03x02 - A Chorus Lie

Adult Adam: Back in the day, I was a ridiculously cute kid.

Yes! I am literally the coolest man alive!

I'm not bragging. It's just pure fact.

My God, you're so cute!

I just want to scrumple you up and eat you whole!

But of course, no one stays a kid forever.

Yeah.

You sure about this?

People are gonna know I'm covering up a zit.

Don't worry, pal.

I'll just tell everyone in school I pummeled your face.

You're a good brother.

The best.

Here, you got a giant one forming on your forehead, too.

Maybe I could hide the pimples, but the rest was hard to mask.

Let's go! Hustle!

This is called scooter ball, not "sit in the corner and talk to Kevin" ball.

I began to smell different.

Whoa, Goldfarb!

Wheel it in!

Time for a private huddle!

I'm gonna put this delicately, kid.

You smell like a gym sock's butt.

Uh, thanks.

You smell like a garlic diaper.

Thanks?

You smell like egg salad left in a humidifier.

Thanks.

I assume you don't notice since you live with that stink 24/7.

Oh, no, I smell it.

There's half a speed stick in my desk.

It's yours now. Be liberal with it.

Coach is on your team here.

That's why I pulled you aside to avoid embarrassment.

I guess I wish you would have pulled me aside just a little farther.

I was eating like an animal and suddenly seeing every woman I came across in a new light.

You seen my, uh, TV guide with Sally Jessy Raphael on the cover?

Mnh-mnh, nope.

Hmm.

Every woman.

Man, oh, man... those looks and emotional intelligence to boot?

Whoa.

But worst of all, it affected my favorite activity in the world... the annual school musical.

Welcome, Mr. Goldberg.

I have a feeling that this might be the year that you finally break out of the chorus.

["I can do that" plays]

[Voice creaking]

♪ I'm watching sis go pitter pat ♪
♪ Said, I can do that, I can do that ♪

Turns out, I could not do that.

[Sighs]

Well, you, um... you really... Really sang it.

You sang it.

I know in past years I was upset when you put me in the chorus.

But I'm thinking this year, it feels right.

Done. You're in the chorus.

Oh, thank God.

Chorus line, which is a lead!

But I'm in the chorus.

Line.

Oh, thank God.

Which means you have a big solo.

But I'm in the chorus.

Line.

But did you not hear the sounds I just made?

Adam, every boy your age sounds like you.

And, honestly, I don't have that much to work with here, so I might as well just give the leads to the most enthusiastic kids.

Balls.

Yeah, balls.

Okay, uh, let's take it from the top.

Sing it with me.

["I can do that" plays]

Both: ♪ I'm watching sis go pitter pat ♪

Try to stay in the key.

♪ I'm watching sis go pitter pat ♪

You're kind of all over the map. Okay.

♪ I'm watching sis go pitter pat ♪
♪ I can do that ♪

You know, it's mostly a dance show, and you bring a lot of dance energy.

You'll get it. Balls.

♪ 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 ♪

It was September 30, 1980-something, and my brother and his idiot posse, the JTP, were gearing up for the Homecoming Dance.

What's happening? What is this?

Homecoming's in four days, so it's time to give my boys a crash-course lesson on how to groove like Milli Vanilli.

We all kind of told our dates that we could dance, so thank God for Barry.

No. Thank God for Milli.

Vanilli, not so much.

Wait, wait. You choose Milli over Vanilli?

He's got the body and the moves.

Uh, if he's so great, then why isn't it Vanilli Milli?

Milli proceeds Vanilli, so suck it.

- You suck it.

You suck it!

Wow, even you three boneheads found a date to the dance.

Kind of makes you think, huh?

Like maybe you need a date for once?

What are you talking about? I date.

No, you third-wheel me and Lainey.

Look, the only reason why I haven't been on a date is because there's no one at our school worth dating.

Well, if you want to go to homecoming with me, I'll totally drop my foxy lady.

Your foxy lady's your cousin.

