A Different World (1987–1993): Season 4, Episode 22 - Monet Is the Root of All Evil - full transcript

Whitley is going about her day when she finds a person who is a marvelous artist, but things go wrong when they are at an art gallery and someone disapproves of one piece in particular.

Whitley, I have

the perfect piece of art

for your exhibit.

It took me a month to create it.

Actually, it took
three weeks to conceptualize

and one week to put it together.

Sorry, pocahontas,
no "wannabe" artists allowed.

Well, at least look at it.


What is it?

It's the continent of Africa.

I call it
just say "no" to hunger.

You see?

The beans and grains
cover the countries

that most desperately need them.

I like your theme, Freddie.

You do?

Especially that
"just say 'no'" part.


You are not the final arbiter

of what is art.

You can play the theme song now.

£ 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 cup of soup, please.

That wouldn't feed a cricket.

Try my today's special...

Huckleberry ham hocks
with assorted legumes.

I can't pay for this.

Shh! And a Waldorf salad.

Aunt jemima came to me
in a dream

and showed me how to make it.

Thanks again, Mr. Gaines.

Hey, whitley.

I just left the art exhibit.

The pieces you selected
were wonderful.

Thank you,
but this couldn't have been done

if you hadn't gotten
the arts foundation

to give us the funds.

You talked them into it.

I am wonderful.

Yes, you are.

The arts foundation president

will be by tomorrow.

I'm sure he'll be pleased.

This is
the mother of all exhibits.

The press will be there.

The bigwigs from
e.H. Wright industries.

I am just so thrilled

to be launching the careers
of so many young artists.

Not to mention your own.

You bet your bippy.

Hey, y'all, what's up?

I want you to meet
my niece, Priscilla.

She's here checking out hillman

seeing all it's got to offer

before she go off
to the white college.

I told you it was between this
and spelman, uncle Wally.

Uncle Wally?

You got a problem?

I used to have a dog
named Wally.

Priscilla's at the top
of her class

at Bronx science.

That's my Alma mater.

I'm majoring in engineering.

Isn't that a coincidence?

I taught Dwayne everything.

He's phi beta kappa.

I could take you around
to my classes.

Hey, you better watch yourself.

Excuse me.

I certainly wish

that you could meet
my son, Terrence.

Maybe your ambition
would rub off on him.

Ain't going to be no rubbing off

on my niece.

Mr. Gaines.


This is for you.

Oh, lovely.


It's you.


Oh, yeah.

Well, yeah, now I see
the resemblance.

Well, now, thank you.

I'll just add it
to the collection.

Doesn't look a thing like me.

Oh, but it captures your spirit.

I mean, it's abstract.

What a fascinating sketch.

I got a whole drawer full
of them

but I would occasionally like
a picture of George Washington

on a greenback.

Mr. Gaines,
you've got to be kidding.

This sketch
is money in the bank...

The work
of a very gifted artist.

Where is this budding bearden?

The guy with the sketch pad.

And my pecan pie.

Excuse me.

A star is about to be born.


I'm whitley Gilbert

and you're a genius.

I'm novian winters

and you must be
at the wrong table.

No, no, no, no.

I'm holding
a student art exhibit

and your pieces
must grace those walls.

Yeah, right.

I'd love to see
more of your work.

Sorry. I just paint
for myself.

And Mr. Gaines?

It's how I pay for my meals.

A starving artist.


I wouldn't be starving
if you'd let me eat.

And temperamental too.

The press is going to love you.

Excuse me.

I've got to go cut off my ear.

And a sense of humor!

Would you leave me alone?!

I can't, and you'll thank me.

You know, I've heard about you.

My taste in good art
is legendary on campus.

They said you were a lunatic.


This is incredible.

This has to be
on the wall of a gallery

not in some dingy dorm room.

I don't need strangers
gawking at my stuff.

That includes you.

Why do you do it then?

I got something to say.

Tell me this.

If a tree falls in the forest,
and no one's around to hear it

does it make a sound?

I got one.

How many lawyers does it take
to screw in a light bulb?

I think you're...

You're afraid to show your work.

No. Just convinced
that people wouldn't get it.

I get it.

When I see this,
I see manet's the fife player

reinterpreted as a man of color.

You're commenting on
the exclusion of black subjects

from the western art tradition.

