01x12 - H-E-R-- HERO

Dylan: Man, this looks crazy.

Ray, you're the engineer in the family.

Ours is safe, right?

[Knock on door]

Oh, yeah. This checks out.

The helmet's overkill.

Down the ramp, jump over the dishes.

We're good to go.

Now, JJ, remember... Be... careful!

Oh, no!



The ramp didn't work so much.

What happened?

What's going on?!

I step out for one minute, and this is what you do?!

You told me this was a sculpture, Dylan.

I complimented you on it!

And you broke the chair!

"They said it was okay."

They are children, JJ. You should know better.

"No... them."

They wanted Dylan to be the dishes.

I stopped that.

♪ ♪

That's what they sent?

That's the new wheelchair?

It looks used.

It is. And it's what insurance would pay for.

How does it feel?


Dude, what are you doing?

I-It's got a mind of its own.


Yeah, you want to go, chair? Let's go!

W... Okay.

Okay, just... There's a thing on the back.


Uh... eh... Go ahead.

This is a joke. We need the one he had.

Can you call your guy at insurance?

Yeah, I'll take Stu to lunch.

Oh, you've got an insurance hook-up?

Oh, you have to.

You have to work your way in and help them understand your situation.

Otherwise, you end up with the basics.

And they won't pay for a lot of your medications, therapies, equipment.

Yeah, having a disability's expensive.

It's almost not even worth it.


Luckily, I have never met a claims rep I can't win over.

And Stu's the easiest.

He loves hearing about my colorful English family.

[Cockney accent] And leaning into me cool, blimey, gov'nor, black-cab Britishness is fun, innit?

Was that a question?

♪ ♪

What's that, Ray?

Oh, nothing. Just my new state-of-the-art hoverboard.

You're getting a hoverboard? I want one.

I'm not gonna be the only DiMeo kid walking around on two legs, like some... some fool.

Well, it's not mine yet.

But there's an essay contest going on at school with a cash prize.

The topic's "My Hero."

I'm just gonna write something about growing up with JJ and... Whoosh!... Slam dunk!

Is that what you think a slam dunk looks like?

Does JJ know you're doing this?


Well, shouldn't you ask him?

JJ, do you mind if I write an essay about you being my hero?

Maya: He says, "No. That's stupid."


What the hell?! Why not?

"Because I'm not your hero."

So? Everybody's gonna cry. I'm gonna get a hoverboard.

Stop being a butthead.

"I don't want you lying about me to look good and win M-O...


Great. Now I have to find a real hero.

Who am I gonna write about?

Write about your dad.

He left graduate school and a promising career to take a job to provide for his young, disabled son.

Mom, please! This is no time for jokes!

Fine! I'll think of something.

Hopefully, next year, the topic will be "Biggest Jerk."

♪ ♪

Ooh, Ray! Be careful! He's not controlling the chair!

Uh, yes, he is.

Stop! You're not a jerk!

[Both laughing]

Oh, Stu, thank you for letting me treat you to lunch.

Okay, so, what is the latest with your wacky family?

Would you do your impression of your cousin Roger for me?

Oh, yeah.

[Deep voice] I'm Roger.

[Laughs] That's...

[English accent] "I'm Roger."

Very deep.

[Normal voice] Ohh.



It's the least I could do. We take care of each other.

Which reminds me... Now, what is all this with the refurbished wheelchair nonsense?

Oh, you didn't hear.

Oh, no, I-I don't cover health insurance anymore.

I'm sorry... What?

Got transferred.


To boats.

Bloody boats?


Why didn't you just tell me on the phone?

Did you think I just wanted to hang out?

No, no, I know how the world works, and, to be honest, I just figured you got a boat.

Okay, well, for health insurance, you just have to contact my replacement.

Her name is Janet.

But be warned... She is a tough nut to crack.

Is she?


I like a challenge.


Well, it wasn't too long ago that I was being warned about another tough nut, by the name of Stu.

That's not true, is it?


♪ ♪

[School bell rings]

Thank you.

"And that is why, just as E equals MC squared, Albert Einstein equals my hero."

Sorry to eavesdrop?

But you really didn't sound connected to the material?

At least I don't say every sentence like it's a question, Kayla.

I feel like you're attacking me?

Because you know what I'm saying is true?

