Recap: It's audition time at New York City's fictional High School for the Performing Arts. On the auditorium stage is a vacuous looking baton twirler who somehow doesn't realize how badly she sucks. Mr. Shorofsky tells her that the purpose of the school is to prepare students for careers in the performing arts, then wryly asks her if there's a need for professional baton twirlers he's not aware of. The girl smiles brightly and chirps, "Sure!" and explains that baton twirlers could potentially become cheerleaders for professional football teams. Mr. Shorofsky stares at her in befuddlement until Ms. Grant brusquely dismisses the nitwit from their orbit. The next auditioner to take the stage is Julie Miller, a conservatively dressed blonde girl carrying a cello. Ms. Grant explains to Julie [and the viewers] that these auditions are held for new arrivals to New York City, then asks her what brought her to the Big Apple. Julie spacily stares back at her and says, "My parents got divorced" and Ms. Grant looks slightly confused by the brevity and dumbness of her answer, but then shrugs it off and says, "Any time you're ready." Julie begins playing her cello, and she's actually not bad. [Note: I Googled Lori Singer and learned from Wikipedia that she's a cellist in real life, so I guess we can assume that any footage of her cello playing is authentic.]
Miss Sherwood asks Coco how summer stock was, and Coco grins broadly and says, "Beautiful" then explains that she mostly worked behind the scenes. She was also an understudy, but unfortunately for her the actress was very healthy and never missed a performance. Miss Sherwood clucks sympathetically and says, "Sorry you didn't get to be a star" but Coco flashes her a smile that screams I am effervescent! and retorts, "I am a star. It's just that not enough people know it yet." Right. That must be the problem.
Julie's still auditioning with her cello. Bruno (with his luscious dark 'fro) is hanging at the back of the auditorium, staring at her with creepy intensity. Coco slips into the auditorium through the back, rushes over to Bruno, and starts nattering at him about her quest for stardom, but he shushes her so he can continue to listen to Julie's cello playing and gaze longingly at her blonde loveliness. Coco shuts up, but looks kinda put out by his obvious fascination with the Midwestern rube.
In a cramped apartment, Julie's mom gives her money for cab fare so she'll arrive at school safely. (That will get expensive pretty quick.) Julie bristles at the idea of being seen by the other kids taking a cab to school, so her mom offers an alternative: she'll walk her to school each morning. In the next scene, it's clear that Julie has opted for the cab...and when she arrives at the school, she spills out of the cab and accidentally bumps into Coco. She blurts out, "I'm sorry!" and Coco glares at her and bitchily snarks, "You are...and blind too." Julie looks mortified and dashes up the front steps. Meanwhile, Doris is ambling down the hall, admiring a blonde boy who looks like he's already coupled up with a pretty brunette. Hey - it's a young Fran Drescher!
Miss Sherwood starts off her English class by featuring the word of the day: pretentious. As the students furiously jot down the word in their notebooks (LOL), Miss Sherwood sternly tells them they need to take English class as seriously as they take their dance/music/acting classes. I'm sure that'll happen. She then asks Coco to use pretentious in a sentence, so Coco smirks and says, "Coming to school in a cab is pretentious." Bruno assumes the dickish barb is directed at him and protests, "That's not fair. I come to school in a taxi every day." Coco hastily says it's different when his father is the one driving it, and doesn't explain that her sentence was intended to mock the new girl.
A dorky, prepubescent redhead named Montgomery carries Julie's books to her locker. She tells him she's having problems with the combination, so he offers to help and - voila! - is able to get it unlocked. He then offers her some unsolicited advice about living in New York: try not to invade people's personal space when walking down the street. He should probably also address her wardrobe, since she's currently wearing a tweed suit with a little ribbon bow-tie around the collar of her buttoned up Victorian style blouse. Yeesh.
Mr. Shorofsky is leading a class of piano players. Bruno suddenly goes rogue and starts playing a different melody, and Mr. Shorofsky orders him to just play the same notes and rhythm as everyone else.
