Recap: Tootie is teaching the other Facts gals [while George Clooney, who I guess has nothing better to do, observes] how to log their sales into the store's fancy new 32-bit microprocessing computer...and their eyes start to glaze over when she recites the different codes for the various inventory items. Mrs. Garrett spacily wanders in and shrieks about all the confusing Russian literature she's been studying for her upcoming college midterm, then spacily wanders back out - just as Andy Moffett bursts into the store and informs the Facts gals that Teen Scene magazine is hosting a big contest for female singers who will vie for the grand prize of singing backup for El DeBarge. LOL. The gals are all blech and come right out and tell him how disinterested they are in the prospect of singing backup for a soon-to-be washout, then asks him why he cares so much about this. Andy gets a dreamy look on his face and says he's a HUGE El DeBarge fan and is under the illusion that if he gets to meet the musician, they'll immediately hit it off, hang out, and become lifelong friends. Despite the glaring age gap between them. As the Facts gals chuckle at their young friend's earnestness, Tootie says she's been there...and by there she means the total horse's ass she made of herself when she was obsessed with Jermaine Jackson and snuck into his dressing room after a concert in Season 3. (LOL...that was a damn hilarious episode.) She points out that even though they met, they never became friends or started hanging out. Jo explains to Andy that they're past the age of wanting to waste their time gushing over celebrities, and Natalie concurs and says that even a halfwit like Tootie finally grew up and quit whatever fan clubs she had enrolled herself in.
As the Facts gals work on the store's inventory of crap, Blair demonstrates a newly developed flair for memorizing the coding system. Mrs. Garrett shuffles downstairs again to shriek about how tortured she continues to be about her upcoming midterm, so the gals urge her to hang in there and cheer, "Ed-na! Ed-na! Ed-na!" before she heads back upstairs to re-immerse herself in Dostoevsky.
Andy excitedly informs the Facts gals that they made it to the semi-finals of the El DeBarge contest, and they're all, "Wuh?" and remark on how surprising that is, given that none of them recalls entering. Andy explains that he took it upon himself to write an essay on their behalf in fluorescent lipstick on one of El DeBarge's albums, then had it hand delivered to the contest coordinator by an exotic dancer. As Jo and Blair stare bewilderedly into space, Tootie says she admires his initiative and kinda likes the idea of unwittingly having made it into the semi-finals of an El DeBarge backup singer contest. Andy says that the next step will be to make a demo tape...and as the gals mull that over, they start to look into the idea of rubbing elbows with the '80s superstar.
The Facts gals (plus Andy and George) put their heads together to come up with the perfect song for the demo tape. Andy suggests something sexy with a lot of moaning (!), and after that awkward joke falls flat on the studio audience, Natalie starts croooning My Boyfriend's Back, and everyone gets into it and belts out the lyrics.
A few days later, Andy breezes into the store and announces to the gals that they somehow stumbled into the finals...and everyone woots and giddily jumps up and down at the implausible development. Mrs. Garrett ambles into the store at that moment and assumes that all the cheering is in celebration of her Russian literature midterm finally being over.
The Facts gals arrive at the recording studio with Andy filming their grand entrance for some kind of behind-the-scenes footage he's cobbling together. George Clooney scopes out the competition and tells the gals that apart from a talented looking Motown group from Detroit that calls itself Commotion, the other bands are pretty lightweight...and he says this as though he's not looking at the lightweightest impromptu band in the history of '80s sitcoms. Natalie and Tootie decide that it's refreshing to be wholesome - until they see a trio of prim girls decked out in sweater vests and bowties, prompting Natalie to wryly acknowledge, "Well, wholesome's taken." The lead Commotion singer asks Tootie and Natalie if there's a cigarette machine anywhere and says she's asking them 'cause she assumes they work at the studio...then laughs hysterically when the two inform her that they're here to audition.
Barry Egan introduces himself to the Facts gals as the Teen Scene contest coordinator and fake modestly informs them that he's somewhat of a legend in the DJ universe. As part of the interview portion of the contest, he asks the four why they want to sing with El DeBarge...and as Jo, Blair, and Natalie just stare blankly into space while they ponder the grand prize, Tootie jumps in and natters about how music is a common language that brings people together.
Later, Barry narrows the contestants to three finalists, including the band Sexy Lingerie...and as Andy squeals excitedly, he explains to the confused Facts gals that he named their band Sexy Lingerie [and somehow didn't think it was relevant to tell them this detail before now]. They tell him they're humiliated by the misogyny, yet thrilled to be finalists...and Barry informs all of the finalists that the next step will be to lay down a track in the recording studio so that El DeBarge can sweep in and choose which performance is most to his liking.
After the Facts gals perform ridiculously horribly (off camera, fortunately...or unfortunately, depending on how entertaining viewers may have found that type of spectacle), Barry makes a sudden, implausible announcement that one of the bands just broke up due to artistic differences. This means that Commotion is now the gals' only remaining competition.
In the next scene, El DeBarge saunters into the recording studio with his entourage and fan-poof-tastic '80s 'do and bumps into Natalie, who blushes at finding herself in the artist's presence. She introduces herself...and a few seconds later, a gushy looking Tootie rushes over and gigglingly shakes his hand. The lead singer from Commotion sashays over and shamelessly flirts with El, who remarks in the flat kind of way that musicians who have zero acting ability but somehow find themselves guest starring as themselves on TV shows deliver their lines with that he remembers seeing her perform at a club in Detroit. Barry's all, "Wuh?", reminds the scammer that this contest is strictly for amateurs, and promptly disqualifies Commotion, which means that Sexy Lingerie has won by default...an outcome that speaks to the general lameness of the contest.
The Facts gals assemble themselves around a large mic and lightly jig as they croon chorus noises while El DeBarge sings You Wear it Well with Andy filming the performance.
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Recap: Blair is trying to read the latest I loooove you letter from Ben (last seen in Season 6's Gone With the Wind, Part 2 episode ...and I was kinda surprised to hear that that's still going on) while Tootie and Natalie try to sneak a peek. Blair says she worries that Ben, who's living in a remote logging town in Alaska, is becoming slightly less lovey-dovey with each of his letters and worries that eventually she'll be downgraded to pen-pal status. A few seconds later, Jo and George Clooney wander in...and when George hears that Blair's beau is living in Alaska, he cackles about how he recently turned down the opportunity to live in the 49th state 'cause of the large female population. He boasts about needing to get away from the horde of admiring females who'd surely beat down his door, even as Natalie tries to get him to shut up and stop unwittingly torturing Blair.
