Recap: Ms. Grant is surveying her students as they leap and twirl while bland '80s music plays on the ghetto blaster. She gets impatient with their lackluster performance and barks, "Work! Dance! Hold tight! Turrrrnnnn!" and when the routine concludes, she snaps at them for huffing and puffing and reminds them that at this stage of their lives they should be in prime physical condition. When the bell rings, she dismisses them to hit the showers - but asks Coco and Michael to hang back. She tells them she just got a second job at a health club as an instructor for a new-fangled type of exercise called aerobics and could really use their help.
Bruno informs Mr. Shorofsky that he's trying to spend as much time as possible practicing on the piano for the upcoming Juilliard auditions. Shorofsky seems surprised that he'd be interested in Juilliard 'cause piano playing isn't really his thing. He reminds Bruno that he's going to need the signature of his music adviser on his application and hints that he may not be willing to do that.
Ms. Grant is at the health club, presiding over a group of middle aged white women decked out in '80s leotards, tights, and headbands. They jig to the music that's playing in the background, and Ms. Grant looks dismayed as she watches them, then starts snapping, "Work a little harder! Pick up the rhythm! Pick up the beat!" She then demonstrates a series of complicated aerobic dance moves and barks at them to follow along - but the women find it too hard to keep up and collectively throw in the towel. Ms. Grant rolls her eyes in disgust and yells, "Come on! Try! You can do better than that!" LOL. I really don't think being an exercise instructor for non-performing arts people is for her.
Richard Simmons hears Ms. Grant's barking from his nearby office and steps into the exercise room and watches with dismay as she humiliates the aerobicizers. Ms. Grant spots the 'fro sporting exercise guru watching her and snaps, "What do you want? I'm very busy right now" then realizes she just stepped in it, 'cause not only is he Richard Simmons, he's also the owner of the health club. She gets over her sheepishness pretty quick, though, and tells him that being an exercise instructor isn't her life's dream...and he says it's pretty clear she doesn't take this seriously, which is a shame 'cause getting into shape is a serious thing for these women. Ms. Grant shrugs indifferently and says she's not going to be around long enough to worry about about the morale of a bunch of flabby, middle aged housewives. Richard Simmons scrunches his face concernedly and sounds hopeful as he says, "Deep down you're probably a nice person" then scampers back to the safety of his office.
Bruno and Papa Martelli are driving around in his cab, discussing the upcoming Juilliard auditions. Papa Martelli is thrilled that his son may be a student of the prestigious school and wants to celebrate, but Bruno tells him to take it easy 'cause he still has to audition. He remarks that he's going to have to spend a lot of time at school, practicing on the piano...and Papa Martelli looks concerned and says he should be able to practice at home. Bruno assures him that this is not a problem that needs solving and orders him to back off, and the two start bickering...blah blah.
Mr. Shorofsky finds Bruno once again practicing on the piano in his classroom. He remarks that while his playing was nice, he's getting really really tired of listening to him play. Haha! He tells Bruno he took home a bunch of cassettes of his music and listened to all them...and has concluded that they all sound the same: bland and mediocre with no sign of improvement. Ouch. He informs Bruno that in light of his suckiness as a musician, he's decided not to sign his application to audition for Juilliard 'cause he doesn't think he's good enough. Bruno's all, "Wuh?!" and then stares into space, looking totally despondent as the scene quietly fades to black.
Ms. Grant enters the teacher's lounge looking irked. Mr. Reardon asks her whassup, so she tells him that Richard Simmons is thinking about firing her from her moonlighting gig as an exercise instructor. Apparently, he told her she has an attitude problem - well, d'yuh - and she bitches about her mandate to shape up fifteen flabby bodies in a short period of time and then grumbles about how the fat flunkies don't know anything about discipline. She vows to not allow herself to be fired...even though it's really not up to her, and Richard Simmons has every right to can her after the way she verbally abused an entire roomful of paying health club-goers. Mr. Shorofsky enters the room and asks whassup, so Mr. Reardon blabs to him that Ms. Grant is about to get fired from her second job, then blabs to Ms. Grant that Mr. Shorofsky refuses to let Bruno try out for Juilliard. He's quite the blabbermouth, that Reardon. Ms. Grant looks appalled and is all, "Wha-a?!" so Mr. Shorofsky explains that Bruno isn't ready, and that he's trying to keep him from getting his heart broken when he's inevitably rejected by Juilliard.