Ms. Grant lectures her dance class on how she expects them to work their "little tights off". She then delivers the iconic speech that's included in the show's opening and also inspired me to become a dancer (just kidding): "You've got big dreams? You want fame? Well fame costs. And right here's where you start paying...in sweat. I wanna see sweat!" She adds that if they want their dancing to meet with her high standards, they're going to have to fight. And now that everyone's pumped up and mentally psyched to perform split leaps in the air, she leads the class in a blasé, low energy arm stretching exercise. LOL.
In the cafeteria, Montgomery is hanging with Julie and Doris, giving Julie more tips on how to get around in New York. Julie complains that the buses are always so crowded, and Doris tells her that the subways are no better - in fact, they can be deadly when mental cases push unwitting people into oncoming trains. In the next scene, the three of them are on a bus...and some strange man is pressing himself against Julie. Armed with her new-found street smarts, she kicks him in his nether regions, and he yelps and shrinks away.
Leroy, Coco, and a bunch of other students are boogying on the school's front steps. Julie accidentally bumps into Coco again and dumps coffee all over her. Coco glares at her and snarls, "Don't you have eyes?" and Julie just stares uselessly into space while Coco mops herself off.
The word of the day in Miss Sherwood's English class is deleterious. Coco volunteers to use it in a sentence and pronounces, "Coffee can be deleterious to some people's health and to other people's clothing" while Julie cringes with embarrassment. After that, a loud moron named Garci attempts to use the word in a sentence, but then starts rambling about how his uncle won the lottery. Fortunately, Garci's one of the half dozen or so pointless throwaway characters the show hastily dumps after the pilot episode.
Ms. Grant disapproves of the short shorts Leroy insists on wearing to dance class. She orders him to get a pair of tights so that the rest of the class can stop worrying about accidentally getting an eyeful of his nut sack. After that, she orders everyone to double up and practice the bizarre looking dance sequence she taught them during the previous class...and she can't help but be impressed with Leroy's taut, limber body. Julie tries to apologize to Coco for spilling coffee on her earlier, but Ms. Grant snarks at her to shut it and focus on her dancing.
Julie and Montgomery are sitting on the floor of the cafeteria, eating and people watching. He's giving her more tips on life in New York, and today's lesson is: don't wear jewelry in public. Julie fingers her gold necklace and says she can't take it off 'cause it's too much a part of her identity. Montgomery warns her, "The better you look, the bigger the danger." Eeek! '80s New York is scary..
Bruno is alone in one of the music rooms, playing piano with his eyes closed and looking positively orgasmic. Coco enters the room and stares at him longingly...but he doesn't see her standing there (or is brazenly ignoring her), so after a couple of minutes she tip-toes out of the room. That was a thoroughly pointless scene.
Doris, who suddenly has a mop of curly red hair, is staring longingly at the cute blonde guy again. When he smiles and winks in her direction, she excitedly tells Montgomery, "Michael Harrison winked at me! It must be my new hairdo!" Montgomery looks unimpressed and tells her that Michael winks at everyone, so Doris reminds him that Michael is the most popular guy in school. As Michael heads over, Doris murmurs, "He's coming over here...in person!" Michael stands in front of Doris, but then directs his attention toward Julie and invites her to a party on Friday night. Fran Drescher, who looks like she thinks she should be Michael's girlfriend, stands beside him and shoots Julie the stink-eye. Julie declines the invitation, and Fran Drescher says it's for the best, since she probably wouldn't like their friends anyway. After Julie ambles off, Doris lets Michael know that she's free on Friday night and that she's A-OK with being sloppy seconds. He doesn't respond, but Fran Drescher chuckles condescendingly and says, "That's OK. We already have enough people" and steers Michael away.
Coco tells Bruno they need exposure and that with his music and her singing/dancing/electric personality, they could "really go places". Bruno grumpishly informs her that the only place he wants to go to right now is the bathroom, then shuffles off like a middle aged man. Meanwhile, Montgomery applauds Julie for declining Michael's invitation, especially since he's the "it" guy in school. Julie explains that she's not interested in dating anybody here 'cause she has a boyfriend back in Grand Rapids. Montgomery scrunches his face in disappointment as though he might really have had a shot.
