Gene: Ah, recess.
When a man can pursue his passions.
Like taking this bush from shrubba to hubba hubba.
Yup. Nothin' like a few minutes in the old yard before they put us back in lock-up.
Or in health class. You and I have different schedules.
Hey guys. Wow, Gene, your shrub sculpture's really coming along.
Uh, Rudy, the shrub sculpture has a name.
Monkey Booby Man.
Oh, yeah, I'm starting to see it.
There's the monkey's face.
And there's the monkey's boobs.
I thought those were his boobs?
Calm down, you're both right.
Where were you last recess, Rudy? We missed ya.
Oh. I tried to play basketball.
( grunts )
( grunts )
Anyway, you got any extra scissors?
Take these nail clippers.
Monkey Booby manicure.
Can I have everyone's attention, please? Hello.
Ugh. What does Mr. Frond want?
This is my recess.
Hello! I'm not just gonna go away if you ignore me.
Students of Wagstaff.
It's time to face facts.
Recess is broken.
Look around at this playground. What do you see?
Two third-graders playing catch with a shoe.
Those little boys who pretend to be cats, like that's even a game.
Why do your own thing when you could all be doing the same thing together?
I'm here today to present an exciting opportunity for togetherness.
Boys and girls, I give you...
You know, this really could have been covered in an e-mail.
Ga-Ga ball. It's a game.
Wait. So it's a game?
Yes, it's a game.
The best thing about Ga-Ga ball is there's no catching and no throwing.
Anyone can play, no matter how hopelessly un-athletic they are.
Um, why are you looking at me when you say that?
I wasn't looking at you, I was looking with you.
Come, children. Follow me into the pit.
That's not a terrifying invitation.
Think of Ga-Ga ball as dodge-ball, but gentler.
In dodge-ball, you hurl the ball at your opponent.
In Ga-Ga, you just slap the ball.
Anyone can slap.
Can I slap?
You tell me.
( grunts weakly ) Oh, my God, I can slap.
Now, to get someone out in Ga-Ga ball, you must hit them on or below the knee, where it doesn't hurt.
What happens if I power-slam the ball into someone's nose or butter-beans?
That's not allowed, Zeke.
The last one in the pit wins.
Maybe the best way to demonstrate is to play a couple rounds, huh?
Who wants to join me?
Do we have to?
Well, strictly speaking, you don't have to, but...
Oh, great, okay, buh-bye.
( sighs )
( door bells jingle )
Hey, wait a minute, I know you.
Aren't you the guy that reads to the kids down at the public library?
The Wizard of Books, right?
( laughs )
Hi, my name is Frank.
That must be so much fun, reading to kids... I'm jealous.
So, you reading today?
Twice a week, every week.
I'm so nice, they let me read twice... a week.
( laughing ) Oh...
And you're heading there now?
Or maybe this is how you always dress.
I am heading there, and they don't let me change behind the periodicals anymore.
Too bad I'm gonna miss Friday's reading.
I'm going out of town.
So that's it? Story time's canceled?
For a lot of those kids, and some adults who can hear from the biography section, story time is all they have.
( gasps ) I could fill in for you.
Hey, there you go.
I could come up with a character and pick out a story... Oh, my mind's racing.
Okay, sure. Story time is at 2:00 on Friday.
I can tell the librarian to expect... um, uh, what's your name?
Linda. Uh, aka The Duchess of Tales.
Actually, no, not that.
Um, how about Wanda... Wordmouth?
She's got a mouth full of, uh, words?
I'll keep thinking.
Lunch is great today.
The canned corn must be in season.
Hurry up and eat so we can hit the playground.
It's shrub o'clock.
We can make up that time we lost listening to Frond.
What is it with him trying to get his Frond stink all over the playground, anyway?
The playground's bigger than him.
The playground doesn't change for anybody.
Kids ( chanting ): Ga-Ga ball!
What the hell? Everyone's playing Ga-Ga ball.
Oh, my God, you like this.
You really like this.
This can't be working.
It's a Frond idea.
He has 'em, they're bad, we ignore 'em, the end.
Yeah, remember Eye Contact Mondays?
Hey, guys, I'm hitting the Ga-Ga pit... you wanna come?
Rudy, it's so funny, I thought you said you were hitting the Ga-Ga pit.
I am. I played at recess. I almost won.
I think I might actually be kind of good at it.
