The Wonder Years (2021) s01e12 Episode Script

I'm with the Band

Growing up, our neighborhood was filled with all types of families that were well-known for certain things.
But everyone knew that the Williams family was a musical family.
We all played instruments.
With a dad who was a music professor, we didn't really have a choice.
I could play the scales before I could ride a bike.
That was partly because I had the coordination of a bumblebee, but mainly because of my dad.
When Daddy closed his eyes, I knew that meant he was really feeling it.
I wanted to feel like that when I played, too.
Bill, you know I've always been a big fan and, as usual, you did not disappoint.
I really hope you'll think about it.
And this is my wife, Lillian; and my kids, Kim and Dean.
Oh, what a pleasure.
Dean's the other saxophone player in the family.
Really? Well, you gonna be onstage one day like your dad? Well, actually, I'm about to play at the State Fair.
Well, my school band is.
But I'm first chair.
First chair.
He's a regular chip off the ol' block, huh? You could say that.
Hey, Dad, they're paying us to play at the Fair, right? Now you can really say it.
A tour all across Alabama? Bill, that is wonderful.
I couldn't believe it at first myself.
But he wants me and the guys to headline.
- That's awesome, Dad.
- That's great, honey.
So, what'd you tell him? Are you gonna do it? Of course he's gonna do it.
Y-You're gonna do it, right? Please say you're doing it.
Be cool.
There's a lot to consider.
You know I'm up for tenure, and taking time off to go on the road could possibly jeopardize that.
I told him I'd let him know soon.
Well, no matter what you decide, you have my full support.
Thank you, baby.
That means a lot.
Ooh, we can go shopping in Tuskegee.
You all think you're going, too, don't you? I don't trust those groupies.
Musicians are hot.
No school! Wow.
Daddy was getting a chance to play on a bigger stage and so was I.
The State Fair.
It brought with it a half day of school for Fair Day and the best shows and rides you could imagine! One night, I saw a cow give birth and saw Cory throw up through his nose after riding The Enterprise five times.
Who were the real animals that night? Dean, dinner! Mom, since the Fair's coming up and I have a solo in the concert When school lets out early, I'm going with Cassandra and Corynella.
Well, don't you have a paper Forgive us, Dean.
Please continue bragging about your solo.
I was hoping that maybe I could get a new shirt for the concert.
Maybe a silk one.
I want to look cool.
First of all, you know you only get clothes at the beginning of the school year.
Second a silk shirt? Which one of the Pips are you replacing? Hold on, hold on.
Maybe the boy has a point, Lil.
This is their first time playing in front of real people who don't have to clap.
Plus, he's got a solo.
Boy's got to look sharp! I think I'll take you shirt shopping myself.
How about that? I might even pick up one or two shirts, just in case I end up taking this tour.
Thanks, Dad.
I want to look as cool as you.
Still gonna wear the glasses, though? You're just jealous because the saxophone is way cooler than the stupid cello.
The cello is not stupid.
And, Kim, there's nothing wrong with your brother's glasses.
That's right.
Cut it out, you two.
Yes, sir.
And I only play the cello because Dad wouldn't let me play the saxophone when I was your age.
He said that's how girls get pregnant.
Music was my only chance to be cool because, let's be honest, I wasn't cool in any other way.
May I speak to John? There's no John here.
Then do you pee outside? Dean? Uh, who's Dean? I know it's you.
You use the same voice when we imitate Mr.
Roberts in art class.
Remember? I taught it to you? Because my voice is deeper than yours.
No, it's not! Uh, I mean, who's Dean? Man, I told you that joke was no good.
Yeah, it was kind of a thinker.
- Yeah.
- Who's next? Uh Renita.
- She's cute.
- Yeah.
Can you tell me what kind of tree fits in your hand? Is this Cory? You're so funny.
Yeah, you know, I'm just making these prank calls with Dean.
Who? You know, Dean Williams.
He got that big ol' afro and he wear the glasses.
In seventh grade? Yes, he's in our grade.
Dang! But thankfully there was someplace where I was the man.
People talk about the dog-eat-dog world of school sports, but let me tell you, the band room is survival of the fittest, just like on the African savanna.
Everyone is gunning for the alpha male, the top dog the first chair.
But no one would dare challenge me.
That was, until today.
What is it, Craig? Um, I'd like to challenge Dean for first chair.
Oh, this white boy can't be serious.
Sure, Craig, that is your right as second chair.
But, of course, we need to offer Dean one week to prepare for the challenge.
Dean? Oh, no, I don't need it.
I'm ready now.
Unless, of course, Craig needs the time.
Craig did not need more time.
Wow! Fantastic, Craig! Looks like we have a new first chair.
