“Ex on Standby” a Spoof Rom-Com Spec Script

By Abby Stiefel


The following script was inspired by “Uber Ex,” a Rom-Com Spec Script by Hallie Cantor and Jason Adam Katzenstein, published in The New Yorker’s -Shouts & Murmurs- May 2, 2016 Issue.


Interior (Int.)—YU Library, night

Pan across 2nd floor of the Mendel Gottesman Library Building: YU students at every desk chatting, studying, sleeping, etc. Camera focuses on library printing area, where Ava (Emma Stone) stands, shaking her leg impatiently, glancing at the time on her phone and then back at the printer. The lock screen of her phone is a picture of her and her boyfriend Jeremy (Ryan Reynolds). (This is visual storytelling, and it’s how you know this is a great movie.) Camera focuses on Ava as she cringes because HER DOWNTOWN INTERCAMPUS SHUTTLE LEAVES IN 2 MINUTES. She looks at the printer and sees that she has 70 pages left to print.


Ava: Oy vey! I’m supposed to be back at Brookdale for an RA meeting, but my Art History paper isn’t printing fast enough!

She calls Jeremy, who is a finance major in Syms and the kind of guy who doesn’t go to Starbucks because of the questionable hashgacha. Like is the whipped cream even kosher?

Jeremy is watching Parks and Rec Season 3 Episode 10 on his computer on the 4th floor so as  not to be disturbed in his attempt to binge watch the entire show before finals.

Jeremy: Oh hey Ava, can’t talk on the phone right now because I am “studying” on the 4th floor. Glad you got on the shuttle and will call to check on you soon.

Ava: Uh, about that . . .

Jeremy hangs up.


Exterior (Ext.)— Shuttle stop next to Morgenstern Residence Hall

Ava missed her shuttle, and she waits on the standby line for the next shuttle available. Joining the line is Morty (Andrew Garfield), Ava’s IBC ex-boyfriend. She accidentally makes eye contact with him.

Morty: Wow! This is such a coincidence! (This is not a coincidence. Morty suddenly decided he needed to go downtown when he realized Ava was taking the downtown shuttle).

Ava: Ya, such a coincidence. . . ! Why are you going downtown?

Morty: I am meeting my cousin Mendy for dinner. . . (Mendy = the restaurant Mendy’s)

Ava: Oh nice. You should go to Mendy’s they have great soups there. (She knows he does not really have a cousin Mendy and he had to think fast so he just said the name of the first downtown restaurant he could think of).

Morty: So funny because that’s my cousin’s name. Ha Ha, um . . . (He realizes she knows the truth about fake cousin Mendy which is super awkward and makes this shuttle ride seem like it will be a disaster…).


Int.—Stern 11th Floor Gym

Ava’s athletic best friend, Dina (Mindy Kaling), is doing her nightly routine of practicing basketball. Ava calls Dina to avoid awkward silence with Morty.


Ava: Hi Dins, it’s me.

Dina: Yo, shouldn’t you be at the RA meeting? It’s probably still going on.

Dina simultaneously dribbles and scores a layup.

Dina: Where even are you?

Ava: I’m waiting on the standby line for a shuttle with, get this, Morty, my slacker ex.

Morty: I’m right here.

(It’s funny because Morty actually is standing right there.)


Int.—4th Floor of YU Library

Jeremy is still watching Parks and Rec and is now in the middle of  Season 3 Episode 11. Why isn’t he checking on Ava to see if she is ok and ask her how her RA meeting is going?



Ava and Morty finally manage to get on the shuttle, despite  the standby line usually exemplifying peoples’ worst behavior. The other passenger that follows them in appears in a trenchcoat and hat with a long beard. . . it’s the lead singer of  Zusha! (Is his name Zusha? Are any of them named Zusha? This mystery adds to their Neo vibes.) A cameo that probably cost a lot of money!

Zusha: Howdy, folks! We all good if I sing a few niggunim during the ride? I am so in the mood before I get to my gig.

