At Jefferson High, the basketball team is playing in the all-state semi-finals. A man, who turns out to be scout, jots down some notes. The man especially notices graceful, lovely Chachi. Potsie is announcing, Al is scoring the game, and Joanie and Jenny are cheerleaders. Jefferson wins the game by a score of 59-47 to earn a spot in the finals. Potsie says that Chachi Arcola led the scoring.
After almost everyone has left, the scout turns on his charm and introduces himself to Chachi as Eddie Monroe, a basketball scout for Eastern Florida University. Eddie tells Chachi that he plays very well and asks him if he's talked to any other scouts. Chachi admits that he has spoken to a scout from the University of Arkansas, but Chachi is really not that confident about getting a sporting scholarship, so he is not getting his hopes too high for that university.
Eddie tries to convince Chachi that Florida is better than Arkansas. Eddie says he's seen the bright, but underachieving Chachi's grades, and sees that they're a little shaky. Chachi turns away and bounces the ball, feeling embarrassed about his grades and his low self-confidence is apparent. Eddie sees this weakness and exploits it, telling Chachi that while the grades may bother Arkansas, EFU knows how to handle students that are academically "disadvantaged": give them a scholarship.
Joanie comes over and tells Chachi that it's time to celebrate the victory. Chachi tells Eddie that he'd hate to leave Joanie behind while he goes to Florida. Eddie asks Joanie if she'd like a scholarship. Joanie, a tad startled, asks what it would be for. Eddie says they'll work something out. Chachi leaves to change out of his uniform while Eddie talks on the phone. On the other end of the line, a man named Frank tells Eddie that this is his "last chance" to recruit someone. Eddie tells Frank that he'll get Chachi.
At the Cunningham house, Roger and Howard are sitting at the table while Marion is standing nearby. Joanie rushes in and announces that she got a scholarship to Eastern Florida University. Everyone is very excited for her. Howard asks what kind of scholarship it is, and she replies that it's for cheerleading. Howard is skeptical. Joanie says that she wouldn't have gotten the chance if it wasn't for Chachi and his basketball scholarship. She says it isn't what you know, it's who you know.
Fonzie runs in saying he's excited for Chachi, and Chachi runs in and jumps into Fonzie's arms. Fonzie carries him over to the table and says that Chachi is the first Fonzarelli ever to go to college. Howard asks Chachi about Joanie being part of the deal. Roger asks Chachi if they asked about his grades. Chachi feels a flash of nervousness, but squelches his brief unease and says that the recruiter told him that all he has to do is pass the entrance exam. Eddie has claimed to have even lined up a campus job for Chachi…turning the lights on at the football stadium for $200 a week, which makes Howard suppress a laugh. Chachi does see that the job sounds oddly simplistic and ponders out loud that maybe it would be dealing with light repairs since Chachi is good with his hands.
Eddie will also loan him a car to go to and from the stadium. Marion is very excited that Joanie will be going to college, and she runs upstairs to call her mother.
Chachi tells Joanie that they should go out because Eddie loaned him his car and gave him $100 for laundry. Joanie and Chachi leave.
Howard recaps the details regarding the scholarships and tells Roger that there's something not right about the setup. Roger agrees. Howard adds it's too good to be true. Roger says that colleges are allowed to give students money for tuition, books, and $10 a month for laundry. Fonzie glibly says that paying for talent is the "American way".
Roger and Howard see that this scout is really not paying for Chachi or Joanie's true talents in music or the arts; they are basically trying to buy Joanie and Chachi's affections while charming them into lowering their standards and settling for empty false "dreams" that will only result in heartbreak down the road for both of them. Howard contends that a cheerleading scholarship for Joanie sounds rather specious since he knows that Joanie has too much talent to settle for only cheerleading. Fonzie counters that it is a case of the college having a heart in not wanting to break up two lovebirds.