Mrs. Garrett and her newest friend Fred (aka George Clooney's hardware store owning pa) breeze in and excitedly tell the Facts gals that the two of them just formed Peekskill's newest merchant association. Fred explains that the new mall is taking business away from their stores and that the association is their way of looking out for themselves. When Blair reacts by sighing, Tootie explains that she just received a letter from Ben and is worried about him "playing fast and loose" in Alaska. Jo says she doesn't buy that and looks over the letter for herself, while Mrs. Garrett urges Blair to avoid making any rash decisions. Blair responds by picking up the phone...and as Jo mutters, "This is a bad idea", Blair moans into the receiver, "Mother? I neeeeeeed you."
Monica Warner arrives at the store, gushes about how much she adores the new set, and applauds Blair for coming up with the Over Our Heads idea and designing the whole place herself. When Blair sheepishly looks over at the other Facts gals and says she didn't exactly do everything herself, Jo wryly says that the rest of them contributed by mopping her brow. LOL.
Mrs. Garrett tries to get Fred to "think big" in order to drum up more business for their stores, 'cause it looks like Fred's best idea is to ask customers to guess how many thumbtacks are in a jar in the hopes of winning a power mower. Mrs. Garrett turns around and notices that Monica has arrived, gives her a warm greeting, and introduces her to Fred and George Clooney. Monica says she's getting hungry and suggests she treat everyone to a fancy dinner, and everyone's all, "Hurray!"
Blair shows her mom Ben's letter and tries to get her interested in reading between the lines, but Monica mutters that something big is brewing with her...and by brewing she means she has a bun in her oven. As a stunned Blair's all, "Wha-a-a-a?!", Monica explains that she and her soon-to-be-ex Steven were urged to make every effort to reconcile before formally filing for divorce...so the two decided 'why not hit the sheets without giving a single thought to using birth control?' An aghast Blair stares back at her and asks, "What happens now?" - just as Tootie and Natalie bustle into the room and gabble about how excited they are to go out to an expensive restaurant with someone else picking up the tab.
After dinner, Blair tries to get her mom alone for a heart-to-heart about this latest bombshell - but Monica breezily says they'll talk tomorrow and heads back to her hotel. Jo senses something amiss and asks Blair whassup, so Blair just comes right out and says her mom is preggers by her soon-to-be ex. Natalie and Tootie, who are eavesdropping from the second floor, are all, "Wuh?" and race downstairs to get more dish about the startling impregnation. Blair says she has yet to discuss this more fully with her mom, and that she's pretty sure the full impact hasn't hit her yet.
The next morning, Fred tries to pick Monica's brain for ideas about drumming up more business for his hardware store, and she feigns interest in his life problems and tells him to just advertise more. Mrs. Garrett comes up with the idea of hiring a skywriter, so then she and Fred rush off to go down that stupid rabbit hole together. Blair emerges from her bedroom and tells her mom she's been happily recalling the way she used to pester her for a baby brother or sister so she'd have someone to play hide and seek with. Monica stonily says she's not going through with the pregnancy, and that she pretty much decided this the second she found out about it...and a horrified Blair admonishes her for not thinking this through and storms out of the room.
Late that night, Blair confides in Jo about her mom's soon-to-be terminated pregnancy and whines, "Why did she even tell me about it?" Jo's like, "Prolly 'cause she expected you to understand" and reminds her that this is happening to her mom, not to her. Natalie and Tootie turn their night lights on and chime in with their thoughts on abortion (despite the word abortion being conspicuously absent from the script) ... which prompts Blair to wonder if her mom truly wanted her. Jo assures her that her mom probably, most likely, hopefully wanted a child when she got pregnant all those years ago, then says that whatever she decides now, they'll all get past it - but Blair insists that she can't get past it, on account of how deeply appalled she is that her mom could say 'no life for you' to her unborn child.
The next morning, Mrs. Garrett breakfasts with Monica and tells her that she and Fred decided that a skywriter was too expensive, so they've decided to get someone to fly a banner over Peekskill instead. (It remains unclear why they don't look into more sane ideas, like placing a prominent ad in the local paper, Yellow Pages, or do radio spots.) Monica's like, "Yeah, whatever" and asks Mrs. Garrett what she thinks of her, so Mrs. Garrett calls her gracious, charming, and cultured and that she always seems to say the right thing at the right time. Monica tells her that the compliments [she was just fishing for] are very sweet, but she can't help feeling as though she's wasted her life being little more than a vapid shell of a trophy wife for an embarrassingly long parade of rich husbands. Mrs. Garrett half-heartedly wanks her about being a great mom to Blair, but Monica ruefully points out that she (Mrs. Garrett) had a huge role in raising Blair, and apologizes for never properly thanking her for taking on the parental responsibilities that she so dickishly fobbed off by parking her kid at Eastland for so many years. A few seconds later, Fred and George Clooney drop by to celebrate the imminent banner fly-by with a bottle of champagne.
Blair implores her mom to give her fetus a chance, but Monica points out that she's forty-two years old, is worried about the complications that could arise with the pregnancy, and enjoys the freedom she currently has in her life. Blair assures her that she won't have any complications (which seems overly optimistic considering her mom's age), then suggests that the baby be given to her to raise. Monica stares back at her in horror and cries, "Absolutely not!" and rightly points out that doing so would be an even bigger failure than the horrendous way she neglected her existing spawn. That said, Monica acknowledges that when the doctor first informed her she was knocked up, her first emotion was one of pure joy...but the pure joy quickly faded when she thought about her advanced age and pooched marriage. She tells Blair that she couldn't imagine life without her, then stares contemplatively into space for several seconds and remarks on how great it is that there's so much attractive maternity-wear these days. Blair's face lights up, and the two hug - just as the rest of the Facts gang (plus Fred and George Clooney) rush outside to catch the fly-by banner. Blair decides to call Ben so she can coo about how much she misses him, and also share the exciting news about her future sibling.
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Recap: Over Our Heads is bustling with customers interested in buying the latest dollar store crap, along with Langley College paraphernalia. A freshman who's decked out in a Langley sweatshirt and baseball cap is desperate to buy a Langley jacket to complete the ensemble, but Blair informs him that they aren't in stock yet.
Natalie breezes in after working at whatever factory she was assigned to that day and excitedly announces that she just got her pay check from the temp agency. Tootie clucks disapprovingly and warns Natalie that she's running herself ragged temping in grunt level jobs, working regular shifts at Over Our Heads, and going out with Denny (her dimwitted new boyfriend) every night. Natalie shrugs unconcernedly and says she looooooves being super busy...and a few seconds later, George Clooney drops by to offer the viewers some eye candy and pick up his latest instalment of The Kuwaiti Times.
