Created by Jeanne Pleines
Directed & Produced by Aaron Seals
Executive Produced by John Guild
Location: Flushing, Queens, New York.
Venue: Primetime TV, half hour, multi-camera, in studio (some location).
Setting: A hair salon in the middle class neighborhood of Flushing, Queens, New York City, that is located in a shopping area, fronted by a busy street (bus route), and surrounded by an apartment complex, and residential homes.
Description: HairKutz represents the majority of hair salons that are located in middle class neighborhoods across the USA in major cities. However, this particular salon, because of its location on a major bus route, and proximity to the surrounding areas of Jamaica, Hollis, Bayside, and Jamaica Estates, attracts a very varied clientele, both in class, and ethnicity.
Fact: Queens, NY, is the most multi-cultural county in the world, and this fact is reflected in the various nationalities of the salons employees and clientele.
As a result of this overlapping of various ethnicities, Queens residents are exposed to many more different cultures than the typical American, and this can make for some very interesting, and comedic situations, especially within a salon environment. In a business such as this, truth is stranger than fiction, and often quite hilarious!
HairKutz is the name of this salon. It is a busy establishment that offers excellent work at reasonable prices. There is a very talented staff of stylists, and workers, who are interesting characters, and real at the same time. It is not a beauty parlor, but a unisex salon that attracts men, woman, and children as well.
Time spent in HairKutz is rarely boring, and often entertaining, with lots of gossip, and spats. But, it is always one big family. In this world, the clients become part of the “soap opera”, as do the surrounding merchants, including the mailperson, UPS man, police, and the Chinese delivery boy. Each character comes with his/her own baggage, which often brings on the drama. There is so much that can be done with all of these elements, that the possibilities are endless.
The show opening would depict each key character leaving their home in the morning and heading to work. Because each of these characters comes from a different cultural background, this would be reflected in the environment, as they each leave their neighborhood to go to HairKutz.
Rocco Caruso, Salon Owner/Boss:
Rocco is Italian, and retains a strong accent, even though he has been living in Whitestone, Queens, for over thirty-five years, with his wife, Carmella, and their two kids. At 50 years old, Rocco is short, with a tendency to be on the portly side, but is always well dressed in clothing made in Italy. He loves the pasta that his wife cooks, and it shows, so he is often on and off diets. His hair is curly, but thinning on top, which is partly due to the fact that whenever he is upset, or in a confrontational situation, he pulls at his hair, or shakes and scratches his head (depending on the severity of the situation).
Rocco tends to be on the shy side when interacting with anyone outside of his personal orbit of family, friends, and employees. Rocco would rather that his salon manager, Gina, deal with all of the problems that concern personnel, or clients; anything, in fact, other than his money, which he watches like a hawk.
Rocco can drive his workers crazy, because he is often penny wise, but dollar foolish. However, because he has a good instinct for location, and the people he hires, Rocco has been successful in the salon business that he knows and loves. In general, Rocco is frugal, but he can suddenly be kind and generous.
Rocco can often appear to be befuddled, but under that exterior, he cleverly keeps an eye on everything that goes on in his salon, HairKutz. His reasoning is difficult to understand, due to his way of explaining things, and Rocco will often get upset, and excited, because of this problem that he has with communication. Rocco can unintentionally say, and do, things that can be hilarious, or get everyone angry, and he will be baffled by their responses.
Originally from Sicily, respect is of the utmost importance to Rocco Caruso. He strives to be admired as a good businessman, and maybe he is, because even though he will put his workers through ridiculous cutbacks in supplies, (or signs the paychecks in pencil, knowing they won’t be accepted by the bank, in order to buy time, when he has a cash flow problem), he still manages to pull it off, keep his staff, and keep his business running in his own strange way. When there is an issue (such as above), that causes an argument to erupt, Rocco will simply pull at his hair, and walk away, without saying a word, and disappear for a few hours. Despite these short-comings, his employees always end up feeling sorry for him, and forgiving him.
Rocco Caruso is “well-connected”, and sometimes receives visits from his “paisans”, or from those he may owe money to. Rocco has a bit of a gambling problem, and this may account for the occasional cash flow problem.
Rocco admires pretty, slim girls, whom he will sheepishly flirt with, but fear of his wife prevents him from taking it any further. Rocco is an excellent barber, loves gossip, and can be a great deal of fun to hang out with, but his staff fully understands the level of loyalty that Rocco expects from them.
Gina Calabrese Goldstein, Stylist/Floor Manager:
Gina has been with Rocco from the start; she is an attractive, curvy, Italian woman, around forty five years old, who is married to a Jewish man, Mark, and they have one grown child, a twenty three year old son, named Josh. Gina sports a trendy short haircut, with highlights in her hair, and dresses in flowy tops, with stylish jeans, and boots. She likes artsy jewelry.
