Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 3, Episode 17 - Birth of a Keaton: Part 1 - full transcript

The Keaton kids are utterly disgusted to have to participate every year in dad Steven's lame PBS telethon as his loving, fake-enthusiastic WKS-family, without ever having been asked, and don't hide it anymore. The parents think the asking is the problem, so Steven poses the open question- all three bail out instantly, Jennifer even without any excuse. After some prodding from adult strangers, who all enjoy Steven's colleagues' families' loyalty, even Alex ends up caving in- a good luck-card doesn't cure their guilt, so after Elyse volunteered to play guitar and sing, the trio turns up unexpectedly. However a totally unexpected Keaton has chosen this day for his early, absolute and hence more memorable debut...

♪ I'll bet
We've been together ♪

♪ For a million years ♪

♪ And I'll bet
We'll be together ♪

♪ For a million more ♪

♪ Ooh, it's like
I started breathin' ♪

♪ 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 ♪

Where's Dad?

He's upstairs
fixing the plumbing.

Oh, great. The last time Dad
tried to fix the plumbing,

we had to shower
at the Y.

I- I hope he gets
down here soon.

I have to talk to him
about pledge week.

Oh, you know, he is so excited.

He looks forward
to this every year.

He sees that working together
down at the station

is one of the few family things
we still do together.

What do you want to
talk to him about?

I don't want to
do it anymore.


I mean, we do it every year,
and it's so boring.

Stuffing envelopes,
answering phone calls,

running all those errands.

Oh, hey, Mallory,
let's not forget

end of the week:
family portrait time.

Oh, yuck.
We're not gonna have to

do that again, are we?

We stand in front of the camera,

little frozen smiles
on our faces.

Hi, I'm Alex Keaton.

Hi, I'm Mallory Keaton.

Hi, I'm Jennifer Keaton.

And he's our dad.

And we're

to be part of...

WKS family.

♪ WKS, you're the one ♪

I- I don't believe you kids.

Now, that is one of
the nicest parts of the program.

Come on, Mom, it's not
fair, that's all.

I mean, he always assumes
we're gonna do it every year,

and never asks if we want to.

Yeah, Mom, we've cooperated
with him on this thing

for ten years.

All we want
is a year off.

I'm with them, Mom.
Would you talk to Dad for us?

No, I won't. I think your
attitudes are terrible.

And if you don't want to do it,
then you have to tell him.

♪ WKS, you're the one ♪

Hey! Good morning, everybody.

Well, today's the big day.
Pledge week begins.

Could it have been
just a year ago

that we had one?

It's not possible.

To me, of course, the most
thrilling part of pledge week

is that final day, when
we have family-portrait time.

There I'll be surrounded
by the ones I love, heh,

all there to support me
in front of thousands of people.

Oh, it sends a chill up
my neck just thinking about it.

Say, Dad?

Yeah, Alex.


a- about pledge week.

You're excited, huh?

Oh, excited doesn't
cover it, Dad.

Uh, listen, we...

We were
thinking that...

Well, that is...

Um... Mallory
has something

she wants to talk
to you about.

Um, yeah,


I- I don't think
I can express it

as well as Jennifer
did earlier.



what time do you
want us at the station?


See you then.

So how's the entertainment
shaping up?

Oh, not bad.

Uh, we've got the
Chagrin Falls girls' choir,

uh, eh, Oscar Flores.
The former juggler...

Oh, right.

A... And, um, Miss Finch,
the 6th Street librarian,

will read from
Alice in Wonderland,

uh... Uh, again.

Any... Any singers
of any sort?

Uh, yeah, s-sure, we...
We'll have singers.

The girls' choir.

No, I meant, uh...
Uh, soloists...

with a guitar.

Come on, Dad. She's
trying to tell you

she wants to sing
in the telethon.

Me? What a sweet idea.



I just don't know how it looks

when the boss' wife
is the soloist.


I see.

And the kids
probably feel

a little funny
about your doing it.

Don't lay it
on us, Dad.

Yeah, Mom, I can't think
of anything a teenaged girl

would like more than for
her mother to sing in public.

Well, if your father
thinks I shouldn't do it,


then I won't do it.

Elyse, I would love to
have to you sing.

Do you mean that?

Do I mean it?

Okay, kids, I'll
see you there.

I will see you there
at 4:30.

Dad, there's
no water.

What? I just
fixed that.

We... Maybe I'll work
on it again tonight.

Uh, no.

No, Dad, look.
Listen to those pipes.

That's their way of saying,

"Call a plumber,
call a plumber. "

You really think
I need a plumber?

Dad, it's the plumber.
It's ringing.

