The Wonder Years (2021) s01e01 Episode Script


Adult Dean: Growing up, Mom and Dad gave me "The Police Talk" about how to handle yourself around cops.
There was a presidential election that created a racial divide, and there was a flu pandemic that they said would kill a million people around the world.
But it was 1968.
Choose me, baby And that's the state our country was in.
Yeah, even the flu part.
This was the year I turned 12, the age where you transfer from boy to man.
Or as the old folks used to say, "When a boy starts smelling himself.
" The previous summer's race riots had caused the first wave of "white flight" to the suburbs.
As a kid, I didn't understand all that.
Your powerful love We had neighborhoods that were just as safe as the ones they were developing outside the city.
There were teachers, veterans, shop owners, all united by pride, self-determination, and the right to spank any kid caught outside after the street lights came on.
There you go again Daddy's song! My dad was a music professor by day and a funk musician by night.
In other words, he was the baddest dude I knew.
Dean, I know you did not just come into this house without speaking.
But I heard -- No "buts"! How about "Hello, Mama.
Hello, Daddy.
How are you?" [ Door opens, closes .]
I heard Daddy's song in Kwame's car.
You did? Dean, quit running your mouth and turn on the radio! That's what I was trying -- Boy, move! Shh.
Be cool.
"Be cool" was Daddy's catch-all advice for every situation.
Be cool.
[ Electricity zapping .]
[ Gasps .]
Be cool.
[ Police radio chatter .]
Be cool.
[ Radio tuning, "I Need You More" playing .]
We on the radio, baby.
I need you more I need you more Girl, you better be excited.
Your daddy's song is on the radio! Can you finally help me to get to your lovin', oh You were in the car with your boyfriend? Dean was out after the street lights came on.
Hey! Ms.
Handy was out.
I bet you Ms.
Handy saw her out there.
You don't want Ms.
Handy seeing you! She gonna be talking about me and my mothering.
This certainly wasn't the first or last time emotions would run high in our house, but whether we were yelling or laughing, if you turned your head just right, it all sounded like music.
I need you I, I need you -- Captions by VITAC -- One thing about being 12 that hasn't changed over the decades is that it's around 12 where you figure out what your place is in the world.
But being in my family made that hard.
I'd never be as popular as my sister or as athletic as my brother, as smart as my mom or as bad as my dad.
That's the problem with being the youngest.
By the time you're born, all the good parts have been handed out.
[ Sighs.]
Stupid play.
I mean, Sheep #3? Really? But 12 was the age I was gonna figure out what my bag was.
Lillian: Dean, hurry up or you'll miss the bus! My parents had high standards for us.
I appreciate it now, and so does my bank account, but at the time, man, it was annoying.
Did you practice like I told you to? Yes.
Yes, what? Yes, ma'am.
Like how she insisted on giving me an ashy elbows/lips and eye booger check every morning before I left the house.
Where are your glasses? I told you, I don't need them.
Wearing glasses in junior high was basically telling your cousin to get a prom dress ready.
What'd I tell you about bothering Bruce's things while he's away? "Away" was the word my mom used instead of "in Vietnam.
" Coach Long said I needed a bigger glove.
Man, I just bought you that glove.
Is Coach Long gonna pay me for it? He's just looking out for Dean.
Right, right.
Is that why he made you Team Mom? Looking out for Dean? Or because he's sweet on you? Stop it.
He just did it 'cause we work together.
Why would Coach be sweet on Mama? Both: Stay out of grown folks' business.
"Stay out of grown folks' business" was usually code for something about money, sex, or the funny way Dad's studio smelled after a rehearsal.
Let's go over analogies.
The SATs are important, Kim.
This stupid test has nothing to do with real life.
You know, Bobby Seale and H.
Rap Brown didn't even finish college.
You're going to college.
I'm sure the revolution's gonna need a good dentist or accountant.
[ Laughs .]
Besides, what kind of music professor would I be if my daughter didn't go to college? Bad enough my son doesn't have rhythm.
Hey! Yet.
My son doesn't have rhythm yet.
You got to get at least a 1050 to get into Auburn.
Auburn? Mm-hmm.
Plenty of good black colleges out there, too, you know.
