Season 4 Narrations
(Ep 47 - "Growing Up")
That summer of nineteen-seventy my brother bought a car. My sister had been accepted into college. And I French-kissed Winnie Cooper under the bleachers at the Fourth of July fireworks. Things were changing. Sometimes it seemed like the whole world was exploding with new ideas. Reaching out for new experiences. Seeing through new eyes.
(The guys watch a girl, lying face-down, untie her bikini top.)
Adolescence. It's never a pretty sight.
WALTER: She wants us..she definitely wants us!
PAUL: Us? (Frowns.) Why us?
"Why us?" The battle-cry of the 14-year-old. Things were confusing, alright. Sometimes even crazy. Still, I wasn't crazy. Just...in love. Winnie and I had survived the summer of long-distance romance. In fact, her move across town had brought a new depth to our relationship. We shared everything, now that she was wearing my ring. Hopes, dreams...big plans. Yep, these were golden moments - in a golden summer. When every day was perfect, and you knew it would go on forever.
JACK: Don't ever get old, Kev.
I wasn't sure whether he meant me, or him. I guess we both knew it didn't really matter. We didn't have a choice. Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves...for growing up.
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(Ep 48 - "Ninth-Grade Man")
Once upon a time life was simple. Evolutionarily speaking. Then, things began to change. The competition got tougher. There were winners...and losers. The struggle continued. Then in the fall of nineteen-seventy, a new creature appeared...the likes of which had never been seen before. Noble, upright, virtuous. Ninth-grade man. Master of all he surveyed. Which in this case was Woody's Pizza Barn where the elite went to meet. Yep, by the last week of summer I was feeling pretty good about myself.
Ninth-grade man. Noble, upright, virtuous. I went into my last year of junior high thinking I knew all the answers. And suddenly all I had were questions. Plus a dislocated thumb. It's funny. I remembered the time when I knew who I was. But that was eight hours ago. Suddenly I felt on the outside, looking in. Looking for...Winnie. I wanted to tell her everything, every bit of it. All the setbacks, all the screw-ups. Heck. I knew she'd understand. After all when you're fourteen, you can't always put words to life. All I knew was...I felt home again.
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(Ep 49 - "The Journey")
Adolescence is a battle. A life-or-death mission into hostile territory. You tiptoe through minefields. Dodge bullets. Try to do the right thing...in a crazy time. But war has another side. The noble side. Forging friendships between improbable comrades. Uniting men. Bringing together the good...the bad...
(Sounds of a sports whistle. Cut to gym.)
MR. CUTLIP: Men, listen up! Today...we're going to educate your hearts, your minds...and your bodies.
PAUL: Uh-oh. (Frowns.)
MR. CUTLIP: You'll need...cat-like reflexes...nerves of steel. Most of all...intestinal fortitude. "I" - "E"...guts.
Along around ninth grade, one thing was clear. In the battle of growing up...junior high school was basic training. Not that any of us had actually enlisted in this army. Still, we'd learned one thing. We'd learned how to survive.
MR. CUTLIP: Who's next? (Frowns.)
(Paul grabs Kevin by the shoulders and moves him ahead in line.)
It was all a matter of balance. Poise. Keeping your head down. Avoiding the war. Until, that is...
(Kevin is knocked off the beam and falls on his back.)
The war came to you.
The events of battle are never quite clear. Smoke obscures the battlefield. Things get confused. Only later did historians sort out the facts. It's enough to say that that night...we met the enemy. Face to face. And the rest...is history.
RANDY: The old man! Scatter!
But it was an honorable retreat. In some way we couldn't exactly express...we'd accomplished our mission. We'd done what we had to do. By the time we got back together...our adventure had become an epic.
PAUL:...babes. Oh my god, the father...at least...(gestures)...three hundred pounds...
KEVIN: And he had a shot gun. Gestures.) I swear he had a shot-gun.
We were entitled to a little exaggeration. Every soldier is. After all, if growing up is war, then those friends who grew up with you deserve a special respect. The ones who stuck by you, shoulder-to-shoulder, in a time when nothing is certain. When all life lay ahead. And every road led home.
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(Ep 50 - "Cost of Living")
Every Sunday night, once the dishes were cleared...my father would referee a battle between his income, and his outgo. And from the looks of it...the outgo packed some pretty fair punches. Spectators who knew the circuit laid low. By the time the final blow had landed, that old income would be reduced to such a measly balance...that in our house we had a word for that negligible chunk of change.
There's the word. "Allowance". The lifeblood of adolescence. The fine line between expectation...and reality. Not to imply that we weren't grateful for Dad's largesse. We just...weren't. But when it came to taking pity on our financial lifestyles...Dad was impervious.
JACK: Ya know what the problem with you boys is? (Frowns.) You don't understand the value of a dollar. When I was you're age...(Nods.) I had to walk to school! Thirty miles! Blizzards! Outdoor plumbing!
Under a barrage of this magnitude...resistance was futile. Still, no sense looking a gift horse in the mouth. Especially one the size of my father. No gettin' around it...the buck stopped here. I mean, hey...you can't squeeze sympathy from a stone.
Here I was, up to my knees in mud, while my work-a-day Dad was about to carry off the prize. It was the easiest putt he'd had all day. And he missed it by a good three feet. But that wasn't all. He missed the next one, too. And somehow, all of a sudden...I understood why. That day...I realized something from this man...that I was trying so hard not to be like. He understood the value of money. And the cost of it. I guess Dad knew he could lose a game, and still not lose his manhood. His pride didn't hinge on a stupid shot. Or some shiny new clubs. And I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to use my money for.
