Fame - Season 2, Episode 21
Recap: Ms. Grant is barking at her dance class to perform and hold various ballet moves and positions - plié! tendu! arabesque! - while a couple of music students beat drums to maintain the rapid tempo. When Mrs. Berg knocks on the door, Ms. Grant tells the class to take five, then barks at Leroy and Danny to come out into the hall with her. She says they should be ashamed of the job they did with the props during last night's play, and grumbles about how filthy the wine glasses were. Danny's all, "Wuh?" and assures her he washed the glasses, but she's like, "Oh no you diin't!" Leroy says he wasn't even there 'cause he was sick with the flu last night, and she snaps, "No excuses!" and threatens to pull them both out of the Alumni Day festivities - egads! - to teach them a lesson. A few seconds later, she pretends to rethink that and murmurs, "Maybe there's another way.." and pulls a piece of paper out of her legging and says it contains the name and address of a School of the Arts alumnus who desperately needs help with something important. She says if they're helpful to her friend, she'll allow them to take part in Alumni Day. Leroy and Danny agree to give it a whirl and amble off down the hall...and once they're safely out of hearing range, Mrs. Berg frowns in disapproval and tells Ms. Grant she was a total dick to them just now. Ms. Grant agrees, then gleefully exclaims, "That was part of the plan!" and Mrs. Berg looks intrigued and agrees that treating students shittily is A-OK as long as it's part of a long-range plan that they're being kept totally in the dark about.
Leroy checks out the address on the piece of paper Ms. Grant gave them and warns Danny that it's in a sketchy neighborhood, and that the dude they're meeting with is someone named Brother Timothy.
Brother Timothy, an old friend of Ms. Grant's from her Broadway dancing days, greets Leroy and Danny when they arrive at his church and tells them how thrilled he is that they've agreed to help him out. As they stare back at him blankly, he explains that a group of prepubescent boys who sing in his church choir are also enrolled in the church athletic league...and they're in desperate need of a basketball coach. He tells them that Ms. Grant volunteered their services to whip the boys into shape, and Leroy and Danny are all, "Basketball? Wuh?" and look less than thrilled.
A confused looking man ambles around the School of the Arts, then spots Dwight and explains that he works for Johnny Wilcox and needs to discuss the alumni event with whoever's in charge. Dwight lights up and shrieks, "The Johnny Wilcox?! Mr. Entertainment?! Greatest entertainer ever to be lured onto a stage?!" then gushes about what a big fan he is, and that Johnny Wilcox is one of the reasons he came to this school. The guy's like, "That's nice, I don't give a shit" and asks who he should speak to regarding the alumni event, and Dwight points him in the direction of the main office and says to ask for Mrs. Berg. Dwight scampers happily down the hall...and somehow ends up crashing into a freshly painted banner that Julie and Kelly were working on. While covered in paint, he excitedly bellows, "Johnny Wilcox is coming to Alumni Day!" and the gals are all, "Johnny Wilcox! Woo hoo!"
Danny and Leroy try to convince Brother Timothy that they're much too busy studying biology to coach basketball - a game neither of them has any experience with or basic knowledge of - and he's like, "Fair enough" but insists that they be the ones to deliver this devastating news to the boys. He leads them into a back room, where the boys (one of whom is a young Malcolm-Jamal Warner) are having their choir practice. When they finish their song, Brother Timothy acknowledges to them that he promised to find basketball coaches, then introduces Danny and Leroy. After the kids clap enthusiastically, Brother Timothy says that Leroy has an announcement to make. Leroy steps forward and tells the kids he knows nothing about basketball and even less about words...which is why he's going to let Danny make the actual announcement. LOL. Danny steps forward and remarks that it's clear how important the basketball game is to all of them, and one kid nods and explains that last year they got creamed by the other team, who then rubbed their noses in it...so all they need is a little help to not get creamed again. Danny says they deserve the best coaches - something he and Leroy are most certainly not - then loses his nerve and promises that they'll coach them to the best of their ability. As the kids applaud, Brother Timothy beams with smug satisfaction, while Leroy scowls and looks dismayed.
