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.
Recap: A young Larry Wilmore makes his television acting debut playing a Facts of Life cop who takes a statement from Mrs. Garrett regarding a graffiti complaint. As he writes up the complaint, he urges Mrs. Garrett to keep her doors locked during non-open hours, then leaves to further study the graffiti that some unknown hoodlum spray painted on the store's exterior. Mrs. Garrett wrings her hands worriedly about who she could possibly have offended [no doubt her obnoxious screechiness had a lot to do with it], and then Tootie wrings her hands about the five of them being defenseless women. Blair suggests hiring an armed guard, while Jo boasts about the street cred she earned from her Bronx upbringing and calls graffiti "small potatoes". Mrs. Garrett disagrees and solemnly says that graffiti scares her to death.
A mullet-haired young girl (whose name we soon learn is Kelly) enters the store, and Jo recognizes her as the shoplifter from the Just My Bill episode and bitchily warns her not to try to steal anything. Mrs. Garrett tut tuts Jo for her crankiness and explains to Kelly that they're a bit on edge 'cause of the scary graffiti situation - but Blair interjects and concurs with Jo's bitchitude and tells Mrs. Garrett that Kelly is a shoplifter who once tried to smuggle out a smoked ham under her coat. Kelly swiftly deflects any talk of her shoplifting by gushing over the shiny lustrousness of Blair's blonde hair, a compliment that receives a giddy response from Blair. LOL. Kelly tells Mrs. Garrett she's pretty sure that the Lords of Discipline [a made up street gang loosely based on what I can only assume is The Lords of Flatbush movie that starred the Fonz] were the ones who left their "calling card" on the wall of her building. She calls them the roughest gang in town and gravely adds, "They rule." She offers to have a word with the gang about their vandalism, and Tootie looks impressed at how "connected" Kelly is and asks her if the dudes in this gang are anything like the street toughs in Michael Jackson's Beat It video. (My guess is yes.) Mrs. Garrett declines Kelly's help and says she'd prefer to leave the matter in the hands of the police - but Kelly insists on getting involved and promises to do her best to smooth things over with the Lords.
Kelly returns to the store the next day to report that she spoke with the Lords of Discipline about leaving Edna's Edibles alone. Apparently, they did not take kindly to the request and reacted by chasing her down the street while shouting threats, and Natalie and Tootie buy her implausible nonsense and are all, "Oooh nooo!!" Kelly digresses and asks them how they all know each other, and Tootie proudly tells her they all met at Eastland...and can't bear the thought of not living under the same roof as their former housemother - even in future seasons: when they're all well into their twenties. Kelly looks impressed at the mention of Eastland, then puts her sad face on and says that her mom can't afford to send her to a fancy school like that 'cause she's been out of work, leaving her and her many siblings to live far below the poverty line. Tootie clucks her sympathy and invites her to the movies with her and Natalie - their treat - and Kelly perks up at the prospect of a fun night out with the girls and eagerly accepts.
Jo enters the store carrying a crumpled garbage can lid, and Blair explains that the Lords of Discipline were the likely culprits. Jo scrunches her face skeptically and says if there were a gang in Peekskill, her "street smarts would be tingling" ... but promises to look into the existence of this pretend gang once she's finished making her deliveries. On her way out, she encounters Kelly entering the store and snidely calls her a smurf...and for whatever reason, Kelly takes great offence to being referred to as an adorable blue cartoon character and directs her disproportionate level of anger towards Blair. She brusquely tells her they have to talk business, identifies herself as one of the gang's "old ladies" (a notable shift from her earlier nonsense), and warns Blair that Edna Edibles' graffiti problems are going to get a whole lot worse unless they start paying her protection money. Blair haughtily calls that extortion...and Kelly turns all menacing and threatens to break every window in the place. When Blair counter-threatens to call the police, Kelly picks up a large jar sitting on the counter and smashes it onto the floor and orders Blair to hand over whatever cash is in the register...and a shaken looking Blair obeys. Kelly warns her that next time she's asked to hand over protection money, she wants her "service with a smile", then smugly exits the store.
Jo returns home a few hours later and boasts about how her "street smarts are humming". She says she got the low-down on the Lords of Discipline...the low-down being that the gang doesn't actually exist. The Facts gals are all, "Wha-a-a-a?" 'cause of how gullible they were to believe Kelly's wild tales, particularly the one about her life of extreme poverty. Blair looks stricken and sheepishly confesses that she handed over $50 from the register to Kelly after she broke a jar and threatened to trash the place. Mrs. Garrett angrily declares that she's reporting the extorting little creep to the police first thing in the morning - but Jo's like, "Easy there, Edna" and says she'll take care of the situation by tracking Kelly down and getting the money back. She starts her search with the local phone book.
Jo is able to easily track Kelly to her parents' fancy apartment...and when Kelly answers the door and is all, "Wha-at are you doing here?!", Jo glances around at the tacky '80s furniture and expensive stereo system, says it's obvious she's not a member of any gang, and that she's going to have to pay back the $50 she intimidated Blair into handing over. When Kelly chuckles at how easy it was to extort money out of Blair, Jo snarls at her to wipe that smirk off her face and rails at her for hassling her friends. Kelly rails back that she only stole the $50 'cause she was so deeply angry about Jo calling her a smurf...and Jo says that in the future, she needs to air such grievances with her directly. Kelly's like, "Whatever" and says she no longer has the cash, so Jo threatens to hang around her fancy digs until she can scrape it together. Kelly's all, "Noooo! My parents are due home any minute!" - but Jo just glares at her with her hand outstretched. Kelly decides the jig is up, so she pulls the money out of her pants pocket and hands it to Jo...and Jo snappishly orders her to stay far away from Edna's Edibles. As she storms out of the apartment, Kelly stares sadly after her.
Mrs. Garrett and the gals are shocked when Jo tells them about the luxury pad Kelly lives in with her parents. A few seconds later, Kelly enters the store...and everyone shoots her the stink-eye and admonishes her for making fools out of them, however effortless it was for a tiny teenager such as herself to pull off. Jo growls that she's no longer welcome at Edna's Edibles...and when Kelly scrunches her face confusedly and goes, "Why not?", Mrs. Garrett gives her a WTF? stare and reminds her that she stole from them, spray painted graffiti on their building, blamed the vandalism on a made up gang, then bullied Blair into handing over $50. Kelly just kind of shrugs and says she likes hanging out at the store 'cause her parents are the workaholic, neglectful types who are always leaving her alone in the apartment. When Mrs. Garrett snaps that her store isn't a home for wayward girls, Kelly promises to abstain from spray painting graffiti, telling whoppers of lies...and that she'll give people a chance to realize that underneath the layers of her wise ass street talk is a misunderstood Jo-like girl with a heart of gold.
Kelly shyly tells Jo she first became aware of her when she saw her working at a motorcycle shop last year, and was impressed by how efficient she was with her tools and how tough she acted with her male counterparts. She gushingly says she really looks up to her and would like her to function as a mannish role model...and Jo gruffly pretends to mull that over before mumbling, "I guess so."
