Recap: The students are gathered in front of the School of the Arts, showcasing their latest dance moves. Leroy, who (thankfully) is modestly dressed in a tank top and baggy sweats, is gyrating his torso suggestively and flailing his taut limbs around while the spectators all clap and bop along. Inside, Montgomery is typing up an information sheet about the school's 7th Annual Benefit, and we learn that he's in charge of the entire audition process. Incidentally, I wonder what Montgomery's performing arts skill could possibly be? Maybe drama, like Doris.
Bruno's sitting in the back of his father's cab, getting a ride to school. Papa Martelli tells his son he's concerned that he's rehearsing too much, and warns him that his music could get stale if he keeps playing it over and over again. Bruno dreamily replies, "Making music is like making love - it always gets better" and Papa Martelli's all, "Wha-a?!" and has to swerve to avoid hitting a group of construction men, then spills coffee all over his pants.
Leroy chides Coco for reading the trades, but she insists it's her bible. She tells him her band (meaning Bruno's band) is looking for a gig, so Leroy hands her a crumpled piece of paper and abruptly dashes off somewhere.
Just before Papa Martelli drops Bruno off at school, he chides him for never wanting to perform for people...but Bruno just shrugs and says he's passive in his fervent hope that his musical genius will somehow get around "by word of mouth". As soon as he enters the building, Coco rushes over to him, hands him the crumpled piece of paper she got from Leroy, and excitedly asks, "Whaddya think about this gig for the band?" Bruno glances at it, makes a blech face, then hands it back to her without replying. Coco begs him to reconsider auditioning for the 7th Annual Benefit show and points out that it would be great exposure...but he's just like, "Meh" and makes it clear that he has no desire to perform in front of anyone. Ever.
Danny, with his girlish, feathered '80s 'do, is practicing a stand-up schtick about the hardships of being short while using a hanging light as a pretend microphone. Montgomery enters the room and quietly watches the grisly act. Danny starts telling a joke about the Bronx, then stops when he realizes it sucks. It's a relief to know that he has at least some self awareness. He spots Montgomery standing at the back of the room and pretends as though he's there to check the stage's lighting. Montgomery shows him his information sheet and invites him to audition for the Benefit show.
Doris lectures Julie about how important it is to be skilled in as many performing arts disciplines as possible. She's somehow deluded herself into believing that when her big chance comes, she'll be filled with so much adrenaline that she'll magically be awesome at everything! The two discuss Mr. Shorofsky's midterm proficiency exams, and Doris remarks on how nerve wracking it is to get up in front of everyone and perform. Bruno, who's ambling down the hall, overhears her and glumly hangs his head. He tells Julie he thought that Shorofsky's exams were performed privately, but Julie informs him that he suddenly changed that policy - which means everyone has to perform their proficiency exam in front of the class. Egads! Bruno furrows his brows and looks troubled.
In drama class, Doris is performing a scene with Danny and two extras...and for some reason, Danny's wearing an unspeakable looking crop top. Maybe he's playing the role of a man who likes showing off his untoned abs. Doris botches the scene 'cause she appears way too emotionless for a doctor who's just lost a patient on the operating table...and after she listlessly delivers her lines, the drama teacher stares at her in bewilderment and goes, "Doris?! What are you doing?" She tells him she concocted a backstory about the doctor and decided that he's too overworked and tired to display any emotions. The teacher orders her to put more feeling into the performance...then hints that she should maybe sing at the upcoming audition in lieu of showcasing her sucky acting abilities.
Proficiency exams are underway in Mr. Shorofsky's music class. Bruno looks freaked when his name is called...and he lumbers over to the piano and just sits there numbly. After a few more seconds of nothingness, Mr. Shorofsky impatiently says, "We are waiting, Mr. Martelli." Bruno looks nervous and makes a couple of false starts - and when he does finally start playing, the music sounds terrible.
Over in the dance gym, Ms. Grant is leading her class in a painful looking abs strengthening exercise. She barks, "It hurts! It's supposed to hurt. There's no gain without strain." Mercifully the bell rings, and Coco runs over to the bulletin board, tears off a flyer, then slips out of the room.
After class, Bruno glumly tells Mr. Shorofsky that his proficiency exam performance sucked, and Mr. Shorofsky's like, "Well, d'yuh." He reminds Bruno that he's played in front of his classmates lots of times and never sucked that badly, so Bruno explains that it's different in an exam situation 'cause it feels like he's in a courtroom. Mr. Shorofsky says at some point he's going to have to embrace playing his music for people...and Bruno looks contemplative as he mulls that over. He runs into Coco in the hallway, and she excitedly tells him they need to sign up for the Benefit auditions 'cause the event gets advertised in the New York Times. Bruno grumps, "I don't want to" and she gets irked and calls him a rat fink. She reminds him that the guys he's been rehearsing with desperately want to play in the show, but he continues to not give a rat's ass. As he shuffles off in his usual dejected manner, Coco shrieks after him, "That's fine! That's really fine, Bruno!"