She can go to 'Skegee like us.
Better yet, Spelman.
No boys.
It's a win-win.
For who? Win.
[ Laughter .]
A lot of black folks like my dad didn't feel like we needed to mix with white people to be better off.
But my dad put his money where his mouth was.
He'd always hire the black doctor, black accountant, the black plumber, and often he'd have something we'd call "black regret.
" [ Water dripping .]
[ Horn honks .]
Gotta go! Glasses or not, I wasn't the most popular kid in the neighborhood.
Thank God I had Cory.
'Sup, Dean? Give me some skin.
My best friend, Coach Long's son.
He'd figured out his bag when we hit puberty and he grew six inches of height and six inches of hair where it count.
He was macho.
Hey, you got to tell me about that party at Noddy's last night.
Was it really a makeout party? Come on now, man.
You know it's not cool to kiss and tell.
Okay, but don't forget, you were supposed to teach me how to French kiss on a pillow.
Shh! I'll tell you later.
[ Chuckles .]
That's our old school.
Shut down because of desegregation.
But we still hung out there sometimes, mainly to girls about girls and then girls and -- Wow, I really got distracted.
You know the girl that you see for the first time and everything slows down? That was Lisa Jones.
Everybody had a crush on her, but here comes my crush Keisa Clemmons.
She was perfect.
Hi, Dean.
Thanks for letting me borrow this.
You were right.
It was great.
To this day, I can't smell Vaseline and Tide without being taken right back tothat feeling.
Tell her you want to start going together, man.
Don't be scared.
I'm not scared.
I was so scared.
My plan is to stay best friends until she realizes she likes me.
And I was an idiot.
Hey, stop it! Stop it! Was this my opening? My chance to defend her honor and win her heart? My -- You better give my propers! Say you're sorry! Stop! Say it! Man, she's tough.
I know.
I dig it.
[ Indistinct conversations .]
[ Booker T.
& the M.
's "Green Onions" plays .]
[ School bell rings .]
Hey, fellas! What's happening? Brad, the Pee Wee Reese to my Jackie Robinson.
That is if Pee Wee Reese were Jewish and Jackie Robinson couldn't catch a fly ball.
Take a guess.
Dean's still afraid to tell Keisa he likes her? Film at 11:00.
Shut up, Brad.
What? I'm telling you, she already knows.
How? Unless you blabbed.
She can tell by the stupid way you look at her.
You look like a wet dream.
It's such a wet dream.
I do not look like a wet dream.
Okay, we clearly had no idea what that meant yet.
Still, good burn.
You guys have practice today, too? Yeah.
Who do you think would win if our teams played each other? We would.
But we only play teams on our side of town.
Think about how boss it'd be to have our teams meet.
Your dad's the coach.
He'll go for it, right? Uh, maybe.
I mean, he watches "I Spy.
" Cool.
You ask your dad, and we'll ask mine.
[ School bell rings .]
A scrimmage against some all-white team from across town? Hell, no.
But our friend Brad's on that team.
We go to the same school.
We should be able to play each other.
Do us both a favor, put all that energy in learning how to catch a fly ball without [bleep.]
your pants.
If a coach said that today, he'd have to go to sensitivity training.
At least that's what they made me do when I cussed out my son's team.
Hey, guys.
I came to take the measurements for the team jerseys.
Dean: Mama! Tell Coach we should play a scrimmage game against Brad's team.
Brad's asking his dad, too.
Why would you want to play with a bunch of white boys? Exactly.
Why does that matter? Oh, it doesn't to us.
But trust me, it will to them.
How do you know if you don't try? Isn't that what you're always telling me? For what it's worth, I met Brad's dad, and he's our kind of people.
That still don't mean I want some whitey pitcher throwing at our boys' heads.
Well, let's not get to calling names.
Never mind that there were teams called the Redskins, Chiefs, and Savages and no one batted an eye.
Look at it this way.
We want our sons to learn to compete with them now, or never learn and then go out into the world feeling like they're lacking -- like we did? Okay, I'll talk to your friend's dad and see what he says.
Yes! Alright! Alright, now -- now give me three laps.
For -- For coming to practice too early! Come on, get -- get some laps in.
