Recap: Tootie tells everyone there's a blurb in the newspaper about a famous movie star, Heather Hunt, enrolling at Langley College. Tootie and Natalie squeal excitedly, Mrs. Garrett looks visibly starstruck...and Jo rolls her eyes in her usual 'I'm so streetwise and world weary' manner and says she can barely muster any enthusiasm about attending Heather Hunt's Welcome to Langley party, and considers it a pesky part of her responsibilities as a member of the board of regents. Natalie and Tootie beg her to pleeeeease get Heather's autograph for them...and when she snarlingly refuses, they tell her they'd settle for a photograph, used cigarette butt, or saliva sample. Jo grumbles that movie stars aren't that big of a deal 'cause it's the stunt doubles who do all the hard work, and Mrs. Garrett chides her indifference and giddily remarks that she could be in the presence of Hollywood royalty if Heather Hunt were to suddenly wander into Edna's Edibles. Jo mutters, "No big star is ever going to walk into this place" - just as Geri ambles in (bwahaha!) and announces that she just got a gig performing for the American Mime Association. Another organization that must be really hard up for live entertainment that has a strong emphasis on self-deprecating cerebral palsy jokes. When she hears everyone blathering about Heather Hunt, she pompously says that she and Heather go way back...specifically to the one time they both did Merv Griffin on the same day.
Blair arrives with Cliff in tow...and the two head straight over to the residence part of the building to hash something out. Cliff asks whaddup with her not talking to him all afternoon, so she explains that she didn't much care for the way he introduced her at a medical school lecture as his girlfriend 'cause she finds the girlfriend label "so third grade". Cliff scrunches his face confusedly and says that when she didn't immediately dump him after the strip club fiasco, he figured they were a couple. Incidentally, I wonder if he's still shaking his naughties at Wedgewoods. Blair makes a face and says she has no desire to feel tied down, and would like to sometimes attend parties solo, e.g. Heather Hunt's upcoming Welcome to Langley party. Cliff mulls that over and pretends he's A-OK with that - but only as long as when a guy asks her if she's spoken for, she's inclined to say yes.
Party time! Blair is holding court with a gaggle of male admirers when Boots St. Clair strides over in her weird, over-the-top, preppy manner to remark on Blair's popularity with the opposite gender. Cliff - uh oh - makes an appearance at the party, and Blair dully says, "This is a surprise" then pulls him aside to express her displeasure at him for showing up at a party she made it clear he wouldn't be welcome at. Cliff says he didn't think it'd be a big deal to drop by after his hospital shift, so Blair bitchily says she hopes it's clear to him that they're attending this party as two separate individuals.
Boots stands in the middle of the room to introduce their guest of honor, who's also been granted honorary membership in Gamma Gamma Gamma...and a few seconds later, a poofy-haired brunette with a phony megawatt smile bounds into the room and chirps, "Hi!" She makes a beeline over to Blair's male admirers and happily mingles with them until Jo lumbers over to welcome her to Langley on behalf of the board of regents...then gives her shit about not doing her own stunt work.
Heather sashays over to Cliff and presents him with the back of her hand as if she expects him to kiss it, but he just shakes it and politely says, "It's nice to meet you." Boots hovers over the two like a nosy stage mom, wonders aloud if "this is some enchanted evening..?", then wanders off. Cliff tells Heather he's in med school and just finished a shift at the hospital, and she's like, "That's nice, but let's re-shift this conversation to my fabulous acting career" and tells him she's just been cast as a surgeon who aspires to be a singer. Sounds like a contrived premise for a strictly-made-for-TV type production, but OK.
Jo informs Blair that Cliff is having a one-on-one with Heather, and Blair glances across the room at the two and looks visibly annoyed.
Tootie and Natalie pepper Blair with questions about what Heather Hunt looked like, wore, and acted like [let's see...a self-absorbed windbag], while Jo taunts her about all the flirty banter that was being exchanged between Cliff and Heather at the party. Blair says it's reasonable that Heather would flirt with a hottie like Cliff - but insists she's not at all insecure about it 'cause she knows how crazy he is about her despite her haughty 'don't ever refer to me as your girlfriend' edict.
Boots flounces into Edna's Edibles, along with Heather, who's decked out in a tacky fur coat that's draped around her shoulders. Tootie and Natalie are all, "Squeal!" and fawn over her, while Mrs. Garrett practically curtsies as she welcomes her to her humble food shop and asks her if she wouldn't mind posing for a few photographs. Heather indulges her, then orders a "home cooked meal" for two...and Boots "lets it slip" within earshot of Blair that Heather is planning to [faux] cook a romantic dinner for Cliff this evening. As an oblivious-to-the-drama-that's-about-to-unfold Mrs. Garrett steers Heather outside the shop for more celebrity photo opping, a vexed Blair stares contemplatively into space.
Blair is dusting the living room...and by dusting, I mean she's angrily slapping furniture with a towel. Jo correctly assumes she's doing this to keep her mind off of Cliff's dinner date with Heather and offers to treat her to dinner, but Blair says that while she continues to feel the electricity of the non-hetero sparks between them, she's putting a pin in that to lock things down with Cliff.
Geri returns to inform everyone that the mime gig went fine, and Jo tells her they have more pressing issues to discuss, e.g. Heather Hunt pursuing Blair's stripper boy toy. When Mrs. Garrett reminds Blair that she made it clear to Cliff that she prefers an open relationship, Blair sullenly retorts, "I didn't think that included movie stars." Mrs. Garrett's like, "OK...well, good luck with that", then heads off with Tootie and Natalie for a night out at the local Heather Hunt film festival. LOL. Jo eggs Blair on to convince her that she secretly wants to "punch Heather's lights out" and urges her to do everything possible to keep the floozy from moving in on her man. Blair mulls that over, decides, "Yep", and rushes out the door.
Heather and Cliff are sitting at her dining table, sipping wine while Heather prattles on and on about her fabulous movie star life. Boots drops by to bring some mood music for their date (which was weird)...and a few seconds later, Blair arrives with Edna's Edibles' home cooked food. Heather thanks her and asks her if she knows Cliff, and Blair snippily tells her it's time for a woman-to-woman chat - but before that chat can get underway, a photographer from US Magazine arrives for a photo shoot. Heather's all, "Yay! Publicity!" and explains to a bewildered Cliff that, in order to stay relevant in the 'biz, she promised the magazine she'd let them do a spread on her first week of college. She figured he wouldn't mind posing as her new main squeeze...unless he's dating Blair, in which case she'd just need to borrow him for a few hours. Cliff tells the photographer to keep him out of the shoot, so Boots tells the photographer she'd be happy to pose as 'Heather's best friend', then steers him up to the second floor. Heather raises both of her arms in the air, contorts her lips into an extra wide, phony megawatt smile [not sure exactly who at], and chirps, "Bye!" before disappearing up the stairwell.
Blair tells Cliff she's miffed he didn't tell Heather he was her boyfriend...and ignores the irony of her shunning the girlfriend label at the beginning of the episode. She admits she came here tonight 'cause she's afraid of losing him...and explains that she has a deeply-rooted fear of abandonment from when she was abandoned by her many stepfathers. Cliff says that life doesn't have to work out that way, and points out that his parents have been together for thirty-two years. He adds that while there's never a guarantee that a relationship between them will work out, a commitment is the equivalent of saying 'I love you enough to take the risk'. When Blair asks him what a commitment would mean for the two of them, he says it simply means he loves her...and she looks touched and returns his I love you while leaning in for a smooch.
Recap: As the votes for Miss Edibles [the prize for which is getting to sit atop Edna's Edibles' Founder's Day parade float in a formal gown and wave at Peekskillers] are being tabulated, Jo bursts into the store with two of her newest college friends. Blair frowns in puzzlement and is all 'whassup with Jo having her own independent set of friends?' and asks her where she went after class, so Jo tells her that she and group of people met up at Sam's Coffee Shop. Blair looks miffed and says that no one invited her, so one of Jo's new friends tells her that people just show up there after class and don't expect an invitation. Blair looks mystified by the concept of casually hanging out with her peers, then chirps, "How delightfully carefree!"
