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Friday, 18 May 2018

"Beginnings" U.K. Broadcast 35th Anniversary- Television of Yore Recap


19th May is the 35th Anniversary of the U.K. broadcast of "Beginnings. Here is the Television of Yore Recap

 Leroy and his new girlfriend Stephanie walk down the hall together, hand in hand. Doris ogles them and asks Danny how long that's been going on, and Danny says they've been an item for about a week...and that it looks pretty serious. Bruno lumbers by just as Leroy and Stephanie start smooching and reminds them that Miss Carlton (the uptight ballet teacher) frowns on PDAs...but they pretend not to hear him and continue smooching. A few seconds later, Stephanie spots Miss Carlton coming towards them, so she shoves Leroy away, thanks him for walking her to class, and darts inside the dance gym. Miss Carlton shoots Leroy a look of disdain and snaps, "Don't you have a class to get to, Mr. Johnson?" He politely replies, "Yes, ma'am" and she orders him to move it.

A middle aged man is wandering around the halls, looking for Mr. Shorofsky. He runs into Mrs. Berg, who directs him upstairs.

During ballet class, Miss Carlton snarks at Bruno for his lax tempo on the piano, then shifts her glare to Stephanie and haughtily snarls, "This is a ballet class, not modern dance or jazz. We don't boogie here." Stephanie looks taken aback and says she didn't think she was doing that badly, so Miss Carlton says she should aspire to do better than just "not that badly" and to be more open to criticism. After that, she shoots Bruno another stink-eye and tells him again how shittastic his piano playing is, then asks him if he's ready. He shrugs and replies, "Sure. If you're through with the sarcastic put downs." Hee!
After class, Bruno asks Mrs. Berg if she knows where Mr. Shorofsky is, and she tells him he left instructions not to be disturbed unless it was a matter of life or death. Bruno says his current crisis definitely qualifies (even though it does not), and Mrs. Berg directs him to Room 214.

When Bruno arrives at Room 214 and knocks on the door, Mr. Shorofsky answers it, glares at him, and says whatever problem he has could not possibly be a life or death situation. He then slams the door in his face.

Leroy runs into Stephanie in the hall and asks her whassup with the sad face. She stammers, "I have a ballet teacher who..." but that's all she manages to squeak out before the scene fades out for a commercial break.

In the teacher's lounge, Miss Carlton tells Ms. Grant and Ms. Sherwood that she doesn't think Stephanie is up to the rigors of ballet, and that when she "corrected" her in class, she took it all wrong. She then pretends to look contemplative and says, "Maybe her priorities are wrong; maybe her major should be modern dance, not ballet" and adds that she'd hate to see "a girl like Stephanie" waste her time. She asks Ms. Grant if she'd be willing to talk to her about changing her major, and Ms. Grant agrees to give it a shot. As Miss Carlton heads out, she runs into Mr. Shorofsky and tells him that Bruno has an attitude problem and that she wants a less lippy piano player who can play with a faster tempo. Mr. Shorofsky shrugs indifferently and agrees to find her a new victim.

Mr. Shorofsky introduces his music class to The School of the Arts' newest student: a tiny, prepubescent prodigy named Susan Marshall. As everyone in the class titters and is all, "Wha-a?!" Susan looks at her new classmates and chirps, "Hi there!"

In the dance gym, Stephanie is practicing her ballet moves when Ms. Grant enters the room. She watches as Stephanie stretches and flexes at the barre, then barks, "Point that toe, girl!" LOL. She asks Stephanie what her plans are regarding dancing, so she says she definitely wants to stick with ballet and is willing to go anywhere she can get a spot with a ballet company. Ms. Grant's like, "Yeah, whatever" and tells her she should consider switching over to modern dance, since she can also sing and is "as pretty as can be". Stephanie looks irked by the unsolicited advice, so Ms. Grant explains that modern dance typically offers more employment options and that she's just giving her something to think about. Stephanie responds by showcasing her ballet abilities...and when she's done flipping around and twirling on her toes, she sassily retorts, "Just giving you something to think about." Mmm hmm..
Mr. Shorofsky asks Bruno to act as a big brother to little Susan, but Bruno just continues to moan about how badly he wants out of Miss Carlton's ballet class. Mr. Shorofsky says he'd be willing to grant him that request if he agrees to do the big brother thing, and Bruno's like, "Great!" Heh.

As Bruno gives Susan an impromptu tour of the school, she explains that her parents are in New York for a month, and they figured this was the best way for her to keep up her piano playing and academics at the same time. Mmm...I guess I can buy that - not that I think this subplot is remotely interesting enough to even function as a time filler for the episode. Susan says that after their stint here, she's off to Dallas to play with the Dallas Symphony. She suddenly hears music coming from the cafeteria and looks intrigued...and when she goes inside to investigate, we see that Coco is at the mic singing, while Doris, Leroy, and Julie are her backup singers. Susan squeals and starts groovin' to the beat...and even Bruno gets into it and starts bopping along. Coco urges Bruno to join them and play on the keyboard, but as usual he grumpily shakes his head and declines, so Susan volunteers - and, of course, her keyboarding skills are totally amazing and far superior than anything Bruno cranks out. Coco sings again as the rest of the students jig and gyrate...and the performance goes on for what seems like a really looooong time. I guess they all kinda do. When it finally wraps up, everyone crowds around Susan and applauds.

