Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 1, Episode 7 - Big Brother Is Watching - full transcript

Alex faces a dilemma when as editor of the school paper he must decide whether or not to publish a story exposing cheaters.

♪ 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.

I can't believe this.

Is that the fastest
he can count votes?

Alex, will you relax?

I can't... I can't relax.

Being editor is important to me.

You're gonna be the new editor.
I can feel it.

Yeah, how can you be so sure?

You ran unopposed.

I didn't vote for him.

How'd you mark your ballot?

"Not him."

Thanks for your confidence.

All right, everybody.

Let me have your attention,

Here are the results
of today's election.

In the balloting for editor,

Alex Keaton, 21.

Not him, 17.

I give you the new editor
of the Harding Hurrah,

Alex Keaton.

Thank you, Mr. Winkler.

And, uh, thanks to all of you

for giving me this opportunity.

"The history of journalism

is as old as the history
of history itself."

"Since the invention
of movable type

in the middle 15th century..."

oh, it sounded great, Alex.

It's too bad that bell
cut you off like that.

Uh, Mr. Winkler, you want to
hear the rest of my speech?

Uh, well, it's just
a matter of, uh...

Well, how can I phrase this?

No, I don't want to hear it.

You know, I have got some
big plans for this paper.

I'm gonna put the
Harding Herald on the map.

Uh, the name of the paper is
the Harding Hurrah, Alex.

Oh, yeah, well,
that's the first thing.

See, we got to change that.

See, it's not a real
dynamic name, you know?

None of the big city papers
have that name.

There's no New York Hurrah,
or Detroit free Hurrah.

Alex, let me give you
some advice, will you?

We got a good little paper here.

Don't rock the boat.

Good little pape... Mr. Winkler,

last year's biggest story
was, uh,

"math team gets new sweatsuits."

That was an exclusive, Alex.

I'm still getting letters
on that one.

There's a choice to be made
here, Mr. Winkler.

We can continue trudging
along with feet of Clay,

printing unimportant drivel,

or we can reach out
for immortality.

Which would you rather do?

Stick with the drivel.

Uh, Alex...

Did you really mean
what you said

about printing serious stories?

You bet I did.

Well, what if I told you
that I've been assigned

to work part time
in the principal's office

and I have access to everything
that comes in there?

I'd say the principal is crazy,

but I'd tell you
to keep talking.

Okay, if I do,

you got to promise not to let on
how you found out.

Hey, when you drilled that hole
in the girls' bathroom,

did I tell anyone?

You told everybody.

Okay, but I wasn't editor then.

How do the words "scandal"
and "cover-up" sound to you?


Then listen to this.

I'm sure you're aware
that our high school

has the highest grade point
average in the district?

Yeah, that comes
under the category

of unexplained phenomena.

You know how we achieved
that honor? By cheating.

Ralph Rappaport got ahold
of a copy of the algebra final,

and 27 students
were caught buying it.

The principal is
sitting on the story

'cause he doesn't want
to lose his number-one rating.

This is fantastic!

I mean, it's terrible.
It's disgraceful.

Let's just be glad
it happened here.

I got a lot of stuff
on this in my locker.

I got a memo from the principal.
I got copies of the test.

Listen. Names, Howie.
We need names.

I don't think
you need names, Alex.

No, you could do the story
without names.

Yeah, well, of course we could
do the story without them,

but I think names
would really spice it up.

Alex, one of those names
is the same as yours.

Alex Friedman is on that list?

Not the same first name.
The same last name.


That's the one.

Want to go out
and kick around the soccer ball?

Jennifer, that would involve
three of the things

I most despise...

Dirt, sweat, and the possibility
of breaking a nail.

Guess we won't be seeing you

on the cover
of sports illustrated.

Hey, Alex, do you want to go
practice soccer with me?

No, last time
I practiced with you,

I was black and blue
the next day.

I'll take it easy on you
this time.

Okay. Just go on ahead outside
and start without me.

I'll be there in a minute.
You promise?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Just go on outside, okay?

Don't humor me, Alex.

Listen, Mallory, I have to talk
to you about something.

Can't it wait, Alex?
I'm really busy.

Well, this is kind of important.

You see, I found out
about the algebra test.

I know you cheated on it.

How'd you find out?

Nobody's supposed
to know about that.

Hey, I happen to be editor
of the Harding Herald.

It's my job to know.

Well, Alex, you haven't told
anyone, have you?


Good. Whatever you do,
don't tell mom and dad, okay?


In fact, don't tell anyone,

'cause they could tell
their parents,

and then they could
tell mom and dad.


So you'll keep this
absolutely quiet,

you won't tell anyone at all?

I can go along with that,
except for one minor exception.


It may be the lead story

in tomorrow's school paper.

