One Day at a Time (1975–1984): Season 6, Episode 17 - Alex's Project - full transcript

♪ 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.

(doorbell ringing)

- Oh.

Oh hi Alex.

- Hi Barbara.

You're not gonna eat that?

(audience laughing)

- Unless you got
any better ideas.

- Okay, it's your life.

- What?

- Barbara that
stuff is bad for you.

All those chemicals
and preservatives.

In 20 or 30 years
you'll be gone,

just like that.

(audience laughing)

- You want half?

- I thought you'd never ask.

(audience laughing)

- What are you doing over here?

- Mom's out of town and
I'm meeting my Dad here.

- Oh.

Alex, that's my milk.

- Oh, I'm sorry.

- No.

Go ahead.

- Did you ever take a
science class in junior high?

- Oh yeah, general science.

- Well they call it
exploring the universe now.

But it's the same boring stuff.

- Science isn't boring.

- It is if you have
Ms. Holladale.

She can't even tell
us about the sex life

of the amoeba without blushing.

(audience laughing)

No wonder she isn't married.

She's probably sitting
around waiting to divide in half.

(audience laughing)

- Fascinating.

What's all this about science?

- I've gotta come up
with this science project.

She gave us four weeks
to come up with one,

but I can't think of anything.

- Well when's it due?

- Friday.

(audience laughing)

- Why are you
just starting it now?

- Barbara, I've been busy.

You know, with baseball practice

and track and hanging
out with the guys.

- Yeah it's a drag
how school can get

in the way of
important things, huh?

- Yeah.

So I was wondering if you
might have any suggestions.

- Well maybe you can do
something like the project I did.

It's an experiment
on how talking

to plants effects their growth.

- You talk to plants?

- Yeah.

- Did they ever talk back?

(audience laughing)

- Well once when
I pinched off a leaf,

I could have sworn I
heard a teeny, tiny ouch.

- Sure you did.

- No, really Alex.

This is a real experiment.

You get two plants.

One plant you talk to.

And the other plant
you don't talk to.

Then after a period of time,

you compare how much
the two plants have grown.

- How'd your
experiment work out?

- Not too good.

The plant I talked to died.

(audience laughing)

- Bored it to death, huh?

- No.

I didn't bore it to death.

I just forgot to water it.

(audience laughing)

- Well at least it sounds
like an easy experiment.

Just one thing.

What do you say to a plant?

Hello, Ms. Plant.

Nice day.

What are you doing this weekend?

She said she's getting potted.

(audience laughing)

- Excuse me.

What are you doing?

- Oh, he's talking to a plant.

- Yes, that's what
I was afraid of.

- Ah darling, don't worry.

A few years in analysis,

the plant will be
as good as new.

(audience laughing)

- Come on, this is
my science project.

I'm studying how talking
to a plant effects its growth.

- Talking to plants?

- Um-hmm.

- What kind of a
project is that Alex?

- Barbara, didn't you do...

- Oh, a yeah, but I
moved on to bigger things.

Started talking to trees.

(audience laughing)

- Look Alex, your
project is due in a week.

I don't think you
have time to measure

the effects of
talking to a plant.

- Oh I don't have
to watch them grow.

I just have to buy two plants.

A big one and a little one.

(audience laughing)

- That's cheating Alex.

Look, I want you to
make your own project.

One that shows a little effort.

A little brains.

Oh Barbara, I'm sorry.

(audience laughing)

I am, I'm sorry.

- Tell you something,

it's wonderful having
our own business.

We get to work 17
hours a day to go broke.

(audience laughing)

- Have you seen my paycheck?

- (laughing) I've
seen it my dear.

Yes, I made it out.

We've got the
phone, and the rent,

and your paycheck.

- Thank you. (doorbell ringing)

I'll get it.

- Okay.

- Annie?

- Yeah.

- Are you sure I get as
much money as you do?

- Oh, you're not
gonna know that until

it's your turn to be Treasurer.

(audience laughing)

- I thought you'd be here.

Finished my project.

- Hey.

That was quick!

- Yeah, too quick.

Alex what is that?

- It's a volcano.

- A volcano.

Looks like a party hat.

(audience laughing)

- Does this mean
you don't like it?

- No, it just means that I'm
a little disappointed in that.

- Look, I don't think
it's such a bad volcano.

That's lava, right?

