Recap: During dance class, Doris and Danny have problems with their footwork and trip over their own feet, causing everyone else to trip and land in a heap around them. Ms. Grant snarks at them for their horrific dancing abilities - though it's really just a half-hearted snark, since the two aren't dance majors and little is expected of their leaps and twirls. After class, Ms. Grant asks Danny and Leroy to hang back, then tells them she has "a little job" for them to do. They ask her if it's a paying job, and she nods and cleverly replies, "A couple of hundred dollars will definitely be exchanging hands."
Danny and Leroy look dismayed when they learn that their "little job" is buying props for the upcoming show. Leroy grumbles, "I dunno nuthin' about gettin' props" and Ms. Grant assures him he's perfectly capable of learning this new skill. She cuts them a check for $200 and makes them sign a receipt, guaranteeing that the money will be spent only on approved items. She then tells them to go out and just find the cheapest crap available.
Mrs. Berg informs Mr. Shorofsky that he received a phone message from a woman named Frieda Grauer, and he suddenly gets a faraway look in his eyes. Miss Sherwood enters the office at that moment and asks him whassup, then says he looks like he just heard from a bill collector. He spacily replies, "I have, in a way."
During music class, Mr. Shorofsky throws away the message from Frieda, then gets all bitchy with his class and starts railing incoherently at Bruno. When he finally notices that everyone is staring at him, wide-eyed and aghast, he stops railing, apologizes for his outburst, and urges them to continue playing.
Miss Sherwood tells her class that their next assignment will be to keep a diary. Leroy blurts out, "No way!" and Doris jokes, "If I wrote down my dreams, I'd get arrested!" Ugh, Doris. Even that is too much information. Danny says it's generally a bad idea to write stuff down that could be held against you, so Miss Sherwood explains that a diary is private, and that writing down your thoughts and dreams is a good way to communicate with yourself. She reads them a passage from a diary kept by a young girl named Anne Frank, then tells them that their assignment is to read The Diary of Anne Frank and also keep their own diary for a month. She says she hopes they'll learn something about themselves.
Mr. Shorofsky is in his apartment, looking at old black and white photos of who I'll assume is Frieda. The phone rings, and a really old looking answering machine picks up the call. (I didn't think anyone had an answering machine in the early '80s.) It's Frieda, calling to tell him she's in New York to attend a banquet/dinner thing. She tells him where she's staying, says they need to talk, and asks him to please give her a call. Mr. Shorofsky continues to stare at her black and white photos, then starts crooning to them in German.
Leroy and Danny are shopping for props at a second hand store, which came highly recommended by Leroy's shady pool hall friend, Stroke. Hmm...what could possibly go wrong with that? They gather up all the furniture and accessories on Ms. Grant's list, and are dismayed when the bill comes to just over $200. Danny decides to put back a chest of drawers, and Leroy snarks at him that they'll be short one item, but Danny points out that this way they'll have an $20 extra "to work with".
Mrs. Berg tells Mr. Shorofsky that he got another phone message from Frieda. She remarks that Frieda seemed really disappointed that he didn't return her call...and got the feeling she was an old flame. When Mr. Shorofsky doesn't confirm or deny, she fishes further by saying, "I couldn't help wondering...I'm just human" and Mr. Shorofsky snaps, "Be better than human! Be qviet!" Hee! He's so damned adorable, even when he's being a total curmudgeon.
Leroy's in a phone booth, talking to his mother in Detroit. He tells her he really really wants her to come to his upcoming show, but she tells him she can't get time off work or afford the plane ticket. After the call, Leroy despondently tells Danny that his mom won't be able to make it. Danny asks him why she lives in Detroit, so Leroy explains that the family she worked for in New York moved to Detroit, so she moved along with them...and Leroy opted to stay behind 'cause there's no Detroit equivalent to the School of the Arts where he can get course credits for gyrating.
Doris loudly interrupts Mr. Shorofsky's music class to inform him that he has a visitor named Frieda Grauer who wants to speak with him. Mr. Shorofsky rushes out of his classroom and slowly walks toward his old friend with his arms outstretched. He calls out, "Frieda!" and she turns around and smiles at him and says, "Well...you recognized me." The two stare at each other for a few seconds, and she remarks on how different he looks with his white hair and fuzzy beard...but that she would have recognized him by his eyes. She says, "Those are the eyes of the Benjamin I remember" and the two hug.
Danny and Leroy interrupt Ms. Grant's dance class to announce, "The prop masters have arrived!" and begin to unload some of the stuff they purchased. Danny says the larger items are in the lobby, and Ms. Grant urges the class to go downstairs and help carry them up to the dance gym. Mrs. Berg suddenly appears and informs Ms. Grant that a police detective is downstairs, then relays what he just said to her: "All your props are hot." Ms. Grant takes a few seconds to decipher what that means, then shrieks, "Danny! Leroy!" and races down to the lobby.
The Fame kids are hanging out on the street together, commiserating about how lame their upcoming show is going to be. I'm sure the New York arts community will survive the disappointment. Doris glumly says they have incomplete music (I'm guessing 'cause Mr. Shorofsky is too distracted with Frieda), incomplete choreography (dunno what Ms. Grant's excuse is for that), and no props (apparently, the cops hauled all the "hot" stuff away). Danny says it's not completely hopeless 'cause they still have $20 left over from prop shopping - plus they have him. The Fame kids laugh (I laughed too) and make jokes like, "That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee." Danny gets insulted and starts to stomp off, but the others stop him and urge him to explain what he means. He tells them that for the past three years in the Bronx, he's hustled at pool and won big...and since he's a super amazing pool player, he's confident that he can do the same in the pool hall where Leroy works. His plan is to win back all the prop money they squandered and also buy a plane ticket for Leroy's mother. Considering this is Danny, that seems like an overly ambitious plan.
Frieda tells Mr. Shorofsky she'd like to cook dinner for him in his apartment, and starts making up a shopping list. Just as the two are about to head off to the grocery store, Miss Sherwood bursts into the teacher's lounge and asks Mr. Shorofsky, "How do you make things real for your class?" He's like, "Wuh?" so she explains that she just assigned The Diary of Anne Frank to her class, and is dismayed that most of them have no interest in reading it...while others told her they saw the movie and thought it was slow. She laments that "the reality" doesn't exist for them, and that all they're thinking about is how they'd play Anne Frank if they were cast in the role. Mr. Shorofsky points out that is a performing arts school, but Miss Sherwood insists she wants to train the person inside the performer. Frieda suddenly looks troubled and tells Mr. Shorofsky they should probably get going 'cause of all the shopping and cooking she has to do. He cuts his conversation with Miss Sherwood short and says they can talk more about this tomorrow.
Over in the pool hall, Danny introduces himself to his pool opponent, a dork named Wally Zawicky who has a white person's 'fro and talks with a thick New Yawk accent. Wally lays out the rules and stakes in a very no-nonsense fashion, and Danny and Leroy exchange knowing grins. Danny begins the game by breaking - and I'm no pool expert, but it looked like a really inept break. Wally, meanwhile, manages to make several challenging shots in a row while Danny is slumped in a nearby chair, looking bummed and sheepish.
In Mr. Shorofsky's apartment, Frieda is cooking up a storm, and she gives Mr. Shorofsky a spoonful of stew to taste. He gushes, "I love it!" and says it reminds him of home...even though that home no longer exists. She tells him how much she loves the youthful black and white photos he has of her and jokes that she wants to steal them. He pours them two glasses of red wine and toasts, "To reunions."
Back at the pool hall, Wally easily kicks Danny's ass and demands his winnings: $50. Well that was utterly pointless. I wonder who Danny was "winning big" against in the Bronx for three years?
Frieda tells Mr. Shorofsky they should have had this reunion years ago. He says he tried to find her after the war, but then gave up and assumed she was dead...until he was in Rome and happened to see her name on a concert flyer. She exclaims, "That was twenty-two years ago!" and he tells her he was ashamed and afraid that she blamed him for not being in Germany during the war, suffering alongside her. She insists that she thanked God he wasn't there to share the hell she was enduring...then brings up the conversation he had with Miss Sherwood earlier. She accuses him of being flippant about the whole Anne Frank diary thing to avoid dredging up any memories of the Holocaust for her. She sternly says, "There can be no joking about anything that happened in the camps." OK...but I didn't get the sense he was, in any way, joking about that. Frieda tears up and says, "We're a million miles away" and acknowledges that he was safe during the war when so many others weren't - but that that's not either of their faults. She then says she should go, and that she'll just take one of her students to the banquet/dinner thing tomorrow night (instead of him). Mr. Shorofsky, who doesn't seem to give much of a rat's ass about being snubbed by her, just kind of shrugs and goes, "OK, whatever" and sees her to the door. After she leaves, he blows out the candles.
Mrs. Berg tells Ms. Grant they should cancel the upcoming show, but Ms. Grant refuses. Mrs. Berg argues that the audience won't understand the show if there are no props, but Ms. Grant insists that the absence of props will challenge the audience to use the full extent of their imagination. You keep believing that, Ms. Grant.
Mr. Shorofsky is sitting in the theater, eating his lunch and reading, when Leroy enters the room. He tells Mr. Shorofsky he's working on his diary assignment for Miss Sherwood...then starts bellyaching about how his mom, who lives in Detroit, can't afford to fly in for the show. Mr. Shorofsky starts babbling about people leading their own lives and destinies, blah blah...and I forget what else they talked about 'cause I kind of checked out during this scene.
Frieda drops by the school to say goodbye, which is a relief 'cause she seems like kind of a wet blanket. She asks Mr. Shorofsky why he didn't call her in Rome all those years ago, and he admits he was afraid of being rejected again. She looks at him in surprise and asks, "When did I ever reject you?" so he explains that many years ago he wrote to her and asked her to join him in America. She's all, "Wha-a?" and says she wasn't able to secure a visa, and explained all that to him in her subsequent letter. He says he never got that letter, and then...blah blah...they both decide that their time for second chances is gone. I'm pretty sure I caught a fleeting look of relief on Mr. Shorofsky's face.
Frieda is standing in front of Miss Sherwood's class, lecturing to the Fame kids about her experience during WWII. She tells them that even though the Holocaust is over, there are all sorts of injustices happening in the world right now, and that they're not limited to any one race, creed, or color. She says that, as young performing arts students, they especially need to be aware of it. She touches Doris' hand and says they have a gift to show others how glorious humans can be, and that they're the bearers of the gift of joy. Mmm...I'm not sure I'd classify Leroy's pelvic gyrations or the casts' terrible singing voices as "the gift of joy". Montgomery suddenly expresses an urge to re-do the diary assignment, and everyone else nods and looks totally transfixed by Frieda's lecture. Miss Sherwood shoots her a grateful smile and mouths thank you.
The Fame kids are in the dressing room, primping for the dress rehearsal. Julie bursts into the dressing room to tell Leroy that his mom is here! Wuh? How'd that happen? A few seconds later, Mama Johnson enters the room and explains that she got a money order from Mr. Shorofsky to pay for her plane ticket. Apparently, he was feeling generous after his/Leroy's incoherent chat in the theater. Leroy ushers his mom over to the dance gym, where he introduces her to Mr. Shorofsky. He chuckles and tells Mama Johnson that Leroy is one of his teachers, and she chuckles in return.
Show time! Leroy is, once again, the show's lead...and, for some reason, the entire cast is wearing red choir robes. Mama Johnson looks mesmerized by her son's awful singing voice and vulgar pelvic gyrations...and Frieda is also there, actually looking as though she's enjoying the spectacle. The groups dances for what seems like a really loooong time, and when they finish, everyone who's watching applauds. Leroy proudly leads his mom to stand beside him in front of the group of the dancers, then gives her a happy hug.
Mr. Shorofsky walks Frieda down the hall toward the main doors. She tells him she's leaving New York tomorrow, and is pleased they were finally able to resolve things. She says she's richer for having known him...and he quietly takes her in his arms, and the two start dancing to the German song he was crooning at her photos earlier.
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Recap: Miss Sherwood arrives at the School of the Arts after her usual early morning jog and encounters a dog in the hallway. She says good morning to him, then explains that since the school doesn't allow dogs, he's going to have to get the hell out, like pronto. The dog quickly trots away from her, and she's like, "Hey! Get back here!" and chases him down the hall and ends up slipping and falling on the wet floor that's in the process of being mopped. A few seconds later, the janitor - an old guy named Tim - appears from out of nowhere and asks her whassup, so she tells him she fell while chasing "that idiot dog". Tim stares at her blankly and goes, "What dog?" and Miss Sherwood says there's no possible way he could have missed seeing him. Tim gets all prickly and insists that he has no idea what she's talking about, so Miss Sherwood gives him the benefit of the doubt and limps off down the hall. Tim stares down at the soapy floor and notices several paw prints, and quickly mops over them. A few seconds later, the dog reappears and sheepishly trots over to Tim. He grumbles, "What are you doing? I'm in enough trouble" and orders the pooch to go find Birdie...and he obediently trots down the stairs.
Ms. Grant is leading her dance class in a series of ballet moves - and as usual, Leroy is stubbornly attired in a pair of alarmingly short shorts. Mr. Shorofsky quietly sneaks into the room, gives Ms. Grant a hey nod, and heads over to the ballet barre. When he pulls out a tape measure and starts measuring the width of the wall, Ms. Grant gets curious, then walks over and asks him whassup. He tells her his doctor ordered him to get more exercise, and the dance gym is the only room in the school that's big enough to house his equipment: a table tennis table. Mrs. Grant derisively goes, "A ping pong table?" and he insists it's not ping pong, it's table tennis, and says that the table folds up and can be propped up against the wall when it's not in use. She gently asks him if playing table tennis is really the best source of exercise and suggests he try playing real tennis, and he argues, "Table tennis is real tennis." Ms. Grant reluctantly grants her permission, 'cause can anyone really say no to an affable, cuddly bear like Mr. Shorofsky? Meanwhile, the dance class students have all exited the room and, for some reason, are clumped together in the doorway, laughing uncontrollably at Ms. Grant's/Mr. Shorofsky's conversation. Ms. Grant barks at them to get back inside and resume their pliéing.
During English class, Montgomery tip-toes over to Miss Sherwood and tells her that something is seriously wrong with Doris (like, more than the usual), and when Miss Sherwood glances over at her, she notices that Doris is sniffling, sneezing, and wheezing. Miss Sherwood tells Montgomery she'll handle it, then goes over to Doris and asks her if she's OK. Doris tells her it's that time of year for her allergies, and adds that she gets stuffed up like this whenever she's near anyone who's had recent contact with a dog. Miss Sherwood smugly blurts out, "It was real!" and asks Doris for her help in proving that there's a dog in the building, 'cause she'd really like to rub it in Tim's face.
Mr. Shorofsky's table tennis table has arrived at the school, and he orders the two delivery guys to wheel it over to the dance gym. Julie asks him why they're getting a ping pong table, and he corrects her by saying, "Table tennis table" and asks her if she's free during sixth period. She tells him she has a music rehearsal, but he dismissively waves a hand in the air and says, "You don't need to rehearse. You have it down pat." He then asks her if she's ever played table tennis, and she raises her eyebrows and looks intrigued.
Miss Sherwood has asked Tim to come up to her classroom and inspect the vents...and a few minutes later, he declares them fully operational. Doris, who's sitting at her desk to determine if she can detect any dog scents on Tim, abruptly gets up and sneaks out of the room. Miss Sherwood insists to Tim that she saw a dog inside the school, and he gets impatient and asks, "Is it really that big of a deal?" She says it isn't, but that she doesn't appreciate him lying to her face. He gets annoyed at the accusation, insists he's never owned a dog, and says he doesn't like being called a liar. After a few more minutes of bickering, he barks, "We're done!" and storms out. In the hall, Doris hides by the water fountain and covertly witnesses Tim anxiously rubbing his face and looking dangerously close to bursting into tears.
Doris finds Bruno by his locker and asks him if he's busy, and he tells her he's about to head home. She asks him if he can stick around for another hour, and explains that she needs help sneaking down to the janitor's office. Danny saunters over toward his locker just as Doris tells Bruno that she suddenly realized Tim the Janitor is a flesh and blood person...and that she's pretty sure he lied to Miss Sherwood about a dog being in the building. Danny asks them what the hell they're talking about, so Bruno tells him that Doris needs lessons on how to sneak around in a dark basement. Danny makes a face and says, "I'll pass"...and as he saunters off, Doris bellows, "What are friends for, anyway? Friends are for turning you down!" As she storms off in the opposite direction, Danny and Bruno guiltily stare at each other, then rush after her.
