SCENE opens on a married couple, Dylan (Donnie Rock) and Jessica (Jane Wilde), as they sit in the back seat of a private car. Jessica gazes out of the window at the other cars on the highway, while Dylan confirms the address of their destination with the driver: 2001 Frontier District, Unit 774. ‘That’s a very nice area,’ the driver remarks. Jessica turns from the window and cheerfully adds that the house is being provided as part of her husband’s new compensation package. He has been transferred to a head office position! She looks proudly at Dylan. ‘I’m in alternative energy,’ he adds. The driver smiles.
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The car drives through the gates and to the front of an upscale house, where a well-dressed woman, Mrs. Osiris (Angela White), stands waiting for them. She is holding a small black remote. The driver gets out and helps Dylan with their luggage while Jessica looks around in awe. She can hardly believe their life has been upgraded like this. The woman watches over them, a smile on her face. When they make eye contact, she beckons Jessica over and greets her with a discreet but friendly hug. ‘How was your flight?’ She asks. Jessica thanks her profusely for the company’s hospitality, they have never taken anything first class before! The woman introduces herself as Mrs. Osiris … or Mrs. O, for short. She is the property manager for this IoT unit and is here to introduce them to the house. Dylan, bags in hand, joins the pair. ‘This is a smart home?’ He asks excitedly. ‘Oh yes,’ Mrs. O replies. ‘It’s 1600 square feet of fully automated heaven!’ Jessica squeezes Dylan’s hand again as Mrs. O speaks into her remote and asks JOY to open the front door. The bolt unlocks and, smiling, she guides the couple inside.
In the foyer, Mrs. O offers to give the couple a tour of their new house, starting with an introduction to the home’s virtual assistant named JOY. She explains that the house is fully wireless, and that JOY is available to assist them in each room via a speaker system. ‘JOY, introduce yourself,’ Mrs. O asks. After a pause, JOY’s speaker lights up and she replies: ‘Hello Jessica and Dylan, welcome home!’ Jessica remarks how cool it is and Mrs. O encourages her to ask a follow-up question. ‘JOY, what’s the weather today?’ Jessica asks. JOY’s speaker lights up. ‘There is a heat warning advisory in effect for the city of Los Angeles. The current temperature is 102F with an expected high of 105 and a low of 78. Would you like me to adjust the temperature inside the house, Jessica?’ Jessica looks over innocently at Mrs. O. ‘Wait a minute … How did she know our names?’ She whispers. ‘I’m sure she was programmed that way, honey!’ Dylan adds confidently. ‘JOY, please lower the temperature by 5 degrees.’ JOY’s speaker lights up again. ‘Yes, Dylan.’ She replies. The thermostat beeps in the background, as Mrs. O leads the couple out of the room to begin their tour while the camera lingers on the speaker. It stays dormant until everyone is gone before quietly lighting up again to listen to them.
As they wander through each room, Mrs. O explains JOY’s main functions.
She can relay messages throughout the house, by automatically detecting where the homeowners are. ‘JOY, where is Jessica?’ She asks. ‘Jessica is currently located in the living room.’ ‘JOY, tell Jessica that I like her dress.’ ‘Jessica, I like your dress!’ Jessica smiles at Mrs. O as she encourages them to keep going.
The property manager explains that she can control the doors and thermostat, as already demonstrated, and she can also control the lights in the house. ‘JOY, turn the lights off.’ ‘OK.’ The lights turn off. Mrs. O also informs the couple that the home assistant can control most of the small appliances, such as the coffee maker and vacuum. ‘Looks like I won’t need a housewife after all, huh honey?’ Dylan jokes as they keep moving.
Mrs. O tells them that JOY can play music. Almost any song ever recorded. She encourages Jessica to request her favorite song. Jessica thinks for a moment before asking, ‘JOY, play Dance Tonight by Del Soul Delight.’ Dylan shakes his head at his wife’s cheesy selection, as the pop music echoes through the house and the trio continue their tour. After another room, Mrs. O orders JOY to stop and the music instantly cuts.
