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I'm Mark & I've Been a Fame fan since 1982. This blog is dedicated to the incredibly talented cast of the show and is a place to share music, videos and pictures. To contact me please send emails to: mark1814uk@googlemail.com

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Passing Grade - 35th Anniversary U.K.

24th June is the 35th Anniversary of the U.K. Broadcast of Passing Grade.

Here is a witty recap of the episode from TV of Yore Website

Recap: A group of male students are breakdancing in the hallway - it was the '80s after all - and a small crowd has gathered and is enjoying the impromptu show. Leroy bops to the beat and eventually joins in and starts gyrating suggestively. Some bearded guy in a leather jacket sneaks up behind Ms. Grant and tries to do the hands-over-the-eyes-from-behind thing on her, but she senses his presence, whirls around, exclaims, "Robert!" and hugs him. He gives her a smooch in return - and Leroy and Bruno raise their eyebrows at each other as they ogle the inappropriate public display of affection.

Danny Amatullo and his feathered '80s 'do enter Miss Sherwood's English class. He chides Doris for reading the trades and tells her it's something only amateurs do. Doris argues that actresses read the trades to keep up with what's going on, but Danny snarks that actresses should find out what's going on by meeting people. He pronounces, as though he's any kind of authority on the subject, "It's not what you know - it's who you know." He says if show business were purely about talent, he'd be on Johnny Carson's show tomorrow night, which made me laugh out loud for several long seconds because I've seen Fame before and am painfully familiar with the extent of his "talent". Danny tries to get Bruno to agree with him, but Bruno grumbles, "I'm not into show business. I'm a musician" then winks at Julie. She grins back at him, then tells Doris not to pay any attention to Danny's insane ramblings...but Danny continues to natter on about how pointless the trades are. Doris tells him she's about to prove him wrong, then springs up from her desk and sprints out of the room. Miss Sherwood yells after her that if she's not back in two minutes, she's assigning her an extra book report.

In dance class, Leroy has changed into a blue see-through mesh top and short shorts. Didn't Ms. Grant forbid him to come to her class unless he was wearing proper dance tights? He's flailing his limber limbs around and moonwalking while everyone else casually jigs. He then moonwalks over to Coco and directs her attention across the room to Ms. Grant, who's animatedly talking to Robert. He tells her he just got a job as director of a musical, and Ms. Grant looks very impressed and gushes, "My ex-boyfriend, the director." Robert frowns and says, "Did you have to put that ex in there?" He then says she'd be perfect for the lead role, then hastily adds, "You'd have to audition, of course." Doris suddenly bursts into the room, throws the trade newspaper at Coco and urges her look at page 12, then runs out again...and Coco quickly scans the page and instantly looks intrigued. Ms. Grant tells Robert she'll consider auditioning for his show, then says she has to get back to work and start her dance class. Doris races down the hall (she looks very odd when she runs) to return to English class, only to mistakenly burst into Mr. Shorofsky's music class...and everyone laughs as she sheepishly exits. Womp womp!

"Yay! I'm finally getting my big break!"

Ms. Grant is making her class do weird dance moves to some high energy African music. She barks at Coco to "work it" then snarks at Leroy to watch his form, not the form of the hot chick he's dancing next to. Coco takes a break from working it to read the trades again...and she looks even more intrigued.

Miss Sherwood tells Ms. Grant that the audition for Robert's show sounds like a great opportunity. Ms. Grant says if she gets the part, she'll have to quit her job at the school...but she really wants to audition 'cause she misses performing. Miss Sherwood advises her to go for it and says if she doesn't audition, she'll always wonder what might have been.
Bruno's in one of the music rooms, playing on a synthesizer, when Coco bursts in. He grumps at her for not knocking, and she retorts, "I don't have time to knock! This is business!" She waves the trade newspaper at him and blurts out, "We got a job!" and reads an advertisement that calls for talented ethnic actresses. Bruno tells her that ethnic could mean Jewish, and she chirps, "I'll convert!" LOL. She reads him the rest of the ad, then gushes, "Broadway - here we come!" She wants him to play the background music for her audition and assures him he wouldn't have to write any new music - he could just play something he already knows. Bruno stares at her in his I'm-so-over-evvvvverything manner and retorts, "Watch my lips. Noooooo way." What a joyless frump of a wet blanket he is.
"Hey Bruno - we got a job!"

In the next scene, Bruno's sitting in the back of his dad's cab, complaining that Coco is incapable of hearing the word no. His equally as grumpy dad agrees that he's not getting anything out of playing the background music for her audition...aside from doing a favor for a friend, that is. Mr. Martelli pulls over at the next intersection where Coco's waiting, and she climbs in and gives him the address of the theater. He's all, "The fuck? That's just around the corner!" so she explains that it looks better if she arrives in a cab...even though everyone she's auditioning for is already inside the theater and will have no idea how she arrived. When he pulls up in front of the theater a few seconds later, Coco dashes out of the car and rushes inside...and quickly finds the stage manager. She haughtily asks him if he can provide a synthesizer for her accompanying musician, and he wryly tells her they have an invention called the piano, and Bruno says that'll do just fine. After the stage manager wanders off, Coco gabbles about how exciting it is to be at her first real audition...but Bruno grumbles in his grumbly way that he'd much rather be at the dentist's right now. The performer who just auditioned exits the stage, looks at Coco with a yikes expression, and says that the people who are casting the show are a tough crowd.

