Isaac "Ike" Davis
- [voiceover] "Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion." Uh, no, make that: "He-he . . . romanticized it all out of proportion." Yeah. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black-and-white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin." Uh, no let me start this over. "Chapter One. He was too romantic about Manhattan as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic. To him, New York meant beautiful women and street-smart guys who seemed to know all the angles." Nah, corny, too corny for a man of my taste [He clears his throat.] Let me - let me try and make it more profound. "Chapter One. He adored New York City. To him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. The same lack of individual integrity that cause so many people to take the easy way out was rapidly turning the town of his dreams in-" No, it's gonna be too preachy. I mean, you know, let's face it, I wanna sell some books here. "Chapter One. He adored New York City, although to him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. How hard it was to exist in a society desensitized by drugs, loud music, television, crime, garbage." Too angry. I don't wanna be angry. "Chapter One. He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat." I love this. "New York was his town, and it always would be."
- (Offscreen) An idea for a short story about um people in Manhattan who uh are constantly creating these real, uh, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves 'cause it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about, uh, the universe. (The camera pulls back, revealing Ike, sprawled out on his couch, holding the recorder's microphone to his mouth. He continues to talk, fiddling with the microphone's wire as he thinks out loud.) (Into the microphone, sighing) Um, tsch-it's, uh . . . well, it has to be optimistic. Well, alright, why is life worth living? That's a very good question. (Sighing) Um. (Clearing his throat, then sighing again) Well, there are certain things I-I guess that make it worthwhile. (Sighing) Uh, like what? (Sighing again and scratching his neck) Okay. Um, for me . . . (Sighing) uh, ooh, I would say . . . what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing . . . uh, ummmm, and (Sighing) Willie Mays and um, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, and ummmm... (Exhaling) Louie Armstrong's recording of "Potato Head Blues" . . . (Sighing) umm, Swedish movies, naturally . . . Sentimental Education by Flaubert . . . uh, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra . . . (Sighing) ummm, those incredible apples and pears by Cézanne . . . (Sighing) uh, the crabs at Sam Wo's . . . uh, Tracy's face.
- This is so antiseptic. It's empty. Why do you think this is funny? You're going by audience reaction? This is an audience that's raised on television, their standards have been systematically lowered over the years. These guys sit in front of their sets and the gamma rays eat the white cells of their brains out!
- You rely too much on the brain. The brain is the most overrated organ.
- [to Yale and Emily Pollack and Tracy] Talent is luck. The important thing in life is courage.
- [to Yale Pollack] You shouldn't ask me for advice. When it comes to relationships with women, I'm the winner of the August Strindberg Award.
- [to Tracy] I think that people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.
- I can't express anger. That's my problem. I internalize everything. I just grow a tumor instead.
- She's 17. I'm 42, and she's 17. I'm older than her father, can you believe that? I'm dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father.
- [to Mary Wilke] You know a lot of geniuses, y'know. You should meet some stupid people once in a while, y'know, you could learn something.
- [to Mary Wilke] I had a mad impulse to throw you down on the lunar surface and commit interstellar perversion.
- [to Yale Pollack] What are you telling me, that you're, you're, you're gonna leave Emily, is this true? And, and run away with the, the, the winner of the Zelda Fitzgerald emotional maturity award?
- [to Isaac Davis] It's just gossip, you know. Gossip is the new pornography.
- [to Isaac Davis] Not everybody gets corrupted. You've got to have faith in people.
- Female Party Guest: I finally had an orgasm, and my doctor told me it was the wrong kind.
- Isaac: Did you have the wrong kind? Really? I've never had the wrong kind, ever. My worst one was right on the money.
- Isaac: Has anybody read that Nazis are gonna march in New Jersey? Ya know? I read it in the newspaper. We should go down there, get some guys together, ya know, get some bricks and baseball bats, and really explain things to 'em.
- Party Guest: There was this devastating satirical piece on that on the op-ed page of the Times, just devastating.
- Isaac: Whoa, whoa. A satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks and baseball bats really gets right to the point of it.
- Party Guest Helen: Oh, but really biting satire is always better than physical force.
- Isaac: No, physical force is always better with Nazis.
- Mary: You don't need a male. Two mothers are absolutely fine.
- Isaac: Really? Because I always feel very few people survive one mother.
- Mary: I guess I should straighten my life out, huh? I mean, Donnie my analyst is always telling me---
- Isaac: You call your analyst Donnie?
- Mary: Yeah, I call him Donnie.
- Isaac: Donnie, your analyst? I call mine Dr. Chomsky, you know? Either that or he hits me with a ruler.
- Mary: Don't psychoanalyze me. I pay a doctor for that.
- Isaac: Hey, you call that guy that you talk to a doctor? I mean, you don't get suspicious when your analyst calls you at home at three in the morning and weeps into the telephone?
- Mary: Alright, so he's unorthodox. He's a highly qualified doctor.
- Isaac: He done a great job on you, you know? Your self-esteem is a notch below Kafka.
- Isaac: What kind of dog do you have?
- Mary: The worst. It's a dachshund. You know, it's a penis substitute for me.
- Isaac: I would've thought then in your case it would've been a Great Dane.
- Mary: I'm honest, what do you want? I say what's on my mind and if you can't take it, well then fuck off!
- Isaac: And I like the way you express yourself too, you know? It's pithy yet degenerate. You get many dates?
- Yale: You are so self-righteous, you know. I mean we're just people. We're just human beings, you know? You think you're God.
- Isaac: I . . . I gotta model myself after someone.
- Woody Allen - Isaac Davis
- Diane Keaton - Mary Wilke
- Michael Murphy - Yale Pollack
- Mariel Hemingway - Tracy
- Meryl Streep - Jill Davis
- Anne Byrne - Emily Pollack
- Wallace Shawn - Jeremiah
- Karen Ludwig - Connie
- Charles Levin, Karen Allen, and David Rasche as Television actors
- Mark Linn-Baker and Frances Conroy as Shakespearean actors