Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 1, Episode 5 - I Never Killed for My Father - full transcript

Steven's father arrives for a visit, causing the two to clash as always. When his father reveals an important piece of news, Steven begins to question their whole relationship.

♪ 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

♪ well, 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

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ sha-la-la-la

Steven, what do you think your
dad would like with dinner...

Beer or wine?

Oh, definitely beer, Elyse.

You know how my father
feels about wine.

It's okay for women
and interior decorators.


What? What's the matter?

It's light beer.

Oh, it's okay.
It's okay. Don't panic.

Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus
drink light beer,

and they're right at
his cutoff level for manliness.


I think we're in the clear.


Oh, what time
does his plane get in?

About an hour ago.

He's taking a cab here
from the airport.

Well, we could have picked him
up, Steven. Didn't you offer?

Well, of course I offered.
He insisted on taking a cab.

He said he didn't want a repeat

of what happened last year
when I picked him up.

You mean
when you hit the police car?

I didn't hit
the police car, Elyse.

I grazed it.

All they lost was their
door handle and one headlight.

The dog was fine.

it was my father's fault.

The second we got in the car,

he started bugging me
about my driving.

He had me so worked up,

I didn't even see
the police car coming.

Didn't hear the siren either?

Drop it, okay?


This time, it's
gonna be different, Elyse.

I'm determined that this visit
with him be a peaceful one.

You will not see us fighting.

Gonna blindfold me?

Better... I've come up
with a list of safe issues

that my father and I
can discuss.

"The printing press...
A step forward for mankind?"

"Crabgrass... friend or foe?"

You think it's silly, don't you?


I don't expect to learn anything
from these discussions,

but I think
the fighting's got to stop.

For one thing,
I don't think it's right

for the kids to see

their father and grandfather
locked in combat.

Oh, the kids don't even notice.

They are totally oblivious

to any conflict
between you and your dad.

Mommy, when is grandpa
getting here?

I don't want to miss
any of the yelling.

So, what's the fight
gonna be this year, dad?

Foreign policy?
Offshore oil drilling?

Oblivious, hmm?

Daddy, why do you and grandpa
argue all the time?

I mean, you both
are grown-ups, right?

Well, th-the fact
that we're grown-ups

has nothing to do with it,

Parents and their children

tend to disagree on things
all their lives.

Your father's right.

You know, take, for example,
h-how I'm always telling you

to clean your room
and be careful outside.


Well, I'll still
be telling you those things

when we're both much older.

That's really something
to look forward to.

He's here.

Grandpa's here.

- Hey, Alex! Hey, hey!
- Grandpa!

Hi, kids!

- Hi.
- Hi, grandpa.

Hello, pumpkins.

Hello, Elyse.

Hello, Jake.

I'll take the bags
upstairs, grandpa.

Thanks, Alex.



Hi, dad.

Oh, hello, son.

How was your trip?

Great, except for the taxi.

Cabbie named George.

Long hair, terrible driver.

Friend of yours?

Jake and Steven,

why don't you sit down
and get comfortable,

and the kids and I
will bring in the food, okay?

Well, no argument here.

I... do you want
something to drink?

Oh, thank you.
I'd like a light beer.

You got it.

So, you like light beer, huh?

I guess you drink it
because it's less filling.

I drink it
because it tastes great.

Well, it's less filling, too.

Tastes great.

Dad, have a seat.

Well, thank you, Steven.

So, uh, how have you been?

Oh, pretty good.


Oh, not too bad.

You notice...

Gas stations don't give out
free maps anymore?

I don't need maps.
I never get lost.

Okay, here we go.

Oh, let me help you
with that, dear.

Thank you, sweetheart.

Need anything else
from the kitchen, Elyse?

Anything from the store?

This looks wonderful, Elyse.

Thank you, Jake.

Jen, you like
those skates I bought you?

They're great, grandpa.

I hope they're
the kind that you wanted.

Actually, I wanted red ones,
but that's my fault.

I didn't specify in my letter.

Jennifer, you didn't ask grandpa

to bring you those skates,
did you?

No, mom. I couldn't do that.

I told him I was saving up
so I could buy them myself...


But I didn't think I could do it

without quitting school
and working full-time.

Did you go hunting
this year, grandpa?

Sure did.
Shot eight beautiful Mallard.

Big day.

Not for the mallards.

How's that?

I said...

Nice work, dad.

Good shooting.

Well, this
is a surprise, Steven.

