A Different World (1987–1993): Season 3, Episode 13 - The Power of the Pen - full transcript

Dwayne writes a poem about his greatest passion--math--but Whitley thinks it's about her. Freddie feels guilty about seeing two different guys.

£ I know my parents loved me £

£ stand behind me
come what may £

£ I know now that I'm ready £

£ for I finally heard them say £

£ it's a different world £

£ than where you come from £

£ yes, it is now, yeah £

£ here's our chance to make it £

£ and if we focus on our goal £

£ you can dish it,
we can take it £

£ hey, just remember
that you've been told £



£ it's a different world £

£ it's a different world £

£ it's a different world £

£ than where you come from £

£ ooh £

£ than where you come from. £

a fine example
of poetic language

can be found in
James Joyce's ulysses

the last chapter after
Molly describes Leopold's
marriage proposal.

So simple, yet so beautiful.

"Then I asked him
with my eyes yes..."

"to say yes my mountain flower"

"and first I put my arms
around him yes"

"and drew him down to me"



"so he could feel my breasts
all perfume yes"

"and his heart
was going like mad"

"and yes I said
yes I will yes."

Yes!

Yes.

Oh, yes!

They act like they're
at a pistons game.

I tell ya.

Excuse me, yes, Dwayne?

I'm sorry but I think Mr. Joyce
gets a little carried away

with all this "yes I said yes"

"she said yes
we all said yes."

We get the point.

I mean, not only that, the last
chapter was all one sentence.

Where is the punctuation?

It's called creative license.

Where I went to school,
it's called a "d" in grammar.

Dwayne, tell me something.

Do you like Michael Jordan?

Hey, who doesn't?

Piston fans.

That's because my man "l"
lives in the clouds.

When Jordan leaps

he's got time
to wave to the fans

call his wife

flip some pancakes,
do a 360, and then

slam the ball into the hoop.

But the point of the game is to
get the ball into the basket,

what does it matter that
he can stay in the air so long?

That's the different between
just another two points and art.

Exactly.

James Joyce, Michael Jordan...

Creative license.

Whitley.

Mr. Mann...

Uh-uh, uh-uh, no, Paul.

I told you all to call me Paul.

My favorite apostle...

Paul.

I feel the last passage

represents
a personification of love

the eternal affirmation
of passion

a world without commas,
colons and semi-colons

where love is just
one long refrain.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Please, please, please!

Excuse me, Paul.

The only reason
I'm in this class

is because they won't let me
graduate without it.

I'm a mathematician, a man
of science.

Poetry is useless in my life.

Dwayne, I disagree.

Poetry is far from useless.

In South Africa, I was forbidden
to read James Joyce

James Baldwin, Langston Hughes,
Robert Louis Stevenson

even our own national poets

because their ideas

might have stimulated thought
and opened my mind.

You were forbidden
to read Langston Hughes?

In a repressive society

someone who makes people think
can be very dangerous.

Now, fortunately, you all live
in a free society

but freedom has its price.

Your assignment for Monday
is to write a poem.

Oh, wait a minute
man, it's bad enough
we got to read them

now we got to write them too?

Don't look so worried, Dwayne.

It doesn't have to be
Shakespeare.

Your poems can be any length,
any style.

The point is be creative.

Does that mean I can have
someone else write it?

Does that mean you want to take
this course a fourth time?

No, thank you.

I'll pass.

I'll have a messy Melvin burger

with cheese

and enough onions
to make my mother cry.

Make that two and a soda.

No wait, hold the onions on
mine.

See now, I never did like you.

What are we looking at?

Nothing.

Nothing?

I call Freddie Brooks something.

She might be.

Come on Ernest, you've
seen her 100 times.

When did this happen?

Somewhere around 56

but I wasn't sure until 97.

Whoo, the "e" man
wants some play.

Alright, two messy melvins

one without onions.

Ernest:
Ah alright, I'll take the
onions.

Every time I try to talk to her

moldy locks gets
there before me.

Ernest, he's the editor of
the hillman chronicle.

He's hairy and heavy.

I don't like this, man. I don't
like this at all.

What do they have in common?

Okay, so they're both artistes.

So neither one of them
combs their hair.