Recap: Tootie and Natalie plead really hard with Jo to tell them where she and Blair are taking Mrs. Garrett for her birthday. Jo snarls in her usual snarly way as she cryptically replies, "It's a place" ... then adds that their plans are a surprise, and if she tells them she's worried that they'll blab it all over town - 'cause, yep, I'm sure Peekskillers have nothing better going on in their lives than to wonder where a screechy middle-aged redheaded woman is going to be celebrating her birthday. When Tootie and Natalie continue to beg, "Pleeeeeeease tell us!", Jo throws in the towel on keeping her evening plans the world's most boring secret and reveals that she and Blair are taking Mrs. Garrett to Wedgewoods, a male strip joint. Tootie widens her eyes and opens her mouth in shock...and Jo quickly muzzles her with her hand before she can blurt anything aloud. Tootie then scrunches her face in judgey disapproval and pronounces it tacky to treat men like sex objects, while Natalie takes on a far more cavalier attitude and says she has no problem with objectifying men since it's something they've been doing to women since forever.
When Mrs. Garrett enters the room, Natalie and Tootie give her a homemade birthday present from both of them: an apron with the caption Quiche me, you fool. Hee...that was surprisingly witty. After that, Blair and her blonde haired boyfriend Cliff arrive and sing Happy Birthday to Mrs. Garrett. Cliff then gives her a birthday card and a single rose while laying it on thick about grateful he is to her for making him so many free lunches lately...on account of he's a med student who's too broke to afford decent food. He asks the gals where Blair and Jo are taking Mrs. Garrett for her birthday, and Tootie and Natalie dissolve into giggles and tauntingly retort, "We know!" - very mature, idiots - and Blair shoots Jo the stink-eye for blabbing their secret plans. Cliff says goodnight to Blair...and Blair asks everyone to turn around so she can have privacy while giving her boyfriend a chaste peck on the cheek. Cliff coos, "Bye, Monkey" ... and once he's out of earshot, the Facts gals tease Blair about Cliff's charming nickname for her, as well as her flushed cheeks whenever she's in his presence.
After Mrs. Garrett heads upstairs to primp for her mystery night out, [a subconsciously jealous] Jo bitchily asks Blair, "What's the catch?" and points out that Cliff is funny, smart, nice...in other words, not her type at all. Plus, he's not from a rich family and doesn't even own a car. Blair concurs and tells them that Cliff rides the bus, then gushes, "Isn't that cute?" She says that regardless of his current lack of wealth (which is likely temporary, considering he's in med school and will no doubt be a rich doctor one day) she's totes in loooove. Tootie suggests to Blair that she throw a little money Cliff's way - but Blair says she's offered and he won't take it, which, duh...that must have been a stupidly awkward conversation. Jo scrunches her face in puzzlement and says there has to be something wrong with the guy.
Jo, Blair, and Mrs. Garrett arrive at Wedgewoods, where barechested hunks wearing suspenders are ambling about, seating horny ladies and taking drink orders. Mrs. Garrett looks around in wonderment at all the hunky testosterone in the room...and blushingly giggles when the buff waiter pretends he needs to see her ID (no doubt 'cause he largely works off of tips). He flirtily recommends a special drink, then returns to the table to present her with a small birthday cake.
Show time! The MC, who's decked himself out in a tuxedo, appears on stage to cheesily introduce the first exotic dancer: Fireman Freddie. The hunky "fireman" then bursts onto the stage and starts sexily gyrating in a yellow raincoat and helmet as the women hoot and holler. Next up is a pantsless cowboy...and Blair hands Mrs. Garrett a stack of dollar bills so she can enjoy slipping them inside the cowboy's g-string. He thanks her by giving her a big smooch (!) ... and Mrs. Garrett, who seems fairly hammered by this point, shriekily screeches, "Hi ho, Silver!" OMFG.
The MC goes backstage to tell the next performer, a blonde haired man who's sitting with his back to the studio audience, that things are getting wild out there. A few seconds later the man stands up to warm up for his routine...and we see that it's - gasp! - Cliff who, incidentally, looks much more impressive with his bare pecs on display than not.
After the commercial break, Mrs. Garrett continues to have a shriekingly good time. The MC introduces the next dancer - Dr. Love - and Cliff bounds onto the stage with his face partially obscured by a surgical mask. When he starts gyrating sexily and rips off his mask, Blair's face falls and she stares at him with an incredulous, WTF?! expression. Cliff sheepishly stares back at her as she runs out of the bar in disgust...then puts an abrupt end to his sexy dance and flees the stage.
Back at Edna's Edibles, Jo tells Blair that learning that your boyfriend is an exotic male dancer isn't the end of the world, then offers to cheer her up with a snack. Blair moans miserably with her head in her hands...and a drunk Mrs. Garrett staggers in and makes a half-hearted effort to spout comforting platitudes at Blair.
Tootie and Natalie barrel down the stairs, eager to hear how their night at the strip joint went. Mrs. Garrett solemnly tells them they'll talk about it in the morning - but when the two stare confusedly at Blair and ask whassup with her visible distress, she springs up from the couch and blurts out, "Cliff was one of the strippers." Bwahahaha!! As Tootie and Natalie gasp in shock, a sheepish Cliff drops by to explain himself. Blair snidely asks Dr. Love if he's making a house call...and as he stares shamefully at the floor, Mrs. Garrett clears the room so that Blair can berate Cliff in private.
Cliff explains that he took the job at Wedgwoods to help pay for med school - but Blair rails about how angry she is that he didn't tell her, and nonsensically wonders aloud what would have happened if her mother's friends had been partying in Wedgewoods and recognized him?? Cliff apologizes for keeping his exotic dancing secret from her, but she derisively calls him "a hunk of meat" and asks him if he feels dirty when horny women are pawing at him. The way Mrs. Garrett was hornily cackling while stuffing dollar bills into the cowboy's g-string, for example. Cliff explains that he can earn at the club in one night what it would take over a week to earn waiting tables...and since he's a med student, he needs all the study time he can get. Blair continues to look unmoved and bitchily challenges him to go home with rich horny women 'cause he'd prolly make a lot more money gigoloing. She then walks over to the door and glares at him...and he implores her to accept his apology, but she snarls that an apology isn't good enough and that there's nothing more he can say to fix the traumatizing spectacle of seeing him shake his naughties at women for cash. Cliff wails, "I though I meant more to you!" then says he would never throw her away if she made a mistake...but when she just stares back at him stonily, he slinks out looking very sad.
Three days later, Blair is still moping about the Cliff-stripping situation. Jo, who's being surprisingly judgey about Cliff's temporary employment choice, rails on and on about how Cliff fooled all of them - until finally Mrs. Garrett barks at her to give it a rest...and to start acting more in character after years of passing herself off as a world-weary Bronxite (Bronxian?) who's supposedly seen it all and wouldn't likely get this wigged out about a med student stripping on the side to get by. She then sternly reminds Jo that the three of them were no better behaved than the other horny women at Wedgewoods: ogling and screeching at hunky young men to take their clothes off. Blair admits that she's been softening on the issue and is confused about whether or not she wants to throw away her chance to get in on the ground floor of hooking up with a future rich doctor. Jo snaps, "You either hate him or you don't" and declares that they hate him. It's unclear to me why Jo feels that any of this is any of her business...and Mrs. Garrett must concur 'cause she tells Jo to put a sock in it and reminds her that it's Blair's relationship, and that she's going to have to decide what she can live with. Jo snarks, "I couldn't live with it" and Mrs. Garrett and Blair refrain from snapping, "No one's asking you to, you sour-tempered prick!!!" Sorry. That was me, yelling at the TV.
