One Day at a Time (1975–1984): Season 3, Episode 8 - The Ghost Writer - full transcript

Barbara hands in Julie's poetry for an assignment and she is hailed as a genius.

♪ This is it ♪ This is it

♪ This is life, the one you get

♪ So go and have
a ball ♪ This is it

♪ This is it

♪ Straight ahead
and rest assured

♪ You can't be sure at all

♪ So while you're
here enjoy the view

♪ Keep on doing what you do

♪ So hold on tight
we'll muddle through

♪ One day at a time
♪ One day at a time

♪ So up on your
feet ♪ Up on your feet

♪ Somewhere
there's music playing

♪ Don't you worry none

♪ We'll just take
it like it comes

♪ One day at a time
♪ One day at a time

♪ One day at a time
♪ One day at a time

♪ One day at a time
♪ One day at a time

♪ One day at a time

- The tall ship sailed
gracefully into the horizon.

It sailed so fast you
couldn't keep your eyes in.

(audience laughs)

That's the worst thing that's
ever come out of my brain.

- Still having trouble
with your poetry, huh?

- Yes.

I don't know why I
took this poetry class.

It's turning out to
be a pain in the...

- Don't rhyme that!

(audience laughs)

- I'm trying to write a
poem about a tall ship.

You'd think it'd be easy.

It doesn't work.

- That's your
problem right there,

you gotta write about
something that you know.

I mean... Like the pizza.

You want a poem?

I'll give you a poem.

I bring you a pizza
with mozzarella.

Which got all wet
because I had no umbrella.

(audience laughs)

I got a million of those.

I got veritably a million.

I'm gonna dry this
pizza out in the oven.

I'll pop it in without
even shovin'.

- Schneider, I don't
know what to write about.

- Well, you gotta write about
something that you know.

Like, for example, like me.

A super is a man on
whom you can depend.

His work never
stops, it has no end.

In the middle of the night

if you have trouble
with your can,

he'll get there before
your Ty-D-Bol Man.

(audience applauds)

- Why don't we go
back to mozzarella?


- (laughs) Mozzarella fella.

You can do it.

You see what I
mean, you can do it,

it's just the thing
is you're just tired.

Why doncha eat some
pizza, you go to bed,

the pizza lays there
on your stomach,

you have a couple
of wild dreams,

you come up with
something brilliant

in the middle of the night.

- Yeah, heartburn.

(audience laughs)

- No, really.

I used to have these
brilliant thoughts

in the middle of
the night all the time.

All the time, and I
never wrote 'em down.

I finally got a pad and pencil.

I put it beside my bed.

Then one night I had
a brilliant inspiration.

Next morning I got up
and I went through my pad.

- What it say?

- Write it down.

(audience laughs)

- Don't make jokes now.

I mean if mom sees that
I come home with an F

she's gonna kill me.

I don't know why but she
expects great things from me.

- Yeah, I know.

My mother expected
great things from me too.

Thank god I didn't let her down.

(audience laughs)

- When Julie said she
wasn't going to college

it almost killed her.

That's why I feel
all this pressure.

- Hey now look, you shouldn't
feel pressure, you understand?

No pressure,

'cause you feel pressure
then you start to hyperventilate.

Start to hyperventilate
you got to put your head

in a paper bag.

(audience laughs)

How you gonna write your poetry

if you got your
head in a paper bag?

- Just don't tell mom
that I'm having trouble

in this course, alright?

- Mum's the word.

- Hi, how was the movie?

- Oh, the usual.

The Earth crashes into
Sun, burns to a crisp,

but the last rocket ship plunges
through a meteorite shower

and lands on a lost
planet to begin life anew.


(audience laughs)

- Looks like it snowed in here.

You've been working hard, huh?

- She always works hard.

How's it coming, honey?

- Fine, fine.

I'm almost through.

- You mean you're
not finished yet?

- Shut up.

- Hey, hey, hey!

