Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 3, Episode 23 - Remembrances of Things Past - full transcript

A family visit an account of baby Andy from Steven's widowed mother, May, and grumbling business-oriented brother Robert brings sweet and sad memories back about their boyhood, when pragmatical Rob was hard-working breadwinner dad Jake's favorite over Stevie, who already has a philanthropic tendency to care more about serving his paper-round customers then insisting to their due payment.

Last week on Family Ties:

I still can't get used to it,
you know.

I don't have a dad

Don't worry, Ma.

I'm here.
Elyse is here.

We're gonna help ya.

A lot of ghosts here, Elyse.

Being here just
brought it all back.

My dad, the problems,
the fights.

Dad always liked you, Rob.

Are you kidding?
Me and Dad: "Woosh. "

You and Dad:
"Woosh. "

It's so odd
being in this house.

I mean, I know I'm married,
I'm 40 years old,

I got four kids.

But lying in this bed,
in this room,

I'm telling you,
I'm 10 years old.

A lot of ghosts here, Elyse.
A lot of ghosts.

♪ 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 ♪

Well, it took an hour
of singing and rocking,

but I finally got Andrew
to sleep.

Let him cry, Elyse.

You don't wanna spoil him.

Well, he's in a new place.
I think he's a little nervous.

You mean like daddy cried
when he was little boy.


We didn't believe
in over-coddling our children.

Heh. Well, that's funny
because Mom said

that you spoiled
Dad so much

that by the time
she got him, he was...

I'll go check
on Andrew.

Anyway, uh, you want me to put
these boxes in the hallway...?

I don't think
I spoiled Steven.

I- I don't think I actually used
the word "spoiled," May.

Uh, anyway, it was mostly
in the area of food.

What kind of food?

I- It was nothing.

You know, we can organize
these boxes by size...

How did I spoil him
with food?

Okay, come on, break it up,
you two. Break it up.

Look, it's all right for Grandma
to spoil one of her children.

Mom spoiled me.

It's only natural.

I'm her...
I'm her favorite.

That's not true, Alex.

Don't... Don't try to hide it,
Mom. It's...

It's only natural.
I mean, uh, Darwin.

Survival of the cutest.

Who's this Darwin guy,
a friend of yours?

I don't have
any favorites, Alex.

That's okay, Mom.
That's all right.

You don't wanna talk
in front of the M-A-L.

That's okay.
This guy, number one.

Well, we have an offer.

You have an offer
on the house?

Yeah, have it here, Ma.
Looks real good.

I don't know how good it looks.
Take it easy, Steve.

Well, did you get
the price you asked for?

Very close.

Well, what's
the problem, then?

Well, I'm thinking
maybe we can get more.

Oh, come on, Robert.
We've been through this.

That's a fair price.

I'm not so sure
it's a fair price.

I happen to have
some expertise

in the real estate area,
don't forget.

What expertise?

Maureen. My wife.

Her father was a realtor.

So, what does that make you,
a realtor-in-law?

Go ahead, make fun.

But if Dad were here,
he would agree with me.

He would say,
"Let's get our price. "

He would, and you know it.

And he'd be wrong.

Well, Dad was always wrong.

I was always wrong.
Everyone was always wrong,

Steve, except you.

You're wrong, Rob.

That's not what I said.

Now, boys, stop it.

What is wrong with holding out
for a few more dollars?

I mean, why is getting
more money a sin?

It's just not the right time,
that's all.

This is not an easy time for Ma.

The faster we get it over with,
the better.

It's worth a few dollars
to save her that aggravation.

All I know is Dad sweated
for 40 years

to pay off this house.

I am not letting it go without
fighting for every penny.

Look, Rob,

this isn't gonna be one
of your special deals,

you hear me?

What's wrong with you?

Can't you see
you're upsetting Ma?

Mom's all right.
You're the problem.

You haven't changed, Steven.
Mr. Emotional.

Mom's upset, so let's get her
out of here today.