- Yeah.

- Yes, and the lava's still wet.

Looks like my cadmium red.

- [Annie] It's a
real nice color.

- Yeah, it should be.

It costs four dollars a tube.

(audience laughing)

I mean, I wouldn't mind if it
was a decent project Alex.

- Look Dad.

I couldn't spend so
much time on the project

cause I had to spend so
much time writing this report.

- Oh.

May I look at it?

- Um-hmm.

- Thank you.


In the placid phase of eruption,

volcanoes tranquilly
discharge flows of liquid lava

without being in conjunction

with explosive
liberation of gases.

And the violent expulsion
of fragmental material.

Are these your own words Alex?

(audience laughing)

- Sure.

- Sure?

Tranquilly discharge?

Explosive liberation?

Expulsion of
fragmental material?

- Well, not every word.

(audience laughing)

Besides, you always said
to use the encyclopedia.

- Yes, that's true I did.

Are you thinking of
turning this in Alex?

- Yes, the thought
had crossed my mind.

(audience laughing)

- You do know that you
can do better than this.

- Look Dad, I tried.

- No, that's the point Alex!

You didn't try.

You never try.

You always take the easy way.

- Dad.

- Alex, would you get me
some more juice please?

- Yeah, sure.

- Thanks.

Nick, I'm certainly
not gonna tell you how

to raise your kid.

- Great.

- But.

It has been my experience
that kids try harder

with some encouragement.

- Yeah, I want to tell you
something about my son Alex.

He is a goof off.

In the second
grade, everybody had

to bring in something
for the farm project.

Alex Handris brought
in shredded wheat.

(audience laughing)

For his cooking merit badge,

he hard boiled an egg.

(audience laughing)

And the Christmas pageant,

he wanted to be
the frankincense.


(audience laughing)

It's not funny Annie.

- I know, I am sorry.

- Here Ms. Romano.

- Thank you Alex.

- Ms. Romano, are you hurt?

- No, I'm fine.


- Well I saw a couple
of drops of blood

outside the door here.

(audience laughing)

- Well that's the
lava from the volcano.

(audience laughing)

(audience laughing)

- You probably thought
I was gonna say,

what volcano? (laughing)

(audience laughing)

- No I didn't think that.

Did you think that Nick?

- Uh, no, no, no, not at all.

- Not at... What volcano?!

(audience laughing)

- Schneider it's
my science project.

- Ooh, hey.

How about that?

That's pretty terrific.

- Come on Schneider.

Don't tell him that's terrific.

That's not a terrific volcano.

- Handris, let me
ask you a question.

You ever seen Vesuvius?

You ever see Mount Akea?

You ever see Mount Etna?

- No, Schneider I haven't.

- Well neither have I.

So I know as much
about volcanoes as you do.

(audience laughing)

- Yes, well.

I will remember that Schneider.

But I have seen
Alex' report card.

Alex, I want you to
make that project decent

and presentable or else
start a whole other project.

- You can use my workshop.

- Thanks Schneider.

But Dad, do I have to?

- Look Alex.

We all have to do
things we don't like.

I mean, I don't
like doing graphics.

But I have to do them
if I want to compete

as a commercial artist.

- Your father's got a
good point there Alex.

I always hated unclogging sinks.

But I gotta do 'em
if I want to be ready.

I mean we are on
the verge of major

exploration, right?

I could get a call
from NASA tomorrow

to go down there and
do all the men's rooms

in the space shuttle.

(audience laughing)

We're talking very
complicated plumbing.

I mean, how do you get a
good flush at zero gravity?

(audience laughing)

You probably think
the captain just

does a loop de loop anytime
anybody goes in the Johnny.

(audience laughing)

That ain't the
way it goes at all.

- Alex, he's talking loop
de loop in the men's johns.

Study hard Alex.

Study hard.

(audience laughing)

- Here you go Alex.

You can use anything you want

except the power tools.

The power tools are off limits.

- Hope I don't mess anything up.

- Oh you won't.

If you get any
sawdust on the floor,

you can clean it up.

Use a tool, put it back.

If you break a tool,
you leave town.

(audience laughing)

- Great.

I'll break a tool.

- You're not really
eager to do this, are ya?

- I don't know why my
Dad is so hung up on it?

I mean, it's not like I want
to be a scientist or anything.

- Yeah, I know.

