Turning Red (2022) | Transcript

A 13-year-old girl named Meilin turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.
Turning Red (2022)

Meilin (voice of Rosalie Chiang) is a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter – an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda.

* * *

GIRL: The number one rule in my family?

Honor your parents.

They’re the supreme beings who gave you life who sweated and sacrificed so much to put a roof over your head, food on your plate, an epic amount of food.

The least you can do in return is every single thing they ask.

‘Course some people are like, “Be careful.

“Honoring your parents sounds great, but if you take it too far, well, you might forget to honor yourself.”

Luckily, I don’t have that problem.

(UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYING)

I’m Meilin Lee.

And ever since I turned 13, I’ve been doing my own thing.

Making my own moves, 24/7, 365.

I wear what I want, say what I want and I will not hesitate to do a spontaneous cartwheel if I feel so moved. (GRUNTS)

(MAN GASPS)

Oh, crap!

Not to brag,

but being 13 means I’m officially a grown-up.

At least according to the Toronto Transit Commission.

Good for you.

MEILIN: Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm.

All about that hustle, am I right?

(UPBEAT MUSIC CONTINUES)

(YELPS)

Besties, assemble!

Miriam!

Hmm?

Hey!

(BOTH LAUGHING, WHOOPING)

Priya!

(IN DEEP VOICE) Yo.

Abby!

(SPEAKING KOREAN)

(ALL GASP)

(IN ENGLISH) Yeah. What’s up, Mei?

(ALL FLAPPING LIPS)

Ready to change the world?

(SNAPS FINGERS) So ready.

I was born to do this.

Let’s burn this place to the ground!

Y equals negative four.

(SPEAKING FAUX FRENCH)

(IN ENGLISH) Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

I know, it’s a lot…

(PLAYING NOTE)

But this is grade eight.

I don’t got time to mess around.

I guess you could call me…

A very enterprising, mildly annoying young lady.

A major weirdo.

An overachieving dork-narc.

(MEILIN GRUNTS)

I accept and embrace all labels.

(GRUNTS)

Oops.

Hey!

Aah!

Oh, you’re dead!

(SCHOOL BELL RINGING)

MEILIN: Coming through!

Move, please! (PANTING)

Share the sidewalk, people!

Anyway, who cares what stupid, evil Tyler or anyone else thinks?

This is gonna be my year.

(GASPS) Mei, Mei, Mei, come see this!

And nothing’s gonna stop this train from… (YELPS)

ABBY: Shh. Come on, come on!

Get your butt over here!

PRIYA: Go, go, go.

MIRIAM: Come on, come on. Mei, Mei, fast!

MEILIN: Shut up!

ABBY: Shh!

Huh?

Mmm-hmm!

Uh…

Mmm.

Devon.

(DREAMY MUSIC PLAYING)

My mom cuts his hair at the salon, and I felt it. It’s very soft.

Whoa. Can I have some?

Yeah, Abby, hook a sister up.

Ugh!

He looks like a hobo.

A hot hobo.

May I remind you what real men look like?

ALL: (GASPING) 4-Town!

Yes! 4-Town!

(ALL SIGHING)

MEILIN: Jesse went to art school.

(TRUE LOVE BY 4-TOWN PLAYING)

(SIGHS WEARILY)

(KISSES)

Tae Young fosters

injured doves.

(CHUCKLES)

Robaire speaks French.

AARON T: Hey!

And Aaron T. and Aaron Z.

are, like, really talented, too.

We are 4-Townies, remember? (ECHOES) Ride or die!

(ROMANTIC MUSIC CONTINUES)

(ROMANTIC MUSIC STOPS)

Yeah, but tickets to 4-Town are, like, a bajillion dollars, and Devon’s right here.

And free!

(TRAM BELL CLANGING)

Ah, fudgesicles! I gotta go.

Wait! We’re going karaokeing today.

Yeah!

Come with us.

Please.

(ALL WHINING)

MIRIAM: Please.

I… can’t. It’s cleaning day.

Mei, every day is cleaning day.

Can’t you just get one afternoon off?

But I like cleaning.

(GASPS) Plus, I got this new feather duster and, oh, my gosh, you guys, it picks up so much dirt, it’s bananas!

Fine. I’ll let you go.

If you can pass the gauntlet.

Come on. Uh! Oh.

Mir, not now…

You can’t resist it.

(CHUCKLES) Come on.

You know you want to.

(MEILIN SIGHS)

(ABBY BEATBOXING)

Here we go.

(BOTH SINGING) You’re never not on my mind

Oh, my, oh, my

Oh, yeah, oh, my

I’m never not by your side, your side

PRIYA: Yeah.

Your side

PRIYA: Peace sign.

ALL: All right!

(ALL GIGGLE)

ABBY: Yeah! Go, Mei!

See, that was good!

ABBY: That was dope!

You passed.

(SIGHS)

And here is your reward.

(GASPS)

MIRIAM: Ninety-nine Australian tour, with the Girl I Love Your Jeans remix.

O-M-G, Mir! I’ll guard it with my life!

(KISSING LOUDLY)

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!

4-Town 4-ever!

ALL: 4-ever!

(ALL ULULATING)

We’ll karaoke another time, I promise!

Okay, sure, Mei!

It’ll be on me. The snacks, the tunes…

Whoo!

You’re my jam, girl.

(TRAM BELL CLANGING)

She’s so brainwashed.

(PEOPLE CHATTERING, GASPING)

(PANTING) Crud, crud, crud.

MEILIN: Okay.

Excuse me.

I know what it looks like.

(MAN SPEAKING IN CANTONESE)

(IN ENGLISH) I am my own person.

(PANTING, YELLS)

But that doesn’t mean doing whatever I want.

Hello, Meilin.

Hey, how’s it going?

(GRUNTS)

Thank you, Meilin!

Like most adults, I have responsibilities.

Hey, Bart. Hey, Lisa.

Hello, Meilin.

‘Sup?

Still down for a rematch, Mr. Gao?

Bring it, Lee!

(ALL CHUCKLE)

What a good girl. (LAUGHS)

It’s not all about me, you know?

(MEILIN PANTING)

I do make my own moves, it’s just that…

(EXHALES HEAVILY)

…some of my moves are also hers.

Mei-Mei, there you are.

Hey, Mom…

You’re ten minutes late.

What happened? Are you hurt? Are you hungry?

Um… (MUFFLED GRUNT)

How was school today?

Killed it per usual. Check it out.

Oh. That’s my little scholar.

Today, honor student, tomorrow, UN Secretary General.

The ancestors would be so proud.

Sun Yee, revered ancestor, guardian of the red pandas.

We humbly thank you for protecting and guiding us.

Especially Mei-Mei.

May we continue to serve and honor you and this community.

BOTH: Always.

(GONG SOUNDING)

(BIRDS COOING)

(SERENE MUSIC PLAYING)

(BELL CHIMING)

(BOTH BREATHE DEEPLY)

You ready?

Let’s do this.

(KNUCKLES CRACK)

(NECK CRACKS)

(HIP-HOP MUSIC PLAYING)

(BOYS LAUGHING)

BOY: Have fun getting that off.

(BOTH GASP)

MING: Shoo-shoo! You vandals!

BOY 2: Oh, snap! They’re coming!

You good-for-nothing hosers!

BOY 3: Go, go, go!

I’m telling your mothers!

Our family runs one of the oldest temples in Toronto. And the most unique.

Instead of honoring a god, we honor our ancestors.

And not just the dudes either.

Our most revered ancestor, Sun Yee, was a scholar, poet, and defender of animals.

She dedicated her life to the creatures of the forest.

Especially the red panda.

Ta-da!

TOURISTS: Ooh!

Which she loved for its fiery coat and mischievous nature.

(MEILIN GROWLS, WHINES)

Ever since, the red panda has blessed our family with good fortune and prosperity…

And it can bless yours, too!

(TOURISTS EXCLAIM)

WOMAN: Bye-bye!

See you next time!

Thanks for coming.

(BOTH SIGH HEAVILY)

Give me five. (GRUNTS)

Yeah.

Come on. Dad’s making dinner.

Ooh.

(UTENSILS CLANKING)

(SWEEPING MUSIC PLAYING)

(PAN SIZZLING)

(SLOSHING)

Mmm.

(BELL RINGING)

Huh? (EXCLAIMS) Uh…

(GLASSES SQUEAKING)

(MAN AND WOMAN CONVERSING IN CANTONESE ON TV)

(SINISTER MUSIC PLAYING ON TV)

MING: (SIGHS) He should have listened to his mother and married Ling-Yi.

Totally. Siu-Jyu is so two-faced.

She’s just using him to get to the throne.

She’ll probably stab him on their wedding night.

Mmm-hmm.

Hmm?

Mmm. Hmm!

Perfect.

Yes!

ANNOUNCER: You’ve heard their hits, you’ve seen their moves.

And now, you get to experience them live!

The worldwide pop sensation 4-Town will be kicking off their North American tour!

Tickets on sale now.