So they both wear clothes
the salvation army threw out.

You're in trouble, cous'.

Okay, so you've got
your plastic container

your plastic fork

plastic ketchup packet...

Probably got plastic ketchup.

It's all non-biodegradable.

It's all from one
messy Melvin burger to go.

It's incredible.

You know, you could call
your collage "planet to go."

Using ecology to get over?

That is weak!

Livingston, to me,
this represents

the communion between
art and... garbage.

You really
understand my
art, brooksie.

Oh, I do.

And you really understand me.

I do?

And now I want to
understand you better.

Well, there's not that
much to understand.

I'm a redhead and a vegetarian.

Listen, how would you like to go

to the third world festival
tonight?

I mean, lots of great vegetarian
dishes, great music.

I'd love to.

Okay. So I'll see you
at 7:00?

7:00.

And in 1958, with
only a $200 investment

my daddy founded the Johnson...

Automotive works.

Hello, Freddie.

Hi, Ernest.

That's a great sweater.

I got it from
the salvation army.

You know, something
smells good over here.

And I know it's not food.

Well, I don't wear perfume.

Maybe it's my soap.

It's made with honey
and bee pollen.

Ernest.

So, uh, are you free
Saturday night?

I've got tickets to the game.

Maybe afterwards we'll grab
a bite to eat

at a restaurant without
a drive-through window.

Sounds terrific.

I'll meet you in the dorm
lobby at 7:00.

And use that soap.

Wear that sweater.

Bye.

Bye.

Oh, man, somebody as ugly as you

should never look unhappy.

You see that
Paul man over there?

He throws in a couple
of "thou that's" here,

a couple of, "thou this" there

and a few "Ruby lips" there

and look it, in a
minute, these babes are
foaming at the mouth.

Man thre's a lot to be said for
poetry.

I have caught many a fine woman
with a well-placed verse.

Walter, I cannot see you sitting
around with your woman

spouting sonnets?

Oh, no way man, sonnets only get
you to second base.

If you want a home run,
you need an ode.

Ode?

That's how I messed up
jaleesa's mind.

Word?
Yeah!

Let me treat you to one of my
favorites.

"Ode to jalessa."

J is for the joy you bring me
as you pass me by.

A is for the association I have
with your left and right thigh.

L is for your luscious lips
as you kiss me in the night

e is for the emptiness I feel
when things just ain't going
right.

I already told you
about that other "e."

Yeah boy.
That's right.

Okay s is for the sexy way
you laugh at all my jokes.

And a is for the author,
thrilling, chilling

always willing, sho' 'nuff poet,
Walter oakes.

Well, I think I now know why

jaleesa left you
standing at the altar.

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I see you had a good time
with Livingston last night.

Yes, I did.

I sure did.

Lord knows I did.

Singing in the morning?

You must have made music last
night.

Livingston and I won
the limbo contest.

How low did you go?

It was themost exciting night
of my entire life.

Finally, the girl has
got some tea to pour.

Sounds like a potfull.

Well, after the festival

we went to Dina's doughnuts

and we sat...

Mm-hmm?

And we sat

and we sat

'till the sun came up

over that
big, rotating doughnut.

And I'd finish his sentences,
and he'd finish mine. And...

When we were silent,
a lot was being said.

So did you get some of that
sweet lip or not?

Kim, there are times
when not touching

is just as stimulating
as touching.

Ah, no sweet lips?

And this was not
one of those times!

Whoo! There is
sugar in this tea.

Refined sugar.

Speaking of fine, Ernest called.

Who?

Ernest.

I have a date with him tonight.

Woah, I can see you with
Livingston, but Ernest?

He belongs with someone
more traditional

someone more goal-oriented.

Someone like...

Me.

Touch him and you'll
draw back a stub.

It's a nub.

Oh, my god.

I can't believe
I just said that.

I want both of them.

What does that mean?

It means the drought is over.

Oh, no.

It means I'm one of those
insatiable women.

I'm a smooth operator.

I'm a cold-hearted snake.

Yeah.

Feels good, doesn't it?

You guys, would you please hear
me,

I just had a very intense
evening with Livingston.

And I don't know how can I
think of having the same
thing with Ernest?

Oh Freddie please, this is the
'90s.

