Recap: Danny's lying on the floor in drama class, flailing his limbs about as if he's having some kind of a seizure. The rest of the class is trying to guess what he's attempting to portray - but no one gets it right. Mr. Crandall finally asks Danny to tell them what he's supposed to be, and Danny says, "A piece of bacon frying." Doris snarks that a Jewish girl from Brooklyn would never have gotten that, then quips, "I was thirteen before I realized that BLT didn't stand for bagels, lox, and tzimmes." Mr. Crandall furrows his brows and asks the class to dissect Doris' stupid wisecrack, and she's all, "Wuh? It was a joke." Crandall insists it's more than just that, then calls it "a very prevalent attitude" and "a schtick". Haha! Suck on that, Doris! He tells her that while she's good at schticks, they're a safe, secure, and easy way of getting a laugh. He then glances around the room and starts pointing out everyone else's deficiencies: Danny delivers one-liners very well (that's debatable), Julie only likes to play sweet ingénues, and Montgomery...well, no one yet knows what his performing arts talents are. Crandall chides his students for being unwilling to take risks or stretch themselves in any way. To that end, he announces the next class assignment: in three weeks, everyone must come to class prepared to portray a character that is as far removed from their personality as possible.
Mr. Shorofsky tells Miss Sherwood he needs to speak with her, then mutely hands her a completed car loan application. She's all, "Wuh?" and reminds him he's never driven a car in his life - and he tells her he wants to learn, then explains that he bought the car from a good friend. She's like, "OK, whatever" and promises to submit his application to the credit union to "get the ball rolling". It remains unclear why Mr. Shorofsky isn't handling this financial transaction on his own, at his own bank. He asks her if she could teach him how to drive, and she scrunches her face in distaste, so I'm guessing she's not too enthused about being roped into this favor.
Doris ambles down the stairs looking like she's thinking very hard. She suddenly grins, then turns around and scrambles back upstairs and into Mr. Crandall's classroom, then races across the room and stares out the window at a group of hookers across the street. I'm curious what type of seedy neighborhood the School of the Arts is located in - where hookers brazenly operate in the middle of a weekday. Doris asks Mr. Crandall if he thinks she's a nice girl, and he just kind of shrugs and goes, "I guess so" and she dashes back across the room. She stops in the doorway and asks him if he believes in research, and he's like, "Well d'yuh" and she exits the room and flaps down the hall. Mr. Crandall shakes his head and mutters something about Doris being a human version of the Bermuda Triangle. Haha!
Doris stands in front of a store window that's displaying a mannequin dressed in gold hot pants...and in the next scene, Doris is decked out in the gold pants, along with a pink blouse and waist cinching belt, and a pair of red stilettos. She also has a lot of makeup caked on her face that gives her a clownish appearance, and a bizarre purple feather thing stuck in her hair. Looking every inch a faux cheap hooker, she totters across the street, accidentally breaks one of the heels of her stilettos, then stands beside a hooker so she can mimic everything she says and does. The hooker notices and asks her what the hell she's doing, so Doris tells her she's an actress doing some research, and the hooker laughs at her and saunters off. A potential john comes by to check Doris out, and she wigs out and scrambles to get away from him, and in the process bumps into another hooker. This lady of the evening is played by the lovely Dominique Dunne, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend a few months after this episode aired. Doris apologizes for not looking where she was going, and Dominique Dunne asks her if Donny Love knows she's here, and Doris is all, "Who?" so Dominique Dunne explains that Donny Love is her pimp, and that he doesn't like it when unauthorized hookers work his corner. Doris tells her she's not actually working the corner, then shakes her head and mutters, "This was probably a dumb idea." Ya think? Dominique Dunne says she overheard her tell the other hooker she's an actress, then says she looks way too young - which amused me, since the actress who plays Doris was 24 years old in 1982. Doris says she's 16, and Dominique Dunne goes, "Me too!" (even though she was 23 when this episode was filmed). Doris offers to buy her fellow "teenager" a cup of coffee, and the two head off in search of a coffee shop.
At a nearby coffee shop, Dominique Dunne asks Doris to empty her purse so she can be sure she doesn't have a police badge on her. Doris laughs at the notion of her being a police officer, but she willingly dumps the contents of her purse onto the table: student ID card, candy bar, gum, and a hair brush. Out of nowhere, a police officer appears and demands to see their identification, then pulls out his badge and informs them he's from the Juvenile Vice Squad. Dominique Dunne panics and tries to run, but her escape is blocked by another cop who has just pulled up. Doris begs the vice cop to let Dominique Dunne go, then refers to her own ridiculous hooker get-up as "a funny mistake". The officer announces that he's taking them both to Juvenile Detention Hall...though it remains unclear what crime he's actually charging them with.