Ms. Grant encounters Miss Carlton in the office and tells her she saw some of Stephanie's ballet technique this morning, and has concluded that "she's definitely no slouch". Miss Carlton snippily says it's easy to look good when there's no one else dancing to compare her to, but Ms. Grant argues that she looked good regardless. Miss Carlton gets all defensive, so Ms. Grant assures her she's not telling her how she should run her class. Miss Carlton coldly replies, "Thank you" then stalks out of the room, leaving Ms. Grant staring after her with a scrunched WTF? expression on her face.

Miss Carlton is watching her ballet students perform...and after the routines, she says everyone did an excellent job overall - even though I thought the men did a terrible job with the synchronization. She announces that she's selected the soloists for some upcoming recital, then starts naming off a list of white people. When Stephanie's name is not announced, she goes from looking hopeful to visibly upset. One of the girls who did get chosen, a blonde, comes over and gives Stephanie a sympathetic arm pat and tells her she definitely should have gotten it. Stephanie then goes over to Miss Carlton and stands behind her looking confused and sad, clearly unsure how she should broach the issue. Miss Carlton smarmily tells her she should be proud of the work she did, then basically tells her to get lost.

Danny is trying to convince Susan she needs an elevator ticket to ride on the school's elevator, and then waves some kind of ticket in front of her face and tells her it costs $2.50. Susan buys his nonsense and digs into her little purse and pulls out the cash just as Ms. Grant walks by. She glares suspiciously at Danny and asks whassup, so Susan tells her she just bought an elevator ticket from Danny. When Ms. Grant raises an eyebrow and gives Danny of her oh no you diin't looks, he sheepishly says, "It was a joke" then quickly returns the $2.50. What a tool.

Leroy tells Stephanie he just heard what happened in ballet class "with that witch". He urges her not to get down on herself and says they'll just have to work harder than they've been working, but Stephanie wails, "The problem is that I'm black!"

Stephanie and Leroy go for a stroll outside. She tells him she's been working sooo hard, but now realizes that Miss Carlton talked Ms. Grant into trying to convince her to switch majors. She remarks that there's never been a black soloist in Carlton's class, and that her brazen racism makes her want to leave this dump and study ballet elsewhere, perhaps in San Francisco. Leroy is bummed that she wants to break up their week-long relationship because of dance, then challenges her to do something about Miss Carlton for the sake of The School of the Arts' up-and-coming black ballet hopefuls. Stephanie mulls that over and slowly nods.

In the cafeteria, Leroy is telling the other Fame kids about the Stephanie/Carlton Situation...and when Doris, Danny, and Julie join them at the table, Coco explains that Stephanie doesn't think she got picked as a soloist because she's black. Danny scoffs and calls that "a cop out" and says there must be another reason she wasn't chosen, 'cause surely racist stuff couldn't possibly be occurring at The School of the Arts. Coco points out that it's not the entire school, just one teacher. She suggests they talk to Ms. Grant, but Julie thinks they might have better luck with Mr. Reardon. Not sure why. Doris lights up at the thought of being in the company of the hot, blonde teacher and exclaims, "That would be perfect!"

Mr. Reardon hears out the students' allegation, then says he's not going to do shit about it 'cause they haven't given him anything concrete with which to pursue charges. Leroy's like, "What about all the black students Carlton has tossed out of ballet class?" and Mr. Reardon says, "It's too subjective." Seriously? Even if it's an established, provable pattern of exclusion? Mr. Reardon says he won't ruin the reputation of a teacher without evidence, so the students throw in the towel and begin to storm off. Coco glares at him in disgust and snaps, "She has you fooled!" and Reardon tries to explain that ruining someone's good name is not to be dealt with lightly. Doris stays behind, stares at him creepily, and asks him how a twenty-something teenager can make an adult understand that something is very wrong. Mr. Reardon tells her there's always a way to make adults sit up and take notice, even if it's not necessarily the easiest thing to do. Doris stares into space as she mulls that over, then grins as a half-baked idea starts to take shape inside her head.

Mr. Shorofsky is wandering around his classroom, listening to his students play piano. Suddenly, a group of them abruptly stop playing, stand up, and bow their heads as though they're attending a funeral. Mr. Shorofsky is all, "Wha-a?!" and stares at them in bewilderment.

The same thing happens in Miss Sherwood's English class, and then in Ms. Grant's dance class...and both teachers look just as bewildered as Mr. Shorofsky.

