Recap: Miss Sherwood is handing back essay assignments, chiding the dumb Fame kids for all their bad grammar. She tells them that because their writing sucked so badly, they're going to have to redo the narration for the upcoming show, then splits everyone into groups of three. Coco and Leroy are jazzed to learn that they'll be working with Jenny, an over-achiever who actually knows how to string coherent sentences together. [FYI: Jenny is the same actress who plays Lauren on The Young and the Restless.] Jenny suggests the three of them get together this afternoon in the library so they can work on an outline.
Bruno is bellyaching to Mr. Shorofsky about how he doesn't think the school should whitewash American history in the upcoming show. Mr. Shorofsky says it's less a case of whitewashing than it is a celebration, then tells him to shut it and just do the music part of it the way he tells him to.
Coco is sitting outside the back of a Manhattan theater, waiting for her Puerto Rican boyfriend, Julio. When Julio exits out the back door, she rushes into his arms and the two hug and kiss. He brags that he got four encores, then does a little twirl to demonstrate his slick dance moves. The two make out for a little while, and then Coco breaks away from him and rushes back to school to meet up with Leroy and Jenny.
Ms. Grant drops by Miss Sherwood's classroom to ask if her students have completed the narration for the show yet. Miss Sherwood tells her they stunk it up on the first round of the assignment so she sent them back to the drawing board. She then notices that one of her students left a book behind...and she picks it up, leafs through it, and is startled to see that a lot of passages are blacked out with a marker. The two women stare at the book in confusion, and Miss Sherwood solemnly declares, "This is not just a damaged book. It's desecration. Strangled ideas. And that's a damn sin."
The next day in English class, Miss Sherwood wanders around the classroom as the students quietly read. She notices that the book Jenny is reading has a bunch of passages blacked out...and Jenny sheepishly looks up at Miss Sherwood, but doesn't say anything.
Coco brings Julio to the school and introduces him to the other Fame kids. Danny and Leroy gush about how he's in a real show - but Julio's bummed out 'cause the show is only on for another three nights, and after that he'll be out of work.
Over in the theater, Ms. Grant is leading a dress rehearsal of the upcoming show. It depicts Native Americans on a hunt, and several loin cloth clad students leap around the stage clutching bows and arrows. As the rehearsal drags on for-bloody-ever, the audience looks completely transfixed by the odd looking spectacle.
Miss Sherwood meets privately with Jenny after class...and when she demands an explanation for the blacked out passages in her books, Jenny confesses that her stepfather did it. [I'll assume the assfuck is marking up books he paid for - otherwise I'm sure Miss Sherwood could have him busted him for defacing school property.] When Sherwood asks why he'd do something so bizarre, she replies, "He believes they're dangerous." Miss Sherwood stares back at her blankly and goes, "What..?" so Jenny explains that he thinks the words are dangerous. Miss Sherwood quietly shoots her a long, what-the-fuckety-fuck? stare as the scene fades out for a commercial break.
Miss Sherwood rails to her co-workers about how Jenny's stepfather censors everything before it gets to her: books, music, TV. That sounds enormously time consuming. Mr. Shorofsky says he heard a similar discussion to this in Germany in 1938...and that the people discussing it hoped the problem would just go away. Miss Sherwood says she wants to do something, but Ms. Grant warns her that this sounds like a private family matter. Miss Sherwood refuses to accept that and says that Jenny is her special classroom pet - much like Leroy is to her (Ms. Grant) and Bruno is to Mr. Shorofsky. She then puffs herself up and barks, "I'm damned if I'm going to keep my nose clean and stay out of it!" and her co-workers are all, "Damn, girrrrl! You go!"
Coco and Julio are amorously making out after another of his performances. She tells him that Ms. Grant saw his show and remarked that with the right training (I'm assuming with her as his dance instructor), he could one day be great. Julio shrugs and says he cares less about being great than getting steady work, then laments, "I'm too old to go back to schooool!" Coco accuses him of being scared of success and stardom, and he hangs his head shamefully and meekly admits she's right. He says he's gotten it into his head that Latinos can't be successful in the American performing arts world and that that's "just the way it is". Coco argues, "That's not the way it has to be."
Bruno is playing one of his original scores for Mr. Shorofsky - but Mr. Shorofsky is staring out the window, not really paying attention. Bruno asks him whassup and remarks that he doesn't seem like himself today, and Mr. Shorofsky admits he's not and asks Bruno if he heard about what's going down in the English department. Bruno says yes, and Mr. Shorofsky shakes his head and says it deeply upsets him that Jenny isn't free to read a book of her choice because her stepfather likes to go bananas with his black marker.
Jenny tells Miss Sherwood how mortified she is that everyone now seems to know about Black Marker-gate. Miss Sherwood denies being the blabbermouth, then stares at her in puzzlement and asks her how such a creative, talented person could have come out of a repressively censored environment. Jenny explains that when her real dad was around, they read all kinds of books together. But then he abandoned the family...and eventually her mom hooked up with Richard, who became husband #2. Jenny credits him with being a solid man and says that blacking out passages in her books is just his fucked up way of saying he cares. Miss Sherwood softly asks, "What about Jenny?" and Jenny tears up and says she doesn't know how to tell him where he can shove his black marker. She wails about how he's already taken away the book she's supposed to read next week and that he self-righteously declared it should be banned. She cries, "I want to read it!" Miss Sherwood offers to have a face-to-face with the preacher-from-Footloose-wannabe, and Jenny looks hopeful and says, "Would you?"
