A/N I have quite a few notes for this chapter. I will not be putting out chapter 34 next week (34 of my numbering, this week is 34 for Fan Fic numbering, due to my prologue). I will be on the road starting tomorrow. I'm going to take the time over the next two weeks to concentrate on first drafts. As I've mentioned, I prefer to be 20 first draft chapters ahead of published (and 10 ahead of my copy corrections). I'm currently 10 ahead of copy correction, but only 15 ahead of publishing. Writing first drafts for the next two weeks, should get me close to being 20 ahead, and will allow me to increase the five between publishing and copy correction. This will be, with the different author notes, the longest chapter so far by about 30 words, (beating out the second chapter). This is mostly due to some changes I made right before publishing. For now, I'll let you get to reading, the rest of the notes will be at the end.
Apt 314/Apt 4A, 11:45/8:35 PM Thursday September 20th 2012
The ringtone for a Skype with Leonard came on, on her computer, and she clicked on the notification, accepting the call. "Hi, Leonard," she said after he appeared on her screen.
"Hi, Penny," said Leonard.
"So, how did you like the show?" said Penny, sounding excited.
"You were funny," said Leonard. "I was laughing for most of the show. Put together it was different yet the same from the taping."
"What do you mean?"
"I knew what was going to happen," said Leonard, "so it was the same. But, watching from the audience, you could see all the lights, the cameras, everything, so it was different and with just the actors on the screen it was more, intimate."
"And seeing it all at once was cool."
"So you liked it?"
"I loved it," said Leonard, "and I loved seeing you. It was so great seeing you on TV. A couple of times, I forgot it was you, and just thought of you as your character."
"Yeah, I'd get involved and it was like I was watching Jess' life. Then I'd remember it was you."
"That's the best thing you could have said Leonard," said Penny with a large grin. "Huh? Why?"
"That tells me I was doing great," said Penny.
"I still don't get it," said Leonard. "Why do you think it's so great I thought it was Jess, and not Penny?"
"If you were thinking it was Jess," said Penny, "I was doing my job. It means I was convincing as Jess and if I can convince those who know me well that I was Jess, others, who don't know me, should also be convinced."
"Cool," said Leonard, finally realizing what Penny meant, "what did everyone else think?"
"Before I answer that," said Penny, "I want you to promise not to say that to the others, I want their honest reactions, OK?"
"I don't know what the others thought," said Penny. "Jeanie was here, but she didn't want to watch. I didn't understand that, until I watched."
"Leonard," said Penny, "while I was watching, I was thinking of how I should have done something differently, or maybe just not do anything at all. I was getting mad at myself."
"I still don't get it," said Leonard. "You liked watching the hemorrhoid commercial."
"I can't really explain it," said Penny. "It could be because I now know what else goes into a scene and what I can and can't do now. I really didn't know what I was doing for the commercial. All I can say is I just didn't like watching myself tonight."
"You're still going to watch with us next week, right?"
"I'll be there, but I'll probably just act like I'm watching," said Penny. "Jeanie suggested that, and just think about what happened during the week. That way I can tell everyone there, the different things that happen throughout the week, like flubs, or mistakes, funny things like that. With all that, I won't have to watch the show, so be ready for that."
"OK," said Leonard sounding puzzled, "I'll try, but I don't get it."
"I'll try to explain it better when I get home," said Penny. "For now though, I need to get to bed, it is midnight here you know. I have to clean up and get ready for bed, and get up around eight, so, I'll say good night, sweetie."
"Night Penny," said Leonard, "I love you, see you Tuesday."
Penny smiled, "I love you too, see you Tuesday."
They both disconnected from the call.
Studio 44, 10:00 PM Friday September 21th 2012
Penny and Jeanie were sitting in their chairs, on set, each had a cup of coffee. Jim and Kelli were due down shortly, they would be talking to everyone about how the show did the previous night. Penny, didn't really know much about ratings, she knew, basically, the more the better, and was talking to Jeanie about what each of the numbers meant, but at this point it was pretty confusing.