What?! Are you crazy?!

Mallory, the principal is
covering up a scandal here,

and I think the people have
a right to know about it.

Alex, your can't print that!

Can't print what?

Oh, it's a story about, uh,

the football team. The prom!

Which is it?

The prom. The football team.

It's a prom
for the football team.

Why are they having the prom
in November?

Beat the June rush.

It's a practice prom.

If it works out, then they'll
have the real one in June.

That's not what it's about.

There's this big story
brewing at school,

and I don't know whether or not
I should print it.

What's it about?

Well, I'm not sure you need
to know what it's about.

You definitely don't need
to know what it's about.

Well, what's the problem, then?

The problem is, I have a story

that'll shake
the entire school district

to its very foundations.

Well, that doesn't seem
like a problem necessarily.

But if I print it,
some people might get hurt.

Some innocent,
defenseless people.

Uh-huh, I see.

Well, uh, we certainly don't
want that to happen, do we?

I understand we don't want to
hurt people's feelings,

but isn't there
a greater responsibility

to be served here?

That's definitely true.

Whose side are you on, dad?

I'm not on anybody's side.

I hardly know
what we're talking about.

The details
aren't important here.

The issue here is this...

If there's important
information being covered up

by people in high places,

isn't it the responsibility
of a journalist to uncover it?

It's important for the press

to keep an eye
on the people in power

to make sure
they don't abuse it.

A good example is

when, uh, Woodward and Bernstein
exposed Watergate.

Mm-hmm. Your mother's right.

There is no higher standard
in journalism than truth.

What if the truth
embarrasses people?

Well, that's sometimes
an unfortunate consequence.

Alex, whether or not
you print the story

is ultimately your decision.

As I look back
over the history of journalism,

I could point to countless
dilemmas of this nature,

but just remember,

ever since the invention
of movable type

in the middle
of the 15th century, m...

Any word from Winkler?

No, he's still reading it.

We go to press in 20 minutes.

He doesn't know
I gave you the story, does he?

Yeah, he knows.
The... the byline is

"by Alex Keaton, as told
to him by Howie Samuels."

I got to admit, Alex,

I never thought
you'd have the guts to write it.


It's not a compliment.

But I don't care
what you say, Alex.

I think Winkler's
doing a fine job.

Oh, hello, Mr. Winkler.

Howie, would you excuse us
for a minute, please?


Take more than a minute,
if you like.

Thank you.

Alex, I've read your story
on the cheating scandal.

Very well done. Thanks.

Excellent reporting. Great.

I think your documentation
is flawless,

your conclusions are
well thought out. Wow.

It's a pity we can't print it.


What do you mean,
"can't print it"?

This is a private matter

between the principal
and the offending students.

I don't think it's our place
to interfere,

and I know he doesn't want
any publicity on it now.

Yeah, but this is a major
news story.

The... the public has
a right to know.

Not in this case. Alex,
let me tell you something.

The principal of a high school
is always right.

If Dr. Schulte believes
that the world is flat...

Which he does, by the way...

Then the world is flat.

Do you understand
what I'm saying?

Yeah, but...

But that's censorship.

Just what kind of things
do you want us to print?

Well, that story about
the sweatsuits was interesting.

Did you hear that?

I can't believe it.

He's scared.

The... the principal
could get mad and punish him.

Oh, you don't think
he'd fire Mr. Winkler, do you?

He'd do worse.

Last year when he got mad
at Mr. Peabody,

he made him teach sex education

to the kids
with behavior problems.

It's not easy talking
about the birds and the bees

when someone's throwing
a hubcap at you.

If I sit on this story,

I'm gonna be just as guilty
as the kids who cheated.

Well, what are you gonna do?

I'm gonna print it.

Aren't you forgetting
that Mallory's on the list?

Howie, I'm not forgetting.

Truth is the highest standard
in journalism.

Like I said, print it.

Morning, everyone.

Hey. Hey.

What's the story?

Maybe I should've
phrased that differently.

I don't think
it would've helped.

What's going on, Howie?

Let me put it this way...

If you were ever thinking
of leaving school

and joining the circus,
now would be a good time.

I don't understand.
Why are they mad at me?

They think you're a fink.

But I was exposing a cover-up.

The cover-up's not the point.

It's the people
who are underneath the covers.

You listed every person's name.

Now their teachers have to look
at them like they're cheaters,

and the principal
has to suspend them.

Well, I-i never thought
of it that way.

I expected Dr. Schulte
to be mad, but...

He is mad.

He's madder than he was

when Ralph Rappaport gave
that speech to the pta in drag.

I'm afraid to ask this,
but how did Winkler take it?

I'm not sure.

He lost the power of speech
after he saw the article.

I have a feeling
he's recovered it.


Alex, I think
you owe me an explanation.

