The Wonder Years (2021) s02e01 Episode Script

One Small Step

ADULT DEAN: The summer of '69
was a summer of momentous events.
Russia was involved in a border
conflict on the brink of war,
inflation was the highest
it'd been in nearly 20 years,
and women didn't have the right
to choose.
Glad we don't live
in those times anymore.
Anyway For my Southern family,
summer used to bring
barbecues, road trips
BILL: Everybody used
the bathroom, right?
KIM: Me first.
DEAN: I'll just go in the bushes.
ADULT DEAN: and games.
If you're on my property where
I have a house, you pay me rent.
If you can't pay, you go to jail.
ADULT DEAN: He wasn't even
playing the game, y'all.
But what made the summer of '69
was that I spent it
in New York City with my dad.
He was writing songs for Marvin Gaye,
and I was trying to make new friends.
Unfortunately, neither of us
had succeeded
in the month we'd been here.
I knew it'd been a month
because I was on
my fourth pair of underwear.
DEAN: Is that Mama on the phone?
Can I talk to her?
- Hey, Ma, guess what.
- That's enough.
- You know how expensive long-distance is.
Are things going better
with your song-writing?
I haven't even met Marvin yet.
You want to take
a "boudoir" picture for you
and send it to you for inspiration?
I can get it developed tomorrow
and rush delivery.
And you'll have it five days later.
I'm not gonna say no to that.
ADULT DEAN: "Sexting"
may have taken longer then,
but at least a guy couldn't claim,
"I sent that by accident."
But nothing's working.
These songs are so bad,
Pat Boone wouldn't even steal them.
Maybe we should just come back home.
Wait, I haven't
even ridden in a taxi yet.
I couldn't even get one to stop
for me until '96.
You are Bill Williams,
- the baddest song writer there is.
- In Alabama.
Anywhere. And if you let
New York get to you,
you'll never forgive yourself.
You're right about that.
And don't worry about things here.
Everything is just like you left it.
Now help me get rid of the rest
of your father's old stuff.
Why does he even have most of this?
Child, you know that man
can't let go of nothing.
He's like a baby with a fistful of hair.
Oh, Lillian. Thank God.
All these houses look alike.
This is the fourth door I've knocked on.
You know, you have some rude neighbors.
I mean, just because
it's not the right house
doesn't mean I can't use the bathroom.
Geez. Aah!
- Aunt Jackie!
- Aaah!
ADULT DEAN: Jackie was Mom's sister,
and they were polar opposites,
which is why she was
our favorite relative.
We didn't see her often,
and whenever she was in town,
- it usually meant she needed money.
Wh What brings you into town?
JACKIE: Oh, I'm just
passing through, girl,
but don't worry.
I don't need nothing,
so you can tell Bill he doesn't have
to hide his cash or his liquor.
Oh, well, Bill's out of town.
Well, in that case,
where's his cash and liquor?
- Oh, I'm joking.
Oh. Uh, well, where you off to now?
Oh, and whose car is that?
- Mm, my boyfriend Keith's.
- Mm?
You remember him.
We used to call him "Pooh-Star."
Anyway, he let me borrow it
so I can go to Tuscaloosa tomorrow night
to see a friend
perform at a new nightclub.
Nightclub? You told me Tuscaloosa
only had the University
of Alabama and churches.
- Hush.
- So, I was stopping by
to see if you guys
wanted to come with me.
Oh, you ain't said nothing but a word.
Well, now, hold on, Kim.
We can't just up and leave.
We're having a yard sale tomorrow.
Oh, that's what this is?
I thought y'all were getting evicted.
You just don't want to go
'cause Daddy will get mad.
I'm not afraid of your father.
Oh, is that why you waited
for him to go to New York
before selling his stuff?
- Ooh.
- Ooh.
You know what?
Go pack a bag for the trip.
- Ah, that's my girl!
LILLIAN: I'm just gonna
make sure the phone is hung up
and Bill is not still on the line.
All I know ♪
Ohhh, through the highs and the lows ♪
I'mma find my way home ♪
ADULT DEAN: Dad's goal was
to sell a song to Marvin Gaye.
My goal was to make New York friends.
We'd dodge trollies, play stickball,
dance choreographed numbers.
Okay, so my knowledge of New York
comes from timeless musicals. So what?
I'll be home by 5:00.
Don't leave the house.
Don't answer the door.
Don't answer the phone.
Don't turn on the stove.
Don't spend all day watching TV.
ADULT DEAN: So far, the most
exciting things I'd done
was watch my dad go to work
and watch two rats fight
over an egg roll,
which I later discovered
was another rat.
What would Don Juan do ♪
ADULT DEAN: But this was new.
