Recap: Leroy is treating Danny to breakfast in a diner and outright tells him he wants to copy his English paper. Danny's like, "Uh, no" so Leroy retorts, "It's an honest bribe, you have to respect it." Danny explains that he literally can't give him his paper to copy, since he handed it in three days ago (when the assignment was due). Also, Miss Sherwood might get a tad suspicious when she grades two English papers that are exactly the same. Dumbass. To Leroy's misfortune, Miss Sherwood is sitting in a booth that's well within hearing range. She barks, "And I appreciated it, Danny!" and storms over to their table to shoot a really squinty stink-eye at Leroy. She tells him she expects to receive his paper asap, then recommends he go straight to the library to start working on it. Danny obediently replies, "Yes, ma'am!" and hustles Leroy out of the diner.
Over at the School of the Arts, the "kids" are groovin' in the foyer. Some random guy is playing on a set of drums, and Julie, Coco, and Doris are doing some kind of suggestive looking pelvis dance. Montgomery arrives and excitedly announces that he has the new cassette by the C47s - a terrible sounding band in the Fame universe. He puts the tape in the ghetto blaster (hee! '80s technology) - but Coco stops him from pressing play and says that Leroy would looove to hear the C47s. Doris perks up at that and offers to go look for him, then rushes off down a flight of stairs.
Back at the diner, Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant are discussing the Leroy situation. Ms. Grant asks her if she's going to fail him, and Miss Sherwood says he's only done 25% of his assignments...so, d'yuh. Ms. Grant says that Leroy's not failing in her classes and that she gives him all A's...which is kinda irrelevant and not really comparable, 'cause she teaches dance. Miss Sherwood comes right out and asks Ms. Grant if she's asking her to go easy on Leroy, and Ms. Grant looks sheepish, stops talking, and apologizes for implying that she should give him a free pass without merit. Miss Sherwood hands her the check for their breakfast and says she's got to figure out how to handle a scholastic fuckup like Leroy.
Montgomery hits the play button on his ghetto blaster, and everyone - including Leroy in his shorts-over-sweatpants outfit - starts boogying to the C47s' lame sounding song called Gimme That, Gimme That...and the dancing goes on for what seems like an excruciatingly looooong time. Bruno arrives at school and watches the dancing with his usual sardonic, I'm-so-over-it expression [that I'm getting really sick of and makes me want to punch him in the face]. Just as the performance comes to an end, Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant arrive...and when they notice Leroy in the middle of the jumble of dancers, a chagrined Ms. Grant tells Miss Sherwood, "I guess Leroy couldn't find the library." Heh.
In one of the music rooms, Bruno mocks the lameness of the C47s' music, but Montgomery tells him not to knock it, 'cause right now it's the hottest cassette around. Bruno derisively says you have to turn off your mind to listen to schlock like that, then demonstrates how easy it is to compose shittastic music. He sits down at the synthesizer and tells Montgomery to say the first word that pops into his head...and at that very moment, Mr. Shorofsky enters the room, which causes Montgomery to gasp, "Mr. Shorofsky!" and naturally he refrains from explaining to Bruno that Mr. Shorofsky just entered the room. Bruno, who's so wrapped up in his composing that he doesn't notice Mr. Shorofsky standing there, starts crooning, "Oooooh...Shor-OFF-sky!" and rattles off some funny lyrics about the big bearded teddy-bear. Mr. Shorofsky quietly listens and stares at Bruno in fascination and bewilderment.
Miss Sherwood tells Leroy she wants to discuss his dismal academic performance with his parents, and he glares back at her and goes, "Who?!" LOL. She hands him a note that she prepared for his parents, then instructs him to deliver it and ensure that they set up a parent/teacher meeting with her, like pronto. Leroy tells her she doesn't have to bug his parents, but she insists on speaking with them and forces him to take the note.
Bruno sheepishly explains to Mr. Shorofsky that he was mocking the genre of music, not him. He says he could have inserted anything in the song in order to demonstrate its weak structure to Montgomery. Mr. Shorofsky grumbles, "I detest the cacophony!" and agrees that it was mindless schlock. After Mr. Shorofsky exits the room, Montgomery agrees that the song was mindless, but that it also has commercial appeal.