Second-cousin.

Totally different blood line.

Probably not gonna do stuff, though.

She looks just like me with a perm.

Erica, you know I love you, but you're kind of closed off and way too picky.

I mean, stay away from Geoff, obviously, but you got to give someone a chance.

How is it my fault that every guy in our school is an unbearable moron?

That's another thing...

You've got to stop calling everyone a moron.

Morons! You're being too loud!

Find another house to stupid up.

Oh. My. God.

You're just like Dad!

Way to go, Mur-man.

Years of calling everyone on the planet a moron has poisoned your daughter's love life and left her cold and alone.

So you're telling me that I've raised a daughter who doesn't want to date dumbass high-school boys?

I think I've done my job.

Come on. Let us help you find someone.

Go on. Describe your perfect guy.

Well, he'd be a mysterious handsome outsider with a trench coat, a sexy voice, and a thriving acting career where he plays the thinking girl's heartthrob.

Dude, you're just describing Christian Slater.

Seriously? You're a lost cause.

Well, you asked.

Look, if a guy like Christian Slater walks through that door, I promise you I will go with him to homecoming.

Christian Slater, huh?

You want the coolest guy in the world? You got him.

What's that?

Nothing, I just... Farted.

I... I farted.

I fart... I got to go.

While Geoff was hatching a plan, I was out of options.

[Gasps] There's my tiny snuggle angel.

Stop it!

I'm not tiny or snuggly or angel-y.

Tough day at the office, kiddo?

The worst. I got the lead in the musical.

Schmoo, that's fantastic.

That's all you've ever wanted.

Not anymore.

My face is breaking out, my pits are stinking, and my voice is very, very unpredictable.

I finally get the part of a lifetime, and I'm gonna just humiliate myself.

Ah, yes, the wondrous journey through puberty.

It's not wondrous. It's awful.

Well, you've come to the right place.

Oh, no.

It's my duty to help you out, baby bro.

Only Big Tasty can guide you through what many call "the pubening."

No one calls it that.

First, stop washing your face.

You'll go through a very shiny, greasy couple of months.

But eventually, your natural oils reach a healthy balance.

Why does he do this?

I don't know.

Second, always shave dry and against the grain, attacking the follicles in a jerky, zig-zag pattern.

And third, never use deodorant.

That's just something that big corporations made up to take your money.

Simply apply a healthy layer of vaseline to the armpit and let it seal in the stink.

He's still going.

He means well.

Think of me as a resource. I'm here for you, bro.

Thank you, Boopie. So helpful.

Forget everything you just heard.

If anyone understands what you're going through, it's mama.

No offense, Mom, but you have no idea how hard this is for me.

Please, I've watched two children go through the pubening. [Chuckles]

Heck, I even went through it myself at the tender age of 9.

It wasn't ideal.

They used to call me "Booberly."

But this is just something all of us had to suffer through on our own.

Now you will, too.

Or... Completely skip over.

Hmm?

With my guidance, I'll take this horrible time and make it smooth, easy, and maybe a little bit fun.

Are you actually saying you could save me from puberty?

No! She can't.

Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying.

At this point, I got nothing to lose.

Show me what you got, lady.

While I put my faith in my mother, Geoff Schwartz put his in Christian Slater.

[As Christian Slater] Greetings and salutations.

Lovely home you got here.

What's going on? Why are you talking like a jackass?

[Normal voice] Erica said she wanted a Christian Slater, so here I am.

I know it's a long shot, but I just think your daughter's amazing.

And if you approve, I'd love to take her to homecoming.

Erica!

You've got a gentleman suitor.

You're one of the good ones, Mr. G.

Erica: A gentleman what?

[Footsteps approaching]

[As Christian Slater] Greetings and salutations.

I was just skateboarding by, gleaming the cube and whatnot.

Thought we could go grab a slushie.

Oh, my God, are you trying to impress me by acting like Christian Slater?

Is it working?

No.

And your clip-on earring just popped off.