As both girls languish inside the detention center, Doris moans that her mother is going to kill her, and Dominique Dunne rolls her eyes and sarcastically replies, "My heart bleeds for you." Doris remarks how weird it is that they're both the same age (early twenties), but yet so different. Yes, Doris - that's probably 'cause you're a pretend hooker who's slumming it on the streets for one night of your life, while she's the real thing. Doris asks what will happen to her, so Dominique Dunne says her pimp will figure out she's in jail and bail her out...but since he has a mean streak, it's not going to be a fun experience. Doris asks her if she has any family, and Dominique Dunne says if she ever got sent back to her parents' home in Ohio, she'd just run away again. Doris' mom arrives at the detention center just as Dominique Dunne is being led out somewhere - and she turns and tells Doris, "Have a nice life." Doris then starts nattering frenetically at her bewildered mother, recalling the time she saw a baby bird fall out of its nest, then nursed it back to health and donated it to a school, where the kids kept it as a pet. She pauses for a few seconds, then solemnly informs her mom she just found another baby bird with a broken wing.
Miss Sherwood is giving Mr. Shorofsky virtual driving lessons as they sit side by side in one of the classrooms, pretending they're in a moving car. She presents various traffic scenarios, and he tells her how he'd react in each situation. For the sake of other motorists, I hope her training program will eventually include some real life, in-car practice.
A group of students are break dancing in the middle of the hall when Doris and Dominique Dunne enter the school. Dominique Dunne looks intrigued with the impromptu show and bobs her head to the '80s beat. Doris excuses herself for a moment and scampers over to where her cast mates are hanging out. She natters to them about how she was not arrested for solicitation last night, and they all just stare at her in befuddlement. She points to Dominique Dunne and says she's her new friend and that she'll be sitting in on some of their classes today. Montgomery asks, "Who gave you permission to do that?" and Doris barks, "Me!" then rushes back to Dominique Dunne, who remarks that the School of the Arts seems to be "part kindergarten, part zoo". Haha!
Mr. Crandall tells his drama students that they're all unique and special beings, and that they should think of themselves as originals. Dominique Dunne looks impressed and asks Doris if all of her teachers are this kind, and Doris wryly replies, "Not exactly" and the camera cuts to Ms. Grant berating her dance class for giving her the laziest, most awful performance in the history of performances. She pulls a girl named Cynthia off the floor, publicly shames her for her sucky dancing, and makes her sit out for the rest of the class, which I thought was unnecessarily bitchy and mean. Ms. Grant then casts herself as the lead dancer in a sudden, impromptu performance...and the students serve as her backup dancers, which seemed really weird and contrived. Coco starts singing "Celebrate Now, Celebrate Life", and Danny sings along in his sub-par voice...but since he's also not much of a dancer, he just kind of saunters across the floor while he sings. Dominique Dunne looks transfixed by the spectacle, and when the class finishes the number, she holds up her hands and is about to applaud, but Doris stops her and informs her that biology class is next. Dominique Dunne asks if a person like herself could attend this school, and Doris blurts out, "Sure! No problem!" despite the stringent audition process that all students are required to undergo for the privilege of attending this dump.
Doris drops in on Ms. Grant, who assumes that she came to apologize for bringing an unauthorized guest to the school and let her sit in on various classes. Doris fibs and tells her that Dominique Dunne is her cousin and that she'd like to have a special audition arranged for her...then makes up a sob story about how her policeman father was recently killed in the line of duty. As soon as Ms. Grant starts probing a bit, she figures out the story is BS and reminds Doris that the next auditions are months away. Doris begs her to audition Dominique Dunne now, since she's been through so much, and Ms. Grant stares back at her and looks contemplative.
Mr. Crandall tells the rest of the faculty he's not in favor of holding a special audition for some random girl and says she can audition the next time around. Exactly what I was thinking. Miss Sherwood agrees and reminds her colleagues, "We're not social workers" but Ms. Grant scrunches her face unhappily and moans that the next round of auditions is three months away. Mr. Shorofsky asks her what sort of talent this girl has, and she says she has no idea...which is weird, since I figured that would have been her first question to Doris. Miss Sherwood says if they're going to bend the rules there should be a good reason, but Ms. Grant argues that wanting to do a good deed shouldn't be a bad thing - plus, she doesn't want Dominique Dunne to hit the streets again 'cause she'd never be able to look Doris in the eye again. That...should probably be the least of her worries. Mr. Shorofsky offers a compromise: they will let Dominique Dunne audition now, but not skimp on their standards of excellence. Ms. Grant agrees that Dominique Dunne will need to be sensational in order to satisfy the school's super high standards, then rushes off to tell Doris the good news.
