Recap: The Facts gals and Mrs. Garrett are rushing through a New York airport, excitedly gabbling about spending the summer in Paris. Jo grumbles about how she doesn't think the trip is that big of a deal, since they're just going to be exchange students stuck in a classroom...and Mrs. Garrett reminds the gals that they're mostly going to be on their own at the Gerard School, 'cause she's going to be busy all summer taking a cooking class...and then, if time permits, she wants to enjoy a Paris vacay solo.
A cute guy asks Blair if the seat next to her is taken, and she says it is, before putting a piece of luggage atop it. He looks crestfallen and says he's sorry to hear that, and she smugly retorts, "I know you are" before he gives her a 'the fuck?' stare and ambles off. Natalie chides her for brushing off such a hunky guy, but Blair insists that in this superfluous, made-for-TV Facts movie, all she's going to be interested in is French clothes, French perfume, and finding a French boyfriend. Jo, meanwhile, is reading an article in Car Driver magazine about an upcoming car race in Le Mans and tells the gals that going to this race is the only reason she agreed to fly across the ocean and attend summer school in a foreign country. A few seconds later, they hear an announcement that their flight is ready to board, and the five excitedly rush to the gate.
In the next scene, the Facts gang's plane has landed safely in Paris. Mrs. Garrett says that the owner of the hotel she's staying at is sending a car to pick her up...and everyone assumes it's going to be a fancy limo - until a stuttering little car with Hôtel Le Petit Ritz written on the side of it pulls up. When the driver holds up a sign that reads Madame Garrett, Mrs. Garrett waves at him to self identify as the Madame, then tells the gals she'll see them in four weeks. She scurries over to the car and climbs into the passenger seat while the driver puts her bags in the trunk and squeals off.
A few seconds later, the Gerard School shuttle bus pulls up, and a severe looking woman enters the airport and snootily asks the Facts gals if they're from Eastland. When they dumbly nod, she introduces herself as Miss Southwick, aka the Head Mistress of the Gerard School, and haughtily decrees that she expects proper behavior from each of them, which includes strict adherence to all of the rules. She instructs them to follow her into the shuttle bus, then pauses for a second to half-heartedly welcome them to Paris...and during the entire greeting, the Facts gals exchange unhappy, 'we're fuuuuuuuucked' expressions.
While en route to the Gerard School, Tootie natters about how super excited she is that they're finally in Paris...and when they drive by the Eiffel Tower, Blair grinningly says that no matter how many times she's seen the famous landmark, it's always a thrill. Tootie gushes about how it looks just like it does in the movies, and the perpetually grumbly Jo snaps, "What did you think it was going to look like? Shea Stadium?" ... and because there's no laugh track in this made-for-TV schlock, Jo's sarcastic one-liners come across as grousy bitchitude that just kind of awkwardly hangs there.
Mrs. Garrett, meanwhile, is being ferried at an alarming speed to Hôtel Le Petit Ritz. When the chauffeur, Pierre, delivers her to her destination, shockingly in one piece, she shriekingly chides him for driving like a maniac...but when he informs her that everyone in Paris drives equally as recklessly, she's like, "OMG, seriously?" and meekly backs off.
When the shuttle bus passes a road sign that reads You're Now Leaving Paris, the Facts gals look alarmed and ask whassup with that, so Miss Southwick primly explains that the Gerard School is located about an hour outside of the city...which probably would have been a helpful detail to know prior to committing to a summer semester overseas.
Over in Cooking School, the imperious Chef Antoine makes his grand entrance to greet his students. He shoots Mrs. Garrett - the only female and American person in attendance - an incredulous stink-eye and asks her what in blazes she's doing here, so she introduces herself and explains that she's a dietician from a private American girls' school. Then then holds her hand out, but the pompous ass refuses to shake it and just continues to stare at her disdainfully.
During the first class, Chef Antoine is hyper-critical of the way Mrs. Garrett whisks eggs and chops vegetables. Later, she carefully pulls a freshly baked cake from the oven - but when she places it on the table with the other students' cakes and happily claps, the motion causes all of them to simultaneously deflate. Oops.
Miss Southwick leads the Facts gals in an early morning callisthenics exercise session...then later during class, slams her ruler across the side of Natalie's desk when she's so exhausted from the punishing regimen that she couldn't keep from nodding off.