I'm right, right?

You're in the forest.

So, show me what else you got.

No. None of them are ready.

They're not
how I want them to be.


I understand.

I used to paint

when I was a child.

I was good too.

Could have been somebody.

Could have been a contender.

One day I was riding my bike
home from art class.

Had a little sketch pad
under my arm

and popped a wheelie.

Before I knew it

I had a multiple fraction
of the wrists, and, um...

I lost all my coordination.

You are a lunatic...

And a bad liar.

And you're a genius

but no one's going to know that

are they?


One painting.

And I really did have
a super wheelie.


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Who are you?


Dwayne said I could work
on his computer.

Oh. You're his tutee.

Not really.

He's a good friend
of my uncle Wally's.

He's showing me around.

Uncle Wally?

Dwayne didn't mention you.

Are you his roommate?

Yes. A tired Ron Johnson

who just finished playing
a two-day gig at roanoke.

Don't tell me.

You're a drummer.

How did you know?

You have drummer's hands.

They're so strong.

They are kind of nice,
aren't they?


But nothing compares
to your eyelashes.

Wait a minute.

Dwayne, come on out.

Very funny,
but the joke is over now.

Dwayne's not here.

It's just you and me.

Oh, get out of here!

Yo, Dwayne, man.

Novian winters' pipe dreams.

That's some powerful stuff

and what a job I did
hanging it, huh?

It's nice, ain't it?

It's done by this oddball,
novian winters.

Look at the shadow
across the baby's face.

That to me symbolizes

the bleak future
of the drug baby.

Look like the work
of a sick man to me.

These painter cats
must be bugged out

'cause they do nothing
but sniff paint all day.

You get brain-dead.


I see you've met novian.

Hey, man, I...
You know...

Don't sweat it.

I'm just glad you like it.

Like it? He loves it.

And the press will too.

It is my best work.


Don't tell me.

Your tribute to homey the clown.

Whitley, I am giving you
an opportunity

to include something meaningful
in this exhibit.

Now open your mind
and look at me.

I'm the world.

Sorry, homey.

Whitley don't play that.

All right.

I don't need your permission.

I don't need your permission.

If I want to make an exhibition
of myself...

I'm going to make an exhibition
of myself.

Freddie, who did
your makeup today?





Hey, uncle Wally.

I got your uncle Wally.

Where's my niece?

Working on my computer.

That's my girl.

All work and no play.

Bruce, we really appreciate

the foundation's
financial support.

Our money was well spent.

What I've seen so far
is exceptional.

I didn't realize

you were including
performance artists.

Oh, are we?

Yes. This girl
right here.

The living sculpture.


Hey, colonel.

I'm the world.



I know just how you feel,
Mr. Murphy.

I felt the same way
when I first saw it.

You're responsible for this?

I'm merely the wet nurse
to the genius.

The man...


Novian winters.

So, you're the artist.


Remove it from the wall.

Oh, we haven't
set a price for it yet

but we'll work something out
after the exhibit.

You misunderstand me.

I want it removed
from the gallery.

It's obscene.

And depicted her

as a crack mother.

That's blasphemous.

I agree.

I see Madonna.

I see Michael Jackson

with his old nose.

I see Warren Beatty

with the dick Tracy hat.

It's not a religious image.

It's everyman and everywoman.

The artist has taken
the image of the Madonna

it's an indictment of drug use.

That's not what I see.

Bruce... may I
call you Bruce?


Mr. Murphy

I'm sure we can come
to some sort of agreement.


We agree to remove it.

We're talking about
freedom of expression here.

That's our constitutional right.

The young man can express
himself all he wants

in some other exhibit.

The foundation
has a responsibility

to protect the public
from this sort of artless work.

I'm a patron,
and I don't find it offensive.

It's reality.

Mr. Murphy, art should
challenge our assumptions

about ourselves and the world

like the impressionists did

with their daring use
of color and light.

They were labeled obscene for
painting women in petticoats.

And goya with his naked Maja

was persecuted
by the Spanish inquisition.

And in do the right thing

when mookie was rubbing
the ice all over Tina..?


Mr. Murphy

when you silence the artist,
society suffers, culture dies

and man is reduced
to the state of brutishness

from which he emerged.

That's what I was
going to say, bunny.

