01x05 - The Ring

(Adult Adam) Ah, the romantic comedies of the '80s...

I learned everything I knew about getting the girl.

From classics like "Can't buy me love,".

Because the romantic scenes that played out in my house.

Usually went a little something like this.


What's this?

Birthday card.

My birthday was two weeks ago.

Remember? We had Mexican food.

You had to race home in a mad panic.

Well, that photo finish is why I forgot to give you a card.

You know what else you forgot to do?

Clean the garage.

Give me some credit. I didn't forget.

It's gonna get done.

I'll get my pants.

Happy belated birthday.

I had the kind of parents who loved each other, but I literally never once saw them kiss, which is why I was what you'd call romantically challenged.

Her name was Dana Caldwell.

She biked past my house every day, and she was perfect.

(Clears throat)

I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt here, but I gotta say, this looks weird.

It's not weird. I'm just filming a girl I like.

To play the tape back later to practice talking to her.

Oh, boy.

It's weird.

You know, I can help you out.

Pops, I'm 12.

I gotta start handling this lady stuff on my own.

She's coming back.

(Gasps) Get down! Get down!

While I was crawling away from the girl I loved, my father was trying to get the girl he loved off his back.

By cleaning the garage.

All right, anything under $10... toss.

All that crappy art from when you were kids... toss.

No way! It's my old keyboard!

This thing is awesome!

(Barry's voice raising pitch) Awesome, awesome, awesome.

I thought you said someone stole it.

Yeah, well, the robber... she was supposed to throw it away.

A-awesome, a-awesome, a-awesome, a-awesome.

It's going in the garbage.

No. This is mine, and I love it, okay?

Holy crap! Check this out.

I found a box of dad's old love poems to mom.

Don't touch that! Don't touch that!

Come on. It's none of your business. Ready? "Tears stain."

The pillows of my heart."

Come on. Come on.

No, no, come on!

"Your perfume lingers on my mind."

Return to me, my love."

Come on, come on!

God, you're terrible.

Okay, stop it. Give me that box.


Whoa! "Our bodies are one under the starry sky."

"There is no me, only us...

My sweet Anita"?

What? It says here you were gonna have a wedding?

Anita? Who's Anita?

Ohh. I see what's going on here.

You have a secret family.

If I had a secret family, why would I be standing here talking to you people?

Give me that box!


Come on!

Got it!

All right! I'll tell you the story.

Before your mother, I was engaged to another woman.

You're so hosed.

(Voice pitch raises) Hosed, hosed.

I am not hos... turn that off!

I am not hosed.

Nobody's getting hosed.

Your mom knows about the engagement.

Oh, and she knows all about the love letters?

Of course she knows!

(Garage door whirring) She knows.

Come on, kids, give me the box!

I wish I had a secret family!

I'm so hosed.

(I fight dragons)

♪ I'm twisted up inside ♪
♪ but nonetheless I feel the need to say ♪
♪ I don't know the future ♪
♪ but the past keeps getting clearer every day ♪

October 4th, 1980-something...

The day my dad's old love letters went public.

Bevy, before you say anything, just know that I thought I threw this box out years ago.

When Anita sent it back to me, and it... it means nothing.

My father had crossed a line.

(Laughing) I can't.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

I thought I could keep a straight face, but I can't.

So you're not mad at me?

No, I'm worried. How are your loins?

Have they stopped burning? (Groans)

Is your heart still aflutter?




(Laughs) Oh, no, no, no.

So you're not even a little bit jealous?

Please. I won.

I bagged my moose.

You see? She doesn't give a crap.

That's what a strong marriage is...

Mutual not-giving-a-crap.

See? Not hosed.


We've had a good laugh. Time to Chuck 'em.

Chuck 'em? (Snickers) I can't even put 'em down.

I mean, dad used to be... pretty romantic.

Oh, he's still plenty romantic with me. (Chuckles)


And how is dad romantic?

For the last two years, he forgot your anniversary.

In his defense, I didn't remind him enough.

But he writes romantic stuff to me all the time.

(Chuckles) Look. Here's my birthday card.

"X. O.X.O. Murray."

Well, the x's are for kisses, and the o's for hugs.

And "Murray"...

Is who it's from.

Doesn't matter what he writes.

