The Wonder Years (2021) s01e11 Episode Script

Brad Mitzvah

When you're 12 years old, anything that makes you unique makes you stand out, and that's the last thing you want to do in junior high.
Can I touch it? Gary Coleman hadn't made the afro part a common sight yet.
While being one of only three Black kids in my class was a more obvious difference, it wasn't so obvious to me how my friend Brad stood out.
- Hey, Brad! - Even though he looked white, people saw him differently, too.
There's a penny.
You gonna pick it up? At 12, I didn't understand the complexity and hate behind the joke.
I just knew they were targeting Brad because he was Jewish.
And Brad was just doing what we were all doing Trying to survive junior high.
I know what you're looking at, but a penny's a penny! We should go to the comic-book store after school tomorrow and see if they have the new Daredevilyet.
For sure.
Brad, you coming? Can't.
I gotta go to Hebrew School.
I thought you only went to Hebrew School on Sundays.
I do, but with my Bar Mitzvah coming up, they're making me go every single day after school too.
Really? Every day? Yeah, well, I gotta learn to sing my Bar Mitzvah parsha and then write a whole speech about it.
And it's not one of those cool portions about locusts or boils, either.
It's just a father giving advice to his sons on his deathbed.
Yeah, and all that's from the Torah, right? Stop bragging because you know one Jewish thing.
Imagine singing something in a language you barely know in front of people you barely know.
Sounds brutal.
All this just to turn 13 and dance the hora, huh? Fine.
Two Jewish things.
It's more than that, though.
It's a whole "becoming a man" thing or whatever.
My pops said you become a man when you start paying for the electric bills.
My auntie told me I'd become a man when I learn to please a woman.
Okay, maybe I didn't know anything about becoming a man, but I did know one thing Don't worry, Brad.
I'll help you.
Well, with the speech part.
You know, I got an "A" on my oral book report for Animal Farm.
Really? You'll help me? - I got you.
- Thanks! Now I can focus on the best part of having a Bar Mitzvah Throwing the party! Wait.
There's a party? - Are we invited? - Of course! My mom says I can invite anyone I want.
Can I invite Charlene, too? Me and Charlene had been dating for a month, and we'd already run out of things to do.
Dean? Dean! It would really help me out if you invite Charlene.
A Bar Mitzvah is the exact kind of party we need to reignite our passion.
I still really didn't know what a Bar Mitzvah actually was.
I was hoping maybe you could invite Kim instead? Well, maybe if you let me invite Charlene, there could be a way I can get Kim to come, too.
- Deal? - Deal! Now get to Hebrew School and Torah it up! We have a party to prep for.
You better not be spoiling your dinner.
Oh! Guess what? I got invited to Brad's Bar Mitzvah.
I get to wear a suit and everything.
Did he invite anyone else from the neighborhood? Cory and Charlene are coming.
Well, will ya look at that.
I bet his parents are inviting you guys, too.
I think the invitation is just for his friends.
This is a very special thing that Brad's inviting you to.
A Bar Mitzvah means a lot for a young Jewish boy, and it says a lot about Brad to include everybody.
- Kim, you're invited, too.
- To what? Brad's Bar Mitzvah party.
I'd rather be caught dead than go to a party with a bunch of little kids.
Plus, Brad stares at me too much.
Actually, Kim, I think you should go.
What part of "I'd rather be caught dead" - are you not hearing? - I know I didn't just hear attitude coming from that mouth.
- No, sir.
- This is an environment - Dean hasn't been in before.
- So? So, we know Brad's folks, but we don't know Brad's folks' folks.
I think it'd be a good idea for Dean to have someone there to look after him, someone who cares about him.
Why you asking me, then? - You're going, and that's final.
- Fine.
But I'm gonna need some new Bar Mitzvah shoes.
I swear, Lillian, that girl gonna be the death of me.
She's gonna be the death of us all.
Couldn't agree more.
No, you hang up first, Charlene.
No, yo Hello? Wow.
Can't believe she hung up first.
So, you've been spending a lot of time with Charlene lately.
- I guess.
