A Different World (1987–1993): Season 5, Episode 17 - May the Best Man Win - full transcript

Byron Douglas is impressed with Whitley's fund raising skills and asks her to help with his Senate campaign. Mr. Gaines has troubles with the lease at The Pit and Byron gets involved.

This is the hillman
alumni fund-raiser.

You can make a difference

between someone giving
big bucks or small change.

And don't let
those claws of yours

skewer anybody's kabob.

Don't hate me
because I'm beautiful.

Lena, think quick.

How many shrimp puffs per tray?


Wrong! Kimberly?


Listen and learn, Lena.

Listen and learn.

I'm a wealthy alumnus.

I would like
a perfect Manhattan.

What are you going to do?

Level 42nd street.

Pour the drinks.

Keep that comic relief
to yourself.


People, people, people!

I want you to remember

there will be some
very important people here

including Byron Douglas III,
running for State Senate.

Yes, yes.

Byron Douglas, far out.

He's pretty groovy.

But I need him to clarify
his stance

on toxic waste.

Toxic waste?

He hasn't even met you yet.

That was really low.

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Yo, what's up, g?

Hey, partner.

I'm just sitting here
looking for a more wealthy...

I mean, healthy relationship.

Take a break, Ron.

Byron, this is Ron Johnson.

No introduction needed.

I know you.

Ebony bachelors, 1991.

No, no, no.

This is Byron Douglas,
State Senate, 1992.

That's where I saw you.

Black enterprise.

Byron Douglas III
of b.D. Restaurants.

You brought affordable
surf and turf to the masses.

Ron Johnson?

Yeah, that's me.

I have four of your checks
taped to my register.

Go die of embarrassment.

It's a mistake.

I was framed.


Colonel Tyler, how are you?

I'm sorry... Taylor.

Hello, Byron.
How are you?

I'm jaleesa Tyler Taylor.

I'm Brad's wife.

Nice to meet you...
And you.

Thank you.

That's a future constituent.

Brad says that you've put a lot
of employees through college.

No, they're putting
themselves through

by maintaining "a" averages.

Give them incentive
and watch them do their best.

It's good for the kids,
good for business

and might get me
a few more votes.

Shrimp puff, my brother?

This is not the black expo.


Please, take one.

It's a family recipe.

I don't believe we've met.

I'm whitley Gilbert.

This is Byron Douglas.

He's on my top 25,000...

I mean, my "a" list.

He's already
a generous contributor.

But it's never enough.

The private sector
must give back

what it has received.

Wasn't it your idea
to hire unemployed workers

to train the homeless
to renovate buildings?


And your slogan

"don't be invisible,
be invaluable."

Have you been reading the paper?

So, you organized
this fund-raiser, miss Gilroy.


I'm sorry.
What did I say?

You called her "Gilroy".

I'm sorry.

I'm very bad at names.

Not a good trait
for a politician.

I have to work on it.

You should try word association.

Byron Douglas.

I would think "by"
as in bi-partisan

because you're a politician.

"Ron" as in you're
far from that loser.

"Doug" which rhymes with rug...

Mine matches your tie...

And "las" as in

it would be
less than polite for me

to forget your name.

Byron Douglas.

It's simple.

If it works for you.

I'll take this.

Oh, thank you.

You've done an outstanding job

with this fund-raiser.

We'll see when the numbers
come in...

Not that it's all about money.

It's really about giving
of yourself, tirelessly.

My dad used to say
"don't complain, get involved."

Every day he met
with the people.

Your daddy was a politician?

No, he was a mailman

but he believed
in the Democratic process.

Isn't that wonderful?

You have the opportunity
to fulfill his legacy.

For a slightly larger donation
than last year

you can fund a chair

in the political science

If I've just been hoodwinked,
I don't mind.

Hillman is very lucky

to have someone like you
on their side.

Thank you.

I could use someone
as persuasive as you on mine.

I would love to work
on your campaign.

It's just that

I have a full-time job
at e.H. Wright industries...

I'm a corporate art buyer...
And I run this dorm.

That's me... resident director.

And then,
there's my personal life.

Which really wouldn't cause
much problem.

"The private sector
must give back

what it has received"?

if I've just been hoodwinked

I don't mind.

Where do I sign?

Well, that's wonderful,
whit... whit...


You're making progress.

Thank you.

That's a name
you don't want to forget.

Terrence, over there.

That man is thirsty.

Now, hold it right
there. Now look here.

There's enough ketchup
in this bottle

to accommodate
another order of fries.

All right.

Sorry, Mr. Gaines.

Know what it costs
to run a business?

I can't afford your mistakes.

I said I was sorry.

He's been in a bad mood lately.

Yeah, for the last 62 years.

I would like a double order
of fried okra.

Can't you wait until I say

"may I help you?"

Oh, my goodness!
Byron Douglas!

Hi, Mr. Gaines.

My only employee of the month.

