15th July is the 35th Anniversary of the U.K. Broadcast of To Soar and Never Falter.
Here is a witty recap of the episode from TV of Yore Website
Recap: The episode begins in Ms. Grant's dance class...and - shocker - Leroy is flailing about in his short shorts, while Bruno is on the piano, filling in for the regular musician. Ms. Grant barks at her students to leap higher! faster! better! ...and when the song finally ends, everyone collapses to the floor in exhaustion. Ms. Grant tells them their dancing was pretty good, but she wants them to do the routine again. Leroy's like, "Nuh uh!" and complains that it's too hard to dance when the tempo of the music keeps changing, then glares over at Bruno. Bruno retorts with a sassy jab that makes everybody laugh, and Ms. Grant assures Bruno he's doing a fine job maintaining a good tempo. One of the dancers, Kathy (it's the sister with the really long hair from Eight is Enough!), flounces across the room to get a towel...and while she's doing that, she eyes Bruno appreciatively. Ms. Grant asks Kathy to stick around after class 'cause she needs to talk to her about something important, then asks Bruno to stick around too.
Over in the office, Danny is arguing with his drama teacher, Mr. Crandall, about assigning him to do a love scene with Julie Miller. Miss Sherwood butts in and goes, "Don't you want to develop some versatility?" and Danny gives her a WTF? look and snaps, "No!" Mr. Crandall refuses to budge on the issue and tells Danny to just shut up and do the assignment. Danny grumbles about how unfair it is...blah blah, then storms out of the room like the badly tempered little bitch he is. When Miss Sherwood scrunches her face in confusion, Mr. Crandall explains that Danny's gotten himself all worked up because he's been assigned to perform a love scene with Julie, who's probably at least a foot taller than he is. Haha!
Bruno watches Ms. Grant tell Kathy something, which results in Kathy squealing and jumping up and down with joy. Ms. Grant's like, "Chillax girrrl!" and tells her it's just a tryout with no guarantees. Bruno grumpily asks Ms. Grant why she asked him to stay after class, so she explains that she handpicked Kathy to audition for the Tyler Troupe, and she has a good chance of touring with the dance company. Hold on a damn minute - doesn't the School of the Arts have an official rule, which was sternly invoked just three episodes ago, when Coco auditioned for a Broadway play? Here's an excerpt from my recap from the Passing Grade episode:
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 tells Bruno that the people on the troupe's audition board have heard every piece of classical music there is, so she thought it might give Kathy an edge if she had an original score to dance to. Bruno glumly replies that he's never even heard of the Tyler Troupe and has no idea how to write music for a dancer...but when he gives Kathy a thorough once over, he decides she's cute enough to be worth the effort. The two arrange to meet in the cafeteria later, and Kathy scampers off excitedly. Ms. Grant stares at Bruno with her eyebrows raised and asks him if he's sweet on Kathy, and he grunts something unintelligible and lumbers off in his usual mopey fashion.
"But I only write sad lullabies."
Bruno ambles over to the cafeteria and finds his schoolmates - Leroy, Coco, and Kathy - performing in one of the school's usual impromptu lunch time dance shows. When Kathy spots Bruno, she runs over to him, and the two find a quiet table. He starts the conversation by grumpishly declaring he's not a miracle worker - but she cuts him off and says she plans to tell Ms. Grant that a music/dance partnership between the two of them isn't going to work out. He's all, "Wuh?" so she reminds him that he openly admitted he's never heard of the Tyler Troupe - egads! - and that it's "pretty basic stuff". She says anyone who doesn't know every major dance troupe in the country couldn't possibly write music to accompany her dancing. Bruno's like, "Seriously?" then starts quizzing her on some obscure jazz musician...and of course she's never heard of him and gets the point that neither of them knows (or cares) very much about the other's art.
Julie asks Miss Sherwood if she'd ask Mr. Crandall on the down low to excuse her from performing a love scene with a certain stumpy classmate, and Miss Sherwood somehow gives a rat's ass about her drama class dilemma and offers to speak to Crandall.
Back in the dance gym, Kathy is doing some sample dancing for Bruno so that he can get an idea of the kind of music she's looking for. Bruno grumbles that he'd rather just write something that she'll then have to figure out how to dance to, but she insists that the music he writes needs to be tailored to her dancing, then barks, "The dancing comes first!" The two snark at each other for several minutes, blah blah...and she finally concludes that they're very much alike - meaning they're both so annoyingly obsessed with their art that they've reached the point of being inflexible and obnoxious. Bruno offers to write a tailored piece and asks her to dance again - and suddenly Papa Martelli bursts into the room and tells Bruno his cab is waiting out front. Bruno introduces him to Kathy and explains that he's writing music for her dance audition...and Papa Martelli perks up and asks if he can hang around and watch. Kathy's A-OK with that, then demonstrates to Bruno how she plans on starting her performance with some slow stuff before she builds to something dramatic. She then leap-twirls in the air...and while she's in mid-air, the camera goes all slow-mo, and she crashes to the floor and starts wailing that she hurt her knee. Bruno and Papa Martelli run across the room and hover over her uselessly until Papa Martelli suggests that they transport her to the nearest hospital in his cab.
