Recap: Tootie is surrounded by a group of swoony girls as she reads a [boiler-plate] thank you letter from Jermaine Jackson['s publicist], thanking her for founding the [unauthorized] Eastland chapter of the Jermaine Jackson Fan Club. The letter refers to her as Jermaine's number one fan and includes a sign-off that reads, Your friend, Jermaine Jackson. The girls cackle excitedly, and one of them pretend faints. Tootie reminds the group that next week is Jermaine's birthday, and that they're going to need to put together a special birthday package, which shall include, but is not limited to:
The girls get so riled up about their idol's upcoming birthday that they form a dance line and start singing, "Let's get serious! Let's get serious!", which I learned from Wikipedia was Jermaine's biggest '80s hit. Tootie unveils the unfinished paper mache sculpture replica of Jermaine's head that only she, in her role as Fan Club President, has the authority to shape and mold. She reminds everyone that Saturday night is Jermaine's concert in New York - which, sadly, none of them are able to attend - and suggests they get together in her room after the Scholarship Fair to play his albums until midnight, then shout his name from an open window so he'll know they're thinking about him...'cause, yeah, that's perfectly rational. The girls then wrap up their meeting by standing in a line and placing their hands over their hearts as they solemnly pledge their loyalty to Jermaine...and then each of them does a little twirl.
Jo bursts into the cafeteria and reminds Tootie that she promised to make twenty-four scarves for the Scholarship Fair. Tootie snaps, "I only have two hands!" and promises to finish them in time. Jo starts muttering about how no one listens and how badly the world sucks, blah blah, then wails, "Doesn't anyone care that the Scholarship Fair is in just three days?!" Geri, who's sitting at a table with Blair working on something crafty, says she cares, and reminds Jo that for the entertainment portion of the Scholarship Fair, she's agreed to perform her cerebral palsy-centric schtick for free. Oh joy.
Jo continues to wring her hands, worrying that the Scholarship Fair is going to be a complete bust, mostly 'cause the biggest attraction is Tootie's scarves (seriously?), but she hasn't started making them yet 'cause of all the time she's been spending mooning over a mediocre R&B singer. Tootie breezes into the cafeteria carrying her unfinished paper mache head and remarks to Geri, "I hope Jermaine will understand about Saturday night" then glumly adds, "I'll be here, selling scarves." She then perks up at the thought of Jermaine opening his birthday package and reading his card, and Jo jokes about how his response will probably be, "Tootie who?" Tootie angrily insists, "He knows me!" and to prove her deluded claim, she pulls out the [publicist's] typewritten response to her fan letters and points out that it begins with Dear [insert name] Tootie, and is signed off with Your friend, Jermaine Jackson. Natalie said that celebrities typically use a rubber stamp in lieu of a real signature - but Tootie refuses to believe that Jermaine didn't personally sign her letter. Jo concurs with Natalie and says a rubber stamp signature will rub right off if you spit on it, then grabs the letter and spits on it in order to prove her theory. Tootie snatches the letter back and incredulously bellows, "You spit on Jermaine!" Natalie laughingly says, "It's just a piece of paper" and Tootie sullenly retorts, "I don't know why I expected you to understand" and storms out. Geri remarks that she once had an obsessive fan like Tootie, who followed her from town to town, sent her flowers, wished her luck...until finally she had to say, "Look, mom.." Har har. That was actually one of Geri's better jokes, not that that's saying much.
The next day, Tootie enters the cafeteria carrying her finished paper mache replica of Jermaine Jackson's head...and it looks about as ghastly as I imagined a paper mache replica of Jermaine Jackson's head sculpted by Tootie would look. Natalie compliments her "art" and gushes, "It's so life-like!" and touches the nose, which causes it to break off. As Tootie starts to freak out, Mrs. Garrett says they have more important things to discuss, such as why her English teacher has reported to her that she hasn't turned in her last two assignments. Tootie says she's been too busy working on Jermaine's birthday package to focus on her studies and whines, "Those papers came at a bad time!" When Jo enters the room and starts grumbling about how badly the Scholarship Fair is going to suck, Tootie sheepishly confesses that she didn't finish the twenty-four scarves she'd promised...and by didn't finish, she means she hasn't made any. Jo goes ballistic and snaps, "I didn't hear that!" and rails about how she had weeks to get this important task done. Tootie snarks back, "Jermaine's birthday is important too! And he's a friend! And this scholarship is for a girl I don't even know!" Jo shoots her the stink-eye and says, "You do know her. She's somebody who was me a year ago." During the awkward silence that ensues, the phone in the lounge rings, and Natalie rushes over to answer it. Tootie, meanwhile, promises Jo she'll help out at the fair and offers to do anything she needs. Blair suggests she work the ticket booth, since they don't yet have anyone assigned to that, but Jo doesn't reply and angrily stalks off.