You always used to say

you thought hunting
was cruel and barbaric.

Well, dad, I've modified
my opinion somewhat.

I've come to realize that
killing does have its merits.

What did I just say, Elyse?

Hunting sounds exciting,

I'd love to go with you
next year.

Can I go, too, grandpa?

Girls don't shoot ducks,

Men shoot them,
dogs retrieve them,

women cook them...
That's the food chain.

Then why can't I go
if Alex is going?

Alex isn't going.

Why not, dad?


The duck-killing s...
Hunting season

doesn't coincide
with your school vacation.

So, any of you kids
studying anything in school

you want to tell
your grandpa Jake about?

Yeah, we just finished reading

a book about Richard Nixon
in history class.


Fine man. One of the greatest.

Uh, uh...

So, how's daylight-savings time
treating you?

Same as usual.

I-it's a clever idea, really.

You know, they just seem to get

that extra hour of daylight
out of nowhere.

It's amazing
when you think about it.

Nixon was framed, you know.

Excuse me, please.

He was not framed!

He was a crook!

Uh, pass the potatoes, please.

We can't get along.
That's all there is to it.

I might as well just accept it.

Look, you just got off
on the wrong foot, that's all.

These cards weren't
any help at all.

Well, how were you supposed to
know he had such strong feelings

about felt-tip pens?

He's wrong, Elyse. They were not
invented in Russia.

Okay, just...
Just relax, sweetie. Here.

- Ahh. Oh.
- Let me rub your neck.


Will that help get
your mind off your dad?


Oh. Oh.

Can't you two
remember to close the door?

What is it, Mallory?

Jennifer's wearing
her skates to bed,

and she keeps rolling
into my room.



- I'll get her. You get to sleep.
- Yes, okay.

Coming to bed, honey?

I'd rather not,
if it's all the same to you.


I didn't mean
to wake you, Steven.

Y-you didn't. I just got
into bed this second.

Oh, good. Good.

Uh, look, dad,

I think we got off
on the wrong foot tonight.

Ah, so do I.

That's why
I came in to talk to you.

I appreciate that.

Oh, don't bother.

I-it's no bother.

You made a nice gesture,

and I wanted to acknowledge it,
that's all.

It doesn't call for an
acknowledgment. It was nothing.

It wasn't nothing.

Yes, it was!



I think we've got
some things to work out, dad.

I guess so.


Since I'm only
gonna be here for a week,

I'd like to spend
some time with Alex.

Great idea. Alex loves you.
He loves spending time with you.

Well, I've decided to take him
out of school on Thursday.

Well, Thursday's a school day.
He can't go.

Ah, he'd just miss one day.
What's the big deal?

Look at all the schooling
you had.

A lot of good it did you.

I apologize
for getting my master's degree.

I was way out of line.

You could have been working.
That's all.

Ah, you know what I always say.

I know. I know.

"Less learnin',
more earnin'," right?

You bet.

Well, we, uh, tried to get Alex
into construction work

as early as we could,

but his kindergarten teacher
was against it.

I don't like
your attitude, Steven.

Well, I'm not so crazy
about yours, either.

I mean, you're here in my home.

I think you should
respect my wishes.

Well, I'm your father, and I think
you should respect my wishes.

The answer is no, dad.

Well, that's just fine, Steven.
It's fine.

I come here to visit you
for the last time.

I don't even get to spend a day
with my grandson!

I didn't say you cou...

Wait a minute. What do you mean,
the last time?

Oh, forget it.

- What do you mean?
- Nothing!

What are you saying, dad... that
you won't come and visit again

unless I let you
take Alex out of school?

Because if that's what
you're saying, then I say fine.

Oh, that's not
what I'm saying, damn it!


This is gonna be
my last visit here because...

Well, I'm very sick.

W-what do you mean?

I'm dying.

God, when I think of
all the petty, little arguments

we've had, I feel so guilty.

I should have just been
glad to have him alive.

You can't conduct
every moment of a relationship

on the premise
that the other person's

gonna be dead at some point.

Life just isn't like that.

Even so, we've had
some pretty avoidable arguments

over the years, Elyse.

We didn't speak for two months
after the Cuban missile crisis.

Well, that was
a very emotional issue.

Khrushchev and Kennedy
made up quicker than we did.

Come on, your dad isn't
thinking about Cuba anymore.

He mentioned it at dinner.

Oh, hi, kids.

What are you doing up so late?

- Hi, Jake.
- Hi, dad.