Penny was also interested in what Jim and Kelli would tell them about what critics thought about the show, about the cast, about everything. Penny hadn't looked at anything on the internet the night before, and figured Jim and Kelli would only tell them about good reviews.
Finally, Jim and Kelly, and, of course, Tina came out from behind the set and walked to stand in front of everyone. Jim cleared his throat, and said, "All right, everyone, lets settle down, I've got news."
Everyone quickly quieted down, and Jim began. "OK, these are all preliminary. We'll get the official overnight in about an hour, but, for now, we had a 2.2 in the 18-49 demo, with a total of 7.85 million viewers. Obviously, those aren't 'American Idol' numbers, but they are pretty solid middle of the pack type numbers."
There were some awwws, but Jim held up his hand and continued, "I'm really not disappointed. This is a new show, we were up against 'The X Factor' and '30 Rock' both of which are strong shows. We'll just have to see if we get some good comments, from critics, or through word of mouth, to help build our audience."
"Now, speaking of that," said Jim, "I've got seven reviews about the show, and several more that should come out over the next few days. I'm sure you are all wondering what exactly those reviews say."
"Generally, they are positive," said Jim with a smile. "They say nice things like 'funny', 'lot's of laughs', '…a rollicking funny half hour'. Since this is a comedy, those are very good to hear. Overall they like the set, costumes, makeup. All the technical things, if they are discussed, are lauded."
"As for our actors," said Jim, "overall, they are very pleased with who we have as our main cast. But there is one who has really gotten some good press. Here, let me read a couple, 'yada yada yada, here we are, One really bright spot, cast wise, was the introduction of Penelope Jensen. Her line delivery and facial expressions light up the screen, whenever she appears.' Jim smiled at Penny.
"Or how about this," said Jim, "the show has three strong veteran actors, who are overshadowed by the newcomer, Penelope Jensen. Her ability to bring out Jess' sarcasm and expressions, in a natural way, was a highlight for this reviewer."
"Or, this: this reviewer expected the solid performances from the three veteran actors, and they didn't disappoint. But, Penelope Jensen, appearing in her first series, steals almost every scene she is in. I predict a bright future for this amazing new comedienne."
Jim was looking at Penny, "There are several more such comments, I'll leave copies of the reviews by the craft services table, please, look them over." Penny looked embarrassed by the compliments, then the crew started clapping and cheering, and Penny blushed.
Jim held his hand up, "There are some other nice comments about the rest of the show. I'm really quite excited and I feel if we can bring the ratings up a bit, we'll be fine. These kinds of reviews and comments can't hurt. Anyway, everyone have a good day. Let's get started."
Everyone started walking to the areas where they needed to be to start rehearsal. The actors gathered together and Penny still looked embarrassed. The other three offered their congratulations, even Brent seemed happy for her. She started to apologize, for getting most of the comments, but was shut down by both Dave and Jeanie. Dave spoke up, "Penelope, if they think you make the show better, that's great. We'll have work."
Penny smiled, nodded, and remembering what Jeanie had told her, simply said, "Thanks." At that, Tina called out where the actors needed to be and Brent and Dave headed over to the guy's apartment set, and her and Jeanie walked over to their apartment set.
Apartment 314, 8:30 PM Friday September 21th 2012
Penny poured her third glass of wine, took a healthy swig and thought about her day.
The start was great, the reviews, the comments from the crew, it was so great. But, then everything fell apart. I had written all my blocking down, just like Jeanie told me, but I didn't check it. After all, we ran the scenes right after he gave us our blocking, so I didn't need to check. And I didn't bother looking at them last night.
What I really should have been doing was looking at the sheet with all the symbols on it. We started the first run through and I didn't understand some of the symbols so my blocking didn't make sense to me. And on top of that, there was a bunch of the symbols I couldn't make out because I didn't write them clearly. So, of course, I screwed up that first run through.
After that, I shouldn't have tried to erase those and re-enter them, by myself, I should have known to check with Tina. So, I had parts that didn't have the correct symbols and other where I thought I knew what went where, but I didn't. So, between the wrong symbols, and not knowing what some of them meant, I destroyed the second run through.
