The Middle s08e01 Episode Script

The Core Group

1 [Crow caws] Frankie: Ahh, the first leaves of fall when you take the duct tape off the sprinkler and put it back on the rake and you know summer's really over.
Sue was coming back from Dollywood, where she'd spent the whole summer as a featured performer in Ramblin' Jack's Banjo Review.
Do you love me Do you love me in a country sort of way? Well, I love her, yeah, I love her But I ain't a-gonna say Who said what?! And we were all excited to see her, especially Mike.
Would you relax? Sue will get here when she gets here.
Ooh! White jeans! You don't have those.
I'm sorry, Mom.
No more cousin stuff.
I'm putting my foot down, and not in those Crocs.
All right.
I'm just gonna try these snowpants on you while you talk.
No! It's high school a fresh start.
First impressions are key.
Most people decide what they think about you within the first seven seconds of meeting you.
It's in this fascinating book I've been reading.
I found it by happenstance because it was erroneously mis-shelved.
Don't tell that story in the first seven seconds.
[Sighs] Mike, you have got to stop lurking in the windows.
The baby next door is already scared of you as it is.
I mean, I know you're excited, but it won't get Sue home any faster.
- I'm not excited.
- [Vehicle approaching] I just thought I heard the garbage tru She's here! [Gasps] "Team Aniston" I am totally gonna wear this! - [Door opens] - Hi! Hey, look who I found! Oh, my daughter the featured player! Oh, my gosh! Tell me all about it! Oh, can you believe it? I was Girl In The Well for 14 1/2 performances! And people loved us! I could tell they wanted to give us a standing ovation, but a lot of them were in wheelchairs.
No, not for a sad reason.
- They were just fat.
- I'm gonna watch TV.
Wha You couldn't wait for her to get home and now you're done? Yeah, she's home.
By the by, since you're only home two days before you leave for school, I'm still gonna live in your room.
Good? Great.
Welcome back.
You know, I feel like I really had an effect on people.
Like, I heard a girl in line say, "Who said what?!" [Chuckles] I mean, she went home thinking that she could be Girl In The Well, or "Who Said What" Girl.
I didn't have an official name.
This one nasty kid called me "Sewer Head," but I think he had other issues 'cause I saw him punch his mom.
Honey, take a breath.
I'm afraid you're gonna pass out.
[Exhales deeply] Okay.
Anyway, it all led to an epiphany.
I am going to make acting my major.
[Squeals] Oh, well you don't have to make that decision right now.
You're right because it's already made.
If there is one thing I learned from watching Dolly Parton's life story on a loop every nine minutes, it's that you got to be all in! No backup plan! Mike: Hey! Little quieter in there trying to watch.
He's so happy you're home.
[Vehicle sputtering] Huh, that looks a lot like our kid.
Been so long since I seen him, I can't be sure.
- Hey.
- Hey.
[Groans] Oh, hey.
You know we don't have any money.
Listen, you guys know I've been seeing this girl.
Well, she's coming by later.
Well, I guess Dad and I can go to CVS and read magazines or something.
No, I want you guys here when she comes.
- You do? - Yeah.
Sure, no problemo.
It's all good.
Great! Well, she'll be here around 4:00, so put on a bra.
I'm wearing a bra.
Try again, Mom.
This is important.
[Sighs] [Squealing] Easy, girl.
Did you hear that, Mike?! Axl wants us to meet his girlfriend! Oh, my God, she could be the one.
No, that's something that can happen now.
He's at the age where the person he's dating could be the one, and he knows that, and that's why he wants us to meet her! Slow down.
He's a little young for that.
He's only Whoa, he's about the age I was when I met you.
And I was the one.
Damn near anyway.
Oh, my gosh, my kid wants to introduce us to her his idea.
And you can thank me for that because I played it cool all summer.
I knew he was dating someone, but for the first time, I didn't get all up in his "bidness.
" I didn't ask any questions.
[Chuckling] Don't say "bidness.
" No, I totally stayed out of it.
Partly because I was binge-watching "Outlander," but mostly because I was patient, and it paid off.
Ooh, yeah! Playing it cool! Ohh.
Threw your back out, didn't you? No, just bringing the dance down a little bit.
So, remember, Mike, this person is very special to Axl, so you have to talk to her.
Be social.
Don't be your usual self.
You know, just because I'm big doesn't mean words don't hurt me.
Well, you really got to bring it.
We may be about to meet the one, so you got to take it in, be present, be in the moment.
Oh, but also be in the future, where you can look back on this moment.
But also be in the past, where Axl was a baby so you can feel feelings.
Oh, no wheelbarrow story.
You're the only one that thinks it's funny.
