It wouldn’t be fall if The City wasn’t back in our lives. The capitalized, italicized kind that Whitney Port, Olivia Palermo, and their assorted bosses and “friends” inhabit, wearing dresses that should never meet a subway grate, prancing from their careers to fabulous brunches to their multi-million-dollar brand-new West Village apartments that they absolutely needed because their old penthouse was total crap. Okay, that’s just Whitney. Olivia’s story isn’t much different, except she wears weird short shorts, lives in Tribeca, and doesn’t seek to embitter America by moving (that we know of).
Anyway, Whitney is back working at People’s Revolution a few hours a week while working the rest of the time on her fashion line — also made of dresses that should never meet a subway grate. Life gets complicated when Roxy, her childhood frenemy, storms into People’s Revolution, cons Kelly into giving her a job, and forces Whitney to let her sleep on her couch. Ever the pushover we’ve grown to love (maybe), Whitney struggles to keep Roxy’s hard partying ways under control.
Meanwhile, Olivia has a new job at Elle, where her boss Joe Zee isn’t around enough to see how incompetent she is, while her other boss Erin refuses to put up with her bitchitude, stealing our hearts like a first true love! And now this week’s lessons.
Lesson 1: Proving you “belong” in New York.
Do: Have attitude. We know this season is off to a tumultuous start when Megan Fox Wannabe Roxy — a ghost from Whitney’s past — breezes into Kelly Cutrone’s cluttered and decidedly unglamorous People’s Revolution office. Completely unafraid of Kelly (probably because she has no idea who Kelly is, despite a briefing from producers beforehand), MFW tells Kelly she wanted to move to New York because she was the only person in L.A. who wore all black — a fake reason she’s using to try hideously too hard to impress Kelly Cutrone. She randomly adds that she doesn’t get along with girls. “That’s sad,” Kelly said, looking surprisingly soft next to this scary vampire biker creature, who probably carries a vial of fake blood in her pocket. “I don’t think it’s sad, though I just find them to be sad,” MFW replies, as though reading lines from a cue card on the back wall. “I know Whitney is here and in fashion, and that’s shocking,” she continues, because she is a bitch. But Roxy, perhaps out of sheer dumb luck, has Kelly, a mean girl herself in past episodes, ready to bow at her feet and kiss her remarkably unscuffed biker bots by the end of their chat.
Don’t: Wear lip liner. A genuinely bitchy attitude and all the black clothes in the world don’t make you a bona fide New Yorker if you color in your lips with a red pencil. Or, God forbid, tattoo that shit on, which Roxy might have done. Hasn’t she seen an Olsen? The coveted look here is that of lifelessness and hunger.
Lesson 2: Meeting your new subordinate co-worker.
Do: Give her hell immediately. After Olivia accepts an offer from Elle creative director Joe Zee to work in the accessories department, she’s introduced to Erin, who heads publicity. Erin is a fierce diva wonder in her first scenes. She has evidently studied the first season closely and knows that, despite Joe’s professed belief that Olivia will “add a lot” to the magazine, she can only hope she’ll find an intern with good enough ideas to steal and make her own. And so Erin gives Olivia the kind of dirty looks Olivia gave Whitney in the first season at DVF. She asks if Olivia has ever worked at a magazine. Olivia has worked at Quest magazine. Erin scoffs aloud. We fall in love with Erin.
Do: Wear shoes with little spikes all over them. Just in case Olivia doesn’t know who’s boss (which she doesn’t), hopefully she’s observant enough to see if she gives Erin a reason to kick her she’s going to get a bruise and a scrape. Olivia lucks out this time by wearing leather pants.
Lesson 3: Getting dressed.
Do: Wear bottoms that aren’t totally hideous.
Don’t: Wear shorts that button to really long leg-warmer pant legs so that there is a slit of thigh skin exposed just below your ass cheek and crotch.
Don’t: Go to Sanctuary T to ask your friend if you can stay at her place wearing above abominable articles of non-clothing.
Lesson 4: Getting Whitney Port to let you crash at her apartment.
Do: Warm her up to be polite. As we saw in season one, Whitney was a doormat if there ever was one, and getting her to let you crash on her couch is as easy as taking her for chips and salsa in the meatpacking district and having an accent. At Sanctuary T, Roxy makes polite, stupid conversation about how men in New York are so hot and tall and she felt like she could stomp on the men in L.A. Whitney, for once excused from having something to say or thoughts of her own owing to the asinine nature of the conversation, laughs nervously.
