Recap: Miss Sherwood arrives at the School of the Arts after her usual early morning jog and encounters a dog in the hallway. She says good morning to him, then explains that since the school doesn't allow dogs, he's going to have to get the hell out, like pronto. The dog quickly trots away from her, and she's like, "Hey! Get back here!" and chases him down the hall and ends up slipping and falling on the wet floor that's in the process of being mopped. A few seconds later, the janitor - an old guy named Tim - appears from out of nowhere and asks her whassup, so she tells him she fell while chasing "that idiot dog". Tim stares at her blankly and goes, "What dog?" and Miss Sherwood says there's no possible way he could have missed seeing him. Tim gets all prickly and insists that he has no idea what she's talking about, so Miss Sherwood gives him the benefit of the doubt and limps off down the hall. Tim stares down at the soapy floor and notices several paw prints, and quickly mops over them. A few seconds later, the dog reappears and sheepishly trots over to Tim. He grumbles, "What are you doing? I'm in enough trouble" and orders the pooch to go find Birdie...and he obediently trots down the stairs.
Ms. Grant is leading her dance class in a series of ballet moves - and as usual, Leroy is stubbornly attired in a pair of alarmingly short shorts. Mr. Shorofsky quietly sneaks into the room, gives Ms. Grant a hey nod, and heads over to the ballet barre. When he pulls out a tape measure and starts measuring the width of the wall, Ms. Grant gets curious, then walks over and asks him whassup. He tells her his doctor ordered him to get more exercise, and the dance gym is the only room in the school that's big enough to house his equipment: a table tennis table. Mrs. Grant derisively goes, "A ping pong table?" and he insists it's not ping pong, it's table tennis, and says that the table folds up and can be propped up against the wall when it's not in use. She gently asks him if playing table tennis is really the best source of exercise and suggests he try playing real tennis, and he argues, "Table tennis is real tennis." Ms. Grant reluctantly grants her permission, 'cause can anyone really say no to an affable, cuddly bear like Mr. Shorofsky? Meanwhile, the dance class students have all exited the room and, for some reason, are clumped together in the doorway, laughing uncontrollably at Ms. Grant's/Mr. Shorofsky's conversation. Ms. Grant barks at them to get back inside and resume their pliéing.
During English class, Montgomery tip-toes over to Miss Sherwood and tells her that something is seriously wrong with Doris (like, more than the usual), and when Miss Sherwood glances over at her, she notices that Doris is sniffling, sneezing, and wheezing. Miss Sherwood tells Montgomery she'll handle it, then goes over to Doris and asks her if she's OK. Doris tells her it's that time of year for her allergies, and adds that she gets stuffed up like this whenever she's near anyone who's had recent contact with a dog. Miss Sherwood smugly blurts out, "It was real!" and asks Doris for her help in proving that there's a dog in the building, 'cause she'd really like to rub it in Tim's face.
Mr. Shorofsky's table tennis table has arrived at the school, and he orders the two delivery guys to wheel it over to the dance gym. Julie asks him why they're getting a ping pong table, and he corrects her by saying, "Table tennis table" and asks her if she's free during sixth period. She tells him she has a music rehearsal, but he dismissively waves a hand in the air and says, "You don't need to rehearse. You have it down pat." He then asks her if she's ever played table tennis, and she raises her eyebrows and looks intrigued.
Miss Sherwood has asked Tim to come up to her classroom and inspect the vents...and a few minutes later, he declares them fully operational. Doris, who's sitting at her desk to determine if she can detect any dog scents on Tim, abruptly gets up and sneaks out of the room. Miss Sherwood insists to Tim that she saw a dog inside the school, and he gets impatient and asks, "Is it really that big of a deal?" She says it isn't, but that she doesn't appreciate him lying to her face. He gets annoyed at the accusation, insists he's never owned a dog, and says he doesn't like being called a liar. After a few more minutes of bickering, he barks, "We're done!" and storms out. In the hall, Doris hides by the water fountain and covertly witnesses Tim anxiously rubbing his face and looking dangerously close to bursting into tears.