When the Facts gals return to the dorm room after class, they grumble about it being their twenty-fifth day in captivity at this wretched place. Jo sourly complains that she's never going to be able to get to Le Mans for the car race, while Blair wails, "This was supposed to be the summer of my French romance!" before lamenting, "Somewhere out there is a Frenchman with my name on him." Miss Southwick interrupts their bellyaching to snippily inform them that the last five days of their summer exchange program will be spent in Paris, that the bus will leave tomorrow morning at 9:00am sharp, and that tardiness will not be tolerated. Once she leaves the room and is safely out of earshot, the Facts gals woot happily at this development, then conspire to make a break for it at their first opportunity so that they can enjoy the next five days in Paris not being under the thumb of the prickly schoolmarm.
The next day, Miss Southwick is giving the entire class a walking tour/lecture of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris when the Facts gals manage to slip away unnoticed and scurry to freedom. Jo sneaks aboard the shuttle bus to get their luggage, but points out that they're not 100% free, 'cause, for whatever reason, Miss Southwick is in possession of their passports. Jo just kind of shrugs at that fairly serious wrinkle and is all, "Well, whatever" and announces that she's off to Le Mans and promises to meet up with them at the airport in five days. Tootie and Natalie urge Blair to come up with one of her brilllllliant ideas to figure out where they're going to crash now that they've escaped their exchange school oppressor.
Chef Antoine bloviates to this class about the joys of incorporating wine in his gourmet dishes, and Edna tells him that as a high school dietician, she's not allowed to serve her clientele any alcohol. Chef Antoine accuses her of insulting his culinary genius, then hands her a broom and bellows, "If you can't cook, you will clean!" Mrs. Garrett pushes back by insisting that she hasn't done anything to deserve such shitty treatment and decrees, "I will not be bullied here!" ... but then hastily backs off when the chef threatens to expel her from Cooking School. She clutches the broom and tells one of her classmates that if she doesn't return to Eastland with her Cooking School diploma, she won't be able to return at all...which I doubt is true - unless it was Mr. Parker's strict condition for giving her a paid summer vacation in France.
That evening, Pierre gives Mrs. Garrett a foot bath while she shriekily complains about how impossible it is to please the un-please-able Chef Antoine, and cries that he's a monster who thinks everything she does is wrong. Pierre urges her to dial down the shrieking a few decibels and try to get some rest, and she agrees that what she most needs is a good night's sleep so that she can be fresh for tomorrow's class. After he tiptoes out of the room, Mrs. Garrett lays back in her easy chair and starts to doze off - just as the Facts gals (minus Jo) knock on her door and then spill inside her room, loudly nattering about how miserable they've all been at summer school.
Tootie is bicycling through the streets of Paris, transporting a ginormous loaf of bread back to Hôtel Le Petit Ritz, while Mrs. Garrett admonishes Blair and Natalie for running away from school 'cause she's assuming that Miss Southwick must be worried sick. They tell her they seriously doubt that, and fill her in about what an uncaring authoritarian she's been, and that they could never do anything right in her eyes. Mrs. Garrett chews on that for a few seconds and realizes that after the abusive treatment she's received from Chef Antoine, she can definitely dig it. She then decides 'ah fuck it' and urges them to go out and enjoy whatever time they have left in Paris, and Blair thanks her for understanding and calls her a saint.
Jo is wandering the French countryside, thinking that taking off by herself in a very rural part of a foreign country might not have been one of her best ideas. She puts her thumb out in attempt to hitch hike, and a guy on a motorbike roars past her...only to suffer mechanical issues a few seconds later, and is attempting to do maintenance on his bike when Jo ambles over. She snarls at him for not giving her a ride, so he points out the obvious: that he's riding on a very small motorbike with no extra helmet. He mutters that she must be an American princess, and Jo haughtily says she ain't no princess (no argument here) and that she knows exactly what's wrong with his bike. He hands her a wrench and agrees to give her a ride to Le Mans if she can fix it, then introduces himself as David (as in DAH-veed) LeClair and tells her he works in a bookstore, and Jo snidely growls that he should be working in a gas station and studying motorbikes.
After Natalie has dragged a bored looking Tootie to the gravesites of various literary figures, they arrive at an outdoor cafe where she suddenly spots Garth Kiley, aka an American writer who just happened to author one of her favorite books. She drags Tootie over to say hey to Garth and introduce themselves as fellow Americans, then explains that she looooooved his book and has many, many questions. Garth just stares back at her with a weary expression, 'cause no doubt he just wants to be left alone drinking whatever he's drinking in this outdoor cafe.
Blair meets up with her mom's friend Angelique at an outdoor cafe and tells her she had a dream that she was sketching something or other when suddenly a handsome man appeared beside her, then took her by the hand and led her through the streets of Paris on a romantic tour. Angelique cackles with delight and says she's sure it's a sign that she's about to meet someone very special.
