Me and my buddy were talking about god knows what and at some point one of us said the words, “One Dead Nan”. For whatever reason, this was the funniest phrase we’d ever heard, so for his birthday, even though he isn’t famous and so is less deserving of a present, I wanted to give him a script of a pilot for a show with that name. It might be better as a short, considering the narrowness of the joke, or maybe it should be a series of previews for episodes that don’t exist. I’ll let you know how I eventually proceed. Ever since I came up with the idea, Big Mouth has made my lower-quality idea redundant and unnecessary, but I stand by that we have the better title.
So the show is about a 12-year-old kid, with essentially no friends, whose grandmother dies and comes back as a ghost to help him. She’s half racist, but in the endearing way of the elderly, and she’s always stirring up shit because she’s dead and has completely lost her filter and most of her eyesight. She tries to help him with his kid problems, but as with most cheesy, 80s sitcoms, her plans are misguided are rarely end up as planned. Here are a few starting notes, which is as far as I got with it.
S01E01 – Opening shot
INT. FUNERAL HOME – Afternoon
Mikey Cooper’s nan is dead in a casket. We see her from overhead, where her grandson is examining her, more curious than sad. He’s never experienced death before so it’s all new to him. He suddenly runs away from the body.
Mikey’s mom Winnie is crying. Her husband Brad Cooper is on the other side of room telling a story to a couple of his friends, with little emotion related to his dead mother-in-law. It’s a funny story, an he’s telling it well, but as he gets to the punchline, Mikey comes running up asking for money.
COOP: Oh, hey Mikey.
He’s a little annoyed at Mikey for interrupting his story and hands him some money to get him to go away.
INT. SUPERMARKET – Evening
Mikey, wandering around the store, picks up a tin of Vienna sausages. He reads the ingredients. “Mechanically-separated meats (chicken and/or pork and/or grandma)”. He shakes his head frantically and “grandma” morphs into “beef”.
WINNIE: Be good!
The order is so familiar that Mikey doesn’t acknowledge it.
MIKE: Mom, can I have this?
WINNIE: No, Mikey. C’mon, we goes.
Mikey puts the tin in his pocket and runs toward his mother.
INT. COOPER HOUSE, KITCHEN – Night
Mikey pokes his food around his plate, uninterested in eating.
BRAD: Finish your food, Mike. We gotta beef you up!
MIKEY: Can I go to my room?
WINNIE: He’s had a long day. Sure honey, go ahead.
Mikey runs up the stairs and jumps onto his bed. He reaches under his bed and pulls out the tin of sausages. When he opens it, his dead ghost grandma comes out like a genie.
EXT. PARK – Day
Carla, one of Mikey’s classmates, has a minor crush on him. They hang out and his ghost nan keeps trying to get her naked, manipulating the situation or messing around by trying to push them together to make out. It’s awkward for the guy because the girl obviously doesn’t know about the ghost nan so she figures that’s just how he is.
NAN (joking): Oh, give that up now, Hot Mike. God doesn’t like kiddy fiddlers. Doesn’t matter how old they are!”
INT. SCHOOL GYM
Michael, sitting on the bench for his junior high basketball team, is getting bullied by Grant. His ghost nan yells out, “Frig off, you crankmaster!” to the turned-around bully, trying to make him think it was Mikey, so that Mikey will finally stand up for himself.
INT. COOPER HOUSE, MIKEY’S ROOM – Night
So the dead Nan just follows Mikey everywhere, and it’s starting to get to him. She won’t stop talking about some nonsense about the good ol’ days, and he’s reached his limit.
MIKEY: Just go away for one stupid minute!
His nan gets sad and stops hanging around for a while.
There’s an important scene where Mikey and Nan pass each other on the stairs in the house. Nan is holding a box of her stuff.
NAN: Don’t worry, I’m just here to get my things. I was talking to that kid Billy from across the road and he seems open to hanging out with me for a bit, maybe help figure out what I need to do to, you know, move on.
MIKE (starting to feel a bit bad, but still doesn’t really want to give in): Yeah, he’s okay. He likes basketball so you guys can play 21s.
NAN: Oh really? That will be fun…”
MIKE: Wait! Nan, about the other day, I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. I still like hanging out with you, I was just really stressed out and I took it out on you. You’re my best friend.”
INT. MIKEY’S TREEHOUSE
Later on, Mikey and his dead ghosty grandma are living in his treehouse together, and while it’s been alluded to all season, it becomes obvious that she has full-on dementia. He plays along so she doesn’t feel bad, and it’s a touching ending to the season.
There’s another version of the show’s premise where the family hides the fact that the grandma died and they keep her corpse in the attic in order to continue receiving her pension checks. Mikey finds her eventually and after that her ghost appears only to him. He’s too slow and timid to actually do anything about her being in the closet. In this one, the season ends in a haunting way when the police find the dead body and watch Mikey talking to her all creepy-like about his kid problems.