"The Test" - Episode 102


(Clips of young Kevie climbing a jungle-gym at a playground.)

If there's one thing every kid learns growing up, it's that life...

(Wide shot up the slide, as Kevie sits at the top.)

Is a series of risks.

(The camera zooms in on Kevin. He hesitates.)

(Shot of Norma and Kevin, as Kevin climbs the jungle-gym.)

It's a cause-and-effect relationship. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

(Norma spins Kevin on the merry-go-round, and he jumps off.)

Still, with the proper guidance, we learn to deal with the risks.

(Shot of the slide as Kevin comes down, with his arms up.)

And pretty soon, we set out into the world...

(Shot of Norma at the bottom of the slide, holding her arms out.)

Sure in our options, confident of our choices.

(Norma lets Kevin whiz by. He runs off, and she laughs and claps.)

Until, that is...

(Bell rings.)

Cut to

English Class

(Shot of the chalkboard, with a list of words. Mr. Galvin points at them, and walks into the shot.)

MR. GLAVIN: "Metamorphosis". Is it "A" - transformation, "B" - integration, "C" - resurrection, or "D" - none of the above?

(Shot from the front of the class of the students.)

Eleventh-grade. The year of decisions.

(Shot from the back of the class of Mr. Glavin standing near his desk, and gesturing.)

MR. GLAVIN: Anyone?

(Three students raise a hand.)


(Close shot of Randy. He drops his arm.)


(Close shot of Mr. Glavin frowning.)

(Close shot of Randy.)

RANDY: "C" - "D"!

(Shot from behind Kevin of Mr. Glavin gesturing.)


Around the middle of junior year...

(Close shot of Randy looking down and mouthing "A".)

The risks increase.

(Shot of Kevin, and Jeff next to him.)

JEFF: I knew that.

Almost overnight, the choices get harder.

(Wide shot from behind Mr. Glavin of the class. He picks up a book, and sits on the edge of his desk.)

One guess why.

MR. GLAVIN: English comprehension.

(Close shot of Mr. Glavin holding up a book.)

MR. GLAVIN: I suggest you learn this, class. It's bound to show up on you SAT's.

(Close shot of Kevin looking concerned.)

The scholastic aptitude test.

(Kevin glances toward Paul off-screen.)

(Close shot of Paul looking concerned.)

The living nightmare of American adolescents.

(Close shot of Mr. Glavin pointing over his shoulder.)

MR. GLAVIN: Alright, next word. "Pyrotechnic".

(He sighs and frowns.)

MR. GLAVIN: Mr. Pfeiffer.

(Close shot of Paul looking up concerned.)

MR. GLAVIN (V/O): Would you like to take a crack at this one?

(Paul glances at the board.)

PAUL: Uh...

Like some kind of biblical curse...

(Paul glances off.)

The SAT's had descended on our class...

(Shot past Kevin of Paul. Paul looks at Kevin worriedly.)

(Shot past Paul of Kevin. Kevin nods toward the board.)

Reducing even the most-intelligent among us to a state of...

(Close shot of Paul.)


PAUL: "B"!

(Close shot of Mr. Glavin.)

MR. GLAVIN: "D"! (Frowns.)

(Shot of Kevin and Jeff. Jeff is doodling.)

JEFF: I knew that.

KEVIN: Yeah, right.

JEFF: I did.

MR. GLAVIN (V/O): In that case, Mr. Billings...

(Shot past Kevin of Mr. Glavin sitting on the edge of his desk. He gestures behind him toward the board.)

MR. Glavin: "Hirsute".

(Shot of Kevin smiling and looking toward Jeff.)

MR. GLAVIN (V/O): Can you fill us in?

(Close shot of Jeff.)

(Close shot of the board and the list of words.)

JEFF (V/O): Hirsute.

(Close shot of Jeff.)

JEFF: Uh...

It was grim.

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Jeff off-screen.)

After sixteen years of hard learning...

(Shot past Kevin of Jeff. Kevin smiles, Jeff is blank.)

Our educational futures had suddenly been pinned down to four choices...

(Close shot of Jeff.)

JEFF: Uh...

(Close shot of the board and the word "hirsute", and choice "A" - "sour".)


(The camera pans down to the next choice - "hairy".)


(The camera pans down to the next choice - "woolen".)


(The camera pans down to the next choice - "none of the above".)

And of course...

Cut to

Cafeteria Line

(Close shot of the serving woman.)

WOMAN: Pudding, or Jell-O?

(Shot past the woman of Jeff and Kevin in line.)

KEVIN: I'll...go with the pudding. (Gestures.)

JEFF: Hirsute! (Gestures.) Who-who in the world knows what hirsute means?

(Close shot of the woman looking up.)

WOMAN: Hairy!

(Shot of Jeff and Kevin.)

JEFF: Oh, great.

(Jeff heads off.)

The truth was, potential failure loomed at every turn.

(Kevin hesitates.)