Doris finds Bruno by his locker and asks him if he's busy, and he tells her he's about to head home. She asks him if he can stick around for another hour, and explains that she needs help sneaking down to the janitor's office. Danny saunters over toward his locker just as Doris tells Bruno that she suddenly realized Tim the Janitor is a flesh and blood person...and that she's pretty sure he lied to Miss Sherwood about a dog being in the building. Danny asks them what the hell they're talking about, so Bruno tells him that Doris needs lessons on how to sneak around in a dark basement. Danny makes a face and says, "I'll pass"...and as he saunters off, Doris bellows, "What are friends for, anyway? Friends are for turning you down!" As she storms off in the opposite direction, Danny and Bruno guiltily stare at each other, then rush after her.
The three sneak downstairs and into a winding hallway that leads toward the janitor's basement office. Doris says she's expecting to find an abused dog who's seeking refuge at the school...and Danny, who doesn't give a rat's ass about an abused dog, says he's wary of going any further 'cause he doesn't want to get into trouble. Doris bitchily snarks, "I'll break and enter, while you cut and run" so Danny continues to reluctantly forge ahead. Doris suddenly starts to wheeze and sniff and declares, "We're deep in dog territory" and the three stealthily enter Tim's office and find the dog sitting across the room, looking healthy and content. They check out the photos that Tim has hung up on the wall, which are of him and other Broadway dancers. Doris notices a photo of Birdie Whelan, and remarks that her grandmother was a huge fan of his and always carried on about how he was the best. She sadly says, "He's probably gone by now" and suddenly an old man - hey, it's Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High! - appears from the shadows. He retorts, "Nope. I'm still alive" and casually offers to make them some tea. Doris, Bruno, and Danny are shocked at the sight of a strange man squatting in their school's basement and are all, "Wha-a?!"
Birdie tells the Fame kids he's been secretly living in Tim's basement office for the last three months. He got evicted from his room after he was unable to afford the rent - a situation that came about 'cause he broke his hip and had to spend all of his money on medicine. Tim offered to let him move into his place, but his landlord doesn't allow pets...and Birdie refused to part with his dog Clumpy, 'cause they've been together ever since he retired from dancing. He says he won't throw away a close friendship for the sake of a lease - and to that I say BRAVO, Birdie...and FUCK YOU to the landlord who doesn't allow pets in his building. Bruno says his friendship with Tim sounds terrific, and Birdie says that he and Tim became besties after he broke his hip. Tim suddenly enters his office and tells the kids that he and Birdie are, indeed, very special friends. ['Nuff said, Tim. We can all read between the lines here.] Tim warns the kids that if the teachers find out about Birdie, he'll be kicked out of the basement, and then he'll be out of a job. Birdie tells the kids that they just need to raise another $3,000 so that he and Tim can make a down payment on a trailer home in Florida. The kids promise not to breathe a word to anyone about this (as if) and Doris stares concernedly at Birdie and asks him if there's anything she can do for him. He asks her to tell Leroy not to argue with Ms. Grant so much...and when she's all, "Wuh?", he explains that he can hear everything going on in the dance gym through the vents. He thinks that Ms. Grant is a good teacher and that Leroy needs to listen to her "a bit harder". Doris looks amused and says she'll pass along that advice. After the kids leave, Birdie tells Tim, "It sure felt good talking to someone besides you."
Julie and Mr. Shorofsky are playing table tennis...and when she gives him an easyball serve, he calls it "a floating insult" and demand that she not condescend to him. Julie agrees to give him more of a challenging serve, then warns him that she's pretty good at this game...and he smirks and says, "Humor me." Julie re-serves, and a few seconds later, he's able to gain two points on her...and she's all, "Wha-a?" and surprisingly impressed at his table tennis skills.
Just outside the dance gym, Doris tells Miss Sherwood that she just remembered she's allergic to cats, not dogs - but Miss Sherwood looks skeptical. Doris reminds her that when she and Tim were talking in her classroom the other day, he seemed very sincere about not knowing anything about a dog being on the premises. Miss Sherwood points out that Tim merely claimed he didn't own a dog...and that he deliberately chose his words very carefully. Julie suddenly bursts out of the dance gym and incredulously exclaims, "I just got creamed!" and Mr. Shorofsky stands in the doorway, smugly smiling at Doris and Miss Sherwood.