(GASPS) Oh, my gosh!

Who are these hip-hoppers?

And why are they called “4-Town” if there are five of them?

Uh… I don’t know.

Some of the kids at school like them.

You mean Miriam? That girl is odd.

JIN: Dinner’s ready.

(4-TOWN SINGING NOBODY LIKE U ON TV)

I’ve never met nobody like you

You’re never not on my mind

Oh my, oh my

(MEILIN HUMMING ALONG)

I’m never not by your side Your side, your side

I’m never gonna let you cry Oh, cry, don’t cry

I’m gonna be your ride or die All right

(MEILIN CONTINUES SINGING INDISTINCTLY)

Hmm. Kinda looks like Devon.

(SCOFFS) I don’t get what Mir sees in him.

He’s not that cute.

Okay, his shoulder’s, like, kind of nice, I guess.

(SIGHS) His eyes are… fine.

(MYSTERIOUS MUSIC PLAYING)

(CHUCKLES)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

MING: Mei-Mei.

(GASPS)

(THUDS)

Ow! Ah!

(PANTING, GASPS)

Do you want a snack?

Cool, great, thanks.

Don’t look at the notebook, don’t look at the notebook, don’t!

No!

Oh.

(CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY)

Is this your homework?

Mom…

Don’t!

Oh, my. What… What is…

Do not.

Huh? What?

Mom.

Oh! Oh.

Huh? (GAGS) Huh?

Mei-Mei, what is this?

It’s nothing. Just a boy. He’s no one.

A boy?

(GASPS)

Who is he? Did he do these things to you?

No! It’s just made up, Mom!

(BOTH STRAINING)

It’s not real.

(PAGE RIPS)

That hat.

Is that the sketchy clerk from the Daisy Mart?

(GASPS) Mom, no!

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

(TIRES SCREECHING)

(NERVOUSLY) What are you doing?

No, no, no!

No, no, no!

(STORE BELL CHIMING)

(LAUGHS SMUGLY) Oh, snap!

(PANTING)

Mom, no!

You!

Whoa!

What have you done to my Mei-Mei?

Uh… Who?

Meilin Lee, right here.

I should report you to the police.

How old are you? Thirty?

I’m seventeen.

Oh, see, see?

This is what happens when you don’t wear sunblock and do drugs all day!

She’s just a sweet, innocent child.

How dare you take advantage of her!

Mom! No! (ECHOES)

(HEART BEATING)

(PEOPLE GASP)

What?

(ALL MURMURING)

(TYLER LAUGHS)

What a weirdo.

(PEOPLE WHISPERING INDISTINCTLY)

GIRL: Look at her.

(AIR KISSING NOISILY)

(LAUGHTER)

(HEART BEATING RAPIDLY)

(GASPS)

The Daisy Mart has lost a loyal customer today.

(LAUGHTER)

(SIGHS IN EXASPERATION) Thank goodness I was here.

That degenerate won’t come near you again.

Now, is there anything else I should know about, Mei-Mei?

Nope. All good.

(MUFFLED SCREAMING)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

You sicko! What were you thinking?

Why would you draw those things?

Those horrible, awful, sexy things?

It’s fine. You’ll move to another city, change your identity.

(MUFFLED YELLING)

(TEARFULLY) Mommy, I’m so sorry.

(MUFFLED SCREAMING, GASPS)

You are her pride and joy, so act like it!

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

This will never happen again.

(BELLS TINKLING SOFTLY)

(SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC PLAYING)

(WIND WHISTLING)

(THUNDER RUMBLING)

(THUNDER CRASHING)

(GROANING)

(WHIMPERING)

(OMINOUS MUSIC PLAYING)

(CONTINUES WHIMPERING)

(GASPING HEAVILY)

(GASPS LOUDLY)

(WHIMPERING)

(THUNDER RUMBLING)

No! No, no, no!

(OMINOUS MUSIC BUILDS)

(GASPS, PANTING HEAVILY)

(HEART BEATING)

MING: Mei-Mei… are you up?

(TV PLAYING INDISTINCTLY)

(MING SCATTING TUNE)

Breakfast is ready!

Mmm.

Hey! No sugar.

(BED CREAKING)

(MEILIN MOANS)

(LOUD THUD)

Coming!

(FOOTSTEPS THUDDING)

Mmm. Porridge.

(YAWNING)

(MEILIN SCREAMING)

(DOOR SLAMS)

(GULPS)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening.

(PANICKED WHIMPERING)

(GASPS, SNIFFING)

(GAGS)

(SOBBING)

Wake up, wake up, wake up!

MING: Mei-Mei,

is everything okay?

(GASPS)

Don’t come in here!

(OBJECTS CLATTERING)

Mei-Mei, what’s going on, honey? Are you sick?

Is it a fever? A stomach ache? Chills? Constipation?

MEILIN: No!

Wait. Is it… that? Did the…

Did the red peony bloom?

No!

Maybe?

(GASPS)

But it’s too soon.

Don’t worry, Mei-Mei. I’ll get everything you need.

Mommy’s here.

Jin. Jin! It’s happening!

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

(STRAINING) Come on! Please!

(GROANS)

MING: Mei-Mei, I’m coming.

Crud.

I’m coming.

No!

It’s going to be okay.

No, it’s not! Will you just get out?

Excuse me?

(SPUTTERS) I didn’t mean that. I’m a gross red monster!

(SOBBING)

Stop it! Stop talking!

(CLEARS THROAT)

Mei-Mei, I know this is upsetting, but we are going to get through this together.

I have ibuprofen, vitamin B, a hot water bottle, and pads.

Regular, overnight, scented, unscented, thin, ultrathin…

Uh-huh. All right.

…ultrathin with wings…

Awesome. Just leave them by the sink.

Mei-Mei. Perhaps we should talk about why this is happening.

No! I mean, nah, it’s okay.

You are a woman now.

And your body is starting to change.

(MUFFLED) Mmm-hmm.

It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

Mom, please!

You are now a beautiful, strong flower.

No, no, no.

Who must protect your delicate petals and clean them regularly.

(ALARM BEEPING)

JIN: Ming? Ming!

(SNIFFS) My porridge.

Jin. Jin!

(ALARM CONTINUES BEEPING)

(JIN YELLING)

Jin, open a window!

JIN: Somebody call emergency!

(PANTING)

(GASPS)

I’ll just go to sleep, and when I wake up… this will all be over.

(SIGHS)

(BED CREAKS)

(BREATHING DEEPLY)

(GASPS)

What the…

(EXHALES)

Whoa.

(BREATHING DEEPLY)

Yes!

No!

Oh.

(EXHALES)

I’m calm.

Zen.

Yes.

Okay. No biggie.

You’ll figure this out, Lee.

Just be the calm, mature adult you totally are.

You got this.

(BED CREAKS)

(STUDENTS CHATTERING)

I know it feels strange, Mei-Mei, but I promise, nobody will notice a thing.

Thank you for your concern, Mother.

But I’ll be fine.

Well, here’s your lunch. I packed extra snacks.

And herbal tea. For cramps. It helps relax your…

I got it. Thank you. Bye.

(SIGHS)

(CAR ENGINE STARTS)

(SCHOOL BELL RINGING)

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

GIRL: Let’s go, Beavers! Let’s go!

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

Hey, Mei.

(AWKWARDLY) Hey, girlfriends. What is up?

Uh, what’s with the tuque?

Uh… Bad hair day.

(ABBY SNIFFS)

Did you, like, work out this morning?

I got you, girl.

Mei, we gotta talk.

Okay.

(WHISPERING) Tyler’s been telling everyone about the Daisy Mart.

What?

He said your mom went nuts.

And that you’re kind of a perv.

I am not a…

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

Tyler is an insecure jerkwad.

Words were exchanged.

Slightly uncomfortable secrets were revealed.

End of story… (SLURRING)

(ROMANTIC MUSIC PLAYING)

(HEART BEATING)

(HEART BEATING RAPIDLY)

MIRIAM: Uh, Mei?

(GASPS)

Why are you staring at Carter Murphy-Mayhew?

I wasn’t.

(EERIE MUSIC PLAYS)

No!

(GASPS)

(MIRIAM GROWLS)

Tyler keeps putting these up.

Knock it off, butthead.

(LAUGHING)

ABBY: Not funny, Tyler!

Devon, my precious manly man.

PRIYA: I banish you.

Literally go away!

PRIYA: Begone!

(GROWLS) I’m gonna kill him!

(HEART BEATING RAPIDLY)

ABBY: What is wrong with you?

Oh, yeah? Yeah? You wanna do this?

MIRIAM: Leave her alone!

ABBY: You want a piece of me, huh? Come here!

Smell you later, dorks.

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Get out of here, dude.

(CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY) Gotta go.

Uh, see you at lunch.

Mei?

(CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY)

(SCHOOL BELL RINGING)

(PANTING)

(SIGHS)

(GRUNTS)

(UNZIPS BAG)

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

What’s with her?

What’s with your face?

What is with you? You’re being weird.

I’m just really excited about math.

