Fame - Season 2, Episode 11
Recap: Ms. Grant asks the man who's installing the new lighting in the school's theater how it's going, and he assures her he'll have the work done by tomorrow. After Ms. Grant ambles off, the man bellows, "Schwartz!" and a young Bruno Kirby appears. The man calls him Marty and asks him to go fetch the junction box from the truck.
Dwight posts the cast list for the school's upcoming show, and Julie squeals, "I got the lead!" while Doris glumly says she didn't get the part she wanted...then whines about how she wishes she were tall, thin, and had giant hooters. The lighting guy suddenly appears in the lobby and bellows, "Schwartz!" again, and Doris yells back, "Ovuh heeee!" The guy says he's looking for Schwartz the Lighting Guy, and Doris sassily barks back, "Do I look like Schwartz the Lighting Guy?" and he gives her a quick once-over and goes, "Uh...yeah. Sorta." Danny suddenly rushes into the lobby and yells, "Hey, Schwartz!" and Marty, who's loafing nearby, goes, "Yeah?" When the Schwartz misunderstandings finally run their course, Doris spots Marty standing across the lobby staring at her, and he slowly walks toward her. She shoots him a look of incredulity and goes, "Is it you?" and he grins and cheekily retorts, "No." She grins back and tells him he looks great and announces that she's going to give her long lost big brother a big hug. After the two hug and get caught up on each others' lives, Doris asks him if mom and dad know he's in town, and he says they don't and would rather she didn't blab it to them. He adds, "Dad isn't going to apologize - and neither am I." Doris points out that four years have passed since their falling out - but before Marty can answer, the bell rings. She asks him where he's living, and he tells her, "The East Village", and she promises to visit him soon (even though she didn't think to ask for his address). The lighting guy finds him and bellows, "Schwartz!", says he needs the junction box like pronto, and orders Marty to get back to work.
Ms. Grant polls her students about what genre of dance they'd prefer to perform for the upcoming recital, and they overwhelmingly vote for jazz. She nods and says, "Jazz wins" and Leroy expresses surprise and bewilderment that she's actually letting them decide something.
Bruno is stunned to learn that Doris has an older brother, and is blown away by the fact that she hasn't spoken to him in over four years. She explains that he fled to Canada while trying to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War ten years ago...and when he came home during the Carter amnesty, his dad was so upset by his draft dodging that he couldn't bring himself to forgive him. Dude...let it go already.
Mrs. Berg returns Ms. Grant's address book and tells her she contacted everyone in it to attend the school's upcoming recital and that it took her all afternoon. Ms. Grant's all, "Wha-a?!" and says she was only supposed to invite the four people whose names she underlined. Mrs. Berg looks sheepish and says she mistook the regular page lines for underlines and called everyone in the address book, including Ms. Grant's first ballet teacher, Louisa Stefanovich. Ms. Grant starts to wig out, but manages to keep it together enough to assure Mrs. Berg that it was an honest mistake. Sort of. Considering that Mrs. Berg isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, it might have been less confusing if Ms. Grant had simply given her a list of the four people she wanted to invite - not handed over the entire address book.
When Papa Schwartz arrives home from work, Doris barks at him to not come into the kitchen and spoil the surprise. She orders him to sit at the dining room table and keep his eyes closed, which he obediently does. While he's doing that, Doris and her mom bring out plates heaped with food...and Doris asks him if he knows what Saturday is. He says, "It's the eighteenth" then grimaces and adds, "It's his birthday...so what?" He says he doesn't give a hoot about Marty and likes that the draft dodging coward is out of their lives. Doris urges him to rethink his cunty attitude toward his own flesh and blood, but he refuses to put himself through another ill-fated reconciliation attempt and storms upstairs. Doris and her mom exchange troubled expressions and vow to keep trying to get through to the stubborn dickwad.
Ms. Grant tells her colleagues that stupid Mrs. Berg accidentally invited Louisa Stefanovich, her first ballet teacher, to the upcoming dance recital. She's irked about it 'cause she's afraid Louisa will see Leroy et. al. gyrating to jazz music and be unimpressed with what's become of her life. Sounds like a reasonable concern. She then decides that Louisa might be impressed if she injected some ballet moves into the recital...and hopes the kids don't notice.
