Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Alternative Season 9

7. Don't Touch That Dial
Written by: Doug Fowler

Season 9. Danny & Becky fret about the station's future, and a public meeting over it; which gets crazier when Nicky & Alex (and Joey doing a live radio feed) cause a stir about cartoons; Gia frets about the end of the world.

A/N: This would air before "Going for the Gold" & "Passing the Torch" Gia's not thinking of problems w/some lyrics. Like all but first ("Some Things Will Never Change") & finale ("Tanner All-Stars") D.J. & Kimmy there yet not shown. Same with Jesse in this (the actor wanted phased out) & Michelle - the Olsens were busier & she'd be out of a few, Jesse out of all but 4-6 as I've shown. I see Season 9 like The Cosby Show's last. I've changed "Going for the Gold" to match this plan, as Steve could have D.J.'s lines from what she's told him, & others reference Kimmy's. (You'll see what I mean).

This is after my "Thank You For Being A Friend," which I reference. "Morning Exchange" was real; writers may have made one up, but an ABC affiliate aired it so maybe not. They'd likely make up a show instead of how I do it, but Becky says Joey watches the one I have him mention (I think in "The Apartment") so, maybe not. A friend & I made up the ID jokes when young.

Don't Touch That Dial

(Teaser - Station Identification - Stephanie, Nicky, Alex)

Stephanie Tanner, fourteen, was watching TV with her four-year-old cousins, Nicky and Alex Katsopolis, who lived in their attic with her Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky.

"...we now pause for station identification," the voice said over the TV.

Nicky turned to Stephanie. "What's that?"

"Identification means who you are," Stephanie explained.

"That station doesn't know who they are?!" Alex asked, astounded.

Stephanie laughed. "No, what that means is the station has to tell us who they are so we know what we're watching."

"Oh." The twin boys put on official-looking faces. "Now for station 'dentification," Nicky said.

"This is a station. Thank you," Alex added.

The twins were on the couch in front of the TV when Becky came downstairs with Danny Tanner; Danny was the father of Stephanie, Michelle, nine, and D.J., a college freshman at his alma mater, San Francisco State. "Aunt Becky," Stephanie asked with some uncertainty as the turned around, "are Nicky and Alex allowed to watch 'Rugrats?'"

Becky hedged. "Well, I wasn't too sure myself, but Jesse lets them. They haven't been acting like that one really mean girl, have they?"

"No, but I worry ever since they saw Snoopy and tried to make Comet sit on top of a doghouse," Stephanie said of their Golden Retriever.

"I'm sure it'll be okay; Michelle decided on her own she didn't like the show," Danny said.

"TV is becoming worse; we limit their viewing. There aren't many family shows," Becky said.

Danny agreed. "I wonder what'll happen to our show with the latest rumors."

"Why, what's wrong?" Stephanie asked. "You won't lose your jobs, will you?"

"We may as well tell her," Becky told Danny, who looked distraught; he hated seeing his children grow up and have to face realities like this. "The station likely won't be independent much longer; they can't afford it. But, that doesn't mean the show's getting cancelled," she said of "Wake Up, San Francisco," which she and Danny hosted. "'The Morning Exchange' in Cleveland was always on a network station," she said, partly for Danny's benefit. ".

"That's true," Danny said as Stephanie's best friend, Gia, came in the door. "They're a slightly different format, but we've survived going from an hour to half an hour and other changes; plus we try to move earlier, not later like they do."

"Hey, Gia; my dad was just saying his show should still be on the air even with the rumors. What kind of guests will you have next week?" Stephanie asked them.

"We just booked someone who has spent fifty years in the library," Becky said.

Nicky turned and asked, "Mommy, isn't she done reading?!"

"Was she quiet all that time?" Alex wanted to know.

Becky explained, "I mean that's been her job. We also have a garbage collector who's been with the city for almost sixty years; now he collects recyclables so he doesn't have to lift as much."

"With guests like that, I give you two weeks, tops," Gia remarked candidly.

Danny sighed. "You're right; our guests aren't that good. Being with a network might help the ratings, but I don't know if I like any of the alternatives."

"There's a meeting at the station in a few days; anyone can give their input," Becky said.

"Cool; is it after school?" It was. "Gia, let's go down and cover it for the school paper," Stephanie suggested.

"I like that Tanner spirit; I'll sneak away and pick you up and take you back," Danny said.

"Good. But, if you really want to boost ratings, you can cover the end of the world," Gia said.

"Gia, what are you talking about?" Stephanie asked.

