Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 1, Episode 21 - Stage Fright - full transcript

Alex preps Mallory for a high school television quiz show when he can't find anyone else to fill an empty spot on his team.

♪ I bet we've been together
for a million years ♪

♪ and I'll bet we'll be together
for a million more ♪

♪ oh, it's like
I started breathing ♪

♪ on the night we kissed

♪ and I can't remember
what I ever did before ♪

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ and there ain't no nothin' ♪

♪ we can't love
each other through ♪

♪ ooh-hoo

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ sha-la-la-la

Okay, Jennifer, ask me one
from the geometry category.

Alex, I'm tired of doing this.

I need a break.

Aw, come on, Jennifer!

You can't let me down now.

You've helped me
through the first four rounds

of the High School Quiz-off.

The Championships
are only three days away.

It's gonna be on television.

I've got to be prepared.

Now, come on, just one more.

Alex, you're violating
child-labor laws.


I love it when you beg.

Hi, guys.

Honey, clear those books
off the table.

We've got to get dinner going.

Uh, mom, I really don't want
to break my concentration.

Why don't you guys
go out for dinner?

Here's a couple of bucks.


Sorry, mom.

I'm just excited about
the quiz-off, that's all.

Oh, me too.

In fact, this morning,
I dropped off my plans

for the set at the station.

How did daddy like them?

Well, he didn't have a chance
to see them yet,

but I know
he's gonna love my ideas.

All right, Jennifer,

hit me with
a literature question, please.

Okay, but this is the last one.

In act five, scene five,
of "MacBeth,"

MacBeth reflects
on the nature of life.

Quote the passage exactly.

Mm. That's a tough one.
G-give me a second.

Oh, hi, gang.

Hi, dad. Hi, honey.

Hi, dad. Hey, Alex.

How you doing today?

"Life's but a walking shadow.

"A poor player that struts

"and frets his hour
upon the stage,

"and then is heard no more.

"It is a tale, told by an idiot,
full of sound and fury,

signifying nothing."

He seems a little depressed.

He's practicing
for the tournament finals.

So, what did you think
of my set designs?

Well, um...

I-it's a little elaborate,
isn't it?

I was thinking
more along the lines

of the kind of set
we used last year.

Well, last year's set
was so dull.

Well, maybe.

I... it...

I-I-it's hard for me to talk
about the plans

without having them
in front of me.

Too bad I left them
at the office.

Good luck. I happen to have
an extra copy right here.

What a break.

Uh, I'll... I'll get that.


Uh, just a second.

Alex, it's for you.


Oh, hi, Ted.


What do you mean
you can't make it Sunday?

104 temperature.

So what?!

I-it's not even life-threatening
until it gets up to 105.

You can make it, Ted.

Come on!


Oh, I'm sorry, doctor.

No, I didn't mean to excite him.

Listen, if Ted
regains consciousness,

could you have him...

Great! Just great!

Ted Quinn can't make
the finals on Sunday.

Why not?

Oh, I don't know.

Some gibberish about
infectious pneumonia.

And now our team is a man short.

What about your friend,
Susan Aronson?

She's very bright.

No good, dad.
She's in the 11th grade.

Each team must consist
of one player

from the 10th, 11th,
and 12th grades.

Where am I gonna find
an incredibly bright, informed,

quick-thinking 10th grader
by Sunday?


I know we don't
usually get along,

but it hurts me to see you

in a desperate situation
like this.

I'm in 10th grade.

I'm willing to be on your team.

Maybe if we set Ted
up in a glass booth,

he wouldn't infect anyone.

Come on, Alex, I'd be good!


Yes, her! Alex, what is this?

Do you think you're the only one
in this house

who's interested
in academic challenge?

Yeah, I love
academic challenges.

Besides, it's gonna be
on television!

There's an exchange student
from Brazil who's pretty bright.

Dad, by any chance, could you
ask some of the questions

in Portuguese?

I'll adapt.

Okay. Okay.

Petey, one more question.

Grover Cleveland was elected
to the presidency twice,

in 1884 and again in 1892.

Who was Cleveland's
secretary of the treasury,

during his second term?

Uh, Petey,

I don't... I don't think
this is gonna work out.

I mean, let's face it,
most of the questions

are gonna be in English.

Nice try, pal.

Hey, qué será, será.





Bring in the next guy, please.