Doris drops by Marty's apartment to implore him to come over to the house. When Marty makes a face, she fibs and says their dad is open to seeing him - but that he's going to need to make the first step. Marty tells her he doesn't want to go back to that house, but Doris says they're a family who needs each other. She wails, "Am I the only person who wants the family back together?!" and Marty quietly mulls that over.
During rehearsal, Ms. Grant tries to sneak some ballet moves into the production - but Leroy calls her on it and reminds her that she allowed them to choose what they wanted to perform and jazz had won out. He accuses her of breaking her word, but she denies that and insists she's just trying something new.
Marty arrives at Casa Schwartz just as Mama Schwartz emerges from the kitchen with a birthday cake and sets it on the dining room table. Marty stiffly says hello to his father, and Papa Schwartz just glares and asks him if he's healthy and working. Marty's like, "Uh...yeah" so Papa Schwartz mumbles, "Happy birthday...goodbye. Get him outa here." When his wife is all, "Wha-a?!", Papa Schwartz asks Marty if he came to apologize, and Marty says he came because stupid Doris led him to believe that there was a viable chance they could be a family again. Papa Schwartz asks him if he still thinks what he did was right, and Marty says he does, so his dad barks, "Then we have nothing to say to each other." Doris reminds her dad that it's Marty's birthday, and he grumbles to no one in particular, "Doris is the actor here, not me" and storms upstairs. What a malevolent dickwad. Doris blames herself for the evening's disastrous outcome (well d'yuh), but Marty forgives her 'cause she simply wanted her dad and brother to reconcile...but then chides her for lying about Papa Dickwad being willing to listen.
Bruno's in one of the music rooms at school, laboring over the music for Ms. Grant's recital, when Dwight enters the room for no apparent purpose with a sousaphone. He mumbles something and leaves a few seconds later...and then Mr. Shorofsky drops by and offers to help Bruno hammer out the piece for the recital.
Doris enters the theater and ambles onto the stage, where Marty is working on the lighting installation. She apologizes for messing up his birthday, and he says it wasn't her fault and that she had good intentions. She asks him if he'd ever consider coming by the house again, and he says, "Not likely" and says that sometimes things don't work out when one has a family member who's extraordinarily dickish and inflexible. She urges him to leave the door open until she can convince Papa Dickwad to be more receptive to a reconciliation...and when Marty says he's really not up to it anymore, she insists on doing it whether he wants her to or not. So there.
Ms. Grant is presiding over the dance rehearsal...and Leroy, who's wearing his usual short shorts, looks discombobulated with the mixture of jazz and ballet and abruptly stops dancing. He grumbles, "You have to be kidding" and Ms. Grant sassily assures him she is not, then explains that she's trying "a combo plate" and urges them all to try again.
Papa Dickwad is up late, watching news in the living room when Doris lumbers downstairs and joins him on the couch. He asks her if she's mad at him, and she says, "A little" so he explains that he believes in things...and if you take a person's beliefs away, there's nothing left. Doris points out that Marty also believes in things...then asks if it's too much to expect family members to be allowed to have their own beliefs and still be united as a family. Papa Dickwad chuckles and says, "It's tough having a daughter who's smarter than I am" and Doris earnestly says she's smart enough to know what's important in life. She wails, "I need a family!" and Papa Dickwad lets out a big sigh and says, "Yeah, I was thinking I need one of those too." She offers to try to get Marty to come back to the house, but Papa Dickwad can't bring himself to commit to not act like a rude turd in his son's presence. Doris suggests, "Just let him be here and see what happens" and Papa Dickwad smiles and promises to give it a try. Doris lights up and kisses her dad, and on her way back to bed, she slips into a little girl voice and says, "Daddy...I love you" then scampers up the stairs like a ten year old.
