Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977): Season 5, Episode 17 - The System - full transcript

It's the beginning of the regular pro football season, and Lou and Murray are talking about who Lou should bet on in this week's games. Ted, who doesn't understand football or the betting system, feels left out regardless. Lou tries to teach him, but he still doesn't understand. Lou ends up losing all three games on which he bet, yet Ted, who bet in pretend, won on all the games using his "system". As the weeks progress, Lou continues to lose, while Ted continues to pretend win. About a quarter way into the season, Lou goads Ted into betting for real, and Ted ends up winning for real. Lou, who doesn't like the fact that Ted is making a mockery out of the game by his system, decides to give Ted's system a try. They win, but Lou still isn't happy. By the time that the Super Bowl rolls around with a wad full of cash in his and Ted's collective pockets from the season's wins, Lou has to prove to himself that he can live his gambling life without Ted's system, but with Ted's money, of which Ted is blissfully unaware.

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♪ Who can take a nothing day ♪

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♪ Well, it's you, girl
and you should know it ♪

♪ With each glance and every
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No need to waste it ♪

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♪ You're gonna
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Good morning, Murr. Oh, hi.

And to brighten your day, I just placed
on your desk two humorous fillers,

one of which will be loused up
by Ted on the Six O'Clock News.

Oh, thank you, Murray.
They're my favorite part.

Uh-huh. [Chuckles]


We'll use this one.

What's the matter with that one?

I don't know, Murray.
I just don't believe it.

In the first place, how would you
get an elephant into an elevator?

And in the second place, I just don't
believe a real nun would carry a whip.

Hi, Mary. Good morning.

Murray, who do
you like on Sunday?

The Rams or Denver?
What's the point spread?

Well, my bookie's got the
Rams a 14-point favorite.

I'll put a half a
dollar on the Rams.

Mr. Grant, if you only wanna
bet a half a dollar, I'll bet with you.


Mary, when I say "half a
dollar," I don't mean 50 cents.

That's just betting slang.

You see, with real gamblers,

a dollar means $100,

a nickel is 500
and a dime is 1,000.

You understand? Not only
do I understand, Mr. Grant,

I think it's adorable.

Anyway, what do you
think about the Rams?

That's a lot of points, but they really
played great in the preseason games.

I'm gonna go with the Rams. Football
chatter. I love it when you guys do this.

What about Washington
and the Giants?

- Can I play too?
- What?

Haven't you noticed me
hanging around the newsroom...

every time you guys talk about
this stuff? You noticed him?

No. I've trained
myself not to see him.

I've been waiting for you to say,
"Come on, Ted. Talk football with us."

Isn't there something
else you can do?

Yeah, that's just the point.
Nobody seems to care.

I have nothing to do.

Never have anything to do.

Been here at 9:00,
punctual as a church mouse.

- Quiet as a church mouse.
- Well, I'm not noisy either.

Ted, I'm figuring out how to bet
real money. I gotta concentrate!

Please, let me be
part of this. Ted!

All right, Lou, even
if you won't let me,

I want you to know I'm grateful for the
few minutes you've already given me.

Thanks, Lou. Thanks, Murray.

Now I'll go stare at my wall.

All right, you can stay.

So I go with Washington,
but I gotta give 16 points.

"Gotta give 16 points"? What
does it mean to give 16 points?

Excuse me, Lou. I think
I'll go stare at Ted's wall.

Murray... Oh, Lou,
let him go. You'll see.

I'm much better to
play football betting with.

Just tell me. What does
it mean to give 16 points?

You wouldn't understand, Ted.

Why wouldn't I understand, Lou? Because
I'm too dumb? Is that what you think?


Well, you're wrong, Lou.

People have been making that mistake
about me all my life, even as a kid.

Kids wouldn't let me play
games with them because

they think I wouldn't
understand the rules.

They wouldn't let me play Monopoly
or chess or hide-and-go-seek.

