Recap: Danny has been appointed stage manager for The School of the Arts' latest show, and the power has clearly gone to his head, 'cause he's running around barking, "Five minutes!" at whoever's within earshot. Julie rushes into the theater and explains to Mr. Shorofsky and her orchestra-mates that she's late 'cause someone moved her cello from the storage area...and since she can't locate it, she's stuck with a shitty practice cello.
Recurring cast member Michelle is wearing a long red costume and complaining to Ms. Grant that it's way too big and needs to be altered. That's too bad. No one cares. Go away.
We then get a long, drawn out dress rehearsal of the upcoming show. Coco is the lead singer and dancer - shocker - and from what I can tell, the theme of the show is a girl's nonsensical dream, and the costumes are all over the place: Coco is in an Egyptian style get-up, Leroy is dressed like Robin Hood, and the other dancers are wearing ballet tutus.
Ms. Grant gives the performers shit for their low energy dance moves, and Mr. Reardon jumps on the bandwagon and chides Coco for making a late entrance in one of her scenes. She shoots him the stink-eye...and as everyone files out of the theater after the rehearsal, Ms. Grant asks Coco whassup with her bitchitude, then asks her to stop by the dance gym later for a one-on-one pep talk.
Bruno answers the pay phone when it rings, and it's his pop, telling him he won't be able to pick him up from school today. Papa Martelli doesn't give Bruno any further details, except to ask him to meet him at 50th and 9th. Bruno scrunches his face in confusion and, after he gets off the phone, realizes that that's the address of a hospital.
Papa Martelli is at the nurse's station, flirting with one of the nurses when Bruno arrives at the hospital, and asks him whassup. Papa Martelli informs him that he was in an accident, during which his cab got totalled and he blacked out for a few minutes. He insists he's fine, but the doctor didn't want him to leave unless he had someone to escort him home. On their way to the elevator, they run into Coco, and she tells them she's there to see her ailing grandmother...I mean her special Abuelita.
The nurse snappishly informs Coco that it's way past visiting hours and that they're very strict in Intensive Care. Coco says she had no idea her grandmother was moved there, then begs the nurse to allow her to see her grandmother for at least a few seconds. The nurse instantly softens and sneaks Coco up to the ICU and even places a chair by her grandmother's bed. Coco talks to her for a few minutes, then sings to her before bidding her unconscious loved one good night.
Papa Martelli tells Bruno he has no recollection of the accident, and Bruno unhelpfully exclaims, "That's scary!" Papa Martelli admits he's worried 'cause his taxi driver's license is up for renewal, and one of the questions they ask cab drivers is: have you experienced blackouts or loss of consciousness? Well, d'yuh, Papa Martelli, but I'm pretty sure they're referring to recurring or unexplained losses of consciousness. Then again, maybe you're not smart enough to be driving a cab.
Miss Sherwood babbles to her English students about how difficult it is to write in a non-native language, then announces the names of several team leaders and orders them to each put together a team to work on the next term paper. Team leader Doris chooses Leroy and Bruno, then asks Coco if she'd like to join them...but Coco says she has too much on her mind to think about schoolwork, and rushes out of the classroom. Bruno tells Doris he saw Coco at the hospital last night, then irks Doris when he clams up and doesn't provide any further details.
Julie is storming around the school, outraged at whoever has stolen her cello. It looks like The School of the Arts could use better security.
Ms. Grant and Mr. Reardon are giving everyone a pep talk before the show, and a few seconds later, Danny bursts into the dressing room shouting, "Places!" Michelle complains to Ms. Grant about her costume again, and continues to natter about it until Ms. Grant shoves her out of the room with a firm butt smack. After that, we get to see the show in all of its deranged glory: Doris looks like she's supposed to be the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and other costumes include a cowboy, a Native American, and a Flamenco dancer. Leroy, who's once again dressed as Robin Hood, sings off tune about caterpillars. It's definitely the school's weirdest show to date.
Doris gushes to Coco about how great her performance was, and Coco gives her an unenthusiastic thank you. Bruno ambles over and asks Coco how her grandmother is doing, and she tells him she died...then dashes out of the theater. Doris chases after her and finds her sitting on a bench in the hall looking sad. Coco reminisces about the time her Abuelita allowed her to skip school so they could go to the ocean together, then describes how thrilling it was to see the water and the waves, blah blah. She tells Doris that her grandmother was the most important person in her life, and therefore doesn't know understand she was able to perform so well in the weird show just now. She stares at Doris in bewilderment and wails, "What is this school turning me into?! What am I becoming?!" She then gets up and wanders off, and Doris stares after her concernedly and starts weeping.
In music class, Julie bitches to Mr. Shorofsky about the shitty "factory cello" she's been stuck with since losing her regular cello. Mr. Shorofsky tells her to think of the instrument as her "foster cello" and to shut the fuck up about it and perform the piece she's supposed to be performing.