WOMAN (V/O): Next.

(Close shot of the woman folding her arms.)

(Close shot of Kevin frowning and walking off.)

Not that it was worth losing sleep over.

Cut to

Cafeteria Table

(Close shot of Chuck.)

CHUCK: I haven't slept in two nights! I don't know what it is - I just keep tossing and turning.

(Shot of Chuck, Jeff and Kevin seated at a table.)

JEFF: I just wish it was over, ya know?

CHUCK: I wish I were dead.

It was clear each of us was dealing with this in our own way. For me...

(Kevin frowns and gestures.)

KEVIN: Come on - what are you both so worried about?

It was denial.

(Paul approaches.)

KEVIN: I mean, it's just a stupid aptitude test, right?

(Close shot of Chuck glancing at Paul off-screen.)

CHUCK: Maybe he's right.

(Close shot of Kevin.)

KEVIN: Course I'm right.

PAUL (V/O): Are you nuts?

(Close shot of Paul.)

PAUL: This test could determine our entire future.

(Close shot of Kevin chewing, then pausing.)

KEVIN: What's that supposed to mean? (Frowns.)

(Close shot of Paul.)

PAUL: Well, it means...you have to score fourteen-hundred this year, to even be considered by the Ivy Leagues.

(Close shot of Jeff glancing from Paul to Kevin.)

PAUL (V/O): And what college you go to...

(Close shot of Kevin.)

PAUL (V/O): Determines what grad school you go to...Which determines what kind of job you get...

(Close shot of Chuck frowning.)

PAUL (V/O): And what contacts you're gonna make...and-and who your friends are gonna be...

(Close shot of Paul.)

PAUL: And what type of house you're gonna live in...and what the rest of your life could be like.

(Shot past Paul of Kevin, as Paul sits down.)

(Close shot of Jeff.)

JEFF: Are you sure you didn't leave anything else out, Paul?

(Close shot of Paul.)

PAUL: Yeah, you got some pudding on your pants.

(Wide shot of the four of them at the table. Jeff wipes his pants with a napkin.)

Pudding on our pants...metaphors we couldn't mix...

Cut to

Arnold Kitchen

(Shot over Jack's shoulder of him holding his work-review.)

Seemed like the stress was getting to us all...

(Jack slaps it down on the kitchen table.)

My dad included.

(Close shot of Kevin walking past the table, and Jack seated at one end.)

JACK: "Competent"? What the hell does "competent" mean?

(Close shot of Norma in the kitchen.)

NORMA: Probably means you did a good job, Jack.

(Shot past Norma of Jack and Kevin. Kevin is setting the table.)

For my father, the crisis was his annual evaluation from NORCOM.

(Jack and Kevin pause, and look at Norma. Jack sighs.)

JACK: You know how many weekends I put in there? You know how hard I work?! I don't believe this!

(Jack tosses the review into his briefcase. Norma walks over to him.)

Which isn't to say the old man wasn't graceful at taking constructive criticism.

(Norma picks up the review.)

(Shot of Norma and Jack.)

NORMA: Now, look, hon-ey! There's "excellent" right here! (Points.)

JACK: Yeah. For "demeanor and appearance".

(Jack takes the review.)

JACK: Means the guy liked my haircut.

(Jack frowns, and tosses the review into his briefcase.)

(Wide shot of the table as Kevin continues to set it, and Norma returns to the kitchen.)

NORMA: Honey, they probably didn't even give it much thought - you know how much they appreciate you there!

JACK: The hell they do.

(Shot past Jack of Kevin glancing around, then continuing to set the table.)

Still, in my own way, I kinda...sympathized with the guy.

(Kevin pauses and looks at Jack.)

(Close shot of Jack looking blankly at Kevin off-screen.)

(Shot past Jack of Kevin. He holds up a spoon.)

KEVIN: Spoon?

(Shot of Norma at the sink, and Kevin and Jack in the background.)

(Jack takes the spoon and slaps it down. Kevin continues to set the table.)

After all, this was really none of my business. This was Dad, the great provider - the man with the plan.

JACK: Charlie Barrett got a...bad evaluation, too.

NORMA: Jack, you did not get a bad evaluation!

(Close shot of Jack looking off.)

JACK: Yeah, well...

(Jack looks at Norma off-screen.)

JACK: He decided to leave NORCOM.

(Close shot of Norma.)

NORMA: Charlie?

(Close shot of Kevin pausing, and looking at Norma off-screen.)

NORMA (V/O): You're kidding?

JACK (V/O): Nope.

(Close shot of Jack.)

JACK: He knows this guy who owns a small, uh, furniture factory - he wants to retire...He's gonna buy him out. I don't know...(looks down)...maybe he's got the right idea.

(Close shot of Norma looking slightly concerned.)

But if Dad was looking for advice...

(Close shot of Kevin glancing at Jack off-screen.)

He was pretty much on his own.

(Shot of Jack looking at the review, and sighing.)