Miss Sherwood arrives at the McLean residence, and Richard politely invites her inside and offers her coffee/tea. She seats herself on his couch and says she doesn't know where to begin telling him how giant a douchetard he is, so he jumps in and says she probably thinks that Jenny's future is being damaged by his "screening process". Miss Sherwood is like, "Well d'yuh" so Richard says he totally agrees with her - but then says she's falsely assuming that he endorses Jenny's wish to become a writer. He does not. He would prefer she give up that dream and focus on his dream of her being musician...which I guess would explain why she's attending a performing arts high school. Miss Sherwood tells him that Jenny is sooo talented and deserves every chance to develop, and Richard assures her she will develop - but only in the "healthy and decent" uptight way he deems fit. He then starts railing about all the smut that's in books, and Miss Sherwood argues that he's censoring Jenny not from pornography, but from ideas...and Richard counter-argues that these ideas come from fallible people. He then gets all smug-ass and says she probably came to his home expecting to find a simple minded dinkwhistle who she could dazzle with her fancy, logical arguments, then says, "Instead you found someone who's already thought through all the arguments and made his decision." Miss Sherwood throws in the towel trying to knock any sense into the dumb yokel and looks defeated as she heads toward the door. He thanks her for being concerned about Jenny and adds that she's a wonderful child...and Miss Sherwood wryly points out that Jenny isn't a child.
Coco tells Doris that Julio has decided to join the Navy...which seems pretty random, but whatever. She explains that because he's Puerto Rican, he feels a lot of prejudice in the dancing world and wants to expand his horizons and be all that he can be. She tells Doris that Julio is leaving in ten days...and that he loves her, and she loves him...hint hint. Doris scrunches her face as she carefully mulls that over - then finally gets a clue that Julio want to bone Coco before he ships off to war. She leaps up, exclaims how great that is and shrieks, "Go for it!" Coco says she doesn't know if she's ready to get her cherry popped, but Doris shriekingly assures her she is.
Miss Sherwood tells Jenny she didn't make much headway with her douchepig of a stepfather, and Jenny nods sadly and thanks her for trying. Miss Sherwood then tells her the only way she's going to resolve the issue is for her to grow a pair and tell her parents how badly she wants to become a writer...and also explain to them that she can't expect to pass her English class if Fuckwit insists on blacking out half the content of the literature she's supposed to be reading.
Jenny retreats to the dressing room looking sad and morose. Leroy follows her and asks her whassup, and she mutters something about it not being easy to do what's right for her. Leroy says it's never easy to "take what's yours" and shares how tough it is for him to be the only [gay] dancer in his 'hood...yet he holds onto it despite the ever present threat of people ridiculing his twirling and gyrating. He urges her to hold onto her dream of being a writer, and Jenny mulls that over and offers to help him and Coco finish the narration assignment.
Julio is telling Coco all about the Navy ship he'll soon be boarding, then gives her an amorous smooch. She shoves him away, says she's going to be late for school, then flees. Ouch.
Jenny finds Miss Sherwood in the hall and excitedly urges her to follow her. Jenny leads her to the library, where she starts pulling various books off the shelves. She says that these are the books her stepfather has censored - and that, by golly, she's going to read them whether he likes it or not. LOL. Is this seriously the first time it's dawned on her that she can borrow the books she wants to read from the school's library? She vows to "win this battle" - and to that end, she's written her stepfather a letter she'd like Miss Sherwood to read and weigh in on.
Coco enters the school's empty auditorium looking for Julio. He slowly emerges from the shadows and asks, "Is tonight our night? I love you"...and she returns his I love you and natters something about how they're lovers in her dreams, together forever. Julio looks disappointed and asks, "Only in your dreams?" and she nods and tells him she needs time to know what's right for her. He takes the disappointing news impressively well and gives her a friendly goodbye hug. He assures her they have time, then softly adds, "Just keep me in your dreams and I'll come back to you." Oh well, I guess that's that. Godspeed, Julio.
Miss Sherwood is sitting in the stairwell with Jenny, reading aloud the letter that Jenny wrote to her stepfather. She describes him as an awesome father and friend, and that he's made her strong enough to carve out something that's hers, blah blah.. Miss Sherwood looks moved by the stirring words and nods approvingly as she hands the letter back to Jenny.
Show time! Jenny prefaces the show by reading aloud the narration she wrote, and her stepfather - who's in the audience - looks proud and intrigued. After that, the show gets underway, and the Fame kids take the stage and sing about how they can be anything...and that America is still a place where dreams can come true. Except maybe if you're Danny and dream of being a pop star, 'cause yikes. That boy still can't sing worth a shit.
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