Morty and Ava look at each other as if to say, “What’s this guy’s deal?” But they don’t actually say it; just with their eyes.


Int.—Brookdale back lounge

RA’s fidget. They came on time to the meeting and Ava, who is the head RA, has not arrived yet. Why did she go to Wilf to print something when there are many working printers on the Beren campus? Why did she go Uptown if she had a meeting downtown? No one knows.

12th floor RA named Elana (Jennifer Lawrence): Where is Ava? She is supposed to reveal when the water in Brookdale is being turned off this week.

18th floor RA named Shira (Anne Hathaway): I wouldn’t put it past Ava to pull something crazy at the last minute and not show up.

Shira is actually Ava’s sister, which kind of explains her sass, but still, she is being mean and throwing shade.(Throwing shade is a term, she is not actually throwing a physical shade in case grandmothers are reading this to bond with their millennial grandchildren and do not understand the reference).  



The shuttle is stuck in traffic as Ava and Morty listen to Zusha’s snoring as he is fast asleep. (What is he dreaming about? Mashiach?) Morty decides to break the awkward silence.

Morty: Soooo. . . are you still majoring in Bio?

Ava: No. I realized blood grosses me out, so it clearly was not the right choice of major for me. I decided to major in media studies because I love TV.

Morty: Oh cool. I don’t blame you; pig dissections are not my thing either.

Ava: What about you? Are you still studying Sociology?

Morty: Ya, it’s just been really hard to keep up with my work because I have a rat problem in my apartment. My roommates and I can’t eat in our kitchen anymore, so we basically go to Golan every night.

Ava: Oh, God! The rat problem must have been the reason for your bad moods and our horrible breakup . . .  Rats always cause bad behavior.


Int.— 4th floor YU Library

Jeremy is up to Episode 12 of Parks and Rec Season 3. He ignores the constant attempts of Ava to contact him through every social media outlet, including Linkedin which is seriously desperate.



Ava and Morty have been fighting, but all of the sudden they hear Zusha’s original song “Peace” being sung by none other than Zusha himself! Who would have thought the shuttle would turn out to be a private concert!? This special moment leads Morty to speak.

Morty: I lied.

Ava: About coming to terms with our break-up or the rat problem in your apartment?

Morty: Both.

They share this special moment until the shuttle goes over a pothole and they both grip their seats as they Baruch Hashem avoid an awkward shoulder bump.  They laugh nervously.


Int.— Brookdale Back Lounge

Dina walks into the lounge to buy water from the machine to hydrate after practicing basketball, but of course, the machine is not taking caf cards at the moment. Urg. Then Dina is bombarded by the raging RAs. . . yikes!

Elana the RA: Dina, you are Ava’s best friend and roommate! Where is she?

Shira the RA: Yeah, Dina, where is she?

Security guard named Jim: Yeah, Dina, where is she?

(It’s funny because he always tries to be part of the drama)

Dina: Guys relax! I am sure she will be here soon!


Int – 4th floor of YU library

Jeremy is in the middle of Parks and Rec Episode 14. . .


Ext.—Right outside of Brookdale

The shuttle finally gets to Brookdale. Morty starts walking to cross the street to Mendy’s, and Ava is about to scan her ID and walk into Brookdale. Just then Morty turns around and slow-motion runs from the Duane Reade down the block all the way to Ava with the music from Chariots of Fire playing in the background. (This time the older generations will recognize the music, and only the cool millennials who care about cult classics will know it.) Morty enters, out of breath!

Morty: I let you go once. I’m totally not going to do it again. What do you say?

Ava: Morty, you’re the worst athlete because you are totally out of breath from only running down the block. But as a love interest . . . I give you a gold medal.

They smile. All the random New Yorkers on 34th Street start dancing, including Zusha. ♦
(Ava later sends Jeremy the Netflix link to the show “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” hoping he will get the message once he finishes Parks and Rec.)    

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