The Ropers

Season 2 Episode 9

Pal Joey

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Nov 17, 1979 on ABC

Episode Recap

Stanley answers the doorbell, and it's his long time friend Joey, who is overweight and dressed in shabby clothing. After hugging each other, they acknowledge that they haven't seen each other since… New Year's Eve at the American Legion. Joey claims that he lined up some good entertainment that night. Stanley reminds him that Helen didn't think so. Joey explains that he had no idea those women were undercover police, because they had no place to pin their badges. Joey walks into the house, and Stanley warns him that Helen is home. As Joey sits down on the couch and puts his feet up on the coffee table, he informs Stanley that Helen is the one who invited him over, and that she has a soft spot for him. Helen enters from the kitchen, and Joey calls her an angel. In response, she swats him with a dish towel and tells him to get his feet off the table. Stanley angrily contends that Joey is a guest in their house. Helen quips "that'll be the day." She explains that she called Joey over to do some work for her, and asks him if he brought his truck. He confirms he did, saying that he never goes anyplace without it. Helen jokes that she's surprised he's able to go anyplace WITH it. She then tells Stanley that Joey is going to be hauling out their old furniture. Stanley thinks it's a joke and begins laughing with Joey. Helen declares that she'll pay Joey $40, which causes him to stop laughing. She explains that the only way to get new furniture is to get rid of the old junk first. Asked where he should take it, she responds that any garbage dump that isn't too particular will do. Joey attempts to pick up a chair, but Stanley sits in it in protest. Joey tries to pick up another chair, causing Stanley to move to it. Stanley angrily contends that this is good furniture, full of old memories. She suggests that if he wants old memories, he should go sit on their bed. Helen orders Joey to begin moving the furniture out, which causes Stanley to angrily contend that his best friend would never stab him in the back. Helen reminds Joey of the $40 payment, and he pulls the chair out from underneath Stanley, causing him to fall to the floor.

Joey goes out the front door, and encounters Helen's brother in law Hubert, who has just arrived and is carrying a gift box. Joey explains that Stanley is buying Helen new furniture. Hubert is shocked.

Inside, Helen orders Stanley to help Joey move out the furniture. He reaffirms that he's not moving anything. Hubert walks in the front door, happily surprising Helen. She asks where her sister Ethel is, and he quips that it's an even numbered day, so that means aren't on speaking terms. As Joey returns to retrieve another chair, Hubert declines a cup of coffee. He hands the box to Helen, explaining that it's a belated housewarming gift from Ethel. She opens it to reveal a hollow, round wooden object. Stanley admits that he's never seen a dog dish that big. Helen explains that it's a salad bowl, and takes out a note that was left inside of it. In the letter, Ethel explains that the gift is meant to replace the bowl that was lost when they moved in, but that she wasn't able to match the old one because the gas station is no longer giving them away. Helen angrily stuffs the letter back into the bowl, and wonders aloud what kind of a crack that was. Hubert contends that she was probably just joking. Helen angrily tells Hubert to take it back to Ethel, because it's not going to match their new, expensive furniture. Hubert is shocked that Stanley is actually going to spend money on new furniture. Stanley contends that nothing is too good for his princess, which gives Helen a confused expression.

Hubert leaves through the front door, and encounters Joey, who is returning to retrieve more furniture. Hubert explains that this is horrible, because once Ethel finds out Helen has new furniture, she's going to do nothing but nag him until he gets Ethel new furniture. Joey suggests he go out and buy new furniture before Stanley does. Hubert says that it's a stupid idea because the only reason he could explain it was because he loved her so much. He then realizes that it's not such a stupid idea after all. Joey suggests that he could move out the old furniture for him, but he doesn't work for cheap. Hubert tells him he'll pay him 10% of whatever Joey can sell it for. Joey says he wouldn't touch the job for less than 50%. They haggle for a while, and settle on 10%.

Sometime later, the Ropers' living room has been emptied out, and the phone is ringing. Stanley comes downstairs and answers the phone, which is now on the floor, and it's Joey. Stanley angrily explains that he was in the bathroom, because it's the only comfortable seat left in the house. Joey explains that he used his best business contacts and has arranged a deal for a new furniture set, and that he's going to sell it to Stanley at cost, which he claims is $500. Unsure, Stanley says he needs to see it first. Joey says he's not sure when he'll be able to make the time, which causes Stanley to tell him he's no longer interested. Joey says he'll be there in three minutes, and hangs up.