Blair thanks Jo's new friends for voting in the Miss Edibles contest, assumes that they both voted for her, and brags about how she was crowned Harvest Queen three years in a row. Jo's friends are all, "What the hell's a Harvest Queen?" - LOL - then remind Jo about their ice skating plans tomorrow night before heading out. Jo invites Blair to come along to the ice skating outing, but Blair says she's a terrible skater and would prefer that her college-mates not witness the embarrassment of her doing something she's not totally adept at.
Tootie invites Natalie to the movies tonight, but Natalie mope-ishly declines and says she'll be too busy studying...even though she's been studying all afternoon, as Tootie sulkily points out. When Natalie goes into the residence part of the set to call her mom, Tootie complains to Jo and Blair that even though it's been six weeks since Papa Green died, Natalie is constantly checking up on her mom.
Mrs. Garrett announces that she and Kelly have tallied the votes for Miss Edibles and are ready to announce the winner. Blair fluffs her hair and prepares to smugly accept the honor...when Jo is unexpectedly declared Miss Edibles. A befuddled Blair is all, "Wuh? How is that even possible?" and reminds the Facts cast that she (and not Jo) wins popularity contests. Kelly gives her a quick analysis of the voting trends and tells her that Jo getting most of "the college vote" put her over the top...then asks Jo if she's actually interested in sitting atop a parade float while decked out in an '80s prom dress. As Jo mulls over that ghastly prospect, Blair quickly says she'd be more than happy to step in as the first runner up - but Mrs. Garrett interjects and says that, actually, she was voted first runner up, then pretends as if she doesn't notice Blair's distress while she moans piteously and fake cries.
Mrs. Garrett tells Blair she hopes she's not too upset about losing the contest, and Blair haughtily says she has more important things to focus on, then flounces off.
Later, a discombobulated looking Blair asks Natalie if she's lost it...and by it she means her essence, her aura. Natalie stares back at her blankly for a few seconds and deadpans, "I dunno", and continues to stare blankly as Blair complains about how her current popularity situation is a total reversal of how things used to be when they were all students at Eastland.
Tootie and Mrs. Garrett return from a local box office, where they stood in line for ten hours to get Pat Benatar concert tickets. When Tootie excitedly tells Natalie she got two tickets for them, Natalie grunts that she's not interested 'cause of all the studying she's pretending she has to do. A disgruntled Tootie tells Mrs. Garrett and Blair that she no longer wants to go to the Pat Benatar concert now that Natalie has announced she isn't going - but Mrs. Garrett shriekily tells her she's damn well going after forcing her to suffer in the cold for so many hours.
Jo returns home and tells Blair she was just at Maggie Thurston's party...and when Blair gets over the sting of not getting invited, Jo says that everyone kept asking her when she's going to have a party. Blair points out that it's only polite to reciprocate and offers to help her with party planning, then excitedly suggests they use her fancy stationary to send out invitations. Jo makes a 'fuck that' face and says she just wants a small, low key get together, then snarkishly reminds Blair that it's her party and that she'll do whatever the hell she wants. Blair's like, "Fine!" and angrily tells the ungrateful bitch that she will not be attending whatever kind of ratty ass gathering she ends up cobbling together.
Jo is nervously pacing the room, hoping that the chips, dip, and extra chairs constitute adequate planning for tonight's shindig. Tootie, meanwhile, tells Natalie she's thinking about sneaking a kitten into the house so they can have a furry pet, but a still-glum Natalie says she's not into it and reminds her that Mrs. Garrett alleges that she's allergic to cats.
In the next scene, Jo's party is in full swing. Natalie pops in for a brief appearance, then tells Tootie she's leaving 'cause she has other stuff to do. Tootie complains to Mrs. Garrett that Natalie is being a major drag lately 'cause of her lingering grief from the previous, 'my dad died' episode, and Mrs. Garrett's like, "'Nuff said" and decides it's time for a serious Facts-style heart-to-heart with Natalie.
Mrs. Garrett finds Natalie sitting at a table in the store part of the set, having a snack. When she asks Natalie whassup with her lately, Natalie says she's been busy studying...and that she's spending an excessive amount of time on her schoolwork 'cause she really really wants to make her dad proud. Mrs. Garrett points out that he was always proud of her...then tells her the sad story of when her father died: soon afterwards, she went to the movies with a friend, laughed heartily in the theater, but then went home and cried for days 'cause of the impertinence of having a good time so soon after her father's passing. She then puts her most solemn face on and tells Natalie that laughing in the movie theater was her way of letting go of some of the pain of losing her father...and that she realized it was A-OK to get on with her life.
Jo enters the communal bedroom to bring Blair a bottle of Perrier and invite her to join the party. Blair asks her why the world seems to have turned on its ass since last season, then complains about how unpopular she is among her Langley peers. Jo concedes that that's definitely true, and Blair sadly acknowledges, "They hate me." Jo points out that no one at Langley knows her well enough to hate her, but then immediately reverses herself on that when she chides Blair for always putting on airs and being an obnoxious bossy boots. She urges Blair to just be herself, loosen up, and not give a hoot about what people think of her. Blair mulls that over, decides to give her advice a try, and agrees to join the party [in the non-party outfit she currently has on].
By this point, the party has degenerated into a boring-as-fuck talent show, and one of the guests is demonstrating magic card tricks with Tootie as his assistant. Blair offers to demonstrate her ventriloquist skills (er, OK..?), then pulls Jo onto her lap (mmm hmm) and pulls her ponytail every time she ventriloquizes whatever "Jo" is saying. As everyone claps and waxes on about how impressed they are with Blair's secret skill, Natalie gets in the game and says she'd like to demonstrate her ability to play music using water glasses. As she sets up for that, Blair pulls Jo aside and warmly tells her she knows how to throw one helluva great party.
Recap: Mrs. Garrett informs the Facts gals that she signed them up to enter a float in the upcoming Founder's Day parade in the hopes of generating publicity for Edna's Edibles. When Jo grumbles about how much she hates parades (along with everything in general), Tootie tells her that no one should hate a parade and that it'll be soooo fun for the five of them to work together as they decide how they're going to construct their float. Natalie suggests they make an edible float made of the more decorative type edibles in the store, and Mrs. Garrett says she looooooves that idea and squeals, "You're a genius!" Blair suggests they feature a float queen - Miss Edibles - and have this ethereal creature ride atop the float in a ballgown and tiara...and naturally volunteers herself for the honor. Jo grouchily tells her to not assume that anyone wants her to be crowned Miss Edibles without first earning the title, then says they should put it to a vote among the customers.
Natalie gets a phone call from her Aunt Betty...and after gabbling obliviously about the edible float that she and the rest of the Facts gals are starting to plan, she stops talking, scrunches her face concernedly, and goes, "Is something wrong?" ... then a few seconds later cries, "Wha-at?!!"
In the next scene, Tootie, Blair, and Jo are in their communal bedroom, getting dressed in their dressiest dark clothing to attend Natalie's father's funeral. Tootie moans about how shocked she is that Dr. Green kicked the bucket after a sudden heart attack, not least 'cause he seemed fine when she visited the Green household with Natalie a few weeks ago. Jo tells her that a lot of deaths play out like that...and when Tootie rails about how unfair it is to lose a parent before he has the chance to grow old, Jo's like, "Yeah, whatever. We really need to get going now", and quickly ushers her out the door before she can continue her sadness fueled tirade.
After the (off camera) funeral, the Facts gals arrive at the Green residence to continue mourning with Natalie, Mama Green, and Grandma Mona. Tootie wrings her hands about not knowing what to say to the Greens, and then they all give Natalie a hug and express their condolences. Natalie, who's strangely upbeat in this scene, remarks to Jo that she thought the funeral service was totes awesome, and Jo politely concurs.
Tootie wonders aloud why there are no flowers in the apartment, so Jo explains that the Jewish custom of "sitting shiva" means that during the mourning period there are no flowers, music, TV, or mirrors allowed. Blair gasps in horror at that last thing.