Good thing we had lunch then. I didn't eat and just went to Tina to get the correct blocking and spent the second half of my lunch, looking at the cheat sheet Jeanie gave me, then rewriting the correct symbols and letters in my script. But, I screwed up the afternoon run too, because, again, even after running over the symbols, I still didn't know what all of the damn symbols meant.
She swore at herself. Damn you Penny, you should have studied the damn sheet over the last few days. It was stupid to think I would know them without going over them. I've got to do some more studying of those damn things.
And, of course I have all those damn people from the press telling me how great they think I am, from the screeners. They don't know how bad I suck when putting this show together. I've got to get things together. I've let Jeanie down, I've let Jim and Kelli down, I've let the crew down, I'm just fucking useless. She pulled the cork out of the bottle and poured another glass of wine. She look at her sheet of symbols for her blocking, pushed it away angrily and watched it slide off the table to the floor, then took another drink.
Apt 314, 7:00 PM Saturday September 22nd 2012
Penny was sitting in her living area, watching TV. She was still feeling down about how the rehearsal had gone on Friday. She had woken up, this morning, with a hangover, but it wasn't a bad one and after some aspirin, and coffee, she was, by ten, studying her symbol sheet.
She took a break around noon, walking to the grocery store. On the way, she was looking into a casual clothing store, when she saw a sweatshirt in the window. She laughed and walked into the store, and bought it. After picking up several things at the store, she picked up a piece of pizza, for lunch, at a bodega, on the way home.
After arriving home, put her refrigerated items away, and put her new sweatshirt on the couch and then ate her pizza. After she finished her pizza, she put the rest of her groceries away. She retrieved the sweatshirt, removed the tags and again laughed at the saying on the front.
"I can't wait until I can show this to Leoarnd," said Penny out loud. "He should get a chuckle out of this." Looking at the shirt was a large symbol "Pi" at the top, with the words, "Irrational but well rounded" underneath the symbol. She took the shirt to her bedroom, and hung it up.
She headed back out to her table and again began studying the sheet with the symbols on it. By six she felt she had most of the symbols memorized and put the sheet away. She made some dinner, a pork chop and some mac and cheese, and after she was done, she cleaned up, did the dishes, then sat on her couch, flipping through the TV channels.
After about ten minutes looking through the channels, and looking at the guide, she realized there wasn't much to watch tonight. She was missing Jeanie, who had gone to her parents for the weekend, and was feeling a bit lonely. She tried calling Leonard, but there was no answer, so she left a message and decided to do some shopping online.
She left the TV on and was looking over some shoes, on her computer, when the name of a new nightclub caught her eye, and she giggled. Penny pulled up Yelp, and started looking at the reviews for 'Ph-D'. It was on the roof of a hotel, had a hot DJ with a large dance floor, great views of the New York skyline. On the other hand, it had a rather high cover, drinks were expensive and seemed to have a random process to get admitted.
She realized she hadn't been dancing in months. Leonard didn't like to dance, and although he would go if she asked him, he was happy when she went out with her girlfriends. Since getting back together with Leonard, she had started not going out dancing, at all, when Leonard didn't want to go. However, Leonard wasn't here, and she felt an overwhelming urge to go to a club. Screw it, I can afford a high cover and expensive drinks now. I'm going dancing.
Penny got a shower and washed her hair. She put on her bra and panties, and then used her hair dryer and brush to give her hair some body and waves. She went all out on her make up, then put on her little black dress. It showed a rather large amount of cleavage and came halfway up her thigh. A pair of five inch heels completed her outfit. Looking in the mirror, she felt the way she looked would let her get into any club. Grabbing her phone, she saw it was 9 PM when she called for a cab.
A half hour later, the cab dropped her off in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, at a hotel called "The Dream". She gave the cab driver her fare and pretty good tip. She walked up to the door indicated for Ph-D, the guy there looked her over and said, "Whada want?"
"I'm here for the club, Ph-D" said Penny.
The bouncer jerked his thumb and said, "Backa da line."