I still have your picture
on my refrigerator.

It's got chili on it,
but it's there.

I'm honored.

No one was good enough
to take your place.

No matter how hard they try.

Except for Kimberly Reese.

Someday I'll say a state senator

helped me put in
my garbage disposal.

You taught me a lot.

Not to put marshmallows
in the salad bar.

Velma and I was
at your restaurant

and there it was.

Marshmallows right next
to the chow mein.

Now, that ain't right.

A lot ain't right.

Hey, Byron.

We have to meet

the neighborhood watch group.

I still don't know
why you're bothering

to come here on campus.

You're never going to get
these couch potatoes to vote.

Did you?

Plead the fifth, Ron.

Most students don't think
the government affects them.

But among other things

state senators
create legislation

for financial aid.

Wait. Excuse me.

It's our government
that keeps us down

so that we need financial aid.

A group of students
wanted to build a school

but couldn't afford bricks,
so they made their own.

They built tuskegee institute
and a profitable brick business.

It's about empowerment
and exercising your rights.

Why should I vote?

The only time politicians
come to our neighborhoods

is when they want
to take pictures

with the po' folk.

I've had a restaurant
and a day-care center

on the south side
for five years.

Oh really.
Well that's nice.

But let's see what you do
once you're in office.

I'd really like to think
things change

but they never do.

Not with that attitude, missy.

Don't worry.
She'll just take it out
on her clothes later.

She's not the only person
who feels that way.

What are we supposed to do?

Get the people inspired.

Let's get going on this rally.

We're having a rally
day after tomorrow.

If you can help us

meet us at his
campaign headquarters

in a half hour.

And I'm buying dinner.

Oh, well, I'll be there.

I have to get
citywide coverage...

Radio, print, TV.

Got calls to make.

Do you like Chinese food?


We can get some work done
and dim sum.


Dim sum.

Oh, oh, and dim sum.

That's good.

Vote for me

because everyone deserves
proper health care.

The kind your restaurant
provides for all your employees.

Good. Good.
We have the resources.

By increasing the tax
on cigarettes and alcohol

we can create revenue

to fund three medical services
for the needy.

For every man, woman, and child!

Too much?

Too much. Too much.

Vote for me because you know
what I stand for.

And you'd like
to stand beside me.


So, what do you think?

That speech
should be heard live.

You think CNN will pick it up?

My daddy plays golf
with Bernie Shaw.

I was just joking.

You're not thinking big enough.

It's the State Senate,
not the presidency.

The first black mayor

was elected to a city
that only had 35% blacks.

Carl Stokes, Cleveland, 1967.


You are...
Very convincing.

I could sell evian
to a drowning man.

I bet you could.

Hey, is everybody else gone?

Well, we got everything done.

Whitley stayed
to go over my speech.

My civic duty.

Well, don't let me
interrupt you guys.

You're not interrupting.

I want to take a look
at these flyers.

These are great.

You do this yourself?

Me and Poindexter.


He named his computer.


I'll see you later.

It's late.
We should all go.

Let me tell Jerry I'm leaving.

These flyers are great.

Very professional.

For somebody who names
his computer, huh?

I'm sorry.
I didn't mean nothing.

Yes, you did, whitley.

Why do we do this?
Why do we always fight?

you're always
starting something.

Then I'm ending it.

We already ended it.

Uh, I hope I'm not interrupting.

Oh, no, no.

We were just talking about...

The flyers.

She doesn't like the flyers.

I like them.

Hey, Mr. Gaines,
a letter... special delivery.

From burger barge.

Do they want to steal
your special sauce?

Well, I ain't selling.

Do you mind
if we put banners up?

Mr. Gaines?

Do you mind if we put
some banners up tonight?

Y'all can't have
the rally here tonight.

I'm sorry, but you just can't.

Everything's been arranged.

Don't bother me with this now.

When I say no, I mean no!

Well, now,
what's wrong with him?

He needs a meditation.
He's very uptight.

They're taking the pit away
from Mr. Gaines.

It says Mr. Gaines' bid
has been rejected

and that burger barge
will assume the lease.

The lowest link
on the fast food chain.

This place helped
a lot of people.

Mr. Gaines is like family.

They can't close the pit.

Where will I get
my hush puppies?

This isn't about food, dimwit.

It's about a man who's given
his life to serving us.

He's fed my family
for generations.

Brothers, sisters,
I say we boycott burger barge.

We should petition
the administration.

Well, hopefully,
it's not too late.

Man, this is so heavy.

Dwayne, why don't you
and Kimberly talk to Mr. Gaines?

I don't know what to say.

Me either.

Listen, listen,
he needs a healing.

I will rap to him.

We'll give it a shot first.

Mr. Gaines?

The kitchen is closed.

We all saw the letter.

You got no business

in my private affairs.

The pit is everybody's affair.

Oh, I know.

This thing been dogging me
for six months.

I didn't think it
would come to this.