- Is she your girlfriend? Mom! Dad, do something! Boy, answer your mother.
Yes, she's my girlfriend.
Look at you.
You got yourself a little girlfriend.
My man! It's an exciting thing when your dad's impressed with you for the first time.
You got any money on you? Got a girlfriend now.
Gotta have a little money in your pocket at all times.
But you don't give me an allowance.
That's right.
Not going to.
But here's $3 for you and your lady.
Well, I think it's sweet that you have a girlfriend.
Charlene seems like a nice girl.
And she's a preacher's daughter, so make sure you treat her right.
Be respectful.
Don't be out there acting all mannish.
All we ever do is talk.
Then what you need those $3 for? Well, just make sure that she treats you right, too.
- What do you mean? - Well, I noticed that you do a lot of things that she likes to do, but not a lot of things that you like to do.
That's not true.
So you like The Lawrence Welk Show? Yeah.
I like the bubbles.
My point is, Dean, you don't have to change who you are to make a girl like you.
Well, I changed for you.
You made me get rid of my conk.
And you're welcome for that.
But Dean is perfect the way he is.
Thanks, Mom.
I get it.
I won't let her boss me around.
Okay, baby.
And I'll make sure to have that brown suit pressed and ready for the Bar Mitzvah.
Oh, Charlene wants me to wear black.
Oh, Lord.
There's no way they think Daredevil's dead.
- How much you willing to bet? - How much ya got? Uh, excuse me.
Dean? You're still walking me to class, right? Well, yeah, of course.
Well, I gotta get to social studies.
See ya, Dean! Bye, Charlene.
- See ya, Keisa! - Mm-hmm.
You know, you've been real quiet about that Archiecomic I gave you.
Oh, I haven't read it yet.
Yeah, well, maybe if you weren't so busy reading Keisa's comics and talking about them all bus ride, you'd have time to read mine.
Yeah, probably.
You know, I read in Seventeen that in order to have a healthy relationship, each person in the couple has to get rid of their friendships with the opposite sex.
So I won't be friends with any boys But you don't have any friends who are and you'll stop being friends with Keisa.
Wait, wait, wait, wait.
Why? W-We've been friends for, like, forever.
And if we're gonna be boyfriend/girlfriend forever, then we need to have a healthy relationship, - right? - I-I guess.
Good! Glad we both agree.
But, I mean, does Keisa even count? She's not really a girl.
She's just my friend.
You don't still like her, do you? O-Oh, no.
No! It's just, it doesn't seem fair to Keisa.
Well, these are the sort of mature decisions that we have to be ready to make now that we're dating.
If I had read that Archie comic, I could have told her that she was being a total Veronica.
- I guess so.
- Good! Have a good day at school, Dean.
Keisa? Hey, Dean.
Wanna play Horse? Uh, sure, but I need to talk Yes! Your turn.
That's "H"! Bucket! Charlene said that Dang it! Wow.
You're really off today.
I don't usually beat you this bad.
That's because I'm trying to tell you something.
Tuck your elbow in this time.
Nice one! See? I knew you had it in you.
See? Keisa was the best.
How could I bring myself to tell her that our friendship that has meant so much to me for so long had to end because I have a girlfriend now? Charlene said that we can't be friends anymore.
If that's what you want.
Well, I hope she's gonna be okay.
What's goin' on, fellas? Oh! I forgot the new issue came out! I just got it yesterday.
I would've taken you with me, but we're not friends anymore, so I should probably take my comic book that everyone is reading and loving to another table.
- Sorry, guys.
- No! Come on! Don't go! - No! Please don't go! - Please! Guess that means you should go sit at another table.
For the sake of your relationship, of course.
Dean! Settle a bet.
Who's your favorite Pussycat? And Josie doesn't count.
Hey, guys.
What's going on? Dang, Keisa.
I can't believe your brother just gave you all his baseball cards like that.
- Yeah.
- If we were still friends, I could trade you this extra Willie Mays card I have.
But how would you ever explain it to your girlfriend? It quickly became clear that my decision to end my friendship with Keisa had completely backfired.
