One Day at a Time (1975–1984): Season 5, Episode 1 - Back to School - full transcript

As Barbara starts college and enjoys her independence, Ann feels her education is lacking and takes a college class that Barbara is also taking.

♪ 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, rest
assured you can't be sure at all

♪ So while you're
here enjoy the view

♪ You keep 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

- Hi ma, how was your day?

That good, huh?

- I do not wanna talk about it.

- Come on, mother,
how was your day?

- Humiliating.

Mr. Davenport and I were
working on a campaign

for Tiger Night Lights,
you know, those little lights

that go on in the bathroom?

- Tigers need lights
to go to the bathroom?

- Tiger is the name
of the company.

At any rate, Davenport
came up with the slogan,

"Tiger, Tiger, burning
bright in your bathroom,

"late at night."

(audience laughter)

- That, mother
dear, is very catchy.

- That, daughter
dear, is not the point.

The point is, I didn't
know the quote,

"Tiger, Tiger, burning bright."

- Oh mom, you didn't?
- You do?

- Never heard of it.

- Alright, but I am supposed
to know these things.

I make my living using
the English language.

I feel so dumb.

I didn't know, Tiger,
Tiger burning bright.

- William Blake, The
Tiger, great poem.

- I don't feel good.

- How did you know
it was William Blake?

- Are you kidding,
everyone knows that.

- I didn't.

I am totally ignorant,
a moron in the world

of the enlightened.

Of course, I didn't
have the advantage

of a college
education, like you.

- Mom, she's only been
in college three days.

- I wouldn't have
even known that quote

if The Tiger weren't my first
assignment in English Lit.

No, college is so exciting.

I joined the drama club, I
tried out for the freshman chorus

and got invited to a boozerama.

(audience laughter)

It's a sorority rush party.

- Lovely.

- How about your classes?

- Classes, I have
to take classes?

- Cute.

Barbara, college is
not all fun and games.

- Oh, it sure beats high school.

For the first time, I feel
like I am really on my own.

- Honey, tell me about
your English class,

what are you studying?

- Let's see, Blake,
Keats, Dickens, Joyce.

- Oh, that sounds wonderful.

- It really is.

But you should
meet this instructor,

he is so incredibly brilliant.

- Brilliant is hardly the word.

I got an IQ in double figures.

(audience laughter)

- Hello Schneider.

- How are you there, Ms. Romano?

Look Barbara, I made
something for you to go to college.

- Oh, Schneider,
ah it's a pencil box.

- I made it myself.
- Well thank you.

- See, it's got your
pens, your pencils,

it's got a protractor in there.

Ooh, and it's got
a magnifying glass

for reading your
notes on your wrist.

(audience laughter)

- Schneider, you don't
happen to know who said,

"Tiger, Tiger, burning bright."

- Just about every
woman I ever dated.

(audience laughter)

- Well, at least you
have an answer.

That's more than I usually do.

- Mother, come on, why the
sudden inferiority complex?

- Look at me, I am woman
who got married at the age of 17.

My education was
limited to changing diapers

and cooking lasagna.

- Mom, what are
you talking about?

You're a success,
you got a great job.

You're the mother
of two brilliant, witty,

charming children.

- Face the facts, mother,
you got everything.

- Oh boy, I've got
you guys fooled too.

You know what it's
like working in an office

surrounded by college graduates?

Everyone else has
a diploma on the wall.

I've got a certificate from
Evelyn Woods' Speed Reading.

(audience laughter)

- You got a certificate
from Evelyn Woods?

I took that course
for six weeks.

I mean, all I ever
got was a migraine.

You really are
smart, Ms. Romano.

- But I feel so
damned inadequate.

I'm scared to death that
somebody's gonna say something,

and I wonder what
they're talking about.

That they'll bring up a subject,

and I won't know how to answer.

That I won't know
the right words, hot.

- Mom, I never seen
you at a loss for words.

- Or unable to talk
for that manner.

- Yeah well, "I'm terrific,"
and "Hi, I'm home,"

and, "Girls, go to your room."

Tiger, Tiger was really
the straw that broke

the camel's back.

I have got an 18 year old
daughter that knows more

than I do.

I feel so incredibly...
- Stupid.

Listen, it's alright
to feel stupid.

I mean, when I got out of
the Navy, I felt kinda stupid.

There wasn't a great deal
of work for me, you know.

I was a torpedo repairman.

Unlike the rest of the
guys, I didn't sit around.