Louise: I can't believe it.
Gene: Forget it, sister.
Let them play with their balls. We'll play with our bushes.
Yeah, we're Belchers.
We don't give in to peer pressure.
Hey, Tina, we're gonna play Ga-Ga ball.
You wanna come?
Uh, I-I just want to see what the fuss is about.
I'll probably hate it. See you soon. ( panting )
She'll be back. If I know our Tina, she's feeling pretty silly right about now.
Tina ( shouting ): I love it. I'm staying. Sorry.
Give it a minute.
I just keep loving it more and more.
Not looking good.
I finally feel alive.
I guess she kinda likes it.
( bong! )
Everybody's into Ga-Ga ball.
This thing blew up, literally, overnight.
Yeah, like when mom left that bottle of beer in the freezer.
Oh, hi, guys. Grab a seat.
We're talking about Jimmy Jr.'s Ga-Ga moves.
I've got great dodging moves.
I'm like the Artful Dodger.
( grunting dramatically )
Heh, look at that. Look at that air.
Zeke's not so good, though.
Oh, man, that was candid, J-Ju.
Gonna have to stew on that one for a second, heh.
You slap hard, Zeke, but your aim is really bad.
Whoa. Again, very blunt. Not holding back.
Can we talk about something besides Ga-Ga ball, please?
Sure. Um, remind me, uh, what did we talk about before Ga-Ga ball?
Ugh, come on, Gene. We can eat our lunch hunched over a trashcan somewhere, like Dad does.
That was gonna be my first choice anyway.
Lin, could you take that to table four?
Uh, can you do it? We're brainstorming on my story time character.
Yup, I'll just do all the jobs in our restaurant.
Ooh, ooh, I got one.
I'll dress like a librarian, and when the kids come, I'll shake out my hair and I'll take off my glasses, and I'll say, "Gotcha! I'm the storyteller."
That's a hurtful stereotype, Linda.
Not all librarians want to shake their hair out.
Yeah, you're right.
Ooh, maybe Ill get body-painted like a shelf of books, and then stand quietly in front of some other books.
And just when the kids don't expect it, I'll jump out and I'll say, "Gotcha! Stories come to life."
Uh, why do all your ideas involve shouting "gotcha" and scaring children?
Wh-Wha... 'Cause I wanna surprise them.
Kids ask, "Rudy, how are you so good at Ga-Ga?"
I tell 'em focus, diet, conditioning.
I mean, honestly, genetics plays a part.
( inhales, gasps )
Is that Rudy?
Why does he have Matthew McConaughey's body language?
Hey, Zeke, think fast.
Oh! Oh, man, you got me.
You heading to the pit?
I'll go easy on you this time.
In your dreams. ( chuckles )
Hey, no shame in losing to the best, right?
Well, some shame.
Rudy, you in there, buddy?
What? I finally found a sport I dominate in, that's all.
You guys should play. You would love it.
Ugh, I wish people would stop telling us to play Ga-Ga ball.
Yeah, no thanks.
We have our own playground interests.
Oh, like Monkey Booby Man?
Yeah, sure, he's cool.
But you know what's really cool?
Winning. And right now, nobody does that quite like the Rudester.
Okay, you need to shut that down.
"Rudester" can never be said again.
Let me put this in terms you'll appreciate, Louise.
In Ga-Ga ball, you gotta hit people below the knee, right?
If you say so.
For kids like us, that doesn't leave much of a target.
I'm smokin' suckers twice my size, but when they come at me, I'm a phantom.
Meh, I still don't think I'd be into it.
Ah. Oh, man.
Oh, my God, you're right. This is amazing!
More eight-graders. Send me more eighth-graders!
Eat that for supper!
Snap, crackle, pop, fool.
Yeah, I'm talking to you.
Ow. Never mind, I'm out. Disregard.
Guess it's just you and me, now, monkey booby buddy.
What's that? You want another boob?
All you gotta do is ask.
Kids, what's your favorite story I used to read to you?
I gotta pick a book for the library.
Well, The Giving Tree messed me up pretty good, so not that.
Can you read them TV?
I remember liking that a lot.
Anyway, Ga-Ga ball!
Tina, top five Ga-Ga plays of the day... go.
Oh, my God, where to begin.
What's Ga-Ga ball?
( Gene grunts )
Uh, the best game?
