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Mr. Cantwell
Science

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(Ep 12 - "Pottery Will Get You Nowhere")

cantwell The surface of the earth may look stable, but it's in constant motion, shifted by molten forces below. The shapes of our continents, so familiar to us today, will shift and reform like so much pond scum.
Mr. Cantwell had such a rosy view of the miracles of science.
For example, scientists estimate that in a mere two million years, the United States, which now looks like this...will look like this.
It was a horrifing thought - our once-proud nation... shaped...like a wiener-dog.
(Bell rings.)
Lights up. Tomorrow, Section 6, of "Our Changing Planet", "Earthquake and Cataclysm - Man's Dalliance with Death". Have a nice day...
*

Tokyo earthquake, 1923. Three hundred thousand buildings completely demolished. 140,000 people crushed or burnt to death. One minute, a thriving metropolis. The next minute - bingo, a hellish nightmare of death and devastation. Bodies twisted and broken beyond recognition.
(Kevin raises his hand.)
Kevin?
That kind of thing couldn't happen here, could it?
Oh, it couldn't, hmmm? That would be a comforting thought, wouldn't it? But is it accurate? Is it scientific? Hmmm? Who can tell me where the most-devastating earthquake in the last two-hundred years took place, hmmm? 1811, Missouri. One minute, a peaceful plain of small towns and rolling farmland. The next minute - bingo, a hellish nightmare of death and devastation. Bodies twisted and broken beyond recognition.

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(Ep 14 - "Hiroshima, Mon Frere")

cantwell And so we conclude Section 7 of "Our Dying Planet". Any questions? Very well. Next week we turn to Section 8, "Radiation and Mutation - What are the Risks?". We will explore the proposition that your generation may very well be the first to experience the widespread, uh, widespread - can you read that word?
Uh, it looks like "cancer".
Oh, yes, of course. Widespread cancer sure to follow nuclear industrial accidents.
Hey, Sunshine, don't sugar coat it - we can take it.
And now, on a lighter note, let's turn to our science projects on pollutants and toxic waste. Miss Clark, Miss Rodino, are you prepared?
What are we gonna do?
I don't know.
We pour in the hazardous waste here, let it stand overnight, and then we study the ecological impact on wildlife, and their environment.
Well, he's gonna call on us!
I could understand Paul's concern. Our project was due today. But hey, all we really needed was conclusion, and uh, a theory, and maybe a test subject. Another week or so to finish.
Mr. Arnold, Mr. Pfeiffer...
Uh, we need a little more time to -
I see. Are you having a...problem?
Uh, our results have been, um, uh...inconclusive.
Very well. But I'll expect to see something on Monday morning. You understand?
Yes, sir.
Now, smog and noise pollution. Mr. Fisher, are you prepared?

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(Ep 27 - "Mom Wars")

(Norma has just driven by Kevin's football game.)
Funny. She'd never driven by here before.
(Hobson stuffs the ball in Kevin's chest.)
OK. Your ball. First-and-ten.
Still, Mom would never spy on me. So she must have had...some other reason.
(Cut to Mr. Cantwell's science class.)
Instinct - the biological imperative. What makes this salmon fight her way through hostile currents, only to lay her eggs and die, her energy spent?
Maybe she was picking up your dad's dry-cleaning.
Huh?
Your mom.
cantwell This courageous mallard, facing certain annihilation, defends her young against a venomous predator.
I just hope she doesn't talk to my mom.
Look, Paul...it's no big deal, OK?
At least I hoped not.
Ever vigilant of our harsh and murderous environment, a cougar drags her cub to safety.
OK, but if you think we should stop playing...
(Kevin frowns.)
Hey! It was just a suggestion.
Look, we're not doing anything wrong, OK?
I just hate to think what my mom would do to me if she found out.
What are you so afraid of?
Of course, there are cases of instinct gone berserk.
(A seagull sits on her young.)

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(Ep 31 - "The Pimple")

Growing up in the suburbs, in the '60's, you were pretty much sheltered from the forces of change unleashed by the outside world. But what about the forces of change unleashed from within?
*

Nature, a harsh mistress. A planet which appears to be engulfed in a blue-green gown of tranquility, is in reality a swirling mass of matter, in the constant throes of transition.
This girl had a crush on you?
Yeah, well...in kindergarten.
And she's coming to your house?
Maybe I was bragging, but I knew Paul would appreciate my good fortune.
Oh man. I'd be worried.
Worried?
What if something goes wrong?
Wrong? Paul, what could possibly go wrong?
For centuries man has tried to predict when and where nature will wreak her havoc. With no success.
I don't know, it just sounds to good to be true. I mean, things like this don't...just happen.
Apparently Cantwell and Paul shared the same world view.
Things fall apart.
*