All right.

It goes against my principles
of self-reliance,

but obviously,

you all want me
to hire a plumber,

and this is pledge week.

This week we're pulling
together as a family, right?


Oh, hey, Gus,
have you seen my kids?

They should
be here by now.

No, I haven't
seen 'em.

Who are
your two assistants?

Oh, come on, now.
You know Bill and Judy.

Those are your kids. Wow.

How is it that kids
keep getting older, but

we stay the same?
I know.

You don't.
You look older too.

Nice to see you again, Judy.

Look, why don't you guys
get started over there

organizing these fliers
and stuffing envelopes?

Be glad to.

Uh, listen, Steven?

Yeah, Ted.

That comic Jackie Jackerman
is here.

He wants to audition.

Do I have time
to duck him?

Hey, Steve!

Nice to see you.

Good to...

Little more, uh, snow
on the roof this year, huh?

Welcome back, Jackie.

Thanks. I got a lot
of new material.

Of course, I'm, uh,
wearing most of it.

Get it? I've got
a new suit.

Yeah, that's

Hey, Dad.
Hi, Dad.

Oh, hi, kids.
Great to see you.

You're excited?

Oh, you bet.

Th... There's just an electricity
in the air, isn't there?


Dad, can we make long-distance
calls on the phones this year?

Well... Oh. Oh,
you kidder, Mal.

How's it going, honey?

Oh, okay. We, uh, hired
that, uh. comedian,

Jackie Jackerman.

Oh, well, the audiences
all like Jackie.

They feel comfortable with him.
They know all his jokes.

Yeah, well, at least Jackie
Jackerman's a professional.

You know? You know, some of
those other PBS stations,

all they do is put on
friends and relatives.

That's... That's true.
Excuse me, Elyse.

What are you doing here, Elyse?

You gonna help us
answer the phones?

I've come to
rehearse my number.

Oh, I see.

Uh, just treat me like
any other singer.

Oh, yes, absolutely.

Hey, Larry. We want to
do a sound check

on the boss' wife.

I'll be very
professional, Steven.

♪ Hmmm ♪

Oh, oh, Steven,
I forgot to say,

I got in touch
with that plumber,

and he's coming to the house
later today.

Huh. That's
a nice intro.

♪ Believe me ♪

♪ If all those
Endearing young charms ♪

♪ That I gaze on
So fondly today ♪

♪ Were to fade by tomorrow ♪

♪ And fleet in my arms ♪

Okay, that's great.
That is great.

Yeah, that's just beautiful,
Elyse. Just beautiful.

Thanks. I'll work on
that note, Steven.

Don't worry about it.

Everything is
going to be fine.

You're here, I'm here. The kids
are here, working hard. Yeah.

Ha, ha, okay.

Well, I feel
terrible, Judy.

Lost all your money
on the first hand.

But, uh, that's all right,
you can forget about that IOU.

That's a nice watch,
Judy. That's good.

I don't
understand it, Elyse.

The kids used to love
pledge week so much.

Today they were bored
out of their minds.

Why would you
say that?

They were busy
working on the phones.

They were calling
each other.

Look, they really don't
want to participate

in pledge week,
do they?

I wouldn't
say that.

You know, Steven...

maybe it's not a question

of whether they want to
participate or not.

May... Oh, never mind.

No, no, w-what is it?

No, I shouldn't say anything,
in case I'm wrong.

You're not wrong.
How do you know?

You're never wrong
about this stuff.

Well, if I am wrong,
it's better left unsaid.

But if you're right,

I'll never know
if you don't tell me.

That's true.

So tell me.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Okay. Now... Now, this is
just my opinion,

but... maybe
the kids simply resent

the fact that you
never ask them

if they wanted to help
during pledge week.

You just assumed.

I'm sure if you presented
them with a choice,

that they would say yes.

Elyse, you're right.
I was unfair.

Oh, this is great.

It is?

Of course. Now I know
what the problem was.

I was insensitive,
I was a fool.

I was a jerk.


Oh, hi, Bud.

Hi, Mr. Keaton, Mrs. Keaton.

Haven't seen you folks
for a while.

Well, uh, I've been, uh,
doing a lot of

the plumbing repairs
myself, Bud.

Great! Maybe I'll
get that new van

I've been looking for.

Uh, listen, Bud, you're
not gonna charge extra

because it's nighttime,
are you?

Well, let me
put it to you this way.

The time it took you
to ask me that question

just cost you $8.40.

Hi, Bud.

Oh, Jennifer.
My little helper.

How have you been?

My, how you've grown.

How's business?

Jennifer, try to keep
the chatting down to a minimum.