A few minutes later, Cliff drops by and tells Blair he's been thinking about their relationship and asks her if she's ready to talk without acting so sanctimoniously judgey. She contritely says she is...and when he holds out his hands, she puts hers inside them and gazes up at him adoringly.
And that's where this quasi very special episode abruptly ends.
Recap: Natalie and Mr. Parker arrive at Edna's Edibles...and Natalie is bursting with excitement as she urges Mr. Parker to reveal the happy news. Mr. Parker tells Mrs. Garrett and the rest of the Facts gals that he set up a liaison with Langley College to proceed with an advanced placement program - and when Natalie can no longer restrain herself from interjecting, she blurts out, "I get to take a course at Langley!" She proudly adds that she was chosen 'cause of her exceptional academic record...and everyone gushes over the accomplishment. After that, Mr. Parker asks Mrs. Garrett to cater his wife's birthday party [why in blazes does this grown woman need a catered party every damn year??], and she offers to give him a tour of her new digs.
Natalie and the other Facts gals pore over Langley's course catalogue...and when Natalie asks for advice on what she should wear while on campus, Jo rolls her eyes and barks, "Clothes."
While hanging in the Langley student lounge, a vapid looking guy asks Natalie how she did on her Chekhov paper, and she proudly tells him she got an A. Boots St. Clair saunters into the lounge and taunts Blair for not living in a sorority house, then remarks on Natalie's double life as an Eastland student and pseudo college freshman. She says her story would make a great article for the college's newspaper, and a beaming Natalie says she likes the sound of that and offers to write the article. She mentions that she also has to write up the senior spoofs for the Eastland newspaper, then dishes to everyone all the embarrassing stuff she's written about Blair and Jo...like the time Blair got sprayed by a skunk (that must have happened off camera) and Jo thinking she was nun material, before she blew it by punching Blair in the face. LOL. Everyone in the student lounge starts laughing hysterically...except Jo and Blair, who are shooting Natalie extra squinty stink-eyes.
Natalie is too distracted to be of much help to anyone at Edna's Edibles...and after rudely ignoring several customers, she explains that she's too busy working on an assignment for Boots to function as a store employee. Tootie bitches at her for not completing the senior spoofs yet, and Natalie rolls her eyes and condescendingly calls it fluff. When Mrs. Garrett comes over to ask whassup with all the sniping, Tootie tattles on Natalie for not doing her fair share of the work. Blair and Jo arrive at that moment and complain about all the gossiping Natalie has been doing while holding court in the Langley student lounge...and a few minutes later, Boots makes an appearance, greets Natalie with phony air kisses, and announces to everyone that she's enlisted Natalie to help her move into a more spacious room in the sorority house. When Natalie rushes out of the room and reemerges with Boot's dry cleaning, Blair teases her for being Boot's lapdog...and Natalie snaps back that she's just jealous. Mrs. Garrett barks at her to drop the arrogant 'tude she developed just 'cause she was allowed to take one college course, and Natalie smugly retorts, "For now" and reminds everyone that she was specifically chosen for the advanced placement program because of her exceptional academic record and all-around awesomeness. She then reveals that she dropped in on the Langley admissions office and was told that if she takes a bunch of summer courses at Eastland and keeps her grades up, she can skip her senior year altogether and enter Langley in the fall.
A frustrated Tootie has taken it upon herself to attempt a rewrite of Natalie's sub par senior spoofs, then complains to Mrs. Garrett, Blair, and Jo that she hasn't seen much of her supposed best friend these days. Jo and Blair wryly tell her it's prolly 'cause she's always hanging out on the Langley campus, gossiping about embarrassing stuff they've said and done in previous episodes. Mrs. Garrett shakes her head in dismay, then thanks them for covering Natalie's shifts at the store and hands out their pay checks. A few seconds later, Natalie arrives, decked out in her new Langley sweatshirt, and breezily apologizes for being late on account of she was having coffee with her new college pals. Tootie tells her they need to discuss the senior spoofs and how hard the spoof committee thought they sucked. Natalie snootily says they're clearly not sophisticated enough to get the jokes, then haughtily adds that she no longer has time for "kids' stuff". Boots drops by to show Natalie her article in the college paper, and Natalie is miffed when she realizes that the editor opted to not publish most of what she wrote about herself. She whines to Boots about the injustice of being inadequately lionized in The Daily Langlian - but Boots just shrugs disinterestedly, then bids everyone adieu in her usual over-the-top fashion.
Natalie is taken aback when she sees that her pay check is only $18, and a judgey looking Mrs. Garrett points out that she barely worked a shift during this pay period. Natalie says she's been busy, then asks for an advance on her salary 'cause she overspent at the Langley book store.
Mr. Parker drops by to inform Mrs. Garrett that Natalie has been cutting class...and that her grades at Eastland have gotten so shitty that Langley has rescinded its offer of early admission. Seems fickle and premature, but OK. He lectures a sheepish looking Natalie on how she needs to pay more attention on her Eastland classwork, then forbids her to ditch anymore classes. He begs Mrs. Garrett to pleeeeeeease consider returning to Eastland, but she declines and says she much prefers the Edna's Edibles set to the Eastland cafeteria.
Natalie tells Mrs. Garrett she has an idea of how she might weasel her way out of her academic dilemma...her idea being that Mrs. Garrett should write to Langley College and tell them how hard she's been working at the store amid various personal problems. Mrs. Garrett refuses to lie for her and lays down a little tough love when she tells her she's going to have to earn her spot at Langley through her own hard work. She also points out what an insufferable jerkwad she's been to the other Facts gals all episode...and Natalie glumly concurs and promises to apologize. She runs into Tootie a few seconds later and tells her she now realizes how important her friends are, then confesses that she just got booted out of the advanced placement program. Tootie laughs at the self-inflicted misfortune, then runs over to the store to gleefully blab about it to Jo and Blair...and Mrs. Garrett sits on the couch and chuckles at Natalie's comeuppance.
It is unfathomable that this show continued on for four more seasons.