We are more in love than ever.

Don't you at least wanna see what she looks like?

I've gone 20 years.

Without needing to know what she looks like.

I'm not gonna start now.

(Stammers) Oh, plus where would you even get a picture, you know, if someone wanted to see a picture?

Where would you find it? I don't know. Well...

They'd probably have an engagement announcement.

In the paper.

I mean, if you really wanted to look, you could probably just go to the library and dig it up.

I don't need to see it.


But if you would feel better seeing it, fine, we'll go to the library. Jeez.

While my mom was feeling insecure, I was feeling damn good. I had a plan.

Dana Caldwell would see me coolly tinkering with my bike.

And ask me to go for a ride, and then we would get married!

(Brakes squeal) Hey.

Hey. (Clank)

It was now or never. Time for my "A" game.

Bicycles, right?



Do you know how to fix them?


My bike chain's all messed up.

Maybe you could take a look?

Yeah, I can... I can take a quick look-see.


Chain. Chain.



Wait. Is this one of those Soviet bikes?

'Cause I only deal with American equipment.

Huh? U.S.A.!

Maybe I'll just have my dad fix it. (Chuckles)

Makes sense. Keep it in the family.


(Groans loudly)


Are you okay?


Are you crying?

No. (Exhales)

Good talking. (Whimpering)

My plan was a complete bust.

I only had one option left... Call in the big guns.

So what happened to "I'm 12. I gotta go it alone"?

That didn't work out so great.

Well, you're safe now. Love's my business, and business is booming.

So what do we got?

Okay. Her name's Dana. She's 13, lives down the block.

She smells like fruity pebbles.

Pfft. Why are you asking Pops for help.

When you got all the resources you need right here?

You don't know anything about girls.

I know a ton. I've got a super hot girlfriend.

Yeah, from Canada that no one's ever seen.

'Cause I met her at camp, ya sausage gobbler.

You couldn't come up with something.

A little more original?

I mean, a fake girlfriend... in Canada?

Hey! There's nothing fake about her except her boobs!

Yep, they're huge and real... But they're also fake.

You know what? I don't have to explain it to you.

I'm outta here.

Her breasts sound very complicated.

So where are we at with this Dana girl?

Well, I've been secretly following her around.

For two weeks.

Creating a sense of mystery.

And today I broke her bicycle.

Good. You made a memorable first impression.

And I kinda cried in front of her.

Some women like a sensitive man.

You think?

You can't help him, pops. He's un-help-able.

He'll never get a girlfriend even half as hot as mine.

Oh, yeah? What's her name? Tell me right now. Go.

Marion Lemieux.

Marion Lemieux?

Like Mario Lemieux, the hockey player?

Yeah! It's a common last name in Canada, like "Smith" or "Jones."

I was trying to be nice to you, but forget it.

I'm outta here.


Your next move with Dana is important.

You gotta go for it.

Make a big gesture...

Something that'll show her exactly how you feel.

Pfft. Waste of time.

Here we go.

This nerd has no clue with the ladies.

Yeah? Let's call Marion right now.

Think I won't? 'Cause I will.

That's what I'm asking you to do.

I don't need this! I'm outta here.

Meanwhile, my mom and Erica were using.

The most cutting edge technology.

To track down a photo of Anita.


It was called microfiche.


(Gasps) Oh, my God.

It's amazing. It only took us two hours to find it.

Hey, not bad, dad.

Okay, Erica, you saw her.

Now you can move on with your life.


Wait a minute.

How do you...

(Rattling) What?

Make it bigger?

Well, okay, just...

Make the picture bigger.

Okay, here.

Where's the knob to make it a bigger picture?

It's just...

Mom, God! That's as big as it goes.

Okay, okay.

What is it?

Oh, no.

As always, my mom took the bad news. With grace and dignity.


My ring. Shh!

(Door creaks)


What a day! What a day!

(Shoes clatter)

Sold six couches!

Your man is on fire.

By sheer chance, my dad was in a rare good mood that night.

Unfortunately, my mom was not.

What's happening?


Take a load off.

Well, I usually take a load off right there.

But I'll put my load right here.

What do you...

Is there anything you wanna tell me about this ring?

It's a symbol of our love?

Yes, that's very true.

But, uh, tell me about that.

