The Chair – S01E02 – The Faculty Party [Transcript]

Tired of the lack of diversity in Pembroke's staff, Ji-Yoon makes a bold decision during a faculty soiree. A video from Bill's lecture causes a stir.
The Chair - Season 1

Original release date: August 20, 2021

Dafna, the daughter of one of the board of trustee members, who gave Bill a ride to school, leaves a pie at his doorstep. Ju Ju makes her new babysitter uncomfortable, so Ji-Yoon leaves her with her father so she can attend the faculty party. Ji-Yoon smokes a joint with Bill outside at the party and then has to deliver a speech, where she impulsively announces Yaz will receive the Distinguished Lectureship this year. Ji-Yoon’s father calls to inform her Ju Ju is missing. When they find her walking on the streets, Ju Ju complains that Ji-Yoon’s not her real mom and Habi is not her real grandfather. Ji-Yoon and Bill take Ju Ju bowling while students start circulating the video of Bill to each other. Bill kisses Ji-Yoon but she stops him from going any further. He comes to her office the next day to ask her to reconsider, and they see students outside Ji-Yoon’s window protesting against Bill for the Nazi salute.

* * *

[girl] Is he hot?

Stop. His wife died.

That’s literally the start of every romance novel.

I just like him. He’s smart.

And sad.

And hot.

[squeals, laughs]

What’s this professor’s name again?

Dobson. Bill Dobson.

You just gave your pie to a Nazi.

[classical music playing]

I left her dinner in the fridge. You’re welcome to anything in the pantry.

Thank you.

This is her.

[knocking on door]

Ju Ju!

Come meet Vicky, uh, your babysitter.

[doorknob rattling]

Come on, honey. I… I gotta go. This is a big thing for me. Come on out.

Are you sure she’s in there?

Oh, she’s in there.

She just likes to fuck with my head.

[Ju Ju] Fuck!

[sighs] That, you heard.

Could I use the restroom real quick?

Of course. It’s down there to your left.

I’m just gonna take a quick shower.

She’ll make an appearance as soon as I’m gone.

No worries, thanks.



Oh shit.

[upbeat music playing]

That’s a girl’s bike.

That’s what the girl I stole it from said.

[bell rings]

Someone’s in here.



[Ju Ju in high-pitched voice] Hi!


You must be Ju Ju. It’s nice to meet you.

Can I… Do you wanna just give me a second?

Do you have fur on your vagina?

Can I see it?


It’s just like any other part of your body.

No, it isn’t.

Yes, it is, when you think about it.

I’m so sorry, but I’m gonna have to go.

What? What happened?

Uh, I… This isn’t…

What did she do? I’m so sorry.

[Vicky sighs]

I don’t wanna say that I was triggered by your daughter,

but I’m uncomfortable. [sighs]

Boundaries are important to me, especially in a work situation.

Yes, of course.

Clearly, there are no boundaries in this house.

Oh. Please. No, Vicky. We totally have boundaries.

[Vicky whimpering]

[Ji-Yoon] Can I pay you time and a half?

[in Korean] Can’t take her today.

Appa, I have no choice.

Didn’t you get a raise recently? You need a babysitter.

[in English] I had one. She had to cancel at the last minute.

[in Korean] Since I’m old, I can’t keep up with her.

Since she doesn’t speak Korean, how can I take care of her properly?

What if something happens?

[in English] It’s just a couple of hours.

Bye, sweetheart. [blows kiss]

[indistinct chatter]

[woman laughing]

Hey, guys.

Oh, did you bake this yourself?

[scoffs] Right.


Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hang on.

No, no.

We’re not above recycled gifts here.

Please, please, please.

Oh, Prufrock.

It’s a little predictable, no?

I did not dare to eat it.


Oh, oh, oh, good, a sex scandal. I think that completes my set.

[chuckles] Hmm.

Be careful.

This department’s hanging on by a thread.

Why don’t you get an au pair?

Where’s she supposed to sleep? The couch?

Oh, excuse me. Thank you.

[waitress] Oh. Enjoy.


Oh. No, thanks.

