Recap: Tootie is eagerly waiting for the mailman to make his daily delivery...and when he finally arrives, she grabs the mail out of his hands, excitedly opens an envelop addressed to her, and waves around her new learner's permit. She tells the other Facts gals how honored she is for them to be sharing this special moment with her, then asks Blair if she can borrow her fancy luxury car in order to practice her driving skills. Blair shoots back, "Not on your life" ... and when Tootie looks expectantly at Jo, Jo points out that her only mode of transportation is a motorcycle. Natalie reminds Tootie that Mrs. Garrett has a Volkswagen she might let her borrow - just as Mrs. Garrett and Andy enter the room to complain that Peekskill has banned all front lawn displays of pink flamingos. Blair agrees that, yep, they do look trashy, while Jo takes offence and says that their trashiness is what makes them uniquely American. Andy suggests they create a loophole to the new ban by painting their stock of flamingos blue and then keep their fingers crossed that the city officials don't notice...which they do and subsequently ban as well, and that's all I'm going to say 'bout this mindless subplot that later involves Andy gluing fun fur to a batch of repurposed blue flamingos.
Tootie shows Mrs. Garrett her learner's permit and not-so-subtly hints that she'd really love to borrow her car...and Mrs. Garrett says she's A-OK with that, as long as she promises to be extremely careful. Tootie then glances around the room at the other Facts gals and says she's going to need a licensed driver to actually be in the vehicle with her, and in response...
When Tootie guilts them about being so dickish about helping her in her hour of need, they sheepishly agree to pitch in and show her the ropes of driving...and once Tootie is out of earshot, Jo, Blair, and Natalie flip a coin to see who has to go first as Natalie mutters, "Please don't let it be me."
In the next scene, Tootie and Natalie are sitting in Mrs. Garrett's yellow Volkswagen, parked inside the garage. Natalie tells Tootie that before she can even turn the key in the ignition, she must go through a daily inspection checklist to ensure that the tires are properly inflated, the doors are locked, and the rearview mirrors are perfectly adjusted. When an impatient Tootie reacts by starting the engine, Natalie snappishly orders her to turn it off.
During lesson #2, Jo is sitting in the passenger seat, listing for Tootie the major systems of an automobile...and as she natters on and on about how the fuel system works, an increasingly despondent Tootie rolls her eyes and slinks deeper into her seat.
During lesson #3, Blair points at various things on the dashboard and refers to them as "doo-hickies", then talks about the importance of practicing shifting gears using the clutch. When Tootie points out that this car has an automatic transmission, a surprised looking Blair says in that case she can go ahead and take the first step towards some actual driving experience by sticking the key into the ignition.
During lesson #4, Mrs. Garrett schools Tootie on how important it is to keep looking to the left and to the right while driving so that she's always aware of potential dangers.
Andy is now in the passenger seat, going over the driver's manual with Tootie and quizzing her on what various road signs mean. Eventually, Tootie gets so fed up with all of the 'hands off' lessons she's been getting up until now that she defiantly starts the engine. Andy's all, "Ack! I'm not a licensed driver!" and jumps out of the car...and as soon as Natalie jumps in his place, Tootie hits the gas and squeals out of the garage.
In the next scene, Tootie returns home in shame after failing her first driver's test. LOL.
Tootie spends the next few weeks fervently studying for driver's test #2 and making the other Facts gals quiz her. Natalie urges her to not stress so much and breezily declares that everyone fails their test the first time...to which Blair and Jo bitchily retort that neither of them ever failed it. Tootie says she's determined to be over-prepared and has scheduled her test for later that day.
Tootie tells Mrs. Garrett she'll need her Volkswagen later to take her second driver's test, and Mrs. Garrett looks aghast and says she can't 'cause she brought it into the shop for some [non-existent] repairs. A pissed off Tootie's all, "The fuck? Why did you do that?" and Jo glares over at her and barks at her to take it easy. When Mrs. Garrett suggests to Tootie that she borrow Blair's car, Blair bursts out laughing and tells Tootie it's not [just] that she would never trust her to drive her 40K Porsche, it has a manual transmission, which she's never driven before. A deflated Tootie asks Natalie what she plans to do to help her very best friend in the world, and Natalie stares into space and asks no one in particular, "Where am I going to get a car?"
Natalie's solution to the problem is to loan Tootie her employer's hearse while hiding in the back next to an empty coffin 'cause she told her employer she was taking it out to a car wash and promised not to let it out of her sight.