As guests continue to drop by with large plates of food, Natalie ambles over to where the Facts gals are milling around and urges them to eat something. She sadly says it feels like her dad is going to come home any minute, then spacily wanders over to the kitchen. Jo and Blair stare after her concernedly and agree that they're very worried about their friend.
Mrs. Garrett chats with Grandma Mona about the challenges of raising sons, blah blah. Mona moans about how much it sucks to outlive her son, then decides she'd like to zone out and go lay down for awhile.
When Natalie again urges Tootie to eat something, Tootie loses her marbles and shrieks, "You're taking care of everybody! Who's going to take care of you?!" When the other mourners glance over at her with WTF? expressions, Tootie tears up and moans about how horrible it must be to lose a parent so unexpectedly. Natalie remains stoic and chances the subject by suggesting they use decorative looking bread rolls (like the kind someone brought for the mourners) on their Founder's Day float. As Tootie grunts something unintelligible, Blair tells Natalie she's been admiring the lovely artwork throughout the apartment...and the two wander off to closely view an original something-or-other in the next room.
Mama Green introduces Natalie and the other Facts gals to Dr. Perkins, a young doctor who considered Natalie's father to be his mentor. Mama Green offers to gift him her husband's vintage leather briefcase - 'cause what the hell's she going to do with it now that he's dead? - but as she heads to the bedroom to retrieve it, Natalie looks visibly miffed and follows her.
Natalie tells her mom she objects to the giving away of her father's treasured possessions - but Mama Green says she's not interested in holding onto his stuff, 'cause she doesn't want to prevent herself from moving on. Natalie tears up and wails, "He had no right to leave us like this!" and tearfully asks what she's going to do without him. Mama Green hugs her and assures her that everything will be A-OK by the time the next episode airs.
Tootie, meanwhile, is beating herself up about how many times she's stuck her foot in her mouth this episode...and Mrs. Garrett's like, "Um, d'yuh", but then throws her a bone and adds, "The important thing is that you're here."
As Mrs. Garrett fixes Mama Green and Mona something to eat, Blair, Jo, and Tootie hug Natalie goodbye and wish her godspeed with swiftly getting through the mourning process. Tootie scrunches her face miserably and says she wants Natalie to come back to Eastland so everything can be the way it was prior to this episode...and Natalie just tears up and stares back at her in mute incredulity. Or maybe I was just projecting my incredulity onto her expression 'cause somehow Tootie still hasn't gotten a clue that Dr. Green's sudden demise isn't solely about what an inconvenience it is to her. Jo assures Natalie she won't always feel this bad, and Natalie says, "I'll take your word for that" ... and this is where the writers decided to abruptly end the episode.
Thanks for that depressing installment, writers.
Recap: Mrs. Garrett is sitting at the dining table playing solitaire when Jo comes over and asks her where everyone is and when dinner will be ready. Mrs. Garrett just shrugs and absently mutters, "Dunno", so Jo ambles over to the store part of the set, where the rest of the Facts gals and a group of extras have been waiting to yell Surprise! to congratulate her for getting elected to Langley College's board of regents. As everyone cries, "Speech! Speech! Speech!", Jo promises everyone that she'll be the best darn regent Langley has ever seen...then promptly loses everyone's attention when she drones on way too long about all the lofty goals she imagines she'll accomplish at board meetings.
When Jo arrives at her first board meeting, she's less than thrilled to run into her fellow schoolmate, Boots. St. Clair. Boots introduces Jo to Steve Garland, captain of the football team, who tells Jo he has no strong opinions about anything budget or issue related and generally falls in line behind the board chair, Ward Beaumont. When the meeting convenes, Ward holds a vote on whether or not they should terminate the college's microbiology department (!)...and the motion is quickly passed when everyone (but Jo) swiftly votes aye. With that settled, Jo tries to steer the discussion toward the recent increase of the student activity fee, but Ward tells her that that item isn't on the agenda. Jo ignores the rules of order and insists that the fee is much too high, so a different board member explains that it needs to be that high 'cause the money is used to maintain the student union building. Jo moves on to her second personal agenda item - recent cuts to the scholarship fund - and Ward explains that scholarship money is always the first thing to get axed when other expenses come up, then gets weirdly excited when he announces that a rich donor named Duke Patterson is giving the college 500K for a new scoreboard. Jo perks up and is all, "Perfect! We can just use that money for the scholarship fund!", but Ward tells her that Duke specifically wants his money to be allocated to an overpriced scoreboard the college really doesn't need, then waxes on about how much the students are going to loooooove seeing the fancy scoreboard all lit up during the next home football game. Jo snaps, "They won't care!", and a visibly irked Ward steers the meeting back to its original agenda.
Over at Edna's Edibles, Tootie and Natalie, who have just been appointed coordinators of Jo's busy communications committee, are working the phones and scheduling her many public engagements. A few seconds later, Jo and Blair return home with two volunteers, and the four of them are bellyaching about the inhumanity of Langley College accepting money from a rich donor who insists that his cash be spent on a new scoreboard. Jo decides she needs to summon her growing group of ardent followers for a raucous rally, name-drops herself when she calls up the person who's in charge of room bookings, and bellows at no one in particular that she expects the college newspaper editor to reprint the latest issue so it includes the details of her rally...and she does all this as Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face in dismay. When Jo rails about how ass backwards wrong it is for the college to be wasting valuable resources on a stupid scoreboard, Mrs. Garrett reminds her that she has to work with these people, and that they probably don't appreciate her self-righteously haughty 'tude.
Natalie and Tootie are making signs for the anti-scoreboard protest when Jo and her volunteers return, grumbling about how the school paper just published an editorial "hatchet job" on all of the protesting activities her public dissent has invoked. Jo looks over the signs that Natalie and Tootie spent the day cobbling together, scrunches her face irritably, and bitchily snaps at them for not making the kind of signs she had specifically asked for. As Natalie and Tootie stare dejectedly into space, Mrs. Garrett hustles them over to the store part of the set so she can admonish Jo for her cunty, unappreciative treatment of her friends. Jo glowers unapologetically into space - just as Blair bursts into the room to proudly announce that she got five hundred signatures for the anti-scoreboard petition. An unimpressed Jo tells her that petitions are wimpy, and that she's more into the idea of carrying out bold actions that demonstrate the kind of 'I don't take no shit' resolve she brings to the table. As Blair stares back at her in bewilderment, Mrs. Garrett informs Jo that three very large young men have just entered the store and are demanding to talk to her.
The three large men - Steve Garland and two others - are Langley football players who are concerned that Jo has been interfering with the annual donations they always get from Duke Patterson. Jo tells them that she and her followers are pissed off that Duke Patterson's donations disproportionately benefit the football team, then dismissively tells them they should forget about getting a new scoreboard. When she mocks them for being stereotypically stupid jocks, the players get upset and start rumbling with Jo's male volunteers, and Tootie snaps photographs of the spectacle.
As the anti-scoreboard protest heats up the next day, Blair warns Jo that someone trashed the football players' locker room and that there's been a dramatic rise in on-campus rumbles. Ward emerges from the boardroom to inform Jo that Duke Patterson has agreed to fund a less expensive scoreboard and allocate 100K towards the scholarship fund...then looks as though he expects this to be the end of all the pesky protesting. Jo mulls that over for a few seconds, then scrunches her face in displeasure and snaps, "But it's still a scoreboard!" She riles up her idiot followers by chanting, "No scoreboard! No scoreboard!" ... and when she shoots Ward a smug grin, he glares back at her in miffed exasperation.
Jo convenes with the other board members, who are visibly displeased by all the on-campus rumbling that Jo's been inciting. Jo barks about how obscene it is for a struggling fictional college to be spending so much money on a new scoreboard, then says that the rumbling will come to an immediate stop if the board votes to refuse Duke Patterson's money. Another board member wearily agrees to second the motion, and then everyone gets up and unhappily exits the room. Ward hangs back and wryly tells Jo she won...but that once all the anti-scoreboard chanting dies down, she's going to have to explain to her brainless supporters why she turned down 100K for the scholarship fund. He grunts, "See you at the next board meeting" and Jo stares after him with a stricken expression.
