The Wonder Years (2021) s02e08 Episode Script

Like a Boss

I was lucky to grow up
in a time and place where I could see
my parents have great friendships
with other successful
Black professionals.
Uh, hey, Bill, you remember them clubs
we went to in Mississippi?
Uh, no talking across the board.
Hmm. You tell 'em,
Lil, my ace boon coon.
Coach Long had
known my dad since they were 8.
Growing up, they bonded
over games like stickball,
pick-up sticks, hoop-and-stick
Yeah, sticks were basically
their Internet back then.
Like our dads, Cory and I had
a special connection, too.
We did everything together.
Hey, Dad! Guess what.
Me and Cory are going to enter
the Montgomery Soap Box Derby together.
And when we win, we'll go
all the way to Nationals.
We're just going to need
a power saw, some lumber,
and a box of matches.
- What are the matches for?
- To burn things.
Nice try. Like I'm gonna let
a bunch of 13-year-old
boys play with matches.
Power saw's in the shed.
- Thanks, Mr. Williams.
- Thanks, Dad.
Take it outside! I don't want
any dust or blood in my house!
While Daddy and Coach Long's friendship
had stayed the same over the years,
Mama's friendship with Coach
had gotten a little trickier.
They'd been work friends for years,
then she got promoted and
he had to report to her.
Oh, damn, Lillian.
You got the magic hand.
- Ha!
- Oh! Oh, by the way
I need to come in late tomorrow.
I got a dentist appointment.
Now, Cliff, you know
all personal requests
have to be submitted and
approved by a supervisor.
I'm just kiddin'.
I'll let it slide. Again.
I know you have my back.
See, it's good to be
friends with the boss.
- Ha!
- Ha ha ha
Now, you can either win this book
or be late for work tomorrow,
but you can't do both.
Ha! Gonna bring it right back.
Lillian. There you are.
I, uh, I just read over the
budget numbers you submitted.
Good news you're doing a great job.
The department's never
been more efficient.
Why, thank you, Mr. Davidson.
Bad news you still
need to cut another 10%.
The person before you, uh,
really inflated the budget.
He was the person before her.
Well, I already trimmed all the fat.
I'm not sure how you can
expect me to find another 10%.
Well, I'm going to empower you
to make your own decision
without me telling you what to do.
That's office speak for,
"I'm covering my ass in
case this goes poorly."
But if I were to make a suggestion,
it seems the simplest fix
would be to let somebody go.
Um, sorry I'm I'm
later than expected.
The The dentist messed up.
I could hear the radio
through my filling.
Cliff, are those papers on your desk
the ones you were supposed to
file for the Birmingham office?
Uh Oh, no, t-those
are just duplicates.
Make me look busy.
are the papers for
the Birmingham office.
You know what?
I'm gonna get through that
after break 'cause you know I
am worthless without my coffee.
Ooh, shoot. It's almost 12:00.
You know what? This might
bleed into lunch. I'll be back.
Kim, come help your
mother. My hands are full.
What's all this?
I need you to sort those into piles,
and then I'll let you
know which tabs go where,
and I'll get the rest out the car.
You know, I have other
things to do with my life.
Oh? Like
your laundry
or your history paper
or your college applications?
Uh, do you want these
alphabetized or color-coded?
What's going on in here?
I had to bring home a little work
to keep from firing anybody.
It's Cliff, isn't it?
I just hope he appreciates
everything you're doing for him.
Well, I'm not letting him know.
It'd be weird.
So if I'm doing Mr. Long's work,
does that mean he's gonna fill
out my college applications?
Ooh, child. You don't want that.
Now, uh, before we break for lunch,
I have a little announcement.
We've all been working
together to tighten the budget,
which temporarily means
we have to shorten lunch
to a half-hour
until we catch up.
Hey Hey, Lil.
Between me and you, y-you're
not making many friends here.
What do you mean?
Look. It's
Nobody's liking all your new rules.
You might want to back off a little bit.
Well, just between you and me,
they want me to fire somebody
and I don't want to do it.
Well, look, I understand,
but you're the boss now,
so you got to hurt some feelings.
So it's it's better
to hurt one person
than the entire office.
Now, if you want any suggestions
when I was leaving work
early the other day,
I saw Thompson already on
the way out the parking lot!
That is because Mrs. Thompson
had just gone into labor.
Where he going? She
the one havin' the baby!
You know what, Cliff?