Of all the characters in HairKutz, Gina is the most grounded. She is the rock of the salon, and expertly handles the business, and personnel, for Rocco. Rocco trusts her completely. Gina is organized, and mature, but knows how to party, and have fun. She is always on time, is the first one in every morning, detests running late, and gets nervous if she runs behind with her clients.
Gina has a huge following, and is expert at what she does. A good listener, Gina receives respect from her coworkers, both as their immediate superior, and as a motherly figure, who can also be a friend in need. She is a keeper of many secrets, but finds a perverse pleasure in hearing all the gossip. Gina is fair, but firm, and will always come to the point in a rather blunt, but effective fashion. She likes to keep HairKutz running smoothly, and loses patience with foolishness. Chaos and disorder can put her in a bad mood.
Work wise, Gina is a “by the book” girl, rather than taking extreme creative risks. Gina’s clientele is very much like she is: punctual, mature, professional, and demanding. It is a major catastrophe when they cannot get an appointment with her, of if she happens to be out sick, and must cancel their appointment.
Gina and Mark live in her original house, in Bayside. Both Gina and Mark love to go on vacations, and travel extensively, now that Josh is on his own.
Rhonda Schiller, Makeup Artist/Assistant Manager:
Rhonda, thirty two, is a pint-sized fireball who is a talented makeup artist, and who assists Gina with anything necessary to help keep HairKutz running smoothly, while entertaining everyone all day long. Physically, Rhonda is tiny, and trim, with Lucille Ball red hair, green eyes, and a bohemian style of dressing. Of Jewish descent, Rhonda lives in the immediate area of southeast Flushing, is single, and dating.
Rhonda loves all people, and has not an ounce of discrimination against race, religion, or sexual orientation. She has very strong political opinions, and doesn’t mind letting everyone know where she stands, having no patience for anyone else’s opinion on the subject (Rhonda, being a very passionate liberal Democrat). She can be very loud at times, and has an obsessive/compulsive disorder with cleanliness, and her appearance. Rhonda is always cleaning something, and primping in the mirror. This can get on people’s nerves sometimes, but because she is so loved, Rhonda’s idiosyncrasies are tolerated, and accepted.
Rhonda is loud, loyal, very dramatic, entertaining, sincere, open, and trusting, of others, but extremely sensitive to criticism. She will never divulge a secret, or maliciously gossip about someone, and she is very forgiving of those who have been unkind to her. Rhonda will suddenly put on a performance if she hears a song that gets her going, and will be terribly upset if anyone laughs at her. Rhonda can be hilarious, and come off pretty wild, but her family values are very solid.
When she is at the desk, Rhonda can be quite ditzy at times, and she doesn’t work well with math, but she has the capacity to remember all of the clients’ names, which is terribly flattering to them. At times, Rhonda can be a real Jewish momma, calling everyone “momma sheina”, and “honey”, and wanting to help, and heal, the world.
Rhonda Schiller is a super colorful character, who is integral to the salon. People usually love her, but her boundless energy, and loudness, can be too much at times, especially when she decides to blast the music! Rhonda would give you the shirt off of her back, but sometimes needs to be reined in, because she can spin out of control if left to her own devices. However Rhonda’s zaniness belies the rock solid person that she is underneath.
Angel Rivera, Stylist/Colorist:
Tall and slim, Angel is a thirty-four year old, gay, Puerto Rican male, who lives in Corona with his pet miniature poodle, named Trixie, whom he loves, and often carries around in a designer bag. Angel always dresses in black, accessorized with antique jewelry (usually womans’). Angel loves to gossip, is sweet to those he likes, and very sarcastic to those he doesn’t. He parties a lot, and can be quite bitchy when carrying a hangover. Angel loves hanging out with the girls, and like many of us girls, Angel is eternally on the lookout for the “right man”. Angel (pronounced Ahn-hel) is a fabulous stylist, and colorist.
Angel gossips constantly, and out loud, about anything Hollywood, or about anyone that he doesn’t like. He is extremely opinionated, and very bad at keeping secrets, but loyal to his friends, especially Rhonda, and Joie, divulging all of his secrets to them. Super neat with his appearance, and environment, Angel will always complain to Gina about anyone who leaves a mess in the salon. He has an obsessive distaste for Nicky, whom he considers to be a “closet queen”, hating Nicky’s constant flirting, bragging, and preening.