"I'm so excited to be on a real audition for the first time ever!"

Coco is summoned to the stage, so she goes out, stands in the center, and squints toward the casting committee...but she's unable to see anything with the light shining in her eyes. They ask her to briefly talk about her past experience as a performer and who she's worked with, etc...and because she has zero experience and has worked with no one, Bruno deftly interjects and asks the committee if they can hurry this along 'cause he has another gig soon and doesn't want to get caught in traffic. LOL. He then starts playing, and Coco sings and dances to a lame sounding song called The Show Must Go On...and we get to endure the mediocre performance in its entirety. When she finishes, she looks very pleased with herself, and one of the people casting asks her if they have her phone number. She says she wrote it down on the sign-in sheet, and the person tells her they'll probably be calling her back...and as she and Bruno exit the stage, she exclaims, "I think we got it!" Suddenly, Ms. Grant appears - ack! - and she asks Coco what she's doing here. Coco says she just auditioned for the lead role...and then Bruno asks Ms. Grant what she's doing here, and she says, "I'm auditioning too. For the lead." The three stare at each other awkwardly until Ms. Grant is called to the stage.

Back at the School of the Arts, Ms. Grant checks herself out in the mirror as she leaps, frolics, and prances around the dance gym. Miss Sherwood enters and asks her how the audition went, and she proudly reports that she got a callback. She then spills the beans on Coco auditioning, and Miss Sherwood gasps and goes, "What was she doing there? She knows the school rules" but Ms. Grant breezily waves her hand in the air and says that half the student body goes on auditions, despite it being against the rules. She figures that Coco must be afraid she's going to blow the whistle on her, and Miss Sherwood bitchily retorts, "Maybe you should!" and points out that she'd have to drop out of school if she gets the role. Ms. Grant smugly retorts that there's no way in hell Coco will be cast as the lead, since she's 6-7 years too young for the part...then wryly admits that even though she's a shoo-in 'cause her boyfriend is the director, she's 6-7 years too old for it. She then wonders aloud if she's truly willing to quit her job for the role...then wails that she's not sure about anything right now.

Danny excitedly tells Montgomery that Johnny Carson is spending a week in New York, and it's well known that Gino's is his favorite restaurant. He's determined to approach the comedy legend and pass along his jokes to include in his nightly monologue (as fucking if), then says, "That's how careers get started, man." Montgomery refrains from laughing in his face and points out that Carson will probably have an entourage around him to prevent overeager morons like him from getting too close, and Danny scrunches his face in confusion and goes, "Entourage..?" as though he's never heard the word...which is weird for someone who's supposed to be so in the know about showbiz. Danny brushes off his cluelessness and says he plans to get a job at Gino's so he that he can "accidentally" run into Johnny Carson. He then tells a disinterested Montgomery that he plans to get a job at Gino's...and explains that his father and the owner of Gino's know each other 'cause they both belong to The Knights of St. Anthony.

Doris sidles up to Bruno at his locker and asks him how yesterday's audition went. He tries to play dumb, but she says she saw his dad drop him and Coco off at the theater...plus, his dad totally spilled the beans when she asked him whassup. Doris asks Bruno if he thinks Ms. Grant will report them for breaking the "no auditioning" rule, and he says he doubts she will. Doris frowns and says, "If I was Coco, I'd want to know what was coming up."

Ms. Grant is doing paperwork in her dance gym when Coco tip-toes in and asks her if they can talk. Ms. Grant dispenses with any awkwardness and tells her that whatever goes on outside of school stays outside of school, and Coco is surprised and pleased that she's not going to get reported. She says, "No matter what, no hard feelings" and Ms. Grant tries to hide her amusement at Coco's naïveté and agrees, "No hard feelings." Coco happily scampers out of the room, leaving Ms. Grant to stare contemplatively into space.

Danny's on the phone with the owner of Gino's, reminding him that he and his dad are both members of The Knights of St. Anthony. He scores a volunteer job as a busboy, then hangs up and excitedly tells Mr. Shorofsky he just found a way to meet Johnny Carson. Mr. Shorofsky shrugs indifferently 'cause he doesn't own a TV set and doesn't have a clue who Johnny Carson is.

Leroy is decked out in a yellow cable stitched mesh tank top (OMFG) as he buys his lunch, then joins Julie, Bruno, and Doris at their lunch table. Julie asks Bruno what the audition was like, and he says it was the same process as it was to audition for this school. They wonder if Coco will freak out if she gets the part, since it'll mean she has to drop out of school...and Doris says that Ms. Grant will also have to quit if she gets the part. Leroy's all, "Wha-a?" and puts his sad face on. Bruno says they shouldn't assume Coco won't get the role, since her audition went very well, and Leroy snarks, "Yeah, but her boyfriend wasn't directing the thing." Bruno's all, "Wha-a?" then shakes his head and says, "Coco's going to be wasted when she hears that. Who's going to tell her?" Doris looks past him and says, "You just did" and everyone turns around and realizes that Coco has been standing right behind them, holding her food tray and eavesdropping.
Coco goes to the dance gym and stares at herself mournfully in the mirror. Doris enters the room and goes, "Sorry", and Coco rails about being made a fool of. Doris agrees that it's soo not fair that Ms. Grant's boyfriend is the show's director, and Coco snaps, "It stinks!" and says she plans to confront the dance teacher.