Recap: Natalie is working on a school project that entails filming a frazzled looking Mrs. Garrett as she shriekily flaps around Edna's Edibles, preparing multiple sausage orders...and in the midst of her flapping, she wails about how the local butchers have gone on strike in the middle of bratwurst season! Badoom bah. Roy drops by to deliver an order of buns, then flirts with Jo, who brusquely tells him to take a hike. Oops...I guess his budding romance with Alexandra (the Italian princess) in the Season 4 finale didn't pan out. A wrinkly old man named Mr. Bigley, wearing a plaid yellow jacket, enters the store, then glances around and remarks on how much the building has changed. He gets a faux faraway look on his face and says it used to be solely a residence...as well as the site of the Halloween Massacre of 1905. As the gals stare at him in horrified fascination, he tells a ghoulish story about a triple homicide that occurred when four spinster sisters got into a fierce argument and one of them - "Grisly Gertie" - became so consumed with rage that she went completely off the bend and murdered her siblings with a big butcher knife. Tootie is so wigged out by the story that she drops candy all over the floor...and after she's had a few seconds to recombobulate, Mr. Bigley continues on with his bone-chilling (not really) storytelling. Following the murders, all kinds of unexplained things started happening: certain areas of the house, such as the room Mrs. Garrett sleeps in, would get very cold. He chillingly adds that a number of women who resided in the house post-massacre turned squirrelly before slowly losing their minds. Cue the frazzled Mrs. Garrett, who bursts into the room carrying a large batch of bratwursts. The Facts gals quickly fill her in on the Halloween Massacre of 1905 - but it doesn't seem to get much of a reaction out of her...and Mr. Bigley looks intrigued by the volume of bratwursts she's holding and places an order. He then makes it a point to mention to the Facts cast that he's staying at the motel down the street.
So noted, Mr. Bigley.
At dawn the next morning, a spacey looking Mrs. Garrett stumbles into the Facts gals' bedroom clutching a large butcher knife. When Tootie sees her, she shrieks and wakes everyone up...and when the lights come on, Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face confusedly and says she has no idea why she's standing in the middle of their bedroom with a large butcher knife. She shakes her head as if to brush off the disturbing occurrence and says that since the local butchers are on strike, she's going to have to desperately scrounge around for sausage meat. After she stumbles out of the room, Natalie scrunches her face into a troubled expression and tells the Facts gals that she had been startled awake the other night by Mrs. Garrett, who was looming over her with a knife. Jo, Tootie, and Blair stare at each other worriedly...and when Tootie suddenly spots a slipper that belongs to Mrs. Garrett, she decides it's irrefutable proof that Natalie didn't dream the frightening incident.
Later that day, Tootie, Jo, and Blair are busily working in the store while Mrs. Garrett sharpens her knives with a cartoonishly demonic expression on her face...then rushes back to the kitchen. A frightened Tootie tells Jo and Blair that Mrs. Garrett appears to be possessed - and a few seconds later, Natalie enters the room carrying a garbage bag. She pulls out Mr. Bigley's plaid yellow jacket and solemnly says she just found the bag in the trash can, along with one of Mrs. Garrett's large butcher knives. Blair scrunches her face concernedly and points out that Mr. Bigley never did return to the store to pick up his bratwurst order...and Natalie nods gravely and says she called the motel down the street and learned that his luggage is still there and he never checked out. A freaked out Tootie rushes off and returns with candles to exorcise the evil spirits currently inhabiting Mrs. Garrett...and then Mrs. Garrett bursts into the room shrieking, "I got the meat!!" and shows the gals the big batch of linked sausages she just prepared. The only explanation she can offer is that when she opened the ice box earlier she found a large pile of sausages. The gals (except for Jo) gasp in horror and leap to the assumption that the meat in the sausages could only have come from Mr. Bigley's flesh. Jo takes a bite of one of the cooked sausages and tells Mrs. Garrett it's very tasty.
As Jo continues to chow down on the sausage, an icked out Tootie asks her how she can bear to eat poor, ground up Mr. Bigley. When Roy drops by the store for no particular reason, Blair informs him that Mr. Bigley has gone missing. He furrows his brows concernedly and says he remembers seeing the old man at Edna's Edibles shortly before lunch...and that he was bickering with Mrs. Garrett before the two ambled off to the kitchen. Jo suddenly looks ill, grimaces at the sausage she's eating, and decides that - yep - it's entirely within the realm of possibility that Mrs. Garrett killed Mr. Bigley, then pulverized his body into ground meat and made it into linked sausages.
Mrs. Garrett re-enters the store and shriekily announces that she just got an order from the supermarket for more bratwursts - which means she's going to need additional pounds of fresh meat. Cue two cute children dressed up as Hansel and Gretel, who drop by the store to trick-or-treat...and Mrs. Garrett acts all weird as she coos that they look good enough to eat, and that she'd like to fatten them up before shoving them into her oven. Er...OK. When the kids refrain from fleeing the house in horror and instead remark on how whatever she has baking in her oven smells delish, Jo intervenes and yells at the kids to make a run for it. After the studio audience's obligatory laughter dies down, Mrs. Garrett closes up the store for the night and tells the Facts gals it's time for them to help her make bratwursts, then rushes off to sharpen her knives again. Tootie wails that Mrs. Garrett is definitely possessed by a demonic spirit, and Blair concurs and worriedly whimpers. Jo reminds them that there are four of them and only one possessed old woman - and that they'll be OK if they stick together. Or flee the store and call 911 if they truly are worried about their housemother's mental state. Mrs. Garrett re-enters the room to summon Tootie and Natalie to the kitchen...and when they nervously stammer that they're too busy with homework, she shrieks, "Get in the damn kitchen and get this over with!" The four gals suddenly leap into action, each grabbing the nearest broomstick - in Tootie's case, a giant bread stick - and corner Mrs. Garrett while glaring at her menacingly. Jo barks at her to hand over the knife, which she does before confusedly asking whassup with their sudden aggression.
Blair demands to know what she did with Mr. Bigley and says that Natalie found his jacket in the trash. She adds that it can't have been purely coincidental when she (Mrs. Garrett) was suddenly able to make a plentiful batch of bratwursts. Mrs. Garrett admonishes them for implying that she slaughtered Mr. Bigley for the purpose of filling her bratwurst orders...and a few seconds later, Mr. Bigley (!) enters the store and nonchalantly tells Natalie he'd like his plaid yellow jacket back please. When everyone's all, "Wha-a-a-a??!", a quasi-sheepish looking Natalie explains that she was trying to be creative with her filming assignment and admits to making up the story about the Halloween Massacre of 1905. She then reveals that Mr. Bigley's real name is Lesseroni, and that he's the caretaker of the town's cemetery, as well as an active member of the local community theater. Womp womp!
Natalie further explains that she wanted to orchestrate a live horror movie and film events as they unfolded...so she cast Mrs. Garrett as a knife-wielding murderess who had become possessed. (And obsessed with filling bratwurst orders during a butchers' strike.) She credits Roy for being the undercover camera man, and he dramatically pops out from his hiding spot in a nearby barrel clutching a video camera. Tootie, Jo, and Blair admonish her for playing tricks on them - and Natalie defends her actions by chirping, "This is the stuff memories are made of!" Mrs. Garrett sternly argues that it was selfish and manipulative - then contorts her face into a faux maniacal expression and says, "The legend is true" and threatens Natalie with strangulation.
Of course, none of this explains why Mrs. Garrett was acting so weird and demonic while waving around a butcher knife throughout much of the episode.
Recap: Blair breezes into Edna's Edibles, impressed with herself for her resourcefulness in booking the opening act for Freshman Night...and by booking the opening act, she means she hired Geri (fuuuuuuuuuck) to perform her wretched comedy schtick for a group of hapless first-year college students. When she adds that she plans to inform Geri about the gig when she stops by later, Mrs. Garrett tut tuts her for not checking with Geri before committing her to the gig, then scrunches her face disapprovingly.
