Treatment for "Cupcake"
Tony Rossetti is a baker who owns a thriving bakery in Pasadena, California. He and his 12 year-old daughter Jenny and his grandmother live upstairs from the bakery. One day Jenny brings home a note saying that her teacher wants to talk to him. Gina is a well-meaning and concerned teacher and she tells Tony that Jenny may have an eating problem. She’s addicted to sweets and it’s becoming quite a severe problem. Jenny is an overweight twelve year-old, and it’s a touchy topic for single parent Tony to broach with Jenny. Tony is a recovering alcoholic himself, and feels guilt over the fact that Jenny probably inherited her addictive behavior from him.
Tony enlists the help of Gina to help him and Jenny get through this touchy pre-adolescent issue. Tony thinks that if she had something else in her life to occupy her, she might not need to turn to sweets as something to satisfy her. Unfortunately, instead of something simple like joining a club or group, Jenny is dead set on winning the lead role in the school’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.” Gina and Tony are horrified that Jenny has chosen something they are sure she will fail at, but they agree that the best course of action is to support her.
Tony also decides that the best way to show Jenny that addictions are nothing to be ashamed of is to openly ‘work the steps’ of the 12 step program he’s in. He’s been on step 8 for years. He has three last amends to make to people before he can finally move on to the next step.
Tony has been battling self-esteem issues for years. He is treated like an ill-educated, blue collar toy boy by the upper class women who frequent his bakery. But after getting closer to Gina, he starts to see his worth and no longer responds to the seductive charms of the snotty women who use him for fun when they get bored. He tackles his first amends, to his own cousin Felix. Felix is intelligent and funny, but a bit of a slacker. He’s managed to finish trade school so he can be a plumber, despite the fact that he has zero interest in the field. He needs the money. But he has to pass the licensing exam first.
Jenny rehearses her part for the audition, and she gets pretty good. But she’s tired a lot, always sucking down sugary drinks. Tony puts his foot down and insists that the family starts to eat more healthy. Grandma agrees to cook less fried foods, but her passive aggressive nature leads her to undermine Tony and sneak Jenny off to McDonald’s before dinner as a treat after their nearly daily visit to the thrift stores. Tony thinks that Jenny is doing better, he’s been curbing her intake of the goodies and pastries in the shop below.
However, Jenny quickly learns that the way to get her fix is to sneak food when no one is looking. Tony soon realizes that she’s not getting better, she’s just getting sneakier. In desperation he admits to her that he’s a recovering alcoholic and takes her to the AA meetings he’s been attending on the sly for nine years. Jenny thinks the AA gang are a bunch of losers, and she’s upset that Tony considers himself part of that group.
At the crucial “Alice in Wonderland” audition, Jenny is disoriented and passes out. It turns out that Jenny has diabetes. Tony feels more guilt. He’s been making Jenny feel bad about being lazy and always drinking sugary drinks and it turns out tiredness and extreme thirst are symptoms of the diabetes. Felix says that she’s lucky – she has the type that doesn’t need shots and can be controlled with diet. That’s a knife into Tony’s heart. He knows her addiction is out of control.
Tony does his last two amends to people he’s hurt in the past. He already has a low opinion of himself, and lately everyone else as been agreeing with him. Again, Gina helps Tony see how incredibly worthy he is and she doesn’t let him back away from her like he tries to do. She and Tony become more than friends. Jenny finds her niche in an after school program, and Tony is grateful. It appears that at last she is taking her disease and addiction seriously, she seems on the road to recovery. But in the end it is clear that Tony has total control over his addiction, but Jenny does not.
The theme of “Cupcake” is that you cannot control someone else’s addiction -- even if you have the best intentions.