Roger asks Fonzie what Chachi's going to do after he gets out of school. Fonzie says he'll have a college education and will get a great job. Roger isn't so sure; Roger knows that Chachi has lots of talent in other things, but will need to discipline and train that talent and gain everyday job skills for a truly good-paying career that will utilize his true talents. Roger sees that Chachi has self-esteem problems and knows that the last thing Chachi needs is a "job" that will end up crushing what little self-confidence he has and leave his real talents unused. Fonzie accuses Roger of being jealous. Fonzie has little education and is harboring his own fantasies about having a famous athlete cousin he can brag about. Fonzie loves his little cousin but often does not really understand Chachi's problems or even his true traits.
At Arnold's, Al and Lori Beth come over and see Chachi hard at work on what looks like homework, but, actually, Chachi is struggling with some math problems on a sample test for the entrance exam. Poor Chachi has a very hard time with math and is riddled with math anxiety, so just looking at the numbers causes Chachi to break out into a nervous sweat and feel a tad nauseous. Math definitely has never been good for Chachi's flagging self-confidence.
Roger walks in, and Chachi faintly says the problems are murder and fears his future is doomed if college requires lots of math. Roger reads one of them which, ultimately, asks what two boys would get for mowing two acres of lawns. Chachi cleverly wrote down "tired" as his answer. Of course, they all know that "tired" is not the answer the exam graders will want at all, nor will they accept any of the other dozens of creative answers imaginative Chachi can dream up for the problems.
Al and Lori Beth laugh and go back to work. Roger tells Chachi to keep studying, and he heads in the direction of the restroom.
Eddie walks in and asks Chachi how he's doing on the test. Chachi levels with Eddie and tells him that he seldom studied much when he was younger and ruefully wishes he had. Chachi hints about his not having a knack for numbers and that he's much better at music, writing, and the arts.
Chachi says that he got about half of the questions wrong and has only done half of the test. Eddie smoothly says that Chachi still could get the scholarship and that he's probably what they call and academic late-bloomer (A.L.B.).
A.L.B.s are not ready for college right now but will probably be "geniuses" in a couple of years. He says they have a "deferred scholastic achievement (D.S.A.)" program which will allow Chachi to take the entrance exam when he gets his degree.
Chachi's a genius all right but not in math or science. Unfortunately, this entrance exam does not include music, writing, or any of the arts, so Chachi feels doomed until Eddie tells him about the alleged A.L.B.'s and D.S.A. "program." Chachi, relaxing a bit, says he likes that plan. Chachi gives Eddie his birth certificate that he needs for clerical use. Chachi tells Eddie that he feels like he's his pal.
After Chachi leaves, a fat kid named Morty walks in and up to Eddie. Eddie tells Morty that he has a test for him to take for a kid and that he'll get the usual in terms of pay. Morty asks how well he wants him to do the test, and Eddie says he wants it done very well. He gives Morty Chachi's birth certificate. Eddie is secretly scornful of Chachi, and both he and Morty mock Chachi behind his back, snicker about Chachi's weakness in math, and sneer at his low self-esteem. Morty leaves still laughing at Chachi, and Roger comes back to the table. Roger introduces himself to Eddie and says that he should have talked to him first about the scholarship since he's Chachi's coach.
Eddie says he just wanted to clear the air with Chachi first. Eddie tells Roger that Chachi is a bright kid and doesn't need to study anymore. Roger knows that even very bright kids still need to study; he agrees that Chachi is a very bright young man, but knows that Chachi will still need to study in college. Eddie leaves after brushing off these concerns and giving Roger some phony compliments about his team and his ties.
Lori Beth asks where Chachi went, and Roger says that he must feel as though he's prepared for the exam. Roger says he has to leave to get flowers for his date. As he is about to leave, he turns around and tells Lori Beth that he's going to go down to the test center tomorrow morning to wish Chachi luck since he senses that Chachi will be a nervous wreck, especially when he has to face all those math problems.