Papa Martelli has rented a piano so that Bruno can spend long hours at home practicing for his Juilliard audition. Bruno is dismayed that he would spend his hard-earned money on such a thing, then tells him that Mr. Shorofsky doesn't want him to audition. He says, "He thinks my talents lie elsewhere." [Er...I believe his exact words were, "You're not good enough."] Papa Martelli looks peeved and tells Bruno not to let people like Mr. Shorofsky push him around, and Bruno grumbles about how squeezed he feels between the two of them. Papa Martelli brushes off the criticism and says he's doing it for his own good. Bruno starts playing on the piano and asks his pop which piece of music was his mother's favorite, and Papa Martelli says Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Bruno browses through a pile of old sheet music they've been storing in the basement and looks glumly contemplative.
Richard Simmons is in front of the giant mirrors in his exercise studio, stretching and screeching affirmative slogans to himself. Ms. Grant arrives and says she knows he's planning to fire her and declares, "I've never been fired, and I don't intend to start now." He tells her if she doesn't want to be fired she needs to shape up, and she sassily retorts, "Chile! No one's ever told me to shape up!" Richard Simmons tells her he's a grown man and doesn't appreciate being called a chile, and that she's not giving these women what they need: positive motivation. He says she needs to make them believe they can do the exercise routines in order to achieve fitness and weight loss. Ms. Grant asks, "What if they can't do it?" so he tells her to chill the fuck out and ease up on her expectations...and reminds her that this is an aerobics class for out-of-shape middle-aged white women, not The Royal Ballet.
Bruno tells Danny he needs to discuss the problems he's having with his pop...and then follows Danny around the school while he delivers memos to all the teachers. Danny advises him to get a backbone and stand up to Papa Martelli - and then suddenly Dwight appears from out of nowhere, points at the two of them and bellows, "Hall pass!" Danny flashes his pass at him and derisively retorts, "Ja wohl!" He then turns back to Bruno, irritably tells him to figure out his own problems, then runs off down the hall.
Papa Martelli is irked at Bruno for not confronting Mr. Shorofsky about his refusal to sign his Juilliard application. Bruno glumly says he just wants to do what he thinks is right, and Papa Martelli shakes his head in frustration and heads up to bed. I'm confused. Does Bruno not want to apply to Juilliard anymore?
The next day at school, Bruno tells Julie and Danny how annoyed his pop is at him. Julie says his pop is a great guy, and that she feels bad that they're going through this contrived crisis. Bruno asks Danny how he handles having a father he doesn't get along with, so Danny says his mom usually steps in and acts as a mediator. Bruno says that's not helpful 'cause he doesn't have a mom to play interference for him. Hasn't he learned his lesson about asking Danny's advice on anything?
Bruno's in one of the private music rooms, playing Moonlight Sonata on a synthesizer. Mr. Shorofsky enters the room and says he's surprised to hear him playing Beethoven, so Bruno explains that the song was a favorite of his mother's. Mr. Shorofsky nods approvingly and heads off to the office, and Bruno starts playing a song he cobbled together that perfectly describes the inner turmoil he's currently enduring - "Wish me well...love me as I am" - and sings in his terrible, off-key voice. The camera pans over to Papa Martelli, who's driving his cab and looking grim...then Ms. Grant, who's staring at herself in the giant mirror of the dance gym while she flips and leaps about...and then to Richard Simmons as he stretches his stout little body in front of the mirror at his health club.
