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Learning Them Right
by Brandon & Gerald Young (young1bd@gmail.com)

Rated: PG   Genre: Comedy   User Review:

This is our original sitcom pilot.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



Two Caucasian men in their early 30s (MIKE and ROB) are
shown. Both are dressed in shirt and tie with nice pants and
shoes. Mike is clean cut, wholesome, handsome, but exudes
an aura of shyness. Rob is moderately overweight, rough
around the edges, crass, but carries a cocksure attitude.
His appearance and outfit are not ironed, while Mike's are.
They're waiting outside for the principal to meet Mike.
Thanks for getting me this
substitute teaching gig, brutha.
No problem. And, why do you
insist on still saying "brutha"
like Desmond from Lost?
Whatever. You're the one that's
convinced the island is Jack
waking up from a dream inside of a
snow globe after he shot the
mirror. You can't just combine
three classic television endings.
How's that stand-up comedy career
coming along anyway?
About as well as that ketchup
stain on your shirt.
Rob looks down and Mike then flips his finger up flicking
Rob's nose.
Going old school on that one.
Touché, brutha.
An attractive, African-American, youthful-looking, 60-65
year-old woman (PRINCIPAL CARVER) walks out of her spacious
office. She is witty with a spunky attitude. Mike and Rob


acknowledge her presence. The three of them begin heading to
Mike's new classroom, which is at the end of the hall.
Michael, I hope you enjoy your
tenure here at Thomas Jefferson
Middle School.
I hope so, too, Principal Carver.
And, please, call me Mike. I bet
I'll love it here. However; Rob
did mention that it can be a
little rough to learn them right.
Mike looks directly into the camera and smiles a cheesy grin
to "break down the fourth wall,": as he's just said part of
the show title. He then shakes his head "no" to acknowledge
that this little trick has been done countless times on
shows already.
Rob has had some challenges in the
past, but the past is called the
past for a reason. Even if Rob
isn't bright enough to learn from
it. Oh, and please, call me
I will do, Sandra.
Sandy is right, Mikey. It has
been pretty challenging thus far.
Rob, you still call me Principal
Yes, Principal Carver.
Mike, just remember, these kids
are used to Mrs. Sweet, so don't
let them push you around.
Aren't they just sixth graders?
I'm like a giant to them.


These children are little devils.
It can't be that bad. Can it?
Do you remember when you were in
sixth grade?
Of course. When I was in sixth
grade I did what I wanted. I know
all about being a little devil;
passing crazily-folded notes
around, tight-rolling my jeans,
seeing how far I could jump off
the swings. I was quite the
little hoodlum.
Um, yeah, you sound wild. Look,
I'm not going to sugar coat
things, Mike; they are a tough
bunch to keep track of.
Why do you think Nancy Sweet is in
the hospital? They made things
really sour for her. They gave her
a nervous breakdown causing her to
lose it. She tried to kick the
wall down. She ended up with a
broken leg.
That's still Mrs. Sweet to you,
Yes, Sandy. Principal Sandy. I
mean, Principal Carver.
Rob, I thought you said she had
walking pneumonia. Only you
referred to it as a running


Rule one: "There are children in
this school smarter than Rob.
Never listen to him." Didn't you
go to college with him?
Yeah, rule one then was "Don't be
roommates with Rob."
The three finally make it to Mike's classroom.
Mike, you'll be fine. Rob,
shouldn't you be in your classroom
right now?
Well, there's a lot of things I
shouldn't be doing in my life.
Yet, here I am at T.J.M.S.
Easy, wiseacre. Just for that I'm
giving you detention for the week.
Ah, come on! I just had it 2 weeks
Care to make it the next two as
Nah, I've seen The Breakfast Club.
I know how this goes. I'm good.
I wouldn't say good. Barely
adequate is more like it. You will
be there!
Sandra turns to walk away while humming "Don't You (Forget
About Me)." Rob looks at Mike and shakes his head. A
beautiful 30 year-old female (MADELINE "MADDY" STALLWORTH)
hurriedly walks past the two to a classroom across from
Mike's. Maddy is stunningly gorgeous, care-free, and appears
to be part Hispanic and part Caucasian. Mike's face shows
that he is smitten.
Who is that?