I'm not
a wealthy man.

Uh. Bud, uh, the problem is
in the upstairs bathroom.


Oh, kids.

Uh, I'd like to talk
to you for a minute.

Look, I made a mistake
the other night,

and I want to
apologize for it.

I was wrong
to just assume

you wanted to participate
in pledge week.

You have your own lives.

Just because something's
important to me

doesn't mean it has
to be important to you.

So... let me say right now,

if you want to participate,
that is great.

But if you don't,
that's fine too.

So what do you say?


Uh, Dad...

you're unbelievable.

I mean... I mean, that is
very sensitive.

I mean, what other father
would approach it that way?

Probably lots
of fathers.

Uh, come on, Dad,
I'm not so sure now.

No. Come on.
All right.

Francine Wilcox
wanted me

to study with her
this Saturday,

and, uh, now I can.

You're the greatest, Dad.

Good luck with,

pledge week.

Thanks, Dad.

Um, there's a big sweater sale
at Fleur-de-Lis this week.

This is great.

What about you,

Do you have anything special
you want to do?

Go to Chrissy's house?

Hockey game?

Hockey game at
Chrissy's house?

Okay, okay. You're excused
from pledge week too.

Thanks a lot, Dad.

Maybe I was wrong.

Well, this is it.
The big night.

your speech?

Uh, yeah.

You don't sound too excited.

No, no. I am.

Well... Come on,
read it to me.


"Hi. I'm Steven Keaton,
manager of WKS.

"I know when you met
the other people who work here,

"you also met their families.

"But my children don't
care enough

about their father to be here. "


Too rough?

Okay. I've got
an alternative.

"Hi. I'm Steven Keaton,
manager of WKS.

"You've already met
my wife, Elyse.

I guess you can tell
we have no children. "

I have to get something
out of the truck,

but I think I'm zeroing in
on our problem upstairs.

Bud, you keep saying that.

Every day you fix something,
the next day you're back.

Why, you getting
tired of seeing me?

I'm tired of
paying to see you.

Mr. Keaton,
if I worked for free,

you wouldn't respect me.


Getting ready to
go down to the station?

Yup, we're
all set.

We haven't seen much
of you guys this week.

We know.
We've been working...

down at the station,

where your dad works,

earning money
for his family.

Come on, Alex,
tell him.

Yeah, I can't wait
to see Dad's face.

Yeah. Listen, Jennifer
and Mallory and I

have something
we want to tell you.

Well, we've been thinking
about it, uh, all week...

and we decided that, uh...

Hey, this is a big day
for you.

Thank you, Alex.

I had a feeling
you'd come around.

After all, if
something is important

to one member
of the family,

it should be important
to all of us.


And, uh, that's why
we wanted to give you that.

"Good luck. "

"Have a great time.

Love, Mallory, Jennifer,"
and," uh...

Did I forget
to sign that?

I'm sorry. Let me
just get that.

There you go.

I mean that too, Dad.

We've got to go.

Yeah, Gus has been running
things down there since noon.

Better get going.

Right. Well, uh,
drive safe.

Careful of the snow. Yeah.

Okay. Bye-bye.

All right.

I have to be
at Francine's in an hour.

If you want me
to drop you off,

you better
get ready.

Hey, that's Becky Berman.
She's in my class.

Hi, kids.
What are you watching?

My Dad's telethon.

Thank you. Thank you.

That was 11-year-old
Becky Berman

singing her version

of "Don't Cry For Me,
Argentina. "

Now, we'll take a little break

in the entertainment

while we meet
another WKS family:

my family, the Thompsons.

Now, that's nice.

How come you kids
aren't down there?


I've got a study date.
Francine Wilcox.

I'm going to
a sweater sale.

I need some time to myself.

We're proud of our Dad,
and we're proud to be here.

It's a thrill for us
to honor our Dad

since this is such
a special night for him.

Now, that's sweet.

Those kids must
really love their dad.

I sure loved my dad.

Beautiful man.

I sure miss him.

You know, my dad was a plumber.
Taught me all I know.

I used to go watch my dad work

when I was so small I could
hardly carry a plunger.

If it wasn't for my dad,
I don't know who I'd be today.


that's what dads are for.

So tell me...

how come you kids
aren't down there?


We're kind of busy, Bud.

But I've worked in
all kinds of places.

I worked in one club
that was so tough,

they had a sign that said,
"Thank you for spitting. "

Is this thing on? Ha-ha-ha.
Testing, one, two, three.



Bad news, Steven.

We've only got about
$10,000 in pledges.

Now, that's down $40,000
from last year.