Great poetry was not
built in a day, alright?

I mean, I bet it took that
guy 10 years to come up with.

♪ Plop, plop, fizz,
fizz, oh what a relief it is

(audience laughs)

Reminds me, if you're hungry
there's a pizza in the oven.

- Thank you, Schneider.

- Now look, Barbara,
you just keep punching.

And don't ever forget, and
please always remember,

you can't win 'em all.

My mother's pediatrician
once said that.

(audience laughs)

- Barbara, what did
he mean by that?

You having trouble?

- No, no, I just want
'em to be original.

- They'll be terrific.

They're always terrific.

I'm tired, I'm going to sleep.

Don't stay up too late, honey.

Hey, Julie, you going to bed?

- No, I think I'll stay up and
watch the munchkin create.

- Goodnight.

- 'Night.

Want some pizza, Barbara?

It really smells good.

- No, I'm too uptight to eat.

- Let me hear the poem
that you're working on now.

- You mean recite
it, just like that?

- That's right, acapella.

- Since when are you so
interested in my poetry?

- I'm interested, come on!

- Okay look, so I don't have
anything written right now.

I mean, after roses
are red, I'm dead.

(audience laughs)

Is that one?

Look, poetry just
is not my thing.

- Then why'd you
take the course?

- Because I thought it
would be a cinch course,

you got a A in it.

- It's the only A I ever got.

Teacher apologized
for spoiling my record.

(audience laughs)

- I'm so sleepy I can't
even think anymore.

Mom's gonna kill
me if I flunk out.

I don't mind telling
you I'm very desperate.

- You should be desperate.

Fleas, by Barbara Cooper.

Adam had 'em.

(audience laughs)

- I went downhill from then on.

- Barbara, you know what I
could probably do for you?

I have a lot of old poetry
that you could turn in

and get a good grade
and get some sleep.

Oh no, forget it.

That's unthinkable.

- Right, you're
absolutely right.

It's unthinkable.

If it's unthinkable how
come I'm thinking about it?

- I can't do it,
Barbara, I just can't.

There is a very ugly word
for what we're talking about.


- I don't think that's so ugly.

I kinda like the way it sounds.

(audience laughs)

You're right, it's cheating.

I couldn't do that.

But, as long as you insist.

I mean, you could just
show me the poetry.

No, no, no, no, it would
be cheating, you're right.

- Not really, Barbara.

You and I inherited
both the same brain cells.

- Right, I'd just temporarily
being using your half brain.

(audience laughs)

I mean, half of your brain.

- Why don't you
take a look at these?

- Oh great, all nice,
typed and everything.

- Wait a second, mini-brain.

You don't even
know how to cheat.

What you do is you
look through here

and you find some poems you like

and change 'em around
so they don't sound so great.

(audience laughs)

- Thank you, Julie.

- Hey, what are sisters for?

I want you to look on
this as a loving gesture.

Now you owe me.


(audience laughs)

Good night.

- Good night.

- Oh, hello, Barbara.

(audience applauds)

- You wanted to see me?

- Yes, dear, sit down.

I've just been
reading your poems.

- My poems?

- Yes, your poetry
teacher, Mr. Haskill,

felt that I should see them.

Frankly, they worried him.

- Worried?

- Yes, frankly
they worry me too.

You always were one
of my favorite students.

- Were?

(audience laughs)

- Barbara, this is not
the pruning season.

(audience laughs)

Well, now, what
am I to make of this?

- Ms. Loring, I promise
I'll never do it again!

- Do what again?

- You tell me.

(audience laughs)

- Well, one thing is obvious,

Barbara Cooper did
not write these poems.

Stop that!

(audience laughs)

You probably thought,
Ms. Loring, you fool,

you'll never catch on.

Even now I bet you're
saying to yourself,

I can still fake you out,
Ms. Loring, you fool.

- No, no, Ms. Loring you fo...