Blair enters the board room and asks Jo why in blazes she would turn down 100K in scholarship funds. Jo weakly says she didn't want the college to be stuck with a new scoreboard, and Blair's like, "So what if they were?" and admonishes her for being so drunk with power that it didn't occur to her that her followers probably would have been A-OK with a new scoreboard if it meant getting a large infusion of cash for scholarships. Jo stares miserably into space and says she doesn't know what to doooooo...so Blair advises her to admit how badly she screwed the pooch, then risk humiliation by asking Ward Beaumont for a re-vote so they can get the scholarship funds back. Jo stares back at her sheepishly, then makes her way towards the hallway, where her dumbfuck supporters can still be heard chanting, "No scoreboard! No scoreboard!". LOL.
Recap: Jo grumbles at Blair and Mrs. Garrett about how much she hates Winter Carnival, 'cause it means they'll be on their feet all weekend waiting tables. Mrs. Garrett points out that it's a good way for them to cash in on bigger tips than usual, but Jo's like, "Whatever" and bellyaches about how Tootie and Natalie managed to worm their way out of the ordeal. Blair reminds her that Tootie's cousin Michael is in town this weekend to check out Langley College...and Natalie decided to tag along with them and drag along her boyfriend Harvey, who everyone thinks is a dullard of cartoonish proportions.
Blair tries to coach a scowling Jo on how to be a waitress with a more cheerful disposition - just as Tootie (+ boyfriend Jeff), Natalie (+ boyfriend Harvey), and Michael enter the store. Harvey bores everyone with tales of his sinus problems before rushing off to find more tissue, and Jeff shakes his head in bewilderment and asks Natalie whassup with her wanting to hang out with someone so dull-as-fuck. Michael gets in on that action and invites Natalie out for dinner, and she decides that since Harvey's out of commission with his nose problems, she's free for the evening.
Natalie and Michael return to the residence part of Edna's Edibles after their dinner date...and Michael gabbles about Langley college, and tells her that his parents really really want him to major in economics, even though he's much more interested in history. Natalie says that college should be [an expensive source of] fun, then breezily urges him to only make life choices that bring him happiness. Michael stares at her in wonderment as if he's never heard this type of sentiment expressed, gushingly says, "You're really something", then tells her he should prolly get going if he's going to catch his train back to NYC. He thanks her for showing him around Peekskill, gives her a chaste peck on the cheek, and heads out. A few seconds later, Tootie bounds downstairs to ask how the date went, and Natalie says it wasn't so much a date as it was a friendly dinner with her friend's cousin, and leaves it at that.
The next day, Blair declares that she's officially sick of Winter Carnival - but an uncharacteristically perky Jo says she's sorry to see it end 'cause of all the extra tips she's been getting. When she asks Blair how much in tips she's earned, Blair has to sheepishly admit that they only add up to six dollars...and everyone chuckles light-heartedly at her expense. This seems like a subplot that maybe should have ended up on the editing room floor.
Michael calls and asks to talk to Natalie...and Tootie nosily eavesdrops on the call and gets miffed when Natalie declines an invitation for another outing with Michael and fibs about how busy she is this weekend. Tootie asks her what gives about rejecting her cousin with such a vague excuse, and Natalie says he invited her to a dance in Manhattan and that she turned him down 'cause it's too much of a hassle to travel into the city. When Tootie shoots her a seriously? face, she screeches, "I don't have to explain it to you! I know what you're thinking!" ... and when Tootie continues to stare at her with her face scrunched disapprovingly, she snaps, "Fine!" and grabs the phone receiver and calls Michael back to tell him she'd love to go to the dance after all.
The next day, Natalie and Tootie regard each other coldly as they go about their work in Edna's Edibles...and when Mrs. Garrett asks whassup with all the frostiness between the two, Jo explains that Tootie is irked about Natalie dating her cousin. Jo implores Mrs. Garrett to forbid Natalie from seeing Michael anymore - but Mrs. Garrett refuses to stick her nose where it doesn't belong, including initiating any kind of one-on-one, let's all put on our most serious faces type chats. Jo snaps at Natalie to come out of the kitchen, barks at her to quit dating Michael 'cause of all the narrow minded people that exist in the world, and nonsensically warns that where she comes from (the Bronx), anyone who dares date outside their race gets their heads kicked in. Natalie mulls that over, says she needs to get back to her baking now, and disappears into the kitchen. Blair tells Jo she totally gets what she's trying to say, 'cause she knows first hand how racist her snooty country club friends can be...then just kind of throws up her hands as if to say, "Whaddya gonna do?" LOL.
Michael calls Mrs. Garrett to give her a head's up that he's planning to send Natalie flowers 'cause he heard she was in the hospital suffering from tonsillitis. Natalie grabs the phone, assures Michael she's fine...then screeches, "Tootie!" and races upstairs to give her friend the what-for.
Natalie bursts into the bedroom where Tootie is pretending to study and demands an explanation about her alleged tonsillitis. Tootie says she made up the excuse 'cause she knows that deep down she really doesn't actually want to go out with Michael...and that she's only been accepting his invitations 'cause she wanted to come across as a liberal person. Natalie insists she is a liberal and that her parents raised her to be polite to all the black maids they ever hired to clean their apartment, and that her father made it a point to hire a black receptionist to sit at the front desk of his medical office. Tootie refrains from smacking her for what I can only call boneheaded, wholly-out-of-character-for-Natalie observations and says that these are just gestures that white people like to do, mostly for show. Natalie chews on that for a few seconds and sheepishly admits that, yep, she's pretty sure her mom wouldn't be overly thrilled if she brought home a black boyfriend, and Tootie's like, "Well, d'yuh" and points out that lots of black mothers wouldn't be overly thrilled if their son brought home a white girlfriend...and that she kinda shared that sentiment when her cousin began showing an interest in a white girl, even when that white girl was her best friend.
Natalie calls this conversation depressing and says she never figured herself for such a brazen bigot, and Tootie sullenly replies, "Me too." Natalie points out that if she and Michael had the same skin color, no one would even be contemplating about where the relationship was going. Tootie urges Natalie to take things one step at a time...and by one step at a time, she means that the Facts writers are less interested in portraying an authentic courtship between two people who happen to not have the same skin color as they are in quickly crossing off interracial dating from their 'issues of the day' to do list so they can switch gears and focus on a completely unrelated topic in the next episode.
Natalie marvels about the fact that she's having a conversation about being prejudiced with someone who's black...even though she couldn't imagine having this conversation with anyone else. Tootie concurs and says she thinks of her as her best friend, not specifically a white person...and the studio audience is cued to clap at the awkward silence that follows, where the writers decided to end this wretched episode.
Recap: When the Edna's Edibles boiler starts making loud banging noises, Mrs. Garrett decides it's time to call in a real plumber and not rely on Jo to fix mechanical stuff she has no business pretending she knows how to fix. Blair sweeps in and announces that she scored second row Baryshnikov tickets...and Natalie and Tootie squeal excitedly at the prospect of seeing their favorite male ballerina up close, while Jo contorts her face with distaste at all the money Blair shelled out for the tickets.
As Mrs. Garrett browses through the yellow pages to find a plumber, Jo insists she fixed the boiler as expertly as she recently fixed the hot water heater, and thinks the underlying issue is "air in the pipes". She begs for another chance to look into the boiler's banging issues, but Mrs. Garrett mumbles, "No way in hell" while continuing to browse the yellow pages.
As Tootie covers the store, an impossibly cute little blonde boy named Danny Slater ambles in, prompting the studio audience to coo, "Awwwwww.." the way '80s sitcom studio audiences were programmed to do whenever sweet-faced tots were forcibly interjected into storylines. Danny and Tootie exchange cute banter, discuss their mutual interest in Morse code, and he tells her he's a latchkey kid who has to hang out alone every day after school in the apartment he shares with his mom (atop the real estate office next door). Tootie contorts her face all indignant-like and snarkishly asks, "You mean your negligent mother leaves you home alone every day after school?", and he's like, "Uh, yeah..?" and shows her the house key that's attached to his pants with a little retractable pulley thing.
