Recap: The new season begins at Langley College, where Blair is playing cards with a gaggle of new friends...and flirting with a hunky blonde guy named Barry. A glum looking Jo lumbers in and snaps, "We have to talk" ... and the two head over to Blair's dorm room so that Jo can bellyache about the writers' latest contrivance: the part-time job the college promised her fell through...and without any income, she can't afford to get through the semester. (It remains unclear why she doesn't consider looking for a part-time job elsewhere.) Blair rolls her eyes and complains about how tedious it is to always have to hear about her chronic money problems. She urges Jo to apply for student aid - but Jo nonsensically retorts that she doesn't want to beg anyone for money, even though her dismal financial situation is exactly why student aid was invented. Blair suggests she find a cheaper place to live, then tells her to stop whining about her problems 'cause these are supposed to be her carefree years. Jo snaps, "Well excuse me. Don't let my anguish interfere with your collegial experience" ... and Blair sighs, tells her to lighten up, and reminds her that Mrs. Garrett, Natalie, and Tootie are coming by for a visit, and she'd rather they didn't know that anything is amiss in her world.
Over at Eastland, Mrs. Garrett is shrieking into a tape recorder, bitching about how Mr. Parker is making her plan a brunch for the alumni president. Natalie and Tootie enter the kitchen to remind her that they're leaving for Langley soon, then ask whassup with all the shrieking into a tape recorder. Mrs. Garrett explains that it's an audio letter for her son, then says she'd like to mail her tape/letter to Raymond on their way to the college. Mr. Parker chooses that moment to drop by and throw a wrench in her plans by announcing that the alumni president's brunch is being changed from 11:00am to 8:00pm...which effectively means it's now a dinner. He orders her to cook Moroccan food 'cause the alumni president recently gabbled about how sumptuous and exotic it is - and Mrs. Garrett looks alarmed and shrieks, "It's in two days!" Mr. Parker shrugs, assures her she'll do fine, then leaves her to her meltdown. Mrs. Garrett shriekily tells Tootie and Natalie they'll have to go to Langley without her, then does her best to not have a stress-induced stroke.
Natalie and Tootie arrive at the Langley students' lounge and do their best to nonchalantly blend in with the college crowd...until Tootie starts giddily snapping photographs of everything. One of the college girls snootily snarks, "Can we help you kids?" just as a hunky guy wearing just a towel cinched around his waist saunters in and says he's looking for his Basic Anatomy. After the obligatory cackling from the studio audience, he tells no one in particular that if they find the book, please bring it to his dorm room. Natalie perks up at what could be her first sexy opportunity and starts frantically searching the lounge for the text book, but has no luck locating it. A few seconds later, Jo and Blair enter the lounge...and they all hug each other hello, then head outside for a stroll around campus.
Mrs. Garrett once again is ranting into her tape recorder about Mr. Parker when he drops by the kitchen a second time to inform her that the alumni president no longer wants Moroccan food at his dinner, but rather authentic Chinese food. Mrs. Garrett starts wailing about how he runs Eastland by mood and whim, but he just shrugs and tells her she'd better start chopping vegetables for the Kung Pao. Once he's out of earshot, Mrs. Garrett moans into the tape recorder about how she's sooooooo tired of being at the mercy of her douchetard boss and wishes more than anything that she could be in charge of her own destiny. Hang in there, Edna.
That night, Jo sneaks into Blair's dorm room 'cause she had to move out of her room due to her contrived no cash situation...and says she plans to crash here until a solution to her money problems magically presents itself before the end of this two-part episode. Blair looks dismayed by the thought of living with Jo in her teeny tiny space and warns her that they could both be expelled for breaking Langley's strict on-campus housing rules. Jo just shrugs, since it's pretty clear she doesn't give even the tiniest of rat's asses about dragging Blair into her never ending poverty problems.
Tootie is showing Mrs. Garrett all the photos she snapped while visiting Langley when Raymond quietly sneaks into the kitchen, puts his hands over Mrs. Garrett's eyes and does the annoying guess who? thing. She lets out a happy screech when she sees it's her son, who explains that he's in Peekskill on business and has something special he'd like to announce in dramatic fashion.
In the next scene, Raymond takes his mom to a dilapidated store, then spreads his arms and squeals, "All this is yours!" She glances around at the dusty room filled with broken furniture and goes, "All what?" so he tells her that the dump was an Armenian deli until it went belly-up...and that he bought the building so she could quit the shitty job she keeps complaining to him about in audio letters and open her own gourmet food shop and/or catering business. When she just stares dully into space, he reminds her it's been a dream of hers for years, and that he has every confidence she'll make a success of it. Mrs. Garrett glances around, weighs the pros and cons of quitting a job that offers financial security as well as summers off, and promises to think about it. When the Facts gals arrive, Raymond blurts out that his mom is quitting Eastland to open her own gourmet food shop, and Tootie and Natalie are all, "Wha-a-a?!" then ask her if it's really wise to start a business venture at her advanced age. Mrs. Garrett wanders around the room, absorbing the fact that since this show is going to limp along for another five seasons, the writers had little choice but to cobble together a scenario that would explain why in blazes she and the Facts gals would still be living under the same roof together. She officially announces that, yep, she's leaving Eastland to go into business for herself.