(audience laughs)

I didn't mean to
say that, really.

I don't know what I'm saying.

- The poet who
wrote these verses

is far, far more serious
and more complex

than the sweet, open
face child I see before me.

- If you'll just let me explain.

- You nearly got away with it.

I'll admit I was
taken in for sometime

by your little
charade. (chuckles)

But now I know you
for what you really are.

Not a sweet little innocent,

not a happy carefree youngster,

but a sensitive,
gifted lyric poet.

(audience laughs)

An artist.

A genius.

(audience laughs)

- Run that by me again.

(audience laughs)

- A genius.

Oh, Barbara, Barbara, Barbara!

Can I, a poor scribbler of
verse, touch a true poet's hand?

- Be my guest.

(audience laughs)

- Oh Barbara, if I could
only write poetry like you do.


(audience laughs)

Now then,

about the poem Mother's Day,

what was really raging in the
burning caldron of your being?

- What was raging in
my burning caldron?

(audience laughs)

I guess you could
call it burning rage.

- And as your counselor
that burning rage troubles me.

How much do you
really hate your mother?

- What?

- My mother smiles,

but all I see are
the savage teeth

of the tigress
devouring her young.

Oh Barbara.

- Oh Barbara.

(audience laughs)

- And what was in your poor,
tormented soul when you wrote,

there she stands, swollen
with self righteousness,

blind to her own faults, but
Argus-eyed when seeing mine.

Oh goodness.

(audience laughs)

- I guess when I
was writing those

it wasn't really me writing it.

- My dear child, you
cannot go on this way.

From these poems the
wound is far too deep.

Far, far too deep.

No, I feel it's my duty to
talk to your mother about this.

- Oh no, you can't.

- Well, don't worry,
dear, I'll be very delicate.

- Well, you see, she's in a
very delicate condition too.

- What do you mean?

- She's pregnant.

(audience laughs)

- Oh?

Well now, let me see.

According to your latest file
your mother was divorced.

When did she remarry?

- Soon.

(audience laughs)

You know how it is today.

Don't you?

- Oh yes, yes I do
know how it is today.

And I know this
troubles you deeply.

I won't have it.

- Well you're not gonna
have, my mom's gonna have it.

(audience laughs)

Look, Ms. Loring,

I really appreciate all you're
doing for me and everything

but I don't think it's
such a good idea

to go over and see
my mother right now.

I mean, she's 35, out of
practice being pregnant.

I mean last time she was pregnant
was when she had me and...

- Alright, alright.

Alright, alright.

(audience laughs)

I understand perfectly.

- Thank you.

Thank you.

Can I have my
poems back, please?

- Oh no, not just now.

(audience laughs)

I want to read on and
savor them to their fullest.

Oh, if I had your
God-given gift.


- Well, it's not
exactly God-given.

Ms. Loring, may I
please be excused?

I'm late for gym class.

- Of course, dear.

- Thank you.

- Don't strain yourself.

(audience laughs)

So deep the pain
within me sprung

perhaps I should
die while young.

(audience laughs)

Oh, the agony that poor
child is going through.

I can't let this go
on much longer.

(audience laughs)

She could kill herself.

You never know what goes
on in those gyms these days.

(audience laughs)


Hello, Jonathan.

Yes, I'm going by Barbara
Cooper's home tonight,

and I'll be a little late.

Would you feed the cats?

Yes, thank you, dear.

Yes, Emily can have
the poultry platter

and I think Erica would
like the bits of liver.

(audience laughs)

Yes, thank you, darling.

Yes, yes, I'll be a little late.

Oh my god, I've hurt you!

(audience laughs)

(audience applauds)

(doorknob clicks)

(audience laughs)

- Why'd you bust my bubble?

- I should bust your butt.

(audience laughs)

- What are you talking about?

- Those poems of yours.

- Uh-oh, the kid got caught.

- No, no, you see
it's not that easy.

Ms. Loring called me in.