The driving instructor climbs into the passenger seat and looks visibly weirded out that he's going to be conducting Tootie's driving test in a hearse. Tootie tells him she'll be soooo embarrassed if she fails a second time, then turns on the engine and pulls into the street. After a few minutes, the instructor tells her she's doing fine, but urges her to speed up to something approaching the legal speed limit. When the car phone rings, Tootie answers it...and naturally it's someone calling for Natalie, who sticks her arm out from behind the curtain to grab the phone. She then pops her head out and tells the instructor to just pretend she's not here, and he responds by ordering Tootie to pull over so they can drop off Natalie 'cause the law is that no one else is supposed to be present inside the car during a driver's test. Natalie argues that dropping her off would be a safety issue, given that they're currently driving through the slums of Peekskill...and after a contentious back and forth, the beleaguered instructor agrees to let her stay as long as she remains in the back and doesn't make a sound. Tootie then continues with the test, and for some inane reason keeps sticking her hand out the window to either wave at or manually signal to other drivers. LOL.
When the car phone rings a second time, it's the hearse owner asking Natalie to make a pickup. When the instructor glares at Natalie, she tells the owner it would be too inconvenient to run an errand at the moment and abruptly hangs up - just as Tootie spots a family stranded on the side of the road after their car broke down and decides it would be an appropriate time for her to pull over and offer them all a ride to the nearest gas station.
The family squeezes themselves into the front seat next to Tootie and the irked instructor, who orders Tootie to further demonstrate her driving ability by making a u-turn at the next lights...which can't possibly be a legal manoeuvre for any motorist to be doing at a controlled intersection, but OK.
Tootie returns home and happily announces that, as much as it strains the boundaries of credulity, she passed her driving test! Natalie bursts in and says she has to return the hearse to the funeral parlour post-haste, and Tootie happily chirps, "I'll drive!" as the two scamper out the door.
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Recap: Blair's soon-to-be-born sister is narrating the events of the day before her birth, which happens to be Christmas Eve. Jo is hurriedly wrapping the various ill-thought-out gifts she bought her loved ones at the last minute (e.g. a laughing bag for her dad, singing socks for Natalie) when Blair arrives with her eight months pregnant mother, Monica, who's lumbering in tow. Mrs. Garrett offers Monica some of her special Christmas cookies - but Blair objects and says she insists that her mom eat a healthier alternative, like yogurt.
Later, as Monica and Blair are trimming the tree, Monica tries to sneak a candy cane - but Blair promptly snatches it out of her hand, breaks it in half, and lectures her about overdoing it with the sugar. She then waxes on about how amaaaaaaazing it is to be able to spend a quiet holiday together this year, but Monica makes a meh face and says she really really misses all the festive galas she normally attends during the holidays and is bummed about being marooned in a shitty town like Peekskill. LOL.
The Facts cast excitedly opens their gifts as George Clooney puts on Christmas music and invites Monica to gently boogie with him. A few seconds later, Monica gasps, doubles, over, and announces that she's suddenly in labor...and everyone decides they're A-OK cancelling their individual Christmas plans in order to wait around the Peekskill hospital until she delivers her spawn.
The Facts gang arrives at the Peekskill hospital, which Blair snootily complains is rinky-dink compared to the luxuriousness to which Monica is accustomed. Mrs. Garrett assures her that everything will be fine...and Blair vows to have as positive an attitude as she can muster, but then scrunches her face in dismay when she checks in with the inept hospital clerk to begin the paperwork.
In mid-labor, Monica shriekingly demands meds, then wonders why in blazes she ever thought it'd be a good idea to have a baby at her age. When Blair rushes into the room to see whassup with all the shrieking, the doctor assures her her mom is fine...then says he's off to stuff his face at the Christmas potluck in the staff lounge, and will make a reappearance closer to the delivery time. As Blair and Monica commiserate about the shittiness of this small town hospital, Jo arrives with Monica's suitcase and a little Christmas tree to cheer up the room. Blair urges her mom to breathe deep cleansing breaths and think about pleasant pursuits (e.g. shopping), causing Monica to bark, "I hate you!" before immediately apologizing for everything she's about to blurt out in response to enduring the unbearable pain of childbirth.
Hours later, Blair emerges from Monica's room to complain to the Facts gals that her mom is being irrational, won't breathe deeply along with her, and keeps growling 'I hate you'. Mrs. Garrett assures her that her mom doesn't mean anything she's saying right now, then agrees to say a prayer for the spawn's safe delivery. Blair says she might also do that herself, despite not having talked to God in a very loooooong time and pretty much only whenever she needs something of a divine intervention nature.
Andy arrives at the hospital dressed up as a tiny Santa with a bag of gift-wrapped toiletries for the Facts gals. When he bellows, "Merry Christmas!", the bleary-eyed gals open their "gifts" and thank him for the much needed toothbrushes and mouthwash. A few seconds later, Blair emerges from the delivery room in scrubs to giddily announce that she has a new baby sister. She thanks everyone for needlessly sleeping in the waiting room all night, and urges them to go home and get some rest before visiting hours begin. After a happy group hug, Tootie carries on about the joyousness of receiving the gift of a new baby on Christmas Day, and Blair gushes about how beautiful she is.
