vvRecap: Blair brags to the girls that Mikhail Baryshnikov lives in her aunt’s building, and that she has his home phone number. She dials his number, then excitedly reports, “It’s ringing!” and the girls all shriek excitedly. When Mikhail answers hello, she says, “It’s me, Blair Warner” but a few seconds later it’s obvious that she just got his machine. She scrunches her face in disappointment, and the opening credits roll... There's a place you've got to go / For learning all you want to know about / The facts of life / The facts of life.
I have no idea what the point of that cold open was, since it has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode. Anyhoo, let’s dig in..
Nancy is desperately trying to squeeze herself into her super skin tight jeans, and for some reason she’s doing this in the living room. She can’t quite get the job done, so she lies on her back and tries her luck zipping up horizontally. Mrs. Garrett enters the room and is alarmed when she hears Nancy’s pitiful groaning noises. She then sees Nancy writhing around on the floor, asks her whassup, and is instantly worried that she has appendicitis…but Nancy explains she’s just getting dressed. In the living room. Mrs. Garrett looks down at her in dismay and says she’s asking too much of that poor zipper. Nancy finally manages to zip up her pants, then asks Mrs. Garrett to help her stand upright ‘cause the extreme tightness of her jeans makes it impossible for her to bend at the waist. [Sounds super comfortable - not that those of us who grew up in the '80s didn't wear much too tight jeans.] She saucily tells Mrs. Garrett that when Roger sees her in these super skin tight jeans, he’ll go crazy - and Mrs. Garrett wryly retorts that she’s definitely safe - tightly encased in those dumb pants.
Blair summons Sue Ann to come downstairs, and a few seconds later Sue Ann descends the staircase carrying a plate with a big piece of cake on it. Subtle, show. Blair informs her that she just got her a date for the Bates Academy dance with Scott Dunbar III. She gushes about the golden boy, and how he’s on all the school’s coolest teams, socially connected, and rich and cute. (Hmm...I wonder why Blair doesn’t want him for herself.) She tells Sue Ann that he’ll be calling her this afternoon. Sue Ann grins broadly and says, “He sounds heavy duty!” and Blair smacks her ass with a rolled up magazine (the fuck?) and snarks, “Not any more heavy duty than you!” She then tells her that every girl she’s ever seen on Scott’s arm looks like a Vogue model. Sue Ann looks troubled at the notion that she might possibly be fat (even though she's clearly not fat), then chides Blair for also being a bit of a chubbo…and both girls agree to step on a scale and see who the chubbiest chubbo is.
The girls swarm into the living room, and Cindy chirps, “What’s for dinner tonight?” Natalie tries her hardest to keep from smiling, as she so often does when delivering lines, and replies, “Mystery meat.” Mrs. Garrett arrives home and holds up the new purple dress she just bought, and the girls tell her they love it. Blair and Sue Ann scramble downstairs together…and Blair is holding a scale and asks, “OK! Who wants to get weighed?!” She’s clearly out of her damn mind, asking that question in a roomful of insecure, body-conscious teenage girls. She then broadcasts to everyone that Sue Ann is considering going on a diet, and Sue Ann irritably retorts, “No. Blair is.” Blair sets down the scale and orders Sue Ann to step on it…and when she does, Blair stares down at the number and makes a holy shit! face. Sue Ann admits she could probably lose a few pounds, and Blair raises her brows and goes, “A few?” Please. How much could Sue Ann and her tiny frame possibly weigh? Blair then takes her turn on the scale, and Sue Ann ridicules her extra pounds. Blair invites the other girls to also humiliate themselves in front of each other and says, “The fashion magazines all say thin is in” as though this could possibly serve as any kind of incentive to be publicly weighed. Molly scrunches her face and says in her annoying, overly-enunciated style, “No way! No magazine’s telling me how to look.” (With the obvious exception of Bowl-Shaped Hairdos Quarterly.) Natalie then says she has no interest in being a skinny pencil and would rather be a happy magic marker, and the applause sign lights up to cue the studio audience to approvingly clap and chuckle at her delightfully healthy body image. Mrs. Garrett offers to weigh in, then takes a few moments to empty everything from her pockets and cleavage (!). She makes the girls turn around, then tentatively steps on the scale…and stares down at the number. She looks horrified and says,“That settles it! I’m going on a diet.” She also vows to return her new purple dress, ‘cause she’s suddenly depressed about being “too comfortable” in a size 14 when her goal is to fit into a size 12. Natalie says she’s still not interested in weighing herself and says, “I’m OK the way I am” and Tootie looks her over, widens her eyes, and goes, “Um…OK.” That was pretty dickish, considering that she and Natalie are supposed to be best friends. After everyone has safely left the room, Natalie steps on the scale, gasps at what she sees, then quietly slinks away.