- Boring Loring?

(audience laughs)

- Right.

She thinks the
poems are terrific.

- Terrific, huh?

Is that what she said?

- And that I wrote them.

So now, for the
rest of the semester

I have to go around
looking sensitive and artistic.

- Terrific, really?

She said that?

- Yes, you gifted,
lyrical creep.

(audience laughs)

Which reminds me, where do
you get off hating mom so much?

- What?

Somebody put your
brains in a blender?

I don't hate mom.

- Well according to
your poems you do.

- Which poems did you take?

- The short ones in the middle.

- Barbara, why'd you
have to take those?

- Because they were short.

And I was tired.

- Barbara, didn't you
see what they were

when you changed them?

Oh, you didn't change them.

Barbara, Ms. Loring saw
those poems. (groans)

- Wait a second, why
do you hate mom?

- I don't hate mom.

I wrote those poems last year

when mom and I were
fighting about Chuck.

It was just an adolescent phase.

I hope you don't think that's
the way I feel about mom.

- Okay, alright.

But I couldn't
convince Ms. Loring.

She wanted to come over here.

- She's coming here?

- No, I told her
mom was pregnant.

(audience laughs)

- You what?

- I told her mom was pregnant.

And that she
couldn't be disturbed.

It's the only thing I could
think of on such short notice.

- Well you better tell mom

so she can at least
start walking funny.

(audience laughs)

- Hardy, har, har.

Anyway, Ms. Loring
bought it, I'm safe.

Hi, mom, how was work?

- Terrible.

I had a memorable
day I would like to forget.

When I stood up to
give my presentation

I spilled coffee all
over Mr. Davenport.

They all hated my presentation.

I have to work this
weekend to write a new one,

which means I have to
cancel a very important date.

And to top it all off,

I bought a new pair of pantyhose
and found the egg empty.

(audience laughs)

I haven't felt so rotten
since I had morning sickness.

(Julie laughs)

What so funny about
morning sickness?

- You may be having it again.

(audience laughs)

- Uh, mom, just a joke.

- I'm not in the mood
for jokes right now.

Would you get me
a couple of aspirins.

I feel like the sequel to Star
Wars is goin off in my head.

- Yeah, I'll go get 'em.

(doorbell rings)

- Oh, wonderful,
company, that's great,

that's just what I'm in the
mood for right now, company.


(audience laughs)

- Hello, I'm Ms. Loring,
Barbara's counselor.

- I'm sorry.

I've had a rough day.

- I understand perfectly, dear.

And I'll try not to tax
your strength too much.

(audience laughs)

But it's very important.

- Sure.

Sure, come on in.

- Thank you.

Hello, Julie.

- Hi, Ms. Boring.

(audience laughs)


- Well, Julie...

You've certainly grown.

- I like to keep busy.

(audience laughs)

- Ms. Loring,
won't you sit down?

- Oh, after you.

Here we go.

Right there.

Oh, here, here,
isn't that better?

(audience laughs)

- Is something wrong?

- Oh no, no.

Let's just say it becomes you.

(audience laughs)

I never had one of my own.

- I got this one in Toledo.

(audience laughs)
(audience applauds)

(audience laughs)

- Oh, Barbara, dear.

Don't go, this concerns you too.

- What's going on?

- Now don't upset yourself,
it's not good for you.

(audience laughs)

- I don't know what's going on.

- It's Barbara's poetry.

It's brilliant.

- I'll buy that.

(audience laughs)

- But troubling.

And loathsome canker
lives in sweetest bud.


(audience laughs)

- Can't argue with that.

(audience laughs)

- Now, I think the
best way to proceed

is for Barbara to
read her poetry aloud.

Let it all hang out
as the kids say.

Oh, dear.

I guess I shouldn't
have said that.

(audience laughs)

- I don't think I really should.

I mean, well...

Why doesn't Julie read them?

She's so much better at
reading poetry than me.