But I'm tired of people
thinking I'm dumb. I'm not dumb.

I know how to play

I know how to play chess, too, except
for those pieces that look like horses.

I'm not dumb and I don't like
people treating me like I am.

All right, I'll explain
it to you. [Chuckles]

Thanks, Lou.

All right, now this is the betting line
I get from my bookie every week...

Go slow. I wanna
understand this.

Yeah. It tells you what team is
favored and by how many points.

Now, in the
Washington/Giants game,

Washington is favored
by 16 points. Uh-huh.

So, say you bet Washington.

That means if Washington wins
by more than 16 points, you win.

Uh-huh. But if they win by
less than 16 points, you lose.

Aha. Aha. You understand?


[Knocking] Yeah?

Here's the lead story
you wanted to see.

Oh, thanks.

You didn't have a good
day yesterday, did you?

I lost all three games.

I never should have
bet Washington.

A little voice in the back of my head
kept saying, "Don't bet Washington."

- So why did you bet Washington?
- Because the voice in front
of my head said,

"Dummy, you gonna listen
to a voice in your head?"

Yeah, we had an
unlucky day, didn't we?

- What do you mean, "we"?
- You know how I love to gamble.

But since I promised Marie I
wouldn't, I get my kicks watching you.

When you win, I'm happy.

And when you lose I'm twice
as happy, 'cause it wasn't me.

Hi, Lou.

Lost $150 yesterday, didn't you?

Yes, Ted. Murray, who
do you like next Sunday?

Denver or Pittsburgh?
Well, I won $180.

You won $180 on
football? That's right.

I bet six games at $90 a game. Won
four, lost two. See, here are my bets.

You bet all these
teams? Of course.

Once you explained that point
thing to me, I got to thinking.

They're all professional teams,
right? Anything can happen in football.

So I invented this system.
I bet the underdog...

in every game the bookie
gave 11 points or more.

Very scientific system.

Why did you pick 11?
It's my lucky number.

You're telling us that you actually
gambled all that money yesterday?

That's right.
Who'd you bet with?

- Myself.
- Yourself?

- Sure, I just put it on paper.
- Ted, if you were just making
imaginary bets,

how come you only bet $90?

- Why didn't you bet 100?
- I'd have been too nervous
to enjoy the game.

Mary, could you come
in here for a minute?

That's a great idea...
Ted betting with himself.

If he doesn't pay, he could
hire someone to beat himself up.

- Yes, Mr. Grant.
- Look, Mary,

could you do a personal favor for me
and cash this check for me at the bank?

I took a beating in the
football games yesterday

and I gotta pay the
guy this afternoon.

Yeah, sure. Yeah.

Mr. Grant, I'm kinda curious
about something. Mm-hmm?

- Why do you gamble?
- What do you mean?

Well, I'm not gonna say the
obvious things that people always say,

you know, about how
only suckers gamble,

how you can't possibly win because
the odds are stacked against you,

how gambling is really
another form of addiction.

Because I'm sure an
intelligent person like you...

must have a very good and
compelling reason to do it.

And I'm sure that once I
hear it, I'll say to myself,

"Why, you silly goose, why
didn't you think of that yourself?"

Look, Mary.

If you don't wanna go to
the bank for me, just say so.

No, I didn't say that. I just wondered
why you gamble. I'd really like to know.

All right. You wanna
know why I gamble?

I'll tell ya. Because
it's fun. Yeah.

I can get anybody to go to the
bank for me. I didn't say I wouldn't go.

I just wondered why you put yourself
through this agony week after week.

Because I'm having a good time!


Another great day for the
system. Won six, lost two.

That means after five weeks
of betting, Ted Baxter has won...


- Ted, it's not real money.
- It's still better
than nothing.

I wonder how Lou
made out yesterday.

Hi, Lou.

All right, Ted. Let's
get something straight.

I don't wanna hear
about the system.

I don't wanna hear how
much the system bet.

