Life in Pieces – Chef Rescue Negotiator Necklace
By: Julie Mante
Story One: The Personal Chef
Greg (Colin Hanks) is determined to get Valentine’s Day right this year. He surprises his wife Jen (Zoe Lister-Jones) with a romantic dinner a home with a private chef. They have had many mishaps in the past so this year he wants to keep things simple yet intimate. Immediately, Jen is impressed. At first, Allie (Molly Shannon), the chef seems sweet and attentive to the couple, but she quickly makes them uncomfortable when she learns they have a baby. She blurts out, “The state has my baby.”
Despite the weird outbursts, Jen and Greg are enjoying themselves when Allie starts acting up again. She bemoans about her ex-husband, grabs the bottle of wine on the table and starts drinking. Jen is worried about Allie’s drinking because she seems unbalanced, but Greg thinks that Allie will be professional. When Greg hears a glass break, he goes to check on Allie. She reprimands herself when she drops one of the meals and Greg tries to assure her that he is not mad at her. While Allie is making a pass at Greg, Jen goes to see what is taking her husband so long. Quickly, Allie stops flirting with Greg. At this point, Jen cannot pretend this situation is not weird. Not only is she worried about Allie’s mental state, but she is wondering if the chef has a criminal record. Greg tries to remain calm, but decides that he will check to see if his Star Wars figurines are safe.
Jen tries to politely suggest that it is time for Allie to go home. Allie says that Jen wants her to leave because she is worried Greg will leave Jen for her. At this point, Allie is very drunk and she lets Jen know that she is not interested in Greg. As he is checking his figurines, Greg decides to call his sister Heather (Betsy Brandt). Heather was the one who recommended this chef so he wants to know if this behavior has happened before. When he tells her that Allie is drunk, Heather tells him that she was in a “good place” six months ago. She had gotten out of rehab after her husband left her at a truck stop. She had become a prostitute to make ends meet. This is new information to Greg. After his call, Greg apologizes to Jen for hiring Allie. Jen lets him know that she is okay. Most of their Valentine’s Day celebrations ended in disaster, but she is grateful that she is spending them with him. After their lovely moment, Allie walks right into the clear glass screen door and hurts herself.
Story Two: Dog Rescue
At an animal adoption fair, Matt (Thomas Sadoski) and his fiancée Colleen (Angelique Cabral) are looking for another dog. Colleen has her eye on a three-legged dog. The adoption process is no joke. The coordinator Ruth (Angela Kinsey) lets them know that it is a four week process where the couple will be visited to see if they taking care of the dog. Ruth requires a credit card to see if they have the financial means to take care of the dog. Matt points out that the dog has three legs and if he does not get adopted, he is unlikely of surviving. Ruth says that, “There are worst fates than death.” Colleen agrees and looks at the dog saying she cannot wait for him to be a part of their family. Ruth tells her to stop talking to the dog and only talk to her until the dog is officially adopted.
The next day, Ruth stops by the couple’s apartment for their first home visit. They tell her about their dog Princess. Because they are nervous, they try to give Ruth the answers she wants to hear. Colleen decides to tell her the truth about one lie, but Ruth has already made her decision. There will be no adoption. The couple believes that she is nixing the adoption because they lied, but she tells them she does not think they will survive as a couple. Colleen is not ready to give up. This is more than a dog now. This woman questioned their love and she is determined to prove Ruth wrong. Colleen tells Ruth that her words disillusioned them for a couple of days, but now their commitment to each other is stronger than ever. Ruth is wrong about them and they are not leaving without the dog. Ruth is impressed with Colleen’s fighting spirit so she decides to reopen their file.
When they come home with Buttons, they are so happy. The happiness is short-lived when they realize the front door is open and Buttons is nowhere to be found. As they search for Buttons, Matt gets a call from Ruth. They pretend that everything is fine with the dog, but Ruth knows the truth. Buttons ran back to the adoption fair. Ruth tells them not to bother getting him back. The adoption is canceled. When they return home, they are feeling pretty bad about how things turned out. Matt is able to get Colleen out of her funk about losing Buttons. They made a mistake and that is okay. They will use those mistakes to grow as a couple and keep getting better. Once again their happiness is short-lived when the realize that Princess is gone. Frustrated, they go look for her.