Um, Mr. Winkler, I'm sorry
I had to disobey you.

I-I really am, but...

I felt it was my duty as editor
to publish the story.

As of this moment,

you are relieved
of your duties as editor.

You are through, Alex.

I don't want you to write
for this paper anymore.

Come to think of it, I don't
even want you to read it!

And I'll tell you
something else.

If Schulte makes me
teach sex education

to kids with behavior problems,

I'm bringing you along
as a model!

In answer to your question,

I don't think
he took it very well.

I got to find Mallory.

No, no. You think
that's a good idea?

Mallory's my sister.

I think she knows I had a good
reason for doing what I did.

Mallory! I was just going
to look for you.

I want to talk to you
about the story.

Don't talk to me, Alex...
Ever again.

How much does the circus pay?

Is this true, Mallory?

Did you buy a copy of the test?

Actually, I didn't buy it.

Ralph Rappaport
gave me one for free.

I think he likes me.

Hey, look, Mallory,
this is serious.

Don't you realize that?

A lot of kids did it. It didn't
seem like that big a deal.

Well, it is a big deal,

and I think you owe us more
of an explanation.

Would you be happier
if I failed the test?

We'd be happier
if you failed on your own,

than if you got an "a"
by cheating.

If you hadn't cheated,
would you have failed the test?

I probably would've got a "c."

So? Listen, a "c" is nothing
to be ashamed of.

Your father got lots of c's
when he was in school.

That's right. If you...

W-wai... w-wait... I...

I-I wouldn't say lots of c's.

Uh, uh, occasionally,
a "c" crept in.

I don't remember exactly,
but in college, overall,

I think I had a...

3.248 average.

That's exactly what I mean!

Grades are important to you.

How would you feel
if Alex came home with a "c"?

Alex wouldn't come
home with a "c."

He'd still be there arguing
with the teacher.

Alex wouldn't get a "c"
'cause Alex doesn't get c's.

Why don't we leave Alex
out of this?

Well, I can't leave him out
of it, 'cause he's part of it!

What do you mean?

You don't realize it,

but it's not easy
being Alex's sister.

I mean, every time I walk into
a class, it's the same thing.

"Mallory Keaton, are you
any relation to Alex Keaton?"

I say I am.

And then, when I turn in
my homework for the first time,

there's always
this surprised reaction.

"Are you sure
you're Alex Keaton's sister?"

Well, for once, just once,

I wanted to get
a higher grade than him.

I didn't, uh, realize

it was that rough for you
at school.

I can't help it that
I'm not as smart as Alex is.

It's not my fault.

It's not that you're not
as smar as Alex.

You're not as motivated as Alex.

Napoleon wasn't
as motivated as Alex.

But that doesn't mean you can't
work harder than you do.

We... we've talked
about this before.

You know, it's funny.

I thought I'd be so happy
to get an "a" in algebra,

but instead, I felt ashamed.

I'm sorry I did it.

I really am.


We appreciate you realize
that what you did was wrong.

While we have a lot
of sympathy for what you said,

it really doesn't excuse
what you did.

Your father and I
will talk it over

and figure out
what to do about it.


Mom, do we have
another soccer ball?

What happened to the one
you were playing with?

I gave it
to Mrs. Obeck next door.

It was kind of a surprise.

It must have been.
She's 61 years old.

I think the surprise was
the way it was delivered.

Jennifer, you didn't break.

Mrs. Obeck's kitchen
window again, did you?

No, I broke her bedroom window.

But I'll pay for it.


With the advance on my allowance

that I'm about to ask for.

Uh, we'll talk about this later.

Right now, you'd better go
apologize to Mrs. Obeck.

Okay. But I won't
be back for a while.

Mrs. Obeck always
makes me listen

to Lawrence Welk records
with her.

Hey, Alex, do you want to go
over to Mrs. Obeck's with me?

No. I'm not really in the mood
for Lawrence Welk. Thanks.

I guess she told you, huh?

She's pretty upset, Alex.

The whole school is upset.
The kids hate me.

Winkler fired me.

The principal yelled at me
for two hours.

A-and when he left
the room for 20 minutes,

he had the secretary
come in and yell.

Was printing the story
worth all that, Alex?

Dad, don't you remember
what you said to me yesterday?

You, yourself, said

that there's no higher standard
in journalism than truth.

I was speaking
in general terms, Alex.

You're the ones who said that...

That the press has to keep
an eye on the people in power,

and Dr. Schulte abused his
when he tried to kill the story.

We're not concerned
about Dr. Schulte.

We're worried about Mallory.

She's going to be suspended
for a few days,

and she's been embarrassed

in front of the teachers
and her friends.

Wouldn't it be
hypocritical of me

to have pulled the story

because I wanted to protect
my sister?