How can the school do this, man?

I put in the highest bid I could

but I can't compete
with a corporation.

Besides, I don't want
to keep the school

from earning
as much as they can.

I hope y'all get
a new library out of this.

A new library?

That's not right.

It's not about right.

It's about money.

We won't let this happen.

Dwayne, the executives

are coming tomorrow
to sign the papers.

Is that why you didn't want
the rally here?

I didn't know what to do.

Of course,
y'all can have the rally.

This is still the pit
as long as I'm here.

You're not alone.

Have you told velma?

There's a lot of things
I ain't never told velma.

I've never seen Mr. Gaines
look so defeated.

I'm going to call my
daddy, see if he can
pull a few strings.

These burger barge people
don't care about your daddy.

It's all about money.

What's all about money?

Mr. Gaines has lost
the pit.


The lease was taken
by the burger barge corporation.



We're talking
about Mr. Gaines.

You could show
a little compassion.

I was just thinking.

We've all been thinking.

We can't come up with anything.

The press will be there
tomorrow, right?



What was that?

A politician.

This is Freddie Brooks,
whcu campus radio.

This pit is packed full
of Douglas supporters.

The air is crackling
with anticipation.

Any minute now,
Byron Douglas III

will begin what seems to be
an eagerly-awaited oration.

Now, sir,
just set up over by the counter.

Get as much as you can
and don't get in the way.

Have you seen Byron?

He's late.

We were supposed
to start 20 minutes ago.

He probably forgot the address.

Excuse me. Could you tell me
if Vernon gaines is here?

And you are..?

From burger barge.

I've never met the man.

Did I hear you say

you're from burger barge?

Yes, we are.

Thank you for coming.

I appreciate your support.

Excuse me,
Mr. Gaines?


We were expecting
to go over the papers.

You'll have to wait
till the rally is over.

That will be fine.

It will save us another trip
to this dump.

It is my honor and pleasure
to introduce to you

one of hillman's
most illustrious alumni

and our next state senator,

Put your hands together
for Byron Douglas III.

Douglas! Douglas! Douglas!

Thank you.

Thank you.
Thank you, Dwayne.

Being in this room
brings back memories.

When I was an undergraduate
at hillman

I spent a lot of time
down here at the pit.

As a matter of fact,
I used to sit right over there.

I could make a cup of coffee
and a piece of cornbread

last for five hours.

I spent so much time here

that eventually the owner
took pity on me

and gave me a job.

That job meant more to me
than just some extra money.

It gave me a sense
of self-esteem, responsibility

a feeling
that I could do something well

but mostly...

Mostly it gave me Mr. Gaines.

The pit is more
than just a place to eat.

It's a place to call home.

It's a place to feel supported.

It's a place where the values
of the community are celebrated.

Something that is very much
lacking in our world today.

Now, it's come to my attention
that the burger barge

a very successful
fast food franchise

may be taking over
Mr. Gaines' lease.

The executives from
that corporation are here today.

The fact that these busy men,
who represent a company

that is responsible
to your needs

have found the time to be here
today shows their concern.

They know that without you,
they would not exist.

That's true.

It's my understanding

that they're here to Gauge
the students' opinion

to guide them
in making a decision.

So let's help them
make the right choice.

Get a closeup.

Keep the pit!

Keep the pit! Keep the pit!

Ladies and gentlemen, as an act
of goodwill to the community

the burger barge corporation
has decided

to underwrite the lease
of the pit.

Our good friend, Mr. Gaines,
will continue on as proprietor

for as long as he would like.

And this is how the government

should respond to the needs
of the people

but you cannot be heard

unless you raise your voices!

Byron Douglas III,
I want to thank you.

I'm just giving back
a little of what you gave me.

Hey, man, share how you feel.

How I feel?

Well, if y'all hadn't interfered

velma and I could have enjoyed

a condominium in Florida
right now.

Next time,
mind your own beeswax.

Excuse me.

Mr. Douglas?


I still don't trust politicians

but I'd vote for you.

You don't have to vote for me.

Just vote.

Most definitely.

Well, the kitchen is open

and the prices
have not been raised.

Not yet.

Give me my microphone.

See how he is?

So, I have a breakfast meeting
at Richmond tomorrow

and then I'm back at 1:00
for a speech

in front of the hillman
board of education.

And then talking to the
hospital workers' union.

Okay, I will meet you at
the board of ed tomorrow.

I want to tell you

you may not have talked a lot
about your platform

but you won
a lot of votes today.

Well, let's hope so.

Um... good night.

Good night.

Night, Dwayne.

What you did was wonderful.

The way you handled
those executives.

Quick. What's his name?

Uh... Stuart Olsen.

Stephen albright.

What did I say?

I think you're wonderful.

Oh, I'm sorry.

I don't know what came over me.

It's okay.
It's just very forward.

Yeah, it was.

There's only one way
to handle that.

Now... we're even.