Recap: Mrs. Garrett is in the cafeteria, practicing the pitch she's about to deliver to the headmaster, Mr. Parker, about getting a raise in her salary. She natters to an empty room about how she plans the faculty dinners - from soup to nuts to dental floss - and says she always does it willingly, despite the fact that it's not actually included in her job description. Blair suddenly rushes into the cafeteria and tells Mrs. Garrett she's just been asked to host the art club luncheon and needs her help. Mrs. Garrett is busily jotting down some notes for her pitch and mutters, "Not now, Blair" and tries to wave her way. Blair ignores the blatant hint and says she just needs a teensy weensy bit of help...and by teensy weensy, she means plan and do all the cooking. Mrs. Garrett tells her she can't talk about this right now 'cause she's in the middle of something important - but Blair pretends as though her hearing isn't working and waxes on about what an honor it is for her to have been asked to host this special event.
Jo bursts into the cafeteria and informs Mrs. Garrett that one of her motorcycle tires is flat and she needs a replacement, like pronto, so could she drive her to The Tire Store right this second? Mrs. Garrett mumbles, "Not now" and explains that she has to go see Mr. Parker about a sudden problem that's come up. Jo tells her that Mr. Parker can wait until after they take care of her tire problem - but Blair interjects and says, "Maybe he can, but I can't. I have an art club luncheon to plan!" She tries to get Mrs. Garrett to offer her advice about the menu, but then Natalie rushes into the cafeteria and says she urgently needs Mrs. Garrett's advice about an editorial. Before Mrs. Garrett can utter any kind of response, Tootie bursts in and announces to everyone that she needs Mrs. Garrett's help with a home economics project. The girls start bickering with each other about how important they think their individual needs are...and as that's going on, Mrs. Garrett announces, "I'm off to see Mr. Parker now" but when they don't appear to hear her, she just shrugs and heads out. When the girls finally stop their bickering, they glance around the room, startled that Mrs. Garrett is no longer there. Blair glances at the other girls with an expression of incredulity, then haughtily says, "Disappearing like that borders on rude!"
Mrs. Garrett is in Mr. Parker's office, trying to convince him that her awesomeness as Eastland's dietician warrants a big salary increase. She looks nervous and rattled and drops her papers all over the floor, and Mr. Parker does not look impressed. When she tells him about all the faculty dinners she's planned, he stops her and says he wants her to beg for her raise - which she totally deserves, has earned, and is entitled to - with a little more umpf. He punches a fist in the air and bellows, "Edna, come on! Give me some feist!" so she shrieks, "I deserve my raise! I've earned it! I'm entitled to it!" Mr. Parker nods approvingly and says it's good to see that feist in her eyes - then promptly turns down her request and explains that the budget has already been signed off on. What a fucking dickwad. He assures her she'll be getting her usual cost of living raise, but she argues that that won't be enough of an increase. Mr. Parker wags his index finger at her - 'cause he's a fucking dickwad - and admonishes her for being so pushy...but she insists that this is not a frivolous request. She tells him she got a disturbing letter in the mail today, then hands it to him. He looks it over and remarks that it's from her pension company...and that it's gone belly-up and her pension is no more. Yikes. She tells him she's going to have to build another nest egg so that she can one day retire and enjoy her golden years, but he doesn't look like he gives much of a rat's ass 'bout her life and goes, "Oh well" then says his hands are tied 'cause the board of directors won't let him spend one more penny that hasn't been budgeted. She wails, "My future has taken a turn for the desperate!" and he smiles condescendingly and says, "Hang tough, Edna!", winks at her, and tells her that, by golly. she's bound to come up with something. Mrs. Garrett despondently stares into space and mutters, "What if I can't come up with something?"