Upstairs in the communal bedroom, Natalie is staring lovingly at her framed, black and white photograph of Baryshnikov, telling it she'll be with him soon, blowing him kisses from the audience. Jo rolls her eyes in her usual 'I hate everything' manner and says she couldn't be any less interested in watching a grown man prance around in his underwear.
Tootie bursts into the room to announce that Danny is signalling her [for help with his homework] in Morse code 'cause he's not allowed to answer the telephone unless his mother calls using "the signal". She moans about the inhumanity of Danny having to sit alone in an empty apartment until his mother comes home from work - but Jo says it's really not that big a deal, and that she too was a latchkey kid while being raised in the Bronx by her hard-done-by waitress mom.
Mrs. Garrett enters the room, prefaces what she's about to tell them with, "Don't freak out, but.." and explains that she called the gas company after the stench of gas in the boiler room became overwhelming...and after the gas company people came and looked into it, they told her it's possible that the entire building (and/or block) could blow up at any moment. The Facts gals shriek in terror, then run around the room like headless chickens in a panic to grab their most treasured valuables (Blair: entire wardrobe, Natalie: framed photograph of Misha). Jo tells Mrs. Garrett she plans to stick around and try to sort out the gas problem herself - but Mrs. Garrett warns that if she doesn't get the hell out this instant, she's going to start screeching uncontrollably in her unbearably screechy voice while beating her with a frying pan. The camera then pans over to Tootie, who suddenly looks alarmed and cries in the annoying hysterical way she cries whenever she finds herself affected by a Facts-manufactured crisis, "We have to get Danny out! He's home alone! No one knows he's in there!" And Mrs. Garrett's like, "Holy fucking egads, Tootie! Let's rush over there right now and do our best to save the hapless boy!"
Mrs. Garrett goes to the building next door, knocks on Danny's door, and tells him he has to leave with her right now 'cause of an emergency - but Danny refuses to open the door 'cause of the hundreds of times his mother warned him to never open the door to strangers. A few seconds later, Tootie bounds into the building and implores Danny to come out 'cause he get hurt really badly if he stays behind...and Danny opens the door and casually says, "Hi, Tootie." Tootie sanctimoniously points out to Mrs. Garrett that Danny opening the door for her is the payoff for her (and no one else's) efforts in cultivating a trust-based friendship with the latchkey tot...and Mrs. Garrett somehow refrains from telling her where she can shove her self-aggrandizing sermon and focus on helping her get Danny out of harm's way.
An hour later, the neighborhood gets the all clear that the gas leak crisis has been resolved. Phew! Blair returns to Edna's Edibles with her wardrobe, while Natalie clutches Misha's photograph and natters endlessly about how she just cheated death. Mrs. Garrett tells her to stuff a sock in it and do something useful, like take Danny out for some ice cream so he has something fun to do until his mom comes by to pick him up.
The plumber informs Mrs. Garrett that he fixed the banging boiler, along with the water heater Jo pooched when she tinkered with it. He then explains to everyone that, easy as it would be to believe that Jo's incompetence was the cause of the gas leak, a nearby road crew was the culprit when they unwittingly broke a gas line.
A worried looking Jean Smart rushes into Edna's Edibles, identifies herself as Danny Slater's mother, and asks where her son is. Mrs. Garrett assures her that Danny is fine, and that he's enjoying an ice cream treat with one of the Facts gals. She offers to go get him, then rushes out...and Tootie contorts her face in a judgey expression and tells Jean Smart she met Danny when he came into the store one day, struck up a conversation with her, and told her how he spends his after school time alone in their apartment. Jean Smart gets defensive and says this doesn't mean she's, in any way, mistreating her son, but Tootie haughtily retorts, "Well, no...you're not around enough!" Jean Smart, who somehow feels the need to explain herself to this holier-than-thou twit, explains that she has to work full time in order to stay off of welfare - and Tootie says she doesn't care about the real world predicaments of adults who struggle to make ends meet and rails about how dangerous it is to leave a little kid home alone. Jean Smart says that's exactly why she's drummed it into her kid's head that he's not supposed to answer the phone or open the door to strangers, and Tootie snaps, "That didn't work well today!" then suggests she find [free?] daycare, or leave Danny with a friend who's conveniently home every weekday afternoon and would be happy to babysit. Jean Smart says she's new to Peekskill and that it's not easy making friends, then chides Tootie for not showing up at her door in a Welcome Wagon capacity when she and Danny first moved in. Tootie deflects blame by snappishly pointing out that no one even knew that she and Danny were living next door 'cause she didn't think to stop by the neighborhood bakery and make a grand announcement to the staff regarding hers and Danny's arrival in Peekskill...'cause, yeah, that wouldn't have been weird.
Mrs. Garrett brings Danny back to Edna's Edibles, and Jean Smart lets out a relieved cry and hugs her tiny son. Danny explains that he only left the apartment after Tootie warned him he might get hurt if he stayed behind...and Jean Smart assures him it's A-OK, then reluctantly thanks Tootie for potentially saving her son. As she turns to leave, Tootie's bitchitude subsides and she says she'd be glad to look in on Danny in the afternoons, seeing as how they're neighbors and all...and Jean Smart nods in agreement - while whoever's in charge of the studio audience applause meter take a few seconds too long to cue the applause sign before the camera freezes and the end credits appear. Awkward.
Recap: Mrs. Garrett is on the phone with the Board of Health, confirming that she got a bunch of their forms in the mail, along with with a notice stating that they'll be dropping by on an unspecified date/time to formally inspect her shop to ensure that it's up to code. Mrs. Garrett assures them she'll fill out the forms and mail them in on time, then asks if it's possible to get a heads up as to when the inspection will occur. The person on the other end tells her to go pee up a rope and just make sure that her store is meeting all of their regulations, and she snarls, "Sourpuss.." into the phone receiver. Very mature, Edna.
Natalie is campaigning for the Miss School Spirit pageant at Eastland...and when Jo grumpishly asks her why she gives a rat's ass about winning a popularity contest, Natalie says she's never been Miss anything and figured that this was one pageant she had a reasonable shot of winning. Blair breezes into the room to moan about her latest conundrum: she's having her new passport photo taken and can't decide what to wear. But somehow refrains from fixating about whether or not a photo of her in her fluffy '80s 'do is going to stand the test of time over the next ten years.
A frazzled Mrs. Garrett waves around a long to-do list and tells the Facts gals they have a lot of work to do if they're going to pass inspection from the Board of Health, e.g. move the refrigerator at least ten feet away from the water heater, and get Tootie to remove the fruit fly science project she's been allowed to store inside the refrigerator of a public eatery, OMFG. Tootie natters excitedly about the various scientific findings of her fruit fly experiment, but Mrs. Garrett snaps at her to shut it, then..
The gals disinterestedly mutter, "Yeah yeah.." while Mrs. Garrett heads off to - fingers crossed! - book a lucrative catering gig for an upcoming Bar Mitzvah.
Tootie cheerily gets the mail and distributes it to the gals...and they're bemused when they all get the same chain letter, then get annoyed when Tootie proudly announces that she was the sender. Jo and Blair tell her they have zero desire to participate in such an outmoded mail scam, but Tootie warns them about all the bad luck that will befall them if they dare break the chain and not send the required $15 to the person at the top of the pyramid.
Later, Jo is pecking away at her typewriter when Mrs. Garrett enters the room and asks her to pleaaaaaase help her move the fridge so it's at regulation distance from the water heater...but Jo just keeps typing and mutters, "Just gimme five minutes." When Blair arrives home, Jo tells her she decided to throw all of her alleged street smarts out the window by deciding to send out chain letters after experiencing a bout of bad luck: she encountered a black cat who she had to swerve to avoid hitting, which resulted in an accident that caused damage to her motorcycle. Blair sheepishly admits that after encountering a string of bad luck of her own, she reacted by quickly mailing out a batch of chain letters.
A bummed Natalie announces that she got creamed in Eastland's Miss School Spirit contest - just as Mrs. Garrett bursts in with her to-do list and shrieks, "I need your help!!!" Jo promises to mail the Board of Health forms [along with her chain letters], and Blair makes a weak promise to paint the sign she's determined to procrastinate over as long as possible. Mrs. Garrett re-reminds Tootie to get her fruit fly project out of the fridge, fucking asap, then says that its rapidly growing population is really starting to freak her out...as it would her customers if they knew they were eating food that had been stored in the same fridge as an out-of-control fruit fly colony.
