The CityThe L Word Season 1 • Episode 3
When we last left Whitney on The City, she was, unbeknownst to her, straddling the uptown-downtown divide. Would she let her drunk best friend and unshaven boyfriend pull her into the nether regions of downtown debauchery, fedoras, and fake bar fights? Or would her co-worker/frenemy and her first Manolos lure her to fight, along with Olivia, for her own spot in uptown society? With this in mind, we took a critical eye to last night's episode of MTV's brilliant new reality show, assessing which elements said "uptown" and which said "downtown." We define each category by the stereotypes laid out in the first two episodes. Uptown is a world of propriety, Manolos, and sobriety, while downtown is a greasy cesspool of facial hair and fedoras, where misguided partiers take to the bottle instead of figuring out what they want in life. After the jump commences our first Uptown/Downtown Tally of The City.
As Downtown As a Girl With a Long-Distance Boyfriend Who Wears a Yellow Hoodie and Brings His Acoustic Guitar Everywhere
• Whitney tells Erin over breakfast that she's having trouble finding an apartment and hopes she can find something soon since Erin's greasy long-distance boyfriend, Duncan, is in town and the apartment is cramped. (As if they know what cramped means, but more on that later.) Erin feigns sympathy, but clearly she just had Duncan come stay with her to send Whitney the message to take a hike.
• Whitney tells Erin she's unsure about Jay, adding, "I just want to trust him." Why? She's so emotional over this guy she's angsty. Well, angsty for her.
• Whitney answers her phone during the photo shoot at her fake job at Diane Von Furstenberg. Socialites are many things, but at least they have manners.
• Whitney continues showing no sense of office propriety and wears more skanky short skirts to work.
• Whitney takes an apartment two blocks away from Erin on the 30th floor of a brand-new luxury building in Gramercy. As she's deciding if it's right for her, she's standing on her balcony, suspended in a gorgeous creamy aerial shot of The City (which was obviously staged since MTV would have had to set the cameras up on the next balcony to get the shot), when she says to Jay, "I kinda envisioned myself in one of those shorter brick buildings." And then: "I don't wanna live with any regrets, you know?" We say we hate things a lot, but never until that moment did we truly understand what it felt like to hate with the heart and our deepest darkest soul.
• Whitney's hair looks greasy at work the day after she takes the apartment Jay showed her. She probably spent the night at his place to avoid Duncan and Erin and didn't take a shower that morning. Why should she? She can buy a new designer outfit on the way to the office.
• Erin tells Whitney and Jay when they're moving Whitney in that she and Duncan said "I love you" the night before. Jay is incredulous and accuses Erin of mistaking lust for love. Because, you know, fake hipsters don't fall in love.
• Whitney: "It seems like I'm slowly figuring everything out in this city except for the guys." An uptown girl would at least pretend to know everything.
• Erin and Whitney go walking, not jogging, in the park. They're probably hung-over.
• Olivia's cousin explains that he got a $100 ticket for spitting on the subway platform and that three cops told him to keep his hands out of his pockets. Also, he's eating Goldfish while he tells the story on Olivia's white couch. Amazing.
• At Whitney and Jay's big dinner, Whitney asks Jay if they're boyfriend-girlfriend. Says she never expected to like somebody so much so soon. Aw, poor dear, she hasn't learned to disconnect from her feelings. (Yet her facial expressions make her look as though she has none. Remarkable.) Jay doesn't want to rush it, and it's not that he necessarily wants to see other people but he's got other shit going on. His life isn't all about the relationship. (But, dude, that's what the freaking show is about.) Exactly the kind of drivel that would pacify Whitney for the moment but then confuse her to death when she's trying to remember exactly what he said at brunch the next day. An uptown girl would have told him to shave and walked out.
• The episode ends on Whitney's pained face and Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy" song. She looks crushed. Olivia would have looked pissed.
As Uptown As a Fluffy White Lap Dog Named Butler
• Whitney has brunch with Erin before she goes to work. This is her first week on the job, supposedly. Only a socialite who never has to work would sit down for a meal before the third day of her super-stressful dream job.
• Whitney's task for the day is to style the outfits for the online catalogue. Everyone knows the only people who buy that stuff directly from the designer's site are socialites in their twenties.
• Olivia tells Whitney not to rely on a guy 24/7 and be independent. Sound advice, but confusing coming from her. She's probably jealous she's not dating a foreign guy and subtly, viciously trying to make Whitney feel bad.
• Whitney leaves work to go look at the apartment with Jay without thinking twice about it. Clearly she doesn't need her job.
• Erin tells her boyfriend she's only had long-distance relationships. She's totally going to be one of those ladies who languishes in her Central Park apartment with the houseboy all day while her husband's away on business half the year.
• Whitney calls her sunglasses her "sunnies." Only a flamboyant gay man or goody two-shoes priss would say that.
• Whitney can't believe Jay gave Erin a hard time about saying "I love you." Yes, Whitney is tragically naïve, but she raises a good point about manners. Especially since Jay and Erin have probably spent only 30 minutes of their lives in each other's company.
• Whitney wears a poufy half ponytail on her walk, which looks like it could have been smoothed with hairspray. This is the worst hairstyle ever.
• Olivia drinks tea when her cousin tells her the spitting story. We're betting we'll never see her put anything caloric in her mouth for the whole show. Eventually, Erin or Whitney will cave and have a cheeseburger at brunch after a night out at Tenjune.
• We realized why Olivia looks so miserable all the time. She has to talk about Whitney instead of herself and she hates it. She trashes Whitney for ducking out early the first week of work to see the apartment. Her jealous, catty attitude really shines this episode.
• The weather must be warm, because Whitney's running around in skanky miniskirts, yet Olivia's wearing a giant pirate collar with a jacket and long pants. Loosen up, Blair Waldorf.
• Olivia's cousin on The City: "They are cutthroat. They are evil. Who knows it better than you?" He's probably talking about that Socialite Rank fiasco.
This week downtown held Whitney's heart, but will Olivia dig her talons into her? Next week, Whitney says to Olivia, "What are socials? Socialites?" It's so on.