face as I.O.B. sees her…she’s a blonde vision, light radiating from her face.
CUT TO: Close-up of I.O.B.’s face with a dumb smile and faraway eyes. He is clearly smitten.
CUT TO: I.O.B. kind of shakes himself, realizes he’s staring. He reaches to help Carla.
Here, let me help you up.
Carla recoils from his touch, tries to hide the look of revulsion that crosses her face but does not succeed. She scrambles to her feet, keeping her distance. This is one girl who does not think I.O.B. is cool.
No, no, that’s okay. I’m fine, really.
Carla hurries past him, jumps on her bike. She pedals away, one bent wheel squeaking.
CARLA (OVER HER SHOULDER)
Um, thanks and everything.
CUT TO: Close-up of I.O.B. He realizes what has just happened.
INSIDE-OUT BOY (TO HIMSELF)
Wow, she was scared of me. I, I think I grossed her out!
CUT TO: I.O.B. walking home, slumped and dejected, as indignities are heaped upon him. Dogs and cats follow him, sniffing. A bird lands on his head, begins to peck. An elderly woman carrying a big pie to her neighbor sees him, screams and flips the pie up in the air; naturally it lands on his head.
INSIDE-OUT BOY (HOWLING TO THE HEAVENS)
I’m tired of being inside-out!
A gopher pops his head out of his hole, sees I.O.B., lets out a loud EEEK and dives back into his hole. I.O.B. hangs his head and sighs.
DISOLVE TO: The next day at school, I.O.B. sits in class, still grumbling. His teacher enters with Carla in tow, and I.O.B. perks up immediately.
Class, say hello to your new classmate, Carla Calloway.
Carla, why don’t you find yourself a seat.
I.O.B. realizes there is an empty seat next to him. He looks at Carla and smiles hopefully. Carla sees him and ducks her head. She heads for a desk on the opposite side of the room. I.O.B. drops his head on his desk.
DISOLVE TO: I.O.B. eating lunch with his best friends; Darcy, who lives next door, and Thomas, a bit of a nerd who thinks of I.O.B. as his own personal science project. I.O.B. gazes longingly across the cafeteria at Carla.
DARCY (TO THOMAS)
What’s with him?
He’s in love with that new girl, Carla, but she thinks he’s gross!
Shut up, Thomas!
Darcy looks daggers at Carla. She’s been carrying a quiet torch for I.O.B. for years. She thumps I.O.B. on the head to get his attention.
Huh? Ow! What?!
If Blondie over there can’t see what a cool guy you are, even inside-out, then she’s not worth the time of day!
You’re just saying that ‘cause you’re my friend.
Darcy storms off, upset.
What’d I say?
Man, you really have a way with the ladies.
Shut up, Thomas!
DISOLVE TO: Later that day, after school. I.O.B. and Thomas sit on the playground swings, talking.
She went home. She’s still cheesed off at you. You know she kind of likes you, right?
You’re crazy! Me and Darcy have been friends forever!
They sit in silence for a moment, I.O.B. deep in thought.
Hey Thomas…I don’t want to be inside-out any more. Can you find a way to change me back?
Are you sure?
INSIDE-OUT BOY (DETERMINED)
Yeah, I’m sure.
Well, I love a challenge. Let’s go to the lab.
DISOLVE TO: Thomas’s room. It’s a nerd’s paradise, with computers, test tubes, Bunsen burners, etc. Thomas is wearing a lab coat, the pocket bristling with pens. I.O.B. looks apprehensive.
(WITH A BIG SMILE ON HIS FACE…
HE’S BEEN WAITING TO DO THIS FOR A LONG TIME)
We have to run some tests.
Collage of scenes, one dissolving into the next, as I.O.B. is subjected to all manner of silly tests while Thomas takes notes. He’s poked and prodded with odd-looking instruments. He’s hung upside-down and spun in circles. He hops on one foot while holding a goldfish bowl in one hand, balancing an umbrella on his nose and singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
CUT TO: Thomas pressing the ENTER button on his computer keyboard, while I.O.B. looks on, exhausted.
Keep your fingers crossed, here it comes.
A sheet of paper slides out of the printer. Thomas picks it up, not letting I.O.B. see it.
Hmmmm…why didn’t I think of that?
What? What’s it say?
You have to swing up over the bar backward.
INSIDE-OUT BOY (WITH CONVICTION)
Let’s do it.
DISOLVE TO: The swing set. I.O.B. takes his seat as Thomas and Darcy look on.
DARCY (STILL MAD)
I hope you know what you’re doing. What if you turn inside-out again? You’ll end up being a big gooey mess.