Aw, come on, you guys.
Lighten up.

- It's like a morgue in here.
- Jake!

Sorry, Elyse. I...
Just a figure of speech.

Dad, do you have a minute?

I hope more than that.

Dad, sit down
for a minute, okay?

Come on, let's...
Let's talk about this.

What's there to talk about?

You don't discuss it. You do it.


You stop doing it.

Jake, are you
absolutely sure you're...


Oh, yes. Yes, I'm sure.

Have you tried everything?

No, I never tried
white-water rafting.

I'm going next month.

Have you checked
all possible treatments?

Yeah, I've been through
all that.


No, they tried that.

Look, look, dad, this happens
to be very serious to us.

Well, how do you think I feel?

I give up.

Jake, we want to help you.

I-is there anything
that you need from us?

Well, I'd really appreciate it

if you wouldn't tell
the kids about it.

This is probably
my last visit here,

and I-i want it
to be a happy one.

Whatever you say, dad,
if that's what you want.

Where are you going?

Up, I hope.

I appreciate your concern, kids.

- Good night.
- Good night.

Uh, h-hold it, dad.

Yes, what is it, Steven?

Uh, dad, we're going to have
to talk about this eventually,

so I might as well
bring it up now...

About the...


I mean...

What kind of funeral
do you want...



I don't know.

Surprise me.

Well, good morning, everyone.

Hi, grandpa.

Great day, isn't it?

Where you been, grandpa?

I been chopping wood since 6:15.


Yeah, nothing like
an early morning.

You know,
makes you feel so alive.

Don't you think
you should be taking it easy?

Maybe you should lie down.

Plenty of time for that
soon enough.

Can I make you
some pancakes, Jake?

You bet.

Grandpa, we're having
show-and-tell at school.

I'm bringing that
stuffed porcupine you gave me.

Now, Jennifer, I don't know
if that's a good...

I-I mean, uh,
I think the other kids

will really get a kick
out of that.

Nothing cheers up
a roomful of kids

like a... Dead animal.

Always worked at my school.

Uh, here, dad.

Oh, thank you, Steven.

Jake, can I get you
something to drink...

Maybe some hot tea?

Tea? Do I look like
Princess Margaret?

Bring me a man's drink.
Coffee... black.

Make that two.


Do you two men want
your coffee in cups,

or you want to drink it
right out of the pot?

Bearing in mind, Alex,

this is your first
cup of coffee ever.

Cups, mom.

- And a lot of milk, please.
- I got it.

Well, you get your homework
done last night?

Well, you know.

Yeah, I bet you get your girlfriend
to do it for you, don't you?

I doubt it. She can't read.

As long as she's cute
and can cook,

that's all that matters.

Darn right, dad.

I-I-it's not
the only thing that matters,

but, uh, cooking and cuteness

are an integral part
of a woman's life.

And reading isn't?

All I'm saying is that
the time people spend reading

might better be spent working.

You know what I always say...

"less learnin', more earnin'."

Daddy, you never say that.

Jennifer, I say it
at least once a day.

She's just never in the room
when I say it.

She's probably too busy reading.

So, dad, what do you
have planned for today?

Oh, I was hoping that Alex and I

could spend some time together.

Today? I got school.

So? Skip it.

How often do you get to spend
a day with your grandfather?

Wait a minute.
Did I hear you right?

You're telling me
to skip school?

I would take advantage
of it, Alex...

Before he regains his senses!

I c... I can't today.
I've got midterms.

So you miss a midterm or two.

What's the worst thing
that could happen?

I have to repeat 12th grade.

You'll just be
that much ahead next year.

We'll do it some other time.
Forget it, Steven.

Midterms are over at noon,

If you want,
you can pick me up then.

I thought maybe
you and I could do some fishing.

How does that grab you?

Okay. Should be fun.

Yeah, and after,
I'll take you downtown.

I'll get you tattooed.


I don't know.


Do what your grandfather says.

A-a-a tattoo is...

A-a living, breathing monument.

You'd look great with one, Alex.

But, dad!

Ah! I was just kidding
about the tattoo.

Me too.

Any sign of them yet?

They called from the lake
an hour ago.

They should be here any minute.

Well, I'm starving.

I say we give them 15 minutes...

And order pizza.

Hang in there, guys.

Your grandfather's
really excited

about catching dinner for us.

Oh, it's gonna be great.
You'll see!

See... we'll take fresh fish,

we'll clean it,
and then we'll scale it

and we'll cut out the bones
and then cut off the...


