Recap: As the girls clean up the cafeteria tables after lunch, Blair bitches and moans about her upcoming date with a nerdy uggo named Barnett Thornwood III. When Tootie, who's officially starting to sport her trademark ugly mushroom 'do, asks her why she agreed to go out with him, Blair explains that it's a family obligation 'cause their fathers are business associates. Apparently, their families wanted them to one day get married, but Blair managed to bargain the arrangement down to one date a year. She says that this year's date will be spent at her father's steel mill for the grand opening of a new furnace blaster, followed by a concert performed by the mill's workers. Blair is so desperate not to endure the date alone, that when Jo emerges from the kitchen she tells her she's going to a "very enjoyable function" this evening and thought she might like to share it with her. When Jo asks her what the function is, Blair snaps, "Well if you're going to be a stickler for details.." then promptly drops it.
Mrs. Garrett breezes into the cafeteria decked out in a fancy purple dress, and the girls gush about how awesome she looks. She says her friend is going to be here any minute, then dashes over to the lounge to make sure everything has been tidied up. As the girls nosily titter amongst themselves about whether or not this friend is a man, a chubby gray haired man ambles into the room and asks if Edna Garrett is here. Before anyone can respond, Mrs. Garrett rushes over to him shrieking, "Ernest!" and he shrieks, "Eddie!" and tells her she looks gorgeous. The two prattle on and on about how long it's been, how much they've missed each other...blah blah...then start hugging each other very energetically. After that, Mrs. Garrett introduces him to the girls - individually - and they each give him a once-over and deliver snappy one-liners. When the couple heads over to the lounge, the girls trail after them...but Mrs. Garrett stops them and tells them to beat it.
Ernest pours two glasses of wine while Mrs. Garrett carries in a platter of vegetables and dip...and the two chat about their jobs. Ernest says he gave his boss the what-for about wanting to make him a "desk man" and insisted on keeping his position as a traveling salesman. (That sounds like a truly horrible kind of job to have, but to each his own.) Mrs. Garrett tells him that her job is going OK, though sometimes [pretty much every episode] the girls drive her nuts. Ernest suggests she take a vacation, and she gets a faraway look in her eyes and says, "Maybe. It's been awhile." Tootie suddenly appears in the cafeteria and inches closer to the lounge so she can more effectively eavesdrop. Mrs. Garrett tells Ernest she hasn't been anywhere since they went to New Orleans together, and he smiles at the memory and says, "When I'm with you, it's always a vacation." As they collapse against each other and start dry humping, she tells him it's sooo nice to have someone to share things with and that she doesn't know what she'd do without him. He, in turn, tells her she's a wonderful friend and woman, then plants a big smooch on her...and while he's doing that, Tootie scrunches her face with shock and awe, then dramatically covers her open mouth while the studio audience moans, "Oooooh!" as they so often did during '80s sitcoms whenever actors got anything resembling a little action.
Upstairs, Blair is primping for her date...but then remembers she's going out with an uggo, so she decides against spritzing any perfume on herself. Tootie bursts into the bedroom to report that she witnessed Mrs. Garrett and Ernest kissing - but no one seems terribly fazed and they just shrug and go, "Good for her." Tootie exclaims, "He kissed her! On the actual mouth!" and says it looked like he's a lot more than just her boyfriend. Blair says, yep, they probably have a meaningful relationship, and Jo snarls, "Whatever it is, it's none of our business." [Yep - that is correct.] Tootie wonders if the two kiss a lot, or if they'll get married...then assumes that Mrs. Garrett will want them to be bridesmaids. (No doubt she would if the show ever did a "Mrs. Garrett gets married in Eastland's cafeteria" episode.) Natalie gets in on that action and says, "The reporter in me has to know what's going on!" and Jo snaps, "You're just nosy!" Blair announces that she's just come up with another one of her brilllliiant ideas - just as Mrs. Garrett enters the room to needlessly inform the girls that she and Ernest are going out. Blair asks her if she and Ernest would like to double date with her and Barnett at the steel mill, and Mrs. Garrett actually mulls that over and says she'll ask Ernest if he's interested. After she leaves the room, Blair says she'd be delighted to have a buffer between her and nerdy Barnett - and Tootie's pleased that she may have a mole who can get the skinny on the relationship between Mrs. Garrett and Ernest. She narrows her eyes and glumly says, "I want to know more about him if he's going to marry her and take her away from us. I want to know everything about him."
