03x11 - Girl Meets Sassy Haltertop

"The sun shines during the day."

Ms. Matthews will argue the affirmative.

Good morning, everybody.

You know why people say that in the morning?


Nailed it.

How can you possibly lose?

Like this.

First of all, let's understand that day and night are merely words invented by human beings to communicate simple conceptual constructs apropos of nothing.




Thank you. Thank you very much.

Anyway, science tells us that the sun is always shining and what appears to be day and night is merely our angle of proximity at a particular time to the Earth's revolution.

And, for extra credit, there's no such thing as time.


Our debate topic therefore, is false.

The sun does not just shine during the day, it also shines during the night, just not on us.

I win.

How do you win?

Because I have high hopes.

Because when you believe passionately...

And our debate winner is Farkle Minkus!

I don't understand. I said what I believed.

How could that be wrong?

There's no wrong, Riley. But there are rules to a debate.

Okay, who cares about the rules when we know that the sun shines during the day?

That's interesting, isn't it?

How often do we get so lost in what we think, that we refuse to listen to what the other side has to say, huh?

You guys know why we debate in history class?

History teaches us that most wars start because we don't listen to the other point of view.

I'm not trying to start a war.

I just think it's okay to feel strongly about what you believe in.

Riley, it's not enough to go through life without considering the other point of view.

Oh, I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.

The sun was in my ears.



Here we go.

I love this class so much.

Being passionate about what you believe in is the only way to live.

I don't need your facts, and I certainly don't need your points of view.



Switch sides.

Argue the other side. Farkle?

The sun shines during the day.

You know how I know?

Poom! Hey!

POOM is my acronym for "Polar oscillation in orbital motion."

Is it hot in here?

It's hot in here, right? What's happening?

Farkle, what do you really believe?

The sun shines all the time. When we see it, it's day.

So for us the sun shines during the day.

How do we know what you really believe if you can switch sides that easily?

I'm not changing what I believe.

But a good debater needs to be able to argue both sides.

Right. And as you continue to grow, you'll find a benefit to understanding the other side of an argument.

Because if you know what you're up against, you'll be ready for it.

Oh, I don't think I'll need to be ready to argue something as simple as whether the sun is out or not.

Are people naturally good or evil?


All of you will argue good.

Only one of you will argue the other side.

Ms. Matthews...

You wouldn't dare.

You will make the case for evil.

(Bell rings)

Boy, you have killed us all.

Yes. Yes, I have.

Let's go.

How could people possibly be evil?

I don't know, man.

(Theme music playing)

♪ I've been waiting ♪
♪ For a day like this to come ♪
♪ Struck like lightning ♪
♪ My heart's beating like a drum ♪
♪ On the edge of something wonderful ♪
♪ Face-to-face with changes ♪
♪ What's it all about? ♪
♪ Life is crazy ♪
♪ But I know ♪
♪ I can work it out ♪
♪ 'Cause I got you ♪
♪ To live it with me ♪
♪ I feel all right, I'm gonna take on the world ♪
♪ Light up the stars, I've got some pages to turn ♪
♪ I'm singing "Go-o-o" ♪
♪ Oh, oh, oh, oh ♪
♪ Take on the world, take on the world ♪
♪ Take on the world ♪
♪ Take on the world, take on the world ♪
♪ Take on the world ♪

Okay, I think it's best that we do this a little at a time.


Close it.

You did great. Lollipop?

May I have a red one, please?

Okay, so I wasn't prepared.

But I'm glad you started out with the worst thing possible.

You know what? You just tell me when to stop. Okay?


Heh! Heh! Heh!


Please tell me, that is the worst thing possible.

Yep, it is. There's nothing worse than that.

I don't want to live in a world like this!

Riley, you're wearing a wool sweater.


Oh, get off!

It's looking at you.

Aah! Get it off of me!

That's the last time I ever loan you anything!

Okay. What else ya got?

You know what? How 'bout we just start with a small, simple, little place like New York City.

Let's see what's happening in our own backyard.

Hi, guys.

That's not nice.

Okay. Today's local item... "No Day at the Beach."

What's that?

"New York City beaches are overrun with trash. Bottles, cans, wrappers litter our beaches to the point where wildlife is endangered and people no longer go barefoot."

But I like the sand between my toes.

Don't you hate it when people overreact?

You and me, the beach. How 'bout it?

You mean this weekend?

I mean now.

The beach needs us, Mommy.

We need to help clean up the trash.

How do you know about that?

I'm a world citizen.

Okay. You and me, the beach, tomorrow morning.

Do you have any idea how much I love you?

Those are words. Raise my allowance.


Come here, you world citizen.

So, how do you feel?

I feel transformed.

Evil's gooey tentacles have squeezed my pure heart.

But I'll never believe that people aren't good.

You know how I pass the newsstands and the headlines are screaming right at you in the face?

I look at the pretty magazines.

But do you ever look at the news?