KEVIN: Dad! Can I buy you lunch? (Frowns.)
JACK: Whatever you say, Kev. (Smiles.)
It was the first time I ever really said "thank you" to the man...for all he'd given me.
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(Ep 51 - "It's A Mad, Mad, Madeline World")
You start out life with a clean slate. Then you begin to make your mark. You face decisions, make choices. You keep moving forward. But sooner or later there comes a time where you look back over where you've been. And wonder who you really are. Winnie Cooper and I knew who we were. A couple. Together. Forever. In a world full of twists and turns...we found our way. Of course we had our occasional misunderstandings. Still...somehow we always managed to work things out. Yep. We were solid, and nothing could come between us. Not time, not distance...not even raw temptation. Madeline Adams. On the first day of school she kissed me...unexpectedly and without provocation...full on the lips. Not that it bothered me exactly. Still, I made it a point to keep my distance. In fact, I hadn't said a word to her since.
MADELINE: Hi, Kevin! (Smiles.)
(Kevin misses the chair and falls down.)
At least not an intelligible word...
KEVIN: Excuse me. Sir? I need an ID bracelet. Do you have any?
JEWELER: Yes, over here, please.
Now this was the ticket. Why hadn't I thought of this before? Heh, it was only for one night! And finally things were back to normal. Sure, I made a few missteps. But now everything was gonna be fine. I acted in the nick of time. Covered my tracks. Reclaimed the good name of...Kevin Amold?! A fungus in the Petri dish of life? I'd fallen victim to a fatal combination - poor penmanship, haste and a nearsighted jeweler. And that's when I knew. There was only one thing to do and only one way to do it. The moment had come. I was gonna ask, and, if necessary, demand that she give my bracelet back! This was what I should have done all along. Heck, I was no mold, I was Kevin Arnold. I knew what I wanted. I knew exactly what I was gonna say. And I was gonna say it...right to her front door.
(Fade to the movies. Kevin looks uneasy.)
There is nothing that compares to a good movie. The plot...the music...the total darkness. So far that night I'd kept Winnie from noticing the bracelet I wasn't wearing. But I knew sooner or later...I was gonna have to come clean. Or delay as long as I could. OK, I was chicken. I needed time. Time to think. Time to plan.
(Kevin sees Madeline entering.)
Time to bid life goodbye. But at that moment I knew leaving wouldn't solve the problem. There was no escape from this. I had reached the dead end.
Life is a series of twists and turns. Things don't always turn out the way you have expected. Still, that night I knew I turned a corner. As for the future I wasn't worried. I had my girl, had my good name back, and I was gonna keep it locked on. Forever.
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(Ep 52 - "Little Debbie")
Every generation has its idols. Guys who were our heroes. Guys who defined "cool". Guys who drive chicks crazy. My generation produced a ton of these guys. The Beatles...Mick Jagger...and, of course...Yours Truly. OK, so I didn't have a Top 10 single. I did have the one thing every teen idol needs.
DEBBIE (Sighs): Hi...
A fan. Debbie Pfeiffer, Paul's little sister. Debbie was a seventh-grader now, and, to put it mildly, she thought I put the moon in the sky...and told the stars to shine. It was kinda flattering, I guess. It was also kinda...nauseating. And the worst thing was...no matter how hard I tried to ignore it...it...wouldn't ignore me. Not to seem insensative, but a man of my years had more important things to think about, than moony little girls. Things like...
CHEERLEADERS: "S"..."P"..."I"..."R"..."I"...T". Go...Wildcats!
Around the halls of RFK, morale was at an all-time high. For the guys, anyway. Football fever was in the air. There was, of course, a reason.
(One particular cheerleader seems well-endowed in the sweater area.)
Make that two reasons.
Deanna Delgado. Synonymous with...
Deanna inspired us. Like the Statue of Liberty. Or the Bill of Rights.
(Debbie and Kevin enter the dance. She is holding his arm.)
I had only one option left. If I couldn't escape...maybe I could just blend in with the crowd.
(Two rows of kids look at them as a big "ta-da" of music blares and a spotlight swings around. A woman speaks into a microphone.)
WOMAN: Miss Deborah Cecile Pfeiffer, escorted by Kevin Arnold.
(Debbie smiles, and Kevin looks slightly shocked. Another "ta-da" of music, and the band plays a bit of "introduction" music as Debbie and Kevin step forward between the rows of kids.)
No autographs. Please.
(Cut to "later" in the refreshment line.)
DEBBIE: Are you having a good time?
KEVIN: Uh, yeah. Great.
Over the next hour-and-a-half, I was starting to feel like...a prized heifer.
PUNCH WOMAN: My, what a fine catch!
Or, a two-hundred pound marlin. And through it all, little Debbie was stuck to my side. Like glue.
(Kevin reaches for a cookie.)
DEBBIE: Not like that.
DEBBIE: Use the tongs, silly. (Smiles.)
KEVIN: Oh. Yeah. (Smiles.) Right.
DEBBIE: It all looks so beautiful, doesn't it? I mean, I feel so lucky. (Smiles.)
Which she was. Still, I'd made up my mind. I was gonna make the best of this - come hell or high water.
WOMAN on PA: And now everyone...it's time for our Sweetheart Waltz.
And then the rains came.
WOMAN: And leading us off will be Deborah Pfeiffer and Kevin Arnold.
DEBBIE: See, I told you I felt lucky! (Smiles.)
