(Ep 41 - "Faith")
(Jack is looking at a tax form.)
For my father, April was the cruelest month...
I bust my hump all year for this? (Frowns.)
It wasn't that Dad didn't have faith in Uncle Sam. He believed in taxes.
(Norma approaches Jack and hands him a drink.)
Here ya are, honey. (Smiles.)
It was just the part about paying them he resented. So, from the moment the old ten-forty's arrived in the mail, life around the Arnold house...shifted into kind of a state of emergency.
(Karen stands up.)
Here, Daddy. (Gestures.)
(Karen hurries to Jack's chair.)
Have a seat.
We all knew the drill. And each of us...had an assignment.
(On TV): Apollo Thirteen astronauts report smooth sailing on day one of their mission to the moon.
Kevin, turn down the damn TV!
My assignment was to turn down the damn TV.
(Wayne drums his carrots on the table.)
Wayne's assignment was to be...well...
(Jack frowns at Wayne. Wayne takes a bite of one carrot, and sets the other one down.)
Invisible. After that, it was all kind of up to Mom.
(Norma approaches Jack.)
I'll put these in the file with the other forms. (Smiles.)
(She takes the tax form from him.)
See, even though Dad filled out the forms and signed the checks...
(Norma picks up two TV dinners.)
It was Mom who kept the receipts, organized the paperwork stockpiled the bi-carb...
(Norma approaches, and smiles at Jack.)
Anyone for dinner? (Smiles.)
(Norma sets a TV dinner down.)
Kept Dad from eating us alive.
(In the living room.)
Wayne! Stop teasing Kevin. Your father's trying to watch the news. (Gestures.)
Mom was serious.
(Jack look at the TV as he frowns and rubs his mouth with his finger.)
Every year...the night before he paid his taxes, my father had a ritual of watching the news. We figured it made him feel better to now others were suffering. And at least it helped keep his mind off of...
(On TV): Astronaut John Swigert today joked he'd forgotten to file his Federal income tax returns.
(Jack drops his hand slowly as his eyes get bigger, then he folds his arms and frowns.)
(On TV): Manned-spacecraft Center officials assured him...he'd get an extension.
(Jack frowns, nods and growls.)
Oh, abandon couch.
(Wayne stands on the couch and hops over the back of it, and exits to the hallway.)
Too late - the beast was stirring.
Did you get those receipts together yet, Norma?
Don't worry, honey. (Gestures.) Everything...is under control.
(She winks and smiles.)
That was Mom. Always the picture of calm.
(Norma smiles, then looks at a large brown bag on the table.)
Saturday we'll fill out the forms - we'll get it over with. (Nods.)
(Norma looks in the bag. She frowns slightly, then reaches for another bag. Jack looks at Norma and pauses.)
(Norma looks at Jack, then looks off and shrugs slightly.)
(She looks at Jack and smiles.)
I'll get your bi-carb.
(She looks over her shoulder and frowns slightly as she puts her tongue on the corner of her mouth, then exits toward the kitchen.
(At night, Kevin enters the kitchen. He has to write his obituary for school.)
It didn't seem fair. When you're thirteen years old...the last thing you want to have to worry about...is your life.
(Kevin sees Norma seated at the table, wearing a robe, watching the TV and eating ice-cream.)
That's what you have parents for. Sure...let her worry.
(Norma looks at the TV as Kevin closes the freezer in the background.)
Only let's not overdo it, here.
Mom? (Frowns.) Is everything alright?
I'm sorry, Kevin. (Frowns.) What were you saying?
Something was wrong. Mom could usually talk on the phone...cook dinner, yell at Wayne and help you with your homework...all without missing a beat.
How could I be so stupid? The whole point of taking them to make copies was so we wouldn't lose the receipts.
You lost the tax receipts?
This was unbelievable! My mother? The most organized woman in the world?
Oh, don't worry, honey! They're bound to turn up. (Nods.)
You really think so?
I wanted to believe her. I did. But something about the way she was staring at that TV...gave me the distinct impression that...well...to put it mildly...
We interrupt this broadcast for a CBS News special report.
Uh, Houston, this is Apollo thirteen...we have a problem here...OK, Houston...we have a problem, here...
(Fade to morning in the kitchen. The news is on.)
This is a CBS News Special Report. Trouble has developed aboard Apollo 13. Trouble serious enough, to jeopardize the continuation of the mission.
So much for emergencies in space.
(Norma is on the phone.)
It was just a grocery bag full of receipts. (Frowns.)
We had a few of our own right here at home.
No?....Oh, dear...(sighs)...well, thank you, anyway.
(Norma hangs up the phone.)
Tax day at ground zero. Situation...grim. Mom had tuned the house upside down looking for those tax receipts. With no luck.
(Jack enters from the basement, testing a hedge trimmer.)
Time to get started...
Gee, what was he gonna do - hack those W-2's to death?
Thought I's sharpen these clippers out in the garage.
(Norma looks at the open trimmer.)
Oh...(Frowns.) That's a good idea. (Nods.)
Sure, good idea. Distract him with tools.
Then after dinner...(gestures)...we'll go to work on those taxes. (Nods.)
I was just thinking...why waste a perfectly good Saturday night on paperwork? Why don't we...go out to a movie? It's been ages since we all went out together.
Come on, Dad - I think it'll be fun. (Smiles.)
Maybe tomorrow. We're doin' taxes tonight.
(Jack snaps the trimmer closed, and exits. Norma looks after him and frowns.)
It made ya wonder. Do moms...
Ever actually sweat?
Are you OK, Mom?
(Norma turns toward Karen, slightly surprised.)
(Norma shrugs, then looks off and sighs.)
I think I'll take a shower. (Frowns.)
Well - that answered that.
Those poor astronauts. (Frowns.) Their families must be worried sick.
Well, somebody's family, anyway.
(Norma turns and walks toward the living room.)
Still, maybe I was blowin' this all out of proportion. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
He's gonna kill her.
(Norma is tapping the couch with her fingers as she frowns at the TV.)
It was becoming pretty clear...mine wasn't the only obituary that needed writing.
Norma? Time to get to work. Put it off long enough.
(Norma looks up, distracted.)
You got all the forms together?
(Norma looks off, slightly worried.)
You got the state...and federal...my W-2's...the receipts?
(Norma looks off and nods half-heartedly.)
I'll get cleaned up, and we'll start.
Uh, Jack? (Frowns.)
Well, the moment of truth had come. Mom was gonna have to come clean. She was gonna have to...
I have an...errand to run in town. (Frowns.) I'll be back in a bit.
(Norma hurriedly turns, picks up her coat and purse, then glances at Jack. She hurries toward the kitchen. Wayne and Karen are in the doorway.)
Run for her life.
(Norma passes the camera, pats Wayne on the shoulder and walks through the kitchen.)
It was kinda like watching Custer turn tail at Little Big Horn.
(Kevin found Norma in a church. They are returning in the car.)
Do you think your prayers will be answered?
One way or another.
(Later, Kevin returns from outside.)
I was prepared for the worst. Tears. Rage. A family in shambles.
(Kevin turns toward his room, then pauses, as he hears Norma laugh.)
(Kevin looks toward their bedroom and approaches as Jack laughs. Jack is sitting on the floor against the bed. Norma is on her stomach with her feet up, looking over Jack's shoulder.)
That's when we went to Omaha. You remember the plane fare?
A hundred and fifty bucks.
I couldn't believe it. I'd never seen them quite so close. Like they didn't have a care in the world. But watching them, together...loving each other...recreating the past year from memory, I felt...a bond. A promise that things would work out.
So where'd ya go today?
First I went by the post office to see if anyone had turned in the receipts...
(Norma put her arm around Jack's neck.)
And then I stopped by a church. Said a prayer for the astronauts.
(Jack turns and looks at her, then looks off and nods slightly.)
(Jack pats her hand and kisses it.)
And suddenly, a lot of things made sense.
So how many days were you in that hotel in Omaha?
Three days. What, at about...?
Thirty bucks a day...
(Sighs.) Do you think the astronauts will get home?
I don't know, Kevin.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 42 - "The Unnatural")
(Evening in the kitchen. Norma stirs a pot and smiles at Kevin sitting at the table with Jack.)
You made the cut?! (Smiles.)
I'd made the first cut. Never mind I had no idea why.
(Wayne enters from the living room.)
I didn't know they had tryouts for batboys. (Gestures.)
Hey, knock it off. Your brother did good out there today. (Nods.)
Coach says he has potential. (Smiles.)
Yeah, that must be it. "Potential". The magic word.
(Norma approaches Jack with a plate and glass.)
Well, congratulations, honey. (Smiles.)
So, Dad. (Nods.) You and Coach Baker talked for a long time.
(Jack nods as he chews.)
Anything besides potential come up?
So what'd he say about me, Dad? (Smiles.)
Don't leave anything out, now. Adjectives...superlatives...
(Jack looks at Kevin and gestures with a carrot.)
(Jack looks at Norma.)
Kevin's coach...is Ted Baker.
You know the coach? (Frowns.)
Yeah, we were in the Corps together. (Smiles.)
How interesting...but back to the old superlatives.
How's his wife?
(Norma puts her hand on Jack's shoulder.)
What was her name?
Arlene. You know...(gestures)...both of his kids are in college already?
(Norma tilts her head back in mock disbelief.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 44 - "Cocoa and Sympathy")
(Clips of various comedy acts.)
Every great act has its own routine. Delivery...timing...they take years to perfect. It takes hard work and practice. But once you've got it down...it becomes second-nature. Routine.
(Fade to morning at the kitchen table. Wayne pushes Kevin.)
(Kevin pushes Wayne.)
(Wayne pushes Kevin hard into Karen's newspaper.)
Take my family. Please.
("Brrrp-pish!" of drums. Jack approaches behind Norma.)
Good morning. (Smiles.)
(Norma hands Jack a cup of coffee.)
Talk about routines...we had a million of 'em.
(Jack sits down and opens the newspaper.)
Kevin? Did you feed -
Mom, can you do it? (Gestures.) I gotta get to school early...
Mom? Did you fix that button on my -
I sewed it on last night. (Smiles.)
Norma, where's my -
It's in your briefcase. (Smiles.)
Hey, where's uh -
(Norma approaches with a glass.)
Right here. (Smiles.)
Yep - we had 'em all. Timing, delivery...
(Norma is looking at a small piece of paper.)
And of course, the best straight-man in the business.
Jack? The tickets for the concert series arrived. (Smiles.)
(Jack is looking at his newspaper.)
Good old mom.
(He raises his cup slightly.)
Just coffee's fine. (Smiles.)
No, Jack...(waves tickets)...I was talking about the concert series. (Nods.)
It starts this Thursday night. They're doing chamber music. (Nods.) I think it should be fun.
Uh-huh. You could always count on Norma Arnold...to set up the punchlines.
Thursday's gonna be a bear, Norma. It's this damn audit.
(Jack glances sideways toward Kevin, then toward Norma.)
One of the kids'll go with ya. (Nods.)
(Norma looks expectantly toward the kids.)
I've got a date.
Big history test Friday. (Gestures.) Gotta hit the books. (Smiles.)
You had to hand it to her. Mom was perfect at the part. Like any great comedian.
(Norma looks down and nods slightly.)
(Arnold Basement. Paul has been named "brainiest" on Lisa Berlini's poll at school. On TV is a sci-fi movie. A "brain" is crawling on the floor, then jumps up onto the back of the screaming woman, who is surrounded by three men. One man wrestles the brain off the lady, then tosses it away.)
Now, there's a brain. Pretty attractive, huh?
Paul, it's just a stupid movie. (Gestures.)
Man, I'd rather be "ugliest" than "brainiest.
(Norma descends the stairs behind them carrying a full laundry basket.)
Paul Pfeiffer! Who said you were ugly?
Nobody said he was ugly.
No...they said brainiest. (Frowns.) Babes are already starting to beat down my door.
(He pulls off his glasses.)
It's these stupid glasses.
What are you talking about?
Never mind, mom.
After all, if I couldn't cheer the guy up, what could Mom do?
Paul...I've known you a long time. And I've always thought that your glasses make you look very...manly. (Nods.)
(Paul perks up slightly.)
Of course she was obviously throwing him a line. Still, the fish were biting.
You know...a lot of great men wear glasses.
Well, like...Arthur Miller.
Who's Arthur Miller? (Frowns.)
You think Arthur Miller is handsome?
Well, not just me. Marilyn Monroe thought so, too. (Nods.)
I guess I'd never really thought about it that way before.
Naturally he hadn't. It was patently ridiculous...
(Paul smiles as he flips the strap over his head.)
Whoever Arthur Miller was.
Glasses can make the man, Paul. (Smiles.)
Still, ya had to hand it to old Mom. Paul was lappin' up the kind words like -
Hey! How about some cocoa?
Uh, I'm allergic to instant.
Oh, I make it from scratch.
(Norma looks at Kevin.)
It always cheers Kevin up.
Look, Mom...I don't think he -
That sounds great. (Nods.)
Let's go! I'm in the mood for some, too.
(Norma turns toward the stairs and Paul follows. Norma hesitates and looks at Kevin.)
How about you, honey?
No. No thanks.
So - who else wore glasses?
Sure - let 'em have a little time together. It was no skin off my nose.
(Another day in the kitchen. Kevin opens the door and enters.)
Yep. My best friend was feeling...better.
So then I said..."Why don't ya ask Marilyn Monroe".
(Norma smiles dramatically.)
(Another day. Kevin approaches the kitchen door. Paul can be heard in the background.)
Didn't Paul realize there were more important things in life...
(Paul sits at the kitchen table as Norma pours him a cup of cocoa.)
Then all of a sudden, the legs...
Sitting around, having cocoa...while my mother laughed harder than I'd seen her laugh in years.
(Another day in the kitchen. Kevin is doing homework.)
Look what I got for your tub, honey!
Norma Arnold. Homemaker, mother, wife...teen idol.
(Kevin glances toward the telephone as it rings. Norma answers it.)
Hello? Oh, hello, Paul...
(Norma turns toward Kevin. Kevin waves his hands in front of himself and shakes his head.)
Tell him I'm not home.
Fact is, I'd had just about enough of -
(Norma covers the phone with her hand.)
It's for me, honey.
OK - fine. In fact - perfect. Because when Mom discovered how boring Paul was on the phone...
Oh, Paul! (Laughs.) Really? (Smiles.)
Ah, excuse me, Mrs. Arnold...but don't we have better things to do?
(Kevin looks at his watch.)
Well, I have to go now, Paul...OK...OK. Bye.
(She hangs up, turns around, and sighs.)
Oh, dear. Your father will be home soon...and I'm not sure what to do about dinner.
OK - this was the mom I knew. The mom that fixed dinner.
Now that Paul's going to the concert with me tonight.
Yeah. That's why he called. He asked if he could go with me.
How'd Paul know about the concert?
Well, I told him your father couldn't come...and since the rest of you were busy, that extra ticket shouldn't go to waste.
Look, Mom - you know all Paul's gonna do is talk through the whole thing. (Gestures.) It's not like he even knows what chamber music is...
Which made two of us.
He said he wanted to expand his horizons. I think that's nice.
(She puts a pizza in the oven.)
Nice? Why did I suddenly smell a Pfeiffer in wolf's clothing?
Well, I better get ready. The concert begins at seven. (Smiles.)
The funny thing is, I hadn't seen Mom so excited in...months.
