The Wonder Years - Transcript

Episode 102: "The Test"

Written by Robin Riordan
Transcribed by Kyle Gittins
Edited and corrected by Peter Reynders


[Clips of young KEVIN climbing a jungle-gym at a playground.]

NARRATOR: One thing a kid learns growing up, is that life...

[Wide shot up the slide, as KEVIN sits at the top.]

NARRATOR: a series of risks.

[The camera zooms in on KEVIN. He hesitates.]

[Shot of NORMA and KEVIN, as KEVIN climbs the jungle-gym.]

NARRATOR: It's a cause-and-effect relationship. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

[NORMA spins KEVIN on the merry-go-round, and he jumps off.]

NARRATOR: Still, with the proper guidance, we learn to deal with the risks.

[Shot of the slide as KEVIN comes down, with his arms up.]

NARRATOR: And pretty soon, we set out into the world...

[Shot of NORMA at the bottom of the slide, holding her arms out.]

NARRATOR: Sure in our options, confident of our choices.

[NORMA lets KEVIN whiz by. He runs off, and she laughs and claps.]

NARRATOR: Until, that is...

[Bell rings.]

Cut to


[Shot of the chalkboard, with a list of words. MR. GLAVIN points at them, and walks into the shot.]

MR. GLAVIN: "Metamorphosis". Is it "A" - transformation, "B" - integration, "C" - resurrection, or "D" - none of the above?

[Shot from the front of the class of the students.]

NARRATOR: Eleventh-grade. The year of decisions.

[Shot from the back of the class of MR. GLAVIN standing near his desk, and gesturing.]

MR. GLAVIN: Anyone?

[Three students raise a hand.]


[Close shot of RANDY. He drops his arm.]


[Close shot of MR. GLAVIN frowning.]

[Close shot of RANDY.]

RANDY: "C" - "D"!

[Shot from behind KEVIN of MR. GLAVIN gesturing.]


NARRATOR: Around the middle of junior year...

[Close shot of RANDY looking down and mouthing "A".]

NARRATOR: ...the risks increase.

[Shot of KEVIN, and JEFF next to him.]

JEFF: I knew that.

NARRATOR: Almost overnight, the choices get harder.

[Wide shot from behind MR. GLAVIN of the class. He picks up a book, and sits on the edge of his desk.]

NARRATOR: One guess why.

MR. GLAVIN: English comprehension.

[Close shot of MR. GLAVIN holding up a book.]

MR. GLAVIN: I suggest you learn this, class. It's bound to show up on you SAT's.

[Close shot of KEVIN looking concerned.]

NARRATOR: The scholastic aptitude test.

[KEVIN glances toward PAUL off-screen.]

[Close shot of PAUL looking concerned.]

NARRATOR: The living nightmare of American adolescents.

[Close shot of MR. GLAVIN pointing over his shoulder.]

MR. GLAVIN: Alright, next word. "Pyrotechnic".

[He sighs and frowns.]

MR. GLAVIN: Mr. Pfeiffer.

[Close shot of PAUL looking up concerned.]

MR. GLAVIN [V/O]: Would you like to take a crack at this one?

[PAUL glances at the board.]

PAUL: Uh...

NARRATOR: Like some kind of biblical curse...

[PAUL glances off.]

NARRATOR: ...the SATs had descended on our class...

[Shot past KEVIN of PAUL. PAUL looks at KEVIN worriedly.]

[Shot past PAUL of KEVIN. KEVIN nods toward the board.]

NARRATOR: ...reducing even the most-intelligent among us to a state of...

[Close shot of PAUL.]

NARRATOR: ...flop-sweats.

PAUL: "B"!

[Close shot of MR. GLAVIN.]


[Shot of KEVIN and JEFF. JEFF is doodling.]

JEFF: I knew that.

KEVIN: Yeah, right.

JEFF: I did.

MR. GLAVIN [V/O]: In that case, Mr. Billings...

[Shot past KEVIN of MR. GLAVIN sitting on the edge of his desk. He gestures behind him toward the board.]

MR. GLAVIN: "Hirsute".

[Shot of KEVIN smiling and looking toward JEFF.]

MR. GLAVIN [V/O]: Can you fill us in?

[Close shot of JEFF.]

[Close shot of the board and the list of words.]

JEFF [V/O]: Hirsute.

[Close shot of JEFF.]

JEFF: Uh...

NARRATOR: It was grim.

[Close shot of KEVIN looking at JEFF off-screen.]

NARRATOR: After sixteen years of hard learning...

[Shot past KEVIN of JEFF. KEVIN smiles, JEFF is blank.]

NARRATOR: ...our educational futures had suddenly been pinned down to four choices...

[Close shot of JEFF.]

JEFF: Uh...

[Close shot of the board and the word "hirsute", and choice "A" - "sour".]


[The camera pans down to the next choice - "hairy".]


[The camera pans down to the next choice - "woolen".]


[The camera pans down to the next choice - "none of the above".]

NARRATOR: And of course...

Cut to


[Close shot of the serving woman.]

WOMAN: Pudding, or Jell-O?

[Shot past the woman of JEFF and KEVIN in line.]

KEVIN: Ah, we'll go with the pudding.