Hey - wait a second. This was no whisker! This was doom. This was disaster. This was -
A zit.
And not just any zit.
A zit!
*

cantwell
I had to get my mind off this thing.
Krakatoa. For years a harmless sleeping giant of a volcano, rising 6,000 feet above the quiet waters of Indonesia. Boom! Untold tons of rock and ash disgorged into the atmosphere. Man, the hapless victim of catastrophic change.
Yep! That was me, alright.
Boom!
*

...pressure...building up from subterranean depths, magmatic eruptions beneath the Earth's fragile surface.
By the next day, it was no longer a question of whether this pimple was gonna go away - it was a question of how much bigger it was gonna get!
Titanic eruptions, eventually capable of supporting life, the mineral-rich lava giving rise to thick vegetation.
Well, no sign of vegetation. Yet.
Have you tried steaming your face in lemon water?
Huh?
No, really! Mom said the best way to get rid of facial blemishes is hot towels and steaming lemon water.
Lemon water?
Yeah, it works every time.
Really, it worked for you?
Well...frowns)...I never really...well - had a pimple.
Well how would you know anything about getting rid of them, huh? (Frowns.)
Hey, I was just trying to help, OK?
Yeah, well it's the stupidest thing I ever heard. (Frowns.)
Boom!

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(Ep 34 - "Don't You Know Anything About Women?")

But the search for that one person to ride beside you in life is serious business. Especially when you're thirteen. It's a matter of trial, error...and pure dumb luck.
(Cut to Mr. Cantwell's science class. Mr. Cantwell is in a fire-proof suit, as he pours a green liquid into a beaker.)
And of course...chemistry.
(There is a small explosion. Mr. Cantwell removes the hood of his suit.)
Do not try this at home.
Ah, chemistry.
(Kevin smiles and glances toward Susan.)
Nothin' like it.
Proceed with you experiment. Remember - observation is the key.
Uh-huh, there was lots to be learned by observing Susan Fisher.
Miss Fisher...will you please read from your laboratory manual?
The following experiment is one involvin' sodium and chloride - the basic components of salt.
Susan spanned the entire periodic table of elements. She was gorgeous, exotic...and thanks to Donald Wallach, totally unavailable. Still, something about the way that woman said...
Sodium chloride precipitate.
That set my blood boilin'.
(A hand holds a large beaker under Kevin's nose. He frowns.)
Hey!
(Linda as she moves back to her spot, smiling.)
Pay attention or you'll get burned. (Smiles.)
Linda Sloan, on the other hand, was my, well...lab partner.
I was paying attention.
Sure you were...
cantwell She was smart, funny...and comfortable.
Mix your precipitates, and stand back.
Think we're ready for this?
(Sighs) As we'll ever be...
No question about it - Linda was really, really...
(Linda pours the liquid. There is not much chemical reaction. They look at each other and frown.)
A great guy.
Here it goes!
(Donald and Susan's experiment fizzes out of the beaker. They smile.)
Maybe next time.
Sure.
But in chemistry, as in life...the realities are clear. Some combinations make sparks...some don't.

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(Ep 40 - "Night Out")

(Cantwell's science class. Kevin and Winnie sit side-by-side at a table. Paul is behind them. A science film is playing.)
The horny toad. A voracious predator. Devouring the innocent...
(Kevin and Winnie look at each other nervously.)
...the harmless...the defenseless.
So..Friday night, huh, guys? It's gonna be great!
Uh-huh. Great!
(Shot of an ant getting eaten.)
Look out, little angel.
You know, Winnie, we really haven't talked about this.
Talked about what?
The party. I mean...you really want to go?
I said I did. Don't you?
Well...I guess so. (Gestures.)
What do you mean - "I guess so"? (Shrugs.)
Well I mean -
(Kevin turns toward Winnie. She turns away.)
OK, this was getting out of hand. I mean, weren't we on the same side, here?
I just want to do what you want to do.
Then you're saying you don't want to go?
(The horny toad snatches a bug with its long tongue.)
Woops.
No!
I don't know...(she glances up and sighs)...lets's just go and get it over with!
"Get it over with"? What did she mean by that?
What are you saying?
It's just that, everyone expects us to go, so, we should go.
Oh. So...we're going...
If you think we should.
Y'I do. (Gestures.)
Then we should go.
Fine. Then we'll go.
Great!
cantwell Great!
So we finally agreed. As a couple. Ready or not, we were on our way to makeout central.
Note how the tongue darts like lightning.
(A a chameleon sucks up a bug.)
Flick!
(Kevin is looking at the screen, then down, and frowns.)
Yeah! This was gonna be some fun.