As Monica cradles her newborn daughter, she asks Blair what she should name her...and Blair suggests naming her Bailey after grandpa (presumably not the KKK segregationist one who was posthumously shamed in Season 3's Legacy episode). Blair hears the Facts gang begin to sing The First Noel in front of the hospital room's glass window...so she opens the blinds, then carries her tiny sister over to the window so that everyone can continue carolling whilst smiling serenely at the infant.
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Recap: Natalie returns home from work and complains about the shittiness of her latest assignment from the temp agency - teaching disco dancing to housewives (what?) - and rails about how it barely pays a living wage. She adds that she especially hates the task of hitting the streets and handing out the dance studio's brochures...then tosses one at Jo, who perks up when she notices that one of the studio's offerings is ballroom dancing.
The next day, Natalie is finishing up a disco dancing lesson when Jo arrives at the studio. She clutches the brochure and says she's interested in signing up for ballroom dancing...and at first Natalie thinks she's kidding - but when it's clear this isn't a joke, Natalie gushes, "That's sooooo cute!" Jo explains that there's something elegant and "very mannered" about ballroom dancing, and Natalie agrees that "ballroom dance is one of the most romantic, beautiful expressions of dance", which is the exact excerpt she wrote for the dance studio's brochure. Har har. Jo asks Natalie to sign her up for the next round of classes, but to not breathe a word about it to the other Facts gals.
During dance lesson #1, Jo is paired with a blonde cutie named Chuck, who tells Jo he's learning how to ballroom dance so he'll be able to dance with his girlfriend Sheila at her upcoming '40s themed birthday party. Jo coos about how utterly sweet that is...and when the lesson gets underway and everyone is instructed to try a simple box step, Jo's and Chuck's foreheads collide and they clumsily bump into another couple.
The following week, George Clooney answers the phone and recites aloud for all to hear the message that Chuck is leaving for Jo: he just learned a new step and is picking her up for class later. Tootie, Blair, and Mrs. Garrett are all, "Wh-a-a-a?" and correctly guess that Jo must be taking some sort of dance class she never mentioned - just as Natalie returns home from the dance studio. Tootie asks her what she knows about Jo being enrolled in a dance class, and Natalie says she promised not to say anything. Tootie gets all in Natalie's face as she lists the various types of dance, carefully scrutinizes her expression at each one, and is somehow able to deduce that Jo is taking ballroom dance.
When Jo returns home, she asks whassup with everyone staring at her with 'you're sooooo cute' expressions on their faces...and Natalie mutters, "It wasn't me" before Tootie tells Jo that Chuck pretty much spilled the beans about her ballroom dancing. Chuck arrives a few seconds later wearing a t-shirt with I'm sorry printed on it (to preemptively apologize to each other and anyone they bump into while dancing) and hands one to Jo. As everyone stares at them expectantly, Tootie comes right out and says they'd like to see a dance demo please...and Jo and Chuck decide 'why the hell not?' and demonstrate their subpar dance moves that conclude with Jo crashing to the floor during the dip. Natalie chooses that moment to inform Jo that when the lessons conclude there's a recital at which everyone enrolled in the class performs for friends and family...and Jo stares back at her with a look of horrified bewilderment.
Mrs. Garrett offers to lend Jo the gown she wore to her senior prom for the ballroom dance recital 'cause she's pretty sure it's back in style, and Jo says she looooooves that idea.
Chuck calls Jo to break the news that Sheila found out about him taking dance lessons on the down low and was incensed that he's been practicing with a female. Jo points out that she's far too mannish for any girlfriend to possibly be jealous of, and Chuck says he told his girlfriend that - hee! - but since Sheila's more possessive than rational, she has forbade him from performing in the recital.
Blair needlessly demonstrates the dance routine she performed for her debutant coming out party - just as Chuck drops by to inform Jo that, upon reflection, he's decided to dump Sheila for her generally shitty disposition and therefore is free to dance in the recital after all. Jo's all, "Good for you! And hurray!"
Dance recital! The Facts gang (+ Andy and George Clooney) arrive at the dance studio to support and cheer for Jo. Mrs. Garrett nervously says she had to sew the hem of her old prom dress and hopes to hell that the stitching holds out.
Jo, who's decked out in the glittery, long-sleeved red frock, makes her grand entrance with Chuck, and the two do a reasonably good job at waltzing...and manage to not topple to the floor during the [albeit shallow] dip move. The impressed Fact's gang is all, "Hurray!" and claps with great enthusiasm.
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Recap: The Fact gals (- Blair, + Andy) are cleaning out crumpled up wads of newspaper that Blair somehow thought was a reasonable idea to feature in the store's display window. Jo grumbles about how this idiocy made it look as if they just toss their trash on the floor, then acknowledges that they're going to have to replace Blair's "newspaper display" with (hopefully) something less stupid. Andy's like, "How about a mime?" ... and no one looks thrilled with that idea - but when Blair returns home and demands to know what happened to her newspaper display, the other Facts gals tell her they have no better idea than to agree with Andy's suggestion of putting a mime in the display window. It's mystifying why they don't simply use the display window as a showcase for whatever dollar store crap generates the most sales.