JEFF: Hirsute! [Gestures.] Who-who in the world knows what hirsute means?

[Close shot of the woman looking up.]

WOMAN: Hairy!

[Shot of JEFF and KEVIN.]

JEFF: Oh, great.

[JEFF heads off.]

NARRATOR: The truth was, potential failure loomed at every turn.

[KEVIN hesitates.]

[Close shot of the woman folding her arms.]

WOMAN: Next.

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning and walking off.]

NARRATOR: Not that it was worth losing sleep over.

Cut to


[Close shot of CHUCK.]

CHUCK: I haven't slept in two nights! I don't know what it is - I just keep tossing and turning.

[Shot of CHUCK, JEFF and KEVIN seated at a table.]

JEFF: I just wish it was over, ya know?

CHUCK: I wish I were dead.

NARRATOR: It was clear each of us was dealing with this in our own way. For me...

[KEVIN frowns and gestures.]

KEVIN: Come on - what are you both so worried about?

NARRATOR: was denial.

[PAUL approaches.]

KEVIN: I mean, it's just a stupid aptitude test, right?

[Close shot of CHUCK glancing at PAUL off-screen.]

CHUCK: Maybe he's right.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: Course I'm right.

PAUL [V/O]: Are you nuts?

[Close shot of PAUL.]

PAUL: This test could determine our entire future.

[Close shot of KEVIN chewing, then pausing.]

KEVIN: What's that supposed to mean? [Frowns.]

[Close shot of PAUL.]

PAUL: Well, it have to score fourteen-hundred this year, to even be considered by the Ivy Leagues.

[Close shot of JEFF glancing from PAUL to KEVIN.]

PAUL [V/O]: And what college you go to...

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

PAUL [V/O]: Determines what grad school you go to...

PAUL: Which determines what kind of job you get...

[Close shot of CHUCK frowning.]

PAUL [V/O]: And what contacts you're gonna make...and-and who your friends are gonna be...

[Close shot of PAUL.]

PAUL: And what type of house you're gonna live in...and what the rest of your life could be like.

[Shot past PAUL of KEVIN, as PAUL sits down.]

[Close shot of JEFF.]

JEFF: Are you sure you didn't leave anything else out, Paul?

[Close shot of PAUL.]

PAUL: Yeah, you got some pudding on your pants.

[Wide shot of the four of them at the table. JEFF wipes his pants with a napkin.]

NARRATOR: Pudding on our pants... metaphors we couldn't mix...

Cut to


[Shot over JACK's shoulder of him holding his work-review.]

NARRATOR: Seemed like the stress was getting to us all...

[JACK slaps it down on the kitchen table.]

NARRATOR: My dad included.

[Close shot of KEVIN walking past the table, and JACK seated at one end.]

JACK: "Competent"? What the hell does "competent" mean?

[Close shot of NORMA in the kitchen.]

NORMA: Probably means you did a good job, Jack.

[Shot past NORMA of JACK and KEVIN. KEVIN is setting the table.]

NARRATOR: For my father, the crisis was his annual evaluation from NORCOM.

[JACK and KEVIN pause, and look at NORMA. JACK sighs.]

JACK: You know how many weekends I put in there? You know how hard I worked?! I don't believe this!

[JACK tosses the review into his briefcase. NORMA walks over to him.]

NARRATOR: Which isn't to say the old man wasn't graceful at taking constructive criticism.

[NORMA picks up the review.]

[Shot of NORMA and JACK.]

NORMA: Now, look, hon-ey! There's "excellent" right here! [Points.]

JACK: Yeah. For "demeanor and appearance".

[JACK takes the review.]

JACK: Means the guy liked my haircut.

[JACK frowns, and tosses the review into his briefcase.]

[Wide shot of the table as KEVIN continues to set it, and NORMA returns to the kitchen.]

NORMA: Honey, they probably didn't even give it much thought - you know how much the appreciate you there!

JACK: The hell they do.

[Shot past JACK of KEVIN, glancing around, then continuing to set the table.]

NARRATOR: Still, in my own way, I kinda...sympathized with the guy.

[KEVIN pauses and looks at JACK.]

[Close shot of JACK looking blankly at KEVIN off-screen.]

[Shot past JACK of KEVIN. He holds up a spoon.]

KEVIN: Spoon?

[Shot of NORMA at the sink, and KEVIN and JACK in the background.]

[JACK takes the spoon and slaps it down. KEVIN continues to set the table.]

NARRATOR: After all, this was really none of my business. This was Dad, the great provider - the man with the plan.

JACK: Charlie Barratt got a...bad evaluation, too.

NORMA: Jack, you did not get a bad evaluation!

[Close shot of JACK looking off.]

JACK: Yeah, well...

[JACK looks at NORMA off-screen.]

JACK: He decided to leave NORCOM.

[Close shot of NORMA.]

NORMA: Charlie?

[Close shot of KEVIN pausing, and looking at NORMA off-screen.]

NORMA [V/O]: You're kidding?

JACK [V/O]: Nope.

[Close shot of JACK.]

JACK: He knows this guy who owns a small, uh, furniture factory - he wants to retire...He's gonna buy him out. I don't know...[looks down]...maybe he's got the right idea.