Story Three: The Best Valentine’s Day Ever
When she arrives home from school, Sophia (Giselle Eisenberg) is excited to tell her parents that she has a boyfriend named Pete. She shows her mother Heather the necklace Pete gave her for Valentine’s Day. Heather is impressed. While the family is having dinner, Heather gets a call from Pete’s mom. Heather tells Sophia that Pete took his mother’s necklace from her jewelry box without asking. Tomorrow, Sophia has to return the necklace. Sophia does not want to return the necklace and later tells her mother that she lost it. Heather does not believe her. Heather says that honesty is valued in this family so if Sophia can look her in the eye and say that she lost it, she will believe her. Sophia looks her mother in the eye and says that she lost the necklace.
The next day, Pete’s mom Tabitha (Gillian Vigman) stops by and Heather tells her that Sophia lost the necklace. Tabitha thinks that Sophia is lying and this makes Heather defensive. If Sophia says the necklace is lost, then the necklace is lost. Tabitha believes that all kids are liars so she knows that Sophia knows where the necklace is. Sophia overhears her mother defending her honor. Heather says to Tabitha, “My family is built on trust and honesty and I’m sorry if yours isn’t, but the day that I don’t believe my daughter is the day that we stop being a family.” Feeling guilty, Sophia goes to her parents’ bedroom to her father Tim (Dan Bakkedahl) and says “I killed our family.” After the room has calmed down after Sophia scared her parents by waking them up, she confesses that she hid the necklace so she could keep it. She is worried that her lie will break their family apart. When Heather asked her why she lied, Sophia admits that it was the first gift a boy got her and she wanted to keep it. She gives the necklace back to her mother. Heather tells her that she has to return the necklace and tell Tabitha that she lied.
The next day Sophia, Heather and Tim go to Tabitha’s house to return the necklace. They ring the doorbell. Heather does not want to face Pete’s mom because she knows that she will rub it in Heather’s face that she was right and Heather was wrong. Sophia is not looking forward to being lectured as well. Tim gives everyone an out. He says that Sophia learned her lesson so why stand there and get an unnecessary lecture. Heather agrees. They hang the necklace on the door and the three of them run away.
Story Four: Negotiation
This Valentine’s Day John (James Brolin) is feeling nostalgic so he decides to take his wife Joan (Dianne Wiest) to look at old vintage cars. He shows Joan the Chevelle they had before they had to sell it when Heather was born. John wants to buy it and take Joan on a romantic picnic. He is eager to show his “negotiating magic” to his wife. When the car salesman, Gavin, (Leslie David Baker) arrives to help the couple John pretends he is not interested in his dream car, but Gavin tells him the car is not for sale anyway. John does not believe him and keeps trying to pretend he wants another car. Gavin sees that John is interested in the Aston Martin so he is ready for John to sign the paperwork. As John realizes he is about the buy the wrong car, he cannot go along with the charade anymore. He admits that he wants the Chevelle, but Gavin says that is not going to happen. While John is begging for Gavin to change to his mind, Joan notices a photo. It is Gavin and Allie! They are standing right next to a Chevelle. As a psychiatrist, she realizes that the car means something to him and that is why he does not want to sell it. He admits that the car was his ex-wife’s, but he is not over her so he does not want to sell it. Joan asks her husband if she can talk to Gavin alone and he leaves. When Joan and Gavin leave his office and meet John, Joan has convinced Gavin that it is time to move on. He tells John he is ready to sell the Chevelle. Still oblivious of the fact that his wife has sealed the deal for him, John is still in negotiation mode so he says, “Sounds like you’re getting more than I am out of this deal. I’m not sure I’m interested in a great price.” When Joan tries to get John to stop, he says that she should leave things to the professionals.