How about you run the
productivity numbers
for everybody in the office
and then you let me know
who's the weakest link?
Sure thing, Lil.
First thing tomorrow.
Hey, fellas! Wait up!
I got shotgun!
I'm telling you once we build it,
we can definitely get a sponsor.
Maybe the Cadillac dealership.
- That'd be cool.
- Yeah.
Our best bet for a sponsor
would've been a junkyard.
Watch out!
Jesus take the wheel!
Hampton! That was amazing!
That was only a test run.
My dad said we're gonna
make it even faster.
- How you gonna do that?
- Prayer.
And my dad's an engineer.
How's your car coming
along? I bet it's super-cool.
- Uh, it's coming great.
- We definitely have a sponsor.
We were going to need some extra help
if we wanted to catch up with Hampton.
But we had dads, too.
Might as well use 'em!
The best way to help you with your car
is by not helping you with your car.
- Come again?
- See, uh, helping you in the short term
is actually hurting
you in the long term.
You'll understand one day.
And we won't be able to tell you when.
Right. Because that
that'll be helping us.
Which hurts us.
You're welcome.
Dean never finishes anything.
I'm not gonna waste my weekend.
Look. We are two busy men.
We already have enough work as it is.
That mean you finally finished
that productivity report I asked for?
- I did. I did.
- Oh. And?
And just as I thought.
Thompson. Mm-hmm.
Are you sure? Did you run
everybody in the office?
Yes. I-I mean, not not me and you.
We are obviously the glue
that keep the office together.
Now, now, after you fire
Thompson, can I get a raise?
Look, losing this overtime
has put a real crimp
on our family budget.
A raise.
Cliff, I'm supposed to cut
the budget, not add to it.
Yeah, of course, of course.
Now, if you fired Thompson and Wiggins,
that'd do it.
See, I did the work for you.
The coals should be hot by now.
Y'all can get the rack out the oven.
Oh, Lil, you got the ribs, right?
Cliff was supposed to do them!
Damn. Uh, uh, I knew I
was forgetting something.
Um, I should've started those hours ago.
Mama's look said she had had enough,
but Coach Long was face-blind
and he couldn't tell
that her expression
meant, "Stop talking!"
Hey, hey, Lil, you think you
can grab some from Jerry's BBQ?
Or Pits'? You know, whatever you decide.
You always make it work.
Cliff, you're fired!
- From the barbecue?
- No! From your job.
I'm sick of covering for you! I'm done!
- What?!
- You You can't fire me!
- I quit!
- What?!
Well, then you won't have any severance!
I can't believe you just fired me.
My husband just got fired from his job.
We're gonna be needing that!
I'm not working on that open
weekend. That's for sure.
What are you up to?
Hey, Max. Great work on the
unclaimed-property report.
Where are you thinking
of going to lunch?
Well, I hear there is
a new businessman
special at the Rooftop.
It was a good lunch special, too.
Really nice spread.
- Swanee!
- Lillian!
I was just stepping away for a moment.
I have Jennifer covering your line.
Well, you're not in trouble.
Why are people acting so funny?
I thought they'd be happy to get
overtime and hour lunches back.
Well, Lillian, I, um
Permission to speak freely.
Everyone's upset you fired Cliff.
He was everybody's favorite
in the office. He's so fun.
Well, I can be fun in the office.
You don't think I can be fun?
It's just that you
don't have a reputation
for being the most not deadly
serious person in the office.
- Is that what people say?
- I should stop talking.
I see you're getting upset, and
I don't want to get Cliff-ed.
Is that what they're calling it?
I think I hear the phone ringing.
Unfortunately for Mama,
there was no separation
of church and state
when it came to the cold shoulder.
Hey, say, "Amen," everybody.
- Amen!
- Amen.
Before we begin today's service,
we'd like to ask if there's anyone here
with a prayer request to
come forth at this time.
Is there one?
Yes. Yes, sir. Come on up, young man.
Come on. Give him an "Amen," everybody.
All right.
Now, I stand before you with a
heavy heart and a humble spirit
as I confess to the congregation
that I've lost my job.
I have failed as a
provider for my family.
And as you all know, I had a good job.
- Good job.
- A good job!
- A good job.
- But it's when you're at your highest
is when the devil shows up.
- Yes, he does.
- Or she.
But he won't win this battle.
Because I have the Lord
on my side!
Now, everybody join hands together
in support of Brother Long
as he fights the good fight
against the forces of evil.
I mean, he was late every day.