[Close shot of NORMA looking slightly concerned.]

NARRATOR: But if Dad was looking for advice...

[Close shot of KEVIN glancing at JACK off-screen.]

NARRATOR: He was pretty much on his own.

[Shot of JACK looking at the review, and sighing.]

JACK: Twenty years at NORCOM, Norma. What have I been doin' with my life?

[Close shot of NORMA looking at JACK off-screen.]

["Stuck In the Middle With You" by Steelers Wheel starts.]

NARRATOR: Face it. When it came to philosophy...

[NORMA turns back to the sink.]

[Close shot of KEVIN looking at NORMA off-screen.]

NARRATOR: family had one golden rule -...

Cut to


[Wide shot from behind the cars of the lights below.]

NARRATOR: was every man for himself.

[Shot of WINNIE and KEVIN through the windshield. The radio is playing.]

WINNIE: Kevin, I'm worried. [Frowns.]

KEVIN: About what? [Frowns.]


KEVIN: Oh, no - not you, too.

[Shot from WINNIE's side. WINNIE looks forward.]

NARRATOR: It was bad enough having to face this in the cafeteria. But not in the front seat of a hot car.

KEVIN: Winnie, it'll be fine.

[Shot from KEVIN's side. WINNIE frowns.]

WINNIE: You really think so?

KEVIN: Yeah. [Nods.]

WINNIE: Maybe you're right. [Smiles.]

[They move in and kiss, then WINNIE pulls away.]

WINNIE: Except, what happens after the test?

KEVIN: What?!

WINNIE: Well, the SAT's are just the beginning. I mean, after that, we graduate and go to college.

[Closer shot past KEVIN of WINNIE frowning.]

WINNIE: What if we end up at different schools?

[WINNIE shakes her head.]

WINNIE: And, what if we're thousands of miles apart? What if we never see each other anymore?

[KEVIN looks off, then back.]

NARRATOR: Jeez. Now my girlfriend was turning into Paul Pfeiffer.

KEVIN: Well...[sighs]...Winnie, that's over a year away. Do we have to worry about it now?

[WINNIE swallows and looks off, concerned.]

WINNIE: Of course we don't.

[They move in to kiss.]

WINNIE: I mean, we'll still see each other at Christmas, right?

[WINNIE smiles. KEVIN looks off. WINNIE rests her head on KEVIN's shoulder.]

NARRATOR: It was awful. This one crummy test was poisoning my life. Plaguing my future. So there was only one way to fight back.

[Music ends.]

Cut to


[Shot from behind the counter of NORMA leaning down, looking at ice cream.]

NORMA: I'll have pralines and cream, please.

[NORMA smiles and stands up. KEVIN and JACK are behind her.]

NARRATOR: Go for ice cream with the folks.

[Shot of the front door as CHARLIE BARRATT enters.]

NARRATOR: Yeah, this was some fun.

CHARLIE: Jack! Norma!

[Shot from behind the counter of all four.]

JACK: Heh, Charlie - what are you doin' here?

CHARLIE: Well, I-I just stopped by to get the family some ice, uh, you know - celebrate.

[JACK smiles and laughs softly.]

[Shot past KEVIN of CHARLIE, standing with his hands in his pockets.]

NARRATOR: Charlie Barratt. I hadn't seen him since I was -

[CHARLIE frowns.]

CHARLIE: Kevin? [Gestures.] I-I...I haven't seen you since you were six.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

CHARLIE [V/O]: What grade are you in now?

KEVIN: Eleventh. [Smiles.]

CHARLIE [V/O]: So, uh...

[Close shot of CHARLIE holding his chin, then gesturing.]

CHARLIE: Next year you'll be in...hmmm, twelfth!

NARRATOR: Yep - you couldn't get anything past this guy!

[Shot of NORMA, KEVIN and JACK. KEVIN smile and NORMA and JACK look at him.]

NORMA: Kevin's taking his SAT's next week.

[NORMA puts her arm around KEVIN's shoulders and smiles.]

[Close shot of CHARLIE.]

CHARLIE: Whoa! Hmmm - SAT's...Good luck, pal!

[KEVIN sighs and looks off.]

NARRATOR: Yeah - same to you.

CHARLIE [V/O]: Uh, let me have a pint of, uh...

[CHARLIE looks toward the server off-screen.]

CHARLIE: Strawberry - nah-nah-nah, make it a quart.

[CHARLIE looks at JACK.]

CHARLIE: Might as well live on the edge a little.

[Shot past CHARLIE of KEVIN.]

CHARLIE [V/O]: Right?

[Close shot of NORMA.]

NORMA: Yes, Jack told me about your leaving NORCOM and all your plans, it... must be very exciting. [Smiles.]

[JACK moves away and leans on the display glass.]

CHARLIE [V/O]: Exciting?! Hell, Norma...

[JACK frowns.]

[Shot past JACK of CHARLIE and NORMA.]

CHARLIE: This is long overdue...[taps JACK]...Right, Jack?

[Close shot of JACK turning, and smiling.]

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning, and looking toward JACK off-screen.]

NARRATOR: And there was something about that pat on the arm that said -

[Shot of CHARLIE smiling, with his arms folded.]

