One Day at a Time (1975–1984): Season 8, Episode 15 - Spare the Child - full transcript

Alex's video game mania may be a symptom of a deeper problem.

♪ 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 da da da da

♪ One day at a
time one day at a time

♪ One day at a time da da da da

♪ One day at a time

- Good morning!

- Barbara, you're just the
person I wanted to talk to.

- Oh yeah, I'd love to talk to
me too but I don't have time.

I've got to swing by the dental
school on my way to work.

Mark forgot his lunch, again.

- Work, without coffee first?

Come on, sit down, we
can chat like the old days.

- I'm gonna have to take a
rain check on that, Alex, really.

- Sure, it'll hold.

Maybe I'll see you next
week or the week after, never.

(audience laughs)

I'll get the coffee.

- Okay what is this casual
pre-planned chat about?

- I have to ask you a favor.


- What is that?

- What?

- That tapping.

- I don't know, it sounds
like a code or an SOS.


- Schneider!

(audience laughs)

Get in here!

It's freezing out there.
- I know it is!

- What are you...

What are you doing
on the fire escape?

- What was I doing?

I was bird watching!

(audience laughs)

10 minutes ago I saw
a pigeon in a car coat.

- I'm sorry I asked.

- I was doing some
work up on the roof,

the wind blew the door shut.

I had a nice chat
with admiral bird.

(audience laughs)

- There's some hot
coffee over there.

- Oh, thanks kid.

- Okay Alex, I've
really got to get to work,

so what's the problem?

- Handwriting.

- Handwriting, okay.

Cross your Ts, dot your Is
and always capitalize God, bye.

- Come on, it's important.

It's a science project.

I'm supposed to get
someone to sign their name

plus two fake names and
we pick out the real one.

It's very scientific.

- Doesn't sound so scientific.

- Come on, just sign
three names for me okay?

Let's see Barbara
Royer right there,

Jane Doe, and Ann
Romano right there.


- Now I see the science.

You want me to forge Mom's name.

- What?

My guy?

He wouldn't do that.

- Notification of
corporal punishment?

- They're gonna execute ya?

(audience laughs)

- It's just a little
misunderstanding at school.

- It says here you're
getting paddled.

- Paddled?

That's still legal?

- It is in Indianapolis

- Oh let me tell
ya, I don't like that.

I hated it when I used
to get paddled in school.

It was unmanly!

It was also embarrassing.

When I'd get home, my
old man would start singing

♪ Red tails in the
sunset (audience laughs)

- Alex, I can't believe you
tried to forge Mom's name!

- It's no big deal,
that's just a notification.

I'm getting paddled
whether Ms. R

knows it or not,
so why upset her?

- What'd you do, make a
pass at the principal's wife?

(audience laughs)

Happened to me.

(audience laughs)

She made the first move.

Never had acne again.

(audience laughs)

- Alex, what did you do?

- I played Pac-Man.

- They paddle you for that?

Probably expel you
for watching Star Wars.

(audience laughs)

- What else did you do?

- Okay I skipped a
couple of classes.

- Hey hey, wait a second.

How many is a couple?

- A few, come on Barbara, didn't

you ever do anything
wrong at school?

- No.

(audience laughs)

Alex, you skipped class...

- I couldn't help it.

Barbara, I think
I'm a video junkie.

I can't keep away
from those machines.

When I drop in my quarter,
and the machine lights up

and the little guy
starts eating the dots

muah muah muah muah,

and then gets caught by
the ghost, muah muah muah.

(audience laughs)

Nothing else matters,
do you know what I mean?

- Alex, if you want
my advice, tell Mom

because if she finds
out, and she will,

you're really going to
have to turn the other cheek.

(audience laughs)

Now I've really gotta go.

Oh, I need change for the bus.

Does anybody have any quarters?

- Sure.
- Oh good.

(audience laughs)

Thank you.
- See you later.

- Goodbye.


- Little scared
about the paddling?

- Nah.

Well, yeah.

See we got this new vice
principal, iron hand Burke.

They say he's really tough.

- Yeah, well if
he gets too tough

he's gonna have to answer to me.

I mean I don't condone
you skipping classes,

but I don't believe they

should be paddling
young men either.

There's no way to
pound sense into them.

(audience laughs)

Ann Romano, you're gonna
sign her name anyway?

That's a forgery, what the
hell's going on with you?

- Look, number one, the whole
idea of teachers hitting kids

is gonna make Ms. R
blow her stack, right?

- All right I'll
give you that one.

- Number two, she's
got a lot on her mind

and she doesn't need me
giving her anymore aggravation.

- That's a little
iffy, go ahead.

- Why make it hard on everybody?