A tall black teenager catches Tootie's eye when he struts into the store and orders a sandwich. He flirtily introduces himself to her as Jeff Williams and says he's a senior at Bates Academy and a member of the school's football team. Tootie flashes him a grin and gushes, "I heard you are the football team!" and offers to make him a free gourmet sandwich. While she's doing that, Jeff schmaltzily tells Mrs. Garrett that her store is a quality establishment...then brazenly ogles Tootie, who blushes and giggles in response. He invites her to his upcoming football game and asks her if she'd like to be his date for the (presumed) victory party afterwards, and Tootie happily accepts his invitation.
In the next scene, Tootie is gushing to Natalie about how super awesome her budding romance with Jeff is going, and that she especially loves the vapid way he silently gazes at her. Blair and Geri burst into the room...and Geri is chiding Blair for leaping to the assumption that she'd want to open for a rock band on Freshman Night. Blair's all, "But you have toooooo!" and somehow refrains from pointing out to Geri that she should be grateful to anyone who's willing to pay actual money for an onslaught of condescending cerebral palsy jokes that feel overplayed really quickly. She tells Geri she has a meeting with the Entertainment Committee and would rather not admit that she screwed the pooch on booking the entertainment...and when she worries aloud that it might ruin her reputation, Geri quips, "Then let me do it!", and the two scurry off-camera together.
Jo snappishly orders Tootie to finish doing an inventory of the store, which she's been promising to do for the last three days.
Tootie gets out her clipboard and begins work on the store's inventory...and while she's doing that, Jeff is bugging her to hurry up and finish 'cause they have plans to go see Jaws and Jaws 2. Tootie tells him the sooner she's done with the inventory, the sooner they can head out to the movies, then suggests he help her speed things along by reading off the labels of whatever's on the shelf so she can cross-check them against the list on her clipboard. Jeff twitches nervously and says he couldn't possibly concentrate on food 'cause his head is filled with football plays - but Tootie gets all pushy and thrusts a jar in his direction and orders him to read the label. When he just stares at it cluelessly, she gets exasperated and snaps, "What's the matter with you? Can't you read?!" and Jeff stares back at her with a stricken expression on his face, then turns around and walks away. He mumbles, "Reading isn't my thing" and says his coach told him he shouldn't distract himself by pursuing the ability to read 'cause of all the college football scouts who've been showing an interest in him. Assuming that's true, he's definitely one dicked up coach. A bewildered Tootie asks him how in blazes he's been able to get this far at Bates Academy, so he explains that he's surrounded by a small army of yes people who are more than willing to help him cheat his way through school. Tootie stares at him sadly and asks him if he doesn't want to learn how to read, and he replies, "I'll get around to it one day" but says he's currently too busy trying to be the country's best quarterback. He then refers to Tootie as his girl - and Tootie perks up and goes, "Wuh? Really?" - LOL - and he nods and gushes about how much he cares about her. He then takes off the chunky necklace he's wearing, declares that he wants her to officially be his girl, and puts the necklace around her neck.
Mrs. Garrett and the Facts gals toast the end of the inventory process...and while that's happening, Geri (fuuuuuuuuuck) drops by to tell Blair she's decided to perform on Freshman Night after all 'cause she's running short of cash on account of it's really hard for comedians who limit their routines to joke-making about cerebral palsy to find work. A few seconds later, Jeff arrives to announce that he passed his latest biology test [by shamelessly cheating]...and that if he also passes his upcoming English test, he'll be eligible for recruitment by colleges [who clearly have scarily low academic standards for athletes]. Natalie toasts his faux accomplishment and touts him as "not just another dumb jock" ... and Tootie puts her sad face on and wanders over to the store. Mrs. Garrett and Natalie follow her and ask whassup with her glumness...and Natalie assumes that Tootie is worried that Jeff will head off to college and forget all about her. She assures her that Jeff will write, and Tootie snaps, "No he won't!", and Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face concernedly and asks her if Jeff has a problem with reading. Tootie says yep, her boyfriend has the reading ability of a small child, and Natalie's all, "Wha-a-a?" and asks how he's been able to make it through nearly four years of high school. Tootie explains that his friends "help" him by giving him the answers to tests, which he then memorizes. Mrs. Garrett shakes her head all judgey-like and says that these people aren't his friends 'cause they're cheating him out of acquiring a basic life skill. Tootie argues that the people who are helping him care, then wails, "They care a lot!" ... and confesses to helping Jeff cheat on the biology test he just passed. It remains unclear precisely how she was able to do that, considering they don't even attend the same school, much less are in the same biology class. Mrs. Garrett and Natalie look appalled at her complicity in Jeff's illiteracy, then implore her to be the kind of friend who will forcibly help Jeff get himself on the right track of learning his ABCs. As Tootie mulls that over, Jeff breezes into the store and is all, "Whaddup?" and Mrs. Garrett and Natalie avoid making eye contact with him as they quickly scuttle out of the room.
Jeff yammers about how relieved he is to have passed his biology test, but Tootie says it's nothing to celebrate and that she's ashamed of herself for helping him cheat. She chides him for being obsessed with football and says he's destined to be "an illiterate jock", to which Jeff shoots her the stink-eye and snaps, "You're getting out of line!" Tootie reminds him that previous generations of their people were forced to work in the fields and had to learn how to read in secret, and Jeff retorts that football is going to give him everything he wants. Tootie points out that he can play football and learn how to read - but he sheepishly reminds her he's almost eighteen years old and doesn't want to go back to a fourth grade class and make a fool of himself. Tootie fails to explain that no one would actually expect him to enroll himself in a classroom with fourth graders 'cause he could simply hire a private tutor, then screeches, "Who cares?!" Jeff says he's afraid that people will laugh at him and that he'll lose everything, and Tootie coos, "I know" and assures him he hasn't lost her...and I'm not sure if this means this isn't the last we'll ever see of illiterate Jeff Williams.
Recap: Jo is escorted home from a movie date by her latest squeeze, a tall drink of water named Bill. After a PG smooch, Jo tells him he'd better go - and Bill looks bummed and points out that he hasn't met any of her roommates even though they've been dating for three whole weeks. He asks her if she's embarrassed by him, and she assures him she's not...and that he's soooo much more awesome than the snooty rich Langley preptards she can't stand the sight of. She adds that her roommates are a bunch of nosy busybodies who have nothing better to do than get all in her bidness...and that she just wants to be left alone to explore a budding romance with a guy she really really likes, and gives him another smooch. Bill looks satisfied enough with that, reminds her about their dinner date tomorrow night, and heads out.
The next morning, Blair begs Jo to attend the upcoming pep rally with her - but Jo says she's all "pepped out" and is too busy with her studies. Blair grumbles that she studies so much that she's missing the college experience, then assumes that she's shutting herself away from the world 'cause she's afraid of being rejected by guys. Jo's like, "Yeah, whatever" and tunes her out as she stares over at a young girl - future show regular Pamela Segall - who's openly shoplifting. Jo storms over to her, pulls a bunch of food items out of her coat and pockets, then barks, "Beat it!" An impressed Blair remarks on how much more civilized she's become since her first appearance in Season 2...then complains about having to go to the pep rally alone, and grumbles to Natalie and Tootie about the excessive amount of time Jo is spending at the library.