JACK: Twenty years at NORCOM, Norma. What have I been doin' with my life?

(Close shot of Norma looking at Jack off-screen.)

("Stuck In the Middle With You" starts.)

Face it. When it came to philosophy...

(Norma turns back to the sink.)

(Close shot of Kevin looking at Norma off-screen.)

My family had one golden rule.

Cut to

Ext. Night - "The Point"

(Wide shot from behind the cars of the lights below.)

It was every man for himself.

(Shot of Winnie and Kevin through the windshield. The radio is playing.)

WINNIE: Kevin, I'm worried. (Frowns.)

KEVIN: About what? (Frowns.)


KEVIN: Oh, no - not you, too.

(Shot from Winnie's side. Winnie looks forward.)

It was bad enough having to face this in the cafeteria. But not in the front seat of a hot car.

KEVIN: Winnie, it'll be fine.

(Shot from Kevin's side. Winnie frowns.)

WINNIE: You really think so?

KEVIN: Yeah. (Nods.)

WINNIE: Maybe you're right. (Smiles.)

(They move in and kiss, then Winnie pulls away.)

WINNIE: Except, what happens after the test?

KEVIN: What?!

WINNIE: Well, the SAT's are just the beginning. I mean, after that, we graduate and go to college.

(Closer shot past Kevin of Winnie frowning.)

WINNIE: What if we end up at different schools?

(Winnie shakes her head.)

WINNIE: And, what if we're thousands of miles apart? What if we never see each other anymore?

(Kevin looks off, then back.)

Jeez. Now my girlfriend was turning into Paul Pfeiffer.

KEVIN: Well...(sighs)...Winnie, that's over a year away. Do we...do we have to worry about it now?

(Winnie swallows and looks off, concerned.)

WINNIE: Of course we don't.

(They move in to kiss.)

WINNIE: I mean, we'll still see each other at Christmas, right?

(Winnie smiles. Kevin looks off. Winnie rests her head on Kevin's shoulder.)

It was aweful. This one crummy test was poisoning my life. Plaguing my future. So there was only one way to fight back.

(Music ends.)

Cut to

Int. Night - Ice Cream Store

(Shot from behind the counter of Norma leaning down, looking at ice cream.)

NORMA: I'll have pralines and cream, please.

(Norma smiles and stands up. Kevin and Jack are behind her.)

Go for ice cream with the folks.

(Shot of the front door as Charlie Barratt enters.)

Yeah, this was some fun.

CHARLIE: Jack! Norma!

(Shot from behind the counter of all four.)

JACK: Hey, Charlie - what are you doin' here?

CHARLIE: Well, I-I just stopped by to get the family some ice cream...to, uh, you know - celebrate.

(Jack smiles and laughs softly.)

(Shot past Kevin of Charlie, standing with his hands in his pockets.)

Charlie Barrett. I hadn't seen him since I was -

(Charlie frowns.)

CHARLIE: Kevin? (Gestures.) I-I...I haven't seen you since you were six.

(Close shot of Kevin.)

CHARLIE (V/O): What grade are you in now?

KEVIN: Eleventh. (Smiles.)

CHARLIE (V/O): So, uh...

(Close shot of Charlie holding his chin, then gesturing.)

CHARLIE: Next year you'll be in...hmmm, twelfth!

Yep - you couldn't get anything past this guy!

(Shot of Norma, Kevin and Jack. Kevin smile and Norma and Jack look at him.)

NORMA: Kevin's taking his SAT's next week.

(Norma puts her arm aroun Kevin's houlders and smiles.)

(Close shot of Charlie.)

CHARLIE: Whoa! Hmmm - SAT's...Good luck, pal!

(Kevin sighs and looks off.)

Yeah - same to you.

CHARLIE (V/O): Uh, let me have a pint of, uh...

(Charlie looks toward the server off-screen.)

CHARLIE: Strawberry - nah-nah-nah, make it a quart.

(Charlie looks at Jack.)

CHARLIE: Might as well live on the edge a little.

(Shot past Charlie of Kevin.)

CHARLIE (V/O): Right?

(Close shot of Norma.)

NORMA: Yes, Jack told me about your leaving NORCOM and all your plans, it...must be very exciting. (Smiles.)

(Jack moves away and leans on the display glass.)

CHARLIE (V/O): Exciting?! Hell, Norma...

(Jack frowns.)

(Shot past Jack of Charlie and Norma.)

CHARLIE: This is long overdue...(taps Jack)...Right, Jack?

(Close shot of Jack turning, and smiling.)

(Close shot of Kevin frowning, and looking toward Jack off-screen.)

And there was something about that pat on the arm that said -

(Shot of Charlie smiling, with his arms folded.)

CHARLIE: So - Norma...what do you think about Jack and me going into business together?

(Close shot of Kevin glancing toward Norma off-screen.)

(Close shot of Norma looking at Charlie, stunned.)


(She turns toward Jack.)