I did the crime
so I'll do the time.

- You trying to sell
me a wormy apple?

(audience laughs)

- It's all logical, isn't it?

- Sure it's logical.

You don't want to take
your licks from Ms. Romano.

Maybe I better go
down to that school

and straighten things out.

- Oh no no no no, Schneider.

Trust me, please?

- Alex you better get moving,

you're going to
be late for school.

- All right, right
I'll see you later.

- Wait a minute, do
you have any enemies?

- Huh?

- Your horoscope, it says

don't turn your back
on your enemies.

(audience laughs)

(laughs nervously)

- See you later.

- What was that look?

- What look?

- Schneider.

- Don't worry, I'm
gonna handle it.

- Handle what?

- You got a kid
there that's in trouble.

- Alex?

- Alex, and that's
all I'm telling ya.

- Wait a minute,
you can't tell me

that's all you're telling me.

- I just told you,
that's all I'm telling ya.

- Schneider, what did Alex do?

- Schneider, Duane F.
Torpedo man first class 3976444.

- Schneider.

(audience laughs)

- Alex is gonna get paddled.

- Paddled?

Why, what did he do,
who's gonna paddle him?

- The vice principal,
iron hand Burke.

(audience laughs)

- All right, what did he do?

- He skipped school.

Now look it's bad enough
he's gonna get paddled.

Let him bite the bullet,
that'll be the end of it.

- The end of it?

You think that's the end of it?

- Why don't I think
that's the end of it?

(audience laughs)

- No way is that the end of it.


- It's a good thing I didn't
tell her about the forgery,

she might have gotten upset.

(audience laughs)

- Ow!

Oh boy...
- Alex!

- I really gave
that a shot, oh no.

Do you think I'm
gonna lose my nail?

I'm sorry.

You must be...

- I'm Ann Romano,
Alex Handris's guardian.

- Handris.


Oh I see.

You thought you heard
the plaintive wail of a child

being thrashed within
an inch of his life.


- Look, Mr. Burke.

- I guess that's good.

I see my reputation has
followed me out here.

Well it's an important
part of the job.

- What?

- But what kid wants to risk
meeting up with iron hand Burke

or butcher Burke or
blue bottom Burke?

Please, sit down.
- Yeah thank you.

Mr. Burke look, I am
absolutely opposed

to corporal punishment
in the schools

and I am specifically
against paddling Alex.

- You know I love golf.

There's a picture of me
and Chi-Chi Rodriguez.

Now Rodriguez, there's a hitter.

- Thank you for your time.

Where would I
find the principal?

- Ms. Romano,
I'm making a point.

- Well then I wish
you'd make it.

- I love hitting golf balls.

I hate hitting kids.

- Aha, I see.

But you still use that.

- Well unfortunately
sometimes this is necessary.

- No I don't believe
it is ever necessary

for a teacher to hit a kid.

For heaven's sakes, what did
Alex do besides skip school?

Every kid in the
world skips school

and you don't whip him for it!

No, there have got
to be other methods.

- It's only after we've
exhausted the other methods

that we're even given
the option of the paddle.

- Look, Mr. Burke...
- Ms. Romano!

He skipped school every
afternoon for nine days!

- Oh my god.

Why didn't you notify me?

What is the matter
with you people?

Alex is my concern,
and will you stop

hopping up and down like that?

(audience laughs)

- Sorry.


(audience laughs)

And if I may, your
office was phoned

on the 14th, you were out.

We phoned again on the
18th, you were in a meeting

but you promised
to call us right back.

- I remember that.

I was dead wrong, but that
is no reason to punish Alex.

Anyway, I thought you were
supposed to notify me in writing.

- If I may, you were.

There's your signature.


- Well, at least
he spelled it right.

I don't understand Alex.

I mean he's such an honest,
decent, straightforward kid.

- Come in.

What is it son?

- I'm here to take
my punishment.

I'm Alex Handris.

(audience laughs)


- Alex, it's all
right to say hello.

- Hi.

- Hi, Alex.

- Now before we get down
to this unpleasant business

I'd like to review
the details of the...

- Mr. Burke, under the
circumstances there is

a point of law that I feel
obliged to point out to you.

- Aha.

Well I'll certainly take
that under advisement.

- Who's she?

- This is...
- Special investigator,

police department.

(audience laughs)

- Police?

- Right, you have the right
to remain silent, Handris.

Anything you say may
be held against you

in the court of law.

If you want an
attorney, just nod.

- I don't want an attorney!

- Oh, well I think
we've got him iron hand,

he's about to break.

Okay Alex, tell me...

- Wait a minute, wait
a minute I'm not Alex!

I'm not anybody, I was lying.

