Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 4, Episode 5 - Don't Go Changing - full transcript

Alex is feeling insecure about not being a part of Ellen's world of art and dance. Fearful that he might lose her, Alex decides to learn all he can about art and dance...including auditioning for a part at Ellen's dance class. Meanwhile, Steven is upset about missing Monday Night Football games because he and Elyse have joined a book club.

♪ 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

All right. There's a bottle
in the refrigerator.

We'll be at the Macgregor
Library reading room.

The number's by the phone.

Okay, mom. Don't worry
about anything. We'll be fine.

It's great how you and dad
are taking this class together.

I'm surprised he's willing
to give up

Monday night football
for this.

Oh, no.
He's very excited about it.

It's really a wonderful program.

A weekly seminar
in great works of literature.

It's the kind of thing
your father loves.

Bad news, honey.

I don't think I can
make it tonight.

What is this, Steven?

I don't think
it's serious.

Just a-a slight fever
of 135.

Drop the act, Steven!

You're going
to the book club.

Oh, come on, Elyse!

You let Jennifer
stay home last week!

Her fever was only 101!

Hey, don't drag me
into this, dad.

Come on, Andrew.
You're too mature to see this.

Oh, Elyse, have a heart.

The Lions are playing
the Raiders!

I can read "Crime
and Punishment" at halftime.

Okay. If you don't want to go,
don't go,

But the marriage is off.

I'm coming! I'm coming!

What a gyp!

It's gonna break Alex's heart,
you know.

I was gonna watch the game
with him tonight.

Oh, get off it, Steven.

Alex is at a Bergman
Film Festival

with Ellen
and her friends.

Well, I thought
he hated Ingmar Bergman.

Well, he's there.

You could take a lesson
from your son, Steven.

At least he's trying
to broaden his horizons.

Bergman is a fraud!

He's a complete fraud.

Alex, Ingmar Bergman
is a genius.

You want to know
who's a genius?

Did you ever see Ronald Reagan
in "Bedtime for Bonzo"?

There's plenty of food
in the fridge.

Make yourselves

We'll be back
in about three hours.

Don't hesitate to call if
you need us to come home sooner.

That was a really
fabulous movie.

It gave me the chills.

Oh, are we back
on this again?

Bergman really is a genius.

I think this is
the best work he's ever done.

With one visual image,

he manages to convey
all of the emotional confusion

of a character.

Yeah, the character
he confused was me.

So, what do you guys
want to do now?

Well, a few people are gonna get
together at Pam's apartment

for some music and cappuccino.
She said we should stop over.

Oh, that sounds great.
You want to go, Alex?

Well, gee,
I don't know, Ellen.

I have this funny reaction
to cappuccino.

It makes me cough...
in Italian.

Come on.
This should be interesting.

Professor Marwil is gonna bring
his Sibelius records over,

and Maxine's gonna read
from her works in progress.

Ooh, it's tempting.

What do you say?

I can't make it, Ellen.
I got a pie in the oven.

I guess
we'll take a rain check.

- Well, maybe next time.
- See you around. Bye, Alex.

Alex: Bye-bye.

Did you...
Did you want to go to Pam's?

Oh, no, no.
Come on, don't be silly.

You sure?

Of course, Alex, I wouldn't
want to go without you.

Oh, well, you would have wanted
to go if I had wanted to go?

Well, yeah, I suppose.

But you don't, so that's fine.
We'll just stay here.

Well, Ellen, you should.

You know,
don't let the fact

that I don't want to go
stop you from going.

Are you sure?

You don't mind?

Only if you want me to.


I'll see you tomorrow.

I can't believe she went.

you're over-reacting.

Oh, Steven,
I am not over-reacting.

What you did
was inexcusable.

What did I do
that was so terrible?

You stood up and yelled,
"Fire! Head for the nearest TV!"

we had been in that room,

talking about Dostoyevsky,

for almost 10 minutes
without a break.

Look, if you want to drop
the class, just say so.

I want to drop
the class.


Hey, did you guys
have a good time tonight?

Yeah, great.

can't wait for next week.

You guys are really something,
you know that?

You're a very special couple.

You do things together.

You learn from each other,
share things.

Common interests.
You like being with each other.

What's your secret?

I never get my way.

I know the feeling. I'm having
the same problem with Ellen.

You weren't allowed to watch
the game, either?

Steven, that's enough.
Will you please just drop it?

See, look at you two.

The love!

It's great.

I'm never gonna have that
kind of rapport with Ellen.

What's the matter?
You have a fight with her?

No. No. She just went over
to someone's house

with some of her other friends,
you know.

She said something about
a lot of people being there,

music, cappuccino.

Why didn't you go?

Because I have better things
to do with my time

than sit around sipping
pretentious little drinks,

listening to some hep cat
play the bongos.

Could be worse.
Could've been at the book club.

I don't know what to do.

I mean, this relationship is not
going the way I planned it.

