Fame (1982) s01e16 Episode Script

A Special Place

One more time.
Budget cuts? Again? We evaluators do rub people the wrong way sometimes, I'm afraid.
They come in here with their reports and they treat us like digits? Do you happen to have a form for reporting sexual harassment? That was sexual advancement? They end up pitting friends against each other.
Danny! You got big dreams.
You want fame.
Well, fame costs and right here is where you start paying in sweat.
- Miss Polsdorfer? - Why, yes.
- Board of Education.
- What a wonderful memory you have.
Well, what I remember is that you and I have a real difference of opinion about the way this school ought to be run.
Well, we evaluators do rub people the wrong way sometimes, I'm afraid.
Budget cuts? Again? Okay.
Straight talk.
Assembly Bill 47 920 did not pass the legislature.
So we find ourselves unable to move into normal fund dispersal.
Instead, we've had to assume a budget-cutting posture.
That's straight talk.
Necessitating a stiff examination of those options available to us for cost reduction.
Trim the fat, so to speak.
- Yes? - What if you don't find any fat? I'm not sure that I understand your question, Miss- You'll have to forgive me.
I don't know many of your names.
I'm Elizabeth Sherwood.
My question concerns the fact that each year the budget is less and less.
And with this less and less, we're expected to do more and more.
Is there a purpose to all this we don't understand? Certainly.
To make the system work.
You're gonna make the school system work by cutting back on it, yes? Hey, people, don't blame me.
I'm just the messenger.
If you're the messenger, who's that spy in my classroom? - You are- - I'm damn angry! - I was referring to your name.
- I know what you were referring to.
We are not spies.
Well, I would like to know what specific measures you have in mind for this so-called trimming of the fat? I can't tell you that yet.
First, we have to collate, then come up with a criteria for the reductions.
At that point, we will pass on the information.
And I guarantee you that nobody will understand a word of it.
- Hey, Leroy.
- What do you want? I'm studying.
Did you have your evaluation interview yet? If that's what you wanna call it.
- Can we go someplace and talk about it? - I can't.
I'm the hall monitor.
The job you're doing doesn't matter a whole lot.
Come on.
Gavin Lattimer was a guest lecturer in one of Shorofsky's classes a couple a months ago.
We were talking about how you could build a melody in different ways.
- That's when you played him the song? - I used it as an example.
- So? - What, so? - So, what are you gonna do about it? - Nothing.
- Bruno! - Doris! What do you want me to do take on Gavin Lattimer and accuse him of plagiarism? If that's what he did! - You can't let him get away with it! - Is this a private fight? It's not a fight.
- It ain't a whole lot of friendly.
- What's up? Miss Miller here said that the evaluation interviews are a crock.
Julie Miller has never used the word crock in her life.
Look, you've had your evaluation interviews.
What did you talk about? - The usual.
- Music? Shorofsky's class? - No.
Not much.
- What about dance class, Leroy? - None.
- Chemistry? History? What about math? A little.
Mostly they asked questions about Crandall's class.
- And English.
- Then I'll bet that's what it is.
That's what what is? One more time? Hey! Hey! Hold it! Hold it! Look, I have enough trouble understanding with just one of you talking.
Okay, Julie, and slowly, please.
Miss Grant, when was the last time you had one of those evaluators in your class? I don't know, a couple a days ago, for one class period.
Well, they've been in Mr.
Crandall's class all day, ever day.
- Same with Sherwood's class.
- Not much in music class.
So? Is there some great theory that goes along with all of this? Yes.
We think they're planning on dumping a teacher.
We think these interviews are just to decide who they're going to fire.
Miss Sherwood or Mr.
- Here.
- What's this? - Roughing It? - Mark Twain.
It's an idea I had.
You want to be a stand-up comic, and I want to teach you something about acting.
I thought maybe we could combine the two.
You want me to stand up and read this in class? I don't think any of us are ready for that.
What I want you to do is find some material in there so we can make a scene out of it to do in class.
Where does being a stand-up comic come in? Mark Twain has written some very snappy one-liners.