I went back to school,
I took plumbing.

Basic and remedial.

- Mom, if you really
feel that strongly about it,

why don't you go back to school?

Take a couple of classes.

- Yeah, you don't
have to go for a degree.

Just go for yourself.

- At my age?

Oh, I feel so
silly, it's so late.

Barbara, how
would I go about it?

- Red light, red
light, la luz de roja.

- What does that mean?

- The light of red.

It means stop.

Ms. Romano, you've got
to think about the future.

No man wants a woman who
reeks of the smell of success.

- Oh really?

- Yes, really.

You got a beautiful
family, you got a great job.

That's two reeks against you.

- Gee, I never quite
looked at it that way.

- Yeah well, just remember
that famous quote,

"She who nurtures her
mind, gets left behind."

- Who said that?

- I don't know, I saw it in
the men's room at O'Hare.


- Mom, why don't
you go back to school,

take a couple of classes,
I think it's a great idea.

- Yeah, me too.

- I don't know, it
seems kind of scary.

I haven't opened a
textbook in 20 years.

Do they have night
classes at City College?

- Yeah my psychology and my
English class are held at night.

- Ma, you really think
you're gonna do this?

- Well, the older I
get the more I feel

I'm missing out on something.

- Look, you don't even
have to worry about studying,

because I can help you
with that, it could be fun.

- What do you say?

- I'm gonna do it.
- Great.

Great, I'll help you
go over the catalog.

Show you where you can register.

- What classes are
you gonna take?

- Well, first on my list is
Barbara's English class.

- My class?
- Yeah.

Excuse me.
- My pleasure, doll.

- Is someone sitting here?

- Just you, babe.

(audience laughter)

Are you new?

- Not very.

- You're sure a new change
from most of the chicks

around here.

- Because I'm older.

- Yeah, yeah, I'm
really into maturity.

- Really?

- Oh yeah, I'm Elliot,
Elliot Newcombe.

- Ann Romano.

- Well say, Annie.

Looks like this class won't
be as bad as I thought.

- Don't bet on it.

Barbara, hi.

- Hi, Ann.

(audience laughter)

So, Ann, Lynn I'd like you
to meet a friend of mine,

an old friend, Ann Romano.

- Ann.

- Hi, nice to meet you.

- Yes.

(clearing throat)

Girls, I'd like you to meet.

- Elliot, Elliot Newcombe.

Hello, hello, hello.

- Hello, hello, goodbye.

So, Ann, how you doing?

- Oh, about the same
as I was this morning.

- Oh good, good.

Well, I'll talk to you later.

- Barbara, can I talk
to you for just a minute?

- Sure, Lynn, could you
find us a couple of seats,

I'll be there in a minute.

- Sure, I'll see you Ann.

She's old enough
to be my mother.

- Mom?
- I thought it was Ann.

- I'm sorry, I just
thought it might be better

if I called you Ann in class.

- You're disowning me.

- No, it's not that.

It's just that when I
walked in here and saw you,

and it felt funny being
in class with my mother.

- Since when is
mother a dirty word?

Hey look, would you like it
better if I took another class?

- No, no, no it's fine.

I just want us to have our
separate identities, that's all.


- What did you say
your name was again?

- Thanks.
- You're welcome.

- Mom.
- Ann.

- Right.

- Say Ann?


How do you know that dish?

(audience laughter)

- We met in the hospital.

(audience laughter)

- Maybe you could set us up.

- I thought you
were into maturity?

- Hey, I'm flexible.

- Alright, ladies and gentlemen.

If I may be allowed to
exaggerate, let's settle down.

Good evening.

For those who are new to this
class, I am Professor Bradley.

I am here to lecture, to
answer your questions,

if they're worthy of an answer.

And to grade your
tests and papers.

You are here to work.

- He's a barrel of laughs.

- Kindly do not speak
when I am speaking.

I could be quite
brilliant at times.

I don't want you to miss my
unique perceptive point of view.

Would you please read that note?

- "Barbara, I have to stop
by the office after school,

"could you please pick up
some toothpaste and soap?"

- "Thanks, love, mom."

It's from your mother.

- You're a mother, too?

Oh wow, you are
driving me crazy.

(audience laughter)

- Settle down, young man.

I asked you to read three
poems, The Tiger, The Skylark,

and Ode To a Nightingale.

Could anyone here tell
me what these three poems

have in common?



- They're all about animals.