(Cut to the living room. Jack approaches, holding the pizza.)
(Loudly): Norma? Can you come here a minute?
(In the distance): I'm still getting dressed, honey!
In fact...she was sounding down-right...chipper.
I'll get it.
(Jack opens the door, revealing Paul in a coat and tie, holding a plate of green Jell-O.)
Oh, hi, Mr. Arnold. (Smiles.) I brought a Jell-O mold. My mother wanted me to bring it over. It's lime Jell-O. She put fruit cocktail in it, but we didn't have any of those little marshmallows -
(Jack looks over his shoulder.)
(Loudly): Norma?! Paul's here!
(In the distance): I'll just be a minute!
She'll just be a minute. (Nods.)
(Jack backs up and Paul enters past him. Jack shuts the door, then looks toward the hallway.)
Norma? This pizza's still frozen in the middle.
(V/O in the distance): Turn it up to four-fifty for about another ten minutes.
Oh...and...sprinkle a little water on the crust. I've always found the only way you can get the middle warm is...(gestures)...burn the sides.
That was it. The same thirteen-year-old who was dating his wife...
(Paul rearranges some pepperoni slices.)
Was now giving him cooking tips? Dad wasn't gonna stand for this.
How much water? (Frowns.)
Oh, just a little sprinkle. (Demonstrates.) Sir.
OK, then - if Dad wouldn't do it, I would. It was time to explain to Paul...my mother was just like everyone else's mother.
OK, I'm ready...
(Norma enters in slow motion, dressed in a black dress and pearls.)
Only more beautiful.
Hi, honey. (Smiles.)
(P & K): Hi. (Smiles.)
(They look at each other. Norma looks at Paul's Jell-O.)
Oh! My mom wanted me to give this to you.
Oh, thank you! (Smiles.) That was very nice of her.
(Jack approaches, holding the pizza.)
Hey! Should I put some foil on this? (Smiles.)
(Paul and Norma both wrinkle their nose and shake their head.)
(P & N): It'll stick.
Well, are you ready? (Smiles.)
(Paul nods. They head toward the door.)
It was...embarrassing. Didn't Dad see? While he was busy playing "Susie Homemaker"...
(Cut to the porch as Norma opens the door and walks outside followed by Paul. Norma turns toward the guys in the doorway.)
My best friend was squiring his wife around town.
Well. I'll seeya later. And, if you want a snack tonight...there's Jell-O. (Smiles.)
(Norma and Paul walk toward the car.)
You really look gorgeous.
It should be fun.
Yep - there was definitely something wrong with this picture.
(In the living room when Norma returns.)
Hi, everybody! We're home!
(She walks toward Kevin and rubs his head.)
Great. The woman in black.
(Norma exits toward the kitchen.)
And her teenaged Lothario.
OK. It was time to put this four-eyed Romeo in his place.
Have a nice time?
(Jack is sitting at the dining room table crunching numbers.)
Missed a great evening, honey. Paul and I had the most wonderful time.
The most beautiful music.
But I guess I already knew it wasn't Paul I was angry at.
Anyone for some hot cocoa?
It was Mom.
I'd love some.
(Paul heads to the kitchen. Fade to the kitchen as Kevin approaches and pauses in the doorway.)
I could have used some cocoa, myself. But I couldn't go in there.
(Paul hands a cup to Norma.)
Because it was pretty clear now whatever was going on between my mother and Paul...was just between my mother and Paul.
(Kevin sits at the dining room table.)
I've always loved Beethoven.
(Paul holds out a rose.)
Um...I got this for you.
(Norma puts her cup down and turns toward Paul in mild surprise.)
It's from my mother's garden.
Well, thank you...
(She takes the rose.)
It's a beautiful rose, Paul.
Sure. What was next - a formal proposal?
Which is...why you shouldn't waste it on me.
But you have to take it. I'm allergic.
(Norma smiles and giggles.)
There are going to be a lot of very wonderful girls in your life who would die to get a rose from you. (Nods.)
I doubt it. (Frowns.)
I don't. You're a very special person, Paul.
And I guess there was something in the way she said it...that made me understand...
And I hope you never get contacts...because you don't need them. (Smiles.)
Mom wasn't breaking my heart...she was breaking Paul's. Without breaking it.
I guess I better go.
I had a great time. Thank you. (Nods.)
Me, too. (Nods.)
(Paul walks toward the door, then pauses and looks at Norma.)
Thanks, Mrs. Arnold. (Exits.)
And in that moment, I began to realize a lot of things. Maybe my mother didn't go to the concert with Paul because she thought he was special...but because he thought she was special. Special enough to ask more than..."Where's my jersey", "what's for dinner", or...
Who took the TV guide? (Frowns.)
Oh, try Wayne's room under his pillow...or maybe it's behind Karen's record-player.
(Jack turns, frowns and walks past the camera.)
It's supposed to stay on the - (gestures.)
(Jack pauses in the doorway and turns toward Norma.)
I guess Dad realized it, too.
So. You had a good time? (Smiles.)
Yeah, well...isn't there supposed to be another one of these things?
Huh...(nods)...so, uh...(shrugs)...we'll go.
(Jack taps Kevin on the arm and exits.)
The night Paul Pfeiffer gave my mom a rose...he gave me something, too. He gave me a new way of seeing her.
(Kevin approaches the table.)
I guess Paul's not gonna drink his. Can I have some?
(Norma leans forward.)
I was making it for you.
Paul made my mother feel good. Because he didn't look at her the way we always did. We saw "Mom". And he saw "Norma Arnold". And I think she liked that, for a change.
Mom? (Smiles.) Did you really audition to sing for a commercial?
(Norma looks surprised.)
Oh! (Nods.) It was a radio commercial.
For axle grease. Ya know what axle grease is?
(Kevin shakes his head slightly.)
Well, it's where they...
That night I found out my mother once got sent to the principal's office for smoking in the bathroom. And that she almost married someone else, until she met my dad. I learned a lot about her - about who she was...about who she'd been...about who she wanted to be.
(Fade to breakfast. Norma is serving the boys at the kitchen table.)
And the next morning, she was "Mom" again. Our straight-man. Only, this time - I knew better.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 45 - "Daddy's Little Girl")
(Jack and Karen are arguing.)
During that week, Mom was sort of like the UN...trying to mediate the warring factions.
And failing miserably.
(Another evening. Jack and Karen are arguing about her college.)
The thing is, I was beginning to see a pattern. Whenever Karen said one thing...
Well...this is where I'm going. (Smiles.)
Dad said the other.
Not while I'm paying for it. (Frowns.)
And vice versa.
Fine. Then I won't go to college.
Oh, you're goin' alright. (Gestures.) And I'm sendin' you. (Frowns.)
State has a lovely campus.
So, Mom? (Gestures.) We gonna have a birthday cake for Karen?
A cake? I don't want a cake.
Sure you do.
No really, I don't. I-I don't want a party either.
Oh, honey, it's not exactly...
What are you talkin' about? Sure you do - you like parties.
(Jack went shopping for a gift for Karen, and returned with...)
Well, we have plenty of things to give her. So don't worry.
(At dinner on Karen's birthday, Karen is absent. Everyone is silently picking at their food.)
That night, dinner lasted about six-and-a-half months.
Can I get anybody some more potatoes?
While Mom tried to fill the empty space with vegetables and starch...
(Wayne blows a party favor at Kevin.)
The rest of us waited.
(Jack scowls at the boys.)
For the inevitable explosion.
I'm back! But I can't stay.
Not even for cake and ice cream, honey? (Smiles.)
Mom...I told you - I don't want a cake.
It's too late...I'm lighting the candles right now. Kevin, honey - get the lights.
(Kevin dims the lights.)
Well, the stage was set. Bring on the fireworks.
(Norma approaches with the cake.)
OK - here it comes. Everybody sing...
(Karen rests her head on her hand, looking upset.)
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Karen, happy birthday to you."
(Norma sets the cake in front of Karen.)
There it was. Eighteen years of hopes and memories poured into eighty ounces of egg-whites and sugar and wax. It was enough to melt anybody's heart. Except maybe my sister's.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 46 - "Moving")
(Shots of the neigborhood.)
There was a time when the world was enormous...spanning the vast, almost infinite boundaries of your neighborhood. The place where you grew up. Where you didn't think twice about playing on someone else's lawn. And the street was your territory, that occasionally got invaded by a passing car. It was where you didn't get called home until after it was dark. And all the people, and all the houses that surrounded you were as familiar as the things in your own room. And you knew they would never change.
(Cut to the kitchen. Jack sets a hammer down. Norma's at the sink.)
I oughta sell this dump.
Which is not to say that they couldn't transfer ownership.
What, honey? (Frowns.)
There's dry-rot. In the basement. The whole foundation could be going.
After seventeen years of cleaning out gutters, plugging leaks, and patching roofs...my father had developed a philosophical view about residential living.
I oughta sell this dump.
Not that we didn't take him seriously.
(Norma approaches with a cup.)
Have some coffee, Jack. (Smiles.)
(In the basement, Jack pokes at a joist, Norma folds laundry, and Kevin holds the toolbox.)
Damn! It's worse than I thought.
Are you sure, honey?
The whole beam's turning to sawdust.
Maybe we should call someone in to look at it.
Are you kiddin'? You know how much those guys charge?
Uh-oh! Dry-rot in the cellar was one thing...dry-rot in Dad's wallet was quite another.
I'm tellin' you, Norma, we oughta get rid of this place.
And suddenly, this was sounding serious.
Cooper says the houses around here are goin' for three times what they used to.
Seemed like it was time for a second opinion.
Maybe we should...get it fixed! It's a good house. It's our house. (Smiles.) I like it.
There! Simple, eloquent, and...effective.
Cooper give you the name of that realtor?
Yeah, I think I have it somewhere.
(Jack exits. Norma watches him leave.)
Your father just wants to see what his options are, honey. It's nothing to worry about.
Sure! Obviously there was no need to panic.
(Norma smiles at Kevin, then looks uncertain as she turns toward the stairs.)
(In the kitchen. Norma is fixing Wayne's bow-tie. Kevin is doing homework.)
Well, at least I wasn't the only one who was suffering.
Wayne, your father went through a lot of trouble to find you this job.
I don't get it. I mean, what did I ever do to him?
What's your job - to scare away the customers?
One more word and you die, butthead.
In fact, baiting my brother was about the only way that I could think of to turn back the rising fear that -
(Jack quickly enters through the kitchen door.)
OK, I just talked to a guy who's comin' over to look at the house tomorrow.
(Kevin looks surprised.)
Probably take us for every penny we got.
Dad, are you serious?
You bet I am.
And there you had it. The death sentence. And worst of all, no one else was even batting an eyelash.
Dad, you can't do this!
I mean, you haven't even asked us what we think about it!
I gotta ask permission to get the dry-rot fixed?
Then you're not selling the house?
Course not! (Frowns.)
(Norma smiles at Kevin.)
There. I told you!
And suddenly the skies began to clear.
Who is this, anyway, Jack?
Guy I met across the street.
Suddenly my fears had disappeared. The world was great. We were staying!
He's gonna be working on Cooper's house after they move out.
(Norma glances from Kevin to Jack.)
(Jack looks at Kevin.)
The Cooper's thought it was best if Winnie told you.
(Kevin looks down.)
They're not moving far, honey. Just a few miles.
(At Karen's graduation.)
I wasn't there when Winnie's moving van pulled away. I didn't want to be. I was with my family, which was changing, too.
(Fade to a restaurant. Wayne is serving the Arnold's. They are talking in the background.)
It looks great, honey.
(Jack points to Wayne's hat.)
Look at the hat, look at the hat.
Things were gonna be different now.
(Karen hands her diploma to Jack.)
Here. Check it out.
My sister would be off to college, my brother was...my brother...
(Norma reads from Karen's diploma.)
"...has been found worthy..."
I still don't understand ***...
(Jack smiles and puts his arm around Norma.)
My mom and dad would stay behind to fight the battle of dry-rot and crab grass, and growing older together.
Let's have a toast.
(Norma raises her glass.)
Here's to Karen.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 47 - "Growing Up")
(Jack enters the kitchen, frowning.)
I don't want to talk about it...
(Norma hands Jack a drink as he walks past Karen, who is thumbing though a college catalog.)
I don't want to hear about it...(Exits.)
(Wayne enters, looking down. Norma looks at him with concern.)
Maybe that had something to do with Wayne's new girlfriend...Angela.
More potatoes, dear? (Smiles.)
(Angela looks at Norma and smiles. She still has food in her mouth.)
Um, thank you, Mrs. Arnold.
(She holds her plate out. Jack frowns.)
For some reason...m dad seemed to resent seeing his paycheck disappear down the mouth of a total stranger. The rest of us just resented her in general.
So. I heard you and your pals were out drooling over Marsha Millany at the pool today. Heh-heh.
Or maybe it had to do with my brother.
Shut up, butthead! (Frowns.)
(Angela continues to eat as Kevin and Wayne slap each other, behind her.)
Then again...it could have been Karen.
Well, I've finished choosing my courses for the fall semester. (Smiles.)
That's wonderful, honey! What are you taking?
Afro-American History, Hindu Philosophy...
(Jack pauses in mid-fork and frowns.)
Navajo Arts, Sexual Politics...and English 101.
(Norma glances toward Jack.)
(Karen and Wayne are arguing over the TV. Wayne and Angela get up to leave.)
Course, we should have seen this comin'. Mom had been folding laundry every night for three weeks straight. Even my socks had creases.
I've been thinking. We should get away! (Gestures.)
All of us! (Gestures.) We should...do something together. (Gestures.)
The mind shrank at the possibilities.
(Norma turns toward Jack.)
Monday's Labor Day. We should go to your office picnic.
(Jack looks incredulous.)
We haven't been in such a long time. We used to have such a good time there. (Smiles.) Remember? (Smiles.)
Mom! I'm leaving for college on Tuesday.
Uh...yeah, I've got a date. (Gestures.)
(Jack looks toward Norma, and nudges Wayne.)
There. Four to one - clearly a landslide decision.
I think we'll go. (Nods.)
(Sound of a car horn. Cut to "the road". Wayne is driving his car erratically, behind Jack's car.)
So much for democracy.
What's that idiot doin' now? (Frowns.)
You know, honey, I am really looking forward to this. (Smiles.) It's been years since I've seen the old gang. (Smiles.)
Well, like...Charlie Wilson, from accounting. You think he's gonna be there?
What about Al Pinella...he had that lovely wife, Nancy.
Ed Berwitz? (Frowns.)
(Norma frowns and glances off.)
And that about covered the full range of possibilities.
Detweiler'll be there, though.
Harry Detweiler? (Smiles.)
Harry Detweiler - the office clown. Big on palm-buzzers and whoopie-cushions. The one Dad had always referred to as -
Mr. Deadwood, huh, Dad? (Smiles.)
(Jack chuckles. Norma frowns at Kevin.)
Kevin, that's not very nice.
(Everyone laughs. Norma looks at Jack and smiles.)
Does he still have that stupid laugh?
And suddenly, for the first time in weeks...Dad was smiling.
You remember that Christmas party when he came dressed as a reindeer? (Smiles.)
Oh...(Chuckles.) His nose lit up!
Yeah, and then it caught on fire?
And we were all laughing.
(At the picnic.)
Can we go home now? (Frowns.)
Honey! You haven't really given it a chance.