The three sneak downstairs and into a winding hallway that leads toward the janitor's basement office. Doris says she's expecting to find an abused dog who's seeking refuge at the school...and Danny, who doesn't give a rat's ass about an abused dog, says he's wary of going any further 'cause he doesn't want to get into trouble. Doris bitchily snarks, "I'll break and enter, while you cut and run" so Danny continues to reluctantly forge ahead. Doris suddenly starts to wheeze and sniff and declares, "We're deep in dog territory" and the three stealthily enter Tim's office and find the dog sitting across the room, looking healthy and content. They check out the photos that Tim has hung up on the wall, which are of him and other Broadway dancers. Doris notices a photo of Birdie Whelan, and remarks that her grandmother was a huge fan of his and always carried on about how he was the best. She sadly says, "He's probably gone by now" and suddenly an old man - hey, it's Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High! - appears from the shadows. He retorts, "Nope. I'm still alive" and casually offers to make them some tea. Doris, Bruno, and Danny are shocked at the sight of a strange man squatting in their school's basement and are all, "Wha-a?!"
Birdie tells the Fame kids he's been secretly living in Tim's basement office for the last three months. He got evicted from his room after he was unable to afford the rent - a situation that came about 'cause he broke his hip and had to spend all of his money on medicine. Tim offered to let him move into his place, but his landlord doesn't allow pets...and Birdie refused to part with his dog Clumpy, 'cause they've been together ever since he retired from dancing. He says he won't throw away a close friendship for the sake of a lease - and to that I say BRAVO, Birdie...and FUCK YOU to the landlord who doesn't allow pets in his building. Bruno says his friendship with Tim sounds terrific, and Birdie says that he and Tim became besties after he broke his hip. Tim suddenly enters his office and tells the kids that he and Birdie are, indeed, very special friends. ['Nuff said, Tim. We can all read between the lines here.] Tim warns the kids that if the teachers find out about Birdie, he'll be kicked out of the basement, and then he'll be out of a job. Birdie tells the kids that they just need to raise another $3,000 so that he and Tim can make a down payment on a trailer home in Florida. The kids promise not to breathe a word to anyone about this (as if) and Doris stares concernedly at Birdie and asks him if there's anything she can do for him. He asks her to tell Leroy not to argue with Ms. Grant so much...and when she's all, "Wuh?", he explains that he can hear everything going on in the dance gym through the vents. He thinks that Ms. Grant is a good teacher and that Leroy needs to listen to her "a bit harder". Doris looks amused and says she'll pass along that advice. After the kids leave, Birdie tells Tim, "It sure felt good talking to someone besides you."
Julie and Mr. Shorofsky are playing table tennis...and when she gives him an easyball serve, he calls it "a floating insult" and demand that she not condescend to him. Julie agrees to give him more of a challenging serve, then warns him that she's pretty good at this game...and he smirks and says, "Humor me." Julie re-serves, and a few seconds later, he's able to gain two points on her...and she's all, "Wha-a?" and surprisingly impressed at his table tennis skills.
Just outside the dance gym, Doris tells Miss Sherwood that she just remembered she's allergic to cats, not dogs - but Miss Sherwood looks skeptical. Doris reminds her that when she and Tim were talking in her classroom the other day, he seemed very sincere about not knowing anything about a dog being on the premises. Miss Sherwood points out that Tim merely claimed he didn't own a dog...and that he deliberately chose his words very carefully. Julie suddenly bursts out of the dance gym and incredulously exclaims, "I just got creamed!" and Mr. Shorofsky stands in the doorway, smugly smiling at Doris and Miss Sherwood.
After promising not to tell anyone about Birdie squatting in the basement of the School of the Arts..
Michelle approaches Doris in the hall and says she'd love to help out with the benefit for Tim and Birdie. Doris asks her how she found out about it, so she says she heard all about it from Montgomery, Julie, and Danny. Michelle says, "Everybody knows about it!" and Ms. Grant happens to walk by at that moment and asks, "Knows about what?" Doris quickly says, "Nothing. That's why we're in school...learning" and Ms. Grant's like, "Whatever" and heads over to the dance gym. Doris looks contemplative for several seconds as she mulls over the idea of hosting a benefit for Birdie.
The Fame kids (sans Coco - who, for some reason, isn't in this episode) have gathered in an empty classroom to discuss how feasible it would be to host a benefit. Danny suggests holding it at the Knights of St. Anthony Lodge 'cause they wouldn't charge anything, and it's a venue that can accommodate five hundred people. Leroy bitchily asks when they're supposed to rehearse for this show, and Julie looks alarmed and says, "Surely the school wouldn't refuse to let us help these two guys!" Doris says she sees Leroy's point, but then says they shouldn't think about this so logically and somehow make the benefit happen, and wise old sage Bruno says they can either build a bridge or a wall. He personally chooses bridge, 'cause he'd really like to help out the nice gay couple.
Ms. Grant enters the dance gym and is annoyed when she finds the table tennis table set up in the middle of the room. She asks two of her students to fold it up and put it against the wall, then heads out to the hall to admonish Mr. Shorofsky. She snappishly reminds him that he failed to put his table tennis table away, and he calmly tells her it's not his fault, 'cause the person he was playing last night got so badly creamed that he angrily stormed out...and he can't fold up the table by himself. He then studies Ms. Grant for a few seconds and asks her if she happens to play, but she says no. He murmurs, "Pity.." and ambles away.
Down in the basement, Tim is cooking a pot of pasta on a hot plate while Birdie sits at his desk with Clumpy at his feet. The two men discuss an old soap opera they used to watch, then start bickering like an old married couple. They hear a knock on the door - and it's Doris, who enters the room, along with Julie and Leroy. Tim tells Leroy he's a really good dancer, and Leroy thanks him for the compliment and asks him and Birdie if they've ever regretted becoming dancers. The two men emphatically reply, "Never!" and gabble about how awesome and magical dancing is. Leroy looks newly inspired and says he's going to gyrate his butt off at their upcoming benefit. Oh joy.
Leroy enters the dance gym and loudly informs Ms. Grant that he came in early to rehearse. She asks him why he's talking so loud, so he yells, "I'm full of energy!" and starts jumping around and making a lot of noise. Clumpy's barking can be heard through the vent, so Leroy coughs to mask the sound. Ms. Grant cluelessly tells him he should do something about that cough, and Leroy agrees and leaves. When Clumpy barks again, Ms. Grant cocks her head and looks momentarily puzzled, then shakes her head and gets back to her paperwork. I have absolutely no idea what the purpose of that scene was.
A mischievous looking Ms. Grant finds Mr. Shorofsky in the teacher's lounge and tells him she'd like to set up a table tennis match between him and a friend of hers, Mrs. Peyton-Smythe. Mr. Shorofsky eagerly accepts the challenge and cockily says he'll most likely beat her, the way he's been beating everyone else. Miss Sherwood enters the lounge looking troubled, and tells her colleagues that she found a flyer at her dry cleaners about a benefit that's being performed by students of the School of the Arts. Ms. Grant says it's no problem if it's for some kind of charity, but Miss Sherwood tells her she did some calling around to investigate the beneficiaries of the event and ominously says, "If any of the students step onto that stage Saturday night, they're outta this school like a shot." Egads!
After the bell rings, Miss Sherwood holds back the Fame kids who are involved with the upcoming benefit. She hands them all tardy slips and explains that they're going to be late for their next class. She tells them they need to cancel the event, and Leroy immediately gets all prickly and refuses to discuss it. She sternly warns him that if he has anything to do with the benefit, he's out of the school. Doris barks, "Why? For trying to help somebody?" and Miss Sherwood retorts, "No, for breaking a school rule." She explains that students aren't allowed to raise money for school employees, 'cause it might look like a bribe or "courting favor", so Doris asks, "Isn't it a little difficult to court favor for a janitor?" Miss Sherwood shrugs helplessly and says, "The rule is the rule." [It's a pretty nonsensical rule, even in a non-janitor context.] Leroy asks her if they'd really be expelled, and she confirms that there's a good chance of that. Leroy mulls that over for a few seconds, then declares that he's still doing the benefit - the rules be damned. Miss Sherwood says she can't know anything about the planning of the benefit, otherwise she'll be obligated to report it. That said, she doesn't see any way for them to host the benefit and stay in school. She then abruptly gets up and says, "Officially we're not having this conversation" and dashes out of the room, leaving the Fame kids staring contemplatively into space.
Tim shows Danny and Doris a photo of a trailer home that he and Birdie just put a down payment on. Danny's about to tell him that they're going to have to cancel the benefit - but Doris stops him, points at the photo, and blurts out, "It's gorgeous!" As she steers Danny down the hall, he tells her she's crazy, but she insists, "There's always a way. We just have to find it."
Mr. Shorofsky is in the dance gym, practicing his table tennis skills, when Ms. Grant escorts an Asian woman into the dance gym. She introduces her to Mr. Shorofsky as Mrs. Peyton-Smythe, and tells him she's ready for their table tennis match. Mr. Shorofsky suddenly looks nervous and quietly remarks to Ms. Grant that Chinese people are known for their prowess at table tennis, and Ms. Grant's like, "Good luck with that" and heads out. She pauses outside the doorway and listens as the game gets underway...and Mr. Shorofsky groans in frustration and barks, "Gott in Himmel!" every time he loses a point. Hee!
Ms. Grant and Miss Sherwood arrive at the benefit together, and it looks like there's a pretty good turnout. Montgomery, who's acting as MC, explains to the audience the purpose of the evening: the love between two kindred spirits. To everyone's surprise, he announces that they're all here to honor...wait for it...Clumpy! Er, OK..? Doris brings him onto the stage - which is weird 'cause wasn't she allergic to dogs at the beginning of the episode? She tells the audience that the poor pooch suffers from an arthritic hip, and that the proceeds of tonight's benefit will go towards transporting Clumpy to a warmer climate "where he can run in the fields and rest his hip". LOL. As coincidence would have it, Birdie and Tim have agreed to be his traveling companions. Everyone loudly applauds, and Miss Sherwood chuckles at the tenacious resourcefulness of the Fame kids, grins over at Ms. Grant, and starts clapping.
Show time! The students emerge in glittery yellow costumes, and - no surprise - Leroy is the lead dancer. He breaks out in song, which is very painful to listen to, and does his usual gyrating while periodically thrusting his pelvis. It's hard to imagine that anyone was actually willing to shell out money to sit through this spectacle. Halfway through the performance, Leroy pulls Ms. Grant onto the stage, and she somehow knows all the dance moves and just happened to have worn an outfit that is appropriate for some impromptu dancing.
When the singing and dancing comes to a merciful end, Leroy and Ms. Grant urge Birdie and Tim to take the stage. Birdie tells the audience that Leroy recently asked them how they feel about becoming dancers...and it dawned on him that he forgot to tell him the most important aspect of a dancer's life: dancing makes them feel young. Tim chimes in and says, "The problem with dancing is that there's never an ending to the act." Ms. Grant places top hats atop their heads as Bruno starts playing the piano. Tim and Birdie begin performing...and by performing, I mean they start snapping their fingers, then sing gibberish and do some light dance steps in perfect unison. Everyone is charmed by the obvious love between these very special friends...and on the other side of the room, Doris starts sneezing and wheezing. I guess her dog allergy suddenly decided to kick in again.
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Recap: Leroy is treating Danny to breakfast in a diner and outright tells him he wants to copy his English paper. Danny's like, "Uh, no" so Leroy retorts, "It's an honest bribe, you have to respect it." Danny explains that he literally can't give him his paper to copy, since he handed it in three days ago (when the assignment was due). Also, Miss Sherwood might get a tad suspicious when she grades two English papers that are exactly the same. Dumbass. To Leroy's misfortune, Miss Sherwood is sitting in a booth that's well within hearing range. She barks, "And I appreciated it, Danny!" and storms over to their table to shoot a really squinty stink-eye at Leroy. She tells him she expects to receive his paper asap, then recommends he go straight to the library to start working on it. Danny obediently replies, "Yes, ma'am!" and hustles Leroy out of the diner.
Over at the School of the Arts, the "kids" are groovin' in the foyer. Some random guy is playing on a set of drums, and Julie, Coco, and Doris are doing some kind of suggestive looking pelvis dance. Montgomery arrives and excitedly announces that he has the new cassette by the C47s - a terrible sounding band in the Fame universe. He puts the tape in the ghetto blaster (hee! '80s technology) - but Coco stops him from pressing play and says that Leroy would looove to hear the C47s. Doris perks up at that and offers to go look for him, then rushes off down a flight of stairs.
Back at the diner, Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant are discussing the Leroy situation. Ms. Grant asks her if she's going to fail him, and Miss Sherwood says he's only done 25% of his assignments...so, d'yuh. Ms. Grant says that Leroy's not failing in her classes and that she gives him all A's...which is kinda irrelevant and not really comparable, 'cause she teaches dance. Miss Sherwood comes right out and asks Ms. Grant if she's asking her to go easy on Leroy, and Ms. Grant looks sheepish, stops talking, and apologizes for implying that she should give him a free pass without merit. Miss Sherwood hands her the check for their breakfast and says she's got to figure out how to handle a scholastic fuckup like Leroy.
Montgomery hits the play button on his ghetto blaster, and everyone - including Leroy in his shorts-over-sweatpants outfit - starts boogying to the C47s' lame sounding song called Gimme That, Gimme That...and the dancing goes on for what seems like an excruciatingly looooong time. Bruno arrives at school and watches the dancing with his usual sardonic, I'm-so-over-it expression [that I'm getting really sick of and makes me want to punch him in the face]. Just as the performance comes to an end, Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant arrive...and when they notice Leroy in the middle of the jumble of dancers, a chagrined Ms. Grant tells Miss Sherwood, "I guess Leroy couldn't find the library." Heh.
In one of the music rooms, Bruno mocks the lameness of the C47s' music, but Montgomery tells him not to knock it, 'cause right now it's the hottest cassette around. Bruno derisively says you have to turn off your mind to listen to schlock like that, then demonstrates how easy it is to compose shittastic music. He sits down at the synthesizer and tells Montgomery to say the first word that pops into his head...and at that very moment, Mr. Shorofsky enters the room, which causes Montgomery to gasp, "Mr. Shorofsky!" and naturally he refrains from explaining to Bruno that Mr. Shorofsky just entered the room. Bruno, who's so wrapped up in his composing that he doesn't notice Mr. Shorofsky standing there, starts crooning, "Oooooh...Shor-OFF-sky!" and rattles off some funny lyrics about the big bearded teddy-bear. Mr. Shorofsky quietly listens and stares at Bruno in fascination and bewilderment.
Miss Sherwood tells Leroy she wants to discuss his dismal academic performance with his parents, and he glares back at her and goes, "Who?!" LOL. She hands him a note that she prepared for his parents, then instructs him to deliver it and ensure that they set up a parent/teacher meeting with her, like pronto. Leroy tells her she doesn't have to bug his parents, but she insists on speaking with them and forces him to take the note.
Bruno sheepishly explains to Mr. Shorofsky that he was mocking the genre of music, not him. He says he could have inserted anything in the song in order to demonstrate its weak structure to Montgomery. Mr. Shorofsky grumbles, "I detest the cacophony!" and agrees that it was mindless schlock. After Mr. Shorofsky exits the room, Montgomery agrees that the song was mindless, but that it also has commercial appeal.
Leroy bitches at Danny for talking so loudly in the diner that Miss Sherwood was able to overhear their conversation...and Danny snarks back that he should have just done his English assignment on time. Leroy explains that he lives in a shitty neighborhood and got mugged while walking home from the subway...so Danny jokingly asks him if he's saying that the muggers stole his English paper. Leroy snarks, "What I think is that you owe me, and I'm here to collect." It's unclear why or how Danny owes this hostile grump anything. Leroy orders him to write a note that looks like it's from his momma, and Danny just rolls his eyes and chuckles.
Montgomery has blabbed to the gang about the awesome "Mr. Shorofsky" song that Bruno rattled off, and they all want to hear it. They drag Bruno into the music room and beg him to play the song, and he says he doubts they'll find it very funny...but indulges them and starts playing it. Everyone enthusiastically bops to the beat...and, interestingly, it's the most happy and alive I've ever seen Bruno. Maybe he's finally found his true calling. Montgomery glances down at his ghetto blaster, which he brought along and placed beside him on the floor, and discreetly presses the record button.
Miss Sherwood reads the note that Danny cobbled together, pretending to be Leroy's momma, and tells Leroy she's suspicious of its authenticity, but won't go so far as to accuse him of forgery. Leroy pretends to be all confused and goes, "Wha-a?" so Miss Sherwood explains that if his mother actually sent her this ridiculous response, then it's clear she doesn't understand how dire his situation is. She then insists that he bring his parents by the school at 4pm tomorrow and barks, "No excuses!"
Leroy asks Doris if she'd be willing to pretend to be his momma on the phone and tell Miss Sherwood she's unable to come to a parent/teacher meeting tomorrow. Doris snarks that that's a stupid idea, which could get them both booted out of school. Leroy shoots her the stink-eye and says that the next time they're in dance class and she leaps in his direction and expects him to catch her, she should remember this conversation...and Doris scrunches her face with concern at the thought of Leroy dropping her on her head in the middle of a rehearsal. Haha! I would definitely enjoy that.