So what are you
gonna do this time?

Another volcano?

- I don't know.

What would you do?

I mean, if you could
make anything in the world,

what would it be?

(audience laughing)


- Oh no, no, no, no. (laughing)

(audience laughing)

You're not gonna
trick me into helping ya.

You gotta think of
this one yourself.


- Well, how about a windmill?

- That's a pretty tough project.

I mean you gotta
convert wind energy

into mechanical energy

into electrical energy.

That's really tough.

Your father says you're
looking for the easy way out?

What gave you the
idea for a windmill?

- Those propellers.

If I could slap one on a stick,

I'll have it made.

(audience laughing)

(wood sawing choppily)

(audience laughing)

- Alex!


You gotta relax, gotta relax.

All your muscles gotta be...

Here, let me show ya.

- Okay, show me.

- You don't want
to fight the saw.

You want to give equal
pressure here and here.

And then saw the wood.

See it'll bite right
into the wood, see?

Like hey.

One, two.

One, two.
- Ah.

- See there?
- Yeah, okay.

Let me try it.
- Okay.

Now don't fight it.

- I won't.

(wood sawing choppily)

(audience laughing)

- Ah, ah, you're
gonna get it here.

Show you how easy it goes.

Now, one.

- Oh yeah.

- See, one, two?

(audience laughing)

- One two, one two, yep.

(audience laughing)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Don't go off the line.

- Oh, I won't.

(audience laughing)

How's it look?

- It's looking great.

I think I'm getting
the hang of it.

(audience laughing)

It's getting pretty late.

I better be getting
home Schneider.

- Alright.

(audience laughing)

- Good night.

- Good night.

- Hi.

- Oh, hi.

- Schneider I thought Alex
was working on his windmill.

- Yeah well he was.

He just left.

- Huh.

Well I brought him
something to eat.

Would you like it?

- Oh yeah, that's nice.

Yeah, thank you.

You can put that over
there by the saw there.

- Okay.

Well, so.

Schneider what
are you working on?

- Oh, this?

This is just a rocker platform

to the cam linkage
on my Johnson.

My Johnson rod.

(audience laughing)

- Yeah, okay.


- Yeah.

- If Nick finds you
working on Alex' project,

he's going to wrap
your cam linkage

around your Johnson rod.

(audience laughing)

- Alright kid.

Come on here.

You put the flag on top.

- Okay.

- Well shouldn't you
put the flag on top?

- Nah, nah, nah.

This is your project.

You started it.

You finish it.

(audience laughing)

- You did everything
in the middle.

- Nah!

This is your idea.

I mean, you put
the propellor on.

You did a lot of the painting.

A lot of the sanding.

- Got me sold.

Not so sure about my Dad.

- Ah, your Dad's gonna love it.

Watch this.

Little wind and presto!

Miracle of modern science!

1200 watts of hot air converted

into one watt of
electrical current.

(audience laughing)

- Hope my dad likes it.

- I'm telling you,

your Dad is gonna love it.

Listen, Alex,

nothing is invented
by one guy anymore.

I mean, it takes teams.

Whole companies.


And the bottom
line is that the truth

is a matter of opinion
and in my opinion

this is your project.

- Schneider...

- Okay, so I did a
little bit of the work.

But that's only cause
I wanted to help yas.

(audience laughing)

- Schneider...

- Just think of me as
your uncle Schneider

helping out his favorite nephew.

(audience laughing)

- May I talk to you
for a minute unc?

- Wah?

(audience laughing)

(audience clapping)

- How much of that
did you make Alex?

- Well,

quite a bit Dad.

(audience laughing)

- How much is quite a bit?

- Quite a bit's quite a lot.

- Would you mind?

- Dad, don't blame Schneider.

It wasn't his fault.

- Alex, you knew
that I wanted you

to make this
project by yourself.

Why did you let Schneider help?

- Temporary insanity.

(audience laughing)

- Nah, Alex why don't
you go on upstairs.

I think your father
probably wants to talk to me.

- Yeah, okay Schneider.

- Hey, wait a minute.

That's my kid.

I'll tell him when to go
upstairs okay, Schneider?

If you don't mind.

Alex, would you go
upstairs and wait?

(audience laughing)

Now, Schneider...
- Just be calm.

Don't get your
brains in an uproar.

- I am calm Schneider.

I want to talk to
you about this.