I’m already a big gooey mess…besides, that’s not going to happen, right, Thomas?
Um, right. At least, I don’t think so. So, you ready?
INSIDE-OUT BOY (HOLDING ONTO THE CHAINS)
Thomas and Darcy get in front of I.O.B. and each grab a side of the swing. They back up, pulling the swing forward as far as they can.
On three. One, two, threeeeee!
They rush forward, flinging I.O.B. backwards. The swing goes up in a big arc, almost parallel to the ground, before heading back.
Almost, keep pushing!
Thomas and Darcy keep pushing, the swing inching higher and higher.
CUT TO: Close-up of I.O.B. as he finally loops over in slow motion, upside down, chains slack. As he comes over the top he begins to transform, turning right–side out. He comes to a bouncing stop, looks down at himself and lets out a loud
Yeah! It worked!
Thomas and Darcy join him in cheering.
I knew it would work! At least, I was pretty sure. Science triumphs again!
So now what? You going go tell your family?
Yeah, they’re really gonna be surprised!
DISOLVE TO: Mom and dad hugging I.O.B. in a stranglehold.
Oh honey, we love you no matter what. Plus, now I can take the plastic off the furniture.
CUT TO: I.O.B. with his little sister, Shelly. She pokes him experimentally.
Hmmm. You’re not sticky anymore. I’m gonna miss that.
She looks at him with a frown, then bursts out laughing and hugs him.
CUT TO: I.O.B.’s big brother Steve. He looks I.O.B. up and down, then bops him on top of the head and walks away.
STEVE (OVER HIS SHOULDER)
Inside-out or not, you’re still a dweeb.
I.O.B. sighs, rubbing his head, then smiles.
INSIDE-OUT BOY (A LITTLE SARCASTICALLY)
There’s no place like home…but now there’s a certain blonde girl I have to go see.
DISOLVE TO: I.O.B. in a jacket and tie, a bouquet of flowers in his hand. He’s obviously nervous as all get-out as he walks up the porch steps of a nice house and rings the doorbell. Carla answers the door. She looks at him dismissively through the screen door.
Can I help you?
Um, yeah, I mean yes. (HOLDS OUT THE FLOWERS) These are for you.
Who are you?
It’s me, the kid who saved you when those older boys took your bike. I guess I look a little different now. Anyway, I was wondering if you’d like to go to a movie or something.
As if. So you’re not inside-out any more, I still don’t owe you anything. You really thought I’d go out with you? Yuck!
Carla slams the door in I.O.B.’s face. I.O.B. slinks away, crushed, and the night just gets worse. He runs into the elderly woman who had the pie before and tries to scare her out of spite. She hits him with her umbrella. A gopher pops up out of his hole and bites him on the ankle. Finally, as he crosses an alley, the two punks from before grab him up, pulling him into the darkness. We hear loud banging sounds, then the punks exit the alley, dusting off their hands, laughing.
CUT TO: I.O.B. in a garbage can, banana peel and miscellaneous trash on his head.
INSIDE-OUT BOY (DEFEATED)
I guess there’s only one thing left to do…
DISOLVE TO: The playground, late at night. I.O.B. peeks up from behind some bushes, scanning the playground. He zips from bush to tree like a ghost, making his way toward the swingset. When he’s sure the coast is clear he gets on the swing.
Here we go again!
I.O.B. begins to swing, higher and higher. As he climbs into the sky, his determined frown is gradually replaced with a smile. Finally, with a triumphant yell, he loops over the top and turns back inside-out. He leaps off the swing, plants his feet and raises his hands into the air.
Inside-Out Boy is back!
DISOLVE TO: The next day in the school cafeteria. I.O.B., Thomas and Darcy are sitting together, I.O.B. inside-out as can be. Thomas is shaking his head.
I just don’t get it. I can’t figure out why you turned back inside-out.
INSIDE-OUT BOY (WITH A SLY SMILE)
It’s a real mystery all right.
So what’d your family say?
Oh, you know. Steve bopped me on top of the head, Shelly loves me no matter what, and Mom put the plastic back on the furniture. I guess life is back to normal. So who wants to hit the playground for some kickball?
I’m in. Darcy?
You guys go on, I’ll be there in a minute.
Darcy reaches into her pocket and pulls out a big, juicy worm.
Darcy, what’s that for?
That Carla girl is looking a little pale. I think she needs more protein in her diet, so I’m gonna add this to her spaghetti.
Darcy and Thomas high-five.
You go girl!
No one messes with my boy—best friend. (SHE BLUSHES)
CUT TO: Close-up of I.O.B., a big embarrassed smile on his face.
Shut up, Thomas.
I didn’t say anything!
You were going to…