Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 3, Episode 6 - Fabric Smarts - full transcript

For once airhead Mallory impresses even Alex by being a really good salesperson in a clothes shop. When the Keaton parents decide her bad grades must mean she spends too much time on her job, she's ordered to quit it, but Jen challenges Alex to convince the oldies to give her another chance. Even though dad realizes they're being scammed by a master well above their class, they agree to a deal: she can keep working if she scores at least Bs on her next three tests. Alex decides to prevent his honorable victory becoming hollow by tutoring her, and succeeds with two tests. However the last, history, coincides with a clothes sale, and even his tutoring isn't foolproof in such a crowd: she scores only C-, while everyone feels she worked too hard to loose out anyhow...

♪ 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, Barb, we've got
the pants outfit,

the skirt,
two sweaters,

a sarong, silk blouse,
and a dozen scarves.

Will that be all?

I'm not sure, Mallory.
What do you think?

Should get you
through the weekend.

Sure, unless
I leave the house.

I still wish I hadn't talked
myself out of that sequins set.

I'll think I'll go
take another look.


Okay, Mallory,
5:30, let's go.

Alex, I'm still waiting
on a customer.

I'll be done
in a few minutes.

Hey, Mallory, I don't
run a cab company, you know?

You can keep me waiting,
Mallory. I don't mind.

I love observing you
in your work environment.

Skippy, I thought
you promised to stop

coming to the store
to bother me.

I didn't come here
to bother you.

I came here to, uh,
buy something for my mother.

That's for your mother?

Yeah, well, I thought
I'd get a hat to go with it.

That's really not your
color, Skippy.

This is not for me.
It's for my mother.

Yeah, keep sticking
to that story, Skip.

Mallory, Barbara Alexander
just told me

that you are
her favorite salesperson.

Oh, that's great.

I am very pleased

with the work
you've been doing.

I have very big
plans for you.

Hey, Mrs. Willis, how about
sending her on the road?

Maybe opening
a second store in Alaska.

Yeah, I could go with you.

Better pack
a sweater, Skip.

Oh, Mallory, come on.

Let's get out of here.
I gotta study tonight.

So do you.

Alex, stop bugging me
about studying.

I've got other things
on my mind.

All right, Mallory,
I realize you're a little

cramped for space
up there,

but try and fit
this thought in, okay?

Mom and Dad are not gonna
let you keep this job

if you let
your grades slide.

Alex, her grades
are fine.

She got a 62 on today's
geometry test.


What's wrong with that?
It's 27 better than I got.

"Even before birth,

"your baby is sensitive
to sound vibrations

and will respond to some voices
by moving and kicking. "

That's neat.

Hi, I'm your
sister Jennifer.

As soon as you're born,
look me up, okay?

Kicking. I feel kicking.
It's responding to your voice.

I like her already.

Let me take
a shot at this.

A man walks into
a psychiatrist's office

with... With a chicken.


how's it going, everybody?

Hi, Dad. Hiya, Mom.
How you feeling?

Fine. Well, actually...
That's terrific.

That's terrific.
... tired.

How was your day, honey?

Great. I sold
$300 worth of clothes,

and Mrs. Willis says
if I keep it up,

I may get a promotion.
Well, that's terrific.

Congratulations. How'd you do
on your geometry test?

Uh, you say you may
get a promotion, hm?

Sixty-two, a D.

Honey, you got a D
in geometry?

I think this is going
to turn into something

I'd rather not witness.

Psst. Cover your ears.

Well, I gotta go.

You know how it pains me
to see Mallory in trouble.

I wish I could film this.

I have to say,
we're disappointed, Mallory.

Yeah, me too,

but I'll make it up
in the final, you'll see.

Can I go now?
Mallory, please.

The, uh...
The three of us agreed

that if you couldn't
keep your grades up,

you'd have
to quit the job.

I know, but this job's
really important to me.

It... It's just a job,

It's not as important
as school.

Maybe not to you,
but to me it is.

Honey, school is the most...
School, school, school.

You know, I'm tired
of hearing about school.

It's not the only
worthwhile thing in life.

W... I'm... I'm sorry,

but you're gonna
have to quit the job.

