Fame - Season 1, Episode 12
Recap: Julie’s mother is having some kind of anxiety attack in the kitchen of her apartment and is breathing into a paper bag. She tells Julie she's nervous about job hunting, and is worried that asking Ms. Grant for help is too much of an imposition for her. Julie assures her that Ms. Grant is more than happy to help her out, then says they need to head over to the school, like pronto, 'cause she has an important rehearsal to attend. Unfortunately, as soon as Mrs. Miller stops breathing into the paper bag, she starts hyperventilating, so Julie decides to forgo the rehearsal and tend to her basket case of a mother.
In the dance gym, Doris is railing to the other performers that Julie is late for rehearsal. She storms out of the room, then a few seconds later wheels in a headless mannequin and announces, "I'd like you to meet the new Julie Miller!" Everyone bursts out laughing, but Doris keeps a straight face and insists she wasn't trying to make a joke. She points out that since Julie was cast as the role of mannequin, they might as well use the real thing as a stand-in. Leroy hugs the mannequin, then starts dancing with it as he sings in a painfully off-key, screechy voice, "Maaa-nnnnnequin..." Yikes. Would it have killed the producers to hire one Fame kid with a halfway decent singing voice? After the trial run, everyone gabbles excitedly about how much they enjoyed doing the performance with an actual mannequin. Montgomery and Bruno agree that the number was fantastic - but Montgomery warns that it's going to be hard to tell Julie she's being replaced by a mannequin. Doris shrieks, as though she had nothing to do with the sudden casting change, and bewilderedly exclaims, "Julie will absolutely platz!" (OMFG - I can't express enough how fucking much I hate the sight, sound, and aura of Doris Fucking Schwartz.)
Miss Sherwood enters her classroom with a student teacher named Jeffrey Harris, and explains to the class that Mr. Harris will be assisting her for the next few weeks. Julie arrives late to class, and for some reason she seems drawn to Jeffrey's dorkiness. The two hold up the class while they flirt, smile, and stare at each other until Julie finally regains her senses and takes her seat.
Ms. Grant is helping Julie's mom cobble together a resume - which is no small feat since she's only ever been a mom to Julie and a wife to Julie's deadbeat father. No worries. I'm sure McDonald's is hiring.
Doris breaks the news to Julie that she's been replaced by a mannequin in the upcoming show. Julie's all, "Wha-a?!" and indignantly refuses to give up her coveted role to an inanimate object. She assumes she's being punished for being a no-show at rehearsal, but Coco insists that it's nothing personal and that the performance just works better with an actual mannequin.
Jeffrey finds Julie eating alone in the cafeteria and joins her with his tray of food. He tells her he's not all that into teaching and is only doing it 'cause he thinks it's something he should be doing. A few seconds later, he switches gears and grumbles about how the cafeteria food tastes like ass, and Julie giggles and looks charmed by his immature frankness.
Julie thanks Ms. Grant for helping her mom with her job search, and Ms. Grant assures her it's no trouble and then remarks on how "positively radiant" she looks today. Julie barely hears her as she hungrily stares toward the hall where Jeffrey is standing, then quickly excuses herself to give him a tour of the school. Ms. Grant's all, "Wha-a?" and then she and Miss Sherwood look on in dismay as they witness the unmistakably flirty vibe between Julie and Jeffrey.
Miss Sherwood asks Jeffrey what he thought of his first day of teaching, and he tells her it was scary, yet fascinating. She advises him that teaching at the School of the Arts can be difficult 'cause it's easy to "fall under the spell of these kids". LOL. As an example, she cites Julie's compositions, which are sometimes as beautiful as she is, and that they remind her of what it's like to be a vulnerable seventeen year old (even though in real life she's a twenty-five year old). Jeffrey tells Miss Sherwood he had lunch with Julie and then got a tour of the school, and Miss Sherwood purses her lips disapprovingly and tells him it's important to draw boundaries with these "kids". As teachers, they can care, listen, teach...but it's important to not step over that line into touchy-feely territory. Jeffrey acts all fake shocked that Miss Sherwood would assume he's getting too personal with Julie, and she wryly tells him she wouldn't be giving him this lecture if she didn't think it was required. Jeffrey explains to Miss Sherwood that journalism was his first major in college - not education, which he doesn't even like that much - but he figured why not bring the two disciplines together and write an article about the School of the Arts and write it from Julie's point of view: Grand Rapids Girl Moves to the Big Apple. (Nice try, Jeffrey - but the writers pretty much fished that lake dry during the series pilot.) Miss Sherwood sheepishly apologizes for giving him a lecture on inappropriate teacher-student relations, but then somehow neglects to give him the reminder: you're at this school to serve as a student teacher not as a journalist lecture.