(DOOR OPENS)

TEACHER: All right, guys.

The quadratic formula.

(EXHALES)

(STUDENTS GROAN)

Let the fun begin.

Who can tell me how the formula begins?

X equals…

What a surprise, no one. Okay, listen up.

X equals negative B, plus or minus, don’t forget that plus or minus, or I promise you, you will live to regret it.

(OMINOUS MUSIC PLAYING)

(TEACHER CONTINUES SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY)

(GASPS) No. No. No.

GUARD: Hi. Uh, ma’am?

This isn’t happening.

Hi!

My child goes to this school.

Why don’t you come to the front office?

I’m sure that someone can…

Keep your…

(MING GRUNTS)

Ow!

MING: I pay my taxes.

BOY: Whoa, what is that?

All right, all right, settle down, little goblins.

(STUDENTS EXCLAIMING)

MING: Stop it!

Whoa!

Mei-Mei!

No. Please, no.

Mei-Mei, help!

Mei-Mei, tell him it’s me!

(HEART BEATING)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

Mei-Mei!

I will report you for trespassing.

Tell him it’s Mommy!

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

Mei-Mei! Tell him you forgot your pads!

(ALL EXCLAIMING)

(SCREAMS, SHRIEKING)

(ROARS IN SLOW MOTION)

(ALL GRUNTING)

(GRUNTS, PANTING)

(ALL COUGHING)

(GASPS)

(WHIMPERS)

(GRUNTS AND COUGHS)

Mei-Mei.

Come back!

(TENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

(WHIMPERING)

(TRUMPET PLAYING)

(BOY GRUNTS)

(WHIMPERING)

(GASPS LOUDLY)

O-M-G!

(DOOR RATTLING)

GIRL: Hey, I gotta go! Open up!

(WHIMPERS, GRUNTS)

(GRUNTS)

Mei-Mei! Stop!

(ENGINE STARTS)

Jin. Jin, get home now. There’s been an emergency.

JIN: (ON PHONE) Is it the woman thing?

No! Another one.

It’s so good.

(SCREAMS)

(BOTH SCREAMING)

WOMAN: Run!

MAN: It’s a monster!

(MAN 2 GROANS)

(GRUNTS, GASPS)

(STRAINING)

(GRUNTING LOUDLY)

(GROANS)

(GAGS)

(MUZAK PLAYING ON SPEAKERS)

Awooga! (GASPS)

Huh?

(TENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

(GASPS)

(SCREAMS)

(CAR HORN BLARING)

(SCREAMS, GRUNTS)

(CAR THUDS)

(BRAKES SCREECH)

(CAR HORNS HONKING)

(MEILIN WHIMPERS)

(ALL ARGUING)

(METAL THUDS)

Uh-oh.

(CREAKING)

(WHIMPERING)

(PEOPLE GASP)

(PEOPLE GASP)

(BRAKES SCREECH)

(GASPS)

Mei-Mei.

Mei-Mei. (GRUNTS)

Gotta get home! Gotta hide!

(GRUNTS)

(ALL MURMURING, EXCLAIMING)

Mei-Mei.

(PANTING)

(MEILIN GRUNTS)

(SERENE MUSIC PLAYING)

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

(GASPS)

(GASPING)

(MUSIC STOPS)

(GRUNTS)

(GROANING)

(BODY THUDS)

(WAILING)

(GATE RATTLING)

(PANTING)

(DOOR CREAKING)

Mei-Mei. (PANTING)

Mei-Mei!

(GASPS)

Oh!

Mei-Mei!

(PANTING)

(MEILIN SOBBING)

Mei-Mei?

Don’t look at me! Stay back!

Sweetie, (HESITATES) it’s okay. Mommy is here.

What’s happening to me?

(SOBBING)

What is it? What… What…

(GASPS) It’s happened already?

(SOBBING STOPS)

What did you say?

Ming?

It’s time.

(DOOR OPENS)

(WIND BLOWING)

(MYSTICAL MUSIC PLAYING)

(SIGHS) As you know, our ancestor, Sun Yee, had a mystical connection with red pandas.

In fact, she loved them so much that she asked the gods to turn her into one.

(DRAMATIC TRADITIONAL MUSIC PLAYING)

It was wartime. The men were all gone.

Sun Yee was desperate for a way to protect herself and her daughters.

Then one night, during a red moon, the gods granted her wish.

They gave her the ability to harness her emotions to transform into a powerful, mystical beast.

She was able to fend off bandits, protect her village, and save her family from ruin.

Sun Yee passed this gift to her daughters, for when they came of age.

And they passed it to theirs.

But over time, our family chose to come to a new world.

And what was a blessing became… an inconvenience.

Are you serious?

JIN: No!

Mei-Mei, no!

MEILIN: It’s a curse!

She meant it as a blessing.

You cursed us! It’s all your fault!

Mei-Mei, stop! Listen to me. Listen!

There’s a cure!

(PANTING)

Really? How do you know?

Because it happened to me.

Why didn’t you warn me?

I thought I had more time!

You’re just a child.

I thought, if I watched you like a hawk, I’d see the signs and be able to prepare.

But it’s going to be fine. I overcame it and you will too.

On the next red moon, you’ll undergo a ritual that will seal your red panda spirit into one of these.

And then you’ll be cured for good.

Just like me.

But any strong emotion will release the panda.

And the more you release it, the more difficult the ritual will be.

There is a darkness to the panda, Mei-Mei.

You only have one chance to banish it, and you cannot fail.

Otherwise, you’ll never be free.

Let’s see, the next red moon will be the 25th.

That’s a whole month away.

We’ll wait it out together.

And I’ll be with you every step of the way.

(MEILIN PANTING, STRAINING)

(JIN GRUNTS)

Not bad.

I saved Wilfred.

(GASPS) Thanks, Dad.

It’s only temporary, Mei-Mei.

This way, we won’t worry about any more accidents. Hmm?

Sleep tight.

Red is a lucky color.

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

(SIGHS HEAVILY)

MING: This is awful.

What are we gonna do?

JIN: Don’t worry. We’ll get through this.

MING: No one can see her like this.

I never wanted this for her.

Did you see how she was in the temple?

(CRYING)

Her eyes…

(SOBBING)

(CONTINUES SOBBING)

(WHIRRING)

(MEILIN GRUNTS LOUDLY)

(LOUD THUDDING)

(MING GRUNTS)

(SIGHS)

(MEILIN CONTINUES GRUNTING)

(GRUNTING)

(GROANS, WINCES)

Please…

(GROANS)

just… go away.

(SCREAMS)

No!

Why? Why?

(KNOCKING ON WINDOW)

MIRIAM: Mei, it’s us.

Open up.

Crud, no.

Guys, what are you doing? Go away!

Are you okay? Tap if you can hear us.

One for yes, two for no!

We were so worried.

We thought you died of embarrassment.

You need more pads? I brought extra.

Forget that. 4-Town’s coming to Toronto!

What?

(ALL SCREAMING)

MEILIN: Hey! (SHUSHING)

It’s okay, everybody be quiet!

Everybody, it’s just me! Shut up!

It’s okay, it’s me!

(MUFFLED SCREAMING)

It’s Mei! Calm down, all right?

I’m gonna let go and you’re gonna be chill.

Got that?

(SCREAMING STOPS)

ALL: (MUFFLED) Mmm-hmm.

Chill.

Mei?

Are you a werewolf?

No! What?

She is a red panda!

Sick.

You’re so fluffy! You’re so fluffy!

I’ve always wanted a tail.

Priya, Abby, quit it.

Mei, what the heck happened?

It’s just some, you know, inconvenient, uh, genetic thingy I got from my mom.

I mean… (SIGHS) It’ll go away.

Eventually.

Maybe.

(SOBBING)

Aw, Mei.

I hate this! I’m slobby, I’m smelly.

My mom won’t even look at me, and now 4-Town?

When are they coming?

May 18th. They just announced it.

The 18th?

There’s no way this will be gone by then.

Just go. Go become women without me.

Mei. It’s gonna be okay.

No, it’s not. I’m a freak.

Just… (SIGHS)

Just leave me alone.

(SOBBING)

(BEATBOXING)

(BEATBOXING ALONG)

Mmm. Yeah.

Mmm. Let’s go.

Mmm.

Yeah. Mmm.

Let’s go.

I’ve never met nobody like you

Had friends and I’ve had buddies

(ALL SINGING) It’s true

But they don’t turn my tummy

(ALL SINGING) The way you do

I’ve never met nobody

Like you

(SNIFFLING)

(MEILIN SINGING) You’re never not on my mind?

(ALL SINGING) Oh, my, oh, my

I’m never not by your side Your side, your side

I’m never gonna let you cry Oh, cry, don’t cry

I’ll never not be your ride or die

All right!

Yeah! Whoo!

Go, Mei!

Thanks, guys. (SNIFFLES) You’re the best.

Aw, we love you, Mei.

You’re our girl.

Yeah. No matter what. Panda or no panda.