There was just one small problem here - I didn't know how to waltz.
(Debbie grabs Kevin's hand and pulls him onto the dance floor.)
DEBBIE: Come on!
So, in front of two hundred thousand gawking seventh-graders...I prepared to make a fool of myself.
(They start to dance, somewhat woodenly.)
It was humiliating. There I was...Kevin Arnold, teen hero...stumbling like a lame duck through the single longest waltz in recorded history.
(Debbie counts silently and nods slightly to Kevin.)
And to make matters worse, I was being led through it, step by clumsy step...by a little girl.
(Fade to later as more couples are dancing.)
But at least now the hard part was over.
(The music winds down, and most kids clap gently.)
Now, finally...little Debbie would realize her hero had two left feet - both of them clay.
DEBBIE: Kevin you were great! (Smiles.)
KEVIN: Huh? (Frowns.)
DEBBIE: Oh, Kevin, this must be the most wonderful night of my life! I mean, who would have thought - you and me waltzing! I feel just like...
(She pulls her glasses off.)
DEBBIE: Cinderella. (Smiles.)
That's when I knew, once and for all...Debbie Pfeiffer's love for me...
(Debbie looks up and squints.)
WOMAN on PA: Ladies and gentlemen...don't forget that souvenir pictures are being taken under the trellis. (Gestures.)
DEBBIE: Do you want to have our picture taken?
Faced with such untarnished emotion...such completely undeserved adoration...I knew what I had to do.
KEVIN: I'm gonna go get some punch.
Sure, maybe it was brutal...but it was time she faced the truth.
(Fade to outside at the pool.)
I sat there...angry at Debbie, angry at Paul, angry at myself. I was tired of being idolized. Sick of being a hero. For an instant...I'd toyed with the idea of walking the mile-and-a-half across town to join the guys.
DEBBIE: Kevin? Where'd you go? I've been looking all over for you.
KEVIN: Uh...I, uh...I had to get some air. (Gestures.)
DEBBIE: You don't want to have your picture taken with me, do you?
KEVIN: No. Debbie, that's not it.
DEBBIE: I guess the whole thing was just pretty stupid.
(She starts to cry. She takes off her glasses and rubs her eyes. She sniffs and rubs her ear, knocking off an earring. They watch it fall into the pool.)
I don't really know what came over me next. Maybe it was the hurt in her eyes. And maybe it was because I knew I had put it there.
(Kevin dives into the pool and grabs the earring just as it is about to fall in the drain. Kevin swims to the side, and takes a few steps in front of Debbie, who is smiling in mild disbelief.)
Or maybe it just boiled down to one thing.
KEVIN: You dropped this.
But I knew it was more than that.
(Kevin looks toward the music in the background.)
KEVIN: You want to dance?
DEBBIE: Sure. (Smiles.)
Heck - I was no Superman. Not really, anyway. But if Debbie Pfeiffer needed a hero...so be it. She had plenty of time to grow up, and figure it out on her own. After all, a little stardust in the eyes never hurt anybody. Least of all, me. As for Mr. Pfeiffer's five dollars...we put it to good use. We got the eight-by-ten, and a dozen wallet-size.
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(Ep 53 - "The Ties That Bind")
Before my parents were "Mom" and "Dad"...they were Norma and Jack. Or, so the story goes. Back then, they didn't have much. So they got by on what they had - each other. Somewhere along the way, though...hearts and flowers gave way to other things. Guess it kinda took 'em by surprise. So, like any couple of their generation...they did what they had to do - they became...parents. Providers.
KEVIN: Things are weird around here. You know?
And for a moment...I knew I wasn't alone. Wayne actually understood.
WAYNE: You know...you've got a big glob of toothpaste right there on your nose.
Still, maybe I was over-reacting.
(Norma puts the tablecloth on the table, then pulls it off.)
Or maybe not. Thanksgiving day. We hauled out all the old traditions. The pageantry...the celebrations. The day of family. And of children. And through it all, Mom was a cooking machine. A whirling dervish of domesticity. And as much as she had come to love that new stove of hers...I had come to hate it. And so, the time had arrived to give thanks for our many blessings. To consume the fruits of our bountiful harvest. From the depths of Mom's stove came a tidal wave of holiday fare. A symphony of corn and carrots. A blitzkrieg of potatoes and yams. And to top it all off...a turkey the size of a Buick.
NORMA: Well - that's everything.
It was enough to feed a small army.
We sat there...while Mom kept talking, and folding her napkin.
NORMA: Threw in just a little bit of cocoanut just before I baked it.
It was horrible. Then it got even worse. Her silence was like a cry for help. She was out there on a limb. So I figured I'd come to the rescue.
KEVIN: Mom? Who's gonna carve?
NORMA: I don't know...(Exits.)
WAYNE: Nice goin', butthead!
(Kevin overhears Norma on the phone.)
NORMA: Oh, he hasn't?....Oh, no, no. That's alright. Could you just leave a message for him when he gets in? Tell him that Norma called him......Yes. Thank you.
When you're fourteen, you know a lot of things. How to throw a spiral...how to fix a bike. But standing there...I knew I couldn't fix what was wrong.
(The family is at the arrival gate as Jack's exit's a small plane.)
Thanksgiving night of nineteen-seventy...my father came home to his family. The family he cared for.
KEVIN: Hi! (Waves.)
The family he provided for. But he came home to someone else, too. e came home to the girl he loved.
(Jack and Norma hug and kiss.)
NORMA: I missed you.
JACK: I missed you, too.