- Your insight is
overwhelming, Mister?

- Newcombe.

- Mr. Newcombe.

What I'm getting at
is this, all three poems

belong to a specific
movement in literature.

I know I'm reaching for the
moon, but is there anyone here

who could tell me what
that movement is called?

Yes, Miss?
- Cooper.

The Romantic movement.

- Thank you, Ms. Cooper.

Dare I ask you to add
to your performance

by telling me what Romantic
signifies in literature?

I shouldn't have dared.

- How about you, Mrs. Cooper?

- Ms. Romano.

- I thought you were
Ms. Cooper's mother?

- Yes, I am, but I'm divorced
and I resumed my maiden name.

- Divorced?

(audience laughter)

- Now then, Ms. Romano,
did you read the assignment?

- Yes, I did, I got the
assignment from your notebook.

What, if anything,
can you tell me about

the Romantic movement?

- Well, it seems to
me that in literature,

the word Romantic refers
to the broadest possible

expression of emotions.

- Go on.

- It deals with exaltation
and glorification and passion.

- God, that's beautiful.

- Get a good hold of
yourself, young man.

Excellent, Ms. Romano.

Looks like this class won't
be as bad as I thought.

- That's what I said.

- For once, Mr. Newcombe,
you are right.

(audience applause)

- Look at that,
what a study lamp.

You can move it
in any direction.

- Mom is gonna love
it, it's gonna be perfect

for finding the raisins
in our breakfast cereal.

Hi, how was class?

- Fine, everything was fine,
everything was just peachy.

- Well, where's mom?

- I wouldn't know I had
some dumb errands to run.

- Something wrong?
- Nothing is wrong.

- That's a relief.

- Hi.

- Mom, hi, how was class?

- Fantastic, it was
exciting, and interesting,

and I loved every minute of it.

- Wait a second, I thought
you two were in the same class.

- Yeah, where were
you, I looked all over

for you after class.

- You sent me
shopping, remember?

- Yeah.

- Mom look, look, Schneider
brought you a study lamp.

- Aww Schneider,
that's very nice.

- Yeah look, it's got
a two-way switch.

See, bright, that's for
intensive studying for cramming,

and there's low,
there's for studying

with prospective husbands.

See, it's dim, it's romantic,
it hides facial flaws.

- You do think of
everything, Schneider.

- I know.

- I just wanted you to know
that despite everything I said

the other day, I
really think it's great

you're going back to school.

- Thank you, Schneider.

And thank you for the lamp.

- De nada.

- Oh, I just hope I that I can
pass that test next Thursday.

- Mom, it's only a quiz.

- Yeah whatever, all I'm
afraid of is I'm gonna walk in,

sit down and forget
everything I learned.

- Oh, boy I know what you mean.

That's exactly how I
felt on my wedding night.

Thank god my mind went
blank and instinct took over.

(audience laughter)

- Mom, come on, I want
you to tell me about this class.

Tell me about the
instructor, how was he?

- Intimidating but fascinating.

- Yes, yes, mom was fascinated
by all the men in the class.

- Are you, by any
chance, referring to Elliot?

- Who is Elliot?

- Elliot is a young man in
class who was hitting on me.

- 17 going on 16.

- 19 going on 18.

SaW a smile.
- Did not.

- Did too.
- Did not.

- Alright, tell you what,
next class you get to sit

next to Elliot.

- No thank you.

- Julie, I was really excited
about that class tonight.

The professor
asked me a question,

and I got it right.

- Yes Julie, you should've
seen your mother.

One night, and she's
the star of the class.

Next thing you know, she'll
be trying out for cheerleader.

- I was thinking more along
the lines of varsity basketball.

- Oh, they got a pee-wee league?

- Right now, I
gotta hit the books.

Hey Barbara, you do
you wanna study together?

- Can't, Brad and I are
going out to see a film.

Besides, the next
class isn't until Thursday.

- Yeah I know, I just
wanted to get a head start.

- Are you hinting
that I should stay?

- No, no, of course
not, have a good time.

Julie, will you help me
work on some flash cards?

- Flash cards?

- I haven't seen flash
cards since I learned

that 12 times 12 is 140.

(audience laughter)


- What are gonna do
with these flash cards?

- See, I want to put
the authors on one side,

and the titles of their
works on the other.

- That's very good.

You know, I'm not really
interested in that movie,

maybe we'll just go out
and grab a bite to eat.