A serious looking grey haired man enters Edna's Edibles carrying a notebook, gives a curt hello nod to the Facts gals, then approaches Mrs. Garrett and asks her if she's the owner. She's like, "Yeah", but adds that she's too busy to give him the time of day - even though everything about him screams 'I'm an inspector with the Board of Health' - so could he please go away and ask one of the girls for help? The man introduces himself as Klaus Stevens from the Board of Health...and Mrs. Garrett's all, "Ack!", leaps up, shakes his hand, and asks him if there's anything she can do to suck up to him enough to get a favorable inspection report. He tells her she just needs to stay out of his way while he conducts his inspection...and Mrs. Garrett looks ashen and asks him if he could put off the inspection until such time as she and the Facts gals can get their shit together. Klaus tells her he had been planning to put off this inspection for a few more months - but when he got $15 mixed in with her forms, he assumed it was a bribe and figured he'd better look into this potentially corrupt situation pronto. As Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face confusedly, Jo's like, "Fuuuuuuuuuck" and quickly realizes that she accidentally put the chain letter money in with the Board of Health forms. Mrs. Garrett tells Klaus that no way in hell is her store ready for an inspection, and he's like, "Good! Let's start." Haha!
Klaus tut tuts Mrs. Garrett and the gals for leaving the food they just finished preparing for the Bar Mitzvah was uncovered, which is the first violation he's going to cite in his report. The second will be the lack of a 'this door is unlocked during business hours' sign. Mrs. Garrett snaps at Blair for neglecting to take care of this task despite repeated reminders, and Blair sheepishly replies that she was too busy beautifying herself for her passport photo. Klaus amuses himself by telling Mrs. Garrett that she should have named her store "Edna's Excuses" - haha! - and heads over to the kitchen to continue his inspection.
Tootie suddenly remembers that she forgot to remove her fruit fly project from the fridge, then blames Natalie for distracting her by making her do stuff for the Miss School Spirit campaign.
Klaus taps a bunch of numbers into his calculator and tells Mrs. Garrett that because of the unsanitary way she runs her store, she managed to rack up $500 worth of fines. She shrieks, "Five hundred dollars??!!" and whines about how impossible it is to monitor her idiot employees every minute. Klaus points out that if they're as inept as they appear - which they certainly are - they probably shouldn't be employed in her store. And that as the owner of Edna's Edibles, she bears ultimate responsibility for whatever violations occur. He then chuckles about how bad the inspection report is going to be, and how hard his coworkers are going to laugh when he shows it to them. Bwahahaha!
Once Klaus is out of earshot, Natalie asks if it's about to hit the fan...but Mrs. Garrett just stares despondently into space and says that right now she's far too angry to launch one of her usual screeching fits. Tootie tells everyone to look on the bright side...the bright side being all the good luck the chain letters will soon bring. Mrs. Garrett stares at her with a look of utter incredulity and informs her that chain letters are stupid, not to mention illegal...and that she could have [and probably should have] gotten shut down for all the health violations Klaus cited. Jo chuckles and breezily declares that money won't be an issue once the chain letter money starts to roll in...and Mrs. Garrett continues to stare incredulously as she tells the gals that since they have no idea how hard they may have boned her livelihood as an independent shop owner, she's finally going to make a sensible business decision by cutting the four of them loose and replace them with one or more responsible adults. She wanders over to the residence part of the set to write up a help wanted ad.
The next day, the gals enter the store, all dressed up, and inform Mrs. Garrett that they're here to apply for the jobs from which they just got fired. Er, OK..? When Mrs. Garrett tries to shoo them away, Blair pulls out a this door is unlocked during business hours sign she just painted, and Natalie tells her that last night she lined all the pasta barrels with five layers of plastic. Blair lays it on thick about how Edna's Edibles is "the finest store in all the land" ... but then the gals get serious and admit that they deserved to be fired for messing up so badly. They beg to be forgiven and given another chance - not least 'cause if they remain fired, it'll screw with the show's winning formula of four girls living under the same roof with their former house-mother well into adulthood - and Mrs. Garrett says that since they sound so newly mature and responsible, she'll strongly consider their collective application.
A few seconds later, someone calls about the job ad...and Mrs. Garrett stares over at the Facts gals and tells whoever's on the other end that the position has already been filled.
Big mistake, Edna.
Recap: Natalie and Tootie are decorating the Edna's Edibles Christmas tree and nattering about how excited they are to head home for the holidays - just as Mrs. Garrett emerges from the kitchen with a giant batch of fruitcakes, shrieking, "Fa la la la la...la la la la!!" Natalie tells Mrs. Garrett she feels guilty that all the Facts gals are abandoning her at Christmas, but Mrs. Garrett assures them she'll be fine, and that she's looking forward to earning some extra cash when she sells off her many fruitcakes. She tells them she hired a young man to help her out...and by young man, she means Old Man Lesseroni, the caretaker of the town's cemetery who was last seen in the Halloween Show episode. Jo bounds into the store to excitedly tell everyone she bought a silk blouse at a huge discount for her long-suffering waitress mom, and then Blair saunters in wearing a gorgeous new coat and imperiously announces that she'll be spending the holidays skiing the slopes of Vail.
Jo gets a phone call from her mom...and after she hangs up she wanders around the store looking unmistakably bummed out. When everyone's all, "Wha-at's wrong?" she breaks the news that her mom decided that idle hands are the devil's workshop, so she's heading to Miami to spend her Christmas holiday slinging hash at her friend's restaurant. Tootie looks aghast and says it's going to suck "being stuck here with Mrs. Garrett" ... and when Mrs. Garrett shoots her an excuse me? glare, she makes a half-hearted effort to back pedal. Blair tells Jo she feels bad about her ruined holiday plans, but Jo breezily insists it's no big deal and that Christmas is just another day.
When Jo enters the communal bedroom with a basket of laundry, Tootie announces to the gals that she's selling $1.00 raffle tickets for charity. Natalie eagerly buys a ticket...and when Blair generously offers to buy $10 worth of tickets, Jo agrees to shell out a dollar. Tootie says that the winners will be announced later today, but Jo just shrugs and says, "No one ever wins those things" and shuffles out of the room. Once she's fully out of earshot, Blair and Tootie cackle to each other about what a brilliant acting job they just pulled off. When Natalie stares at them in puzzlement and asks what in blazes they're talking about, Blair tells her there's no raffle, and that it was just a ruse to trick Jo into thinking she won the bonus prize: a plane ticket to Miami. They're also relying on Jo not twigging onto what an unbelievable coincidence it is that she won a trip to Miami one day after telling everyone it's where her mom's going to be working over the holidays.
Mrs. Garrett shriekily complains about how badly the local Merchant's Association botched the advertisement for Edna's Edibles in their newsletter, and is worried that she's not going to be able to sell her fruitcakes. After she leaves to give the association the what-for, Tootie informs Jo that she's the winner of the faux raffle's secret bonus prize. Jo lights up and summons Mr. Lesseroni, 'cause for some reason she decided to give him her ticket. Mr. Lesseroni opens the envelop and looks super excited when he tells everyone he just won a free trip to Miami. Blair scrunches her face in a peeved-like expression and tells him he can't go 'cause the ticket wasn't supposed to be transferable...then decides the jig is up and admits that she bought the plane ticket so that Jo could spend the holidays with her mom. Jo gets irked and snaps, "Forget it. I don't need handouts" and Blair explains that she was merely trying to do something nice for the street-smart tomboy she's been secretly crushing on for years. Jo bitchily retorts, "Rich people do that for poor people" ... and when Tootie says they all felt bad that she didn't have anywhere to spend the holidays, Jo snaps at her to stay the hell out of her bidness.