Well it's crowded, it's noisy...I hate it. (Frowns.)
(Back at home, everyone is saying good bye to Karen. Norma comes out, carrying Karen's empty duffle-bag, as Karen walks toward the car.)
(Karen takes the duffle bag.)
(Karen and Norma hug.)
I love you, Mom.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 50 - "Cost Of Living")
(Kevin wants a raise in his allowance, and is waiting for Jack to come home. Jack enters carrying his briefcase.)
Dad and I had business to conduct. Right now.
(Jack slams his briefcase on the table.)
Or, maybe it can wait.
(Norma hands Jack a drink.)
Hi, honey. Why so late?
Ken Stein. (Frowns.) New fool in management. He's bustin' my hump, Norma. (Frowns.)
(Kevin asked if he could be a golf caddy.)
Honey? Don't caddies have to carry around all those heavy bags? (Shrugs.)
Seemed like everyone was missing the point.
Look, Mark Kovinsky makes twenty buck a round, OK?!
There - 'nuff said! The old bottom-line. Try sayin' no to that!
I don't think so...(Frowns.)
(Kevin looks down as the phone rings.)
(Norma stands and answers the phone.)
I couldn't believe it!
(Norma holds the phone toward Jack.)
Jack? It's Ken.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 52 - "Little Debbie")
(In the kitchen, Norma is fixing vegetables as Kevin sets the table.)
So, I understand you're taking Debbie Pfeiffer to her dance on Friday?
Well, I saw Ida Pfeiffer at the library today, and...she said that Paul said that you and Debbie...
Wait a minute. (Frowns.) Paul said that?
That's what Ida said. (Smiles.)
No, Mom...you misunderstood. See, Paul's taking her. (Nods.) Not me.
Oh? (Frowns.) Well that's too bad...
Well...Debbie thinks so much of you. And...
Look. (Frowns.) Mom, it's not gonna happen, OK? (Nods.)
Not withstanding vicious rumors to the contrary.
Well, of course, honey...it's your decision.
(Kevin raises both arms.)
I remember my first dance. It was the "Harvest Moon Ball". I had a date with the cutest boy in school...Todd Calloway. My mother helped me pick out my dress. She even took me to get my hair done. The night of the dance...I got all dressed up...and I waited...but he never arrived.
(She shrugs and nods.)
Mumps. I was devastated.
(She shrugs slightly and bites her lip.)
Now even at fourteen, I could sense the intimacy of Mom's story. The underlying wisdom in this fragile parable of heatbreak and youth. And, naturally...my heart went out to her.
Listen, Mom, I don't really have time for this, OK? (Gestures.)
(Norma looks toward Kevin and frowns slightly.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 53 - "The Ties That Bind")
(Jack looks at a bill. Norma is busy in the kitchen.)
What is it, Jack?
I thought we paid this bill last month. (Frowns.)
That was the orthodontist. This is the dentist.
(Jack looks at another bill.)
Property tax? Already? (Frowns.)
(Norma holds up two packages of vegetables.)
Corn or carrots, honey?
(Norma turns back to the stove and sets the packages down.)
By nineteen-seventy...my parents had elevated "providing" into something close to an art-form.
Guess we dip into the Christmas club again. (Frowns.)
Dad was the maestro of payment plans. Mom was a virtuoso with vegetables.
(Norma rubs her hands on her apron then holds them up.)
You had to hand it to 'em...they were good at what they did. Of course, it was all for a good reason.
Their three beautiful children.
(Wayne holds up an empty plate and gestures.)
Are we going to eat here, or what?
With all the rights and privileges therof. Not that we took the folks for granted. It's just...
(Jack sits down at the dining table. Norma is still busy in the kitchen.)
With Thanksgiving coming...we had certain...needs.
Daddy? When I go back from break...(nods)...I-I'm gonna need money for a few things. OK?
Some books...(nods)...some art supplies...(nods). A yoga mat.
What the hell d'ya need a yoga mat for?
And no matter how ridiculous those needs were...we knew somehow...
(Norma is at the stove and rubs her hands on her apron.)
They'd come through for us.
(Norma begins to cut a cucumber(?)
We'll work it out, honey!
(Kevin and Wayne turn toward Jack and speak simultaneously.)
I need a new stereo.
I need a new baseball glove.
(Kevin and Wayne push each other.)
Back of the line, butthead.
Hey, I asked him first.
I need a new stereo.
I need a new baseball glove. I've had the same one for two years...
For the things that were really important, anyway.
(Norma is bent down at the open oven.)
Oh, my goodness...
(She reaches toward the pan with a pot-holder, then pulls the pan from the oven. She sighs, then turns toward Jack.)
The stove's out again.
(Jack takes a drink, sets the glass down, then looks toward the kitchen and frowns.)
Eh, she's dead alright.
(Cut to another day with the repairman who's nametage reads "Ned". Norma stands behind him as he kneels in front of the open stove.)
Deader'n a doornail.
(Norma moves to his side and leans down slightly.)
But, you can fix it?
(Norma sighs, and smiles at Kevin who is sitting on the counter drinking milk.)
I can fix it...if I can find the parts. I'll tell ya, Norma...I probably shouldn't be sayin' this, what with you bein' such a good customer an' all, but...well, let me put it this way...she's old, she's tired...it's time to buy a new one.
(Jack has come in through the kitchen door.)
What do ya mean, "buy a new one"?
Why can't ya just fix the old one? (Frowns.)
Well, your thermostat's shot, your top burner's not juicin' out like she oughtta, and...ya got a mean short-circuit in your wirin'.
There it was. The considered opinion of a professional. Dad had no choice but to take action.
I'll get my toolbox. (Frowns.)
(Norma steps toward him.)
Honey? I don't think your toolbox is gonna help this time. I think we need to buy a new stove.
She's right, Jack. As much as I hate to say it.
Poor Mom. All she really wanted was a working stove so that she could take care of her family. And poor Dad. All he wanted was to provide Mom with a working stove so that she could take care of her family.
(Cut to dinner as a plate of sandwiches is set on the table.)
And poor us. All we wanted was something besides cold-cuts for dinner. Seemed like it was time to explore the alternatives.
(Norma puts a bowl of potatoes (?) on the table as she sits down.)
Jack...I was checking the paper today, and...Montgomery Wards is having a sale on appliances.
How much would a new stove set us back?
Only about two-hundred and fity dollars.
Don't say "only"...(smiles)...and "two-hundred and fifty dollars" in the same breath, Norma. (Nods.)
Gee. How do they get the little ugly green olives in there?
And, that about covered the alternatives. All but one.
Maybe I should talk to management tomorrow. Ask for a raise.
It was a bold and unexpected decision.
The company owes me, Norma. (Nods.) It's been too long.
Good idea, Dad. (Smiles.)
You certainly deserve one, honey.
(In the morning, Jack is dressed up in anticipation of asking for a raise at work. Norma hurries after him.)
Oh, Jack, are you sure you want to wear that tie? (Points.)
What's wrong with this tie?
(Norma sighs and smiles, and smooths Jack's tie.)
It worked for me once. Maybe it'll do it again. (Smiles.) Wish me luck?
It was nice seeing my parents like this.
Good luck, honey.
Doin' what they had to do. For the family.
(Jack has come home early. Kevin enters and backs up as Jack follows him in. Jack holds a bouquet of flowers behind him as he faces Norma and clears his throat.)
You got the raise!
Not just a raise. (Smiles.) You're looking at the new regional manager of product support services. (Nods.)
Not that we had a clue as to what that meant.
Right on, Dad!
(The kids hug Jack as Norma takes off her rubber gloves.)
But it had an impressive ring to it.
Pretty good, huh?
Uh-huh, regional manager. Course, um...that means some new responsibilities.
Well, you can handle it.
(Jack hands the flowers to Norma and steps past her.)
Have to go on the road, some. Move around from plant to plant...trouble-shoot in the field...you know, that sort of thing. (Smiles.)
Does that mean you have to travel, a lot? (Frowns.)
Well, some...(shrugs)...maybe just at first.
(Jack faces Norma.)
I gotta fly to Pittsburgh, tonight.
Well, they said we need somebody out there right away. (Shrugs.)
But, it'll...(nods)...just be until next Wednesday.
And suddenly we were getting a pretty fair idea of what a regional manager did.
But hey, it's for the best, right? (Smiles.)
Of course, honey.
(Jack and Norma are in their bedroom packing Jack's suitcase. the kids are at the doorway.)
That night we watched as Mom and Dad shared a tender moment of farewell.
Where the hell's that damn cab?
(Norma raises her other hand.)
Calm down, honey - it'll be here.
(Norma closes the suitcase. Jack points at it.)
You didn't pack my handkerchiefs?
Oh, they're in the carry-on.
(Sound of a car horn. Jack picks up a carry-on bag. The horn honks again. Jack and Norma look at each other.)
Ah...it's about time. OK - that's it, huh?
It was strange. Everything was happening so fast. For all of us.
Oh, uh...where's my tickets?
Oh, they're in your breast pocket. (Points.)
So, uh...that's it, then, huh?
(The horn honks again. Jack approaches the kigs.)
OK, you kids...you better take care of your mother now, huh?
Go get 'em, Dad.
(Jack turns to Norma.)
Oh, yeah...why don't you go ahead and buy that new stove.
(Norma is on the phone as she looks at the new stove.)
Jack? It is absolutely beautiful!......Well, I splurged a little, and got the easy-clean model.
(Norma looks over her shoulder and smiles exaggeratedly at the kids.)
And I went with the white.
But the Monday before Thanksgiving, things were looking up again.
No, no - we're all fine! And, uh, we'll see you Wednesday night! OK, goodbye.
(She hangs up the telephone.)
How's Dad, Mom?
Fine. Just fine!
(She gestures with both arms at the stove.)
Isn't it beautiful?! (Smiles.)
Really nice, Mom.
And it was.
(Norma leans on the stove and reads the user manaul.)
As far as stoves go.
Look! It has "meal minder"! "Automatically regulates the oven tempurature so you are free to entertain your guests".
(Norma smiles and opens the oven door.)
Well, that'll sure help with the turkey this year.
Well - I gotta go to school.
OK, sweetheart. You have a good day.
(Norma sets plates in front of the kids.)
Pot pies! These took no time at all in the new stove. (Smiles.)
And let's not forget to mention that new stove!
Uh, Mom? (Frowns.) Don't ya think these are a little underdone in the middle? (Frowns.)
Yeah. Mine's still frozen, too.
(Kevin pokes the center of his pot pie as Norma leans down and looks at it.)
Must be that new timer. I'll have your father take a look at it when he gets back.
(Norma straightens up as the phone rings, and picks it up.)
Hello? Oh, hi, honey!....No, everything's fine here - just fine.
Tell 'em "hi". (Smiles.)
(Norma gestures toward Kevin.)
Oh?......Well, did he say that was definite? Well, can't ya fly in Thursday night?....Oh, I know it's expensive....I know, honey - of course - I understand. (Nods.) Well, when do you think you could come home?.....Saturday...
Saturday?! (Frowns.) But that's two days...
(Norma gestures toward Kevin.)
Jack - don't be silly! (Smiles.) We'll be fine. Really.....OK. Bye, bye.
(She hangs up the phone.)
"OK - bye, bye"? Seemed to me this called for a little further discussion.
Dad's not coming home for Thanksgiving?
Oh, no...he's got to be in Denver first thing Friday morning.
Can't he just...(shrugs)...fly in for a day?
No, honey, it's, it's just too expensive.
What's he gonna do for Thanksgiving?
(Norma looks at Kevin, then looks off.)
And I guess that was about as much discussing as we were gonna do.
Oh! I know what's wrong. I forgot to pre-heat the oven before I set the timer. (Frowns.)
(All the Thanksgiving food has been put on the table.)
It was enough to feed a small army.
Turkey looks great, Mom! (Smiles.)
It does, doesn't it? (Smiles.) I followed the directions with the cookbook that came with the new stove. (Smiles.)
And there was nothin' left to do but sit down and dig in.
Ahh! Oh, my goodness!
(She pats Wayne on the shoulder.
I forgot the napkin rings.
(She moves to the hutch agaist the wall.)
Only for some reason...
(She gathers up some napkin rings.)
Oh, here they are.
(Norma approaches Kevin and hands him a napkin ring.)
One for you...
Mom wouldn't sit down.
(Norma hands a napkin ring to Wayne.)
One for you...
(Norma hands a napkin ring to Karen.)
And one for you. You know...
(Norma puts her napkin in a napkin ring.)
This year I've tried Granny apples in the stuffing instead of golden delicious. (Smiles.) Oh, and...instead of putting the marshmallows on top of the yams...(Nods.) I melted them down, and added a little brown sugar. (Smiles.) For flavoring. Then I put everything together...(gestures)...in the blender, and whipped it up...(Gestures.) But it still wasn't right. So, then...
We sat there...while Mom kept talking and folding her napkin.
Threw in just a little bit of cocoanut just before I baked it. (Smiles.)
It was horrible. Then it got even worse.
(Norma pauses and looks serious.)
Her silence was like a cry for help. She was out there on a limb. So I figured I'd come to the rescue.
Mom? Who's gonna carve?
(Norma looks down, then toward Kevin.)
I don't know...
(Norma takes off her apron, sets it on the chair and walks toward the living room.)
(Kevin is at the slightly open door of Jack and Norma's bedroom as she talks on the phone.)
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...
(Norma hangs up the phone.)
How to fix a bike.
(She dabs her nose with a kleenex.)
But standing there...I knew I couldn't fix what was wrong.
(Kevin knocks on the door.
(Norma looks down. and the phone rings. She picks up the phone.)
Hello? Jack!...Well, where are you? Really?....Of course, honey. Jack!........Bye, bye.
(Norma hangs up the phone and turns toward Kevin.)
Put on your coat. We're going to the airport. (Smiles.)
He's coming home? (Smiles.)
(Norma shakes her head.)
No, he's flying in, just for an hour. (Nods.)
But I though he said it was too expensive. (Frowns.)
Yeah. It is...(smiles)...isn't it? (Nods.)
(At the airport, Norma and the kids lean on a chain-link fence at the edge of the tarmac as Jack's plane parks.)
Thanksgiving night of nineteen-seventy...my father came home to his family.
(Norma looks expectantly toward the plane. Jack pauses on the stairs and looks toward the group. Norma and the kids see Jack, and smile and wave.)
The family he cared for.
(Norma smiles slightly.)
The family he provided for.
(Jack smiles and waves at Norma. Norma hurries around the end of the fence and trots toward the plane.)
But he came home to someone else, too.
(Jack smiles and trots toward Norma, then drops his bag and hugs her. They kiss tenderly.)
He came home to the girl he loved.
I missed you.
I missed you, too.
(They smile and kiss.)
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.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 55 - "A Very Cutlip Christmas")
(In the locker room, the guys are talking about Mr. Cutlip.)
But I wasn't gonna let my gym teacher dampen my Christmas spirits.
(Cut to Brightlin Mall. Kevin and Norma are walking out of a store.)
There, that wasn't so bad, was it? (Smiles.)
It was fine, Mom. (Frowns.)
If I wanted my spirits dampened, I had a Mom who was doing a fine job.
You know what?
We should get you a new tie, too.
No, Mom. No ties. I got the shoes, enough's enough. (Frowns.)
Christmas seemed to trigger Mom's biological need to buy formal wear for her family.