NORMA: Beg your pardon?

JACK (V/O): Uh...

(Shot past Norma of Jack, looking past Norma toward Charlie off-screen.)

JACK: Actually, we haven't talked about it yet.

(Jack looks at Norma.)

(Shot past Jack of Norma looking at him, then Charlie off-screen.)

CHARLIE (V/O): Oh, I see...uh, Norma...

(Close shot of Charlie.)

CHARLIE: Jack and I just had a couple discussions about...(frowns and shakes head)...maybe buying this little factory.

(Shot past Norma of Jack as he sighs.)

CHARLIE (V/O): But, ya know, it's not really -

JACK: We're meeting with the owner's tomorrow.

(Close shot of Norma. She is taken aback.)

NORMA: I see.

(Norma glances at Charlie, then looks at Jack and nods.)

(Close shot of Jack looking down.)

CHARLIE (V/O): Yeah, well, anyway...

(Close shot of Charlie. He takes his package of ice cream.)

CHARLIE: I better get moving, uh, I'll - I'll see you tomorrow, Jack.

(Shot from behind the counter of all four.)

CHARLIE: Around...three o'clock?

JACK: Alright.

CHARLIE: Seeya there.

(Charlie exits.)

Unfortunately, my mother's concern didn't disappear as easily as Charlie had.

(Close shot of Norma as she shrugs and shakes her head.)

NORMA: Why didn't you tell me about this, Jack?

(Shot of Norma and Jack, and Kevin standing next to Norma.)

JACK: Uh...

(Jack pauses, then looks toward the server.)

(Shot of Jack, and the server in the background who is leaning on the display, looking at him. The server looks away.)

(Shot of Norma and Jack, and Kevin standing next to Norma. Jack hands an ice cream cone to Norma.)

JACK: Maybe we ought to talk about it at home, OK? Kevin?

(Jack hands two ice cream cones to Kevin.)

JACK: I'll...(points)...get the car.

(Jack exits past the camera. Norma and Kevin look after him.)

And suddenly, I had the feeling something big was going on here.

(Shot past the server of Norma and Kevin looking after Jack.)

For Mom, for Dad, for the whole family...and whatever it was...

SERVER: Hey, good luck with those SAT's.

(Shot past Kevin of the server.)

SERVER: I hear they're a real killer. (Winks and nods.)

(Close shot of Kevin frowning.)

This time...

KEVIN: Thanks. (Nods.)

I knew the answers weren't gonna be easy.

Fade to

English Class

(Shot of Mr. Glavin walking up an aisle, with his arms up.)

MR. GLAVIN: ...is to...?

As the SAT's loomed closer...

(Shot from the front of the classroom as Mr. Galvin pauses.)

Our brains loomed smaller.

MR. GLAVIN: Come on - concentrate!

(Close shot of Kevin looking off.)

MR. GLAVIN (V/O): Anyone? Mr. Coleman...

(Close shot of Chuck looking up nervously, as Mr. Glavin approaches him.)


(Shot past Chuck of Mr. Glavin. He points to the board, and gestures.)

MR. GLAVIN: Harassment is to intimidation as compliment is to...(gestures.)

Panic had officially descended upon my class.

(Shot of Chuck hurriedly closing his notebook.)

CHUCK: I have to go to the bathroom.

(Chuck rushes off.)

(Shot from the back of the room as students giggle, and Mr. Glavin looks after Chuck.)

But no matter where we ran for comfort...

(Mr. Glavin turns, gestures, and smiles.)

MR. GLAVIN: Anybody else?

(Mr. Glavin glances around the walks forward.)

There was no escape. It was getting harder and harder to deny what was going on.

(Shot past Kevin as Mr. Glavin pauses next to him.)

MR. GLAVIN: Mr. Arnold.

(Shot past Mr. Glavin of Kevin looking up.)

MR. GLAVIN: How about you?

(Kevin smiles, then looks toward the board.)

KEVIN: Uh...

At times like this, there was only one thing to do.

(Kevin fingers his pencil and looks at Mr. Glavin.)


Take a risk.

(Shot past Kevin of Mr. Glavin.)

MR. GLAVIN: Ah...very good!

(Mr. Glavin walks away.)

(Shot past Mr. Glavin of Kevin smiling, as Mr. Galvin walks out of the shot.)

MR. GLAVIN (V/O): Would you like to tell the class how you arrived at this answer?

KEVIN: Phhh...I guessed. (Smiles.)

(The class giggles.)

(Close shot of Mr. Glavin as he turns around.)

MR. GLAVIN: Well, you were wrong. (Smiles.)

(Shot of Kevin and Jeff.)

JEFF: I knew that.

MR. GLAVIN (V/O): Alright, let's, uh...

(Shot past students of Mr. Glavin.)

MR. GLAVIN: Start with another one - uh, annoy is to irate...as...

(Close shot of Kevin glancing around.)

One thing was clear - it was time do buckle down and dive in. After all...

