The Ropers

Season 2 Episode 10

Helen Makes Music

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Nov 24, 1979 on ABC

Episode Recap

Jeffrey and Anne are in their living room, and Jeffrey is admiring the new tie he just put on in preparation for a luncheon he will be attending as part of the application process to become a member of the Ardmore Men's Club. As he nervously makes final adjustments to his appearance, he grabs a bottle of what he thinks is breath freshener and sprays it in his mouth. Anne says that he's sure to impress them, because that bottle of perfume is worth $30 an ounce. Jeffrey begins to gag and wipe his tongue off with a rag. Anne suggests he sit by himself at the luncheon, otherwise he will drive the men mad with passion. After sufficiently removing the perfume from his mouth, he informs Anne that Mr. Carey will become coming over to see the Harper house, but admits it's probably a waste of time, because he's only a salesman, not a magician. He further explains that the house is an old, run down eyesore that is a blight on the entire neighborhood – just like the Ropers. Anne scolds him, telling him that's a terrible thing to say. Jeffrey agrees, because the house isn't really that bad. He hands Anne the key to the house, and asks her to show Mr. Carey the "white elephant" if he doesn't get back in time. As he says this, David enters from his bedroom, and eagerly asks if he can see the white elephant too. His father laughs, and explains that he was just using an expression used for something nobody wants. David asks if it's like the new suit he just bought him. Jeffrey is deeply disappointed, explaining that not many boys his age get to wear velvet collars. Asked to explain further, Jeffrey explains that in India, a white elephant is very rare and considered sacred and very valuable. Realizing his explanation makes no sense, he tells David that his mother will explain the easy part as soon as he leaves. He opens the door to leave, but finds Helen standing there. Smelling his breath, she compliments him on his lovely cologne, and he storms out. Anne tells David she'll tell him about the white elephant later, and tells him to run along. Helen enters the living room and shows Anne a brochure for an electric organ, which folds out into a simulated keyboard. She explains that they are on sale, and just the right size for their den. She contends that if Stanley sits next to her as she plays romantic songs, it just might put him in the mood. Anne admits that she didn't know Helen plays. Helen explains that they do sometimes, thinking Anne was talking about sex. Helen clarifies that she can't play, but has always wanted an organ ever since she was a little girl, but her parents refused to buy anything that expensive during the depression. Anne congratulates her on finally getting one, but Helen glumly admits that she can't convince Stanley the depression is over. Anne suggests she tell him how much it would mean to her. Helen says she did, but he only suggested she get something cheaper… like a kazoo. The phone rings, and Anne answers it. It's her Aunt Becky, who frantically tells her that her dog has just eaten a tennis ball and is lying lifeless on the floor, and Anne agrees to drive her to the vet. She hangs up, and tells Helen it could be serious. Helen contends that it could be Stanley. As Anne prepares to leave, she asks Helen if she could do her a favor. She asks Helen to show Mr. Carey the Harper house if she doesn't get back in time. Helen says she would be glad to, and Anne gives her the key, and writes a note that will tell him to knock on the Ropers' door when he arrives. Anne says she hopes that she's not ruining any of her and Stanley's plans, which causes Helen to explain that she always has plans, but Stanley always has excuses.

Stanley is sitting in his living room, trying to fix a broken alarm clock. He puts it together, and it begins to ring uncontrollably. He has to take it apart to stop the ringing. Helen enters from outside, and contends it would just be easier to buy a new alarm clock. Stanley replies that you don't get rid of something just because it doesn't work. She agrees, admitting that she has always kept him. She then unfolds the simulated organ keyboard and places it on the coffee table. She begins fingering the keys, and attempts to recreate the notes with her shrill voice, much to the distain of Stanley. He asks her why she has to make these noises. She explains that she's learning to play the organ, and it says on the brochure that she can learn in just a few hours per day. As she continues to annoy Stanley, he angrily asks her if she can't think of something better to do with her spare time. She angrily contends that she does, but that he doesn't like to do "that" either. The doorbell rings, and as Helen goes to answer it, Stanley suggests that it's probably a dog answering her call. He then smiles slyly at the camera. It's Mr. Carey, who has arrived to see the Harper house. Mr. Carey reads Helen the note, which says she will "take care of him." Helen says it'll be a pleasure, and that she just has to get her key. Stanley, who doesn't yet know about Helen's favor to Anne, is confused. He asks Helen where she's going, and she replies that she has to show the man something. Stanley is becoming uncomfortable. Mr. Carey warns Helen that he has very particular tastes, to which she assures him that she thinks she can satisfy him. Stanley is shocked. As Helen begins to walk out with Mr. Carey, she asks him if he likes large bedrooms. Stanley angrily calls her name, and abruptly gets up, spilling his tray of clock parts onto the floor. Helen is already gone.