"You know how I trusted Christ just before Thanksgiving? I picked up that Bible I got," Gia said. "I had to look in the back, to see how it ends. It's pretty wild."

Danny said, "I don't think we can plan for that; if it doesn't come during a ratings sweeps month it might not matter anyway."

Stephanie told her. "I'm glad you're coming to Youth Group with me now. I've really learned to love it since Michelle recovered from her accident; I get stuff out of it."

Gia agreed. "I'm growing more, too. I feel bad about all the times I wanted revenge; like when I told you to get even with that boy who stood you up." Stephanie nodded solemnly. "It sounds like things will get a lot worse for everyone, not just on TV."

"Uncle Jesse can't get many good bands who play appropriate stuff in his Smash Club either; and he bought it to give kids under 18 a place," Stephanie reported.

Gia thought a second. "I didn't think I minded that, but...some music is pretty raunchy, huh?" She sighed. "It's so confusing. It's like when we met; our worlds were so different. You seemed so goody-goody, and it drove me nuts. Now, I usually want to be like you. Life's weird."

Becky responded that, "I think you saw in Steph something that appealed to you; something you wanted. And, you went after it."

Nicky spoke from the couch as comedian Joey Gladstone - who also lived there to help Danny raise his girls - entered the living room from the kitchen. "That girl's mean and bad."

"You mean on that show? You're right, honey."

"They didn't stop her," Alex replied.

"They correct her off camera," Stephanie tried to explain, thinking it was easier, at their age, to keep things consistent as far as consequences so they'd know they were always there in real life.

"I see what you're trying to do; and, it's a good idea. But, I think that's a little hard for them to grasp yet," Danny said.

Joey, a professional comedian joked, "Yeah, you have to pay camera crews double for cartoons. I mean, imagine the crew that follows Bugs Bunny through all his adventures; sometimes they even have to time travel." Danny and Becky gave him odd looks. "Well, that's easier for them to understand at their age than animation."

"Right; because you make stuff up with time travel. Which might be how they interpret lots of big words at their age anyway," Danny pointed out.

"What they're saying, boys, is consequences are a part of life, even if a story doesn't show them. Like your friend Cooper eats and sleeps like you, but you don't see it," Becky said.

Joey added, 'Right, and if Cooper pigs out on soft drinks while you're there, you might not hear a big belch till you get home and you hear something like distant thunder. But, his actions would have consequences," Joey noted, "and to his parents, that belch could sound loud enough to signal the end of the world."

Gia looked strangely at him. "I don't think the world will end with a belch."

"What he means is, think of TV as only showing a part of their lives," Becky explained. "The show doesn't last long enough to show you what happened."

"Oh," Nicky and Alex said. The adults figured they understood and left.

The following evening, Joey walked up to Danny and Becky in the living room as they prepared for the next morning's show and Stephanie and Gia came downstairs from studying. "Guys, guess what," Joey said. "Jesse'll stay at the station, and I'll be at yours for part of our radio show with a live feed to report."

"That's a good idea. Too bad D.J. promised Michelle she'd take her to soccer; if she wants a report for her Journalism course she'll have to use your notes," he told the girls.

"If history's any indication, it'll be mine; Gia spent one class rating boys in it," Stephanie said.

Gia explained. "If the world's ending I want to decide who to spend it with."

Becky wasn't sure what to say, so she told the girls, "They won't decide right away; will you want to stay the whole time?" They wouldn't. "Good. The boys want to see what I do; they're only four, but Cooper's mom could drop them off before his checkup, Gia, and your mom could take you all home."

Nicky and Alex came from the kitchen in their pajamas as Gia said she'd make sure her mom could get them - which she would - and Stephanie said she'd baby-sit.

"Good; did Michelle get you ready for bed?" Becky asked. They nodded. "We're still working on this meeting at the station. If Daddy's not done, is it okay if Michelle tucks you in while Steph and D.J. study?" Jesse was working on extras for the radio show in the basement studio, which they'd just come from.

The boys nodded, and Nicky turned to Joey, speaking with the same insistence Jesse would at the end. "Daddy says tell you reporters don't tell jokes."

Becky smiled. "Anyway, boys, I've got a nice surprise; would you like to see where Mommy works in a few days?" They nodded happily. "Cooper's mom will bring some coloring books, because you'll have to be quiet, but you can hear us and other people talk. Once Steph and Gia get some things for their school paper Steph will bring you two back home."

"Okay. What will you talk about?" Alex wanted to know.