Leroy bitches at Danny for talking so loudly in the diner that Miss Sherwood was able to overhear their conversation...and Danny snarks back that he should have just done his English assignment on time. Leroy explains that he lives in a shitty neighborhood and got mugged while walking home from the subway...so Danny jokingly asks him if he's saying that the muggers stole his English paper. Leroy snarks, "What I think is that you owe me, and I'm here to collect." It's unclear why or how Danny owes this hostile grump anything. Leroy orders him to write a note that looks like it's from his momma, and Danny just rolls his eyes and chuckles.
Montgomery has blabbed to the gang about the awesome "Mr. Shorofsky" song that Bruno rattled off, and they all want to hear it. They drag Bruno into the music room and beg him to play the song, and he says he doubts they'll find it very funny...but indulges them and starts playing it. Everyone enthusiastically bops to the beat...and, interestingly, it's the most happy and alive I've ever seen Bruno. Maybe he's finally found his true calling. Montgomery glances down at his ghetto blaster, which he brought along and placed beside him on the floor, and discreetly presses the record button.
Miss Sherwood reads the note that Danny cobbled together, pretending to be Leroy's momma, and tells Leroy she's suspicious of its authenticity, but won't go so far as to accuse him of forgery. Leroy pretends to be all confused and goes, "Wha-a?" so Miss Sherwood explains that if his mother actually sent her this ridiculous response, then it's clear she doesn't understand how dire his situation is. She then insists that he bring his parents by the school at 4pm tomorrow and barks, "No excuses!"
Leroy asks Doris if she'd be willing to pretend to be his momma on the phone and tell Miss Sherwood she's unable to come to a parent/teacher meeting tomorrow. Doris snarks that that's a stupid idea, which could get them both booted out of school. Leroy shoots her the stink-eye and says that the next time they're in dance class and she leaps in his direction and expects him to catch her, she should remember this conversation...and Doris scrunches her face with concern at the thought of Leroy dropping her on her head in the middle of a rehearsal. Haha! I would definitely enjoy that.
Montgomery tells Bruno that he played the Shorofsky song for the lead singer of a band called Psychic Powers (who he knows through family connections) and he loved it! He arranged for a meeting between Bruno and the band, but Bruno just makes a face and grumbles about how much he despises that type of music. Montgomery points out that this meeting could lead to a paying gig - and Bruno looks momentarily intrigued, but then stubbornly insists that he still hates that kind of music. Sigh. We know, Bruno...we know.
Bruno meets up with Papa Martelli after school and climbs into his cab. The two chat about their day, and Bruno tells his dad he has to meet up with Montgomery later 'cause they have a meeting with a band.
Ms. Grant finds Miss Sherwood sitting in her English classroom, looking pissed off. She tells Ms. Grant that Leroy's parents didn't show up for their 4pm meeting, then firmly declares, "If the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain!" Ms. Grant looks alarmed at the thought of Miss Sherwood ambling around Harlem alone and warns her that it's a really bad idea. Miss Sherwood insists that she has to do it if she's going to help Leroy, then storms out of the room.
Miss Sherwood arrives in Harlem by train and walks briskly down the street. She quickly locates Leroy's derelict building and tentatively steps inside. She knocks on his apartment door, and a glaring Leroy answers and lets her in...then quietly sits on his bed as she sadly glances around his squalid living quarters. She quietly asks, "You live here?" and he says, "Yeah" and tells her he doesn't have parents, and she's all, "Wha-a?!"
Leroy fixes Miss Sherwood a plate of corn chips and pours her a drink, and they sit at his dining table for a heart-to-heart chat. He tells her that his dad is long gone, and that his mom lives in Detroit with her sister 'cause she couldn't find work in New York. Miss Sherwood asks him what he does for money, and he tells her he works at a nearby pool hall...and since the owner of the pool hall also owns his apartment building, he gets a break on the rent. He tells Miss Sherwood that he's doing OK, and will continue to do OK as long as she doesn't fuck up his life and get him "sent to welfare". Miss Sherwood says that receiving welfare might not be a bad idea, but he threatens to bolt if she does that. He snarls that it's his life, and that it's working...and she says she's going to have to think about all this. She gets up to leave, then turns around and says, "You're too young to live like this" and he retorts, "I haven't been young in a long, long time."