Dad needs a tie. You should get Dad a tie. OK? (Gestures.)
Well...Meet me back in five minutes.
(Kevin recognized Mr. Cutlip as the Santa in the mall. The word sort of got out, and the other guys are going to try to find him.)
Holy cow, these guys were serious. The vultures were circling, and it was all my fault. And right there, right then, I knew what I had to do.
(Cut to the Arnold house as Kevin walks hurriedly through the living room, carrying his school books. The sound of a vacuum cleaner can be heard.)
(Kevin finds Norma in the bedroom, vacuuming.)
I need a ride to the mall.
Sorry, honey, I was just about to start dinner.
I needed a plan. Something foolproof. Something Mom-proof.
I want to get that tie.
(Norma looks at Kevin, shuts off the vacuum, and smiles. Cut to Brightlin Mall. Kevin and Norma are just walking into the mall.)
I hope they still have the paisley.
Mom, can we split up for a little while?
Only after we get the tie.
(Kevin sighs, then sees a group of students, led by Randy, Doug and Tommy, entering through a different entrance.)
But I knew Cutlip's lynch mob would wait for no neckwear.
(Kevin suddenly runs off, as Norma looks in her purse. She calls after him.)
Also see "Jeff's Transcript"
(Ep 58 - "Denial")
(Kevin is moping at home, after seeing Winnie and Roger together at the Pizza Barn. Kevin adjusting the TV. Norma is folding laundry in the background. Jack is sitting in a chair to the side, behind a newspaper.)
Well, there was always home. The last refuge from the slings and arrows of the ninth-grade rumor mill.
Kevin, guess who I ran into at the grocery store today? Doug Porter's mother. She mentioned that you and Winnie are going through some tough times?
(Norma has a compassionate, motherly look on her face.)
Great! I'd made the big leagues...in the supermarket checkout line. And worse, it was being broadcast in front of my dad.
(Jack sighs and rattles the paper.)
I'd rather not talk about it, Mom.
I understand. (Nods.)
(Kevin smiles slightly and nods, then looks back at the TV.)
You two have been together for so long, I'm sure it will work out.
(She smiles and shrugs.)
Why don't you just...(gestures)...pick up the phone and give her a call? (Shrugs.)
(Norma carries laundry past Kevin and exits.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 59 - "Who's Aunt Rose?")
Wayne, don't forget the trash - tomorrow's Tuesday.
Hey, it's Kevin's turn. (Frowns.)
No, it's not!
Our lives were made up of little moments...
(Norma holds up a bowl toward Kevin.)
More scalloped potatoes, honey?
All delicately intertwined.
Oh, thanks mom.
(Norma looks at Jack.)
Karen called today.
Just...thirty-five dollars till the end of the month. (Frowns.)
Send her a check.
(Kevin and Wayne reach for a roll. Wayne grabs it, and they look at each other.)
Hey, that's mine! (Frowns.)
Not anymore, angelface.
(Wayne smiles exxageratedly, and holds up the roll. Kevin reaches for it and Wayne pulls it back - twice.)
Wayne...give your brother the roll.
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.
(The phone rings. Norma rises and walks to the phone.)
And the only thing that could ever change that...
(On the phone): Hello?
Jack? It's your father.
(Cut to next morning in the living room as Albert walks in.)
Hey, hey, hey!
How are my boys?
Not that Grandpa was dead, exactly. In fact, he was alive and kickin'.
Ah. Got your nose!
Like a fine old wine...or an old smoked-ham...the guy just seemed to get more robust with age.
Hi, Albert!. Let me take your coat.
I appreciate you puttin' me up, Norma. I really do.
(Norma takes his cap and coat.)
Oh, now...don't be silly - you're always welcome here.
(They hug and kiss each other on the cheek.)
So, uh, how long you stayin' for, Gramps?
Well...we'll see - we'll see.
Somehow, he just filled the house with life.
He's going to a funeral.
Oh. You didn't tell 'em, John...
Uh, no, Dad...I thought you'd probably want to.
Well...I guess you oughtta know. (Nods.) Aunt Rose passed away yesterday morning.
Oh, dear...aw...poor Aunt Rose.
Well, not to worry, Norma. She had a full and productive life.
(In the car on the way to the funeral.)
The flowers look lovely, Albert.
Yeah. They were, weren't they? I haven't seen so many flowers since...Helen died. You remember that don't ya, John?
Yeah. Yeah, I remember, Dad.
Shoo - Boy, it was hot that day, remember?
Dad, I remember, OK?
Just making conversation.
But while Gramps and Dad chewed the fat in the front seat...where I sat...I had problems of my own.
(Wayne hits Kevin on the shoulder.)
Hey! Cut it out! (Frowns.)
Oh, sure - after I hit you once...(gestures)...for every dollar you lost.
Hey, I didn't lose it!
(Wayne starts hitting Kevin.)
Ooh - lost count. I better start over again. (Smiles.)
(Wayne starts to hit Kevin again. Norma turns to Wayne and frowns.)
Wayne! Kevin! Stop it!
Alright - I told you boys!
(They settle down.)
Now, let's just-just all try to put a good face on this. Alright?
But the fact is, I didn't feel like putting on a face.
John...there's somethin' I've been meaning to talk to you about.
I was a fourteen-year-old kid with a sore shoulder...down ten bucks...on my way in a cramped car...to bury somebody who had absolutely nothing to do with me.
Have you, uh...have you thought any more about buyin' that plot next to your mother and me?
And then, suddenly...Aunt Rose's funeral hit home.
Dad, you we have to talk about this?
Something you should be thinkin' about.
You don't want these boys makin' the decisions...do ya? They'll have enough to think about when the time comes.
(Wayne starts to elbow Kevin.)
Dad, I've taken care of it, OK?
It was the first I'd heard that my dad had a little patch of earth with his name on it. And of course, there was only one thing to do about it.
(Kevin turns toward Wayne and starts hitting him.)
Boys! You just stop it!
(Albert pulls over.)
Alright. Alright! Get out. The both of ya!
If you can't go to a funeral...(gestures)...and be respectful...(gestures)...then don't go! (Frowns.)
If you change your mind...the cemetery is two miles down the road! (Frowns.)
(Jack looks off.)
Hmmm. No help there.
(Norma looks at Jack.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 60 - "Courage")
(Kevin has visited the dentist. Norma is folding laundry.)
A cavity? (Frowns.) Honey, that's too bad!
She didn't know the half of it.
Well, I suppose that's why we have dentists, don't we?
(She gathers the laundry and detergent.)
I'm sure Dr. Tucker will take good care of you.
(Norma and Kevin are shopping. Kevin turns away slightly as he raises his hand toward his jaw, runs his tongue over his tooth and frowns.)
Honey, is something wrong?
No. No. (Smiles.)
Oh, it's your tooth, isn't it? (Frowns.)
No - it's nothing. Really.
Now..how long did you say it's going to Dr. Tucker to recover from that ski accident?
Oh, what tangled webs we weave...
Mom, I gotta go get some...
(Kevin hurries off.)
Face it. I was a man on the run. Running from fear, humiliation. Running from...
(The dental assistant, Miss Hasenfuss, approaches.)
Kevin! (Smiles.) Hi!
(Norma approaches behind Kevin.)
Jennifer? Hi! (Smiles.)
Mrs. Arnold! Hello!
Oh my gosh - here they came. The woman I'd lied to...and the woman I'd lied to...
(Norma smiles broadly as she approaches.)
The rock and the hard place.
(Kevin backs up against the shelves, and the women pin him with the carts.)
How have you been?
(Norma glances toward Miss Hasenfuss' cart.)
Look at all those books!
Yeah...(smiles)...I've been kinda reading up on things. I'm thinking of taking some classes, but...I'm not sure. Even though Kevin tells me I should. Right, Kevin?
But I'm afraid I'm just not as brave as he is.
Anyway, I can't stop to chat - I have to get back to the office. (Smiles.)
Dr. Tucker's office?
(Norma looks toward Kevin and frowns.)
I was trapped. Like a rat in a ski accident.
But I thought -
It was time for some subtle creative thinking.
Uh, you know, she's gotta get back to the office. (Gestures.) And...you know, there's gonna be traffic getting home. And have you seen the lines at the check-out counters?
(Norma looks toward the check-out counters.)
(Norma looks toward Kevin, then Miss Hasenfuss. She frowns and shakes her head.)
Well, I guess we really should go. I'm sure we'll bump into each other again. (Smiles.)
Phew. I was outta there. Free and clear.
Oh, and Kevin, don't forget to reschedule your appointment.
(She smiles and heads off past Norma.)
And I'm so sorry about the fire.
(Norma looks Kevin, shakes her head, then raises her eyebrows.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 61 - "Buster")
(Everyone is looking at the dog.)
What's wrong with 'em?
Isn't he hungry?
Maybe he has fleas.
Oh, not fleas...Honey, they'll get in the carpet.
(Buster is barking a lot.)
I don't understand this. He's never done this before...I wonder what's wrong.
Whatever it was...it wasn't exactly endearing the old dog to the old homefront.
Can't ya at least keep him quiet? I got less than a week to finish this damn report!
Seemed like it was up to me to save Buster's reputation.
Maybe he's sick.
Well, his nose is a little warm. Maybe you should take him to the vet, honey.
I took Buster to the vet.
Honey? Is there something wrong with him?
Well, nothing that can't be fixed. I mean...
There was no sense holding back. This was a family issue. A matter for the alliance.
So...I told them.
She said it was the conscientious thing to do.
I explained to them exactly what was involved...making every detail crystal-clear. And, when it was over...seemed the decision was pretty much up to them.
That's what she said, huh?
But at least the burden was off me. This problem was too big for one small kid. My family would handle it now, together - one for all...all for one.
May I be excused? (Exits.)
I should go finish the laundry. (Exits.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 62 - "Road Trip")
(Jack and Kevin are on opposite ends of the couch. They look at each other, uninterested.)
You stop communicating. Except through an interpreter.
Kevin, how'd you do on your test today?
You hear that, honey? Kevin did well on his French test.
(Jack glances toward Kevin, unenthusiastically.)
Jack, did you tell Kevin about your trip to Cincinnati?
Well, I guess that roasting-pan has soaked long enough. (Exits.)
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.
(Kevin turns toward Jack quickly.)
I gotta study.
I gotta work.
(They stand simultaneously, step toward each other, and pause.)
And most of all...
(Kevin turns and walks off. Jack frowns.)
You never, ever...
(Jack walks off.)
Want to be alone with each other.
(Cut to breakfast. Norma stands in the kitchen, reading a newspaper ad. Kevin and Wayne are eating, Jack's reading a newspaper.)
Oh, my goodness! Look at this! It's hard to believe!
What is it?
It's a sale. On suits, at Randolph's. Route 9-B and Millbrook.
Course, when you're fourteen...almost any situation can be fraught with potential peril.
They're slashing prices! "Everything must go"! Jack, what do you say?
About these suits! (Smiles.)
Fortunately, this was Dad's problem.
I got all the suits I need...
No - I meant for Kevin.
What? (Frowns.) Why me?!
Well, you're getting older, honey - you don't have one that fits you. And, you look so manly in a suit. (Smiles.) And besides...they come with two pairs of pants!
Powerful reasoning...requiring a powerful response.
Mom, I don't want a suit, OK? (Frowns.)
They're open till five. And they're only an hour away.
What do you think, Jack.
Kid needs a suit...kid needs a suit.
Have fun, sucker! (Exits.)
(Kevin wipes his mouth with a napkin and stands up.)
Great. A whole Sunday down the tubes. What could be worse?
So, what time will you two fellas be leaving?
To buy that suit!
Why not? A boy should buy his suit...with his father.
(Jack laughs and gestures.)
(Kevin smiles and shrugs.)
(Kevin takes some breaths and frowns toward Jack. Jack looks off and growls.)
It was pretty clear this idea wasn't gonna float. Not in a month of Sundays.
(Cut to the driveway. Kevin and Jack are in the car. Norma is looking in the window.)
Now - you sure you know how to get there?
Course I know how to get there.
You take 15...to the exit for 22-B, and then...
Norma? I know how to get there. (Nods.)
Well, then...(Smiles.) You two have a good time! (Winks.)
(Kevin smiles at Norma while he talks.)
Dad, we don't have to do this, you know.
(Jack smiles at Norma while he talks.)
The hell we don't.
(Norma waves a towel, smiling.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 63 - "When Worlds Collide")
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 secret that threatened the very fabric of my fragile image. I, Kevin Arnold...
Had a mom.
Did you have a good day at school?
Well, I'm glad. (Smiles.)
(Norma takes off her apron.)
Don't get me wrong - I liked my mother. She was good to me.
(Norma tilts her head and smiles.)
Well, a little. (Smiles.)
(Kevin sits down, and Norma opens the oven.)
Good! I made you a grilled-cheese sandwich!
(Norma approaches with a plate.)
She made me grilled-cheese sandwiches...
(Norma picks up the basketball, walks toward the cabinet, and sets the ball on the counter.)
She poured my milk...
Oh - and I sewed that button on the shirt that you like - so you can wear it tomorrow.
She sewed my buttons...
That's great, Mom.
(Norma smiles as she approaches with the milk.)
And, I went shopping for you today.
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 smiles as she approaches, holding something behind her back.)
(Norma holds up a pair of white briefs.)
Underpants! (Smiles.) Your favorite kind!
She knew...too much.
(Cut to the living room. Jack, Wayne, and Kevin are on the couch watching basketball on TV. Norma is at the dining table with laundry.)
Still, like a lot of housewives of her time, what Mom knew was pretty much limited to her domain.
Oh, Jack, the dryer's been acting up again - I had to change the filter on it today.
And I put a new shower curtain up in the bathroom.
(Shot of Norma arranging things on the coffee table in front of the guys.)
And, so long as what she did in her world didn't interfere with our world...that was fine with us.
(Norma walks to the TV and stands in front of it, holding some magazines.)
And...I've got some news. I was in line this morning at the A & P...
(Jack frowns and rests the remote against his head.)
And Marietta Milburn was ahead of me. She mentioned that her next-door neighbor had just quit her job, and they needed someone to fill her position.
(Jack, Kevin and Wayne have no reaction.)
Just temporarily. (Smiles.)
So, I went in. (Smiles.)
(Jack and Kevin look at each other.)
It's...mostly just light typing and filing, nothing difficult...and I'd be home in plenty of time to cook dinner. (Smiles.) What do you think? (Nods.)
Now obviously what was required here was a show of enthusiasm. However half-hearted.
Fine with me then...(Gestures.)
Sounds great, Mom. (Smiles.)
(Norma looks at Wayne expectantly.)
You're blocking the TV!
Oh! I'm sorry!
(She giggles and moves over.)
And, the decision had been made.
Well, then...I guess...(gestures)...that's that! (Nods.)
(Norma walks behind the couch.)
After all, if a little meaningless clerical work could brighten her day, nothin' wrong with that.
So where is this job?
In the attendance office at Kevin's school. (Smiles.)
It was the cool kid's worst nightmare.
(Cut to Jack & Norma's bedroom. Norma is in the closet, reaching up to the shelf as Kevin approaches.)
Mom? Listen, about this job.
(Norma pulls out a typewriter.)
Gimme a hand with this, will ya? Oh...whew! It's been so long since I've actually typed! Wonder if it's like riding a bicycle. (Smiles.)