- Sure sure sure Handris,
okay tell me, why'd you do it?

- Seven dollars.

Alex paid me seven bucks
to take his paddling for him.

I'm not Alex, I'm Bernie
Danner, I never did nothing!

- Well, I can't paddle a kid
for using a double negative.

(audience laughs)

- I'm sorry Bernie.

- Danner, why don't
you wait for me outside?

- Yes sir.

- Bernie, aren't you
forgetting something?

Just give me six dollars,

mental anguish has
to be worth something.

(audience laughs)

- First time I've
ever had a ringer.

(audience laughs)

- I just don't
understand why Alex

would pull a stunt like this.

- I can give you
all sorts of reasons

but there is one
mysterious motivation

that's baffled
psychologists for years.

I call it being 14.

- No, I don't buy it,
it's not good enough.

Look, Mr. Burke, do you mind

if I try to handle this at home?

- All right.

Good luck.

- Yeah, thank you.

Just don't know what is
the matter with that kid!

Truancy, lying, forgery,
bribery, conspiracy!

- Why, why?

I mean what did I
do to deserve this?

(audience laughs)

- Excuse me, Mother Earth?

(audience laughs)

- He lied to me, he conned me!

I thought we were
buddies you know?

I mean that's what it is,
I've been too nice to him!

I should have
been more like you!

(audience laughs)

- Thank you, he lied to me too.

- Well, you're the
guardian female in charge.

I can accept him lying to you.

(audience laughs)

You know I know
what this kid needs.

He needs a strong
hand, he needs discipline,

he needs somebody to
lay the law down to him.

You take care of that,
I'll take him bowling,

we'll get to the bottom of this.

(audience laughs)

- Terrific idea, Schneider.

Maybe he can skip
school some afternoons.

- Ms. Romano I'm just trying to

get some answers
here, he conned me!

- Schneider he conned everybody!

- I'm the guy he borrowed

the seven bucks from
to buy flowers for you.

(audience laughs)

- Oh boy.

- Tell you the kid he's
really at a tough age.

All the girls smiling at him,

his glands going wacko.

(audience laughs)

Blood bubbling,
hormones popping.

No wonder he doesn't
know the difference

between right and wrong,
he's a chemical time bomb.

(audience laughs)

- There is certainly
something wrong with him.

- Well we gotta diffuse him.

- Hi!
- Schneider,

let me handle it please?

- Boy am I hungry.

I could eat a stove.

- Glands.

(audience laughs)

Schneider you're not
going to believe this.

I scored 18 points.

The coach says this year
I'm big enough to play forward.

- Hormones.

- Bye Schneider.

- Ms. Romano, you're
making a big mistake!

Two heads are better than one!

- Not when one of them is yours.

(audience laughs)

- Pituitary, thyroid,
pancreas, adrenaline!

(imitates explosion)

(audience laughs)

- Come on Alex, sit down.

Now, you see me.

I'm not doing any
yelling, no temper.

All I would like now
is quiet, calm truth.

- You heard about the paddling?

- Yes.

- Schneider told you.
- Sorry kid!

(audience laughs)

- Schneider!

- All right, you
want me back in.

Everybody makes mistakes...

- Yes we do, you just did.

(audience laughs)

(imitates explosion)

(audience laughs)

Okay Alex, come
on let's have it.

- Okay, I didn't
want to upset you

with all you've
got on your mind.

I had a paddling coming, so...

- So?

- So I just went down
to take my punishment.

(audience laughs)

- I see, well for someone
who's been paddled,

you're very cheerful.

- Oh I just didn't want to
show you how much pain I'm in.

- That's sweet.

You're a gutsy kid.

- Thanks, yeah I think
Mr. Burke got carried away today.

- Boy that's terrible, you
never know about people.

He was very nice to me.

- Oh yeah I hear the
first time you meet him...

(audience laughs)

You met him?

- Yes I did, today.

And by the way, here's
your refund from Bernie.

- Bernie?

(audience laughs)

- Bernie Danner, also
known as Alex Handris.

- Oh that Bernie.
- That Bernie.

- Well here's what happened.

I told Bernie I couldn't
let him take my place,

but he needs the money.

See his dad just lost his job

and his mom's in the hospital...

- Knock it off Alexander,

I want the truth
and I want it now!

- Look, I played one
game of Pac-Man,

it ran over my lunch hour.

I was too late to
get to English class,

so I missed the assignment.

I couldn't get to the
class the next day

because there was a
quiz on the assignment.

So more video games, more
classes missed, more notes...

- Alex, you lied.

You conned people,
you forged signatures!

Why, just explain it
to me, tell me why!

- Well I just told you,
I played one game,

it ran over my lunch hour.