Angel wears his beautiful long black hair pulled back in a neat ponytail, and loves to show off his lean physique in the latest trendy styles. He practically ‘skips around’ the salon when he is in love (for the umpteenth time), or if he has heard some particularly dirty gossip. Angel is flamboyant, and leads an erratic lifestyle of partying, attending art openings, and going on extravagant vacations with his friends. He does have a special weakness in that, when in love, he can be too trusting, and often gets hurt, when trusting the wrong kind of person. But Angel always gets over it, and keeps on looking for the right man to settle down with.
Mallory Rosenthal, Receptionist:
Mallory is a real “JAP” (Jewish American Princess), who didn’t know how to hold a broom, and sweep, until she came to work at HairKutz. (All receptionists must pitch in, and help out on the floor, if it is very busy in the salon.) A very pretty, twenty-five year old, with long, highlighted hair, Mallory will only wear designer clothes, and good jewelry. Of medium height, Mallory is slim, with fair skin, and perfectly manicured nails.
A social butterfly, Mallory enjoys working the desk, and interacting with the clients. She is used to receiving lots of attention, and gifts, from admirers, and takes it all with a grain of salt. Mallory is very personable, loves good gossip, and people enjoy her company. However, when she feels unappreciated, or is not feeling well, Mallory can be pouty, and short tempered. She is a bit of a hypochondriac, and any little change in her physical person is cause for lengthy discussion, and concern.
Mallory has a very sharp business mind, especially concerning money, and she takes very good care of the salon’s earnings. This attribute, along with her good looks, makes Rocco very happy with her. Nothing gets past Mallory, and the clients like her a lot, because she is cute, fun, and personable. Mallory loves to talk, talk, talk.
Those who don’t know Mallory, may think her superficial, but those who do, know that she is very intuitive, and extremely curious. She truly cares about how a person is feeling, and she will hear anyone out who wishes to talk about what is bothering them. Although spoiled, Mallory disarms with her sudden kindness. She comes off innocent, rather than worldly, due to the fact that she still lives at home with her doting, and overly protective parents, in toney Jamaica Estates. She is a “good girl”, (not the sleep-around type), who knows what she wants, and how to get it. She is a student three days a week, earning her degree in business, while she saves all of her money, and invests it well.
Mallory is sincere, and sensitive, but she can really give it right back, and then some, if someone crosses her. Being a true Scorpio, Mallory likes to wait, and plot revenge on the offender. Nothing very hurtful, but she will get her point across. Mallory enjoys going out, and is never short of a date, but they soon learn that our Mallory is high maintenance!
Joie Anikos, Stylist/Colorist:
Joie (pronounced “Joey”) is a super-cool young woman in her late twenties. Extremely creative and original, Petite and slim, with huge eyes, and trendy hair, Joie is a beautiful girl, whose exterior belies a very mature, and steady, interior. Joie has seen, and done it all, at a tender age, grew up early due to a hard childhood, and lived a wild existence, but now has matured into a woman beyond her years.
Joie is a champion for the underdog. She comes across cool, but can also be outspoken, and dramatic at times. Like most of us in the business, Joie loves gossip. Because of her striking looks, due to her Greek/Italian descent, Joie attracts all types of men, (and women), with her sensual, and mysterious character. She is extremely bright, and quick witted, and can be sharp tongued, or quick to anger, if she feels wronged, or perceives that someone is taking advantage of someone she likes.
Being highly creative, Joie is known for her trendsetting style, and hairstyling expertise. It is no wonder that Joies services are always in high demand. She is very good to her clients, and professional and businesslike with her work, with no bullshit. Her clients range from punk-rock types, to sweet little old ladies, whom she regales with creative narrations, of her adventures. Joie likes dramatizing.
Joie is a people person, and has all sorts of friends. She is open to everyone, but keeps a sharp eye, and is quick to sum a person up. Joie knows exactly how she feels about anything, or anyone, and is not afraid to voice her honest opinion.
Joie lives with her cat, Marmalade, in the trendy part of Astoria, enjoying its proximity, and easy access, to Manhattan, her haunt in the evenings.
Nicky Gallo, Stylist:
Nicky is twenty-six years old, single, and lives in the basement apartment of his parent’s house, across the street from Rocco. Nicky fancies himself to be a real “Italian Stallion”, is always preening in the mirror, and dresses to accentuate his (body builder type) of body, with tight pants, and form-fitted shirts. On the short side, Nicky wears cowboy boots, or shoes with lifts in them, in an effort to appear taller, and therefore, more appealing to the ladies.
Nicky flirts with all the pretty girls who come into HairKutz. He goes clubbing every weekend, and always comes back with tales of conquest, and prowess. Nicky loves his car, a souped-up red Camaro, and is some sort of “famiglia” with Rocco.