- No hablo ingles.

(audience laughs)

- Barbara, I think you oughta
do what Ms. Loring suggests.

- My mother smiles but all I see

are the pretty teeth of the
tigress protecting her young.

- That's nice.

- That's not how it
was written, Barbara.

As I recall, the words were,

the savage teeth of the
tigress devouring her young.

(audience laughs)

- Mom, just remember,
whatever happens I love you.

(audience laughs)

- What the hell is going on?

- Please, please
don't upset yourself.

You have to be particularly
careful at your age.

- What does my age
have to do with anything?

- Well despite you know what,

I felt compelled
to come over here

because of Barbara's deep
resentment towards you.

Which is sometimes natural
under the circumstances.

- What circumstances?

- One poem in particular I think

sums up your
daughter's frustrations.

Barbara, would you read
The Fascist in Pantyhose?

(audience laughs)

- The Fascist in Pantyhose?

I presume that's me.

- Mom, I love you.

- Me too, mom, I really do.

- There is hope for
this unfortunate family.

(audience laughs)

- Barbara, do you have
unspoken resentments against me?

- No, mom, believe
me, they're all spoken.

(audience laughs)

- That's what I thought.

This is pretty rough stuff
these poems you wrote.

(audience laughs)

Assuming you did write them.

Ms. Loring, I have a
feeling that Barbara

didn't write these poems.

Am I right, Barbara?

Julie, come back here.

(audience laughs)

- Please, Ms.
Romano, your condition.

You could lose the baby!

(audience laughs)

- Baby?

Is that why you've
been staring at my belly?

(audience laughs)

- Well, I...

- Where in the world
did you get the idea

that I was pregnant?

(audience laughs)

- Lord, gotta minute?

(audience laughs)

- Okay, okay gang,
let's take this whole thing

right from the top!

- Alright.

Mom, I was having
trouble writing.

Writing the poetry that
I owed for this class.

And I got uptight about failing

so I borrowed some
poetry from Julie.

But me, dummy,
didn't even read 'em.

- She just happen
to take the ones

that I wrote last year when you

were giving me and
Chuck a rough time.

- Okay.

Okay, that explains part of it.

But when did I become pregnant?

(audience laughs)

- Don't you know?

(audience laughs)
(audience applauds)

- I'm not pregnant.

- Then nothing
happened in Toledo?

(audience laughs)

Barbara, you deceived me.

I'm very disappointed in you.

- I'm furious.

And Barbara, you cheated.


You never cheated before.

- Well.

- Well, you see, mom, she
didn't wanna let you down.

She never had an F before.

- Don't lay that stuff on me.

I've made a concerted
effort, Barbara,

to stay off your back,

so you wouldn't stay outta
college the way Julie has.

- See what I mean?

- Look, old tigress teeth here,

has never done anything
to warrant your cheating.

- Mom, I kinda helped
push her into this,

I'm sorry.

- You should be.

- I'm deeply wounded.

(audience laughs)

Barbara, I'm afraid this
means you failed the course.

- Oh, Ms. Loring, isn't
there anything I can do

to make it up somehow?

- Well you could
go to summer school

and take the course over.

- Oh no, I can't do that.

See, I have plans
for the summer.

I was going...
- Consider it done.

- Mom!


Ms. Loring.

- I've done all I can.

I think I'll go home and cry.

(audience laughs)

Ms. Romano, if you
do have another child,

and I say this from
the bottom of my heart,

send it to another school.

(audience laughs)


(audience applauds)

- Mom, I'm really sorry.

- Yeah.

Yeah, okay.

I guess we all have
to learn the hard way.

Fascist in pantyhose?

(audience laughs)

- You've improved since then.

- Oh, thanks.

I'd like to read those poems.

- How 'bout when
you're older, om?

- How about right now?

(all yelling)
(audience applauding)

One Day at a Time
was recorded live on tape

before a studio audience.

(upbeat music)