Blair is up early, styling her hair in her dorm room when Jo sneaks in after using the bathroom. As they continually bump into each other in case viewers haven't yet fully grasped that the dorm room is way too small to house two people, Blair tells her she hates this arrangement and asks her when she's moving out. Jo vaguely says she needs to find a job first, then announces that she'll be back at 11pm. She's about to climb out the window when suddenly Ms. Aames, the hall patrol Nazi, raps on Blair's door. After Jo dives into the closet, Blair opens the door and gets snarked at by Ms. Aames for hanging her delicates in the communal bathroom. Blair promises to take them down asap and hustles her out of the room - just as Jo spills out of the closet and loudly complains about all the chiffon she has on her hangers. What a rude ingrate.
Mrs. Garrett is in her room at Eastland, drafting her resignation letter, when Tootie drops by for no particular reason. Mrs. Garrett tells her she's having difficulty coming up with the right words for her letter, so Tootie suggests kiss off 'cause of how shittily Mr. Parker has treated her over the years. Mrs. Garrett looks faux appalled and says that being a rude and inconsiderate douchenozzle is just Mr. Parker's way. A few seconds later, Mr. Parker drops by to chide Mrs. Garrett for the shitty Chinese feast she prepared for the alumni president, and how much better a light brunch would have been. Mrs. Garrett scrunches her face angrily and blurts out, "You can just...kiss off!!" and the studio audience roars its approval.
Blair is studying with hunky Barry in her dorm room when Jo climbs in through the window, tells the two it's 11pm, and rudely barks at Barry to leave. When Blair bitches at her about the inconvenience of the two of sharing such a small space, Ms. Aames bursts in, is all, "A-ha!", and says it's against the rules for two gals to shack up in a dorm room together...regardless of how subtle their non-hetero attraction is for each other. She ominously says that the last time this sort of thing happened, both girls were expelled. Oh no!
Natalie and Tootie drop by the newly named Edna's Edibles to help Mrs. Garrett clean up. They glumly tell her that instead of hiring a new dietitian, Mr. Parker has cheaped out and contracted a caterer to truck in the food every day. The two then complain that because Mrs. Garrett is no longer employed as the school's dietician/house-mother, they've been assigned to different dorm rooms in separate buildings. Egads! A few seconds later, Mr. Parker drops by to beg Mrs. Garrett to return to Eastland 'cause apparently the catering company idea isn't working out as well as he hoped. Mrs. Garrett tells him it's nice to know he finally appreciates all the hard work she did during her years at Eastland, but firmly says no 'cause her mind is made up. She says she'll continue to cater his wife's parties, along with the school dinners, then sternly informs him that from now on he's going to have to pay her exorbitant catering fee. Mr. Parker's all, "Wuh? Pay?" then finally dials back his dickishness and acknowledges that, yep, she'll make a darn fine caterer. Let's hope this marks the last time we ever have to see this presumptuous assbag.
Jo and Blair arrive at Edna's Edibles, and Jo announces that she's going back to the Bronx to continue her family's cycle of poverty now that she has no part-time job to pay for her rent...and apparently no amount of resourcefulness to pound the pavement. She adds that she got in trouble with the dean of students for illegally squatting in Blair's dorm room and is now on probation. Mrs. Garrett looks as if she suddenly got a fantastic idea and tells her that, as luck would have it, the Edna's Edibles building has an extra apartment upstairs...because, yes, of course it does. I'll bet it's big enough for four! Jo half-heartedly tells her she couldn't possibly sponge off of her, and Mrs. Garrett's like, "Well d'yuh" and says she plans to put her to work in her new store, since there's no way she can do everything herself. Jo mulls that over for a few seconds, accepts her offer, and the two share a happy hug.
Natalie and Tootie are all, "What about us?!" 'cause they too need a reason to regularly hang out at Edna's Edibles as they periodically tackle the social problems of the '80s. Jo points out that there's plenty of work to go around, and Mrs. Garrett nods thoughtfully and says she'll talk to Mr. Parker and the gals' parents about granting permission for them to live in the apartment above Edna's Edibles...'cause, yeah, I'm sure it'll make total sense to Natalie's and Tootie's parents for their underage children to live with a shrieky woman in an off-campus apartment above her food shop.
Mrs. Garrett notices Blair standing off to the side, so she tantalizingly tells her that the spare apartment is big enough for four - heh - but Blair unexpectedly throws a wrench in the show's formula by saying she has zero desire to live over a kitchen again. She says she'd really like to move into a sorority house that has a lot of space...and Mrs. Garrett just kind of shrugs and says she should do what she wants. For now, anyway. As she and the other three Facts gals get busy sweeping and mopping, Jo tosses Blair a broom and snaps, "You can still help us clean up", and that's where this two-part season premiere abruptly ends. Weird.
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