The ER doctor pokes around Kathy's knee and says, "Something's screwed up in there." LOL. He tells her they're going to take an x-ray - but in the meantime he gives her an ice-pack to keep pressed against her kneecap. After the doctor leaves, Bruno offers to call her parents, but she says she doesn't want to worry them until she knows the extent of her injury. She says, "It's not like I'm dying or anything" then starts crying about missing her opportunity to audition for the Tyler Troupe. Bruno says there'll be other auditions and that her injury doesn't seem all that serious, but she wails that it really really hurts and that she doesn't endure pain well. No duh. But you're a dancer, so suck it up.
Bruno and Papa Martelli hang out in the waiting room while Kathy gets wheeled off for her x-ray. Papa Martelli wonders if maybe he spilled coffee on the dance gym floor, which caused Kathy's accident...but Bruno says he didn't see him spill any coffee and he shouldn't feel responsible.
The x-ray shows no ligament damage, but the doctor tells Kathy he still wants to scope her knee. Her mother, who has since arrived at the hospital, is relieved that the injury isn't serious...but she still wrings her hands worriedly so Kathy tells her, "I don't want to rethink our decision." Hmm...something's amiss.
Miss Sherwood is trying to get Mr. Crandall to change his mind about making Danny and Julie perform a love scene together, but he refuses to let them off the hook and politely reminds her that he doesn't comment on how she runs her English class. Miss Sherwood looks suitably chastened and admits she's being out of line. Mr. Crandall explains that the kids aren't really asking for help; they're asking for "an out". Meanwhile, the rest of the faculty is signing a get well card for Kathy, and Ms. Grant announces that she wants to put off the Tyler Troupe audition for a few weeks...but if she can't make that happen, she'll throw Leroy a bone and let him audition.
Early the next morning, Bruno's sitting on the stairs, playing on his little portable keyboard while Kathy runs up and down the stairs to exercise her knee. Leroy comes over to say hey, then asks Kathy how her knee is doing and if she's heard anything the audition. She tells him her knee is getting better, but that she hasn't heard from the Tyler Troupe.
A guy from the insurance company enters the dance gym and tells Ms. Grant he has some forms for her to sign regarding Kathy's injury. He tells her he's been tasked with making sure that there's nothing wrong with the floor - but before she has a chance to argue with him 'bout that, he assures her that there's clearly nothing wrong with it, and that he really just needs her signature to authorize Kathy's hospital stay. He then blabs that Kathy has multiple sclerosis, and Ms. Grant is all, "Wha-a?!" so the guy explains that she was diagnosed a year ago as being in the initial stages of the disease. He declares that she's never going to be a dancer, and Ms. Grant looks troubled as she contemplatively stares into space.
Ms. Grant stops by Miss Sherwood's apartment looking glum. She says that Kathy's audition has been postponed, then asks her if she has any wine. Miss Sherwood heads over to her liquor cabinet, and Ms. Grant blabs to her about Kathy's MS.
Bruno - who's decked out in his brown, old man sweater - invites Kathy, Doris, and Montgomery to hang in the basement of his hovel and eat pizza. The four discuss the ongoing, boring as fuck dilemma about Julie and Danny not wanting to perform a love scene in Mr. Crandall's class. Kathy thinks Julie and Danny should just shut up and figure out a way to do the scene as best they can, then says everyone has some kind of a handicap they need to deal with. She then asks the group what Bruno's main hang-up in life is, and Doris says it's that he never wants to let people listen to his music. To prove her wrong, Bruno sits at his keyboard and performs a romantic song he wrote - presumably for Kathy - and it goes on for a painfully loooong time. Halfway through the superfluous performance, Doris pokes Montgomery and points out the teary and smitten look on Kathy's face. When Bruno finally finishes, Kathy looks as though she's about to burst into tears, so Doris hustles Montgomery upstairs to give the couple some privacy. Kathy walks over to where Bruno's sitting, and he remarks, "Hey - you're not limping!" and she tearfully replies that her feet barely touched the ground...and the two start smooching.
"I think Bruno's gettin' a boner."
Miss Sherwood tells Ms. Grant there's no way in hell that Kathy's ever going to be able to be a dancer. Ms. Grant argues that she doesn't know what the future holds, but she doesn't want to take anything away from the girl. Miss Sherwood advises her to be realistic and not let Kathy build a life on maybe, but Ms. Grant wails about what a great dancer she is and tears up...and Miss Sherwood mutely hands her a tissue.
The next morning, Mr. Shorofsky is chairing a faculty meeting - and Mr. Crandall, Ms. Grant, and Miss Sherwood are all in attendance. Mr. Shorofsky declares that the meeting will be tape recorded [so that the cassette can unwittingly fall into the wrong hands], then hits play on the machine. The meeting's only agenda item is Kathy and her MS, and Mr. Shorofsky brusquely pronounces, "She has to leave the school." Ms. Grant's all, "Wha-a?!" so he explains that spoke with the insurance guy for three hours yesterday. Apparently, the company refuses to provide coverage for the school if Kathy remains in the dance program. Ms. Grant snarks that it looks like everything's already been decided - well, d'yuh - and they flip a coin to see who gets to break the sad news to Kathy.