Jo tells Mrs. Garrett that her old pal Gwen Schafer called and left a message that she's stopping by for a visit tomorrow. Mrs. Garrett squeals happily at the news and tells the gals that she and Gwen used to share everything - everything meaning clothes and boyfriends. Except for Jack, who was Gwen's beloved (late) husband and a major catch.
Andy is performing his mime skills for the Facts gals...and eventually Natalie complains that his mime-ing is really beginning to annoy her. George Clooney decides that Andy has rehearsed enough...so he picks him up and carries him over to the display window where he can begin to "entertain" passersby.
Mrs. Garrett laments how old she looks and says, in comparison, Gwen somehow manages to look perfect all the time. Blair tells her not to worry 'bout that, and that the perfect people of the world - herself, for example - don't expect regular ugly-folk to live up to their beauty standards. She condescendingly adds, "Just do your best. We understand." LOL.
When Gwen makes her grand entrance, Mrs. Garrett gushes about how much she's missed her and gives her a big hug. Gwen mentions that she booked a hotel room for her stay in Peekskill, and Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face disapprovingly and says she's more than welcome to stay with her - but Gwen breezily says it isn't necessary 'cause she's leaving town in the morning. The two seat themselves at the table to begin a much anticipated gossip session and regale the Facts gals with a tale about their younger days when Mrs. Garrett visited Gwen in New York and the secret code they developed: a ribbon on the doorknob meant 'help me!', while beads on the doorknob meant 'don't interrupt; this guy's a keeper'. The problem with the code was that Mrs. Garrett was too much of a dolt to ever get it straight, and one night she barged in on Gwen when she was canoodling a high quality guy. Of course, the secret code was thrown out the window once Gwen hooked up with Jack, a discarded blind date of Mrs. Garrett that she passed along to Gwen...and Gwen smilingly remembers that Jack proposed to her that night by saying, "Edna, will you marry me?" She had replied, "Yes - but my name is Gwen." Womp womp!
As Gwen heads back to her hotel to freshen up, George Clooney pops into the room to report that a cheeky (pun intended) passerby is mooning Andy in an effort to get him to crack from his mime impersonation.
Later, Gwen enters Over Our Heads and remarks to Mrs. Garrett how faux impressed she is by all the dollar store shit she and the Facts gals are trying to peddle. Mrs. Garrett tells her that when they were going through the renovation process she would often wonder 'how would Jack rebuild it?', then dreamily recalls how special Jack made her feel after her divorce. Gwen reacts by shooting her the stink-eye and angrily muttering, "You are unbelievable", then sneers at her for giving "the performance of a lifetime". Mrs. Garrett stares back at her in bewilderment and says she has no idea what she's talking about, so Gwen snaps, "Uh, the relationship you had with my husband" and accuses her of being a deceitful hussy for the last fifteen years. She then produces a stack of letters that she (Edna) wrote to Jack and explains that she recently found them when she finally summoned the will to go through Jack's things. Mrs. Garrett insists that the letters are completely innocent - but Gwen growls, "How dare you" and points out that they were all signed 'with much love, Edna'. She then slams the letters on the counter before storming out.
Andy, who was silently mime-ing in the display window during the confrontation, later recounts the ugly scene to George Clooney. George says that while this is clearly none of their business, he's choosing to retain faith that Mrs. Garrett would never mess around with her BFF's husband. A few seconds later, the Facts gals enter the room and ask whassup, so Andy blabs that Gwen just accused Mrs. Garrett of having an affair with her husband and had a stack of "love letters" as proof. Blair mulls that over for a few seconds and decides that, yep, anything's possible, and Natalie wholeheartedly concurs and reminds everyone about how her dickwad of a father was publicly carrying on with his mistress in Season 3. She adds that if Mrs. Garrett really was hitting the sheets with Jack she'd be extremely disappointed - particularly in light of all of Mrs. Garrett's sanctimonious tête-à-têtes over the years about trust and loyalty.
Natalie enters the store after Mrs. Garrett has closed up and rambles about the terrible day she had, which included learning that someone she deeply admires may have slept with her BFF's husband...then rails that ever since finding out her father cheated on her mother, she now assumes that "the whole world has affairs". Mrs. Garrett insists that that's not true and swears that she was never anything more than close friends with Jack. Natalie stubbornly says she can't quite bring herself to believe that, and Mrs. Garrett snaps, "Then don't!" and says she resents having to justify her non-cheating behavior to her own friends.
In private, Mrs. Garrett reads over the letters that Jack wrote to her, specifically how much he cherished being alone with his thoughts...and her. Mmm hmm..