[Normal voice] Okay, look, I-I just...

I think you're great, okay?

I have since, like, second grade.

Now, I know I made promises to my cousin, but maybe we could go to homecoming together?

Oh, Geoff, this was sweet, but I have a pretty firm "no moron" policy.

Question... am I in that category?

For sure.

Uh, so, um... Okay, so I'll put you down for a "maybe."

God, what a putz. Am I right?

At that moment, my dad realized that perhaps his judgmental nature may have rubbed off his daughter.

And he decided to do something about it.

Wow, who knew so many interesting and attractive young men went to this school?

They're okay, I guess.

Yeah, lots of fellas who look like they'd be worth getting to know.

I should put myself out there more.

Oh, look at that one with the stylish scarf and the sketchbook... a poet and an artist, I bet.

That's Dan. [Chuckles]

He's shy, but I think I could crack open that nut.

Hey, how about that hot shot?

Is he a swimmer? He's built like a swimmer.

Look at those shoulders. He swims, for sure.

Will you shut up?

I'm not even talking to you.

Well, I certainly hope you're not talking to me.

Hey, take it from someone who doesn't like people.

If you close yourself off, you're gonna miss out on a lot.

So my dad wants me to date more?

It's homecoming!

There's got to be a nice guy somewhere who deserves a chance.

You're right!

I'm gonna go ask Dan to sit with me at lunch, see what makes that guy tick.

[Groans] Thanks, Dad.

Yes, this is amazing!

Your dad actually provided you with real wisdom for once.

Chill, I didn't say I was going to the dance.

I just said I would consider it if an idiot asked me.

Got it. We'll play it cool and casually spread the word.

Attention, entire school!

This is Erica Goldberg, and she will go to homecoming with anyone willing to ask.

Barry, sit your ass down right now.

Uh, to clarify, she's not a desperate loser.

She's just super closed-off, and the door's open a crack. [Chuckles]

Which reminds me, Dan, we're hanging out after school.

I-I have a dentist appointment, bro.

Cancel it! We're building something here!

Get down.

Subtle. Thank you.

Well, the good news is now we can just sit back and wait.

Well, don't hold your breath. [Scoffs]


[Smooth jazz plays]

'Sup?

Hi.

I'm Johnny Atkins.

Heard you needed a date to homecoming.

Sure, I guess.

You ever been out with a first chair in the school band before?

No.

Well, it's everything you ever imagined.

I'll phone you... saxophone you.

We're gonna have fun.

[Saxophone plays]

Dude's confident, I'll give him that.

You've got a date to the dance.

Everybody's happy, and it all worked out.

What did I miss?

We met a first chair in the school band.

While Erica landed a date, I landed a seat at the Gimbels makeup counter.

What kind of sorcery is this?

My giant zits are gone!

Mama made you a promise.

Now your adorable punim is ready to light up that stage.

Just one problem... my singing voice.

My mom couldn't fix that.

That is, until some news broke that shook the country.

They've become international stars.

But behind the braids and break-dancing, it's been discovered that Milli Vanilli neither sang on their albums nor at their concerts.

That's unreal. They fooled everyone.

Yes, they really did.

And maybe you can fool everyone, too.

What are you talking about?

Say that again only just mouth the words.

What are you talking about?

Did that look as good as it felt?

Better! [Gasps]

Problem solved, love bug!

We're gonna Milli Vanilli the [Bleep] out of that musical.

My dad suggested that Erica take a chance on someone.

Unfortunately, that someone was this dude.

Yo. Is Erica here?

Yo. She's upstairs. Who are you?

Johnny Atkins. Yeah.

That Johnny Atkins.

I'm her dad.

Yeah, that dad.

Mind if I just head up?

Actually, I do.

Zang! Atkins likes.

All right, can I talk to you in the other room away from this person?

Sure. Oh.

Who the hell is that?

It's my date to the dance on Saturday.

He wanted to hang.

That kid's your date? He's a moron.

