Dr. Soapy

Age rating: Everyone
A single mother/medical doctor reluctantly becomes a part-time saleswoman for Yawma products to pay her son's tuition to Harvard -- and discovers that this "opportunity" turns her life upside down, including bringing an attractive though irritating man into her life
Project collaboration: Closed
Synopsis: SPOILER ALERT -- DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU PLAN TO READ THE SCREENPLAY. THIS SYNOPSIS GIVES AWAY THE SURPRISES AND IS NOT NEARLY AS INTERESTING AS THE SCRIPT.

JANE PARKWAY, a 42-year-old African-American family doctor in a California town, is feeling the squeeze of HMOs and insurance companies that pay doctors only a portion of the fees for their services. With her two teenagers ALEX and ELLEN intent on attending expensive Eastern colleges, Jane is desperate as a single mother to pay for their college educations without the school loans that dogged her for two decades.

Enter an Amway salesman, CHARLES, who Alex fixes her up with on a blind date. Charles tells Jane to consider moonlighting as an Yawma salesman. "There are big bucks to be made. And people would trust you not to steer them wrong -- you're a doctor!"

Jane is leery. Did she go to medical school to push soap? Would this be in violation of the Hippocratic oath? Yet when Alex, a senior in high school, is accepted to Harvard, she considers taking the plunge.

Jane arrives at an office building for training as a Yawma salesperson. As she prepares to pull her Volvo SUV into the lone parking spot, from the other direction a Mazda Miata zips into the space.

Jane is pissed and about to scream something crude when the driver of the Miata approaches her car window with a huge smile. (This is MANUEL GARCIA, an extremely good-looking 40something Spanish instructor at the local community college.) He bows from the waist and says, “Please accept my apologies regarding the parking space. I did not see you waiting.” The man’s smile so disarms Jane that she returns the smile.

When she enters the meeting room after finding another parking spot, all 10 chairs around a conference table are taken. Suddenly a man with his back to her stands up, turns around – it’s the guy from the parking lot! – and offers her his seat. “I owe you a spot,” he says.

During the Yawma instructor’s presentation Jane constantly disagrees with the instructor on the benefits of the various products. Finally the instructor says to Jane, "If you don't keep your mouth shut, you're going to flunk Yawma school.

Jane scribbles Harvard over her entire notebook cover and keeps her mouth shut. At the end of the seminar she is given her initial Yawma supplies, which she struggles to lug to the car. Manuel does not help her with the heavy load and she asks why he was such a gentleman before but now he’s not. He replies, “Now we’re in competition. May the best man win.”

That night she tells her children about Yawma. Alex and his 10th-grade sister Ellen are incredulous! "That's what you were doing today? You’re going to be Dr. Soapy?"

Jane snaps, "It's that or kiss Harvard good-bye and attend junior college and live at home.

Jane warns her children that she will have to sneak around to do this. The local chapter of the American Medical Association will surely disapprove of her moonlighting activities. The stuffy old white male doctors who are the head of the local chapter are disapproving enough of a African-American woman doctor in their town. If they were to learn of her Yawma activities, they might try to force her out of medical practice.

The next day Jane goes to her medical office prepared to push Yawma products. The first patient is an 86-year-old man complaining of hemorrhoids. Jane recommends that he consider switching to Yawma’s line of soft skin products. "Will it help my sore bun?" he bellows. "No, but you'll smell better."

What ensues is an ongoing conflict between Jane's medical duties and her sales calls.

One day she is beeped for a medical emergency in the midst of a sales pitch. She is forced to leave her supplies, dash to the hospital, and return hours later. The potential customer has gone to bed, and Jane has to break into the customer's house to retrieve her supplies in time to make her next appointment.

At the same time Jane constantly worries that the AMA doctors will learn what she is doing. She has some close calls as she sneaks around town in her Yawma persona.

At one sales call she’s scheduled with an elderly widow, Jane arrives in a rush from unexpectedly admitting a patient to the hospital. As Jane rings the doorbell she hears peals of laughter from around the back of the house. Jane dashes around the house to spot the widow being entertained by Manuel. He’s using samples of the beauty products to “beautify” the widow.

Jane demands to know how Manuel is here when she scheduled the appointment. “All’s fair in business,” Manuel says, adding that he happened to knock on the widow’s door after Jane had scheduled the appointment.

Now Jane is out for blood. She needs to make these sales for her children’s college education. What does unmarried Manuel need the sales for? To supplement his college income? Please! (He’s actually supporting several relatives back in South American but he doesn’t tell Jane this.)

Jane counterattacks by discovering who are Manuel’s next sales calls and beating him to the calls. Manuel retaliates. This sales battle escalates until they are each doing more and more outlandish things in order to increase their sales at the other's expense.

Then the AMA board members do learn of what Jane is doing. They notify her that she is being investigated by the state medical board for improprieties in the carrying out of her medical duties. She may even lose her medical license.

Now she must organize her legal defense while still trying to service her medical patients and her Amway customers. This preoccupation gives Manuel the edge in their fierce sales competition. Jane accuses Manuel of reporting her to the AMA so that he can get her Yawma customers. He denies he reported her.

Then a middle-aged customer, PETE, has a major heart attack as Jane is displaying her wares at his home. She performs CPR, calls for an ambulance, and rides with him to the hospital, where she saves his life in the emergency room.

The day of the investigation hearing arrives and Jane attends. The hearing does not go well and it looks like Jane will lose her medical license.

At the very end of the hearing a crowd of people enters the hearing room. Manuel is in the lead, followed by Pete and other customers/patients of Jane’s. These people testify that Jane selling Yawma products has made her a better doctor because now she is sensitive to all their needs.

The investigation board bows to the public will and reluctantly allows Jane to continue practicing medicine.

Jane thanks Manuel for saving the day. He hesitates, then admits that a chance remark by him to his own doctor during a routine medical exam is the spark that led to her being turned into the AMA. He felt so badly about this after she saved Pete, a fellow instructor at the local college, Manuel had to try to rectify his blooper. She asks is he sure it was a chance remark? He swears it was. She decides to believe him – and she accepts his invitation to dinner as a date. Who knows where this may lead?

And now, following the publicity of the investigation’s results, Jane's medical practice is besieged with people wanting appointments. Thanks to all her new medical patients – several with good-paying medical insurance – she can now afford to solely practice medicine and give up selling Yawma products.

The kids are thrilled with the outcome of Jane’s Yawma experience, and Alex yells, "Harvard, here I come – thanks to Dr. Soapy!"

Latest Work

  • Script 1 - Phyllis's Original Draft
    02/22/12
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    Creative Notes:
    The idea for this screenplay grew out of an article I read in The Wall Street Journal about the need of many doctors to moonlight because insurance company reimbursements were so low.

    I wrote the lead for QUEEN LATIFAH because she is a great actor and I was annoyed at the usual stereotypical parts she gets to play as an African-American woman. She would be amazing in this film!