After promising not to tell anyone about Birdie squatting in the basement of the School of the Arts..
Michelle approaches Doris in the hall and says she'd love to help out with the benefit for Tim and Birdie. Doris asks her how she found out about it, so she says she heard all about it from Montgomery, Julie, and Danny. Michelle says, "Everybody knows about it!" and Ms. Grant happens to walk by at that moment and asks, "Knows about what?" Doris quickly says, "Nothing. That's why we're in school...learning" and Ms. Grant's like, "Whatever" and heads over to the dance gym. Doris looks contemplative for several seconds as she mulls over the idea of hosting a benefit for Birdie.
The Fame kids (sans Coco - who, for some reason, isn't in this episode) have gathered in an empty classroom to discuss how feasible it would be to host a benefit. Danny suggests holding it at the Knights of St. Anthony Lodge 'cause they wouldn't charge anything, and it's a venue that can accommodate five hundred people. Leroy bitchily asks when they're supposed to rehearse for this show, and Julie looks alarmed and says, "Surely the school wouldn't refuse to let us help these two guys!" Doris says she sees Leroy's point, but then says they shouldn't think about this so logically and somehow make the benefit happen, and wise old sage Bruno says they can either build a bridge or a wall. He personally chooses bridge, 'cause he'd really like to help out the nice gay couple.
Ms. Grant enters the dance gym and is annoyed when she finds the table tennis table set up in the middle of the room. She asks two of her students to fold it up and put it against the wall, then heads out to the hall to admonish Mr. Shorofsky. She snappishly reminds him that he failed to put his table tennis table away, and he calmly tells her it's not his fault, 'cause the person he was playing last night got so badly creamed that he angrily stormed out...and he can't fold up the table by himself. He then studies Ms. Grant for a few seconds and asks her if she happens to play, but she says no. He murmurs, "Pity.." and ambles away.
Down in the basement, Tim is cooking a pot of pasta on a hot plate while Birdie sits at his desk with Clumpy at his feet. The two men discuss an old soap opera they used to watch, then start bickering like an old married couple. They hear a knock on the door - and it's Doris, who enters the room, along with Julie and Leroy. Tim tells Leroy he's a really good dancer, and Leroy thanks him for the compliment and asks him and Birdie if they've ever regretted becoming dancers. The two men emphatically reply, "Never!" and gabble about how awesome and magical dancing is. Leroy looks newly inspired and says he's going to gyrate his butt off at their upcoming benefit. Oh joy.
Leroy enters the dance gym and loudly informs Ms. Grant that he came in early to rehearse. She asks him why he's talking so loud, so he yells, "I'm full of energy!" and starts jumping around and making a lot of noise. Clumpy's barking can be heard through the vent, so Leroy coughs to mask the sound. Ms. Grant cluelessly tells him he should do something about that cough, and Leroy agrees and leaves. When Clumpy barks again, Ms. Grant cocks her head and looks momentarily puzzled, then shakes her head and gets back to her paperwork. I have absolutely no idea what the purpose of that scene was.
A mischievous looking Ms. Grant finds Mr. Shorofsky in the teacher's lounge and tells him she'd like to set up a table tennis match between him and a friend of hers, Mrs. Peyton-Smythe. Mr. Shorofsky eagerly accepts the challenge and cockily says he'll most likely beat her, the way he's been beating everyone else. Miss Sherwood enters the lounge looking troubled, and tells her colleagues that she found a flyer at her dry cleaners about a benefit that's being performed by students of the School of the Arts. Ms. Grant says it's no problem if it's for some kind of charity, but Miss Sherwood tells her she did some calling around to investigate the beneficiaries of the event and ominously says, "If any of the students step onto that stage Saturday night, they're outta this school like a shot." Egads!