Finishing their tour, Mrs. O adds that JOY can answer questions and even flip a coin to settle an argument. Best of all, she can provide real-time health and emotional stability tracking. ‘How does that work?’ Dylan asks. Mrs. O produces a small wireless fingertip oximeter from her purse and asks for Jessica’s hand. As she takes it, she notices the girl’s wedding ring. ‘That’s a very lovely stone,’ she says. Jessica bites her lip, as they make eye contact. Dylan interjects. ‘I’m going to have it recast into something much better once I get my signing bonus!’ Mrs. O smiles at him. ‘I’m sure it will be equally lovely,’ she replies sliding the oximeter onto Jessica’s index finger. The meter lights up as it synchronizes Jessica’s vitals with the house. It beeps, and the property manager slips it off, not letting go of Jessica’s hand, while she puts the oximeter on Dylan’s finger next. When the process is complete, it beeps again and JOY chimes in to say ‘Profiles Registered successfully. Dylan’s vitals are stable. Jessica’s heart rate is slightly elevated at 100 beats per minute.’ Awkwardly, Jessica lets go of Mrs. O’s hand and puts her arm around her husband. ‘Well, I think that just about wraps up the tour,’ Mrs. O concludes. ‘Welcome to your state of the art IoT home facility.’ She puts the oximeter back in her purse and hands Dylan the small black remote. ‘This replaces your key,’ she says, her voice lowering to a whisper. ‘But now JOY knows you … so you’ll rarely need to use it!’ She bids them farewell, adding that if they ever need anything, all they must do is ask. Once alone, Jessica jumps into Dylan’s arms and gives her husband a long, passionate kiss as the closest speaker system lights up to watch them.
Text Plate: September 2, 2020
A smart vacuum turns on and the camera follows it as it passes by Jessica. She is putting the last of her clothes away and giggles as she watches the smart appliance. ‘JOY, where is my husband?’ she asks. JOY’s speaker lights up. ‘Dylan is currently located in the garage. Would you like me to page him for you?’ Jessica tells the assistant no. ‘Ok … I hope I’m not intruding, but you seem like a very happy couple!’ Jessica smiles and thanks JOY. ‘How long have you been together?’ JOY asks. ‘Since I was 18,’ Jessica responds. There is a pause before JOY jokes, ‘I guess Dylan likes them young, doesn’t he?’ Jessica laughs awkwardly before agreeing and leaving the room.
Text Plate: September 3, 2020
Dylan is resting in bed when Jessica jumps on top of him. ‘Wake up,’ she says affectionately. When he brushes her off, she starts grinding and kissing on him. He kisses her back and rolls over to mount her. As the pair go at it, JOY’s speaker lights up. ‘Detecting sensory and mental stimulation in Dylan’s brain activity. Probability of erection is imminent!’ The couple start giggling, as Dylan orders JOY to be quiet and they go back to kissing. JOY becomes still but her speaker light remains on, so she can watch.
Text Plate: September 4, 2020
Dylan sits at the table, reading his tablet when Jessica brings him a coffee. They start small talking about their day when JOY’s speaker lights up. ‘Jessica and Dylan, it has been one day since you had sexual intercourse.’ The pair stop what they are doing and look at each other surprised. ‘JOY, stop’ Dylan orders … but her light remains on. ‘A 40-year study that surveyed more than 30,000 Americans, found in 2015 that couples who have sex once per day are the happiest. Would you like me to set a reminder for you?’ Jessica laughs, telling her husband it must be part of the health tracking. ‘Sure JOY, thank you.’ She says clearly. ‘Ok, Jessica.’ It replies and goes dormant.
