Low-stakes card game. Richie, Artie, Davey, some white-haired grandpa dude, and a fat guy are all wearing the latest fashions from the polyester striped-shirt store at the Paramus Mall. Artie has a cigar sticking out of his mouth and looks like Popeye as he wins a hand and gives thanks to Santa Maria. "More like Santa Claus," Richie snaps. Artie tosses a chip to a player and quips, "Make sure you spend it in my restaurant, you prick." Clever. Fat dude at the table says, "One chip? Va'Napola, you can't even buy McDonald's with that." Artie leaves the game, because if he doesn't cash out, Charmaine will "have his balls on the menu tomorrow." Yuck. There's way too much talk about Artie's balls and Charmaine's involvement with them. Horizontally challenged dude's name is Vito, by the way. I find this out because Davey is in the process of begging Richie to lend him more money so he can continue playing, and he claims that Vito will stay in the game. Vito agrees: "Where do I gotta be? Let's up the ante." Richie reminds Davey that he owes him $7,000 already. Davey gets cocky and says, "Is that all? I'll make that back from Vito in a hour." Let's just take a wild stab at fortune-telling and guess that Davey does exactly the opposite and loses it all. Gamblers Anonymous, anyone? Richie falls for it, however, and gives the chooch another dime. Not ten cents, mind you. A dime is probably $1,000. ["I think it's more like $10,000." -- Sars]
School auditorium. Probably the most atrociously painted room I've ever seen. The walls are covered with scary geometric shapes in a seventies primary-color palette. Eric and Meadow sing some soggy pukey song from Miss Saigon. Eric is gazing at Meadow, back to the audience, as she sings facing the audience. Weird. Is he hot for her and she's oblivious or something? Maybe John C. Hensley has a big zit. Meanwhile, Meadow's nasal voice grates on me. They sound fine for high-schoolers, though. But Unnaturally Blonde Teacher, with a lame treble-clef pin on her jacket, grimaces and tells them they have their work cut out for them. Bitch. Meadow slumps off. Unnaturally Blonde Teacher calls out some Nordic giant of a girl named Güdren, who starts singing in German with her teeth gritted. Blech. High-school talent shows are so cheesy. Unnaturally Blonde Teacher goes over to Meadow while Güdren is singing, which I thought was rude, and says it's "really sounding pretty good" and she "knows Meadow is disappointed." Meadow, looking like a tan Joan Crawford with painted moonbeam-shaped eyebrows so larger than life that they dance off her face and start their own HBO original series, starts sniveling that she wanted to do a solo. Unnaturally Blonde Teacher starts sniveling about how she wanted to give everyone a shot at solos, and it's their last chance for cabaret since they're seniors. Miss Meadow will not be guilt-tripped. "Miss Gaetano, I was a sophomore when I did Spider Woman. Now it's important because of college and all." Unnaturally Blonde Miss Gaetano's face is all "Well excuse me, Miss Vanessa Williams." Ah, showbiz.