During the dance rehearsal, Ms. Grant barks at her students, "Dance like you mean it! Jump in the air!" but everyone looks bored and lackluster. Leroy, who's in his usual short shorts, suddenly goes rogue and starts gyrating...and Ms. Grant cross her arms in annoyance and warily watches the nut-sack jiggling spectacle. When he's finally gyrated-out, she barks at everyone to take the ballet-jazz number from the top.
Dwight is shuffling around the lobby, monitoring the halls while playing his sousaphone. I wonder why this gnome is never in class...and, more importantly, why this superfluous character hasn't yet been written off the show. He encounters Doris and demands to know where she's going, and she tells him she has to go have a very important talk with her brother. Dwight refrains from making a citizen's arrest and allows her to leave, and a grateful Doris remarks that it looks like he dropped a few pounds and is lookin' good. Dwight beams with delight.
Marty tells Doris that when he fled to Canada to avoid serving in the Vietnam War, he thought it was the right thing to do...and still thinks it was. That said, he never felt like he fit in among the Canadians...but now that he's back in the U.S. he's annoyed that he still isn't the world's hottest lighting director, and also hates having to risk facing his father's wrath every time they're in the same room together. He laments, "There's too much hurt in that house" and says he's officially giving up on a reconciliation. A frustrated and angry Doris storms out.
Doris drops by Casa Martelli and asks Bruno if she can stay the night, and he says it's no problem and asks her if she wants to talk about whatever's bothering her. She declines, except to tell him that he's lucky to have such a cool pop, and that the two comprise a tight family unit. Bruno concurs, then says, "This might help" and [fuuuuuuuuuck] starts playing a wretched sounding tune on his synthesizer. Doris somehow knows the lyrics and starts singing along...and it appears to help her work through her dysfunctional family issues. Papa Martelli comes downstairs, nods appreciatively, and remarks, "Boy do I ever love that song" - LOL - and we learn that Bruno wrote it when the two of them were going through a rough patch. Papa Martelli tells Doris that the song "cut through all the hurt", and Doris credits him for being a good listener and asks if he could please give her a fatherly hug.
Ms. Grant seems happy with her students' progress for the upcoming ballet-jazz recital, and after a session of flitting, leaping, and twirling, a bunch of people start arriving at the school. Turns out when Mrs. Berg mistakenly invited everyone in Ms. Grant's address book to the recital, she also got the date wrong...and everyone thinks it's today. The guests stream into the dance gym - including one Louisa Stefanovich, who limps along with a cane. Ms. Grant gushingly greets her, and Louisa sternly asks her if she got to be very good. Ms. Grant chuckles nervously and replies, "I dunno. Let's find out" then makes a beeline over to her students and informs them they're going to have to perform the ballet-jazz number right now. She implores them not to not fuck it up and reveals that her much respected, former ballet teacher is in the house and she doesn't want to look like a total failure in front of the woman.
The students manage to pull off a stunning performance with lots of split leaping, twirling...and gyrating from Leroy - but thankfully on this day he's wearing tights. When they finish, Louisa Stefanovich stares sternly into space as everyone around her enthusiastically claps...but a few seconds later, she joins in and claps along. Ms. Grant looks relieved, especially after Louisa starts blowing her kisses. Phew! Performing arts crisis averted.
Papa Dickwad drops by Marty's apartment and gruffly says he's looking for Doris. Marty tells him she's not here - but tells him she dropped by yesterday to wail at him about how much she needs an intact family unit. Papa Dickwad tells his son he doesn't think he'll ever understand his weeny-penis decision to dodge the draft, and Marty says that since they're both adults now, it's OK for them to have differing opinions. One of them (can't remember who 'cause I kind of zoned out during this scene) recalls that Doris once said something like, "Family is more important than any differences that exist between the members of the family", and the two agree that as father and son they need to giddyup on the kissing/making up before the end credits start to roll. Both men tear up, and Papa Dickwad exclaims, "Four and a half years of missing someone is long enough!" and, just like that, the two hug out ten years' worth of bad blood.
Papa Dickwad says they should probably go look for Doris...and when he opens the door, he finds her standing on the doorstep looking on the verge of happy tears. She tells them she's been standing there for awhile, eavesdropping (which is weird), and the three collapse together in a long-awaited family hug.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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