Cut to

Day - Arnold Kitchen

(Shot past Norma at the sink, as Kevin is studying at the table. Jack enters, wearing a suit.)

That's what my dad was doing.

(Jack spreads his arms.)

JACK: How do I look?

(Norma turns and looks at Jack.)

NORMA: You look very handsome.

JACK: I'll bet you never thought you'd see me in the furniture business, huh?

After twenty-four hours of constant negotiations...

(Close shot of Norma as she fixes Jack's tie, and smiles.)

Mom had finally accepted Dad's plan.

(Shot past Norma as Jack smiles.)

NORMA: There ya go.

Not that she was completely happy about it.

(Close shot of Norma.)

NORMA: I just hope it all works out. (Nods.)

(Close shot of Jack.)

JACK: You know, Norma, I'm a lot more than competent. (Nods.)

(Shot of Kevin watching Jack and Norma.)

(Shot from behind Kevin of Jack and Norma.)

NORMA: I know that, honey. Good luck.

(Norma pats Jack's cheek. They kiss. Jack smiles, takes his briefcase, and points at Kevin.)

JACK: Seeya!

(Shot of Kevin smiling as Jack exits.)

And there you had it.

(Sound of vegetables being chopped.)

As my father set out to become a one-man industry...

(Kevin looks toward Norma off-screen.)

(Shot past Kevin of Norma chopping on the cutting board, and looking out the window after Jack.)

My mother became a one-women vegamatic.

(Close shot of Kevin.)

KEVIN: Mom - I'm tryin' to study.

(Close shot of Norma turning toward Kevin.)

NORMA: Hmmm?

KEVIN (V/O): Could you keep it down a little?

NORMA: Oh...Sorry. (Smiles.)

(Shot of Kevin smiling, then returning to his studies. Sound of a blender. Kevin flinches and looks up.)

(Shot past Kevin of Norma holding the blender lid.)

(Shot of Norma at the blender, and Kevin in the background, closing his book.)

OK, it was obvious if I was gonna get any studying done at all...

(Kevin gets up from the table, and walks off with a plate of food and his books.)

I'd have to do it somewhere else!

(Norma looks out the window.)

Cut to

Kevin's Bedroom

(Kevin gathers pencils, books and paper.)

I was ready. I was focussed. And nothing was gonna sway me from the task at hand.

(Sound of introductory drum-roll of "Let's Make A Deal" on TV.)

(Kevin looks up.)

(Shot of the TV screen with "Let's Make A Deal")


(Announcer: Let's Make a Deal! and now, here's America's top trader...TV's big dealer - Monty Hall!)

Cut to


(Shot of Kevin on the couch, sipping a soda.)

Hey, I just needed a ten-minute break, OK?

(Shot of the TV screen.)

MONTY HALL: O-kay...Thank you!

(Wide shot from behind Kevin. Norma is setting the dining room table in the background.)

NORMA: Honey - you've been watching TV for three hours!

(Shot of Kevin glancing from Norma to the TV.)

KEVIN: Yeah. Well, uh, I'm gonna turn it off right now.

(Kevin glances at Norma, holds up the remote, then looks at the TV.)

MONTY HALL (V/O): Our deal is worth ten-thousand-and-thirty four dollars.

(Shot of the TV.)

MONTY HALL: Is it door number one, or door number two, or door number three?

(Close shot of Norma at the table.)

NORMA: Your father should have been home an hour ago.

(Close shot of Kevin.)

KEVIN: Maybe he got held up.

After all, we were talking about Dad, here.

(Kevin frowns and looks toward the front door off-screen, as he hears Jack entering.)

He probably signed the deal, stopped off to buy some champagne...

(Shot of the door as Jack enters.)

And was coming home the conquering hero.

KEVIN: Hi, Dad!

(Jack walks past Kevin and sighs.)

NORMA (V/O): Hi, honey!

(Close shot of Norma smiling.)

NORMA: How'd it go?

(Shot of Jack taking off his jacket and frowning.)

JACK: Lousy.

(Shot from behind Kevin of Jack and Norma. Jack walks toward the kitchen.)

Or maybe...just the conquered.

(Jack goes into the kitchen, Norma follows.)

Cut to


(Shot of Jack sighing and reaching for the cabinet door. Norma enters behind him, and puts her hand on his shoulder.)

NORMA: What happened?

(Jack glances at Norma, sighs, shuts the cabinet, and walks toward the camera. Norma follows to the sink.)

JACK: I'll tell you what happened. The whole damn thing fell apart.

(Jack pauses and turns.)


JACK: Well, for one thing, it's gonna cost three times more than I thought.

(Shot of Jack leaning against a counter, and frowning at Norma off-screen.)

JACK: Fifteen thousand bucks! Can you imagine that?

(Shot of the doorway as Kevin enters and pauses.)

JACK (V/O): We can't afford that, Norma. With the mortgage...

(Close shot of Norma looking moderately concerned.)