Doris grabs Julie on her way to class and says she knows all about her love scene problems with Danny. She promises to help her through this crisis if, in exchange, she steals Bruno's music cassettes from Mr. Shorofsky's class so she can listen to his newest stuff. (That seems a tad contrived, but OK.) Julie agrees to do it, but ends up grabbing the cassettes with the recorded faculty meeting instead. Oops. Over in English class, Doris inserts the cassette into her player and puts her headphones on expecting to hear Bruno's off-key crooning...but after a few seconds she looks startled and upset, then glances over at Kathy and tears up. She abruptly exits the class and heads over to the dressing room where Bruno is moping. He notices the ashen look on her face and asks her whassup, but she doesn't answer and silently hugs him.
Kathy finds Bruno in the hall and gives him a from behind hug. She tells him her knee feels a lot better and that she can't wait to get back to her dancing. Bruno tells her he finished the score for her audition, and she says she's eager to hear it - but it'll have to wait until after her conference with Mr. Shorofsky. She says she has no idea why he wants to meet with her, so Bruno lays it all on the table and says, "They know. And so do I." Kathy pretends she has no idea what he's talking about...but the jig is up pretty quick, 'cause in the next scene they're sitting in the dressing room, openly talking about her MS. She says she wants to go as far as she can with her dancing - until her disease forces her to stop. Bruno advises her to "take a long term view" and lower her sights, but she starts nattering about how she's like a butterfly "that's about spring and summer and about being pretty...not about taking long term views". She declares that Mr. Shorofsky can't kick her out of school and insists, "They have to judge me on now." (They don't, actually. Especially if the insurance company refuses to cover the school if you remain in the dance program.)
"Just give up on your dreams already."
Ms. Grant tells Leroy that the Tyler Troupe is coming to the school this week, and she wants him to audition. Leroy makes a face and sarcastically retorts, "Great." Ms. Grant tells him to adjust his 'tude, so he asks her if he's getting the audition because he's the best dancer in the school...or if it's because he's Kathy's replacement. Ms. Grant stares sheepishly into space, so he grimaces and says, "That's what I figured" and storms out.
Mr. Crandall and Miss Sherwood spy on Julie and Danny as they rehearse their love scene - which they're doing by continually climbing over a couch and coffee table. LOL. Mr. Crandall explains that they're doing "creative staging" and that they're never on the same level at the same time...'cause yeah, that's super realistic. Apparently, they also built a ramp behind the sofa so that Danny doesn't look too stumpy when he kisses Julie. Fantastic.
Kathy arrives for her meeting with Mr. Shorofsky in high spirits. She babbles about how dancing is the most important thing in her life, and that she can't imagine giving it up. Like, ever. Mr. Shorofsky just stares at her mutely...and in the next scene, he ambles into the office and tells Miss Sherwood that he's heading over to the nearest bar. He explains that he decided to be a mensch today and helped Kathy change her major...so - ta da! - she's now a temporary music major who plays the tambourine and might opt to take a dance class from time to time. Er...OK - but wouldn't she have to re-audition to officially enter the school as a tambourine player?
That evening, the faculty and audition board of the Tyler Troupe arrive at the school...and they're gabbling excitedly when Leroy enters the room, fake limping. Ms. Grant's all, "What's wrong with you, boy?" and he silently points at his bandaged foot. He tells her he just sprained his ankle, which means he won't be able to audition for the troupe after all...and the camera pans all the way down so that viewers can stare at his bandaged foot for what seems like an unnecessarily long time. He shrugs and goes, "Sorry. Maybe next year" and quietly hobbles out. The Tyler Troupe people tell the faculty that they can't postpone their auditions anymore...and Mr. Crandall offers them some coffee, so they all head toward the staff lounge.
"Leroy? Why are you missing a shoe?"
As they amble down the hallway, Doris suddenly appears out of nowhere and invites the Tyler Troup possee to take their seats - then points at a row of chairs that have been set up in the hallway. A few feet away, Bruno and his band are assembled...and a group of dancers wearing white body stockings, with Kathy in the center, suddenly appear and start leaping and flailing about. Ms. Grant looks very impressed with Kathy's elegant dancing skills...though the accompanying music that Bruno wrote sounds like a rip-off of some really boring elevator muzak. Leroy suddenly appears as one of the backup dancers (in tights!), clearly uninjured, and Miss Sherwood is all "Wha-a?!" while Ms. Grant just smiles and shakes her head affectionately.
After the impromptu audition, everyone applauds...and the faculty and students clump together for a big group hug with Kathy in the middle. Bruno watches them at a distance for a few seconds, then shuffles off down the hall. I'm not sure if he's expressing his usual state of mopiness, or if he's bummed that Kathy will likely be selected as the newest member of the Tyler Troupe and never be heard from again.