Y'all walking? Come on, hustle up! Now that I'd figured out that my bag was being "The Great Uniter," I couldn't wait to get started.
Hey, Mark.
Uh, what's happening, Chad? How's it going, Quentin? Hey, Black Jesus, mellow out, man.
You're trying too hard.
It's okay.
My mom's making me wear these.
[ Sighs .]
Anyway, your glasses are cute.
She'd just basically said I looked like Billy Dee Williams in my glasses.
This was the perfect time to tell her that I've loved her since I sat next to her on the first day of first grade.
Keisa -- Hey, Four Eyes! Can you look to my house and tell me what's on the TV? [ Laughter .]
Now, no one in school knew how old Michael Simms was.
Some people said he had a son at another school.
Others said he'd already done a tour in 'Nam.
Bullies back then benefited from us not having Google to fact-check.
Shut up, Free Lunch! Yo mama on free lunch.
Students: Ooh.
What's all the fuss back there? Somebody said "yo mama.
" Now, that's something that the black students do that the white students don't.
You ought to be like these three.
Their parents send them here to learn.
Hey, she's not prejudiced.
But was she? In my memory, she was.
But she also gave some of us black students extra attention if she thought we had potential, which may still have been racist.
I don't know.
But bringing people together wasn't just about the white people.
It was also about black people like Michael Simms.
I knew I could reach him, too.
Ah! Think you're white, don't you? I could not.
You talk white! You act white! Ah! You even brought a lunch box to school like you white! [ Grunts .]
That last one confuses me to this day.
Come on, man.
Told you it was a dumb idea to try to talk to him, Dean.
Ah! So dumb.
Who was I kidding? The world was always gonna be full of Michael Simmses and white people with lunch boxes.
Nobody was gonna listen to Sheep #3.
What kind of present? Bill: I don't know.
Maybe that pearl necklace I caught you staring at at Parisians.
[ Both laugh .]
Well, it's just one royalty check, Bill.
Be cool.
There's gonna be more where that came from, baby.
[ Laughs .]
[ Both laugh .]
[ Clears throat .]
What do you need, son? Just wondering if Mama told you we're playing Brad's team from East Montgomery for the first time.
Why our boys gotta play their team? It's the Barnstorming Negro Leagues all over again.
Figures Long would be okay with this.
Coach Long was against it, too, but then Mama talked him into it.
I think it's a good idea, and I'm proud of Dean for trying.
It doesn't matter.
He's not playing.
But, Dad! Nope.
Too many good teams to play over here and good parks, too.
What's so bad -- Are you talking back? No, sir.
Then you better fix your face.
Well, whether or not he plays, I still have to go to the game.
Right, because your office buddy made you Team Mom.
I never say anything about your work friends.
That's not fair, and you know it.
What's not fair? Both: Stay out of grown folks' business.
Did you just tell us no? Have you lost your natural mind? Boy, what has gotten into you? I wanted to tell them about the kids on the bus and the white kids at school and Michael Simms and Mrs.
Hodges and that Kim went in Mama's purse and snuck out last night.
But I realized it was actually more than that.
What came out surprised me as much as it did them.
I feel different everywhere I go, no matter who I'm around.
And I know I'll always be different.
But when I'm with Cory and Brad and we all feel different, I finally get to feel the same as everybody else.
That's why I want to play.
Brad would later tell me that trying to make myself feel better by making everybody feel as uncomfortable as me was the most Jewish thing I'd ever done.
You two do whatever you want.
That was the first time I'd stood up to my dad and the first time I realized just how scary it can be to get what you want.
[ Indistinct talking .]
Man: Let's go! Team captains! Come on.
Let's go.
When I saw me, Brad, and Cory on that field, with kids from my neighborhood mingling with kids from a world way across town, united by something we all had in common, I was proud of what I'd done.
It didn't even matter who won the game.
Now, I'd find out much later that Michael was only there to steal Brad's bike, but at the moment, it was validation.
[ Indistinct conversations .]
It's a trip, the little things that you remember all your life.
Your first hit, your first kiss, the first time your dad lets you know that he sees you.
Well, I still hadn't had the other two, but, boy, did that third one feel good.
[ Crowd cheering .]