Mm. I know what's trending.

I know what's up with what's up.

Hmm. So you look at the news every day?

Hmm, not every day, no.

Do you look at the news any day?

Hmm... not any day, no.


How about we just look at the headlines from today.

(Keyboard clacking)

Mm... This is now?

Right now.

(Keyboard clacks)

Where is this?

This is our world.

(Keyboard clacks)

Oh, my gosh.

Do you guys know what goes on out there?

Climate change, poverty, war?


This is the way that the world is?

We try to keep it from you.

You're all in on it?

The Riley Committee.

I pay dues.

There are no dues...


It's worth it anyway. I think it's wonderful to have somebody among us who looks for the good in everything.

Well, that's over.


Because I've seen things. I'm not Simple Riley anymore.

Riley, don't let reality change you.

Yeah, reality's only as powerful as you let it be.

Sometimes you can create your own reality.

Right, me and Lucas in Hawaii?

Smackle, inside-your-head voice.

Knowing things changes you.

I'm supposed to argue that people are evil, and now I can.

I have started my research, and I will continue down this dark journey that I can only call, "Riley Matthews: evil person."


What, you guys don't think I could be bad?

Um, okay. Do the worst thing that you can think of right now.

Hi, to everybody but you!

I'm sorry.

It's okay, Riley.

Guys, we're gonna be fine.

My cookie came.

Cookie day!

Everyone say it!

All: Cookie day.

What the... I hold in my hand one Grandma Gandy cookie.

Now Grandma Gandy could send me a whole batch, but she doesn't 'cause then she knows I wouldn't appreciate it as much.

Looks like she's right.

I mean, grandma says that there's value in just one thing, that you appreciate it more because there's just one.

Maybe so, because when I look at this, I think about her making it for me, and her thinking about me the whole time.

That's a good thing she does, Riley.

Doesn't Grandma Gandy seem like a good person?

My grandma's getting pretty old now.

This could be the last cookie I'm ever gonna get.


Are you kidding me?

Okay, that was bad.

Bad? What could she do worse than that?

This cookie is only okay.


I'm evil now.

Yeah, you're my new dark leader.

What's next? That heavy metal?

What's next is apologizing to Zay.

The evil don't apologize, Maya.

And now I have to tell you something, and it's gonna shake you up real good.

Riley, your five evil minutes are up. Okay?

Snap out of it.

Maya... there is part of me that liked it. Seeing that look on everybody's face... there was a part of me that liked it.

You shook?

I'm a little shook.

Riles, we all have that, okay? That's how we're made.

We all have a little angel and a little devil that sit on our shoulders and try to win us over.

I have a devil?

Even you.

She's wearing a red, sparkly halter top.

What's her name?

Sassy Haltertop.

Mine's Stabby McGee. We should get 'em together.

Riley, apologize.

We came over to give you the chance to apologize.

Came in through the front door 'cause I'm wearing a skirt.

Didn't know it was window day.

We know you feel awful about what you did.

Doesn't look like she feels awful.

Would you just say you're sorry?

I can't.


It wouldn't be honest.

You ate my cookie, man!

And I liked doing it, okay?

I've never done anything like that before and I would never do anything to hurt anybody, but something red and sparkly inside of me liked it.

Well, okay for you, then.

Riley, please apologize.

I'm going through the front door...

Yeah, skirt.

Yes. Skirt.

Maya, I don't get it.

I've seen headlines now. I know things now.

Why is this such a big deal?


Because you see that door?

When it's shut, it's shut.

I can pull on it as hard as I can, it doesn't open.

But just the slightest crack... throws the door wide open.

You opened the door, Riles.

And the first bad thing makes it easier to do the next bad thing.

I think I already did the next bad thing.

What'd you do?

I didn't give Two Shoes Louie a dollar today.

What?! You love Two Shoes Louie.

You give him a dollar whenever you see him.

You go, "Here you go, Two Shoes Louie."

And he goes, "Thanks, Bright Eyes. Now I'm one dollar closer to getting my new pair of matching shoes."

But, Maya, he asked for two dollars today.

And tomorrow is spaghetti and hot dog day, and I want me some of that.

So you didn't give him anything?

No, Maya, an extra dollar wasn't going to change anything, okay?

And besides, it's a scam.


Yes, it's a scam, okay?

We don't know what he does with that money.

Riley, it's possible he's saving up for a new pair of shoes.

Or it's possible people are evil.

Okay, this is all just to prepare you for the debate though, right?

Yes. And life.

Nice breakfast. You making good choices?


Why not?

Because I'm inherently evil and I'm out of control.

Well, pay attention, my evil darling, because I have spent my entire life meeting the world, and I know something about it.

Riley, you get this cast of characters in life, okay?

You get friends and you get family, and they help you make it through the day.

But the world is a character in your life, too.

And how it treats you has everything to do with how you treat it.

It teaches me good lessons.

That'll stop.


People who are evil don't believe those lessons anymore, Riley.