Coco is standing by the men's room, and when Bruno comes out, she starts blathering to him about how the two of them should start up a band, put their music out there and get rich, but Bruno grumps that he's not interested in performing or putting his music out there...which makes me wonder why the hell he's attending this school. Coco saucily says, "You haven't seen or heard the best of me yet" and offers to resolve that, like pronto. She glances around the cafeteria and says, "I don't normally work lunch rooms, but you deserve a break today" and Bruno just rolls his eyes in his annoying I'm-soooo-world-weary fashion.
Julie tells Doris it's obvious she has a crush on Michael, but Doris clucks at her condescendingly and says that maybe people in podunk towns like Grand Rapids get crushes - but that's not the way it is in New York City. That's right. In New York City, teenagers (who look like they're well into their 20s) do more sophisticated things like don curly red wigs and make arses of themselves in public.
Coco asks a group of musicians, who are conveniently set up with their instruments, to play a lame sounding song called Take Me Baby. Somehow the musicians are familiar with it and start playing...and as soon as Coco starts singing, Bruno grumpishly ambles off. Coco brushes off the snub and really gets into her performance - climbing atop tables and dancing while she sings. Leroy, who's still in his short shorts, also gets into the groove...and after a few minutes in, there's no one in the cafeteria who isn't wildly gyrating to the beat.
Julie decides to finally get a clue and ditch her tweed outfits, despite the mild pooh poohing she gets from her mother. Julie whines about how hard it is to fit in at her new school and says her dancing was OK for Grand Rapids, but not New York. Luckily, her cello playing is mildly OK in comparison, but then she laments, "I'm barely in their league sometimes." Her mom says it's a learning experience for both of them, and that she too is trying to find her niche: in the job market. Julie explains that she's not going to be able to fit in while wearing tweed, 'cause everyone just treats her like a nerd. Well, d'yuh. She wonders if she's tough enough for this school, then fingers the gold chain her boyfriend Lester gave to her. Her mom reminds her that she's in New York now...and that Lester is far away in Grand Rapids.
Leroy has headphones on during English class and is bopping to the beat. Miss Sherwood notices the headphones and frowns in disapproval.
In music class, Bruno is whining to Mr. Shorofsky about how string instruments should be abolished, now that someone's invented keyboards that can simulate the sound of a violin. Mr. Shorofsky looks aghast and insists that orchestras need actual string instruments. Bruno retorts that orchestras are an endangered species, and Mr. Shorofsky continues to look aghast, tells him to shut up, and orders the class to begin playing again.
Miss Sherwood is keeping Leroy after class for detention. He whines that he's "a working man" and has bidness associates waiting for him. Miss Sherwood reminds him that he still hasn't turned in his assignment on Romeo and Juliet, and that in general his work is the shits. She warns that he won't be able to stay in school if he keeps letting his work slide, and he snarls, "Ain't nobody makin' me walk unless I wanna." Miss Sherwood sasses him back with, "You'll be dancin' right outa this school" and admonishes his rude manners and low reading level. Leroy accuses her of being "racially discriminating", and she reacts by applauding his ability to pronounce so many syllables all at once. Hee! She tells him again that she expects him to turn in his assignment, and he nonsensically grumbles, "You'd better have more than your mouth ready when you go makin' my flight patterns" and storms out. Based on that conversation, I think Leroy could use a heavy dose of remedial English.
After that, we get a drawn out montage sequence featuring Julie, Bruno, and Leroy. Julie's sitting at her kitchen table, penning a love letter to Lester. She tells him she's not fitting in, that things are hard for her in New York...then reminisces about when he put the gold chain around her neck. Meanwhile, Bruno is in what looks like a dungeon, orgasmically playing his keyboard. Across town, Leroy is hanging in a pool hall, unable to make heads or tails out of Romeo and Juliet. He gets frustrated and tosses the book aside...but a few minutes later he thinks better of it and decides to give it another shot. Julie places her love letter inside one of her text books for "safe keeping", which ends up not being such a great idea. Bruno is in the afterglow stages of his music orgasm and continues to play his keyboard.