Seemed to me, this was a little more critical than typewriters or bicycles.
Mom? Are you sure this is a good idea?
(Norma looks at dresses.)
I just wondered, you know, if you'd thought this all through.
How do you mean, honey?
Well, you know, a big decision like this isn't something you just want to rush into.
There! All I had to do was detail the greater ramifications.
Which one do you think I should wear?
(Norma looks at Kevin with concern.)
Kevin! You're really worried about this, aren't you?
God bless the woman.
Well, don't be. Just because I'm going to work doesn't mean I'm going to neglect you.
I may have a job, but I'm still your mother. And you're still my little boy.
(Norma rubs Kevin's head.)
It wasn't exactly a comforting thought.
Gimme that! (Smiles.)
(Norma takes the typewriter, sets it on the bed, and starts dusting it off.)
Still, I figured sooner or later, Mom would realize what a bad idea this was. All she needed was a little time to think it over.
What time shall we leave tomorrow?
I start at nine - we can drive to school together! (Smiles.)
Thanks...(smiles)...but I think I'll take the bus. (Exits.)
(Cut to morning in the car. Norma is smiling at Kevin as she drives.)
This is fun, isn't it?
So much for public transportation.
I have never seen you dawdle so long, getting ready for school.
(Norma looks at her dress and adjusts her hat.)
You think I'm dressed OK?
Actually, she looked kinda like an astronaut's wife.
You look fine, Mom.
Now if she could only look invisible.
I'm just sorry that we won't be able to see each other more.
What do you mean?
Well, I'll probably be cooped up in that attendance office all day. I don't think I'll even have time to say hello.
(Norma frowns and shakes her head. Kevin looks off and smiles.)
Well, then - things were looking up.
(Cut to the school parking lot as Norma pulls past a parked bus, into an empty parking space.)
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. Maybe once we got to school, no one would even know she was there.
(They step out of the car.)
Once we actually got to school.
(Norma pauses and rests her box of things on the the trunk.)
(Kevin looks toward school, then ducks behind the car as Norma starts to walk of with her box.)
Uh...You go ahead, Mom. I got a, uh...a knot in my shoelace.
You want any help? I may have an extra one in my -
No! No really, thanks!
(Norma looks at her watch.)
I don't wanna be late!
No, no - wouldn't want that!
Seeya, Mom! (Waves.)
(Norma hesitates, then smiles and walks away. Kevin peeks over the car.)
(Everyone goes outside for a fire-drill.)
Now, ordinarily a junior-high fire-drill has all the excitement of a four-week vacation packed into ten minutes. But when everyone else was partying...
(Mr. Diperna and Norma stand together.)
I was busy keeping watch.
There she is.
(Kevin hides behind Paul.)
My mother! What's she doing now?
Oh. She's talking to Mr. Diperna.
(Norma holds Mr. Diperna's arm as they talk and smile.)
Great. Invading my turf wasn't bad enough - now she was fraternizing with the enemy.
This is unbelievable!
Kev? Aren't you making kind of a big deal out of this? I mean, look at you - hiding from your own flesh-and-blood? (Shrugs.)
Easy for him to say. It wasn't his flesh-and-blood.
Paul, just stay out of this, OK?
Oh, come on! (Gestures.) What's she doing to hurt you?
And suddenly, I felt ashamed. Paul, as usual, was right.
(Norma spots Kevin and mouths: "Oh, there he is...", and points.)
This was my mother. the woman who cooked my food. And for that one moment, I actually forgave her.
(Norma waves and smiles.)
Yoo-hoo! Hi, honey!
Just for that moment, though.
(In the basement, Norma is taking clothes from the dryer as Kevin approaches.)
Mom! We gotta talk.
(Norma puts clothes on the ironing board.)
How do ya mean?
One little problem here. How do you explain "cool" to a forty-year-old housewife...
(Norma folds some socks.)
Who folds your sweatsocks?
How'd it go today?
Well - I think it went OK! (Smiles.) Actually, I was a little nervous. (Sighs.) It was just all so different than what I expected.
(Norma smiles and folds some clothes.)
But it was fun! I guess. (Smiles.) Once I get my typing up to speed, I know I'll really enjoy the job.
And...that was that.
(Kevin turns to leave, then turns back.)
Except, somehow I knew...I had to face this thing head-on.
Listen - Mom?
This wasn't gonna be easy. It was gonna take tact...finesse.
When we're at school...(gestures)...could you maybe just...not talk to me?
(Norma pauses and looks at Kevin.)
Or, notice me...or, even look at me? (Gestures.)
(Norma looks slightly puzzled.)
You know, cuz I'd rather people didn't know you were there at all.
(Norma glances off, then at Kevin.)
Well, of course, Kevin.
(She looks away and gesturing.)
If that's what you'd like.
(Norma looks at Kevin and nods slightly, then looks down. She looks up again, then off.)
Uh-huh. Winston Churchill himself couldn't have handled it better.
(Cut to school parking lot as Norma pulls up and parks.)
Still, over the next few days, things kinda...changed.
(Kevin and Norma get out. Norma walks away.)
Now that we'd had our little talk, Mom was as good as her word.
(Cut to class.)
And while I worked to patch my injured image...
(Kevin turns and sees Norma talking and smiling with the teacher. She looks up at Kevin suddenly and pauses, then walks away.)
Norma Arnold turned into a stranger.
(Kevin tosses his magazine down and sighs.)
(Tony Barbella wants Kevin to get him a hall pass. Kevin enters the attendance office where Norma is working.)
I was mad. I'd been led to a life of crime. And I knew by whom. The real culprit was right behind that counter.
(Norma looks up, surprised.)
Oh, Kevin! What are you doing here?
I, uh...forgot my lunch money. (Smiles.)
(Norma points behind her.)
Honey, my purse is just back there - would you mind just coming in to get it?
Ah, the devious depths of the criminal mind. OK, so I knew it was wrong.
(Kevin starts to get money from Norma's purse, and sees the clipboard with passes in front of him.)
I had no choice.
(Kevin slowly rips a pass off the clipboard.)
Besides, after all I'd been through, what court in the world would convict me?
(Norma turns around and frowns.)
(Kevin turns in surprise, with the pass in his hand.)
And suddenly...court was in session.
(Kevin hides the pass behind his back.)
(Mr. Diperna opens the door to his office and steps out.)
Uh, Mrs. Arnold...(glances at Kevin)...could I speak with you, please?
(Norma and Kevin look at each other, then Norma smiles at Mr. Diperna.)
I'll be right in.
As soon as possible, please.
(He enters his office. Norma and Kevin look at each other.)
Well, I have to get to work.
(Norma looks at Kevin as she enters Mr. Diperna's office. Kevin sets the pass down, sighs, and exits. Fade to the parking lot as Norma sets her box of things on the hood of the car. Kevin sees her in the distance.)
Suddenly the Tony Barbella's of the world seemed like small potatoes.
Mom? About what happened...it wasn't what it looked like. Anyway, I-I didn't take that pass.
(Norma smiles slightly and nods.)
(She turns back to her box of things.)
(Norma turns and frowns.)
Kevin - could we talk about this later? I'm...just a little distracted, right now.
(Norma frowns and turns back to her box, then looks toward Kevin.)
I just got my walking papers. Mr. Diperna just fired me. (Smiles.)
He said my typing wasn't up to snuff. And my dictation was...laborious.
(She smiles, then frowns and glances away. Kevin looks surprised.)
He said that?
(Norma smiles, swallows, and glances way.)
I don't know. Maybe he's right. Anyway...
(Norma picks up her box.)
Now you know.
(She starts to unlock the back door.)
I'm really sorry, Mom.
(Norma looks at Kevin, then opens the door.)
I guess even astronaut's wives had a bad day once in awhile.
Want some company?
(Norma shakes her head and puts her box on the back seat.)
(She puts her stuff away, then looks at Kevin and frowns.)
Could you take the bus? I think I'd like to go for a drive.
(Norma gets in the car, backs out, and drives away.)
(Later, the guys are impatiently waiting for Norma to return home.)
Standing in that kitchen where Mom had made her family grilled-cheese sandwiches for past eighteen years, I knew that something had changed.
(Sound of Norma pulling up, and flash of headlights on Kevin's face. Kevin turns toward Jack and Wayne.)
The least I could do was prepare them for the shattered soul about to walk through that door.
(Norma enters quickly.)
Hi! (Smiles.) Anybody hungry?
(Norma sets a package on the counter and walks past Kevin.)
Sorry! I lost track of time.
(She sets her purse on the counter, and gestures toward Jack.)
We'll eat in twenty minutes.
(Norma pulls a pan from the refrigerator.)
Just let me get this casserole in the oven.
(Norma crosses toward the oven, then looks toward Jack.)
Oh! And I stopped by and picked up the crumb-cake you all love. (Smiles.)
(Norma gestures and approaches.)
You need that freshened, honey?
(Norma takes Jack's glass.)
It was incredible! This was the most un-shattered soul I'd ever laid eyes on.
(Norma pulls an ice-try from the freezer and moves to the counter.)
She seemed...happy. Almost confidant. Almost...
Oh, Kevin - did you tell your father about school today?
Completely out of her mind.
What about school?
I won't be working there anymore.
Well, it's pretty simple, really. (Smiles.)
(She looks at Kevin.)
And I knew she was gonna tell them. About everything. Only for some reason - she didn't.
It's just not the right job for me. (Shrugs.) Not right now. And, I think I can do better! (Smiles.) So I won't be going back there.
(She looks down, then up at Kevin, and nods slightly.)
(She pauses, then walks to Jack and hands him his drink.)
Well, then...if that's what you want.
That's what I want. (Nods.)
(Norma returns to the kitchen and checks the oven.)
And in that moment...I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt one thing about this woman I'd been so ashamed of.
(Norma adjusts her apron and leans closer to Kevin.)
By the way...you're grounded.
(Norma walks to the refrigerator. Kevin smiles.)
She was pretty cool.
(Fade to evening in the kitchen. Norma is typing at the table. Kevin rummages in a cabinet in the background.)
When you're fourteen, change is an everyday thing. You live with it every moment of your life.
(Kevin looks toward Norma as she types.)
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 -
Mom? Do we have any more hot-chocolate?
Would you like me to make you some? (Smiles.)
(Norma gets up and walks to the counter. Kevin watches her, then looks at the typewriter.)
Still, somehow...I knew that whatever change lay ahead...
(Kevin looks at the college application in the typewriter. It has "ARNOLD ... NORMA" in the name section.)
Norma Arnold would handle it.
Ready in a minute, honey!
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 64 - "Separate Rooms")
(The boys are having a hard time living in the same room. They pause in the hallway.)
Not that there wasn't a solution. Karen's room. One hundred fifty square feet of prime, unoccupied, real estate. Right next door to where we lived.
(Norma approaches behind them and squeezes past them.)
Excuse me. (Smiles.)
Just one little hitch.
Mom, what are you doing?
(Norma is at Karen's bed as she turns toward the boys.)
Just...straightening up. (Smiles.)
(She turns toward the bed, and starts to pull the covers back.)
It isn't fair.
(Norma looks over her shoulder toward the boys.)
Karen's at college. I mean, she's never here. How come she gets her own room?
Yeah. What about us?
(Norma looks at them as she fluffs out the sheets.)
But if we were lookin' for even-handed justice...
(Norma looks down as she smoothes out the sheets.)
We were barkin' up the wrong mom.
(She glances at the boys.)
Now, don't be silly.
(She looks down again as she spreads out a sheet.)
You have a room...
(She looks toward the boys.)
That's the way it's always been...one room for the boys...
(She looks down.)
(She glances at the headboard, then the boys.)
For the girls. (Smiles.)
(In the kitchen.)
Kevin? Are those Wayne's socks you're wearing?
(Kevin looks down quickly as Wayne laughs.)
Ya know...now that I think of it - I may have mixed up your bureau drawers yesterday. (Frowns.) Did you boys notice whose underwear you put on this morning? (Frowns.)
(At dinner, Norma looks at Karen.)
More potatoes, honey? (Smiles.)
Hnnnn. Thanks, Mom.
(Karen lifts her plate as Norma spoons some potatoes onto it.)
My sister, Karen, was home from college. Which could only mean one of three things.
Great, Dad. (Nods.)
OK, I think.
Well, that's what I want to talk to you about.
Here it came...the mid-semester bite. The freshman pinch.
Nothing. (Smiles.) I got a job.
(Wayne chokes on his milk.)
A job? (Frowns.)
Yes, Dad - a job.
(Norma frowns slightly at Jack, then looks at Karen.)
Well, that's nice, honey. (Smiles.) What kind of a job?
At the co-op. On campus for the summertime.
But I thought you were...coming home this summer.
Nope. I'm gonna be living up there. (Nods.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 66 - "The Accident")
(Winnie visits Kevin unexpectedly.)
You wanna go inside for a soda?
After all, an occasion like this called for a little privacy.
Winnie! This is a surprise!
Hi, Mrs. Arnold.
Privacy being hard to come by when your mom's clogging up the kitchen.
Can I get you kids something to eat?
(Kevin steps between Winnie and Norma.)
Uh, no, thanks, Mom. We're fine, really.
(Norma returns to the broccoli at the sink.)
If you want anything...
(Norma glances at Kevin.)
Just give me a call.
(Norma looks at Winnie.)
Thanks. It was really nice seeing you.
(Norma smiles at Winnie.)
(Norma smiles, looks at Kevin, then exits.)
Uh-huh. Especially nice seeing her go.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 67 - "The House That Jack Built")
(Jack is patching a crack in the side of the house.)
Think it'll hold?
(Norma steps outside, wiping her hands on a towel and looks at Jack.)
A little cement, a little paint...good as new. (Smiles.)
(Norma approaches, looking at Jack's work.)
Course, his family trusted his capable hands as well.
Jack? Are you sure we shouldn't call a repairman?
We don't need a repairman, Norma. Just a little crack. (Smiles.)
Oh, I know honey, but...I mean...(shrugs)...isn't that pretty serious? (Frowns.)
I know what I'm doing. (Nods.)
All in all...the old man had built a pretty solid foundation for us.
(Cut to Karen pulling a stack of plates from the cabinet. Norma is fixing some lemonade, and Kevin is waiting for it.)
Whether we liked it or not.
Honey? Is there something I can help you with?
Huh? Oh - no, no. I just wanted to borrow these. Do you mind?
Well, I suppose not.
Except...why do you need plates?
For my new place.
New place? I thought you were living in the dorm this summer. (Frowns.)
Well, I was...I mean, I was going to, but then I found this house off-campus - so I'm going to be living there instead.
You? In a house.
That's what I said.
Bear in mind, this from a girl who once swore all she needed in life...was a knapsack and a bowl of brown rice.
What do you need a house for? (Frowns.)
Well, I mean, it's roomier, and it's...closer to work. It's what I'm going to do.
(Jack enters from the living room.)
What are you goin' to do?
(Norma turns around and looks at Jack.)
Karen's thinking of moving into a house.
(Karen said she was getting a roommate to share expenses of a house. Now at diner, Norma approaches and sets a bowl of salad down.)
So, have we met this roommate yet, honey?
(Norma sits down.)
For my mother, the issue didn't seem to be quite so open-and-shut.
No, Mom - I don't think so.
But you two...get along together well?
Oh, yeah. We're fine. (Smiles.)
And this house...what's it like? (Smiles.)
