Don’t mess with someone’s golf game.
Such was the lesson Mike (Michael J. Fox) taught a couple of people — including his wife — in Thursday’s (Oct. 31) episode of NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show,” appropriately titled “Golf” and directed by Fred Savage.
Initially, Mike and Annie (Betsy Brandt) hope to combine his participation in (conveniently) an NBC charity tournament with a romantic getaway. The event is being held at the New Jersey resort where Mike proposed to Annie, and he promises her better accommodations than they could afford then.
However, the ocean-view suite he wants escapes his grasp when a blind man cuts in front of him in the check-in line. Mike appeals to the desk clerk, saying that giving the other fellow that view “seems like kind of a waste, because … ” But his plea is to no avail.
Out on the golf course, Mike finds — who else? — the blind man, who turns out to be a noted jazz musician named Chaz Garrity (guest star Jason Jones of “The Daily Show”). After their earlier argument over who was first at the check-in, Mike tries to make nice, mentioning his Parkinson’s condition.
“I don’t want to get dragged down into your sad, negative world,” the fierce Chaz replies, who then proves himself as adept at golfing as Mike is. Mike eventually challenges whether Chaz is “legally blind,” and their rivalry escalates as Annie laments losing her husband to the game.
Much later, a trophy-toting Mike meets a not-happy Annie in the bar, but the spouses’ attitudes switch when Chaz enters and labels Mike a cheater. That raises Annie’s ire, and instead of joining Mike in the relaxed intimacy he proposes, she insists on following his new enemy into the event’s banquet.
There, Chaz rises from his table and gives a brief speech on cheating, clearly meant to humiliate Mike. Annie prods Mike to respond, and he praises the weekend’s “great, great, great, great cause. And let’s not do anything to screw it up.”
Not satisfied with his address (“That’s it?”), Annie stands and adds her own thoughts … wrapping up with the Chaz-aimed query, “Is there anything worse than a sore loser?” Then, she tries to prove the exiting Chaz isn’t blind by throwing her dinner plate’s lobster at him, shocking the rest of the crowd. It merely bounces off him.
Heading out of the banquet, Mike and Annie pass by Chaz’s suite, and they decide to go in for a peek … and more, as she lures him to the bed. Inevitably, Chaz enters while they’re still there, and though they try to sneak out quietly, the rustle of the bedspread gives them up.
In the elevator, Annie questions why Mike is so competitive, and he maintains it’s not a matter of that. “I just want to be the inspirational guy,” he explains. And she lovingly informs him, “To the people who know you, you’re not all that inspiring.”
The lesson learned? As Mike says into the camera about the slots people seem to occupy, “You can’t let those roles define you. If you’re too caught up in how other people see you, you might forget to stop and enjoy the view.”