I don't wanna hear how
much the system won.

In fact, I don't wanna hear anything at
all about you and your dumb paper bets!

Is that clear? Sure,
Lou. Anything you say.

If Lou doesn't wanna hear
that the system's ahead $2,200,

that's okay with me.

Listen, Ted, if you're so sure
of this dumb system of yours,

why don't you put
some real money on it?

It so happens I was thinking
of betting some real money.

You're gonna bet real money?
That's right. I just may do so this week.

Okay, Ted, I'm gonna
call my bookie right now.

And if he's open for business...

Hello, Al. Lou
Grant. Yeah, uh-huh.

Listen, I got a friend of mine
here, and he'd like a little action.

Yeah. His name is Ted Baxter.

And here he is.

Hello, Al. Can you talk?

Hey, are you really a bookie?

Gee, I never talked
to a real crook before.

Lou, he wants to
talk to you again.

Yeah? No, it's not a joke.

Hello again. It's
me again, Al. Listen.

You got the line in front of
you? I want you to do me a favor.

How many games are there
with an 11-point spread?

Seven games, huh? I
don't have to know who's

playing. Here's what
you can do for me.

I wanna bet a dollar on the underdog
of each of those games, right?


Hey, nice doing business
with you, Al. [Chuckles]

You satisfied?

Yeah, Ted, I'm
satisfied. Okay, friend.

Uh, Ted, wasn't that an
awful lot of money to bet?

Oh, sure, but what the heck. I
can afford to risk seven dollars.

Wait, uh, Ted. There's
something I think you don't know.

See, as Mr. Grant
explained it to me,

bookies have their
own kind of language.

When you say you wanna
bet a nickel, that means $500.

When you say you wanna
bet a dime, that means $1,000.

And when you say a
dollar, that means... $10,000!


[Whimpering] Ted!

A dollar means $100.



Oh, boy, is that a relief.

Oh, thanks, Mary.

[Sighs, Chuckles]

I bet $700!

Thanks. Can you believe it?

Ted made $500 on
that dumb system of his.

He won six out of seven
of his bets yesterday.

Six out of seven bets.

Yeah. What'd he say
about the one he lost?

He took it very well.

He just looked up
to heaven and said,

"That's okay. Nobody's perfect."

Mr. Grant, have you
gone over the budget?

The station manager was
supposed to have it Friday.

Soon, Mary, soon. That's what
you said a couple of hours ago.

Well, now I'm confirming it.

Hey! Look, guys.

I just met Al the bookie in that bar you
sent me to. He paid me off in $100 bills.

He calls 'em "Benjis." Get
it? For Benjamin Franklin.

Five new crisp Benjis.

I've already made
my bets for next week.

What are you gonna do, Lou?

I don't know, Ted.

Come in with me, Lou. We'll
be partners in the system.

Ted, will you leave me alone?

You're prejudiced,
Lou. That's what you are.

If Murray thought of the system
or Mary thought of the system...

or Malcolm Glebber thought of the
system, you'd be thrilled to go in on it.

Malcolm Glebber? Who's
that? A total stranger.

Mr. Grant, I just ran into the station
manager, and he really wants that budget.

Mary, I'm busy.

Lou, why don't you go in with Ted
one week. What do you got to lose?

Come on, Lou.

Well, I guess I can't do any worse
than I've been doing. All right, Ted.

Great. You won't regret it. Here. Here
are the system's bets for next week.

- Mr. Grant, the Teletype...
- Mary, I'm busy!

All right, Ted, bet whatever
you want. I'm in for half.

- Okay.
- Mr. Grant, come
into your office.

Sit down, please.
[Bells Jingling]

This better be important.
Do you know you're a wizard?

- Was that it?
- I mean it.

Only a wizard could make
me feel that I am intruding...

because I wanna discuss
news in the newsroom.

No, Mary, you're
not intruding at all.

Mr. Grant, these bets are
becoming an obsession with you.