I certainly had no context
for a man wearing a dress.
I mean, in Alabama,
we had plenty of church ladies
with mustaches, sure,
but that didn't count.
I say ♪
It must be love ♪
Stop staring.
It must be love, baby ♪
It must be love ♪
It must be love, baby ♪
Hello. I've got an appointment.
- WOMAN: Your name?
- Robinson.
WOMAN: Oh, hey, Mr. Williams.
Here comes "Alabama."
Bag all you want.
I'm gonna sock it to Marvin.
He gonna love this one.
Let me guess. It's
probably got a banjo in it.
ADULT DEAN: I couldn't believe
the blatant disrespect
they showed my dad
because we were from Alabama.
I mean, it's not like
we were from Mississippi.
- Wait till you hear this one.
When I'm in your arms, time ♪
Stop. Stop.
I'm gonna stop you right there.
But I hadn't got to the best part yet.
You know who else isn't
gonna get to the best part?
- Anybody listening.
- MAN: Can you step back a little, please?
- Marvin's here.
MARVIN: Hey, what's happening, fellas?
I'm loving the new material.
Thanks, Marvin.
- There's more where that came from.
- You see
ADULT DEAN: Daaaaaamn, Alabama. What?
It's not my fault
that it's a catchy nickname.
MAN: Armstrong is on
the moon. Neil Armstrong.
ARMSTRONG: Okay, I'm gonna
step off the LEM now.
MAN: A 38-year-old American
standing on the surface
- of the moon.
- Dean, I need your help.
The guys at the studio
said my music wasn't
what the kids are dancing to,
so I need you to let me know
when I'm onto something.
- ARMSTRONG: That's one small step
- Uh, okay. Sure, I guess.
Okay, uh
one giant leap for mankind.
Oh, you need a better line
for this "oooo" sound.
There's, uh, poo-poo,
boo-boo, poo-poo
- You're not even trying.
- Uh, I'm sorry, Dad,
but the moon walk's about to happen live
and you're gonna make me miss it.
Fine. We can watch the moon walk,
but afterwards, we work on songs.
[SIGHS] How do we even
know if this is real?
You can't believe
everything you see on TV.
And how's the government
have enough money
to send a bunch
of white guys to the moon,
but can't fix that stoplight
on 4th and Kent?
How do we know who's in those suits?
They probably switched out
the white astronauts
with Black ones in case
something go wrong.
ADULT DEAN: You see,
before Twitter, old men
just had their sons
to yell crazy theories at.
Mm, but if it is real,
them cats are the baddest dudes around.
You can't give up and still
make it to the moon.
ADULT DEAN: Dad couldn't help
but be inspired,
just like I was inspired
to take my own "Giant Step."
Tomorrow, I'm gonna sneak out
while Dad's gone
and explore New York
and make new friends.
And if I get caught,
well, at least I know
I can run away and live on the moon.
Ha! Let's see Daddy try
to whup me from there.
LILLIAN: We're just going to Tuscaloosa
- and coming right back.
- KIM: We know.
Oh. Are you seeing what I'm seeing?
I am, but we don't have time.
Plus, it's dark.
JACKIE: Girl, those plums look ripe.
We could make wine with them.
- KIM: Yeah!
- Are you sure we're allowed to do this?
JACKIE: Mm-hmm. Me and your mama
used to do this
all the time growing up.
So, how do you know this
"friend" we're going to see?
- From around.
- Around where?
Around where we was.
What's with all the questions?
You should hear the questions
I have to answer
about what I was wearing
to a political rally.
- She was the same way with me.
- Mm, mm, mm.
LILLIAN: Y'all two ain't
gonna be ganging up on me
out here picking plums.
Uh-oh. "Ain't"?
When the grammar goes,
you know she's about to pop.
Ooh. One time, she actually cussed.
Hush your mouth!
You can tease all you want,
but there is never an excuse
for improper language.
There was nothing scarier to us
than the angry face
of a white police officer.
ADULT DEAN: Unless, of course,
it was the angry face
of a black police officer.
You see, black officers
couldn't really arrest white people,
so when we ran afoul of a black officer,
he might be very eager
to assert his authority.
- 'Nuff said.
- We'll put the plums back on the tree.
Jackie, let me do the talking.
Hello, Officer. [CHUCKLES]
My name is Lillian Williams
and I'm from Montgomery,
and I work for the state, just like you.
Y'all have some "House Negro"
code or something?
Shut up.
No. Let me handle this.
Did you know that this vehicle's
been reported stolen?
This is my boyfriend Keith's car.
You would have a boyfriend
who steals cars.
Keith Freeman is the person
who reported it stolen.
Jackie, you stole this car
from your boyfriend?!