It's audition time! Some dork we've never seen before is playing the accordion while dancing, but Montgomery isn't impressed by the weird combination and tells him to stop. Coco cuts in line, then slips into the audition room and hands Montgomery a cassette tape (hee! remember those?). She explains that Bruno's too much of a fraidy cat to audition and asks if she can just submit a tape of his music instead. Montgomery is hesitant and says that technically it's against the rules, but then agrees to listen to it. The next person to audition is Doris, and when Montgomery asks her to state her name, she shoots him the stink eye and says, "Eva Peron."
Montgomery runs into Leroy, who's getting caught up on his poetry reading in an empty classroom. He tells Leroy he's a sure thing for the 7th Annual Benefit show, then asks him to keep the news quiet until the flunkies who didn't make the cut find out through the official channels. Leroy grins happily.
Bruno and Papa Martelli are in the basement of their hovel, discussing their greatest fears in life. For Papa Martelli it's heights. He tells Bruno he should get in the habit of playing his music without headphones on so he can share his talent with the world more. Bruno takes his advice and looks positively orgasmic while he performs a lame sounding song about how "the whole world is laughing at you" (which it probably is since you insist on playing the keyboard with an orgasmic expression on your face). Papa Martelli smiles and nods approvingly...and the song blends into the next scene, where Bruno is performing it in one of the music rooms at school. Mr. Shorofsky listens to him from the doorway, then asks him why he wasn't able to perform that well during his proficiency exam...and Bruno's like, "I dunno."
Montgomery posts the audition results, then scurries over to Ms. Grant and Miss Sherwood to lament about how much he hates being the bearer of bad news for the students who weren't chosen to be in the show. Ms. Grant looks over the cast list and points out something to Miss Sherwood, who then tells Montgomery that he has even more bad news to deliver.
Doris is thrilled when she learns she made it in the show and yelps, "I made it!" but when Danny doesn't find his name on the list, he snarks, "I didn't, and that's dumb." He bellyaches to Julie about how dumb it is that his dumb act didn't make it into the show, but Doris' dumb act did...then storms off like the impertinent little bitch he is.
Montgomery tells Leroy that since his grades are in the toilet, he won't be permitted to perform in the show. Leroy reacts all bitchy and growls at him, so Montgomery reminds him that he doesn't make up the rules. Leroy bellows, "That don't do nuthin' for me! That don't do nuthin' for me!" Montgomery offers him a gig as a helper for the show, and Leroy snarks, "A helper?! Do I look like a helper to you?" then stomps off angrily. Montgomery scrunches his face in misery and mutters, "I hate this job."
Leroy bumps into Bruno, which causes him to drop his music sheets. As the two bend down to pick up the papers, Leroy grumbles, "I ain't in no mood for socializing" and tells Bruno about how he got "aced out" of the show...even though he has only himself to blame for his shitty grades. Bruno expresses his condolences, but Leroy bitterly retorts that he has no reason to feel bad, since his band is in the show. Bruno's all, "Wha-a?!" then realizes that Coco must have pulled some strings during the audition process. He mutters, "I'll kill her.."
In drama class, Doris redoes the scene where she's a doctor - but this time she delivers a performance that's unrealistically over emotional, which includes a lot of fake weeping. The drama teacher stares at her, befuddled, and goes, "Doris?! What are you doing?" She tells him she's now decided that the doctor was having an affair with the person who just died on the operating table...and he just stares back at her in mute shock.
Danny asks Coco if he can play in her band during the Benefit show, but she's like, "Ew. No" and once again he storms off. She heads over to the music room where Bruno's playing something shrill and terrible on the keyboard. She sheepishly asks him if he's pissed off at her for submitting his tape at the audition, and he's like, "Well d'yuh" and accuses her of ignoring his phobia about performing music in public. I do not get why a wet blanket like Bruno attends a performing arts school if he's so stubbornly unwilling to ever perform his art. Coco tells him that a group of talent agents will be at the event and excitedly adds, "This is big time stuff!" But Bruno doesn't care about agents or being in a show...and shuffles off in search of a rock he can hide under.
Leroy enters the teachers' lounge and recites poetry for Miss Sherwood. She tells him it sounds nice and everything, but she's still not giving him the extra credit that'll make him eligible to perform in the show. Well that's just bitchy and mean. Leroy tells her that everyone wants him to be in the show, then informs her that he's been appointed as Montgomery's helper and that he's very proud of his role. Er...OK. Wasn't he just angrily snarking to Montgomery about how much he didn't look like a helper, like five minutes ago?
Leroy's in the dance gym, staring sadly at himself in the mirror. Danny enters the room and sits on the floor beside him, and the two commiserate about not being in the Benefit show. Leroy pretends to be sooo over it and says he doesn't need the dumb show, 'cause he can do his thing anywhere...and Danny says it's a lot tougher for him, since his art requires that he perform in front of an audience. Leroy thinks that being a comedian is easy, and dismissively says, "Anybody can tell a joke" so Danny challenges him to tell one. Leroy goes, "Have you heard the one about the white boy who could dance really good? Now that's really a joke." Danny mulls that over and declares it funny, and a few seconds later the two burst out laughing. It's probably a funnier joke than any material Danny's ever going to come up with.
