"I know you'll think I'm just playing. I do like to play. But...you were just playing, out there."
During the final school performance of Macbeth
, several characters make discoveries about themselves and their relationships with others. In the school hall before opening curtain, Penny and Brandi are discussing Stan, his concerns about Cyndi, and his Friends with Benefits
arrangement with Brandi, when they overhear Hollywood producer Meighan McDowell mention on the phone that she's there on a talent scouting mission, due to Calvin Machrie's direction. Penny, who's playing the title role, goes starry-eyed and gives herself a private pep-talk in which she advises herself to continue cooperating with her fellow actors as she's done up to now, and not to be a diva.
Meanwhile, Lisa, although she'd been initially supportive of Aggie's new relationship with Darren, now expresses reservations due to his dull personality and awkward, passive responses to her flirting. She becomes even more concerned when Aggie tells her she plans to make him her first kiss after the show. As Lisa and Daphne debate whether Lisa should intervene, they come across Sara getting into character as Lady Macbeth and ask her opinion. As Sara gives it, Daphne strives not to be distracted by her sparkly new lipstick and sexily cold attitude, unaware that Sara plans to steal a kiss from her too.
The first part of the performance goes relatively smoothly, despite Lisa's goofy ad-libbing as one of the witches, and a fog machine which overwhelms the audience. Sara's newly-inspired, sensuous performance, especially in the scene where she convinces Macbeth to follow through on murdering Duncan, catches the attention of several people: Penny, who's concerned Sara's upstaging her; Daphne, who can barely contain her arousal; Meighan, who sees star quality in her; and Cyndi, who unexpectedly finds herself enraptured.
During intermission, Lisa, in costume as the Porter, tries conveying her worries to Aggie (playing Macduff) by suggesting a last-minute run-through of their scene together and improvising a line about regretting having wasted her first kiss on someone she won't remember in a year. As Aggie walks off offended, Lisa tries to backtrack, only for a furious Penny to pull her into a closet and warn against ad-libbing in their scenes together. At the same time, Cyndi yanks Sara into the art room and attempts to seduce her, this time for real. She says that watching her performance just now, she felt a genuine attraction to someone for the first time, because it's "like looking right into my own soul." Sara, although tempted once again, breaks away from her and runs out to find Daphne, to Cyndi's shock and then anger.
Aggie, meanwhile, having concluded that no one understands what she supposedly feels for Darren, resolves to kiss him right then. However, when she comes across Sara telling Daphne about the genuine connection she feels with her after all they've been through together, and having seen each other at their best and worst, Aggie realizes sadly that what she has with Darren is anything but
genuine. This is just as well, because while all this has been going on, Darren has tripped on his way out of the auditorium, causing a chain-reaction fall that sends both him and Meighan to the hospital.
Meighan's absence from the audience is also just as well. The remainder of the production is a disaster, everyone's performance having been thrown off by their experiences during intermission: Lisa and Daphne, playing witches, are respectively terrified and on cloud nine; Cyndi, as Lady Macduff, is enraged; Aggie, as Macduff, is quiet and depressed; and even Sara, the best of the bunch, is giddy. Penny, at her wit's end, decides to salvage the play by ramping up her performance to an angrily over-the-top level. This backfires, however, during the scene in which Macbeth and Macduff fight to the death, as Aggie, in her downbeat, passive state, is unprepared for the force of Penny's furious sword-blow, which sends her careening into the set, causing it to collapse on her, and revealing Jack and Katy-Ann making out backstage.
At the hospital, as Rob and Lynda lead a guilt-stricken Penny out of her room, Darren, with a bandaged head, visits Aggie, who has a broken arm. Aggie confesses that she's been using him to get over Marshall and as a would-be "practice pillow" for her first kiss. Darren reflects on how this is part of a pattern in his dating history where, due to his good-natured passivity, girls tend to view him as a blank slate whom they try to shape into what they want him to be. Aggie tells him he needs to assert the person he is, and parts with him on good terms, giving him a friendly kiss on the cheek. As he leaves, she unconsciously clutches at her pillow, suggesting she has sexual or romantic tension yet to be resolved.
- Alternate Self: Meighan McDowell the Hollywood producer, who plays a supporting role in a few arcs, is the Penny and Aggie-universe version of Meighan McDowell the business major from Fans!. Although both look similar and are lesbians, the P&A Meighan lacks the ethical Character Development that her Fans counterpart gradually undergoes.
- Anachronism Stew: Most of the costumes in the play are medieval, but the costumes of Fred as the Doctor and Lisa as the Porter are modern (in fact, Lisa wears a bellhop costume for the latter role). That's apart from the "gender-bending" casting, as Penny later terms it.
- Be Yourself
- Faux Yay: Inverted. Whereas in the previous arc this was played straight concerning Cyndi's overtures to Sara, here Cyndi becomes genuinely attracted to her, or more precisely to Sara-as-Lady-Macbeth. Also discussed in that Cyndi acknowledges Sara may think she's faking again (see page quote).
- Femme Fatale: Sara plays Lady Macbeth this way, before the intermission.
- First Kiss: Averted, despite its presence in the arc title. Aggie plans to enjoy her first kiss with Darren after the performance, but after realizing she's just been talking herself into feeling something for him, she gives him a platonic kiss on the cheek instead. Similarly, although Sara plans on kissing Daphne for the first time, even buying sparkly lipstick for the occasion, and although they do become a couple during the evening, they don't actually kiss on-panel in this arc.
- Freudian Slip: "No, not to lip" (live). Aggie's lucky it wasn't worse.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Cyndi has a heavy case of this when Sara rejects her for Daphne.
- I Call Him "Mister Happy" / Is This Thing On?: When Sara flees from her, Cyndi's initial reaction is to tap her own breasts, as if unsure whether they're functioning, and address them: "G...G...Girls?"
- The Klutz: Darren.
- Large Ham: Comically, Fred and Lisa (as witches, although Fred sticks to the script more faithfully than Lisa); melodramatically, Penny as Macbeth, in the final act as she tries to single-handedly save the production.
- The Prima Donna: Penny, despite her stated intent beforehand not to be one.
): It is important to me that this performance go well. So. In our scenes together...STICK...TO...THE...SCRIIIIIIIIPT! Penny
): This is my year!
This is my play! This is my close-up!
- Relationship Upgrade: Sara and Daphne.
- School Play
- Slapstick: Both staged (Duncan being murdered with multiple daggers, an arrow, a cleaver to the head and a miniature rocket) and accidental (Darren's chain-reaction-causing pratfall, the set collapsing on Aggie and simultaneous reveal of stagehands Jack and Katy-Ann making out).
- Tempting Fate: Minutes before opening curtain, Penny, Aggie, Meighan, Calvin and Sara all express their hope that the performance (or their first kiss) will be perfect. As a harbinger of how the evening actually will go, they all accidentally mispronounce the word "perfect."
- The Scottish Trope: The purported curse on Shakespeare's tragedy comes into play as three people (two of them in the audience) end up in hospital. Played for Laughs.
- The Show Must Go Wrong
- Unsound Effect: Darren's "EPIC PRATFALL."
- Up to Eleven: Invoked by Penny: "And if I have to keep this play from crashing by turning myself up to eleventy-hundred, then. I. Will!"
- What Does She See in Him?: Lisa, with regard to Aggie and Darren.
- Wingding Eyes: Penny gets stars in her eyes when she learns there's a talent scout in the audience, whereas Cyndi gets skulls in hers when Sara chooses Daphne over her.