Later, Stanley is standing outside his front door watching Joey move in a long table by himself. Stanley admits that this is great furniture. Joey tells him he has an eye for quality, and asks him to grab the other end of the table. Stanley contends that he has a bad back and can't help. At this point, Jeffrey arrives home, and Stanley asks if he can help move the table. Shocked, Jeffrey asks if that is Stanley's furniture on the truck. Stanley confirms that it is, but Jeffrey wrongly concludes that Stanley is moving out. As such, Jeffrey happily agrees to help move the table. Jeffrey and Joey each grab an end of the table, facing back-to-back. They pick the table up, and begin moving in opposite directions, much like a tug of war. Stanley suggests they move in the same direction, but they continue tugging in opposite directions. Jeffrey suggests they switch sides, and they do, staring at each other as they take their new position. This time they are facing each other, and when they pick the table up, they jam it into each other's gut. Joey asks him where he's going, and Jeffrey explains he's going to the truck. Stanley explains he just bought new furniture, which causes Jeffrey to drop his end of the table, with one of the legs landing on Stanley's foot. As Jeffrey hastily enters his front door, Stanley is left screaming in pain.

Inside his house, Jeffrey angrily tells Anne that Stanley's bought new furniture. Anne sarcastically wonders aloud what Stanley will think of next. Jeffrey explains that he was hoping they could spend a quiet afternoon together, but after what Stanley just put him through, he's no longer in the mood. Anne suggests he should have a little wine, which causes him to angrily declare that he is not a machine that can turn on and off on a whim. Anne accepts his reasoning and tries to get up, but Jeffrey grabs her and begins to kiss her passionately.

Joey brings the final chair into Stanley's living room, and Stanley declares that Helen is really going to love this, and he can't wait until Ethel sees it. Joey agrees, then does a double take. Stanley explains that Hubert called, and they are on their way over. Panicking, Joey says he has to go and scurries to the front door. He opens the door to find Helen picking flowers out front. He turns around and tells Stanley he'll let himself out the back door. Stanley is confused, as Joey bolts through the kitchen door. Stanley heads out the front door and tells Helen he has a surprise for her. This piques Helen's curiosity. He decides to give her a hint, telling her it's something she's been begging for. Thinking he's talking about sex, she puts her arms around him, and he becomes disgusted. He opens the door so she can see the new furniture. In a happy shock, she asks if it's really theirs. Stanley contends it cost a fortune. She declares that he got her "Country English" furniture. Stanley agrees, clearly not aware of the term. She says the thing she loves the most about it, is that it looks just like Ethel's furniture. Stanley adds that it is only nicer. She begins to look closely at each piece of furniture, and notices the fabric is exactly the same as Ethel's. Still unaware of what he's done, Stanley contends that the whole room could have come out of Ethel's living room. She picks up a pillow, and angrily declares that this furniture DID come out of Ethel's living room. She screams at Stanley and begins to beat him with the pillow. She hears the sound of a car pulling up the curb, and realizes it's Hubert and Ethel.

Stanley and Helen quickly run outside to intercept their guests. Helen greets Ethel by blowing her a kiss. Ethel says she just had to see her new furniture. Helen says she will have to stop by someday. Ethel contends that today would be nice, since they are already standing on their doorstep. Helen says today won't work, because the decorator isn't finished. Ethel claims to be shocked, because she doesn't see a wrecking ball anywhere. Helen seems to get an idea, so she rings the Brookes' doorbell, contending that Anne would probably like to see their furniture too. Stanley is shocked. Anne opens the door, and Helen forces herself inside, slamming the door behind her. Stanley desperately calls for her, then turns around and calmly starts talking about the weather to Ethel and Hubert, claiming he and Helen spend hours outside. Ethel quips that she would too, if she had to live in this house. Stanley gives her a sour look.

Inside the Brookes' living room, Helen is talking with Anne, who is wearing very revealing lingerie. Helen explains why she can't let Ethel into her own home, and Anne graciously agrees to help her stall them until Stanley can get the furniture out of the house. Anne forgets to put on a robe, and asks Hubert and Ethel to come inside. They are shocked. Stanley forcefully pushes them through the door. Helen introduces everyone, and tells Ethel that she has a lot in common with Jeffrey. Stanley quietly declares that they are both snobs. Suddenly, everyone can hear the sound of Jeffrey meowing like a cat in the kitchen. Jeffrey walks backward through the kitchen door, dressed in a robe and carrying a bottle of champagne, and beings wagging his behind at Helen. He turns around and is shocked to see a roomful of people. Stanley barks at him like a dog and begins to laugh. Jeffrey goes over to Anne and stands in front of his scantily dressed wife. Anne introduces him to their two guests. Ethel reiterates her desire to see Helen's new furniture. Jeffrey agrees, and tries to lead her by the arm to the front door. When Jeffrey opens the door, Ethel notices that that Brookes have a William Graham print on their wall. Jeffrey is shocked that she could identify the picture. Ethel proudly proclaims that she owns five Graham originals. Intrigued, Jeffrey closes the door. Stanley doesn't think that's a big deal, because he owns a whole box of Graham's crackers. He turns and smiles goofily at the camera. Stanley insists that Ethel and Hubert have a glass of champagne, and has them sit down on the couch. Jeffrey asks Ethel if she's the one with a large family in Encino. Ethel replies that she's the one with a large house in Beverly Hills. In the background, Helen quietly orders Stanley to call Joey and have him remove the furniture, and pushes Stanley out the front door. Jeffrey admits that it's refreshing to meet someone with such good taste. Hubert quips that the only ones left with good taste are Ethel and Charlie Tuna. Jeffrey tells her that he is in real estate, and tries to give her a business card, only to realize he's only wearing a robe, making him embarrassed. Hubert gets up and demands to see the furniture, because he has to leave. Helen tells him he can't, but is unable to come up with a reason why. Anne breaks in, and says that she and Jeffrey had something special planned. Jeffrey agrees, smiling devilishly. Anne declares that she and Jeffrey would like everyone to join them. Jeffrey stands up in shock. Anne says that there's room for everyone. Jeffrey is disgusted. Anne clarifies that she meant there's room for everyone in the hot tub. Helen excitedly declares that they are going to have a tub party.

