Last night's episode of The City was absurd and filled with many lies, but the worst, most absurd lie occurred when Erin asked Olivia if she had seen the new music spread. Olivia says no, and then Erin thrusts the magazine into her hands. Because, you know, Ke$ha was just in the office shooting, like, yesterday in TV time, but the magazine comes out, like, the same day. There's no three-month lead time in fantasy City land! The leprechauns crawl out from the walls and take the pictures to their secret underground magazine factory and slip them under everyone's pillows while they're sleeping — like tooth fairies! Yes, this is a pleasant land, where everything is easy, everyone's hand gets held, and the job of online reporter also includes getting to style celebrities for cover shoots!! But more on all the ridiculousness, in this week's lessons.
Lesson 1: Selling things to Olivia Palermo
Do: Laugh at her. The shaggy blond guy in Trash and Vaudeville showing Olivia shoes for the Ke$ha shoot laughs uncontrollably. At first we thought, Is he on drugs? But imagining ourselves in his shoes — filming fakery for an MTV "reality" show — we'd be laughing like a Cheshire cat too.
Do: Say, "So no paddles, then." And laugh.
Do: Talk about her right in front of her. Olivia tries on a boot with spikes and bullets on it — that's a boot, because she is practically deigning to be in the store, much less let one of the items it sells envelop part of her body — and says she refuses to walk around in it. The sales girls overhear, and one says, "Who doesn't walk in shoes?" Awesome!
Lesson 2: Tights
Don't: Ruin a perfectly nice dress by wearing a spotted pair that makes you look like you just came from roasting your legs in a wood-burning oven. AHEM, Whitney.
Lesson 3: Selling clothes at a trade show
Don't: Fight over who has to write things down. Things get off to a questionable start when Whitney and Roxy are deciding who will fill out order forms for potential clients. Roxy says, "I'm not very good at school" — whatever that means — seemingly leaving Whitney with the grunt work (even though she's the designer and Roxy should do it). The confusion becomes a problem when Whitney is forced to do an impromptu strip-and-try-this-on number for a random dude possibly not hired by MTV (or maybe he was an actor, who knows) who claims he wants to sell her clothes in his store.
Do: Have Kelly Cutrone around! Things don't come together for Lucy and Ethel until Kelly arrives to answer hard questions like, "What kind of deliveries do you have?" Whitney's lucky she's likable, because otherwise probably no one would hold her hand all the time and brush her hair when she gets flustered. Her New York is such a magical fairyland!
Lesson 4: Running a fashion line
Do: Make sure the actual work of running a business gets done. The random dude at the trade show who wanted to buy Whitney's line canceled his order. Whitney blames Roxy for not following up, which one would think the natural thing to do, but Roxy says Whitney never told her to, or something. It's hardly important why — Roxy wants to become an actress in her real life and it's important she gets to have fights on camera to show her range of emotions.
Do: Have Kelly Cutrone do it for you! That seems to be the biggest lesson of this show, in fact. Whitney wonders, "What am I supposed to do with all that inventory?" Oh God — A GROWN-UP PROBLEM. Kelly tells her she'll have to eat it, which is what real fashion designers do. Also, "Whitney, let this burn you for a while so you remember what this feels like. It’ll save you millions of dollars in the future." She tells Roxy after Whitney pouts her way out of there, "Every time you see her acting like that, just remember like, what’s going on in her head. I’m scared, I’m without my family, I might lose everything that I have, and I’m not sure about what I’m doing." Hey, everyone! Welcome to New York! The only pity party you'll find for anyone in town is for Whitney Port! The invisible leprechauns will serve you Moët if you get invited!
Lesson 5: Dressing Ke$ha
Do: Try to identify. As Ke$ha fannies about the Elle closet in her leopard leotard and torn fishnets talking about how much she loves garbage and wearing garbage bags and how her style philosophy is "trash couture," Olivia tries to make herself useful. We saw Ke$ha after she filmed this scene at the Erin Wasson show at fashion Week in February, where she was wearing the same outfit. Olivia, who probably wants to vomit into the trash bucket before Ke$ha tries it on, bites her tongue and suggests she complete her outfit with a "fierce purse." Fierce is NOT at all an Olivia adjective but, hey, she's at Elle with a garbage-wearing pop star.
Don't: Encourage her garbage shtick. Joe, who is unflappably nice to everyone, giggles throughout Ke$ha's visit. "I love a girl who loves garbage bags!" he tells her. He only makes Ke$ha's routine feel more forced and awkward for her and everyone who is forced and chooses to watch.
Lesson 6: Being a mean girl
Do: Face your opponent head-on. After Erin questions whether Olivia actually called the Nicolas Kirkwood shoes in for Ke$ha, thinking Louise did it, Olivia says to Erin out of the blue, "So Erin, I’m really enjoying working with Louise and I think your little master plan with trying to pin us against each other isn’t exactly working, either." This was so awesomely bitchy.
Do: Have a strong defense in place. Erin replies to Olivia, "First of all, it's 'pit,' not 'pin,' and I'm not trying to pit the two of you against one another. I'm trying to get someone in here that will get the job done." It's true, and this comment was funny, but a comeback based on an opponent's poor understanding of the English language isn't always enough. Olivia counters, "Whatever your plan was, it's not really working out too well." And she, with the last word, wins.