Mrs. Garrett is miffed when no one seems interested in buying her fruitcakes...and Mr. Lesseroni returns to the store, dressed up as Santa, and says he also had zero luck peddling the cakes to passersby on the street. Tootie tiptoes over to Jo and tells her she doesn't want to leave for the holidays thinking she's mad at them, and Jo snappishly retorts that she hates handouts, and that Blair's answer to everything is to throw money at the problem. Natalie, meanwhile, expresses worry that her parents might not know how badly she wants a new stereo for Christmas, so Tootie advises that the best course of action would be to sit on the lap of the nearest Santa and make her Christmas wishes known to the universe. Natalie mulls that over and decides 'that sounds just crazy enough to work!', and calls over Mr. Lesseroni. Natalie perches herself on his knee, slips into a little girl's voice, and tells him she really really wants a stereo for Christmas...and the scene actually comes off looking far less creepy than it might easily have. A few seconds later, Mrs. Garrett bursts into the room to screechingly inform Natalie that a package from her parents just arrived.
Natalie runs over to the residence part of the Facts set, tears open the package, and is disappointed to find a new coat...but inside the pocket is a note telling her that her new stereo is waiting for her at home. Hurray! - and way to spoil the Christmas morning surprise, Mama Green. Jo ambles into the room to watch the Facts gals gather their stuff and head out to the train station. They each hug Jo goodbye and wish her a Merry Christmas...and Jo stares after them sadly.
By Christmas Eve, Mr. Lesseroni has resorted to selling off the fruitcakes by telling customers that the ingredients include whiskey. Heh. At closing time, he offers to buy up all the rest so he can give them as gifts to all the lonely men in the nursing home, and Mrs. Garrett gushes, "That sounds like a wonderful idea." He thanks her for hiring him to help out at the store, wishes her and Jo a Merry Christmas, then heads out to go sledding. Mrs. Garrett grins at Jo and asks her if what she thinks of having a hamburger for Christmas Eve dinner, and Jo perks up and says she definitely likes the sound of that.
Jo goes into the living room and puts on some Christmas music...then wanders around and stares wistfully into space. Blair slips in through the front door, quietly says hi, and tells Jo she decided that of all the places to which she could afford to travel for the holidays, she decided there was nowhere she'd rather be than in Peekskill, cuddling next to her in front of the fire...and indulging the non-hetero romantic stirrings she hasn't been able to squelch since the premiere of Season 2. Jo grins and says, "Good choice" and tells Mrs. Garrett she's going to need to put on another burger. Mrs. Garrett exclaims, "Blair!" and looks delighted to be spending Christmas with not one, but two Facts gals, and the three collapse into a happy group hug.
Recap: Jo’s parents are hanging with Jo at Edna's Edibles...and Mrs. Garrett gushes to them about what a super awesome store employee Jo is. Jo reminds her parents that they have to leave soon for the dirt bike race she's competing in this afternoon, and Mama Polniazcek wrings her hands about how nervous she always gets whenever Jo enters these races.
Natalie comes downstairs to complain about being set up on another blind date tomorrow night, courtesy of her meddling mother. This prompts Papa Polniazcek to reminisce about how he and Mama Polniazcek met on a blind date...though not really, 'cause apparently they checked each other out at a bowling alley prior to the date and decided why not give it a shot since neither was likely to get themselves hooked up with a higher quality person. Jo looks intrigued, then grins happily at how well her parents have been getting along this episode. Mrs. Garrett suggests to Natalie that she make the blind date a double date to take the pressure off, but Natalie says she's reluctant to subject anyone to a miserable evening with this boy, known only as "Florence's son" ... then swiftly changes her mind when Tootie enters the room to announce how excited she is about getting together with her boyfriend tomorrow night. With that superfluous subplot resolved, Mrs. Garrett offers to give the Polniazceks a quick tour of her kitchen, and this gives Jo a chance to giddily express her girlish glee that her parents are finally not snapping at each other...and takes a giant leap in interpreting this to mean that they're going to get back together and live happily ever after.
Jo returns home with her parents with an injured arm after taking a spill during the dirt bike race. Everyone's all, "OMG! What happened?!" so she says she fell during the last leg of the race and sprained her arm. Mama Polniazcek says she's changing her plans and spending the weekend in Peekskill so she can be available to nurse Jo back to health, and Papa Polniazcek likes the sound of that idea and suggests they get a couple of rooms at the local motel so they can unwittingly lead Jo on into thinking they're seriously contemplating the idea of taking a second crack at their shitty marriage. When the two head out to get settled into the motel, Jo rips off the sling on her arm and screeches, "Yippee! I feel great!" and tells the bewildered Facts gals that while she was racing, she noticed her parents were looking cozier than usual...so she decided to fake an accident so that the trauma of caring for their injured, fully grown adult child would bring them even closer together. She happily adds that she's just going to limp around this weekend and let nature takes its course.
The Polniazceks are back at Edna's Edibles, enjoying the pizza that Mama Polniazcek made for everyone. After dinner, Mama Polniazcek announces that she's heading back to the Bronx, then tells Jo her father's going to hang around longer 'cause he has something important he wants to talk to her about. Jo grins stupidly in anticipation.
The room quickly clears out so that Jo and Papa Polniazcek can talk privately. He stammers about how much he's changed for the better since being in the clink - and when Jo barks at him to spit out the fantastic news, he excitedly tells her he's pretty sure he's getting married again. Jo beams and goes, "Really..?" and assumes he's talking about a marriage re-do with Mama Polniazcek...until he starts talking about his new lady friend Carol, who has a son and daughter in desperate need of a father figure. Jo's smile evaporates, and she's all, "The fuck?" and snarkishly asks him how he could do this to her and Mama Polniazcek. She shriekily accuses him of walking out on them again, yells, "You haven't changed at all!", and storms up to her room. [Warning: this is the first in a long series of storming around that Jo does throughout the rest of the episode.]
Jo drops by her ma's apartment 'cause she figured the old gal would need comforting after hearing that her ex-con dipshit of an ex-husband is getting remarried. Mama Polniazcek complains she barely got any sleep last night, 'cause every time Jo hung up on Papa Polniazcek, he'd call her to commiserate. She implores Jo to talk to him, but Jo stubbornly refuses and snarks that she has nothing to say. She asks her ma if she's not devastated by this shocking news, and she's just kind of like, "Meh" ... but admits that she wishes that she had been the first of them to re-hook up with someone new.
Papa Polniazcek arrives at the Bronx apartment, explains that Natalie blabbed about where he could find her, and says he's so distraught about Jo's reaction to his relationship with Carol that he's thinking about calling off the wedding. Jo perks up and says she likes the sound of that - but Mama Polniazcek chides her for being an obnoxious bully and tells her to grow the fuck up and accept that her father is moving on with his new gal. [OK, that last part was more my reaction to Jo's caustic cuntiness.] Jo sarcastically yells back that, next thing ya know, she's going to be asked to give him away at the wedding. She shrieks, "This is wrong!" and storms out of the apartment. Fuck she's exhausting.
Jo storms all the way back to Peekskill...and when she arrives home, Mrs. Garrett puts her most comforting face on and says she heard about what happened. Jo bitches about the lack of privacy in this household and storms up to her bedroom, finds Blair studying, and snippily bitches about how it would be nice to get the room to herself once in awhile. Blair refrains from telling her prickly roommate to go pee up a rope with her annoying temper tantrummy bullshit and instead amiably gathers up her books and offers to study elsewhere. She asks Jo if she wants to talk about whatever has sparked such an extreme bout of bitchitude this episode, and Jo snaps, "It's none of your business!" - but then proceeds to rail about how her mom is just standing by and allowing her dad to get remarried. Mrs. Garrett interrupts to tell Jo that her dad has just arrived and wants to talk to her, so Jo starts railing about how he's been gabbling on about marrying a strange woman and becoming stepfather to a couple of strange kids who need a father...then tears up and says, "Maybe they do - but why does it have to be miiiiinnnnnne?!" Blair steps in and says that since this is her area of expertise, she assures Jo that it's normal to be jealous of step-siblings and worry that there will be less love from the parent to go around. Jo bristles at the idea of her out-of-whack emotions being considered normal - just as the looming, slouchy form of Papa Polniazcek appears in the doorway.