At the Cunninghams, Fonzie comes in looking for Howard and Marion. Roger says they went out to dinner, and he's the only one there. Fonzie says he called the test center, and they told him that Chachi supposedly passed with flying colors. The woman on the phone said that Chachi is a math and science genius but needs to lose a little weight. This is the tip-off of something fishy since Chachi is as thin as a flagpole and has dark straight hair.
Roger says that Chachi didn't take the test; someone else took it for him. He says he went to wish Chachi luck before the test, but he wasn't there. When Chachi's name was called, a round kid with reddish curly hair and blue eyes raised his hand instead of the brown-eyed Chachi. Fonzie asks why Roger didn't tell him this earlier, and Roger says that Fonzie wouldn't listen. Chachi comes in looking for Joanie. When he learns she's not home, he leaves. Fonzie snaps his fingers and calls his cousin and Chachi comes back in. Fonzie confronts Chachi about the exam. Fonzie asks Roger to leave because this is a family matter. Chachi is confused and a bit frightened about what Fonzie is telling him.
Chachi tells Fonzie about what Eddie told him. Fonzie tells Chachi that he's not going to go to a crooked school. Fonzie and Chachi argue about what's going on. Fonzie says he's not going to EFU, and Chachi, almost in tears, insists that he is. Chachi, shaken, hurt, and angry, storms out the front door, and Fonzie huffs out of the house through the kitchen.
At Jefferson, the all-state finals game is being played. Fonzie walks over to Eddie and introduces himself as Chachi's cousin. Fonzie confronts Eddie about the fraud. After a time-out, the game resumes. Chachi, attempting to catch the dribbling ball, loses his balance and with a painful backward twist of his right foot, falls and breaks his ankle. Potsie announces that Chachi is injured while Roger and Fonz rush over. Chachi, in serious pain and shock, clutches his broken ankle, tears filling his eyes.
Later on, a gloomy Chachi limps into the gym with the aid of crutches. A doctor that is with him tells Fonzie (Al, Roger, and Eddie are also present) that Chachi not only broke his ankle, but tore some ligaments away from the bone and won't be playing basketball for a long time. The doctor says he isn't sure if Chachi will have full use of his ankle once everything heals. He says they'll X-ray it the next day.
Eddie tells Chachi that there was a "problem" with the entrance exam. Eddie claims that it seems Chachi had someone else take the exam for him, implying that Chachi is somehow to blame for it. Chachi says that he didn't do it, Eddie did. Eddie tries to deny this. He says he'll have to go back to Florida, and they'll decide if Chachi tried to cheat on his exam. He says it may take awhile. Fonzie and Al as well as Chachi now see through Eddie's lies. Fonzie says he's just waiting to see if the ankle heals. Eddie says that's Fonzie's opinion. Al wants to fight Eddie. Fonzie says that Eddie must be a real sleazebag if the normally unflappable Al is getting this riled up. Eddie says it's just business. Fonzie orders Eddie to leave. Eddie does huff out. Fonzie and Al leave while Chachi clumsily sits again and thinks about things. Meanwhile, Roger leaves to get thrown in the showers by the team (they won the game).
Joanie, who was waiting outside, comes in and asks Chachi about his ankle. Chachi sadly says he won't be able to get her into EFU. Since both now see that Eddie was a phony and the whole thing was a scam, both are relieved and in a way glad that they did not go through with Eddie's phony plan for them. Joanie helps Chachi to his one good foot and crutches as Chachi feels a tad awkward and embarrassed. His pain is better now with the aid of pain pills and some morphine shots from the doctor, but he knows he will need to take it easy on the ankle and take the pain pills for a while. They kiss in the middle of the floor. With Chachi still wobbling slightly on his crutches and Joanie keeping a slow pace for him, they slowly walk out of the gym to eat.
Songs in this episode:
"Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino (1956)
"Walk Right In" by The Rooftop Singers (1963)