The Rachel Zoe Project Recap: A Movie Star Feeding a Giraffe Is a Great Distraction From a Traitor Ex-Assistant

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High-five! Taylor's gone! Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

When we last left Rachel Zoe, she was in the throes of a health crisis, having been caught between taking the one she loves (Brad Goreski) and the one she owes (Taylor Jacobson) to Paris Fashion Week. And outside of that emotionally gut-wrenching experience, through every nightmare and every disastrous situation — where nothing ever fell apart — that Rachel had to endure, she still had to put dresses on famous actresses, AND the occasional model for magazine shoots. This season on The Rachel Zoe Project, the crises won’t stop. For the girl Rachel once called her “blessed jewel” to her face from her sickbed has betrayed her! And Rodger, who is now CFO of Rachel Zoe Inc. or something, is forced to fire her in the even bigger, more crucial role he seems to have this season. But aside from the practical matters of repossessing Rachel Zoe Inc. properties from Taylor, there are Rachel’s emotional attachments, the flashbacks, the WHY GOD WHY?s, as the drum of the ceaseless, illness-inducing stress beats on. Herewith, what we learned.

Things We Learned About Life:
• People on BBM disappear every day. Brad opens the episode in his car in a scene that lets us know something’s horribly awry. “Have you seen what’s happening, like, all over the Internet?” he says to Rachel’s assistant Marisa on the phone. Something’s going on with Taylor, a betrayal, clearly, but details are fuzzy. Brad is emotionally thrown, confused, clearly hurt. “We used to BBM, like, until we went to bed,” he says. Just goes to show: BBM messages can easily mean as much little as a Facebook wall post.

• Don’t let feelings interfere with business. Rodger tells Rachel he had a conversation with Taylor about some shady numbers in the books and odd expense reports she had clearly been responsible for. Taylor didn’t have answers. Or an apology. Rachel can’t believe her blessed jewel would do this — which is still pretty vague, this offense of Taylor’s — to her. “This is four years — she’s my family,” Rachel cries. “It was a waste of time,” Rodger protests. “There’s so much fucked-up shit that’s gone on.” Ultimately he convinces Rachel that the business has to come before any human jewels she’s blessed.
• Don’t yell in important business conversations with your wife. When Rodger is trying to talk some sense into Rachel about Taylor he says, rudely, to her,
“Don’t fucking yell at me!” Rachel rightly notes that he’s the one who’s yelling!
• Self-awareness goes a long way. Brad, in the midst of the Hurricane Taylor, exclaims, “My BlackBerry is, like, on another level.”
• Defend your territory at the office. Brad gets a promotion to style director in Taylor’s wake, and he shows a professional level of excitement rather than completely queening out over it. But later, when it’s just him and the camera, he turns serious businessman and says, “I’m not one who’s very concerned about seniority, but it’s very clear that the person who comes in should be reporting to me.” That’s exactly what a person unconcerned with seniority would say.
• Tell the public what they want to hear. Brad implies Taylor stole samples from the showroom, seemingly confirming those tabloid rumors. He seems to share the general public's insatiable appetite for this sort of gossip.
• When you employ your husband, let him know he’s your employee. Rachel and Rodger are walking around in L.A. and Rachel tells him she’s his boss, which she is, and that they’re going shopping. Not that she would have had to be his boss to make him go shopping with her — it's one of his favorite pastimes — but this was still an awesome moment.
• Differences between men and women, Part I: When Rodger wants to figure out dinner, Rachel says, “You’re always so hungry.” Seems like kind of a formula for fashion girls that a significant other should eat about three times as much as the chick.
• Differences between men and women, Part II: “I think football is so uninteresting,” Rachel says. “So uninteresting.” OHMYGODTHANKYOUFOREVERFROMTHEBOTTOMOFOURHEARTSWELOVEYOURACHEL!!!!!!!!!!
• Hang out with someone long enough and you’ll start to talk like them! Brad seems to have adopted Zoe’s stilted deadpan this season, which is unnecessary because his manner of speaking was already maxed out on flair.
• Walking a giraffe is not unlike walking a dog: all you need is a giant leash!
• Hold grudges. Brad is ecstatic at the end of the episode because his Paper magazine spread with Taylor is out. He claims it’s “one of the most awkward moments of my life,” but he shows Rachel anyway, thereby making sure the photos are on-camera. Rachel, unable to let go of the situation, wants to burn the photos. But what she really needs is not a fireplace, it's a nice boxed set of meditation CDs.

Things We Learned About Fashion:
• Looking at clothes is like having stoned, deadpan sex with them. Rachel and Brad have to pick out at least 30 looks for Demi Moore’s Harper’s Bazaar cover shoot. This involves staring at outfits on the computer and in look books and moaning in numbed pleasure over them.
• Demi Moore wears a size 36 shoe! Brad dishes this fact when he suggests getting her some McQueen armadillo shoes to wear (shoe samples are usually a U.S. size 9).
• Fashion is full of “negative energy,” as Rodger puts it. He says he can’t feed into Rachel's, which is the best thing he can do for her as she freaks out over Taylor becoming successful after their time together. It’s basically a nice way of saying he’s sick of her whining.
• Fashion saves. Rachel is having a fit over Taylor finding an agent and getting styling work but throws herself into the Demi Moore shoot. “My job is my escape,” she says. “Whenever I’m in a time of crisis I think work, like, saves me.” Distraction is the best cure for any breakup.
• The amount of money and work that goes into fashion shoots is insane. We loved watching the Demi Moore shoot come together on last night’s episode because it was a rare behind-the-scenes window into what these things are really like. Not what Bazaar's behind-the-scenes online footage says they're like, but what they're really like. Mostly, they’re awkward, but also huge and expensive productions. Demi’s shoot had all kinds of bizarre props, like a giant chair, red balloons, and a freaking giraffe, but also an entire crew of burly men to make sure it all happened without anyone falling down and hurting themselves.
• Posing is awkward. Even the simplest things — leaning on the side of a playhouse, sitting on a giant chair, walking back and forth on the patio, feeding a giraffe from a tall staircase — look ridiculous while they’re happening in real time. When Demi had to prance around with the red balloons on the beach, even she looked like she couldn’t believe her career had led her to this moment. That prancing/smiling thing she did was totally sarcastic.
• Stylists are cheerleaders. Rachel stands off to the side while Demi does her awkward poses, never failing to spit out, “Gorgeous. Beautiful.” They don’t pay her the big bucks not to die over things.
• If you’re doing a shoot on the beach, wear your “triple platform” stilettos anyway because there will be a man to make it comfortable for you. Someone in the crew carries Rachel in her ridiculous “everyday” shoes onto the beach and then gives her a little square of wood to stand on comfortably in the sand. Something tells us Rodger wouldn't have been manly enough to pull that off.
• Rachel, after the giraffe bites Demi: “If you’re uncomfortable for fashion, I can deal with that. If you’re getting hurt for fashion, that’s not okay.” Actually, maybe it is okay, because Demi and the giraffe made for Bazaar’s best cover so far this year.
• Rachel believes her soul is worth one or two dozen Chanel jackets.