(MEILIN SIGHS)

(MIRIAM GASPS)

Whoa.

Mei!

You’re you!

And you look amazing!

Red looks so good on you.

Is it gone?

For now. But if I get too excited, it’ll come right back… Ow!

Abby, what the heck?

Huh?

Something feels different.

Abby, hit me.

(GROANS)

(BODY THUDS)

MEILIN: (WEAKLY) Ow.

Oh, my gosh!

I stayed calm.

Something about you guys, like, neutralizes the panda.

Aw! It’s our love.

We’re like a warm and fuzzy blanket.

Yeah.

This means I can have my room back.

(GASPS) I can have my life back!

No. Even better.

You can come with us to 4-Town!

ABBY AND PRIYA: Yeah!

This could be our only chance to see them together.

We’re all asking our parents tonight.

We’re making our stand.

Yeah. You in or you out?

But I can’t ask my mom. I’m a furry ticking time bomb!

(IN SING-SONG VOICE) Of awesomeness!

(IN NORMAL VOICE) And now you can control it!

So just prove it to her, and she’s gotta let you go!

MING: Mei-Mei?

Crap! You guys better go.

But…

No “buts,” Mir.

My mom already doesn’t like you.

Wait, she doesn’t?

I’ll call you, I promise.

PRIYA: We love you, Mei. ABBY: Hang in there, girl.

Everything okay? I thought I heard…

Mom, I think I’ve made a breakthrough.

Ready.

Deforestation.

(GRUNTING SOFTLY)

Sad orangutan.

Mmm! (GRUNTING)

Your second place spelling bee trophy.

(GRUNTING)

The important thing is you tried.

You spelled your little butt off.

First place in our hearts.

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

What a shame.

(SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC PLAYING)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING)

(SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC BUILDS)

(KITTENS MEOWING)

(GASPS)

So cute!

(GASPS)

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

No. So fuzzy.

(MEOWING)

(GRUNTING)

Must resist.

(ALL SIGHING)

(RELAXING MUSIC PLAYING)

We love you, girl.

We love you, girl.

Panda or no panda.

(MEILIN SIGHS WITH RELIEF)

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

(KITTENS PURRING)

How adorable.

(GASPS) Mei.

How is this possible? What happened to your panda?

It’s easy. When I start to get emotional, all I do is imagine the people I love most in the whole world.

Oh.

Which is you guys.

Oh.

Oh, Mei-Mei.

(KITTEN PURRS)

So, now that that’s settled, I just have one teeny-tiny favor to ask.

No. Absolutely not.

(PANTING) What?

But this is once in a lifetime.

Mei-Mei, it’s one thing to stay calm at home or school, but a concert?

You’ll get whipped up into a frenzy and panda all over the place.

I won’t, I won’t! I promise!

You saw me keep it in.

Ming, maybe we should trust her.

It’s them I don’t trust.

Look at those glittery delinquents with their… (SHUDDERS) gyrations.

Why on earth do you want to go so badly?

(ALL CHEERING)

ALL: Chug! Chug! Chug!

(SHRIEKS)

(ALL CHEERING)

Like I said,

I just want to broaden my musical horizons.

(SIGHS) This isn’t music. This is filth.

And it’s not worth jeopardizing your life over.

Right, Jin?

Uh…

See? Your father agrees. No concert. And that’s final.

(INHALES SHARPLY)

Okay, well, thanks for listening. Good night.

(GRUNTING)

(SCOFFS)

(DOOR SLAMS)

(SCOFFS)

What was that?

Am I the only one who sees the danger here?

There’s no way she could keep her panda in.

And $200? For what?

Who do they think they are? Celine Dion?

(PHONE RINGING)

Hmm. Unbelievable. I saw that look.

Where did she get that from?

Treating her own mother like that.

Hold on. Ming, it’s your mother.

I’m not here!

Mother. Hello.

(ON PHONE) How’s everything in Florida?

GRANDMA: Ming. I know about Mei-Mei.

MING: I was just about to call you, but everything’s fine.

(HESITATES) I’m gonna handle the ritual on my own.

(SCOFFS) The way you “handled” Mei-Mei being on the news?

No one knows anything.

They barely saw her.

GRANDMA: I’m on my way. With reinforcements.

No! I can handle it. I can…

(PHONE DISCONNECTS)

(WHIMPERS)

(WHISTLE BLOWS)

GIRL: Run!

Eyes on the balls, guys!

Be water! Be…

(BOY GRUNTS)

(GRUNTS) That presentation was bomb-dot-com.

I cited all my sources.

I had sparklers. (GRUNTS) And she still said no!

My parents said I could go when I’m 30.

Mine called it stripper music.

What’s wrong with that? (GROWLS)

Mine said yes, but I have to buy the ticket.

Who the heck’s got that kind of cash? (YELPS)

I know my mom’s worried, but sometimes she’s just so…

(SIGHS) So…

Wacko?

GUARD: (PANTING) Ma’am! Please!

(CAR ENGINE STARTS)

I’m sorry, Mrs. Lee!

I see you!

(LAUGHING)

(BOYS SNICKERING)

Little momma’s girl. (LAUGHS)

No wonder Mei is such a loser.

(LAUGHTER)

(BALL SQUELCHING)

(HEART BEATING RAPIDLY)

(GROWLING)

(GRUNTS)

(LAUGHING, SCREAMS)

(STUDENTS GASP)

(WHISTLE BLOWS)

Illegal throw! You’re out, Lee.

What? But, Mr. K, he…

MIRIAM: Mei, chill. Let’s go, let’s go.

Calm down, Mei.

(MEILIN GRUNTS, PANTS)

Dude, keep it together.

I can’t. We need to see this concert.

Why doesn’t my mom get that? I never ask for anything.

My whole life I’ve been her perfect little Mei-Mei. Temple duties, grades…

Violin!

Tap dancing.

Yeah. We’ve been so good.

If they don’t trust us anyway, then what’s the point?

Wow! Who are you?

I love it!

Fight the power!

Yeah. Yeah.

This isn’t just our first concert.

This is our first step into womanhood.

And we have to do it together.

I’m in, girl. We’ll say it’s a sleepover at my house.

(GASPS) The perfect crime.

Yes! My mom will never know.

Now we just got to raise the money for tickets.

(SIGHS) Come on, girls, think!

(ALL GRUNTING)

Know what’ll help me think?

A little panda.

Abby…

Come on, Mei. It’ll clear my mind.

Just a little hit! It’s so cute!

Ugh. Fine.

(INHALES DEEPLY)

(DREAMY MUSIC PLAYING)

Mon amour.

(SQUEALING)

Happy?

Oh, yeah. That’s the stuff.

GIRL: O-M-G.

Aah! Go away!

That was you in the bathroom! I didn’t imagine it!

Yeah, you did.

Get lost, Stacy.

But she’s like a magical bear?

ALL: Red panda!

You are the cutest thing ever!

GIRL: Come out, please?

GIRL 2: Yeah, yeah, yeah! Please!

Wait. So, you like the panda?

Like it? I love it!

I’ll give you anything! Money?

My kidney!

My soul.

GIRL: Yeah! STACY: Adorable!

You’re so cute!

(GIRLS SQUEALING)

(U KNOW WHAT’S UP BY 4-TOWN PLAYING)

Is it on?

(CHUCKLES) Let’s go!

MIRIAM: Yeah, panda!

Fuel for domination.

Money, money, money!

Stop hogging and give me some!

MIRIAM: Pass that over.

4-Town, here we come!

(ABBY GROANS)

PRIYA: Stop! That’s so gross. Do it again.

All right, troops, listen up.

Operation 4-Town Shake Down is about to commence.

The boys are coming to the SkyDome May 18th.

Our goal, four tickets. That’s 800 bucks!

Step one, neutralize the empress.

Mathletes? Isn’t it a little dangerous to join an after-school club now?

What’s dangerous is an academic record with a lack of extracurriculars.

Hmm… Huh.

Step two… Spread the word.

(U KNOW WHAT’S UP CONTINUES PLAYING)

(CELL PHONES RINGING)

And step three… hustle this panda and squeeze every last loonie outta those kids.

(GIRLS SQUEALING)

(U KNOW WHAT’S UP CONTINUES PLAYING)

And, baby, I did it on my own

Did it on my own

Own

Did it on my own, yeah

You know what’s up

You know it’s us, yeah

You ready?

Here we go

You want it?

I want it

You want it?

I want it

You want it?

I want it

Louder

You want it?

I want it

You want it?

I want it

You want it?

I want it

Give me one, two, three, four

You wanted it, you went for it And, baby, you got it

I wanted it, I went for it And, baby, I did it on my own

Did it on my own

Own Did it on my own

(EXCLAIMING SMUGLY)

Let’s go.

MIRIAM: Yeah!

(PRIYA EXCLAIMING)

(ALL VOCALIZING)

Did it on my…

(MEILIN GASPS)

Oh, no, it’s falling!

MIRIAM: Grab it!