Mrs. Garrett is exercising…and by exercising, I mean she’s lifting and lowering herself while in some kind of ballet plie position. Sue Ann comes downstairs and asks her if Scott Dunbar called, and Mrs. Garrett says he hasn’t. Sue Ann notices Nancy cooing on the phone to Roger and hovers over her…and Nancy grits her teeth and tells her to take a hike. Sue Ann reminds her that she doesn’t own the phone, so Nancy tells Roger she’ll call him back later, then irritably warns Sue Ann that she’ll get her back for this. The doorbell rings, and Natalie answers it and finds a weird looking, muscular delivery guy from the nearby grocery store. He says, “Hi sexy”, and Natalie giggles and tells whoever’s within earshot that she’s finally met a man who likes her for herself. She introduces herself as Natalie, Your Guide to the Kitchen…and as she walks him to the kitchen, the other girls openly leer at him. Natalie snaps at Cindy, “Forget it! He’s mine!” and Mrs. Garrett cautions Natalie to not squeeze the merchandise.
The phone rings, and Sue Ann just stares at it, then asks Mrs. Garrett to answer it, ‘cause if it’s Scott Dunbar she doesn’t want to seem overly anxious. Mrs. Garrett dutifully jogs over, answers the phone, tells Sue Ann, “It’s him!” and hands her the receiver. Sue Ann giggles nervously and cracks a few dumb jokes…and Tootie just shakes her head in dismay and says, “She’s blowin’ it.” Sue Ann and Scott make some more small talk, and she confirms that they’ll see each other at the dance on Saturday. After she hangs up, she gushes to Mrs. Garrett about how Scott has a Harvard accent even though he’s still in high school. Since there's no such thing as a Harvard accent, I guess we can assume he’s originally from Boston. Meanwhile, the weird looking delivery guy calls Natalie a “crack up”, so she tries to usher him upstairs after telling him that that’s where the front door is. He seems convinced of this (clearly he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer) and starts to follow her until Tootie puts an end to the “ruse”. He leaves the dorm, but returns a few seconds later to deliver one last grocery item: a package of diet instant breakfast. He hands it to Natalie and says, “I guess this is yours.” Ouch. She stares at him with a hurt expression and asks him why he thinks it's hers, and he breezily replies, “No special reason. See you, kiddo.” Ouch again.
Blair makes a grand entrance down the staircase in a full length, off-the-shoulder evening gown. She asks everyone if they like her dress, pretending as though she doesn’t already know she looks totes amazing. Sue Ann tells her she spoke to Scott, and that he sounds so classy and hopes he won’t be too disappointed to be on a date with such a dorky Kansas bumpkin. Blair informs her that after the dance, they’re all going to some rich person’s house for breakfast and a swim. Sue Ann goes, “Swim..?” and asks if she should bring a suit, and Blair saucily replies, “Not necessarily.” Mrs. Garrett, who’s sitting on the couch eavesdropping, says in a flat voice, “Bring a suit.” Haha.. Sue Ann suddenly looks more self conscious than usual and tells Mrs. Garrett she’s never been part of a rich kids’ clique before…but figures if she’s expected to prance around in a bathing suit, she needs to go on a crash diet, like pronto. Mrs. Garrett immediately scrunches her face with concern and warns her that it’s dangerous to lose weight too fast…then assures her she has a great little figure. Sue Ann argues that Scott is probably used to skinny debutantes…so Mrs. Garrett offers to go into the kitchen and split an apple with her, but she declines. After that, Tootie appears and offers her a stick of celery, but Sue Ann anxiously declares that she’s immediately going on a starvation diet - and that she’s going to lose ten pounds by Saturday if it kills her.
