A Different World (1987–1993): Season 4, Episode 23 - If I Should Die Before I Wake - full transcript

Whitley is thinking about giving up her virginity to Dwayne, but when one of her Public Speaking classmates reveals she has AIDS, Whitley has second thoughts and many students react to the classmate in ignorance.

Tonight, we present
a special and important episode

of a different world.

Because it deals with
mature subject matter

parents may want
to view this program

with their children.

I see you started
Dwayne's birthday early.


But the big celebration
is tomorrow night.

Candlelit dinner, romantic music

the perfect man.

That sounds like
a special evening.

I think it will be.


When you were with someone
for the first time

how did you know it was time

to be with that someone?

You mean with with?


It's something you just know.

Well, I'm feeling
very knowledgeable.

Hoo, hoo, hoo.


You and Dwayne haven't..?


Of course not.

I would have told you.


Now you're not just doing this

because you can't afford
a birthday present?


I'm really ready.

Really ready...

For the first time in my life.

Didn't you think you were
ready with Julian?

That was like wanting
to Polish off

a box of jelly doughnuts.

This is more than
a craving, Kim.

I love Dwayne!


£ 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 £

£ it's a different world £

£ than where you come from £

£ ooh £

£ than where you come from. £

Josie webb!

I got dishes in here

taller than mount Kilimanjaro.

Josie's in the ladies room.


You would think the child

never saw indoor plumbing.

Oh, miss webb, so nice
of you to join us.

I'm sorry.

I'm having stomach
trouble today.

And the day before.

Working here part time

doesn't mean that you work
part of the time.

What time you want
to rehearse tonight?

7:00 cool?

That's fine.

With you singing,
I know kappa lambda nu

will make enough to buy
that giant-screen TV!

Television is eroding
the national intellect today.

But the honeys like it

when they come to
the frat house.

Right, Josie?

I don't hang out there much.

One of life's great pities.

Excuse me.

I do not believe this trash!

Excuse me.

Did anybody read the paper

50% of the people polled

thought Malcolm X
was Malcolm the tenth...

A British king.

Ha, ha, ha, very funny.

What does that tell you?

They polled some stupid people.

Well, laugh it up

while your history falls into
collective amnesia.

Like I said, the party
starts at 9:00...

Excuse me, this is no
time to be shaking your
little groove thing.

This is a time to be
finding out who we are
and where we come from.

I know who I am.

I came from Henry Ford hospital
in Detroit.

Ignorant, ignorant,
ignorant, ignorant.

"For this and many other reasons

liberal arts education
is not outdated."

Nice shoes.

It's a shame they don't have
eyes and ears.

Your audience is out here.

Now do you really hate this
all that much?

No, not that much.

Let me put you
out of your misery.

Sit down.

Ladies and gentlemen

this course is called
public speaking

not public mumbling,
not public slouching.

Thank you.

This is not radio.

It matters what you look like.

Do not stand in front of
an audience

hunched over, finger in your
nose, scratching body parts.

Hear, hear!

Nice outfit.

Why, thank you.

It won't do a thing

for your grade.

Burned you, burned you.

You've got to learn to speak
from your hearts.

Grab that audience

and make them believe
what you're saying.

Then get the hell off the stage

before they turn on you.

We've covered rebuttals
and orations

so tomorrow's assignment

is to be speakers
at your own funerals.

You mean, deliver
our own eulogies?

So bright, so fast, so black.


I find that tres morbide.

Well, it's a way to examine
your goals... in English.


it is also an opportunity
for every one of us

to ponder our place
in American history.

And I can see yours

is going to be too long.

15 minutes is all you get.



Must we dwell on death
on Dwayne Wayne's birthday?

Sit down.

I just don't like the idea.


Now ladies and gentlemen

when you get up to this podium,
I want you to think

I am a voice in this world,
and I deserve to be heard.

Stand up and say...

I'm a voice...

We'll say it together.

I'm a voice in this world

and I deserve to be heard.

I'm a voice in this world,
and I deserve to be heard.

From the mountain tops!

£ everybody's going crazy £

£ watch out, baby. £

oh, I like that.

Fernanda chantilly, on sale.



Whitley, you have no money

so why are you buying
yet another nightgown?