Uh, he was the last one, Alex.

Oh, he can't be.

There's got to be
at least one qualified kid

in the 10th grade.

There are plenty of smart kids,

but none of them wanted to be
on the team with you.

I can't understand that.

I merely asked them to comply
with a few simple rules.

Alex, you wanted them
to salute you.

I'm the captain
of the team, Jennifer.

These kids have got to
learn to respect authority.

So, what are you gonna do now?

I don't know. I don't know.
I got to think.

Hey, I'm sorry, Elyse.

Steven, I've been revising
these plans all day.

Now, why are you
so resistant to my ideas?

I'm not resistant
to your ideas, Elyse.

But I just don't think
theater in the round

is what we want to do here.

Are you saying
you don't like it?

I-I'm not saying that.

You do like it?

I'm not saying that.

I'm saying this is
a High-School Quiz Show,

not "My Fair Lady."

"My Fair Lady"!

That's it! The quiz will be
like "My Fair Lady"!

Well, we've got the set for it.

No, no, no,
you don't understand.

What I've got to do
is find my Eliza Doolittle.

A 10th grader
who knows virtually

nothing about anything.

An empty vessel that I can
fill with my knowledge,

my insight, my wisdom.

Someone whose mind
is a total blank.

A clean slate.


Could you help me
in the kitchen?

I'm trying to make a snack.

I forgot how the blender works.


All right, Mallory.

Let's turn to the next question.

Alex, we've been doing this
for hours.

I'm getting tired!

She needs her rest.

Jennifer, I don't think
you fully appreciate

what an enormous task
I've undertaken here.

I'm taking a simple peasant girl

whose greatest prior
achievement was coordinating

her eye shadow with her sweater,

and I'm turning her
into someone...

Someone who could have
a conversation with me.

You're gonna have to give her

more incentive than that, Alex.

Alex, let's just
get this over with.

You're getting a little
too pompous, even for you.


Now, we went over
this one yesterday.

It's a geography question.

At the Southern tip of Chile
lies a body of water

named for a famous explorer.

Name this body of water.

Uh, a body of water, right?

Named for the famous explorer.

Come on, now.

Southern tip of Chile?

The Hudson River.


That's not right?

No, it's the
Straits of Magellan!

Oh! You guys are still at it?
It's so late.

I'm glad you're here.

We need your help
with another dry run.

We've had five dry runs
in the last two days, Alex.

Just one more. We're at
a turning point here.

Mallory actually named
all the Cabinet members.

That was me, Alex.

Okay, okay. We need to work.

Please, mom, dad,
do it for Mallory.

Well, maybe for a few minutes.


Okay, Elyse, and uh,
Jennifer, sit over there,

representing one team.

Mallory and Alex sit here.

And I'll stand here.

Uh, maybe you should stand
on the chair, Steven. Why?

Because according
to my revised, revised plan,

the moderator's podium
is elevated.

Uh, yeah. Well, look, I'm not
quite sure we're going to

be doing it that way, Elyse.

Why not?

Well, there are a variety
of factors involved.

Could you guys discuss this
later, please?

I mean, it's getting late.

It's very important that Mallory
get some sense

of what the actual tournament
will be like.

Okay? Dad, go ahead. Okay.

First question, in the area of mythology.
Alex: Mythology.

Great. You're good at this.

I showed you the pictures?

The guy with the wings
on his feet?

I remember.

Okay. Who was Romulus'
twin brother?

I don't know that one, mom.
Do you?


Would you like to share it
with us?

I'm not answering.

I have designed six perfectly
good sets for this show,

and I don't understand

why your father
refuses to use any of them.

Elyse, I thought you were going
to design a very simple set.

Most of our viewers
will not have 3-D glasses.

Mom, mom. Dad!

Please. We're on
television here.

The question now goes over
to Harding High.

Who was Romulus' twin brother?

Uh, uncle Remus.

Not uncle Remus. Just Remus.

Well, I'll bet
he was somebody's uncle.

I mean, if Romulus had kids,

then Remus would be an uncle,
wouldn't he?

I suppose he would have, yes.

All right,
then he was uncle Remus.

Maybe we practiced
enough for one day.

Anyway, I have some other plans
we can look over, Steven.

Uh, actually, you can never
practice too much.


Uh, okay. Okay.