JACK (V/O): Car payments, Kevin's college...

(Norma looks down.)

(Shot of Jack looking off and sighing.)

JACK: The hell was I thinking?

(Shot of Kevin in the doorway.)

And at that moment, I'd heard something in his voice...

(Close shot of Jack looking off.)

I'd never heard before. Regret.

(Close shot of Norma shaking her head.)

NORMA: I don't think you should give up on this.

(Close shot of Jack looking down, then at Norma off-screen.)

JACK: Well, what about the money?

NORMA (V/O): Honey!

(Shot past Jack of Norma.)

NORMA: When we got married...(gestures)...we didn't have two nickles to rub together. And we did alright!

(Shot past Norma of Jack as he smiles and looks down.)

NORMA (V/O): Well...we'll do it again.

(Shot past Jack of Norma, as Jack stands up.)

But if Mom was trying her best to give Dad a future...

(Shot past Norma of Jack as he sighs.)

JACK: Forget it, Norma.

The old man wasn't buying.

(Jack touches her cheek.)

JACK: I'm stayin' at NORCOM.

(Shot past Jack of Norma as he walks out of the shot. Norma looks after him off-screen.)

(Shot of Kevin as Jack exits past him. Kevin looks after him then at Norma off-screen.)

(Close shot of Norma looking off in thought.)

Cut to

Night - Kevin's Bedroom

(Kevin is in bed. He switches off the lamp, and sighs.)

That night I didn't have much luck studying. My mind was whirling. All I could think about were decisions, and risks...

(Kevin sighs, and closes his eyes.)

And choices.

(Drum roll, and announcer - "Let's make a deal!")

Fade to

"Let's Make A Deal" Game Show

(Close shot of Monty standing in the aisle.)

MONTY HALL: Alright, Kevin Arnold - are you ready to choose your future?

(Shot of Kevin standing next to Monty, wearing a black cap and gown, and holding a 6-foot tall pencil.)

KEVIN: Yes, Monty.

MONTY HALL (V/O): OK, what door do you want?

KEVIN: I'll take, uh, door number...

(Wide shot of Monty and Kevin standing in the aisle. Audience members wave signs, and cheer.)


KEVIN: Two. No - no, one...

(Shot of audience members cheering.)

(Shot of Kevin and Monty.)

KEVIN Three! No! No, one!


(Shot of "Uncle Sam" and "Raggedy Ann" in the audience.)

KEVIN (V/O): Door number two!

(Shot of Kevin and Monty.)

MONTY HALL: Good - are you sure?

KEVIN: Absolutely. (Smiles.)


KEVIN: Door number one.

(Monty pauses, and they look at each other.)

(Shot of the door and model, as the door opens.)

MONTY HALL: Alright, Don, tell him what he's won.

(Jack is on the phone at a cluttered desk.)

ANNOUNCER (Don Pardo): Congratulations!

(Close shot of Jack taking a paper off a foot-high stack.)

ANNOUNCER: You've just chosen twenty years at NORCOM...

(Close shot of Kevin looking disappointed.)

ANNOUNCER: Where you'll receive long hours...

(Shot of Jack hanging up the phone, resting his arms on the desk, and sighing.)

ANNOUNCER: Constant brow-beating, and a severe peptic ulcer!

(Shot of Kevin and Monty.)

MONTY HALL: Unless of course you'd like to trade it in -

(Kevin points.)

KEVIN: Three!

MONTY HALL:...for - oh, you do want to trade it in?

KEVIN: Three.

MONTY HALL: For three?

KEVIN: Door number three.

MONTY HALL: Alright.

(Shot of the door and model, as the door opens.)

MONTY HALL (V/O): Here's what we have behind door number three!

(The door opens revealing a donkey, some hay bales, and a saguaro cactus. Sound of buzzer and "loser" music.)

ANNOUNCER: Yes...a donkey!

(The audience sighs, and the donkey brays.)

(Shot of Kevin looking disappointed.)

(Shot of a "gorilla" in the audience.)

(Close shot of Monty.)

MONTY HALL: Now, Don, tell him what he could have won.

(Shot of the door and model, as the door opens, with "Hawaiian" music.)

(Paul and Winnie are on chaise longes, with a sailboat.)

ANNOUNCER: Yes, Kevin - it's the good life! A college education...

(Shot of Kevin looking incredulous. The camera zooms in on him.)

ANNOUNCER: Vacations to Hawaii!

(Shot of Winnie and Paul, as Winnie takes off her sunglasses, waves and smiles.)

ANNOUNCER: The girl of your dreams...

(Paul raises his champagne glass.)

ANNOUNCER: And expensive lawn furniture!

(Shot of the "gorilla" shaking his head, then rubbing it.)

(Shot of Kevin and Monty.)

MONTY HALL: And all because you didn't study for your SAT's.

(Kevin frowns at Monty off-screen.)

(Echo of "study for your SAT's...study for your SAT's...")