CHARLIE: So - Norma...what do you think about Jack and me going into business together?

[Close shot of KEVIN glancing toward NORMA off-screen.]

[Close shot of NORMA looking at CHARLIE, stunned.]


[She turns toward JACK.]

NORMA: Beg your pardon?

JACK [V/O]: Uh...

[Shot past NORMA of JACK, looking past NORMA toward CHARLIE off-screen.]

JACK: Actually, we haven't talked about it yet.

[JACK looks at NORMA.]

[Shot past JACK of NORMA looking at him, then CHARLIE off-screen.]

CHARLIE [V/O]: Oh, I see...uh, Norma...

[Close shot of CHARLIE.]

CHARLIE: Jack and I just had a couple discussions about...[frowns and shakes head]...maybe buying this little factory.

[Shot past NORMA of JACK as he sighs.]

CHARLIE [V/O]: But, ya know, it's not really -

JACK: We're meeting with the owner's tomorrow.

[Close shot of NORMA. She is taken aback.]

NORMA: I see.

[NORMA glances at CHARLIE, then looks at JACK and nods.]

[Close shot of JACK looking down.]

CHARLIE [V/O]: Yeah, well, anyway...

[Close shot of CHARLIE. He takes his package of ice cream.]

CHARLIE: I better get moving, uh, I'll - I'll see you tomorrow, Jack.

[Shot from behind the counter of all four.]

CHARLIE: Around three o'clock?

JACK: Alright.

CHARLIE: See ya there.

[CHARLIE exits.]

NARRATOR: Unfortunately, my mother's concern didn't disappear as easily as Charlie had.

[Close shot of NORMA as she shrugs and shakes her head.]

NORMA: Why didn't you tell me about this, Jack?

[Shot of NORMA and JACK, and KEVIN standing next to NORMA.]

JACK: Uh...

[JACK pauses, then looks toward the server.]

[Shot of JACK, and the server in the background who is leaning on the display, looking at him. The server looks away.]

[Shot of NORMA and JACK, and KEVIN standing next to NORMA. JACK hands an ice cream cone to NORMA.]

JACK: Maybe we ought to talk about it at home, OK? Kevin?

[JACK hands two ice cream cones to KEVIN.]

JACK: I'll...[points]...get the car.

[JACK exits past the camera. NORMA and KEVIN look after him.]

NARRATOR: And suddenly, I had the feeling something big was going on here.

[Shot past the server of NORMA and KEVIN looking after JACK.]

NARRATOR: For Mom, for Dad, for the whole family...and whatever it was...

SERVER: Hey, good luck with the SAT's.

[Shot past KEVIN of the server.]

SERVER: I hear they're a real killer. [Winks and nods.]

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning.]

NARRATOR: This time...

KEVIN: Thanks. [Nods.]

NARRATOR: ...I knew the answers weren't going to be easy.

Fade to


[Shot of MR. GLAVIN walking up an aisle, with his arms up.]

MR. GLAVIN: to...?

NARRATOR: As the SAT's loomed closer...

[Shot from the front of the classroom as Mr. Galvin pauses.]

NARRATOR: ...our brains loomed smaller.

MR GLAVIN: Come on - concentrate!

[Close shot of KEVIN looking off.]

MR. GLAVIN [V/O]: Anyone? Mr. Coleman...

[Close shot of CHUCK looking up nervously, as MR. GLAVIN approaches him.]


[Shot past CHUCK of MR. GLAVIN. He points to the board, and gestures.]

MR. GLAVIN: Harassment is to intimidation as compliment is to...[gestures.]

NARRATOR: Panic had officially descended upon my class.

[Shot of CHUCK hurriedly closing his notebook.]

CHUCK: I have to go to the bathroom.

[CHUCK rushes off.]

[Shot from the back of the room as students giggle, and MR. GLAVIN looks after CHUCK.]

NARRATOR: But no matter where we ran for comfort...

[MR. GLAVIN turns, gestures, and smiles.]

MR. GLAVIN: Anybody else?

[MR. GLAVIN glances around the walks forward.]

NARRATOR: ...there was no escape. It was getting harder and harder to deny what was going on.

[Shot past KEVIN as MR. GLAVIN pauses next to him.]

MR. GLAVIN: Mr. Arnold.

[Shot past MR. GLAVIN of KEVIN looking up.]

MR. GLAVIN: How about you?

[KEVIN smiles, then looks toward the board.]

KEVIN: Uh...

NARRATOR: At times like this, there was only one thing to do.

[KEVIN fingers his pencil and looks at MR. GLAVIN.]


NARRATOR: Take a risk.

[Shot past KEVIN of MR. GLAVIN.]

MR. GLAVIN: Ah...very good!

[MR. GLAVIN walks away.]

[Shot past MR. GLAVIN of KEVIN smiling, as MR. GLAVIN walks out of the shot.]

MR. GLAVIN [V/O]: Would you like to tell the class how you arrived at this answer?

KEVIN: Phhh...I guessed. [Smiles.]

[The class giggles.]

[Close shot of MR. GLAVIN as he turns around.]

MR. GLAVIN: Well, you were wrong. [Smiles.]

[Shot of KEVIN and JEFF.]