Natalie asks Garth why he never wrote a second book, so he fibs about how he's in the process of writing a trilogy. LOL. Natalie tries to get him interested in joining them for a walking tour today, and he's like, "If it were any other day I'd be available. But today? No can do." Tootie rejoins, "Great, we'll do it tomorrow!" and says they're going to hold him to it...and he somehow refrains from telling them to go pee up a rope 'cause he has absolutely zero interest in spending an entire day with two sassy American teenagers.
Blair is happily sketching Parisian architecture...but when she gets up and moves to get a different vantage point, a man rushes over and tells her he had been sketching her as she sketched. He smarmily introduces himself as Andre and invites her to join him for coffee, and she happily accepts and tells him that this meet-cute is playing out exactly like it did in the dream she had last night. A few seconds later, a small child runs over to Andre while chirping, "Papa!" ... and when the child's mother follows, Andre sheepishly shrugs at Blair as he explains, "What can I say? I am French." And a total imbécile for making a move on a woman while your wife and son are watching from a few feet away.
David's motorbike breaks down a second time, so he and Jo are forced to hoof it to the nearest town.
The next day, Natalie and Tootie track Garth down at a different outdoor cafe, and it looks as though he's been hitting the sauce pretty hard despite it being only 10:30 in the morning. He sourly tells the two that he really really doesn't want to go on a walking tour of Paris - just as his editor storms over and chides him for not turning in his assignment, the Paris tour article that was due three days ago. Garth points at Natalie and Tootie and says he's been too busy entertaining his children to do much writing - LOL - and she rolls her eyes and admonishes his general attitude of slack. When Natalie helpfully (?) chimes in to tell her that Garth has been very busy writing a trilogy, the editor does her best to not laugh as she tells her that Garth is a washed-up wino who hasn't written anything coherent in years, and that if he doesn't turn in the Paris tour article by the end of the day, he's through. After she storms off, Garth admits that he told them a whopper of a lie when he said he was writing a trilogy, then whines about how haaaaaard it is to be "a man of artistic intensity". Natalie angrily tells him he's nothing more than a lush...and is about to stomp off angrily when Tootie implores her to stop, 'cause Garth needs her hero worship in order to inspire him to write a bestseller. As Natalie chews on that barely plausible theory, Tootie orders Garth to quit drinking and start working on the Paris tour article, offering to stick with him as long as it takes him to write it...which doesn't sound like much of an incentive, but OK.
David admits to Jo that his motorbike breaks down a lot 'cause he keeps forgetting to put oil in it, and she responds by laughing at his inability to perform basic maintenance on what looks to be his primary mode of transportation.
Blair is helping Angelique put a pile of packages inside her car, and the two chat about the impromptu party Angelique is throwing that evening. While they're doing that, they suddenly notice a man displaying several canvases of his art on the sidewalk, and Blair haughtily says that this kind of peddling of wares is "OK in the left bank, but not here." [Is this true, anyone out there who knows anything about Paris?] After Angelique drives off, Blair strides over to the artist and sternly says, "Young man, about these paintings" ... and the young man somehow refrains from laughing out loud at her haughty bitchitude, not least 'cause she's clearly not even French, and reacts by whirling around and flashing her a smile. As Blair smiles back looking openly smitten, he asks her if she sees anything among his artwork that interests her, then hands her a painting...and she mutely studies it - until the camera cuts to the next scene, where the two are sitting together at an outdoor cafe. He confesses that he was actually trying to get her attention while displaying his art on the street, then suggests they go for a moonlit walk this evening. Blair blushingly tells him she's supposed to be at Angelique's party later, but will think of a way to get out of it - and he's like, "Mon dieu non!" and says he needs her to attend the party 'cause he desperately wants to go as her plus one. He says he knows how well Angelique is connected to important people in the Paris art world and would looooove to bring some of his canvases for them to look at...and as the wind gets rapidly sucked out of Blair's sails, she shoots him the stink-eye and storms off after railing to the hapless waiter that it's impossible to fall in love in Paris when there's not a decent man to be found in the entire city.
Mrs. Garrett announces that she plans to prepare a lobster dish for her final exam, and Chef Antoine laughs in her face and tells her she's too much of a bumbling fuckwit to pull off a meal that's that complex. He urges her to drop out of his course before getting humiliated further, but she shrieks back, "Edna Garrett never drops out!", then promptly turns on a lidless blender and sprays flour all over herself. Womp womp!
Natalie and Tootie toddle behind Garth as he researches landmarks for his Paris tour article. He tells the gals that he's suddenly jazzed about this writing assignment [since he can't subsist on binge-drinking at outdoor cafes forever] and urges them along, 'cause they still have lots of places to see and things to do. The gals look visibly tired, but gamely continue with the tour.