In fact, for some reason, Mom had a hold of this house thing...
(Norma is holding a chicken leg, looking at Karen.)
Like a dog with a bone.
I don't know, it's um...(shrugs)...just a big old house...(gestures)...it's roomy, lots of windows...it's a nice place.
(Norma looks at Karen, then Jack, and shrugs.)
Well, maybe we should...drive up and see it.
All of us? (Frowns.)
Come on, Mom. (Frowns.) We don't need to go up there.
Yeah, Mom. Besides...the house still needs a lot of work, and...that's why we're getting such a good deal. Maybe you should wait a few weeks.
Well, if you think so. (Smiles.)
(Norma looks at her food.)
And once again, the issue was settled.
(Jack drops his fork onto his plate, and pauses. He wipes his mouth with a napkin slowly, then puts his napkin in his lap, and looks at Karen.)
Needs a little fix-up, hah?
Daddy...(smiles)...it's being handled.
Yeah...(shrugs)...but someone's gotta make sure it's done right.
(Jack looks at Norma.)
Maybe we should drive up - take a look, huh? (Nods.)
(Norma smiles slightly at Jack.)
(Wayne looks at Kevin and smiles. Kevin gestures toward him.)
Why can't he help? (Frowns.)
Looks like you're Daddy's little helper. (Smiles.)
(Wayne looks at his food and frowns.)
(Norma looks around the table.)
So, how about next Saturday?
(Karen looks uncomfortable, then smiles and sighs heavily.)
Sure. Next Saturday's OK.
And at long last, the issue was put to rest for good.
(Later, Karen is in the foyer of her house, facing the front door as it opens creakily. Kevin, Norma and Jack enter, and look at the door as Jack closes it. Karen smiles.)
I told you it still needs some work, but the landlord's giving us a real deal if we do some of the repairs.
(Norma smiles and nods slightly as she looks around. She takes a small step forward, and Jack holds her sleeve, then walks slowly ahead of her.)
You just gotta have a little vision. (Smiles.)
Uh-huh. We had vision, alright.
(Norma walks into the shot looking toward the ceiling, then the floor.)
While Mom was envisioning walls...
(Norma turns toward Karen and smiles uncomfortably.)
Festering with cockroaches and rats...
(Norma glances up to the ceiling, which has some bare wood showing though.)
(Later at lunch. Kevin sits at the table, and Norma stands at a counter.)
Well, at least the condemned man was gonna get a final meal.
(Karen approaches, holding out a tray of white vegetable.)
You guys like hikama?
If you could call it that.
Let's...(gestures)...try it and see. (Smiles.)
(Norma and Karen fix some food at the counter.)
Where did you learn to cook like this, honey? (Smiles.)
Oh, I don't know...just something I picked up along the way, I guess. (Smiles.)
Still, you had to hand it to Karen. In her own kitchen...she actually seemed...at home. So maybe there was more to her new life then we'd been giving her credit for.
(All three look toward the door. A young man enters, holding two brown shopping bags.)
Sorry I took so long. (Smiles.)
(Karen and Norma look over their shoulder.)
(Norma turns slightly and smiles.)
I, uh...brought the groceries. (Smiles.)
(Karen and Norma look at him.)
(Karen points, and looks worriedly at the man.)
You can just put them down here, OK?
(He sets the bags down, then looks at Kevin.)
Hnnn. Friendly deliver-people in these parts.
Well, thanks. (Smiles.)
Oh, no problem. (Shrugs.)
Now, something wasn't quite right, here. I just couldn't put my finger on it.
Maybe Mom couldn't, either.
(Norma looks at the man and smiles.)
Aren't you going to tip him?
(The man smiles and gestures.)
Nah - this one's on the house. (Nods.) Well. (Nods.) Bye.
(The man turns and walks to the door.)
So, maybe it was nothing.
(Karen and Norma resume fixing food.)
Or maybe not.
(Norma looks past Karen toward the door.)
(Cut to the dining room.)
(Jack sniffs a large bowl on the table.
What's that smell?
Stir-fried vegetables, sauteed bean-curd, and hikama salad on the side.
Well...(smiles)...it looks wonderful, honey. Right, Kevin?
(Kevin is looking at a white glob on his spoon.)
Uh...Yeah! (Shrugs.) Wonderful. (Smiles.)
Hey, what could be better? A hearty meal with the family...a new hearth and home...back-breaking projects ahead...
(Jack looks up at Norma and nods slightly.)
Lotsa work to do.
(Norma looks at Jack.)
So it's a good thing we came up, right? (Smiles.)
No kidding. Place needs a man's help. (Smiles.)
(The man returns, and is introduced as Michael, Karen's roommate. It is apparent they are sleeping together. Jack frowns, and bangs the table, scattering silverware onto the floor, and stands up.)
We braced ourselves for the inevitable. My father was gonna make mince-meat of this guy. Tear him limb from limb.
I'm gonna take a walk.
(Jack starts to walk off, and holds up his hand to Norma.)
Or, he was gonna take a walk.
I knew this was a bad idea.
(Karen rises and exits in the opposite direction. Michael rubs his head, then starts to rise.)
Michael! (Rises.) Excuse me.
(Norma exits toward Karen in the kitchen.)
I don't want to talk about this.
Well, it's not that easy, Karen. We're going to talk about it.
Yeah. Like Dad really wants to...
(Michael looks at Kevin.)
This isn't going well, is it?
Karen, he loves you.
Well, he's got a funny way of showing it!
Well, what did you expect?!
I don't think so.
Um, maybe we should go outside.
(They stand and exit.)
What's wrong with it?!
I'll tell you. You are not married...
(Later, Kevin and Michael return from going out for a hamburger. Norma is washing dishes as they enter from the background. Norma looks over her shoulder at them.)
But I guess when it comes to family...
(Norma rinses a plate and looks at Kevin.)
Things are never that easy.
Mr. Arnold isn't back yet?
(Norma shakes her head. Michael walks past her and Norma looks after him.)
You want some help, Mom? (Gestures.)
Oh, I don't think so, honey. Thanks.
(Norma smiles slightly. Kevin walks past her and the camera. Norma looks after him, then down.)
(The Arnold's have returned home on a rainy night. The basement is leaking. Kevin is on the basement stairs, looking at Jack and Norma who are in the far the corner of the basement, looking at the wall. Lightning and thunder goes off, and Jack and Norma look out the window. Jack runs his hand over the wall, then turns toward Norma.)
Guess I didn't fix it very well. (Gestures.)
You did your best, honey. I know that.
(Jack looks at the wall again, then turns to walk past Norma. Norma put her hands up on Jack's shoulders. They hold each other tenderly.)
Also "Full Transcript"
(Ep 68 - "Graduation")
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.
(Cut to the kitchen as Norma is helping Wayne with vocabulary homework.)
The grinding of very small minds.
Oh...honey, I think maybe it's "C".
That's what I said. (Gestures.) "C".
After a decade of hiding out in the cracks of the public school system...my brother was facing the hard choices.
Come on, now...try another one.
That would be, uhhhhhh...
Not that he wasn't going down without a fight.
Nnnnn-eeee...."A"! Can we eat, now?
My mother, on the other hand, was standing guard between the rock...
(Jack enters with his tie loosened, holding his jacket and briefcase.)
Oh, welcome home, honey!
And the hard place.
(Jack sets his jacket on a chair and tosses his briefcase on the floor.)
Here's your drink.
Seemed my father had all but abandoned the concept of communication as we know it.
Jack? The contractor stopped by today. About the foundation?
I don't want to talk about it.
Well, he didin't seem to think it would be too bad. Just a matter of repouring a few walls...
I don't want to talk about it.
My guess was...the old man didn't want to talk about it.
Well, then...(shrugs)...shall we have dinner? (Smiles.)
Good idea, Mom. (Smiles.)
Good. Have a seat.
And there ya had it. In the great scheme of Arnold family life, things were moving on. For some of us, anyway.
(Kevin sits down and looks at Jack.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 70 - "The Lake")
(Jack and Alvin are fishing off the boat-dock.)
Lake Wennahatchee. For one week that summer of 1971, my family and Paul Pfeiffer's rented side-by-side cabins along its placid shores.
It was a place to get away from the aggravations of modern suburban life...
I got one!
Escape from the petty everyday competition.
Ha, ha, hahhhhh. Ha, ha.
(Norma stands at the dock gate, wearing sunglasses, holding a pack of hotdogs.))
Hotdogs or hamburgers for dinner?
We're gonna have fish, dammit!
(A clump of lake-plant swings past on the end of his line. Jack frowns. Norma tilts her head and frowns.)
The kind of paradise that made you wish you could stay forever.
(The men continue to fish as Norma exits.)
After three-and-a-half days of hanging out, even my best friend was starting to get on my nerves.
(Cut to everyone sitting at a picnic table. Norma is trying to open a large jar.)
Not to mention my folks.
I wish you wouldn't put the top on so tight!
You rather have pickle juice on your back seat, Norma?
That summer...I had the profound revelation that my parents had suddenly become blithering idiots.
(Jack takes the jar from Norma, and tries unsuccessfully to open it.)
Thing's on tighter than I thought.
(Norma takes the jar.)
Maybe if we beat it against the table.
(Norma bangs the jar upside down on the table. Jack frowns and flinches, then glances off and sighs.)
Sometimes it was as if they were speaking a whole different language.
(Jack and Norma have a conversation of several lines, apparently about the pickle jar, over-dubbed in a foreign language.)
(Jack sets a cooked fish on the cabin table.)
Here we go! Eat up.
Fish turned out great, honey. Aren't you all proud of your father?
Yeah, we've got fish for days, hehehh.
Yeah, hehhh, we've got fish for days.
Of course I was more than glad to be there for Dad's moment of triumph.
Well, I gotta run. (Smiles.)
Honey? Run where?
To the drive-in. You know, with Paul.
'Fraid not, honeybunch. The Pfeiffster's not going anywhere. Mr. Rubberhead's grounded for life. Hahahahah.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 72 - "The Hardware Store")
Old man's runnin' your tail off, huh? (Smiles.)
For some reason, Dad saw a certain humor in seeing his youngest child do time at hard labor.
(Norma smiles at Jack.)
Come to think of it - so did my entire family.
(Wayne smiles at Kevin.)
So how was your day, hon-ey?
Shut up, butthead! (Frowns.)
I think it sounds like fun - working in a store...(shrugs)...meeting people...talking to customers...(Smiles.)
Well...see, Mom, that's part of the problem. No one -
Old man Harris. He's one-of-a-kind. Nobody knows hardware like he does.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 74 - "Full Moon Rising")
(Cindy has taken a rain-check for her date with Kevin, so...)
Now there was nothin' standing between me, the guys...and the open road.
Where're you goin'?
Nothin' except...a little game of twenty questions.
We haven't decided yet.
Well, who's driving, honey?
No one. Well...Ricky Halsenbach.
Ohh...yeahhh....I know him.
Right! You know Ricky!
He's that dopey-lookin' kid. He's an idiot.
W-...come on, Dad - he's a very good driver.
I don't know about this.
(Ricky pulls up and over the curb into the Arnold front yard.)
He did really well on his driver's test.
(Ricky backs off the lawn into the street.)
You should see this guy parallel-park.
Jack, we have to go. Just...don't forget - your curfew's at eleven, honey. (Smiles.)
(Sound of sqealing tires.)
I won't. Have a nice night!
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 75 - "Triangle")
By some fantastic stroke of cosmic luck, my brother had found paradise. A girl with charm. A girl with style.
(Cut to dinner with Sandy.)
A girl...who used her silverware.
This is great, Mrs. Arnold. (Smiles.)
(Wayne looks at Norma.)
Yes, it's, uh...superb. (Smiles.)
Oh, well...thank you.
(Jack looks slightly surprised and looks at Norma.)
Needless to say...
(Jack mouthes "superb?")
It was a shock. I was shocked...Dad was shocked...only my mother seemed to have expected this.
(She gestures at them with her fork.)
How did you two meet?
Lemme tell. (Giggles.) I was running to class...and I tripped on the stairs, and I was falling, and all of a sudden...there was Wayne. (Smiles.)
(K & J): I'll say.
(Kevin and Sandy have been making out around school.)
Sure, I knew it was wrong, but...I didn't care.
(Cut to kitchen table.)
Dad? Can I borrow a couple bucks?
Until that Friday.
Well, I'm takin' Sandy to the dance, tonight.
Things were getting a little complicated.
Are you going, Kevin?
To put it mildly.
Are you kidding? (Smiles.) Butthead can't get a date. (Laughs.)
(Wayne looks at Kevin and winks.)
Oh, well that's good. Maybe you'll meet someone there. (Smiles.)
If only she knew.
(Norma looks at Jack.)
You know...your father and I met at a school dance. Do you remember that, Jack? (Smiles.)
It was the last time you talked to Dick Claiborne.
Great. I'm stuck in this terrible situation...and my mother is gonna relive old times.
(Norma looks at Kevin and Wayne.)
He was your father's best friend. (Nods.) Dick took me to the dance...but I saw your father there. Of course I had seen him before, but...he was in a new suit. Skinny as a rail.
(Kevin and Wayne look at each other and chuckle.)
Anyway...they had this terrible fight over me, and...they haven't talked since. (Smiles.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 76 - "Soccer")
Soccer? Isn't that where they use the brooms to sweep in front of the little...thingy?
That's curling, Mom. Soccer's where...little boys chase the ball around in shorts and knee-socks.
Shut up, butthead!
Well, I'm very proud of you, honey.
Well, just some old guy named McIntyre.
Also "Full Transcript"
(Ep 77 - "Dinner Out")
(At dinner, Jack is looking off and frowning, as he tries to cut some meat.)
Unfortunately by birthday-time, nineteen-seventy-one...the king wasn't looking so...
(Wayne burps, and the others look at him.)
Maybe it was because he was about to turn forty-three in a week. Maybe it was the day-to-day irritations. Maybe it was something else.
Jack? I spoke to Karen today. (Smiles.)
I don't want to talk about it.
Well, she just wanted to know how we're all doing. (Smiles.)
We're doing fine.
And she mentioned that she and...
I don't want to talk about it.
Face it. For the past six months, ever since he'd found out my sister was co-habitating without benefit of clergy...Dad had become kinda...monosyllabic.
We, of course...did our best to humor the big guy.
So, Dad...(smiles)...who do you think's gonna be in the superbowl this year?
(Jack frowns at Kevin as he cuts some meat.)
I don't get it. I mean, what's the big deal? Just because she's shacking up...with some guy. (Frowns.)
(Jack looks up from his plate toward Wayne and growls.)
Jack...maybe if you just talk to her...
But no matter how hard we tried, there was just no mending the hole in our family.
I don't...wanna talk about it.
(Cut to Karen and Michael's house. Karen and Norma are at a flower planter.)
I don't wanna talk about it. OK?
Ah, well...like dad, like...daughter.
Honey, he is your father.
Mom? Did you really come all the way up here to tell me that?
No. I came to bring you groceries.
(Norma looks off and nods. Karen turns and looks over her shoulder. Kevin and Michael are unloading groceries.)
Every two weeks...my mother would invent some subterfuge to sneak behind enemy lines and attempt to re-establish communications.
We do have stores around here, you know. (Nods.)
(Michael and Kevin walk toward the house with groceries.)
Thing is...even though I was supposed to hate the guy...I didn't. Not that that was the problem.