Mrs. Garrett summons Gwen for one last drop-in, and Gwen complies and says the only reason she came was 'cause she's curious about what a cheating whore could possibly have to say for herself. Mrs. Garrett reminds Gwen of the night the two of them, plus Jack, went to an opening of one of Jack's New York restaurants...and that during dinner he read aloud one of his poems. Gwen makes a blech face at the memory and recalls that she made it clear to Jack how much of a waste of time she thought writing poetry was and was adamant about not wanting a starving artist for a husband. Unbeknownst to Gwen, in response to her cunty 'tude, Jack continued to write poetry in secret and passed it along to Mrs. Garrett to critique. As Gwen pales and is all, "Wha-a-a-a-a?", Mrs. Garrett points out that no husband and wife can be everything to each other, so she figured 'what was the harm with Jack secretly sharing his poetry with me instead of doing it out in the open and risk getting his soul chipped away at by his unsupportive shrew of a wife?'
Mrs. Garrett produces her box of Jack's letters and hands one of the letters to Gwen, who reads it and is quickly forced to come to the sheepish realization that many of his poems were centered around the deep love he felt for his wife. Mrs. Garrett suggests that, now that the truth has come out, they can gloss over the horrible accusation that was lobbed against her this episode and spend their remaining time blissfully covering as much juicy gossip as possible...and when Gwen smilingly agrees, the two start gabbing in earnest.
Recap: Jo asks Blair if she's given any thought to the news stories she (Jo) wrote for her (Blair) to read aloud on the Langley News TV station. Blair tells her she's been doing some heavy editing, then holds up a bunch of papers with large red Xs blocking out entire pages. An irked Jo reminds her that this is an important midterm project, and Blair's like 'whatever' and says she flat out refuses to present anything that rises above the level of pleasant puff piece. Jo gets so incensed that she calls Professor Jordan to grouse about her dilemma, and he tells her to stop whining, find a way to get the project done, and not bug him about it. Jo suggests a compromise to Blair: an interview with the Dean of Admissions so she can inquire about the unofficial quota admission for minority students. Blair responds by making a meh face and says, instead of that, they should feature a light-hearted human interest story, e.g. the recent fraternity fundraiser, Peace for Pizza.
Over at the store, the Facts gals are frantically looking for the label gun, and Andy asks George to take the blame (instead of him) for losing it...but then a few seconds later, Jo finds it when she accidentally sits on it. Womp womp! Blair, meanwhile, is thinking hard about a "flashy" human interest story to include in the newscast and suggests airing a live segment from Over Our Heads. Jo hates the idea, then points out the obvious: they probably shouldn't risk a failing grade by exploiting their college's TV news channel for the purpose of promoting their business.
Jo must have somehow lost that battle, 'cause Tootie is bossily leading the rehearsal for the upcoming Over Our Heads segment. Blair, meanwhile, is practicing her repertoire of on air facial expressions - concern, amusement, vapidity - then contorts her face into an expression of annoyance when Jo announces that she's slipping in an editorial about a family who's been evicted in order to make room for the construction of the college's new gym. Blair breezily says she heard that new housing will be found for the family and would therefore prefer to not read that editorial on the air, but Jo warns that she's holding firm on this and won't back down.
Two cameramen arrive at the store to film the live segment, and the rehearsal quickly devolves into a physical comedy style debacle: Mrs. Garrett's scarf gets snagged on something as she makes her grand entrance, George and Andy bump into each other, and Natalie's demonstration of a battery operated toy dog fails and she reacts by beating it.
Jo makes it clear to Blair that she won't let her go on the air with nothing but puff pieces, then handcuffs their wrists together and smugly declares that now they have no choice but to go on the air together. Seems like an overly drastic measure, but OK. Blair gasps in faux horror, not looking terribly put out by the prospect of being shackled to her mannish BFF.
Airtime! Blair is sitting at the Langley News anchor desk, still handcuffed to Jo, who's hiding on the floor behind the desk. A guy arrives on set with a saw and tries to remove the cuffs, but is unable to - as Jo stubbornly refuses to hand over the key and natters about the importance of integrity. Professor Jordan arrives, sees the two chained together and is all, "Whassup with the bondage?", so Jo explains that this is her way of protesting Blair's refusal to feature any non-fluffy news stories. Blair tells the professor she had nothing to do with handcuffing herself to Jo and asks if this is going to impact her grade, and he reminds both of them that since the project is their midterm, they'll "fall or stand together". Blair mulls that over, decides she'd rather not get an F, and agrees to read Jo's editorial on the air - but then as soon as they go live, she ignores the editorial and focuses exclusively on her puff pieces. In response, Jo's cuffed hand appears from behind the desk, and she furiously jots down a message to Blair to read her editorial, while crumpling the papers the puff pieces are written on...and eventually she becomes so frustrated by Blair's refusal to keep her word that she physically drags her down to the floor for a passion-fuelled non-hetero tussle.