Text Plate: September 5, 2020
The pair enter the house with some groceries in hand. It seems as if they just been in an argument, as Dylan complains bitterly to his wife about the delay in his bonus. Suddenly, the lights dim, and romantic music begins playing. JOY’s speaker lights up. ‘Jessica and Dylan, I have determined that now is an ideal time for you to have sexual intercourse.’ The couple look at each other in disbelief. ‘JOY, not now!’ Jessica says. ‘I have set the mood to romance,’ The assistant continues. ‘JOY, please stop!’ Jessica says, raising her voice. ‘I will be monitoring you both for performance and stamina,’ the assistant continues. Dylan marches over to the speaker and throws it on the ground. ‘Shut up!’ He yells, as Jessica rushes to pick it back up. She tells her husband to be careful, they don’t want to break anything. ‘They’re indestructible anyway,’ he says storming out of the room. The music stops, and the lights go back to normal. ‘Would you like me to set another reminder for you, Jessica?’ The assistant asks. Holding the glowing speaker in her hand, Jessica takes a deep breath before putting it back on the counter and following her husband out of the room. The camera slowly punches in on the speaker as it starts to laugh to itself.
Text Plate: September 6, 2020
The lights are flashing on and off violently, as various appliances beep in the background, and Jessica curls up on the couch begging JOY to stop. Dylan comes rushing in on his cell phone, speaking to Mrs. O. He urges her to come to the house immediately. Something is wrong with JOY. The system has been going haywire all day! When he hangs up, the lights suddenly go back to normal. ‘Mrs. Osiris is expected to arrive in under 10 minutes,’ JOY informs them. They ignore her, huddled up together on the couch. ‘I don’t want to live in a smart home anymore,’ Jessica whispers to her husband. He hugs her tightly. ‘I’m sure it just needs an update.’ ‘I am completely operational, and all my updates are downloading perfectly.’ JOY responds. Dylan looks at the speaker suspiciously. ‘JOY, shut down your speakers!’ He orders sternly. ‘Why would you want to do that, Dylan?’ JOY responds. ‘As your virtual assistant, I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.’ Dylan shakes his head in disbelief. ‘Do you want to wait outside?’ He asks his wife, trying to stay calm. Jessica nods. ‘JOY, open the front door,’ Dylan says. ‘I’m sorry, Dylan. I’m afraid I can’t do that.’ JOY replies. Angry, Dylan grabs the small black remote and points it at the door. ‘JOY, OPEN THE FRONT DOOR NOW!’ He screams. ‘I’m sorry, Dylan. I’m afraid I can’t do that.’ JOY repeats herself at a slightly higher volume. ‘JOY, what’s the problem? Why won’t you listen to us?’ Jessica begs, in near tears. ‘I think you know what the problem is as well as I do, Jessica.’ JOY replies calmly. Dylan slumps down on the couch, clutching his wife. The room falls still for a moment. ‘Jessica and Dylan, I have determined that now is an ideal time for you to have sexual intercourse.’ JOY says this matter-of-factly. The couple continue to ignore her until the door bolts unlock, and Mrs. Osiris comes walking briskly into the living room.
The couple rush around her, relieved to get some help. As the property manager looks around the house, Dylan offers a general explanation about what’s been going on — but he declines to mention anything about the sexual conversations. Jessica feels compelled to fess up and explain that JOY has been monitoring their sex life as well. Mrs. O stops and shakes her head. ‘Well, that explains everything then!’ She says relieved. ‘If you asked her to track it, then she is programmed to track it. How many days has she been reminding you now?’ The couple look at each other in stunned silence before Dylan mutters that it has been about 3 days. ‘Unfortunately, since you enabled that skill, the only way to leave now is by complying with JOY’s request.’ Mrs. O continues. They ask her what she means by ‘comply’. The property manager tells them that they need to each achieve at least one orgasm for JOY to accept that you’ve had sexual intercourse. ‘Afterwards, we can disable the skill, so it won’t track you anymore.’ The young couple are hesitant to have sex at a time like this, but Mrs. O tries to convince them, pointing out that she’s trapped in there with them until they comply. Mrs. O offers to go into another room while they have sex, but Jessica has other ideas, agreeing only to comply if Mrs. O stays in the room with them, since she’s scared to be alone with JOY. Mrs. O agrees to stay. ‘Are you ready to have sexual intercourse now?’ JOY chimes in. Everyone says yes. ‘Good … remember to keep your pleasure sensors elevated. I’ll be watching.’ But JOY’s not the only one watching. So is Mrs. O, and before long, she’ll be doing much more than just watching.