Now, how about interlocking
Plexiglas platforms?

They can be powered

Okay, we'll talk Plexiglas.

Okay, Mallory,
let's drill a little more.

Alex, I'm tired.

Just a couple more questions.


What do the letters

in the acronym "scuba"
stand for?

Well, it's kind of like
skin-diving, isn't it?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Now, what do
the letters stand for?

We've gone over this before.

Self-contained underwater
breathing apparatus.

What did you say?

Self-contained underwater
breathing apparatus.


Self-contained underwater
breathing apparatus!

By George, she's got it!

All: Self-contained underwater
breathing apparatus!

And who invented it?


Man: Five minutes to air,



You're on one
of the teams, aren't you?

Uh-huh. The Harding team.

Great. Good luck.

Ha ha. Thanks.

Uh, we're the guys who won
the tournament last year.

Really? How exciting.

This year, we're the judges.

Really? Yeah.

Mm-hmm. I'm sort of
the head judge.

Well, I'm the co-head judge.

Well, I'm
the alternate head judge.

Well, it's nice to meet you all.

I'm so nervous.

Hey, don't worry.
You'll do fine.

I hope so.

Mallory, Mallory. I've been
looking all over for you.

What are you doing
talking to these clowns?

Alex, these clowns
are the judges.

Hi. How you doing?

I'm Alex Keaton.

Nice jacket!

Like the tie, too.

It'll probably be back
in style again real soon.


Why didn't you tell me
they were the judges?

You didn't give me a chance.

Yeah, well, forget it.
Forget it.

We've still got
a couple minutes.

Let's go over a few things here.

Uh, have you memorized
the Greek alphabet yet?

No. Never mind. Never mind.

Name the four galaxies
closest to the Milky Way.

Alex, stop it!
You're making me more nervous.

I've been studying
as hard as I can.

Just leave me alone now.

Alex. Mallory.
Come on, take your places.

We're about to start.

Man: Come on, girls. Get over
here and take your places.

Man ♪2: Hurry up there.

Steven: Yeah, great.

Together: Get Harding High!

Okay, everybody, just relax

and try to forget you're on TV.

Make believe nobody's
watching. You'll be fine.

Man: Okay, let's go.
Count it, Andy.

Five. Four. Three. Two.

Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen.

I'm Steven Keaton, the station
manager here at WKS,

and I'd like to welcome you
to the final round

of "WKS High School Quiz-off."

Let's meet our two teams.

On my right, we have
the finest minds

of St. Mary's High School...

Mary Catherine Robbins,
Mary Beth McAllister,

and Mary Margaret Dunne.

And, uh, to my left,

the top minds
of Harding High School...

Grover Garver, Mallory Keaton,
and Alex Keaton.

Uh, our judges
are the champions from last year

from East High School.

Now let me remind you that, uh,

the decision of the judges
is final.

And now let us begin.

The first question...

It... it's easier
to answer the question

when you know
what the question is.

I'm quite certain
I'll know it, Mr. Keaton.

Let's begin again.

Who was the last U.S. president
to be born in a log...


St. Mary's.

James A. Garfield.



Born November 19, 1831
in Cuyahoga county, Ohio.

Fine. Fine. He was shot by Charles J.
Guiteau July 2, 1881.

It was a Wednesday. Very good.

Mr. Guiteau was wearing... all right,
that'll be enough, Mary Margaret.

Okay, next question.

There's a body of water
at the tip of Southern Chile

that's named for the first man

to circumnavigate the globe.

What is this body of water?

Alex Keaton, Harding high.

The body...
To... to the camera.

Right. To the camera.

The body of water...

Five seconds, Harding.

The Straits of Ma-a-a...


Uh, ma-a-a...

Uh, anyone else
on the Harding team?

Mallory Keaton.

Straits of Massachusetts.

No, no, I'm sorry.

The correct answer
was the Straits of Magellan.

Straits of Massachusetts
is incorrect.

Wait a minute, what's...
The judges say "close enough."

Wait, wait, wait. I, uh,
sorry, wait a minute, that's...

That's the wrong answer.

But... but as I said before,

the decision
of the judges is final.

Uh, Harding will get credit
for that answer.

Uh, the score is tied 5-all.

Uh, the... the next question.

What is the name
of the military alliance

between the Soviet Union
and the Eastern Bloc Nations?