Maybe sometimes the simple things in life get forgotten. The things parents need. The things children need, too. But that night, Mom and Dad - Jack and Norma...promised to remember.
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(Ep 54 - "The Sixth Man")
There are a lot of great records in sports. Rocky Marciano fought to victory in forty-nine straight heavyweight prize-fights. The University of Oklahoma won forty-seven college football games in a row. But in the annals of sports...there was one record that surpassed them all. One destined to go unbroken for time immemorial. I had beaten Paul Pfeiffer at basketball - as near as I can remember - seven hundred eighty eight times in a row. Give or take a hundred. It was a streak that went all the way back to kindergarten - maybe even before. Not that I was some kind of all-American. It's just...I was me. Whereas Paul...Paul was - Paul.
(They are playing basketball.)
KEVIN: One - zip.
PAUL: OK. No more "Mr. Nice-guy."
PAUL: Count on it.
But we both knew better. We knew some things never change. And in basketball...as in our friendship...
(Kevin shoots a...)
KEVIN: Jumper from the corner.
I called the shots.
So we played. And for the first time ever...Paul didn't do a running commentary on the action. To this day, I don't know if I was really hot...or if Paul was really cold. But, what I did know was...I was teaching Paul a lesson. A lesson he'd never forget. And it was for his own good.
KEVIN: Twenty one - three. (Smiles.) And the game. I win. (Smiles.)
For the record...win number seven hundred and ninety.
KEVIN: So. (Smirks.) Ya wanna go again? (Nods.) Go ahead...free shot.
You know, people just don't always appreciate the nice things you try to do for them...
That night, Paul Pfeiffer and I played the most important game of our lives. We both played hard. And we both played to win. And no game ever mattered more. To both of us. Maybe change is never easy. You fight to hold on. You fight to let go. But that night...after seven-hundred ninety consecutive loses...Paul finally beat me. Paul made the basketball team that year. And he had some loyal fans. But his biggest fan...was also his best friend. I guess sometimes you have to grow apart...to keep growing together.
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(Ep 55 - "A Very Cutlip Christmas")
When you're a kid, it's simple. Christmas is magic. It's a time of miracles, when reindeer can fly, and Frosty never melts. Then you get older. Somehow, things change. The magic begins to fade. Until something happens that reminds you, at Christmas time...miracles still can be found. Sometimes in the most unexpected places. By December of nineteen-seventy, it was pretty clear Christmas meant nothing to Coach Cutlip. While most human beings were brimming with Yuletide cheer, he was brimming with...
MR. CUTLIP: Chin-ups. Sit-ups. The shuttle run. Various calisthenics. And, of course...the rope climb.
Face it. The guy was Scrooge in a baseball cap.
I'll always remember that look on his face. He was at once heroic and stupid.
MR. CUTLIP: Move along, Arnold.
(Kevin walks away.)
There was nothing more I could do. The die was cast. It was Santa's Last Stand. I stood there, helpless, outnumbered. And that's when it happened. Doug Porter looked first, directly into the eyes of the man who had taught him gym for three long years. Then Tommy Kisling looked, too, and Randy Mitchell. Those three skeptics gazed straight at that white beard, dead into the eyes of Coach Cutlip not thirty feet away. But all that they saw...was Santa Claus. It was a miracle. He stood there like some patron saint of all the lonely people holidays sometimes forget. And for that brief moment of Christmas magic, Ed Cutlip got his chance to be what he always wanted. And I never gave him away.
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(Ep 56 - "The Candidate")
Everybody know politics is a dirty business. Yet our greatest national heroes have always been politicians. Maybe there's a reason for that. Maybe it takes a certain kind of person to get down in the mud...and come out with the bricks of statecraft. After all, in America, they say any kid can grow up to be president. What they don't say...is how.
(Cut to the cafeteria.)
In nineteen-seventy, politics was alive and well at RFK junior high.
BECKY: OK, everybody. Fan out.
Becky Slater's campaign for student council president had all the earmarks of a political juggernaut. Man-power...funds...not to mention people who could draw straight.
(In the quad, candidate Keivn is pressing the flesh.)
And suddenly, the ideas were just pouring out of me. Almost as if I had been born for this. Yep, maybe Paul had been right. I was the best man for the job. Maybe I could actually win this race. With ideas, concepts...forward-looking thoughtfulness.
KEVIN: ...vending machines with better stuff in 'em...cuter teachers...and they should be nicer, and...
(Becky is serving Rice Crispy treats in the distance.)
BOY: Cool. (Smiles.) Free food. (Exits.)
GIRL: Vote for Becky! Becky's your friend!
It was then that I learned my first lesson on the campaign trail. Ideas and concepts are nothing, compared to...freshly baked Rice Crispy treats. By the end of the week, one thing was clear. In the great darkhorse campaign of nineteen-seventy...my darkhorse was running dead last. Not that we didn't try anything to get them to notice us...it's just that while we were trying...they were noticing something else.
CHEERLEADERS: Gimme a "B"...Gimme an "E"...Gimme a "C"..."K"..."Y". What d'ya get? Becky Slater! Yeahhhhh!
We'd been out-manned, out-gunned, out-cheerleadered. Out-Slatered. Not that we were ready to throw in the towel.
RANDY: That's it. (Gestures.) I give up.
BECKY: Maybe you'd like me to throw some votes your way. Just to make it exciting.
PAUL: He doesn't need your votes. (Frowns.) Thank you very much.
BECKY: Well...don't say I didn't offer.
