THE STORY: Harry and Sam are old friends who like to pass the time posing outlandish questions to one another. “If ya had the choice would ya rather love a woman whose top half was a fish and whose bottom half was a woman or a woman whose top half was a woman and whose bottom half was a fish?” Harry asks. “Good question,” responds Sam. The questions are off the wall, but they slowly reveal the two men’s characters, and allow them to take stock of each other while avoiding mundane, but important, life matters. These life matters are woven into their interchanges—hints about their lives apart from one another. Harry and his wife, Marge, are having troubles. In the first scene, Harry mentions he’s sleeping on the couch; in the next, he is sleeping in his car; later he asks Sam if he can stay at his house; and after that, he jokes that he is sleeping in another state. Sam is wrapped up in New Age books, and tries to dispense their philosophy to enhance the dialogues. But when Harry finds one of Sam’s books in Marge’s possession, he realizes Sam is having an affair with Marge. Sam apologizes and tries to explain, but the event drives them apart and they do not speak for a time. The two are incomplete without each other however, and the incident forces Harry to reconsider his chosen form of communication (or lack thereof) and to work on his marriage and salvage it. In the final scene, Harry and Sam meet by chance in their favorite bar and reconcile, with Harry using an analogy of dunking Ding-Dong’s, in what you thought was milk but which turns out to be orange juice, to say that you don’t throw away years of friendship or marriage because of one mistake, which is as much his fault as theirs.
On the surface, THE HARRY AND SAM DIALOGUES appear to be philosophical discussions between two blue-collar types who are way out of their league, but their discussions are surprisingly lively. They use what they can from their own lives, like milk and Ding-Dongs, to make sense of what everything means. They discuss all the big questions: Is there life after death? How are men and women different? And, of course, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?