Jeffrey tracks Julie down and tells her he intends to write an article about the school from her point of view. She looks flattered, then suggests that perhaps one of the older students (the thirty year olds..?) might be a better choice - but Jeffrey says it has to be her, since he already told Miss Sherwood she was on board with the project. To seal the deal, he gives her an appreciative once-over and asks her if she can stand to hang out with someone of his generation...and she shoots him a dreamy look and replies, "Yeah. I can stand it" which...well, d'yuh. I'm pretty sure you're both about the same age.
Later in the week, Jeffrey asks Julie if they could work together during the lunch hour...and Miss Sherwood overhears and asks him how his article is coming along. He tells her it's really coming together, and she compliments him on his teaching abilities and saunters off. Jeffrey asks Julie a round of questions about what it was like to leave Grand Rapids and move to the Big Apple, and she tells him she wasn't sure she was going to be able to fit in, but then did...blah blah. (For more on Julie's overtold "fish out of water" story, see the series pilot.)
Over in the teachers' lounge, Ms. Grant is looking over Mrs. Miller's volunteer credentials. Apparently, she has a lot of experience organizing lunches and special events. Mrs. Miller says she's scared and worried about her future, and Ms. Grant assures her she'll help her find the perfect job (taking food orders at Mickey Dees).
The students are rehearsing the mannequin number again...and holy hell, my ears. Jeffrey slips inside the dance gym to watch, and when Leroy spots him, he abruptly stops the number, glares at Jeffrey, and barks, "You want somethin'?" Jeffrey says he just wants to watch, so Doris informs him that teachers aren't supposed to watch rehearsals. Wuh? Since when? Doris explains that they're supposed to be allowed to sink or swim, so Jeffrey explains that he'd like to write about the rehearsal process in his article, and Leroy perks up at that and agrees to let him stay and endure his screechtastic singing voice.
Jeffrey later tells Julie it was "a trip" watching the Fame kids put the mannequin performance piece together. He then tells her he'd love to be able to take a tour of her Grand Rapids high school - but will settle for a peek at her old yearbook, and suggests they go to her apartment so he can get some background material on her. Mmm hmm..
In the next scene, the two are cuddled on the couch in Casa Miller, looking over Julie's Grand Rapids High yearbook. She gabbles to him about all the false stereotypes regarding kids in New York and the Midwest, then asks him why he's entering teaching if he actually prefers journalism. He tells her that teaching is steadier and less risky...plus he's a little afraid he might not cut it as a journalist. She assures him that self doubt is normal, especially for the students at the School of the Arts...and Jeffrey takes that as a cue to lean in for a kiss - which gets interrupted by the sudden arrival of Julie's mom. Julie hastily explains to her mom that Jeffrey is a teacher at the school, and Jeffrey corrects her and says, "Student teacher" as though it's any more acceptable for a student teacher to be messing around with a student than it would be for a regular teacher.
Later, Mrs. Miller gets all snarky to Julie about catching her playing kissy-face with Jeffrey. She threatens to call the school to complain, but Julie assures her that nothing happened between her and Jeffrey and promises that nothing will...but then totally contradicts herself when she wails that Jeffrey's the first guy she's met (since Lester) she really cares about. Well that's just dumb. She hasn't even known the guy a week.
In the office, Danny tries to convince Mr. Shorofsky to go halvsies with him on a portable cassette player at a two-for-one sale, but Mr. Shorofsky says he abhors these newfangled earphones and declares that music is to be enjoyed by everyone - not used to tune out the world. He's so damned adorable. Some guy named Mr. Cobb arrives at the school to talk to Jeffrey about his article...and he hands it back to him and says, "Close, but no cigar." He explains that the magazine's new owner is operating in "a new way", meaning he'll only publish "short words, simple ideas, flesh and scandal". He wishes Jeffrey success with his teaching career - but Jeffrey stops him and says he'd like to take a shot at delivering the kind of salacious smut the magazine is striving to provide its readership with.
Over in the dance gym, Doris is discussing the wardrobe with the cast of the mannequin show. Jeffrey slips into the room and eavesdrops, and says he's shocked that the students have to buy their own costumes. Doris goes, "What buy? I use a credit card!" She explains to him that since the school doesn't have a budget for costumes, she uses her mom's credit card to buy the garments, and once the show's over, she returns them. Jeffrey says he admires her ingenuity, then stares into space as he contemplatively mulls over that potentially scandalous tidbit for his article.
