It's late August 2001, and Larry's Diner is packed with jangly parents and their poker-faced kids who are making their annual drives to the colleges and universities in southern New York state. Lou and Fran Petrillo, newcomers to this ritual, are smoothing the way for their daughter, Jenn, as best they cannot that Jenn thinks she needs any help. She's desperate to leave her blue-collar roots back in Buffalo and start living a life that neither of her parents can imagine. Also at Larry's are Chuck Feldman and his youngest son, Evan, the Petrillos' wealthy neighbors. With his cellphone seemingly plastered to his ear, Chuck struggles to run his business without further alienating his sonthe distant Evanwho sits directly across from him. Through it all, waitress Paula and short-order cook, Peach, serve and clean up after the people who cycle through the diner knowing that, with each passing year, their ability to leave their small New York town dwindles. As Jenn and Evan pick their way through an awkward and thorny goodbye, Fran and Chuck navigate uneasy emotional waters of their own. But it's not until May 2002 when Lou and Fran discover how deeply Jenn's freshman year at college has affected their lives, their marriage and their world. Short Order Stories is a time-shifting comic dramaa meditation on familial obligation, social class, friendship and love.
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