One Day at a Time (1975–1984): Season 4, Episode 20 - The Piano Teacher - full transcript

A baby grand piano is mistakenly delivered to Ann's apartment and the real owner ends up giving lessons in her living room.

♪ 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

♪ 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

♪ 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

(muffled whispering)

- What's this?

- To Schneider.

Dear tenant in 402.

- Uh oh, now what have we done?

- From now on I
would appreciate it

if you notified me in advance

of any deliveries
you're expecting.

- Oh, my warmup suit.

It got delivered from Blots.

- Little that you care,

but today's my day off and I
was entertaining in my room

but now, because of
you, my beer is warm

and Miss Larou is cold.


- He's blaming us for that?

- When your little
delivery arrived

I had to let them
into your apartment

which meant taking
the door off the hinges.

- Wait a minute.

He took the door off the
hinges for my warmup suit?

I only ordered a small.

(audience laughing)

Oh my God.

(audience laughing)

What is this piano
doing in our living room?

- I don't think it'll
fit in the bathroom.

- That's real cute.

I obviously didn't
order a piano.

- Well it was here
when I got home.

I couldn't believe it.

Look, here's the slip.

Gowar Brothers Piano
Movers, apartment 402, that's us.

- Barbara, did you
happen to notice

the name on this?

- Name?

- Yeah, it's right after
the words deliver to.

- Victor Mulhern.

- Does that tell you anything?

- You stole some guys piano?

(audience laughing)

- This is the new tenant
who moved in in 404.

What's his piano doing here?

- Isn't that amazing?

Same question occurred to me.

I'm gonna call Schneider

and find out what's going on.

- Oh, my, you think you should?

Miss Larou might
be warming up again.

(audience laughing)
(doorbell ringing)

Oh, I'll get that.

- Excuse me.

I just moved in next door and,

it's been one of those days.

I can't find two
socks that match,

I locked my keys in the car,

and now my refrigerator
hasn't been delivered.

Could I possibly put a
couple of things in yours?

- Sure, really.

- Oh, thank you.

I'm telling you, if there
is one more foul up

I'm ready to go out the,

what is my piano doing
in your living room?

(audience laughing)

- Yeah, we were kind of
wondering the same thing.

Seems that you gave the movers

the wrong apartment number.

- I wouldn't do a
dumb thing like that.

I did a dumb thing like that.

(audience laughing)

Yeah, I'm Victor Mulhern.

- Yeah, hi.

We read that on the receipt.

I'm Ann Romano,
these are my daughters.

- I'm Julie.

- Julie and Barbara.
- Hi.

- Yeah, hi.

Welcome to the building.

- Thank you.

Gee, I'm sorry about the piano.

Why would I tell them 402?



Of course, 402 is my
ex wife's new address.

Since the settlement
I automatically

send everything I
own to that number.

(audience laughing)

- You're divorced?

- Yeah, three days.

The only reason I
got to keep the piano

is 'cause I need
that to make a living.

- Oh, you're a musician?

- Actually I teach piano
lessons during the day

and at night I play at
the Scotch and Sirloin.

- About the piano.

- No, I gotta go
start my dinner.

Could I have two of my eggs back

and a pat of butter?

- Sure.
- Thanks.

- Oh, you need through.

- Excuse me.

Oh, sorry.

Well it's a nice
apartment you've got here

behind the piano.

(audience laughing)

- Oh, here you are.

Butter and eggs.

- Thanks.

I hate to ask but could
I borrow a frying pan?

- Sure.

Here you go, frying pan.

- And a fork?

(audience laughing)

Pinch of salt?

(audience laughing)

- Salt.

Listen, you know, if
you need a toothbrush

I could always run down
to the drugstore for you.

(audience laughing)

- Listen, as long
as you're going...

(audience laughing)

- A little joke there.

- That's okay, I'll go later.

My wife got custody
of the nasal spray.

(audience laughing)

- I'd like to find out
the name of her lawyer.