Mrs. Garrett, Ernest, and Blair are waiting in the lounge for Barnett, who's running late. After a few minutes, Jo ushers him in, and - wowzers! - it appears as though he's transformed himself into a dreamy looking fellow with brown feathered hair and flawless skin. Blair doesn't recognize him and flirtily says, "Well hello. Who might you be?" and Jo impatiently barks, "It's Barnett Thornwood!" Blair's all, "Wha-a?" and Barnett smiles woodenly and says, "Hi Blair" and Blair immediately looks smitten with the uggo-turned-hunk.
After the steel mill concert, Mrs. Garrett, Ernest, Blair, and Barnett go to a Mexican restaurant. While Mrs. Garrett and Ernest gabble with the chef, Blair asks Barnett whaddup with his transformation. He tells her he's spent a lot of time at the time at the dentist...and then she fondles his arms and coos, "And the gym." She compliments his metamorphosis, and he's about to lean in and kiss her when Mrs. Garrett and Ernest arrive at the table. Mrs. Garrett calls the restaurant their place, and then she and Ernest order margaritas and canoodle.
Later, Mrs. Garrett goes to see the chef about getting his chicken recipe. Barnett gazes at Blair and says he hopes this is the start of something wonderful and is about to kiss her, but she shoves him away so she can grill Ernest about his intentions. She asks him how long he's known Mrs. Garrett, so he says they go back a long way: fifteen years. Blair gasps and is all, "Wha-a?!" and for some reason assumes they've been engaged the whole time - but Ernest shakes his head and says, "Marriage is not my style." Blair stares at him with a look of shock and incredulity and asks him if this means they've been dating for the last fifteen years, and he nods and goes, "That's right." Mrs. Garrett returns to the table with the chicken recipe and gushingly tells Ernest she'll make it for him next time he's in town. As they rub up against each other and once again showcase their cuddliness, Blair openly glares at Ernest.
Blair returns to the dorm, railing about how Mrs. Garrett cooks for Ernest...and probably also does his laundry. She declares that their beloved nutritionist is "in the throes of a personal tragedy" after dating her boyfriend for fifteen years. She tells the girls that Mrs. Garrett has been anxiously awaiting Ernest's marriage proposal, not knowing that he's determined never to marry...and that they're going to have to dig up some alternate dating/marriage options for the poor woman. Jo reminds them that none of this is any of their business, and that they should butt out and go to bed. [Yep - that is correct.] Blair calls her insensitive, says Mrs. Garrett has no future with her long term boyfriend, and that she's putting a stop to this right now. LOL. She storms over to the door and opens it, and is all, "Ack!" when Mrs. Garrett is standing in the doorway. She tells her they need to talk, then sits her down and blurts out, "That creep is ruining your life!" Mrs. Garrett's all, "Wha-a?!" and Tootie chimes in and says, "He's no good for you!" Mrs. Garrett looks bewildered and asks, "Shouldn't I be the judge of that?" but Blair says no, 'cause her desperation is making her judgement too cloudy. Natalie then gets in on that action and barks, "Just dump him!"
Mrs. Garrett asks them to explain what the hell they're talking about, so Jo climbs out of bed and wearily says, "Some people are saying that you want to marry him, but he's not interested." Mrs. Garrett nods and says, "Ahh...I'm beginning to understand." She explains that Ernest is a good friend who makes her laugh...and that she enjoys going out with him once in awhile, but has no desire to be married to him. The girls are like, "But what about your future?" so Mrs. Garrett says she's generally happy, if a bit lonely at times, but would only consider getting married if she thought it would make her life fuller. Blair says she doesn't agree, but concedes, "It's your life." [Yep - that is correct.] As the girls lumber back to bed, Mrs. Garrett tells them she's going to hit the hay 'cause she has a breakfast date in the morning...then implies it's with someone who's not Ernest. Egads!
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