JEFF: I knew that.

MR. GLAVIN [V/O]: Alright, let's, uh...

[Shot past students of MR. GLAVIN.]

MR. GLAVIN: Start with another one - uh, annoy is to

[Close shot of KEVIN glancing around.]

NARRATOR: One thing was clear - it was time do buckle down and dive in. After all...

Cut to


[Shot past NORMA at the sink, as KEVIN is studying at the table. JACK enters, wearing a suit.]

NARRATOR: ...that's what my dad was doing.

[JACK spreads his arms.]

JACK: How do I look?

[NORMA turns and looks at JACK.]

NORMA: You look very handsome.

JACK: I'll bet you never thought you'd see me in the furniture business, huh?

NARRATOR: After twenty-four hours of constant negotiations...

[Close shot of NORMA as she fixes JACK's tie, and smiles.]

NARRATOR: ...Mom had finally accepted Dad's plan.

[Shot past NORMA as JACK smiles.]

NORMA: There ya go.

NARRATOR: Not that she was completely happy about it.

[Close shot of NORMA.]

NORMA: I just hope it all works out. [Nods.]

[Close shot of JACK.]

JACK: You know, Norma, I'm a lot more than competent. [Nods.]

[Shot of KEVIN watching JACK and NORMA.]

[Shot from behind KEVIN of JACK and NORMA.]

NORMA: I know that, honey. Good luck.

[NORMA pats JACK's cheek. They kiss. JACK smiles, takes his briefcase, and points at KEVIN.]

JACK: Seeya!

[Shot of KEVIN smiling as JACK exits.]

NARRATOR: And there you had it.

[Sound of vegetables being chopped.]

NARRATOR: As my father set out to become a one-man industry...

[KEVIN looks toward NORMA off-screen.]

[Shot past KEVIN of NORMA chopping on the cutting board, and looking out the window after JACK.]

NARRATOR: mother became a one-women vegamatic.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: Mom - I'm tryin' to study.

[Close shot of NORMA turning toward KEVIN.]

NORMA: Hmmm?

KEVIN [V/O]: Could you keep it down a little?

NORMA: Oh...Sorry. [Smiles.]

[Shot of KEVIN smiling, then returning to his studies.]

[Sound of a blender. KEVIN flinches and looks up.]

[Shot past KEVIN of NORMA holding the blender lid.]

[Shot of NORMA at the blender, and KEVIN in the background, closing his book.]

NARRATOR: OK, it was obvious if I was gonna get any studying done at all...

[KEVIN gets up from the table, and walks off with a plate of food and his books.]

NARRATOR: ...I'd have to do it somewhere else!

[NORMA looks out the window.]

Cut to


[KEVIN gathers pencils, books and paper.]

NARRATOR: I was ready. I was focused. And nothing was gonna sway me from the task at hand.

[Sound of introductory drum-roll of "Let's Make A Deal" on TV.]

[KEVIN looks up.]

[Shot of the TV screen with "Let's Make A Deal"]

NARRATOR: Except...

[Announcer: Let's Make a Deal! and now, here's America's top trader...TV's big dealer - MONTY HALL!]

Cut to


[Shot of KEVIN on the couch, sipping a soda.]

NARRATOR: Hey, I just needed a ten-minute break, OK?

[Shot of the TV screen.]

MONTY HALL: O-kay...Thank you!

[Wide shot from behind KEVIN. NORMA is setting the dining room table in the background.]

NORMA: Honey - you've been watching TV for three hours!

[Shot of KEVIN glancing from NORMA to the TV.]

KEVIN: Yeah. Well, uh, I'm gonna turn it off right now.

[KEVIN glances at NORMA, holds up the remote, then looks at the TV.]

MONTY HALL [V/O]: Our deal is worth ten-thousand-and-thirty four dollars.

[Shot of the TV.]

MONTY HALL: Is it door number one, door number two, or door number three?

[Close shot of NORMA at the table.]

NORMA: Your father should have been home an hour ago.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: Maybe he got held up.

NARRATOR: After all, we were talking about Dad, here.

[KEVIN frowns and looks toward the front door off-screen, as he hears JACK entering.]

NARRATOR: He probably signed the deal, stopped off to buy some Champagne...

[Shot of the door as JACK enters.]

NARRATOR: ...and was coming home the conquering hero.

KEVIN: Hi, Dad!

[JACK walks past KEVIN and sighs.]

NORMA [V/O]: Hi, honey!

[Close shot of NORMA smiling.]

NORMA: How'd it go?

[Shot of JACK taking off his jacket and frowning.]

JACK: Lousy.

[Shot from behind KEVIN of JACK and NORMA. JACK walks toward the kitchen.]

NARRATOR: Or maybe...just the conquered.

[JACK goes into the kitchen, NORMA follows.]

Cut to


[Shot of JACK sighing and reaching for the cabinet door. NORMA enters behind him, and puts her hand on his shoulder.]

NORMA: What happened?

[JACK glances at NORMA, sighs, shuts the cabinet, and walks toward the camera. NORMA follows to the sink.]

JACK: I'll tell you what happened. The whole damn thing fell apart.

[JACK pauses and turns.]


