Finally, Whitney lived up to her doormat potential in last night's episode of The City. Jay might not be around anymore to bully her into doing things that aren't good for her — but that's why she adopted Roxy! The evil Megan Fox Wannabe convinces Whitney to trot early sketches of her clothing line off to Bergdorf. This dumb move prompts Kelly and Bergdorf buyer Sunni to spout some of the most brilliant wisdom ever uttered on this show. Which was nearly lost in a sea of vapid stares and inappropriate office attire.
Lesson 1: Pushing out the lazy new hire.
Do: Emphasize her incompetence to the higher-ups. As always, the episode begins with Erin complaining to Joe about how much Olivia sucks at her job, the parameters of which are still unclear. Since Joe (and not MTV, obviously) made the decision to hire her, he defends her. From what Joe can see, Olivia’s not doing that bad, because one of her outfits made the Today show, after all. Erin neglects to remind him that Olivia wanted Americans to try to attire themselves by secretly affixing scraps of cloth around their bodies with hidden safety pins.
Don’t: Forget to emphasize her communication problems. If Erin really wants to get Olivia fired (not that she can, because we have a whole season to get through here), she needs to tell Joe, daily, how bitchy she is. Joe asks Erin if Olivia presents a personality conflict. “I don’t think it’s a personality conflict, I think it’s an Olivia-doesn’t-do-work-conflict,” Erin says. This may be true, but it’s the wrong answer. Outside of Joe’s office, Erin’s probably still retelling the story of how Olivia and her ugly tan diaper shorts told her to do her Today show assignment herself if she didn’t like her work.
Lesson 2: Starting a clothing line.
Don’t: Trust the advice of friends who wear hideous pants and trash your apartment. While the rest of us toil away without getting paid for letting America watch us stare at a wall, Whitney gets to spend half her workday at the People’s Revolution office working on her clothing line. Today she has sketches! Roxy, who wore the most hideous pants the world has ever seen in the first episode, demands to see them. She pets the fabric swatch and tells Whitney, “It feels like a couch.” Watch out, Cathy Horyn! “I’d wear, like, half of these.” That should have been Whitney’s cue to redo the entire collection.
Do: Listen to the woman who’s going to put on your fashion show. Whitney also shows her sketches to Kelly, who tells her to get rid of a piece that’s a combination of a leotard, corset, and underwire. Sound advice, but we almost wish she hadn’t said anything so we could have seen this ultimate in skankwear on the runway.
Lesson 3: Having a mind of your own.
Don’t: Go about designing your clothing line based on the whims of a friend who wears hideous pants and trashes your apartment. Roxy suggests Whitney show her line to Samantha’s boss at Bergdorf. Kelly told Whitney not to show it to anybody (because it sucks so far and she hasn’t even made any clothes). Whitney, as we learned well in season one, is a doormat and lets Roxy bully her into Bergdorf fashion suicide.
Do: Get a clue from your more genuine friends. Samantha, who evidently also is a doormat, says she would have to ask her boss if she’d have time to meet with Whitney, and ultimately arranges the meeting. Why doesn’t she just say, “Actually, my boss is a big important deal in this industry and she doesn’t have an extra ten minutes a day to laugh in the face of reality stars who are trying to make clothes”? Is that really so hard?
Lesson 4: Recognizing very dumb ideas, like showing a barely sketched clothing line to a top buyer at Bergdorf Goodman.
Do: Listen to the lady with experience, especially if she’s your boss and gets mad when you don’t do what she tells you to.
Don’t: Do exactly what your boss told you not to do just because your dumb friend says it’s smart. We can’t get over how idiotic Roxy’s reasoning is as to why Whitney should drop everything and show her sketches to Bergdorf. Such as: “She will be your harshest critic. After that, you’ll feel so much better.” Except if she hates it and decides she never wants to see Whitney’s face again! “What’s the worst-case scenario — she’s going to be like ‘I hate it’ and you’re going to be like ‘Okay.’” Okay, this is dumb reasoning, but it’s true — Whitney would just continue going through life staring at things blankly with no emotional reaction. But it might sting when she has to join Lauren Conrad at the ever-glamorous Kohl’s, designing a line of lace-trimmed socks or something.