Could always use a winner.

- Let's see, eggs,
butter, salt, pan.

Did I forget anything?

- Oh nothing you can't
climb over or crawl under.

- Oh, yeah.

The piano.

It's kind of late to
get to the movers.

I hate to ask but would you mind

if I left it here overnight?

- Do I have a choice?

- Ma, I wouldn't worry.

Just last week we
were saying we needed

a little something
to put the mail on.

- What'd they do, what'd
they do to my piano?

Oh, I forgot.

While my wife was
grabbing the checkbook

I took the electric blanket.

(audience laughing)

Boy is it ever
gonna frost her butt.

(audience laughing)

- Oh, Mr. Mulhern.

- I'm sorry.

I'm not used to getting
anything from a woman

without calling my lawyer first.

(audience laughing)

- Would you say that that man

did not have a happy divorce?

- I think his wife did.

- It sure is interesting
hearing the man's

side of it.

Did Dad ever say he
wanted to frost your butt?

- Well, only once.

And that was when I
wanted to fool around

when he was watching
the Super Bowl.

- You know, Mr. Mulhern
seems a little bit like dad,

kind of helpless.

- Oh, come on.

Your dad?


- Sure, he didn't even know
how to use the stove at first.

Whenever we went to visit him

he'd always take
us out to dinner.

- Yeah, it didn't
matter where we went,

whether it was a burger
joint or a pizza place

or a fancy restaurant,
every waiter knew his name.

- I always wondered something.

- Yeah?

- When you and dad got divorced,

how come you got his tool chest?

- Because he took my hair dryer.

(audience laughing)

- Why did he take
your hair dryer?

- Because I took
his fishing rod.

- Why did you
take his fishing...

- Barbara, nevermind.

Those are just the
dumb things that happen

when you go through a divorce.

- Hi guys.

Who's turn is it
to start dinner?

- Obviously yours or
you wouldn't be asking.

(dramatic piano tune)


- Don't get too excited.

That's the extent
of my repertoire

unless you wanna
hear a segway into...

- I'll get dinner.

- Oh, I always wanted to
learn how to play the piano

but my mother
insisted on tap dancing.

She was a Shirley Temple freak.

- Well why don't you take
piano lessons now, Ma?

- Oh come on.

- You're never too old to learn.

- Right, that's what you told
Barbara about potty training.

(audience laughing)

- Oh, I'd like to but I just
don't have the time for it.

- That's what Barbara
said about potty training.

(audience laughing)

- Come on, Mom.

You've got the
perfect opportunity.

We have a piano
teacher right next door.

- Well, I'd like to
learn but I'm just too...

- Old?

- Lazy?

- Busy.

(doorbell ringing)

- Yeah, can I have two more eggs

and another frying pan?

(audience laughing)

- What happened?

- Well don't get the
idea I can't fry eggs

'cause I always made
breakfast on our anniversary.

But I was calling
the piano movers

and I forgot the eggs.

- Why don't you just
stay here for dinner?

- Oh no, I couldn't possibly.

- Really, really,
welcome to the building.

Right Mom?

- Well, uh, sure, why not.

- Thank you.

I'll have to have
you over to my place

for dinner some night.

- Oh no.

That isn't necessary.

(audience laughing)

- Oh, there's something
I have to tell you.

I spoke to the movers

and they said they'd
pick up the piano.

- Oh good.

- On Tuesday.

- Tuesday?

No, not Tuesday.

That's four days from now.

- I could pay you
rent for the space.

- I got a better idea.

You can give my
mom piano lessons.

- Barbara.

- That's terrific.

- It's a deal.

It'd be terrific to teach
an adult for a change.

- She already knows Beethoven.

- No, no, just the
ba, ba, ba, bum.


Anyway, I really couldn't
accept free lessons.

- Who said free?

- See, there, I can't afford it.

- Half price, then we
can both be half happy.

- Well I'd like to be
able to play the piano

but at my age...

- You're right,
you're right, Mom.