I mean, come on, man.
All right.
Let's take it from the top.
As bad as it was to be dethroned in such a public way, it was going to be much worse going shirt shopping with my dad and breaking the news to him The ultimate musical alpha male.
Something like this is for when you're performing on the big stage.
And this is more subtle, for like a smaller venue.
Ahh, but this See how it shimmers? It's great for catching the light.
Enough stalling, Dean.
It's time to face the music.
Pun intended.
Uh, Dad, today in band Now these are show shirts.
You could see me touring in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Mobile in this, right? Uh, definitely.
Um, so, you know how I was first chair? Mm-hmm.
Ruffles and sequins? No good musician would ever wear either of these.
And that's how 20 years of music passed right over my dad.
Um, so, something crazy happened in band today and This is it.
It screams "Dean.
" Yep.
I'm getting this for my son to perform a sax solo At the State Fair.
Oh, well, that sounds exciting.
Good luck.
Imagine the lights shining down on you, - playing your solo - I'm second chair.
I lost first chair.
I don't understand.
What are you saying? Well Craig challenged me for first chair, and he just played so well.
It was surprising.
"Craig"? Sounds Is he? White? Yeah.
Go figure.
You know what? It's okay.
I got you covered.
I'll put together a practice schedule and we'll make sure you're able to challenge to get your chair back in time for the concert.
We won't be taking this.
What? This is a solo shirt.
Not a "cat sitting next to the cat with the solo" shirt.
In the meantime, I'll be taking these.
You can put this back.
Whenever I saw my dad's shadow outside my bedroom door, I knew I needed to play perfectly.
If I made a mistake, he'd come inside, and that meant another hour of practice without a break.
It was like BlackGroundhog's Day.
Now, I know you can play better than that.
What do you mean? I hit every note.
You sounded like you were sitting wrong.
Sitting wrong? Here, let me see.
It's as if Jesus came back as a saxophone.
I thought I recognized that sound.
How long are you gonna be away on this tour, again? Keep practicing till it sounds like that.
Get out.
Why do you get to relax and do whatever you want while I have to sit and practice all night? It's not fair.
Hold on a second.
Why do you think I really play the cello? 'Cause Dad can't play anything with a bow.
You're the dummy that wanted to be like him, and now you're paying the price.
Girl, it was nothing.
I thought I heard a dog outside.
After practicing for what felt like the entire night, I was finally ready to return to my rightful place as first chair.
Craig won't know what hit him.
What is it, Teddy? I'd like to challenge Dean for second chair, please.
What the? Uh-oh.
There was blood in the water, and everybody in the savanna knew it.
Et tu, Cory? I couldn't believe it at the time, but in hindsight, he'd have been a fool not to do it.
Being bumped to fourth chair was the worst thing that ever happened to me in here.
Band Room Dean was so humiliated that Gym Class Dean felt sorry for him.
You really choked.
Luckily, I'm the only trombone player in the band.
No challenges.
Hey, Dean.
Are you okay? I-I guess.
Um, won't Charlene be mad if she knows you're talking to me? No.
She has a new boyfriend now, so she doesn't care anymore.
Glad she doesn't still hate me.
Oh, no, she still hates you.
It's actually what she and her boyfriend bonded over.
He hates me, too? Don't overthink it.
A bunch of us are gonna ride to the Fair on Fair Day.
So you want to come Yes! Yes.
Uh, since you really want to be my friend again.
You mean because you just looked so pitiful after choking in band that I thought you could really use a friend? The fact that she was right made me feel even more pitiful.
I would've played the "wah-wah" right now if I thought I could do it without choking.
And if I played the trombone.
Dean! Sir? Boy, get out here and say hello! We got company! Back then, grown folks always made kids come out and say hi - to anybody that came over.
- What's up, man? Why ain't we rehearsing at the studio? Put it against the tour money.
Just 'cause we're making more money doesn't mean we need to spend more money.
Dean, don't you think your daddy would look good in one of these? Washboard, I told you, the car I have drives fine.
Fine for Montgomery.
Not "go on tour" fine.
That's the same thing he tried to convince me about my wife.
All right, fellas, time to practice.
You coming, little man? Wouldn't be the same down there without you watching us jam.
I-I can't.
My dad's making me practice more.
I, um, lost first chair in band.
Well, he's kinda right.
You won't get good without practice, practice, and more practice.
Is that how you got so good at the piano? Nah.
Music always came real easy to me.
Just took to it.
But, hey, don't feel bad.
Nothing wrong with second chair.
What?! Yeah, uh, today, I got bumped to fourth chair, and I haven't told my dad yet.
Damn! I'm going to miss you, Dean.