Well, you're the guy who told me to give the morons a chance.

But I meant other morons.

What other morons?

Nice morons! Morons like that Geoff kid.

Schwartz? He's a moron.

They're all morons! That's what I'm saying.

But any other moron is better than that moron.

This is ridiculous.

I took your advice, but you don't get to actually choose who I date.

My dad's plans for Erica may have fallen apart.

[Sighs]

But my mom's plan for me only needed to get past one person for it to succeed.

Susan, I really appreciate you agreeing to see me on such short notice.

Technically, I didn't agree.

You just barged in during third period and yelled "class dismissed."

Point is, I understand you're putting together a cast for this year's musical, and it's presented some challenges.

It's a real suck show. Uh, you're gonna be great.

I won't be, but that's sweet to say.

Well, what if I had a way to solve your problems, a way to make this your biggest hit yet?

Mrs. Goldberg, we have been through this in the past.

You can't be in the musical.

No, no, I... I've come to accept that.

I'm talking about a different approach entirely.

Have you heard of this Milli Vanilli scandal?

[Voice breaking] Big fan. It hit me hard.

Oh, I'm sorry.

But what if someone could do the same thing only without making the same sloppy mistakes?

Are you actually suggesting that Adam lip-sync his songs in the show?

God, I guess hearing it out loud, it really does sound insane, even for me.

Screw it. I'm in.

Really?

I'll get all the kids to do it. I mean, what choice do I have?

None. Yay.

Yay.

[Voice cracking] Yay!

Mouth it.

Yay!

[Saxophone plays]

[Chuckles]

Hey, Johnny.

Yo, looking forward to Saturday night.

Me too.

So I'll pick up Carla first, be at your place around 7:00, cool?

Cool. [Chuckles]

Wait, what?

Yeah, I'm also giving her a ride to the dance.

And she can hang out with us. And dance with us.

Are you taking both of us to the dance?

Classic Johnny Atkins, am I right?

How could you not see this coming?

Because I have no idea who you are, other than an oddly confident band geek.

Shows what you know.

Band geek in front, rock God in the back.

Are you seriously okay with this?

No, but I really feel like I can fix him.

But she can't, so what do you say?

What do you think she says? Hit the bricks, bro.

Dude, I will punch you in the eyeball.

Erica, help me. He's serious.

[Sighs] You know what, Johnny?

That's a firm "no" to your creepy offer.

Your loss.

Hey, Debbie Gordon, you got a date to homecoming yet?

[Saxophone plays]

Oh, man, that was so sweet of me, huh?

So if it's looking like you're free Saturday night, then...

I'm not going to the dance, Geoff... not with anybody.

♪ I stuff her shoes with extra socks ♪
♪ run seven blocks ♪
♪ in nothing flat ♪
♪ and I can do that ♪
♪ I can do that ♪

This is incredible.

My grandson's a superstar.

♪ I'm watching sis go pitter pat ♪
♪ said, I can do that ♪
♪ that, that, that ♪
♪ that, that, that, that, that, that, that, that ♪

My God, he's repeating himself.

You can do what? What can you do?

Finish the thought.

Dad, he's fine. Just working out some kinks.

Wait, so you actually weren't doing anything?

"Not doing anything?" Didn't you see this?

Bevy, you can't let him go through with this cockamamie scheme.

Well, actually, it was my idea.

Oh, God. Why?

Pops, I can't go onstage and completely embarrass myself.

Just do your best!

You're the same great kid you always were.

Listen to me. Do I sound like the same kid?

Do I look like the same kid?

No. I'm not him.

I'm... Whatever this is.

And if mom can make it better, I'm gonna let her.

[Footsteps depart]

Don't give me that look.

As his mother, it is my job to make this all better.

But you can't.

All you're doing is making it worse.

You're turning him into someone he's not.

[Footsteps approaching]

I forgot my foundation, rouge, and powder puff.

Good day to you, sir.

Adam: The biggest night of my middle-school theater career had arrived, and the only one more nervous than me was my smother.

