Recap: Jo and Blair are heading to New York to spend the weekend with their pre-Eastland besties. Jo says she can't wait to get back to her old Bronx 'hood and get a dose of "rude and hostile", which she's been craving ever since moving to Peekskill (where everyone's too polite). Blair stumbles into the lounge carrying two large suitcases, and after some pointless gabbling with Mrs. Garrett, Natalie and Tootie, Blair and Jo head out to the train station.
In the next scene, Jo and Blair enter a coffee shop in Grand Central Station, which is where they arranged to meet up with their besties. (Note: the coffee shop is the same set the show used in the previous episode, when Tootie was nearly recruited into hookerdom by Kristy.) Jo and Blair seat themselves at a table and start to bicker the way people who secretly possess repressed lesbian feelings of desire for each other bicker on TV shows. Blair notices a magazine rack and squeals with delight, 'cause apparently they don't have magazines in upstate New York. She rushes over to the rack (which seems out of place in a coffee shop, but whatevs) and starts leafing through her favorite fashion magazines. A few minutes later, a pampered looking young girl wearing a luxurious fur coat enters the coffee shop, sees Blair across the room and shrieks, "Warner!" Blair whirls around, lights up, and shrieks, "Becker!" and the two rush into each others' arms, exchange overacted air kisses, and gush and carry on about how fabulous the other looks. When Jo interjects with one of her usual sardonic quips, Blair introduces her to her snooty friend, Dina Becker...and Dina shoots Jo a disdainful stink-eye and remarks to Blair, "Only in America would someone like you know someone like her."
A tough looking, leather clad girl struts into the coffee shop and greets Jo - and the two shake hands and pump each other's arms in an over-exuberant, mannish fashion. Blair notices Butch's arrival and clears her throat while looking at Jo expectantly...and Jo introduces her to her neighborhood bestie, Jessie. Blair clears her throat again and motions toward Dina, and Jo introduces Jessie to Dina, who she nicknames Princess Di. Dina gives Jessie a limp handshake while rolling her eyes and making funny faces. Suddenly, an Asian man accidentally bumps into Jessie as he walks by, and she snarks, "Watch it!" then derisively remarks, "Boat people. You can't turn around without bumping into half the cast of Shogun." Blair reminds Jessie that New York is a melting pot, and that they should do their best to make immigrants feel at home...and Dina's like, "Racism...whatever" and excitedly gabbles to Blair about their weekend plans to go shopping everywhere. When Jo and Jessie chuckle mockingly at their vapidness, Blair asks them what their weekend plans are, then jokes, "Knock over a few candy stores?" Jessie mutters a bodily threat under her breath, so Jo hastily says they're just planning to hang around the old 'hood...and when Blair quips, "It's a jungle out there!" Jessie narrows her eyes and snaps, "Watch your mouth!" Dina calls Jessie a sweat hog, and the twosomes face off like they're gearing up for a Jets vs. Sharks style rumble. After a few more minutes of tedious sniping and name calling, the stereotyped twosomes finally go their separate ways.
The next morning, Blair and Dina return to Dina's fancy apartment after breakfasting at the Plaza. Dina finds a note from her maid, Hildy, explaining that she had to rush off to the dentist for a tooth emergency. Dina gets angry and starts railing about Hildy's "selfishness" and wails that they have people coming over soon and have nothing to serve them! Egads! Blair uses the problem solving skills she acquired at Eastland and suggests they make something themselves - but Dina looks aghast at the notion of being resourceful and/or self-reliant and says, "Very funny, Warner" then scrunches her face in misery and cries, "What are we going to dooooo?!" Blair tells her they can quickly throw together a tuna salad, and Dina stares at her blankly and says, "I beg your pardon?" so Blair slowly says, "Tuna...fish...sturgeon" and insists it's not a big deal to prepare a snack. She grabs a can of tuna from the nearby cupboard and shows Dina how to open it using a new-fangled invention called the can opener, then empties the tuna into a big bowl and adds mayonnaise. A shocked Dina chides Blair for turning into "a domestic", and Blair's like, "Well, d'yuh" and proudly tells her about all the time she spends in the Eastland cafeteria cooking, waiting tables, and washing dishes. Hildy, meanwhile, returns from her dental emergency and gets a tongue lashing from Dina for tending to her sore tooth on a day she has guests coming over. Hildy tells her that all the food for her guests has been prepared and is just in the fridge chillin' - and instead of looking sheepish, Dina huffily snarls at her to take better care of her teeth so she doesn't inconvenience her like that ever again. A sympathetic Blair asks Hildy if her tooth is OK, then rebukes Dina for her rudeness...and Dina gets angry and snaps, "How could you take her side?!" and starts trash-talking Eastland. Blair says there's nothing wrong with her school and that she's made some pretty good friends there, and Dina laughs and asks if her circle of friends includes the "little hoodlum from the coffee shop". She says it looks like Eastland has gone downhill and will admit anyone (yep, pretty much), and Blair grows weary of defending her beloved boarding school and irritably barks, "Becker, in your ear!" and Dina gasps in shock.
