For the annual Design Arts Center Talent Show, Sugarbaker's decides to lip-synch a Supremes song. To help them choreograph their routine, they hire Charlene's cousin, Mavis. After a vigorous workout at Mavis' home, the women leave for home but Charlene discovers that she left her gym bag in the house. When she returns to find it, Charlene overhears Mavis' husband, Dan, physically and verbally abusing his wife.
Shocked and upset by her cousin's problem, Charlene realizes Mavis has been abused for years without anyone ever knowing. When Mavis drops in at Sugarbaker's to say she won't be able to help anymore, Charlene confronts her about her abusive spouse. Although Charlene tries to get her to leave, Mavis seems resigned to a life of abuse.
Suzanne is called away to judge a beauty contest but promises to be back in time for the show. Before she leaves, she announces that she and Anthony are also doing a Motown routine together. Suzanne suggests doing her routines in black face, an idea the other women find racist.
On her way to the show, Charlene asks Mavis to move out and gives her some money to help get her started in a new apartment. Suzanne returns just as she and Anthony are to go on stage and, as promised, she is in her black makeup. When the Supremes skit begins, Suzanne ends up chasing the rest of the group around the stage as they try to avoid her. Just as their act is finishing, Charlene notices Mavis and her children entering the auditorium and realizes they have finally decided to leave Dan for a new start.
The term "rowdy girls" is how Charlene and Mavis referred to themselves as little girls because they were always running around and acting rambunctious.
Suzanne does not literally suggest that the ladies perform in black face -- she simply purchases some dark theatrical make-up in an effort to make the "Supremes" appear more authentic. Julia leaves a message with the NAACP to find out whether they approve or disapprove, but Charlene forgets to call Suzanne's hotel to let her know not to wear the make-up.
Everyone at Sugarbaker's contributes to the money that Charlene gives Mavis in an attempt to get her out on her own.
Douglas Barr makes an uncredited appearance as Bill Stillfield, who is in the audience cheering on his wife during the talent show.
This episode earned the series a County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors Commendation for its efforts on behalf of The Domestic Violence Council. In addition, Cliff Chally received an Emmy nomination for Costume Design.
After meeting cousin Mavis' husband:
SUZANNE: Boy, was he cute! How come you never brought him by before?
CHARLENE: Suzanne, they haven't even lived here a year yet.
JULIA: Anyway, what do you care? You sound like you're coveting him.
SUZANNE: "Coveting" -- what kind of talk is that? Is that like Shakespeare or something?
he ladies are set to play the Supremes in a talent show, so in an effort to be more authentic, Suzanne buys everyone dark facial and body makeup.
MARY JO: Suzanne, we can't go around in black face, that's racist!
SUZANNE: Why? If Dustin Hoffman was gonna play Martin Luther King, you don't think he'd wear black makeup?
JULIA: Suzanne, Dustin Hoffman would never play Martin Luther King -- that part would go to a black actor.
SUZANNE: Well I think that's racist! I mean, I think it should go to whoever the best person is --- and that could be Dustin Hoffman.
Charlene goes to see her cousin Mavis, who she recently found out is a victim of spousal abuse.
CHARLENE: Mavis, I've been so upset since the other night. I just can't stop thinking about you.
MAVIS: Yeah, I've been thinking about our whole family -- how much I miss Mama and Daddy.
CHARLENE: They wouldn't want you to live this way.
MAVIS: Y'know it's funny, but I haven't really felt alive in a long time. And I've forgotten what I used to be like. Every once in a while there's this little voice inside that says, "Hey. It's me. It's Mavis. I'm still in here." But basically I've been dead. And then two things happened -- this baby and seeing you again.
CHARLENE: Then all you have to do it get Ginny, Julie and Kate and come with me now. After the show we'll go back to my house. You can all stay with Bill and me until we can find you an apartment.
MAVIS: I can't afford that.
CHARLENE: Mavis, you can't afford not to. There are places you can go for help, but first we have to get you out of here.
MAVIS: I get an allowance! I don't have any money to move into an apartment.
CHARLENE: You do now (handing Mavis an envelope). This is from Bill and me, and the other check is from the rest of us for helping us rehearse.
MAVIS: Oh, Charlene. This is too much. I mean, how could they do this? They don't even know me.
CHARLENE: That's just the way they are. That's why they're my friends. The fifty dollars is from Anthony.
MAVIS: (starting to cry) I don't know what to say.
CHARLENE: Just say you'll do it! Now, Mavis, I have to go. If you won't come with me right now, I'll be at the Arts Center until 11:00. Just get your girls and come. Just take this first step. I will be by your side the whole way.
MAVIS: I'm so ashamed. I don't know how I ever let it get to this point.
CHARLENE: It's ok. Just remember, you don't have to take this, cuz we're the rowdy girls, remember?
MAVIS: Yes, I remember.
Suzanne shows up for the performance in "black face".....
JULIA: Our number is next, and don't you dare come near us.
SUZANNE: Julia, what are you talking about? I have to be with you -- I'm a Supreme.
JULIA: I don't give a damn if you're a California raison. Stay away from us!
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