[Chuckling] I walked off with the wrong wheelbarrow! Everyone thinks that's funny.
[Doorbell rings] That's her.
That's her! Hi! Come in, come in! You must be April! [Chuckling excitedly] This is her! Mwah! Hey, babe.
Find the place okay? I think so.
This is it, right? Mm.
I had a little trouble at first.
You said to go south on Glenville, but you didn't say if it was your south or my south.
[Chuckles] Well, April, these are my parents.
Parents, this is April! Hi.
I'm April.
It's so nice to finally meet you, April.
Oh, and and this is Axl's brother Brick.
Brick, say hi to April.
Hi, I'm April! So, April, this guy never tells us anything.
So how exactly did you two meet? Oh, my gosh.
It's such a good story.
He saw me, and he came over [Chuckles] He said hi, and I said hi.
- Oh, that is a good story.
- [Chuckles] Especially the way she tells it.
[Chuckles uneasily] So, April, are you from around here? Well, not this street, but I graduated from Orson CC.
That's community college.
Now I work at Orson CC.
That stands for country club.
It's confusing.
I mean, let's use some other letters of the alphabet, people.
There's like 35 of them.
But I love my job.
It's so oh, what's the word? Good.
So after 20 more minutes of scintillating conversation with April and hearing how she thinks world peace would be good, she and Axl were off to the movies.
[Sighs deeply, chuckles] Oh, my God, right? What? I liked her.
You liked her? You liked her.
Uh, she didn't strike you as a little, um [As April] Oh, what's the word? [Normal voice] dumb? No, she seemed okay.
Are you kidding? She asked if the grapes were homemade.
Brick, back me up on this.
I once saw a cartoon where a wolf saw a sexy rabbit in a nightclub, and his tongue came out like steps.
That's how she made me feel April, not the rabbit.
A little bit the rabbit.
You just like her 'cause she's pretty.
[Chuckling] I just liked you 'cause you were pretty.
Really? Still, I had something going on upstairs.
But I was mainly interested in your downstairs.
You guys know I'm still in the room, right? Look, I don't see what the big deal is.
The big deal is our son cannot end up with a ding-dong Wait, did you say "were pretty"? I don't know.
Maybe they're a good match.
It's not like Axl's the sharpest tool in the shed.
Yeah, but at least he can find the shed.
Listen, he needs to marry up in the brains department, not down.
Their kids are gonna be wearing their pants on their heads! Oh, my God, this is my fault.
I shouldn't have played it cool.
I should have been all up in his grille.
Don't say "all up in his grille.
" Don't say "were pretty.
" Hey, Brick! Oh.
Super psyched about changing my major to theater.
Yep, I am all-in.
No backup plan.
And yet, so few make it.
Maybe I do need a backup plan.
But maybe those who make it only make it because they don't have a backup plan.
But if I don't have a backup plan and I fail, then I have nothing.
Sue, today's kind of a big day for me.
I grew my hair the perfect amount, I'm rocking new jeans, I even have a normal backpack.
No more pizza bag.
Oh, my God, Brick, I am so sorry.
It's your first day of high school! Uh! How are you feeling? Are you excited? Are you nervous? Oh, man, I envy you that you do not have to make any big life decisions yet.
I mean, I did, but I am totally fine with it.
No regrets here.
It's all good.
I have a foolproof plan.
I don't have lunch period with Cindy or Troy, but I do have it with Duncan, this popular kid from my old school.
If I can sit with him, I'm set.
Hey, high-school boy.
You want a lift? No, I don't want a ride from my mom.
It'll look weird.
[Sighs] So, I was thinking if we pack smart, I think we can get you up to school in one car.
Oh, and we can stop at the new outlet mall on the way.
They have a Wetzel's Pretzels where they only sell "oopsies.
" Oh, actually, you don't need to take me.
I'm gonna ride up with Jeremy.
Oh, Jeremy Tree Guy Jeremy.
[Chuckles] I didn't know that was still a thing.
Yeah, we've been texting a lot over summer.
Well, that's just more free time for me.
[Chuckles desperately] That's great.
[Sighs] This sucks.
Sue doesn't need me to take her back to college, Brick is growing his hair, Axl is marrying a simpleton.
It's all slipping away, Mike.
They're growing up, moving on.
It's not good.
The moments are rushing by, the window is closing.
Don't you feel the rushing and the closing? I miss people differently than you do, Frankie.
Quietly, to myself.
You should try it.
[Sighs] Can't I get support from anyone around here? I'm on Team Aniston.
Why can't you be on Team Frankie? What's Team Aniston? Ugh, how are we even a couple? Ooh, I know! We should have a dinner.