Back in the dance gym, Leroy snarls at Danny that he has no intention of coaching basketball and doesn't give a rat's ass about having to sit out the Alumni Day production, 'cause there's always going to be another show he can gyrate in. LOL - right?! Danny refuses to believe he's serious and says he fully expects to see him at the first practice. Ms. Grant breezes into the dance gym and says she has an announcement to make regarding the Alumni Day show, then barks, "You need to think fierce fierce fierce!" and explains that on Alumni Day, they're going to be performing alongside the legendary Johnny Wilcox. Leroy perks up at that news, and a smug Danny reminds him of the time/address of the first basketball practice.
Leroy and Danny are in the church gymnasium, attempting to coach the boys. Leroy, who's decked out in a yellow knitted muscle shirt, doesn't attempt to hide the fact that he's unaware of the basic rules of basketball and is reading aloud from a book titled The Basics of Basketball. After a few painful minutes of that, Danny gets things rolling by telling the kids to practice their hoop shooting. While they're doing that, some guy enters the gym, introduces himself as the coach of the opposing team, and asks them when they'll be done their practice. He dickishly brags about how his team beat their sorry little team last year, and that beating them again is going to be even more fun than it was last year. It remains unclear why this almost fully grown man gets such devilish delight over defeating a team of hapless eleven year olds. Coach Dickish accidentally drops the book he's holding...and when Leroy asks what it is, he explains that it's the team's playbook. He snidely advises them to drop out of the church athletic league while they can, then reminds them that he has the court booked for 4:30pm. After he swaggers off, Leroy tells Danny that what they need is their own playbook...and as he mulls that over, a ridiculous idea takes root inside his tiny brain.
In the next scene, Doris is snapping, "You are insane! That is a crazy idea!" in response to Leroy's suggestion that she steal Coach Dickish's playbook. Leroy urges her to enlist Julie to distract him so she can slip into the locker room and steal the playbook...and Doris rethinks her original position and agrees to involve herself in this nonsensical caper.
Mrs. Berg drops by the dance gym to inform Ms. Grant that Johnny Wilcox won't be able to make the Alumni Day rehearsals, but that he does plan to participate in the production number on show night. Not sure how well that will work, but OK. Ms. Grant asks Leroy if he would be Johnny's stand-in for the rehearsals - and Leroy scrunches his face in disappointment, but ultimately agrees. Julie and Kelly, meanwhile, tell Danny that Operation Steal Coach Dickish's Playbook is underway. Kelly gushes about how convincing Julie was when she told Dickish that she's a reporter for the school paper and wants to publish an interview with New York's most awesome basketball coach for eleven year olds.
Mr. Reardon asks Danny if he and Leroy need any help coaching the basketball team, and offers his services. He then needlessly demonstrates his athletic prowess by leaping around the lobby and pretending to shoot imaginary hoops...and an impressed Danny agrees to accept his help. I wonder why Ms. Grant didn't just ask Mr. Reardon to do her this favor in the first place.
Doris slips inside the church's locker room, easily locates the playbook, and puts it in her bag before quickly exiting the room. For some reason, she then enters the confession booth, tells the priest she's in big trouble, but then abruptly flees. She returns to the locker room and returns the playbook...and when she encounters Coach Dickish on her way out, he asks her whassup. She shrieks, "Don't ask!" and races out of the church in her weird, flail-y manner. What a nutcase.
Doris fibs to Leroy and Danny and tells them she was unable to find the playbook, and a pissed off Danny storms out of the dressing room. Julie asks Leroy why this basketball game is such a big deal, so Leroy explains that the kids really got to them and they really really want them to do well when they play on Friday. Doris and Julie mull that over and offer to gather together lots of people to cheer the kids on during the game.