Sometime later, everyone is in the community hot tub drinking champagne, except for Stanley, who is supposedly moving furniture. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and becoming buzzed from the alcohol, except Hubert, who is uncomfortable and eager to go home. Ethel orders him to enjoy himself. Ethel explains that she has "his and hers" hot tubs. Helen asks which one is hers, and laughs. Anne declares that she has lost her earring in the water. Jeffrey and Hubert attempt to put their heads in the water at the same time, and bump heads. Jeffrey then goes under by himself, and Ethel begins to giggle uncontrollably. Jeffrey comes back up, holding the earring and declaring "I've got it." Ethel devilishly agrees with him, and they laugh. She encourages Jeffrey to come by and see her prints sometime. Hubert warns Jeffrey that she might leave her prints all over him. Helen howls. Anne asks uncomfortably if anyone else feels like it's getting to warm in the tub. She looks over at Ethel, who purposefully takes off an earring and drops it in the water. She declares that she seems to have lost an earring, and orders her husband not to look for it. Jeffrey sticks his head back underwater, and Ethel begins to giggle uncontrollably again, much to the disgust of Helen and Anne.

Inside the Ropers' house, Stanley is on the phone with Joey, asking him where he's been. Stanley tells him it's a matter of life and death, because he will kill him if he doesn't show up in five minutes. After he hangs up, Helen races in the front door, and is shocked to see the furniture still in the living room. Stanley explains that Joey was taking a nap. Helen angrily informs him that Ethel and Hubert will be arriving in a few minutes after they change back into their clothes. Helen decides the only thing they can do is put sheets over the furniture. Stanley races upstairs while Helen heads outside the front door, slamming it behind her and draping her body across it. Ethel and Hubert emerge from the Brookes' front door, and Ethel tells Anne that their visit was most…unexpected. After Anne closes the door, Ethel asks Helen if they can finally see the furniture. Helen explains that the decorator isn't finished yet. Ethel contends he won't mind if they take a tiny peek, and pushes her way past Helen, into the house. Luckily, Stanley has just finished placing the final bed sheet on the couch, and all of the furniture is concealed. Hubert asks if their decorator is a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Stanley contends that brand new furniture needs to be protected from sunlight for 24 hours. Helen tries to convince them to leave, but Ethel angrily concludes that Helen didn't really buy new furniture. She goes to the couch and begins to tug on the sheet, as Stanley tugs from the other end. Ethel lets go, causing Stanley to pull the sheet entirely off, revealing Ethel's old couch. She is shocked. Helen admits that it does look similar. Ethel proceeds to remove sheets from more pieces of furniture, identifying each as her own. She asks how it got there, and Hubert explains that Stanley must have bought it from the guy he hired to haul it away. Shocked, she repeats what he just said, and Hubert explains that he wanted to surprise her to show her his love, and that she is going to find a house full of brand new, modern furniture when they return home. Ethel methodically repeats the events which have just taken place, and angrily demands to know what Hubert has done. She further explains that this furniture is antique, and is worth four times the amount they originally bought it for. Joey enters the front door, and Hubert explains to Ethel that Joey sold the furniture. Joey then hands Hubert $400, which disgusts Ethel. Stanley is also disgusted, because he admits he paid Joey $500 for it. This revelation then disgusts Helen, who thought Stanley paid $600 for it. Joey says they don't have to say anything, because the look on their faces is thanks enough. He then races out the front door. Helen quietly admits that Ethel will probably want the furniture back. Ethel confirms that she will, and orders Hubert to begin writing out a check. Ethel nervously contends that "Country English" doesn't go with "Townhouse Tacky." Helen is deeply offended. Ethel further explains that her furniture completely overwhelms a cheap room like Helen's living room. As Hubert tries to hand Helen the check, she slowly but emphatically proclaims that she has changed her mind. When Ethel expresses shock, Helen sternly proclaims that they bought the furniture, and they are going to keep it. Ethel says that she will pay Helen five times the amount Stanley paid for it. Stanley is impressed, but Helen isn't interested. Stanley proclaims that he bought the furniture, and will decide if they sell it back to Ethel. He goes up to her, and proudly declares, "not a chance!" Helen gives him a big hug, and Ethel is left fuming as she pushes Hubert out the front door.