What made you pick this exact ring for me?

When I saw it, it spoke to me.

Aw. What did it say?

"I'm a pretty ring.

Buy me."

"Buy me" for who?

Oh, boy. (Sighs)

How could you give me her ring?

What do you think I'm made of, diamonds?

I... (Huffs) You can't just return these!

Okay, well, I have no problem returning this one.

Wait. Bevy!

Let's talk about this. Listen.

If it'll make you feel any better, I will get you a new ring.

Great. Get me a new ring.

What?! You can't say that.

Why would I get you a new ring?!

It was your idea!

Yeah, but I'm filled with terrible ideas!

I gave you a used ring, for God sake.

Wow, Murray, you are so romantic!

Fine! I'll get you a new ring!





While my parents were calmly working out their problems, I'd finally come up with a solution.

To my problems with Dana.

(Peter Gabriel's "in your eyes" playing)

(Exhales) Let's do this, Lloyd. (Kisses)

I'd use my favorite romantic movie, "Say Anything..."

To win Dana's heart.

("In your eyes" playing on boombox)

♪ Love ♪
♪ I get so lost ♪
♪ sometimes...

What are you doing?

Oh, crap! I thought this was your sister's room.

Well, it's not. Can you tell Dana I'm... here?

Mm, no. This is kind of a creepy thing to do, bro. (Window opens)

What the hell's going on out here?

Nothing, sir. Go back to bed.

Some weird kid's here for Dana.

(Window opens) ♪ I am complete

Adam? What are you doing?

Adam? This is the kid who broke your bike?


Not cool, man.

♪ The resolution you have a lovely home.

(Sprinklers hissing) ♪ in your eyes

(music stops) Pleasure meeting you!

(Pops) Calm down, kiddo.

We can fix this.

We can't!

I serenaded her brother, I dropped my boombox, and I soaked my Lloyd dobler coat.

I understood none of that. Did you take my advice?

Yes, a big gesture.

I stood outside her window and blasted music at her.

Why would you do that?

You told me to!

I meant take her out for a milkshake.

How is a milkshake a big gesture?!

For you, it's big.

You should have been more specific!

Wait. Don't go, kiddo. We can just regroup.

Forget it.

The movies lie. None of it's real!

Love isn't real.

(Mouth full) Tell that to my girlfriend.

She's not real!

She's not real!

(Bell dings)

All right, let's get this over with.

One ring, please.

Of course. Do you have anything in particular in mind?

Don't look at me. Just pick something that speaks to you.


All right, uh, this one's talking up a storm.

How much is it?

That one is $5,000.

Is that the one I pointed to?

You pointed at that one, yeah.

It just stopped speaking to me.

Stopped completely.

Oh, really?

Yeah. Is that because I'm not worth the money?

No, no, no, no, no. Don't do that, Bev.

Don't... don't do that. Really?

How much am I worth to you?

I cannot put a price on love.

I can. Uh, how much is this ring worth?

Oh. Very nice.

Yes, excellent cut. Beautiful clarity.

You must really love this lady.

It used to belong to his ex-fiancée, Anita. - Oh, add that story.

And he re-gifted it to me. - All right, do that.

Ugh. Yeah, and he used to write her.

Lots of love letters and poems.

Oh, yeah, tell him... yeah.

How many do you think he's written to me?

Um... I'm gonna guess it's a... low number.


That's very low.

Yeah. Okay. That's because Anita needed love letters and all that crap all day long.

It's why we broke up.

That's all I was doing, was writing letters.

I didn't get to watch any TV.

Oh, listen to this guy.

He thinks I don't need love letters.

That's why I chose you.

You don't need any of that romantic junk.

Oh, that's right. Just give Ol' Bev.

A hallmark card and a used ring.

All right, you know what?

We're gonna get you the $5,000 ring, and you can be the one who tells Adam.

That his teeth are gonna be crooked.

For the rest of his life.

Great. That's exactly what I want... a spite ring.

Great, because that's what you're getting.

Oh. Okay, my friend, we are buying the ring.

I'd like you to ring it up, because we are buying it!

All right.

(Mouthing words)

(Mouths word) Um...

(Mouthing words)

I don't know what to do here.