Denny drops by the store to say hey to Natalie and show her the new beefcake calendar he and the other Langley swim team members are featured in. He tells her that the Langley bookstore refuses to sell them 'cause apparently it's too risqué for the school's image...and Natalie perks up at that and ogles it before passing it around to the other Facts gals. George Clooney, meanwhile, stares over at Denny all judgey-like and asks him how he can expose his body like it's a hunk of beef...and Denny vacantly replies, "I'm saving the whales", mumbles that he loves the fellow mammals, then explains that the proceeds from the calendar sales are going to a nonprofit organization that's dedicated to whales. He asks Natalie if she'd be willing to sell the calendars in Over Our Heads, and she's like, "No problem!" ... and the other Facts gals say they too are on board with that and assume that Mrs. Garrett won't mind peddling a little beefcake.
Andy's on the phone, attempting to score a supply of Langley College jackets for the store. Eventually, Mrs. Garrett tires of listening to his side of the ridiculous conversation and grabs the phone out of his hand so she can beg the vendor for a rush on the next shipment...and when she grabs the nearest calendar to look at the quickest shipping date, she's startled by the accompanying photograph of the half naked swim team member. When she's finished with the phone call, she holds up the calendar and asks what in blazes this is, so the Facts gals tell her it's the Langley College Swim Team Calendar, the proceeds of which are going to some Save the Whales charity. A few seconds later, Natalie bursts into the store and shows off the nose plug Denny gave her to wear around her neck - in lieu of a promise ring, I guess - and as the other Facts gals are all, "Ew! Gross!", Mrs. Garrett says it was actually kind of a sweet gesture on the dimwit's part.
George Clooney grumbles that he was just on a date...and when he showed the woman one of the calendars, she quickly lost interest in him and became openly fixated with the half naked men featured in the calendar. Jo chuckles as she asks if his ego was bruised, then points out that men have been objectifying women for years. Natalie says she's positively gleeful about dating a pinup guy whose buff near naked body is on display for all to see - but Blair points out that, muscles aside, a vapid muddle-head like Denny isn't exactly every woman's fantasy. She stares dreamily into space and says she's turned on by quiet men who need to be drawn out - which Natalie replies to by chirping, "Like Denny!" - while Jo says that whatever sexy feelings she has for a guy always starts in the eyes - which Natalie replies to by chirping, "Like Denny!" George muzzles her with his hand and remarks on how utterly fascinating it is to hear women talk so openly about men, specifically what turns them on.
Denny is signing calendars for a group of smitten young women while Natalie hovers over him and makes certain the admirers know that he's her man.
Kate Andrews, a Langley College board member and old friend of Mrs. Garrett's enters the store and takes Mrs. Garrett up on her invitation to have a coffee in the Cookie Corner. Kate informs her that she mostly dropped by to express her prudish dismay at her decision to sell the beefcake calendar in Over Our Heads, which the board has snootily deemed too indecent to carry in the college bookstore. Mrs. Garrett argues that the calendars seem to have been done in reasonably good taste, then summons Natalie over to ask her if she knew that the college bookstore was refusing to sell them. Natalie stammers nonsensically for a few seconds before fully admitting that, yep, she absolutely did know, then points out that it's fairly irrelevant, given that Over Our Heads isn't formally affiliated with the college. Kate decides she doesn't want any store selling that trash and tells Mrs. Garrett she'd appreciate it if she pulled the calendar...and when a visibly irked Natalie goes, "Or what?", Kate threatens to cut off them off from being an outlet for any type of Langley merchandise. Natalie insists that they have the right to sell whatever they want and won't let the college board dictate what they can and can't sell, and Kate haughtily reminds them that they won't have much of a shop without being able to sell Langley stuff, then leaves in a bitchy huff. It's interesting that the existence of Over Our Heads suddenly depends on the selling of college paraphernalia when it was marketed in the season premiere as a whimsical shop that was the go-to place for pointless gadgets and inflatable nonsense.
Natalie asks Tootie if she and her fella wouldn't mind going on a double-date with her and Denny, then explains that she likes having a buffer between her and her boyfriend now that it's finally dawning on her that he doesn't have the brainpower to hold up his end of any conversation. The freshman from earlier is getting increasingly desperate for a Langley jacket, so a fed up Blair sends him to a non-existent jacket shop down the street just to get him out of her orbit. LOL. Jo tells Natalie that they just sold their last Langley bumper stinker...and says it with an irritated 'are you happy now?' expression. Natalie reminds them that by keeping the calendar on the store's shelves she's defending the First Amendment, but Jo tells her that they're merely trying to keep their crappy little business afloat, and accuses her of denying them the right to veto her right to defend the First Amendment. All this talk of Constitutional Amendments is too much for a visibly overwhelmed Denny, who spacily mutters, "Whoa.." and a dismayed looking Natalie swiftly sends him on his way.
The insane freshman with the jacket obsession returns and calls Blair out on sending him on a wild goose chase. She decides to lie outright and tells him that there are no Langley jackets 'cause the school is changing their official colors to plaid, then hands him an ugly plaid shirt from the nearest rack and implores him to please stay the fuck away from her from now on.
Natalie finds Mrs. Garrett in the storeroom and asks her if they can have a soul-baring one-on-one, and she's all, "Hee! Does the sun rise in the east?" Natalie admits to being a selfish turd when she insisted on selling the risqué calendars without letting everyone know that they were banned from the campus bookstore, and Mrs. Garrett says she couldn't agree more - but then throws her a bone and assures her that Langley needs them to sell their paraphernalia as much as they apparently need to be an unofficial outlet for the stuff. Natalie then makes a second confession: she's dating a mimbo 'cause she looooves the fact that other women are always ogling him. Mrs. Garrett gets a faraway look in her eyes and cackles about how she too once dated a hunk solely because of his hunkiness - but soon realized that she only liked being with with 'cause of how it made people looked at her. And by her she really means her sister 'cause she figured 'why not use my sister's mimbo experience to impart an inessential life lesson to Natalie?'
A new shipment of Langley stock arrives...and George Clooney flirts with a female customer, and is dismayed when she's far more interested in the swimmers featured in the beefcake calendar. I highly doubt that any of them could be hotter than George friggin' Clooney - even considering his fluffy '80s 'do - but OK. When Denny drops by, Natalie steers him into the storeroom and confesses that she's only been into him for his looks - but can no longer overlook his simpleton-ness. When he just stares at her blankly and then gabbles needlessly about how he's expanding his vocabulary by learning one new word each day, she spells out, "We. Need. To. Stop. Dating." When it finally sinks in that he's getting the dumperoo, he applauds her honesty and gives her a goodbye kiss before shuffling dejectedly out of the storeroom.
Farewell, Dimwit Denny. We hardly knew ye.
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Recap: Jo arrives at an elementary school for her first day as a student teacher. The supervising teacher, an old lady named Grace, introduces Jo to the class, aka a group of ultra-hammy tots who tepidly clap while Grace is all, "Good luck, Jo!" and then beats a hasty retreat. LOL. Jo tells the kids that she'll be educating them about the coffee trade in Brazil, and they groan unhappily and do their best to look as unengaged as possible.