I always dreamed that
I'd fall in love

with a girl who'd put me
at the center of her life.

You know,
who would revolve around me,

the way the planets
revolve around the sun.

A girl so single-minded

in her devotion to me that...
It became almost sickening.

If this girl
is out there somewhere,

I hope I never meet her.

Well, Ellen's not that girl.

She's got her own life.

She's got her art.
She's got her dance.

She's got her own interests.

She's completely independent.

It's unnatural.

Alex, you can't expect Ellen
to give up her life

just because the two of you
are a couple.

Why do I have to share Ellen
with all those other people?

Like that guy, David.

What's the matter with him?
He seems nice.

Nice? Mom, he's a dancer.

He wears tights,

uses French terminology

to describe simple
body movements.

Alex, let me tell you
a little story.

When I started going out
with your mother,

most of her friends took
an instant dislike to me.

Thanks for passing
that trait along, dad.

How did you handle it?

First I made an effort
to get comfortable with them.

Then we moved
to another state.

But your mother appreciated
the fact that I tried.

Well, I can't change.

I am what I am.

This, uh,
this is as good as I get.

This is me in my final form.

State-of-the-art Alex.

If only you weren't so insecure.

Well, let's face it, mom.

Ellen and I
have nothing in common.

Alex, you have one very
important thing in common.

You love each other.

One little thing.

How far can that take us?

Well, that and a little
flexibility on your part

can take you a long way.

Alex, look, either you work
things out with Ellen,

or you have to sit around
and wait

for some clinging, fawning
shell of a girl

who's just gonna
accept you blindly

and worship the ground
you walk on.


There's an argument
to be made both ways.

Guess who.

I'd know you anywhere,

Boy, do you look great
in that outfit.

How come you don't wear
that more often?

It's not the kind of thing
you wear

when you go out
to dinner, Alex.

Speak for yourself.

How was your day?
Oh, it was nothing special.

Got up this morning.
I went to a couple classes.

Couple professors
told me I was brilliant.

The usual, you know.

Listen, uh,
how about, uh,

the two of us doing something
alone tonight?


Yeah, I was thinking
maybe we go and, uh,

catch a quiet dinner
at Guido's,

couple rounds
of miniature golf.

You could wear
the leotard.

What do you say?

I can't tonight, Alex.

I'm trying out for the
improvisational dance group

this term,
and we're rehearsing tonight.

Oh. Uh, it's okay.

How about tomorrow night?
I'm free then.

Well, no, no, see,
tonight's the last night

the miniature golf
is open to the public.

After tonight,
it's all pros.

I'd change if I could,
but this is the only night

David is free to rehearse.

Oh, dancing with David.

I see.

Alex, he's my partner.

Hey, hey, I understand.

Look, you would rather
dance with David

than putt with me.

Alex, I'm sorry
I can't go tonight.

You know how I love
carrying your clubs.

But this is really
very important to me.

David and I really need
to go over this routine.

It's very complicated.

The part where he lifts me,
for example,

is extremely difficult.

Of course.
Why is David lifting you?

Alex, come on.
David is just my dance partner.

I don't know
what you're worried about.

Ellen, Ellen.

I know what these lifts
lead to.

first he's gonna lift you

and then he's got to
put you down again.

And then he's just gonna
want to lift you up again.

Where does it end, Ellen?

Hi, Alex.
How are you?

Uh, hi, David.
I'm - I'm fine.

How are you?

Fine. Yourself?

Still fine.

I'm sor...
Did you want that there?

We better get going.
Class is about to start.

Well, it was nice
seeing you, Alex.


Oh, just a minute,

Alex, are you okay?
You seem a little strange.

It's just that I hardly
get to see you anymore, Ellen.

I miss you.

Well, I miss you, too, Alex.
I really do.

But this is just an incredibly
busy time for me.

Look, I need affection.

I need attention.

I can't help it.
I'm the kind of guy

who likes to be put
on a pedestal.

Alex, I promise to put you
up on a pedestal

as soon as my schedule
lets up.

Ellen, let's go.

I'll see you later, okay?


Okay. Andrew's asleep.
His bottle in the refrigerator.

We'll be at the library,
and you know the number.

Mom, I can't believe
you got dad to go tonight.

I mean,
the Rams are playing the Browns.

Oh, he's changed his attitude
about the book club.

I mentioned it to him
this morning,

and he was very excited.

All right!
Let's hit that library!

That television is not going
to the book club.

All right. All right.
You win. No TV.

I'm, uh,
I'm ready when you are, dear.

Mallory: Hi.

What's all that stuff?

It's culture, Mallory.
I got paintings, art books,

classical music records,
literary anthologies.

If it's pretentious, I got it.

What's all this culture
doing here, Alex?

Just trying to be flexible, dad.

You told me that I should, uh,
be more willing to change

if I want my relationship
with Ellen to work.