I realize it's none
of my business,

except that it's getting really hard
to get any work done around here.

Are you jingling? What?

Are you wearing bells
on any part of your body?

I have 'em on my belt. And that's
all I am going to discuss about it,

'cause that's a
tactic of yours...

To change the subject and make me
feel awkward about something ridiculous.

- Like bells, Mary?
- Mr. Grant...

I apologize. I don't think...

You're absolutely right in
everything you said or will say.

Now, is there anything
you'd like to add to that?

Mr. Grant, I came in here to
have a serious discussion...

Mary, Mary, I've already
made your point for you.

You don't wanna
belabor this, do you?

I'm wrong.

Okay. I accept your apology.

We all accept your
apology. "We all"?

Dancer, Prancer, all the gang.

All right, let's add $15 a
week more for the remote crew.

[Knocking] Yeah?

Hey, Lou, I picked up
this week's winnings.

[Giggles] I'll put it in the system's
bank account this afternoon.

Two Benjis, one Ulysses,

three Alexanders and four Abies.

[Giggles] That's Lincoln.

Oh. Thanks, Ted.

Isn't it wonderful? I'm
not only making money,

but I'm learning a lot
about American history.

By the way, Lou, I got the
betting line on the play-offs.

The system won't be able
to make bets from here on in.

There won't be any more
spreads with over 11 points.

But we'll do it again next year. It's
such a wonderful thing we're doing.

Ted, don't make
it sound so noble.

Well, it is noble, Mary. Do you
know who's behind gambling?

Organized crime, that's who.

And that makes it
noble? Of course.

If I keep on making this kind of money,
I'll bring the syndicate to its knees.

As long as we do something
to stop crime in this country,

I'm gonna keep on
betting and winning...

as long as there's a
breath of life left in me.

[Door Closes] [Groans]

My bookie's not part of any
mob. He's a men's room attendant.

When he loses, he just
cuts down on supplies.

So all Ted's doing is driving a lot of
men out into the streets with wet hands.

- Is anything wrong?
- Anything wrong? I'm not sure.

If you're not sure, there's
probably something wrong.

I don't know. Suddenly I
just feel a little depressed.

Do you wanna go to
lunch with me? Sure.

All right. Wait a minute. I
know what'll cheer you up.

It is such a
gorgeous day outside.

I mean, it's really
nippy. What do you say,

instead of going to
some stuffy restaurant,

you and I go over to
the rink, rent a couple

of skates and skate
the lunch hour away.

[Chuckles] I've never
done that on my lunch hour,

and I never will.

- The stuffy...
- Right.

I hope you don't mind my
taking you here instead of skating.


If you want some exercise, they
got some pinball machines over there.

Mr. Grant, are you aware that you were
pretty unhappy when you were losing money,

and now that you're winning money with
Ted's system, you're still pretty unhappy?

Right. And I'm
not quite sure why.

Let me tell you a little story.

Maybe it's a good
analogy. Maybe it isn't.

Maybe it'll make you feel better.
Maybe it won't. Maybe I'll tell it well.

- Mary.
- Okay.

When I was in high school, I used
to love to go to the football games.

I'd sit up in the stands and I'd
cheer old Roseburg High on.

And then the next year...

You started betting
and you lost your shirt?

No. I became a pom-pom girl.

Why you stopping?

I thought you might
wanna make a sarcastic

remark about my having
been a pom-pom girl.

No, Mary. I'm surprised...

when your stories aren't
about you being a pom-pom girl.

Okay, now I can go on.

Well, the thing is, Mr. Grant,

I used to get out there on the field
with these two big yellow pom-poms...

Hey, wait. I have a question.

Do you call one
pom-pom a "pom"...

and the two of them "pom-poms"?

No, one is a pom-pom.

Then why aren't the two of
them called pom-pom-pom-poms?

Now the whole point of
my story is going to be lost.

No, you go ahead.