This minute.
Yeah, sure.

Never mind we're getting taken
in the deal.

Why don't we just
give the house away?

Hey! Who wants a free house?

What I said makes sense.
This is a painful time for Ma.

Let's get it over with.
She belongs at the Oaks.

All her friends are there.
Let's get her there.

She'll get there.
There's no big rush.

It's simple math,

something you were never
too terrific at.

If we keep the house
on the market,

we get a lot more.

What does "more" mean?

She doesn't need more,
she needs out.

You're wrong.

If we take this price,
Mom goes to the Oaks,

we're going to run out of money
that much sooner.

Then how are we going
to support her?

We'll worry about that
when the time comes.

Oh, heh, they don't make 'em
like you anymore, Steve.

All heart, no brains.

Boy, Dad needed to watch you.

Now I've gotta
look out for you.

I mean,
you're still the same kid

who gave away a brand-new bike
to the orphanage.

What was wrong with that?

It was my bike.

You never rode it.

I never got a chance.
I turned around,

Sister Mary Francis
was pedaling it away.

Why are you bringing
this up now, Rob?

That was 30 years ago.

It'll be 32 years in May.

The point is you don't think
like a normal person.

I mean, you never did.

You don't think like Dad,
you don't think like me.

You think like you.

Yeah, and that's very dangerous
in the real world, Steve.

You can't talk to me
this way, Rob. Not anymore.

I've come here to make sure
Mom gets the very best.

I don't want her hurt now.

Who the hell are you,

coming here telling me
what's best for Mom?

I'm here every day.
I do her shopping.

When she gets sick,
she calls me up.

When she has troubles
in the middle of the night,

I'm the one who comes over.

Where are you, Steve?

Where are you when
your mother needs you?

I'm asking you.
Where the hell are you?

Because you're sure
as hell not here.

Steven, get out here
this minute.

What's with him?
We're late already.

What's this?
Why aren't you dressed?

I'm not going.

What do you mean,
you're not going?

I'm not going.
I'm staying home.

What's the matter,

Why don't you
wanna come?

I just don't want to.
That's all.

Grandma knows.
It's okay with her.

But it's not okay with me.

When I say the family goes,
the family goes.

Now, you get upstairs
and get dressed this minute.


You say no to your father?

Yes. I mean, no.


Maybe Dad needs
to talk to Steven alone.

Come on, Robbie.

I can't believe you.

You're gonna get killed.

I love Grandma.

I wish we could go there
twice a week.

All right.

I'm gonna say this quietly
and only once.

You are gonna go up the stairs,

you're gonna get dressed,

you're gonna get out
in the car,

and you're gonna go to Grandma's
like a normal human being.

Dad, I go to school
five days a week.

I work every day after school
and Saturday.

So? So does every kid
in America.

So it's Sunday.
It's my day off.

I should be able to do
what I want to on my day off.

You know what my father would do
if I talked to him like that?

He'd take out the strap?

I'm not afraid.

You're not afraid?

Actually, I'm petrified,

but I decided that I was gonna
make a stand today.

This is your stand?

Yeah. I should be able
to visit Grandma when I want to,

not when everybody else does.

By the way,
I'm going over there tomorrow.

Who are you?

Are you from this planet
or what?


It's me, Steven.

This figures to be a pretty
one-sided conversation, Dad,

but there are some things
I have to say to you.

I can just hear you saying:

"Why do you have to bother me
when I'm lying down?"

I wanna tell you
I'm sorry, Dad.

I'm sorry for making
it so hard for you.

There's so much
I wanna take back,

make right. God.

It all went by so fast.

I wish I could
do it all over again, but...

Then again,
I don't think I could stand it.

I just couldn't take
Geometry again, Dad.

Three times should
be enough for anybody,

you gotta understand.

I'm a father
of four kids now.

Two sons,
just like you had.

I hear you in me, Dad.