You heard the man. Ring it up. (Mouths words)

All right, but just so you know, we have a strict no return policy.

Ring... it... up.

(Mouthing words)


(Beverly chuckles)

In most houses, a dinner this quiet was normal, but in our house, no yelling.

Meant something very bad was going down.

(Lowered voice) What's happening?

(Lowered voice) Dad bought mom a spite ring, and now she's wearing the spite ring to spite him.

Lot of love problems around here.

Not Barry.

I keep my lady satisfied.


I was at camp with you.

There's no girl named Marion Lemieux.

She was in the large-chested foxy girl bunk, and you were in the annoying sister bunk, so you probably never crossed paths.

Really? 'Cause I thought you were.

In the large-chested girl bunk.

(Chomping) Original.

Adam! Dinner's almost over!

Come on! Get out of the stupid tree!

(Adam) I'm not hungry! Go away.



(Exhales deeply)

What's going on?

I just wanna be alone, okay?

Like how I'll be for the rest of my life.

What are you talking about? You're 10 years old.

I'm 12. And...

I really screwed things up with a girl.

Yeah? Tell me about it.

Well, her name's Dana...

No, I didn't mean "Tell me about it"

"Tell me about it." I meant, I screwed up.

With a girl, too. Oh! My gosh.

So is the girl mom?

Yes, it's mom!

Your mother seems to think that I don't show her.

That I care about her enough.

I show her all the time, just not in big ways, but in little ways...

You know, ways that she doesn't notice, not like a box of love letters.

There's no record of the stuff that I do.

You know, maybe there is.

There isn't.

What if there were?

There's not.

Dad, I'm saying I have an idea.

My dad may not have been able to say.

How he felt about my mom, but luckily, I recorded a bunch of ways that showed it.

(Clicks and whirs)

("In your eyes" playing)

♪ Love ♪
♪ I get so lost ♪
♪ sometimes ♪
♪ days pass ♪
♪ and this emptiness ♪
♪ fills my heart ♪
♪ when I want to run away ♪
♪ I drive off in my car ♪
♪ but whichever way I go ♪
♪ I come back to the place you are ♪

(Adult Adam) Turns out the most romantic movie of the '80s.

Was the one that I made with my dad.

I hate my new ring. I'm gonna take it back tomorrow.

But the man said no returns.

Eh. I'll guilt him into it.

It's what I do.

♪ Without my pride ♪

(adult Adam) It was the first time we ever saw them kiss, and it was gross.

But I started to believe in love again.

I mean, it was complicated as hell, but it was real.

Maybe those romantic movies weren't so far off after all.

♪ I see the doorway ♪ in your eyes ♪
♪ to a thousand churches ♪
♪ in your eyes ♪ the resolution ♪
♪ in your eyes ♪
♪ of all the fruitless searches ♪
♪ in your eyes ♪
♪ oh, I see the light and the heat ♪
♪ in your eyes, the light, the heat ♪
♪ oh, I wanna be that complete ♪


Yeah, you.

♪ I wanna touch the light, the heat ♪
♪ I see in your eyes



You... left this on our lawn.

Yeah, I...

I did. I'm sorry.


The other night was... Weird. (Chuckles)

You know, my dad told me not to talk to you anymore.

I-I get it.

Too bad I never listen to my dad.


♪ And all my instincts ♪

Wanna go for a ride?

♪ They return ♪
♪ and the grand facade ♪
♪ so soon will burn

Just like I told him... Go big or go home.

Yeah. Think you can help me out with some girl stuff?

Oh. What happened to Miss Canada?

Long distance. It's... It's killing us.

We never talk, and when we do, we fight.

She's not real.

♪ In your eyes ♪
♪ in your eyes ♪
♪ in your eyes ♪

(Adam) There goes the fluff age, different directions.

Is that like a bald spot?

Yeah, yeah, we do have a bald spot there.

(Record needle scratches, bell dings)

(Beverly's voice) Murray!



What?! Ugh!


What's going on?




What? Wh...


Well, where are you?!

(Voice raising pitch) Murray, m-Murray!



What do you want from me, woman?!

(Chuckles, lowered voice) Technology.

(Lowered voice) I know. I love this thing.

Hey! (Keyboard clatters)

I see you!

(Rapid footsteps depart)

What'd you break?!