(Becky stands up and turns around. A poster is stuck to her dress.)
And that was that. It was hopeless. This race was over.
(Paul starts to laugh, as do others.)
Except...maybe it wasn't.
(Cut to class.)
MR. ALTMAN: Alright, take your seats, please.
Maybe I felt a little guilty about what had happened. But not much.
MR. ALTMAN: Today...we continue our survey of the Hundred Years War.
Besides, maybe now we could get down to a real campaign. Based on real issues. Real ideas.
(Mr. Altman reaches up and quickly pulls down a map. On it is a black-and-white photo of Wayne, with the caption "I am Kevin Arnold's brother". Kids start to laugh. Kevin looks over his shoulder at Becky who looks at him smugly.)
And so began the great grudge match of nineteen-seventy. Over the next few days, no trick was too cheap. No insult too outrageous. Pretty soon, though, things stated to get...personal. And as sabotage led to reprisal...I came to understand the true meaning of politics in America. It wasn't about winning an election. It was about destroying your opponent.
(Kevin has a copy of Becky's speech and is contemplating reading it as his.)
PAUL: You're not gonna actually use that, are you?
(Paul snatches the paper from Kevin.)
PAUL: Good. I knew I could count on you. That's why I nominated you in the first place. Do I make myself clear?
(Paul turns and puts the speech in the trashcan, then exits.)
And there ya had it. Paul as usual...was right. On the other hand...what did Paul know about it? On the other hand, it was up to me to do the right thing. On the other hand, in politics, who's to say what's right and what's wrong?
(Kevin smiles and pulls the speech from the trash.)
There was no turning back.
(Fade to the auditorium.)
MRS. RITVO: Welcome everyone, to the student council..."Meet the candidates" assembly.
And so, after three weeks of virtual war...it had come down to this.
MRS. RITVO: Today, we'll be hearing the views of our two nominees. Remember...this is your opportunity...to weigh the issues...before you make your final decision.
Maybe I should have been nervous, but I wasn't.
MRS. RITVO: It should never be taken lightly.
After all, I had victory in the palm of my hand.
MRS. RITVO: ...handed down to us through generations of Americans...
Becky's speech. My ace-in-the-hole.
MRS. RITVO: So I hope we all bear in mind our profound responsibility...
PAUL: So you're really gonna do it. (Nods.)
KEVIN: Hey. Mind your own business, alright?
PAUL: If you say so.
MRS. RITVO: Now, to introduce our first candidate, his campaign manager, Paul Pfeiffer.
Mr. Holier-than-thou. Who cared what he thought? What was he gonna do about it? Except, of course...bust me in public.
PAUL: Students, faculty...let me tell ya about Kevin Arnold.
Here it came.
PAUL: He may not be the most popular kid in school...not the smartest...or the most athletic...but he's honest. And true. He's every man. The kid without a name who sits behind you in class. The guy down the lunch line who hates green beans, too.
The funny thing is...even though the was standing in front of hundreds of kids...I knew he was talking to me.
PAUL: Kevin Arnold, is someone you can count on to do the right thing. Kevin Arnold...someone who I believe in.
(Paul turns toward Kevin. Polite applause starts. Kevin approaches Paul at the podium.)
PAUL: Good luck.
As I stood at that podium...a lot of things raced through my mind. Things like...what it takes to win. And what it feels like to lose. But as I looked at that speech...I realized what I had become. Someone I hardly even knew. And I knew what I had to do.
KEVIN: Students...faculty...I hereby resign from the race.
Guess it kinda took everybody by surprise. Paul...Becky...and, unfortunately...
(Randy jostles Doug's arm, and Doug drops the box of stinkbombs.)
Which only proved what I'd known all along. Simply stated...politics stinks. I never regretted running for president of the student council...or the three weeks of detention that followed. In fact...in many ways, I was a better man for it. Even though I lost to a duck. In any event...it was time to leave politics to the politicians. Let the ship of state sail on. At least they wouldn't have Kevin Arnold to kick around anymore.
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(Ep 57 - "Heartbreak")
Young love is really pretty simple. It's about sharing little inside jokes when the teacher isn't looking. It's about passing notes in the hallway between classes. It's about all the really stupid things you share. It's about going through it, together. Winnie Cooper and I had been through it all. The good times, bad times, the ups and downs. And we were still together. We'd known each other since we were kids. And to me she was still the girl next door - even though she didn't live next door anymore. Fact is now that we were going to a different schools, there were a few obstacles to overcome. Things like basic communication. But even if our lives had changed, we knew it didn't matter. We'd been together too long to let time and distance come between us. And if Winnie had her life, well...so be it. After all...I had mine, too.
Back there on our seat - the ride home in the dark seat. There it was. The ring I gave Winnie. The one she was giving back. I looked in the other bus, but I just couldn't find her. She was already lost in the crowd. I knew then, the girl next door was gone. And my life would never be the same again without her.
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(Ep 58 - "Denial")
Winnie Cooper was my first real love. She grew up in a house across the street. She was the first girl I'd ever kissed. And now...she'd broken up with me. But it wasn't until the next day that I understood what it all meant.
Love makes you do funny things. It makes you proud. It makes you sorry. That night we talked. About life. About our times together. Maybe we weren't the same two kids we had once been. But some things never change. Some things last. And even though I didn't know what was going to happen to us, or where we were going...I just knew I couldn't let her out of my life.
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(Ep 59 - "Who's Aunt Rose?")