Natalie tells Jo that she doesn't buy her I spend all my time in the library bullcack, and says she knows full well she didn't get home until midnight - long after the library has closed. She then produces irrefutable evidence - a baggy containing movie popcorn kernels - and says she found it when she was rifling through her pockets. Jo admonishes her for having nothing better to do than rifle through her pockets, and Natalie tells her she was compelled to figure out what she was up to on account of the writers failing to give her and/or Tootie anything more interesting to do in this episode.
As Natalie and Tootie implore Jo to spill the beans about where she really was last night, Bill enters the store...and he plays along with Jo and pretends to not know her. Mrs. Garrett, meanwhile, returns to the store after a morning aerobics class, notices Bill standing at the counter, and blabs to Natalie and Tootie about how she saw Jo and this handsome blonde at the movies together last night. She tries to walk it back when Jo shoots her the stink-eye...but then Jo throws in the towel on keeping her romance a secret from the Facts gals and introduces Bill as her new fella. After the obligatory gushing and grilling about Bill's intentions toward their friend, Bill pulls Jo aside and tells her that his parents are coming to town tonight and warns her that it might be a boring evening for her - but when Jo says she's up for it, they arrange to meet at the restaurant later this evening. Bill exits the store just as Blair reappears and excitedly asks, "Was that Bill Smith?!" then dishes the deets: his full name is William Ogden Smith IV, he comes from a super wealthy family, and his father is an ambassador and his mother a judge. Jo looks troubled and is all, "Wha-a-a-a?!" and wonders aloud why in blazes he didn't tell her about his privileged background. Blair just shrugs, then promises to give her a complete makeover and a plethora of tips on how to converse with rich people during dinner.
After much styling and primping, Blair urges Jo to reveal her fashionable new self to the rest of the Facts gals and live studio audience...and a few seconds later, an uncomfortable looking Jo lumbers out of the bedroom wearing what looks like a navy blue prom dress, and has a thick layer of makeup on her scowling face, along with a fluffy mullet shaped 'do. Natalie is so impressed with the metamorphosis that she coos, "Ooooh, Jo!" while Tootie fawningly says she looks like a princess. Blair smugly pronounces, "You look positively Park Avenue!" then advises Jo to avoid talking about her impoverished Bronx upbringing at dinner, and to tone down the obnoxious chip she insists on carrying around atop her shoulder. Jo wails, "But that's who I ammmmm!" - but Blair points out that Bill's parents don't have to know that. She then flounces off to the pep rally and chirps, "Good luck!" while Jo stares moodily into space.
Jo arrives at the restaurant, and - ack! - we see that she has peeled off the blue prom dress in favor of ratty jeans, a crumpled t-shirt, and a camouflage army jacket. Bill spots her and makes a beeline over, gives her sloppy outfit a grim once-over, and mutters, "Interesting clothing choice." Jo snarls at him for not telling her how rich his family is, nonsensically accuses him of being ashamed of her, then snaps, "I'm just going to be myself!" Yeesh...that can't be good. She heads over to where the Smiths are sitting and blurts out, "So, I hear you folks have more money than God!" and the Smiths chuckle graciously and do their best to come up with a witty retort while Bill looks mortified (as well he should) and changes the subject to their drink order. Jo glares at him and defiantly declares in an exaggerated New Yawk accent that she's from da Bronx, then shoots the Smiths the stink-eye as if they're personally responsible for the disparity of wealth between their families and bitchily explains, "It's the slum that rich folks drive through on their way to the airport."
The next day, Jo snappishly tells Tootie and Natalie she doesn't want to talk about how disastrously her dinner with Bill and his parents went...or about how the disaster was entirely of her own making. A few seconds later, Bill enters the store decked out in formal wear and talks with a British accent while acting all faux haughty-like. When Jo's all, "Wha-a-at's going on?!", Bill explains that he went through the contrived trouble to dress this way to illustrate what a fool she made of him in front of his parents - to say nothing of the gigantic horse's ass she made of herself. Jo snappishly retorts, "Why don't you stick to your debutantes!" and storms out of the store...and Mrs. Garrett follows her to deliver a much-needed lecture on her irrational behavior. She points out to Jo that every time she gets insecure about her impoverished Bronx upbringing she acts like a boorish fucktard, then says the immature routine is getting old fast.
Jo sheepishly says she's pretty sure that Bill is ashamed of her - as well he should be after the idiocy she demonstrated the night before - but Mrs. Garrett argues that that's not prolly true, and that Bill deserves the benefit of the doubt. Jo nonsensically says that where she comes from, giving someone the benefit of the doubt lands them in the East River, and Mrs. Garrett tut tuts her for acting like "a Bronx barbarian" and suggests she just come right out and ask Bill if he's ashamed to be dating her. Jo mulls that over, then rushes back into the store to run that question past Bill. He tells Jo he's so used to people only liking him for his wealth, then accuses her of always acting cunty towards people who didn't happen to grow up as poor or disadvantaged as she did. He reminds her how long and hard she harped on her hatred of the snooty rich preptards at Langley...and when Jo sheepishly admits that she has a general policy of being prejudiced against privileged people, Bill suggests they go somewhere private to talk all this out off-camera. The two head out and wave goodbye to Mrs. Garrett and the Facts gals, along with the small group of customers who apparently had nothing better to do that morning than to cluster together in order to eavesdrop on their private conversation. Weird.
Recap: The Facts gals (minus Blair) are slogging away in Edna's Edibles, their new home-workplace. Jo grumpishly tells Mrs. Garrett that the store is still in the red, then suggests various ways in which they could cut corners and save cash. Blair and her newest college friend Boots St. Clair, the snooty president of Langley's Gamma Gamma sorority who calls Blair Warnsey, breeze into the store. Blair introduces her to Mrs. Garrett and calls her a caterer extraordinaire...and when Boots says that the caterer that they hired for tomorrow night's rush party just went out of business, Mrs. Garrett visibly perks up. Jo accepts the gig on behalf of Edna's Edibles and negotiates a fee of $300, which Boots happily accepts. After Blair gushes about what an amazing feast Mrs. Garrett is sure to prepare, Boots announces that the election of new sorority members will take place immediately after everyone's chowed down on Mrs. Garrett's food. She tells Blair she's sure to be a shoo-in - but then pauses for a few seconds and reminds her that it only takes one vote to keep her from being elected into the sorority. Egads! After Boots flounces out of the store, Mrs. Garrett shriekily thanks Blair for recommending her for the catering job and says she hopes it will lead to more business from sororities and fraternities. Blair remarks that her mother and grandmother were members of Gamma Gamma and that she can't wait to move into the sorority house. Apparently, the dorm is no longer livable 'cause one of the girls on her floor is constantly playing the soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian...which seems like a very strange music choice, but OK.