No reason.

Don't look at me.

What were you singing?

I am still in
the lingerie department.

Are you planning on wearing this

at Dwayne's birthday dinner
tomorrow night?

It will be there if I need it.

Ooh, look out!

How long would you like me
to stay out of the apartment?

I don't know.

I've never done this before.


Whitley, you and Dwayne
have never..?

Why is that so shocking?

Well, the restraint.

The willpower.

Dwayne is a gentleman.

I was talking about you.

It wasn't easy,
but I'm glad I waited.

There's nothing wrong with being
22 and inexperienced.

Nobody said there was.

Dwayne has probably
got this under control

but just in case

there's something
I want you to have.

It's a very important accessory,
necessary for the evening.

A condom.

And you just happen
to have one in your purse?

No, you keep it closed!

Keep it in there!

Whitley Gilbert

you are being
absolutely ridiculous.

What do you propose I do,

Offer it to him
with an after-dinner mint?

No, I suggest that

at the appropriate moment,
ask him to put it on.

And shatter the mood?

Better that than to find out

you've gotten
an s.T.D.

Why drag the florist into this?

S.t.d... sexually
transmitted disease.


I can assure you my Dwayne

has not been consorting
with a disease

and my beautiful evening
will not be marred

by the presence
of that contraption.

Whitley, awaken thine mind

and join us
in the 20th century, okay?

You have got
to protect yourself...

I'm not listening,
I'm not listening!

All right, ladies and gentlemen.

It is eulogy time.

So let's hear from someone

who really likes to talk.

"Windley" Gilbert.

That's... that's whitley.

Yes, I know.

Oh, please, honey.

"In that year,
she also celebrated

"her 50th wedding anniversary
to a distinguished engineer

"and fellow hillman alumnus

surrounded by
her four children..."

Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.

Please, please.

I have 20 more years to go.

I know, I know

but I don't want my eulogy

to say I died
listening to yours.

Thank you.

Have a seat.

"It was the discovery of this
alternate source of energy

"that won him the nobel prize.

Nobel, schmobel.

Where am I in this tableau?


"Dr. Wayne's last moments

"were spent in his
beloved laboratory.

"He died as he had lived...

Searching for truth."

Well done.


Beloved laboratory?

Spend your birthday in there.

Mr. Johnson, you're up.

Now what is wrong with you?

I'm broken up over this.

"And at the age of 98,
leaving behind his eighth wife

"and only true love, Sheila e.

"Ron Johnson did not go out
with a whimper.

He went out with a bang."


Very nice touch.

Now sit your behind down.

Sit down.

Show time, Josie, you're up.

On Josie webb's 13th birthday

her aunt gave her a book.

Pick up those eyes
and enunciate.

Her aunt gave her a book
that changed her life.

It was a volume
of Maya angelou poems.

After Josie read,
"and still I rise"

she knew she didn't want to be
a ballet dancer or a nurse.

She wanted to be a poet.

Stop fidgeting.

You are a voice in this world.

So, it was a proud day
when she graduated from hillman

with a degree
in English literature

and high honors.

That was the spring of 1992.

By the following spring,
Josie webb had died

of acquired immune deficiency

The disease we all know as aids.

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Or by doing drugs.

I got it by having unprotected
sex with my boyfriend

junior year in high school.

I knew frank was smart, fine,
team's star quarterback.

Neither of us knew
he was HIV positive.

Lying on the grass
on a humid night

I didn't get aids
from a blood transfusion

looking up at the stars

you just know
you're going to live forever.

Lying on the grass

it's impossible to imagine
that five years later

you'll be lying
in a hospital bed

with pneumocystis pneumonia
and a few years to live.

Nothing like an aids ward
to teach you

that youth is not immortality.

More than anything

youth is the power
to make choices.

Now that I'm gone

I ask one thing of you:

Remember always to choose life.

Thank you for your honesty.

How long have you known?

Since last summer.

Professor, I am so sorry
that I am late.

But you're just in time
for an "f."

Sit down.

Excuse me, Josie.

What's it like?

I mean,
how do you feel every day?

Some days fine

other days not so fine.

I take a lot of medicine.

I don't...

I don't understand.

This is not a woman's disease.

