Recap: Brenda is in her bedroom, rehearsing what she will say to her mother in order to be allowed to go horseback riding. The issue is not so much the actual horseback riding, but the fact that it costs $120 for one ride.
Mama Walsh is working in her garden while talking to Brenda, advising her not to be so concerned with doing everything her rich little friends want her to do. Brenda does not appreciate this life advice and heads off to school unhappily. Moments later, a Hispanic woman approaches Mama Walsh and starts talking to her in rapid Spanish. Mama Walsh doesn't understand who she is and what she's saying...and neither do I, so I won't be able to translate this scene for the recap. Both women just contemplate each other in confusion.
West Beverly High. Brenda is standing by her locker, staring longingly at Kelly and her rich girlfriend, Tiffany. Kelly and Tiffany are total BFFs for the moment, gabbing excitedly about Tiffany's new convertible BMW (squeal!) and also the cool new hat she just bought (double squeal!).
The Walsh house. Mama Walsh calls her husband in a panic because the strange Hispanic woman has come inside their home and started cleaning it! Not sure what the problem is, but I'm only saying that because I really hate doing housework. Papa Walsh suddenly remembers he had arranged for a maid through a friend of his, and simply forgot to tell his wife. Mama Walsh is angry that she didn't know anything about it, and is uncomfortable with someone coming to the house every day to clean because it's just too Beverly Hills.
English class. A youthful female teacher is discussing Les Miserables, while Kelly and Tiffany are giggling like four year-olds in the back of the room. Brenda once again gives them a longing look, no doubt wishing she could be giggling right along with them. When the teacher asks the gigglers to articulate an opinion about the book's key moral issues of thieving and poverty, Tiffany blurts out, "I'd say, let them eat cake!" Everyone chuckles and even the teacher seems amused by the nonsensical response. The hell? I was hoping for a stern reprimand for being disruptive and not paying attention.
I love love love that this episode is almost entirely Ahn-drea free, but the next scene does show her rushing down the outdoor corridor. She encounters Brandon, who's checking out the bulletin board for job ads. He needs to earn some cash to pay for his car insurance. Ahn-drea can't help herself from snarking, "How un-Beverly Hills!" but says she thinks a job is a good idea and wishes him luck. Then we see a montage of Brandon pounding the pavement, but not having much luck finding work. His last interview is at a trendy restaurant called This Town, and the interviewer is Doris Schwartz from Fame fame. She's giving him a hard time because he doesn't have a lot of experience, which is weird to expect from a fifteen year old.
Kelly, Tiffany, Brenda, and some random girl are shopping for clothes. The random girl gossips to Brenda that Tiffany and Kelly used to be BFFs until they "went nuclear over Steve", which I will take to mean that Tiffany hooked up with Steve while Kelly was dating him. Ew. The nuclear feud ended only recently, and the two gals began talking again. Inside the store, Tiffany is standing in front of a full-length mirror, dramatically posing in various positions while she holds an outfit on a hanger in front of her. The girls then go into separate dressing rooms and try on some chosen outfits. Brenda looks unhappy in a sleeveless top because she knows she doesn't have the money to buy it. Tiffany, on the other hand, has enough money to buy whatever she wants, but is stuffing the clothes into her bag. Thief! Shoplifter!
Mama Walsh is outside gardening when Anna returns for another round of housecleaning. Mama Walsh calls her husband at work again and whines to him that she doesn't want Anna to come to the house and cleaning anymore. Maybe Mama Walsh should learn enough enough Spanish to fire the woman herself.
Brenda's bedroom. Brenda is unhappily trying on different clothes from her closet before settling on a grey dress, brown blazer, and black hat. The ensemble was actually OK before she put on the hat. Brenda doesn't have a good hat head, and looked noticeably better without it.
English class. Brenda watches Tiffany and Kelly enter the classroom together. Tiffany is wearing a long, filmy red dress and Brenda compliments her on it. She responds by twirling and flouncing around the classroom, calling it "a kick for sure". At least I think that's what she said. Kelly is visibly unimpressed by the flouncing and is probably rethinking her decision to re-friend her former ex-BFF. I wonder where Donna Martin is in this episode? Based on the previous two episodes, I thought she was Kelly's current BFF.
In the hallway, David Silver is videotaping Brenda, Kelly, and Tiffany. We get a shocking "Girls Gone Wild" moment when Tiffany peels off her filmy red dress and reveals a floral bra and black tights underneath. David is stunned, pops an unexpected boner, and flees with his video camera to find some tissues. Brenda discreetly asks Kelly about the rift between her and Tiffany, and Kelly replies that she was a wild troublemaker. I would also add "clothes thief" and "shameless exhibitionist" to the list.
At their lockers, Tiffany invites Brenda to hang out and announces they'll stop by Brenda's house on the way.
The Walsh house. The tormented Mama Walsh can't bear to watch Anna clean the house without helping her, so the two of them are dusting, scouring, and scrubbing side by side. They're kneeling on the floor, cleaning, when Brenda and Tiffany enter the house. Brenda looks annoyed and embarrassed, while Tiffany remarks that she would never catch her mother cleaning anything, and adds that she barely sees her mother at all. Upstairs, Tiffany calls Brenda's room cozy, and out of nowhere declares she'd never steal. Brenda thinks about it and says she doesn't think she would either. And then Tiffany asks if she can stash the stuff she recently stole in Brenda's closet so she doesn't have to lug it around.
This Town Restaurant. Doris Schwartz opens the back door for Brandon. It looks like she's wearing a short black lingerie top underneath an orange blazer. She acts all weird about him being fifteen minutes early, and for a second it looked sort of like she was coming on to him. Ew. Inside the restaurant, she declares that Brandon isn't ready to be a waiter, but will work in the back until he develops into waiter material.