Jo and Jessie are at a community rec center, playing fussball. Afterward, they sit on a bench and talk wistfully about old times and how the neighborhood is changing. An old man, who's playing checkers nearby, accidentally drops some of his pieces on the floor and politely asks Jessie if she could pick them up for him, and Jessie shoots him the stink-eye and snaps, "Get up and get them yourself!" Jo gives her a WTF? look and chides her for her rudeness, then bends down to pick up the pieces and hands them to the old man. Jessie snarks that the old coot's always causing problems for her (e.g. calling the cops) and Jo reminds her that they're in a community rec center and that he's a member of the community. Jessie's like, "Whatever" and stomps over to a nearby mural a bunch of kids are working on, and starts railing about how Hispanics are taking over the Bronx and that Spanish is becoming the borough's predominant language. Jo grins and asks, "What's wrong with picking up another language?" and Jessie says she'd prefer it if they learned hers 'cause she was here first. She then glares at the mural and says, "It's missing something", then picks up a can of spray paint and looks as though she's about to deface the work of art. Jo tries to grab the spray paint from her and tells her she's acting like the 'hood is a combat zone - and Jessie argues it is, and bitterly admonishes Jo for leaving her and the homies behind to attend a fancy upstate boarding school. Jo insists that the Bronx is still her home and that she cares about it, but Jessie tells her she's turning all snotty and now has the nerve to give her lessons on how to act. Jo says that Eastland is a good place, and that she's lucky to be there...and then the two start wrestling over the spray paint can. Jo manages to wrench it away from her and bellows, "It's a nice mural!" and Jessie accuses her of taking "their side", snaps that she can spend her weekend singing "La Cucaracha" with them, and storms out of the rec center. She then returns a few seconds later and contritely tells Jo they'd better bounce 'cause "bad things happen after the sun goes down" and an unhappy looking Jo mutely follows her out.
On Sunday, Jo and Blair meet at the Grand Central Station coffee shop to catch the train back to Peekskill together. Blair enters the shop, struggling with her suitcases and shopping bags...and when she seats herself beside Jo at the counter, the waitress tells her that her friend here was worried she wouldn't make her train. Blair looks touched by her mannish friend's concern and asks her how her weekend went, and Jo says, "Great" in a flat voice. Blair says that hers was exhausting, but that she had lots of fun shopping. The two then stare sadly into space and remark that their besties haven't changed much...and by haven't changed much, they mean they're hopeless caricatures of a bygone era. Blair suddenly brightens and says she's looking forward to getting back to Eastland, and Jo concurs. They both exit the coffee shop to catch their train, and Blair looks positively smitten when Jo gallantly offers to help her carry her bags.
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!
5/15/2020 07:42:14 am
I thought Jo gave the Bronx a bad name sometimes. not all of the Bronx has bad neighborhoods.
8/12/2022 09:03:03 am
I always shipped Blair and Jo, even when I was a kid and had no idea about shipping as a concept. Honestly, looking back on it today the obviousness of their attraction to each other is clear as day. I mean, this episode is literally about how they learned from each other and need each other to keep from being myopic and unempathetic like their old friends.
8/14/2022 08:51:39 am
Three straight episodes with visits to New York. Believable, yes, but you almost wonder if they were toying with changing the setting.
10/14/2022 01:10:01 pm
As the girls were getting older, it was probably decided their characters had to branch out beyond the school setting.
10/14/2022 01:08:25 pm
I always thought the Blair and Dina kitchen scene was unrealistic. Blair, a girl who would gasp if she saw another girl whose purse and shoes did not match, decides to serve tuna fish drowning in mayonnaise as a lunch to her friends? No one would be that tasteless. Besides, in that Upper East Side neighborhood, couldn't they have ordered food from a gourmet shop? As for the Jessie and Jo in the recreation room scene, that just reeked too much of Woke political correctness.
Leave a Reply.
The Facts of Life homepage
Recapper: Isabel K. French
Your contributions help keep the site ad-free
Television of Yore
Snide recaps of television's most entertaining classics