(GIRLS LAUGHING)

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

(WHISTLE BLOWS)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(BEATBOXING)

BOY: Yeah, dude, let’s go! Push it, dude! Come on!

BOY 2: Come on, new guy, just keep on going!

(BOYS PANTING)

Come on, guys, keep going.

(RATTLING)

Check out Number 12. He’s got delts for days.

Forget that. I need lunch. I’m starting to black out!

I think I’m getting carpal tunnel.

No pain, no gain, Priya.

Come on, chop-chop! Five, 10…

Girl, relax.

Yeah. We’re doing our best.

It’s not enough!

The concert’s this Saturday and we’re still a hundred short!

(GROWLS) I knew we should have charged more for photos! Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Mei, breathe. It’s in the bag.

But…

(TUTTING)

What’s the point of getting to the concert if you’re too exhausted to enjoy it?

Now, take a break and help me appreciate some boys.

(CHUCKLES) Okay, okay, okay.

(BOTH SIGH HEAVILY)

BOY: Hey, what’s up?

BOY 2: Mei!

BOY 3: Hey, Mei, what up?

(PRIYA AND MIRIAM WHOOPING)

Looking good!

Nice calves!

Are you a triangle? ‘Cause you acute!

(ALL GIGGLE)

TYLER: You guys are so weird.

Hey!

Are you spying on us?

I wanna talk to you, Lee.

Forget it.

Fine.

Wonder if your mom knows her precious little Mei-Mei has been flaunting the panda all over school.

(GIRLS GASPING)

(MEILIN PANTING)

(POOFS)

That’s none of your business!

(SHRIEKS)

One more step and I’m telling her everything.

Now, put that thing away and hear me out.

(GROWLS IN FRUSTRATION)

What do you want?

I wanna throw a sick birthday party. An epic one.

It’s this Friday.

If you’re there, everyone will come.

Simple as that.

A party?

(SIGHS)

Look, I’ve done you a favor keeping my mouth shut.

All I’m asking for is one back.

Hmm.

I’ll do it.

But it’ll cost you one…

No. Two hundred bucks.

Okay.

Uh, hold, please.

Are you serious? You can’t trust him.

It’s a trap!

This sounds like a boy-girl party.

Are we allowed to boy-girl parties?

Guys! Two hundred bucks will put us over the top!

We have to do this.

We’ll meet at Tyler’s, I’ll do my thing, and then we’ll bounce. Easy-peasy.

Dude, what about your mom?

Forget my mom.

I’ll be back before she even knows I’m gone.

But…

Hey, dorkbag.

We’re in. But you only get the panda for an hour.

And we are not bringing any presents.

Deal.

(DOOR OPENS)

(UTENSILS CLANKING)

Okay, I’m heading off to mathletes. See you later!

Wait, what about dinner? I made all your favorites.

(GASPS SOFTLY)

Thanks, but Miriam’s dad is, uh, ordering pizza. Save me leftovers?

What if I come with you?

Wha…

What are you doing? Linear equations? Geometry?

I have a double-jointed elbow!

Look! I can make a perfect circle!

Wow! Yeah, but it’ll be super boring.

Wouldn’t you rather hang with Dad?

Oh.

Let’s get my flashcards.

But…

JIN: Hmm.

I was mathletes champ in grade 8, you know?

Uh-huh.

They called me the “Uncommon Denominator.”

Cool. Oh, uh, Jade Palace is on tonight.

Can’t miss that, right?

Now, who’s the weak link?

Priya and Abby seem bright enough, but…

Oh, and traffic’s a nightmare.

I can just take the streetcar… you stay and rest.

(INHALES) Miriam… I mean, she’s a nice girl, but maybe she’s slowing you down.

Oh, Mom, you really don’t have to come.

Don’t be silly. We’re already on the way.

(BREATHING NERVOUSLY)

But I don’t want you to!

(GASPS)

(HESITATING)

(LOCK RATTLING)

WOMAN: Chop-chop, everyone. Don’t dawdle.

Hurry up.

(WOMEN CHATTERING)

(CATS YOWLING)

(EXPLOSION)

(UPBEAT TRADITIONAL MUSIC PLAYING)

BOTH: Oh! What…

WOMAN: Hey, cuz! Surprise!

Aunties? What are you doing here?

The ritual, silly.

She’s lost weight.

No, no, she gained weight.

She looks like her mother.

She looks like her father.

GRANDMA: Ladies.

Mother.

Hey, Grandma.

GRANDMA: Poor dear.

It must be so difficult keeping that unruly beast at bay.

Your family is here now, Mei-Mei.

And we will take care of everything.

(CHA CHA SLIDE BY DJ CASPER PLAYING)

Everybody clap your hands

Clap, clap, clap, clap your hands

(COUGHS)

All right, now, we gonna do the basic step…

(GROANS) Where is she?

(CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY)

Who’s up for some Boggle?

AUNT 1: Eat. You need your strength for the ritual.

(AUNTIES FUSSING)

(MUFFLED) Thank you, aunties.

Your hair is so thick, like a pelt.

MING: What a surprise that you all came so early.

You need all the help you can get, Ming.

So, Mei-Mei, you’ve been managing to keep the panda in?

Yep. Totally.

(SCOFFS) Really?

What’s that, Lily?

Well, it’s a little hard to believe that Mei-Mei could control such a beast.

She’s just a child.

It’s true. And if Mei-Mei’s panda is anything like Ming’s…

(ALL GROAN AND SHUDDER)

Mei-Mei’s better than any of us at controlling the panda.

She passed every trigger test. Even the kitten box.

AUNTIES: Oh! LILY: Oh, my goodness!

That’s unbelievable.

Impressive.

She just thinks of my love for her, and it gives her the strength to stay calm.

Exactly.

AUNTIES: Aw.

How sweet.

How sweet.

(YAWNING)

Anyway, thanks for all the gifts, but I think I’ll go to bed early. (CHUCKLES)

Keeping that animal locked down sure takes a lot of energy.

Okay, sweetie. Get some rest.

Night, everyone.

AUNTIES: Good night, Mei-Mei.

Sleep well.

LILY: Get some beauty rest.

AUNT: Get some rest.

(AUNTIES CHATTERING)

(GRUNTING)

Oh!

(GRUNTS)

(GLASS SHATTERS)

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

(DOOR OPENS)

Mei-Mei, can I have a word with you?

Uh, sure. What’s up?

(MYSTERIOUS MUSIC PLAYING)

I found this.

Strange for a girl who hasn’t let her panda out.

It’s, uh… (CHUCKLES)

It’s not mine.

Mei-Mei, I know what you’re doing.

I know how hard it is to keep the beast in.

It feels so good to let it out. So free.

But each time you do, the stronger it gets.

And then you’ll be bound to it forever, and the ritual will fail.

Has that ever happened?

It cannot happen.

(SIGHS)

Your mother and I were close once, but the red panda took that away.

I couldn’t bear to see that happen to you.

So, no more panda.

You are your mother’s whole world, Mei-Mei.

I know you’ll do what’s right.

Uh-uh. Mmm. Mmm!

Uh, worm.

Uh… Octopus!

Spaghetti?

Killer robot!

Mortality.

Hmm. Nice.

(ALL GROANING)

This sucks.

Let’s bail.

Just wait. She’ll be here.

I knew she’d flake.

(DOORBELL CHIMING)

BOY: Panda girl!

(ALL GASP)

GIRL: It’s Mei!

PRIYA: Thank Cthulhu.

(ALL CHATTERING EXCITEDLY)

Ugh. About time.

(PANTING)

Yo! What up, peeps? (LAUGHS)

What are you wearing?

Hey, Tyler. Happy birthday.

I’m paying for the red panda, not this garbage! Deal’s off!

Wait! Can garbage do this? (GRUNTING) Uh-huh.

Or this? Stir the porridge.

Come on, guys! Stir the porridge. (GRUNTS)

Are you feeling okay?

(SIGHS) Guys, it’s hard to explain, but just, hmm…

Just trust me on this.

I can’t panda anymore. I’m sorry.

Okay, okay, okay. It’s fine.

You don’t have to do it.

We’ll just, uh, figure something…

I won’t go.

What? Priya, you can’t not go.

Jesse’s your soul mate.

But we only have enough for three tickets.

Then I’ll stay home.

Abby, no! I’ll stay home.

Guys, if we can’t all go, then none of us should go.

Right?

(MIRIAM SIGHS)

(SENTIMENTAL MUSIC PLAYING)

(ALL SNIFFLING)

(GROWLS)

Just one last time.

Hey, Tyler!

You want the panda? You’re getting the panda.

Let’s hear it for the birthday boy!

(ALL CHEERING)

ALL: Yes!

(BOOTYLICIOUS BY DESTINY’S CHILD PLAYING)

ALL: (CHANTING) Go, Tyler! Go, Tyler!

Go, go, go, Tyler!

Yeah!

MIRIAM: Okay!

(ALL EXCLAIMING)

Yeah! Get it, girl!

Yeah! Oh, yeah!

Oh, yeah!