During lunch, Montgomery tells the gang that he might have snagged a record deal for Bruno, and that it's awesome 'cause they're getting in on the ground floor of a new company. Julie reminds him that Bruno hates the kind of music he'll be expected to churn out, but Montgomery points out that he may be able to make some real money at it. Bruno arrives and sits down at the table, and the gang jokes about him forgetting them, the little people, once he's rich and famous.
Miss Sherwood tells Ms. Grant about the icky squalor Leroy is living in. She's contemplating blowing the whistle on his situation so that the system can place him with a foster family (um, he's twenty), but Ms. Grant says he'd probably just run away. Miss Sherwood wrings her hands worriedly and says it's a miracle that Leroy is able to make it to school as often as he does. Not sure why it's such a miracle - the subway goes right to his 'hood.
In Central Park, Montgomery buys ice cream cones for Bruno and Papa Martelli. The record company has prepared a contract for Bruno to sign, but Papa Martelli doesn't like the wording, since it declares that the company will own all the rights to the music that Bruno composes. Montgomery points out that it's a foot in the door, and Bruno says that at his young age, he probably shouldn't be all that choosy. No fucking shit.
Leroy is shirtless and sweaty as he dances by himself in front of the mirror of the dance gym. Ms. Grant enters and sassily asks him what he's doing here and not in English class, so Leroy explains that he was excused from class, and produces a note to that effect. Ms. Grant reads it, makes a face, then declares to Leroy that this is the last time he's evuh going to have the dance gym all to himself. Leroy scrunches his face in confusion and asks her why she's so mad at him, and she mutters, "I'm going to correct that" and stalks out of the room.
Ms. Grant asks Mr. Shorofsky if she can borrow Mrs. Berg - who, for some reason, is hanging out in his classroom. The two women then head over to Miss Sherwood's classroom, and Mrs. Berg whispers something to Miss Sherwood...and a few seconds later, Miss Sherwood rushes out, leaving Mrs. Berg to take over the class.
Mr. Shorofsky asks Bruno if he's a recording maven yet, and Bruno mopishly says he has mixed feelings about signing the record deal because he can't seem to allow himself to be happy or enthusiastic about fucking anything ever. Wise sage Mr. Shorofsky tells him he's afraid of writing junk and being "a schlockmeister" before he fully grasps what it means to create quality music.
Ms. Grant accuses Miss Sherwood of crippling Leroy, then explains that she grew up the way Leroy is living right now. She advises her to give him a failing grade if he is, in fact, failing...'cause it would be wrong to unleash him onto the world if he can't read or write. She gabbles some more about forcing Leroy to be challenged and fight, blah blah blah...and Miss Sherwood looks like she's newly inspired about how to deal with the Leroy situation.
During lunch, Bruno spots Mr. Shorofsky sitting a table eating his lunch...and he sits at a piano and starts playing. Mr. Shorofsky looks up and smiles.
Miss Sherwood storms into the dance gym and tells Leroy in no uncertain terms that she's going to talk and he's going to listen, damn it.
Bruno plays a catchy, interesting sounding tune to prove to Mr. Shorofsky that he can, in fact, compose quality music. Mr. Shorofsky concedes that it was very good - but that he can do better. Bruno glances over at Montgomery, who nods knowingly and promises to cancel the meeting with the record company. The kids then start egging on Mr. Shorofsky to play Bruno's kind of music for a change, and he accepts the challenge and sits at the piano and jokingly grumbles, "No one appreciates good music." He starts playing...and Bruno sits at another nearby piano (there are two pianos in the cafeteria!?) and plays along...and everyone really gets into it and starts bopping to the beat. And a random guy starts playing on a set of drums!
Miss Sherwood tells Leroy it's a crime he has to live in such a shit-hole - but that she'll help him by "going back to the tough way". Leroy cheekily asks her if they can start with the tough stuff next semester, but she sternly says they're going to start with it right now. She orders him to come to her class in two minutes to get his next assignment, then struts out of the room.
Everyone's still dancing wildly to Bruno's/Mr. Shorofsky's piano playing. Three dancers climb atop Bruno's piano, and I truly feared that they would crush the poor instrument. Bruno and Mr. Shorofsky grin joyously at each other, and when they finally finish playing, everyone appreciatively hoots and hollers.
Leroy enters Miss Sherwood's classroom, stands in front of her desk and says, "I'm listening" and she looks very touched and smiles up at him.