In the library, Doris, Bruno, and Leroy hatch a plan to recover Julie's missing cello. Leroy suggests they start by scoping out pawn shops, and Danny gets a list of the shops from the yellow pages. Doris reminds them of an important clue: on the bottom of Julie's cello is a brass plaque with her initials inscribed. Good. That oughta make The Case of the Missing Cello a relatively easy one to crack.
Ms. Grant informs Coco that some producer type caught her performance in the weird show they just put on and wants her to audition for him. Coco reminds her about the school's rule against students auditioning, and Ms. Grant chuckles and says, "That's supposed to be my line!" She then admits that the rule is total bullcack, and that no faculty member has ever cared enough to bother enforcing it. She hands Coco a piece of paper with the guy's number written on it and urges her to make the call.
Michelle announces to Ms. Grant that she finally got her costume altered so that it fits her properly - and Ms. Grant gives her a funny look and tells her the show ended last week. Womp womp! Michelle whines about being "a teeny little shrimp" whose costumes never fit, so she's learning how to be a seamstress so she can do her own alterations. Fantastic. No one cares. Go away.
Leroy arrives at a pawn shop and sees a cello displayed in the window. He goes inside to check it out, but doesn't find the tell-tale brass plaque on the bottom of the instrument. Pawn Store Guy tells Leroy he has another, better cello in the back room...and when he brings it over to the counter, Leroy examines it and finds Julie's brass plaque on the bottom. He busts Pawn Store Guy for trying to peddle stolen goods, and tells him that if he doesn't let him walk out of the store with the cello, he's going to call the police. Pawn Store Guy sheepishly caves to Leroy's demands and allows him to take it.
Coco is helping Mr. Shorofsky pile a bunch of boxes onto a storage shelf. She gabbles to him about how special her Abuelita was, then says she sometimes worries that her over-ambitiousness is preventing her from having a healthy balance in her life.
Leroy is prancing down the street carrying Julie's cello when a cop stops him and asks him what he's doing with that fancy instrument...and instead of just telling him anything that resembles the truth, Leroy glances around shiftily and tells the cop he's on his way to cello class. The skeptical cop orders him to prove it by playing something, so Leroy seats himself on a wooden crate and pretends to know what he's doing...but when it's clear that he can't play worth a crap, the cop orders him to come with him to the station.
Doris tells Bruno how troublesome she finds it that Coco doesn't seem very interested in her upcoming audition...and a few seconds later, Michelle flounces over to show them her newly shortened costume. Someone please explain to me why this girl hasn't melted into the background yet. Doris then decides she doesn't have the right to get all up in Coco's bidness, while Bruno suddenly gets a brilliant idea and mutely rushes out of the room.
Bruno finds Coco moping by herself in the dance gym. He reminds her of all the times he's accompanied her (on the piano) during her auditions, then says he now needs her to return the favor. She's like, "Can do" and asks him when and where the audition is...and he grins and goes, "You tell me" and says he needs her to accompany him to her audition. She grins at her clever friend and gives him the time and place of her audition, and he promises to meet her there. Michelle (fuuuuuuuuuuck) bounds into the dance gym to show Coco and Bruno that she's further altered her red costume into a skimpy leotard, and Coco throws her a bone and tells her it looks hot.
Coco, Doris, and Julie are summoned to the office in response to a phone call from Leroy, who's being detained at the police station for cello theft.
When the three arrive at the police station, Julie happily reunites with her cello while Doris and Coco explain to the cop that Leroy was merely trying to return the stolen instrument to its rightful owner. As they bicker with the crusty cop, Julie starts playing a song on her cello and gets all fancy with the bow...and everyone falls silent and stares over at her in awe. The cop looks impressed and says, "If that ain't your cello, it sure as hell ought to be." And now that the boring mystery of the missing cello has been solved, he orders the Fame kids to beat it.
Papa Martelli tells Bruno that he accidentally took his (Bruno's) wallet when he went to get his taxi driver's license renewed and is certain he's losing his mind. Bruno chuckles and tells him it's his fault, 'cause he's the one who took the wrong wallet to school, then curses his aunt for buying both of them wallets that look exactly the same. At this point, I was fully expecting Michelle to burst in and show the two men how she fashioned her skimpy red leotard into a barely there red bikini.
Coco arrives late for her audition because of the whole cello situation and finds Mr. Shorofsky in the waiting area. He explains that he's filling in for Bruno, then tells her that the stage manager is a former student of his, so he asked him to move her name further down on the list so she'd have enough time to get there. He then uses her lateness of an example of why she shouldn't worry about being overly ambitious - meaning, she made it a priority to help out a friend instead of being on time for an audition. Coco shoots him a grateful smile and invites him to go with her to the ocean after the audition, and he smiles back and tells her he'd love to. (Further proof that Mr. Shorofsky is awesome.) Coco's name is then called, and she heads over to the stage and belts out a tune, sounding not half bad...and after she finishes, somewhere from out of the darkness the producer chirps, "You did a wonderful job!" and then the scene fades to black.