The camera pans over to a live segment from Over Our Heads, where Tootie highlights their bestselling items, Mrs. Garrett flubs her lines, and George urges viewers to drop by soon. Back in the studio, Jo has decided the jig is up and is now seated at the anchor desk as Blair interviews Langley's head cheerleader, Penny, to discuss the popularity of her most recently developed cheer: 'go Langley go!' Jo interjects, reminds viewers that Penny is currently dating the student council president, and asks her why the council hasn't done anything about the family that's about to be evicted to make way for the new gym. Penny's like, "Uh, dunno..?" ... and as Jo defiantly begins reading her editorial, Blair orders the camerawoman to cut back to Over Our Heads for a second (surprise!) live segment, even though no one at the store is actually monitoring the camera by this point. Natalie wanders by and happens to hear voices coming from the camera mic and tells Mrs. Garrett, Tootie, Andy, and George it looks like they're being filmed for another live spot. As they struggle to come up with anything remotely interesting to say, Mrs. Garrett offers to give a live demonstration of her cookie baking...but when the camera's cord can't reach the kitchen, Tootie gives a verbal play-by-play of the cookie baking process.
Back to Langley News..
Blair tells viewers they're out of time and signs off - but the camerawoman tells her she still has two minutes left of live TV to fill. Blair orders her to pan back over to Over Our Heads, but the gang there can't think of anything to do other than awkwardly wave goodbye. LOL. Blair finally throws in the towel and agrees to read Jo's editorial...and when she gets to the part about a number of families being evicted because of the college's decision to build a new gym, raising the question of whether or not they owe something to the people who are permanent residents of Peekskill, she looks visibly moved. When the newscast officially signs off, the camerawoman for, some reason, cuts back over to Over Our Heads, where a humiliated Mrs. Garrett, Tootie, Natalie, Andy, and George are glaring back at Blair and Jo. They ask the two when they're coming home before openly threatening to hurt them.
Midterm grade: F
Recap: Mrs. Garrett is gazing lovingly at her new pet parrot Basil, who's repeatedly squawking, "I love you, Edna." When Blair and Jo enter the room and are all, "Wha-at's happening here?", Mrs. Garrett explains that [her now off camera boyfriend] Ted sent Basil as a gift to let her know he's still thinking about her, then stares dreamily into space and calls the noisy parrot a romantic bird.
Andy drops by to inform everyone he's auditioning for the part of Riff in West Side Story. When Tootie warns him that Riff might be too much of an acting stretch for an amateur such as himself, he shrugs and says he really just wants to be close to Mary Beth Keener, who's been cast as Maria. As Blair and Jo coo about what a clever boy he is, Tootie asks him to read a scene so she can see what kind of acting chops he has...and he reads a paragraph in as robotic sounding a voice as possible. Tootie grimaces and gently says he could use some fine tuning, and offers to serve as his acting coach. Andy says he likes the sound of that and tells Tootie it's very nice of her.
After practicing for awhile, Andy's scene reading abilities show no sign of even slight improvement. A dismayed Tootie, who's decked herself out in fugly mannish '80s garb - a baggy man shirt and a loose yellow tie around her collar - tells him he's not remotely convincing as a gang leader, then musses up his hair and urges him to try to use his body to exude toughness. When he continues to deliver his lines in his usual stilted manner, Tootie says she's ready to throw in the towel on coaching him. Andy begs her to pleeeeeease help him be more Riff-like, so she decides to take him to see a Stallone movie and hopes to hell that something useful comes of that.
Mrs. Garrett is getting annoyed by Basil's continuous 'I love you, Edna' squawking and eventually becomes so fed up that she covers his cage with her apron. Tootie and an attitude-filled Andy return from whatever Stallone movie they just went to see, and Andy says he now fully grasps the concept of method acting. Tootie gushes about how proud of him she is for committing to the role, then leaves the room...and once she's out of earshot, Andy waxes on about what a talented, passionate, and emotion-filled gal Tootie is, then breathlessly declares, "I loooove her." Mrs. Garrett points out that there's a pretty significant age difference between them - but he looks unfazed and calls it "a plus" that Tootie brings wisdom to the relationship while he offers the enthusiasm of youth. When Mrs. Garrett tries to get across that he can't possibly expect an actual romantic relationship to develop between the two of them ['cause LOL and ick] - but Andy's like, "I can and I do" and says he has every intention of asking her to the upcoming seventh grade dinner/dance. As he scampers off camera, Blair, Jo, and Natalie lament how painful crushes can be, then assure each other than surely Tootie will let him down easy - just as Tootie breezes in and informs them that she said yes to Andy's invitation. LOL.
After the commercial break, Jo, Blair, and Natalie warn Tootie that Andy thinks she's his lady and that coupling with him, vis-à-vis attending a seventh grade dinner/dance is "a dangerous area". Tootie explains that her plan is to attend the dinner/dance and keep her fingers crossed that Andy has sense enough to realize how out of place a grown woman looks among a bunch of thirteen year olds, then insists that she's more than capable of handling this type of delicate situation.