Jo and David arrive at a bed and breakfast...and after the reception clerk cackles about the two of them spending the night together 'cause he's a grown man with the brain of a ten year old, they check into their room, which naturally has only one smallish bed. Jo pretends that it's A-OK with her to be sharing a bed with a near stranger, and so the two lay down together, fully clothed, and looking very stiff and uncomfortable. When Jo murmurs, "Good night", David replies, "It could be", then turns off the lights while Jo stares into space, worried about what this predicament could possibly mean for her maidenhead.
The next morning, David brings a breakfast tray into the room, and Jo reacts by snappishly ordering him off the bed and telling him how upset she is that he didn't wake her up so that she could take her turn sleeping on the floor. David tells her that he couldn't 'cause he too fell asleep, and wishes she'd be mature about their fully clothed sleeping arrangement...and also wishes that the writers didn't script this nonsensical scene in a way that makes it seem as though they completely forgot how the previous scene concluded, or possibly edited out footage of the two of them having a conversation during which they agreed to take turns sleeping on the floor. Jo says she just wants to be treated like an equal, then starts eating the food on the tray and drinking the milk...and when David tells her it's goat's milk, she makes a blech face and looks as if she's barely able to keep from spitting it out.
Pierre takes Mrs. Garrett to an outdoor market to buy up all the necessary ingredients for her lobster dinner exam, urging her to get creative by adding sweet butter and shallots to her recipe. He then tells her that she can use his kitchen at the hotel to practice making the dish, and she shriekily thanks him for his generosity.
While en route to Le Mans, Jo and David take a break from motorbiking and have a picnic. As Jo chows down on some cheese, David tells her it was made from goat's milk, and she's all, "Blech! Fool me once.." and bitchily asks if they don't have any cows in this country. A few seconds later, an elderly woman wanders over with her kitty, which promptly frees itself from her grasp and proceeds to climb a tree, where it gets stranded on a high branch. When she implores David and Jo for help getting him down, Jo stammers, "Je getta him" while David begs her not to endanger herself, pointing out that since New York doesn't have any trees, she surely has no idea how to safely climb one. Jo argues that there are plenty of trees in New York, and the elderly woman chuckles about how they bicker like an old married couple. When David translates that for Jo, Jo tries to explain to the old lady that she bickers with David 'cause he bugs her, then somehow refrains from pointing out that any fool can see that they have zero on-screen chemistry, mostly 'cause she's so friggin' mannish - but the old woman just continues to grin knowingly at her.
Mrs. Garrett prattles to Pierre about how nervous she is about tomorrow's exam, but he assures her that her cooking abilities are awesome and that she needs to have more faith in herself. Mrs. Garrett mulls over his advice for a few seconds before practicing folding napkins, but quickly gets flustered. Pierre suggests that, to relax her, he take her out on the town and show her his Paris by night, and she decides that that sounds like a fantastic idea.
Over at Angelique's party, Blair is circulating among her family's old money friends and looks as though she's having a fabulous time hanging with elite French society.
David has brought Jo to his family's home, and they're all having a lovely dinner. Jo chuckles at the banter even though she has no idea what anyone is saying...and David tells her that his little brother clearly has a crush on her, but adds, "Of course, he will have to wait his turn." [OK...whatever, David.] Later, David sits with Jo by the fireplace as he shows her an old family photo album - but a few seconds later, he gets an unexpected phone call from his boss, who summons him to work first thing in the morning 'cause his wife had to be rushed to the hospital. David assures Jo that his father will take her to the car race, but she solemnly tells him she'd much prefer to spend whatever time she has left in France with him. He looks touched the pronouncement, then leans in for a hug/smooch combo.
Garth thanks Tootie and Natalie for giving him the opportunity to complete his article by seeing Paris through their eyes, and they compliment his writing and amaaaazing literary style. Natalie urges Garth to return to the States so that he can begin writing his next book...and then she and Tootie get into a mind-numbing argument about which country is the better place to write a book: the U.S. or France? [I vote France.] Garth tries to diffuse the dispute by promising to dedicate his new book to the two of them, 'cause of how their youthful enthusiasm gave him a new lease on life...even though I'm pretty sure it had more to do with the threat of his editor cutting him loose and leaving him unemployed.
Blair is in a bookshop, chatting with the store's owner about a Hemingway book she'd like to purchase for her friend. When she makes her selection, he kindly refuses to accept her cash and urges her to take it as a gift, and she warmly thanks him and leaves - a few seconds before Jo and David arrive at the store, which is apparently David's workplace. His boss tells him that his wife had appendicitis so he needs David to take over so that he can rush to the hospital.