She thinks she can’t drink because there’s a lot of bigwigs here.

It’s a fine line.

You can’t get Joan-drunk when you’re pre-tenure.

I don’t do that anymore.

You’ll need to schmooze the provost and Dean Larson. Bottoms up.

[Yaz sighs]

[indistinct chatter]

I got your email about Fre… Fr…

Yasmin McKay.

Don’t we usually get an outside person?

Yes, but Yale and Chicago are eyeing her,

and I think giving her the Distinguished Lectureship would…

Right. Every time I eat mini quiche, I feel like Gulliver.

“Mmm. More food!”


Gulliver? Among the Lilliputians?

Yeah, yeah, I get the reference.

Paul, Pembroke’s faculty is 87% white.


[Ji-Yoon] Eighty-seven.

For the last five years,

you’ve put the same picture of me on our recruitment brochure.

We need more women of color.

As soon as one of them retires,

gets kicked out,

or dies.

[classical music playing]

[indistinct chatter]

[McHale] The future is online education.

[Rentz] Well, if it were up to them,

we’d all be teaching at home in our skivvies.

[McHale chuckles] Speaking of which, how did your colonoscopy go?

Oh, clean as a whistle. You could serve shrimp off my colon.

Ah. [smacks lips]

I think I’ll grab another plate.



Oh, that’s a very nice outfit you have on. It looks like, uh…

Well, it looks like three different dresses that you put together,

but in a very good way.

Thank you.

Do you wanna get a coffee at the Hub tomorrow?

We could go over grading criteria.

Well, actually, tomorrow’s my research day.

Yeah, I’ll be heading to the archives.

It’s delightfully peaceful there.

I know all about it. I spent half of grad school in there.

The North Star? Oh.

The North Star. Yeah. Yeah.

What are you doing?

[fake cries]

Are you reading literature at a fucking party right now?

Please, please…


…please take me home.


I’ll think about it.



Hey, um, do you ever read your student evals?

What am I asking you for? They love you. You’re over-enrolled, right?

“Professor Dobson’s class

is like the limp-dicked version of his pretentious writing.”

So they read your book. [laughs]

Fuck you.


Hey, I called you earlier.

Yeah, I left the phone at home. Doodles said I’m texting too much, so…


How is she?


Sowing her wild oats, I hope.

Wish I had done that.

Back when I was cute,

my head was buried in Piers Plowman and Dream of the Rood.


Now my face is like this…

[mimics avalanche] …avalanche.

An avalanche of charm and class.

Lovely. Lovely. Deftly done.

Hey, I’m too drunk to lie. You know that.

And as for you…


You think you’re ready?

For… Are you… Are we gonna do stuff?

[chuckles] What’s happening?

For a little romance?


You deserve it.

[Bill] Okay.

[man 1] Yeah. Every semester, there’s some theory boy

who wants to come and talk about Lacan.

[man 2] Mmm, true.

[door opens]

Are you for real smoking a joint right here?

[Bill] Who’s gonna notice?

You’re literally standing in a glass house.


Shit’s legal.

[Ji-Yoon] No.

There’s a difference between legal and appropriate.

Is there though?

Are you wearing makeup?

What? No.

It’s pretty.


Sports jacket, check.

[Bill laughs]

Five o’clock shadow, check.

[Bill] Uh-huh.

Mmm, sneaking drugs out the back, check.

[Bill laughs]

You know, you just need, um, a wide-eyed coed…

Working on it.

…then you will have successfully checked every box

in the disaffected middle-aged white-male-professor cliché.

How’s it going in there?

I’m batting…

What’s a really bad batting average?


Larson’s still squirrelly about me giving Yaz the Distinguished Lectureship.

I mean, can’t I just give it to her?

Larson thinks because he quotes Prufrock

we’re not gonna notice he’s nothing but a technocrat

for the bean counters upstairs.

You’re the chair.

I’m the chair.

I’m the chair.

I’m the chair!

This’ll help.

Oh, no way.

What if they ask me to say something?

No one asks the chair to speak at these things.