Mama was feeling really bad
and not the kind of bad you're
supposed to feel after church.
I know he was upset, but I can't believe
Cliff went up there and put on a show
in front of God and everybody.
The man did just lose his job, Lillian.
I'm well aware.
That doesn't mean he have to
tell the whole service about it.
I thought the sermon was
particularly enlightening.
- Especially for your situation.
- How so?
Jesus was always very patient
with the Apostle Peter,
even when he was being brash
or petulant or showing up late.
- I don't remember that part.
- You know what I mean.
He wasn't a perfect follower,
but Jesus still found ways
for Peter to contribute
that best fit his personality.
I guess I could help
Cliff find another job.
I'm sure somebody I know is hiring.
I think he'd appreciate that.
I take it you're paying
attention to the sermons now.
I always pay attention!
What about last week
when the Pastor said
that brown liquor was
the devil's elixir?
That was real?
I thought I dreamt that
part when I nodded off.
It was too bad Mama and Coach Long
weren't speaking to each other.
Luckily, Cory and I had
no problem communicating.
I'm telling you, Cory. The
horn should go, "A-wooo-gah."
Well, maybe your granddad's car.
Race cars go, "Eeeee-Eeeee!"
That's a siren, you dummy!
We're not driving an ambulance!
W-What is all this noise,
man? Huh? Y'all woke me up!
It was 3:00 in the afternoon.
He was not taking unemployment well.
Cory's being unreasonable.
Well, Dean's not taking any of my ideas.
Okay. All right. I see what's going on.
Y'all two need to learn
about team dynamics, okay?
In In a creative process,
you got to lay down some ground rules.
Look, everyone must
be heard. No bad ideas.
- Dean, what's your idea?
- I think the car horn should go, "A-wooo-gah."
Okay. What's What's your idea, son?
Well, I think the horn
should go, "Eeee-Eeee-Eeee!"
All right. You know what?
Forget Forget what I said.
Forget Those are two
terrible ideas. And w
Why y'all worried about the horn anyway?
W-Where the steering mechanism at, huh?
Where the brake system at?
How do we do that?
All right. Let Let me
see what I can do. All right?
W-What do you want us to do?
You can start by going in the house
and getting me something to drink.
Psh. All right.
Y'all talking about some "A-wooo-gah."
Guess it was "A-wooo-gah."
After a long afternoon, we had made
significant progress on the car.
- And by "we," I mean Coach Long.
- Hey, Cory, Dean.
- Yes?!
- Yes? Yes?
You're blocking my light. Move back.
Come on, now. Y'all see me working.
Is he gonna drive it, too?
Wow! Look at you guys! The
car's coming along great!
Mom, how'd you fire Coach Long?
Dean, that's grown folks business.
Well, you're grown. Can you
please fire him for us, Mrs. Williams?
He is not letting us do anything!
It's just like my diorama project.
He gave Lewis and Clark huge afros.
Eh, don't worry.
I think I have something
that'll get him out of your hair.
So nice of you to work with our boys.
At least someone appreciates my work.
Well, um, I just wanted you to know
that I reached out to a few people
who I think would be lucky
to have you working for them.
And if you're interested,
they'd love to meet you.
What type of jobs are you talking about?
Jobs that I think would suit you well.
A couple of accounting firms
and a law firm that's looking
for a new financial manager.
And you told them nice things about me?
I did.
Thank you, Lillian.
I've been bummed out.
We haven't been able to hang out
with you and Bill like we used to.
I agree.
W-Why don't you and Vivian
come over this weekend?
You making your mac 'n' cheese?
- You know I am!
- Well, we there, then!
Well, how am I gonna break it to the
boys I ain't gonna be able to finish?
- Thanks, anyway!
- No, no, no! We're good.
We're good. We're good.
Mama's gesture to Coach Long
helped get things back
to normal for all of us.
Cory and I got back to
work on our derby car,
and our parents got back
to spending time together.
Well, don't keep me in suspense.
I want to know about
all your job interviews.
Uh, well, now that you mention it, um,
I did get an offer from the law firm.
- Hey.
- Amazing!
So will you be running
their accounting department?
Uh, well, they didn't offer me a job.
They actually want to
represent me as a client.
As a client? For what?
We're gonna sue the state of Alabama.
For wrongful termination.
They think I have a really good
case for racial discrimination.
Wait. Are you accusing me
of racial discrimination?
Oh, Lil. It's not about
you. We suing the state.