(ABBY SHOUTING)

(ALL CHEERING)

Faster! Faster! Whoo!

Yeah!

ALL: Yeah!

ALL: Yeah!

You sure the hotel’s all right?

It’ll do. At least breakfast is free.

Get some rest. You look tired.

HELEN: Good night, cuz. Try that tea.

LILY: Good night, Ming.

Good night.

Ming, this is a critical time.

Mei-Mei needs a strong hand, now more than ever.

Don’t let her out of your sight.

I won’t, Mother.

(EXHALES)

Hmm. Oh.

(WIND BLOWING)

(GLASS PIECE SHATTERS)

Oh.

Oh, no.

(GASPS) “Fur baby”?

Oh!

What?

(GASPS)

(GASPING)

What…

(SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC PLAYING)

Mei-Mei. What is all…

(GASPS)

(CHOMPS LOUDLY)

(1 TRUE LOVE BY 4-TOWN PLAYING ON STEREO)

Yeah! We did it! We are seeing 4-Town!

ALL: Whoo!

PRIYA: Yes.

(ALL CHOMPING LOUDLY)

TYLER: Hey, has anyone seen Mei?

(KIDS CHATTERING)

(TYLER GROANS)

Dang. He is working you.

(GROWLS) What a diva!

It’ll all be worth it.

(SIGHS)

Tomorrow, we are walking into that concert girls and coming out women.

(GASPS) Literally goosebumps.

Hmm. What do you think Jesse smells like?

(INHALES DEEPLY)

Milk chocolate and wet rocks.

Wow!

(ABBY GRUNTING)

So manly.

(DEVICE BEEPING)

Oh, yes!

It’s happening, Robaire Junior!

You’re finally gonna meet your daddy!

And your hot uncles!

(LAUGHTER)

What? It’s true.

(ALL SIGH)

Mei, what if you didn’t do the ritual?

What if you kept the panda?

What?

Look at you!

You’re not the same feather-dustin’, straight-A, goody-goody…

Who we never saw, like, ever.

Yeah.

You’re such a rebel now.

Guys, I can’t be like this forever.

My whole family would freak.

Especially my mom.

All her hopes and dreams are pinned on me.

I know. But you’ve really changed and I’m proud of you.

Just don’t get rid of all of it, you know?

Yeah. If it weren’t for you, none of this would be happening.

You the bomb!

Word. You da bomb, Mei.

No, you da bomb.

We all da bomb!

Yes. Yes. Yes!

(LAUGHTER)

MEILIN: We da bomb!

PRIYA: 4-Town, here we come!

MEILIN: Robaire, I love you!

We’re coming for you! We are women!

MIRIAM: We are women!

PRIYA: We are hot!

(ALL ULULATING)

DJ: (ON RADIO) All right, homies, next up is 4-Town.

The boys are coming to Toronto on the 25th!

So get your tickets now.

And check it, they’ll be cranking open the SkyDome and performing under a red lunar eclipse.

It’s gonna be galactic, for sure.

Abby… you said the concert was the 18th.

It is! He’s wrong! Look! The 18th, Toronto!

Uh…

This says Toledo.

What?

(SPEAKING KOREAN)

Toledo? (CONTINUES SPEAKING KOREAN)

(IN ENGLISH) What the heck is Toledo?

Oh, no.

What?

4-Town’s the same night as the ritual?

No!

The same night?

The same night? What? (BREATHING HEAVILY)

Mei, chill.

It’s okay.

No, it isn’t! (PANTING)

I can’t miss 4-Town! We worked so hard!

But the ritual. I’ll let everyone down!

No, no, no!

TYLER: Hey, Panda Girl.

(GROWLS)

What are you doing? We want more rides.

Buzz off, jerkface. I’m busy.

Oh, snap!

You gonna take that, Tyler?

You want your money?

Then get your butt down here now!

Forget your money, and forget you!

Mei! Let’s just go.

(GROWLS)

What about our deal?

Shove your deal!

Fine! Get out of here!

Go back to your psycho mom and your creepy temple, you freak!

(GROWLS AND YELLS)

MIRIAM: Mei, no!

(TYLER GRUNTS)

Take it back!

Don’t talk about my family like that!

You’re hurting him!

Mei!

MING: Mei-Mei, stop!

I hate you! I hate…

What is going on here?

(TYLER SOBBING)

I’m sorry.

Just get off of me. Please.

(KIDS GASPING)

TYLER’S MOM: I cannot believe you would let your daughter do this!

TYLER’S DAD: Do you understand what she did to my boy?

I am so sorry.

She’s never done anything like this before.

I don’t know what came over her.

I don’t want to hear your apologies, okay?

I’m sorry again.

She is an animal!

All right, party’s over! Everyone, go home!

(INDISTINCT MURMURING)

I can’t believe you girls would use her like this!

What?

But we didn’t.

No, we’d never.

What?

I knew you were trouble.

Putting all these thoughts

into Mei-Mei’s head, parading her around.

Now she’s lying, sneaking out.

She attacked a defenseless boy.

You think this is a joke?

Do you know how dangerous this is?

We didn’t mean to, we just wanted to see 4-Town.

4-Town! You manipulated her for a bunch of tacky delinquents?

No! She wanted to…

Don’t you blame her.

She is a good girl, and you’ve taken advantage of her.

Mei, tell her.

What? (SIGHS)

Dude!

Come on, Mei-Mei.

Let’s go.

(PENSIVE MUSIC PLAYING)

(CAR ENGINE STARTS)

GUARD: Will call that way.

(CROWD CHATTERING)

All righty, general admission, eh?

How many tickets?

(MIRIAM SIGHS)

Three, please.

(AUNTIES CHATTERING INDISTINCTLY)

What is that?

Um, I think it’s coming from the SkyDome, Mother.

(SCOFFS) Four is the worst number.

You know, Vivian was due on the fourth, but I held her in until the fifth…

Quiet, Lily.

Hurry up, everyone.

It’s almost time to start the ritual.

Nervous, Mei-Mei?

A little.

Oh, well, I’ve got 50 years’ experience as a shaman. (CHUCKLES)

This will be a piece of cake.

And mostly painless.

(SIGHS) Thanks, Mr. Gao.

Wait, “mostly”?

(GRANDMA CLEARS THROAT)

Long ago, the spirits blessed the women of our family with a great challenge.

Mei-Mei, tonight is your turn.

Like all the women around this table, you too will banish the beast within and finally become your true self.

May Sun Yee guide you and keep you safe.

PING: Hear, hear!

CHEN: That’s right.

Don’t blow it.

Uh… It’s almost time. (CHUCKLES)

The red moon is about to begin.

Mei-Mei, go get ready.

Yes, Mother.

MR. GAO: Oh, where are the instruments?

HELEN: It’s so amazing!

(ALL CHATTERING)

Hmm. Huh?

Jin!

Help clear the table!

Uh-huh.

Uh…

(GRUNTS) Oh!

MIRIAM: (ON VIDEO) Is it on?

(GIRLS CHUCKLING)

4-Town, here we come!

(ABBY GROANS)

JIN: Huh.

ABBY: That’s so gross.

Hmm.

(GIRLS VOCALIZING)

(GIRLS SINGING) Did it on my own

(CHUCKLES)

(PENSIVE MUSIC PLAYING)

I hate you!

(GASPS)

(PANTING)

(WHIMPERS)

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

Come in.

Hey, Dad.

I… I’m almost ready.

Did you make this?

(GIRLS LAUGHING)

Here, I’ll erase it.

(GRUNTS)

What? We were just being stupid.

The panda’s dangerous, outta control.

Huh. You sound like your mother.

What has she told you about her panda?

(SIGHS) Nothing. She won’t talk about it.

It was quite destructive.

(CHUCKLES) And big.

She almost took out half the temple.

You… You saw it?

Only once.

She and your grandma had a terrible fight.

Over what?

Your grandma didn’t approve of me.

But you should’ve seen your mom.

She was incredible.

But I’m a monster.

(JIN SIGHS)

People have all kinds of sides to them, Mei.

And some sides are messy.

The point isn’t to push the bad stuff away, it’s to make room for it, live with it.

Mei, erase it if you want, but this side of you…

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

…made me laugh.

MIRIAM: Dude, you’re crazy!

(GIRLS LAUGHING ON VIDEO)

MIRIAM: Come here!

MING: Mei-Mei.

It’s time.

(MYSTICAL MUSIC PLAYING)

Just follow my directions and breathe.

Now don’t move from the circle.

You understand?

For as long as the red moon shines, the astral realm will be open.

And this circle is the door.

(BOWL CLANGING)

(ALL CHANTING IN CANTONESE)

(IN ENGLISH) What are they saying?

The door will open only if we sing from our hearts.

It doesn’t matter what. I like Tony Bennett, but your grandma, uh, she’s from old school.

Now, focus on their voices.

Let them guide you. (ECHOES)

(CHANTING CONTINUES)

Oh, Sun Yee, revered ancestor, hear us now.

(CHANTING CONTINUES)

MR. GAO: Guide this girl through her inner storm.