I hear you when I tell Alex

not to dribble the ball
in the house,

or tell Mallory not
to come home too late,

or Jennifer
to finish her milk.

I hear you,

and I have a much
better understanding

of what you went
through with me.

I've learned from you, Dad.

And I promise you now

to use what I've learned

to make the best life
I can for my family.


I'll say goodbye now, Dad.

But we'll talk again.

I just want you to know
I love you so much.

I always did.

Did you hear any of this, Dad?

Do you hear me?

It's me, Steven.

Your son.

Hey, morning, Dad.

Morning, Alex.

What you got there?

Some of Grandpa's
old papers.

Anything interesting?

Yeah, here's something
you might enjoy.

Prospectus for a brand-new
company called IBM.


See what Grandpa
wrote in the margin.

Ah, let's see.

"This company will be successful

on a scale we can only
begin to imagine. "

Knew I got it from somewhere.

My dad was very shrewd

Of course he was shrewd
financially, Dad.

You don't just get someone
like me by accident.

It takes, uh... It takes
generations of breeding.

Of nurturing
that one special gene.

The finance gene.

Well, I didn't get any of it.

Well, it skips
a generation, Dad.

That means your kids
won't get it.

Don't even joke about that.

So how much did grandpa
invest in IBM?




Wh...? I don't get it.

See, your grandpa
was great at pickin' 'em.

But he was just too nervous
to really risk

his own family's money,
not in a big way.

He must have known
he was right.

I always do.

A lot of these men who went
through the Depression,

it colored everything
they did.

They'd seen it all collapse,

and they never really believed
it wouldn't happen again.

Life insurance.
They believed in that.

Savings banks.

Five percent,
compounded quarterly.

Small dreams, but safe.

You know,
I remember the, uh,

first day I figured out
what savings banks

were really all about.

You know, if they were
able to pay you five percent

to use your money,

you could bet they were
making a lot more

than five percent
on it themselves.

I remember I came running
home to tell you about it.

I remember.

Your kindergarten teacher
was furious.

Yes, Miss McCullough.

No head for business,
that woman.

It's funny, isn't it?

You live a lifetime,
this is what's left.

My dad reduced to a stack
of papers and files.

Such a complex man.

I really loved him, Dad.

I know. He loved you.

Yeah, well,
we were a lot alike.

You know, sometimes, uh,

after you and I have a big talk
or a political discussion,

and I'd be sitting
there thinking:

"How did I get
into this family?"

I'd comfort myself
by thinking of him.

You know,
I could see the connection.

Sometimes late at night,
I'd give him a call.

I didn't know that.

Yeah. He'd get on, I'd say:

"Grandpa, quick. Three reasons
why liberalism can never work. "

I don't imagine he had any
trouble giving them to you.


I feel close to Uncle Rob too.

Well, that's nice.

I wish I felt closer
to him sometimes.

He's a good man, Dad.

He, uh... He's a lot more
like you than you think.

He just shows it differently.

When did you become
so wise about people, Alex?

Well, Dad, I know a lot
about conservative,

older brothers.

It's my specialty.

Rob and I had some
good times as kids.

It's funny how the years
color your memories.

I know you're going to find
this hard to believe,

but when you're older,

some of your fondest
memories in the world

will be of Jennifer
and Mallory.

That is hard to believe.

Morning, Alex.
Hey, morning Uncle Rob.

Hey, did you see
the paper today?

Bromwell Electronics?

Up three
and three eights.

Yeah, ha-ha-ha.
That's a good boy.

He's a terrific kid, Steve.

You should be proud of him.

I am.
He likes you too, Rob.

And he respects you.

Well, if not the father,
at least the son, huh?

Robbie, we have to talk.

I realize, uh,

you and I have been at odds
for a long time now,

and, uh, there's a lot

of unfinished business
between us.

You're not going to bring up
the baseball card thing again,

are you, Steve?

I didn't take
your Joe DiMaggio.