When the bell rings at 3:00pm, the kids race out the door - just as Grace pops back into the classroom to ask Jo how her first day went [while she was off lollygagging in the teachers' lounge, I'll assume]. Jo says she feels like she bombed 'cause she wasn't able to hold the kids' interest, but Grace just chuckles and says that if she wasn't pranked or tortured in any real way, she can chalk it up to a good day.
Natalie returns home in a work-suit onesie and gabbles excitedly about her temp job at a dog food factory. Tootie says she remains incredulous that her best friend is choosing to slog it out at horrible manual labor jobs when she could be studying at Princeton - but Natalie says, on the contrary, she looooves all the real life experience she's getting as she mixes with the poorly educated who don't have teeth. Jo arrives home and glumly shares that her first day as a student teacher was a total bust, then notices a letter addressed to her from JTI, aka Jordan Technical Industries. Blair perks up at the mention of JTI, particularly when she learns that they're interested in scheduling a job interview with Jo, who she advises to seriously consider the offer. She wanks Jo about how hard she works and therefore deserves to reap the financial rewards of earning a college degree - but Jo just makes an ew face at the prospect of having a solitary-type job sitting in front of a computer all day and says she'd prefer a more person-to-person type of career. She digs in even after Blair points out that teachers get shitty pay, risk getting laid or knifed...and/or risk getting laid off because they were knifed. Har har.
The next day at school, Jo is trying to teach the kids math...and eventually manages to connect with them when she hands one kid a bunch of one dollar bills and gets them to develop problem-solving skills when they have to stretch their tiny brains to figure out what portion of the cash equals one-third.
At 12pm, Jo enters the teachers' lounge with her Scooby Doo lunchbox to mingle with the faculty. She asks them if they read the latest article in Teacher's Quarterly, and the jaded veterans roll their eyes and are all, "Aren't you adorable for reading professional literature and then expect to discuss it with us during lunch." Jo tells Grace about the letter she got from JTI, and Grace advises her to strongly consider doing anything other than teaching 'cause of the many drawbacks of the profession. When Jo points out that it can't be that bad 'cause she's been doing it for forty years, Grace explains that there wasn't much in the way of career choices for women when she was young...and urges Jo to take full advantage of all that the mid-80s has to offer a female college graduate.
Blair, Natalie, and Mrs. Garrett are helping Jo prepare the cake and cookies for Grace's retirement party. Blair wonders aloud why the school isn't shelling out their own money for the food, then lets out a dramatic sigh and not-so-subtly tells Jo that the school probably doesn't have the budget to give a forty year teaching veteran a decent farewell party. She implores Jo to not be rash about her career choice and to consider how nice it'd be to earn a salary that would allow her to help out her long-suffering mother financially...and Mrs. Garrett chimes in and agrees that teaching is "a hard road" with a lousy salary and a meagre pension. Jo says she's not actively looking to being a part of the working poor her entire life, then stares contemplatively into space as she mulls over the important choice that lays before her.
Jo arrives home and finds the JTI interviewer, Tom, waiting for her on the couch. Interesting that a recruiter at a technology firm conducts job interviews in the form of home visits. Jo tells him she's probably not right for JTI 'cause she's not sure she could adapt to a corporate culture and/or sit alone in front of a computer all day, so Tom assures her that JTI isn't a stuffy kind of place, and that she'd be working with a team of developers to put together educational programs. He says he looooves the fact that she has activist tendencies, along with a whole lot of drive and imagination. A startled Jo asks him if he's offering her a job based on this ninety second conversation, and he's all 'sure, why the hell not?' and says she's welcome to start her employment at JTI immediately after graduation.
Retirement party time! Grace thanks Jo for supplying the cake and cookies for her party, and Jo tells her about the JTI interview and says if she were to take the job she'd be developing educational programs...and that she has to call them back by 3pm if she plans on accepting. Grace looks impressed and says it sounds like a wonderful career opportunity - just as the principal asks for everyone's attention so he can congratulate Grace on somehow managing to slog it through a poverty wage level teaching career for the last forty years.
During class, one of Jo's students is reading aloud his report on World War II...and after the bell rings, the kid stays behind to ask Jo why there's war in the world. She's like, "Uh, that's going to take forever to explain", then anxiously looks over at the clock and sees that it's nearly 3pm. The kid's like, "Oh, OK" before dejectedly shuffling off - but Jo stops him, sits down with him, and starts to explain the concept of war...and by doing so, I can only assume, blows off her followup call with Tom at JTI.
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Recap: The Facts gals (plus Andy) are putting the final touches on the bright and airy new Over Our Heads store, which is scheduled to open in fifteen minutes. Tootie chides Natalie for not wearing her happy face name tag pin and forcibly pins it onto her lapel - just as Mrs. Garrett arrives with her newly repaired Edna's Edibles sign that she wants to display in her Cookie Corner. Blair announces to everyone that she's eagerly awaiting a shipment from Tina Turner's clothing line, and Mrs. Garrett calms her nerves by taking a tour of the small shop, which includes..
George Clooney drops by to see if the gals need any help, and Natalie hands him a giant stack of flyers and orders him to hand them out to passersby. George responds by railing about how much he hates it when people put flyers on his windshield, and Natalie's like, "I really don't give a shit, George. Go hand out the flyers."
A weird looking guy decked out in a black bodysuit and dark sunglasses enters the store, and Natalie giddily explains to Mrs. Garrett and the Facts gals that his name is Otto, and that she hired him from an avant-garde gallery in SOHO to needlessly create performance art during their grand opening week. Tootie announces that they're officially ready to open and asks Mrs. Garrett, who's staring over at Otto dismayingly, if she has anything profound to say in order to mark the occasion. When Mrs. Garrett surprisingly declines, Tootie natters about the journey on which they're about to embark...and as she's doing that, ignores a man [whose name we learn is Clark and] who's standing outside their door waving a dollar bill. When she finally allows him to enter, he says he needs change - LOL - but hastily adds that he'd be more than happy to be their first customer by buying a fugly plastic doll for his granddaughter.
As the day progresses, Blair happily grumbles that her many customers are running her ragged, while Mrs. Garrett is visibly vexed by Otto's loud balloon popping. Two old ladies shuffle in and ask Mrs. Garrett if she has any quiche available...then quickly get disinterested when they're told that the store is no longer Edna's Edibles. Mrs. Garrett urges them to try her chocolate chip cookies - just as Clark returns to report that the fugly plastic doll he just bought is missing an arm. Seems like something someone would have noticed at the point of sale, but OK. Tootie lets him pick out another doll before sending him on his way, while the old ladies try to figure out what in the heck the bendable red squiggly thing in Jo's section is.