Mrs. Garrett has cooked her lobster dinner for her final exam in Chef Antoine's class and is literally praying for a positive outcome as he taste-tests the food. He takes in a mouthful, stares contemplatively into space, then finally says, "C'est très bien." Mrs. Garrett looks relieved and tells Chef Antoine that, at her friend Pierre's suggestion, she used sweet butter and shallots, and he looks deeply impressed by the brashness and says, in that case, she has created an original recipe, and that he's suddenly very intrigued by her culinary creativity.
Blair, meanwhile, is wandering around Paris by herself, petting dogs and looking relaxed and content.
When Pierre pops by the dining room to see how the final exam went, Mrs. Garrett happily shows him the white chef's hat she just earned, then introduces him to Chef Antoine as the man who suggested she add sweet butter and shallots to her lobster dish. Chef Antoine says that those ingredients are extremely bold and that he'd be happy to drop by his restaurant in Hôtel Le Petit Ritz some time to formally endorse it, assuming he likes what he tastes. Pierre looks so overwhelmed with joy that he gives Mrs. Garrett a big thank you smooch, then sheepishly apologizes for being so presumptuous - but she assures him she's totes into the PDA and gives him a giant smooch in return.
Blair is chatted up by an attractive American named Ken Barnett - but when he gazes at her all smitten-like and invites her to go get a bite with him, she politely declines and tells him she's enjoying her last day in Paris just ambling around by herself.
David tells Jo he's sooooo happy she chose to return to Paris with him in lieu of going to the car race, and figured she'd enjoy spending some time in his bookstore workplace...and Jo tells him that despite Paris not being her usual environment, she feels totally at home here. David implores her not to leave France as planned, and she responds by staring contemplatively into space.
Blair gushes to Mrs. Garrett, Natalie, and Tootie about how wonderful she feels after wandering the streets of Paris alone, and is somewhat startled to realize that she truly enjoys her own company. Tootie and Natalie too look startled by their friend's self-discovery, then agree that they're really going to miss Paris. Mrs. Garrett says she's very concerned about Jo still being MIA, but Blair assures her that Jo's a big girl who can take care of herself, and that she's confident she'll show up at the airport as scheduled. And that, hopefully, they've gotten their passports back from Miss Southwick, 'cause that definitely would've been at the top of my to-do list after fleeing the school tour.
Jo and David are standing under a tree kissing when Jo abruptly withdraws her lips, strolls several feet away, and stares sadly into space.
The Facts gang (minus Jo) have arrived at the airport, and Mrs. Garrett natters about how anxious she is about Jo not showing up yet.
Jo is tinkering with David's motorbike, despite him insisting that nothing is wrong with it...and adds that she's going to miss her flight back to New York if she doesn't leave pronto. Jo tearfully tells him she'd love to stay, but that she can't bring herself to leave her mom and all of her friends at Eastland. She adds, at the same time, she doesn't know how to say goodbye to him, so he assures her that they'll see each other again very soon (though...not).
Mrs. Garrett is still wringing her hands worriedly while Blair is on the airport's ground floor, checking in her many pieces of luggage. When she glances out the window, she happens to spot Jo arrive, courtesy of David and his motorbike, and watches as they feverishly hug and kiss one last time. When a teary-eyed Jo enters the airport, Blair asks her if she's OK, and she unconvincingly tells her that she's perfectly fine. Mrs. Garrett cries happily when she sees Jo arrive, then shrieks, "Where were you?!" while Tootie and Natalie pepper her with questions about what the heck she's been doing for the last five days. When it's clear that Jo is too emotional to want to share any deets about her [un]sexy time with David, Blair snarls at them to get off her back...and Mrs. Garrett helps change the subject by announcing that she's off to look into what movie is going to be shown on the plane.
Jo thanks Blair for diverting the Facts gang's attention from her, and Blair puts a comforting hand on her shoulder as if to say 'I'll always have your back, my non-hetero hottie.'
Mrs. Garrett wryly tells the gals that the in-flight movie is Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? - hee! - and a few seconds later, they hear their boarding announcement. Blair assures Jo that, from the looks of the goodbye hug and kiss she shared with David, things between them could definitely work out...and we see that David is staring longingly at her through the window as she boards the plane, which is probably not logistically possible at any airport, but OK.
Natalie gabbles about how this Paris trip has changed her life and broadened her horizons, yada yada...and the entire Facts gang begins happily singing during takeoff, which I'm sure isn't at all annoying to the rest of the passengers.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!