Montgomery tells Bruno that he played the Shorofsky song for the lead singer of a band called Psychic Powers (who he knows through family connections) and he loved it! He arranged for a meeting between Bruno and the band, but Bruno just makes a face and grumbles about how much he despises that type of music. Montgomery points out that this meeting could lead to a paying gig - and Bruno looks momentarily intrigued, but then stubbornly insists that he still hates that kind of music. Sigh. We know, Bruno...we know.
Bruno meets up with Papa Martelli after school and climbs into his cab. The two chat about their day, and Bruno tells his dad he has to meet up with Montgomery later 'cause they have a meeting with a band.
Ms. Grant finds Miss Sherwood sitting in her English classroom, looking pissed off. She tells Ms. Grant that Leroy's parents didn't show up for their 4pm meeting, then firmly declares, "If the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain!" Ms. Grant looks alarmed at the thought of Miss Sherwood ambling around Harlem alone and warns her that it's a really bad idea. Miss Sherwood insists that she has to do it if she's going to help Leroy, then storms out of the room.
Miss Sherwood arrives in Harlem by train and walks briskly down the street. She quickly locates Leroy's derelict building and tentatively steps inside. She knocks on his apartment door, and a glaring Leroy answers and lets her in...then quietly sits on his bed as she sadly glances around his squalid living quarters. She quietly asks, "You live here?" and he says, "Yeah" and tells her he doesn't have parents, and she's all, "Wha-a?!"
Leroy fixes Miss Sherwood a plate of corn chips and pours her a drink, and they sit at his dining table for a heart-to-heart chat. He tells her that his dad is long gone, and that his mom lives in Detroit with her sister 'cause she couldn't find work in New York. Miss Sherwood asks him what he does for money, and he tells her he works at a nearby pool hall...and since the owner of the pool hall also owns his apartment building, he gets a break on the rent. He tells Miss Sherwood that he's doing OK, and will continue to do OK as long as she doesn't fuck up his life and get him "sent to welfare". Miss Sherwood says that receiving welfare might not be a bad idea, but he threatens to bolt if she does that. He snarls that it's his life, and that it's working...and she says she's going to have to think about all this. She gets up to leave, then turns around and says, "You're too young to live like this" and he retorts, "I haven't been young in a long, long time."
During lunch, Montgomery tells the gang that he might have snagged a record deal for Bruno, and that it's awesome 'cause they're getting in on the ground floor of a new company. Julie reminds him that Bruno hates the kind of music he'll be expected to churn out, but Montgomery points out that he may be able to make some real money at it. Bruno arrives and sits down at the table, and the gang jokes about him forgetting them, the little people, once he's rich and famous.
Miss Sherwood tells Ms. Grant about the icky squalor Leroy is living in. She's contemplating blowing the whistle on his situation so that the system can place him with a foster family (um, he's twenty), but Ms. Grant says he'd probably just run away. Miss Sherwood wrings her hands worriedly and says it's a miracle that Leroy is able to make it to school as often as he does. Not sure why it's such a miracle - the subway goes right to his 'hood.
In Central Park, Montgomery buys ice cream cones for Bruno and Papa Martelli. The record company has prepared a contract for Bruno to sign, but Papa Martelli doesn't like the wording, since it declares that the company will own all the rights to the music that Bruno composes. Montgomery points out that it's a foot in the door, and Bruno says that at his young age, he probably shouldn't be all that choosy. No fucking shit.
Leroy is shirtless and sweaty as he dances by himself in front of the mirror of the dance gym. Ms. Grant enters and sassily asks him what he's doing here and not in English class, so Leroy explains that he was excused from class, and produces a note to that effect. Ms. Grant reads it, makes a face, then declares to Leroy that this is the last time he's evuh going to have the dance gym all to himself. Leroy scrunches his face in confusion and asks her why she's so mad at him, and she mutters, "I'm going to correct that" and stalks out of the room.
Ms. Grant asks Mr. Shorofsky if she can borrow Mrs. Berg - who, for some reason, is hanging out in his classroom. The two women then head over to Miss Sherwood's classroom, and Mrs. Berg whispers something to Miss Sherwood...and a few seconds later, Miss Sherwood rushes out, leaving Mrs. Berg to take over the class.
Mr. Shorofsky asks Bruno if he's a recording maven yet, and Bruno mopishly says he has mixed feelings about signing the record deal because he can't seem to allow himself to be happy or enthusiastic about fucking anything ever. Wise sage Mr. Shorofsky tells him he's afraid of writing junk and being "a schlockmeister" before he fully grasps what it means to create quality music.
Ms. Grant accuses Miss Sherwood of crippling Leroy, then explains that she grew up the way Leroy is living right now. She advises her to give him a failing grade if he is, in fact, failing...'cause it would be wrong to unleash him onto the world if he can't read or write. She gabbles some more about forcing Leroy to be challenged and fight, blah blah blah...and Miss Sherwood looks like she's newly inspired about how to deal with the Leroy situation.
During lunch, Bruno spots Mr. Shorofsky sitting a table eating his lunch...and he sits at a piano and starts playing. Mr. Shorofsky looks up and smiles.
Miss Sherwood storms into the dance gym and tells Leroy in no uncertain terms that she's going to talk and he's going to listen, damn it.
Bruno plays a catchy, interesting sounding tune to prove to Mr. Shorofsky that he can, in fact, compose quality music. Mr. Shorofsky concedes that it was very good - but that he can do better. Bruno glances over at Montgomery, who nods knowingly and promises to cancel the meeting with the record company. The kids then start egging on Mr. Shorofsky to play Bruno's kind of music for a change, and he accepts the challenge and sits at the piano and jokingly grumbles, "No one appreciates good music." He starts playing...and Bruno sits at another nearby piano (there are two pianos in the cafeteria!?) and plays along...and everyone really gets into it and starts bopping to the beat. And a random guy starts playing on a set of drums!
Miss Sherwood tells Leroy it's a crime he has to live in such a shit-hole - but that she'll help him by "going back to the tough way". Leroy cheekily asks her if they can start with the tough stuff next semester, but she sternly says they're going to start with it right now. She orders him to come to her class in two minutes to get his next assignment, then struts out of the room.
Everyone's still dancing wildly to Bruno's/Mr. Shorofsky's piano playing. Three dancers climb atop Bruno's piano, and I truly feared that they would crush the poor instrument. Bruno and Mr. Shorofsky grin joyously at each other, and when they finally finish playing, everyone appreciatively hoots and hollers.
Leroy enters Miss Sherwood's classroom, stands in front of her desk and says, "I'm listening" and she looks very touched and smiles up at him.
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Recap: Julie’s mother is having some kind of anxiety attack in the kitchen of her apartment and is breathing into a paper bag. She tells Julie she's nervous about job hunting, and is worried that asking Ms. Grant for help is too much of an imposition for her. Julie assures her that Ms. Grant is more than happy to help her out, then says they need to head over to the school, like pronto, 'cause she has an important rehearsal to attend. Unfortunately, as soon as Mrs. Miller stops breathing into the paper bag, she starts hyperventilating, so Julie decides to forgo the rehearsal and tend to her basket case of a mother.
In the dance gym, Doris is railing to the other performers that Julie is late for rehearsal. She storms out of the room, then a few seconds later wheels in a headless mannequin and announces, "I'd like you to meet the new Julie Miller!" Everyone bursts out laughing, but Doris keeps a straight face and insists she wasn't trying to make a joke. She points out that since Julie was cast as the role of mannequin, they might as well use the real thing as a stand-in. Leroy hugs the mannequin, then starts dancing with it as he sings in a painfully off-key, screechy voice, "Maaa-nnnnnequin..." Yikes. Would it have killed the producers to hire one Fame kid with a halfway decent singing voice? After the trial run, everyone gabbles excitedly about how much they enjoyed doing the performance with an actual mannequin. Montgomery and Bruno agree that the number was fantastic - but Montgomery warns that it's going to be hard to tell Julie she's being replaced by a mannequin. Doris shrieks, as though she had nothing to do with the sudden casting change, and bewilderedly exclaims, "Julie will absolutely platz!" (OMFG - I can't express enough how fucking much I hate the sight, sound, and aura of Doris Fucking Schwartz.)
Miss Sherwood enters her classroom with a student teacher named Jeffrey Harris, and explains to the class that Mr. Harris will be assisting her for the next few weeks. Julie arrives late to class, and for some reason she seems drawn to Jeffrey's dorkiness. The two hold up the class while they flirt, smile, and stare at each other until Julie finally regains her senses and takes her seat.
Ms. Grant is helping Julie's mom cobble together a resume - which is no small feat since she's only ever been a mom to Julie and a wife to Julie's deadbeat father. No worries. I'm sure McDonald's is hiring.
Doris breaks the news to Julie that she's been replaced by a mannequin in the upcoming show. Julie's all, "Wha-a?!" and indignantly refuses to give up her coveted role to an inanimate object. She assumes she's being punished for being a no-show at rehearsal, but Coco insists that it's nothing personal and that the performance just works better with an actual mannequin.
Jeffrey finds Julie eating alone in the cafeteria and joins her with his tray of food. He tells her he's not all that into teaching and is only doing it 'cause he thinks it's something he should be doing. A few seconds later, he switches gears and grumbles about how the cafeteria food tastes like ass, and Julie giggles and looks charmed by his immature frankness.
Julie thanks Ms. Grant for helping her mom with her job search, and Ms. Grant assures her it's no trouble and then remarks on how "positively radiant" she looks today. Julie barely hears her as she hungrily stares toward the hall where Jeffrey is standing, then quickly excuses herself to give him a tour of the school. Ms. Grant's all, "Wha-a?" and then she and Miss Sherwood look on in dismay as they witness the unmistakably flirty vibe between Julie and Jeffrey.
Miss Sherwood asks Jeffrey what he thought of his first day of teaching, and he tells her it was scary, yet fascinating. She advises him that teaching at the School of the Arts can be difficult 'cause it's easy to "fall under the spell of these kids". LOL. As an example, she cites Julie's compositions, which are sometimes as beautiful as she is, and that they remind her of what it's like to be a vulnerable seventeen year old (even though in real life she's a twenty-five year old). Jeffrey tells Miss Sherwood he had lunch with Julie and then got a tour of the school, and Miss Sherwood purses her lips disapprovingly and tells him it's important to draw boundaries with these "kids". As teachers, they can care, listen, teach...but it's important to not step over that line into touchy-feely territory. Jeffrey acts all fake shocked that Miss Sherwood would assume he's getting too personal with Julie, and she wryly tells him she wouldn't be giving him this lecture if she didn't think it was required. Jeffrey explains to Miss Sherwood that journalism was his first major in college - not education, which he doesn't even like that much - but he figured why not bring the two disciplines together and write an article about the School of the Arts and write it from Julie's point of view: Grand Rapids Girl Moves to the Big Apple. (Nice try, Jeffrey - but the writers pretty much fished that lake dry during the series pilot.) Miss Sherwood sheepishly apologizes for giving him a lecture on inappropriate teacher-student relations, but then somehow neglects to give him the reminder: you're at this school to serve as a student teacher not as a journalist lecture.
Jeffrey tracks Julie down and tells her he intends to write an article about the school from her point of view. She looks flattered, then suggests that perhaps one of the older students (the thirty year olds..?) might be a better choice - but Jeffrey says it has to be her, since he already told Miss Sherwood she was on board with the project. To seal the deal, he gives her an appreciative once-over and asks her if she can stand to hang out with someone of his generation...and she shoots him a dreamy look and replies, "Yeah. I can stand it" which...well, d'yuh. I'm pretty sure you're both about the same age.
Later in the week, Jeffrey asks Julie if they could work together during the lunch hour...and Miss Sherwood overhears and asks him how his article is coming along. He tells her it's really coming together, and she compliments him on his teaching abilities and saunters off. Jeffrey asks Julie a round of questions about what it was like to leave Grand Rapids and move to the Big Apple, and she tells him she wasn't sure she was going to be able to fit in, but then did...blah blah. (For more on Julie's overtold "fish out of water" story, see the series pilot.)
Over in the teachers' lounge, Ms. Grant is looking over Mrs. Miller's volunteer credentials. Apparently, she has a lot of experience organizing lunches and special events. Mrs. Miller says she's scared and worried about her future, and Ms. Grant assures her she'll help her find the perfect job (taking food orders at Mickey Dees).
The students are rehearsing the mannequin number again...and holy hell, my ears. Jeffrey slips inside the dance gym to watch, and when Leroy spots him, he abruptly stops the number, glares at Jeffrey, and barks, "You want somethin'?" Jeffrey says he just wants to watch, so Doris informs him that teachers aren't supposed to watch rehearsals. Wuh? Since when? Doris explains that they're supposed to be allowed to sink or swim, so Jeffrey explains that he'd like to write about the rehearsal process in his article, and Leroy perks up at that and agrees to let him stay and endure his screechtastic singing voice.
Jeffrey later tells Julie it was "a trip" watching the Fame kids put the mannequin performance piece together. He then tells her he'd love to be able to take a tour of her Grand Rapids high school - but will settle for a peek at her old yearbook, and suggests they go to her apartment so he can get some background material on her. Mmm hmm..
In the next scene, the two are cuddled on the couch in Casa Miller, looking over Julie's Grand Rapids High yearbook. She gabbles to him about all the false stereotypes regarding kids in New York and the Midwest, then asks him why he's entering teaching if he actually prefers journalism. He tells her that teaching is steadier and less risky...plus he's a little afraid he might not cut it as a journalist. She assures him that self doubt is normal, especially for the students at the School of the Arts...and Jeffrey takes that as a cue to lean in for a kiss - which gets interrupted by the sudden arrival of Julie's mom. Julie hastily explains to her mom that Jeffrey is a teacher at the school, and Jeffrey corrects her and says, "Student teacher" as though it's any more acceptable for a student teacher to be messing around with a student than it would be for a regular teacher.
Later, Mrs. Miller gets all snarky to Julie about catching her playing kissy-face with Jeffrey. She threatens to call the school to complain, but Julie assures her that nothing happened between her and Jeffrey and promises that nothing will...but then totally contradicts herself when she wails that Jeffrey's the first guy she's met (since Lester) she really cares about. Well that's just dumb. She hasn't even known the guy a week.
In the office, Danny tries to convince Mr. Shorofsky to go halvsies with him on a portable cassette player at a two-for-one sale, but Mr. Shorofsky says he abhors these newfangled earphones and declares that music is to be enjoyed by everyone - not used to tune out the world. He's so damned adorable. Some guy named Mr. Cobb arrives at the school to talk to Jeffrey about his article...and he hands it back to him and says, "Close, but no cigar." He explains that the magazine's new owner is operating in "a new way", meaning he'll only publish "short words, simple ideas, flesh and scandal". He wishes Jeffrey success with his teaching career - but Jeffrey stops him and says he'd like to take a shot at delivering the kind of salacious smut the magazine is striving to provide its readership with.
Over in the dance gym, Doris is discussing the wardrobe with the cast of the mannequin show. Jeffrey slips into the room and eavesdrops, and says he's shocked that the students have to buy their own costumes. Doris goes, "What buy? I use a credit card!" She explains to him that since the school doesn't have a budget for costumes, she uses her mom's credit card to buy the garments, and once the show's over, she returns them. Jeffrey says he admires her ingenuity, then stares into space as he contemplatively mulls over that potentially scandalous tidbit for his article.
Right before English class, Julie tells Jeffrey that she talked to her mom about their illicit kissing, and assures him that everything is going to be A-OK. Jeffrey notices that Miss Sherwood is giving them a disapproving stink-eye and tries to get Julie to shut up, but she doesn't take the hint soon enough. Coco asks Julie if she'd like to come to the dance gym after school and watch the mannequin number so she can see for herself how well it works with an actual mannequin, but Julie says she'll be too busy helping Jeffrey with his article. Coco teases her about being smitten with Jeffrey, so Julie snaps at her to mind her own business - and it's a pretty awkward exchange 'cause it looked like the entire class, including Jeffrey and Miss Sherwood, overheard their conversation.
Mrs. Miller is strutting down the hall with Ms. Grant, and judging from the spring in her step, it looks like she found herself a job!
Jeffrey enters the teacher's lounge, and after he makes sure the coast is clear, he dials Mr. Cobb's number.
Mrs. Miller excitedly tells Ms. Grant she got a job as a collector, which entails "going to places of businesses and picking up receipts and things". Ms. Grant gives her a funny look and says it sounds like she's a numbers runner - as in, for organized crime. She strongly suspects that Mrs. Miller was hired either because she's too much of a dumbass to understand the illegal nature of the job, or because she's literally the last person on earth anyone would ever suspect of being a numbers runner. It's probably a combination of the two.