Tootie notices a well dressed man enter their store and head straight for the Tina Turner outfits. When she asks if she can help him, he flashes his badge at her and says he's with the New York Department of Investigations. He informs her that there's a problem with the clothing items 'cause apparently Tina Turner never authorized a clothing line. He asks for the bill of sale, which Blair promptly produces, sees that Mrs. Garrett's name is on the receipt, and brusquely tells her he's going to have to haul her downtown for questioning.
The Facts gals sit around, looking bummed, as they worry about what Mrs. Garrett could be enduring right now. Otto, meanwhile, is busying himself by hanging up clothing on a clothesline and reciting bizarre poetry...and Natalie finally admits that, yep, his schtick is total bullshit. Clark returns to complain that doll #2 is missing an eye...and as Tootie wails, "How does this keep happening?!", Natalie stress tests a new one by slamming it atop the counter several times before handing it to Clark. LOL.
Mrs. Garrett returns, says the cops let her off with a warning, but then slapped her with an unpaid parking ticket (courtesy of Jo's negligence). She then tells the gals she's very uncomfortable in this all-over-the-place type store and thinks they should sell it asap. She adds that the store is far too weird for her and that she has a feeling it's not going to be successful...and as she spacily wanders out of the room, Jo concedes that trying to make a go of an ill-thought-out shitty dollar store was always going to be a risky venture.
The gals shift their grand opening to a going-out-of-business sale, and George Clooney ushers people in off the streets and bellows at them through a blow horn to buy dollar store type crap that no one could possibly need. The two old ladies from earlier return to tell Mrs. Garrett that her cookies were the best cookies they'd ever eaten, and Jo wryly tells Tootie that so far they've made a $500 profit, which proves that they're clearly amazing at shutting down the very business they launched that morning.
A real estate agent breezes into the store and cheekily offers Mrs. Garrett 50% of what she paid for the property, then condescendingly says that she and her gals clearly got in over their heads (har har!), seeing as how the store is opening and closing on the same day. Jo admonishes him for trying to rip them off [and by them she means Mrs. Garrett's son Raymond, the actual owner of the building], and Mrs. Garrett suddenly decides she's not really ready to throw in the towel on the new business after all. When a customer holds up the bendable red squiggly thing and asks what in blazes it is, Mrs. Garrett decides it's a planter [that can't actually hold soil], and the customer looks delighted and is all, "Sold!" Jo remarks on the sudden twinkle in Mrs. Garrett's eye, which everyone translates to mean that Over Our Heads will be the glue that keeps them all living under the same roof for the foreseeable future.
Recap: Mrs. Garrett and the Facts gals are gabbling about how thrilled they are to get the residence part of the set back to normal post-fire, and then discuss hiring a contractor to fix up the shop part of the set. Mrs. Garrett says they should look for someone who's hardworking, reliable, and cheap...and in the next scene, she's interviewing a series of prospective contractors:
Natalie suggests they call the new store Razzle Dazzle, but no one else likes the sound of that. A few seconds later, a lanky young George Clooney (!) ambles into the room, informs the cast that there's a gaping hole in their charred store, and asks if his newspaper got delivered here by mistake. Tootie sorts through the mail and finds The Kuwaiti Times, and everyone's all, "Wha-a-a-at were you doing in Kuwait?" George explains that he was contracted to build hot tubs for Kuwaiti homes, 'cause apparently "a fella needs to relax when he comes home to his wives". Tootie perks up at that and asks him if he'd be able to rebuild their charred store, and he offers to go take a closer look. Once he's out of earshot, Natalie gushes about how positively adorable he is, while Jo grumbles that he's been out of the U.S. for too long, and that in the Middle East people do strange things like burn dung to heat their homes. Blair says they'll overcome that non-existent-in-America issue by nicely asking him to not bring dung into their store, and the five agree to hire the cutie. When George re-enters the room, he announces that he can do the job for 15K, and adds that he has lots of experience with tools from working at his dad's local hardware store. As Mrs. Garrett and the Facts gals confer, Jo expresses concern that George seems like the irresponsible type, while Tootie says she likes the cut of his jib and Mrs. Garrett really likes the low price tag. Jo reluctantly agrees to give him a shot, and Mrs. Garrett tells George he's officially hired.
While renovating, Natalie asks George why he left Kuwait, so he tells her he got deported after he unveiled a veiled woman he'd been flirting with 'cause he was dying to see what she looked like. Unfortunately, her mother witnessed the cheeky unveiling, reported George to the police, and he was promptly deported by the Kuwaiti government. As Natalie cackles with delight at George's complete lack of cultural sensitivity or awareness, Mrs. Garrett enters the job site and scrunches her face disapprovingly as she expresses disappointment that the flooring hasn't been installed yet. George just shrugs haplessly and says, "I'm working on it."
Blair bursts onto the job site and asks Tootie, Natalie, and George if they'd like to go to a baseball game with her this afternoon. George declines 'cause he's too busy working - but Tootie and Natalie egg him on to blow off the renovation and assure him that Mrs. Garrett is very loose about such matters. George decides 'sure, what could possibly go wrong with me ditching work for the entire afternoon?' and heads out with the gals...and a few seconds later, Mrs. Garrett reappears clutching a blueprint and is perplexed by the abandoned job site.
Late that night, George, Tootie, Natalie, and Blair are back on the job site, drilling and hammering away. Jo enters the room and says she's annoyed by all the racket, so George explains that he's making up for lost time after deciding it was a good idea to spend the afternoon at the ballpark instead of working on the renovation like he was hired to do. Mrs. Garrett ambles into the room and also complains about all the drilling, then grumbles about the slow progress. When a pizza delivery guy arrives, an irked Mrs. Garrett decides that that's the last straw and tells George she's not willing to wait any longer than necessary for the work to get done, then abruptly fires him. As Tootie, Natalie, and Blair are all, "Wha-a-a-a?!", George says he's A-OK about being let go, amiably says, "It's the way Mrs. Garrett wants it", and casually saunters off-set. LOL.
Blair, Natalie, and Tootie complain to Mrs. Garrett about not being consulted about the decision to fire George, so Mrs. Garrett points out that she was repeatedly ignored whenever she expressed concern about George's ineptitude. She concedes that, sure, George is a nice guy, dreamy as hell, and a ton of fun - but she hired him to do a job. Jo concurs and says he simply wasn't responsible enough for the job. Mrs. Garrett reminds the Facts gals that they're businesswomen now and that they need to focus on finding a replacement...and in the next scene, the slovenly Zeke Higgins is lumbering around the job site, finishing up the renovation.