[ Crowd groans .]
Hey, he's not prejudiced.
Well, if he wasn't, then the ball was.
Come on.
Front of the box.
Watch the fastball! Back of the box! Watch the curve! Front of the box! Look fastball! Dean, back of the box.
Watch the curve.
Front of the box.
Back of the box, Dean! Back of the box! Scoot to the front, Dean! Dean! Dean! Dean Jeremiah Williams! I don't know his whole -- Dean! Dean! Dean! Strike! You'll get it next time, son.
Take a look at yourself now Come in, Dean.
Stay deep.
No, no, no, no.
C-Come in some.
Stay deep, Dean.
Come towards me.
This way.
Away from me.
This way.
That way.
[ Bat cracks .]
Dean! I know you'll find I can make you love me Alright, now, hands up! Weight back.
Weight back, hands up, Dean.
You saying the same thing I'm saying.
Listen to your coach.
Weight back, hands up.
No, no, no, hands up first.
That's not the same thing.
Hands up first, then weight back.
Weight back, hands up, Dean.
Strike three! Bill, if you got a problem with the way I coach, say so.
Be cool.
Be cool.
I thought instead of a new glove, maybe Dean just needed better instruction.
Well, listen, man.
This ain't no piano recital.
So you stick to the do-re-mi's and I'll stick to the one-two-threes.
That doesn't even make sense.
It just rhymes.
Well, I could say the same thing about your songs.
Oh, so you raggin' on my music now? Well, I may be a musician, but I still struck you out, let's not forget.
You know what? That was in sixth grade, and I didn't hit my growth spurt yet.
" Get the ball, Bill.
You get the ball.
Get the ball, Bill.
You get the ball, Long! You get the ball! If I get the ball, you ain't gonna touch it! This may not be the right time, but, dude, your sister is choice.
Shut up, Brad.
Long: You know what? I ain't scared of you no more.
What is wrong with you two? You both know better than to be out here showing your ass in front of these white folks.
That was a universal rule that cut across all classes of black people, but it was too late now.
We're so sorry.
We just heard what happened.
Heard about what? Dr.
He He was s-shot.
What? Where? In Memphis.
It -- It's all in the news.
Is he -- They rushed him to a hospital.
We saw you all were upset, and we -- Man: The incident happened at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where the reverend was staying, as he planned to march later in the week.
Now the entire country awaits the update on Dr.
King's status.
We know he was admitted shortly after 6:00 p.
Central Standard -- Wait, this just in.
Cronkite: Good evening.
Martin Luther King, the apostle of non-violence in the Civil Rights Movement, has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee.
Police have issued an all-points bulletin for a well-dressed young white man seen running from the scene.
Officers also reportedly chased [ Men vocalizing .]
Mama? Dr.
King is dead.
[ Vocalizing continues .]
Adult Dean: I just couldn't understand what was so important about folding those clothes.
[ Vocalizing continues .]
Man: He's gone, man! [ Woman sobbing, screaming in distance .]
We should go check on Ms.
[ Sighs .]
[ Vocalizing continues .]
[ Door opens .]
[ Door closes .]
Cronkite: Police report that the murder has touched off sporadic acts of violence in the Negro section of the city.
[ Dog barking in distance .]
Adult Dean: I didn't understand a lot of what was going on, especially why when people get really upset about something bad, they resort to destroying their own things.
Man: Sick and tired of this! But something told me that my friends were probably just as confused as I was.
Man: Why do they keep doing this to us?! Woman: Nothing but them ol' white folks.
I was born By a river, oh, man In this little, old tent, oh Just like this river Suddenly, the anger I was seeing on the news made a little more sense, especially because it felt like some things would never change.
[ Glass shatters .]
Long time coming But I know, but I know A change is gotta come Ooh, yes, it is Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my It's been too hard living Oh, my And I'm afraid to die I don't know what's up there Everybody in my family plays that day over and over in their minds.
But for different reasons.
For each of us, it felt like the world around us had changed forever.
I know, but I know A change is gotta come Oh, yes, it is Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my But thankfully, for each of us, the world on the inside hadn't.
I would go to my brother Oh, my I asked my brother, "Will you help me, please?" Oh, my, oh, my
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