Tell that to
the 16,000 women who have it.

They use drugs

and they do perverted things.

Aids is not a moral judgment.

How come she couldn't tell

by looking at him

'cause you can tell
by looking at them...

Could you tell I was dying?!

She lives down the hall from me.

I'm changing dorms.

Gina, to get aids

there has to be an exchange
of bodily fluids...

Transfusions, needles, sex.

I've never had any of the above.

I'm safe.


Aren't I?

I mean, you can't get it
from kissing?

They're not completely sure

but it's highly unlikely.

I want to thank
all the women in this room

who held out on me.

I know this is a strange way
to end the class

but we should just
call this a day.

Good afternoon.

Josie, I really wish
there was something

I could do for you.

You already have.

Dr. Jordan.

Thank you.

It was what you said

that gave me the strength
to do this.

You didn't need me
to give you any strength.

"I am a voice in this world."

And so you are.

Good luck.

It's not fair.

I've led a clean life...

No drugs.

Hardly any hooch.

Okay, I had
my fair share of women

but I didn't mean any harm.

Dum-dum, what are you
talking about?

I'm dividing the total
number of times

I've done the Don Ron thing

without a cape

by the total number of times
I've done the Don Ron thing.

Oh, grim reaper,
I'm your next harvest.

Whoa! Whoa!

Hold on there, Don Ron.

First off,
your math is all wrong.

It is?

Yeah, it's way wrong.

And this is the stupidest thing
I've ever heard of.

You're right.

I'm bugging.

What's that?

That's just a list of women
that I'm tutoring.




This is your own
personal score card.

I don't think of it
all as scoring.

That's a good thing

'cause your batting average
would be low.

The shorter the list,
the smaller the risk.

I'm doomed!

Oh, no!

Get a grip, Ron.

I tried to be responsible.

You know how it is.

You just get caught unprepared

and you say to yourself

"hey, it can't happen to me."

Yeah, that's how I used to think

till today.

You know, I was only unprotected
once, with Sharon Thomas

but I was her first.

That's what she told me.

I'm getting checked out

What would you like?

Uh, Kim's going
to take my order.

No, Kim is helping someone else.

Oh, no.

This has absolutely nothing
to do with you, Josie.

How can you be so ignorant?

Why don't you two
go read a pamphlet?

There's a lot they
don't know about this disease.

Why aren't you serving
the customers, Josie?

Lone ranger there looks hungry.

I'm trying to help them,
Mr. Gaines.

I can explain.

See, these two...

I'm bald, Kimberly Reese

not blind.

Now Josie has
"immune deficiency syndrome."

That means that you're
more dangerous to her

standing here breathing
your germs on her

than she could ever be to you.

If you don't want Josie
to serve you

then take your germs

and your intelligence deficiency

out of the pit.

I'm sorry, Mr. Gaines.

You should be.

Excuse me!




Come on back here now.

I probably shouldn't
have told them.

I probably shouldn't
be working here.

What you should have done is
told me, I had to find out
from someone else.

What did you think I would do?

Fire me.

Aww, do I look like rip
Van winkle to you?

I know what's going on
in the world.

Why do you think I had
that condom dispenser

installed in the lavatory?

I haven't been doing
a very good job lately.

Oh, nonsense.

Now tomorrow morning

you have a big bowl of
my double-buttered grits.

We've got to keep you going

till we find a cure
to this thing.

Thank you.

Don't cry.

Don't cry.

Don't cry.

Don't cry.

You can't spare
the water weight.


Fresh out of the oven

your birthday souffle.

Yay for me!

It fell.

Um, it's okay, baby.

No, it's not okay.

This evening isn't working out

the way I
had planned it, Dwayne.

I can't get Josie
out of my head.

Sweetie, we'll never get her
out of our heads.

She's part of the age
we live in.

Well, I hate it.

I know you do.

I don't want to be
thinking about dying

the first time we make love.

Believe me, you won't.

I was so ready.

You were?

Now it just doesn't feel right.

It doesn't?



We'll just wait until it does.

It might be a while.


Oh, I mean, that's okay.

That's okay.

I'm so sorry, Dwayne.

Oh, shh.

Baby, don't apologize
for doing what you feel.



Some day.

Some day.