That is Madeline Stallworth, but
feel free to call her Maddy.
Actually, don't bother calling her
because I have dibs.
Don't you still have dibs on my
sophomore year girlfriend,
I also had dibs on that last piece
of pizza we had in the fridge our
Junior year, but that didn't stop
you. I even put a note on it,
calling it.
You literally wrote, "Calling it."
I took that to mean you were
calling that thing you were
dating, that you thought you were
keeping secret from us.
      (covers face in
You saw her?
How could I not? She was the
biggest thing on campus.
The past is called the past for a
reason, Big Mike. Break a
leg...but not like Mrs. Sweet did.
      (shaking his head)
Mike opens the door to his classroom and walks in.
There is a rustling inside the classroom that is filled with
middle-schoolers. As the door opens, the children begin to
settle down awaiting who will enter inside. The door opens
with the new teacher walking in alone with an excited smile


on his face. Mike heads over to the whiteboard and begins
writing "Mr. Young" on the board.
      (addressing the
Hey, class, as you can tell, I am
not Mrs. Sweet. Though it would
probably be pretty awkward if I
An overweight, unkempt, Caucasian child (BEAR) in the back
row wearing a brown shirt raises his hand. Bear is one of
the least educated children in the class.
Yes, back row, brown shirt wearing
Why would that be awkward, mister?
I'll explain that to you in about
seven years. My name is Mr.
Young, but you can call me Mr.
A pretty, blonde Caucasian girl (KASSY) in the middle of the
class raises her hand in an attempt to gain Mr. Young's
attention. Kassy is the class clown and she loves
Yes, girl with her hand up?
Mr. Young, my name is Kassy Smith
and I was wondering if you had a
A couple of girls sitting next to Kassy giggle at her
question. Mike has a blank look on his face.
I am currently single at the
moment. Now that that is out of
the way, are there any questions
that are pertinent to US History?
A nerdy-looking Asian boy with glasses (NORMAN) in the front
row raises his hand. Mike calls on him. Norman is far and
away the brightest child in the class and he knows it.


You in the front? Tell me your
name first, please.
Norman Fillmore, sir.
Okay, Norman?
Mr. Old, you'll have to forgive
Kassy, she's sort of the class
clown of the group.
Kassy objects.
Shut up, Dorkman!!!
Norman turns his attention to Kassy in retaliation.
You shut up, Crabby Kassy!
Kassy sticks her tongue out at Norman.
Children, please behave. Norman,
my name is Mr. Young. And don't
think you're the first person to
ever call me Mr. Old.
I'm sorry, Mr. Mid-Life Crisis.
Okay, I'm giving you originality
points on that one. Are there any
other questions before I get this
class started?
Bear raises his hand again.
Yes, kid in the back with the
brown shirt again...What is your
My name is Bear, sir.


Kassy interjects.
That's because he's fat and he
sleeps a lot.
The class giggles as Bear defends himself.
Shut your yapper, Kassy! No, Mr.
Young, my real name is Brian
Johnson, Jr. My parents' favorite
show was BJ and the Bear. He
always called me Bear, and my mom,
Uh, thank you for elaborating,
You're welcome, Mr. Young.
So what's your question?
You see, on Fridays at the end of
each month, Mrs. Sweet used to
bring in goodies, like chocolate,
chips and cookies. Sometimes even
chocolate chip cookies. Will you
be doing the same?
I'm going to have to look into
Okay, sir.
Does anyone know where Mrs. Sweet
left off so we can finally get
started with class?
Kassy raises her hand.