Tootie glares at Zeke, who keeps yelling at her for operating the drill, and rails about George's firing. Natalie nods sympathetically and asks if anyone's heard from him, so Jo breezily says he's probably working in his dad's hardware store. Mrs. Garrett says she stopped by there and learned that he's not an employee, then admits that she may have acted too hastily when she fired him - just as Zeke announces that he's going to need another 1K to finish the renovation. When Mrs. Garrett shrieks, "But I don't haaaaaaave another thousand dollars!", Tootie looks over at Natalie and reminds her of the value of her Europe plane ticket, so Natalie offers to cash it in as long as she can get repaid in time to catch the running of the bulls in Spain. Mrs. Garrett thanks her and promises to pay her back asap...and then Blair brings in the mail, which includes George's Kuwaiti Times. Everyone stares sadly into space.
Jo finds George lunching in a local restaurant and explains that she stopped by his dad's hardware store, and he directed her here. She sheepishly admits she may have inadvertently [or a tad deliberately] gotten him fired, then explains that she distrusted him 'cause she worried his easygoing manner wasn't the best trait in a contractor, given that Mrs. Garrett has her entire life savings tied up in the store. She adds that she's a self-appointed watchdog 'cause none of the other Facts gals are ever willing to take on that role, and George says he totally understands being fired and admits to slacking off on the job. Jo tells him they hired Zeke Higgins to finish up the work, then invites him to drop by the store sometime and check it out.
Blair says she wants the name of the new store to apply to their current situation, then joins the rest of the staff in the ceremonial hammering of the last nail. Blair suddenly blurts out, "Over Our Heads!", and everyone concurs that they're indeed over their heads, and that they each loooove the idea of adopting that phrase as the store's new name. A few seconds later, George drops by to pick up his newspaper, and Mrs. Garrett tells him she hopes he won't get the incorrect delivery address fixed 'cause she kind of likes the idea of him regularly dropping by. She then invites him to join in the ceremonial nail hammering, but his hammer strike ends up bending the nail. He smilingly says, "No wonder you fired me", and everyone chortles in benign amusement at the show's welcome new eye candy.
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Recap: Tootie is aboard a Peekskill-bound train, nattering to the man who had the misfortune of sitting next to her that she's worried her friends will miss the train. The man's like, "That's too bad, I really don't give a shit" just as Blair and Jo rush aboard...and then Natalie a few seconds after that. The four hug hello and welcome each other to mark the premiere episode of the show's seventh (%#@*!!) season and gabble about what they did all summer. Jo says she spent the summer mentoring kids at a camp, which gets an eye roll and voice-overed grumbling from Blair about the do-gooder drivel she's always spewing...and then Blair says she shopped all summer, which gets an eye roll and voice-overed grumbling from Jo about the level of shallowness it would have to take for a person to do nothing but shop for two solid months. Natalie says she got a job earning $6.50 an hour and managed to save up a bundle for her trip to Europe...which, for some reason, irks Tootie, who tries to draw everyone's attention to her poof-tastic new '80s mulleted hairdo.
The Fact gals arrive at the Edna's Edibles set and are stunned to find it a charred mess. Mrs. Garrett enters the scene with an insurance agent in tow and explains that the kitchen mysteriously went up in flames yesterday while she was out running errands, and thankfully no one was hurt. She assures them that all of their ruined belongings are covered by insurance...and the insurance agent concurs, but only as long as everyone has a receipt for every single item that got lost or damaged. Um, OK. Interesting policy for an insurance company. As the gals rush upstairs to survey the damage to their communal bedroom, Mrs. Garrett stands in the middle of the burned wreckage and tears up as she moans, "My beautiful, beautiful shop."
The gals look over the extensive smoke and water damage to their belongings. Tootie refuses to let the fire dampen her spirits and brims with positivity when she declares that they'll simply start fresh this season. Andy Moffett drops by to comfort the gals with a group hug and help them make a list of everything that was ruined in the fire. Tootie insists that the bedroom is livable despite the soaking wet mattresses - but Blair's like, "Uh, no" and says she's off to live at the Hyatt until further notice, while Jo says she'll find someone to bunk with at the dorm. When Natalie reminds everyone that she's just about to leave for Europe, a panicked Tootie insists that, if they all put their heads together, they can figure out how the four of them can continue living under the same roof and under Mrs. Garrett's general supervision despite the fact that they're all fully grown women who might want to consider moving the fuck on with their lives. Blair points out that they've lived together for the last six seasons [and that there's a good chance the producers fished The Fact of Life lake dry by around the end of the fourth season] - but an appalled Tootie just gasps in horror at the prospect of ever living apart from her besties. Jo looks bemused by her reaction and says, "It's not like we planned on living together for the rest of our lives", and Tootie shoots her a say what? look and replies, "That's the first I've heard of it."
Mrs. Garrett ambles into the room and says she's not sure she even wants to get Edna's Edibles up and running again 'cause of how tired she got of constantly baking. She says she'd much rather use her insurance money to go back to school or travel the world, then feebly assures them that somehow everything will all be OK. Once she and Andy are out of earshot, Tootie tells the other gals she thinks Mrs. Garrett is lying for their sakes and that she actually wants to bring back Edna's Edibles - but Jo, Blair, and Natalie argue that Mrs. Garrett doesn't tend to lie about life decisions.
The next day, Tootie and Natalie return from a Manhattan shopping spree with bags of stuff - just as Mrs. Garrett hands everyone their checks from the insurance company. Natalie explains that she and Tootie went to the big city to find out what was "hot", then pulls out a hamburger lamp and an unsightly Diana Ross clothing hanger. As Jo, Blair, and Mrs. Garrett are all, "What the hell kind of useless shit is this?", Tootie and Natalie urge them to open their minds to starting a new business selling eclectic crap [in other words: a shitty dollar store]. Mrs. Garrett shrieks, "I don't want another business!", so Tootie explains that each cast member would get her own department: Blair would be in charge of fashion, Jo would be in charge of things like keychains featuring The Clapper technology, and Mrs. Garrett would operate a tiny cookie corner. Mrs. Garrett says she doesn't have the money to rebuild - but Tootie points out that they'll have enough cash if they pool their insurance checks together. Blair mulls that over for a few seconds and says she's definitely interested...and Mrs. Garrett stares contemplatively into space for a few seconds before saying they're going to have to find a contractor who can fix up the place and work cheap. She decrees that the new business will be an equal partnership among the five of them, then suddenly looks excited by the adventure that lies ahead. She chatters about being on the verge of a new era, which gets eye rolls and voice-overed grumblings from the Facts gals, who complain about how much the shrieky old woman tends to drone on and on.