At the Schwarz residence, Doris is teaching Dominique Dunne breathing techniques to help her sustain a note while singing. (I guess this means she's a singer.) Dominique Dunne says she's really nervous, but Doris assures her she'll be fine. Doris' mom arrives home and tells Dominique she got a phone message from her boyfriend, Donny Love, and Doris is all, "Ack!" but Dominique says she's not worried, since he only called to let her know he's still out there, in case she wants to return to the streets. She contemplates that for a few seconds, then tells Doris if things don't work out with the School of the Arts, she can always go back to hooking.
Mr. Shorofsky shows Miss Sherwood the car he just bought: a tiny little convertible. Miss Sherwood looks impressed, then expresses concern that the steering wheel is on the right side. They both climb into the tiny vehicle, and she wigs out when she notices that it has a standard transmission. She warily asks him if the sale of the car is final, and he says yes, and that he even bought himself a little driving cap. Hee! Adorable! She says she isn't confident that he'll be able to drive in actual traffic with a standard transmission, and he finally agrees that it was probably a dumb idea to buy the thing in the first place.
Dominique Dunne is set to perform "Blue Moon" for the School of the Arts faculty, and Bruno is providing backup music on the piano. She turns out to be a really bad singer - though not a whole lot worse than Bruno, Danny, or Leroy. Unlike them, however, she has the self awareness to realize how awful she is, and is barely able to finish the song without bursting into tears. When she finishes, Ms. Grant thanks her for coming, and she rushes off the stage to weep shamefully in private. Ms. Grant thanks Bruno for providing the music and says he did the best he could with what he had to work with.
Bruno heads over to where the gang is anxiously awaiting the results of the audition - and he comes right out and tells everyone how badly Dominique Dunne stunk it up. Doris snaps, "Your opinion" and Bruno says, "She's average at best." Julie chimes in and says that Dominique Dunne's dancing bites pretty hard too, so Doris asks them why they didn't tell her this before...and Montgomery says she wasn't exactly willing to listen. Doris says she needs to go find Dominique Dunne asap, then runs upstairs in her weird flail-y way to find her hooker friend.
Doris is on the phone with her mother, trying to track down Dominique Dunne. She tells her mom she has people on the streets looking for her, which made me wonder who these "people" are: Bruno? Danny? The other hookers? After she finishes the call, Ms. Grant walks over and asks her if she wants company while she waits for word, but Doris declines and says she got into this schmozzle by herself and should therefore get herself out of it. Ms. Grant tells her not to get down on herself for wanting to help the girl, then says it's a damn shame she didn't have a scrap of talent. She affectionately calls it "a very Doris thing to do", and tells her she's very special, blah blah...blech. Doris suddenly perks up and says she has an idea where Dominique Dunne could be, then sprints down the hall.
Doris finds Dominique Dunne in the dressing room downstairs, sitting in front of the mirror and caking makeup on her face. Doris asks her whassup and says she's worried she's going to go back out to the corner and start hooking again. She notes how interesting it is that she hasn't yet left the school, and Dominique Dunne glumly asks, "Where else is there?" Doris says she could always go home, then toots her own horn as she sanctimoniously brags about how her mom is always calling her "the world's twin sister" 'cause whenever she sees someone hurting, she hurts along with them. Doris hands her a dime and says she can use it to call either her parents or her pimp, then pretends not to care which she chooses. A few seconds later, she cancels that and says she does care...and so do a lot of other people. Dominique Dunne takes the dime from her, then contemplatively stares into space.
Doris returns to the hall where Ms. Grant is waiting and informs her that Dominique Dunne was hiding out in the dressing room...and a few seconds later, Dominique Dunne appears in the hall and makes a beeline over to the pay phone. She places a call to Cleveland, and gets teary when she talks to her parents - and Doris tears up too.
Drama class! Doris is about to perform her scene as a character that's the polar opposite of her personality. She's wearing jeans, a sweater, and strappy sandals with red socks underneath (!)...and swaggers over to a chair and straddles it backwards. She tries very hard to pretend like she's a hostile, edgy street kid and gives the class a soliloquy about her sad, difficult life...then babbles about wanting to find somewhere where it's OK to be her. I could maybe buy this hard Doris persona were it not for the red socks peeking out of those sandals. When she finishes the scene, she walks over to the wall and shows her back to the class...and everyone looks deeply moved and affected by what they've just witnessed. Mr. Crandall praises her performance, gives her a kiss on the cheek, and tells her she got an A+. She then mutates back into regular Doris and glances around the room with a look of smug satisfaction as the class applauds.