Okay. The point is,

these were very regimented
routines. Mm-hmm.

And I found that my
cheering became mechanical...

because it was controlled
by somebody else. Mm-hmm.

All the fun went
out of it for me.

Mary, you spent a good
part of our lunch hour

warning me against
becoming a pom-pom girl.

Mr. Grant, the thing is,

that even though Ted is
winning money for you,

you're not having the
fun of doing it yourself.

Yeah, maybe you're right. I
gotta think about that. Good.

Yeah. I gotta get back. I have
to make up tonight's lineup.

You go ahead. I
wanna talk to a guy here.

Hey, Al. Wait a minute.
You got dessert coming.

What do they have? You got
a choice: ice cream or a cigar.


Hiya, Lou. Hi, Al. Sit down.

Say, Lou, could you
do me a favor? What?

From now on, could you pick up your
winnings instead of that guy Baxter?

Every time I pay
him off, he giggles.

I don't like losin' to a guy who
giggles, and then says to me,

"The weed of crime
bears bitter fruit."

Al, he thinks you're
a part of the mob.

What's that about the mob, Lou?

I'm not in the mob.
I'm in the john.

What are you doing with all
that money you're winning?

Well, at this moment,
it's in the bank.

Gee, with the state the economy's
in, you're taking a big gamble.

[Man On TV] A beautiful
spiral being held up by the wind.

Fair catch. Jones at his own 39.

And there's the two-minute warning.
There's the two-minute warning.

Looks like that's the ball game,
Lou. What are you talking about?

They're only 12 points behind. They
still got a chance. Anything can happen.

Well, I agree with Andy.
I think the game's over.

Thanks for inviting
us over, Mary.

It was a wonderful
brunch. Thank you.

I couldn't have enjoyed the football
game more if I'd understood it.

I'll just get ready, Teddy.

He hates it when I rhyme
something with his name.

Sometimes I say,
"Steady, Teddy,"

or, "How's your
Cousin Eddie, Teddy?"

The one he hates most is,
"Have some spaghetti, Teddy."

She only does that because
she knows I can't get back at her.

Nothing rhymes with
Georgette. You bet.

Lou, if you didn't bet on the game,
what are you so nervous about?

I bet it. Come on, Pittsburgh!

- You bet a lot?
- Everything.


I took all the money Ted
and I made this year and bet it.

Wow. Ted sure
is taking it calmly.

I'll say.

Ted doesn't know.

Mr. Grant, that's terrible! You
bet his money without asking him?

I had to, Mary. I had to prove to myself
that I was as good as Ted's system.

And it's gonna be okay,

just as long as Pittsburgh scores
12 points in the next 26 seconds.

Well, that's easy enough. That's
less than a point every two seconds.

Come on, Pittsburgh!
Come on! Kill 'em!

Hey, Mary, relax. It's only a
football game. Shut up, Ted!

Come on, Pittsburgh!
Which one is Pittsburgh?

They're the ones who just
congratulated the winners.

Hey, so what, Lou?

I mean, what does it
matter whether they won

or lost, as long as we
didn't bet the game?

- Ted, I'm gonna tell you something...
- Uh, no, no.

No, not in my house.

I had nothing to do with this, and you're
going to tell him this thing in my house?

- No.
- Why don't you take him out
on the balcony and tell him?

No, I can just tell him
here. Mary, sit down.

Ted. Yeah, Lou?

That $2,000 we made
on football this year,

I bet it all on the Super Bowl and
we lost, and it's as simple as that.

Murray's right. Maybe it's better
you break it to me on the balcony.

Excuse us.


How long do you think he'll
stay out there, Georgette?

You have to understand. Sometimes
a man just needs to be alone.

With Ted, very often,
it's not his choice.

I told him I'd find a
way to pay him back,

but I don't think he's
hearing too well right now.

I don't know about
the rest of you,

but I cannot bear to see that man
standing out there alone like that.