Recap: An Eastland alumni named Beth McNeil is interviewing Eastland students and other alumni for a book she's writing about the boarding school. She kicks off this plot-free season finale with her first of five humdrum one-on-one interviews:
Tootie gabbles about her dream of becoming an actress, and how determined she is to beat the odds and make it in showbiz. She tells Beth that Natalie is her BFF, and that she's also very close to Jo and Blair [in the same way that hamsters become friends when they're put in the same cage] ... and that Mrs. Garrett has been a mother, friend, and guardian to all of them. She predicts that in ten years they'll all still be friends and/or still living together (as they wrap up Season 16, aka the year Beverly Ann's second cousin arrived in Peekskill to take over the Facts gals' house mothering responsibilities).
Natalie tells Beth she's considering a career in journalism, fiction writing, or politics - then gets interrupted by Tootie, who briefly halts the interview to pull a cluster of leaves out of her friend's hair. Natalie irritably shoos her away, then tells Beth that Eastland has given her a strong sense of herself, and that she's fairly confident she's going to be A-OK out in the world...and by world, she means the roof she's going to be living under along with the other three Facts gals - a dynamic the writers experimented with in Season 2 and have zero interest in shaking up [beyond adding superfluous characters like Kelly, Andy, or George Clooney to the mix].
Blair fluffs her hair and strikes a flirty pose for the camera....then quickly deflates when Beth tells her that this video footage is strictly for her reference while she writes her book. Blair talks about the difference in relationships in high school versus college, namely that there's pressure in college to take relationships further. She recaps her brief engagement to Cliff, who she dumped soon after he went to med school. She describes herself as wonderful, waxes on about how much she loooooves the traditions of Eastland...and how turned on she is by Jo's street smarts and prickly confidence.
Jo is rushing around campus, as Beth and her cameraman race to keep up with her. Jo explains that she's super busy 'cause she's involved in so many clubs, and has to work extra hard to keep up her grade point average in order to keep her scholarship. She adds that she's the first person in her underprivileged Bronx family to go to college and is interested in becoming a teacher, despite the shit pay. She says that over the years she's grown close to people she has nothing in common with...and by people she mostly means her most special BFF, Blair.
Beth decides to interview Mrs. Garrett 'cause of how gushingly each of the Facts gals spoke of her. Mrs. Garrett stares dreamily into space and says she loved Eastland the moment she stepped on campus, and that eventually she became an honorary graduate. She tells Beth that in a previous life she entered the Peace Corps and drove a taxi [but interestingly neglects to mention her former job as the Drummond's housekeeper on Diff-rent Strokes]. When she became Eastland's house mother, she made it a point to learn every girl's name and create as cozy an atmosphere as possible...then decided to shake things up by starting her own business and going back to college. She considers the Facts gals her family and feels like the luckiest house mother in the world.
After the interviews, Mrs. Garrett invites the Facts gals out to dinner despite it being a week night and shrieks, "My treat!" They're all, "Yippee!" and grab their coats and head for the door...and Mrs. Garrett helps Blair as she struggles with her coat, then gives her a tender smile.
Recap: Tootie, Jo, and Mrs. Garrett - who's finally returned from her "vacation"! - are refinishing a used bookshelf for Natalie that they plan to fill with a set of encyclopedias and then present to her as a high school graduation gift. A few seconds later, Blair returns home...and when Jo snarls at her for not helping out with the bookshelf, Blair says she would have if she didn't have so much darn studying to do. She adds that Natalie's new bookshelf will look nice in their communal bedroom, and Mrs. Garrett says, "Only if she goes to college here." An alarmed Tootie's all, "Wha-a-a-a-a?!" and asks her if she has the inside scoop on Natalie's future plans, and Mrs. Garrett assures her she doesn't..but that it's unrealistic to expect that they'll all keep living under the same roof together, well into adulthood, under the watchful eye of a house mother (and then later a replacement house mother) who seems to revel in the responsibility of babysitting four grown women for an unfathomable duration of nine fucking seasons.
When Natalie returns home, the rest of the Facts gals throw a blanket over the bookshelf and pretend as if they're all studying together while standing up. Natalie shoots them a suspicious glare before heading into the living room...and once she's out of earshot, the rest of the Facts clan discusses the importance of Natalie selecting Langley as her primary college choice.
Natalie asks Blair and Jo why they're all acting so weird, and Blair responds by talking up the awesomeness of Langley and how it's provided her and Jo with the perfect college experience. Jo gets in on that action and waxes on and on about the fabulousness of the Langley social scene and academics, and Blair "assures" Natalie that they aren't trying to push her into anything...even though the choice to do anything other than enrol as a Langley freshman in the fall would be a disaster of gargantuan proportion.
Natalie strolls around the mall and seats herself on a bench beside an irked looking older man. She chirps hello at him and natters about the movie she just saw...and he grumbles about how his daughter and son-in-law drag him to the damn mall every week 'cause they just assume that he enjoys this type of outing. Natalie nods sympathetically and says that people generally mean well, and that she too has something to tell her friends and family that they're not going to want to hear...namely that she's decided to put off going to college. She says she finds the idea of attending college right after high school depressing, and is considering applying to a school she has no hope of being accepted to, and use that rejection to shut everyone up. The old man urges her to just be honest about her plans, and she mulls that over for a few seconds and agrees that he's probably right. She then thanks him and says that their little chat has given her a fresh perspective on how to best handle her conundrum.
The Facts clan throws Natalie a surprise graduation party at Edna's Edibles...and Blair has invited the best looking A-listers from Langley College's various clubs so they can lay it on thick to Natalie about how it's the best college choice in the entire universe. When someone screeches, "Natalie's coming!", they shut off the lights and hide...then yell, "Surprise!" after Natalie enters the store and turns the lights back on. Natalie says she's thrilled by the surprise party, then glances around and discreetly asks Tootie why they invited so many strangers. Tootie explains that Blair invited a bunch of Langley socialites...and Natalie looks troubled by that, then tells the Facts gals and Mrs. Garrett that she needs to talk to them in private, pronto.
Natalie announces that she's putting off college so she can travel, to which Jo snarks, "Don't be an idiot." Natalie says she made this decision months ago - just as Jo hands her a letter that just came for her from Princeton University. Natalie says she assumes that this is a rejection letter, then is all, "Wha-a-a-a-a?" when she opens it and learns that it's actually an acceptance. As the other gals woot and cheer, Natalie stares despondently into space.
The party breaks up soon after Natalie's no college announcement, and she further explains that she really really wants to put off college so she can take a year off to travel, find out who she is, and be exposed to the real world. When Mrs. Garrett asks her what part of the earth she plans to wander, she dreamily replies, "Wherever the bus takes me...New Mexico...Canada..." Blair looks horrified at the notion of taking a bus anywhere, while Jo rails at her for turning down Princeton. She shrieks, "So many people never get a chance like this!" and disgustedly calls her need for a gap year "a waste" ... and says this as though Natalie's life choices are, in any way, any of her damn business.