Bruno is orgasmically playing piano in an empty classroom when Mr. Shorofsky enters. Bruno explains that he's too terrified to perform in front of people, then says home entertainment is where it's at...and would therefore prefer it if people just bought his tape. Mr. Shorofsky insists that it's important for an artist to get feedback from a live audience 'cause artists are narcissistic and crave adulation and applause. Bruno points out that not every audience will approve of his music, then barks, "Pass!" What a moron.
Montgomery and Leroy arrive at the hotel where the Benefit is being held...and soon after, Ms. Grant and the other members of the faculty arrive. Miss Sherwood says hey to Leroy, but he just grunts at her in return. She reminds the surly twerp that he didn't get kicked out of school, just the show - so he haughtily predicts that it's going to be a terrible show 'cause he's not in it...and she laughs heartily at his obnoxiously ginormous ego.
Doris and Danny get into the hotel elevator with a group of extras. He offers to introduce her act, but she bitchily declines.
Coco arrives at the hotel and gets all excited when she sees Bruno ambling around the ballroom. She exclaims, "I knew you'd come!" but he tells her not to get too hopeful, 'cause he's only there to deliver equipment for the band. A few seconds later, three talent agency guys arrive, and Julie makes an ass of herself gushing over them.
Doris and Danny are alone in the elevator, bickering like an old married couple. Suddenly, the lights go out and the elevator gets stuck...and it looks like there's a brownout in the entire hotel. Danny, who's suddenly in need of comfort, thinks he's squeezing Doris' hand but is actually squishing her purse.
The guests inside the ballroom light the candles that are on their tables, and Mr. Shorofsky beams and says the ambiance has just dramatically improved. Julie gushes to the talent agents that sitting by candlelight is very romantic, which was weird and inappropriate.
Doris tries to explain to Danny that he's a stupid moron, and Danny tries to dispel that myth with some stupid and moronic jokes - but she orders him to shut it, 'cause she doesn't like to laugh while she's afraid of the dark. She asks why him he doesn't like her and always says mean things to her, and he's surprised that her impression of him is so terrible. He says he truly had no idea that he's been acting like such a rude assfuck, then admits he wanted to be in the show a lot more than he realized. She suggests that they wipe the slate clean - then introduces herself as though they've just met...and he responds with a polite retort and compliments her ugly red dress.
Coco asks Bruno how long he thinks the brownout will last, and he says maybe a couple of hours. Coco's all, "Wha-a?!" and doubts that the talent agents will want to hang around that long. Bruno shrugs indifferently, and she gets irked that he doesn't give a rat's ass.
Danny and Doris are canoodling on the floor of the elevator...which, ew. He tells her he likes to tell jokes 'cause he's afraid that stories about his real life wouldn't be as interesting. Well, d'yuh. She encourages him to talk about himself more (shut up, Doris), and try to come up with funny material related to stuff that's really happened to him. And now that she's feeling really warm and fuzzy toward him, she offers to let him introduce her act.
In the ballroom, everyone's waiting around in the dark, twiddling their thumbs. Mr. Shorofsky remarks on how sad it is that kids today are unable to make music without electricity. Meanwhile, the three talent agents announce that they have to leave 'cause they're due at another show soon. Noooo!!
Faced with the possibility of performing without the presence of talent agents, the students suddenly leap toward the stage and start an impromptu show sans electricity. One guy plays on the drums, while a bunch of dancers start leaping and twirling about. Leroy, who's dressed in a tight t-shirt and super snug jeans, takes center stage and starts singing while thrusting his pelvis. The faculty members smile and bop their heads to the beat, so I guess they're OK with Leroy being in the show despite the rule that students can't perform if their grades are too shitty. But then, this is a performing arts emergency, so rules be damned! Bruno smiles and nods over at Coco, then runs over to the piano and starts playing...and Coco gets in on the action and jumps atop the talent agents' table and shakes her booty. Leroy follows suit and jumps atop Ms. Grant's table, and soon all the students are dancing and twirling around the ballroom in perfect unison. Afterward, everyone claps enthusiastically...and the talent agents give the performance a standing ovation.
Amid the applause, Mr. Shorofsky gets up and yells, "Boo! Boo!" Everyone stares at him and is all, "Wuh?" so he informs Bruno that he's just been booed. He asks him if the world ended because he just performed in front of an audience...and Bruno sheepishly says it hasn't. Mr. Shorofsky tells him that a performer has to have the courage to be bad...but then says he doesn't think he'll be booed very often. After that, everyone claps specifically for Bruno, who smiles happily for the first time in his miserable young life. Meanwhile, an exhausted looking Papa Martelli arrives with amplifiers a few seconds before the power in the hotel is fully restored. The students all rush over to help him with the equipment, and Mr. Shorofsky glumly blows out the candle on his table.
Doris tells Danny that they shouldn't let their experience being trapped in an elevator go to waste, and says how great it was that they were so honest with each other. She reminds him that there are more important things in life besides egos and shows, and he agrees...in theory, anyway. The two exit the elevator together arm in arm...but when they suddenly hear someone yell, "Hey everybody! It's show time!" they both sprint toward the ballroom.