Yes, Kassy? Would you like to
tell us where she left off?
No. (Pause) Mrs. Sweet told my
mom that you and Mr. Cook were
college buddies and he's helping
you out by getting you this
substitute teacher position. Is
that true?
I would like to think my years of
dedication to our education system
is what got me the job, but I
guess Rob...I mean Mr. Cook, did
have a little bit to do with it.
I asked Mr. Cook about it and he
said you were a failed comedian
who wasn't funny at all and that's
why you're here now.
That's really funny coming from a
guy with his last name.
Yeah, he said that. He then told
us to get you to tell us a joke so
we can see for ourselves. Mr.
Young, could you please tell us a
The other students assist in egging Mike on to tell them a
joke. Mike finally gives in.
Okay, okay, just settle down. I'll
tell you one joke and that's it. I
find a lot of things odd in this
world. There are some numbers
that I find odd, like one, three,
five, seven and nine.
The classroom goes dead silent as they all look at each
other. Mike tries to explain the joke.
You see, one, three, five, seven
and nine are all odd numbers. Get
it? I find things odd like those


                       MIKE (cont'd)
odd numbers? You see, it's a play
Norman interrupts before Mike can finish explaining his
Oh, we got it, Mr. Over-the-Hill.
It just wasn't that funny. I
guess Mr. Cook was speaking the
There is an awkward silence before Bear raises his hand yet
May I go use the bathroom?
Mike sees a giant wood block that has "HALL PASS" engraved
on it. He hands the pass to Bear. Bear exits the
classroom. Upon the door closing, Kassy speaks out about
You know he's just going to his
locker to eat some junk food he
has crammed in there.
His mom doesn't let him eat those
things, Kassy. She gives him
He just bullies the fifth graders
for their snacks. It's a
well-known fact, Noron. He had so
many snack cakes last week that
7-11 asked him to open a franchise
within the school.
Alright, that's enough. I'm sure
he just went to use the restroom.


There is a knock on the door and then it opens. Maddy comes
in with a smile on her face. She has Bear with her. Bear
has cream from a snack cake smeared all over his face. Bear
is embarrassed while Mike is shocked and a little
embarrassed himself as he doesn't know what to say to Maddy.
I believe this one belongs to you.
No problem. Next time, make sure
they really have to go before you
just go throwing out your hall
I'll be sure to...uh...do that.
Maddy sets the hall pass down on Mike's desk as Bear
embarrassingly stumbles back to his desk, wiping the cream
off his face with his shirt sleeve. Maddy gives Mike a
"look" and a smile as she exits his classroom.
Bear, I thought you said you had
to go to the bathroom?
Oh yeah, that's where I was going
until I suddenly got your joke
right around the same time I was
passing my locker. I wanted to
share your joke with the snack
cake I had in there. He didn't
think it was too funny so I
defended your honor by eating him.
So you're a regular hero?
I guess I am. Glad you could see
it that way.
Bear, you're probably thinking
about a hero sandwich right now,
aren't you?


Keep your mouth shut, Blabby
Yeah, Kassy!
Don't tell me what to do, Boreman!
Kassy, Norman and Bear start bickering intensely. The rest
of the class follows suit and erupts in noise. A confused
and bewildered Mike doesn't know what to do so he just
stands straight and looks out the window and sees an
American flag waving on top of its pole. He then stands
straight and starts saying the "Pledge of Allegiance" to
himself loudly. Soon other children catch on and do
likewise until all of the children are reciting the pledge.
Upon finishing, Mike turns his attention back to the class.
Once again, my name is Mr. Young
and I'm here to teach you a little
about the history of the United
States of America.
Mike is pouring himself a cup of coffee in the teachers'
lounge as Maddy walks by to pour a cup as well. Mike pours
it for her.
Thank you. So I see they stuck you
with the hellions of the school?
Did you fair well?
Aside from the locker incident, I
don't think I did too poorly. I'm
Mike, by the way.
Mike extends his hand as Maddy accepts and extends her hand
in return.
Hello, Mike By The Way, I'm
Madeline Stallworth, but everyone
calls me Maddy.