How'd we grow
so far apart, Rob?

I don't know.

One day,
you were my little brother,

tagging after me
with a bat and a ball,

shouting, "pitch 'em in.
Pitch 'em in. "

Next year, this snot-nosed,
know-it-all teenager

telling me what
a terrible human being I was

and how my values
were all wrong.

You always pitched 'em
in to me, didn't you, Rob?

Even when you were
with your friends,

the big guys,

you always found
a minute to come over

and pitch in a few.

I suppose I got a little
annoying with that, huh?

Ah, I'll be honest
with you, Steve.

You were a real pain.

I didn't mean to be.

I idolized you, Rob.
You were my big brother.

I wanted to be like you.

Hey, you remember when you
were in the fourth grade,

I got you on the baseball team

with all the ninth grade guys?

We used to sit around
the locker room

and talk about sex.

I was always trying
to be so grown up.

I was the only guy
in fourth grade

pretending he had kids.

When did I become
such a bad guy, Steve?

When did that happen?

You were never
a bad guy, Rob.

I think it was me.

Maybe it didn't feel
like Dad loved me,

I don't know.

You guys were always close.
I was...

I was the outsider.

Dad loved ya, Steve.

He thought you were
unbelievably weird, but...

he loved you.

And he knew
you loved him.

I love you too, Rob.

You're my big brother.

Hey, look, uh, you know,

I was just talking
to Mom, and, uh...

Well, she really wants to move.

Well, the sooner she does it,
the easier it'll be for her,

so maybe you're right.

What's another $5000 against
the time she has left?

Oh, I don't know, Rob.

You know a lot more
about this stuff.

I mean, you're here.
You know best.

Steven. I'm taking
your financial advice.

This is a big day for us.

Don't blow it.

Well, this is the last
of it, Dad.

Mom went upstairs
to change Andrew.

Thanks. What about
Jennifer and Mallory?


Your sisters.

You sat next to them
on the plane for three hours.

Oh, yeah. Those two.

Uh, yeah, well,
they're helping Mom with Andrew.

Sit down for a minute, Alex.

Yeah, sure, Dad, uh,

something wrong?


You've become a good-looking
young man, Alex.

Thanks... Thanks, Dad.

You're a...

good-looking older man.

You're a knockout.

No, I mean it.

You were... You were pudgy
as a kid, that's all.

I was worried
for a while.

Well, uh, thanks, Dad.

Can't tell you what
it means to a guy my age

to know his dad thinks
he's good-looking.

I was afraid you had too
much Uncle Harold in you.

He, um... He had a little
weight problem.

That's only one guy, Dad?

He was a nice man.

Big booming laugh.

Gosh, he's been dead for...

20 years now.

Oh, Uncle Wally.

He's dead too.

Aunt Edna, Cousin Janet,
Uncle Les.

They're all dead.

All dead.

Well, this has been fun.

I got a date tonight.

Thank God.

It's amazing, Alex, isn't it?

There's a little piece
of all these people in you.

Little movements,

a smile,

the way you tilt your head.

Sometimes when you walk
a certain way,

you're the spitting image
of your Aunt Ethel.

Wow, that's a real confidence
builder before a date, Dad.

It's family, Alex.
You can't escape it.


Oh, go ahead.
I'm sorry.

I didn't mean
to keep ya.

No problem, uh.
Okay, night, Dad.

Good night, Ethel...

Boys, now you
are late for dinner.

I want you to go wash up...

Hey, guys, no dribbling
in the living room.

Milton Berle's on TV tonight.

Can I go over to Butchie's...?

Oh, you're such
a sweet boy, Stevie.

Next time, Mrs. Kretzer,
I promise.

You broke his pipe.

I'm coming, Mom.

I'm sorry, Dad.

I'm coming, Mom.

That's him.
That's Uncle Milton.

I lost my sheep,

looks like you
lost your shape.

Ladies and gentlemen...

I'm home, Mom.

I'm home.