Yeah, before everyone scatters.
Then I can tell them exactly how much I love them 'cause I do love them so much, Mike.
I just don't say it enough, and I never take the time to tell them.
I'll make a toast.
Something about the closing of the window and how they're storm windows, but in the spring, we take them down and there are screens there that that let the love just seep through I-I'll have it locked down by the toast.
So, Brick was ready to face his first lunch of high school.
He had three dollops of spaghetti, two fruit cups, and one solid plan.
Hi, Duncan.
Hey, dude.
Well, he figured out the first part of the plan.
He just hadn't figured out anything after that.
High school.
Crazy, huh? [Chuckles] The trays are on the left instead of the right.
Yeah, I went the wrong way today.
Yep, it was all going well until I know that girl.
Her Instagram has 5,000 followers.
Let's see if we can sit with her.
That's the point guard from David Letterman Middle School.
There's two seats at his table.
Let's go.
Brick discovered he wasn't the only one jockeying for position that first day.
Hello, old friend.
[Whispering] Friend.
Damn it! You're being awfully helpful.
I'm on Team Frankie.
[Chuckles] I don't want to fight anymore.
I'm tired.
Well, that was a bust.
First day of high school, and once again, I'm the oddball who talks to his backpack.
So much for a fresh start.
Aw, maybe nobody saw you.
No, five people saw me.
But you're right.
High school is better 'cause only three of them made fun of me.
Well, no one's making fun of you at dinner.
Axl: Eh, that haircut makes you look like a Muppet.
Not a main one, like one that played a waiter.
Axl! What? You said, "At dinner.
" [Sighs] Okay, everything looks good.
So, I made noodle casserole.
Brick, I'm thinking I should have a backup plan for the acting major, but if I know what it is, then I might give up on my dream.
So could you come up with one for me, write it down, but don't tell me what it is? - Sure.
- Great.
Make two copies and give one to somebody else, in case you die.
- What? - Sorry I'm late.
I went wrong south again.
Oh, well, we're just so happy to have you! Oops.
Oh, did I forget an extra chair? Axl, you want to come into the dining room and help me get one? Sue, why don't you entertain April.
Hi! I'm April.
Theater major.
All in.
Well, except for my secret backup plan, which I won't need because I am gonna make it.
How exciting.
Will you be in anything I've heard of? Ye Wait.
What a nice surprise to have April.
Although I thought it was just gonna be the core group, so I wasn't prepared.
So you think she's gonna stay the whole time? I'm so glad you like her.
Isn't she great? Yeah, she's pretty.
Although I was gonna make a toast, kind of just for the core group.
Did you notice how her hair smells like fruit? Not the real fruit, but the good kind, like in candy.
And there's no drama with her, ever.
It's just the best.
[Both chuckle] [Sighs] Okay.
Here we go.
I guess I just counted wrong the first time.
That's okay.
I do that a lot, too.
[Chuckles uneasily] Um, excuse me.
Where's your bathroom? Oh, it's down the hall, first door on the left.
Hurry back! Okay, now that I have the core group here, I want to say something.
Raise your glass.
I'm gonna make a toast.
I just want to say I don't have anything in my glass.
- Well, here, have some of mine.
- Ew! No.
[Scoffs] I used to breast feed you! Oh, worst toast ever.
I'm sorry.
This house is a maze.
You said, "Down the hall?" All: First door on the left! "First door on the left.
" "First door on the left.
" [Sighs] All right.
I just want to say time is moving fast and these moments are fewer and fewer.
And especially with the the storm window of life c [Doorbell rings] You're doing good.
[Sighs] Team Frankie! Go ahead, Mom.
No, no, we have to wait for Dad.
It's a family thing.
Sue, this guy says he knows you.
Oh, Jeremy! Hi! You're early! We weren't supposed to leave till tomorrow.
Jeremy: I was biking through Missouri to protest feeding antacids to cows, and I made good time.
Well, great.
Now you can stay for dinner.
Yay! Jeremy's joining us for dinner.
Sue's brother.
Nam Oh, April! Jeremy.
Jeremy, this is April.
I'm April! [Chuckles] Wow, there's so many introductions, we're not even gonna have time for dinner.
Maybe there's too many people.
[Chuckles] Just kidding.
Everybody's welcome.
So, Dad, Jeremy is from Indianapolis.
Oh, yeah? So you follow the Colts? No, Mike.
I follow the underpaid workers who make the footballs the Colts "earn" their multi-million-dollar salaries with.
[Chuckles] Did he just call me Mike? So, April April? April! Oh, I'm sorry.
I thought you were talking about the month.
I guess that happens with all month names.
I wish I had a less complicated name, like June.
But June is a month.