JACK: Well, for one thing, it's gonna cost three times more than I thought.

[Shot of JACK leaning against a counter, and frowning at NORMA off-screen.]

JACK: Fifteen thousand bucks! Can you imagine that?

[Shot of the doorway as KEVIN enters and pauses.]

JACK [V/O]: We can't afford that, Norma. With the mortgage...

[Close shot of NORMA looking moderately concerned.]

JACK [V/O]: Car payments, Kevin's college...

[NORMA looks down.]

[Shot of JACK looking off and sighing.]

JACK: What the hell was I thinking?

[Shot of KEVIN in the doorway.]

NARRATOR: And in that moment, I'd heard something in his voice...

[Close shot of JACK looking off.]

NARRATOR: ...I'd never heard before - regret.

[Close shot of NORMA shaking her head.]

NORMA: I don't think you should give up on this.

[Close shot of JACK looking down, then at NORMA off-screen.]

JACK: Well, what about the money?

NORMA [V/O]: Honey!

[Shot past JACK of NORMA.]

NORMA: When we got married...[gestures]...we didn't have two nickels to rub together - and we did alright!

[Shot past NORMA of JACK as he smiles and looks down.]

NORMA [V/O]: Well...we'll do it again.

[Shot past JACK of NORMA, as JACK stands up.]

NARRATOR: But if Mom was trying her best to give Dad a future...

[Shot past NORMA of JACK as he sighs.]

JACK: Forget it, Norma.

NARRATOR: ...the old man wasn't buying.

[JACK touches her cheek.]

JACK: I'm stayin' at NORCOM.

[Shot past JACK of NORMA as he walks out of the shot. NORMA looks after him off-screen.]

[Shot of KEVIN as JACK exits past him. KEVIN looks after him then at NORMA off-screen.]

[Close shot of NORMA looking off in thought.]

Cut to


[KEVIN is in bed. He switches off the lamp, and sighs.]

NARRATOR: That night I didn't have much luck studying. My mind was whirling. All I could think about were decisions, and risks...

[KEVIN sighs, and closes his eyes.]

NARRATOR: ...and choices.

[Drum roll, and announcer - "Let's make a deal!"]

Fade to

"Let's Make A Deal" Game Show

[Close shot of MONTY standing in the aisle.]

MONTY HALL: Alright, Kevin Arnold - are you ready to choose your future?

[Shot of KEVIN standing next to MONTY, wearing a black cap and gown, and holding a 6-foot tall pencil.]

KEVIN: Yes, Monty.

MONTY HALL [V/O]: OK, what door do you want?

KEVIN: I'll take, uh, door number...

[Wide shot of MONTY and KEVIN standing in the aisle. Audience members wave signs, and cheer.]


KEVIN: Two. No - no, one...

[Shot of audience members cheering.]

[Shot of KEVIN and MONTY.]

KEVIN: Three! No! No, one!


[Shot of "Uncle Sam" and "Raggedy Ann" in the audience.]

KEVIN [V/O]: Door number two!

[Shot of KEVIN and MONTY.]

MONTY HALL: Good - are you sure?

KEVIN: Absolutely. [Smiles.]


KEVIN: Door number one.

[MONTY pauses, and they look at each other.]

[Shot of the door and model, as the door opens.]

MONTY HALL: Alright Don, tell him what he's won.

[JACK is on the phone at a cluttered desk.]

ANNOUNCER: Congratulations!

[Close shot of JACK taking a paper off a foot-high stack.]

ANNOUNCER: You've just chosen twenty years at NORCOM...

[Close shot of KEVIN looking disappointed.]

ANNOUNCER: Where you'll receive long hours...

[Shot of JACK hanging up the phone, resting his arms on the desk, and sighing.]

ANNOUNCER: Constant brow-beating, and a severe peptic ulcer!

[Shot of KEVIN and MONTY.]

MONTY HALL: Unless of course you'd like to trade it in -

[KEVIN points.]

KEVIN: Three!

MONTY HALL:...for - oh, you do want to trade it in?

KEVIN: Three.

MONTY HALL: For three?

KEVIN: Door number three.

MONTY HALL: Alright.

[Shot of the door and model, as the door opens.]

MONTY HALL [V/O]: Here's what we have behind door number three!

[The door opens revealing a donkey, some hay bales, and a saguaro cactus.]

[Sound of buzzer and "loser" music.]

ANNOUNCER: It's...a donkey!

[The audience sighs, and the donkey brays.]

[Shot of KEVIN looking disappointed.]

[Shot of a "gorilla" in the audience.]

[Close shot of MONTY.]

MONTY HALL: Now, Don, tell him what he could have won.

[Shot of the door and model, as the door opens, with "Hawaiian" music.]

[PAUL and WINNIE are on chaise longes, with a sailboat.]

ANNOUNCER: Yes, Kevin - it's the good life! A college education...

[Shot of KEVIN looking incredulous. The camera zooms in on him.]

ANNOUNCER: Vacations to Hawaii!

[Shot of WINNIE and PAUL, as WINNIE takes off her sunglasses, waves and smiles.]

ANNOUNCER: The girl of your dreams...

[PAUL raises his Champagne glass.]

ANNOUNCER: And expensive lawn furniture!