(Cut to the kitchen.)
Well, we live together, we sleep together...we are together.
That was the problem.
We know that, honey.
See, maybe you know that, but Dad doesn't know that.
Well, you just have to give him some time.
I mean he...he's stubborn...he's pig-headed...Isn't he, Kevin?
Now, don't talk about your father like that.
Ah, so, uh...
(Michael looks off and pauses, then looks at Kevin.)
Who do you think's gonna be in the superbowl this year? (Smiles.)
I guess life here was about the same...
(Kevin lifts a bag off the table.)
As at our house.
(Michael glances at Norma, then kneels at the bag on the floor next to the refrigerator. Norma looks at Karen as she holds some apples.)
Karen you're not being fair. Just...(gestures)...come talk to him.
Mom, I'd love to.
(Norma looks off and gestures.)
Well, good, then. (Smiles.)
(Karen pulls Michael up by his arm.)
But not without Michael.
And we were back where we started.
You know...maybe it wouldn't hurt for you to, ya know, sit down, together. (Frowns.) I mean, he's your father, right? And, he's paying for all the groceries. Right?
(Karen is silent. Kevin looks forward and sighs slightly. Michael looks off, squints slightly, then looks at Karen.)
I think there's another bag in the car. (Nods.)
(Michael looks at Kevin.)
And there ya had it.
(Karen raises her hands.)
Eh, there's nothing more to talk about. (Gestures.)
(In the Arnold kitchen, Jack is trying to fix the plumbing.)
The thing is, I'd never seen the guy so down in the dumps. Someone was gonna have to do something...and fast.
(Norma enters slowly.)
And then...my mother did.
I've been thinking. About your party...(Nods.)
(Jack looks up at Norma as he frowns and shakes his head.)
I don't want a party.
(He stands up.)
Fine, then. It won't be a party.
(She raises and drops both arms, then crosses them as Jack turns toward the sink.)
It'll be more like a...family get-together.
But if Mom thought...
(Norma bites her lip slightly.)
She was gonna lead this horse to water...she picked the wrong horse.
Forget it, Norma. (Nods.)
Yeah, come on, Mom. (Frowns.) He doesn't...
I know that Karen would love to come.
She would? (Frowns.)
I talked to her this morning.
And she said that...(nods)...that she'd like to come? (Frowns.)
(Jack looks off.)
It was the first glimmer of a smile I'd seen on the guy in weeks.
She and Michael spoke, and...
(Norma smiles and gestures.)
They thought they'd drive down here on Saturday, and...
What?! Over my dead body! (Frowns.)
(Jack tosses the pipe down, then walks past Norma.)
No! I don't wanna talk about it!
(Jack walks toward the living room as Norma follows him through the doorway.)
Listen to me, Jack!
(Jack pauses and turns toward Norma.)
She's our daughter! (Frowns.) How can you treat her like this?!
(She puts her hands on her hips.)
What about her?! (Frowns.) She's the one who moved in with that...
(Jack pauses and frowns heavily.)
Cad? Cradle robber?
She wants to come to your birthday, Jack. (Gestures.)
Not with that guy! (Points.) Not in my house! (Frowns.)
And there it was. Dad's final proclamation. End of discussion.
(Wayne is on the couch, watching TV and chewing some popcorn.)
There was nothing left to say, except...
(Wayne looks toward them and gestures.)
So why don't we go someplace else? (Frowns.)
It may have been the most inspired moment of Wayne's long and abysmal adolescence.
Well...yeah! You know, like a...a restaurant.
And suddenly, Dad had been caught dead to rights.
What do you think, honey?
In one fell swoop...the great wall of protocol had been smashed. What else could the old man say, other than...
Who gets to pick the restaurant? (Frowns.)
You do. (Nods.)
(Outside the restaurant.)
Well...(shrugs)...shall we go in? (Smiles.)
(Jack looks at her and nods as they walk toward the entrance.)
Yep. All that remained was awaiting the arrival of loved-ones and friends.
(Sound of a motorcycle. The group pauses, and they look over their shoulders as Michael and Karen pull up.)
Or, the Hell's Angels. Which ever came first.
Hi. Sorry we're late.
They couldn't come in a car?
They don't have a car. (Frowns.)
(Karen and Michael approach.)
Hey, Mr. Arnold.
(Jack holds his hands together as Michael holds his out toward him. Michael pauses, then Norma shakes his hand.)
Hi, Michael. (Smiles.)
(At the restaurant reservation station.)
Good evening. May I help you?
Yes. Arnold, party of six. (Smiles).
Let me check.
I'm sorry. Might the reservation be under another name?
I don't think so. I called myself.
I see nothing here. And as you can tell, we're quite busy.
(He looks past Norma and waves slightly.)
Ah, Dr. Cook.
Hmmm. Seemed pretty clear...this bozo was playing Mom for all she was worth. And the birthday boy was getting antsy.
(In the distance, Jack clears his throat impatiently.)
There a problem, Norma?
Uh, no, honey...everything's fine. (Smiles.)
(Kevin tips the maitre d' a dollar for a good table. He leads the Arnold's through the restaurant.)
Yeah, it was all just a matter of dropping a few pesos in the right pocket.
(The Arnold's pause near a large table with upholstered chairs as the maitre d' passes the camera.)
This is lovely. (Smiles.)
(The maitre d' returns.)
(He sweeps his hand dramatically.)
Your table...is over here.
On the other hand...
(The camera pulls back across a small table with wooden chairs.)
Maybe the peso didn't go as far as it used to.
So, where do we sit?
(Norma looks at the table.)
Well, let me see, uh...(frowns)...how about...(shrugs)...boy-girl, boy-girl? (Smiles.)
(The waitress approaches.)
Can I get you folks a drink?
Uh, yeah! I'll have a double scotch-rocks, with a twist. (Nods.)
(Jack frowns at Wayne. The waitress frowns at Wayne. Wayne looks toward Jack and points.)
For him. (Smiles.) Natch.
If we could just see the menus, please.
(Later at the table.)
And so, from the far-flung corners of the salad-bar...we came together once again.
(Jack looks off uncomfortably.)
Basking in the warm glow of familial companionship.
(Jack frowns slightly. Karen looks at Jack.)
Chatting up a storm.
I have an idea. (Nods.) Why don't we all give your father his gifts. (Smiles.)
Ah, Norma, I don't...
Don't be silly, Jack - it's your birthday. You have to have presents. (Smiles.)
(Jack looks at Norma and smiles slightly.)
It was worth a try, anyway.
(Wayne hands Jack a manila envelope. Jack pulls out a colorful op-art designed tie.)
Sorry I didn't have time to wrap it, but uh...(frowns)...it's really cool, huh? (Nods.)
(He nods and frowns slightly.)
Fortunately...as it turned out...the evening didn't hinge on Wayne's taste in haberdashery.
(Norma stands next to Jack and hands him a flat rectangular present.)
Go on - open it.
(She puts her hands on Jack's shoulders. Jack starts to opens the paper. It is a brown photo album. He opens the cover, revealing a note on the page.)
November sixth, nineteen-twenty-seven. Forty-three years ago, today. (Smiles.)
(She kisses Jack on the cheek.)
Where did you get this? (Smiles.)
(Norma wipes Jack's cheek with her finger and looks at the album.)
I asked your father if he had any old pictures of you...he gave me a box your mother left in the attic.
(Jack turns a page.)
My birth certificate? Look at the tiny little footprints. Huh - they're smaller than my thumbs. (Smiles.)
(Jack chuckles and smiles toward Karen as he tilts the album toward her.)
And that's when it happened. For the first time that night, you could feel something between us.
(Norma turns another page.)
Here you are at your college graduation. (Points.) And here you are, leaving for Korea.
(She puts her hand on Jack's chest, and looks at Karen.)
Isn't he handsome in his uniform? (Points.)
(Norma turns another page and giggles. It iss a black-and-white photo of Jack and Norma. She is pregnant.)
Oh, look at me...(laughs)...I'm as big as a house. That was a week before Karen was born. You remember what you said to me when I called you from the hospital?
Yeah. I remember. I said, "I hope it's a girl."
In that moment...almost from out of nowhere...we were drawn together again.
(Jack turns another page.)
Oh...here's the whole family. That was a long time ago, huh? (Smiles.)
It was the family we remembered. The family we loved. The family we'd once been.
Here. Open mine next, Daddy.
(She hands a red-wrapped present to Jack.)
(Jack holds the package, flips a small latch, and opens it. Norma looks surprised.)
A ratchet set! (Smiles.) I could really use this. Thank you!
(Karen reaches across the table and puts her hand on Michael's.)
It was Michael's idea. (Smiles.)
Guess you say it was kind of the high point of the evening.
(Jack flips the lid closed.)
(Jack puts the set down, then frowns and rubs his ear.)
Well, gee, Dad - don't get all choked up about it. (Frowns.)
I said "thank you".
Did you see what he just did? (Gestures.) Mom, did you just see?
Come on, Karen, give the guy a break - it's his birthday.
Hey, when I need your help, I'll ask for it.
Look, I was just trying to ease the -
You've done enough, dammit. (Frowns.)
(Karen stands up.)
(She tosses her napkin down.)
You know...I-I don't know why I thought tonight would be any different. (Frowns.) Come on, Michael - we're out of here.
(Jack scoots his chair back and stands up.)
No. You're not out of here.
(He tosses his napkin down.)
We're out of here. (Frowns.) Where's the check? (Frowns.)
It was horrible.
No, wait a minute, Dad - I was gonna pay...
(Jack tosses some bills down and walks off.)
(Norma gathers Jack's presents and follows him.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 78 - "Christmas Party")
(Series of slides play. Sound of people talking and laughing, and clinking glasses, plays in the background. Music "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - Brenda Lee plays.)
Every year when I was a kid, my parents threw a Christmas party. Everybody in the neighborhood came. Dad played the "big cheese"...Mom played "Donna Reed". And a really stupid time was had by all. It was a time when hopes were high. When the neighborhood was young. It was fun, before fun got so...complicated.
(Fade to dinner in the kitchen. Close shot of a TV-dinner tray in Norma's oven-mitted hand, as she approaches the camera.)
Before life got so...
(The camera pans as she places the tray on the table in front of Jack's stomach.)
(Shot of Jack's knife and fork as he starts to cut the food, and pauses. The camera pans up to Jack's face. He looks down, dumbfounded.)
(Norma holds up the box and smiles.)
By December of 1971...my family was afloat in the conveniences of modern life. Whether we liked it or not.
Hey, Mom? What happened to, ya know, like...dinner?
Oh, well, with classes today...I didn't get home in time to cook. So, I stopped by the market to pick these up.
(Norma smiles, then frowns, as she sits down.)
Why? Is anything wrong?
After all...Mom was goin' to college part-time, now. She deserved our support. As for Dad...
So how was work today, honey?
Well, Dad was Dad.
Jack - you think you could help me with the party invitations this weekend?
Yeah, I have a mid-term on Monday - I've gotta study.
Well...But, I gotta go to the off -
We gotta get that coffee urn out of the garage. And I'm not sure that it's still working...so, maybe you could check it for rust?
I'll take a look.
Mom? Dad? You sure you want to have this...Christmas party this year?
Course, I was just an ignorant teen-ager. But it seemed to me this was a bad time to be throwing a neighborhhhod bash.
Don't be silly, honey! Of course were having the party!
(Everyone pauses and looks at Wayne.)
Well...because we always have a party.
(She looks toward Jack and smiles.)
Isn't that right, Jack?
(Jack smiles half-heartedly at Norma and chuckles, then glances toward Kevin and Wayne. He looks forward as he puts a forkful in his mouth, and sighs.)
And there ya had it. Come yuletide, high-water, or Salisbury steak...the annual Arnold Christmas shindig lived on.
(Another day in the living room. On the couch, Jack is trying to fix a broken coffee pot as Norma approaches.)
Honey? I just spoke to Ida. The Pfeiffer's won't be able to make it. Alvin has to visit his mother in Florida. And I ran into Joyce Medrakis. They won't be able to make it, either. Jack...maybe...having this party wasn't such a good idea after all.
And then that's when the first faint glimmer of hope appeared.
I mean we're so busy. (Gestures.) Karen won't be able to make it, anyway.
Maybe you're right. (Frowns.)
And just for a second...it seemed we might actually get out of this wing-ding.
(Jack smiles slightly as he spins the electrical plug slowly.)
Remember when we first got this?
With the green-stamps? (Smiles.)
Just for a second, though.
You remember the kids in the kitchen...pasting those things into the book...
Wayne always got 'em stuck on his elbow.
They were so cute...
Seems like yesterday.
"Seemed like yesterday". Those dreaded three words could only mean one thing.
(Jack holds the plug up and looks at it.)
I think I can get this to work.
Wayne and I...
(Jack leans over to plug in the coffee-maker.)
(Sparks fly Jack inserts the plug. Cut to wide shot of the house. The Christmas lights flicker, and the music "White Christmas" jerks along. The lights flick off as the music grinds down. Fade to the kitchen.)
Party night. And my parents, through some miracle of modern science, had managed to pull it off.
Jack? Hurry up!
Norma! Where's my shot-glass?!
Oh, it's in the hutch! (Gestures.)
It's not in the hutch!
Oh, there it is on the stove.
(Norma and Jack bump into each other.)
Even if they did seem a little ragged around the edges. We, on the other hand, were just happy to be there.
(Wayne picks up the drink-mixer and shakes it.)
How dry do you want your Martinis tonight, ah?
Just crack the ice!
Still, for all their hard work and preparation...the host and hostess weren't exactly brimming with cheer.
Oh, no...! This ambrosia's all runny. And there aren't any raisins in it. That's not how I woulda made it - I woulda made it with raisins in it.
It was almost as if they had lost sight of why they were throwing this bash in the first place.
(Sound of the doorbell. Jack and Norma look up from the bowl to each other. Cut to the front door as it opens, revealing a man ("Lou") and woman ("Jeanne"). She holds a tray of Jell-O. Music "Sleigh Ride" - Leroy Anderson plays.)
(Both): Merry Christmas!
(They enter. Jack and Norma smile, then Norma and Jeanne hug, and Jack takes Jeanne's coat.)
Oh, Norma! The place looks lovely!
(Lou backs in smiling, looking toward the outside. He takes off his overcoat, smiling at Jack.)
Jack, you really knocked yourself out on those lights.
(Jack chuckles, as Lou smiles and exits toward the living room. Norma drapes Jeanne's coat over Jack's arm and they smile at each other.)
And then, they remembered.
(Later, Norma and Jeanne are sitting on the couch.)
Ever since my youngest went to high school...I just didn't know what to do with my time.
I know what you mean. That's why I went back to coll -
I can't tell you...how much therapy has changed my life!
(Norma frowns, then nods.)
You had the feeling this party was losing steam. What it needed was a lift. A shot in the arm.
(Sound of a car horn.)
(A woman in the background looks out the window toward the street, and waves a napkin.)
Look! The Foster's are here! (Waves.)
(Norma looks excited and sets her drink down.)
Jack? Bill's here!
(Kevin walks to the front door and opens it.)
Just what the doctor ordered.
(Bill sticks his finger out at Kevin.)
Hey, hey, hey!
(Bill pats Kevin's shoulder and enters. Norma approaches.)
(Norma and Bill hug.)
Dad's old war-buddy, Bill Foster.
Bill, you old...