Sometime later, Jeffrey is showing David an emblem patch for the Ardmore Men's club, where he has just become a member. He tells David to have his mother sew it onto his jacket, to show everyone that his father is a member of a very exclusive club. David sternly contends that it would be showing off. Jeffrey contends it would be showing off only if they overdid it. He then dumps a bagful of emblem patches onto the coffee table. Anne returns home, explaining she had to drive Aunt Becky to the vet. Jeffrey sarcastically asks if she wasn't feeling well, and begins laughing in the direction of David, who isn't impressed. Anne tells David the dog is going to be alright, it will just have to give up tennis. Jeffrey is left confused. She then informs Jeffrey that she asked Helen to show Mr. Carey the Harper place. Jeffrey agrees that it was a good idea, because it's better to waste her time than theirs. The doorbell rings, and Jeffrey answers it. It's Helen, bringing back the key. Jeffrey hopes they didn't waste her time. She happily admits that's not the case, declaring that Mr. Carey left as she begins to dig in her purse. This is just what Jeffrey was expecting. Helen informs him that Mr. Carey liked the neighborhood. But Jeffrey finishes the sentence, theorizing that he just didn't like the house. Anne breaks in to thank Helen for showing the house for them. Jeffrey reluctantly thanks her as well. Helen then pulls out key, but then unexpectedly takes a check out of her purse. Jeffrey does a double take. Helen explains it's for the down payment, and declares she sold Mr. Carey the Harper house. The entire Brookes family is shocked, and Jeffrey is left speechless. Helen says she has to go home so she can tell Stanley the great news. Anne suggests that it'll make him excited. Helen slyly admits that she'll probably wait until bedtime to tell him, as she heads out the door.

Stanley is preparing a sandwich in his kitchen. Helen rushes in, startling him. He angrily asks her what she's been doing with that man the whole time. She exclaims that it was wonderful, and that she took him to a big empty house. Stanley is disgusted. Helen further explains that Anne was going to do it, but she was too busy. Stanley is even more disgusted. Helen states that she did it just like a professional. Stanley can no longer stand to look at her. She finally explains that she sold a house. She picks up his sandwich and takes a bite, immediately spitting it out. Stanley tells her it's a peanut butter sandwich…with onions, bananas, and ketchup. Helen asks him if he's pregnant. Changing the subject, he asks her what happened to the commission for selling the house. Helen bluntly contends that she really isn't a salesman, and people don't get paid for doing favors. He scolds her, and tells her she could have bought a lot of things with that money, like a new power drill, or a set of chrome plated wrenches. She tells him to forget it. He insists that "we" deserve it.

Later that evening, Anne reminds Jeffrey that Helen did him a big favor, and asks him if he's figured out what he's going to do with the commission. He admits that he knew right at the moment Helen said she had sold the house…pay his initiation dues for the Ardmore Men's Club. Asked if he's going to give some of it to Helen, he claims that he can't because she's not a regular salesman. Anne angrily contends Helen is better than a regular salesman, because she managed to sell the house. Jeffrey finally admits he needs to show her his appreciation…with a bottle of wine. Anne gives him a stern stare. He increases his offer to a case of wine, but she continues staring at him. He claims that he can't give her too much, or it will embarrass her, and that he's too sensitive of a person to do that to her. Anne informs him that Helen would like an organ. Jeffrey asks if he should give her his heart or his gallbladder. She clarifies that Helen wants an electric organ, which causes Jeffrey to angrily contend it would cost far too much. Anne specifies it would be about half of his commission. He reiterates that he refuses to buy Helen an organ. Trying a different approach, she asks Jeffrey if he'd like to go to bed early tonight. After a moment of thought, he takes her by the hand and begins dancing with her, and singing in a baritone voice.