The girls are sitting in what looks like a cafeteria. Hey - finally a different set! Sue Ann is glumly staring at Molly’s plate as she dishes herself a healthy portion of mystery meat. When Molly passes it to her, she declines…and Molly remarks that she hasn’t seen her eat in a week and says it’s dumb to go on a diet for some guy she’s never even met. Tootie suddenly chimes in and advises her to go to a weight reduction place she saw advertised on TV…and then springs up from her chair and needlessly acts out the commercial in her trademark over-acted, hammy fashion that always makes me want to take a shotgun to my TV set. Mrs. Garrett enters the room, hears the tail end of Tootie’s commercial reenactment, then grumbles about how she already tried that and discovered it doesn’t work. She announces to the girls that she’s returning the purple dress after lunch ‘cause she can’t respect herself until she can fit into a size 12. She then asks Sue Ann how lunch was, and Sue Ann replies, “Terrific! I’m stuffed” and a disapproving Molly gives her a WTF look, but stays silent. Mrs. Garrett seats herself at one of the tables and starts eating her ridiculous lunch of ‘green pepper on bed of lettuce’. When Molly offers her a delicious cinnamon bun, she growls at her.
Mr. Bradley enters the room and complains that half the food is coming back to the kitchen ‘cause apparently everyone’s on some ridiculous diet. He declares that this silly dieting has to stop, then looks over at Mrs. Garrett as she chows down on her pepper. He accuses her of being the leader, and she snaps back that he should mind his own business and that dieting is OK as long as it’s done sensibly. Sue Ann suddenly starts dishing mystery meat onto a plate, and Mr. Bradley nods approvingly and tells her she’s showing good sense. Suddenly, Blair rushes into the cafeteria to show Sue Ann a photo of Scott Dunbar in a tennis magazine. Sue Ann studies the photo, looks impressed, then giddily remarks, “He’s a knockout!” She abruptly keels over - LOL - and luckily Mr. Bradley is standing close enough to break her fall. Blair thinks she’s joking around, but then furrows her brows concernedly when it’s clear that Sue Ann has passed out cold.
Mrs. Garrett tells Mr. Bradley that a doctor has looked over Sue Ann and said she’ll be OK, and that her fainting spell was nothing serious. Mr. Bradley argues that a girl starving herself for a week is serious, then says he’s planning to “rip into her”, but Mrs. Garrett uses her body to block the stairs and tells him that Sue Ann doesn’t need harsh words right now. Blair comes downstairs and tattles on Sue Ann for continuing to refuse to eat anything, so Mr. Bradley pushes past Mrs. Garrett and runs upstairs. It’s a tad weird how overly invested this grown man is in every aspect of these girls’ lives. When he bursts into her bedroom, he asks, “Feeling any better, dear?” then asks her if she’s trying to kill herself with this stupid diet. He tells her there’s no harm in having some meat on her bones, since it’s what inside that counts. Natalie says that that’s a load of bullcack, and it’s evidenced by the fact that fat women are never featured on pantyhose commercials or considered to be a 10. Mrs. Garrett puts on her concerned face again and says she’s a girl, not a number, and that it should only be up to her if she goes on a diet. Natalie then stands next to Blair and bitterly refers to her as Miss New York, and to herself as Miss The Rest of the Country. Blair sternly orders her to stop putting herself down, then tells her she has a great personality. Ouch. Natalie snarks back that people always say that about fatties like her…then comments how Blair, on the other hand, is physically perfect. Blair half-heartedly denies she’s perfect, then mulls over a imperfection she might possibly have and says she looks awful in yellow. LOL. Mrs. Garrett tells Natalie that if she wants to diet, she should do it for herself, and Natalie thanks her for the kind words and dejectedly shuffles off. Mr. Bradley blames Mrs. Garrett for the girls’ sudden angst about their weight and orders her to feed Sue Ann, like pronto…so Mrs. Garrett rushes down to the kitchen to prepare her a meal. Blair tells Sue Ann she’s relieved she’s finally going to eat something, and Sue Ann stares at her like she’s nuts and goes, “Eat?! No way! At least not ’til after the dance” and Blair looks newly worried and upset.