It's way too late.

(audience laughing)

- No, it's not way too late.

It's just that, well,
see I work hard

and then I come
home late from work

and then I have my
two daughters to...

- Bathe.

- Bathe. (audience laughing)


How long would it take
me to learn Moon River?

- Well that depends
upon your cooperation.

Redheads tend
to be a little flaky.

(audience laughing)

Nothing personal, I'm
thinking about my wife.

- I wouldn't worry about
Mom being a redhead.

She'll grow out of it.

(audience laughing)

- Now, this is a piano.

It is not a toy.

It is an expensive
musical instrument.

It is to be approached

with dedication, concentration
and clean fingernails.

(audience laughing)

Sorry, I don't get many
students your age.

- Do I get a gold
star on my forehead

if they're clean?

(laughing) (audience laughing)

- Now I start all my pupils

with a five finger exercise.

C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D, C.

Now relax, I don't
expect perfection today.

Start with your
thumb on middle C.

- C.

- Delicately.

You're playing a piano,

you're not pounding round steak.

- Yes sir.

- Don't slouch.

- Sorry.

- You know, I'm sorry.

You're an adult.

If you're happy with that
posture it's okay with me.

(audience laughing)

- Could we get
on with the lesson?

- Right.
- Thank you.

C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D, C.

Ha ha, now what?

(audience laughing)

- We do it again
about 10,000 times.


E, F, G, F, E, D, C.

And again.

- C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D, C.

- Once more.

C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D, C.

Ugh, you hit a double note.

- I know, I heard it.

- At least that's encouraging.

Look it's just a
simple exercise.

Could we please concentrate

if that isn't too difficult?

- Mr. Mulhern, look...
- No, no, I'm sorry.

Older people are
just not as fast as kids.

I gotta get used to that.

(audience laughing)

- Thank you, this
is a little difficult

with one foot in the grave.

- Well now, if you're
gonna lose patience.

- I'm not losing patience,

I would just like to learn

the rest of the damn alphabet.

- It is called a scale.

Miss Romano may I remind you

that I am donating, (grunting)

donating these lessons.

- At half price.

- On my piano.

- Which happens to be
sitting in my living room.

(audience laughing)

- You have a feeling
that we're getting off

to a bad start?

(audience laughing)

- Yes, I have that feeling.

- Well I guess I'm
not the easiest person

to take lessons from.

No comment?

- I'm thinking.


- Boy, you know I'm
beginning to hate the piano.

Play all night for drunks,

teach kids all day.

I had dreams of Carnegie Hall.

Standing ovations.

What I got is
grubby kids who'll eat

peanut butter and
jelly on the piano keys.

(audience laughing)

One more time, okay?

- Yeah, okay, but I gotta
warn you about something.

If I play that scale
one more time

I'm gonna scream.

- Well I tell you what.

Times almost up,

why don't I teach
you a little song

so you can go home and
impress your mommy?

(audience laughing)

I mean, stay home and
impress your daughters.

- Okay.

- Watch.

Here we go.

Up a row.

To a birthday party.

(audience laughing)

- That's it.

- It's called A Birthday Party.

- That's swell, you know?

Maybe I could get a job
with Chuckle the Clown.

- Well Miss Romano,
may I suggest

that you stop making little
jokes and apply yourself

to the simple task of,

you know, for a beginner,
you're really doing

beautifully and
I'm gonna give you

all the time and
patience that it takes.

You're a quick learner.

After all, we're neighbors.

- Excuse me, there's
someone at the door.

- Well make him
wait just a second.

I mean, I wanna tell you
how much I appreciate

you letting me
leave the piano here

for a few days.

You're a wonderful,
understanding person.

- Thank you.

Excuse me.

- Hi Mr. Mulhern, I'm
ready for my lesson.

(audience laughing)

- Lesson?


- A man has to eat.