Stanley is still complaining about the commission while Helen paints her toenails on the living room couch. She contends that Jeffrey must appreciate what she did. The word "appreciate" offends Stanley, and he pokes her in the back, causing her to spill paint all over her foot. Stanley tries to calculate how much commission is at stake, but is unable to do the math in his head. He simply says it's a lot of money, to which Helen insists that Jeffrey will probably get her something. Stanley angrily contends that in life, you don't get anything unless you ask for it. Helen stares at him, angrily stating that it doesn't always work that way. She contends Jeffrey must just be waiting for the right opportunity. Stanley demands they go over there to give him the opportunity, which Helen immediately agrees to, thinking she's going to prove Stanley wrong.

They ring the Brookes' doorbell, and Anne quietly reminds Jeffrey to keep the organ a surprise. She lets them in, and they sit down on the couch. Helen nervously claims they just decided to stop by because they were in the neighborhood. Jeffrey eagerly tells her that he's glad they came, because he has something great for her. Helen becomes ecstatic. Jeffrey gets her a glass of wine, and after she takes a sip, asks her if she enjoyed it. Helen is confused. Jeffrey explains that the glass of wine was the surprise. Helen is deeply disappointed and offended. Stanley breaks in, saying that he understands that Helen sold a house. Jeffrey acknowledges that fact, only to ask if anyone would like some cheese. Helen sadly declines the offer. Stanley quietly adds that there's already enough that smells around here. Stanley contends there's a lot of effort and money involved in selling a house, causing Helen to elbow him in the chest several times. As Jeffrey offers her more wine, Stanley quietly contends that he was right all along, then asks her if she's going to ask Jeffrey. She screams, "NO!" which startles Jeffrey. Stanley loudly contends there must be a pile of money involved in selling just one house, and Helen elbows him again, but he has strategically placed a pillow to protect himself. Jeffrey then offers his guests some bologna. Stanley quips that they've already had enough. Helen reluctantly expresses surprises at being able to sell a house, which causes Jeffrey to act like he just remembered something. He takes Helen by the hand…and gives her a hug. The doorbell rings, and it's the delivery man, who Anne pushes back outside so she can go out with him. Jeffrey contends that it's very difficult to express appreciation in mere words. Stanley quips that Jeffrey has done it quite well. Anne comes back in, declaring that it was just a delivery man with a package for "someone else." Jeffrey just stands there, and yawns deeply. He declares that he and Anne wanted to retire early, prompting Stanley and Helen to get up to leave. Stanley stands in her way and bluntly asks her if she wants to say anything else. After a moment, she turns around and tells Jeffrey to … have a nice night. As they approach the front door, Stanley turns around as Helen goes out the door. Stanley gives Jeffrey a piece of his mind, insisting that Helen just made him a lot of money. Jeffrey agrees wholeheartedly. Stanley angrily contends that she was expecting a reward, and got none. Jeffrey tells him to calm down, but Stanley continues to escalate the confrontation.

Outside, Helen is left speechless at the sight of an electric organ with a bow wrapped around it. She asks if it's really hers, and Anne hands her a card which reads, "To Helen with thanks, job well done! Your friends, the Brookes." Helen tears up as she gives Anne a big hug.

Inside, Stanley continues to berate Jeffrey, claiming that you can't trust a bald man, because he's always out to scalp somebody else. Helen opens the door and races back in, but Stanley interrupts her before she's able to speak. She breaks through and gives Jeffrey a big hug. Stanley is confused, and orders her to tell Jeffrey that he's no good. She enthusiastically tells Jeffrey that he's wonderful, as she begins kissing him repeatedly on the cheeks. Stanley tries to explain to her that this is going to be a lot more difficult if she keeps kissing Jeffrey. She asks how she can ever thank him. Jeffrey suggests she could keep Stanley in her house. Stanley loudly proclaims that everyone should be ashamed of themselves, as he walks out the front door to see the organ. He reads the note, and is clearly embarrassed. He quietly goes back inside, smiling nervously. After a moment, he says "Fooled ya, didn't I?" and begins to laugh. Jeffrey happily contends that Stanley didn't fool him for a minute. Helen proclaims that the organ is beautiful. Stanley wonders aloud how much he could get for it, much to everyone's chagrin.