Andy tries to get Jo interested in helping him choose an after-shave, but she tells him that Blair is much better at this stuff and beats a hasty retreat. Natalie enters the room to relive pleasant memories of past friendships by leafing through her address book (?) ... and while she's doing that, Andy asks her if Tootie has gabbed to her about their upcoming date. Natalie somehow manages to keep a straight face as she tells him that Tootie's definitely looking forward to it, and that she's said he's a great kid - er guy. Andy fishes for more intel by asking if Tootie has ever cracked any jokes about their age/size difference, then says they're always making jabs at each other 'bout that. Natalie takes the bait and is all, "As a matter of fact she has", and tells him that Tootie once cackled about riding her bicycle with him in the basket. A crushed, red-faced Andy heads for the door - just as Tootie enters the room and asks him where he's off to. He stares back at her accusingly and asks, "I'll ride in the basket?" then dejectedly shuffles off...and a sheepish Natalie apologizes to Tootie for unwittingly spilling the beans on her mocking of tiny Andy.
An old woman enters the store to buy some Over Our Heads crap and gushes about the lovely parrot. When she hears it squawk, "I love you, Edna" she gasps, "My name is Edna!" and asks if he's for sale. Mrs. Garrett says that since Basil was a gift from her long-distance boyfriend she'd rather not sell him...but somehow has no problem giving him away to a complete stranger.
Tootie tells Mrs. Garrett she feels shitty about the bicycle basket joke - just as Andy arrives at the store dressed up in a suit and is clutching a corsage. He tells Tootie he's decided to go the age appropriate route and take Mary Beth to the seventh grade dinner/dance, and that he got a part in West Side Story - not as Riff, but as random thug. Tootie congratulates him and wanks him about how he's one of the sweetest people she's ever met, how honoured she was to be his first crush, and flattered that he invited her to his grade's dinner/dance. Andy apologizes for not yearning for her in silence (as well he should have), then says he'd like her to have the corsage...in lieu of Mary Beth, who's apparently more into money than flowers. He pins it on Tootie's fugly man-shirt and shyly tells her she looks beautiful, and she gives him a cheek kiss as the audience coos, "Awwwww.."
Recap: Natalie enters a diner somewhere in rural Pennsylvania carrying her damaged bicycle. She heads straight over to the pay phone and leaves a message for Mrs. Garrett and the rest of the Facts gals telling them she's on Day 9 of her "journey to nowhere" and is planning on catching the next Peekskill-bound bus. She then seats herself at the counter, orders a cup of coffee, and writes in her journal that she's in a diner in the middle of nowhere and hopes to come across some interesting characters who'll inspire her to write the next great American novel. Natalie tells the tired looking waitress that this dump must be a fascinating place to work, and the waitress refrains from contorting her face into a seriously? expression and says the only fascinating tidbit she can think of is when a storm knocked out the power lines last year. Natalie perks up and excitedly asks her if the power failure resulted in mass panic and a 'man against man' type situation - but the waitress just shrugs and deadpans, "The meat went bad." A dismayed Natalie mutters that she hopes there's a better story than that she can write, then learns from the waitress that the next Peekskill-bound bus doesn't leave for four hours. She turns her attention back to her journal, but is momentarily distracted by a rude trucker who bitches at the waitress about her shitty coffee. When the waitress reacts by politely offering to get him another cup, Natalie chuckles about how differently Jo would have handled that situation, were she the waitress.
And now it's time for whatever hallucinogens the writers were into the week they phoned in the ensuing horrendousness..
Jo emerges from the kitchen to portray a far sassier version of the real waitress, who Natalie dubs Joanne. Natalie asks her if she has ambitions beyond waitressing...and when Joanne/Jo says she aspires to be a beautician, Natalie excitedly remarks that all she needs now is a plot, drama, and suspense.
Blair sweeps into the diner decked out in a black dress and red feather hat, furtively glancing about as though she's searching for something. Natalie tries to flesh out Mystery Woman by wondering aloud:
When Natalie tells Joanne/Jo there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of traffic in the vicinity, Joanne/Jo says "Not since they closed the airstrip" - just as they hear a small-engine plane land. A few seconds later, Tootie wanders into the diner wearing flying goggles and a brown leather jacket, snarling, "That's the last time I buy spark plugs on the black market." Har har. Natalie dubs her Trudy Hathaway and describes her as an adventurer extraordinaire and free spirit living on the edge.
Natalie sits in the booth across from Trudy/Tootie and says she can't help but notice how muddy her boots are, so Trudy/Tootie explains that it's Amazon River mud from delivering medical supplies to the Pygmies. Joanne/Jo informs her that Pygmies are in Africa, and Trudy/Tootie shrugs and says she was misinformed, then spins a wild tale of how she encountered a crocodile while boating down a river...but it quickly disappeared as Natalie struggles to come up with a more exciting plot line, which ends up being that one of the plane's engines caught fire, causing Trudy/Tootie to nearly crash. Trudy/Tootie says she was held up - not at gunpoint - but at the Holiday Inn for 48 hours. Natalie stares glumly into space and complains that nothing in this [fuckwittedly appalling] episode is remotely plausible, and that she wouldn't be surprised if Charo burst through the door in a skimpy getup. Cue Charo in a skimpy getup, who urges the other diners to dance behind her in a conga line - until Natalie orders her to dance herself out of the scene so she can get back to her train wreck of a story.