Blair is leafing through a cookbook, trying to figure out the index so she locate a recipe for stuffed capons. She grumbles about how Mrs. Garrett isn't lifting a finger to help her with the arts club luncheon...and Tootie, Natalie, and Jo complain that, lately, she hasn't been around when they've needed her, and she's been very prickly whenever they've asked her for help. Blair sadly declares, "Mrs. Garrett hasn't been very sensitive or giving lately." Mrs. Garrett suddenly bursts into the kitchen and says she was napping and forgot to take out the biscuits. She pulls them out of the freezer and nervously chuckles about how easy it is to lose track of time when you're asleep. As she helps Natalie make a vegetable salad, Tootie says they'd really like to go to the new Brooke Shields movie tonight (Endless Love?) - but it's R rated. Natalie says they need a responsible adult to accompany them, but Mrs. Garrett isn't listening and asks Tootie to get a jar of applesauce out of the fridge. Tootie searches the fridge, but can't find it - so Mrs. Garrett snaps, "It's there!" then stomps over, quickly finds the applesauce and shoots Tootie the stink-eye as she slams the jar on the counter. Jo and Blair enter the kitchen, and Jo is bitching about how she's not sticking her hand in a dead chicken, aka helping her stuff capons for her stupid luncheon. Mrs. Garrett shrieks, "Girls, pleeeease!!" and looks as though she's about to blow." Natalie choses that moment to ask her, "Have you thought about it?" and Mrs. Garrett goes, "Thought about what?" and Natalie rolls her eyes impatiently - just as Mrs. Garrett opens the oven to put in the biscuits and discovers a charred roast inside. She shrieks, "There's a burnt log in my oven!" then pulls it out and wails, "Why didn't the timer go off?!" Tootie says, "It did. But you were upstairs" so Mrs. Garrett asks, "Why didn't you girls turn it off?" Tootie says they did, so Mrs. Garrett shrieks, "Not the alarm! The oven!" Bwahaha! I'm not a fan of Mrs. Garrett's constant shrieking, but it was supremely stupid of them to let the giant roast burn. Blair tells her there's something to be learned here, then says the burnt roast is a metaphor for how they've all been feeling lately: neglected, forgotten. Natalie concurs and tells Mrs. Garrett she's been letting them down, and Tootie chirps, "But we're willing to give you another shot!" Mrs. Garrett sarcastically retorts, "Gee, thanks." Jo piles on and tells her that lately she hasn't been sensitive to their problems, and Mrs. Garrett barks, "That's it! I've had it!" She admonishes them for being selfish brats, and thinking that the world revolves around them - instead of recognizing that she has her own life and problems and can't take care of their every need. After her outburst, she flees upstairs.
The girls retreat to the cafeteria, looking shocked and bewildered. Tootie says she’s never seen Mrs. Garrett so upset, and Blair assures her it couldn't possibly be anything they did - she must have some kind of personal problem she's dealing with. Natalie says she's surprised that Mrs. Garrett has her own life or problems, and Tootie puts her sad face on and says, “I thought we were her life.” Natalie says she doesn't think Mrs. Garrett has any right to take out her problems on them, and Jo agrees and says her temper could really get her into trouble. Blair makes a face and says she was downright insulting - and Tootie suddenly wonders if she's sick and/or dying, and asks the girls if they've seen any medicine bottles laying around.
Mrs. Garrett enters the room and apologizes for blowing up at them. Blair says, "It's OK. We know you didn't mean what you said" but Mrs. Garrett's like, "Actually, I meant every word - I just didn't mean to say it so loudly." Tootie asks her if she's going to die, and Mrs. Garrett gives her a funny look and says eventually they're all going to die - but she doesn't have any immediate plans to keel over. Tootie grumbles, "Then why are you in such a bad mood?" so Mrs. Garrett admits that she's been a cranky, irritable, shrieky pill lately, then explains that she's been working nights as the night manager at a Howard Johnson's restaurant. She says she's in the midst of a monetary crisis...as well as a sleep crisis. Natalie tells her she's over-taxing herself, and Mrs. Garrett admits that she can't keep up the pace of two jobs. Blair tells her she's just going to have to give up her other job...and Mrs. Garrett stares solemnly at them and says, "Or this one" and quietly heads into the kitchen. Natalie's all, "Wuh?" and goes, "What does she mean: this one?" The girls don't think Mrs. Garrett would really leave Eastland in favor of Howard Johnson's...but Blair tells them they're going to have to work a lot harder, in order to make her life easier.