I grew up in a neighborhood that was a lot like other neighborhoods...where the boxes we lived in were distinguished only by the names on the mailboxes...and the cars in the driveways. It was a place where hard-working Americans circled their wagons to protect themselves from the outside world. Our lives were made up of little moments...all delicately intertwined. Maybe we weren't aware of it then, amid the school paper-drives and the scalloped potatoes and the sounds of the neighbor's children playing, but life was rich there in our small sanctuary. And precious. And the only thing that could ever change that...was death.
Some journeys take longer than others. By the time we got to the cemetery that afternoon...I knew I'd travelled more than just two miles. Something was happening in my life. Something so big...I couldn't take it all in. As I stood there...listening to Grandpa's words...a lot of things began to become real for me. Aunt Rose. The loss Gramps was feeling. And why coming here was so important...for all of us. I guess that's when I understood...what my grandfather had been trying to explain to me. That my life was bigger than the little neighborhood I lived in. And that these strangers who surrounded me...weren't just relatives...they were my family. And the death of one...affected each of us in some way. The thread of my Aunt Rose's life had been permanently woven into mine. Leaving me with questions. And driving home that night...my fragile little family hurtling through the darkness...I knew I'd have to face those questions one day.
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(Ep 60 - "Courage")
Over the course of the average lifetime you meet a lot of people. Some of them stick with you through thick and thin. Some weave their way through your life, and disappear forever. But once in a while, someone comes along who earns a permanent place in your heart. Someone like, say...Miss Hasenfuss, my dental hygienist. Actually, she was more than just my dental hygienist. Our relationship went beyond lower incisors and upper bicuspids and dental floss. She was someone I could really talk to. She smelled like Ivory soap and herbal shampoo...and knew all the right things to say to make a man feel like...a man.
MISS HASENFUSS: Spit!
And even though we met only twice a year, it was pretty clear we had something...special.
In the end that appointment wasn't any big deal after all. In fact it was kinda a nice way to say farewell. And sure...maybe it was the Novocain coursing through my ninety-eight-pound body, but...I guess Miss Hasenfuss had a tear in her eye. And when it was all over...there was nothing left to say but...
MISS HASENFUSS: Don't forget to brush!
KEVIN: You, too.
I never saw Miss Hasenfuss again after that day. But I like to think that filling meant as much to her...as it did to me. It's funny, but even now...whenever I pass a professional building, I can't help but look for her name...and remember. Good night, Miss Hasenfuss - wherever you are.
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(Ep 61 - "Buster")
Every American family has its own unique blend of personalities. My family was no exception. Within our four suburban walls...we ranged the full spectrum of types. From the flamboyant...to the demure. From the repellant...to the ideal. Somehow, we managed to fit together in a kind of fragile alliance. One for all, and all for one. With one exception. Buster - the family dog. When he was little...he was...cute. Everyone wanted to cuddle him. He was the perfect puppy. Then something happened. Buster...grew up. Suddenly he wasn't so cute.
And just as suddenly...the family dog had become...my dog.
That night, I think we all realized something. About Buster. About ourselves. About being a family. Sometimes it's not enough just to enjoy the good times...the cute times. Sometimes it's when your puppies grow up that the work begins. The hard decisions. But we all knew it was hopeless. We'd let him go. And there was no way we'd ever find him. Until, of course...Buster found us. The next morning, we all took Buster to the vet. And in a way, I guess you could say Buster's loss...was also his gain. He'd been this little stranger, who turned out to be part of our family. A venerable member of the alliance. One for all, and all for one. And over the years, through good times and bad...through seasons of hope and change, he stood by us all. A silent partner. The first one to greet me at the door when I came home from my senior prom. The one who stared out our front window, on the day I left for college. And my mom said he stayed there for hours.
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(Ep 62 - "Road Trip")
The biggest thing in a young boy's world...is his dad. The "big enchilada". You do what he says. You do what he does. He's your guide through the mysteries of manhood - your confidant. Your pal. Until the day comes when, for some reason...things change. Your confidant becomes...that guy on the other end of the couch. You stop communicating. Except through an interpreter. But even a skilled mediator can't always bridge the widening gulf. Truth is, when you're fourteen...the absolute worst part of being with your dad...is being with your dad. And most of all...you never, ever...want to be alone with each other.
And so...the battle-lines were drawn. Words had failed us. Negotiations had broken down. Hostilities had broken out. And this time...no one was blinking. Three hours, six wrong turns, and two gas-stations later...somebody...finally...spoke.
JACK: I'll get the lug-wrench.
I stood there, feeling like...a fifth-wheel. Not even that.
JACK: Awright...gimme some room. Great. Lug-nut's jammed. Damn thing won't budge! Might as well be welded on solid. How could this have happened?
Course, he probably meant that to be rhetorical. Still...
KEVIN: Probably because you didn't listen to that guy back at the gas-station! (Nods.)
I seemed to feel the need to shoot off my big mouth.
JACK: Dammit! Does this look like we're lost?!
But the aweful truth was...we were. He knew it...and I knew it. We were lost - in a way that had nothing to do with Rand-McNally, or Route 22-B. And I guess that's when I knew what I had to do.
JACK: What are you doing?
KEVIN: I'm changing the tire.
KEVIN: You heard me!
JACK: Are you out of your mind?
Maybe I was...but I didn't care. I was gonna budge that lug-nut...if it was the last thing I ever did. I was gonna budge it...or die trying. Budge it...or give up the ghost. And then something completely unexpected happened. I budged the lug-nut. It was kind of a big moment.
(Kevin holds the lug-wrench toward Jack.)