- What's to talk about?

The kid was dying for
somebody to help him.

- And don't you think
that I want to help him?

I mean, I'm an artist.

I work with my hands.

I could do a
terrific job on that.

I don't believe in it Schneider.

I want my kid to learn
how to do things for himself.

- Handris, you go down
to that science class.

You won't find one project
that was done by the kid

entirely by himself unless
the kid was a genius.

I mean, that's
what Dad's are for!

To help their kids!

- I am helping my kid.

I'm helping him
by not helping him.

- That's the dumbest
thing I ever heard.

No wonder he doesn't
turn to you for any help.

- What are you talking about?

Of course he
turns for me to help.

I just don't give it to him.

(audience laughing)

- What kind of
a father is that?!

You probably never even
changed your kid's diapers.

- What the hell does that
have to do with anything?

- I'll tell you what it
has to do with anything.

My father helped me
change my diapers.

He didn't come up
to me and say okay,

you did it so learn
how to do 'em yourself.

(audience laughing)

- Who cares about
your diapers Schneider?

I'm talking about my kid and
you're talking about your...

(audience laughing)

Schneider you're a good man.

I really appreciate
what you're doing.

I know you love Alex

and I think that's terrific.

But do me a favor will you?

Would you please let Alex
learn how to do things by himself?


- Yeah.

I know what
you're talking about.

I remember once I
saw a mama bird kick

a little baby bird
out of the nest.

- Right.

So it could learn how to fly.

- Yeah.

Except this time the little
baby bird landed on a big cat.

You know, (growling).

(audience laughing)

- If I can't turn
in the windmill,

what am I gonna do?

- Well you just turn
in another project.

- How about the volcano?

- The volcano?

Fine Alex, fine.

If you feel it's the
best you can do, sure.

If you want your mother
and your grandparents

to come to school and
see what you've done,

go ahead.

If you're really
proud of the volcano,

turn it in Alex.

- Gee thanks Dad.

- Do you believe this kid?

(audience laughing)

- Nick...
- You don't believe him,

neither do I Annie.

Alright Alex, I want you
to make another project

and that's final.

- Dad I don't have any time.

- Then make time.

- It's due the day
after tomorrow.

- Okay, that's two days Alex.

You got 48 hours.

- Hey Nick, come on.

He's gotta get some sleep.

- Who made up that rule?

- God did.

- No he didn't.

He slept once every seven days.

(audience laughing)

- Maybe just improve
on his first project.

- God?

(audience laughing)

- You!

He can sleep if he
gets to work now Annie.

- Right.

Annie stay out of this.

- Alex, your idea for
the volcano was fine.

It's just what you did
with it was crummy.

I mean, I want you to
come up with a project

that really demonstrates what
goes on inside the volcano.

Something the
students can look at

and really learn from.

Put some lights in it.

Some action.

Give it some color.

- How?

- That's for you
to figure out son.

You got a good brain there.

I want you to use it.

Come on, Alex.

You've got 48 hours.

- And what if I don't do it?

- If you don't do it,

there's no more baseball.

No more basketball,
no more movies,


no more anything
that you like to do.

- For how long?

- Forever.

(audience laughing)

- Forever?

- Or longer.

(audience laughing)

Okay, are you gonna
make another volcano?

- Yes sir.

- Okay, okay, okay.

Say it.

- Hey, who am I to judge?

- Ah, sweetheart.

That's really understanding.

- Don't touch me.

(audience laughing)

(audience whistling)

Cookies, huh?

I thought we were
watching our calories.

- We are.

- They're not for us.

They're for Alex.

- Ah.

- Except for this one.

(audience laughing)

- And this one.

Oh, poor Alex.

Locked in that
workshop for two nights.

- Nick locked him in?

- No, that's just a
figure of speech.

- Hmm, good.

- Hey, Ms. Romano,
you got any of that

gift wrapping paper?

- We're all out.
- No, Schneider

we don't have any.

- I guess I could
give it to him like this.

- What's the candy for?

- This is for Alex.

He's been working real hard.

- Oh yeah.

Join the club.

- Look I don't think we should
give him so many sweets.

Why don't you take
the cookies down tonight

and save the candy for tomorrow?

- Well, why don't we take
the candy down tonight,

save the cookies for tomorrow?

(audience laughing)

- Cookies are warm.