Jeffrey "reports" to Mr. Cobb that the Fame kids are into a sleazy credit card scam, then talks about working an angle on fake racial tensions between some of the students. At that moment, an excited looking Julie bursts into the teachers' lounge looking for him - but her face instantly falls when she overhears him tell Mr. Cobb that he'll look into manufacturing a fake drug scandal at the school to create more buzz for his article. Jeffrey suddenly whirls around and sees Julie staring at him in shock.
Julie runs down the hall crying and bumps into her mother, who's crying 'cause she just learned she's a numbers runner...and the two hopeless nitwits hug.
Later, at the apartment, Mrs. Miller points out to Julie that since they're both so unhappy in New York, perhaps they should consider going home to Grand Rapids. That definitely sounds like the best idea I've heard all episode. Julie looks surprised at the suggestion but appears to mull it over.
The next day, Julie arrives at school with her cello and runs into Jeffrey. He explains to her that since the School of the Arts runs on ambition, she should understand that an ambitious person has to do things he doesn't necessarily want to do. He says he's determined to get his article published - so she snaps, "Regardless of who it hurts?!" and he shrugs dismissively and says, "Young people bounce back." I wonder if he's considered the possibility that publishing made up shit about drug use at the School of the Arts could possibly get him sued by the school board.
Julie finds a dark classroom so she can morosely stare into space and play her cello for a loooong time. Bruno enters the room and offers her a "peace offering" for the whole mannequin debacle: a poem she once wrote for Miss Sherwood's class that he transformed into song lyrics. After he leaves, an intrigued Julie picks up a nearby guitar and starts performing the song...and the sound of backup vocalists mysteriously materializes. LOL. As she sings, she has flashbacks of all the time she spent with Jeffrey over the last couple of days: eating lunch, riding bicycles, strolling hand in hand through Central Park. It remains unclear exactly when all this courtship stuff was supposed to have occurred.
Ms. Grant asks Julie if her mom recovered from "her little adventure" yesterday, and Julie says she's still traumatized from her stupidity in unwittingly accepting a job as a numbers runner. Ms. Grant offers to call the dumbass tonight so she doesn't get too down on herself. She then bumps into Mr. Shorofsky, who's wearing headphones as he listens to the symphony in his new portable cassette player. Yay, Mr. Shorofsky! Way to leap into the '80s!
Julie calls her mom and implores her not to do anything rash. She says they can't just give up on New York, then announces she's in love...but not with that assfuck, Jeffrey. She's in love with a "dirty, grimy, loud school" - as well as with people who dance with dress mannequins.
Julie marches to English class and sassily tells Jeffrey that if he publishes his article, she'll send a letter to the editor, outing him for hitting on a student to get his information. Jeffrey retorts, "You wouldn't do that" - but she insists she would, and that she'll happily pay the price for scuffing her reputation. He derisively tells her she doesn't have the guts, so she shoots him a really squinty stink-eye and says, "Try me."
Dress rehearsal! Without explanation, the mannequin is out - and Julie's back playing the role of the mannequin...and we get to hear Leroy screechily bellowing, "Maaa-nnnnnequin..." again. Give me strength. Incidentally, I wonder who this one performance show could possibly be geared towards?
Recap: Mr. Crandall is making his drama students say "I love you" to him and look like they mean it. Everyone's able to do it in a reasonably convincing manner - except for Doris and Montgomery, who can't get through the exercise without making faces and giggling like six year olds. Crandall explains to the class that if they actually get acting gigs, they're going to be called upon to say/do things they don't believe...and that the childish nitwits who giggled and smirked while trying to say "I love you" need to get a lot better at lying.
After class lets out, Doris points out to Montgomery that they were the only two who "chickened out" during Crandall's exercise and acted like school kids. Montgomery's like, "We are school kids!" (which I found hilarious, since when this episode was filmed, he was 26 and Doris was 24). Doris says they're both cowards who are always trying to be cute or cop out, then suggests that for the rest of the day they will tell the truth...no matter how much they don't want to. Montgomery hems and haws for a few seconds, then agrees to the challenge - which is completely nonsensical, since the point of Mr. Crandall's exercise was to learn how to lie on cue, not tell the truth regardless of how difficult it may be. Dumbfucks.
Ms. Grant is reading something and chuckling, and when Doris asks her what's so funny, she explains that she was just going over the agenda for the faculty show and noticed that Miss Sherwood is slated to perform an African tribal dance. She rolls her eyes derisively and snarkishly says, "Good luck." Heh...meow. Coco strolls over with some girl named Michelle and asks Ms. Grant what she thinks of Michelle's grisly purple leotard. Ms. Grant looks at the fugly bodysuit and carefully says, "It's, uh...different. Very original." Coco then asks Doris what she thinks, so Doris gives Michelle a quick once-over and blurts out, "It's a pukey color and it makes you look incredibly hippy." Michelle's all, "Wha-a?!" and rushes over to the mirror to examine her hips and wails, "I do look hippy!" Ms. Grant glares at Doris and snaps, "You should talk." (Haha...right?!) She then tries to convince Michelle she looks fine, but by now Michelle is too despondent by the sight of her gargantuan hips to listen.
Mr. Shorofsky is listening to Montgomery, Bruno, and Julie as they perform a Bach piece playing various instruments. He murmurs, "Something is missing" and asks them if they've been rehearsing...and truth-telling Montgomery admits they only rehearsed the piece for fifteen minutes. Bruno shoots him an incredulous stink-eye and is forced to confess that he did, in fact, rope his classmates into spending most of their rehearsal time playing a new song he wrote. Mr. Shorofsky gets annoyed, accuses them of breaking his trust in them, and barks, "Out!" Julie reminds him that they'll need passes for the hall monitor, but he doesn't give a rat's ass 'bout that and orders them out of his classroom. After being ejected from music class, Bruno and Julie stare incredulously at Montgomery and are all, "The fuck?" and Montgomery chooses that moment to fink on Julie for badmouthing Bruno's keyboarding abilities. Hee! To add to the drama, an overzealous hall monitor storms over and demands their permits, and when none of them can produce a hall pass, he threatens to write them all up....but ends up just reporting Bruno after he sasses him. Not that he didn't deserve to be sassed, 'cause maybe he could have been more chill about being a hall monitor.
Doris sees Miss Sherwood rubbing her neck, and when she explains that she pulled a muscle last night, Doris asks her if she did that while rehearsing her African tribal dance routine. Miss Sherwood's all, "Wuh? How did you know 'bout that?" so Doris blabs that Ms. Grant let it slip and then had a good laugh about the thought of her performing an African tribal dance routine...and Miss Sherwood looks suitably miffed.
Mrs. Berg informs Mr. Shorofsky that Bruno got written up by the hall monitor, but that Bruno claims that he was ordered out of his classroom. She asks Mr. Shorofsky whassup with that, so he grumbles that he threw several students out of his class, not just one. He then starts railing about how they didn't rehearse the Bach piece they were supposed to, and that the "struggles of a hall monitor" don't interest him. He growls, "You can stick your summons -" and Mrs. Berg gasps and exclaims, "Don't you dare!" Ms. Grant and Miss Sherwood enter the office just as Mr. Shorofsky snaps, "Stuff it!" and storms out. Meanwhile, Miss Sherwood snarkishly asks Ms. Grant if she's supposed to be a form of comedy relief for the faculty show, then rats out Doris for blabbing about the way she mocked her African tribal dance abilities. Ms. Grant mutters, "I'll kill her" and pretends that her sarcastic good luck comment was a genuine good luck wish - but since Miss Sherwood wasn't born yesterday, she doesn't buy that. Ms. Grant then bitchily says that the only thing she does at the school is teach English...and Miss Sherwood gets offended by that (even though teaching English is pretty much all she does at the school), and the two bicker, blah blah, and decide to switch classes for one period for no conceivable purpose. Mrs. Berg, meanwhile, is in tears over Mr. Shorofsky's "stuff it" remark...and Michelle enters the office and moans about her burgeoning hips.
Over in the cafeteria, a befuddled Danny tells a stone-faced Doris and Montgomery that they usually laugh at his jokes. Doris explains that they only did that so they wouldn't hurt his feelings, and Montgomery outright tells him he needs better material. Doris says that once in awhile he's able to come up with funny jokes, but Danny doesn't find that very comforting and storms off. Doris remarks to Montgomery that this "telling the truth" challenge isn't as hard as she thought it would be - and he just stares at her incredulously and points out that a lot of people are mad at them. Doris, being her delusional self, doesn't see it and tells him that Michelle thanked her for being honest about her leotard and that Miss Sherwood was grateful for her honesty about her sucky African tribal dance abilities. Montgomery gazes across the room and notices a hot blonde in a leotard and starts ogling her, so Doris encourages him to make a move. He goes over to talk to her...but whatever "honest" thing he says results in the blonde punching him in the face. Haha!
Mr. Crandall tells Mr. Shorofsky he wants to perform a jazz number for the faculty show, and Mr. Shorofsky goes off on a weird rant about how people start to turn into "crazies" when the end of the school year approaches - and uses Miss Sherwood's/Ms. Grant's nonsensical class switcheroo as an example of this craziness.
Ms. Grant is in Miss Sherwood's classroom, "teaching English", but somehow the class devolves into the students chanting literature related phrases and they come perilously close to breaking out into dance. Doris points out that they're supposed to be conjugating verbs, and Ms. Grant sarcastically thanks her, then shoots her the stink-eye and snarks, "You've been so helpful this morning to so many people." Um, isn't high school a bit late to be learning how to conjugate verbs in one's native language?
Over in the dance gym, Miss Sherwood is presiding over a performance led by Leroy in his short shorts...and the gyrating goes on for what seems like an extraordinarily loooong time. When it finally comes to a merciful end, Miss Sherwood tells them it was very good, despite the rough edges...and they're all, "Wha-a?!" so she says the number seemed "a little usual". Leroy scrunches his face in confusion and asks her what she means by usual, so she suggests throwing in a few unexpected moves - like some Irish step dancing, for example, and gives them an impromptu demonstration. The students laugh aloud at her clunky moves, then flee the dance gym as soon as the bell rings. Miss Sherwood asks Leroy to stay behind and gives him the backstory about how Ms. Grant thinks she's in over her head with her African tribal dance routine for the faculty show. She asks him if he can teach her how to dance, and he starts laughing...then stops when he realizes she's being serious, and agrees to give her a few tips on how to bust a move.
Doris bellows to Montgomery, "We are victorious!" and a beleaguered looking Montgomery asks her if they're done being brutally honest yet. She says she doesn't want to give it up, and thinks they accomplished a lot today in opening up the lines of communication. The camera quickly pans over to Bruno, who barks at Julie for her earlier criticism of his keyboarding skills, and the two bicker back and forth 'bout that again, blah blah.
Danny asks Mr. Crandall if he'd be willing to write some comedy material for him, but Crandall tells him he doesn't have time. Danny asks him if he can at least use any funny stuff he happens to say during class, and Crandall gives him the OK for that lame request. Danny should maybe consider giving up his comedic dreams if he's too fucking lazy at this stage of his "career" to write his own material.
Doris tells Montgomery she feels good about all the people they helped today...and the camera pans over to Michelle, who's growing increasingly despondent over her monstrous hips as Coco tries to convince her it's all in her head. The camera then pans back to a clueless Doris, who smugly tells Montgomery, "We did good!"
Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant are bickering about how badly each handled the other's class, blah blah. Leroy enters the office, and Miss Sherwood pretends as though she's meeting with him to give him extra tutoring in English so Ms. Grant won't know she's getting private dancing lessons...and he wisely plays along.
Bruno tells Mr. Shorofsky that he, Julie, and Montgomery will have the Bach number ready to perform by Friday, and Mr. Shorofsky nods and gruffly retorts that he cleared up his hall monitor problem. He explains that he's harder on him than he is on other people, and advises him to be harder on himself.
Leroy's doing his damnedest to teach Miss Sherwood how to dance, but her middle age/white woman brand of rhythm makes it an exercise in futility. He finally throws in the towel with African tribal dancing and suggests changing her music to something jazzier, then shows her some easier, booty jigging dance moves.
Mr. Shorofsky is on his way out when he hears a noise coming from the office. He goes inside to peak around, and - ack! - some random criminal jumps out of the darkness and attacks him from behind! NOOOO!!!!
Bruno, Coco, and Doris are hanging in Bruno's basement. Coco tells Doris that Michelle is really down on herself, which is a problem 'cause she's the lead dancer in her choreography final. Doris whines, "I'm going to have to apologize to half the people in the Western Hemisphere!" Well, d'yuh. She sheepishly explains that by being brutally honest with everyone, she was only trying to make things better. Bruno suddenly starts playing a limp sounding tune on the keyboard, and Doris breaks into song about "making things right" and how she was "only trying to help" and "didn't know the truth would hurt". Bruno really gets into it and looks orgasmic while he plays, dramatically bobbing his head - LOL - and afterwards, he and Coco give Doris a forgiveness hug. A few seconds later, Bruno gets a phone call, urgently says, "I'll be right there!" and dashes upstairs.
Bruno and Ms. Grant rush over to the hospital to visit Mr. Shorofsky, who's been beaten up and is now unconscious. Fortunately, the doctors expect him to make a full recovery. Bruno stares down at him sadly, kisses his cheek, and softly urges him to get better.
Miss Sherwood tells Mr. Crandall that in light of the attack on Mr. Shorofsky, no one gives a rat's ass about the faculty show anymore. Mr. Crandall's like, "Well, duh" but then points out that students are being graded by their performance in the faculty show, so they can't just cancel it. Miss Sherwood mulls that over for a few seconds and agrees to forge ahead with the dumb thing.
Ms. Grant is on the phone with Mr. Shorofsky, informing him that the faculty show has been downgraded to an "exam presentation" so that the students who are performing can still be evaluated. Mr. Shorofsky doesn't like the idea of watering down the event, but she tells him it's already been decided.
Faculty show! In the opening number, Mr. Crandall cracks jokes while playing a jazz tune on the piano. Danny has a pen and paper, ready to write down anything funny Crandall says, but comes up short. Write your own material, slackass.
Back at the hospital, Mr. Shorofsky puts on his coat and hat and tells the receptionist that the patient in his room just died, and that she should wait fifteen minutes before reacting. She nods at him as though this makes any sense, and he slips out.
Miss Sherwood enters the dance gym wearing a black bodysuit and sheer tights and starts performing a sexy dance number...and by performing, I mean she sashays around the floor and jerks her hips while periodically throwing both arms into the air. LOL. Everyone hoots appreciatively at the odd spectacle, and Leroy really gets into it and yells, "Aw right!" while the rest of the male students stifle their boners and applaud.
Mrs. Berg says she would like to take part in the show by doing a dramatic reading. She tells everyone that when the police showed up after the attack on Mr. Shorofsky, they found a letter he wrote to her. She says she'd like to read it aloud - and it's a lovely note that compliments the job she does, and begs her forgiveness for telling her to "stuff it". By scripted coincidence, Mr. Shorofsky enters the room just as she finishes reading, and everyone rushes over and gently envelopes him in a group hug. He sits next to Mrs. Berg as they all watch the final act of the show..
Ms. Grant takes center stage and performs a Flamenco type dance in a crop top and skirt while singing...and by singing, I mean some really fake looking lip-syncing. After a few minutes, the students join in with coordinated rehearsed dance moves...and Leroy leaps up from his chair and starts gyrating wildly. But at least this time he's wearing pants.
Recap: Ms. Grant's dance class is limbo-ing, which is...well, whatever. When it's Leroy's turn, he strips off his shirt and lowers the limbo by a lot...which - ack! - was a tad alarming considering he's wearing his usual short shorts, and they're a bit too flared at the hemlines to be limbo-ing in the gyratey way I know he'll be wanting to limbo. Mercifully, the bell rings, and Leroy abruptly dashes out of the dance gym with his balls still safely tucked inside his shorts. Phew. As the students disperse, Miss Sherwood stomps into the dance gym looking annoyed. She tells Ms. Grant that their colleague, Mr. Crandall, had an accident and will be in traction for the next few weeks...and this is very bad news 'cause he was in charge of the Parents' Night show. Egads! Miss Sherwood tells Ms. Grant that they're going to have to take control of the operation - but it won't be easy because Crandall wrote all of his notes in code. And since he's heavily sedated, he's not available to decipher them. Miss Sherwood grimly declares, "We're in deep, deep trouble." Oh lighten up. The school puts on a show every damn week. I highly doubt that anyone of any importance would notice/care if they totally bombed once in awhile.