Brenda and Tiffany enter the same clothing boutique from the other day. Tiffany asks Brenda to inquire with the salesclerk about a larger size of something, so while Brenda approaches the counter, Tiffany starts snatching clothing off the rack and stuffing it into her bag. There's no possible way that every single person in the store didn't witness her doing this. She's promptly seized by a security person, and the clerk grabs Brenda's wrist, assuming that she too was in on the scam. The security person dumps Tiffany's bag on the counter and out fall all of the stolen items. This has to be the most pitiful attempt at shoplifting ever been depicted on prime-time television.
The security person brings Brenda and Tiffany into the store's back room, telling them she's going to call their parents. Tiffany cheekily announces that her parents aren't home. When the girls are left alone in the room together, Brenda is furious and angrily asks Tiffany how she could do this to her. While primping her hair in a non existent mirror, Tiffany tells Brenda that she's being self centered, and even blames Brenda for getting caught. She goes on to say that she stole the silk vest for Brenda because she knows how much she wanted it, and that stealing is the only thing that makes her feel alive. She also advises Brenda to "play along" if she wants to get out of the situation. There are so many things troubling, obnoxious, and ass backwards wrong with this girl, but since she forever disappears into the ether after the end of this episode, it's really not worth delving into further.
The Walsh house. Papa Walsh answers the phone and gets the disturbing news that Brenda is being held for shoplifting. Brandon urges them to have faith in Brenda's innocence, but his parents look too pissed off to give their daughter the benefit of the doubt. They quickly leave the house to pick up the alleged thief.
Back at the boutique, Tiffany is sweet talking the store owner. She claims that the whole thing was a misunderstanding, and that there's no possible reason she would ever steal...even though she was caught brazenly stealing. She offers to pay for the clothes she stuffed into her bag, and the store owner agrees and lets her off the hook. Wow - that seemed way too easy to be plausible. Tiffany then looks over at Brenda with a smug mug as if she knew the whole time she'd get away with it.
Mama and Papa Walsh arrive to fetch Brenda, who starts crying and tells them that she didn't do anything. She's ashamed that they had to come pick her up, and tells her it was all a misunderstanding. She wants her parents to believe her, but Mama Walsh looks very doubtful and will barely even talk to her daughter. She's really being a pill in this episode.
The Walsh house. Brenda is on the phone with Kelly, asking her why she didn't warn her that Tiffany was a klepto. Kelly blathers on about how Tiff steals everything, including Steve...and that she hadn't been interested in Steve, just in taking him. That's a fascinating albeit separate issue, which still doesn't answer the question.
Mama Walsh is trying to set up their telephone service when Anna comes into the room with Tiffany's stolen stash, which was hidden in Brenda's closet. Why in the hell didn't Brenda deal with this stuff after the shoplifting incident? She knew Tiffany had put some stuff there. Wasn't she at least mildly curious about what it was? And now Mama Walsh is suspicious about the thieving all over again, and Brenda doesn't help matters by yelling that she wanted to steal, and that her mother doesn't know her at all.
Brandon is back at his job at This Town. It's a very crappy job, where the minority workers get paid less than minimum wage. I suspect that they are undocumented workers. Doris Schwartz enters the dining room, wearing an age inappropriate tight black dress. She snaps at Brandon for being ten minutes late and threatens to take it out of his paycheck. And then she screams at a hapless Asian worker, Chang, for matching round cups with round saucers. The shrill way she screamed "Chang!" literally made me jump. The woman is mentally ill.
Brenda visits Tiffany at her very large house. Tiff is wearing a bikini and lounging on the diving board of the spectacular outdoor pool. As I play my tiny violin, she laments to Brenda that there's nothing in her life...that her parents want to dump her in a Swiss boarding school...that they're never home. But in some ways it's cool because she has the freedom to do whatever she wants. It really doesn't make sense that she didn't she stash the stolen clothes at her own house. If she'd hid them well enough, it's unlikely anyone would have found them...but then we wouldn't have heard that cry for help, now would we?
Brenda tells her that she doesn't want her mother to think she's a thief, and that her mother's opinion of her is important. Tiff chuckles derisively and tells her to go back to Minneapolis, and Brenda storms off. But alone on the diving board, Tiff looks introspective and a tad guilty, leaving us to wonder, will she suddenly do the right thing? Yes - in case you had any doubt. Yes she will.
This Town Restaurant. Brandon is clearing tables, and Doris Schwartz reprimands him for talking to the customers...in front of the customers. Brandon then sees Dylan seated at a table, and banters with him about the over-the-top prose of the restaurant's menu. This makes Doris fume, and she warns Brandon that "many people would love your job." Annoyed at her shitty treatment of him and the other workers, he strides over to her and identifies himself as an investigative reporter for the school newspaper. She laughs, and I laughed too. He threatens to expose her for not paying her employees minimum wage, which actually should worry her if these people are illegal aliens. But that's a whole other can of worms that will not get opened up in this episode. Brandon quits his job, and he and Dylan get out of there and find a much friendlier restaurant that serves tasty pie. It's the Peach Pit! And we get our first look at Nat, the blechy owner. After hearing about his horrible experience at This Town, Nat offers Brandon a job on the spot.
The Walsh house. Tiffany shows up at the door and tells Mama Walsh that she came to get the stuff she left in Brenda's closet days earlier. Cindy gets it for her, gives her a stern motherly gaze, and advises her that the clothes need to go back where they came from...and that she should go get some counselling. Brenda observes this interaction from the top of the stairs and quietly thanks Tiffany.
I think that kid and her mother-daughter relationship are gonna be aw' right.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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