Okay, let's warm up.

I have the recording of the New York City boys choir doing scales, so show me what you got.

♪ Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do ♪

Oh, very good, very good. Move those lips.

No sounds!

♪ Ti, la, sol, fa, mi, re, do ♪

Adult Adam: Watching us Milli Vanilli our way through the warm-up scales, my mom realized pops was right.

♪ Do, re, me, fa, sol, ti ♪

♪ do, ti, la... ♪

Okay, Susan.

We need to talk.

Sorry, show starts in five.

No, you can't do this. It's wrong, and you know it.

What are you talking about?

This whole thing was all your idea.

Those people out there... they want to see "A Chorus Line," not "A Chorus Lie."

I'm so confused by your moral high ground.

Again, this was all you.

Mom, it's fine.

This recording is gonna blow the freaking roof off this place.

And so are you with your own voices.

Yes, they are creaking and cracking.

And, yes, your foreheads are very shiny, all right?

And you take insanely long showers, but it doesn't matter because you're all just as amazing as you always were.

I don't feel amazing.

You? What's your problem?

Oh, you heard my voice.

Who cares?

I got bacne, dude. Crazy bacne.

So? I sweat constantly for no reason.

I-I'm sweating right now, and it's like 50 degrees in here.

I've got a weird thing for Sally Jessy Raphael.

See? None of you are alone.

You're all going through something that everybody has to suffer through.

Come on. Who's with me?

Screw it.

Let's go out there and give them the best worst musical the school has ever seen.

Adult Adam: And so we sang it.

We really sang it.

And it wasn't pretty, but it was definitely us.

[Voice creaking]

♪ Kiss today goodbye ♪
♪ The sweetness and the sorrow ♪

All: ♪ Wish me luck ♪
♪ The same to yo-u-u-u-u ♪

Sure, growing up is hard and awkward and embarrassing.

But if you're lucky, you just mind find the courage to sing your way through it...

[Voices cracking]

♪ What I did for love ♪

...or have someone talk you through it when you least expect it.

Hey, peanut.

I, uh, heard about the kid with the hair.

So, uh, you're not going to the dance, huh?

Honestly, I hate dances.

And the nice thing about being alone is that there's no one here bothering me, acting like a moron.

Oh, my God, Barry's right.

God, I'm just like you.

Sorry.

I get it.

But there's hope.

Why?

Well, things work out.

I met your mom.

She sees the best in everybody, even a grump like me.

All I'm saying is just give people a chance.

Don't be a moron.

'Cause as hard as it is to grow up, it's even harder to go through it alone.

And when you open up and put yourself out there, you'll be surprised where it leads.

Erica, hi!

[As Christian Slater] Greetings and salutations.

[Normal voice] You busy?

Uh... Not really.

I was just waiting for my cousin to call back.

I thought maybe we could still make the end of the dance.

Well, I was thinking maybe we could hang out instead.

No way.

As friends.

Yeah, no.

Let's not put a label on it. Let's... mm-hmm.

So, what do you say we go grab a slushie?

[Chuckles]

♪ Won't forget, can't regret... ♪

Mm, check this out.

Gleaming the cube.

What does that even mean?

No one knows.

[Grunts]

[Laughs]

Oh, my God, Geoff, are you okay?

No, not a new one. It's photo day at school.

You came to the right place. No, get out!

I don't want any of your terrible advice.

Dude, I'm a pimple pro.

You got to pop that thing immediately.

Everyone says not to pop it.

Look at this flawless skin.

It's like baby Italian marble.

Would you rather have a pizza face or a Barry face?

Fine. I'll just pop the thing.

Oh, I got to get this on film.

Come on.

Let's get a close-up of that zit.

Hey, why are you covering it?

Don't feel so embarrassed.

Let me see that zit. Come on... for memories.

Let's get a close-up of that zit.

He's covering his mouth 'cause he doesn't want anyone to see his zit.

[Laughs]

[Bell dings]