A funky electric-piano riff plays. Close-up on Doug Ford’s face pans out to reveal him dressed in sweat pants, flip-flops and an Argos jersey with the sleeves cut off, as he reclines on a couch, eating cold pizza. SportsCentre blares in the background.
Doug Ford: You get to this point where you think life just doesn’t get any better. And then you meet someone and suddenly everything changes.
A funky drumbeat joins the electric piano. Cut to Margaret Atwood, surrounded by books, reading glasses perched on her nose as she stares at the galleys of a soon-to-be-published great literary work.
Margaret Atwood: You think you’ve got this whole narrative thing figured out, and then life throws a plot twist that sends you reeling.
Dissolve to Doug Ford and Margaret Atwood, walking arm in arm through Queen’s Park in autumnal splendour. A cyclist cruises past. Ford sticks out his arm and then, making a gagging face, pantomimes the cyclist getting clotheslined. Atwood chuckles and playfully punches him in the chest in an “oh stop” manner.
Margaret Atwood: When I first met him, I thought he was a boor … a dim-witted rube … a philistine, in the Ancient Hebrew sense.
Doug Ford: I once said I wouldn’t know her if she passed me on the street. But I would have stopped, that’s for sure. I probably would have honked.
Soulful humming joins the piano and drumbeat. The tempo quickens. Atwood and Ford now walk through Victoria College at U of T. As students hurry past, the couple lingers in front Old Vic, a masterpiece of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Atwood points at a second-floor window.
Margaret Atwood: I showed him the classroom where Northrop Frye taught his famous graduate seminar on synecdoche and he said it was the first time in his life he’d ever heard that word. I just found that so sexy.
Doug Ford: She has this adorable attachment to places that should be turned into condos.
Atwood and Ford arrive at a fancy Annex dinner party.
Margaret Atwood: When you meet that special someone, you wonder, “What are my friends going to think?”
A nervous Ford shakes hands with Stephen Lewis, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Adrienne Clarkson, and John Ralston Saul, who wears one of his trademark fedoras.
Doug Ford: All night you’re worried about saying the right thing and using the right spoon.
Dinner is served. John Ralston Saul, hat still on, pontificates while a nervous Doug Ford eats soup with a fork. The guests hang on Ralston Saul’s every word, then clap when he is finished.
Doug Ford: But then you realize, if this is true love she’ll accept me for who I am.
Dessert. Ford, now wearing Ralston Saul’s fedora, mocks the philosopher’s pomposity and mincing affectation, then frisbees the hat into the fireplace. Guests erupt with laughter. Stephen Lewis high fives Ford as Ralston Saul seethes.
Margaret Atwood: A funny thing happens after you fall in love ...
Cut to a lingerie football match. The camera pans down the offensive line of athletic but shapely women and lands on Atwood, who is playing tight end.
Margaret Atwood: …you realize you’re not the same person you were before.
The quarterback yells “Hike!” and Atwood is tackled by a busty blond.
The camera returns to Doug Ford reclined on the couch, wearing the Argos shirt, cold pizza in hand.
Doug Ford: Isn’t looking for someone who’s exactly the same as you the same as the same staring in the mirror?
The camera pans out, revealing rows and rows of bookshelves until Atwood comes into view, curled up next to Ford, her feet perched affectionately on his lap.
They are in the Northern Elms public library, where Ford has installed a 62-inch plasma TV. Atwood teasingly swipes the clicker and switches to The Agenda with Steve Paikin.
Doug Ford: Gimme that!
Margaret Atwood [playfully] You’ll have to take it by force…
Fade to black.
Special to The Globe and Mail