JACK: Go ahead...
We didn't talk any more on the way home than we did on the way out. But maybe we listened a little bit more...to what was being said in the silence.
JACK: Huh - I'll tell ya what...I heard of this place...(nods)...out on the highway. Supposed to have great apple pie. Maybe we'll go and try it. We could get our stories straight - have a cup of Joe. What do ya say?
(Kevin opens a map.)
JACK: What's that for?
KEVIN: In case we get lost.
JACK: We won't need it. We'll find our own way. (Nods.)
Maybe he was right. Where we were headed, there were no maps. It was uncharted territory. From now on...we were flying by the seat of our pants.
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(Ep 63 - "When Worlds Collide")
No two ways about it. When I was fourteen...I was a pretty cool kid. Not in the ninety-ninth-percentile of coolness, maybe, but definitely top third of my class. I knew the walk. I knew the talk. I had my own kinda...style. But like a lot of cool kids my age, I did have one tragic flaw. One terrible secret that threatened the very fabric of my fragile image. I, Kevin Arnold...
NORMA: Hi, honey!
KEVIN: Hi, Mom.
Had a mom.
NORMA: Did you have a good day at school?
NORMA: Well, I'm glad. (Smiles.)
Don't get me wrong - I liked my mother. She was good to me.
(Norma tilts her head and smiles.)
KEVIN: Well, a little. (Smiles.)
NORMA: Good! I made you a grilled-cheese sandwich!
She made me grilled-cheese sandwiches...
She poured my milk...
NORMA: Oh - and I sewed that button on the shirt that you like - so you can wear it tomorrow.
She sewed my buttons...
KEVIN: That's great, Mom.
NORMA: And, I went shopping for you today.
KEVIN: You did? (Smiles.)
Face it. The woman loved me.
(Norma reaches into a large bag.)
She knew me better than anyone in the world. Which of course...was the problem.
NORMA: Look! Underpants! (Smiles.) Your favorite kind!
She knew...too much.
And in that moment...I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt one thing about this woman I'd been so ashamed of. She was pretty cool. When you're fourteen, change is an everyday thing. You live with it every moment of your life. But that night, I understood for the first time that Mom's world was changing, too. Maybe more than mine. Her family was growing up. She didn't have kids in pajamas anymore, asking -
KEVIN: Mom? Do we have any more hot-chocolate?
Still, somehow...I knew that whatever change lay ahead...Norma Arnold would handle it.
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(Ep 64 - "Separate Rooms")
I guess you could say I had a pretty uncomplicated childhood - with one exception. My brother, Wayne. From the moment we first laid eyes in each other, we had an instinctive, natural, bond. It was kind of touching, really. So to insure that bond would flourish and grow, my parents provided us with something. Something to keep us together, through thick and thin. A room. Our room. The thing is, we actually had some pretty good times there. But looking back now, when I think of that room...what I remember is how big it seemed when we were little.
Childhood is a struggle. In struggling to separate ourselves from one another...Wayne and I had also struggled to stay together. In order to break apart, we had to hurt each other. And now...we'd done what we had to do. And the thing is, even today...on nights when I lie in bed, listening to my children in their rooms, breathing next to one another...I wish for them what my parents had wished for my brother and me. I wish for them...what we had.
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(Ep 65 - "The Yearbook")
(In the cafeteria.)
Any kid who's ever been to junior high school knows one great universal truth. Image is everything. Who you are is pretty much who you appear to be. And who you appear to be is pretty much a matter of hard work and careful planning. For most kids, anyway.
(The large boy approaches the camera, carrying a regular tray, plus a paper plate of hotdogs.)
Meet Peter Armbruster. Otherwise known as..."Pig".
(Peter looks at the camera and smiles.)
PETER: Let's eat!
(Peter rubs his hands together, then takes a big bite of hotdog, then waves at Kevin and Paul.)
PETER: Hey, guys.
KEVIN: Hey, Peter.
PAUL: Hey, Peter. (Smiles.)
Not that anyone ever called him "Pig" to his face. Still...
PAUL: Oh my God! He's gonna go for all five!
As images go, it wasn't pretty.
(Peter smiles toward the guys and talks with his mouth full.)
PETER: Woops - ketchup!
(Peter sets his food down as he shakes his head, then stands up.)
PETER: Excuse me!
Face it. In the looks-conscious world of ninth-grade...
(A boy bumps into Peter, causing him to drop something on the floor.)
BOY: Watch it, man!
There was only one way to sum up a guy like Peter.
(Peter looks off and frowns, gestures with both arms.)
(Peter bends over to pick up the item off the floor. Kevin and Paul frown and cover their eyes.)
KEVIN & PAUL: Ohhhhhhh!
He just didn't seem to care.
(Peter walks toward the cafeteria line, adjusting his pants.)
(Cut to the lockers as Kevin and Paul watch a girl and boy approach.)
Then again, moving from the ridiculous to the sublime...meet Brad Patterson and Marci Doran. RFK's prince and princess of popularity. They had it all. The looks, the moves, the clothes. Even their hair was popular. Not that we were impressed.
PAUL: Gosh...they are so cool. Do you think they look like that when they wake up?
OK, so Paul was impressed. But not me. Not much.
KEVIN: Oh, come on. What have they got that we don't have?
PAUL: Well, he's the captain of the football team...(gestures)...her dad owns a corporation...and they're both running the yearbook this year...(gestures)...and that's just for starters. You?
KEVIN: Paul, they're just people like you and me.
This was true. They were. Kinda. Sorta. I guess.