Mr. Reardon is teaching the boys some basic basketball moves, but when it's clear how hopeless they are, he throws in the towel and tells them to take a break. He walks over to where Leroy and Danny are dejectedly sitting and remarks on how horribly the kids stink, and theorizes that their biggest problem is that they're overthinking in a game that's all about split-second reactions. Oh well. They're eleven. And this is a church sponsored athletic league, not the NBA.
The Fame extras perform a superfluous basketball-themed performance in the school lobby...at the same time Leroy is in the church gym, gyrating while holding a basketball. Not sure how this is, in any way, supposed to help the kids play better...but nonetheless, they do look utterly dazzled. Miss Sherwood enters the school lobby and asks Mrs. Berg what the kids are celebrating, and Mrs. Berg grins and says, "Themselves." Heh.
One of the kids tells Danny he really really wants to win the game 'cause it'll be his friend Lucas' last year on the team. He asks Danny if he's ever had a buddy he wanted to do stuff for, and Danny stares contemplatively into space for a few seconds before replying, "Sorta."
Ms. Grant informs Leroy that Johnny Wilcox is bailing on the Alumni Day production after all, which means he's now the lead dancer. Shocker. Why give a different male dancer the chance to shine? She orders him to head down to the dressing room to get fitted for his costume for Friday's dress rehearsal, and he's like, "Woo hoo!" and happily skips out of the dance gym. A few seconds later, however, his expression goes from glad to sad and he turns around and shuffles back to the dance gym to tell Ms. Grant that the dress rehearsal is on the same night as the kids' basketball game. Ms. Grant credits the great job he did for Brother Timothy - but since he's the only one who knows the lead's dance steps in the production, she needs him at the rehearsal. Leroy nods sadly and heads to the dressing room. Ms. Grant calls Danny over and informs him that he's been appointed stage manager for the Alumni Day production, but he too looks troubled and cries, "But somebody has to coach the basketball team!"
Brother Timothy tells the kids that since Danny and Leroy have ditched them in favor of pursuing their own hopes and dreams, he'll be their coach now. They all look bummed out.
After English class, Leroy tells Miss Sherwood that he won't be able to complete his Dickens paper on time, so she can go ahead and kick him out of the alumni show. She tells him that the paper isn't due until well after the show and refuses to pre-emptively punish him. Puzzled, she asks him why he would want her to help him weasel out of the show, so he tells her he needs to be at the kids' basketball game - not rehearsing the show. Miss Sherwood nods approvingly and murmurs, "Well, finally.." then says she's been wondering when he was going to finally realize that not everything in life is about shaking his naughties on stage while wearing hot pants. Of course, she was hoping he'd learn that lesson through literature or history, but is OK with the fact that a kids' basketball game ended up being the thing that got through to him.
Game night! As the boys warm up with some hoop shooting, a group of Fame kids arrive to cheer them on and lend them moral support.
Leroy tells Danny that if the dress rehearsal goes off without a hitch, maybe they'll be released early and can make the basketball game after all.
Show time! Leroy - who's dressed in hot blue tights and a yellow muscle shirt [OMFG] - gyrates, twirls, and flips his way through the dress rehearsal along with a large group of backup dancers. Ms. Grant and Mr. Reardon bob their heads to the beat and look pleased by what they see. After performing the number [in its fucking entirety, I might add], Leroy declares how perfect that was, and Ms. Grant agrees it was totes awesome and dismisses the cast for the night. Unfortunately, however, by the time Leroy and Danny arrive at the church gymnasium, the basketball game is long over...and the Fame kids are hanging with a few of the boys, who are happily shooting hoops. Leroy asks what happened, and one of the kids tells him they lost the game - but that it's A-OK 'cause at least the other team didn't totally cream them like last year. Apparently, that's good enough for them. Kelly suggests they all go to a nearby diner and indulge in greasy chili-dogs, and the kids are all, "Hooray!" and happy scamper toward the exit.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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