Our next semi-finalist is Donald Bronson.

"My Hero"... It's a pretty easy essay topic, right?

I could come up here and give you the obvious answers...

Abraham Lincoln, Einstein.


Instead, I'm gonna talk to you about someone whose strength of character inspires me every day...

My friend JJ DiMeo.

I don't think JJ even knows this kid.

Then his performance is impressive?

'Cause he seems really connected to the material?

♪ ♪

So, what's your plan with this lady?

Oh, it'll be easy.

[Pleasantly] Hello.

I'd like to see Janet in claims.

I'm a client.

Do you have an appointment?

I don't.

But I do have pictures of my son on Santa's lap nine years in a row.

I'm sorry. Janet is booked solid.

I completely understand.

Okay. Just a moment.

We need an appointment. I guess that's that.

Got it.


♪ ♪

Delivery man: Thanks very much.

All right.

Who is this tough nut?

Based on all the pictures, she's either a woman who loves this horse or a horse who loves this woman.

Can I help you?

You must be Janet. My name is...

No need to tell me your name.

Just tell me your account number.

Oh, what makes you think we're... we're clients?

Nine out of 10 people who walk into this office are clients here to sweet-talk me into special treatment.

Ohhh. You figured us out. I'm sorry.

We just want to help our son.

Out of those nine, seven pretend to drop the act and make a sincere-sounding appeal, usually with a picture of their child.

Look, I find the people who come in here asking for things are usually the people who are already getting too much.

So, again, account number?

Yeah, we don't need to give you that.

♪ ♪

Well, she was awful.

How am I possibly going to connect with her?

You can't. And we will never set foot in this office again.

Right. We will never set foot in this office again.

Maya, are you choosing to adhere to the letter but not the spirit of what I'm saying?

♪ ♪


Tally-ho! [Laughs]


Jimmy, it's Janet from the insurance company.


You love horses, too, and you come to this stable?

What are the chances?

One in 3,058.

How refreshingly literal.

Of course, if you don't care for horses and you're just trying to curry favor to help your son, then that is a different calculation.

Oh, I'm here to ride.

I love these... things.

Yeah, our son?

Why would you bring that non-horse into this?

I was just gonna go for a ride. Mind if I join you?


I'll just get my horse.

[Quietly] Don't have one, definitely can't ride one.

[Quietly] Shut up!


Oh. Hello.

Hello, h-hello there.

How... Come... Come along, out of your house.

Come along.

Walking out... my horse.

Come along. There we are, there we are, there we are.

Now stop.

Put my foot in the handle.

Give us a jog up.

One, two, three. Oi!


I'm gonna do everything I can to connect with that horse-loving robot.

You check her purse, take a look at her car, and see if there's anything else we can bond over.

So purse snatcher, horse thief.


Got it.

Mom powers. Right.

Come on, Maya, you can do it.

Love your son enough to be good at riding. Please.

Come along, then. This way, this way.

Holy crap! I'm good!


Are you friends with a Donald Bronson?


That's what I thought.

He gave a whole speech about how you're his hero.

He said you're the bravest guy he knows, you make him a better person.

"Now I'm someone else's speech?"

"Stupid I-N-S...

Inspiration p0rn." What's that?

It's a portrayal of people with disabilities as one-dimensional saints who only exist to warm the hearts and open the minds of able-bodied people.

"I blame Tiny Tim."

It's terrible, but it's great for winning essay contests, damn it!

I'm over here trying to sell Albert Einstein.

Hey, it's not Donald's fault you picked Einstein.

Come on, man, play to win.

"Let's talk to Donald."

Sounds good.

[Mockingly] Ugh! Einstein is my hero.

He was a lowly patent clerk.


[Normal voice] Come on, dude.


What is it about riding horses that makes me want to discuss interests other than horses?


Horses it is. Giddyup.

Ooh, not really. No.

I must say, your Trakehner is beautiful.

You two really have great chemistry.

Yeah, we have quite a bond.

Do you do dressage with him?



Of course.

I'm not gonna have a perfectly good Trakehner and not do dressage with him... On him, Janet.

I just love dressage.

Who doesn't?

Oh, it's all I love to do.

Oh, would you show me some, please?


[Car alarm chirps]



Oh, my God.

I matter.

I matter.

