Recap: Tootie is eagerly waiting for the mailman to make his daily delivery...and when he finally arrives, she grabs the mail out of his hands, excitedly opens an envelop addressed to her, and waves around her new learner's permit. She tells the other Facts gals how honored she is for them to be sharing this special moment with her, then asks Blair if she can borrow her fancy luxury car in order to practice her driving skills. Blair shoots back, "Not on your life" ... and when Tootie looks expectantly at Jo, Jo points out that her only mode of transportation is a motorcycle. Natalie reminds Tootie that Mrs. Garrett has a Volkswagen she might let her borrow - just as Mrs. Garrett and Andy enter the room to complain that Peekskill has banned all front lawn displays of pink flamingos. Blair agrees that, yep, they do look trashy, while Jo takes offence and says that their trashiness is what makes them uniquely American. Andy suggests they create a loophole to the new ban by painting their stock of flamingos blue and then keep their fingers crossed that the city officials don't notice...which they do and subsequently ban as well, and that's all I'm going to say 'bout this mindless subplot that later involves Andy gluing fun fur to a batch of repurposed blue flamingos.
Tootie shows Mrs. Garrett her learner's permit and not-so-subtly hints that she'd really love to borrow her car...and Mrs. Garrett says she's A-OK with that, as long as she promises to be extremely careful. Tootie then glances around the room at the other Facts gals and says she's going to need a licensed driver to actually be in the vehicle with her, and in response...
When Tootie guilts them about being so dickish about helping her in her hour of need, they sheepishly agree to pitch in and show her the ropes of driving...and once Tootie is out of earshot, Jo, Blair, and Natalie flip a coin to see who has to go first as Natalie mutters, "Please don't let it be me."
In the next scene, Tootie and Natalie are sitting in Mrs. Garrett's yellow Volkswagen, parked inside the garage. Natalie tells Tootie that before she can even turn the key in the ignition, she must go through a daily inspection checklist to ensure that the tires are properly inflated, the doors are locked, and the rearview mirrors are perfectly adjusted. When an impatient Tootie reacts by starting the engine, Natalie snappishly orders her to turn it off.
During lesson #2, Jo is sitting in the passenger seat, listing for Tootie the major systems of an automobile...and as she natters on and on about how the fuel system works, an increasingly despondent Tootie rolls her eyes and slinks deeper into her seat.
During lesson #3, Blair points at various things on the dashboard and refers to them as "doo-hickies", then talks about the importance of practicing shifting gears using the clutch. When Tootie points out that this car has an automatic transmission, a surprised looking Blair says in that case she can go ahead and take the first step towards some actual driving experience by sticking the key into the ignition.
During lesson #4, Mrs. Garrett schools Tootie on how important it is to keep looking to the left and to the right while driving so that she's always aware of potential dangers.
Andy is now in the passenger seat, going over the driver's manual with Tootie and quizzing her on what various road signs mean. Eventually, Tootie gets so fed up with all of the 'hands off' lessons she's been getting up until now that she defiantly starts the engine. Andy's all, "Ack! I'm not a licensed driver!" and jumps out of the car...and as soon as Natalie jumps in his place, Tootie hits the gas and squeals out of the garage.
In the next scene, Tootie returns home in shame after failing her first driver's test. LOL.
Tootie spends the next few weeks fervently studying for driver's test #2 and making the other Facts gals quiz her. Natalie urges her to not stress so much and breezily declares that everyone fails their test the first time...to which Blair and Jo bitchily retort that neither of them ever failed it. Tootie says she's determined to be over-prepared and has scheduled her test for later that day.
Tootie tells Mrs. Garrett she'll need her Volkswagen later to take her second driver's test, and Mrs. Garrett looks aghast and says she can't 'cause she brought it into the shop for some [non-existent] repairs. A pissed off Tootie's all, "The fuck? Why did you do that?" and Jo glares over at her and barks at her to take it easy. When Mrs. Garrett suggests to Tootie that she borrow Blair's car, Blair bursts out laughing and tells Tootie it's not [just] that she would never trust her to drive her 40K Porsche, it has a manual transmission, which she's never driven before. A deflated Tootie asks Natalie what she plans to do to help her very best friend in the world, and Natalie stares into space and asks no one in particular, "Where am I going to get a car?"
Natalie's solution to the problem is to loan Tootie her employer's hearse while hiding in the back next to an empty coffin 'cause she told her employer she was taking it out to a car wash and promised not to let it out of her sight.
The driving instructor climbs into the passenger seat and looks visibly weirded out that he's going to be conducting Tootie's driving test in a hearse. Tootie tells him she'll be soooo embarrassed if she fails a second time, then turns on the engine and pulls into the street. After a few minutes, the instructor tells her she's doing fine, but urges her to speed up to something approaching the legal speed limit. When the car phone rings, Tootie answers it...and naturally it's someone calling for Natalie, who sticks her arm out from behind the curtain to grab the phone. She then pops her head out and tells the instructor to just pretend she's not here, and he responds by ordering Tootie to pull over so they can drop off Natalie 'cause the law is that no one else is supposed to be present inside the car during a driver's test. Natalie argues that dropping her off would be a safety issue, given that they're currently driving through the slums of Peekskill...and after a contentious back and forth, the beleaguered instructor agrees to let her stay as long as she remains in the back and doesn't make a sound. Tootie then continues with the test, and for some inane reason keeps sticking her hand out the window to either wave at or manually signal to other drivers. LOL.
When the car phone rings a second time, it's the hearse owner asking Natalie to make a pickup. When the instructor glares at Natalie, she tells the owner it would be too inconvenient to run an errand at the moment and abruptly hangs up - just as Tootie spots a family stranded on the side of the road after their car broke down and decides it would be an appropriate time for her to pull over and offer them all a ride to the nearest gas station.
The family squeezes themselves into the front seat next to Tootie and the irked instructor, who orders Tootie to further demonstrate her driving ability by making a u-turn at the next lights...which can't possibly be a legal manoeuvre for any motorist to be doing at a controlled intersection, but OK.
Tootie returns home and happily announces that, as much as it strains the boundaries of credulity, she passed her driving test! Natalie bursts in and says she has to return the hearse to the funeral parlour post-haste, and Tootie happily chirps, "I'll drive!" as the two scamper out the door.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!