Mrs. Berg informs Mr. Shorofsky that the school just received a formal request from Papa Martelli to transfer Bruno out of his music classes - permanently. Egads! Mr. Shorofsky looks shocked and is all, "Wuh?" In the next scene, Bruno's all, "Wuh?" and tells Mr. Shorofsky he feels like he's being pulled in two directions - by him and his pop. He moans, "I have every right to decide what I want to do with my life!"
During aerobics class, Ms. Grant is barking orders at the women and focusing her negative energy on a chubby blonde named Renee. When she starts berating Renee awhile she does sit-ups, Renee gives up and wails, "I can't do it anymore!" and scrambles to her feet. Richard Simmons comes to the rescue and urges Renee to dance with him, so she busts a move and starts to look a lot happier...and Ms. Grant, Coco, and Michael watch, mystified. When they finish dancing, Richard Simmons claps and gives her a congratulatory hug, and she promises to come back next week. Ms. Grant concedes that he was able to get Renee to dance a lot better than she ever could, and Richard Simmons explains that he used to be a chubbo, so he knows that the best approach is to teach the chubbos to love themselves, and then they'll be more motivated to exercise. Ms. Grant looks moved by the life lesson, and she hugs Renee and tells her she did great, which I thought looked really disingenuous. Renee says, "I've really worked up an appetite!" and Ms. Grant looks alarmed that she might undo all all of her hard work, and orders her to stick with her all evening so she doesn't get tempted to overeat.
Papa Martelli and Mr. Shorofsky meet at a bar to discuss The Bruno Situation. Mr. Shorofsky calls him "a stupid, irritating jackass" and informs him that Bruno will be assigned to a different music teacher starting Monday. That's interesting...I didn't realize The School of the Arts had more than one music teacher. Mr. Shorofsky explains his reason for wanting to hold Bruno back from auditioning: he once mentored a pianist who was pushed too far too soon, and it pretty much ruined his life. That said, he agreed to sign Bruno's application for Juilliard, which has made him eligible to audition for the elite school. As luck would have it, the auditions are going on right now, so the two men beat a hasty retreat from the bar so they can catch Bruno's performance.
For some reason, the Juilliard auditions are taking place in The School of the Arts' theater...which, whatever, writers. Ms. Grant tiptoes in with Renee, Michael, and Coco in tow....and a few minutes later, Mr. Shorofsky and Papa Martelli arrive. A young Asian woman is on the stage, killing it on the piano...and if she's any indication of the kind of competition Bruno is facing, then he truly doesn't have a hope in hell of getting into Juilliard. When his name is called, he takes his seat at the piano and starts playing Moonlight Sonata, a piece which is not on the approved list. The panelists look around in confusion and are all like, "Wha-at's going on?" One of them complains to Mr. Shorofsky, but Mr. Shorofsky tells him to shove it and that if he interrupts Bruno's audition, he'll start a rumor that he's having an affair with his secretary. Er...OK? Papa Martelli is enjoying hearing his late wife's favorite piece of music...and when Bruno finishes, everyone claps, and the panelists shake their heads at each other in bewilderment. LOL.
Ms. Grant introduces Renee to Papa Martelli...and for a minute there, I thought the purpose of this introduction was to serve as a love connection. She gushes to him about how much she loooved listening to Bruno play, so Papa Martelli and Mr. Shorofsky urge Bruno to do an encore. He mopishly agrees and sits back down at the piano and plays a more upbeat tune...and everyone gets in on that action with various other instruments. Ms. Grant starts dancing on the theater chairs, and soon all the students are leaping and twirling on the stage. Ms. Grant joins them on the stage and starts dancing atop the piano, which I can't imagine is good for the instrument...and Renee also gets into it and jigs the way she did with Richard Simmons. I guess this means Bruno's staying put at The School of the Arts after all. Way to not even try, dude.
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