(MYSTERIOUS MUSIC PLAYING)

Louder! Louder!

(CHANTING CONTINUES)

And return the red panda spirit from where it came!

(AUNTIES CONTINUE CHANTING)

(MUSIC STOPS)

(WIND BLOWING)

(GASPS)

(ETHEREAL MUSIC PLAYING)

Sun Yee.

(GASPS)

(PORTAL HUMMING)

(GASPS)

(GRUNTING)

(PORTAL BUZZING)

(SCREAMING)

(ALL CONTINUE CHANTING)

(GRUNTING)

(SCREAMING)

(GRUNTS)

(STRAINING)

(SCREAMS)

You can do it. Keep going!

(STRAINING)

(WHIMPERS)

(SENTIMENTAL TRADITIONAL MUSIC PLAYING)

No!

(EXPLOSION)

(GASPS)

(ALL COUGHING)

(SIGHS HAPPILY)

GRANDMA: What happened?

What was that?

Mei-Mei…

(BOTH COUGHING)

HELEN: Is everyone okay?

LILY: Oh, my goodness, I can’t…

Mei-Mei.

It’s okay. We can do it again.

Mei-Mei?

I’m keeping it.

GRANDMA: What did she say?

Keeping it?

I’m keeping it!

LILY: Oh, no!

Mei-Mei!

Stop her!

What are you doing?

Stop, Mei-Mei!

HELEN: Don’t let her go!

MING: No!

(STRAINS) Let go!

What has come over you?

GRANDMA: Stop! Get a hold of her!

Mei-Mei! Stop!

LILY: Don’t do this!

(ALL STRAINING)

MING: Mei-Mei!

No!

(GRUNTS)

I’m going to the concert!

Get back here! (GRUNTS)

Mei-Mei! Stop!

HELEN: A concert?

No!

(ALL CHATTERING)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

(HEART BEATING LOUDLY)

This is a disaster.

Unbelievable. Ming!

Too good to be true.

How could you let this happen?

She’s out of control!

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

Ming, it’s okay.

GRANDMA: Ming! Ming! Answer me!

What are we going to do about this?

How could she?

(MING GROWLING)

(HEART BEATING RAPIDLY)

How could she do this to… her own mother? (ECHOES)

(MING GRUNTS)

(ROARS)

Ming?

(GASPS, SPEAKS CANTONESE)

Mei-Mei!

(EXPLOSION)

(PEOPLE SPEAKING IN CANTONESE)

Excuse me!

(PEOPLE GASPING)

(CAR HORNS HONKING)

(LIVELY MUSIC PLAYING)

(PANTING, GRUNTING)

(CHUCKLES)

(YELLING)

(CROWD CHEERING)

ABBY: Whoo! Yeah!

(ABBY CHEERING IN KOREAN)

4-Town!

(GIRLS EXCLAIMING AND COUGHING)

Mei!

Mei!

You’re here!

What are you doing here?

(PANTING)

I couldn’t do it.

The panda’s a part of me, and you guys are too.

Mei, you threw us under the bus.

I know and I’m sorry.

I’ve been, like, obsessed with my mom’s approval my whole life.

I couldn’t take losing it, but losing you guys feels even worse.

Well, too bad.

‘Cause you did.

(TOY BEEPING)

(MIRIAM GROANS)

Robaire Junior?

She’s been taking care of him 24/7.

No.

And singing him lullabies every night!

No, no, no, I haven’t.

(MUFFLED GRUNTING)

They’re lying.

(TOY BEEPING)

(SIGHS) Here.

Found him at Tyler’s.

(BEEPING)

4-Town forever?

(SIGHS) 4-Town forever.

4-Town forever.

4-Town forever!

Tyler?

(GASPS)

No! Tyler? Who’s Tyler? I don’t know a…

You are a 4-Townie?

(ALL CHEERING)

No! Stop!

MIRIAM: No way!

Yeah!

PRIYA: Welcome to the sisterhood!

TYLER: Whatever, dorks.

(CHUCKLES AWKWARDLY) Cut it out!

Your mom must have gone nuclear.

Who cares? What’s she gonna do?

Ground me?

(LAUGHTER)

(FOOTSTEPS THUDDING)

CROWD: (CHANTING) 4-Town! 4-Town! 4-Town! 4-Town! 4-Town!

(CHANTING CONTINUES)

Let’s go!

Is it starting? It’s starting!

(ALL SQUEALING)

Guys, hold me.

CROWD: Four, three, two, one!

ANNOUNCER: Are you ready?

(POP MUSIC PLAYING)

Oh, my gosh!

TYLER: Yeah! Z!

I love you, man!

Yeah! Yeah!

(EXCLAIMS)

(KISSES)

Yes! Jesse!

Toronto! Who knows what’s up?

(CROWD CHEERING)

(ALL GASP)

Yes! (SOBBING)

(POP MUSIC CONTINUES)

(SINGING) You want it?

(SINGING) I want it

You want it?

I want it

You want it?

I want it

Give me one, two, three, four

You wanted it You went for it

And, baby, you got it

(ALL SOBBING, GASPING)

I wanted it I went for it

(ALL SCREAMING)

And, baby, I did it on my own

Did it on my own

Own

Did it on my own

(GASPING)

MING: Mei-Mei!

(GASPS)

(MIC FEEDBACK)

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

(ALL SCREAMING)

No way!

BOY: Is this part of the show?

GIRL: Is this special effects?

(4-TOWN WHIMPERING)

Help! Help!

(ANGRILY) Mei-Mei!

Where are you?

Mom?

Mei-Mei!

(SCREAMS)

(MING GRUNTS)

(4-TOWN SCREAMING)

I want a refund.

What’s her problem?

ALL: Mei!

(GRUNTS)

(GRUNTS)

BOY: It was just getting good!

GIRL: This isn’t cool.

JIN: Mei! Mei!

Dad?

We have to save your mother!

She’s gone loco!

Mei, we have to do the ritual again.

What happened? She’s huge!

I told you she was big!

That big?

Mei-Mei!

(MEILIN GASPS)

HELEN: Ming! She’s your daughter!

Mei!

Let her go!

Don’t hurt her!

You are in big trouble, young lady!

Mom! Let go!

I’m shutting this down, right now!

(4-TOWN YELPING)

Everyone, go home!

Where are your parents?

Put some clothes on!

This isn’t you!

This is me!

(ROARS)

(SCREAMING)

GRANDMA: Mei-Mei!

Mei! Are you hurt?

(MEILIN PANTING)

I’m not your little Mei-Mei anymore!

I lied, Mom!

What?

It was my idea to hustle the panda.

My idea to go to Tyler’s party!

It was all me!

I like boys!

I like loud music!

I like gyrating!

I’m 13! Deal with it!

(PANTING)

(GROWLS)

(ROARING)

The ritual. Everyone in position.

Mei-Mei, keep her busy.

Oh, I’ll keep her busy.

Where’s Jin? Jin!

(PANTING) Mei! Keep her in the circle!

Get back here!

MEILIN: Make me!

MING: You think you’re so mature!

Lying to me!

Blaming me!

How could you be so, so… crass?

(CHUCKLES SMUGLY) Oh! That’s nothing!

You wanna see crass?

(GRUNTING)

(HIP-HOP MUSIC PLAYING)

What are you doing?

You like that? Yes!

Stop moving like that!

What’s wrong?

Is this bothering you?

Stop it!

Yeah, Mei!

Destroy her with your big butt!

ALL: Yeah! Go, go, go!

Start singing now!

Ladies!

(ALL CHANTING IN CANTONESE)

(MEILIN GRUNTING)

MING: Stop!

(BUZZING)

Sing louder!

CHEN: We’re trying.

MING: Stop it!

Let’s get out of here!

(GASPS) Come on!

Huh? Take it, Mom! Take it!

No!

(GRUNTING)

Stop it! Stop!

(YELLS)

(GRUNTS)

All I wanted…

(SNARLS)

…was to go to a concert!

I never went to concerts!

I put my family first!

I tried to be a good daughter!

(GROWLS)

Well, sorry I’m not perfect!

Sorry I’m not good enough!

And sorry I’ll never be like you!

(GRUNTS)

(MING GROANS)

(YELLS)

(GRUNTS AND GROANS)

(MING GROANING)

MEILIN: (GASPS) Oh, no!

Mom… Mom!

(COUGHING, GASPS)

(AUNTIES GROANING AND COUGHING)

(GASPS)

No!

(PANTING) Mom! You have to get in the circle!

(STRAINING)

Wake up!

I’m sorry!

Mom? Come on.

Please!

(MEILIN STRAINING)

(MING BREATHING HEAVILY)

(INHALES DEEPLY)

Sun Yee, give me strength.

(GRUNTS)

(ALL GASP)

(GRUNTS)

Pull, Mei-Mei!

(GASPS) Grandma?

I am not losing my daughter.

Don’t just stand there!