Mrs. Garrett tells Blair she’s making vegetable soup and rice pudding for Sue Ann, and Blair tells her that Sue Ann told her she's still refusing to eat anything. Blair moans about how this whole thing is her fault, particularly the way she hinted that Sue Ann might be too heavy duty to date a popular hottie like Scott. Well, d’yuh. Mrs. Garrett tells her not to blame herself and says she was just trying to be a good friend. Blair glances over at Natalie, who’s sitting in a chair, bummed out about her weight and staring sadly into space. Blair laments to Mrs. Garrett, “I hate the thought that my perfection makes her feel less than perfect.” Suddenly, the weird looking delivery guy returns to the dorm ‘cause he felt bad about the “mistake” he made about the diet food. Natalie pretends to have forgotten about the embarrassing encounter and goes, “What mistake?” so he explains that the diet food he just assumed was hers was actually for another customer. And to atone for the dickish insult, he’s giving her the book, The Memoirs of Larry, Curly, and Moe. Er…OK..? Natalie looks at the cover with delight and exclaims, “They’re my favorite!” and then scampers off to the kitchen to fetch the package of diet food. Mrs. Garrett tells Blair it looks like she doesn’t have to feel guilty about Natalie anymore, and Blair just scrunches her face in confusion and asks who Larry, Curly, and Moe are.
Mr. Bradley returns with two cartons of Chinese food and asks the girls if Sue Ann has eaten anything yet. She hasn’t, so Tootie offers to take the food upstairs to her…and in the next scene, she’s spoon feeding it to Sue Ann as though she’s an invalid. Mrs. Garrett enters the room wearing her purple dress and tells Sue Ann she’s keeping it, even though it’s still a size 14. She says she’ll fit into a 12 one day, but ever since Sue Ann alerted her to the dangers of crash dieting, she’s no longer in a mad rush to be a 12. She then makes Sue Ann get out of bed and look at herself in the mirror, then tells her she’s a beautiful girl and shouldn’t ruin her health to impress a boy who hasn’t even met her yet. Mrs. Garrett admits that she too went bananas over a silly little dress size, then declares, “I feel beautiful about myself. Right now!” then spreads both arms wide and exclaims in her usual sing-songy manner, “I’m a glorious fourteen! And when I’m ready, I’ll be a glorious twelve!” She twirls, and the applause sign lights up to cue the studio audience to clap approvingly. Sue Ann admits she’s been acting dumb about her weight, and Mrs. Garrett corrects her, “Not dumb. Bananas.” And speaking of bananas, she opens her purse and pulls out a banana she just happened to be carrying around and hands it to Sue Ann, telling her it only has 75 calories. The calorie count thing was weird, considering she just finished saying how extreme dieting was bad. Sue Ann looks at herself in the mirror again and says, “I do look pretty good” then suddenly worries that she might have lost too much weight. OMFG.
Blair rushes into the room and tells Sue Ann that this whole diet thing is her fault, and she feels very guilty. She hands Sue Ann a bowl of Mrs. Garrett’s rice pudding, and Sue Ann thanks her and tells her she has no reason to feel guilty, then says, “You meant well, and you’re such a good friend.” She then sniffs her rice pudding and says it smells kinda funny…and when Blair sticks her snout near the bowl, Sue Ann shoves her face in it and causes her to get pudding all over herself. Blair yells, “Sue Ann!” but then quickly smiles to make it clear that she fully understands that the prank was just some good-natured fun…and that it was probably well-deserved.