Everybody Hates Tattaglia was the first episode of the fourth and final season of Everybody Hates Chris. It was the 67th episode overall. It premired on October 3, 2008.
SHORT SUMMARY: The fourth season begins with Chris entering high school and being placed in an all-white homeroom with a bigoted teacher. Meanwhile, Tonya starts working with Rochelle at the local beauty parlor, where her blunt honesty gets her into trouble with customers by telling somebody had a giant mole.
FULL RECAP: The fourth season opens with Chris reporting for his first day of high school at Tattaglia High. To his dismay, however, he soon learns that he’s in an all-white homeroom again, this time with a seemingly proud and openly racist teacher named Mr. Thurman (In Plain Sight’s Paul Ben-Victor), who makes his former teacher Ms. Morello (Jacqueline Mazarella) look only mildly racist.
Chris immediately says “No way!” and visits the principal’s office to protest. The only problem is the principal is not only new, but she’s also the one and only Ms. Morello. She intentionally placed him in Thurman’s class because she thought he’d like being in an all-white class again. When she learns otherwise, she agrees to let Chris transfer … if he can make one black friend at the school.
Although Tattaglia is much more diverse than junior high, Chris quickly learns his nerdiness still works against him and he doesn’t fit in with any of the black kids’ cliques either. It’s only by a stroke of luck that he’s in the gym just as the stressed-out football manager quits. As a result, Chris convinces the coach — who happens to be Mr. Thurman — to let him take over as football manager. Plus, he also meets the star player, a black kid he later uses as proof for Ms. Morello that he has a black friend at the school.
Chris gets his homeroom change then, but it turns out to be one of those “be careful what you wish for” deals. Yes, the class is more diverse, but it’s also filled with unruly students throwing things and ignoring their terrified teacher. Back to Ms. Morello and Mr. Thurman’s class, where Chris now has to deal with a teacher who might want payback for all the trouble he’s caused.
At home, Tonya asks for a job to earn some money, and a reluctant Rochelle gets her one assisting at Vanessa’s (Jackée Harry) beauty salon, where she’s a manager. Unfortunately, Tanya is too honest with the clients — she says things like, “Your hair is nice, but what’s up with your toenails?” — which drives them away.
Ultimately, Vanessa gives Rochelle a choice: either fire Tonya or I fire you. Guess who gets the heave-ho. Rochelle does feel a little better about the whole incident when Tonya’s response to the dismissal is an eerily familiar, “I don’t need this mess. My father has two jobs!” That, of course, is what Rochelle always tells her bosses when they annoy her.
“Everybody Hates Tattaglia” is a great episode, right down to the last scene with Chris getting tripped in the halls of Tattaglia by his old junior high bully Caruso, whom Chris had no idea was going to the same high school. Before welcoming him to Tattaglia, Caruso lets Chris know how special he is by noting that there are so many black kids at their new school, he almost didn’t recognize him.
Darn! If only Chris had known to stay out of Caruso’s sight.
Ms. Morello: [overjoyed] Oh, my God! Chris!
Narrator: It'd be 20 years before another woman had that reaction.
Mr. Thurman: Who the hell are you?
Chris: I'm Chris.
Narrator: Star of the new movie, Guess Who's Coming to Homeroom.
Narrator: In a school that was 7% Latino, 9% black and 3% Asian, I somehow ended up in a class that was 99.9% white.
Narrator: Finally, I thought my troubles were over. I wasn't gonna be the only black kid on the bus, and I wasn't gonna be the only black kid at lunch. And for a change, I wasn't gonna be the only black kid in my class.
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