Uh, what? I mean, yes, fine,
we had a fight.
I caught him cheating and
I wanted to teach him a lesson.
[SIGHS] Jackie.
JACKIE: I mean, that's why
I wanted to go see my friend
Toby Jenkins play tonight.
I mean, what's good for the
goose is good for the gander.
OFFICER: Wait, you guys
on your way to see
- Sweet Tea Jenkins?
- JACKIE: Mm-hmm.
That's That's gonna be a good show.
I'm on my way there, too.
- Oh.
As soon as I take you guys
in to the station.
- CHILD: Tag, you're it!
ADULT DEAN: I snuck out of the apartment
- as soon as Daddy left for work.
ADULT DEAN: I'd finally
ventured out into the city.
The sights, the sounds, the smells!
In Alabama, when someone says
"street food,"
they usually mean roadkill,
and it didn't smell anywhere
near as good as this.
ADULT DEAN: Yeah, I didn't know
what that was about,
but I was in New York, baby!
Hi, uh, my name's Dean.
Where'd you get them shoes?
Can you fight?
ADULT DEAN: I couldn't fight,
but I'm pretty sure
I deafened them with my scream
- as they stole my shoes and belt.
ADULT DEAN: Damn it!
I forgot I hid my key in my shoe.
ASTRONAUT: Houston, we have a problem.
[SOBBING] Daddy.
LONNIE: Got yourself
locked out, didn't you?
ADULT DEAN: Uh-oh. The guy in the dress.
Dad had told me not to stare,
but he also told me
to always look adults in the
eye when I spoke to them.
You got me in the spin cycle, Dad.
Uh, yeah. I must've left my key inside.
Hmm. You don't sound like
you're from around here.
I'm from Alabama. Montgomery.
It's the capital.
Child, I know where Montgomery is.
I'm from Union Springs.
Oh, you're from the country.
Says the boy sitting outside
with no shoes on.
- ADULT DEAN: Touché.
- I'm Lonnie.
- I'm Dean.
- LONNIE: Well, Dean,
you better hope your daddy
comes back before dark,
because the rats start at the
feet and they work their way up.
ADULT DEAN: Three hours
and two rats later
- You still here?
- Yeah.
Aren't you brave.
- Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm.
You hungry?
Mm, I bet it's been a while
since you've had some good,
Southern cooking, huh?
- Maybe a little.
- Yeah?
Lucky for you, I made
too much for just me.
Oh, look at this. I got
some slippers in here, too.
I guess I'll just sit here
till you finish.
Get my plate back, of course.
MAN: Where's your dress, sweetheart?
MAN #2: Did you run out of lipstick?
ADULT DEAN: I felt bad for him.
Lord knows I knew
what it was like to be teased.
Should I say something?
Should I tell him just to ignore the
Get back here, you little punks!
ADULT DEAN: Nope. He got this.
Give me a slipper.
- Give me a slipper!
- MAN: Ow!
- MAN #2: Oh!
LILLIAN: Mm, spending all night in jail.
This is a new low, even for you, Jackie.
OFFICER: I'm afraid we have
to impound the vehicle.
Now, the release paperwork
may take a little while
since two of you have previous
arrests on your records.
- Two of us?
- Two of us?
Well, ain't nobody surprised
I've been arrested before.
And I haven't been.
Damn it. I thought they got it expunged.
- Lillian!
It was I was [STAMMERS]
I was in college, so it barely counts.
Before I go to college,
can I get that in writing?
After all these years of making me feel
like the black sheep of the family.
Well, first of all,
I never called you that.
- Might as well have.
- So, what did you do?
Sit-in? Campus protest?
Freedom Rider?
A bunch of us ran across
The Yard, butt naked,
right in front of a statue
of Booker T. Washington.
I was pledging.
It was a sorority prank.
Don't laugh. I was terrified.
They put us in handcuffs and everything.
[SIGHS] I thought I was
gonna end up on a chain gang
- married to a woman like Moms Mabley.
- "Perfect" Lillian is an ex-con?
Well, I'm not an ex-con,
but I'm certainly not perfect either.
I guess we're not so different
like I thought,
- after all these years.
Kim Williams, your paperwork's done.
You can leave now.
- I'll see y'all at home.
You're just gonna leave?
How are you gonna get there?
I'll hitch a ride
with the nice police officer.
Please get me out of here
with these criminals.
BILL: Dean, what are you doing outside?
Uh, hey, Dad. This is Lonnie.
Uh, I locked myself out,
so he stayed out here with me
until you got home.
Much appreciation.
Name's Bill. You look familiar.
We actually bumped
into each other earlier
when I was on my way back
from rehearsal
dressed for my show in the Village.
Right. The Village.
