"I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly (High!)
I feel it coming together, people will see me and cry.
I'm gonna make it to heaven, light up the sky like a flame.
I'm gonna live forever, baby remember my name!"
A musical film in 1980 that later became a stage musical and then was remade in 2009, Fame
is the story of some students of the New York High School of Performing Arts, a very exclusive school (which has since been merged with the High School of Music & Art to become the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts). The students find themselves cooperating amongst themselves and with the faculty, even as they compete for chances in the real world to make their dreams of stardom come true, and the obstacles that stand in their way on a personal level.Fame
is an interesting example in that, along with the silver screen and the stage, it's also been presented as a musical television series, several times. The last attempt, in 2003, took the form of a Reality Show
similar to American Idol
The original film received two Academy Awards
: one for the score in general, and one for the title track.
The film inspired also a 1982 TV series of the same name with much of the film's cast reprising their roles, and another series in 1997-98 titled Fame L.A.
The movies provide examples of:
- Ambiguously Gay: Kevin in the remake. The actors and the director disagree whether he is gay or not.
- Artistic License: "P.A." as shown in the film closed in 1984, but modern productions such as The Life Aquatic are mentioned by the characters in the remake.
- Casting Couch
- Coming-Out Story: Montgomery
- Dark and Troubled Past: Malik's sister Ayanna died very young, and his father left his family even before that.
- Driven to Suicide: Nearly happens to Lisa in the original and Kevin in the remake after they're informed that their ballet skills aren't enough to recommend them to a professional dance studio.
- Graduation for Everyone: The end
- High School: Albeit an "alternative" one.
- Gayngst: Montgomery. It makes sense considering when this takes place.
- "I Am Becoming" Song: "In L.A.", though it's more I Was Becoming.
- I Am What I Am / "I Am" Song: "Out Here on My Own".
- "I Want" Song: "Fame", natch.
- Inspired By: The real students of the real school.
- Kick the Dog: "Who in the world told you you were special?"
- Proscenium Reveal: One of the main characters is monologuing about his mother. It looks like an interview, until he flubs a line and we realize it's an audition.
- School Play / Graduate from the Story: "I Sing the Body Electric"/"Hold Your Dream".
- Shrinking Violet: Doris in the original, Jenny in the remake. They get better.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Stuck firmly on the cynical end. This is not a film which shys from showing how hard it is to get into showbiz. If you're talented, focused and willing to work to achieve your dream... it might not be enough. If you are unlucky, you will fail. If you are worse than anyone else, you will fail. If you fall in with the wrong people, you will fail. "All we can guarantee is seven harsh lessons and a hot lunch a day", indeed.
- Spiritual Successor: So, so many.
- You Would Make a Great Model: Coco is approached in a diner by a sleazy guy claiming to be a director. She goes to his apartment for a "screen test" and he orders her to undress in front of a camera. She does so, and starts crying from embarrassment and shame.
The TV series provides examples of:
- Bowdlerize: TV!Montgomery is not that obviously gay, compared to the movie version of him.
- Christmas Episode: "All I Want For Christmas" and "Ebenezer Morloch".
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: While many cast members got fond farewells, others vanished without warning (i.e. Doris). Subverted in that many of them come Back for the Finale.
- Dance Party Ending: The finale - and yes, it was to the title song.
- First Run Syndication: After NBC canned the show after 2 seasons, the rest of the show ran in syndication.
- Last Episode Theme Reprise: See Dance Party Ending for the video.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The Season 2 "Episodes" had its main plot (Leroy losing a role in the school's play after being tardy when he decided to try out for a dance troupe) based on Gene Anthony Ray (who played Leroy) being constantly late for tapings and rehearsals. Apparently, the message didn't sink in at the time for Ray; who ended up being suspended for 5 episodes in Season 3.
- The decision to have Nicole Chapman killed off towards the end was the result of two eerie coincidences - the writers were planning on doing a drunk driving episode around the time Nia Peeples planned on leaving the show. Rather than put Nicole on a bus, they killed her off entirely (and later regretted doing so).
- Rearrange the Song: For the first few seasons, the theme was arranged in a similar manner as the film version. By the last season, however, the song received a more synthpop sounding arrangement.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The song "That Dream", featured in the season 3 episode "A Way of Winning", later appeared in the Kids Incorporated episode "You've Got The Wrong Date". A given, since both shows were made by MGM and featured original songs by Michael Cruz.
- The song "That's Dancin'" was also shared by both shows, appearing in the Fame episode "The Rivalry" and the Kids Incorporated episode "The Wallflower".
- Very Special Episode: Many, including "Help From My Friends" and "Go Softly Into the Morning".
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: Naturally, "Ebenezer Morloch".
The musical version provides examples of:
- Absent-Minded Professor: Mr. Myers.
- Alpha Bitch: Iris Kelly, though it's more how the other kids see her.
- Angry Black Man: Tyrone, in the beginning.
- Big Man on Campus: Nick
- The Casanova: Joe Vegas likes to think he is.
- Casting Couch: Implied to happen to Carmen Diaz.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lambchop.
Lambchop: Sorry I'm late! My bus had a flat and I missed the ferry. See, I come from the end of the world - Staten Island.
Ms. Sherman: Miss Lamb, that's no excuse.
Lambchop': I know, it's a curse!
- Doomed Protagonist: Carmen
- Good Bad Girl: Carmen
- Half-Breed Discrimination: Carmen verges on this - she gets hooked on drugs and has lots of anonymous sex in L.A., then dies of an overdose.
- Hippie Teacher: Ms. Bell and Mr. Sheinkopf.
- "I Want" Song: several
- "Hard Work" for the students ("when I hit the heights, put my name in lights, show the world that I can make it...")
- "I Want to Make Magic" for Nick
- "There She Goes/Fame" for Carmen
- Inner City School
- Large Ham: Mabel.
- Lovable Nerd: Schlomo. Just ask Carmen.
- Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "Pray I Make P.A./Hard Work".
- Nice Guy: Schlomo.
- Pet the Dog: After spending most of the production being overly strict and a bit harsh on her students, Miss Sherman's offer to help Tyrone learn how to read and her subsequent song, These Are My Children, definitely comes across as this, as well as a Crowning Moment Ofheartwarming.
- Shrinking Violet: Serena, until she comes out of her shell.
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Serena and Nick.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Carmen and Schlomo.
- Stern Teacher: Ms. Sherman. Tough as hell, but she's got a soft spot for Tyrone.
- Tomboy: Lambchop
- Villain Song: Miss Sherman's half of "The Teacher's Argument" verges on this, since she's trying to convince Miss Bell that Tyrone will never make it as a dancer.
- Not entirely true: Miss Sherman is trying to convince Miss Bell that even though Tyrone is extremely talented, he needs to be prepared for whatever happens if he doesn't make it as a dancer. It's more of an "if," not a "when."
- It's still the closest anyone in the musical comes to a Villain Song, since the audience isn't supposed to sympathize with Ms. Sherman.