Natalie tells Tootie she's wanted on the phone by someone who's claiming to be Jermaine Jackson's publicity man. Tootie's all, "Wha-a?!" and rushes into the lounge, struggling to calm herself. When she picks up the phone, the PR guy on the other end congratulates her for the super job she's done with her fan club...and because of her hard work, Jermaine would like her to be his special guest at his concert tonight. Tootie's mouth drops open and she's unable to utter anything. The PR guy tells her that two tickets will be waiting for her at the box office, then cheesily thanks her for being Jermaine's number one fan. Tootie manages to squeak out a thank you, and when she hangs up she pretends to be all calm, cool, and collected as she announces to her friends that she'll be attending Jermaine Jackson's concert after all, then excitedly squeals, "Jermaine wants me there!"
Tootie gabbles to Mrs. Garrett about the call she just got, then starts nattering about what she's going to wear to the concert. Mrs. Garrett's like, "Whoa" and reminds her she promised Jo she'd help out at the Scholarship Fair on Saturday night. A bewildered Tootie bellows, "That phone call changes everything!" but Mrs. Garrett calmly assures her that there will be other concerts. Tootie screeches, "But I was invited as Jermaine Jackson's special guest! It'll be an insult to him if I don't go!" and Mrs. Garrett somehow manages to keep a straight face as she breezily replies, "Oh, he'll understand." Tootie starts to have a meltdown as she pleads with Mrs. Garrett to take her to the concert, but Mrs. Garrett refuses to budge and reminds her again about her prior commitment. Tootie crosses her arms in front of her and defiantly declares, "I'm going" and says this concert means everything to her. She then starts wailing, "Why won't you let me go?! Don't you have any feelings?!" and threatens to hitchhike, take the bus, or prostitute herself if that's what it takes to get there. She bursts into tears and shrieks, "I don't care what you say!! I am going!! I am going!!" Mrs. Garrett tries to calm her down, but Tootie continues to loudly wail, "I have to be there!! Pleeeeeasse!!" Mrs. Garrett attempts to comfort her with a hug, then throws in the towel and agrees to accompany her to the concert. She pats Tootie on the back, and looks a bit wigged out as she mutters, "We'll go. We'll go."
Mrs. Garrett informs the other girls that they'll have to find replacements for her and Tootie for the Scholarship Fair. Jo is disgusted that she gave in to Tootie, and Blair concurs and says it was shitty of her to give the brat what she wanted just 'cause she threw a tantrum. She points out that they all had better offers for Saturday night, but are sticking to their commitment. Natalie asks Mrs. Garrett why she's letting Tootie go to the concert, and Mrs. Garrett hopelessly stares into space as she replies, "Because I just don't know what else to do." When everyone's all, "Wha-a?!" she describes how hysterical Tootie became, and that she was determined to go to the concert no matter what. She looks deeply troubled and says, "Right now she's not our Tootie. She's become - " and Blair interjects and says, "Fanatic." Natalie argues that there's nothing wrong with a little idol worship, but Mrs. Garrett tells her this is something far, far more fucked-up than regular idol worship...and that Tootie's behavior reminds her of all those wacky girls in the '60s who used to work themselves into a frenzy, sobbing whenever they were in the presence of The Beatles. It scared her...which is exactly how she felt when Tootie lost her shit during the previous scene.