Danny uttered, "Our bosses have to make decisions. We might have to pick up a network's programs, but we don't know which one. Or if we should or if we can somehow stay as an independent." He hoped they understood that.

Becky tried to be helpful. "Anyone can say what they think should be done; they can support some idea, or protest, or whatever." The boys knew to protest meant to say you didn't like something, and that it should be done with kind words and thinking, and not with tantrums.

"Mommy, could we say something?" Nicky asked.

"Well..." Becky wasn't sure what to say - on the one hand, her boys could have a good idea, but on the other. At age four, she wasn't sure how well they could even grasp any of the concepts. "I guess it would depend on what you wanted to say."

"Good; let's protest!" Alex insisted.

"Well, what do you want to protest?" Becky wondered if they might realize this would meant hey missed watching TV. "Boys, you don't have to come if you'd rather stay home and watch your TV shows."

The twins shook their heads. "We don't. We want to protest them." Nicky said.

"Michelle says Angelica got in big trouble after the show," Alex explained.

Danny sighed. "Now that they mention it, it was after one of her worst behavior spells Michelle decided she didn't want to watch it; she said she suspected that, too."

Stephanie agreed. "Michelle was never near as bad as Angelica; she was just a rebel like our Uncle Jesse. D.J. had a long talk with her about what she might have to do since Michelle ignored Dad a lot, after Dad promised to be more lax with rules," she told Gia. "Michelle shaped up real fast, but she told me later she knew D.J. would only ever hurt her feelings."

"I remember; she had Michelle doing all the spring cleaning with you, Danny," Becky told Danny. "She's been pretty good since. What did Michelle tell you happened to Angelica?" Becky asked Nicky and Alex.

"Angelica cried her eyes out," Nicky said.

Alex said, "She shouldn't be allowed on TV till she learns to behave."

Joey wanted to support the twins, feeling kids that age could use such encouragement. So, he piped up, "Well, I say we just protest bad cartoons, period."

Danny sighed and turned to Becky. "How do we tell our boss this could become a '60s rally?" She wasn't sure.

(Commercial break)

A few days later, Danny and Becky were in a large studio with folding chairs set up for other people. Stephanie and Gia had been mingling and talking to visitors and station employees. Joey was helping to set up equipment for the live radio feed.

Danny told Becky, "Michelle said she just wanted to make sure Nicky and Alex knew such behavior was unacceptable; I told her it was okay, she got carried away like me at times."

"I know; she's so good at looking out for them. I just hope the boys don't protest too much." She heard Joey make a Tasmanian Devil sound. "All three of them."

Their boss, Mr. Strowbridge, entered. "Mr. Tanner, Miss Donaldson; thanks for moderating this. We'll start taping very soon. Your daughter asked me some good questions, Mr. Tanner; did she want to say anything?"

"Probably not, she's just happy getting quotes for the school paper; she'll have to leave and baby-sit soon," Danny said.

"Actually, Sir, this may sound silly, but my boys wanted to talk. They just don't totally grasp the concept," Becky said as Stephanie and Gia walked up to them with Nicky and Alex. "Their main concern is about a character on a cable show. I think they see this big thing called 'TV' covering every single show."

Stephanie spoke. "I tried to explain as the boys were dropped off just now. TV's like a bunch of restaurants that sell different food. Nicky and Alex still see it as a supermarket."

"The restaurants are a good analogy; use that," Mr. Strowbridge instructed Danny and Becky.

"We will, Sir." Danny turned proudly to Stephanie. "My boss was really impressed with the questions you had for him, Steph."

"What about mine?" Gia wanted to know.

Mr. Strowbridge responded. "I could tell by her reactions Stephanie's training you well. And, when you get back, she'll have a long talk with you about appropriate questions, I'm sure."

As the boss walked away, Gia said, "I know, I shouldn't have asked him if there were any cute guys doing intern work here."

"Among other things," Stephanie said.

"Thirty seconds," a voice called from behind the camera as Nicky and Alex wouldn't budge.

Joey came up to them saying, "I'm all set, too, whenever Jesse decides to connect to me."

"Okay, great, why don't you wait over there," Becky said.

"Mommy, is TV like restaurants," Nicky asked.

"Fifteen seconds," the cameraman said.

"Yes, honey, it is, now go over..."

"Where's the food?" Alex asked.

"Ten seconds," came the voice.

"Well, it's just like a.."

"Why did he say that?" Alex asked.

"Mommy, why is he counting down like that?" Nicky asked.

"And, you're on," the cameraman said.