I was too late to get
to English class so I...

- Alex!

- I don't know why.

I just did it.

You turning me
over to iron hand?

- No I think it's the parent's

responsibility to
discipline a child.

Oh boy if you
were one of my kids

I'd paddle you good,
but you're not my kid.

- I know I'm not.

We just live together.

We're roommates.

- Alex, come on I'm your...

Well I'm your...

- Roommate.

You're not even
my legal guardian.

I'm here on waivers.

My own mother doesn't even care.

- Oh of course she cares, Alex.

She's a very nice woman.

- Oh she is, she is.

She's terrific, she's
great, she's also in Europe.

She just never
wanted to be a mother.

- Alex.

- Why do you think I spent
so much time with my dad?

Then he left me.

- Alex.

Your father didn't
desert you, he died.

- I know he died.

The only one who
loved me, the only one

who really wanted me, the only
one who cared and he's gone

and I'll never forgive
him for that, damn it!


- Well that's terrific.

(audience laughs)

That's really, really terrific.

Now on top of everything
else you got the kid cursing.

- Oh Schneider it
is terrific, it really is!

I mean for the first
time he's letting out

all that anger he's
gotta be feeling

about not belonging any place,

about his mother,
about his father's death.

- About his father's death.
- Right.

- Right.

You know what
I've been doing out

in that hallway, Ms. Romano?

- Listening.

- Listening and thinking.

(audience laughs)

And I have come up with an idea.

Sit down.

(audience laughs)

All right, here it is.

You and I have
gotta get married.

(audience laughs)

Kid needs a father,
needs a mother.

Between the two of
us we can cover that.

(audience laughs)

I can see you're
thinking about it, okay.

(audience laughs)


I also see a little
concern there.

Don't be concerned, this will

strictly be a marriage
of convenience right?

No hanky panky, absolutely none!

No sir, I mean
I'll sign the papers

and I would like to
have my weekends.

(audience laughs)

Don't you see it's
good for the kid?

He needs us, Ms. Romano!

And it won't be that
bad for you either.

I mean look, you'll be married!

You won't have to go around

dying your hair and sucking
your gut in all the time.

(audience laughs)

Ms. Romano?

Listen, I'm not kidding you.

It's not all that bad.

Could be good for you.

A lot of guys like to fool
around with married women.

(audience laughs)

Have it down at the
lodge, a civil ceremony.

(audience laughs)

- Be still my heart.

(audience laughs)

- Who was that?

You okay?

- Uh Alex, you and I
just had a very close call.

(audience laughs)

How are you doing?

- I guess sometimes I,

I feel as though I really
don't have anybody.

- Oh Alex, come on!

What am I, huh?

Think of me as your mom.

- How many kids
call their mom Ms. R?

- Yeah well I admit
I never planned on

having another kid at my age,

especially one who was your age.

- Sure you got all the
family you can handle

and lately with weddings,

a new grandkid, new
son-in-law, new boyfriend.

- Alex.

I'm sorry.

I have obviously been
incredibly insensitive.

I didn't return those
phone calls from the school.

I have never made a
total commitment to you.

Oh, Alex, I love...
- Oh no.

You just feel sorry for me.

- Not as sorry as
someone else feels for you.

- Who?

- You.

Did I ever give you
my 10 foot wall speech?

- I don't think so.

- My dad used to tell it to me.

All my kids get
it, sooner or later.

The world according to
my dad is a 10 foot wall.

Some people don't seem to
have any trouble getting over it.

They've got a lot of
things going for them.

They're smart, they're strong,

and they've got a family
who's there for them.

Other people don't
have it so easy.

They're poor, uneducated,
the wrong color,

the wrong sex, maybe
they don't even know

who their parents are.

But if they're gonna
make it in this life,

they have to get over that wall.

- Life isn't fair.

- And don't you forget it.

You want to know what
my dad would say to you?

- What?

- He would have said,

"I'm real sorry your dad died

"and I'm sorry your
mother doesn't give a damn

"but those are the facts kid,

"nobody is going
to lower that wall.

"So stop feeling
so sorry for yourself,

"and stop doing crazy
things to get attention

"and stop screwing up your life.

"And figure out a way
to get over that wall."

- It's not easy, Ms. R when
you don't belong anyplace.

- Oh damn it Alex, you belong!
- Where?

- Here.

And if you didn't
before, you do now.

Come here.


Okay, all right sweetie, okay.

Alex, come here.

(audience laughs)

Bend over.

(audience laughs)

Now, this is gonna hurt me
more than it's gonna hurt you.

- Isn't there an easier
way to get into this family?

(audience laughs)

- No.


(jazz music)