Butterscotch by Jess Waters | Script Revolution




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A recently widowed father puts his parenting skills to the test when his 11-year-old daughter gets her period.

Elwood returns home to find Carson, his cocky son, tapping away at his phone and listening to music. Meanwhile, Taisha is sitting upstairs on the toilet unsure of what she should do now that she's started her period. Elwood searches the closet for pads but only comes up with tampons, so while he goes to Rite Aid to buy some, Carson is left to deal with Taisha on his own. Both Carson and Elwood struggle to manage their respective situations. Elwood is frustrated, confused, but certain that he can manage this one simple task. Carson is overzealous and nervous that he has failed as an older brother. When Elwood returns home from a successful trip, the trio is all relieved that they have weathered the storm and will continue to learn how to reinvent themselves as a family.

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

A recently widowed father puts his parenting skills to the test
when his 11-year-old daughter gets her first period.

Butterscotch by Jessica Waters opens benignly enough.  Fifteen year-old Carson Slone at the kitchen table, ignoring homework in favor of messing around on his phone. 

Then his construction worker father Elwood rushes in, out of breath.  Elwood asks, “What’s wrong?”  Carson points to the ceiling. 

Elwood runs upstairs, knocks on the closed bathroom door, and asks his eleven year-old daughter Taisha if she’s OK.

There’s blood.  On my underwear.

Oh, baby.  It’s okay.  I’ll…

Elwood doesn’t know how to deal with this kind of situation.  In life, he’s always been gruff and to the point.  A born disciplinarian.  His wife was the sensitive one.  But she’s dead now.  So Elwood springs into action, frantically rummages through his wife’s old things, and even miraculously finds a box of tampons. 

But after trying to read the directions, he has to enlist Carson’s help. 

Writing's tiny as hell.

Carson reads the directions and grows nervous.  

Is this safe?

Of course, it's safe, it's...

But now Elwood’s not so sure, so in a mad dash, he races off to the local drug store to find something appropriate for Taisha to use for her first time.  There, he endures judgment inquiries from another customer. 

All the while, back at the apartment, Carson tries to comfort his sister as best as he can.    

Elwood and Carson aren’t perfect, but they’re trying.  This kind of plot could’ve easily been mined for laughs, but writer Jessica Waters instead chose to focus on the sincerity of the moment, and the result feels like an episode of This Is Us played out at a breakneck pace.

Butterscotch is heartwarming, sweet, and far from saccharine.

Review by B. S. Carter
Submitted: July 8, 2019
Last Updated: August 13, 2020

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The Writer: Jess Waters

Jess Waters writes stories about queerness, blackness, family, and all the ways that people on the margins of society can find healing and family. Building on her childhood growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, she aims to create characters like herself and those who nurtured her growth as a writer. As a queer Black woman, Jess understands how and why representation matters, and makes it her purpose in life to fight for the opportunity to tell stories like her own, especially stories that detail young Black women’s coming of age in dynamic and compelling ways. Jess has won numerous screenwriting awards including Official Selections at WeScreenplay’s Diverse Voices Competition and Shore Scripts... Go to bio

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