Maybe we should just order
the pizza now.

All right. All right.
The men are back.

What kind of fish
did you catch, grandpa?

Well, the fish weren't biting
out there today,

but look what we caught
in the supermarket!


Yeah! They put up
quite a fight, too.

You want to tell us
about the one that got away?

Well, there was a steak
about this big.

How big?

It was about this... this big.

How big?

- About... about this big.
- How big?

Just got a little, tiny one.

I got to hand it to you, Steven.

Well, you raised
a fine boy, there.

Listen, I, uh,
made some calls this morning.

I even talked
to the Mayo clinic.

Now, you're probably
not aware of this,

but there's a chance they could
extend your life for a while.

- Well, I'm aware of that.
- You are!

Yes, and I'm not interested.
I'm planning to die on my feet.

Of course, eventually,
I'll fall over.

Come on, dad. Don't pull
this macho stuff with me now!

I'm talking
about your life, here.

So am I.

Do you think I want to spend
the days I have left

lying in a hospital bed
with tubes in me,

getting shots and treatments
every day,

on some overworked nurse

to tell me
if I'm awake or asleep?

Not on your life.

Dad, a lot can happen
in the time they keep you alive.

They could find a cure.

Well, I hope they do,
but I'm not gonna risk

wasting my last days
in the hospital.

I got a lot of things to do
before I go.

No, sir.
I'm gonna die the way I lived.

You'll die the way you've lived, all
right... pigheaded and stubborn!

Now, don't talk
to me that way, Steven.

It happens to be true.

I'm trying
to save your life, dad,

and you won't listen
to a word I have to say,

and you never have, either!

You've never given me
one ounce of credit,

not for the past 20 years!


You wanted credit?! What for?!

For letting your hair grow long

and refusing to hold down
a decent job?!

For maligning
the leaders of the country?!

For spitting on every value
I ever held?!

For purposely trying
to antagonize me?!

Is that what you think?

It just so happens, dad,
that I believed

in what I was doing
and what I stood for.

Then I suppose you wanted me
to agree with what you did.


I wanted you to respect the fact

that I could have my own ideas!

I-I wanted you to
keep on treating me like a son

even though
I was different from you!

I wanted to...

Well, maybe just once,

I wanted you
to put everything aside

and spend a day with me like the
one you just spent with Alex!

Steven, I, uh...

I suppose...

It's always difficult for me
to show any emotion to you.

I don't know,
the way our relationship was...

I saw affection
as a sign of weakness.

I hope you didn't
take it personally.

You know
what really bothered me?

When you took Jeffrey Garrett
to the father/son picnic.

I explained that to you, Steven.

I thought he was you.

Hey, I was in a hurry.
He was about your size.

Once he was in the car, it was
too late. What was I gonna do?

I didn't want to hurt
his feelings.

I thought inviting him again
the next year was too much.

Well, we had to go back.

We were the defending champs

in the father/son
ping-pong tournament.

You know, Jeffrey
still writes to me.

I'd write to you, too,

if you'd taken me
to one of the picnics.

Ah, Steven, I...

I guess I never gave you
much reason to like me.

Like you? Damn it.

Dad, I love you.

I never said I didn't love you.

You never said you did.

Well, it was implied.

It's not enough.

Of course it's enough.

Unless I specifically...
Say I don't love you,

you have to assume that I do.

I love you, Steven.

I always have.


You know,
I always thought I made

a lot of mistakes
with you, Steven.

The biggest mistake I ever made

was maybe not telling you
that I loved you

until it was too late.

Dad, it's never too late.

Dad, are you scared?

Am I scared?

Is Jake Keaton scared?


Not so much of dying.

But I'm scared
of not living anymore.


I'm here.

You got some time off tomorrow?

I'll make time.

Good. You want to go hunting?

- Uh...
- I'm just kidding.

We'll find something
we can do together. Come on.

Uh, dad?

Yeah, Steven?

There was a song
you used to sing to me

when I was a kid and
I was having trouble sleeping.

I've been trying to remember
what it was, but I can't.

Oh, I remember.

Would you sing it to me?

Oh, sure.

♪ from the halls of Montezuma ♪

♪ to the shores of Tripoli ♪

the marine fight song?

You used to sing me
the marine fight song

as a lullaby?

It worked like a charm.

♪ we will fight
our country's battles ♪

♪ on the land and on the sea

♪ first to fight
for right and freedom ♪