Mrs. Garrett accompanies Tootie, who's carrying Jermaine's birthday gift, backstage after the concert. Tootie gushes about how amazing the concert was, then says she wants to present Jermaine with his birthday gift, which I'll assume is the paper mache replica of his head. A crowd of groupies is clustered around Jermaine's dressing room, which is being guarded by a tall bouncer wearing a cowboy hat. Tootie shoves her way through the crowd, barking, "I'm Tootie! He's expecting me! I'm the president of his fan club!" LOL. The door opens, and a woman saunters out, and everyone groans in disappointment. A few seconds later, someone snatches the bouncer's hat, and when he gets distracted trying to get it back, Tootie slips into the dressing room. She leans against the door, spots Jermaine sitting at a table across the room, and shrieks, "Jermaine!" One of the bodyguards grabs the birthday gift out of her hands and throws it to someone, who rushes it into the bathroom. The bodyguard then grabs Tootie and puts her in a choke hold. He asks everyone if they're all right, and a couple of seconds later, we get our first glimpse of Jermaine, who's decked out in a sparkly blue zippered onesie and is staring quizzically in Tootie's direction. She struggles with Sal, the bodyguard who's restraining her, and cries, "You're hurting me!" Jermaine orders Sal to release the nitwit...so he does, and is just about to toss her out of the room when she desperately wails, "But I'm Tootie!" and Jermaine looks intrigued and tells Sal to let her stay.
Jermaine stares at her incredulously and goes, "Your name is Tootie?" and she nods and stupidly replies, "That's right. You know me. My letters come every day." Jermaine says she surprised them by "busting in" the way she did, and Tootie scrunches her face in bewilderment and asks, "Why'd everybody get so excited? I only wanted to say hello" so Jermaine explains that his bodyguards were just protecting him. Tootie assures him she'd never hurt him, so he shakes her hand and says, "Tootie, it's nice to meet you" and invites her to join him on the couch. She asks him if having so many people in his entourage makes him nervous, and he softly replies, "Sometimes" and Tootie makes a face and says, "Well, they scare me." Jermaine says, "It's scary on this side too" and Tootie nods in sympathetic agreement and says, "After all, you are Jermaine Jackson. Fan must hassle you all the time. They can be soooo childish" and Jermaine chuckles at her complete and utter obliviousness. Tootie earnestly asks, "But you were expecting me, weren't you?" and he winces and says, "Not exactly." Tootie scrunches her face in confusion and says, "But somebody called and left me tickets" so Jermaine explains, "I really don't get involved in that end of things, Tootie. I'm kinda busy just doing my music."
Outside the dressing room, Mrs. Garrett pushes her way through the crowd of groupies. She shrieks at the bouncer, "Have you seen a young black girl?!" and all the young black girl groupies surrounding her scrunch their faces and are all, "Wha-a?!"
Jermaine asks Tootie if she enjoyed the concert, and she tells him she did. He acknowledges how much trouble she probably went through to attend his concert and asks, "Is there anything you want to say to me?" Tootie mulls that over, but can't think of anything more substantive to say than, "I really enjoy your music" and Jermaine grins and thanks her. She asks him how his dog is doing, and he looks confused and goes, "My dog?" so Tootie explains that she read in some tabloid rag that the dog on his album cover belonged to him. Jermaine tells her he's allergic to dogs, and Tootie looks bummed by that and asks, "What is it like, being you?" He says he's just like anyone else and has good days and bad days, and that he enjoys long walks on the beach. A couple suddenly enters the dressing room, and Jermaine excuses himself to go talk to them. Tootie overhears the publicity guy on the phone, inviting whoever he's talking to to be Jermaine's special guest at his concert, then thanking him/her for being Jermaine's number one fan. Tootie casts her head down shamefully, then looks despondent when she sees one of the bodyguards emerge from the bathroom carrying the box containing her paper mache replica of Jermaine's head, which got ruined when it was soaked in case it was something that would blow up. Tootie shuffles over to the door and slinks out of the dressing room.
Mrs. Garrett squeals with relief when she sees her, then asks her what happened. Tootie glumly replies, "I saw Jermaine." Mrs. Garrett asks her if she gave him his birthday gift, and Tootie tears up and says, "He said thank you." The two hug, and then head out, leaving the screaming groupies behind.
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