I can't believe
they're making me quit.

That job is the best
thing in my life.

When I'm working I feel good
about myself, you know?

I feel needed there.
I feel respected.

I know.

You know,

you're actually
competent there.

You're like
a different person.

Alex, could you
talk to them for me?

See if you can convince them
to let me keep the job?

Uh, you mean,

do you a favor?

Well, yeah,

but I'd be doing you
a favor too.

I won't be home as much.

That's good,

but I need more.

Come on, Alex,
you owe me a favor.

Oh, how do you figure?

Didn't I fix you up
last month

with the Fergus twins?

The Fergus twins?

Mallory, one of them was a guy.

I didn't know that.

And he was the cute one.

Alex, why don't you
just help her?

You could talk
Mom and Dad into anything.

Well, that's true.

Yeah, Alex, Jen's right.

You can be really
cunning, devious,

and manipulative
when you want to be.

Stop trying
to butter me up.

Well, ahem,
it has been a while

since I've had to
talk them into anything.

I could probably
use the practice.

Please, Alex. This job
is really important to me.

It's my whole life.
Please help me.

And so I... I... I said
to the waitress,

"No, not mustard.
I said custard. "

I'm sorry, honey, it's just not
responding to your voice.

Uh, Mom, Dad,
uh, listen.

Uh, Mallory told me
about what happened,

and, uh, well,
I just wanted to say

that I think you handled
that situation impeccably.

I fully agree
with your decision

and with your
execution thereof.

I can't tell you how happy
we are to have your blessing.

But, uh, I... I have
a little proposal

that I'd like
to present.

Hold on to your wallet, Steven.

Mallory has
three midterms left.

Now, if she really
applies herself and...

And gets Bs or above
on all of the tests,

she keeps her job.

Alex, it's already
been settled.

Mallory's done poorly
on her last few tests.

and she's gotta quit.

Yeah, but those tests
are history.

They're over with.

Let's face it, Dad.

Nothing we do
can bring back those tests.

Oh, brother.

The thing to do
is to look forward

to the future.

Start off
with a clean slate.

Let's learn
from our mistakes.

If we learned
from our mistakes,

we wouldn't be here
listening to you.

You see, Dad,
your agreement before

was too vague for Mallory.

You see, the child

needs more
specific guidelines.

All you said
was "to do well. "

What is "doing well"?

Mallory, had you
any idea

that you were
expected to get Bs?

I had no such knowledge.

There you have it.

Let us start anew,
shall we?

Three Bs.

Three Bs and she
keeps the job.

That is
the most reasonable thing

I've ever heard in my life.

Uh, listen, Alex, uh,
just out of curiosity,

why are you doing this
for Mallory?

Can't you just
accept the fact

that a guy like me
would, uh,

help his sister
in her time of need?

Absolutely not.

Alex's motive aside, uh,

it does sound
pretty fair to me.

It's all right with me.

Well, there you have it.

Well, okay.
I... I have to admit,

I felt bad about you
having to quit the job.

Well, so did I.

This gives you another chance,
honey. Good luck.

Thank you, Mom.

Well, uh, we'll be back
from our walk

about half an hour.
Okay, bye.



Well, did I
come through?

Boy, was I great.

I haven't lost
the old touch, you know.

They were putty
in my hands.


Alex, three Bs?

I'm never
gonna get three Bs.

I'm not smart enough.
Not smart enough?

Mallory, could someone
who's not smart

handle that store?

Well, it's true you... You may
not have book smarts,

but you got
something else.

You got something that might
even be more important.


You've got

fabric smarts.

Fabric smarts?

Yeah, yeah, you...

You know which stripes
go with which checks.

You know whether
the socks are supposed to

match the shoes
or the pants.

You know when to machine-wash,
and when to tumble-dry.

Alex, washing and drying
are separate events.

Separate events.


I wouldn't have known that
in a million years.

I don't know, though.
Three Bs?

Do you really
think I can do it?

Oh, Mallory,
I know you can do it,

because I am going
to help you do it.

I'm gonna be with you
every step of the way, Mal,

tutoring you,
coaching you, guiding you.

But why?

Why, Mal?

Because I am the architect
of this deal.

