Picks and Pans Review: Fame

UPDATED 07/02/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/02/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

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Ah, puberty! Would that it were as much fun as it is in Fame. There are travails, to be sure, but there's always a song and dance to lift the spirits. Most of the cast of the network show is back in syndication: Miss Grant (Debbie Allen) still lovingly harangues her dancers; Doris (Valerie Landsburg) remains wise if neurotic beyond her years; Leroy (Gene Anthony Ray) still dances wonderfully, and Bruno the keyboard genius (Lee Curreri), who dropped out of school when his father died, now works in a restaurant where the students—rich students, it seems—hang out (though next season Bruno drops out of the show as well). There are a few new cast members: Holly (Cindy Gibb) perfectly fits the role of the cutest kid, replacing Lori (Footloose) Singer. Ken Swofford joins the show as the philistine principal, Mr. Morlock, a caricature more than a character. Next season, there'll be yet another cast member: Janet Jackson, sister of the Jackson (Michael). All in all, this remains the nicest bunch of people on TV since the King Family. But they are far more talented. That is the greatest joy of Fame, watching gifted young people strut their stuff. Unfortunately, it seems, there's a little less strutting now. And the plots are more contrived and predictable (handicapped kid proves he's a regular joe; Miss Grant loses a love; etc.). The show isn't, in the end, quite as good as it was on NBC. But that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. Even with a slight loss of quality, Fame offers more in leftovers than many network shows do when fresh.

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