Becky grinned toothily. "Hi, I'm Rebecca Donaldson," she said as Stephanie motioned for Nicky and Alex - and Gia - to be quiet and took the twins' hands.

"I'm Danny Tanner, and these other people around me - best friend Joey, daughter Stephanie, her friend Gia, and Becky's children Nicky and Alex - are symbolic of this special meeting concerning the future of our station in a changing world. This impacts all of us. And, that's why we're having this community meeting to discuss our options."

Once Stephanie, Gia, and the boys were away from the microphones, on the other side of the studio, Gia asked, "You're sure I shouldn't have said 'Nice save' to him?"

"Gia, it's important not to draw attention to the unexpected; the idea is to make viewers think things are as normal as possible. Then they'll focus on the show," Stephanie explained as she got out the crayons and coloring books which had been brought for the twins. "Now work on these and I'll take you home after we've watched a bit. And, we can answer any questions you have since we're away from the mikes."

"So the fact he made a nice save isn't as important as the show?" Stephanie nodded. "Sort of like what's important is how bad things will get," Gia said.

"Look, if the world ends it's not the end of the world...okay, it would be, but let's not worry for right now," Stephanie suggested.

At that moment, the first citizen had stepped up to the mike and complained, "It's the end of the world. We need independent TV."

Stephanie quickly added, "Okay, well, just because one person thinks..."

Joey interrupted Stephanie with a big belch as he walked up to them. "Excuse me," he said.

"Wow, now I wonder about that belch thing," Gia said, referring to Joey's comment earlier about an extremely loud belch.

"I shouldn't have had so much soda pop right before this," Joey said. "Although with the money I put into the vending machine, maybe that'll help them stay afloat. Say, I should say my piece before Jesse calls me for a live report."

"Can we talk, too?" Nicky asked. Alex added a "please?"

"Sure, come on, we'll have to get in line," Joey said, taking their hands and walking way.

Stephanie held up a hand. "Uh..." Turning to Gia, she said, "Maybe you better call your mom soon; I have this feeling things could get a little weird."

"How so?"

"That man helping with the radio feed just handed Joey the stuff so our Uncle Jesse could call him from the station," Stephanie explained.

Gia agreed. "That could get weird; oh, there's our youth group leader." Gia walked over to him, with Stephanie following. "Do you think it'll really matter what happens here?"

Stephanie elaborated on Gia's question. "She decided to read the back of the Bible first, so she's been anxious about the end of the world," she said.

"I understand. Many have worried the same thing; even the first believers, like in both letters to the Thessalonians," the youth minister said. "They tell things like how the Holy Spirit keeps it from being too bad, so the Spirit has to be taken from the world first, and believers with Him since we have the Holy Spirit in us."

"Why can't it be like a normal book where the back tells you everything?" Gia griped.

"Well, the back does tell us all the hatred and violence and death and meanness in the world will end, and there will be a perfect world someday. As a new believer, that's what you can get from it. Then, as you study, you'll connect the easier parts, so you can understand harder things."

Stephanie told Gia, "It's like when I was little, I understood enough to know God was busy but that I could ask Him directly for Mr. Bear's return. I didn't even understand forgiveness; now I do because it's been shown, like when I wrecked Joey's car."

Gia's glare slowly disappeared after a second. "It bugged me a lot at first when you pushed me to get better grades. But I guess it's been worth it. It did feel nice to finally pass 7th. I guess it'll be worth it to work on this, too."

"Not every part is easy," the minister said. "Start in a Gospel like John; or Romans. But the important thing is to know that you know you're forgiven for your sins, because you called on Jesus Christ by faith to save you through what He did for you on the cross, when He died and rose again. That forgiveness is always there; just like your friend Stephanie learned that time. He lives in you, so He'll work to help you become nicer, more considerate, and so on, like you say you are. And, He'll give you what you can handle with His help, and give you strength to get through anything, as long as you trust Him for it."

"Yeah, and I don't try to do it myself." Gia thought a moment. "I guess the key is not to worry about what bad could happen, but to look forward to Who I'll see when He says it's time."

"And, to know He'll give you strength to get through before, yes. That sounds really wise,w hat you said," the minister said with a smile. Gia beamed.

Stephanie added, "See, Gia; I knew when we met you were smarter than you thought you were."

Joey, meanwhile, was in line with earphones and a mike on, connected via wire so he could talk with Jesse back at the radio station. "Hey, Jess; I've been answering some questions from your boys." A pause. "Oh, the people sound so close because I'm in line to speak." There was a mike in the center of the studio, plus one where Danny and Becky moderated the discussion and talked with station employees. Another pause as Nicky pulled on Joey's hand. "Yeah, I know I'm here as a reporter...wait...what?" Joey asked as he pulled the earphones off, though he and the twins were still close enough each was speaking into the mike and thus being heard over the radio.