Hi, Madeline Stallworth, But
Everyone Calls Me Maddy.
Rob told me you used to be a
comedian. Why'd you give up on
your dream? I'm gonna wager it's
because you steal jokes.
Ouch! No, I only steal jokes to
flirt with the beautiful teacher
of the school. Comedy wasn't
paying the bills.
So you decided to become a
substitute teacher and use
terrible pickup lines?
Yeah, I probably should have stuck
with comedy.
Rob says you perform occasionally
at The Slide. Let me know the
next time you perform. I may just
have to come by and check you out.
I'll probably be there tonight for
their open mic night to try out
some new material. You just may
have to come by.
Tonight? Sorry, but I think I
have some papers to grade.
I see.
I'll take a rain check though.
Sounds good. I'll have to learn
how to make it rain on you then.
Wait, that came out wrong.


Now I see why you gave up on big
time comedy. I'll see you around,
Mike By The Way.
See you later, Madeline
Stallworth, But Everyone Calls Me
Maddy exits as Rob and an elderly, pint-sized, out-spoken,
African-American teacher (ART) enters to a downtrodden Mike.
Art and Rob grab their lunches and bring them to a table in
the break room. Mike does likewise and takes a seat, shaking
off what he thinks was a blown shot with Maddy.
So you're the new Mrs. Sweet, huh?
It appears that way.
      (laughing to
I wouldn't get too comfortable.
Relax, it's just Art. Let me
introduce you two. Mike, this is
George Jefferson. George
Jefferson, this is Mike.
Art and Mike shake hands.
Arthur Jones; nice to meet you.
Art's been teaching here, for
what, 100 years now? He also runs
some dry cleaners on the side.
I hate you, Rob. It's only been
39 years.
39 years? Wow, that's really


No kidding. I mean 39 years ago,
they just invented the wheel.
Retire already, would you?
Rob holds his sandwich up and takes a bite.
I'll retire when you start
learning how to eat right.
Art points at Rob's shirt.
You've got some mustard on your
Rob looks down. Art flicks Rob's nose a la Mike in the cold
You got me this time, George
Jefferson. Next time, Gadget!
I'll get you next time!
Just finish your sandwich. I have
some kids that need someone to
learn them right.
Art looks directly into the camera, "breaking down the
fourth wall" himself, giving the audience a nice smirk.
Obviously, you couldn't do the
job, so they need me to finish up.
This is normally where I'd say
something about your wife, but I
never thought Weezie was all that
Art gets up from his seat.
Since it's time to get movin' on
up I'll let that slide. It was
nice meeting you, new guy.
It was nice meeting you, too? I


Art exits the teachers' lounge.
Pretty strange guy, but I like his
He's pretty gruff on the outside,
but he's really a good guy inside.
He's always buying kids lunches
and things like that.
He doesn't own a bicycle shop and
like to take pictures does he?
      (spoken fast like
       Arnold Drummond)
Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Mike?
Anyway, who would eat a lunch
giving to them by that guy?
Everyday the children eat lunches
giving to them by the lunch lady.
Valid point, my friend.
Mike is standing in front of his class talking about US
It seems that you were last
talking about Abraham Lincoln.
Norman, can you tell me what year
Lincoln became president?
That's easy, Mr. Young. Abraham
Lincoln became the 16th president
of the United States of America in
Did you just call me "Mr. Young?"


Should he have called you Mrs.
The class erupts in laughter.
No, I was actually referring to
Mr. Carl Jung, the Swiss
psychiatrist that founded
analytical psychology.
Um, thanks? Now, is it a
coincidence that Lincoln's
secretary was named Kennedy and
Kennedy's secretary was named
Lincoln? Maybe? But probably the
scariest coincidence between the
two is that the names of both
assassins each have 15 letters in
them. John Wilkes Booth and Lee
Harvey Oswald.
Norman raises his hand.
Yes, Norman?
Kassy Megan Smith has 15 letters
in it, too.
Shut up, Snoreman!
I'm just stating the facts.
Back to Lincoln. Does it confuse
anyone else that President's Day
is mostly known for furniture
sales? I think Lincoln once said,
"Not only have I freed the slaves,
but I've also freed your wallets!
No payments and no interest until
The class once again stares unamused and befuddled.