Tina: It's the people's sport.
Try to keep up, Dad.
So you kids are playing a sport now?
How'd that happen?
The whole school is playing.
Yeah, basically everyone but Gene.
Gene, you should play.
You'd love it.
I love it.
I didn't think I'd love it, but I love it.
Maybe I would love it, but the playground used to be the one place in school where you could do what you want, and right now, all I want to do is work on my special project.
No offense, but how much longer are you gonna spend trimming that shrub?
I can't help it if I keep coming up with amazing new ideas for him.
Like giving him a pet fern named "Fern-Ando."
It's not my fault I'm a genius!
All right, all right, calm down.
You know what calms me right down?
A round of Ga-Ga?
Ahh! First it's all anybody can talk about at school, and now it's in my home, where I lay my sweet head?!
Wow, Gene left his food on the table.
He must really be upset.
( grunting ) In my home!
Ahh. Oh, no.
Frond: We have a winner.
Wayne, go... go, go, go.
Get out, get out.
I'm just picking up the pieces of my glasses.
Not fast enough, you're not.
Any words for your fellow competitors?
No shame in losing to the best.
I love it when he says that.
Chills. Rudy, everyone.
Rudy ( shouting ): I am Rudy!
I wish we had Ga-Ga when I was in school.
I wouldn't have spent every recess by myself talking to roly-poly bugs.
Okay, people, I have an exciting announcement.
I have secured funding to build three new Ga-Ga pits right here on the playground!
Students, today we break ground on the Wagstaff Gagaplex!
What is happening?
We're turning this playground into a Ga-Ga-palooza that will separate the Ga-Ga winners from the Ga-Ga wieners.
I mean, everyone's a winner.
Game of togetherness, blah, blah, blah.
These beautiful pits will stretch from where I'm standing all the way to the opposite fence.
All the way to the... ( gasps )
( chainsaw revving )
Monkey Booby Man!
I stepped on a fern with a little leash on it.
What's up with that?
Fern-Ando. Give it!
Look what they did to you, Monkey Booby Man.
Frond: I have another announcement.
To celebrate the success of my groundbreaking Ga-Ga ball program, we are having a ball-slapping, anything-can-happen, winner-take-all tournament. ( whoops )
What is wrong with you people?!
It's all happening this Friday at recess.
Sign-up sheets are here by the swing...
You're a bunch of Ga-Ga bots!
By the swing set.
How do you live with yourselves?!
Okay could someone take care of this?
Security? I guess that means you, Ms. Labonz?
Gene, hush! Don't make me get up.
I'm very comfortable.
Now back to your regularly scheduled Ga-Ga!
( cheering )
Gene, we saw.
I can't believe they chopped down Monkey...
Hey, Tina, Louise, you playing?
Got to go.
Love you, Gene! Sorry for your loss!
( whooping )
Bye, Monkey Booby Man.
It was an honor to pick your dingle-berries.
What's up, Gene? Who put a kink in your Slinky?
I'm the only person in the school who doesn't care about Ga-Ga ball.
Yeah, I-I suppose you are.
'Cause I love it. I don't mind losin' all the time.
I think it's cool.
Hope I don't miss my turn 'cause I'm sitting here with you behind this trash can.
Somebody? Little help?
Could you get that, Gene?
I told Jimmy Junior I was gonna go fart in the yearbook room.
Aah! This is for what you did to Monkey Booby Man! ( grunts )
Whoa! You mauled that ball, girl!
( groaning )
I'm just saying, you got power, but you got accuracy, too. If I had what you have, I might not lie in bed every night dreadin' recess.
And climate change, vampires...
Jimmy jr.: Zeke?
Oh, no, he saw me. Aah! Get down! Get down!
I thought you were farting in the yearbook room.
Then you came back?
Sweet! So are you playing or not?
Yeah! I farted, and I'm ready to go.
Linda: Okay! Who's ready to meet your new favorite story reader?
I'm so nervous.
Ta-da! Say hello to Punky Bookster.
When she's not rockin', she's readin'.
And the only drug she's addicted to is books.
Uh, is that my shirt?
Maybe. Okay, give me your thoughts, everybody. Throw 'em at me.
That's my shirt.
Besides that, besides that.
I love it. That's my one note.
I like three of the four levels it works on.
Great. Story time's tomorrow. Teddy, you're on tech.