Natalie picks up a gun she finds on the floor and shows it to everyone in the diner. As Mystery Woman/Blair immediately denies it's hers, Natalie says she can only assume that one of them brought the gun with the intention of using it. Mystery Woman/Blair says that a murder in a remote diner would be ridiculous, Trudy/Tootie points out that the gun doesn't even have bullets in it, and Joanne/Jo offers to put it in the lost and found. Natalie concludes that someone must have removed the bullets, then remarks, "This could be interesting" [even though: not]. The Facts gals get bored of her wretched storytelling ability and demand to be transferred to someone else's imagination - but Natalie urges them to be patient while she works through this bout of writer's block.
As Natalie writes her nonsense in earnest, Mystery Woman/Blair says she's bored and wants to leave, Trudy/Tootie wants to fly somewhere more interesting, and Joanne/Jo wants to close up the diner - but Natalie tells them they all have to stay put 'cause the bridge just got washed out. George Clooney makes his grand entrance and informs the gals that the Peekskill-bound bus will be delayed until the bridge can be repaired, then orders a cup of coffee. Mystery Woman/Blair offers to write Trudy/Tootie a check if she'll fly her out of this shithole...and when Natalie announces [she's somehow aware] that the check is no good, Trudy/Tootie says she's so desperate to flee this episode she's willing to do a stranger the favor, free of charge. Natalie thinks quick and decides that visibility is down to zero...and when Trudy/Tootie opens the diner door, she's stunned by the blinding fog that has suddenly descended. Mystery Woman/Blair paces nervously as a letter pops in from the mail slot, which Joanne/Jo notices is addressed to her. She grabs it from Mystery Woman/Blair and quickly learns that she just inherited $1 million from the estate of Reginald Hunter, despite not knowing anyone by that name. George Clooney describes the poor-waitress-turned-millionaire transformation as "a classic Cinderella story" as Joanne/Jo racks her brain to think of who Reginald Hunter might be, then recalls that she recently served pie and coffee to a man who introduced himself as Reggie and complained about his materialistic daughter. Mystery Woman/Blair announces that she really wants to leave right now, then accidentally drops her wallet...and when Trudy/Tootie picks it up and looks at the driver's license, she blurts out, "You're Blane Hunter!", aka Reginald's spoiled daughter. Blane/Blair admits she is...and when Joanne/Jo accuses her of coming to the diner to steal her fortune, Blane/Blair's like, "Well duh."
George Clooney emerges from the kitchen dressed as a busboy, and Natalie nonsensically explains that he moonlights whenever he's not driving a bus [due to sudden bridge washouts, I'll assume]. Joanne/Jo snarls at Blane/Blair for not having the guts to shoot her...and when Trudy/Tootie points out that the gun isn't actually loaded, an exasperated Blane/Blair turns to Natalie and moans, "Could you help me out?" When Natalie responds by derisively referring to her as "a nasty villain", Blane/Blair admits that, yep, she had every intention of destroying her father's will before Joanne/Jo could get her hands on it. Trudy/Tootie, meanwhile, turns the gun on Joanne/Jo and Blane/Blair and identifies herself as "third in line" to inherit Reginald's estate, then explains that she once saved his life by giving him mouth-to-mouth rescusitation after nearly poisoning him with a crop duster. Blane/Blair suggests they kill Joanne/Jo and split the fortune two ways - just as Joanne/Jo flashes a police badge while the real waitress, Mrs. Garrett, emerges from the kitchen. [I'm genuinely surprised that Andy wasn't also superfluously squeezed into this episode wearing Austrian lederhosen and claiming to be the eighth Von Trapp kid.]
Joanne/Jo explains that she was retained by the Hunter estate to protect the real waitress, aka beneficiary - but then turns the gun on Mrs. Garrett while grumbling about what a shit salary cops make. Natalie grabs the multimillion dollar check and points out that Reginald forgot to sign it, and Mrs. Garrett refrains from pointing out that that's not how wills work, and rips it up as she breezily says, "It's only money." The Fact gals argue about the stupid ending to this story as if it's even worth the effort to bother...and Natalie mulls over that constructive criticism before hastily rewriting the ending: George Clooney sweeps into the diner wearing a white Navy uniform and gives Natalie a Hollywood smooch.
Natalie packs up her journal and exclaims to the tired looking waitress, "You've got one happening place here!", and leaves for the bus station while the befuddled waitress stares confusedly after her.
Get a day job, Natalie.
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.
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.
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.