[glass clinking]

Dr. Kim?

[Ji-Yoon] Do I smell like it?

[Larson] Ladies and gentlemen.

[Ji-Yoon] Stop.

[Larson] Ladies and gentlemen.

Oh, there you are.

I just wanna welcome you into your new position.

Oh, I really believe that your vision is necessary for this moment at Pembroke

as we reimagine the humanities.

I’m excited to have you bring fresh ideas

into one of our most venerated departments.

[woman] Cheers.

So, why don’t you… Come on.

[Ji-Yoon] Oh, I…

I just gotta…

[all applauding]

[Bill whispering indistinctly]

[whispering] You got this.

Okay, yes. Yes.

[kicks leg]

What’s that?


[smacks lips] …is such a great department.


I’m… I’m really looking forward to the changes we see coming,

and I look forward to explaining them to you

at perhaps another…


Right now.

You know, I have been thinking a lot about this generation of students,

and… and, you know, why they’re not interested in literature.

And sometimes I get it.

[sighs] They must think, “Why am I scanning this sonnet

when there are so many things to be worried about?”

Climate change. Racism. The prison-industrial complex.


[phone vibrating]

These… Oh sorry.

I’m so sorry. It’s my dad. I’ll call him back.

Might be important. Maybe you should take it.

The Distinguished Lectureship this year will be given by Professor Yasmin McKay,

the first woman of color to receive this honor in Pembroke’s entire history.

Good night.

[all applauding]

Oh, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

Merchant of Venice?

Oh, Hermione, from A Winter’s Tale.

Actually, it’s Helena from Midsummer Night’s Dream,

but she’s speaking about Hermia.

No, no, of course you’re right. And congratulations, Jasmine.

[Yaz] Yasmin. McKay.


Yasmin McKay.


Doctor… Professor…

Professor McKay.

Right. Well, I’m bad with names.

Joan, I see you’ve introduced yourself to the bar.

This is the future of American studies.

No, no. She’s rewriting the field, this one.

Her… Her last article on, um… On who?

Frances Harper.

Frances Harper.

Was just selected the best essay of the year in PMLA.

And look at her.

Thirty-two. Thirty-two year…

[Larson] Mmm.

Back when I was 32, my…


I’m sorry. I beg your pardon. I will be right back.

Don’t do us any favors, fucktard.

Everything okay?

[sighs] Ju Ju’s missing. I gotta go.

She’s missing?

My dad can’t find her.

Um, let me take you. I don’t think you should drive.

What? No, you smoked the whole thing.

Shh! Inside voice.

[softly] You smoked the whole thing.

What makes you think you can drive? Your eyes are half-closed.

Is that your coat?

Oh. Oh, oh.


[phone vibrating]

[Habi] This time she went out the window.

Are you sure?

This has happened before?

[Ji-Yoon] Twice.

Three times.

Did she say anything? Are you sure?

[in Korean] She just talked about Hello Kitty.

It’s only about Hello Kitty with her.

Her favorite stuffy. She had to leave him at home

because my dad hasn’t recovered from the Japanese occupation.

[sighs] Sanrio’s a Japanese company, and…

Never mind.

[inhales deeply] Um…

Maybe she went home.

Oh, we live five mile…

Let’s go.

[Bill] Okay.

[in Korean] Ann Arbor was ranked No. 1

on WalletHub’s latest list of best college towns.


You could be in Michigan married to Peter Seung right now with a real family,

and not pining for this crumpled man.

I have a real family, and Bill’s not crumpled up.

And I am not pining.

You can’t compete with his dead wife.

Trust me.

We’re friends.

[in English] You guys talking about me?

Oh yeah, everything’s always about you.

What does “Bill” mean in Korean?

Oh my God, there she is! Ju Ju!

Ju Ju! Daddy, stop!

Ju Ju!

Ju Ju! Ju Ju!

[Bill] Ju Ju!

Ju Ju! Ju Ju!

[Ji-Yoon] Ju Ju!

Daddy! Daddy, Daddy, just stop! Stop, stop, Daddy!