Later, Mrs. Garrett and her Facts gal helpers are busily making giant plates of Mexican food for the rush party. Blair drops by to see whassup and is aghast that Mrs. Garrett made the executive decision to go with Mexican food, and informs her that the Gamma Gammas want Chinese food for the party. Mrs. Garrett snarkishly says she's been at food-making a long time - but Blair bitchily points out that she's been a dietitian for a long time, not a caterer. True enough, but it remains unclear why neither of them thought to discuss the menu, given the tight timeline of this party. Blair wails, "How could you do this to meeeee?!" ... and after she and Mrs. Garrett bicker back and forth for several tedious minutes, she snaps, "You're fired!" and Mrs. Garrett storms out of the room. Tootie, Natalie, and Jo glare daggers at Blair, who explains that sometimes you have to "get tough with labor". Tootie snarks that if she doesn't find a way to make up with Mrs. Garrett, there will never be peace among the four of them. Blair's all, "Ack!" and says she'd be willing to apologize if Mrs. Garrett agrees to hop to it and whip up a big batch of Chinese food, like asap. Tootie offers to mediate the situation and scampers out of the room to talk to Mrs. Garrett.
Tootie implores Mrs. Garrett to talk to Blair and see things from her perspective - but Mrs. Garrett just barks, "I have feelings too!" and stomps upstairs. Tootie returns to the store...and when the Facts gals stare at her expectantly, she fibs and tells them that their talk went A-OK, and right now Mrs. Garrett is looking over recipes for Chinese food. Blair says she should probably go thank her - but Tootie blocks her and cagily says she'll pass along her thank you. Blair senses nothing amiss with that and flounces out of the store...and once she's out of earshot, Tootie admits to Natalie and Jo that she totally screwed the pooch at mediating the situation. Shocker. This means that the three of them will have to cater the rush party themselves...and Jo's all, "Wha-a-a?" and says she highly doubts they can successfully pull this off.
Over at the Gamma Gamma sorority house, the Facts gals are putting out the Chinese food they prepared, then recount for the audience all the weird ingredients they had to substitute for the stuff that wasn't readily available in the Edna's Edibles kitchen. Boots arrives with the sorority gals and credits Blair for providing them with a caterer at the last minute, then says she's looking forward to chowing down on the tasty looking feast. As everyone mills around the food table, Mrs. Garrett bursts in and shrieks at Jo, Natalie, and Tootie for catering this event while using her name and reputation. She wails that she's here to protect her business and informs Blair she had nothing to do with catering this party - just as Boots makes an eww face and tells Blair that the food is shitty with a capital S. Mrs. Garrett aborts her original purpose in bursting in on the party and haughtily retorts that this menu went over pretty well at the last Calvin Klein party she catered, and Boots easily buys her fib and looks impressed. The other sorority sisters also look impressed and decide that the food probably isn't so bad after all.
Back at the residence part of the Edna's Edibles building, the Facts gals are patting themselves on the back for pulling off a successful (though not really) faux Chinese feast. Blair thanks Mrs. Garrett for pretending to be a successful caterer to a world famous designer and says if she makes it into Gamma Gamma, she'll owe her one. Mrs. Garrett says she didn't like lying to Boots, but admits to Blair that she probably should have consulted with her about the menu before randomly deciding to make Mexican food, which...well, d'yuh. Blair concedes that she behaved like a spoiled child when she fired her, and the two hug it out. A few seconds later, Boots breezes in and gives Blair the good news: she's been elected to join Gamma Gamma. Hurray! Blair asks her if it was 'cause of the excellent catering that she was able to arrange at the last minute - but Boots says she was voted in in spite of the shittastic feast - but then reveals that there was never any way he wouldn't have been voted into the sorority 'cause she's a legacy. Blair's all, "Wuh?" and says she's deeply annoyed that she was led to believe it wasn't a sure thing - but Boots just cackles and struts out.
Blair grumbles about the Gamma Gamma girls tricking her into worrying about whether or not she was going to get into the sorority, but Mrs. Garrett just shrugs and says it's all part of the Greek life tradition. Blair says she now thinks the Gamma Gammas are shallow twats, and that she's starting to call into question if she really wants to live with a pack of airheads...which puts her in a contrived bind now that her dorm room situation has become an intolerable homage to Conan the Barbarian music. Mrs. Garrett says she could always help restore the show's winning formula and move into Edna's Edibles so that she can go back to living under the same roof with her and the other three Facts gals. She then gets all fake solemn and says that before that can happen they'll have to conduct an election...and Natalie, Tootie and a "reluctant" Jo all give her a happy thumbs up.
Yippee! The gang's together again.
'80s social issues: prepare to be tackled in twenty-two minute increments.
Recap: The new season begins at Langley College, where Blair is playing cards with a gaggle of new friends...and flirting with a hunky blonde guy named Barry. A glum looking Jo lumbers in and snaps, "We have to talk" ... and the two head over to Blair's dorm room so that Jo can bellyache about the writers' latest contrivance: the part-time job the college promised her fell through...and without any income, she can't afford to get through the semester. (It remains unclear why she doesn't consider looking for a part-time job elsewhere.) Blair rolls her eyes and complains about how tedious it is to always have to hear about her chronic money problems. She urges Jo to apply for student aid - but Jo nonsensically retorts that she doesn't want to beg anyone for money, even though her dismal financial situation is exactly why student aid was invented. Blair suggests she find a cheaper place to live, then tells her to stop whining about her problems 'cause these are supposed to be her carefree years. Jo snaps, "Well excuse me. Don't let my anguish interfere with your collegial experience" ... and Blair sighs, tells her to lighten up, and reminds her that Mrs. Garrett, Natalie, and Tootie are coming by for a visit, and she'd rather they didn't know that anything is amiss in her world.
Over at Eastland, Mrs. Garrett is shrieking into a tape recorder, bitching about how Mr. Parker is making her plan a brunch for the alumni president. Natalie and Tootie enter the kitchen to remind her that they're leaving for Langley soon, then ask whassup with all the shrieking into a tape recorder. Mrs. Garrett explains that it's an audio letter for her son, then says she'd like to mail her tape/letter to Raymond on their way to the college. Mr. Parker chooses that moment to drop by and throw a wrench in her plans by announcing that the alumni president's brunch is being changed from 11:00am to 8:00pm...which effectively means it's now a dinner. He orders her to cook Moroccan food 'cause the alumni president recently gabbled about how sumptuous and exotic it is - and Mrs. Garrett looks alarmed and shrieks, "It's in two days!" Mr. Parker shrugs, assures her she'll do fine, then leaves her to her meltdown. Mrs. Garrett shriekily tells Tootie and Natalie they'll have to go to Langley without her, then does her best to not have a stress-induced stroke.
Natalie and Tootie arrive at the Langley students' lounge and do their best to nonchalantly blend in with the college crowd...until Tootie starts giddily snapping photographs of everything. One of the college girls snootily snarks, "Can we help you kids?" just as a hunky guy wearing just a towel cinched around his waist saunters in and says he's looking for his Basic Anatomy. After the obligatory cackling from the studio audience, he tells no one in particular that if they find the book, please bring it to his dorm room. Natalie perks up at what could be her first sexy opportunity and starts frantically searching the lounge for the text book, but has no luck locating it. A few seconds later, Jo and Blair enter the lounge...and they all hug each other hello, then head outside for a stroll around campus.