The three teachers discuss the Fame kids' odd behavior as they head over to the cafeteria...and are once again bewildered when they find the students standing around the tables, their heads bowed. Ms. Grant goes over to Leroy and asks him what the fuck?

In the next scene, everyone's gathered in the theater as Leroy reads aloud a speech about the unacceptable practice of bigotry going on at the school. He decrees that the students who signed the petition will continue standing/bowing until Miss Carlton is removed from the school. The faculty, who's seated at a table on the stage, stare contemplatively at each other. A few seconds later, the students stand up and bow their heads again.

Miss Carlton is flitting around the dance gym, practicing her ballet moves, when Ms. Grant drops by to offer her support.  She says she doesn't believe the kids' accusations of racism, otherwise she'd be supporting the petition. She then cocks her head and remarks, "You're being awfully calm about this" and Miss Carlton huffily says she refuses to give the allegation any credibility by addressing it. Ms. Grant tells her the kids don't mean any harm, and that they sometimes get emotional. Ouch. She urges Miss Carlton to offer a non-racist explanation as to why she didn't choose Stephanie (or any other black dancer in the history of her teaching career) as a soloist, but Miss Carlton says she's not going to defend herself and snaps, "I'm free, white, and twenty-one, and I'll do as I damn well please." Ms. Grant's like, "The fuck..?" and stares at her in disbelief, so Miss Carlton brushes off the racist overtones of blurting out, "I'm free, white and twenty-one" and says she shouldn't read too much into it. Ms. Grant argues that bigoted shit, such as that phrase, is exactly the kind of thinking that tries to stop a girl like Stephanie get where she wants to be...and she's now mightily pissed off that she unwittingly became a part of her racist agenda when she urged Stephanie to change her dance major. She glares at Miss Carlton and says, "You no longer have to worry about the kids. You got me to worry about now. That's all the worry you're going to need."
Miss Sherwood is ambling down the hall with Mr. Reardon, gabbling about how she used to dabble in civil disobedience when she was the Fame kids' age (three years ago - hee). She wryly wonders aloud when they got to be the establishment that needed rebelling against. A few seconds later, they run into an ashen faced Ms. Grant, who tells them that Miss Carlton may not be a member of the KKK, but she's definitely a racist...and the three suddenly realize that the protesting kids were right. Mrs. Berg rushes over to inform Ms. Grant that Stephanie just requested a copy of her records, and that students usually only do that when they want to transfer out of the school. Ms. Grant looks alarmed and mutters, "We need to find Leroy."

When Stephanie enters the office to pick up her transcripts, Leroy appears from out of nowhere and says he has them...and explains that he has them 'cause Ms. Grant just made him her assistant. Er, OK..? He admonishes her for wanting to leave the school without putting up a fight, then shows her the apology letter Ms. Grant wrote, stating that she concurs with the students that Miss Carlton is a racist. He urges her to showcase the tough side of her, and points out that even if they were to succeed in getting Miss Carlton thrown out of school, she'd just be a racist cuntbag somewhere else. He insists that what they really need to do is show her the error of her ways.

Mr. Shorofsky finds Miss Carlton in the teachers' lounge and brightly exclaims, "You're just the person I'm looking for!" She mumbles something about how everyone else wants her to jump off a bridge, and Mr. Shorofsky says that that's understandable, since the kids all think she's a racist. LOL. He insists that that's not what he's here to talk about, but Miss Carlton ignores that and tries to offer an explanation for her bigotry: "I simply believe that black bodies are not suited to ballet." Mr. Shorofsky snaps, "Racist nonsense!" and implores her to shut her pie-hole so he can ask her something. She continues to ramble on about how black dancers don't have "the proper lines" and that there are very few opportunities for dark skinned folks in ballet. She says she's really doing the kids a service by saving them from unnecessary heartache, and that it's cruel to encourage a young person in that direction. Mr. Shorofsky shakes his head and says, "God help you...you really believe that?" then puts a pin in that and tells her that the school's theater just got a new sound system, and he needs an objective ear to test it out. She agrees, then gets up and trails after him unsuspectingly.
The ballet students are gathered in the theater, ready to perform for a racist audience of one...and Miss Carlton realizes with dismay that she's been tricked, but seats herself beside Mr. Shorofsky. Stephanie glides on stage as the soloist and dances to a really low energy song, which was an odd choice considering that the goal was to showcase her leaping and twirling abilities - but it does pick up toward the end, so I guess it wasn't a total waste. When the number comes to its merciful conclusion, Miss Carlton looks impressed and stands up and applauds. She tells Stephanie she heard she was leaving The School of the Arts, and Stephanie smugly says, "You heard wrong." Miss Carlton nods and says, "I'll see you tomorrow" and Stephanie replies, "I'll see you all the days it will take me to drag you into the twentieth century." As a shamefaced Miss Carlton slinks out of the theater, Mr. Shorofsky nods approvingly at the Fame kids and gives them a thumbs up...and even Bruno is grinning happily at the positive (we hope, anyway) outcome.

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