Nicky is an exceptional stylist; his clientele being 99% women. He is really a very sweet guy, and truly loves women, especially his mother. His thinking tends to be “old country”, and when he’s ready, Nicky expects to settle down with a sweet young virgin. (But, in the meantime, men will be men!).
Sarcasm is lost on Nicky, and even Angels’ mean remarks go over his head, due to two things: his inflated ego, and the fact that Nicky is not too sharp. His whole conversation revolves around girls, clubs, working out, and cars. He is, however, very gregarious, and social, bringing in “Mamma’s cooking” for everyone to enjoy. One of the nice things about Nicky is that he is very generous, and has a great heart. These two traits make up for everything else, and most people take to him, even if they roll their eyes whenever he launches into one of his tales, or fusses with his appearance.
Nicky is a simple, but kind, guy. He lives for the moment, and has no financial acumen; a benign buffoon, who is incredibly loyal to his family, and friends. You can always count on Nicky to help you out. A lot of girls will come into the salon to visit Nicky, but he secretly “has it” for Mallory. He respects the fact that she doesn’t sleep around, is so pretty, and is smart with her money. Mallory won’t give Nicky a tumble, but she will sometimes tease him when she is bored, and that alone keeps his hopes up!
Betty Jean Baker, Stylist:
With Betty Jean, the words “eccentric”, and “aloof”, come to mind. Tall and thin, with long blonde hair, and light blue eyes, Betty Jean is an attractive woman of forty. Living in her self-made world, Betty Jean can go for days without speaking to anyone, but a few clients, and then suddenly become friendly, and chatty. No one knows why she behaves like this, but they get used to it, and accept her as she is. She lives in a small apartment in Glendale.
Betty Jean is very fastidious, has a phobia about getting dirty, and doesn’t like being touched, so it is odd that she would choose a career in hairdressing. Between haircuts, Betty Jean will methodically remove every bit of hair off of herself (including between the laces of her sneakers), while her clients wait for her to complete this ritual before she does their hair.
Betty Jean is late a lot, going by her own clock, (slow and deliberate), which drives Gina crazy. But, Betty Jean has been working for Rocco so long, and has a loyal following, so, Gina lets her be, perceiving that the root of her eccentricities started early on, although her past is a mystery.
It is evident that Betty Jean is friendlier with men, allowing only a select few females into her orbit of friends. Everyone figures that it must stem from a difficult relationship with her mother. She will, at times, let her hair down with those she likes in the salon, such as Joie, Gina, and Rhonda, and at those times, she can be surprisingly funny, with a great dry wit.
Betty Jean is a catalog shopaholic, and her taste runs on the expensive side. If she likes a pair of shoes, she will order them in three different colors. Because of this, Betty Jean works six days a week to support her habit. Betty Jean is very frugal, and will rarely participate in birthday collections, or staff outings. Also, Betty Jean doesn’t believe in tipping, although she derives a big part of her earnings from tips!
Betty Jean is bright, preferring to read National Geographic over fluff. She has a keen eye for detail, and the girls will often ask her advice on accessorizing an outfit. It is this discerning eye that makes her a sought–after stylist.
Lisa Polanski, Manicurist/Waxing:
Lisa is a twenty-four year old woman, who is amply endowed, with a cute face, and big hair. Lisa works at HairKutz because she likes people and the salon atmosphere. She lives in a studio apartment in Forest Hills, and she loves to get dolled-up, go out, and hopefully, meet men. And... with her overt sexuality, and the sexy outfits that she wears, Lisa does attract her fair share of male attention.
Lisa tends to live a haphazard lifestyle, dating men of dubious nature. As a result, she is often hurt when the relationship doesn’t pan out. In fact, that would be the best case scenario, since after her last fling, Rocco and Nicky had to rescue her from a field in Jersey, where she was dumped, after a fight with her former boyfriend.
Lisa’s ability for getting into these ridiculous, and extreme situations, gives Angel much to gossip about, but, thank God, she always manages to get rescued! And...undaunted, she will get right “out there” again, on the prowl for a “great guy”. Also, Lisa seems to enjoy the drama and attention that these episodes bring. She is a pro at living chaotically, and relishes it.
Nonetheless, Lisa will always be the ultimate professional at work: on time, and ready to go. Her clients love her stories, and talk about her later on, but she gets along with everyone because she is not a phony about who she is, and she’s a lot of fun to be around. Lisa is so “out there” that people admire her spunk. Also, Lisa is very smart with money, has a quick wit, and knows how to “work it”.