In a few years,
nuns will be dating.

Is that a good thing?

It is if you're a priest.

Come on Dwayne, it's going
to be going on.

Ron, how many languages do I
have to use to tell you this

I have work.

But it's a mud-wrestling
matinee...

Thick-thigh Thelma
and nasty Natasha

in a grudge match.

You know that mud pool's gonna
be busy today.

Yeah, well, without me.

I told you, I have to write
this poem, man.

Brother, what's your dilemma? I
finished mine this morning.

You did?
I really had

to push myself on this one.

I dug deep, deep into my soul.

You couldn't dig that deep.

You're only 5'4".

I'm 5'6".

Now, do you want to
hear the poem or not?

Okay, enlighten me, please.

In the middle of the night,
the sun sleeps.

That's a nice title.

That's the poem, man.

You heard what Paul said...
Any form, any length.

Just put something down and
let's go.

What's going to come down
is my grade point aavergae.

Well, if thick-thigh Thelma
stays in town

I don't want to graduate.

You may not graduate anyway.

Dwayne, is my assignment
giving you trouble

or do you always
cut your nails that short?

Hey man, by Monday,
you can call me
captain hook.

You know,
I ran into
colonel Taylor.

He told me you
were his prize
math student.

Mhm.

You know, I feel a
little cheated

not seeing that
kind of performance
in my class.

He teaches something
that I like.

Well, if you only wanted to
study subjects you like

you should have gone
to vocational school.

Well, you ask this
chair how long
I've been here.

And the only thing I've written
is the date, and that's changed

since I sat down.

Writer's block.

That's a good sign.

Well, I'm off

to, uh, the mud-wrestling
matinee.

Wait a minute, I beg your
pardon?

Oh, I never miss thick-thigh
Thelma.

Now, she's truly poetry in
motion.

Good luck.

"Good luck"?

Young man.

That is not a pillow.

You got that right.

Not only is it too hard to read

it's too hard to sleep on.

I thought a look in
some Shakespeare
might inspire me

but I guess old boy
just knocked me out.

How could this "boy"?

Shakespeare's filled
with action, adventure, romance.

Hey, where did you come
from anyway?

Originally, I hail from
stratford-upon-avon.

You look like
the stratford-upon-avon lady.

First you mock these words.

Now you mock my attire.

And who might you be, sir?

William Shakespeare,
the author of your
pillow.

Oh, you've drooled on Hamlet.

Wait. Wait. Wait. You can't be
William Shakespeare.

You're dead.

But my words live on.

I have been roused
from my sleep.

Sleep that knits
the raveled sleeve of care

to discuss your apathy
towards poetry.

I just think it's boring.

What exactly do you find boring
about Romeo and Juliet?

Can I be truthful?

Truth has a quiet breast.

Alright, well, take your boy
Romeo.

Real people don't act like that.

Romeo is a wimp.

Wimp?!

He's weak, man.

You made Romeo beg,
I mean beg, man.

For ten pages
in your balcony scene

he was crawling on his knees

whimpering and crying through
the bushes.

He probably got runs
in his little tights.

All you had to do...

May I?

By all means.

Cool.

Romeo's down in the bushes.

And he's looking up
at Juliet, right?

This is what he should say:

"Juliet, thee likes thou,
and thou likes thee."

"Yes, I said "yes" woman,
now why don't me and you"

"go down to the midnight
parking lot at bumpy's"

"and get busy?"

It's simple.

You can use that if you want.

Terribly kind of you.

Uh, young man, you have no idea
what poetry is.

Poetry is passion.

Oh, they got a lot of passion
going on down at bumpy's. Have
you ever seen their parking lot?

Poetry fills your dreams
with substance.

It allows... demands...
That we not just survive

but that we flourish.

There you go!

Now, I study something
that you can use in life...

Electrical engineering.

I'm like the Shakespeare
of calculus.

You flatter yourself.

I assume you've heard
of Leonardo da Vinci.

The artist that painted
Mona Lisa, yeah.

The artist who
designed instruments...

Musical and surgical...

Entire towns, domed churches.

Leonardo was also a noted
theoretical mathematician

and an engineer.

Get out of here.