(Kevin looks toward the door, then Monty off-screen.)

(Sound of school bell.)

Cut to

School Restroom

(Shot of Chuck emerging from a stall, holding the English comprehension book. He approaches Randy and Jeff, looks in the mirror, and sighs.)

The day before the test was torture.

CHUCK: Oh man. This is gonna be a disaster.

(Close shot of Kevin frowning.)

Panic had given way to...raw superstition.

(Wider shot of the four guys lined up at the sinks.)

JEFF: You know, I heard that there's a pattern - if you break the code, you can figure out the answers.

(Jeff takes a paper towel and dries his hands.)

RANDY: Yeah. I heard they have this card they put over the answers, so if you fill in all the circles you get a perfect score.

CHUCK: No, I heard...

(Close shot of Kevin frowning.)

CHUCK (V/O): That if you use the serial number from **** and divide it by your birthday.

(Shot of Randy, Jeff and Chuck looking uncertain.)

It was crazy - the last minute ravings of desperate men.

RANDY: That's ridiculous - how're they gonna know your birthday?

CHUCK: Hey...(gestures)...they know everything! And then you take the question number and you add it, and you multiply the whole thing -

(Paul walks to the edge of the shot.)

PAUL: I can't believe you guys are wasting your time on these stupid rumors!

(Shot of Kevin frowning, and looking over his shoulder toward Paul.)

PAUL (V/O): I mean, don't you have something better to do?

(Close shot of Paul as he shrugs.)

PAUL: You should be studying.

(Kevin frowns at Paul off-screen, and takes a step forward.)

KEVIN: Why?!

Enough was enough.

(Close shot of Paul turning to Kevin off-screen.)

It was time to put some sense to this whole fiasco.

(Close shot of Kevin frowning.)

KEVIN: Who says we have to take this stupid test, anyway? (Gestures.) Why should we let this one test affect our entire life?

(Shot of Randy, Jeff, and Chuck.)

KEVIN (V/O): Why should one test make us this crazy?

(Close shot of Kevin.)

KEVIN: I say we're more important than that stupid test, and I for one, am not gonna let it control my life! (Frowns.)

There. Finally, A statement of principle.

(Close shot of Paul frowning.)

A manifesto of defiance.

(Shot of Randy, Jeff, and Chuck.)

A cry for unity no red-blooded kid could fail to admire.

(Close shot of Kevin.)

(Shot of Randy, Jeff and Chuck. Randy and Chuck make chicken-clucking sounds, and exit past the camera.)

(Jeff smiles, then approaches Kevin.)

JEFF: Nice try, buddy.

(Jeff pats Kevin's shoulder, smiles, and exits.)

And I guess that's when it hit me.

(Kevin looks in the mirror.)

What I'd been denying all week. About choices, and risks...and that test. I wasn't angry. I was just plain scared.

Cut to

Ext. Afternoon - School

(Kevin is walking out of the building, with other students.)

By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was head home. Maybe catch a slow train to Loserville.

(Kevin pauses.)

(Shot past students of Jack's car parked across the street. Jack honks.)

(Closer shot of Jack opening the door and looking toward Kevin.)

I don't know...maybe Dad had the same idea, too.

(Jack leans against his car, and waves.)

(Shot past Jack as Kevin approaches.)

JACK: Hey, Kev. How ya doin'? Everything OK?

KEVIN: Dad, what are you doing here? (Gestures.)

(Shot past Kevin of Jack.)

JACK: Thought...maybe you'd like to go for a ride.

(Close shot of Kevin.)

JACK (V/O): What do ya say?

KEVIN: Well, I have my car over there, so...

(Close shot of Jack glancing toward Kevin's car.)

JACK: We'll get it later. Come on - it won't take long. (Smiles.)

(Close shot of Kevin.)

And the way he said it...


Cut to

On the road in Jack's car

(Shot through the windshield of Kevin and Jack.)

Guess I knew I really didn't have a choice.

JACK: Kevin, ah...there's some things I want to talk to you about.

The funny thing was, I pretty much knew what was coming.

JACK: You know, sometimes it's not easy being the head of a family. Sometimes you have to make choices that affect everybody, and...you're not sure if you're doing the right thing.

(Close shot of Kevin glancing off, then toward Jack.)

(Close shot of Jack.)

JACK: Uh...

KEVIN (V/O): Hey listen, Dad!

(Shot past Jack of Kevin.)

KEVIN: You don't have to explain anything to me.

(Shot past Kevin of Jack.)

JACK: Glad to hear you say that. (Smiles.)

(Close shot of Kevin smiling, then looking off.)

Hell, I understood what he meant.

(Shot down a city street as the car approaches, and turns into a driveway.)

After all, in this world, there were two kinds of men - the ones with guts - the ones who dared - the ones who took risks. And then...there were the Arnold's.

(The camera zooms in as they stop in a deserted parking lot.)

JACK: Here we are!