Thank you for that tram ride
through art history.

Just remove the painting.

If you take this,
you take everything.

Even me!

Especially her.

Fine, move it all out.

Um, on second thought,
give me a few moments.


maybe we can use this painting
in the next exhibit.

You beg me to come,
now you're throwing me out.

Just put another painting in.

This is censorship,
and I'm not giving in to that.

Novian, I got the press coming.

Now, you don't want
to destroy this opportunity

for all the other artists,
do you?


No, I don't.


Are you just going
to let him leave like that?

I have other artists
to consider.

That's right

'cause I spent much time
on this bronze unicorn.

I look forward to seeing
you tomorrow at the opening.

I'm sorry it had to happen
like this, whitley.

What are you looking at?

A sellout.

I'm going to boycott
your exhibit

'cause somebody has got
to stand up for our rights.

Okay. Go ahead and do that.

It will be a boycott
of one mophead.


No, it won't.

I'm with you, Freddie.

Girl, girl,
don't worry about them.

The press is coming.

When them folks see them lights
flicking and flashing

they'll be running back.

What do you think?

Why you cut me off
when I was talking

about mookie and Tina
and the ice?

Here's to new friends.

And to uncle Wally
for bringing me here.

That uncle Wally...


Oh, Priscilla, I'm sorry.


Um, look in my room.

There's probably a shirt
or something you could put on.

I'm so sorry.

What's up, my man?

Chips, brother.

Could you come back later?

I got some company

and things
are starting to heat up.

I just want to pick up my niece.

She's supposed to be here.

I haven't seen her.

Just tell her
uncle Wally came by.

Okay, I'll...

Uncle Wally?

That's what she calls me.

Uncle Wally...

Well, if I see her

I'll be sure
to tell her you came by.

Uncle Wally?


No! No!

Oh, no!

Walter, Walter.

Walter, there's a reason

why your niece is in my Jersey.

Walter, no, no.

Marry me.

I'll be his nephew.

Walter, Walter...

Whoa, my brother.

I'm a happy black man.

I'm a happy black man.

I've been waiting
for four years, boy...

You don't take my niece, boy!

What sleepless night is this?

Me thinks
I did not protest enough.

To uphold the first amendment

or be a big hit
on the art scene?

That is the question.

Who are you talking to?

I'm conferring
with my conscience.

Would you two
please keep it down?

Every time I close my eyes
to go to sleep

I see the Spanish inquisition

marching novian to the tribunal.

Mr. Murphy is the judge
and I'm his henchman

with the most horrific
pointy hat.

With all his wonderful artwork

why did novian
have to pick that piece?

Isn't novian the victim
in this situation?

But you don't understand.

He wouldn't even consider
entering another painting.

I couldn't sacrifice 24 artists
to the stubbornness of one.

You didn't do this for them.

You did this for you.

I did not.

Relax, relax.

There's nothing wrong with being
hypocritical and self-serving

if you can live with it

and you seem to have
managed that for 23 years.


What are you doing here?

I couldn't sleep.

I only have one bed.

I deserve that sarcasm, novian.


I decided to cancel the exhibit.


'Cause I want to face myself
in the mirror.

'Cause I wouldn't
be able to sleep.

If you're doing this
out of guilt, forget it.

Wait a minute.

Wait a minute, novian.

I'm about to make
a big sacrifice here

and you just dismiss it
with a brushstroke?

If you're going
to do this, whitley

do it for the reasons
you told Mr. Murphy.

"Silence the artist,
and society suffers

"culture dies and man returns

to the brutishness
from which he emerged."

I said that?

Yeah, you did.

And I meant it too.


If they won't put your piece
up in that gallery

then we'll just
find another one.


I don't know, novian,
but I'll go find one.

I won't rest until I do.

And I have a feeling
I won't rest either.

Gentlemen, ladies, may I have
your attention, please?

I would like you
to bring your eyes

to novian winters' pipe dreams.

Come on up here, novian.

Take your bow.

Say "cheese."



Oh, hold on a sec.

Dwayne, it's Ron.


Whoa, whoa, whoa...

Ron, what's up? Dwayne.

Where are you?

Uh-huh, uh-huh.

I'll come and get you.

I'm going to kill him.

No, wait!



Walter, please.