(Jack and Bill stick their hands out to shake, as a younger woman follows Bill in.)
No party was complete...without Bill and Marsha. Or, in this case...
(Jack and Norma's smiles fade. Jack still has his hand out. Wayne peeks around Jack.)
Bill and a woman half his age.
Oh, uh...Jack? Norma? (Gestures.) This is Carol.
(Wayne, Jack and Norma frown. Jack still has his hand out. Wayne ogles the woman.)
Obviously, this was a ticklish situation.
Where the hell is Marsha?
Wh - has it been that long? Y-you know Marsha and I split. In April.
(Norma smiles awkwardly.)
(Later, in the kitchen, Kevin is putting cheeze whiz on crackers as Mr. Ermin enters.)
Hey! It's some party in there, huh?
Can I get you anything, Mr. Ermin?
Uh...no, no, no...(Gestures wildly.) Oh! Say! Has your father finished off that basement, yet? (Smiles.)
Uh, I'm gonna go take a look at this, 'kay?
(Mr. Ermin waves and exits toward the basement.)
The strange thing was, Dad had finished off that basement fourteen years ago.
(Norma enters, followed by Jack.)
We need more chips.
Oh, in the cabinet, honey.
But it seemed there was more going on here, than just chips and dip.
Carol seems very, uh...nice.
I don't want to talk about it! (Frowns.)
I mean, she's very, uh...sophisticated! (Shrugs.) For her age.
"For her age"?! (Frowns.) "For her age"?!
(Carol approaches and pauses at the dining room doorway. Jack and Norma are turned away from her.)
Uh, Dad? (Gestures.)
Norma, for God's sake! The guy's old enough to be her father!
(Carol touches her throat and looks toward Jack.)
Um...I'm afraid something may be wrong with your urn. (Smiles.) This coffee's a little chilly.
And I suppose, there was really only one thing to say.
(Norma looks a little stunned.)
I have an idea! Let's play Twister!
(Later, Kevin, Wayne and Jack have just found Mr. Ermin smoking pot in the basement. Norma descends the stairs.)
Jack? (Sniffs.) Ho-ney? (Sniffs.) What's that -
(She pauses, then glances open-mouthed at Jack, then toward Mr. Ermin. Sitar music starts. Mr. Ermin sucks his burnt finger.)
And then came the dawn. After years of sowing it, growing it, and mowing it...Mr. Ermin, king of lawn-care...had decided to smoke it. In our basement.
(Jack sent the boys to the garage to get soda.)
But there was something wrong. I knew it, Wayne knew it...
(Kevin and Wayne look toward the garage door as they hear Jack and Norma outside.)
I'm just saying, you could have handled it a little better.
(Sound of a slamming door.)
How was I supposed to handle it better?! Tell me.
You simply could have asked him to leave.
Maybe Mom and Dad knew it, too.
You've known him for twenty years, Jack.
(Kevin and Wayne peek around the doorway and see Jack and Norma in the driveway.)
Then he shouldn't have done somethin' so stupid!
No - you should not have pushed him all the way up the stairs - he could have gotten hurt!
The guy's a jerk!
No - the man is a friend!
Look, Norma! It was not my idea to have this damn party in the first place!
Now it's my fault?!
No, it -
(Kevin and Wayne jockey for position and fall forward, and a bunch of stuff clatters to the ground. Jack and Norma turning toward them. Kevin and Wayne pop up, as a hubcap rattles to a stop.)
Hi, Dad! (Smiles.)
Hi, Mom! (Smiles.)
(Kevin and Wayne return from the store. The house is quiet as they enter.)
I wasn't sure what to expect - chaos...mayhem...
(They see Norma and Jack on the couch, alone, watching the fire in the fire-place.)
Or, maybe, two love-birds on a couch.
Ahem! We got some soda.
Thanks, honey. (Smiles.)
Well, I'll just...put 'em in the 'fridge. (Exits.)
In a way, it was crazy. There they sat - amidst the wreckage of a party gone wrong...and they didn't seem to care.
Mom? Dad? Sorry about what happened.
Oh, it's OK, honey.
Maybe it'll be better next year.
Uh...I guess I better clean up.
Oh...let it wait till tomorrow.
((Jack puts an arm around Norma. She smiles and settles back.)
And I guess that's when I understood.
(Kevin smiles slightly, and starts to walk toward his room.)
For Mom and Dad, the party hadn't been a disaster. For as much as things were changing all around them...what Jack and Norma had - what drew people to their house every Christmas for sixteen years...was still the same. The thing they started out with.
(Cut to Kevin's bedroom as Kevin flops onto his bed.)
The one they'd never lose. My parents never did throw another Christmas bash. And that was OK - I guess. But I still think about those parties. What they stood for.
(Shot of the crack of light under the door.)
The time before TV dinners and two-car families. And grass was green and we were young...
(The light brightens, as sounds of a party can be heard. The light reaches a little further into the room.)
And those nights when I'd lie awake in my bed...watching the light dance under my door. And listening...for my father's laugh.
(The camera pans across a young Wayne sleeping in bed.)
(V/O): Bill! Marsha!
(Sound of Jack laughing.)
(V/O): Son of a gun...
(The camera pans across to a young Kevin sleeping in bed.)
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 79 - "Pfeiffer's Fortune")
(Jack is trying to fix the living room TV. Wayne and Kevin are on the couch. Sparks fly. Norma approaches.)
Jack? Maybe we should call someone before you electricute yourself.
Everything's under control, Norma.
Hey! I got an idea. You should buy some land like old man Pfeiffster.
Shut up, butthead!
You shut up!
Wayne! Your father takes good care of us. Besides, I like this old TV.
(Earlier, Alvin told Kevin that Jack could have invested and made like Alvin did. Now at dinner.)
So how was your eye appointment today, honey?
Fine. Except...Mr. Pfeiffer said that -
Oh - that reminds me. Jack? Ida called today...she invited us all to the country club on Saturday.
Forget it - we're not going.
Because. We got other things to do.
What other things? (Frowns.)
But Jack - it's just that...I already accepted. I-I thought it'd be fun, and we haven't spent -
I said...we're not going.
(At the country club. Ida sees the Arnold's approaching and waves.)
Yoo-hoo! Over here!
(Jack smiles woodenly and waves slightly.)
Let's get this over with.
Guess you could say, we were all in a festive mood.
(The Arnolds approach Ida.)
I'm so glad you could come!
(Norma and Ida kiss cheeks.)
Oh, it's lovely, here. Isn't it lovely Jack?
(Earlier, Kevin hit Paul on the cheek with a tennis ball. Now, the Pfeiffer's and Arnold are seated around an outdoor table at the restaurant.)
Face it - money had come between us. Two decades of neighborly goodwill had run aground on a few measley acres of beachfront investment-property. And there was nothing any of us could do to make it better.
I'd like to make a toast. (Stands.)
Except, of course...make a toast.
We've known each other for many years. We've...worked together...broken bread together...birthed our children together...We've seen each other through good and bad. So, in a way...your good fortune...is our good fortune. (Smiles.) And I just wanna say...how proud we are of you.
(Norma looks at everyone, then raises her glass.)
To you, and your success - and all the joy it brings. We hope...it's just the beginning.
I guess human dignity can be a powerful force. Grace untrammelled can move mountains.
(Jack stands up.)
Congratulations, Alvin. I'm happy for you. (Smiles.)
(Alvin smiles slightly and looks down.)
And in that simple moment, with those simple gestures...you could feel a burden lift.
(Everyone clinks glasses.)
(Alvin starts to cry.)
I said it's gone. The whole investment. The whole shebang.
Not the beach, Dad!
Under water. All of it.
His face told the tale. One phone call, and the Pfeiffer fortunes had landed on the continental shelf. So of course, being neighbors, there was only one thing we could do.
Waiter? Double steak sandwich - make it fast, huh?
(Cut to evening as the Arnold car pulls into the driveway.)
Nobody talked much the rest of that afternoon, or on the way home. I guess we were all a little sobered by the knowledge that the fortune of an optometrist could vanish...in the blink of an eye.
(Kevin starts to walk away.)
Where are you going, honey?
Just for a walk.
For more, see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 80 - "Road Test")
(Norma is sitting on a bench in the DMV waiting room, reading. Kevin bursts through the door, after bailing out of his driving test.)
Oh, finished honey?
Yeah, come on!
(Norma grabs her purse, stands up, and walks past Kevin who is holding the door open.)
How'd it go?
Piece of cake!
You heard it.
(Cut to the Arnold kitchen. Norma sets a cake in front of Kevin. A car is decorated in green icing.)
Piece of cake.
Congratulations, Kev! (Smiles.)
You did it honey! (Smiles.)
Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. This is really - great.
But it was horrible. I was a failure and a liar...in front of my whole family.
Well, let's see it, butthead!
The driver's-license - where is it?
You didn't lose it already, did ya?
No! No! I just left it...in my other pants - in my other wallet! Besides, it's just a temporary!
I can't believe it. I can still remember your father teaching you to ride a bike. (Frowns.) And now you're driving!
(She puts an arm around Jack's neck.)
I guess I didn't expect you kids to grow up so fast.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 81 - "Grandpa's Car")
When I was a kid, anytime I needed a lift..there was my grandfather. The guy was always good for a ride. Sure, he was as old as the hills...but to me...Gramps was Hercules in bi-focals. Superman in suspenders. He was ageless...timeless...One man in a million. You could always count on him.
(Fade to Arnold kitchen.)
Where is he? He's late - again.
Not that everyone shared my view.
Probably just Friday traffic on the turnpike.
He said five o'clock. I come home early...you're making his lamchops - for him...
The lambchops will keep, Jack!
I know lambchops, Norma. (Points.) They dry out! And then he'll show up, and he'll start complaining...(gestures)...about dry lambchops.
It was kind of a ritual around our house. When Gramps visited, Mom cooked, Dad groused...and I...
Dad? Can I have the keys to the car, tonight?
I'd borrow the keys to the car.
I gotta go out - I'm pickin' up the guys.
Oh, honey...aren't you gonna wait till your grandfather gets here?
Mom, he'll see me when I come back. OK?
Not that I wasn't anxious to swap boring stories with the old guy. It's just...
So, can I have 'em?
When you're sixteen, there are priorities.
(Jack looks down as he reaches in his pocket and pulls out the keys. Jack starts to put the keys in Kevin's hand, then pulls them back.)
Wait...a minute. (Frowns.) Where'd you say you were goin'?
Come on, Dad! Do I really have to answer that?
It didn't seem fair. The Spanish Inquisition for two lousy hours in a four-door sedan.
OK. But be careful.
I will, Dad. (Nods.)
After all, I was a responsible driver...
(On the phone): Hello?
Good on turns...fair on parking.
(Kevin walks toward the living room.)
Kevin - wait.
Bad on exits.
(To Jack) It's your father.
Where is he?
The police station.
What the hell is he doin' at the police station?
He's had an accident. (Frowns.)
(Outside the station, Albert approaches Norma and a policeman talking near Albert's car.)
Oh, Albert! Are you alright?
Yes, I am, Norma.
(Albert looks at Jack, then back to Norma.)
And thank you...very much...for asking. Now, if we could all stop standing around, gawking...we might go home and have some dinner!
(The policeman taps Albert on the back.)
Just a minute, Mr. Arnold.
(The cop takes the keys from Albert.)
What do you think you're doin'?
(The policeman gestures toward Jack.)
This your designated driver?
The man's had three accidents in six months.
Hmmm. Seems there were one or two things Gramps had failed to mention to us.
Now listen, sonny...(Nods.) Don't you have somethin' better to do than goin' around...(gestures)...harassing tax-payers?
You were driving on probation, sir. Probationary accidents result in the immediate suspension of driving privileges. I believe you were informed of that.
(Arnold dining table.)
He can't do this, ya know.
Hell hath no fury like a grandfather scorned.
Dad? He can do it...He did it...It's done.
Come on, Albert. I made your lambchops just the way you like 'em. (Smiles.)
That cop wouldn't know a good driver if he got run over by one.
Honest, Gramps, I mean...did ya have the peddle to the metal? Were you gunnin' it?
What are ya talkin' about? Twenty-five miles an hour.
Twenty-five miles an hour, and you-you still hit the guy? (Frowns and laughs.)
You had to admit - it didn't really make sense.
Because he wasn't wearing his glasses. Am I right, Dad? You weren't wearing your driving glasses, were you?
They don't fit right, is the thing. There's this cockamamy earpiece that don't work right. Besides, my eyes are just fine! (Frowns.)
Dad...earpiece or not...you're stuck. You don't have a license...(gestures)...so you can't drive a car...and that is that! (Gestures.) Do we understand each other?
It was a bitter pill. But there was nothing more Gramps could say. Except, of course...
Aren't lambchops supposed to be juicy?! (Frowns.)
(Norma looks at Albert, then hesitates and frowns.)
(Next morning. Albert's car is gone.)
He's gone. Again. I haven't seen anyone so stubborn in all my life.
Now, calm down, honey.
He behaves like a teenager. Where the hell did he go?!
(Albert enters quickly from outside, carrying a brown bag.)
Dad, where have you been?!
Ah, just out for a ride.
Dad - what he hell were you doing in the car?!
I was getting fresh-squeezed juice...and some eggs. I came down early this morning to make my famous waffles...couldn't find and egg in the house! (Smiles.)
Dammit, Dad. You weren't supposed to drive - you don't have a license, and your eye-sight's shot!
What are you talkin' about? (Gestures.) I see like an owl. Here! Lemme show ya.
(Albert hurries over to Kevin with a box.)
Hold that. Hold it right there. Now. "Lulla May's great buttermilk-flavor pancakes and waffle mix...since 1917." Oh, and on the bottom..."seven cent coupon...inside."
It was amazing. A virtuoso display of visual pyrotechnics.
Now read a box...you haven't been buying for twenty-five years, Dad.
A box is a box, John.
Aw, this is ridiculous...(Frowns.)
Albert...It's just that we're worried about you.
Worried? (Frowns.) Well let me tell you something right now. You don't have to worry about me! (Nods.)
Come on, Gramps - be reasonable...
You too, huh? Anybody else? (Frowns.)
I felt sorry for the guy. I wanted to say something, but...
(Kevin looks down.)
I see. (Nods.) Well, I can tell I'm on my own, here! (Nods.) Maybe I'll come back, when somebody appreciates me...and my waffles!
(Albert walks toward the living room.)
Just a minute, Dad - where are you going?
(Grampa suggests Kevin drive him home.)
And suddenly, I was trapped between a Gramps, and a hard place.
Sure! (Shrugs.) I guess I could.
Good. Let's get moving.
(Albert walks out.)
And from that point on, there was nothing left to say but...
(Jack looks at Norma and throws his hands up. Cut to the driveway.)
Drive carefully, honey.
OK, Mom. I will.
Also see "Full Transcript"
(Ep 82 - "Kodachrome")
(Jack looks at Kevin's report card.)
"P". What the hell's a "P"?
Oh, I think it means "pass", honey.
I can see it means "pass...What I mean is...where is his grade? (Frowns.)
Well, see Dad...(gestures)...Miss Shaw doesn't -
(Norma approaches with the coffee-pot.)
You know, they're starting to do this in a lot of the courses at the university.
Great. (Frowns.) When he goes to a university - on his own money - he can get a "P". But as long as I'm payin' taxes...(gestures)...I want to see a grade.
Also see "Full Transcript"
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