I matter!


I'm, uh, I'm gonna do some dressage now... per your request.

Honey. We got to go. We're late.

We got to pick up our daughter from track practice.

Track? Oh!

My daughter runs track.

You're a track mom.

I am. I'm a track mom.

What school? Dylan goes to Lafayette.

Dylan DiMeo?

Yes. Do you know her?

My daughter races against her all the time.

She says she's amazing.

[Whispering] Yes!

[Normal voice] What a small world. Wow.

Oh, yeah, definitely, l-let's get off these big, beautiful, not scary animals and go far from them and discuss.


No, no. Wait, wait, wait.

Your dressage.

Oh, no, we don't have to do that anymore.

We've got something new. It's better.

Oh, tell her to do some dressage for me.

Yeah, honey.

What is dressage, after all, but... dancing... for horses?

All right, I'm...

I'm not gonna do a lot.

Okay, buddy, here I go.

♪ ♪

W-What are you doing?

I'm doing your bloody dressage, aren't I?

Oh, no, the horse dances.

Yeah, I'm getting to that part.

What is happening?

Can you please give my son a better wheelchair?

Ugh! I knew it.

Fine. I know it was wrong.

But I will do anything for my... son.

That's dressage, isn't it?

I mean, I know we've got other things to discuss, but that is bloody amazing.

Look, your daughter is Dylan DiMeo, right?

She is. That part is actually true.

God, it still feels like I'm lying.

My daughter Melissa races against her tomorrow.

She's never won a race.

Dylan has won every single time.


Just saying...

If Melissa could win once, it would make her year, and then I would owe you.

Are you suggesting that I tell my daughter to throw the race?

I can't do that.

Then there's nothing I can do for you.

"Dancing for horses"...

Yeah, I see where I could have phrased that a little more clearly.

[Indistinct conversations]

Hello, Donald.

Please... Have a seat.

A little birdie told us about a certain speech.

Funny thing about speeches...

You kind of need teeth to give them.

"Chill the hell out."


Listen, about the speech...

I know that I called you my friend, which, you know, that... that may be a stretch, but I honestly do see you as a friend.

A friend from... afar.

JJ only has one friend from afar...

His pen pal Diego.

And you ain't Diego.

"It's I-N-S...


I don't E-X...

Exist to make you feel better about yourself."

Look! It's JJ and Donald, the two friends!

The hero and the scribe.

Oh, JJ, I'm so glad I got to hear Donald's speech.

I used to think of you as just a person, but you are so much more.

You're a saint.

And if you can do it, I can do it.

Do what?

I'm not sure.

♪ ♪

Okay, I get it. I can see how that would be insulting.

"So you'll change your speech?"

Oh, no.

No, I, uh, I want to get into Pomona.

I'm trying to get my US News Top Regional Schools on.

So I'm gonna need to win this thing, and I'm going to.

"Oh, are you?"

I'm gonna win the essay contest?

How? My speech sucks.

"Give one about me."

"Beat Donald's... ass."

Oh, yeah! High-five me, bro.

You really are my hero.

Ugh! I hate you!

What kind of monster asks a 12-year-old girl to throw a race?

So that's it, then?

JJ's just stuck with whatever this lady gives him?

Dylan: No, he's not.

Dylan? Where are you?

The hall.

The walls in this house are crazy-thin.


I was in the yard for the beginning of this conversation.

Dylan, no.

Just one race.

I see how much you do for JJ, and I can never help, but now I can.

I want to.

Are you sure?


So, I guess I'm gonna lose tomorrow.

What does losing feel like?

Does it hurt?

Only at first.

Yeah, you get used to it.

Okay, time to write the most epic, moving speech of all time.

What should I do?

"Make people cry and give me P-I-T... What?

"...pity looks and E-N-C...

Encouraging pats on the arm...

All the stuff I hate."

I'm doing this for you, hoverboard.

I mean... JJ.

[Typing] "No matter where I go, there's one person who is always at my side, even when I'm alone...

My brother, JJ."

"Now make me happy all the time."

"All I want is to help the able-bodied learn and grow."

Hey! This is the Magical Negro!

You know, like in the movies where the black character's just there to help the white guy on his journey and he mainly speaks in folksy sayings.

"Eh, don't know much about blah-blah, but a man's gotta have a blah."