(Wide shot of a building, and the car in the middle of the parking lot.)

KEVIN (V/O): What is this?

(Close shot from the passenger side of Kevin and Jack looking toward the building.)

JACK: My new company.

(Kevin turns toward Jack.)

(Shot past Jack of Kevin.)

JACK (V/O): Once the deal closes.

(Kevin turns toward the building.)

(Close shot from the passenger side of Kevin and Jack looking toward the building.)

JACK: So, come on...

(Jack pats Kevin's arm, and points.)

JACK: Let's take a look. (Smiles.)

(Shot from inside the dark building as Jack opens the door.)

I guess life is full of surprises...

(Kevin looks around as they enter.)

No matter what age you are.

JACK: Here we go!

(Jack flips on the lights. The factory is in the background.)

(Close shot of Kevin smiling, as Jack sighs.)

JACK (V/O): Everybody's already knocked off for the day.

(Close shot of Jack.)

JACK: It's usually really, um, hoppin' in here. (Chuckles.)

(Shot from behind Kevin and Jack.)

KEVIN: Yeah - I bet.

JACK: Come on.

(Jack pats Kevin on the back and walks forward.)

JACK: I'll show you around.

(They walk down the aisle past a band-saw. The camera rolls with them.)

(Jack point toward a rocking chair.)

JACK: Look at that! (Laughs.)

KEVIN: It's great!

(They pause, and Kevin rocks the chair. They smile at each other.)

I guess life is full of surprises - no matter what age you are.

(Shot of Kevin.)

KEVIN: I didn't know you knew anything about furniture, Dad.

(Shot of Jack walking down the aisle. The camera rolls with him.)

JACK: I don't...but I'm ready to learn. We got a great crew here.

(Shot of Kevin pausing near a machine.)

KEVIN: What about NORCOM?

(Shot past Kevin of Jack as he tilts his head.)

JACK: Figured your mom was right.

(Jack looks off.)

JACK: It's time to take a chance.

(Jack looks at Kevin.)

JACK: NORCOM was killing me...(shrugs)...So I left.

(Close shot of Kevin.)

KEVIN: What'd they say?

(Close shot of Jack.)

JACK: They said "goodbye".

(Close shot of Kevin glancing off, then back.)

KEVIN: Dad, aren't you scared?

(Shot of Jack looking off.)

JACK: Nah.

(Jack looks at Kevin and smiles.)

JACK: Yeah. (Smiles.)

(Close shot of Kevin. He smiles.)

JACK (V/O): Come on.

(Wide shot past some furniture as Jack slaps Kevin's shoulder.)

JACK: I want to show you where my office'll be.

(They walk off toward some furniture pieces at a machine. The camera pulls back a little.)

That afternoon, Dad and I took the tour.

(Jack picks up a table leg.)

JACK: See these? We make the legs...

We talked furniture. We talked life. We made plans.

Fade to


(High wide shot of students sitting at tables, as test-administrators pass out tests. The camera lowers slowly.)

MRS. RUEBNER (V/O): ...sealed test booklet.

And the next morning, at eight AM, seventy-eight students gathered in the McKinley cafeteria to take what was supposed to be the most important test of their lives.

MRS. RUEBNER (V/O): Do not break the seal until I tell you to do so.

(Chuck shakes a pencil, breaks the lead, and frowns.)

Everyone had a different way of coping that day.

(Close shot of of ten pencils lined up on a table. The camera pans up to Paul as he takes one and sharpens it.)

MRS. RUEBNER (V/O): You'll have three hours to work on the test...

Some were more effective than others.

(Close shot of Jeff rubbing his eyes.)

MRS. RUEBNER (V/O): There are five sections...

(Close shot of Randy drumming the table with his fingers and pencil.)

MRS. RUEBNER (V/O): The time alloted for each section will be announced...before you begin.

(Close shot of Winnie looking at Kevin off-screen worriedly, then sighing.)

But for all the risks and choices, I was one step ahead of them.

(Close shot of Kevin smiling at Winnie off-screen, then looking forward.)

MRS. RUEBNER (V/O): When you have finished a section...

(Close shot of a woman in glasses.)

MRS. RUEBNER: Do not - I repeat - do not turn ahead.

(Shot of Kevin glancing around.)

MRS. RUEBNER (V/O): You may now...open your pamphlets...

(Kevin opens his pamphlet.)

After all, I knew that this was just one test in thousands I'd be taking in my life.

(The camera pulls up and back.)

None of them final. None of them irrevocable. And the way I saw it, maybe life was a risk. But this time, I was ready.

Fade to


Supporting Cast
Mr. Glavin - Willie C. Carpenter
Jeff - Giovanni Ribisi
Chuck - Andrew Mark Berman
Randy - Michael Tricario
Charlie - John Pleshette

"Stuck In The Middle (With You)" - Stealers Wheel

Next Episode
Episode Info
Wonder Years Menu

4/2/05 23:15