Do: Pretend like you’re lost and alone. Whitney asks Roxy where she’s staying. Roxy, despite evidently having a ton of money and friends in New York (but more on them later), says she doesn’t know. Whitney says she knows how it feels to come to New York and have no one. Roxy says, “So we’ll be roomies!!” And Whitney laughs like she wants to kill herself.
Lesson 5: Not making everyone at the office hate you immediately.
Don’t: Refuse to do your assigned tasks because you are incompetent. Erin has asked Olivia to pull an office look and a pool-party look for a Today show segment. She has budgets of $75 and $25, respectively. She pulls an absurd tank top with a tangle of shiny necklaces for the office look and an ugly scarf she thinks women should pin with a safety pin in the back to make a dress for the pool-party look. “We didn’t make the budget — the $25 thing was impossible to do,” Olivia says unapologetically.
Don’t: Tell your boss to do your work herself if she doesn’t like the half-ass job you’ve done. Erin cannot hide in her face or tone of voice how poorly she thinks Olivia has done her assignment. “If you have a problem you can go back and do it yourself,” Olivia tells Erin, who somehow resists choking Olivia with her obnoxious scarf, which looks to be worn over a foam neck brace. “I don’t need to work on a morning show — that’s not my job,” Olivia adds. Here an awesome fight ensues, in which Diva Win Erin tells Diva Fail Olivia it is her job if she asks her to do it. Then again, Erin should know better than to assign a styling task to someone who wears silk beige diaper harem shorts.
Lesson 6: Styling for a morning-show segment.
Do: Pull things a wide variety of women can pull off.
Don’t: Style for yourself. Anne Slowey tapes the Today show segment and agrees with Erin that Olivia’s pool-party look is bad. Anne wisely notes that when pulling for this kind of audience, the stylist must think about Everywoman. She looks at Olivia, who is wearing all gray, and says she needs to think about what would look good on everyone, not just her. Olivia thinking about other people? As likely as the Pussycat Dolls becoming nuns and never appearing before a camera again.
Lesson 7: Laying down rules with your houseguest.
Don’t: Get ready at the office before your housewarming party. Whitney does this before going to the soirée she’s throwing in conjunction with Roxy. It completely defeats the purpose of having a party at her house. Not being around to help set up sends the message to Roxy that she runs the show, which she does, because this is Whitney we’re talking about here.
Don’t: Offer your houseguest a job after you’ve arrived home to find a million people trashing your place. Whitney looks horrified when she arrives at her house and sees all the people Roxy summoned by “mass text,” unsatisfied with the “like, five boys” in attendance beforehand. (If she has a mass-text network in New York already, why does she need to crash on Whitney’s couch? Not necessarily because she has friends, but because she has enough money to travel back and forth frequently enough to accrue such a list. Unless she is posing and MTV sent out a mass text, which we wouldn’t put past everyone involved in this television program.)
Lesson 8: Lying about a mass text to Whitney.
Don’t: Say exactly what it is you didn’t do. When Whitney asks Roxy how all those people got there, Roxy says she invited five people and they all brought people. She has the nerve to tell Whitney explicitly, she didn’t send out a “mass text.” And then has the nerve to suggest Whitney grab a cup of jungle juice so she “stops tripping.”
Do: Tell Whitney you sent out a mass text because her way was boring and you are the Wannabe Megan Fox and did not put all that lip liner on to watch seven boring Bergdorf buyers drink your jungle juice. It’s Whitney. The most she’ll do is stare blankly at you and slightly turn down the corners of her mouth.
Lesson 9: Telling your houseguests they have to leave.
Do: Lie and say someone stole something — like your diamond-encrusted pot-plant belt — so everyone has to go because you are furious. This happened at a party we were at once (except the alleged theft was not of a pot-plant belt) and is believable if you’re dramatic enough about it.
Don’t: Say the cops are there. Pretend like they’re strippers you had to send away because they weren’t hot enough. And since when do cops bust up a West Village apartment party? What is this — Can’t Hardly Wait? Actually, considering Whitney’s living quarters and the maturity level of these people …