Fame - Season 2, Episode 8
Recap: Ms. Grant is presiding over her dance class, as the students tango in pairs. Svelte Coco glides along in her usual, elegant manner...while dumpy Doris, who's paired with Danny, stumbles clumsily along until she trips and falls on her ass. A few seconds later, the bell rings, and a grateful looking Ms. Grant dismisses the class.
Bruno is on the pay phone, pretending to be Coco's agent...but the person he's talking to doesn't buy it and hangs up on him. Coco looks bummed and says she's soooo right for the part of Angela in [the film] Cakewalk it hurts. Bruno retorts in his usual mopey way, "What can I say? Life isn't fair" and invites her to come over to Casa Martelli after school to join him in helping Leroy with some sort of showcase.
Doris whines to Danny that Coco and Leroy make everything look so easy on the dance floor - and Danny wryly points out that they have the unfair advantage of being actual dancers. Doris marches over to the bulletin board and complains that Coco has a part in practically every show! She grumps about Coco's "halo effect", vows to be better than her (not sure at what), then pronounces, "She's had it easy long enough!"
In the basement of Casa Martelli, Leroy is gyrating while Bruno plays his synthesizer and Coco sits in a sofa chair. When Papa Martelli comes down with some sodas, Coco starts bellyaching about how she hasn't been able to reach director Charles McKay to tell him how awesome she'd be in his upcoming film. Papa Martelli tells her that, as coincidence would have it, he gave Charles McKay a ride in his cab the other day. Coco's all, "Wha-a?!" and says all she needs is a chance to show the bigwig what she can do. Papa Martelli says the chances are slim he'll pick him up in his cab again, but tells her he somehow knows that McKay likes to eat breakfast at the same deli every morning at 9am. He suggests she show up there and introduce herself. Coco flushes with excitement and exclaims, "I have to practice what to say to him!" and rushes off, abandoning Leroy's showcase rehearsal.
The next morning, Coco, a giant ghetto blaster, and a group of Fame kids arrive at McKay's favorite deli. A few minutes later, Charles McKay enters, and Coco discreetly squeals to a disinterested Leroy, "It's him!" She promptly gives the Fame kids a signal, and they all take off their jackets and move the chairs and tables in order to create a performing space. Charles McKay looks intrigued by the impromptu show unfolding before him and takes a seat as Coco hits play on the giant ghetto blaster and starts leaping and twirling about (with the other Fame kids functioning as her backup dancers). A few minutes into the performance, the tape in the ghetto blaster dies. Coco's all, "Ack!" and rushes over to Charles McKay to thrust her resume at him and tell him she'd be perfect for the role of Cakewalk's Angela. Charles McKay mutely stares at her and her resume, then mutely beats a hasty retreat...leaving behind a deflated looking Coco.
Doris is sitting in front of the mirror in the school's dressing room, doing weird facial exercises. Danny tells her to knock it off and just do the Lady Macbeth scene already, so she performs the scene, but does a horrible job overacting and using strange hand gestures. Danny's assessment is that she looked like she was blandly reading the lines while doing funny things with her face and body. Doris glumly remarks, "I'm a round, soft-edged Jewish girl, not a murderous queen" then stares in the mirror again and sourly calls herself "a walking Twinkie" with zero grace and unsightly thunder thighs.
During lunch, Doris stares hungrily at Julie and Danny as they munch away on delicious, fattening food while she nibbles on raw vegetables. When Coco and Leroy join them at the table with their plates of delicious, fattening food, Doris bitches at Leroy for having two pieces of cake on his plate. He reminds her that because he spends so much of the school day gyrating in short shorts, he needs lots of carbs to refuel. Mrs. Berg appears out of nowhere to deliver a letter to Coco marked urgent, and Coco immediately rips it open and squeals, "It's from Charles McKay! It worked!" Doris stares enviously in Coco's direction as she silently reads the letter, then says, "This is my shot, man." She suddenly springs up and dashes out of the cafeteria...and Doris runs after her to tell her she forgot to eat her sandwich. Coco says she's too pumped up and tells Doris she can have it, but Doris ignores that and says she needs thirty seconds of her time to explain her "halo effect" and how she always manages to keep her eyes on the prize and do everything so perfectly. Coco shrugs happily and says a lot of good things are happening for her, then tells her that Bruno sometimes helps her focus. Doris mutters, "Bruno.." and looks inspired. She thanks Coco and rushes off, tossing Coco's sandwich at Dwight as she scampers down the hall.
Coco asks Mr. Reardon if he could give her some special help at the exact same time Doris is asking Bruno to give her special help.
In the next scene, Doris and Bruno are strolling in a park, discussing her body image issues. Bruno tells her she needs to be in charge of her body, redefine who she is, and figure out her priorities - to which Doris wails, "I'll never be skinnnnny!" Bruno tells her to knock off the self pity then urges her to "image", meaning think of her appetite as a terrible monster and her willpower as a white knight. (What kind of moronic advice is that to give an insecure, non-obese teenage girl?) Doris closes her eyes and attempts to visualize...but a few seconds later she sees people in the park eating ice cream and can't stop herself from salivating.
Coco performs a scene for Mr. Reardon, and when she finishes he gives her a few tips about not rushing lines, then says generally she's pretty good. He asks her if she's preparing for an audition and reminds her The School of the Arts has a rule against that [which, to date, no faculty member has taken seriously]. Instead of answering, Coco packs up her stuff and high-tails it out of the room.