[Shot of the "gorilla" shaking his head, then rubbing it.]

[Shot of KEVIN and MONTY.]

MONTY HALL: And all because you didn't study for your SAT's.

[KEVIN frowns at MONTY off-screen.]

[Echo of "study for your SAT' for your SAT's..."]

[KEVIN looks toward the door, then MONTY off-screen.]

[Sound of school bell.]

Cut to


[Shot of CHUCK emerging from a stall, holding the English comprehension book. He approaches RANDY and JEFF, looks in the mirror, and sighs.]

NARRATOR: The day before the test was torture.

CHUCK: Oh man. This is gonna be a disaster.

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning.]

NARRATOR: Panic had given way to...raw superstition.

[Wider shot of the four guys lined up at the sinks.]

JEFF: You know, I heard that there's a pattern - if you break the code, you can figure out the answers.

[JEFF takes a paper towel and dries his hands.]

RANDY: Yeah. I heard they have this card they put over the answers, so if you fill in all the circles you get a perfect score.

CHUCK: No, I heard...

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning.]

CHUCK [V/O]: That if you use the serial number from **** and divide it by your birthday.

[Shot of RANDY, JEFF and CHUCK looking uncertain.]

NARRATOR: It was crazy - the last minute ravings of desperate men.

RANDY: That's ridiculous - how're they gonna know your birthday?

CHUCK: Hey...[gestures]...they know everything! And then you take the question number and you add it, and you multiply the whole thing -

[PAUL walks to the edge of the shot.]

PAUL: I can't believe you guys are wasting your time on these stupid rumors!

[Shot of KEVIN frowning, and looking over his shoulder toward PAUL.]

PAUL [V/O]: I mean, don't you have something better to do?

[Close shot of PAUL as he shrugs.]

PAUL: You should be studying.

[KEVIN frowns at PAUL off-screen, and takes a step forward.]

KEVIN: Why?!

NARRATOR: Enough was enough.

[Close shot of PAUL turning to KEVIN off-screen.]

NARRATOR: It was time to put some sense to this whole fiasco.

[Close shot of KEVIN frowning.]

KEVIN: Who says we have to take this stupid test, anyway? [Gestures.] Why should we let this one test affect our entire life?

[Shot of RANDY, JEFF, and CHUCK.]

KEVIN [V/O]: Why should one test make us this crazy?

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: I say we're more important than that stupid test, and I for one, am not gonna let it control my life! [Frowns.]

NARRATOR: There. Finally, A statement of principle.

[Close shot of PAUL frowning.]

NARRATOR: A manifesto of defiance.

[Shot of RANDY, JEFF, and CHUCK.]

NARRATOR: A cry for unity no red-blooded kid could fail to admire.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

[Shot of RANDY, JEFF and CHUCK. RANDY and CHUCK make chicken-clucking sounds, and exit past the camera.]

[JEFF smiles, then approaches KEVIN.]

JEFF: Nice try, buddy.

[JEFF pats KEVIN's shoulder, smiles, and exits.]

NARRATOR: And I guess that's when it hit me.

[KEVIN looks in the mirror.]

NARRATOR: What I'd been denying all week. About choices, about risks, and that test. I wasn't angry. I was just plain scared.

Cut to


[KEVIN is walking out of the building, with other students.]

NARRATOR: By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was head home. Maybe catch a slow train to Loserville.

[KEVIN pauses.]

[Shot past students of JACK's car parked across the street. JACK honks.]

[Closer shot of JACK opening the door and looking toward KEVIN.]

NARRATOR: I don't know...maybe Dad had the same idea, too.

[JACK leans against his car, and waves.]

[Shot past JACK as KEVIN approaches.]

JACK: Hey, Kev. How ya doin'? Everything OK?

KEVIN: Dad, what are you doing here? [Gestures.]

[Shot past KEVIN of JACK.]

JACK: I thought...maybe you'd like to go for a ride.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

JACK [V/O]: What do ya say?

KEVIN: Well, I have my car over there, so...

[Close shot of JACK glancing toward KEVIN's car.]

JACK: We'll get it later. Come on - it won't take long. [Smiles.]

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

NARRATOR: And the way he said it...


Cut to


[Shot through the windshield of JACK's car of KEVIN and JACK.]

NARRATOR: ...guess I knew I really didn't have a choice.

JACK: Kevin, ah...there's some things I want to talk to you about.

NARRATOR: The funny thing was, I pretty much knew what was coming.

JACK: You know, sometimes it's not easy being the head of a family. Sometimes you have to make choices that affect everybody,'re not sure if you're doing the right thing...uh...

[Close shot of KEVIN glancing off, then toward JACK.]

[Close shot of JACK.]

KEVIN [V/O]: Hey listen, Dad!

[Shot past JACK of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: You don't have to explain anything to me.

[Shot past KEVIN of JACK.]

JACK: Glad to hear you say that. [Smiles.]

[Close shot of KEVIN smiling, then looking off.]

NARRATOR: Hell, I understood what he meant.

[Shot down a city street as the car approaches, and turns into a driveway.]

NARRATOR: After all, in this world, there were two kinds of men - the one's with guts - the one's who dared - the one's who took risks. And then...there were the Arnold's.