Lesson 5: Complaining about work to people who might gossip.
Do: Keep your issues cryptic. Apparently Rachel Roy is a “dear friend” of Olivia’s. When she’s unrealistically in her showroom looking at jewelry for Joe’s column, MTV has instructed Rachel to begin a dialogue with her about her new job. Rather than say, “I work with a stupid bitch. Her name is Erin. I’d smack her but I don’t want to get sued or give Gawker more reasons to write about me,” Olivia offers, “I’m a big believer in always helping people.” Ha, except that time in the closet you basically told Erin her assignments are stupid and she can go fuck herself.
Don’t: Be a hypocrite (see above). It’s just annoying.
Lesson 6: Showing your first fashion line to people who matter.
Do: Make clothes and take pictures. By miracle of reality TV, Sunni, Samantha’s boss at Bergdorf, agrees to meet with Whitney. Whitney brings her sketches. Not real clothes. Not shots of real clothes. Just sketches. We’ve never designed clothes, but we imagine this would be like us interviewing for our job by coming in with a laptop and showing people that we can type.
Don’t: Wear a bright-orange dress. It’s distracting. Besides, bright colors subconsciously rile people up (they teach these things in business school, we hear). Whitney's dress screams, “I’m from California and I LIKE ATTENTION!” It’s okay to be demure at times, Whit.
Do: Have confidence. Whitney knows showing her drawings and couch swatches to Sunni is premature and a bad idea, and keeps saying nothing's finalized yet. She should have listened to her instincts and thought, “If I feel embarrassed going into this meeting, maybe I shouldn’t have it.” But that might be expecting too much from a girl who regularly wears bright-orange dresses.
Lesson 7: Designing a day dress.
Don’t: Cut out the sides. Sunni tells Whitney to eliminate one such dress with side cutouts: “No one during the day is going to want to show her sides.” Thank you, Sunni, for emphasizing that what pop stars gravitate toward is not meant for the average woman!
Do: Avoid the color orange. Whether or not Whitney has incorporated her favorite color into the collection, it’s not one of those shades that make most women go, “You know what I really want this season? Something bright-orange.”
Lesson 8: Interacting with scared new assistants.
Do: Be unfailingly cheery. Major points go to Joe for always being so happy and sweet to everyone at work. He’s always complimenting people and smiling and so happy to be in the office. Is he a person? We’re not so sure anymore.
Don’t: Let someone else’s ill feelings rub off on you. Olivia interrupts Joe and Erin talking shit about her to show them the work she’s done on her A-to-Z assignment. Joe acts absolutely thrilled to see her. Erin seethes because Olivia has done an average instead of terrible job. Joe looks like the bigger person, even though Erin is justified in all her ways.
Lesson 9: Owning up to a mistake.
Do: Admit wrongdoing to your boss and offer ways to improve the situation. Kelly scolds Whitney for trotting over to Bergdorf with her sketches because Roxy — a girl fresh off the boat from L.A. who “knows fuckall” — told her to. “This is so fucking ass-backward insane,” Kelly says in a brilliant moment of bluntness. “I just don’t think that Roxy has your best interest in mind,” she continues. “When it comes to your career, maybe you just shouldn’t listen to anything she has to say.” Whitney doesn't even nod her head to show she understands.
Don’t: Sit silently with your tail between your legs and nothing to say. Kelly may have known Whitney for a long time, but as she sits there and lets Kelly curse at her without saying anything to indicate that she understands why what she did was dumb, Kelly doesn’t even know whether she’s listening to her or just worrying about how pretty her staring looks on camera at that moment.
Bonus lesson, MTV: Show more Bergdorf! We can take or leave Samantha, but Sunni gave us chills. Nothing gets our gander like a put-together professional woman in power telling a reality star whose skirts are short to the point of indecent that she shouldn’t make dresses with no sides. More of this classiness and reasoning, please!
Next week: The girls pick up boys — the gross, preppy, uptown kind!