Papa Martelli enters the school office to ask Mr. Shorofsky for a favor. He says he has to work on Parent's Night and wants permission to attend the dress rehearsal for the show the night before...then overexplains about how there's a big boxing match in the city that will require every cabbie to be on duty. Ms. Shorofsky says he doesn't mind, but informs him that Miss Sherwood is in charge of the event and suggests leaving a note in her mailbox. A middle-age-ish blonde woman we've never seen enters the office and stands at the counter next to Papa Martelli. He glances over at her and asks her if they've met before, and she flashes him a faux modest smile and says he's probably seen her on the big screen. Papa Martelli makes the connection that she's Melinda MacNeil from the movie Good News...and then Julie, who's been lurking in the office for some reason, blurts out, "You're Montgomery's mom!"
Julie returns to English class, where it looks like everyone's in the middle of writing a test. She passes a note to Montgomery informing him that his mom is in the building...and he reads it, makes a yeech face, then resumes writing his test.
Turns out Melinda MacNeil is the celebrity guest Mr. Crandall invited to headline the Parent's Night show. Melinda self-importantly gabbles to Ms. Grant about how she pushed back her current film project so she could fly to New York and see whassup with her son. Ms. Grant warns her that the Parent's Night show may be crappier than usual 'cause a lot of the prep went out the window when Mr. Crandall became unexpectedly incapacitated. She gushes about how she's always admired her on the big screen, then asks her if she'd be willing to step in as director for the Parent's Night show. Melinda lights up and says she'd be delighted to help, and the two agree to get together at lunch time and discuss it further.
Doris tracks down Montgomery and tells him his famous mom is in the building, but Montgomery just shrugs disinterestedly and glumly says, "I'll run into her when I run into her." Doris says she's most likely in the cafeteria right now, then gets all pushy about wanting to meet her - but Montgomery tells her to lay off 'cause she doesn't know the full history of his dysfunctional relationship with the phony narcissist. Doris whines that she never has an opportunity to get close to celebrities, then accuses him of derailing her chance to hobnob with a bonafide movie star. When she shrilly orders him to introduce her to his mom, he tells her to go pee up a rope and storms upstairs.
Melinda gets in the food line with Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant...and when she sees Montgomery amble into the crowded cafeteria, she yells out his name and waves at him 'cause that's not totally mortifying for a guy who's already pushing the boundaries of dorkitude. As Montgomery widens his eyes with horror, she sashays over to where he's standing, and the two have a stilted, awkward conversation. She tells him she's going to be in New York for awhile, then proudly informs him that she's just been appointed acting director for the Parent's Night show. He asks her whassup with her film project, and she breezily replies, "This is more important" and asks him what role he's going to have in the show. He tells her he signed up to be a stage hand, and she purses her lips and makes a disappointed hmm face.
In the office, Miss Sherwood asks Mr. Shorofsky if he knows who's directing Parent's Night, and he's like, "I dunno" then catches sight of Melinda sitting across the room. He exclaims, "Hey - I know her!" and tells Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant that they're old pals who used to perform together at a hotel bar in Ohio: he played piano while she sang. He dreamily stares into space as he reminisces about all the amazing nights he spent in her room...but then doesn't elaborate further, so naturally Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant make the leap that the two were lovers and are all, "Wha-a?!"
In the cafeteria, Melinda goes over to the table where the gang is sitting and says she's heard so much about each of them from Montgomery. She asks which of them is Mr. Johnson, so Bruno pulls her leg and says he is, and deadpans, "Dancing is my life." She says she can tell that by his taut dancer's body, which prompts everyone to chuckle. She then asks which of them is Bruno, and Danny says he is, so she asks him if he's managed to overcome his sexual confusion. Everyone at the table bursts out laughing at being the butt of her joke, and Bruno nods at Montgomery and gushingly says, "She's good!" but Montgomery winces miserably and rushes off to the library.
Doris follows Montgomery and asks him why he's so bummed out about his mom being around. He wearily explains that he's seen her bullshit act endless times and already knows how badly the Parent's Night show is going to end up. Doris scrunches her face in confusion and goes, "Wasn't she just being nice to us?" so Montgomery explains that his mother only ever pretends to be to nice to people, regardless of whether they're agents, lawyers, or boyfriends. He has no doubt that her stint as the Parent's Night show director is going to end up with her being center stage, while everyone else watches from the wings. He bitterly adds, "I hate being in the wings."
Over in the dance gym, Ms. Grant and Melinda are holding auditions for the Parent's Night show. Leroy is suggestively gyrating with a group of backup dancers while wearing one of his see-through knit shirts...and the performance seems to go on for an unnecessarily looooong time. When they finally wrap it up, Ms. Grant applauds and gushes, "That was terrific!!" but Melinda doesn't look quite as impressed and icily says, "It was really nice." Leroy glares at her and goes, "Wha-a?! Niiiice?" then natters about how his gyrating was much too spectacular to simply be referred to as nice. Ms. Grant looks perplexed and asks Melinda if she doesn't think Leroy's dancing is good enough to be in the show, and Melinda says he's very good at "that kind of dance" then asks how versatile he is (probably not very), and Ms. Grant assures her that he can handle anything they throw at him. Melinda puts a pin in that for now and declares that she wants the show to have a '20s motif...and when Ms. Grant scrunches her face in confusion, Melinda explains that it's imperative the show have a theme. Ms. Grant says that demonstrating to the parents what their kids have been up to at this school for the last few months is the theme, but Melinda argues that that's not actually a theme. She insists that they need a concept to work off of, so Ms. Grant suggests that they try to do both, then compromises and says that perhaps they could do a '20s style jazz number. She starts dancing to demonstrate what she means by '20s style jazz...and then Melinda starts tapping her feet and jigging around the dance gym, and soon the two are brainstorming ideas for the show while trying to outdo each other's dance moves. After the bizarre performance/whatever that was, Melinda concedes that a jazz number might work for the show, then throws Ms. Grant a bone and says, "I'll think about it, dear." Ms. Grant raises her brows in surprise/annoyance/dismay and mutters, "You do that."
Ms. Grant storms into the office and glares in Miss Sherwood's direction, and Miss Sherwood shoots her a knowing return glare and starts bitching about having to take charge of the Parent's Night wardrobe. Ms. Grant bitches about how difficult and demanding Melinda is proving to be, and Miss Sherwood is like, "Right?" and says that the diva gave her a list of agents and producers she wants to invite to the show. She remarks that it looks as though their celebrity guest is using Parent's Night as her own personal audition, which I think is a pretty sad statement about the woman's career.
Doris and Danny are performing a comedy bit that was written in the '20s, and Doris stops halfway through and complains about how terrible and unfunny it is - and the gang agrees. Doris is bitching about the awful writing when Melinda and Montgomery suddenly appear in the doorway...and Melinda chides her for not giving the material a fair chance. She steps in for Doris and performs it with Danny to demonstrate how funny it's supposed to be...but, nope, the jokes sink just as badly when she does it. Melinda asks Julie or Coco if they'd like to try the bit, but they're like, "Hell no" and beat a hasty retreat. As Bruno also tries to make a break for it, Melinda stops him to complain that the musical composition, Carved Smiles, which he put on the show's agenda, doesn't sound very '20s. He says it's not, but he likes playing it and the dancers enjoy performing to it. Melinda insists that the music has to fit into her '20s theme, so Bruno cheekily retorts, "They'll wear striped blazers and straw hats" but Melinda does not look amused and tells him to drop the sarcasm and orders him to select something else. Bruno gets visibly irked and goes, "Or what?" and she stares at him with her cold, dead eyes and replies, "Consider yourself out of the show." During the awkward pause, Montgomery shuts his eyes and cringes with embarrassment. Bruno explains that his father is coming to the show specifically to see him perform, and Melinda bitchily retorts, "Your father is coming to the show. Whether or not he sees you perform remains to be seen." Bruno storms out, and Montgomery tries to explain to his diva mother that she's going about this all wrong, and that her stupid '20s theme is getting in the way of the planning of the show. She haughtily retorts, "Says the stage hand to the director" and he shoots back, "Says the son to his mother."
Mr. Shorofsky runs into Melinda in the office and says good morning...and when it's clear she doesn't remember him, he reminds her that they used to perform together at a hotel in Toledo. She must suddenly remember that, 'cause she instantly lights up and exclaims, "Benjamin!" and gushes about how much he taught her. Miss Sherwood, who's openly eavesdropping, stares wide-eyed as Melinda reminisces about all the special nights they spent together, then says she definitely wants to do it again. Mr. Shorofsky says he'd love to do it, and suggests meeting up at lunch time in the teachers' lounge so they can do it...and Miss Sherwood looks shocked and aghast that Mr. Shorofsky's would plan a naked rendezvous with Montgomery's mom in the teachers' lounge.
Montgomery's in one of the music rooms, dejectedly strumming an electric guitar when Doris bursts in and says she has a problem. She explains that she's bowing out of the act with Danny and needs to find a replacement...and asks him if he knows anyone who'd be interested. Montgomery says he doesn't, but offers to do a performance in place of hers/Danny's unfunny bit.
Melinda's sitting in the dance gym, watching a group of dancers jig to a theme approved '20s song and nodding approvingly. Ms. Grant peers into the room through the door window and scrunches her face with dismay.
Miss Sherwood tells Ms. Grant that Melinda wants Leroy to slick his hair back like they used to in the '20s, and an exasperated Ms. Grant shakes her head and is all, "Something must be done about the woman!" (LOL) and announces that she's off to the teachers' lounge to give her the what for. Miss Sherwood suddenly remembers that Mr. Shorofsky and Melinda were planning to bump uglies in the teachers' lounge during lunch, so she races after Ms. Grant to stop her from barging in on the sexing - but she's too late. Ms. Grant storms into the teacher's lounge...and a few seconds later, she walks out, ashen faced. She murmurs to Miss Sherwood, "She and Mr. Shorofsky are going at it" and when she opens the door for Miss Sherwood to get a peak, we see that the two are engrossed in a game of chess. Womp womp!
That evening, Ms. Grant finds Doris in the dressing room and asks her if she knows where Melinda is, so Doris tells her she's in the star's dressing room. Ms. Grant says, "We don't have a star dressing room" so Doris explains that Melinda has re-purposed the teachers' lounge as her personal pre-show preparation space.
Ms. Grant heads over to the the "star dressing room" and finds Melinda sitting in front of a mirror, primping for the dress rehearsal. She snidely asks, "Have we forgotten who we're putting on this show for?" and Melinda shoots her the stink-eye and says no she hasn't forgotten that it's for the parents of the students. She tells Ms. Grant that eventually the Fame kids will need to learn how to dance to anything a choreographer wants, and Ms. Grant assures her they will learn that; however, this show is designed to show their parents what they've learned so far. And, unfortunately, musical numbers from the '20s are not what they do best - it's what she does best. Melinda snidely retorts that she agreed to help out with this amateur production as a favor to the faculty, and Ms. Grant retorts, "Is that why you invited so many agents?" and then calls her on her bullcack about having a film project in the works that had to be pushed back so she could direct the Parent's Night show. Melinda turns away, looking sheepish and embarrassed. Haha - busted!
Dress rehearsal! The first number is narrated by Danny and performed by Montgomery. He's dressed as a mime, miming that he's planting a seed, watching it grow into a flower, which then turns into an eagle that no longer needed his nurturing and care. But the mime is all good with it 'cause he's content with the miracle he raised. Subtle, Montgomery. As the audience applauds, Montgomery looks sadly over at an empty chair in the front row, so I guess we can assume that his mom pulled a no show.
Mongtomery ambles into the hall and finds his mom on a pay phone, booking a flight to L.A. When he asks her whassup, she brusquely says she needs his help finding a cab so she can get to the airport, fly home, and be on her movie set first thing in the morning. He says he thought he was more important than her movie, so she dismissively says, "You're not even in the show, so it doesn't really matter" [except that he is in the show now, doing his mime routine]. She confesses that she has to leave for L.A. tonight because the producers won't wait for her another day to start filming...and that all she could get was a supporting role as "the mother" - not the lead role she was expecting. She tells him that watching his schoolmates perform all week has made her realize that she's no spring chicken anymore, and that she will have to accept whatever roles producers are willing to give her. Well, d'yuh. She contritely says she realizes she's not much of a mother, and Montgomery says he's not much of a son...and the two bond in their familial ineptitude and hug. When she pulls away, she goes, "Now...about that cab" - LOL - but Montgomery has to beg off 'cause he's in the show's finale. She assures him she'll somehow find her own cab, tells him to break a leg, then sadly leaves the School of the Arts.
Leroy and the rest of the dancers rehearse a '20s inspired jazz number while dressed in awful orange pants, yellow shirts with purple suspenders - yikes, Miss Sherwood really screwed the pooch on these costumes - and the performance goes on for a loooong time before the credits finally roll.
Recap: It's dance class in the dance gym, and Ms. Grant is chanting, "Stand up at the mic and just say what's on your mind...boogie boogie" - LOL - as her students perform some kind of casual looking dance routine. She yells, "Stop!", barks at the class to loosen up so that the audience will feel like they're part of the performance, then orders everyone to take it from the top. Danny sneaks in late and tries to blend in with the dancers - but Ms. Grant stops the rehearsal, calls him out on his tardiness, and publicly chastises him. He reminds her that he's not a dancer or singer, he's a comedian - and she glares at him and wryly retorts, "Do you see me laughing, Amatullo?" As the class nervously titters, Danny snarks, "No" and Ms. Grant tells him he'd better start singing and dancing...or else. She orders everyone to pick it up from the chorus...and Coco shoots Danny the stink-eye and says, "You wanna be Woody Allen, you do it on your own time. Not ours." He irritably tells her to shut up.
During English class, Miss Sherwood writes the word precision on the blackboard and asks if anyone can correctly use it in a sentence. For a high school English class, this seems like a pretty dumbed down curriculum. She notices Danny nodding off and calls on him...so he glances around the room sleepily, notices the word precision written on the blackboard and says, "Terry Bradshaw is known for his precision passing." As the class giggles at his sass, Miss Sherwood sarcastically apologizes for waking him from his slumber, and he snidely retorts that her class is too boring to stay awake in. She shoots him a really squinty stink-eye and orders him to report back to her classroom after school.
Next class: drama. Danny performs a scene with Montgomery - and by performs, I mean he's frenetically bellowing lines at him. Mr. Crandall shakes his head and goes, "What are you doing, Amatullo?" and reminds him that the scene is supposed to reflect a warm, fuzzy relationship between the two characters. He urges him to draw from his experience of being a part of a stereotypically warm, friendly Italian family, but Danny bitchily snaps, "I'll pass."
Miss Sherwood tells Danny he's clearly having problems in her class and assumes he's probably not doing so great in his other classes either. He denies having any problems at all, so she reminds him he's been nodding off in class. She sternly says, "If it's fatigue, get some rest. If it's drugs, get some help." Danny makes a face and retorts, "Drugs? No way" and explains that he's been so tired lately 'cause he works nights at a sandwich stand. He fibs and tells her that Papa Amatullo got laid off...and since money is tight, everyone in the family has to pitch in. Miss Sherwood tells him his mouth is saying one thing, but his body language is making it clear that he's full of crap. Danny snarks back that he's late for work and storms out of the room...and Miss Sherwood looks dismayed and mutters, "He's been taking Leroy lessons." Haha!
Montgomery drags Doris along on a commercial casting call for a fake restaurant chain called Hank Burgers. The director tells the wannabes that he's seeking a particular look, then begins scanning the crowd. He checks out Doris, who smiles brightly at him, then goes, "Meh" and moves onto Montgomery. He seems slightly intrigued by Montgomery's nondescript appearance, but the director's assistant reminds him he already has a redhead so he murmurs, "Oh, right. Thanks" and moves on. Doris contorts her face and grumbles, "Why do I feel like I'm in the Caucasian version of Roots?" which made me want to smack her really hard. The director barks, "Who just spoke?" and returns to where Doris is standing. He gives her a creepily intense stare and says, "I want someone to look into the camera with their eyes and say 'I'll die for a Hank burger with double cheese'" and Doris wittily retorts, "Eyes don't fail me now." I guess we're supposed to assume that he's charmed enough by her spunk to consider her for a callback.
Danny's at the Comedy Company, where he works as a stage manager. He's watching the resident comedian, a buffoon named Joey, as he finishes up his act. The club's owner ambles over and thanks Danny for doing such a great job as stage manager, then informs him that Joey just got a stand-up gig in Vegas...which means there's an opening. He asks Danny if he's interested in doing some stand-up, and Danny's like, "Yes please!" so he says he'll put him down for the closing spot next Thursday. Joey, meanwhile, finishes his act and struts backstage, and correctly guesses that the club's owner just gave Danny his own spot. Danny gushes about how super excited he is about finally getting the opportunity to tell jokes to a live audience instead of just a mirror...then starts whining about how hard it is to go to school all day and work all night. Joey reaches into his pocket and pulls out a bottle of pills, hands the entire stash to Danny - as if - and advises him to start taking uppers, like pronto. LOL. He says it's important for him to feel good if he expects to make other people feel good. After Joey saunters off, Danny stares down at the pills...and the screen fades to black for a commercial break.