Right before English class, Julie tells Jeffrey that she talked to her mom about their illicit kissing, and assures him that everything is going to be A-OK. Jeffrey notices that Miss Sherwood is giving them a disapproving stink-eye and tries to get Julie to shut up, but she doesn't take the hint soon enough. Coco asks Julie if she'd like to come to the dance gym after school and watch the mannequin number so she can see for herself how well it works with an actual mannequin, but Julie says she'll be too busy helping Jeffrey with his article. Coco teases her about being smitten with Jeffrey, so Julie snaps at her to mind her own business - and it's a pretty awkward exchange 'cause it looked like the entire class, including Jeffrey and Miss Sherwood, overheard their conversation.
Mrs. Miller is strutting down the hall with Ms. Grant, and judging from the spring in her step, it looks like she found herself a job!
Jeffrey enters the teacher's lounge, and after he makes sure the coast is clear, he dials Mr. Cobb's number.
Mrs. Miller excitedly tells Ms. Grant she got a job as a collector, which entails "going to places of businesses and picking up receipts and things". Ms. Grant gives her a funny look and says it sounds like she's a numbers runner - as in, for organized crime. She strongly suspects that Mrs. Miller was hired either because she's too much of a dumbass to understand the illegal nature of the job, or because she's literally the last person on earth anyone would ever suspect of being a numbers runner. It's probably a combination of the two.
Jeffrey "reports" to Mr. Cobb that the Fame kids are into a sleazy credit card scam, then talks about working an angle on fake racial tensions between some of the students. At that moment, an excited looking Julie bursts into the teachers' lounge looking for him - but her face instantly falls when she overhears him tell Mr. Cobb that he'll look into manufacturing a fake drug scandal at the school to create more buzz for his article. Jeffrey suddenly whirls around and sees Julie staring at him in shock.
Julie runs down the hall crying and bumps into her mother, who's crying 'cause she just learned she's a numbers runner...and the two hopeless nitwits hug.
Later, at the apartment, Mrs. Miller points out to Julie that since they're both so unhappy in New York, perhaps they should consider going home to Grand Rapids. That definitely sounds like the best idea I've heard all episode. Julie looks surprised at the suggestion but appears to mull it over.
The next day, Julie arrives at school with her cello and runs into Jeffrey. He explains to her that since the School of the Arts runs on ambition, she should understand that an ambitious person has to do things he doesn't necessarily want to do. He says he's determined to get his article published - so she snaps, "Regardless of who it hurts?!" and he shrugs dismissively and says, "Young people bounce back." I wonder if he's considered the possibility that publishing made up shit about drug use at the School of the Arts could possibly get him sued by the school board.
Julie finds a dark classroom so she can morosely stare into space and play her cello for a loooong time. Bruno enters the room and offers her a "peace offering" for the whole mannequin debacle: a poem she once wrote for Miss Sherwood's class that he transformed into song lyrics. After he leaves, an intrigued Julie picks up a nearby guitar and starts performing the song...and the sound of backup vocalists mysteriously materializes. LOL. As she sings, she has flashbacks of all the time she spent with Jeffrey over the last couple of days: eating lunch, riding bicycles, strolling hand in hand through Central Park. It remains unclear exactly when all this courtship stuff was supposed to have occurred.
Ms. Grant asks Julie if her mom recovered from "her little adventure" yesterday, and Julie says she's still traumatized from her stupidity in unwittingly accepting a job as a numbers runner. Ms. Grant offers to call the dumbass tonight so she doesn't get too down on herself. She then bumps into Mr. Shorofsky, who's wearing headphones as he listens to the symphony in his new portable cassette player. Yay, Mr. Shorofsky! Way to leap into the '80s!
Julie calls her mom and implores her not to do anything rash. She says they can't just give up on New York, then announces she's in love...but not with that assfuck, Jeffrey. She's in love with a "dirty, grimy, loud school" - as well as with people who dance with dress mannequins.
Julie marches to English class and sassily tells Jeffrey that if he publishes his article, she'll send a letter to the editor, outing him for hitting on a student to get his information. Jeffrey retorts, "You wouldn't do that" - but she insists she would, and that she'll happily pay the price for scuffing her reputation. He derisively tells her she doesn't have the guts, so she shoots him a really squinty stink-eye and says, "Try me."
Dress rehearsal! Without explanation, the mannequin is out - and Julie's back playing the role of the mannequin...and we get to hear Leroy screechily bellowing, "Maaa-nnnnnequin..." again. Give me strength. Incidentally, I wonder who this one performance show could possibly be geared towards?
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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