Alex, when I s...
When I spoke to you

about the importance of truth,

I left out something
just as important...


Compass... how much compassion
did you feel

when Woodward and Bernstein
exposed the Watergate cover-up?

Wha... did you feel
sorry for Nixon?

Yeah, I felt sorry for him!

O-o-okay, I admit,

w-w-we had a few people over.

We... we may have opened
a bottle of champagne.

Or two.

We sang some songs, but...

But, uh, in between the dancing
and the fireworks...

we... we all felt
a twinge of sympathy

for the man.

It's hardly a seminar
in compassion.

The situations
are not comparable, Alex.

Nixon was a public official

who betrayed the trust
of an entire country.

That's a matter of opinion.

These are kids who cheated
on an algebra test.

Now, I-I'm not saying
that's right,

but it is not
an impeachable offense.

What is wrong with you guys?!

There was a cover-up
going on here!

Alex. Alex, I think you had
another option.

That's all.

What was that?

To print the story
on the cover-up

without including all the names.

I never wanted to hurt anybody.

Can I come in?

The fink with you?

No. No finks.

All right. Come on in.

I've got some news
that'll cheer you up.

Alex moved out?

No. Not quite as good.

My team won the soccer game!


I scored a goal with my head.

Jen, I'm really happy for you.

I also scored a goal
with someone else's head.

If you don't mind,
I'd like to be alone, okay?

Look, I know you're feeling
low right now,

but I just want you to know two things.
What are they?

Well, first,
I think you're a great sister.

You make me laugh,

you make me really feel like
you really care about me,

and you're fun to be with.


And the other thing
I want you to know

is that Alex wants
to talk to you,

and he's waiting outside.

You should've stopped
after the first one.

Can I come in?

No. Go away.

Thanks for respecting my wishes.

Try to go easy on each other.

I don't want to be
an only child.

Are those for me?

You trying to make up
or antagonize me?

Come on. I didn't have time
to buy new flowers.

Besides, it's the thought
that counts.

Couldn't you just have had
the thought delivered?


I know you feel bad about
getting caught cheating.

It's embarrassing.

It's humiliating. It's shameful.

So far, this isn't the greatest
apology I've ever heard.

Okay, I'm sorry.

Maybe I shouldn't have
printed your name,

or any of the names.

I-I-i was just so excited
to be elected editor.

I guess I just got carried away.

Yeah, you carried me away
with you.

Why did you do it, Mallory?

If you were having trouble,
you should have come to see me.

I'm great in math.

That's the problem.
You are, and I'm not.

So? I would've helped you.

You always laugh at me, Alex.

No, I don't.

I may chuckle.

An occasional guffaw.

You don't realize how hard
it is to be your sister.

I mean, a guy who's gotten
straight a's since sandbox.

You could've done
better in sandbox, too,

if you'd just applied yourself.

Look, maybe there's some kind
of therapy group

you can join
for sisters of geniuses.

Thanks a lot, Alex.

We both made mistakes,

and we're both hurting
because of them.

But I don't think it's gonna
do either of us any good

to hate each other.

Maybe we should help
each other instead.


I could help you
with your homework.

Then you... then you wouldn't
have to cheat again.

What do you want me
to do for you?

Clean your room?
Dust your calculators?

No, all I want you to do
is be my friend.

That's all.

I'd rather dust
your calculators.

Come on, Mallory.
I made a mistake.

Don't you think it takes
a big man to admit that?

Evidently not.

Come on. Friends again?

Aah! Ow!

You dug your nails into my hand.

Oh, did I? So sorry.

Come on. Let's do your homework.

No, Alex. You're just gonna
make fun of me.

I am not.
Now, what are you studying?


Oh, yeah? How'd you do
on your last test?

I got an "a."

That's right.

All right,
here's where we are now.

Right here.

Okay, this is good.
This is good. Okay.

"Two trains leave
central station at noon.

"One's heading east,
traveling at 82 miles per hour,

the other one is traveling
west at 67 miles per hour."

What kind of trains are they?

What do you mean,
"what kind of trains are they?"

That has nothing to do
with the problem.

It's not important.

Okay. Okay.

Um..."Eastbound train
stops three times

"for a total of one hour,

"and the westbound is an express
and it doesn't stop at all.

"So after six hours,

which train has traveled
the furthest distance?"

All right. You ready?

Yeah, how many trains
did you say there were?

I'm kidding.

How many?


Are they going east or west?

It doesn't matter.

Of course it matters.

Say your family
lives in California,

and you're going south.

You don't want them
to end up in Maine.

You're absolutely right. I don't
know why I didn't say it.

Okay. Now, the first
train's going...

82, Mallory.




And the second train's going...




Seven? Seven.

Why didn't they just
take a plane?