Really? Hey, that's a good idea.
Well, I can't take full credit for it.
See, Hal Holbrook's been doing a one-man Mark Twain show for years.
All right! Me and Hal Holbrook.
Just like Tom and Huck.
Oh, yeah.
You want I should check out the place for hidden microphones? Elizabeth.
I just didn't want us to be interrupted.
- You make it sound ominous.
- Not at all.
In fact, it's really only a suspicion.
Something the kids put me onto.
I'm listening.
Well, it's about this evaluating and budget cutting.
That mob up in the cafeteria was using up all the air.
I need a little room.
Oh, I'm sorry.
Did I walk in in the middle of something important? Did I walk in in the middle of something unimportant? It's all right, Greg.
You might as well hear this now too.
I really didn't mean to say anything about this until I had a better idea about what was really going to happen.
But I've been talking with some of the kids and asking questions and it seems like this budget-cutting thing has reached a point, maybe where they're starting to think about cutting back on the teaching staff.
At least, that's the way it looks to me.
And I think- I'm- Lydia, we won't let them fire you.
Elizabeth, it's not me they're thinking about firing.
What? Well, surely, they're not talking about letting me go.
You or- It's amazing how quickly an appetite can go.
Well, here we are.
Now, once I have explained the basic concept of the cost-reduction blueprint I think this should all become clear.
Forbes, could you cut through the bureaucratic double-talk and just tell us if this budget cutting is going to mean dropping a teacher? That is a definite possibility given the economic parameters - and the equality of- - The answer is yes.
And that teacher is either Greg- Mr.
Crandall or me? It's a solution, and it works.
- You must be a lot of fun in a lifeboat.
- Excuse me? That was a joke.
Here is the reality.
If we selected any other course say for example, biology we might put ourselves in danger of losing our academic status.
Now, on the other hand if we lose someone in the music department, that's counterproductive.
Because it poses problems in terms of finding someone from another discipline to cover his or her courses.
The same would hold true for the dance department.
Now you graduated from college with a major in English.
And the reason I went into drama was because I was lousy in English.
- That's very good.
- That was no joke.
And your minor was in drama.
You even spent one season in summer stock.
I worked in the box office.
So, you see, each of you could absorb the other's classes I mean, without any real disruption in the system.
Forbes, that isn't true.
That isn't even close to being true.
And the very fact that you think it even might be true shows how little you understand about this school.
Either a person can act or they can't.
- You merely guide.
- Well, then, if I'm the one who stays I assume that I'll be working under the theory that the students either know English or they don't.
No, I don't believe that for a moment.
That was a joke.
All right, what is it, Martelli? I didn't say anything.
But your suffering silence is deafening.
Also, you've rearranged that stack at least four times.
Is it the Chopin? Would you prefer to play something more modern, more cacophonous? - It isn't the Chopin.
- Good.
Because playing the Chopin will help you grow.
You remember when Gavin Lattimer came to school and lectured? Of course.
I invited him.
It's very important to hear from former students who have attained some degree of success.
- I played one of my songs for him.
- So? Why should playing music several months ago for someone cause such excessive zeal in stacking orchestra parts? It's now a hit song called "If You Want My Love" composed by Gavin Lattimer.
- Oh.
- Exactly.
And I don't know what to do about it.
- Something.
- Beg pardon? Do something.
That's as good as my advice is gonna get.
Do something.
Combine that with "Have a nice day" and we'll have the whole thing licked.
Martelli, being older does not mean we have all the answers.
But it usually means we know how to avoid some of the dumber mistakes.
You're eating yourself up about this thing.
And doing anything, something, is likely to be an improvement.
Good day.
Have a nice day.
And you do something about your problem.
Actually, they do go together rather well.
Well, as far as I'm concerned, there's always stage managing.
Of course.
You've worked on Broadway.
Probably a phone call- Well, I don't think Broadway.
I'd probably have to take out a road company.
There's always a great need for a good road stage manager.