- Okay, you know what
else I thought I might do,

I thought I could
record excerpts

from the reading assignments
and then I can play

the tapes going back
and forth to work.

- You know, what we'll
probably do is just grab

a quick cup of coffee.

- Okay, see you later.

Hey Julie, do you know
anything about sleep learning?

- What's the matter
with Brad anyway?

Doesn't he know that
this is a school night?

(audience laughter)

- And so we see how, in
the poetry of John Keats,

death is viewed ambiguously
as both a thing of horror

and as sweet deliverance,
life's high mead.

Now, that class, is how
to write an essay exam.

- Yes, Mr. Newcombe?

- I'd like to vote for
true/false exams.

At least that way we'd have
a 50-50 chance of being right.

- In your case, I
wouldn't be so sure.

I'd like to use this exam
as a basis for discussion.

Death, as I hoped you realized
by now, was a major concern

of the Romantic poets,
particularly of Keats.

What do you think of
this, Mr. Newcombe?

- About death?

Gee, professor, I
don't know, I don't have

any firsthand experience.

- That's a pity.

(audience laughter)

Yes, Ms. Cooper.

- I agree with the essay.

See, the Romantics didn't
see death in absolute terms.

They were ambivalent about it.

And that essay, well, it shows
a very mature understanding

of Keats point of view.

- It's fortunate that you
think so, Ms. Cooper,

because your mother wrote it.

- Oh well, no wonder
it's so perceptive.

Being older, my mother is
closer to death than I am.

(audience laughter)

- Not necessarily.

You could walk out of here
right now and be hit by a truck.

- Or by your mother.

- What I meant was that
most people think of death

in terms of growing old.

- True, and when death
comes to someone who's young,

it seems somehow more tragic.

- Right, I think that's
because, well, when someone

dies young, there's a
sense of wasted potential.

- Oh, you don't have
to die to waste potential.

Mr. Newcombe's a prime example.

- What I mean is, that
there are other ways

to waste your life.

If people stand in your
way, if they won't let you

be independent, if
they won't let you grow.

- So that's it.

- Raise your hand, Ms. Romano.

Ms. Romano?

- So that's it.

I do not think a person
can keep you from growing

unless you allow it yourself.

- Yes?

- Wanna bet?

- Yes?

- I feel very strongly on this.

(bell ringing)

- Sorry class, you ought
to come back next week

and see how this turns out.

(audience laughter)

- Barbara?
- I have to go, mom.

- You can wait.

You know, I thought
it was gonna be fun

taking a class together.

- Fun, right.

Same school, same
class, maybe we can get

some mother-daughter notebooks.

Or how about some
matching apron strings?

- Apron strings?

Hey, that's good.

Gives you one for Barbara.

You know, ever since I
started taking this class,

you've been acting like a brat.

- Brat?

Brat, that's good,
that's one for mom.

- Now we're being silly.
- Silly?

That's another good one.

- I said, we're,
you get one too.

(audience laughter)

Alright, Barbara, come on.

Let's have it, out with it.

What's the problem?

- You're in my class.

- Your class?

I paid my tuition, as I
recall it, I paid your tuition.

- I'll pay you back
when I graduate.

Summa cum madre.

Look, mom, don't you see?

You have shared in
practically every moment

of my entire life.

- And I have encouraged
you to be independent.

- But you've always
been there to pick me up.

At some point, I want to
become me, whoever that is.

I thought college was
supposed to be that step.

My place, my thing,
and here you are sitting

right next to me.

I feel like this is my
first day in kindergarten.

Mom, I love you very much.

But I just wanted something
that was just mine, for me,

separate from you.

- Barbara, isn't it possible
for us to be here in class

as friends?

- I don't know.

I really don't like
feeling this way, but I do.

I'm sorry.

- So am I.

Look sweetheart,
maybe it was a mistake,

my taking this class.

I don't know, but I've
learned something.

I learned that I love it.

I love going to college, I
love stretching my brain.

I love discovering new ideas.

And I proved something
to myself, I can do it.

- This is really
important to you?

- Damned important.

Important enough for me
to devote two nights a week

for how ever many
years, because Barbara,

I'm gonna go for a degree.

- Well, I don't know what
to say, I'm proud of you.

- Are you really?

- Yes, I am.

- Thank you.

- There's just one thing.
- What's that?

- Stay out of my classes.

- I promise.
- Thank you.

Deal, then.

(audience applause)

(catchy music)