And, Dwayne,
Leonardo loved poetry.

The power of the pen.

Find something

you feel passionate about

and let your pen
give it a voice.

Ah... not again.

Oh, I'm getting out of here.

Ernest.

Hi, Freddie.

Hi, you look nice.

Thank you.

I wanted to tell you
you look very nice.

I wore this sweater for you.

Ernest, I had a date last night.

Oh, did you have fun?

Yeah, and I wanted to tell you

that I feel...

I feel...

Livingston!

Brooksy.

Dolores! Perfect timing.

Does everyone know each other?

Yeah, well, we're off.

That's a nice sweater, man.

You were saying?

What?

Let's go.

Are you planning to wear shoes?

Shoes?

My favorite footwear.

Hi, Kim.

Don't even look at him.

Whitley.

Do me a favor.

Dwayne, it is too late for me
to write your poem for you.

No, I just want you to read
my poem.

Tell me if you get it.

My, my, I'm surprised it
fills a whole page.

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Read it and
tell me if you get it.

"'My first love, '
by Dwayne cleofus Wayne."

My uncle on my mother's side.

"She's always been
a challenge to me"

"from my very first hello."

"I pursued this woman of
mystery"

"determined she would not be
a puzzle to me."

Oh, Dwayne.

Keep reading.

"I soon found comfort
in her complexity."

"I look into
her dark and smoky eyes"

"admiring her angles and
curves."

"Her elliptical lips..."

I can't read any more of this.

Is it that bad?

It's beautiful.

You get it?

Uh-huh.

I'll talk to you after class.

Thank you.

Kim, Dwayne Wayne
wrote me a love poem.

He said I had elliptical lips.

Oh, lord.

Good morning, class.

Students;
Good morning.

Well, since I see you still have
hair on your heads

I guess, you didn't pull it out
writing your poems.

No, but around the second verse,
all my chest hairs fell out.

Before we start

I'd like to share
a poem with you.

I wrote it when I was
a freshman in college.

I called it,
"after the hurricane."

"A tree stands."

"F."

I just wanted to show you
that nothing you could write

could be as pitiful as this.

Don't worry, bro.

Your poem is twice as long.

Shut up, man.

So who wants to go first?

Dwayne Wayne has written

a wonderful poem.

Dwayne.

Our first volunteer.

I didn't... well, unless anybody
else wants to go first...

Oh, god.

Thank you, whitley.

Well, okay.

"'My first love, '"
by Dwayne cl... Wayne."

Sh! Sh! Sh!

With feeling.

"She's always been
a challenge to me"

"from our very first hello."

"I pursued this
woman of mystery"

"determined she would not
be a puzzle to me."

"I soon found comfort
in her complexity."

"I look into her
dark and smoky eyes"

"admiring her angles and curves,
her elliptical lips."

Elliptical lips.

That's alliteration.

It's wonderful work.

"She divides men from boys,
adding and subtracting hearts"

"until alone I stand,
her heart in my hand."

"She is mine."

"It's all for x"

"my first love."

Bravo, bravo!

The poetic imagery
just leaps off the page.

"Dividing men from boys."

I see this woman.

I know her.

I know her.

Whitley, I see no woman at all.

I see a concept.

Dwayne has discovered a love
greater than that of the flesh.

Kobe, Kobe, I know this is all
very new to you

but in america

we don't write poems
about concepts.

It's just not done.

We write about love

and the beautiful women
that add and subtract hearts.

That's my personal
favorite line.

You don't understand, whitley.

The poem is about mathematics.

I think he's right.

No one's talking to you.

Mathematics? You can't write a
love poem about mathematics.

Math is no one's first love.

It's mine.

I thought it was
Denise huxtable.

Shut up.

Paul, please tell this man
what his poem's about.

I think all of your
interpretations are valid.

You see, in a good poem

each of us is able to see
what we want to see.

Whitley, you saw a woman,
Kobe, you saw mathematics.

Now someone else
could pick it up and think...

That it was too damn long.

The poem can be
about many things.

It's about math.

200 years from now

someone else will pick it up
and have some other meaning
entirely.

And it will still be about math.

It will still be dumb.

Of course, it's about math.

But tell her it's about her.

The woman is fine!

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