Batman and Robin.
Abbott and Costello.
Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Lewis and Clark.
Penn and Teller.
Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Butch and Sundance.
Orville and Wilbur.

 Would any of these famous pairs have become as memorable if they had decided to go solo instead of working with a partner? This month’s lesson plans are all about the pros, cons, joys and woes of collaborations.

TABLE TOPICSbutchandsundance

These discussion questions provide a good foundation prior to choosing which exercises to try first.

1. What tasks (including homework!) do you prefer to do by yourself? Which ones do you prefer to do with a partner?
2. What historical pair do you most admire and why? What were the respective skill sets they brought to the partnership?
3. What fictional pair do you most admire and why? What are the respective skill sets they bring to the partnership?
4. If you could choose any famous person to be your business partner, who would it be and what would your pitch be to get them to say “yes”?
5. Would you ever go into partnership with your best friend? Why or why not?
6. Would you ever go into partnership with a sibling or other relative? Why or why not?
7. Are partners more effective if they are exactly alike or if they are polar opposites? Explain your answer and provide examples.



As part of a new rotational training program, it has been decided that everyone in Column A needs to choose a partner from Column B for a three-month special assignment.

Column A:

Jane Rizzoli (Rizzoli and Isles)
Maura Isles (Rizzoli and Isles)
Sonny Crockett (Miami Vice)
Tubs (Miami Vice)
Agent J (Men in Black)
Agent K (Men in Black)
Seeley Booth (Bones)
Bones Brennan (Bones)
Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes)*
Joan Watson (Sherlock Holmes)*

(*The latest version starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu)

Column B

David Starsky (Starsky and Hutch)
Hutch Hutchinson (Starsky and Hutch)
Fox Mulder (The X Files)
Dana Scully (The X Files)
Christine Cagney (Cagney and Lacey)
Mary Beth Lacey (Cagney and Lacey)
Nick Burkhardt (Grimm)
Hank Griffin (Grimm)
Nicole Scott (Missing)
Jess Mastriani (Missing)

Your assignment: Identify your new pair from the columns above. Decide what type of case they will be working on together. Write two pages of dialogue that reflect their initial meeting with one another.



What happens when two curmudgeons from the days of vaudeville are forced to work together after decades of not speaking to one another? Has absence made the heart grow fonder…or only fueled an ugly rift and created even deeper resentments? Such was the premise of playwright Neil Simon’s 1972 comedy, The Sunshine Boys (later adapted to film). Imagine if the same thing happened to a superhero and his/her estranged sidekick.

Your assignment: Once upon a time, your two caped characters were the only thing keeping the city safe from the world’s arch villains. And then they inexplicably split up. Did one of them get tired of always being second banana? Did an oversized ego make the other one insufferable to work with? Or was it something/someone else that came between them? Whatever the reason, their talents are once more needed to save the day. In a two-page film treatment, (1) tell us who they are, (2) why they parted company, (3) who/what reunites them, and (4) how the passage of years impacts the internal and external conflicts now facing them.



The 1804 journey of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took two years, four months and ten days. It may have seemed like much, much longer, though, if they really started getting on each other’s nerves.

Your assignment: It’s late at night in the woods, the campfire has all but burned down, and everyone has gone to sleep so as to be well rested for the next day’s adventures. Well, almost everyone is asleep. Sacajawea is repairing a hole in one of her moccasins when she is approached by either Lewis or Clark (your choice). Write a three-page scene in which he expresses his vexations with his fellow explorer and suggests to her that it could be a way cooler media spin (book deals, product endorsements, etc.) if she was officially his partner instead.



When you’re relying on the generosity of others to fund your dream, you sometimes have to agree to conditions that aren’t entirely to your liking. Like working with a partner. A partner who is younger than you are. Quite a bit younger.

Your assignment: Each of the following luminaries has been given the green light to proceed on the quests for which they will one day become famous. Unfortunately, they have also been ordered to make their benefactor’s 10 year old niece or nephew a full partner in the endeavor. Choose a real-life person from the following list and write a two-page scene that reflects the first incident in which the junior partner disagrees with the way things are being done:

Christopher Columbus
Amelia Earhart
Billie Jean King
Albert Einstein
Ruth Wakefield
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Juliette Gordon Low
Henry Ford
Gloria Steinem
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Julia Child



What happens when a teen pop star’s fame starts to wane? If you’re the singer’s agent and you want to keep your job, maybe it’s time for a snappy reinvention…as a duet. Even better, pairing the heartthrob with a “seasoned” icon seems a sure-fire way to reach a cross-over market. Now if only you could convince them it’s the only solution to jump-start their respective careers.

Your assignment: Choose any teen pop star and any music icon who is at least 40 years older. Write a three page scene in which your lead character – the agent – pitches the idea of the partnership as well as a list of suggested songs they could record.


ChristinaHamlettAs part of my ongoing commitment to supply great lesson plans for today’s classrooms, I always enjoy getting feedback on how the material is used and what kind of new content you’d like to see in future columns. I’m also happy to answer any questions related to specific problems your students may be struggling with. Just drop me a note at [email protected] or through my website at

Former actress/director Christina Hamlett is an award winning author, professional script consultant, and ghostwriter. Her credits to date include 26 books, 144 plays for young actors, and 5 optioned feature films.