When Harry Got Mail from Sally in Seattle

Okay, time to move away from dark humor to a brighter climate. I’d like to discuss romantic comedies or humor in romance in my next two posts. Nora Ephron wrote or co-wrote a few of the most romantic film comedies in recent years, including “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “You’ve Got Mail.” The below excerpt is from her script for “When Harry Met Sally.”

Before the excerpt, here’s a Wikipedia entry about another famous scene in that movie:

The classic deli scene from Ephron’s screenplay for “When Harry Met Sally” was born when the film started to focus too much on Harry. Crystal remembers saying, “’We need something for Sally to talk about,’ and Nora said, ‘Well, faking orgasm is a great one,’ and right away we said, ‘Well, the subject is good,’ and then Meg came on board and we talked with her about the nature of the idea and she said, ‘Well, why don’t I just fake one, just do one?’” Ryan suggested that the scene take place in a restaurant, and it was Crystal who came up with the scene’s classic punchline – “I’ll have what she’s having.” Reiner recalls that at a test screening, all of the women in the audience were laughing while all of the men were silent.

And now, a sweet piece from the screenplay:

Ingrid Bergman. Now she’s low maintenance.

Low maintenance?

Yeah. There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.

And Ingrid Bergman is low maintenance?

An L. M. Definitely.

Which one am I?

The worst one. You’re high maintenance, but you think you’re low maintenance.

I don’t see that.

You don’t see that?
(mimicking her)
“I’ll start with the house salad, but don’t put the regular dressing on it, I’ll have the balsamic vinegar and oil instead, but on the side, and then the salmon with mustard sauce, but I want the sauce on the side.” On the side is like a very big thing with you.

Well, I just want it the way I want it.

Right. High maintenance.


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