Right, but like June or Mary.
Yeah, so Mary's not a month.
But it sounds like May.
Jeremy: I'm sorry, Mike.
I just don't worship at the altar of violence and testosterone poisoning.
There's a lot of benefit to playing sports, you know? You learn a lot about character.
Or you can learn that from your parents.
Sue: Mm-hmm.
You know what is a really interesting field? Sports medicine.
I mean, you know, not for me, obviously, but for someone else.
[Whispering] Maybe for me.
[Chuckles] - Brick, what are you doing? - Oh, texting Cindy.
Since everyone else has their significant others here, I should, too.
Brick, we've already started.
By the time Cindy gets here, dinner's gonna be over.
[Door opens, closes] How did you get here so fast? My mom took to her bed, so I have to fend for myself for dinner.
I was eating apples from your neighbor's tree.
Who's the blonde? - That's April.
- Hi, I'm April! Oh.
No shrimp? I'm irritated, but I'll hide it.
[Dishes clatter] So, Cindy, what's new in your world? My bio teacher has six fingers on one hand.
At first, I thought he was holding a pencil, but he wasn't.
When he's holding a pencil, it looks like he has seven fingers.
Sorry, I'm just having a really hard time hiding my irritation about the shrimp.
Jeremy: You know where you can really learn about character, Mike? Living on the streets and eating out of Dumpsters, just to see what it's like to live below the poverty line.
You did that? No, my friend Rob saw a documentary.
Jeremy can I call you Jeremy? Sure! Well, you can't call me Mike.
You know, maybe we should just head on up to school now.
What? No, why? Well, I-I feel like I should get settled before it's too late.
Fine, I'll strap my bike to your four-wheel planet killer.
We get it, Jeremy.
You don't like cars.
Wait, you can't go yet.
There's something I wanted You know, I need some help at the fridge.
I'm just gonna randomly pick four people Sue, Mike, Axl, Brick.
- Did she say April? - [All talking] Just meet me over here! What are we looking for? Nothing.
I want to say something, and I want it to be just the family.
You better pray there's some shrimp in here.
Just stay with me for a minute, okay, Brick? I want to make a toast.
But our drinks are back there.
[Sighs] There's something I wanted to say because I realized I don't say it enough.
I don't like olives.
You don't have to actually drink it.
[Clears throat] Time is fleeting.
These moments are precious I'll trade you your olives for my soy sauce.
Because we won't have many more with just the core four - Five.
- Five I knew that.
The rhyme threw me off.
Look, we have a window, a small April: Where's your bathroom, again? Would you just hold it for a second, April?! We're at a crossroads.
Axl's a senior, Brick is in high school I should really show April where the bathroom No, you are not showing her where the bathroom is! Look, what I'm trying to tell you is that I love you! I love you, and we have to appreciate these moments together because we will never have this again, never! Do you get that?! The storm windows are shutting! I'm gonna ditch the whole idea of the storm windows.
The point is, I love you! Now, clink your mayonnaise and your olives together like you mean it! [Bottles clink] It's one night.
No, it's not.
This is our future, Mike.
It's never gonna be just the five of us again.
The core group is dead.
It's us plus three strangers.
I should just go down to the bus station, pick up three hobos, and say, "Hey, you want to spend every Christmas together for the rest of our lives?" I'm not spending Christmas with Jeremy.
I'll tell you that.
I'd like to sock that guy in his beardy face.
I am telling you, these losers could be our in-laws.
April could be it for Axl! What are you worried about April for? Jeremy's the one to worry about.
He's trying to take away the one thing I love.
Sue? No, the Colts.
[Scoffs] This is how bad it is.
We're crossing our fingers for Cindy.
[Scoffs] [Sighs] That's it.
I'm done being cool.
Axl needs an uncool mom's advice.
You know what I think? I think he brought her here for a reason.
He wants me to tell him the truth.
I'm gonna go out there right now and tell him exactly what I think of her.
[Sighs] Yep, Axl was in love and April accidentally took my coat.
- What'd he say? - I couldn't do it.
He loves her.
There's nothing to be gained by me saying anything.
It's just not gonna go my way.
You think you can control things, but you really can't.
You make plans and backup plans and backup plans to your backup plans.
But then stuff happens, and your plans go out the window.
'Cause more often than not, it's about the little things you don't plan for.
[Chuckles] Cool backpack.
Thanks! You too.
You ever talk to yours? - What? - Nothing.
Maybe we shouldn't plan at all.
Maybe we should just be in the moment we're in and enjoy the time we have with the people we love.
Damn it! That would've been the perfect toast.
Oh, I'll save it for Thanksgiving.
I hope it's just the core group.