- The candy has a
wiring diagram under

the chocolate covered cherries.

(audience laughing)

Handris has been
watching me like a hawk.

- Come on Schneider,

let's take 'em down to him.

I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

- Oh look, homemade cookies.

- They're not for you.

- Neither are these.

(audience laughing)

- I get this feeling I'm not
very popular around here.

- Very perceptive.

- Well, I've got some good news.

We got a reply from
the mailer we sent out.

Maurice Tiller from
CNL Appliances,

I think we're gonna be rich.

- Wonderful.

- Hey Romano, what's
wrong with you, huh?

- Okay, you want to know
what's wrong with me?

I've kept my mouth
shut for a week,

that's what's wrong with me.

- I have a feeling the
golden era of silence

is about to come to an end.

- Nick, there is a way
to discipline a child

without being unreasonable.

- Nope, I am not going to get
into an argument with you Ann.

- No, I don't want
to argue either.

I just think it needs
to be discussed.

- You sound just like Felicia.

I think that's why
we got divorced.

She always wanted to
discuss everything to death.

- (strangling sound) Okay.


One week you give Alex
everything he wants out of guilt

and the next week you behave

like the foreman of a sweatshop.

- Damn it Felicia!

Why is it every...

I'm sorry.

Damn it Annie.

(audience laughing)

You sound like all
those permissive parents.

You want me to spoil my kid.

Well I am not going to
spoil my kid anymore.

- I am not one of those
permissive parents.

I have disciplined my girls
but I've also given them

the right to make
their own decisions

and make some of
their own mistakes.

- Well that's fantastic.

But my son happens
to be a goof off!

- Then maybe you
better find out why.

There's gotta be a reason

and you outta know
what it is before

you lower the boom on him.

- Can't stand parents who

think they're
amateur psychiatrists.

- Better than amateur dictators.

(audience heckling)

- Okay Toots.

If you know all the answers,

why are both of your
daughters dropouts, huh?

- Hey.

Look, I coulda forced my
daughters to go to college.

But Julie proved to
me it wasn't right for her.

And Barbara may still go back.

And if she does,

it's gonna be for
her and not for me!

- There you go again!

- What!

- I have a one kid problem,

you've got to have
a two kid problem!

(audience laughing)

- You are the one
who brought the subject

of my daughters up, not me!

- Okay, okay, okay, okay.

I am sorry.

Maybe you do know what's
right for your daughters.

But I know my son.

And I know that
if I don't push him,

he's gonna spend the rest
of his life sitting on his duff.

- But Nick.

Do you have to push him so hard?

- Who's gonna do it?


I mean, she lets the kid
get away with murder.


You know I see
Alex two days a week.

And in two days,

I have to give him seven
days worth of discipline.

I love that boy.

- I know.

- Sometimes I feel like

like he's gonna
grow up hating me.

- Okay,

guess who we met
out in the hallway?

- A door to door
volcano salesman.

- We told him we already had one

but you know how those
volcano salesman are?

- They don't have one like this.

- Oh, Alex, that is so terrific.

- Oh boy Alex, you really
did a great job this time.

- Ooh, look at that.

The lights all
connected to a switch

and a battery and he hasn't
even opened the candy yet.


(audience laughing)

- You really did a swell job.

- Thank you but that's what
you all said about my other one.

I want to know
what my Dad thinks.

- Yeah.

Well, look at all that lava.


And this has a light.

And oh my, my, my.

I bet Schneider didn't...
- No.
- No.

- He did come down
to the workshop

a couple of times.

But he just bit
his hand and left.

(audience laughing)

Well this is pretty good.

I mean, this is the best volcano

I have ever seen in my life.

- I'm glad you're happy.

- Oh boy, am I happy.

What about you?

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- I am.

- So it's all ready to turn in?

- No.

I've still got some time.

See what I was
thinking was getting

some smoke pellets
from my old train set,

- Uh-huh.

- and putting some real
volcanic rock all around here.

- Ah, yeah!

- You know, this was
fun once I got started.

- I know, I know.

And I guess the next
step is to find out why

it's always so hard
for you to get started.

- Yeah.

But Dad, if you bought
me a tape recorder,

we could build a little
speaker system inside.

- Wait, wait, wait a minute.

- And how about this?

We get into a big...
(audience clapping)

(saxophone playing
"One Day at a Time")