Danny's mother is gabbing on the phone to someone at an all night radio show. She barks at Danny to sit down and eat something just as Papa Amatullo enters the room and grumpily announces that he's working the 3-11 shift. Danny excitedly tells him he got a spot performing at the Comedy Company next Thursday, and Papa Amatullo snorts derisively and says, "Is Friday some kind of holiday?" so Danny explains that he has to go somewhere where he can perform in front of people. His mom suggests practicing his comedy routines at the Knights of St. Anthony Lodge, but Papa Amatullo is like, "Hell no" and says it's bad enough he has a son going to that school, then makes it clear that he doesn't approve of him performing his clownish schtick in front of his friends. Ouch. Danny says he's a comedian (not a clown), but Papa Amatullo doesn't see the distinction and says he wishes he'd get some common sense and grow out of his wanting to be a comedian phase. We all want that, Papa Amatullo. His wife hands him his lunch pail, and suddenly Papa Amatullo looks very sad and tells her he's stopping by the church after his shift to light a candle for Vinny...then heads off to work. Danny dejectedly retreats to his bedroom, stares at the bottle of uppers he got from Joey, then flops onto his bed and morosely stares up at the ceiling.
The next day, the Fame kids are gathered 'round the piano in the dance gym, singing the Hank Burgers jingle. When Montgomery ambles into the room and asks whassup, Doris explains that she got a callback from the "cuckoo bird director". Unfortunately, however, she has a dilemma: she hates Hank burgers and thinks the director is a moron. Montgomery advises her to stop calling the man a cuckoo bird, and to make peace with faking her enjoyment of a Hank burger if she expects to get paid. Danny suddenly bursts into the room and announces to everyone that he got his own spot at the Comedy Company, then asks if anyone would like to drop by and see a young comedian's rise to stardom. Coco goes, "You got a gig?" and Danny hushes her and says, "Not so loud. I don't want to get tossed out of school." He says that his spot will be at 1am on Thursday night (well, Friday morning technically). Bruno says his dad will have a freakout if he stays out that late, and Coco frowns and says that 1am is too late for a school night. Danny gets annoyed by the lack of his friends' support and starts ranting his displeasure just as Ms. Grant enters the room. Bruno discreetly orders him to shut up, and everyone scurries off in different directions.
It's Danny's big night at the Comedy Company. Joey asks him how he's doing, and Danny bitchily grumbles about how bummed he is that none of his friends are coming to see him perform. Joey breezily replies, "You should be flying high, especially with those little bombs I laid on you" but Danny sullenly says he hasn't taken any of the uppers yet. Joey insists that he's going to need a full charge, and says, "Don't go out there by yourself, kid." Danny pulls the bottle of pills out of his pocket and stares down at them again...then walks over to the water cooler, pours himself a cup of water, and washes down a pill. He bitterly mutters, "Good evening, friends."
The club's owner introduces Danny to the audience as "a new kid on the block"...and a few seconds later, Danny bounds onto the stage and launches into his act. He suddenly gets flustered when he spots Miss Sherwood sitting at a table with a gentleman friend. As she shoots him an incredulous, WTF? stare, he turns ashen and mutters, "I'm in deep trouble."
In English class the next day, a restless Danny stares up at the clock while Miss Sherwood prattles about poetry. When the lunch bell rings, she stops Danny from making a hasty exit and orders him to stay behind. After the room empties, she tells him she's puzzled and angry, and he assumes it's 'cause he broke the "no performing" rule at the School of the Arts...which, incidentally, is a rule that seems to get broken by students a lot and is never seems to be enforced by anyone on the faculty. She glares at him and says, "You conned me" and reminds him of the nonsense he told her the other day about his family being broke. He bellyaches about how he's trying to make a start for himself in showbiz, but no one seems to care at all about what he's going through. Yep, I get the very same impression. Miss Sherwood reaches her hand toward him, but he freaks out and screeches, "Don't touch me! I don't like it when people touch me!" LOL. She forcibly grabs him by the chin, stares deeply into his eyes, and says, "You're on uppers, aren't you?" then orders him to hold out his hand so she can place a sheet of paper atop it. He does, and the sheet of paper emphasizes his shaky hands. He explains that he's just nervous about performing, but she doesn't buy that and says she's so furious she wants to punch him in the face. Bwahahaha! Me too! She then clarifies that she's less mad at him than she is at the douchewad who supplied him with the pills. She moans about how pills destroy young people, then snaps, "And I hate it!" and says she's lost many students, friends, and loved ones to uppers. Wuh? Seriously? To uppers? She says that, despite whatever he may have heard, not everyone does drugs - and whoever told him that is a liar and a thief...and by thief she means that this person is stealing his life. She then sits down at her desk, buries her face in her hands and wearily tells him to go to lunch. I really think she's taking Danny's sudden (and, so far, pretty casual) use of uppers much too hard.
The next morning, Danny's alarm goes off at 6am. Papa Amatullo enters his room to shut off the alarm - then notices the bottle of uppers sitting on his night table. He studies it with a look of puzzlement on his face, then puts it back down and tip-toes out of the room. A few seconds later, Danny finally stirs and shuts off the alarm, unaware that his pa was just standing there.
Coco is coaching Doris on how to perform during the callback. She advises her to use imagery - which, in this case, means she should think of something she loves to eat while she's being forced to eat a Hank burger. Doris closes her eyes, imagines her aunt's delicious lentil soup, and thanks Coco for her genius advice.
Ms. Grant is directing her dance class as they do some kind of 16th century dance number. Leroy tells Coco he doesn't use drugs 'cause he thinks of his body as a cathedral and doesn't want to mar its beauty - which is sadly ironic, considering the serious addiction problems he coped with in real life. Coco says he should give his no drugs lecture to Danny, but Leroy just shrugs and clearly doesn't give a rat's ass about Danny's problems. Coco blabs to Montgomery that Miss Sherwood saw Danny performing at the Comedy Company, and Montgomery tells Julie they all let Danny down when none of them went to the club to watch him perform. Julie wonders aloud to Coco why Danny started taking uppers, and Coco says it's not easy being Number One...though it's unclear what being Number One has to do with Danny. Badoom bah!
Doris is at the commercial callback. The director tells her that when she looks at a Hank burger, he wants to see passion in her face and adoration in her whole person. She giggles at his silly direction, then manages to keep a straight face when she explains that she's just generally a happy and joyful person. On the first take, she picks up a Hank burger, bites into it, and clearly wants to spit it right out. After about a dozen takes, she starts forgetting her lines and starts actually spitting out pieces of the burger. The director looks irked and tells the crew they're breaking for lunch...and Doris immediately perks up and makes a beeline to the nearest toilet to vomit.
Danny tells Papa Amatullo that he's off to the Comedy Company...but Papa Amatullo's busy watching a sports game on a tiny portable TV in the kitchen and clearly doesn't give a rat's ass about anything his son is up to. Maybe that's why Danny turned into such an assfuck.
Backstage at the club, Danny takes another upper. A few seconds later, the club's owner storms over and says, "We have a problem" and orders Danny to show him his ID. Apparently, the club received an anonymous call saying he was underage. Danny hands him his wallet, and the club's owner snarks that he doesn't see anything in here that shows he's eighteen or older (even though the actor was nineteen years old when this episode was filmed - which I guess is less annoying than if he were in his mid-twenties, like Doris). The club's owner barks, "Good night!" and storms off.
Early at school the next morning, Danny rails at Miss Sherwood about outing his underage status to his boss, and she's all, "Wha-a?" and says she hasn't the faintest idea what he's talking about. Danny must believe her, 'cause in the next scene, the two are sitting in the cafeteria, and he's telling her that his dad doesn't care about anything he does and that he's been a sad sack ever since his older brother Vinny died at the age of four. Miss Sherwood gasps and says it must have been agonizing to lose a child, then suggests that maybe Papa Amatullo was the one who called the Comedy Company and reported him being underage...and that he did it because he cares about him. Danny stares contemplatively into space as he mulls over that possibility.
Later, Danny strolls through Central Park looking sad, and we hear him singing Come What May in the background...and, yeesh, his vocalist abilities are even weaker than Bruno's. He watches a father and son playing football together and smiles wistfully at the sight...then smiles wistfully again when he sees a different father and son bonding at the petting zoo. After that, he sadly ambles around the city and has a series of flashbacks with his friends at school.
Doris is regaling her cast mates about her Hank Burgers callback in the dressing room when a sullen looking Danny walks in. He tells them he got fired from the Comedy Company, and Coco says they already heard. He says, "I'll be OK with a little help from my friends...if I have any left."
The Fame kids show up for Talent Night at the Knights of St. Anthony Lodge and announce that they're Papa Amatullo's guests...but Papa Amatullo's all, "Wha-a?!" and says he has no idea why his idiot son would invite half the student body to his lodge. The emcee (hey - it's a young Larry Miller!) introduces Danny...and the Fame kids start hooting and loudly carrying on as Danny runs on stage. Danny thanks the lodge members for allowing him to perform, then makes a few lame jokes - at which the audience pretends to bust a gut laughing - while an irked looking Papa Amatullo glances around for the nearest exit. He gets up and tries to make a break for it when Danny abruptly puts an end to his act and sadly announces to the audience that he doesn't have a planned finish for his act. Doris leaps up and shrieks, "Was that our cue?!" (No...I don't think so) and runs onto the stage and announces to the bewildered onlookers that the Fame kids are the big closing number. Suddenly, the students rush toward the front of the room and begin performing the Stand up at the mic and just say what's on your mind...boogie boogie number they were rehearsing at the beginning of the episode. Leroy, Julie, and Coco join in with the singing...and when Danny takes the mic and sings along in his grisly, out-of-tune voice, Papa Amatullo stares intently at him and starts to look very impressed.
Back at Casa Amatullo, Danny’s browsing the fridge for something to eat. Papa Amatullo is sitting at the kitchen table and grudgingly admits that the people at the lodge laughed a lot at his jokes, then asks him if his audiences always laugh. Danny says sometimes they do, sometimes they don't (mostly they don't). Papa Amatullo asks, "Are you through with those funny pills?" and Danny shamefully replies that he flushed them down the toilet. He asks his dad why he got up to leave mid-way through his act, so Papa Amatullo explains that when he heard all the laughing, he started to well up with tears and didn't want people to see him crying. He suddenly gets all verklempt and squeaks, "You made me real proud tonight." Danny walks over to his dad, puts his hand on shoulder and says, "I love you" then kisses his forehead...and Papa Amatullo pulls him into a tight hug as they both tear up.
Recap: Danny's lying on the floor in drama class, flailing his limbs about as if he's having some kind of a seizure. The rest of the class is trying to guess what he's attempting to portray - but no one gets it right. Mr. Crandall finally asks Danny to tell them what he's supposed to be, and Danny says, "A piece of bacon frying." Doris snarks that a Jewish girl from Brooklyn would never have gotten that, then quips, "I was thirteen before I realized that BLT didn't stand for bagels, lox, and tzimmes." Mr. Crandall furrows his brows and asks the class to dissect Doris' stupid wisecrack, and she's all, "Wuh? It was a joke." Crandall insists it's more than just that, then calls it "a very prevalent attitude" and "a schtick". Haha! Suck on that, Doris! He tells her that while she's good at schticks, they're a safe, secure, and easy way of getting a laugh. He then glances around the room and starts pointing out everyone else's deficiencies: Danny delivers one-liners very well (that's debatable), Julie only likes to play sweet ingénues, and Montgomery...well, no one yet knows what his performing arts talents are. Crandall chides his students for being unwilling to take risks or stretch themselves in any way. To that end, he announces the next class assignment: in three weeks, everyone must come to class prepared to portray a character that is as far removed from their personality as possible.
Mr. Shorofsky tells Miss Sherwood he needs to speak with her, then mutely hands her a completed car loan application. She's all, "Wuh?" and reminds him he's never driven a car in his life - and he tells her he wants to learn, then explains that he bought the car from a good friend. She's like, "OK, whatever" and promises to submit his application to the credit union to "get the ball rolling". It remains unclear why Mr. Shorofsky isn't handling this financial transaction on his own, at his own bank. He asks her if she could teach him how to drive, and she scrunches her face in distaste, so I'm guessing she's not too enthused about being roped into this favor.
Doris ambles down the stairs looking like she's thinking very hard. She suddenly grins, then turns around and scrambles back upstairs and into Mr. Crandall's classroom, then races across the room and stares out the window at a group of hookers across the street. I'm curious what type of seedy neighborhood the School of the Arts is located in - where hookers brazenly operate in the middle of a weekday. Doris asks Mr. Crandall if he thinks she's a nice girl, and he just kind of shrugs and goes, "I guess so" and she dashes back across the room. She stops in the doorway and asks him if he believes in research, and he's like, "Well d'yuh" and she exits the room and flaps down the hall. Mr. Crandall shakes his head and mutters something about Doris being a human version of the Bermuda Triangle. Haha!
Doris stands in front of a store window that's displaying a mannequin dressed in gold hot pants...and in the next scene, Doris is decked out in the gold pants, along with a pink blouse and waist cinching belt, and a pair of red stilettos. She also has a lot of makeup caked on her face that gives her a clownish appearance, and a bizarre purple feather thing stuck in her hair. Looking every inch a faux cheap hooker, she totters across the street, accidentally breaks one of the heels of her stilettos, then stands beside a hooker so she can mimic everything she says and does. The hooker notices and asks her what the hell she's doing, so Doris tells her she's an actress doing some research, and the hooker laughs at her and saunters off. A potential john comes by to check Doris out, and she wigs out and scrambles to get away from him, and in the process bumps into another hooker. This lady of the evening is played by the lovely Dominique Dunne, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend a few months after this episode aired. Doris apologizes for not looking where she was going, and Dominique Dunne asks her if Donny Love knows she's here, and Doris is all, "Who?" so Dominique Dunne explains that Donny Love is her pimp, and that he doesn't like it when unauthorized hookers work his corner. Doris tells her she's not actually working the corner, then shakes her head and mutters, "This was probably a dumb idea." Ya think? Dominique Dunne says she overheard her tell the other hooker she's an actress, then says she looks way too young - which amused me, since the actress who plays Doris was 24 years old in 1982. Doris says she's 16, and Dominique Dunne goes, "Me too!" (even though she was 23 when this episode was filmed). Doris offers to buy her fellow "teenager" a cup of coffee, and the two head off in search of a coffee shop.
At a nearby coffee shop, Dominique Dunne asks Doris to empty her purse so she can be sure she doesn't have a police badge on her. Doris laughs at the notion of her being a police officer, but she willingly dumps the contents of her purse onto the table: student ID card, candy bar, gum, and a hair brush. Out of nowhere, a police officer appears and demands to see their identification, then pulls out his badge and informs them he's from the Juvenile Vice Squad. Dominique Dunne panics and tries to run, but her escape is blocked by another cop who has just pulled up. Doris begs the vice cop to let Dominique Dunne go, then refers to her own ridiculous hooker get-up as "a funny mistake". The officer announces that he's taking them both to Juvenile Detention Hall...though it remains unclear what crime he's actually charging them with.
As both girls languish inside the detention center, Doris moans that her mother is going to kill her, and Dominique Dunne rolls her eyes and sarcastically replies, "My heart bleeds for you." Doris remarks how weird it is that they're both the same age (early twenties), but yet so different. Yes, Doris - that's probably 'cause you're a pretend hooker who's slumming it on the streets for one night of your life, while she's the real thing. Doris asks what will happen to her, so Dominique Dunne says her pimp will figure out she's in jail and bail her out...but since he has a mean streak, it's not going to be a fun experience. Doris asks her if she has any family, and Dominique Dunne says if she ever got sent back to her parents' home in Ohio, she'd just run away again. Doris' mom arrives at the detention center just as Dominique Dunne is being led out somewhere - and she turns and tells Doris, "Have a nice life." Doris then starts nattering frenetically at her bewildered mother, recalling the time she saw a baby bird fall out of its nest, then nursed it back to health and donated it to a school, where the kids kept it as a pet. She pauses for a few seconds, then solemnly informs her mom she just found another baby bird with a broken wing.
Miss Sherwood is giving Mr. Shorofsky virtual driving lessons as they sit side by side in one of the classrooms, pretending they're in a moving car. She presents various traffic scenarios, and he tells her how he'd react in each situation. For the sake of other motorists, I hope her training program will eventually include some real life, in-car practice.