[The camera zooms in as they stop in a deserted parking lot.]

JACK: Here we are!

[Wide shot of a building, and the car in the middle of the parking lot.]

KEVIN [V/O]: What is this?

[Close shot from the passenger side of KEVIN and JACK looking toward the building.]

JACK: My new company.

[KEVIN turns toward JACK.]

[Shot past JACK of KEVIN.]

JACK [V/O]: Once the deal closes.

[KEVIN turns toward the building.]

[Close shot from the passenger side of KEVIN and JACK looking toward the building.]

JACK: So come on...

[JACK pats KEVIN's arm, and points.]

JACK: Let's take a look. [Smiles.]

[Shot from inside the dark building as JACK opens the door.]

NARRATOR: I guess life is full of surprises...

[KEVIN looks around as they enter.]

NARRATOR: No matter what age you are.

JACK: Here we go!

[JACK flips on the lights. The factory is in the background.]

[Close shot of KEVIN smiling, as JACK sighs.]

JACK [V/O]: Everybody's already knocked off for the day.

[Close shot of JACK.]

JACK: It's usually really, um, hoppin' in here. [Chuckles.]

[Shot from behind KEVIN and JACK.]

KEVIN: Yeah - I bet.

JACK: Come on.

[JACK pats KEVIN on the back and walks forward.]

JACK: I'll show you around.

[They walk down the aisle past a band-saw. The camera rolls with them.]

[JACK point toward a rocking chair.]

JACK: Look at that! [Laughs.]

KEVIN: It's great!

[They pause, and KEVIN rocks the chair. They smile at each other.]

NARRATOR: I guess life is full of surprises - no matter what age you are.

[Shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: I didn't know you knew anything about furniture, Dad.

[Shot of JACK walking down the aisle. The camera rolls with him.]

JACK: I don't...but I'm ready to learn. We got a great crew here.

[Shot of KEVIN pausing near a machine.]

KEVIN: What about NORCOM?

[Shot past KEVIN of JACK as he tilts his head.]

JACK: Figured your mom was right.

[JACK looks off.]

JACK: It's time to take a chance.

[JACK looks at KEVIN.]

JACK: NORCOM was killing me...[shrugs]...So I left.

[Close shot of KEVIN.]

KEVIN: What'd they say?

[Close shot of JACK.]

JACK: They said "goodbye".

[Close shot of KEVIN glancing off, then back.]

KEVIN: Dad, aren't you scared?

[Shot of JACK looking off.]

JACK: Nah.

[JACK looks at KEVIN and smiles.]

JACK: Yeah.

[Close shot of KEVIN. He smiles.]

JACK [V/O]: Come on.

[Wide shot past some furniture as JACK slaps KEVIN's shoulder.]

JACK: I want to show you where my office'll be.

[They walk off toward some furniture pieces at a machine. The camera pulls back a little.]

NARRATOR: That afternoon, Dad and I took the tour.

[JACK picks up a table leg.]

JACK: See these? We make the legs...

NARRATOR: We talked furniture. We talked life. We made plans.

Fade to


[High wide shot of students sitting at tables, as test-administrators pass out tests. The camera lowers slowly.]

WOMAN [V/O]: ...sealed test booklet.

NARRATOR: And the next morning, at 8:00 AM, seventy-eight students gathered in the McKinley cafeteria to take what was supposed to be the most important test of their lives.

WOMAN [V/O]: Do not break the seal until I tell you to do so.

[CHUCK shakes a pencil, breaks the lead, and frowns.]

NARRATOR: Everyone had a different way of coping that day.

[Close shot of ten pencils lined up on a table. The camera pans up to PAUL as he takes one and sharpens it.]

WOMAN [V/O]: You'll have three hours to work on the test...

NARRATOR: Some were more effective than others.

[Close shot of JEFF rubbing his eyes.]

WOMAN [V/O]: There are five sections...

[Close shot of RANDY drumming the table with his fingers and pencil.]

WOMAN [V/O]: The time allotted for each section will be announced, before you begin.

[Close shot of WINNIE looking at KEVIN off-screen worriedly, then sighing.]

NARRATOR: But for all the risks and choices, I was one step ahead of them.

[Close shot of Kevin smiling at WINNIE off-screen, then looking forward.]

WOMAN [V/O]: When you have finished a section...

[Close shot of a woman in glasses.]

WOMAN: Do not - I repeat - do not turn ahead.

[Shot of KEVIN glancing around.]

WOMAN [V/O]: You may your pamphlets...

[KEVIN opens his pamphlet.]

NARRATOR: After all, I knew that this was just one test in thousands I'd be taking in my life.

[The camera pulls up and back.]

NARRATOR: None of them final, none of them irrevocable. And the way I saw it, maybe life was a risk. But this time, I was ready.

Fade to


Supporting Cast

Mr. Glavin - Willie C. Carpenter
Jeff - Giovanni Ribisi
Chuck - Andrew Mark Berman
Randy - Michael Tricario
Charlie - John Pleshette

This transcript was compiled by Kyle Gittins. The words marked by **** are hard to understand. Please mail to if you find any errors, or if you have any comments or suggestions.

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