Music cues, lighting cues.
There are music and lighting cues?
Okay, how long's it take you to learn to play guitar?
Like 20 minutes?
That sounds like more than enough time.
So this is Ga-Ga ball, huh?
It's pretty great.
( panting ): Yeah.
Ooh! Watch the lamp.
You watch your shins.
Get out of the pit, woman.
All right. Bye.
I think I'm really good at this.
You're out, sucker.
Oh. Still glad I played.
You're still doing this?
I never thought I'd say this, but isn't it bedtime?
We don't go to bed anymore. We do this now.
All I know is Rudy's got to go down in that tournament tomorrow.
I am sick of him saying "No shame in losing to the best."
Yeah, I think people will be pretty happy with my winning phrase...
"You just got banged."
Then I point to my bangs.
Mm, Tina, don't say "banged."
What's wrong with "banged?"
I banged you, I banged Mom.
I'm gonna bang everyone in school.
Tina, Tina, Tina. No-no. No.
Wait, the winner always says something to the crowd?
Yeah, pretty much.
And people have to listen?
People want to listen to the winners.
These days Ga-Ga talks and ca-ca walks.
And then I bang you. ( grunts )
Oh, my God.
Frond: Welcome, everyone, to the first annual Wagstaff Ga-Ga Ball Friendship Tournament of Annihilation!
Ms. Labonz, I want to sign up for the tournament.
You sounded pretty intense when you said that.
Your fly is down.
( zips )
Did you see anything?
Gene, you entered the tournament?
You've never even played Ga-Ga ball before.
Yeah, well, Whoopi Goldberg wasn't a nun until she had to go into witness protection, and she turned that choir around.
What a wonderful opening ceremony.
Thank you, Mr. Branca.
Great ribbon dancing.
Now, contestants to your pits!
I've had quite a few energy drinks, and we are about to light the candle on this mama jama!
( whoops )
Okay, we got the amp, the guitar, the boombox, the strobe light, wallet chain, switchblade...
Thought that would be cool... We forget anything?
Um, the book, maybe?
Eh, they'll have one at the library.
Get ready, little kids.
Punky Bookster's gonna stage dive right into your hearts and your face.
I am so sorry I'm gonna miss this.
Okay, here's how this works: four preliminary rounds.
Top two from each round advance to the finals, and the losers get bounced!
Now, let the Ga-Ga begin-gin!
( cheering )
You can do this, Gene.
( grunting, shouting )
♪ Ga-Ga ♪
♪ Ooh, Ga-Ga ♪
♪ Ga-Ga ♪
♪ Ga, Ga ♪
♪ Ga-Ga. ♪
Wagstaff, I give you your final eight!
Some headscratchers in there.
Faculty, sorry about your brackets.
I know we're friends, Gene.
But in the pit, it don't mean... crud.
Ugh! I thought I was gonna cuss.
I really thought I was.
Looking around, I'm thinking the pyrotechnics might not be such a good idea.
Yeah, scratch the fireworks.
Frank? What are you doing here? I thought you were out of town.
I canceled my trip. I was going to Seattle, but apparently, they discontinued the Frasier tour.
Aw, poor Frasier.
I'm sorry, who are you?
Seriously, Frank? Seriously?
Oh. You're that random lady who I said could fill in for me.
Yeah! I'm the random lady.
Well, good news... I've got this.
You can go.
Uh, but I want to do it. It's no trouble.
Uh, what are you, anyway?
I'm Punky Bookster.
The headbanging queen of story time.
Hmm. At least you didn't put too much work into it, right?
Now if you'll excuse me, the Wizard's got to whiz.
You'll be not here, when I get back?
Wow. What a jerk.
You know what I think?
I think he knows your character's better.
( gasps ) So what do we do?
Well, Punky Bookster wouldn't leave.
Punky Bookster would stay and fight.
Damn right, she would.
( gasps ) I'm thinking a read-off.
Yes. Oh, my God, yes.
I'm using my punk rock to take on the man.
Like The Wiggles.
And then, there were two.
Rudy and Gene, mano a mano, Ga-Ga a Ga-Ga.
Go, Gene, you stout little son of a bitch!
Knock him into sixth period!
Hope you had fun, Gene.
But now it's time to hit the showers.
This school doesn't have showers.
What have I been using? ( shouts )
What the... ? I thought the Wizard made you two disappear.