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cantwell The death of galaxies. The collapse of stars. The destruction of the universe as we know it.
Somehow I understood just where this guy was coming from.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
My world was ending. The girl next door was moving away.
Poof!


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(Ep 51 - "It's A Mad, Mad, Madeline World")

(Watching a science class film. Close-up of a fly in a spider's web, then the spider.)
Behold. The hunted, struggling against hope. Behold the hunter...mandibles dripping. A sad and macabre dance of death. Whatever can Miss Spider be thinking?
I wasn't sure. But I had a pretty good idea.
Kev? You're alright?
Sure. Fine.
But I wasn't. I needed help. Guidance.
I lost my ID bracelet! The one Winnie gave me. I'm seeing her tonight...
You lost it?!
Oh...I left it somewhere.
Where?
Just somewhere...
Heck. No need to delve into the details for a little crummy advice.
So, what do you think I should do?
There is only one thing to do!
As if I didn't know what his answer would be - Be truthful! Be honest!
Get another one!
What?!
Consider the alternatives!
Death.
(The spider has nearly completed his meal, the fly.)
Dismemberment. Total extinction.

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(Ep 57 - "Heartbreak")

Things grow old and die. This week will be continuing our study of paleontology. Specifically, the extinction of species. Very sad.
cantwell Fact is, by the middle of ninth grade, life had become pretty routine. No shocks, no surprises.
Class, this week we will be conducting a joint field trip with Lincoln Junior High.
Just the occasional miracle.
We'll go to the natural history museum to gaze upon the bleached bones of animals which have preceded us into extinction.
Scientifically, it meant one thing.
Winnie gets to go with us!
Oh, right. Cool!
It will be gobs of fun.
*

(In the parked bus.)
I feel sick.
...eleven...twelve - what's that?
Well, maybe I'd better run and use the restroom, sir. Can I?
Alright, Mr. Porter. But don't come back if you're really ill.
Crude, but effective.
*

(At the museum's dinosaur exhibit.)
They lived in a world long forgotten. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...I give you species dinosaurus. Behind me - Camthisaurus and Arthrodemis. They make a cute couple, don't they?
Still, standing there hand-in-hand with my girl...it felt like the good old days.
For 150 million years the dinosaur was king of his domain. Then, quite suddenly - phhhht! Fertilizer.
*

(Still at the dinosaur exhibit.)
...a weakness, a vulnerability unknown to the dinosaur. ...unknown to us 64 million years later...
Winnie?
...what led to its utter demise...
Who are they?
Just some friends from class. That's Marsha and Sean...
Are you going to spend the whole day waving at them?
Oops!
I mean, I just thought we were here together, you know?
I know, I'm sorry.
People, follow me to the next room. Please, no stragglers.

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(Ep 68 - "Graduation")

(In class. Kevin has learned Paul is going to prep school next year.)
Kevin, it's not the end of the world.
cantwell Armageddon...the final frontier...the splitting of atoms...the tearing apart of nature's closest bond. Let's take a look.
OK, I was mad. I felt lost. My best friend had betrayed me. So, of course, there was really only one thing to say.
So...got your...polo outfit all picked out?
What? (Frowns.)
Maybe you should start smoking a pipe. That'd be pretty stupid.
Yep. Thought I'd be real adult about this.
And you'll need some new underwear. I hear all those guys wear pink.
Please...I need your complete attention.
But I didn't care - I was on a roll.
One word of advice, prep-man...
Kevin...I don't have to take this.
Whatever you do...never...ever...let 'em see you eat spaghetti.
(Students giggle.)
OK...I've had enough!
(He stands up, then Kevin stands up.)
Oh, yeah? What are ya gonna do about it?
(Mr. Cantwell pours one beaker into another.)
Gentlemen, please - control yourselves. (Frowns.)
But suddenly, I knew what I had to do. The lasting thing. The caring thing.
(Kevin draws back and hits Paul.)
Ugh!
(Paul falls backward onto his chair. Mr. Cantwell pours one beaker into the other, looks at Kevin and Paul, then looks at the beakers in shock as one starts to foam and overflow. He sets them down.)
Oh...golly!
(He crouches behind the table, raising his arms over his head.)
And with that...
(Shot of the empty hallway as an explosion is heard, and smoke pours from the doors into the hallway. Sound of a fire alarm, and students enter the hallway from the smoking doorway.)
Ninth-grade ended...with a bang.

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12/06/98 13:30