Anyone want homemade brownies? - Ohh! - Oh, yes! Sorry, Dean.
My mom told me to share these with my friends.
And since we aren't friends anymore The woman was diabolical.
Too bad you and Keisa can't be friends anymore.
She's great! I even invited her to my Bar Mitzvah.
Brad's breath had the smell of delicious double-fudge brownies mixed with the stench of betrayal! Well Not too tight, Bill.
The boy nearly passed out at church last time.
Oh, I thought he caught the Holy Ghost.
Well, you just make sure you're on your best behavior, Dean.
You're representing this family, too.
If anything happens that makes you feel uncomfortable, your sister will be right there.
And just so you know, I don't want you talking to me or looking at me or breathing near me.
I don't even want people to know we're related.
Um, I'm pretty sure they gonna know.
Just look out for one another.
Why are you so worried? It's just a Bar Mitzvah.
Brad and his parents may have friends who aren't as welcoming as they are.
You know how Granddaddy Clisby says things about white people? How would you feel if we invited Brad over to hang out with him? Oh.
Now, that I understood.
Well, uh, we should get going.
We don't want to keep Charlene waiting.
Now, when you pick up Charlene and her father answers the door, you need to look him directly in the eye.
He's not gonna like you, son, but that's just because he's a good dad.
Regardless, you give him a firm handshake.
Let me see yours.
Let's hope her mom answers instead.
What's going on with you? Charlene's waiting.
You haven't shut up about this Bar Mitzvah all week.
Why do you look like you don't even wanna go now? Oh.
It's It's fine.
Suit yourself.
Okay, fine! I'll tell you.
Charlene said that I can't be friends with Keisa anymore, which means I can't be with the rest of my friends, and now I'm gonna be stuck sitting with a bunch of toothless old people! Why doesn't Charlene want you and Keisa being friends? She said that, in order for us to have a healthy relationship, we have to stop being friends with people of the opposite sex.
That sounds like the they put in Seventeen for white people.
Now I'll be stuck sitting with a bunch of boring girls Charlene sits with.
Why don't you just get Charlene to become friends with Keisa? Then her friends are your friends and you can all hang out together.
It was in moments like these that I remembered that Kim wasn't just my sister; she was a girl, too.
She actually knew how girls worked! Yeah.
You're right.
Thanks, Kim.
You know, I-I didn't really want to tell you at first, but Your mom squeezed my hand so hard! With all the Charlene and Keisa drama, I forgot that I was entering an actual synagogue for the first time in my life, though it kind of reminded me of church.
There was one thing that I couldn't quite figure out, though.
Where's their Jesus on the cross? What? Jesus was a Jewish man, too, you know.
Clearly, I was still playing catch-up on the whole Jewish thing.
What I did know was that I now had a foolproof plan on how I was gonna be friends with Keisa again.
Hey! Keisa! So good to see you.
Especially since, you know, we haven't talked in so long.
Uh, you remember Charlene.
I was just thinking how you two had so much in common.
W-When did you guys meet? Kindergarten? Wow.
What a time to forge lifelong friendships! What was that like? You're bad at this.
Hey, Dean! You guys continue your soul connection.
I'll be right back.
Hey! Mazel tov, Brad! - I'm freaking out! - What? Why? What do you mean, why? What if I forget my Torah portion? Or what if my voice cracks? Or what if I drop the Torah? Those things are like 50 pounds.
I just I haven't even finished my speech yet, and Oh, God, my parents are gonna kill me! Hey! You said you were gonna help me! All you've done is ignore me! I knew I was letting Brad down, but this was my one chance to get Keisa and Charlene to become best friends, and it was slipping through my fingers.
Well, I've got my own problems, dang it! Hey.
What are you two talking about? Having fun? Making friends? They were not.
Come on.
We better sit down.
You know, Dean, maybe you're just one of those guys who isn't meant to have a girlfriend.
Let me help you.
You must be Brad's friends.
I am his Aunt Ruth.
What are your names? I'm Kim, and this is Dean, my brother.
Let me show you where to go.