I'm here to read to some kids.
You and me are having a read-off.
We'll see who the kids like better.
Okay. Bring it on.
Standard rules. One book, two readers.
Punky reads a page, then the Wizard reads a page.
Oh, Frank, you're here.
So we have two volunteer readers today?
Don't worry, Miss Librarian.
We worked it all out.
Pick a book.
Okay. This one?
"The Dinosaur Went To The Store."
Know it by heart.
Whatever. Let's go.
Hi, kids, I'm Punky Bookster!
( amplifier distortion )
( children shouting )
No, no, no, no.
No, no, no, that's not a scary sound.
It's a fun sound.
( laughs )
Hey Gene, you been to Bali?
No, why do you ask?
( grunts ) 'Cause you look Ball-inknees.
Hold on, I have to think about that.
"And then the dinosaur said, We better go down to the store."
Oof. He's good.
Ga-Ga black sheep have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, I forget the rest.
Did you say something?
"And the dinosaur said, 'I should buy some eggs. I don't want to go egg-stinct.'"
The end. Thank you, library!
( applause )
Ah! Ha, ha.
Huh. I got to hand it to you, that was a good read.
That's not an easy book.
Thanks. You were pretty good, too.
You know, maybe this read-off was kind of silly.
( sighs ) You may be right.
Story time shouldn't be about Punky Bookster or the Wizard of Books.
It's-it's about the kids.
Yeah, some of them.
Not that one.
Oh, no. That one's a disaster.
Okay, I guess the switchblade alarmed some parents.
I just wanted to let you know the police are on their way.
I didn't call them.
I thought you did a really good job, even with the big words.
Crap. Teddy, let's get out of here.
Leave the amp, leave the guitar, let's go.
You sure? That's Mort's stuff.
I'm sure. Let's go, let's go!
Yes. What an epic battle.
Okay. Guess it's time to get fancy.
Oh... oh, crap!
( slow-motion growl )
( cheering )
A stunning upset!
Gene Belcher, the big winner.
What do you have to say?
( panting ): I want to say... you people have taken this too far!
Oh, this again. Give me... give me the megaphone.
No, I earned this!
Yes, Ga-Ga ball is fun.
It's a good game.
But I bet some people here are only playing because they felt pressured to.
Pressured by their friends.
Pressured by you, Mr. Frond.
Don't be ridiculous.
Everybody wants to be here more than at any school activity we've ever had.
Why do you hate Ga-Ga ball, Gene?
I don't. I just don't like it when anything-ball is all anyone talks about.
I think when people say "everyone" loves something, they're being a little loose with the word "everyone."
Everyone loves food and air.
And Matt Damon.
But that's about it, probably.
It's not a good feeling when someone says "everyone," but they don't mean you. I...
I guess that's all I wanted to say.
More about Matt Damon!
Well, congratulations, Gene.
You got through to literally none of us.
Zeke: Hold on there, Gene.
You didn't not get through to none of us.
( sighs ) You got through to not none of us.
I'm glad you said what you said.
I miss melting crayons on the slide.
I miss playing cats with my friends.
And what about you, Mr. Frond?
What? What about me?
What about that little boy you told us about?
The one whose used to talk to roly polies at recess?
Ha, well, this... the roly polies were... they-they were just...
Look, everybody, it's the roly poly pope.
His holy roly poliness.
Boy: Come on. We're playing football.
But I don't want to play.
We're playing football. Stop playing with your bugs!
( Frond moans )
Frond: They're crustaceans, technically.
Oh, my God. Now I'm the super cool football guy on the playground.
Maybe we could make do with just one Ga-Ga pit.
Everybody, do whatever weird things you want.
Mr. Branca, tear down those walls.
( groans )
Sorry we got carried away, Gene.
Yeah, sorry, Gene.
I'm sorry, too.
Hey. You want to play Ga-Ga?
Yeah. But first, when you look at that hedge over there, what do you see?
Um, a hedge.
No, wait! A hippo... ?
With a man bun?
Ah. Yeah, I see it.
I'm gonna say I see it?
I got a date with you later, Mr. Hippo Man Bun Shrub!
Okay, let's do this.
All ( chanting ): Ga-Ga ball!
Gene: Monkey Booby Man!
Tina: You just got banged.
Frond: Let the Ga-Ga begin-gin!
( cheering )