Yeah, but I had no idea
it would lead

to such a mess
in the kitchen.

Alex, reading a few books
is not gonna change

your relationship
with Ellen.

Oh, I disagree, mom.

See, if I read these books
and I listen to these records,

I'm gonna be able to...

To communicate
with Ellen better,

we're going to be
more compatible.

I am so glad that Nick
and I are so compatible.

We like the same things.

We love spending
every minute together.

It's like...

We're one person,
you know?

Like we have one mind.

Who's using it tonight?

Alex, I thought you said
you weren't very good at change.

I just realized
that sooner or later,

Ellen's gonna open her eyes

and see that I'm not the guy
for her,

and I can't let that happen.

I gotta start making myself more
attractive to her right now.

You're asking a lot
from those books, Alex.

"Interpret Paintings
Like a Professional,

by Leo Korasch,

former professional
painting interpreter."

"Learn to Dance
While You Sleep."

"Opera: Why It's More
Than Just Annoying."

Alex, an appreciation
of art

and literature
is not merely a question

of knowing some names
and dates.

It's an emotional

It's an aesthetic value.

It's a love
and appreciation of beauty.

Oh, get off
your high horse, mom.

Get - get off it
at your own convenience.

Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Deborah Henley.

I'll be running
the audition for today.

As you all know, we have very
few spaces open in the company.

So only a few of you
will be able to make it.

Excuse me, excusez-moi.

Oh, my god.

Can I help you?

Yes, I'm, uh,

here to apply
for the dance company.

Your name?

Uh, Keaton. Uh...

Mikhail Keaton.

Are you a dance major?

Uh, no, no. I'm an economics
and business major.

With a minor in dance.

I see. You can start
to warm up over there,

and we'll begin.

David, I think
you're going to be first.

What are you
doing here?!

Warming up.

For what?
For my dance.

You're not serious,
are you?

Alex, since when do you
have an interest in dance?


...I'm shocked at you.

You know,
there's more to life

than the button-down world
of big business.

There's art
and music and dance.

And I'm gonna be
a part of it...

Just like you are.

Well, that's great, Alex,

but this isn't the time
or place

for you to jump
into the world of dance!

You should start
in the audience.

Are you ready, Mikhail?


I'm ready.

What is it that you'll be
interpreting for us?

This, uh, particular piece
is an interpretation

of the stock market crash
of 1929.

What music will you be using
to accompany yourself?

Uh, just, uh -
just play anything.

This dance
goes with everything.


Mr. Keaton,
is something wrong?

Uh, no, no.

Why do you ask?

Because you're not dancing.

Well, you see,
at this point in the dance,

the economy
is still good.

In, uh...

In a minute the crash comes,
interest rates rise,

and the dance
really takes off.

Alex, are you okay?

I'm fine.

For my next number...

Mm. "Tiger, tiger,
burning bright,

in the forests
of the night"...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hey, honey.
How was your day?

Oh, fine, fine.

Picture perfect.

What happened to you?

I, uh, hurt myself
at the dance auditions.

What happened? Some big
ballerina push you around?

No. I auditioned.

I...I wanted to show Ellen

that I belonged
in her world.

Instead I showed her
I belong in a circus.

what did you do?

Oh, I...

I embarrassed
and humiliated myself.

I embarrassed
and humiliated Ellen.

I embarrassed,

and insulted her friends
and teachers.

These things happen,

Oh, uh, hi, Ellen.

Hi, Mr. Keaton.

Hi, Mrs. Keaton.

Uh, Elyse, maybe, uh,
you and I better, uh,

go to the living room

And dance!




How'd the rest
of the auditions go?

I think I made the company.


How about me?

You didn't make it, Alex.

But no one will forget you.

Uh, listen, Ellen,

I know what I did
today was, uh, crazy,

but I thought there was
a problem between us,

and that's the way I deal
with the problems in my life.

I identify them,
analyze them,

study them,
and...make them bigger.

Is that why
you were there today,

because you thought there was
a problem between us?


See, Ellen you have
your friends

and all the things
that you do,

and I just wanted to be
part of that.

Instead I made a mockery
out of something

that you care
very deeply about.

And if you want to walk out
that door right now

and never speak to me again,
I'll understand.

I love what you did today.

You do?

I've never had anybody
care so much about me

that they were willing to make
a complete fool of themselves

to show it.

Didn't you think
the somersault was good?

the last thing I want to do

is to push you to be
something you're not.

Be honest -
you hate dance.

You hated that party
I went to the other night,

and you probably
hate my friends.

"Hate" is a very strong word,

You're right.
I'm sorry.

You don't get along
with my friends.

No, no, no.
I hate them.

Let's face it. We are two
very different people,

and there are certain parts
of our lives

that will always
be separate.


I don't want you
to change for me.

I love you.

I love you
exactly the way you are.

That's good,

because if I have to change
for you again, Ellen,

I may really hurt myself.