Condensed Version DVD
[blurb on back of disc] Did you miss that TV sensation, the “Six Wives of Henry VIII” season of the hit show Survivor? Now you can catch up—without even having to watch umpteen hours of sixteenth-century women competing at degrading and anachronistic tasks! Our popular condensed version cuts to the chase, showing you the final scene of each episode to answer that burning question: who gets voted off the island THIS week? And, of course—if you’re one of the few people in the world who hasn’t heard the news yet—you’ll discover the identity of our final “survivor”!
(The last scene of episode 1 begins with the camera panning over a well-groomed palace garden—Hampton Court, perhaps? In troup the six weary wives, dressed in their royal best, though the garments sport stains, rips, and a liberal sprinkling of grass clippings. The queens collapse onto stone benches, Katherine Howard so exhausted she topples off hers into a rosebush. Whether accidentally or on purpose, the crew seem to have left a mic on without the contestants’ knowledge; certainly, their first remarks sound distinctly unscripted.)
Anne Boleyn (plucking her squealing cousin out of the thorny roses with one hand while mopping her brow with the other): So, anyone ever figure out why we’re here? I thought we were supposed to be on an island.
Catherine Parr: Oh, but this is an island. (Rolls her eyes.) You know, as in “this royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle”—yadda, yadda—“this England.” They played up the Shakespeare angle so they wouldn’t have to spring for plane tickets.
Jane Seymour (sourly): Cheapskates.
Catherine of Aragon (wistfully): I wanted palm trees.
(They are interrupted by a loud fanfare, at which sound the wives quickly sit up and slap strained smiles on their faces. In bustles the week’s MC, Cardinal Wolsey, followed by a bevy of courtiers and—looking as if he just popped out of the famous Holbein portrait–Henry VIII himself.
Wolsey (heartily, once Henry’s lowered himself onto a portable throne): Jolly good show, girls! (The “girls” involuntarily grimace.) Loved the break-dancing with Francis I, and great job cutting the grass of that field where we’re holding the Cloth of Gold thing. The race with the power mowers was brilliant! Though of course some of you (glances meaningfully at Catherine of Aragon) posted worse times than others . . . Well, time to vote! (Pulls a gold goblet out of his robes, drops in a folded parchment, and hands it to Henry.)
Anne Boleyn (sharply): Wait a minute. Aren’t we supposed to do the voting? (The other wives nod in agreement.)
Wolsey (breezily): Sorry, girls, feudal edition of the show. The king has all the power.
Anne (not giving up): What about them? (gestures toward courtiers) Don’t they, at least, get a say?
Henry: But they all agree with me anyway! (Eyes them sternly.) Don’t you? (They nod a sheepish assent, except for Thomas More, who seems to be thinking about it.) So let’s see who’s been voted off, shall we? (Unfolds paper with a flourish): Catherine of Aragon! The tribe has spoken! (Grins engagingly at the camera.) I’ve always wanted to say that.
(A disgusted-looking Catherine is escorted off-set, muttering darkly about booking a flight to Bermuda.)
(And the scene changes to Week 2: in straggle the remaining wives, all dishevelled, though none more so than Anne Boleyn, whose French hood is hanging off one ear. Thomas More steps forward to take over the MC role from the absent Wolsey, but Thomas Cromwell whacks him on the head with hardcover copies of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Shoving the dazed More aside, Cromwell whisks the golden goblet out of his pocket and sets it before Henry.)
Henry (rubbing his hands): Ooh, I’m getting goosebumps . . . (Unfolds the paper and looks delighted.) The tribe has spoken! Anne Boleyn! (Courtiers clap sycophantically.)
Anne ( furious): What do you mean, “Anne Boleyn”? I won that contest where we had to dance with the French and Spanish ambassadors while balancing on a tight-rope!
Henry (shrugging): Tough. The prize went to the one who did the worst job. (Steals a syrupy glance at Jane Seymour.). Not to mention, Annie, you weren’t supposed to win that courtly love competition either. Way too slutty.
(A man with a long sword comes over to Anne and gallantly offers her his arm.)
Anne (groaning): Oh, no, not you again! (He looks hurt.)
Headsman (for so he is): Chérie, chérie, is that ‘ow you greet an old friend? (Escorts her off the set, speaking soothingly.) Now, why don’t you just turn your neck comme ça and regarde that lovely display of French ‘oods in the shop window over there . . .
(Week 3: The folks in the cutting room must have gotten tired, because all we see is the final shot of Jane Seymour being dragged off, shrieking.)
Jane: No fair! I was the one who had the SON!
Henry (apologetically): Yes, dear, but, you know, “been there, done that.”
(Cut to week 4 and close-up on Henry unfolding paper.)
Henry (triumphantly): Anne of Cleves! (Turns to audience, shaking his head.) Boy, did she ever bomb the talent show . . .
(Departing, Annie C. demonstrates an unexpected mastery of English obscenities. After she’s gone, a hulking man with an axe appears and removes a bleating Cromwell too.)
(Week 5: The guy with the axe is back, this time tugging the arm of a tearful Katherine Howard.)
Katherine (trying to catch Henry’s eye): Um, Sweetums? Can’t I at least have that nice man with the sword? (Her wails die away in the distance.)
Henry (rising with difficulty and addressing the audience): You know what this means, don’t you! (Points at Catherine Parr.) She wins! She’s the survivor! (Loud fanfare. Confetti rains down on Catherine while courtiers jump from behind the bushes waving banners. Apparently unimpressed, Henry plops back down on his throne.) Well, that’s that. Now bandage my purulent open wound. (Holds out a leg.)
Catherine (wrinkling her nose): What the hell kind of crappy prize is that? Besides, if I’m really the survivor, shouldn’t you be dead?
Henry (pettishly): My, my, aren’t we impatient! Just hand me my iced tea.
(Shrugging, she pours liquid from a flask into the golden goblet.)
Henry (disregarding the smoke billowing from the cup and downing its contents in one gulp): Yum! (He immediately passes out, snoring loudly. Catherine beckons to a point off-set and the other wives file back in, looking gleeful.)
Catherine (grinning): Ready, “girls”?
(They lug in buckets full of water which they dump on Henry, who wakes up spluttering.)
Henry: What the . . . (Recoils) What are YOU all doing back here! The producer didn’t tell me about this . . .
Catherine of Aragon (who is by the way quite sun-tanned): No, he didn’t. He was busy signing a contract with us for a new reality show: “Six Wives: Payback Time.” (Smiles evilly.) Tonight’s the first episode.
(She nods at Anne Boleyn, who steps forward and springs a trapdoor beneath Henry’s throne. We hear a loud splash.)
Katherine Howard (kneeling by the open trapdoor and calling down excitedly): That’s right, Sweetums, you’re going on a cruise ship. How cool is that? (Giggles.) You get to cook and clean for the Amazon queen and her touring band of warrior women. Bon voyage!
Anne of Cleves (yelling down too): Ja, and next week you wash by hand ze hundred dresses of Marie Antoinette—you know, ze ones with skirts so big and puffy? And you iron them too! (Straightens up and turns to the others.) Speaking of dresses, do I now get my make-over?
Jane Seymour (consulting a schedule): Yes, but don’t forget next week’s my turn. (Smiles at Anne Boleyn.) Annie here’s promised to show me how flattering French hoods are . . .
(And the credits roll as the six women walk off-set arm in arm, chatting happily about their upcoming adventures.)