I don't understand it.

Why aren't people
giving this year?

But you know, eh-heh,
PBS is very educational.

In fact, from watching it,
I learned how to spell PBS.

Maybe he's
almost finished.

And if I was anywhere else
in the world,

people would try to
stop me from talking.

Of course, they do that
here too. Huh.

God bless you all.
I love you. Stay real.

Good night.

That was Jackie Jackerman.

Well, you've already met, uh,
several of the WKS families.

Now, it gives me
great pleasure

to introduce my wife,
Elyse Keaton.


Thank you, Steven.

Hi, I'm Elyse Keaton.

I- I'd like to reassure
the audience

that the fact that
I'm married to this man here

has nothing to do with the fact
that I'm singing later on.

I... I'd like to
reassure them, but, uh...

it's not true.

You know, Elyse...

these times when
we meet the WKS families

are always
my favorite moments.

Now, uh, my kids
can't be here tonight,

but just a few hours ago,

before we left the house,

those beautiful kids
gave me this.

Paul, can you
zoom in on this?

It says "good luck. "

And then on the inside they
wrote, "Have a great time!"

Can you believe that?
"Jennifer," she's my youngest.

"Mallory," she's
my 16-year-old.

And "APK," that stands
for Alex P. Keaton, my son.

Well, uh...

I don't have to
tell you

how proud I am
of this card.

If they were here tonight,
you'd get to meet them...

Not now, honey.

You'd get to meet
these three beautiful...

Oh, hi, kids.
Hi, Dad.

But I...
Here they are!

Well, I... I...

I'd like you
to meet my family.

Hi. I'm
Alex Keaton.

Hi, I'm Mallory

Hi, I'm
Jennifer Keaton.

And he's our dad.

And we're happy...

to be a part of...

WKS family.

♪ WKS, you're the one ♪

Thank you, kids.
Thank you.

Thank you so much.

And now, back to
the entertainment.

Next up, the mother-and-daughter
tap-dancing team,

Karen and Sharon

I'm so glad you came.
So am I.

What made you
change your minds?

Well, we realized
we were wrong, Dad.

We're sorry.

Yeah, we were
being selfish.

It was something
you said this morning.

You know, I mean,
we're a family.

I- if something's important
to one of us,

it's important to
all of us.

Just didn't want to
let you down.

You didn't.

Uh, excuse me, Steven.

You have a telephone
call. Uh, Bud Carlson.

Oh, no.

Bud, what's wrong?

Uh... Uh-huh.

Wha...? Oh, no way!
No, don't touch a thing.

Don't do anything
until I get there.

I've got to go home.

We've got major
plumbing problems.

Oh, Steven, I don't
want you to miss my song.

Oh, don't worry. I'll only
be gone for a little bit.

There's plenty of time
before you go on.

Gus, I'll be back
in a few minutes.

I guess I'll rehearse.

Okay, Elyse, you're on
after the magician.

I don't want to sing
if Steven's not here.

But Elyse, he wasn't
going to harmonize with you.

No, but he was gonna
lend me moral support.

We'll give you that,

Yeah, we'll cheer you on.

We'll clap
really loud,

no matter how bad
you sing.

going on here?

Oh, not much.

I'm just watching,
uh, pledge night

on your TV station.

That magician you had
was great.

Bud, I'm not here
to talk about magicians!

I'm here to talk
about the plumbing.

What's going on
in this house?

Does that give you
a clue?

Ceiling's falling apart.

Yes. That ceiling
has to be opened up.

The pressure's
gonna keep on building,

and the whole ceiling's
gonna fall down.

Bud, you have already
bled me dry.

I'm not paying you
one more cent.

So how much is it if you
work overtime?

Well, until midnight...

it's double.

After that, it's triple.


Now, Mr. Keaton...


Your wife's
on television.

She looks

She sure does.

♪ As this moment thou art ♪

♪ Let thy loveliness
Fade as it will ♪

This is
my favorite part.

Wait till you hear the way
she hits this one note.

♪ Each beat of my hea... ♪

Ahh! Ahh!

Wow. She really
nailed it that time.

Don't stop, Elyse.
Why has she stopped?

I'm sorry. I think
I'm going into labor.

Oh, well, that... That
explains it... Labor?

Steven, are you

Of course I am.

This, uh...
This is it.

Uh, Steven,
if you're watching,

meet me
at the hospital.

Elyse, I'll be there
in 15 minutes.

Be there in 10 minutes.

Ten minutes, and
I'll get your suitcase.

And... And don't
forget my suitcase.

Stop nagging.
I'm coming.

Come on, Dad!
Come on, Dad!