The next day, Coco does a reading for Charles McKay...and he's so blown away by her awesomeness that he expresses puzzlement about why she doesn't have an agent or any acting credits. She explains that she attends The School of the Arts, which takes up a lot of her time. He tells her she definitely has a shot at the role of Angela - but says she'll have to take a screen test. Coco looks excited at the prospect and exclaims, "I'd love to!" but Charles warns her that she can't half-heartedly prance around like she might at one of her pissant school plays; she's going to have to knock their socks off. Coco eagerly bobs her head up and down and guarantees him that socks will be knocked off. The two shake hands, and he tells her that if she gets the role, she'll likely have to quit school and move out west. Coco looks momentarily sad about dropping out of the dump of a school, then breezily says she totally understands that a career in showbiz would change her entire life.
While tangoing during dance class, Doris looks much improved...but still ends up toppling over. She explains to Ms. Grant that she's having a low energy day, so Ms. Grant urges her to get some fruit juice. Doris screeches, "Noooo!!" and growls about how receiving nutritional advice isn't supposed to be part of the curriculum. Ms. Grant somehow restrains herself from smacking the impertinent little wench.
Doris swallows some diet pills and washes them down with a gulp of water. She tells Danny what a giant fool she just made of herself in dance class, but that it's no biggie 'cause after fasting for three days she's lost four pounds. Danny looks alarmed and urges her to eat something, but she insists on sticking to her starvation regimen 'cause, yeah, that's sustainable.
Coco hands Mr. Reardon a script of Cakewalk and pretends as though she got it from a friend. Mr. Reardon isn't buying it and tells her to level with him, so Coco admits that she's auditioning for a role in the film. He mulls that over, then decides that instead of blowing the whistle on her, he's going to be a mensch and help her prepare for the screen test.
Coco runs into Leroy in the hall and tells him she's too busy with her screen test to help him with his showcase, and urges him to find someone else. Leroy scowls at her in his usual scowly way and snarks, "Good luck, Miss Diva."
As Miss Sherwood is handing back essay assignments, she gets into an argument with Danny about his focus on all the food that was served at a wedding instead of writing about the wedding itself. The endless talk of food makes Doris queasy, and she gets up and stumbles toward the door, mumbling that she needs a drink of water. Miss Sherwood asks her if she's OK, and instead of politely replying, "Yep, I'm fine" and quietly slipping out of the room like a normal, non-histrionic person might, she opts to rant about her many deficiencies in front of the entire class: "Noooo!! I'm too short. I don't have cheekbones. I dance like a rock. And some people in this school are so damn perfect, I can't handle it!" After that, she passes out on the floor, and Miss Sherwood yells for someone to go get the school nurse. As everyone stares worriedly at one another, Danny informs Miss Sherwood that Doris has been on a very restrictive diet of zero food.
Doris is laying atop a bed in the infirmary when Miss Sherwood drops by with some juice. Doris tells her she hasn't eaten in three days, and Miss Sherwood calls her stupidity "boneheaded dumb". Doris then starts rambling about how she (Miss Sherwood) is so great looking and stylish and laments that she'll never be a refined lady like her. Miss Sherwood says she's merely older and wiser, then half-heartedly throws her a bone by telling her that she's the lucky one 'cause of how talented and magical she is.
Coco stops by the music room to check in with Bruno. She tells him that while she's nervous about the screen test, she's ready to blow the Cakewalk people away with her performing arts abilities. Bruno says they'll all be rooting for her, but then gets mopey about the prospect of her leaving them behind if she makes it into show business. Coco insists she won't forget about her friends, but Bruno looks skeptical and dickishly gives her a guilt trip about the way she blew off Leroy and his dumb showcase.
Doris is in the dressing room with Julie, browsing through a clothing rack for an outfit to wear for her Lady Macbeth performance. She natters about food groups and refers to herself as pudgy, and a disinterested Julie tells her to try to be sensible and not jump off the deep end with a stupid diet. Some random girl bursts into the room to announce to the two of them that Coco is back from her screen test...and that she's holding court, telling everyone how wonderfully she did. Doris scrunches her face with envy.
Coco is sitting atop a piano, telling everyone about how hard it is to "hit the mark" while acting so that the camera can catch them in the perfect position. She says she thinks she did really really well, but then shrugs in an overly casual/breezy manner and says, "Whatever happens happens."
Coco runs into Leroy in the hall and says that after weeks of blowing him off, she's now available to help him with his showcase. He says, "No thanks" and tells her that Marguerite is doing a fantastic job helping him. After he ambles off, a sad looking Coco mutters, "Good...I'm glad."
Doris is performing as Lady Macbeth in front of Mr. Reardon and her drama classmates. Reardon praises her performance and asks her why she thinks she did so much better than last time, so Doris mulls that over and says her previous performance lacked substance, and that this time she tried to put a lot more feeling into it. She then segue ways into the weird, toxic manner in which she's been relating to Coco, and how jealous she's been about how everything comes so easily to her - the final straw being the screen test. Coco suddenly blurts out, "I stunk up the joint!" and when the entire class turns around to stare at her in puzzlement and go, "Wha-a?" she admits that everything she said about nailing the screen test was total bullcack. She knew she was terrible and that her terribleness was all her fault. She confesses, "I got up there and choked" and says the harder she tried, the worse it got. Julie asks her why she didn't just tell them that earlier, so Coco says the screen test meant so much to her, and that having the image of being a perfect person put pressure on her to lie. She sadly reveals, "I'm not magic all the time." Doris walks over to where she's sitting, sticks out her pudgy arm, and offers her a nonsensical deal: "You be you and I'll be me." The two shake on it, and then Coco envelopes her frizzy-maned friend in a hug.
Showcase! In the cafeteria! (Not sure why we're not viewing this in the theater.) Bruno is playing the piano while the rest of the Fame kids gyrate and twirl about, wearing funny looking white top hats and singing about Manhattan.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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