When the encyclopedias arrive in the mail, Tootie, Jo, and Blair are annoyed that they're no longer an appropriate graduation gift for Natalie. Jo wonders aloud if they can return them, but Blair says her dad got them on sale and therefore can't get a refund. A few seconds later, Natalie and her mother enter the communal bedroom, and the rest of the Facts gals hastily hide the encyclopedias and rush out to give the two some privacy.
Mama Green tells Natalie she already knows about her decision not to go to college 'cause Jo and Blair spilled the beans to her...which I thought was pretty dickish of them. Natalie explains that she's merely putting off college so she can spend a year traveling and experiencing life. Mama Green asks her how she plans to support herself during this exploration of self discovery, and Natalie's like, "Uh, I just figured you'd pay for it." LOL. Mama Green's like nope and reminds her how important education was to the late Papa Green...and that even though she hates forcing her into anything, she feels so strongly about a year long delay in applying to college that she's willing to withhold any kind of financial support. Natalie moodily stares into space and despondently agrees to throw in the towel on her travel plans.
Graduation Day! Mrs. Garrett is putting a giant bow on the bookshelf filled with encyclopedias when Mama Green arrives for the ceremony. Upstairs, Natalie is dressed in her cap and gown, and gets oohed at by Tootie when she enters the bedroom. Natalie assures her that they won't drift apart after she goes off to Princeton 'cause their friendship is destined to last forever, and Tootie's all, "Phew!" while the two hug.
Natalie goes downstairs to back pedal on her back pedalling about skipping college for a year. She explains to the Facts clan and her mom that she's been stuck in private schools her entire life and needs to take a break from learnin' so she can see which direction she wants to go in...then points out that her fancy Eastland education has prepared her for a world she hasn't even seen. As everyone contorts their faces into bummed out expressions, Natalie tells her mom that she's fully prepared to face the financial consequences of going against her wishes...but her mom says she's reversing her earlier threat to cut her off and now has her full support. She gushes about how proud of her she is, and the two hug.
Mrs. Garrett marvels at Natalie for being all grown up, then shrieks, "How could you dooooo this to meeeee?!" Natalie looks touched and says she's ready to receive her graduation present now...and everyone exchanges uncomfortable glances until Blair explains that it's probably no longer appropriate. When Natalie insists, the gals unveil the bookshelf and encyclopedia set, and Natalie squeals about how much she looooooves it. She says she'll leave it in the communal bedroom for safekeeping, but will take the atlas with her...in case she gets lost while aimlessly wandering around North America.
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Recap: Tootie and Natalie are conducting a "croissant challenge" (with the needless help of Kevin and Andy) to determine if the competing bakery, Croissant My Heart, is serving tastier pastries than Edna's Edibles. Kevin blindfolds Blair and feeds her two croissants, and when she declares them both delicious, Andy chuckles about how the meaningless results of this taste test have been rendered even more meaningless than they'd normally be 'cause he thought it'd be amusing to give her two Edna's Edibles croissants. After Tootie and Natalie bark at him to get lost, Blair assures them that she's a savvy businesswoman with plenty of relevant corporate experience, and that she has no problem going head to head with the competition. When Jo enters the room, the gals tell her about the possible threat that is Croissant My Heart, and Jo says that she and Mrs. Garrett already checked it out and decided that people are still willing to pay for the kind of high quality baked goods that Edna's Edibles offers. When Tootie and Natalie look satisfied with that explanation and imply that they consider Jo to be largely in charge while Mrs. Garrett continues to "vacation" off camera, Blair huffily argues that she should be the one in charge. Jo shrugs disinterestedly and says, "Go for it", while Natalie and Tootie stare worriedly into space...then even more worriedly when Blair imperiously declares that she demands total loyalty and support from her subordinates.
Blair's dad drops by Edna's Edibles and is thrilled when he learns that his daughter has declared herself Interim Overlord of Edna's Edibles. She happily tells him she's super excited about all the changes she plans to implement - but he cautions her to first do a lot listening to the underlings.
Early the next morning, Blair summons Natalie and Tootie to the kitchen to begin their first work day under her regime. She tells them she's been studying the efficiency level at Edna's Edibles and has found it to be sucky to the point of embarrassment...and says this as if her own work performance has had no part in the low functioning of the store. She orders Natalie and Tootie to put on hairnets and then rapidly roll croissant dough so she can time them while blaring kabuki music [the way they do to Japanese workers in one of her father's Tokyo factories]. Natalie and Tootie flail about as they do their best to quickly flatten the dough, but get too flustered to generate anything that's worth baking in the oven.
That evening, Blair sashays into the store and decrees that Edna's Edibles will stay open until 11pm and offer free "bottomless" coffee refills, the way Croissant My Heart does. Jo points out that it's unnecessary to do that 'cause business is fine, and Tootie and Natalie tell Blair they can't work late tonight 'cause they both have dates. Blair reminds them that Mrs. Garrett doesn't permit them to go out on dates during the week and demands that they cancel, and they're all, "Screw you!" and throw their aprons at her before storming out. When Blair stares helplessly at Jo, Jo shrugs disinterestedly and tells her she can't force people to follow her decrees, then breaks the news that she can't work tonight either 'cause she has a student council meeting on campus.
Blair is run off her feet, pouring free coffee refills for customers, when Papa Warner drops by. She breezily explains that she's stretched so thin 'cause she gave the staff the night off...then sheepishly admits that they angrily walked out on her when she got too dictatorial. She explains that she's trying to match the low prices and late hours of service as their main competitor, and Papa Warner scrunches his face concernedly and says he's worried that she's in over her head. He offers to pitch in with some of the baking, but she declines and says she's determined to succeed on her own.
Blair continues to rush around the store serving customers, and gets groped by a college hockey player who's bitter about losing tonight's game. When he and his friend announce that they're going to blow off steam by shooting pucks inside the store, Blair yells at them to leave - just as Andy, Kevin, Tootie, and Natalie enter the store. Kevin attempts to take control of the situation and barks at the hockey players to get out...and when the hockey players puff up their little chests and threaten to punch his lights out, Blair grabs a can of air freshener and threatens them with a scented face spritz if they don't leave immediately. The hockey players are all, "Ack!" and beat a hasty retreat, and Kevin gushingly tells Blair how impressed he is by her handling of the scary situation. Jo enters the store with Papa Warner, who gave her a ride home from Langley, and is pleasantly surprised when she opens the cash register and sees how much extra business Blair brought in by staying open until 11pm. Papa Warner looks impressed and tells Blair he clearly underestimated her businesswoman prowess. She grins and informs him that she's applying for an internship at a design firm that competes with Warner Industries...and he looks momentarily startled by the sassy act of self empowerment before warmly wishing her good luck.