Mr. Young, are you trying new
material on us?
Lincoln didn't say that, but he
did say, "Four score and seven
years ago..." Four score is
eighty years, as a score is twenty
years. Four times twenty is
Know it all.
There is nothing wrong with having
knowledge. Kassy, what major event
happened during Lincoln's
Mr. Jones was born?
The children all giggle.
Though you may actually be right
on that, that isn't what I am
looking for. Bear, do you know?
Bear is licking something off his hands and not really
paying attention.
Huh? Oh, I was born in 1999.
No, Bear. I asked what major
event happened during Abraham
Lincoln's presidency?
Was the Twinkie invented?
The children giggle again in unison.
Actually, the Twinkie was invented
in 1930. The answer I was looking
for was the Civil War. The Civil
War was fought between the
northern states and the southern
states over the right to abolish


                       MIKE (cont'd)
If it was called the "Civil" War
then why were they fighting?
Aha! That's what I want you to
tell me.
Mike looks up at the clock and notices the bell will be
ringing shortly. The class notices as well and begin
gathering their belongings in an effort to exit the
classroom as quickly as possible.
For tomorrow, I want you all to
write a one-page paper explaining
why the Civil War was fought.
Upon finishing his sentence, the bell rings. The students
all jump out of their seats and exit the room.
I'll see you all tomorrow. And
don't forget to turn in that...
All the kids have left.
Mike and Rob take a seat at the bar. A large, burly
Hispanic man (BARTENDER) working behind the bar is cleaning
a glass when he walks up to the guys to take their order.
What'll it be, fellas?
I'll take a brew.
And I'll have a rum and cola minus
the rum.
One beer and one cola coming up.


The bartender prepares their drinks.
I never understood why you didn't
I'm allergic to alcohol.
Yeah, it makes me dizzy and ill
the next morning.
A guy is on the stage and is overheard telling a joke. Rob
shakes his head and starts talking to Mike again.
The only thing I'm allergic to is
some of the guys that get up on
that stage. I'm pretty sure I
heard that joke on the Cosby Show
back in 1988.
He was kind of jamming on the one
up there.
The bartender comes back with two drinks in his hand. He
gives them to the guys.
That'll be $7.50.
Mike, pay the man.
Aren't you the full-time teacher
and I the substitute?
Well, I need you to substitute me
paying for this beer with you
paying for this beer. Besides, I
need money for a date I'm sure to
have next weekend.
Big girl from Junior year back in


You should save that one for when
you go on stage.
The bartender puts his hands on his hips waiting for someone
to fork over some money. Mike takes notice and reaches for
his wallet. He pulls out some money and hands it to the
Keep the change.
The bartender nods his head and steps away from Mike and
So, you told the kids I was
unfunny, huh?
      (quickly changing
       the subject)
Hey, how about that Maddy? She and
I dated a few times, but I'm kind
of over her. You know, that whole
dating in the work place thing?
It's not all it's cracked up to
How about you? Are you ready to
get back on that horse again?
It's been a few years since Erin
and I broke up and I think I'm
ready to test the waters. So
what's your take on her?
I mean, Erin was alright and all.
Oh, you mean Maddy? Dude, she's
I know that. I also know that by
the end of this school year, Miss
Madeline Stallworth will have gone
on one date with me.


Try not to sound that creepy on
the stage, man. I think you're up
The emcee comes on stage to introduce Mike to the mic.
It's been awhile since our next
open-micer has slid down the
Slide. He has come back home to
bless us with his presence. Please
welcome back, Mike Young!
Break another leg, Mike.
You got it, brutha.
Mike gets out of his seat and makes his way to the stage.
I find a lot of things odd in this
world. There are some numbers
that I find odd...
Bear is alone in the hallway next to his locker. He looks
around to make sure there is no one around him. He opens
his locker to find it stuffed completely with all different
kinds of snack cakes. Bear looks around again and then back
into his locker, throws his hands up in victory.
Oh, sweet Heaven!


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