ADULT DEAN: I didn't really know
what my dad and Lonnie weren't saying.
I was just happy to have met
somebody from back home.
Plus, my toes were
in fuzzy cotton heaven.
And were you auditioning for his show?
Oh, uh, some kids robbed me,
so Lonnie let me wear these.
Hey, he's been robbed.
Now he's a real New Yorker. [LAUGHS]
Well, thanks again.
Dean, give Lonnie back his wardrobe
and say "thank you." Let's go.
Bill, can I offer you some dinner?
Oh, I don't know about
What's that?
- Ox tail?
- Tastes just like Mama's.
No pressure. I'm sure
you guys got a refrigerator
full of good old "down home" food.
Well, we got bologna and potatoes.
We probably shouldn't be rude.
I'll take you up on the offer.
Then it's settled. Come on up.
Stop it.
Your grandmother did not live
on Bibb Street in Tuskegee.
My dad's grandmother
lived on Bibb Street.
Yeah, I'm telling you,
the house was so tiny,
- the front door was the back door.
Well, uh, maybe we're
cousins somewhere down the line.
It is a small world.
Well, my grandmother's dead,
so we'll never know.
[LAUGHS] She's dead.
Um, well, uh, you two are both
performers from Alabama.
I'm surprised you haven't
heard of each other.
Yeah, we probably wouldn't have
played the same places.
Um, maybe Lonnie can give you some tips,
since he's used to performing
in New York.
I'd love to give you some tips.
Only if you want them.
Well, my dad's been trying
to sell a song to Marvin Gaye,
- but he's not good.
- Dean.
Tell him about the songs in the trash.
- Dean.
- LONNIE: Don't be embarrassed.
When I first got to New York, I searched
for what felt like forever
for what my act was gonna be.
No one wanted to hear Lonnie Edmonds'
beat poetry about politics,
but they loved hearing
"Sybil Disobedience"
lip-sync about it.
ADULT DEAN: Sybil Disobedience.
I see what you did there.
Well, it's it's nothing, really.
I just gotta figure out a way
to tap into a different groove
than I'm used to.
I got something I want you to try.
White folks call it "primal screaming."
It's supposed to tap into stuff
your conscious mind pushed away.
All you gotta do is scream as loud
as you can from deep inside.
You want my dad to scream?
Just tell him you lost a nickel.
You want me to scream? In your kitchen?
Yeah. Look, I'll do it with you.
One, two, three.
- I think I just felt something.
ADULT DEAN: I was actually screaming
because I saw a roach so big,
it should have been paying rent.
But I'm glad this was helping Daddy.
- Yeah.
- BILL: Mm-hmm.
Yeah, this is good.
- Right? [CHUCKLES]
- Yeah, this is good, man.
It's good. But there's something
else I want you to try.
Come into my bedroom.
Where my clothes are.
BILL: That's how we do it down South ♪
Speak your mind, say how you feel ♪
Take off your cool, baby,
just keep it real ♪
Sing something true ♪
Sing it out loud ♪
That's how we do it down South ♪
Not bad. Not bad at all.
It's called "Southern Hospitality,"
- 'cause that's how we do it in Alabama.
MARVIN: I don't believe we've met.
- Marvin.
- Bill.
I was just playing these cats
a song I wrote especially for you.
MARVIN: Well, let me hear
what you got, man.
- All right. [CLEARS THROAT]
Here's something different ♪
ADULT DEAN: His new look
was temporary, of course,
but the success wasn't.
Dad sold "Southern Hospitality"
to Marvin Gaye,
and the floodgates opened from there.
Oh, there he is. The big guy. [LAUGHS]
ADULT DEAN: After that, "Alabama"
took on a different meeting
in the studio.
Speak your mind, say how you feel ♪
ADULT DEAN: I'd accomplished
my goal of making a friend
in New York City, but not
in the way I'd expected.
I taught Lonnie everything I
knew about the Apollo missions,
and he introduced me to New York things
like Broadway shows.
Well, off-off-Broadway, mainly.
And when his piano player got sick,
Daddy even filled in at his show.
Ain't nobody playing ♪
ADULT DEAN: Now, I was grown
before I understood
why Lonnie had to move
all the way to New York
before he could finally be himself,
but meeting him helped me
enjoy my time there.
He and Daddy fell out of touch
after a while,
but I hope one day
Lonnie was able to finally
go back to Alabama, boa and all.
That's how we do it down South ♪
ADULT DEAN: I'd have to say,
it was the best summer ever.
MAN: Now, that's how we do it.
could tell it was time
to pack our bags and go home.
Dean, pack your bags.
We're going home.
ASTRONAUT: Houston, we're coming home.
Boy, stop talking to yourself
and let's go!
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