Mrs. Garrett once again is ranting into her tape recorder about Mr. Parker when he drops by the kitchen a second time to inform her that the alumni president no longer wants Moroccan food at his dinner, but rather authentic Chinese food. Mrs. Garrett starts wailing about how he runs Eastland by mood and whim, but he just shrugs and tells her she'd better start chopping vegetables for the Kung Pao. Once he's out of earshot, Mrs. Garrett moans into the tape recorder about how she's sooooooo tired of being at the mercy of her douchetard boss and wishes more than anything that she could be in charge of her own destiny. Hang in there, Edna.
That night, Jo sneaks into Blair's dorm room 'cause she had to move out of her room due to her contrived no cash situation...and says she plans to crash here until a solution to her money problems magically presents itself before the end of this two-part episode. Blair looks dismayed by the thought of living with Jo in her teeny tiny space and warns her that they could both be expelled for breaking Langley's strict on-campus housing rules. Jo just shrugs, since it's pretty clear she doesn't give even the tiniest of rat's asses about dragging Blair into her never ending poverty problems.
Tootie is showing Mrs. Garrett all the photos she snapped while visiting Langley when Raymond quietly sneaks into the kitchen, puts his hands over Mrs. Garrett's eyes and does the annoying guess who? thing. She lets out a happy screech when she sees it's her son, who explains that he's in Peekskill on business and has something special he'd like to announce in dramatic fashion.
In the next scene, Raymond takes his mom to a dilapidated store, then spreads his arms and squeals, "All this is yours!" She glances around at the dusty room filled with broken furniture and goes, "All what?" so he tells her that the dump was an Armenian deli until it went belly-up...and that he bought the building so she could quit the shitty job she keeps complaining to him about in audio letters and open her own gourmet food shop and/or catering business. When she just stares dully into space, he reminds her it's been a dream of hers for years, and that he has every confidence she'll make a success of it. Mrs. Garrett glances around, weighs the pros and cons of quitting a job that offers financial security as well as summers off, and promises to think about it. When the Facts gals arrive, Raymond blurts out that his mom is quitting Eastland to open her own gourmet food shop, and Tootie and Natalie are all, "Wha-a-a?!" then ask her if it's really wise to start a business venture at her advanced age. Mrs. Garrett wanders around the room, absorbing the fact that since this show is going to limp along for another five seasons, the writers had little choice but to cobble together a scenario that would explain why in blazes she and the Facts gals would still be living under the same roof together. She officially announces that, yep, she's leaving Eastland to go into business for herself.
Blair is up early, styling her hair in her dorm room when Jo sneaks in after using the bathroom. As they continually bump into each other in case viewers haven't yet fully grasped that the dorm room is way too small to house two people, Blair tells her she hates this arrangement and asks her when she's moving out. Jo vaguely says she needs to find a job first, then announces that she'll be back at 11pm. She's about to climb out the window when suddenly Ms. Aames, the hall patrol Nazi, raps on Blair's door. After Jo dives into the closet, Blair opens the door and gets snarked at by Ms. Aames for hanging her delicates in the communal bathroom. Blair promises to take them down asap and hustles her out of the room - just as Jo spills out of the closet and loudly complains about all the chiffon she has on her hangers. What a rude ingrate.
Mrs. Garrett is in her room at Eastland, drafting her resignation letter, when Tootie drops by for no particular reason. Mrs. Garrett tells her she's having difficulty coming up with the right words for her letter, so Tootie suggests kiss off 'cause of how shittily Mr. Parker has treated her over the years. Mrs. Garrett looks faux appalled and says that being a rude and inconsiderate douchenozzle is just Mr. Parker's way. A few seconds later, Mr. Parker drops by to chide Mrs. Garrett for the shitty Chinese feast she prepared for the alumni president, and how much better a light brunch would have been. Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face angrily and blurts out, "You can just...kiss off!!" and the studio audience roars its approval.
Blair is studying with hunky Barry in her dorm room when Jo climbs in through the window, tells the two it's 11pm, and rudely barks at Barry to leave. When Blair bitches at her about the inconvenience of the two of sharing such a small space, Ms. Aames bursts in, is all, "A-ha!", and says it's against the rules for two gals to shack up in a dorm room together...regardless of how subtle their non-hetero attraction is for each other. She ominously says that the last time this sort of thing happened, both girls were expelled. Oh no!
Natalie and Tootie drop by the newly named Edna's Edibles to help Mrs. Garrett clean up. They glumly tell her that instead of hiring a new dietitian, Mr. Parker has cheaped out and contracted a caterer to truck in the food every day. The two then complain that because Mrs. Garrett is no longer employed as the school's dietician/house-mother, they've been assigned to different dorm rooms in separate buildings. Egads! A few seconds later, Mr. Parker drops by to beg Mrs. Garrett to return to Eastland 'cause apparently the catering company idea isn't working out as well as he hoped. Mrs. Garrett tells him it's nice to know he finally appreciates all the hard work she did during her years at Eastland, but firmly says no 'cause her mind is made up. She says she'll continue to cater his wife's parties, along with the school dinners, then sternly informs him that from now on he's going to have to pay her exorbitant catering fee. Mr. Parker's all, "Wuh? Pay?" then finally dials back his dickishness and acknowledges that, yep, she'll make a darn fine caterer. Let's hope this marks the last time we ever have to see this presumptuous assbag.
Jo and Blair arrive at Edna's Edibles, and Jo announces that she's going back to the Bronx to continue her family's cycle of poverty now that she has no part-time job to pay for her rent...and apparently no amount of resourcefulness to pound the pavement. She adds that she got in trouble with the dean of students for illegally squatting in Blair's dorm room and is now on probation. Mrs. Garrett looks as if she suddenly got a fantastic idea and tells her that, as luck would have it, the Edna's Edibles building has an extra apartment upstairs...because, yes, of course it does. I'll bet it's big enough for four! Jo half-heartedly tells her she couldn't possibly sponge off of her, and Mrs. Garrett's like, "Well d'yuh" and says she plans to put her to work in her new store, since there's no way she can do everything herself. Jo mulls that over for a few seconds, accepts her offer, and the two share a happy hug.
Natalie and Tootie are all, "What about us?!" 'cause they too need a reason to regularly hang out at Edna's Edibles as they periodically tackle the social problems of the '80s. Jo points out that there's plenty of work to go around, and Mrs. Garrett nods thoughtfully and says she'll talk to Mr. Parker and the gals' parents about granting permission for them to live in the apartment above Edna's Edibles...'cause, yeah, I'm sure it'll make total sense to Natalie's and Tootie's parents for their underage children to live with a shrieky woman in an off-campus apartment above her food shop.
Mrs. Garrett notices Blair standing off to the side, so she tantalizingly tells her that the spare apartment is big enough for four - heh - but Blair unexpectedly throws a wrench in the show's formula by saying she has zero desire to live over a kitchen again. She says she'd really like to move into a sorority house that has a lot of space...and Mrs. Garrett just kind of shrugs and says she should do what she wants. For now, anyway. As she and the other three Facts gals get busy sweeping and mopping, Jo tosses Blair a broom and snaps, "You can still help us clean up", and that's where this two-part season premiere abruptly ends. Weird.