I mean, how would it look
if you were to lose the job

I fought so hard
for you to keep?

I'd be a laughingstock.

I'm gonna see you
through this,

because my credibility
is on the line.

Three Bs?

You can do it.

You're sure you're not just
saying this to cheer me up?

Mallory, think about it.

Have I ever said anything
just to cheer you up?

And so,
my child to be,

it is with great eagerness
and anticipation

that I await your birth.

Many, um...


Uh, many years of blissful

interaction await us.

I hope you are
as enthusiastic as I am.

Not a nudge, honey.

I don't understand it.

I don't know. Maybe it
doesn't feel like kicking.

Hi, everybody.

Hi, kid.
It kicked! It kicked!

Sorry, Dad, I guess you just
don't have the right touch.

Ladies and gentlemen,
may I present to you

the recipient of her
second B in three days,

fighting out
of Tenafly, New Jersey,

at 5'4", 180 pounds...


Mallory Keaton.
Whoo, whoo.

That a girl.

Way to go, Mal.
Way to go.

Oh, that's terrific, Mal.

English Literature,

Mallory Keaton, B.

Couldn't have done it
without Alex.

No kidding.

I gotta hand it to you, honey.
You've really done well.

I knew you
had it in you.

Who would have thought that
she would be getting Bs?

Admit it, Mal,
it feels good

getting mediocre grades,
doesn't it?

Well, yeah.

It's kinda nice
to take a test

and actually know
what the questions mean.

That's right.
Only one more midterm to go.

American History,

Yep, D-day.

don't say D-day, okay?

It can be any other
kind of day.

A- day, B-day,
Doris Day.

How much time do we have
before dinner?

I want to get
some studying done.

Can you believe this?

Studying without threats.

It's a miracle.

Why don't you
take a little break, Mal.

I'm afraid you're
working too hard.

You can, uh...
You can study after dinner.

Well, I can't study tonight.

We're having a big sale
down at the store.

I promised Mrs. Willis
I'd work.

Wait... Wait a minute.
What do you mean?

What do you mean, Mallory,
we can't study tonight?

I got big plans
for you tonight.

I got practice tests,

I got maps,
I got charts.

We were gonna reenact
the Revolutionary War.

I can't, Alex.
Mrs. Willis really needs me.

All right, okay,
okay, no problem.

We'll just study
down at the store.

You won't be able to get
any work done there.

It's too chaotic.

Dad, Dad it won't be
the first time

somebody's had to study
under adverse conditions.

Abe Linc...
Abe Lincoln had to study

in a cold, dark log cabin
by candlelight.

Gregor Mendel had to study
in a monastery.

Louis Pasteur,

had to study in French.

How hard can it be

for Mallory Keaton
to study in a boutique?

Coming through. Watch out,
watch out, watch out, watch out.

Okay, Mallory.
Next question.

The date
December 21st, 1620,

is important
in American history.

Okay, December 21st, 1620,

the Pilgrims landed in
Plymouth, Massachusetts.

I gotta hang this up.

Oh, and they signed
the Mayflower Compact there.

Mallory, I just don't know

if this bathrobe
would fit my daughter.

Would you like me
to try it on for you?

Oh, no.
My Mindy's very petite.

Small-boned, like me.

She's more his size.


What do you think,

Well, turn around, Alex.

Yeah, walk away
a little bit.

Wait a minute.
What is this?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.
No, that looks good.

What other colors
does it come in?

Okay, I'll take it
and I'd like to try on

this dress for myself.

Great, great. Right in here.
Oh, thank you.

All right, Mallory.
Back to American History.

Wait, take the robe
off first, Alex.

I can't concentrate
with you in feathers.

Oh, Mallory. I need you.

Uh, okay, Mallory,

this one is definitely
gonna be on the test.

I think I'm in love.

You guys are gonna get me
in a lot of trouble.

Come on, Mallory.

We have got to study.

Now, at the Constitutional

how many states
were needed to ratify?

Okay, Mallory. I'll take it.
I'm in a hurry.

I have to pick up Mindy
at the dermatologist.

Excuse me. Would you
please get out of my way.

Lady, listen. We got laws
in this country.