Julie's in one of the music rooms playing her cello when Bruno enters and asks her if she's OK. She tells him that hearing about Coco's audition put her in "a bad place" (not sure why) and that she always feels better when she plays her cello. He agrees that music is good therapy and sits down and accompanies her on the piano.

Miss Sherwood runs into Ms. Grant in the office and asks her whassup. Ms. Grant says she's exhausted from teaching five classes a day and preparing for her audition...plus, she has a date with Robert tonight. Coco suddenly bursts into the room and asks Ms. Grant if they can speak privately...and Miss Sherwood and Mr. Shorofsky beat a hasty retreat. Coco reminds Ms. Grant that she told her "whatever happens outside of school stays there", and Ms. Grant says it still applies and credits herself as "one of the good guys". Coco asks her if she feels that way 'cause she knows that she doesn't have a chance at the part in the show, and Ms. Grant tells her that in an audition situation, every performer has a chance. Coco shoots her the stink-eye and snarls, "Even when one of the people in the audition situation is dating the director?!!" Ms. Grant says she's too tired to answer that question (LOL), and that it doesn't deserve a response anyway. She sassily adds, "That's all the answer you'll get" and Coco gives up on the conversation and storms out.

Ms. Grant and Robert are having dinner at Gino's. She tells him she's having second thoughts about auditioning for the show 'cause she may not want to give up her teaching job. Robert tells her there are only three people up for the role (her, Coco, and some other woman), then reminds her that he's the director and that she's his top choice. Danny suddenly appears at the table to deliver a  basket of bread, and Ms. Grant looks over at him and is all, "Wuh?" Danny then overhears the restaurant owner take a call regarding "Mr. Carson's party of six". He perks up as he eavesdrops and notes that the reservation is for tomorrow night at 7:00pm.

The next day in the cafeteria, Coco is nervously deciding which leotard she should wear to the audition: red or blue? She finally settles on the blue one, and everyone wishes her luck.

Leroy runs into Ms. Grant in the stairwell and asks her if she's really auditioning for a show. She says she is and asks him to wish her luck, but he sullenly refuses and explains that he doesn't want her to leave the school...and he doesn't give a rat's ass if he's being a selfish prick. He stomps off, and Ms. Grant stares into space contemplatively.

The host at Gino's tells Danny that the Carson party has arrived. Danny rushes in the direction of the table, which is conveniently obscured by a giant plant 'cause Johnny Carson doesn't actually have a cameo in this episode.

Coco is backstage at the theater, preparing for her audition. Ms. Grant arrives and says hello to her, and Coco asks her if she's nervous, and Ms. Grant says she is, but that it's a normal part of auditioning, blah blah. The other candidate performs, and she's actually not bad. While that's going on, Ms. Grant notices an important looking man (the producer?) arrive with a pretty young woman. He speaks with Robert...and Robert kind of waves his arms around and looks pissed off. The important looking man then tells the young woman something, and she excitedly jumps up and down and starts twirling around. Ms. Grant purses her lips and stares over at the exchange with a knowing expression on her face. When she's called to the stage, she asks to speak with Robert privately. She glares at him and asks him if she's about to audition for nothing, and he looks around shiftily and says, "I have no idea what you're talking about." LOL. She snaps, "The hell you don't!" and orders him to look her in the eye and tell her that the part hasn't been cast yet. He hangs his head sheepishly and says, "This isn't an easy racket" and reminds her that this is his first directing job and that he's only human...then finally comes clean and tells her there's no need for her to audition. Coco, meanwhile, is watching all this from backstage with a puzzled expression on her face. Ms. Grant rushes off the stage, grabs Coco by the hand, and tells her she'll explain everything once they get back to the school.

"I don't think we should see each other anymore."

Danny tells the owner of Gino's that he ran into Johnny Carson in the bathroom and spoke with him...and by spoke with him, he means that Johnny told him to buzz off when he tried to tell him his stupid jokes.

Coco wails, "It's not fair!" when Ms. Grant explains what just happened at the theater. She says she could have gotten the part, but Ms. Grant tut tuts her and says it was unlikely, and that she's not ready for a lead role until after she mentors her some more and she can sing and dance better. Suddenly, Ms. Grant starts flitting about, and their voices provide the background music in a cheese-tastic '80s song titled, I Still Believe in Me, which apparently scored an Emmy nomination that year. Go figure. Ms. Grant dances in her purple flowy outfit, and Coco joins her in her blue flowy outfit, and the two leap and twirl around the room in a superfluous performance.

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