"We both get C-L-I-C...


We sure do, buddy.

Hey, Ray, turn around.

We're gonna do that thing where you turn back and we're suddenly gone, as if by magic.

Can we do this another time? The contest is tomorrow.

Let's write my speech.

We'll have our fun later, JJ.

Able-bodied white guy calling.

♪ ♪

"Sure, JJ doesn't walk.

Who needs to walk when you can soar?"

"Courage is a two-letter word spelled JJ."

"JJ might be skinny, but he's got a big, fat asset...

His heart."

Oh, mine are bad but yours were good?

Own the stage.

Feel the words.

"JJ is my hero!"

Okay, now you.

[Voice cracking] JJ is my hero!

Okay, try it again, but weirder.

I just want to see if it's possible.

♪ ♪

Unique New York. Unique New York.

Unique New York.

Go out there and win this.

Go out there and lose this.

What's the point, Mom? I always lose.

Well, I have a feeling today is going to be your day.

How do you feel about our daughter doing this?


Like a dark, sickening abyss of pride.

Yeah, right here. It's...



Man: On your mark, get set...

[Starter pistol fires]

[Spectators cheering]

My family is different from other families.

16 years ago, my brother, JJ, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

And even though I wasn't even born yet, that moment made me the man I am today.

[Students murmuring]

Go, go. Come on.


[Spectators cheering]

You can do this!

Move your body!

Come on!

Smell the trophy! Be the trophy!

Dylan! What are you doing?!

Is it hard sometimes?


But JJ knows in his heart that the only real disability in life [voice breaking] is a bad attitude.

That's true.

And that is what makes him so...

[Whispering] "Brave."


I can't do this.

She can't do this.

Run, Dylan!


Run! Run!

Go! Just run!

Don't let her beat you, little girl!

Do it!

Screw it! Run!

Go on!

Come on, Dylan, you can do it!

Go on, darling! Run!

Go on, darling!


Come on!

She's gonna win!


[Spectators cheering]

My brother isn't a hero.

[Whispering] This feels off-message.

I know him better than anyone.

And I can tell you, in all honesty, he can be a real jerk.

He teases me and tortures me, runs me over with his wheelchair.

He told me I was adopted and my real mom was Nancy Grace!

[Snorts, laughs] Nice.

He isn't brave, either. He's just living his life.

And there's nothing brave about that.

[Scattered light applause]

That did not make me feel good.


Congrats, champ.

I could have lost. It was just one race.

Oh, darling, no.

I tasted it for a second... defeat.

I did not care for it.

Put it behind you.

I promise... You will never lose again.

Sure. That's a thing we can promise.

Not only did Melissa lose, but for a second, she thought she was going to win and then she lost.

She's never getting over this.

Yeah, we should never have agreed...

I don't have time for this, okay?

I have to find my daughter.

Ooh, let me check her usual spot.

Nah, she's not behind Dylan.


Go on. Go and celebrate with your friends.

[Sighing] We'll find a way.

Oh, I know we will.

And in the meantime, our integrity's intact, and that is the best gift we can give JJ.

And, time permitting, our other children.

[School bell rings]

And the winner...

Not to be rude to all the... losers, but let's just say it all together.

All: Donald Bronson!

Dr. Miller: Yay, Donald!



This is for you, JJ!

Thanks, Donald.

Let's go.

Hey! How'd the speech go, Ray?

[Chuckles] No one liked it.


No, it's true. No one did.

"I liked it."

Oh! Mrs. DiMeo! I'm so glad I caught you.

I was looking for Melissa, when I heard the most heartfelt, honest words about your JJ.

His friendship with that Donald is such an inspiration.

Call me. We'll make sure JJ gets what he needs.

Yeah, thanks, Janet!

Let's have dinner with Donald soon!

We still have our integrity, right?

Enough of it.

"God bless us... every one."

In the end, that boy got the wheelchair he deserved.

Can you please stop doing that?

His brother didn't win that speaking contest, but he walked away with something more important...

His soul.

These kids over here? Well, they're making out.

And that kid? He wears the same shirt every day.

And ol' Kenneth? Well [chuckles] he turned out just fine.

Fall turned to winter, and a stiff breeze blew ol' Kenneth away...

[Echoing] if he was ever there at all.