Okay, who's next, now?

I am!

Where is she?

The test was supposed
to be over an hour ago.

Alex, you're worrying too much
about your sister.

I never thought
I'd hear myself say that.

I just think
it would be a shame

if she had to
give up that job, that's all.


She was really something
at that sale last night.

You know, I have never
seen Mallory

handle so many things
so well.

She was in
total control.

A human dynamo.

Reminded me of me
when I was her age.

Don't say it, Steven.

Don't say what?

You don't know
what I was going to say.

I've been married
to you for 20 years.

I know exactly what
you were gonna say.

All I was going to say was...

Mallory's been working very hard

and I think we ought
to let her keep the job...

no matter how she does
on the test.

Come on, Steven. We've been
through this so many times.

Whenever we try
to lay down the law,

set some limits,
instill some discipline,

you... You just can't
stick with it.

You fold like
a house of cards.

I'm flexible, Elyse.

I happen to be
very proud of that.

Well, this is not the time

for your fabled flexibility.

It's important that we
stick together on this.

You know, join forces,
present a united front.

Elyse, we're parents.
We're not NATO.

Whoa, Mallory.

How did we do? How did we do?
How did we do?

C- minus.

C- minus?

That's lower than a C.

I'm sorry.
I tried my hardest,

but that's the best
I could do.

Sorry, Mal.

I'm sorry too.

I let you down, Alex.

No, no, no. I'm the one who
should be apologizing to you.

I tried to help you,
and I failed.

I feel terrible.

I have a Social Studies
test coming up.

You could help me.

No. No. No. No.

I am never helping
anybody again.

What's the point?

You just get burned.

Thanks anyway, Jen.

Mallory, wait.

Let's talk about this.

Look, even though this didn't
turn out the way you wanted,

I'm proud
of how hard you worked

at school
and at the store.

Well, that's all real nice,
but we had a deal.

I didn't get the grades,
and now I have to quit.

You really liked
the job, didn't you?

I loved it.

You know,
when I'm working there,

I feel like a real person,
you know?

I practically
run the store.

And people come
to me for advice,

and I give it to them.


Dumb little Mallory.

They don't think of me as dumb
little Mallory at the store.

They think of me as
an intelligent,

creative young woman.

I like being
thought of that way.

Well, I might as well
get it over with.

I'll call Mrs. Willis.

Mallory, wait. Uh...

Why do you
want me to wait?

Well, uh, maybe you
should call her later,

when the rates go down.

Mom, the store's
a half a mile away.

So wait 10 minutes.

This is hard
enough as it is.

Let me get this over with.
Let me quit.

Look, see, I...

I think maybe you're
being a little hasty.

We should talk
about this some more.

Maybe quitting isn't
the right thing to do.

I have to quit.
We made a deal.

Look, the job is too
important for you.

Not as important
as your respect.

Hey... You're not
quitting the job.

Yes, I am.

You're not
quitting the job.

Yes, I am.
You're not quitting,

and that's final.

Maybe you can stop me
from calling now,

but I'll just
stop by the store

on my way home
from school tomorrow.

Well, then maybe you won't
go to school tomorrow.

Dad, what's going on?
What's happening to Mom?

I... I think she's having
some, uh... Some second thoughts

about that deal we made.

I don't get it.

Well, your father and I
have been talking,

and maybe we have
been overemphasizing school.

Maybe having a C average

and doing real well
at a job

is the same as having
a B average and no job.

You mean you want me
to keep the job?

And break
the deal we made?

Well, if it were
up to me, yes.

I mean, you know
how flexible I am.

Uh, but I don't know
about your dad.

I mean, you know how
set in his ways he is.


Well, your mother's
convinced me.

You're right, Elyse.

We have to
be flexible.

What a fool I've been.

All right.

If you want me
to keep the job.

We do. Hm?

You know, kid,

your parents aren't
so bad after all.

It kicked. It heard you.
It kicked.


A... A rabbi, a priest,
and a nun got on the bus.

It's kicking.
It's kicking.

Oh, no.
Not yet, not yet.

Okay, I've got it.

One test,
winner take all.

Mallory gets 100
or she moves out of the house.