Sorry, again.
But you know something? Your old man might just surprise you.
I bet he'll actually respect you for being honest about what happened.
And trust me on this Your dad ain't all that scary.
- Washboard, get down here! - Mm.
Err! Coming! Washboard was right.
It was time for me to talk to my father, man to man.
After all, musicians understand these things.
I do not understand.
That has never happened to anyone I've ever known.
Fourth chair? You might as well play from the parking lot! I wasn't expecting so many challenges.
I choked.
I'm disappointed in you, Dean.
Those were the words I dreaded the most.
I'd rather he just spank me.
If you're choking at school, how ever are you gonna play in front of all those people at the Fair? I do not want to hear any more excuses.
Tomorrow, after school, you come straight to my office so we can go through this piece, note by note.
But tomorrow's Fair Day.
I'm supposed to meet my friends.
Well, you can forget about that.
The concert's the next day.
Is riding a bunch of dumb rides gonna help you play a packed house? Bill! All right, just have your narrow behind in my office by 4:00.
That's a long line.
How long do you guys think it'll take? At least an hour.
Maybe more.
I'm not leaving until I ride it.
Uh I do got to meet my dad at his office pretty soon.
Can't you skip practice Just this once? No, he definitely needs to practice.
I mean, I played better than him, and I'm terrible, right? But I'm too scared to ride by myself.
Won't you ride with me? My dad was gonna kill me, but at least I'd have a smile on my face in my coffin.
I missed Daddy's time window, so I thought it best to have Mama walk me in.
I needed as many crime scene witnesses as possible.
You okay? I guess.
How did Dad react when Bruce quit playing music? Is that what you want to do? Well, what happened? You were so excited about the solo and the shirt and everything.
I just know that what I'm doing isn't working, and Dad doesn't want any more excuses.
Okay, that's not bad.
You're definitely improving.
I'm sorry.
I know you wanted me to be better prepared for today, but, I haven't had much time to practice.
Hey, don't be so hard on yourself.
Why don't we work on something easier.
I guess up until that point, I'd always assumed my dad couldn't help but be hard on me all the time.
But now I was seeing that it was a choice A choice that was making me miserable, and I just didn't get it.
Why? Hey, honey.
I thought you were bringing Dean by my office to practice.
Did something happen? Well, not exactly.
Then where is he? He's in his room, waiting on you to come home.
But I just want to say, before you go back there, you might not want to be so hard on him.
Why does everyone think I'm hard on him? I'm no harder on him than my father was on me.
I push him because I care.
The boy needs to toughen up, if he's ever gonna play in front of big audiences.
Has Dean said that's what he wants to do? Has he ever had the choice not to play? Well, I assume that's what he wants to do.
What else would he want? If he's not playing professionally, then it's just a waste of talent.
Well, let's just remember he's 12.
Oh, more excuses.
When I was 12, I was 20.
Have you ever thought that maybe your frustration about Dean wasting his talent is because you feel like you might be wasting yours? What? No.
This isn't about me.
This is about Dean.
Of course.
But I think a part of you already knows that you don't want to take that tour because you want tenure.
And maybe, maybe, that's what's really frustrating you.
Of course I'm frustrated.
The band's gonna be devastated.
But I can't risk losing tenure.
The stability that comes with it, the benefits It's too important to our family.
But that doesn't mean I'm taking it out on Dean.
Or does it? Maybe.
I don't know.
Well, I hope you know that we really appreciate your sacrifices.
I really appreciate your sacrifices.
Maybe I should go have a talk with him.
I know.
You're mad at me.
I was.
But that's not why I'm here now.
You ready for tomorrow? I'll go get my sax and practice.
Who said anything about a saxophone? A nice-sized crowd showed up for the school's band performance.
But it didn't much matter to me.
Instead of sitting in that band chair, terrified, I was terrified for another reason.
Turns out, my dad had decided to stop being my teacher and just be my dad.
Here we go! Whoa! Hey! Whoa! All right! It wasn't until I was a father myself that I learned that sometimes what's best for your kids is for you to step out of the way.
Private lessons usually last about an hour.
All right.
That was tough on my dad.
So was telling his band that they weren't going on tour.
Look, guys, I-I'm sorry.
I just can't do it.
What you mean, you can't do it? - I can't do it.
- Hey, Washboard Washboard, where are you going? - Where are you going? - Hey, man Thankfully, my dad could still focus on teaching his actual students.
And he was damn good with them.
And it turns out I wasn't the only one in school band who struggled under pressure.
That's just something you have to learn to deal with in your own way.
But what I appreciate most is that Daddy left the choice of sticking with music, or not, up to me.
Which is why I still play today.
Yep, still got it.

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