They stop thinking the world has anything to teach them.

What if being evil is more fun than being good?

What if being evil changes your understanding of what fun is?

We got up at four o'clock!

Yup. Auggie and I had a little beach adventure this morning.

What is all of this?

I got it.

Good. Tired. Four o'clock.

Why'd you get up so early, Bubba?

I wanted to help clean up all the trash.

Are you off your rocker?

No, I am on my rocker, Riley.

Did you know that there's so much trash at the beach that people can't even go barefoot in the sand because they might step on something bad?

Well, how much did you pick up?

I cleaned up a little area.

What good is that going to do?

I found out that you can't clean up the whole beach, man.

But I did my part.

Auggie, do you really think that what you did means anything?


Mom, did we waste our time?

No. We didn't.

There's a story that I know.

Sometimes starfish wash up on the beach, miles and miles of starfish.

And the sun rises and it dries them out and then they die.

So a little boy picks one up, and he throws it back into the water.

And someone standing there says, "What do you think that's gonna do? There's too many of them to pick up. Do you really think you made a difference?"

And the little boy says, "I made a difference to that one."

So... I did good?

So you did very good.

So, what did you find out?

Are people good, or evil, or what?

We miss Riley.

That's your opening statement?

Yes, and it's genius.

Why is that?

Because the change in Riley's behavior has changed the world we live in.

And if we didn't notice the change, it would mean we are not possessed of a natural goodness that helps us recognize it in others.

I was gonna say that.

Zay, what have you found out?

I noticed she ate my cookie.

Do you forgive her for that?


And do you not forgive her because you're an evil person?

No. I do not forgive her because I'm a good person who lost a good cookie.

Well, do you think you could ever forgive her?

It's possible I might forgive her in time.

Why do you think that is?

'Cause I was raised right.

I don't know who raised her.

Okay. Why do you think you might forgive her?

Because I know what she did isn't who she is.

Sometimes good people do bad things.

Thank you.

So, can I hear from the other side?

This is a world of poverty, hunger, and climate change.

And we know it, and we tolerate it, and we have not changed it.

So if the world creates opportunities for us to do something good or something evil every day, and that world is full of poverty, hunger, and war... then doesn't the state of the world answer the question?

Doesn't it prove that the world is evil?

That we are evil?

You win, Riley.

Oh, I didn't want to.

Excellent debate, Ms. Matthews.

It was, Riley. You beat us.

So, that's it? People are evil?

Well, let's find out.

Switch sides.

This is a world where children wake up at 4:00 in the morning to save starfish because something in them knows that it's the right thing to do.

Why do we lose that? Where does that go?

We are born with the choice of good or evil inside of us and as much fun as it was yesterday to do something bad, now it's today, and I know that doing a bad thing isn't fun at all.

She feels bad, man.

I don't care. I want my cookie back.

Zay, I feel terrible.

But I know that you're going to forgive me.

I know that you're a good person.

(Scoffs) Possibly. In time. In a thousand years.

Now. I am asking for you forgiveness now.


So I wrote this cookie song.

I forgive you!

Please, really forgive me.

Ugh, why?

There are two voices in us.

Both sides know how to present their point.

Which voice wins?

That is the only debate that matters.

That's the only reason the sun shines in the middle of the night.

There is good and there is evil.

I found that if you choose good, the world is more than willing to help you out.

Zay, this is the fault of Sassy Haltertop.

She sits on my shoulder and she told me to do a bad thing.

Yeah, I think everyone has that, but why did you listen?

Because I never did before.

There are two sides. You consider both, and you decide who you are.

Look, Riley, I know who sits on your other shoulder, and Sassy Haltertop doesn't stand a chance against you.

So, you forgive me?

Yes, I do.

Because I know who you really are.

So I forgive you right now.

Thank you.

♪ Flour and sugar and butter and love ♪
♪ That makes a cookie, I'm sorry I tookie ♪
♪ Forgive me! ♪

Let go, woman!

♪ No, you need to sing back ♪


You gotta sing, man.

Two Shoes Louie.

Maya, Papaya! Bright Eyes!

Hi. I'm really sorry that I didn't give you the two dollars the other day.

But I brought you spaghetti and hot dogs.

I love spaghetti and hot dogs.

Listen, Bright Eyes, I asked you for two dollars because I was only two dollars away from being able to afford a pair of matching shoes.

You were?


And I wanted it to be you that gave it to me.

But it wasn't you. It was somebody that I didn't know, whose eyes didn't shine at all... who didn't even look at me.

But you're still wearing your same different shoes.

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

So, uh, would you take this two dollars?

Oh, come on, take it. Come on.

(Chuckling) Here.

Nice seeing you. You too, Papaya.

Bright Eyes!

Do you have two dollars?

Hmm. Well, I believe I do.

I wanted it to be you.

You're a good man, Two Shoes Louie.

I'm trying every day.

Me too.

Me too.