This was something new for Penny as she was used to getting into a club with nothing more than her looks. But, here in New York, it must be something different. Penny noticed quite a few women, waiting in line, who looked as if they would get into any California club.
She was feeling kinda let down, and started to turn away when she heard, "Hey dude, that's the woman who was on the new show I was telling you about, the one that's set in New York."
Penny turned to see a young guy, with blond hair, in a shirt identical to the bouncer's, looking at her.
"Whada ya talkin' about?" the bouncer said.
"That girl," said the young guy pointing at Penny, "is on the show I was telling you about, the new show, on CBS I think. It's set in New York." He waved at Penny, "Hey, you, come here."
Penny approached the roped off area. "Yes?"
"Your name," the young guy said, "it's…it's …Penelope…ahhhh…dammit, I know this."
"My name is…" said Penny.
"Jensen, Penelope Jensen, yeah, that's it," said the young guy, "you're Penelope Jensen."
Penny smiled and nodded.
"Dude, you got to let her in," said the young guy, "she's starring on a TV show."
"I don' know," said the bouncer. The young guy came over to the bouncer and pulled out his phone. He tapped it a couple of times and there was a picture of Penny on the screen. He was showing it to the bouncer, and showed him something about Penny and the show. Finally, the bouncer shrugged his shoulders and opened the rope, letting Penny through.
Penny thanked him, and then thanked the young guy for recognizing her. He shrugged it off, and asked if she would sign one of the flyers, Penny nodded and took the flyer and pen he offered.
"Make it out to my friend Jeff."
Penny smiled and signed it as requested. She gave Jeff the flyer and his pen and he looked at her signature and said, "Follow me, I'll make sure you get some good service. You usually have to buy a whole bottle, but I'll make sure you can get single drinks."
Penny followed him to the bar near the dance floor. He spoke with the bartender for a few seconds, pointed to Penny, and bartender nodded and waved her over, as Jeff left. She got a glass of wine and found a seat at the bar. The bartender said, "If you want to dance, let me know and I'll hold your drink behind the bar, so there's no funny business."
She thanked him, gave him her drink and walked out to the dance floor. She danced on and off for the next couple of hours, with several breaks to sit and have her drink, finishing four glasses of wine. She really didn't like the dance floor, as a various guys were continually bumping into her. Their hands ending up on parts of her body that made her think the bumping was intentional.
She also wasn't interested in any of the guys who wanted her to come to their tables, wanted to slow dance with her, or offered to buy her a drinks. After the bartender's offer, she was worried about getting drugged if she accepted. Finally, after another half an hour, and her sixth glass of wine, she was starting to feel it, and decided it was time to leave.
She found Jeff and he hailed a cab for her. Penny thanked him, gave him a rather generous tip, and entered the cab. It wasn't quite as long of a drive back to her apartment, due to fewer cars being in the streets at this hour.
She paid the cab driver and gave him a rather large tip, then stumbled her way into her building, and into the elevator. She almost fell over a couple of times, waiting for the elevator to get to her floor. Getting out of the elevator, she stumbled down the hallway, to her door and struggled a bit to get it open. Finally, she got it opened, entered her apartment and locked her door.
She wove and stumbled her way down the entranceway, missing the turn to the bedroom. She backtracked, making it to her bedroom. She fell on the bed while taking her clothes off, almost staying there. She finally pulled herself up, and getting into the bathroom, managed to get two aspirin down, along with two glasses of water, and brush her teeth. She then fell into her bed nude, forgetting about her pajamas, and was asleep within five minutes.
A/N A couple of things. One, the ratings I've used, for Penny's show, do put it solidly in the middle of the ratings for that season (2012-13). The X Factor and 30 Rock were both in the mid-threes during that season, with around 10 million viewers. Funny point, this season, TBBT is bringing in right around the demo I have here for Penny's show, and is the number one scripted series by about three tenths of a point, gives you an idea of how bad the ratings have gotten, overall, for broadcast television. The other thing, the club Penny goes to, Ph-D, is an actual dance club in New York. When I decided to have Penny go dancing, and looking up clubs she could have gone to, I couldn't resist using this one.