(audience laughing)

(audience applauding)

♪ Twinkle, twinkle little star

♪ How I wonder what you are

♪ Up above the world so high

♪ Like a diamond in the sky

♪ Twinkle, twinkle little star

♪ How I wonder what you are


- Let's hear it for Nancy Lopez.

- She's not a
pianist, she's a golfer.

- I know.

(audience laughing)

- Thank you for the
vote of confidence.

Okay, that's enough for tonight.

- What?

- Ma, that was only 15 minutes.

You're supposed to
practice for a full hour.

- Yeah, you wanted
to get into this.

- No, I didn't.

You pushed me into it.

- Now, now, Annie,
you cannot go outside

and play until you've
finished practicing.

(audience laughing)

- You girls are really
enjoying this, aren't you?

- Yeah, it almost
makes up for those

dumb ballet lessons
you made me take.

- Oh, me and the clarinet.

(audience laughing)

- And then you made me take...

- Okay, girls, okay.

You want piano playing,

you are going to get it.

First you have it,

a five finger scale
with the right hand.

A five finger scale
with the left hand.

Now we have both
together, get this.

Seven notes all together.


And then after
thunderous applause,

do I hear thunderous applause?


Thank you very much.

I will now do my encore.

My rendition of Moon River.

- Moon River?

- Yeah, I cheated.

I found it by numbers
at the dime store.

Listen to this.

♪ Moon river

♪ Wider than a mile

♪ I'm crossing you in style

♪ Someday - Oh, it's for you.

- Hello?

All right, all right.

♪ Twinkle, twinkle little star

(audience laughing)

Okay, this is silly.

This is absolutely silly.

It is ridiculous for me
to be taking lessons

at my age.

- Oh, too old.

That's a great
reason to give up.

- But that man
is just unpleasant

to take lessons from.

- Unpleasant.

There's an even
better reason to give up.

- I don't think he's unpleasant.

I think he's kind of nice.

- All right Julie, I agree,

sometimes he is nice.

And then just about the
time you begin to like him

he shouts at you.

And then when you got
a really got hate going

he says something pleasant.

The man is just undependable.

Julie, that's not
one of your shirts.

- Uh, not it's Mr. Mulhern's.

- You are doing
Mr. Mulhern's shirts?

- No, I just ironed it.

Barbara washed it.

- Barbara?

- Well, even undependable
guys need clean shirts.

- Right, I mean,
Mom, we ran into him

in the laundry room
and he was putting

bleach in the dryer.

- He's just divorced.

He doesn't know
how to do anything.

- He doesn't have to
know how to do anything.

We're doing it all for him.

He comes here,
uses our refrigerator.

He borrows our pans,
he eats his meals here.

And last, but
certainly not least,

he uses our living
room as his studio.

Next thing you know
he's gonna wanna

take a shower here and
have me scrub his back.

(doorbell ringing)

(audience laughing)

(audience laughing)

I am not scrubbing your back.

- I came to get my shirt.

- Oh, your shirt, yes.

Here it is all cleaned,
ironed, washed, everything.

- Hey, very nice.

- Thank you.

- Thank you.

Maybe I oughta save this
for the recital tomorrow night.

Scrub my back, huh?

Most of my pupils who goof off

just bring me an apple.

- I have been practicing.

- I heard.

17 minutes.

- I practiced for
a full half hour.

Right Julie?

- Why don't you ask Barbara?

- Do you want
me to tell the truth?

- Of course.

- 17 minutes.

(audience laughing)

- Well nevertheless I
feel that it is presumptuous

of you to ask my
daughters to wash and,

what recital?

- You know, I've been thinking.

It isn't fair for me to
charge you anything

for your piano lessons.

- What recital?

- You see, my wife
used to keep my calendar

and I forgot that tomorrow

was the first of the month.

Anyway, there'll
only be four students

and maybe 10 or 12 relatives.

- Here?

- I could postpone it
but little Debbie Scwartz

has learned the Warsaw Concerto

and her grandparents are
flying in all the way from Omaha.

(audience laughing)

Naturally you're included.