After the bell rings, Miss Sherwood holds back the Fame kids who are involved with the upcoming benefit. She hands them all tardy slips and explains that they're going to be late for their next class. She tells them they need to cancel the event, and Leroy immediately gets all prickly and refuses to discuss it. She sternly warns him that if he has anything to do with the benefit, he's out of the school. Doris barks, "Why? For trying to help somebody?" and Miss Sherwood retorts, "No, for breaking a school rule." She explains that students aren't allowed to raise money for school employees, 'cause it might look like a bribe or "courting favor", so Doris asks, "Isn't it a little difficult to court favor for a janitor?" Miss Sherwood shrugs helplessly and says, "The rule is the rule." [It's a pretty nonsensical rule, even in a non-janitor context.] Leroy asks her if they'd really be expelled, and she confirms that there's a good chance of that. Leroy mulls that over for a few seconds, then declares that he's still doing the benefit - the rules be damned. Miss Sherwood says she can't know anything about the planning of the benefit, otherwise she'll be obligated to report it. That said, she doesn't see any way for them to host the benefit and stay in school. She then abruptly gets up and says, "Officially we're not having this conversation" and dashes out of the room, leaving the Fame kids staring contemplatively into space.
Tim shows Danny and Doris a photo of a trailer home that he and Birdie just put a down payment on. Danny's about to tell him that they're going to have to cancel the benefit - but Doris stops him, points at the photo, and blurts out, "It's gorgeous!" As she steers Danny down the hall, he tells her she's crazy, but she insists, "There's always a way. We just have to find it."
Mr. Shorofsky is in the dance gym, practicing his table tennis skills, when Ms. Grant escorts an Asian woman into the dance gym. She introduces her to Mr. Shorofsky as Mrs. Peyton-Smythe, and tells him she's ready for their table tennis match. Mr. Shorofsky suddenly looks nervous and quietly remarks to Ms. Grant that Chinese people are known for their prowess at table tennis, and Ms. Grant's like, "Good luck with that" and heads out. She pauses outside the doorway and listens as the game gets underway...and Mr. Shorofsky groans in frustration and barks, "Gott in Himmel!" every time he loses a point. Hee!
Ms. Grant and Miss Sherwood arrive at the benefit together, and it looks like there's a pretty good turnout. Montgomery, who's acting as MC, explains to the audience the purpose of the evening: the love between two kindred spirits. To everyone's surprise, he announces that they're all here to honor...wait for it...Clumpy! Er, OK..? Doris brings him onto the stage - which is weird 'cause wasn't she allergic to dogs at the beginning of the episode? She tells the audience that the poor pooch suffers from an arthritic hip, and that the proceeds of tonight's benefit will go towards transporting Clumpy to a warmer climate "where he can run in the fields and rest his hip". LOL. As coincidence would have it, Birdie and Tim have agreed to be his traveling companions. Everyone loudly applauds, and Miss Sherwood chuckles at the tenacious resourcefulness of the Fame kids, grins over at Ms. Grant, and starts clapping.
Show time! The students emerge in glittery yellow costumes, and - no surprise - Leroy is the lead dancer. He breaks out in song, which is very painful to listen to, and does his usual gyrating while periodically thrusting his pelvis. It's hard to imagine that anyone was actually willing to shell out money to sit through this spectacle. Halfway through the performance, Leroy pulls Ms. Grant onto the stage, and she somehow knows all the dance moves and just happened to have worn an outfit that is appropriate for some impromptu dancing.
When the singing and dancing comes to a merciful end, Leroy and Ms. Grant urge Birdie and Tim to take the stage. Birdie tells the audience that Leroy recently asked them how they feel about becoming dancers...and it dawned on him that he forgot to tell him the most important aspect of a dancer's life: dancing makes them feel young. Tim chimes in and says, "The problem with dancing is that there's never an ending to the act." Ms. Grant places top hats atop their heads as Bruno starts playing the piano. Tim and Birdie begin performing...and by performing, I mean they start snapping their fingers, then sing gibberish and do some light dance steps in perfect unison. Everyone is charmed by the obvious love between these very special friends...and on the other side of the room, Doris starts sneezing and wheezing. I guess her dog allergy suddenly decided to kick in again.
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