What does it mean to become a Jewish man? When I saw how nervous Brad was in that moment, I knew I had to make things right.
Joseph is the only son of Jacob who's - I gotta go talk to Brad.
- Unh-unh.
There's no way I'm letting you make a scene and embarrass Excuse me.
And there he goes.
And if it meant embarrassing myself down here to keep Brad from embarrassing himself up there, then that's a price I was willing to pay.
- Ow! - Oh, ooh.
That was an open-toed shoe.
I'm sorry.
Sorry again.
And the one thing we can do Psst! Hey, Brad.
Over here.
What are you doing? You can't be up here.
Well, I remembered something that my dad said about getting stage fright before a big show.
Just picture everybody's in their underwear.
Once they all look crazy, you won't feel so scared.
Just be yourself, man.
That's all everyone here wants you to be.
And now it's time for our Bar Mitzvah boy.
For my Bar Mitzvah, I studied a Rabbinic text that explains that every person is given three names.
The first is the name given to you by your parents.
For me, that was Baruch, my Hebrew name.
The second is the name given to you by your friends.
For me, that was Brad.
But the third is the most important name.
It's the name you give yourself.
Now, it's that third one I was stuck on.
I had to really think about who I was, separate from who people wanted me to be or who people were forcing me to be.
Being Jewish in Montgomery means feeling different all the time.
I spent a lot of that time feeling embarrassed about being Jewish.
But I don't want to feel that way anymore.
So from now on, I'm not just gonna stand by while people make fun of me or try to make me feel bad.
No, instead, I'm gonna stand up for myself, for my people, and for what I believe is right.
Now, I may I not know what my third name is yet, but I do know who I am.
A proud Jew from Alabama.
Thank you, and Shabbat Shalom! It was in that moment that I started seeing Brad in a new light.
Up until that point, I could name all the things that made us different, but after Brad's speech, it was clear we had way more in common - than I'd ever realized.
- L'chaim! And it was those similarities that made us that much closer and our friendship that much stronger, even to this day.
Brad later confided in me that he did take my advice and pictured everyone in their underwear.
Unfortunately, that also included my sister.
Poor Brad.
He needed a moment to compose himself afterwards.
No, no.
Now that I'd made things right with Brad, I needed to stand up for myself, like I should've done when Charlene made me watch that stupid Lawrence Welk Show or read that dumb Archie comic, or when she said, "Tab tastes just like Coke.
" No, Charlene, it doesn't.
Charlene, me and Keisa are best friends, and I don't want that to end, so if you have a problem with that, then that's your problem, not mine.
How could you be so mean, Dean? And on the night before our 26-day anniversary.
Well, this is gonna be an awkward ride home.
I couldn't help but notice, uh, a little situation here, buddy.
Now that I'm a man, can I give you a little piece of advice? One day, when you're older, you'll look back on all these problems that seem so big right - Shut up, Brad! - Shut up, Brad! I know what I said to Charlene was harsh, but I have to admit, it felt good to finally take control of things and stand up for myself.
Now I just had one thing left to do.
Ooh, Keisa! I was just looking Save it, Dean.
Charlene told me how cruel you were to her.
I-I-I was only trying to just be Look.
I need to be Charlene's friend right now.
- What? - It's like when you stopped being friends with me because Charlene asked you to.
Well, Charlene needs me right now.
And I can't be friends with you while she hates you.
But you understand that.
Right, Dean? Clearly, Keisa wasn't finished punishing me for what I'd done to her earlier.
Turns out all 12-year-old girls need in order to become lifelong friends is a common enemy, and that enemy was me.
Hey! Whoa! Standing up for myself resulted in me losing both my girlfriend and my best friend.
Luckily, I was able to lean into the part of Judaism that suited me in that moment The suffering part.
Maybe I had gained a better understanding of Brad's cultural history.
But watching Brad get lifted up on that chair, I realized that standing up for yourself and owning who you are can actually elevate you in the long run.
'Cause even though I had lost so much that day, I gained something else Self-respect.
And if that doesn't make you a man, I don't know what does.
Captioned by VITAC
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