Nicky told him, "It's our turn."

"Well, I'm kind of busy now," Joey said.

"Okay, we'll talk," Alex said.

Nicky and Alex pulled the mike off and brought it down to their level as Joey said, "Uh, wait, first," then realized Jesse was waiting for him. "Jess, are you there?...What in the world's going on? Well, it was my turn, but Nicky and Alex know I'm on with they're going first." He continued to talk to Jesse as Nicky and Alex spoke.

"Cartoon characters need to behave," Nicky emphasized.

"We don't want bad ones on TV," Alex insisted.

"If they can't behave, they shouldn't be allowed," Nicky added.

"If TV's like restaurants, stop serving yucky food," Alex insisted.

Joey took the mike and held it up to his mouth, forgetting the other mike was there. "Jess, sorry about...what? Oh." He held the mike far away and said, "Sorry about that ear-splitting noise, but I'm sure you turned it down in time....Well, your hearing will return in a few minutes, I'm sure. Here, Nicky and Alex, why don't you take this." He handed them the earphones and mike, which Nicky put on while Joey spoke into the bigger mike. "I want to talk about cartoon violence. See, when I played cartoons, they weren't realistic; like a mouse dropping a battleship on a cat..."

"Hi, Daddy,' Nicky said with a smile as Joey spoke. "I love you, Daddy....Am I on the radio?...That's nice. Here's Alex." He handed it to Alex.

As Alex was putting it on, Joey was saying, "I tried to relax with 'Beavis and Butthead' for a couple weeks and I couldn't stand it. Those people weren't nice and considerate the way the Tanners are; I mean, sure we have our problems, but we always talk things out."

Alex spoke into the mike. "I love you, Daddy. What?" After a second Alex turned to Joey. "Daddy called you a doofus," he said as he handed Nicky the earphoens.

Joey chuckled. "See how we get along? Jesse and I love to bug each other, like Bert and Ernie, you'd swear we were brothers, the really serious one and the one who loves jokes, even when the other would rather be serious."

Nicky said, "Daddy said he'd rather have your jokes at the station" as Alex was taking the earphones.

"Thanks, Nicky; see, everyone, that's why you should listen to the 'Rush Hour Renegades' on KFLH. We get really silly sometimes. Jesse sent me to report here on this meeting..."

"Daddy says no more reporting ever again," Alex informed him.

Stephanie finally walked up to them. "Okay, boys, Gia's calling her mom; time to come away from that mike."

"Did we do a good job?" Nicky asked.

As Stephanie walked away with a twin on each hand she said, "I think listeners will call their friends and everyone will listen for your dad's reaction when Joey gets back to the station."

"Then we did a very good job," Alex declared. Stephanie nodded.

Over a week later, Danny and Becky came in the door to see Stephanie, Gia, and Joey. "D.J. took a break and took Michelle, Nicky, and Alex to the park," Joey reported, "I have to get to the radio station soon."

"Okay. We decided on a one-year deal with Warner Brothers. That'll let us keep most of our local programming. Not everyone's satisfied, though," Danny said.

"So, you'll still have your show?" Stephanie asked.

When they nodded, Gia said, "Now if we can find you good guests."

Becky suggested that, "All these changes will probably give us some automatically. We're really looking at a few other options; a family channel, maybe a group of independents." They would eventually end up with PAX, which would become ion TV, as they strove to remain at least somewhat independent.

"Well, if you keep changing it will keep things interesting. Just like all the silly arguments and comical voices I come up with for our show; even Jesse says it boosted ratings - though he was glad when I got done talking and went back to reporting," Joey admitted, leaving afterward.

"Now that we know, I'll write up the news story," Gia said. "I'm not worried about the end of the world anymore; I just want to do all I can now while there's time." She sighed. "It's still so tempting to slack and cop an attitude like I used to be, though."

"You're really improving Gia; we're proud of you," Danny said. She thanked him as she left.

"I guess it'll be tough for your show, though, without silly stuff like Joey does to boost ratings," Stephanie said.

"It might be; the world's changing, and not all for the better. Joey's craziness at that meeting actually provided a good example of how clean, innocent fun can still be enjoyable." He put an arm around her and said, "But whatever happens, I know we'll make it through, thanks to the grat love we've always had as a family."

"You've got that right, Dad." They hugged.