- Hey, all right.

The Warsaw Concerto followed by

little Annie's Twinkle
Twinkle Little Star.

(audience laughing)

- Yeah, Ma.

You could wear your Mary
Janes and your pin fork.


- Mr. Mulhern, the
good neighbor policy

stops right here.

You cannot use my living room

as your studio.

I am no longer your
cook, your maid,

and your laundress.

- I am his laundress.

- Julie, if you are so
hot on doing the laundry

why don't you start
on the curtains?

- My mother gets a
little testy sometimes.

- Barbara, this man is
taking advantage of us.

- Well here, take the shirt.

Rewrinkle it if it'll
make you happy.

- What'll make me
happy is you getting

your piano out of here.

- How?

What am I gonna do with it?

- I'll give you a suggestion.

(audience laughing)

- Now you sound
just like my ex wife.

- Ooh, that's it.

You can't yell at
her so you yell at me.

- Women.

Couldn't Adam think
of something else

to do with that rib?

(audience laughing)

- Good night Mr. Mulhern.

And take your Twinkle,
Twinkle with you.

- Oh, you bet I will.

And you can forget the lessons.

I once taught a
chimpanzee with more talent.

(door slamming)

- What are we supposed to
say if we see him in the elevator?

- I plan on using
the fire escape.

- Okay, okay, so,

so I got a little mad.

- A little mad?

They could have
heard you in Pittsburgh.

(doorbell ringing)

- Okay.



- May I come in?

- No.

(audience laughing)

- Please?

There's something
I wanna talk about.

- As I recall, we
weren't talking,

we were screaming.

- I won't yell, I promise.

Please, there's something
very personal I wanna say.

- Yeah, come on.

- Well.

- Yeah, we'll go in the bedroom.


- No, don't, stay,
I want you to.

Well I swore on a
stack of divorce papers

that I'd never again apologize

to another woman.

But I owe you all an apology.

- No you don't.

- Yes, he does.

- Yes I do.

- I know.

(audience laughing)

- I've been taking my
frustrations out on you

because you remind me
of my ex, thank God, wife.

- Yes, but I am not
your ex, thank God, wife.

Thank God.

(audience laughing)

- I know that.

- And stop yelling at me.

- Okay.


I know I took advantage of you

but the strange thing
is I kept letting you

help me and the more you did,

the more I resented it.

Does that make any sense?

- Yeah, sure it
makes a lot of sense.

- How?

I mean, there's a
lot of things I can't do

but I mean, I'm finally free.

I'm happy.

- You're scared.

- I'm scared.

I can't stand her
but I miss her.

- Look, you've only been
divorced three days, right?

It took us three
years to adjust to it.

- Believe me, I
understand how you feel.

- We all do.

- Well will you
stop being so nice?

You know it ticks me off.


- We're sorry.

- Oh, listen, about
the arrangements

for the recital tomorrow night.

- About that...
- I'm calling it off.

- You don't have to do that.

- Barbara?

- What about the girl's
grandparents flying in?

- I may be saving their lives.

And mine.

The kid stinks.


Listen, I'm glad
this is settled.

- Thank you.

- Well you can come
and borrow our frying pans

any time.
- Right.

- Thank you for doing my shirt.

Good night.

- Good night.
- Good night.

- Oh, Mr. Mulhern.

- Victor.

- Victor, okay.

There is one thing
we haven't settled.

You mentioned something
about a chimpanzee

who can play the
piano better than me?

- I'm sorry I said that.

- But you're not taking it back?

- Oh. (laughing)

- Tell me it's not true.


If it's true?

- Yeah, it's true.

But don't feel bad.

It took that chimp 18 months

to learn one simple thing.

- What could he play?


I can play that.

- Hanging from the
chandelier with a banana

in one hand?

- No, I can't.

(audience laughing)
(audience applauding)

(upbeat music)

- [Narrator] One day
at a Time was recorded

live on tape before
a studio audience.

(dramatic tone)