(At the drinking fountain.)
PETER: Hey, Kev! You're blockin' the water fountain.
KEVIN: Sorry. (Smiles.)
In a way, I was kinda glad to see the guy. I could take solace in at least having done right by my fellow man. Peter Armbruster probably never knew the potential embarrassment that awaited him.
PETER: Somethin' hanging from my nose? (Gestures.)
(Kevin shakes his head.)
PETER: Then what?
(Kevin smiles and shrugs slightly, then looks off.)
I coulda told him what I'd done. How I'd saved his reputation. His future...
KEVIN: Nothing, Peter.
(Peter walks away behind Kevin.)
After all...there was no reason the guy ever had to know. Better to leave him with his illusions.
PETER: Hey, Kevin!
(Kevin looks over his shoulder.)
PETER: Call me "Pig". (Shrugs.)Everybody else does! (Smiles.)
(Fade to the busses as students gather.)
In junior high school...image is everything. A dance with masks. A fight to fit in. Maybe it's a struggle that lasts a lifetime. For most of us, anyway.
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(Ep 66 - "The Accident")
There are things about your childhood you hold onto...because they were so much a part of you. The places you went, the people you knew. Somewhere, in every memory I had, was Winnie Cooper. She was a part of me, and I was a part of her. By the end of ninth grade I knew everything about her. What I didn't know was that she was falling apart.
And I guess that's when I finally understood. I'd been part of Winnie's past - a past she wanted to forget. And now...there was nothing to do...but go. Only I didn't...I couldn't. There are things in a life that matter, things in a past which can't be denied. Winnie Cooper was part of me, and I was part of her. And no matter what, for as long as we lived, I knew I could never let her go.
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(Ep 67 - "The House That Jack Built")
Once upon a time...America's sons came home from a just and noble war. Home to their families, and an ideal called..."suburbia". It was a place where peace-of-mind came by the square foot. Where the space between every linoleum floor, and shingled roof...was to be filled with children. And dreams. And where...into every inch of concrete...hard working men poured their values. My father was one of those men. His values were simple. As solid as the walls of the house he took care of. And he trusted the preservation of those four walls to nothing less than his own two hands.
In nineteen-seventy-one, generations were clashing. Maybe then, more than ever...values and ideals were at war. And somehow, we couldn't help but get swept up in it, I guess.
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(Ep 68 - "Graduation")
Ninteen-seventy-one was a big year. Hot-pants were invented. Dennie McLaine lost twenty two games for the Washington Senators. And I graduated from junior high school. But...we'll get to that. In the three years since I'd entered seventh-grade...a lot of things had changed. Still, in the suburbs where I lived, the currency of life remained about the same. The whir of lawn-mowers. The cries of hide-and-seek. The dreams of parents. The struggles of children.
I couldn't really say what I did that summer. It passed in kind of a blur. What I remember...are green lawns and sprinklers...and the smell of backyard grills. And the nearness of friends.
(Wayne steps onto the porch.)
WAYNE: Hey. Butthead. (Gestures.) Dinner's ready.
KEVIN: In a minute.
There was time. Ahead lay new places - other days. But for now...
PAUL: So. Next year we get our driver's licenses, huh?
KEVIN: Yeah. (Nods.)
I never wanted it to end.
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(Ep 69 - "Looking Back")
Once upon a time...life was simple. Cars were big...gas was cheap...front lawns were green. And everybody liked Ike. The good guys were good...and the bad guys were bad. You knew where you stood. Then...in nineteen sixty-eight...something happened. Something...big. I turned twelve years old. I entered junior high school.
That was me. And these were my times. The three years between nineteen-sixty-eight and nineteen-seventy-one, I went to school. Here. Robert F. Kennedy junior high. Through those portals lay a world the likes of which we'd never seen before. The world of...higher education.
The fact was...the teachers I had at RFK ranged from the ridiculous...to the sublime. From the exasperating...to the intimidating. From the ineffectual...to the indecipherable. It's just that, as with most adolescents...my real education began at home. From my family. My mother instilled in me a deep appreciation for the importance of family. And knowing you roots. Then, of course...there was my father. The man who'd taught me the intricacies of progressive parenting. My sister taught me the concept of independence. And, by accident of birth...ladies and gentlemen, my brother, Wayne. A pillar of support in times of crisis. All-in-all, I guess you could say my family was kind of a proving ground for the lessons of life.
I learned a lot of things from a lot of people. Too bad I never learned to deal with the opposite sex. I really didn't understand girls. I mean - and let me be absolutely clear about what I mean...I...really...didn't...understand...girls. Let's face it - women were an enigma. But, in a lot of ways...so was life. And I was only in junior high.
In the years between nineteen-sixty-eight and nineteen-seventy-one...a lot of people were tuning in, turning on and dropping out. As for me...I was busy just trying to survive junior high school. And it wasn't easy. I probably wouldn't have made it without my best friend - Paul Pfeiffer. Paul and I were inseparable. It was a relationship based on mutual support. OK, so we had the occasional difference of opinion. Somehow, we always managed to find our way home to each other. We didn't really have a choice in the matter. Like it or not, we were friends. Paul, me...and of course, Winnie Cooper. But of course, Winnie and I were more than friends.
Those years were like a long journey for me. Looking back, it was a time when we were still very small. And the world seemed very big. And I think about those days again and again...whenever some blowhard starts talking about the anonymity of the suburbs...or the mindlessness of the TV generation. Because I know I'll never forget those times...those years of wonder.
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