(AUNTIES GRUNT)

(AUNTIES GRUNTING)

(TRINKETS CLINKING)

(ALL GROWLING)

CHEN: Make room for your elders, Mei-Mei!

What?

PING: We’re with you!

But what are you doing? What if you can’t turn back?

HELEN: Your mom needs us!

LILY: She’s family!

Less talking, more pulling!

This fur is so itchy!

Quiet, Lily!

(GRUNTING)

(ALL STRAINING)

(ALL CHANTING IN CANTONESE)

(IN ENGLISH) Louder!

Sing from the heart!

Louder! The circle isn’t working!

(ALL CONTINUE CHANTING LOUDLY)

(BEATBOXING)

(ALL BEATBOXING)

(4-TOWN SINGING U KNOW WHAT’S UP)

Never met nobody

Nobody

(GASPS LOUDLY)

Never met, never met, never met

Like

You

(AUNTIES CHANTING IN CANTONESE)

(4-TOWN SINGING IN ENGLISH)

(POP MUSIC PLAYING)

Get up

I never met nobody

(ALL SINGING ALONG) Like you

(AUNTIES CONTINUE CHANTING)

(SINGING) Had friends and I’ve had buddies

(ALL GASPING AND CHEERING)

It’s true

But they don’t turn my tummy The way you do

I’ve never met nobody like you

You’re never not on my mind Oh, my, oh, my

I’m never not by your side Your side, your side

I’m never gonna let you cry Oh, cry, don’t cry

I’ll never not be your ride or die

All right!

(GASP ECHOES)

(PANTS) Huh?

Mom? Mom!

(SOBBING IN DISTANCE)

(GASPS)

(PANTING)

(SOBBING)

Mom? Are you okay? We have to…

(GASPS) Mom?

I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.

(SOBBING)

What happened?

I… I hurt her.

Who?

My mom!

I got so angry, and I lost control.

I’m just so sick of being perfect!

I’m never gonna be good enough for her.

Or anyone.

(CONTINUES SOBBING)

I know it feels that way.

Like, all the time.

But… it isn’t true.

Come on.

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

(SNIFFLES)

Really? I could explode at any moment.

We have to find them.

Where are they?

Finally.

PING: Hurry, hurry!

LILY: Where have you been? Come on!

Let’s get the lead out!

GRANDMA: Ladies.

(GRANDMA SIGHS)

(SIGHS)

I’m sorry.

GRANDMA: Shh!

You don’t have to apologize.

I’m your mother.

(SIGHS)

May Sun Yee guide you and keep you safe.

One at a time, ladies. And quickly.

CHEN: That’s it?

Mei-Mei’s keeping the panda?

It’s her life. Now move.

(MYSTICAL MUSIC PLAYING)

(MEILIN GASPS)

Go ahead. It’s okay.

(SOFT TRADITIONAL MUSIC PLAYING)

No.

Mei-Mei, please. Just come with me.

I’m changing, Mom.

I’m finally figuring out who I am.

But… (GASPS SOFTLY)

I’m scared it’ll take me away from you.

Me too.

I see you, Mei-Mei.

You try to make everyone happy, but are so hard on yourself.

And if I taught you that…

I’m sorry.

So, don’t hold back.

For anyone.

The farther you go, the prouder I’ll be.

(ETHEREAL MUSIC PLAYING)

I’m not going to regret this, am I?

I’m Meilin Lee, and ever since I turned 13, life’s been a lot.

People still talk about Pandapocalypse 2002.

Mom and I just call it… growing pains.

(TOY BEEPING)

(SIGHS) This thing’s hungry all the time.

Eat up, little one. Oh, you’re so hungry.

Munch, munch, munch.

What?

Mr. Gao had to put her panda in something.

You should see Grandma’s.

(LAUGHS)

Hmph! So unlucky.

(BOTH BREATHING DEEPLY)

You ready?

Let’s do this.

Hello! Welcome to our temple!

What up, Toronto!

Get in here!

Yes, come on in.

And things at the temple have never been better.

O-M-G! That looks so cute!

Our temple is the oldest in Toronto.

And the only one that’s home to the great red panda.

Say “bamboo leaves!”

TOURISTS: Bamboo leaves!

MIRIAM: Mei!

Hey!

Guys!

PRIYA: What’s up?

Bring it in!

(ALL ULULATING)

Ready to get your karaoke on?

Totally.

Bye, Mom! Bye, Dad!

Hold on. You’re not going out like that, are you?

(SCOFFS) My panda, my choice, Mom.

(CHUCKLES) I’ll be back before dinner, okay?

(SIGHS) Fine. Oh, um…

You’re welcome to join us.

(GASPS) For Mr. Lee’s cooking?

Uh, yeah!

We’re so there.

Don’t load up on junk.

Thanks for covering for me, Dad.

Have fun!

ABBY: And I’ll beatbox. And I can bleach my hair, too.

(GIGGLES)

MEILIN: And, yeah… sometimes I miss how things were, but nothing stays the same forever.

O-M-G! I’m so excited for the new album.

We’ve all got an inner beast.

(MING SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY)

MEILIN: We’ve all got a messy, loud, weird part of ourselves hidden away.

And a lot of us never let it out.

But I did.

How about you?

(NOBODY LIKE U BY 4-TOWN PLAYING)

Oh, yeah

I’ve never met nobody like you

Had friends and I’ve had buddies

It’s true

But they don’t turn my tummy The way you do

I’ve never met nobody like you

Yeah

You’re never not on my mind Oh, my, oh, my

I’m never not by your side Your side, your side

I’m never gonna let you cry Oh, cry, don’t cry

I’ll never not be your ride or die

All right

Let’s call it what it is It’s a masterpiece

Got a whole lotta love for them city streets

Tonight is the place to be

Got a big boom box and a new CD

Come on!

Everybody, let’s tear it up

If you want mad skills You can share with us

Everybody just stop and stare

And you know why, it’s me Robaire

Woo!

Unh!

Let’s go!

You’re never not on my mind Oh, my, oh, my

I’m never not by your side Your side, your side

I’m never gonna let you cry Oh, cry, don’t cry

I’ll never not be your ride or die

All right

Like you

Like you

Like you

Like you, like you

Like you

Like you

Like you, like you

I’ve never met nobody like you

Had friends and I’ve had buddies

It’s true

But they don’t turn my tummy The way you do

I’ve never met nobody like you

You’re never not on my mind Oh, my, oh, my

I’m never not by your side Your side, your side

I’m never gonna let you cry Oh, cry, don’t cry

I’ll never not be your ride or die

All right

(1 TRUE LOVE BY 4-TOWN PLAYING)

Ooh

Yeah

Yeah

Heavy rain from my cloudy eye

Every time you say

That it isn’t why I used to call you babe

But you’re the light of my life

I drove by your house 29 times today

And nobody else could make me feel this way

Nobody else

Nobody else, nobody

‘Cause you’ve opened my eyes and stolen my heart

You make me believe that love can be hard

And I can never survive a minute apart

You are my one true love

My one true love

My heaven above

My one true love

Heavy rain on a Saturday

When you said my name in the saddest way

Nothing numbs the pain

You’re still the light of my life

I drove by your house 10,000 times last year

Nobody else wanted to dry my tears

Nobody else

Nobody else, nobody else

‘Cause you’ve opened my eyes and stolen my heart

You make me believe that love can be hard

And I can never survive a minute apart

You are my one true love

My one true love

My heaven above

My one true love

Yeah

Yeah

Nobody else

(U KNOW WHAT’S UP BY 4-TOWN PLAYING)

You know what’s up

You know it’s us, yeah

You wanted it, you went for it

And baby, you got it

You know what’s up

You wanted it, you went for it

You know it’s us, yeah

I’m gonna make it all the way Just watch me

I’m gonna hustle every day

Ooh-oh

I’m making paper like it’s origami

I only came to win the game Can’t stop me

You wanted it, you went for it

And baby, you got it

I wanted it, I went for it

And, baby, I did it on my own

Did it on my own

Own

Did it on my own

You know what’s up

You know it’s us, yeah

Ladies and gentlemen, listen up.

I’m gonna ask you a few questions, and I just want you to be honest with me.

You want those shoes?

You want that shirt?

You want that car?

You want that purse?

I’m gonna need you to convince me.

You ready? Here we go.

You want it?

I want it.

You want it?

I want it.

You want it?

I want it.

Louder.

You want it?

I want it.

You want it?

I want it.

You want it?

I want it.

Gimme one, two, three, four…

You wanted it, you went for it And baby, you got it

I wanted it, I went for it And baby, I did it on my own

Did it on my own

Own

Did it on my own

Yeah

Whoo!

You know what’s up

You know it’s us, yeah

You wanted it, you went for it

And baby, you got it

You know what’s up

You wanted it, you went for it

You know it’s us, yeah

All right, all right

Whoo!

(UPBEAT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC PLAYING)

MEILIN: Dad?

(JIN HUMMING)

Dad?

Have you seen my CD?

(U KNOW WHAT’S UP BY 4-TOWN PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS)

(SCATTING AND SINGING ALONG)

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