A group of students are break dancing in the middle of the hall when Doris and Dominique Dunne enter the school. Dominique Dunne looks intrigued with the impromptu show and bobs her head to the '80s beat. Doris excuses herself for a moment and scampers over to where her cast mates are hanging out. She natters to them about how she was not arrested for solicitation last night, and they all just stare at her in befuddlement. She points to Dominique Dunne and says she's her new friend and that she'll be sitting in on some of their classes today. Montgomery asks, "Who gave you permission to do that?" and Doris barks, "Me!" then rushes back to Dominique Dunne, who remarks that the School of the Arts seems to be "part kindergarten, part zoo". Haha!
Mr. Crandall tells his drama students that they're all unique and special beings, and that they should think of themselves as originals. Dominique Dunne looks impressed and asks Doris if all of her teachers are this kind, and Doris wryly replies, "Not exactly" and the camera cuts to Ms. Grant berating her dance class for giving her the laziest, most awful performance in the history of performances. She pulls a girl named Cynthia off the floor, publicly shames her for her sucky dancing, and makes her sit out for the rest of the class, which I thought was unnecessarily bitchy and mean. Ms. Grant then casts herself as the lead dancer in a sudden, impromptu performance...and the students serve as her backup dancers, which seemed really weird and contrived. Coco starts singing "Celebrate Now, Celebrate Life", and Danny sings along in his sub-par voice...but since he's also not much of a dancer, he just kind of saunters across the floor while he sings. Dominique Dunne looks transfixed by the spectacle, and when the class finishes the number, she holds up her hands and is about to applaud, but Doris stops her and informs her that biology class is next. Dominique Dunne asks if a person like herself could attend this school, and Doris blurts out, "Sure! No problem!" despite the stringent audition process that all students are required to undergo for the privilege of attending this dump.
Doris drops in on Ms. Grant, who assumes that she came to apologize for bringing an unauthorized guest to the school and let her sit in on various classes. Doris fibs and tells her that Dominique Dunne is her cousin and that she'd like to have a special audition arranged for her...then makes up a sob story about how her policeman father was recently killed in the line of duty. As soon as Ms. Grant starts probing a bit, she figures out the story is BS and reminds Doris that the next auditions are months away. Doris begs her to audition Dominique Dunne now, since she's been through so much, and Ms. Grant stares back at her and looks contemplative.
Mr. Crandall tells the rest of the faculty he's not in favor of holding a special audition for some random girl and says she can audition the next time around. Exactly what I was thinking. Miss Sherwood agrees and reminds her colleagues, "We're not social workers" but Ms. Grant scrunches her face unhappily and moans that the next round of auditions is three months away. Mr. Shorofsky asks her what sort of talent this girl has, and she says she has no idea...which is weird, since I figured that would have been her first question to Doris. Miss Sherwood says if they're going to bend the rules there should be a good reason, but Ms. Grant argues that wanting to do a good deed shouldn't be a bad thing - plus, she doesn't want Dominique Dunne to hit the streets again 'cause she'd never be able to look Doris in the eye again. That...should probably be the least of her worries. Mr. Shorofsky offers a compromise: they will let Dominique Dunne audition now, but not skimp on their standards of excellence. Ms. Grant agrees that Dominique Dunne will need to be sensational in order to satisfy the school's super high standards, then rushes off to tell Doris the good news.
At the Schwarz residence, Doris is teaching Dominique Dunne breathing techniques to help her sustain a note while singing. (I guess this means she's a singer.) Dominique Dunne says she's really nervous, but Doris assures her she'll be fine. Doris' mom arrives home and tells Dominique she got a phone message from her boyfriend, Donny Love, and Doris is all, "Ack!" but Dominique says she's not worried, since he only called to let her know he's still out there, in case she wants to return to the streets. She contemplates that for a few seconds, then tells Doris if things don't work out with the School of the Arts, she can always go back to hooking.
Mr. Shorofsky shows Miss Sherwood the car he just bought: a tiny little convertible. Miss Sherwood looks impressed, then expresses concern that the steering wheel is on the right side. They both climb into the tiny vehicle, and she wigs out when she notices that it has a standard transmission. She warily asks him if the sale of the car is final, and he says yes, and that he even bought himself a little driving cap. Hee! Adorable! She says she isn't confident that he'll be able to drive in actual traffic with a standard transmission, and he finally agrees that it was probably a dumb idea to buy the thing in the first place.
Dominique Dunne is set to perform "Blue Moon" for the School of the Arts faculty, and Bruno is providing backup music on the piano. She turns out to be a really bad singer - though not a whole lot worse than Bruno, Danny, or Leroy. Unlike them, however, she has the self awareness to realize how awful she is, and is barely able to finish the song without bursting into tears. When she finishes, Ms. Grant thanks her for coming, and she rushes off the stage to weep shamefully in private. Ms. Grant thanks Bruno for providing the music and says he did the best he could with what he had to work with.
Bruno heads over to where the gang is anxiously awaiting the results of the audition - and he comes right out and tells everyone how badly Dominique Dunne stunk it up. Doris snaps, "Your opinion" and Bruno says, "She's average at best." Julie chimes in and says that Dominique Dunne's dancing bites pretty hard too, so Doris asks them why they didn't tell her this before...and Montgomery says she wasn't exactly willing to listen. Doris says she needs to go find Dominique Dunne asap, then runs upstairs in her weird flail-y way to find her hooker friend.
Doris is on the phone with her mother, trying to track down Dominique Dunne. She tells her mom she has people on the streets looking for her, which made me wonder who these "people" are: Bruno? Danny? The other hookers? After she finishes the call, Ms. Grant walks over and asks her if she wants company while she waits for word, but Doris declines and says she got into this schmozzle by herself and should therefore get herself out of it. Ms. Grant tells her not to get down on herself for wanting to help the girl, then says it's a damn shame she didn't have a scrap of talent. She affectionately calls it "a very Doris thing to do", and tells her she's very special, blah blah...blech. Doris suddenly perks up and says she has an idea where Dominique Dunne could be, then sprints down the hall.
Doris finds Dominique Dunne in the dressing room downstairs, sitting in front of the mirror and caking makeup on her face. Doris asks her whassup and says she's worried she's going to go back out to the corner and start hooking again. She notes how interesting it is that she hasn't yet left the school, and Dominique Dunne glumly asks, "Where else is there?" Doris says she could always go home, then toots her own horn as she sanctimoniously brags about how her mom is always calling her "the world's twin sister" 'cause whenever she sees someone hurting, she hurts along with them. Doris hands her a dime and says she can use it to call either her parents or her pimp, then pretends not to care which she chooses. A few seconds later, she cancels that and says she does care...and so do a lot of other people. Dominique Dunne takes the dime from her, then contemplatively stares into space.
Doris returns to the hall where Ms. Grant is waiting and informs her that Dominique Dunne was hiding out in the dressing room...and a few seconds later, Dominique Dunne appears in the hall and makes a beeline over to the pay phone. She places a call to Cleveland, and gets teary when she talks to her parents - and Doris tears up too.
Drama class! Doris is about to perform her scene as a character that's the polar opposite of her personality. She's wearing jeans, a sweater, and strappy sandals with red socks underneath (!)...and swaggers over to a chair and straddles it backwards. She tries very hard to pretend like she's a hostile, edgy street kid and gives the class a soliloquy about her sad, difficult life...then babbles about wanting to find somewhere where it's OK to be her. I could maybe buy this hard Doris persona were it not for the red socks peeking out of those sandals. When she finishes the scene, she walks over to the wall and shows her back to the class...and everyone looks deeply moved and affected by what they've just witnessed. Mr. Crandall praises her performance, gives her a kiss on the cheek, and tells her she got an A+. She then mutates back into regular Doris and glances around the room with a look of smug satisfaction as the class applauds.
Recap: Coco rushes down the hall, gabbling to random extras about how eager she is to see the cast list for the school's upcoming production of Othello. (Yay! Another show!) She ambles over to the bulletin board where the Othello: A Musical Version poster is hanging and stares at it longingly.
Ms. Grant brusquely advises Montgomery on how he needs to schedule rehearsals, since apparently he's the stage manager for Othello. I wonder if Montgomery majors in Behind-the-Scenes Stuff 'cause it doesn't look like he has much of an interest in the performing side of the performing arts industry. Ms. Grant tells him that being a stage manager is a tough, demanding job - and outright admits that she's trying to scare the bejeezus out of him so that he truly gets how hard it is. She hands him the final cast list, then orders him to make copies and post them around the school. He winces as he looks it over and says, "A lot of people are going to be bummed out by this" ...and by a lot of people, he means Coco.
The students are gathered in the hall, anxiously awaiting the release of the cast list. Doris snaps, "What's the hold-up?" and Danny says, "What's the big deal? We do plays all the time." LOL. No duh. Doris replies, "This is not just any play. It's Othello" then frenetically natters on and on about what a big fucking deal it is to perform in Othello, and everyone just stares at her like she's a mental patient.
In the office, Miss Sherwood asks Mr. Shorofsky if she can talk to him, but he mumbles something about being late for a meeting with Mrs. Berg and flees. A few seconds later, Mrs. Berg nonchalantly strolls into the office, and Miss Sherwood's all, "Wha-a?" and asks her if she's not supposed to be meeting with Mrs. Shorofsky. Mrs. Berg says she doesn't have any kind of meeting scheduled with Mr. Shorofsky...and Miss Sherwood stares into space contemplatively, then gets a knowing look on her face.
The cast list has been posted! Coco reads it aloud, and it includes Leroy, Danny, Doris, and Julie - who was awarded the coveted role of Desdemona. Coco looks crestfallen about not making the cut...and when Julie arrives to check out the list, Coco scowls at her and snarks, "Congratulations" and Julie pales and goes, "You're kidding." Coco shoots her the stink-eye and snaps, "Don't I wish!" and storms off like the petulant, self-entitled baby she is. Doris chases after her...and Julie reads over the cast list and frowns unhappily, then also chases after Coco.
Bruno's in one of the music rooms, playing on a synthesizer while Mr. Shorofsky stands a few feet away and listens. Bruno scrunches his face in displeasure and grumps, "Strings don't do it for me" and says he doesn't think anything in the violin family is going to cut it for Othello. He says that whenever he thinks of Othello, he hears a heavy back beat. Mr. Shorofsky disagrees with that notion and reminds him, "This is Shakespeare" which apparently means only string instruments will do. Miss Sherwood enters the room, glares at Mr. Shorofsky, then asks him if he's coming to the strike meeting or not. He says, "Not" and she retorts, "You have to!" and he argues, "I left 'you have to' when I left Germany." He tells her he gave one of the other teachers his proxy, and she looks displeased and calls that "lazy and uncaring". He says that as a public employee, he shouldn't have the option to strike, so Miss Sherwood urges him to come to the meeting and argue his point of view...but he says that would be impossible, since he's pretty sure their minds are already made up. Miss Sherwood tells him he shouldn't send a proxy, then says he's too old to pout...which was weird 'cause I didn't get the impression that he was pouting, just really disinterested in picketing.
Julie's sitting in an empty classroom, studying her lines for Othello, when Montgomery enters. He tells her he's looking for Leroy, and she says she hasn't seen him. She asks him why Ms. Grant cast her in the role of Desdemona, and he's like, "I dunno." She says Coco is a much better actress than she is, but he just kind of shrugs and says, "Coco's OK - but we don't know how good you are 'cause you haven't shown anyone yet." (For a non-performing student of a performing arts high school, he's really in no position to be so judgey.) He tells her that maybe Ms. Grant chose her for the role to give her a chance to showcase her untested acting skills, then urges her to make the most of the opportunity.
Miss Sherwood brings the union meeting to order. Mr. Crandall says that a strike is pretty much a foregone conclusion, and Ms. Grant complains that she can't afford to strike...and points out that most of the teachers in the room also can't afford to strike. Mr. Crandall says he can't afford not to strike, 'cause he wants bigger pay checks...and Ms. Grant wails that the students can't manage without them and won't have anywhere to go while they're on strike. Please. I'm sure the little cherubs can figure something out temporarily. Miss Sherwood points out that the students are the very reason they're striking, since they're pushing for things like more books and better cafeteria food...and some tights for Leroy. Mr. Shorofsky complains that if they go on strike, office personnel will fill in - and he's worried that these flunkies will destroy everything they've tried to accomplish with the kids. Miss Sherwood says the strike vote will take place tonight, and when she polls the group, most of them indicate that they'll be voting for a strike. She says she expects the vote to pass and that they'll probably be picketing in the morning.
Sure enough, the next morning the teachers are picketing...and the students crowd around them to stare at them in amusement and show their support. Doris tells Julie she's scared that the strike will mean the Shakespeare festival will be canceled - egads! - then says her mother wants her to quit this wretched dump of a school and study performing arts in New Jersey. Sounds like an excellent plan.
Montgomery informs the Othello cast that the festival will proceed as planned. He says that since the teachers are on strike, they're going to have to prepare for the show on their own - which means they all have a lot of work to do. Julie suggests canceling it since they can't really do anything without Ms. Grant or Mr. Shorofsky...and Montgomery bitchily accuses her of wanting to chicken out. He asks the group if they want to press ahead with rehearsals, and they all raise their hands - a sheepish Julie included - and Montgomery grins with smug satisfaction. Meanwhile, outside it starts to rain heavily..
The teachers (minus Mr. Shorofsky) have sneaked into the school to get out of the rain and are huddling in the downstairs dressing room, drinking coffee. Miss Sherwood reminds them they still have to picket, even if it's raining. Suddenly, Mr. Shorofsky enters the room and looks annoyed that no one is outside, picketing as promised. He grumps that he doesn't mind the heavy rain, then grabs a sign and heads back out.
In the music room, Bruno is playing the synthesizer, trying to decide on a sound that would work for Othello and also appeal to Mr. Shorofsky. After a few tries, he scrunches his face in frustration.
Doris and Danny are rehearsing a scene for Othello...but it goes off the rails when they start ad libbing nonsense, which frustrates a stressed out Montgomery. Julie complains that she can't rehearse until Leroy shows up, since he's playing the role of Othello. A few seconds later, Bruno grumps to Montgomery that he can't get the music right and is going to have to redo the entire score...and he has no idea when/how/if he'll be able to deliver on that. As he shuffles off down the hall in his usual dejected manner that often makes me wonder if one day he's going to put a bullet in his own head, Montgomery stares after him in annoyance.
Ms. Grant desperately wants to help the kids with the play, but Miss Sherwood sternly tells her she can't - otherwise the union might have a conniption. Ms. Grant wails, "But the kids need help!" and says this is a special festival - plus, she cast some of the less deserving students in principal roles so they'd have a chance to "stretch", and she's now worried they're in over their heads. LOL. I'm sure whoever's sitting in the audience of this "festival" will get over it quick. Miss Sherwood doesn't seem to give much of a rat's ass about the predicament of the Othello cast members and once again sternly warns Ms. Grant not to do anything work related during the strike.
Montgomery is trying to reach Leroy by phone but doesn't have any luck. Coco happens to amble by, so he starts whining to her about how everything's going to shit - and it doesn't help matters that Leroy continues to be a no show for rehearsals. He brashly declares he's going to Harlem to see whassup, and Coco warns him that Harlem isn't his turf, and he snarks, "Get off my turf!" Coco starts whining about how everyone's so busy rehearsing for this play that they no longer have time to hang out, so he asks her to be part of the solution and help him convince the cast to buckle down and get serious about rehearsing. She mulls that over for a few seconds and agrees to help.
Montgomery arrives at Leroy's decrepit Harlem apartment. When Leroy answers the door, he looks at Montgomery in puzzlement and sneers, "You get on the wrong bus or what?" Montgomery says they need to talk, so Leroy interrupts the card game he has going with a group of friends and steps into the hallway. Incidentally, Leroy is wearing a hilariously grisly '80s ensemble: crop top, short shorts (shocker), and knee length socks. At least he's toned enough to be walking around like that. Montgomery asks him why he hasn't been coming to rehearsal, and Leroy reminds him about the teachers' strike and says, "I'm not interested in no Shakespeare." Montgomery asks, "Why'd you audition then?" so Leroy says that Ms. Grant misled him when she described the role of Othello as "walking like a king and saying things like a king". He apparently didn't realize he was trying out for a Shakespearean play (LOL - no wonder he's failing English) and now wants out. Montgomery gets pissed off and plays the guilt card by telling him how hard the rest of the cast is working. Julie, for example, is scared of being cast in such a prominent role, but she shows up to rehearsal every day...and Danny, who can't act worth a shit, is also doing his best. He says that Coco would love to be in the show - but, sadly, she didn't get a part. But is she sulking?! No. Well...not anymore. He scolds Leroy for not grabbing this opportunity and running with it, then snarks, "Go buy yourself some guts!" Hee! You go, Montgomery! Leroy gets mad and slams Montgomery's tiny body against the wall, and the two stare at each other mutely until Leroy sets him down and returns to his card game.