The next morning, Julie arrives to school late and sprints down the hall to get to English class...and for some reason she's back to wearing tweed. Miss Sherwood asks Garci to read something aloud from his text book, and since he forgot his, he grabs Julie's and finds her Dear Lester love letter. He reads part of it aloud to the class because he's a malevolent dickwad, and everyone giggles. Bruno grabs the letter out of his hands and snarks, "A person's privacy oughta be respected." He hands it back to a mortified Julie, who stares miserably at the floor.
After class, Bruno's at his locker, bitching to Montgomery about how dickish Garci was to Julie, who he considers a minority at this school. He says he thought this school was better than getting cheap laughs by picking on the hapless. Coco overhears his rant and looks contemplative.
Later, Julie's sitting in an empty classroom, playing her cello and looking mournful.
Leroy enters a clothing store that carries men's tights. The sales clerk asks him if he needs help, so he tells him he needs a pair of tights, and then the clerk asks him if he needs a belt to go with them. Leroy gives him a funny look and snarks, "You ain't talkin' to no fool, turkey" so the clerk hastily explains that by belt he means a jock, then takes one out of the package to show him. Leroy stares at the contraption in horror, goes, "Nooo..." and runs out of the store. What a weirdo.
Leroy shows up for dance class in his short shorts yet again, and Ms. Grant clucks disapprovingly and asks him where his tights are. He tells her he forgot them, then amends his story and says he washed them, but they got so tight they cut off all circulation to his testicles. Ms. Grant sighs and says if he brings the too small tights in tomorrow as proof he has a pair, she'll exchange them for a pair that fit. After that, she admonishes a girl for wearing earrings and reminds the class there's no jewelry allowed while they're dancing. She then notices Julie's gold chain and orders her to take it off, and Julie blurts out, "No!" so then Ms. Grant raises her eyebrows and is all, "Excuse me?" Julie tries to explain that the gold chain is not just a necklace; it's an expression of love...or some such nonsense. Some random girl in the class repeats what Garci read aloud from her love letter to Lester, and Julie wails, "Stop it!" and when she notices everyone's eyes on her, she bellows, "And stop looking at me!" LOL. She runs out of the room, and Coco stares after her looking sheepish. Julie heads to the bathroom to wash her face and stare sadly at herself in the mirror. Coco enters the bathroom to chide her for being into big emotional scenes, but Julie denies that and says she just wants people at this school to give her half a chance. Coco says, "Hey, nobody gives you anything, baby. You make your own chances." She tells Julie that everyone gets bad reviews at one time or another - but right now she's "in the hot burning center of the galaxy" (?!) and should want the spotlight. Julie insists she doesn't want it, and doesn't know what she's doing here. Coco assures her she's good, though not nearly as awesome as she is, then boasts, "I've got the sun and the moon in my hand, and I just need an opportunity to knock." She tells Julie she's either going to have to prove people wrong or quit - but she's pretty sure Julie's too much of a professional to give up on her dreams of fame. Coco leaves Julie to mull over her sage advice...and this time when she stares at herself in the mirror, she smiles.
Everyone's dancing around the cafeteria again, and Coco's on staging singing Fame. Julie enters the room, looking much happier now that Coco has set her straight. Meanwhile, Leroy approaches Miss Sherwood and hands her some tattered pages with writing on them, and I'll assume it's his Romeo and Juliet assignment. Incidentally, he's decked out in a yellow knit tank top and electric blue short shorts, and when he dances, he and his naughties jiggle suggestively. I'll keep my fingers crossed that Ms. Grant is able to persuade him to wear tights.
The next day, Julie leaves her apartment covered in tweed...but when she gets off the elevator in the lobby, she's changed into something more age appropriate. I'm not sure why she felt the need to hide this from her mother, since she didn't seem to put up that much resistance to Julie adopting a less stuffy wardrobe. As Miss Sherwood tells her English class that the word of the day is metamorphosis, Julie happily skips down the street, then joyfully leaps in the air. LOL.