[Ji-Yoon] Okay. Thanks, Appa.

[speaking indistinctly]

[Ji-Yoon] Bye-bye. Bye.

Your lips look a little blue. You okay?

Last time I saw you, you were this big, and now you’re like this giant…

Listen, that is your one and only halahbojee. He is all we’ve got.

When I was a kid, never in a million…

He’s not my real grandpa!

[Ji-Yoon] Yes, he is!

And you’re not my real mom.

Did… Did someone say that to you again?

Was it what’s-her-name?

Know what I’d like to do to that fucking kid? I’d like… [breathes deeply]

I’m your real mom…

Ju Ju.

You guys like fried chicken?

‘Cause I could mess with a bucket of it right now.

Mom? Ju Ju?

I’m starving.

I have to get back to the party. I have to put in my time.

What are you talking about?

There’ll be food there.

[Bill] We did the party.

You gave a very memorable speech.

Oh my God. No. No, no.

This is not the time to slack off.

[“Do You Dig It?” by Ray Barretto playing]

[Ji-Yoon] Oh!


[Bill] Oh yeah!

[Ju Ju giggles]

[Bill] Help me up.

[Ju Ju] See those two pins?

[Bill] Yeah, I think I got it. [grunts]


♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Do you dig my groove? The Boogaloo ♪

[ball rolling]

[Bill groans]


Too much power.

♪ The Boogaloo ♪

♪ Do you dig my swing? The Shing-a-ling ♪

Can I see your phone for a second?

I didn’t bring it.


♪ Yeah, baby, what is it? ♪

♪ Isn’t this a groovy party? ♪

♪ Oh, this is the end ♪

♪ Yeah, baby ♪

I got everything I need right here. I got fries, I got a beer,

I got a beautiful and talented bowling companion and her mother.

♪ Hey, man ♪

♪ Yeah, baby ♪

♪ Let’s clap awhile ♪


[ball strikes]

♪ They’re here, baby They’re here, ahh! ♪


♪ Do you dig it?

♪ Come on, come on, come on ♪

♪ Do you dig it?

♪ Somebody, somebody, so crazy now ♪

♪ Do you dig it?

♪ Come on, mama, come on, mama now ♪

♪ Do you dig it?

♪ Don’t call me mama ♪

♪ I don’t wanna go ♪

I don’t wanna mansplain.

You gonna give me a lesson?

But you gotta, uh, you gotta let it fly. Just like…

See the white guys?

What does that mean?

[Bill] Get ’em.

Well, thank you so much

for that very instructive set of lessons on bowling.

[ball rolling]

[screams, laughs]

[Bill] Yes!

[screaming excitedly] Yeah!



Yeah! Yes! Yes!


Is it my turn? Is it my turn?

Yeah, no. Help me with this.


It’s really heavy. Okay, you can let go now.

[upbeat music playing]

[Ji-Yoon] How are you so great with her?

Um, she’s not mine. [exhales]


She never crawls in my lap.

She never… She never runs to me.


You know, for two years, I was like…

“What if I don’t get a baby?”

“What if I don’t get a… What if I don’t match with anyone?”

[inhales deeply]

It never occurred to me… [chuckles]

…how it would actually be when I…

All the other moms in Mommy and Me

were just whipping out their boobs and, like…

They all seemed so ready…

so natural, whereas I was like…


Remember when you had to make that little book for the adoption agency?

Oh, the profile book?

You put a picture of you cooking even though you don’t cook for shit.

You’re a fucking menace when it comes to anything that needs to be heated.

Why did she pick me?

How did I match with her?

We don’t have the same color skin.

I don’t have a husband. I mean, to be her father.

I couldn’t give her siblings, I could…

Not even a dog. I’m totally allergic.

I’m just, like…

a fucking raw deal…

who’s old as shit.

[breathes deeply]

Well, maybe Ju Ju’s birth mother

was raised by a really strong single mom,

and saw the pictures of you, and was like,

“She’s the one.”

I mean…

I’d pick you.

Um, I’d be like…

“I’ll eat dry cereal for the rest of my days

if I can hang with this lady.”