Isn't the road a little arduous for- If you are thinking of completing that sentence with "a man your age" I wish you wouldn't.
What I was really going to say is for someone who hasn't done it in a while.
That's very nice.
I'm not being nice.
I'm being what we're both being- brave.
And I'm not very good at it.
The fact of the matter is teaching isn't just a job and this school, it isn't just a school.
It's a very special place.
And I'm not feeling very brave about any of this.
Hey, if we're supposed to be cheering each other up we're not doing a very good job.
But if they go ahead with this thing, regardless of what they decide, we lose.
Either we're unemployed or we're doing a job that we're not trained for or skilled at.
You know, I would never have said "skilled at.
" Now, I would have expected a playwright to write exactly what I want to say and I would never say "skilled at" and that's why I don't want to be an English teacher.
- Tough day? - They're all tough, Mr.
It's my name.
I assumed that's what you meant.
I just wasn't sure what you meant by it.
It's just that school's out, so to speak and we are, after all, colleagues.
And Paul and Elizabeth seemed a little bit less- - Formal? - Exactly.
Don't you ever feel the need to let go a little bit? - Please? - You know, let off a little steam.
At the end of a day teaching here, I rarely have any steam left.
At least we could have dinner.
Maybe a drink? - Mr.
Forbes- - Paul.
I really don't think it would be the right thing to do under the circumstances.
I think you're wrong.
It might be exactly the right thing to do under the circumstances.
Good morning, Mrs.
Do you happen to have a form for reporting sexual harassment? I don't believe so.
These are curricula confirmation forms, I think.
Oh, I didn't mean those.
I meant over in the files someplace.
Oh, well, let me- Hi.
What did you ask about? A sexual harassment form? We must have some.
We have forms for everything else.
Studies progress, ethnic balance, insurance, job description extracurricular involvement, withholding attendance, nonattendance, projected attendance- You are rambling.
Who are we talking about? That master of our fates, Mr.
Paul Forbes.
Forbes? Sexual? The way he talks, how could you tell? No problem whatsoever.
He made it perfectly clear how I could keep my job.
- That was sexual advancement? - Sexual harassment.
I hope you have proof.
You know, you're gonna have to prove something like that.
Oh, I'll prove it.
- I'll nail that son of a- - Gun! Gun, if it's the last thing I do here.
- Be careful.
- Why? Because you don't want it really to be the last thing you do here.
- I don't have an excuse.
- An excuse for what? For comin' in here to talk to you.
You don't need one.
Come on in.
- You heard anything yet? - No.
You worried? Well, I'm not sure worried is the correct word.
I- There's a certain amount of concern.
I'm worried.
Why does that Mr.
Forbes and his team gotta come up here and mess us up anyway? - It's their role in life, to mess us up.
- Tell me about it.
However, I'm sure there are worse tragedies in your life than my leaving.
What? Well, I mean, there are other things that- Are you tryin' to say I'll be glad to see you get the ax? You think I'm sittin' around here hopin' you get fired? - You don't understand nothin'.
- Leroy.
Leroy, wait.
Come back.
Look, I would never accuse you of hoping somebody would lose a job.
Sit down.
All I meant was that it would be more unfortunate for you if Lydia- Miss Grant- left.
You got to understand.
Miss Grant gets on me, and I may not like it but I know it's gonna make me a better dancer.
You get on me, and you do it a lot and I'm not so sure what that does for me either.
But I know that I'm learning.
I'm reading and writing.
So don't go telling me what's good for me and what ain't.
Not ain't.
Come on, don't fuss with me, woman.
I'm on my free period.
English teachers never rest.
Don't I know it.
Thank you, Leroy.
I didn't say I like you fussing at me.
I just said I'm learning.
Twenty-One Grammercy Park.
I had office duty last hour.
There's a file with all the addresses of the people we've had here - as guest lecturers.
- That's very devious.
Bruno, you don't have to go if you don't want to.
But 1 2 Grammercy Park is just a quick subway ride away.
Wait a minute.
I thought you said 21 Grammercy Park.