The next morning, all four girls are hard at work in the kitchen, preparing for the breakfast rush. They gabble about how proud of themselves they are, and Jo says she's surprised they could work so harmoniously together. Blair puts an arm around her - mmm hmm - and says, "I guess it took Mrs. Garrett's crisis to bring us together" and Jo glares at her and growls, "How much longer do we have to put up this act?" Tootie chirps, "I'm having fun!" and the other three turn to glare at her.
Mrs. Garrett suddenly bursts into the kitchen, apologizing for oversleeping yet again. She shrieks, "Let's get cracking!" but Blair proudly informs her that everything's already been taken care of. Mrs. Garrett looks surprised, touched, then starts to laugh...but her laughter quickly turns to uncontrollable weeping. The girls assume she's crying for joy because of how awesome and helpful they are, but Mrs. Garrett says, between sniffles, "No...that's not it."
Mr. Parker enters the cafeteria and holds up a kiddie menu from Howard Johnson's. He walks over to Mrs. Garrett and goes, "What's this?" so she tells him it's her resignation letter, then explains that she was tired, it was late, and she grabbed the closest thing. The girls are all, "Wha-a? But we need you!" and she says they're just going to have to take care of themselves, 'cause there's no way she can continue working two jobs. Blair snorts angrily and snarks, "That's gratitude for you" and says she got up an hour early this morning to help cook breakfast - without even setting her hair! Jo grumbles that she had to debase herself by taking orders from Blair, and Natalie complains that she went through the thankless trouble of sectioning all the grapefruits. Mrs. Garrett shakes her head in frustration and shrieks, "I don't believe what I'm hearing! I'm back to square one with you girls!" Tootie poutishly tells her they're doing the best they can, and Mr. Parker chimes in and says the girls would be lost without her. Mrs. Garrett miserably tells them she doesn't want to leave - but Howard Johnson's pays her $400 more a month than Eastland does - and it's a chance for her to rebuild her nest egg and have some financial security. Mr. Parker argues, "But this is your home" and points out that she has a nice room and plenty of privacy...and plenty he means none, now that she's being forced to share her upstairs living quarters with four teenage brats. Mrs. Garrett reminds him that she lost her entire pension and isn't going to have enough to live on when she retires. She tears up and says that after a lifetime of hard work, she's frightened that she's going to end up sleeping on a park bench...and be reduced to eating dog food. Mr. Parker gasps and exclaims, "Don't scare the girls!" but Mrs. Garrett stands by her words and says it could happen to any of them. Natalie is horrified by the thought of Mrs. Garrett noshing on kibble...and Blair steps in and offers her a "solution": she can go live in the staff quarters of her dad's ranch, 'cause she'd fit right in with the wranglers, and her dad would never notice the difference. Mrs. Garrett wryly thanks her for the insultingly idiotic offer, but says she's always made her own way in the world...and refuses to live off of anyone. The girls finally grasp the notion that an extra $400 a month would make a huge difference in their housemother's life, and officially give her their blessing to resign from Eastland.
Mr. Parker declares that Mrs. Garrett is not leaving Eastland. Natalie chides him for being selfish, and the girls rally around Mrs. Garrett and gabble about how they're going to help her pack and find her an apartment. Mr. Parker barks, "Stop!" and says he's going to speak to the board of directors. He says they give a lot of lip service about how Eastland is a family - but now it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is. He announces that if they refuse to give Mrs. Garrett a $400 a month raise, he will threaten to resign. Somehow I highly doubt that that would be a very scary threat to the board. Mrs. Garrett is touched by his support and jokingly says, "I didn't know you had such feist" and he grins and says, "Maybe it's contagious." On his way out, Jo stops him and says that if the board members don't comply with the salary increase, she knows some guys from the city who can "convince" them. He gives her a weird look, then rushes out...and the girls gather around Mrs. Garrett, sit her at a table, and express their joy that her financial crisis has been resolved (even though she's pretty old to be starting a retirement fund from scratch and will probably have to work until she's eighty.)
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