Mary Margaret of St. Mary's.

The treaty of Moscow?
No, I'm sorry.

The question now goes
over to Harding High.

Alex Keaton.

The Wa-a-a...


Steven: Mallory Keaton,
Harding High.

The Warsaw Pact.

You're right!

The correct answer
is the Warsaw Pact!

What is the longest suspension
bridge in the United States?


The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Five points for Harding!

Steven: Uh, the question was
already answered, Mallory.

Yes. I thought you might
like to know

what the second longest
suspension bridge

in the United States is.

No, not really.

Steven: But...

But apparently the judges do.

The Golden Gate Bridge.

Steven: Now it's all tied.

Here's another 5-point
bonus question.

How many bones
in the human body?

Uh, that... that was...
That was very close.

I don't think I can call it.

Together: Mallory.

Steven: Okay, Mallory.

How many bones
are in the human body?


27 in each hand,
26 in each foot.

That's correct!

Now the final question.

For 10 points,

which will decide the match.

Consider your answer carefully.

Masters and Johnson...

are known for their
research in what area?

Mary Catherine.

That's correct!

St. Mary's wins 145 to 140!

Thank you very much
for being with us.

Good night, everybody.

Alex... Alex, are you okay?

Hey. Hey, Alex.

Alex, come on.


Straits of Magellan!

Honey, are you okay?


Dad? Is that you?


What happened?

Nothing serious.

You just had
an attack of stage fright.

Alex, you should have
seen yourself.

You looked like a zombie.

You couldn't move.
You couldn't talk.

I can't believe it.

This must be a nightmare.

It's all on videotape, Alex.

You can see it for yourself.

Alex, she's exaggerating.

It wasn't that bad.

How did the team do?

Well, you lost.

But not by much.

Mallory was fantastic.

She answered questions in
history, literature, biology.

You should be very proud of her.

We lost, huh?

Well, yeah, but...
But Mallory...

Okay, okay, if I'm not mistaken,

we have 26 days to file a
complaint with the commissioner.

We can say that the captain of
the team was incapacitated...

Alex! It's over!

It can't be over! We didn't win!

Excuse me.

Mr. Keaton.


My teacher said

my answer to the Crusade
question is correct.

What's the difference,
Mary Beth? Your team won.

We want to win by more.

Isn't it possible
that your teacher is wrong?

I don't think so.

She really knows her crusades.

She'd like to talk to you.

Uh, I-I'll be right back.


I was so ready
for this contest, mom.

I knew everything
there was to know.

Ask me any question.

Why are you like this?

No, no, general-knowledge stuff,
history, literature.

Alex, can't you see
what happened?

This quiz-off
was supposed to be fun.

Well, maybe not on this set.

But you turned it into
the Spanish Inquisition.

Spanish Inquisition.
1478 to 1834.

Pope Sixtus IV...

Alex, see what you're doing?

I'm sorry, mom.

Honey, you're pushing
yourself too hard.

There is a limit

to how much
a human being can accomplish.

You've got to slow down.

Mom! Dad needs your help.

Those St. Mary's girls really
have him on the ropes.

Okay. Well, I will deal
with this mother to mother.

You don't look so good, Alex.

Excuse me.

I've been comatose
for the past two hours.

I didn't have a chance
to freshen up.

C-can I talk to you
for a second?


O-on a scale of 1 to 10,

how obnoxious
have I been to you?

Alex, I'm tired of quizzes.

Just talk to me in normal
sentences for a change, okay?


I guess this has been a pretty
rough week for you, huh?

Uh, it's good training.

If I ever have to stand up
for questioning

by the secret police, I'm ready.

I-I was only doing it

because I wanted our team
to win the contest.

You know, Alex,
sometimes I worry about you.

You take everything
so seriously.

You got to learn to relax more.

Have you ever thought

of spending a few weeks
at a dude ranch?

Not really.

Well, why don't you just
kick me or something,

every time I get out of hand?

Every time? There wouldn't be
enough places to kick.

I'm sorry.

Eh. Come on, Alex.
Let's go home.

Oh, this has been one
of the worst days of my life.


Why are you smiling?

I knew the answers, Alex.

Maybe I'm smarter
than I thought.

Maybe so.

What was the fifth amendment
to the U.S. Constitution?

I'd answer that, but I have
the right to remain silent.

Not bad. Not bad.