Glad to see you're listening, Martelli.
I didn't know the room was being used.
Miss Sherwood.
No, please.
- Please, come in.
- I have nothing to say to you.
But I have something to say to you.
And it is something you probably ought to hear.
Have you sent in your harassment complaint yet? It's a small school.
Good news travels fast.
I'm still working on it.
Our evaluation report.
Read it.
And then you decide whether or not you want your complaint of improper conduct included in the recommendation that you be retained as the new English/Drama instructor here.
It might seem as though you had accepted my alleged offer.
It's just the kind of thing that could be misunderstood in the same way that my original invitation to you was misunderstood.
"recommendation of this panel that Elizabeth Sherwood presently instructor in English, be retained"- "in the newly created position of instructor in Drama/English and that the present instructor in drama, Gregory Crandall, be relieved of his responsibilities.
" What does that mean, relieved of responsibilities? It means he got fired.
Fired? - Hey, Leroy, did you hear? - Hear what? They decided to let Crandall go and keep Miss Sherwood.
All right! Somebody in this school finally made a good decision.
Hey, I feel a heck of a whole lot better after that.
Yeah, you feel better? I always feel better when I hear good news.
Let me know how this feels.
Danny! Leroy! Leroy! You guys, come on! Danny, come on, stop it.
All right! Stop it! Quit it! Amatullo! Johnson! Stop it! Stop it now! - His fly's unzipped! - Stop it! Stop! Anyplace else but here! Stop it! Move it! Move it! The fight's over! Move it! You two guys are supposed to be such good friends.
What's this all about? - Ask him! - And I'm busy! - You're busy being a jerk! - Mr.
Johnson, stop it! - Now, what's this all about? - I don't know! I don't! Look, it just happened.
I was telling Leroy about Crandall getting fired.
Crandall fired? - Don't you have a class now? - Study hall.
- That's a class.
- I got nothing to do.
Okay, well, you do now.
See that pile of scripts? I'd like you to hand them to me one at a time make a nice neat pile for Miss Sherwood so it'll be all organized when she takes over.
Camino Real.
Here's another one.
You got anything lined up? Yeah, I got a call to teach part-time at the American Academy.
- Is that a good school? - Very.
- Next.
- Chamber Music.
Yeah, I'm thinkin' of droppin' out of this place.
What? I think I should go some other place.
Maybe to that academy you're going to.
- Uh-uh.
- Why not? Two reasons.
One: I would tell the admissions board that you cannot be accepted because you do not have a high school diploma.
- I'd be going there to study with you.
- That's the second reason.
Danny, I'm a teacher.
I am not a guru.
If you decide to stay in this business, you're gonna have a lot of teachers.
Now, you want to get through the bad ones as fast as you can but do not hang on to the good ones.
Now, if you're smart, you'll learn a little bit from each one.
- Come on.
Sherwood's a- - Is a very good teacher.
She'll be different, but she has something to teach you.
You ever hear her tell a joke? - Life is not all just telling jokes.
- It is to me.
Give me the next one.
The Apology.
Now, this one would be very good for you.
- Good play? - Good idea.
You come to talk or you come to fight? I figure it'd be better to talk.
Besides, I hurt my knuckles by hitting you.
You got a jaw of stone, man.
I got a brain of lead.
Look, I don't know whether you are going to believe a single word of what I am about to say but nevertheless, I am determined to say it.
And I guess you can think whatever you want to think but, at least, I will have said it.
I hope the concerto is shorter than the fanfare.
What I did was dumb.
It was certainly ill-timed and wide open to misunderstanding.
But I am not one of the bad guys, Miss Sherwood.
I just happen to be a guy who has a bad job that he has to do.
And that can sort of distance you from people.
And I wanted to talk to somebody who is very much at home in a world which to me is as strange and wonderful and rare as any place I could possibly imagine.
End of concerto.
I honestly don't know whether I want to say anything to stop you.
So you might as well keep on going.
I know I can't go up against you and make it stick, but that was my song.
Look, you want to be a composer, right? I am a composer.