- They have a lot of money.
- A lot of money.
Well, it affects me
because I was the one
Oh, w-wait. Lillian. Let
me stop you right there.
Uh, I'm not allowed to
talk about ongoing cases.
Mmm-mmm! Sweetie, you
know, you just sound like
a Black Perry Mason. I love it!
Hey, hey, Bill, hey. Stop
hogging that mac 'n' cheese.
- Don't make me sue you next.
- Ooh!
Come on. Pass that over.
Let me get that.
Lillian! Have you
heard about the lawsuit?
Yes, I have, and what
are we gonna do about it?
We're not doing anything.
This was your doing.
You told me to fire someone.
My recollection is different.
You've gotta fix this. I
don't care what it costs.
You told me to cut 10% of the budget.
Again, your recollection.
I don't want to be
called in as a witness.
I can't go back to court.
It never ends well for me.
What's this doing in my house?
What'd I tell you about
bringing in stuff from outside?
And Cory?
Don't worry, Dad. It's
just staying in here
so it doesn't get
damaged before the race.
It looks like an actual car.
Well, great job, son.
So that's what it feels like
to finally have your
dad be proud of you.
If it's in the house when
I get back, it's firewood.
And there it is.
- Hey, baby.
- No. Ah!
Don't touch. This is for Cliff.
But he's suing you.
You gonna make a casserole for that cop
that pulled you over the other day?
I'm just taking it
over as a peace offering
so I can talk him out of this lawsuit.
I know you want to say something, so
Go ahead. Spit it out.
Remember when Pastor said
No, please. No quotes from the Pastor.
Just tell it to me straight.
I know Cliff was slacking at work,
but what would you have done for
any other employee in that situation?
Well, I would have given them a warning
and then a formal write-up.
Did you do that for Cliff?
- No. He's my friend.
- But you fired him.
Well, he was taking
advantage of the friendship.
He was, but you also let the
friendship get in the way.
How was he supposed to
know you were unhappy
if you never told him?
Thank you speaking up
and letting me know I was in the wrong.
- While we're at it
- And that's enough for today.
Hm, yeah.
If you're coming to talk about the case,
we told you we can't discuss that.
Vivian, she got a hot plate. Let her in.
I brought this to say I'm sorry.
Well, I'll give you guys some space.
I should've been honest and told you
I was upset about you
coming to work late and leaving early
And I didn't always
finish my assignments
and I would always sleep in meetings
and, uh, I stole all that toilet paper.
Wait. You were stealing toilet paper?
Lillian, open up your eyes.
The whole damn office
is stealing toilet paper.
Well, also everyone in the
office misses you very much.
Especially me.
I came to offer you your job back.
Oh. Uh, wow.
I'm I'm flattered.
Thank you.
- But no.
- What?!
Vivian, I got this!
You did me a favor by firing me.
Look, it was good, but
it wasn't my dream job.
Now I got the opportunity to pursue
something I'm passionate about.
Well, I know you'll be good at
whatever you put your mind to.
So you'll drop the lawsuit?
Oh, well, yeah, the
lawyers dropped the case.
Um, turns out it's not racism
if you're just bad at your job.
So no job and no lawsuit.
Huh! Well, I hope that
you're just as passionate
about sleeping on that couch.
- I don't work here.
- And I don't do broke.
But But But, baby!
Mama told her
boss that she got Coach Long
to drop the lawsuit, and
she used that as leverage.
And if we can afford to hire Cliff back,
we can afford to hire another
employee to take up the slack.
Makes sense.
And since you said
this is my department,
I'm gonna make sure I'm not the only
Black employee here.
My recollection is
exactly what you said.
And that's exactly what she did.
She hired a Black woman
who she fired two weeks later
because "she thought she was cute."
But she replaced her
with another Black woman
who worked there for 30 years.
As for Mama's relationship
with Coach Long,
thankfully their friendship
was back on track.
And watching them taught me
how to balance friendships
and working relationships.
For the extra gravity.
You sure you don't wanna drive?
Nah, man. you're gonna do great.
Thanks. You can drive
when we get to Nationals.
All right, Dean! Come on, then!
set go!
Oh, no, no, no, no! No, no, no, no!
- Man!
- Come on, now!
Man, I told you I should have drove!
The weight was too
heavy. You sabotaged me.
I knew they couldn't do it.
Maybe we should've
given them the matches.
So they can burn that
piece of junk to the ground.
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