Bruno is in the music room again, working on the new score for Othello. Doris stops by to ask him how it's going, and he grumbles that he can't make the music work the way Mr. Shorofsky wants it to be. He has a totally different vision...but he doesn't want to piss off his mentor by going against his wishes. Doris asks him to play the score the way he would if he were free to do it any way he wanted, so Bruno starts playing something bass-sounding and closes his eyes and gets that orgasmic look on his face that always makes me laugh really hard. While that's going on, we get a montage of Coco helping Julie rehearse her dance sequence, Leroy putting an end to his card game to he can read Othello, and Montgomery walking the streets of New York looking sad. In the second part of the montage, Ms. Grant looks despondent as she pickets, and Leroy packs up his stuff and leaves his apartment. When Bruno finishes playing, Doris flashes him a smile, then kisses the top of his head and says, "Thank you."
Coco and Doris find Montgomery in the hall and excitedly tell him that the show's really starting to come together! All three happily scamper toward the theater.
Miss Sherwood arrives home from a day of picketing to find Leroy on her doorstep...and when he sees her approach, he gives her a wide grin.
The first full rehearsal for Othello is, to put it mildly, a fucking disaster. During a dance number, Danny and Doris stumble, fall, and roll around on stage - and then Doris suddenly shrieks, "Stop the show!" 'cause her contact just popped out. The rest of the cast just kind of stands around laughing at the spectacle, which made me think it was some sort of ad libbed schtick that was part of the show...but when Montgomery and Coco stare up at the stage in growing horror, I realized that Doris and Danny just really suck at performing.
Miss Sherwood tells Leroy that the Othello cast (minus him) have been busily rehearsing, then asks whassup with his no shows. He mumbles, "I dunno. I ain't no king" so Miss Sherwood says, according to Ms. Grant, he looks every inch a monarch. Leroy says he thinks he'd sound stupid reciting lines from Shakespeare, but she assures him that isn't true. He perks up at that and asks her if she'd help him practice his lines, so she reminds him that she's not supposed to do anything work related during the teachers' strike. He suddenly looks as though he just got a bright idea and asks her if she tutors people, then pulls out all the money he has in his pocket: $6.35. She smiles and says, "For that kind of money, you'll get all the tutoring you can handle." Aww...
As Montgomery listens to Bruno's re-worked score for the play, he bobs his head approvingly. He tells Bruno it's terrific and wants to use it for the show, but Bruno looks mopey and says he doesn't want to go behind Mr. Shorofsky's back...so he won't use the music until he can get his mentor's approval. He really is overthinking this faux dilemma.
Miss Sherwood and Ms. Grant meet up in a diner before their morning picketing session. Miss Sherwood yawns in an exaggerated fashion and says she stayed up late watching a movie, but Ms. Grant doesn't look like she buys that explanation. She says she'd like to go to at least one rehearsal to make sure the kids are doing OK, but Miss Sherwood assures her that everything is fine, and that Coco is doing a superb job as director. Ms. Grant stares back at her in surprise and is all, "Director? Wha-a?!"
Bruno sneaks onto the picket line and discreetly hands Mr. Shorofsky a cassette tape and explains that it contains the musical score he wants to use for Othello - but only if he gives it his blessing. Meanwhile, Ms. Grant toddles behind Miss Sherwood on their way to the picket line, and is startled when she notices Leroy exit the subway station and yawn in the same exaggerated fashion as Miss Sherwood was doing earlier in the diner...and also the way she's doing right now! Subtle, writers. Ms. Grant scrunches her face and looks at them both suspiciously, then chides herself for thinking the unthinkable, 'cause ewww. Meanwhile, Mr. Shorofsky has found a pair of headphones somewhere and is listening to Bruno's cassette while he pickets.
Montgomery is acting as a stand-in for Leroy so Julie can rehearse her lines. Leroy suddenly sweeps into the theater and mocks Montgomery for his shitty line delivery, then pompously lectures everyone about the character of Othello - as if they aren't all already familiar with the play they've been rehearsing all week. He pulls on a red cape, and he and Julie perform the scene together...and everyone looks entranced by their brilliant performances and cheers.
Miss Berg hands Bruno a handwritten note, but says she's not allowed to tell him who delivered it. Bruno opens it and finds a drawing of a smiley face, and is signed "S". Yay! Mr. Shorofsky likes the new score! Non-existent crisis averted.
Coco peps up the cast by telling them how awesome they are for believing in themselves and putting the show together. As they sit in a circle, holding hands, they count to three and give themselves a loud hip hip hurray!
The faculty is once again huddled in the dressing room, taking a break from picketing. They hear the music of Othello playing in the nearby theater, and Ms. Grant abruptly excuses herself and says she's going to the bathroom...and a few seconds later, Mr. Shorofsky and Mr. Crandall do the same. Miss Sherwood decides to finally throw all caution to the wind and mutters, "Oh, the hell with it.." and also rushes over to the theater. The cast is performing a dress rehearsal, and I'm happy to report that Leroy has finally been made to wear tights. Incidentally, Danny has a goatee drawn on his face, which makes me wonder if he's unable to grow facial hair. The teachers, along with Montgomery and Coco look very impressed by the performance - and when it's finished, they cheer wildly while the cast members each take a bow.
And that's a wrap.
P.S. I wonder if this performance constitutes the school's entire "Shakespeare Festival" ??
Recap: Miss Sherwood runs into Ms. Grant run in the hall and the two start chatting about how Coco is choreographing the dance class's midterm performance. Ms. Grant says she's impressed with Coco's leadership abilities...but a few seconds later, Leroy storms out of the dance gym and snarks to Coco that he's ready to quit. Coco snarks back that he can't quit, so Leroy complains to Ms. Grant that Coco's way too demanding, the way she orders the dancers to jump higher! faster! better! Hmm...sounds exactly like the way Ms. Grant runs dance class. Coco attempts to explain her methods, but Ms. Grant just shakes her head and barks, "This is your project. Keep me out of it!" and quickly flees. Coco stares beseechingly at Miss Sherwood, but she too shakes her head and goes, "Oh no!" and rushes off down the hall. Leroy shoots Coco the stink-eye and stalks off, and Coco warns him that if he quits, his midterm grade will be zero. He grumbles that he's just going to the bathroom, then tells her not to start the class without him.
Bruno's getting a ride to school in the back of his father's cab. Papa Martelli reminds him that he still has to write a lullaby for his Aunt Beatrice, whose baby is due in a couple of weeks. He stresses the importance of this lullaby, and gushes about how proud the family will be. Bruno's like, "Yeah yeah" and promises to finish the dumb thing by the time his aunt squeezes out her spawn. He then goes, "Ack!" and says he left a hot soldering gun sitting atop his synthesizer. Well that was pretty fucking stupid. Papa Martelli tells him not to worry about it, and promises to rush home and unplug it.
After dropping Bruno off at school, Papa Martelli races back to his hovel and goes down to the basement to unplug the soldering gun. He stares at Bruno's equipment and marvels, "How does he ever remember what's what?" He starts pushing random buttons and switches, then sits down to sing Oh Danny Boy. He suddenly smells something burning, then notices that he didn't actually unplug the soldering gun...and it's on fire, crackling and sparking. In his rush to unplug the tool, he trips over the extension cord and hits his head. When he finally gets the thing unplugged, he mutters that he hopes nothing is amiss with Bruno's equipment, even though it's obviously been badly burned. He shrugs and says, "Five minutes...what could it hurt?"
Julie rushes up to Coco and excitedly chirps, "Reporting for duty!" and Coco's all, "Wuh?" so Julie explains that she's just been chosen to join the band that's providing the music for Coco's midterm dance performance. Leroy's all, "Woo hoo!" but Coco scowls and tells Julie "it's bad casting". Julie looks indignant and tells her that Mr. Shorofsky handpicked her...so Coco says she's going to have a word with him, and Julie snaps, "Talk to me!" Coco glares at her and sassily retorts, "Don't you get loud with me!" Julie asks if her music isn't good enough for her, and Coco says her music has nothing to do with this, then storms off to confront Mr. Shorofsky. Julie asks the others whassup with Coco's nonsensical bitchitude, and Leroy shrugs and tells her that if Coco gets her cut from the band, he's dropping out of the performance. That's...weirdly loyal of him, considering that he generally doesn't seem to give a hoot about anyone but himself.
Papa Martelli approaches Bruno at his locker and says, "Know that I'm OK before you turn around" and Bruno whirls around and notices the bandage on his dad's forehead. He mumbles something about wanting to rehearse at the house later, but Papa Martelli sheepishly replies, "You may not be able to."
In the next scene, Papa Martelli is driving Bruno, Danny, and Doris to a music store to purchase a new synthesizer. Papa Martelli declares, "Money is no object" and Bruno argues that it is, actually, and says he doesn't need the newest, fanciest model. When they arrive at the store, Papa Martelli asks the clerk to point out the most expensive synthesizer, then urges Bruno to try it out. He sits down, looks impressed at the instrument, and starts playing a funky tune. Doris immediately gets in on that action and grabs a microphone and hums into it...and suddenly, a bunch of random customers join in with the impromptu show and play along on various other instruments. Doris starts singing a shit-tastic song called High Fidelity, and now everyone in the store is enthusiastically bopping along. Danny grabs a guitar...but since he has no musical abilities, he just taps on it with his open palm. LOL. Bruno sings along with Doris in his weak, off-key voice...and then a guy who's wearing roller skates, short shorts, and leg warmers (you heard me) starts flailing around in a mystifying break dance sequence. Halfway through this odd spectacle, Papa Martelli goes over to the sales counter to pay for the swanky new synthesizer...and Bruno notices and looks sheepish.
Back at the Martelli hovel, Bruno tells his dad that the new synthesizer is way too expensive, but Papa Martelli refuses to return it and says it's worth every penny. Bruno says he's going to look for a part time job to help pay for the new instrument, but Papa Martelli says he doesn't want him to take time away from his music geniusness. He sternly says, "No part time job! I work. You make the music."
Back at the dance gym, Ms. Grant is staring at herself in the mirror as she leaps and frolics around the room. Coco enters the room and watches her...and when the record player starts skipping, Ms. Grant notices her standing there. Coco tells her she wants to get rid of one of the band members Mr. Shorofsky picked to perform during the dance midterm, but Ms. Grant waves her hands at her dismissively and informs her that Mr. Shorofsky is very protective of his people. She asks Coco why she wants to cut this person, and Coco snarks, "What's the point if I can't do it?" then sheepishly admits that it's probably a dumb reason. Ms. Grant says it doesn't sound as though it's a good reason, and Coco says, "Forget it" and dejectedly shuffles away.
During a rehearsal of the midterm dance performance, Julie messes up a note on the cello and winces...and Coco bitchily snaps, "Can't you do anything right?!" Ms. Grant urges everyone to take it again from the top...but when the music starts up again, Coco trips over something on the floor. She glares over at Julie, who puts up both hands and says, "Hey - I didn't do anything." Leroy wryly tells Coco she tripped over her own feet, but Coco snarks back, "That was not my fault. Can we get it right this time?" and Julie jokingly waves a white hanky in surrender while Coco continues to glare at her.
During lunch, Julie whines to Leroy about Coco's nasty 'tude and says she thought they were allowed to make mistakes during rehearsal. She notes that Coco seems to be coming down hard only on her...and Doris ambles over at that moment and says, "Everyone has a button that can be pushed." Julie asks her if she knows what Coco's "button" could possibly be, so Doris replies, "Astrology" and Julie mulls that over as though it's a reasonable explanation for her sudden shitty behavior. Out in the main corridor, Bruno's searching the bulletin board for part time job listings, and Danny joins him looking ridic in a skimpy muscle shirt. (Dude needs to hit a few of Ms. Grant's dance classes if he wants to wear a shirt like that.) He directs Bruno's attention to an ad for an accordion player, and Bruno grabs it, studies it, then silently shuffles off...and Danny looks miffed and barks, "You're welcome!" Bruno heads straight to the nearest pay phone, calls the number on the ad, and leaves a message.
Bruno heads down to the basement of his hovel to look for his accordion...but then quickly hides it when he hears his father lumbering down the stairs. He's wearing a neck brace and is walking with the aid of a cane...and when Bruno's all, "Wha-at happened?!" he says he nodded off at the wheel of his cab and crashed into something. LOL. Bruno looks distressed and tells him he's working too many long hours, and Papa Martelli says it's worth it (unless he falls asleep at the wheel and kills someone), and that he aspires to be the world's greatest dad.
Bruno arrives at the Maury Goldman Band Agency with his accordion. The old woman running the agency doesn't seem too fussy about who she hires and just asks him what size suit he wears.
The dancers are hanging around the dance gym, impatiently waiting for Coco to appear so they can start their rehearsal. Mr. Shorofsky asks Leroy where she is, and he snarls in his usual snarly way, "I have no idea!" then mutters that a lot of other dancers could have choreographed this midterm...and Ms. Grant chides him for being cold. She then asks Julie what's going on between her and Coco - some kind of prejudice, perhaps? and Julie says, "Not exactly." Ms. Grant glares at the class and yells, "Clean up the trash going on here!" even though she should probably reserve all of her yelling for Coco.
Coco enters Miss Sherwood's classroom for a heart-to-heart chat. She asks Miss Sherwood if she believes in astrology, and Miss Sherwood's like, "Hell no. But I know you do." Coco says she wants to discuss her beliefs without being ridiculed, and Miss Sherwood promises to try not to make fun of her superstitious idiocy.
Miss Sherwood blabs to Ms. Grant and Mr. Shorofsky about Coco's astrology beliefs. Ms. Grant rolls her eyes derisively and says she doesn't want to cater to nonsense (right..?!), but Miss Sherwood insists that it's not nonsense to acknowledge someone's feelings. Unless it involves something as stupid as astrology. Then it is nonsense.
Bruno's decked out in a shiny brown and gold tuxedo and is staring at himself in the mirror. Papa Martelli arrives home, sees the grisly costume, and is all, "Wha-a?!" Bruno confesses that he got a part time gig playing the accordion, and Papa Martelli looks irked that he didn't tell him about it, then says he shouldn't be neglecting his music (the synthesizer kind, I presume). Bruno says he gave his word to the indifferent old woman at the Maury Goldman Band Agency that he'd show up for the gig, and then leaves...and Papa Martelli shakes his head with displeasure and mutters, "Kids.."
In English class, Miss Sherwood lectures her students about dramatists, then forces them to do a silly exercise where they have to write the next line in a play. Julie uses the opportunity to babble about friendship and how friends should work stuff out...and while she's saying this, she's sadly staring over at Coco. After the bell rings, Miss Sherwood presents Coco with a new astrology book, and she's highlighted a paragraph that reads: astrology shouldn't overrule one's better judgement. Well, d'yuh. Miss Sherwood then wanks her by saying she believes in the magic of watching her and her schoolmates when they're on stage performing: when klutzes are graceful, and skinny dancers fill an auditorium. Coco mulls this over and stares contemplatively into space.
Coco introduces the dancers who are performing the midterm dance number...and they assemble and start twirling and leaping as the band plays Mozart. Mr. Shorofsky and Ms. Grant are in attendance, observing and grading the performance. Incidentally, Leroy is wearing white sweat pants instead of white tights like every other male dancer. Oh well...baby steps.
Doris and Danny are boogying in the hall when Papa Martelli suddenly bursts into the school. He asks them where Bruno is, and they tell him he's in the dance gym...and when he rushes upstairs, they chase after him and try to explain that he's in the middle of a performance and can't be interrupted.
The midterm performance has just concluded when Papa Martelli bursts into the room and blurts out, "Bruno! I didn't want you to learn the news from a note!" The dancers are all, "Wha-a?" and stare at him curiously as he announces that Aunt Beatrice just had her baby...and that she'll be in the hospital for a few days, which means Bruno has more time to write the lullaby. The fuck? This couldn't have waited until after school? Papa Martelli glances around the dance gym, suddenly aware that he just interrupted something.
Bruno tells his idiot father that he already finished the lullaby, and Papa Martelli insists on hearing the lullaby right now...and, for some reason, Ms. Grant indulges the assclown and says, "Why don't we all hear it?" Sure - why the hell not? It's not like there was just an important midterm performance going on at the moment. Julie asks Coco what the baby's astrological sign is, and Coco replies, "Capricorn" and adds that Capricorns are strong...and the two girls smile at each other to let viewers know that everything on the Coco/Julie friendship front is A-OK. Bruno starts playing the lullaby and sings along (ugh), which makes this the third musical performance we've had to endure this episode. Ms. Grant looks at Bruno's music sheets and sings along, and Julie joins in with her cello. Incidentally, this lullaby doesn't seem to be the sort of catchy song that anyone could possibly remember or sing on their own...and it seems to go on for a really loooong time. When it's finally over, Papa Martelli smiles proudly and gives Bruno a hug.