"If You Want My Love, " remember? You'd better start getting used to the fact that someday you're gonna hear something, and it won't mean a whole lot to you.
Then a couple a years later, you're gonna be writing a song and somehow, that tune will sneak in.
And you'll be absolutely positive it's yours.
Maybe that's the way it works for you.
- You're gonna be different, huh? - I'm gonna try.
Well, I wish you luck.
I remember what it was like being your age.
You think you're being very profound when you realize that the world isn't perfect.
But when you start growin' up is when you realize that not only isn't the world perfect, but neither are you.
If you wrote that song you're pretty good, and you're gonna write lots of others.
If you didn't- If you didn't, then you're a pain.
And I'm gonna forget you about 30 seconds after you're out the door.
I'm playing hardball, kid.
No, you're not.
In hardball, you don't pitch underhanded.
Hello? Speaking.
Talk about pushy.
It's for you.
Look, if I've been unfair- You haven't been.
It's just that you want a winner and a loser and I'm not gonna go to war.
You got a lot of songs inside you, kid.
Come on, don't be stingy.
Hello? Bruno, hi.
It's Julie.
When can you get back here to rehearse? Rehearse? Rehearse what? Well, we were all talking about Crandall and we came up with this really terrific idea.
This is a repulsive idea.
Gregory, would you stop it? This party is not for you.
It's for them.
If it's for them, why do I have to be here? They wish a chance to say auf Wiedersehen to a friend and do it with a little grace.
How is it that you can make something as distasteful as this sound so pleasant? The advantage of a European education.
- No word yet? - No.
Does that mean no or no word? What's going on? Well, come on.
You're gonna have to tell me.
I'm not gonna be around to find out on my own.
Well, you know the new contract gives us all five percent raises.
We went out on strike to get it.
So? So, there are still 22 teachers left, even with you gone.
So, we all got together and we asked the board to postpone our raises for a year.
The money they'd save would be slightly more than one teacher's salary- yours.
- I can't find the words- - You don't have to.
To tell you how much I hate that idea.
I mean, who was the genius who came up with that brilliant idea? Me.
I'm the genius.
But you should have known that I'd be opposed to something like that.
- Of course.
I knew that.
- Then why? Because I'm even more opposed to your leaving.
So I thought we might make a compromise.
The board is meeting on it right now.
- You haven't got a prayer.
- Wrong.
That's precisely what we do have.
Excuse me.
Can I have your attention, please? Mr.
Crandall, could you please come over here and take a seat? Mr.
Crandall, it isn't easy for us to let you know how sorry we are that you're leaving.
And how much we'll miss you.
So we decided to do it the way we know best.
We'll show you.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
I- had intended to get out of here with as little fuss as possible, because I'm not very good about saying good-bye.
I tend to dawdle at the door a lot.
When Lydia dragged me in here, it wasn't that I didn't want to be in here it's that I knew once I got in here I wouldn't want to leave.
In the last couple of days, I've been trying to figure out what there is about this place this job that makes it so joyous.
And I finally figured out it's not what we teach you.
It's you.
We take your talent and mold it into a skill, and along the way we try to instill some integrity in you which you can use so that you can practice your skill your profession, with pride.
And then you turn around and you honor us with song and dance and magic.
And here I am dawdling at the door again.
Perhaps I can be of some help.
No, I'm already unemployed.
I don't think I can stand any more help from you.
- That's a joke, right? - Yeah.
See? I'm catching on.
I've just come from a meeting downtown where the rather unique proposal you people came up with was the topic of discussion.
Your compromise offer was turned down flat.
It would set a bad precedent and also serve to embarrass the board terribly and the board does not like to be embarrassed.
One of the items earmarked in next year's budget was new lighting for the auditorium.
Well, the board got a little mad at you people and cut it out of the budget.
So you're not going to get new lighting for the auditorium.
Instead, you're going to get an old Crandall.
I hope I haven't spoiled your party.
Now that's what I call a concerto, Mr.
Welcome to the School of the Arts.