Jo snaps at her father to get out - but Blair argues that it's her room too and he's welcome to stay...but then beats a hasty retreat with Mrs. Garrett. Papa Polniazcek admonishes Jo for acting like such a childish dickwad in lieu of discussing the matter like an adult. Jo snarkishly retorts that it looked like he and Mama Polniazcek were acting all close and cozy this weekend, and Papa Polniazcek concurs and says they've become friends...and that it's no small thing 'cause it took a long time for both of them to get there. When Jo urges him to give their friendship a chance to re-blossom into what would no doubt become an ill-fated remarriage, Papa Polniazcek tells her that the reasons they got divorced haven't changed. Jo tears up and says that when the three of them were hanging out this weekend it felt like they were a family again...and Papa Polniazcek firmly says that while he loves the two of them, they'll never be a family again. Jo weeps as she and her pops position themselves in the 'TV tropey' way that no one in real life ever does: she faces the camera with her face scrunched in distress, while a concerned Papa Polniazcek stands uselessly behind her.
Recap: Jo is going over the books for Edna's Edibles and remarks on how sucky business has been lately. Mrs. Garrett chalks up the lagging sales to a temporary lull, but Jo tells her that if she wants to stay in business, they're going to have to take more of a "no frills" approach to their expenses. The two head over to the residence part of the building, where Natalie is pecking away on a computer. Jo snarls that the computer, which costs $160 per month to rent, is going to have to go...and I would strongly concur, 'cause assuming they don't have some kind of "rent to own" arrangement, that is a colossally stupid waste of cash. Natalie looks aghast at the idea of getting rid of the computer she affectionately nicknamed Dirk, and Mrs. Garrett informs Jo that the store's entire bookkeeping system and recipe collection is now stored in the machine. Jo backs off of her no frills mandate, but warns that "Dirk dies" if business doesn't pick up by next week.
Kelly (the faux street tough from the previous episode) pops by with a stack of newspapers and tells Jo she got herself a paper route. She asks Jo if she's proud of her, but instead of throwing Miss Needy a bone, Jo rolls her eyes and dickishly snaps, "Beat it." Kelly retorts that she heard Edna's Edibles is "dead" ever since Pete's Deli (down the block) got into the gourmet edibles business. Apparently, Pete's general MO in maintaining a monopoly in the neighborhood is to target new Peekskill businesses by copying their products and underselling them. Sounds like a cunty douchebag, this Pete. Mrs. Garrett urges everyone to dial down the panic and reminds them that they still have a wedding to cater this weekend. Jo snarlingly says she'd like to march over to Pete's Deli and utter her usual empty-type threats, but Mrs. Garrett reminds her that threats of violence are not the answer - not least 'cause it's stupid and illegal to do that - and admits that she was probably getting complacent by relying too much on her personal charm. Er, OK..? She decides that what Edna's Edibles needs is a "dynamic new taste thrill" in the form of her famous Wisconsin cheese puffs! After she rushes off to the kitchen to find a block of cheddar to start grating, Jo tells Tootie and Blair they're going to have to figure out what Pete's next move is so they can stop him. Tootie squeals, "Garbology!" and explains that it's the practice of sifting through one's garbage in order to learn everything they can about the person. Blair makes an ew face and says she has a more sanitary idea, then grins seductively and coos, "Pete is a man, isn't he?" and brags that she merely has to bat her eyes and fluff her hair in order to reduce him to silly putty.
Blair enters Pete's Deli, and we get our first look at Pete: a portly middle-aged man decked out in unsightly overalls with a plaid flannel shirt underneath, and who's acting ickily schmoozy with the female customers. When one of the customers recognizes Blair from Edna's Edibles, Pete waltzes over and lays on the schmaltz. Blair informs him that they're competing in the same gourmet foods market, so he sharply retorts that ever since Edna started peddling bratwurst, she crossed the line into "deli country". Blair offers to stop the sale of bratwurst if he agrees to stop selling croissants - but Pete nixes that idea since they're now also competing as caterers. Blair suggests divvying up the catering jobs, then stupidly gives him the details of the wedding Edna's Edibles is catering this weekend. Pete stares contemplatively into space, says, "We have a deal" ... and after Blair exits the deli, he immediately gets on the phone with the father of the bride and asks whassup with him hiring Edna's Edibles to cook the wedding feast. He orders him to dump Edna asap and hire Pete's Deli, then lays a guilt trip on him about the time he once pulled him out of a burning truck.
Mrs. Garrett is miffed and bewildered when her catering job abruptly gets cancelled. Jo snappishly wonders aloud how in blazes Pete found out about the gig...and a sheepish Blair admits that the details somehow slipped past her loose lips while she was at the deli earlier. Mrs. Garrett vows to fight back in the only way she knows how: by working on her batch of tasty cheese puffs. Blair, meanwhile, says she's going to go back to Pete's Deli, incognito, so she can spy on the yokel's every move. Sounds like a less than productive use of her time, but OK.
A stenchy Tootie announces that she's been sifting through Pete's garbage...but a few seconds later, an excited Natalie bursts into the room and says she has something to show them on the computer. When they rush over to where Dirk is set up, Natalie says she managed to hack into Pete's computer so she could view his data...which kinda stretches the boundaries of credulity even for this show, since I'm pretty sure the relic she's using is an un-networked computer not equipped with a modem, it being 1983 and all. Tootie chides her for invading Pete's privacy, and Natalie wryly counters that she just snooped through the guy's garbage. She then gabbles about how Pete's computer data includes his orders and recipes, and that she's able to change his records quite easily. Jo perks up and asks her if they can do stuff like screw up his orders and alter the recipes, and Natalie grins conspiratorially and replies, "Piece of cake." A disapproving Tootie reminds them that computer tampering over a non-existent network is against the law - but Jo ignores her, seats herself in front of the computer, and asks Natalie which keys she has to tap in order to best screw with Pete's data.
Natalie gets wigged out when Jo completely messes up Pete's financial records - just as Ms. Garrett shriekingly enters the room with the plate of cheese puffs she just whipped up. She asks them what they're doing on the computer, and they do their best to not look guilty and breezily tell her they're just playing a computer game. After Mrs. Garrett returns to the kitchen, Natalie is horrified when she realizes that Jo has inadvertently erased all of Joe's data. Yeesh. I hope for his sake it's all backed up on a floppy somewhere.
Business at Edna's Edibles has picked up, and one of the guests who attended the wedding Pete's Deli catered tells Mrs. Garrett that the food was terrible. Larry Wilmore makes his second appearance on Facts of Life as Officer Ziaukus to deliver a summons to Mrs. Garrett for computer tampering. Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face confusedly and is all, "Wha-a-a?" ... and once Larry Wilmore exits the shop and is safely out of earshot, Natalie sheepishly explains that they accidentally tampered with Pete's data and somehow wiped everything out. Mrs. Garrett stares at them, aghast, and shrieks, "What you did was a crime!!" and says she's off to Pete's Deli to beg Pete to drop the charges.
Mrs. Garrett arrives at Pete's Deli (along with Jo) and introduces herself to Pete. He snarks about how they'll soon be meeting in the police station, points across the room at Blair - who's donning a black wig and a Morticia outfit in a less-than-covert spy mission - and starts to irritably shoo them out of his store. As he's doing that, Natalie and Tootie burst into the deli with the news that Tootie discovered something incriminating in Pete's garbage: copies of all of Mrs. Garrett's recipes. Apparently, this is solid proof that Pete has been using his computer to break into their computer for weeks...'cause, yep, it's totally plausible that a yokelly hillbilly who doesn't look as though he could find a computer's on switch is actually a pre-Internet era hacking genius. Pete hangs his head shamefully and tells Mrs. Garrett he'd like to avoid being counter-sued for computer tampering and hopes they can settle the matter amicably.
Mrs. Garrett mocks Pete's phony southern accent, tells him she doesn't give a rat's ass if he wants to unveil his new line of Tennessee cheese puffs in direct competition to her new line of Wisconsin cheese puffs, and smugly says the customers will always be drawn to the best quality food. Pete argues that she's going to end up the loser in this tedious 'gourmet edibles war'...and the episode ends with the two of them bickering like an old married couple. Weird.