[seatbelt clicks open]

Hey, you wanna take my car and swing by in the morning?



[seatbelt clicks open]

[Bill exhales]

[tugging seatbelt]

Oh God, it’s stuck.


[grunts] Can you…


Can you get that?

No, push down on that.

[Bill] Okay. Here?

[Ji-Yoon] No.

Push it down.

Okay. Right here?


Just like that?

No, down here.




[Bill] Oh fuck. Oh shit.

[Ji-Yoon] Oh shit.

Oh my God. Hold on a second.

[Bill] Go!

[Ji-Yoon] Wait.

Oh God. Wait. Jesus! Oh my God!

[screams in pain]

Wait, wait, wait!

[screaming in pain]

[groaning, panting]

Are you okay? Oh my God, are you okay?

Oh my God, your foot.

[footsteps approaching]

[pills rattling]

Okay. Uh, Vicodin.


Little cocktail?


Which one?

Uh, maybe I should, um…

I should take her home.

She’s sound asleep.


Don’t you ever think about it?

[breathes deeply]

You gonna pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about?

No, no, no, you’re not ready.

Says who? Why do you get to decide when I’m ready? I’m a big boy.

You’re… You’re grieving.

If I’m grieving, then why do I have a raging boner?

Because you’re… high, and you’re…

[Bill] Uh-huh.

And I’m what?

And you’re confused.


[Ji-Yoon] And you’re… Don’t do that.

Don’t do that! And you’re… You’re, um…

You’re cross… You’re cross-wired.

I don’t think so.


No, no, wait. Wait, wait.

If we got together, no one is gonna take me seriously.

It’ll be like,

you know, he only supports her ideas so he can get in her pants.

I genuinely support your ideas.

And I genuinely wanna get in your pants.

Good night. Good night.

[“Girlfriend” by Phoenix playing]


[faucet running]

♪ Tired out, not a miracle in days ♪

♪ Oh yeah ♪



♪ You try out for nothing Then you drop dead ♪

♪ Not a miracle in years ♪

♪ Oh, leisure for the lonely ♪

[speaking Korean]

Come on, babe, let’s go!

♪ Whispering unnecessary Unless you’re in ♪

♪ Die and succeed ♪

♪ I say it out loud But you just don’t care ♪

♪ Farewell, well, well, well Well, well, well ♪

♪ Till you know me well ♪


♪ Well, well, well Till you know me well ♪


[bell tolling]

Hey. It’s Ji-Yoon.

What do you mean?

Hang on, Lila.

[door closes]

[panting] Hi.

Lila, I’ll call you right back.


Just… Just take it easy. It’s…

I know you’re worried about the optics now that you’re chair,

but you don’t have anything to prove to anybody anymore.


Look at you. You did it.

You… You ascended the ranks of your profession.

You have the corner office and… and the publications,

and this beautiful, complicated kid.

[inhales deeply]

Does it ever occur to you that I could be an asset?

Value added?

[students chanting]

No Nazis at Pembroke! No Nazis at Pembroke!

No Nazis at Pembroke!

Professor Hitler must go!

Send Professor Dobson home!

Professor Hitler must go!

[students] Yes!

[student] Send Professor Dobson home!

[students] Yeah!

♪ Like a fool I went and stayed too long ♪

♪ Now I’m wondering If your love’s still strong ♪

♪ Oh, baby, here I am ♪

♪ Signed, sealed delivered, I’m yours ♪

♪ Then that time I went and said goodbye ♪

♪ Now I’m back and not ashamed to cry ♪

♪ Oh, baby, here I am ♪

♪ Signed, sealed delivered, I’m yours ♪

♪ Signed, sealed delivered ♪

♪ I’m yours ♪

♪ I’m yours ♪

♪ Seen a lot of things in this old world ♪

♪ When I touched them They did nothing, girl ♪

♪ Oh, baby, here I am ♪

♪ Signed, sealed delivered, I’m yours ♪

♪ Oh, wee babe, you set my soul on fire ♪

♪ That’s why I… ♪


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