Recap: Natalie is in the living room, tapping away at her typewriter when Tootie enters the room loudly humming Pomp and Circumstance in anticipation of her graduation from Eastland. Natalie barks at her to shut it so she can concentrate - just as Blair and Jo amble in, gabbling about the kind of food they should order for Tootie's graduation party. Natalie barks at them to shut it, then does the same to Andy when he makes his noisy entrance. A few second later, Mrs. Garrett drops in for a guest appearance and natters about how she's been working on a farm that harvests lots of zucchini...and Natalie gives her a warm hello hug before picking up her typewriter and going upstairs to the relative privacy of the communal bedroom. Like she should have just done in the first place.
Tootie tells Mrs. Garrett that she's auditioning for the role of Dorothy in The Wiz, then says she considers it a mere formality 'cause she's overconfident about being a shoo-in with the director. She adds that she'll likely be going on the road with the production as it tours the country, and Mrs. Garrett says that a traveling theater group could be fun before she starts college. Tootie points out that she doesn't actually need to go to college to become an actress, and would prefer she not repeat this to her mother...and Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face disapprovingly and chides Tootie for putting her in the position of having to lie to Diane, not least 'cause she's expecting Tootie to become a lawyer like herself. A few seconds later, Natalie comes downstairs and encourages Tootie to try on her cap and gown...and once Tootie's out of earshot, Natalie confides in Mrs. Garrett that she's planning to move out and get her own apartment so that she can have a quiet place to tap out her stories. A bewildered Mrs. Garrett shakes her head at the notion of a fully grown Facts gal not living under the same roof with three other fully grown Facts gals while all four are under the supervision of a dedicated housemother (aka a permanent replacement for her absent ass during much of Season 7).
Diane Ramsey arrives clutching a video camera and explains that she's recording all of the events surrounding Tootie's graduation for her husband, who isn't able to attend. Blair looks into the camera and babbles about how their little Tootie is the last Facts castmate to graduate from Eastland, then waxes poetic about how quickly the years have flown by. Jo and Blair tell Diane that they've planned a graduation luau for Tootie - but Diane says it won't be necessary 'cause she's already made arrangements to host the party in the large banquet room at the Peekskill Hotel. A few seconds later, Tootie descends the stairs decked out in her cap and gown...and as Diane films the special moment with her video camera, we get a series of Season 1 flashbacks...along with a fake flashforward of Tootie as a Supreme Court Justice swearing in the next U.S. president.
Tootie gets a phone call from someone at The Wiz, informing her that the audition schedule has been changed and that she's now expected to perform at the same exact time as her graduation ceremony. Tootie hangs up and is all, "Oh well, I guess I'll just have to miss graduation", and everyone stares back at her in shock and is all, "Wha-a-a-a?"
After the commercial break, Diane makes it clear how unhappy she is with her daughter's interest in showbiz, not least 'cause she expects her to follow in her footsteps by going to law school...and Mrs. Garrett uselessly rides the fence about how there's an equal amount of merit in pursuing acting as there is in becoming a lawyer. Jo interjects and cautions Tootie against skipping an important milestone and therefore missing out on a special lifetime memory...and as Tootie and her mother bicker back and forth about whether a high school graduation is more important than an audition, Natalie storms downstairs and resolves the issue by calling the theater, pretending she's Tootie's agent, and rescheduling the audition to later in the afternoon. She then rushes back upstairs to resume her writing.
Graduation party! A dismayed Diane tells Mrs. Garrett she'd hoped that Tootie would have outgrown her 'I wanna be an actress' phase by now - while, across, the room, a bad accordion player tortures Blair and Jo until they convince him that his music is dredging up painful memories of Jo's lost love, Björn Borg.
Natalie seats herself with Mrs. Garrett and tells her she found herself an apartment, and a troubled looking Mrs. Garrett urges her to go break the news to Blair and Jo.
Tootie is wrapping up her Dorothy audition, and doesn't take the hint to leave the stage when the unimpressed producer's like, "Thanks, we'll get back to you." Tootie stares back at him incredulously and says she's dreamed of playing Dorothy ever since she was on roller skates, and the producer comes right out and tells her she doesn't have the kind of grit he's looking for.
Natalie is sitting with Blair and Jo, quoting various literacy references to the concept of seasons and change, and Blair and Jo are all, "The hell are you talking about?" Natalie grumbles about how annoying it's been for her to put up with their insensitivity about her dream of becoming a writer, and Blair and Jo chuckle and tell her that, from their perspective, she's the one they've been putting up with, then cite the annoyance of her noisy typewriter at all hours. A miffed Natalie is about to break the news of her impending move when the accordion guy wanders back to their table and starts playing.
Mrs. Garrett finds a glum Tootie moping outside the banquet room...and when she asks whassup, Tootie says she's bummed 'cause she didn't get the role of Dorothy, and is too embarrassed to show her face at the party. Mrs. Garrett points out that rejection is a big part of showbiz, and that for today she should focus on her accomplishment of finishing high school...and consider it an early acting job to enter the banquet room and convince all the guests that she's super delighted to be there. Tootie decides she can do that much and grins fake happily while everyone sings Happy Graduation To You and applauds - but when she tears up soon after, Mrs. Garrett explains to Diane that the audition didn't go well...and Diane pretends as though she would have been A-OK if her daughter had gotten the part and joined the traveling Wiz cast.
Natalie goes onstage to congratulate Tootie and toast her on her graduation, then announces that she's rented an apartment and is moving out of the Over Our Heads building. She explains to the [mostly disinterested] roomful of partygoers that she needs to experience life if she's going to be a writer...and Tootie looks contemplative and decides that, similarly, she's never going to become an actress until she experiences life. She then rushes onto the stage and excitedly informs Natalie that she's inviting herself to move in with her.
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