Since men are still out of the picture on this season of The City, the girls are concentrating hard on their careers. For Olivia that means trying not to let her incompetence embarrass her further at Elle (it does anyway). For Whitney, that means remembering to bring things to photo shoots that everyone has at photo shoots (she forgets anyway). For Roxy, that means getting as much camera time as possible in whatever way she knows how. It’s hard not to feel bad for everyone who fake hired them.
Lesson 1: Dealing with problem employees.
Do: Complain about the bitches. Erin goes to Joe to tell him about the crazy, uncalled-for diva attitude Olivia displayed in the first episode when she did a crappy job pulling things for the morning-show segment about high-to-low dressing. “Do you think she doesn’t respect authority?” Joe asks, as if he honestly doesn’t know the answer but is laughing to himself on the inside. “I don’t know if anybody’s ever said her ideas were less than amazing,” Erin replies, keeping it together like a true professional, a concept Slowlivia will never grasp. Erin’s honesty is merely a plea to protect her own sanity in the presence of the daily torture Joe has bestowed upon her.
Don’t: Fire them if they’ll lead to good office drama. As if to enhance the bitch fest, Joe tells Erin, “It’s your job to make it work” — an instruction Olivia would have been too dense to grasp. May the drama flourish and everybody have something highly amusing to gossip about!
Lesson 2: Wearing dresses in the city.
Don’t: Get dressed as if air never moved from one place to another in a phenomenon known as wind. The hemline on Whitney’s orange floral dress has us nervous throughout her scenes. Not only does it barely cover her tush, but it’s wide and billowy like a jellyfish, only much, much flimsier.
Do: Remember that if you’re going short, keep it structured or close to the body. A skintight skirt that looks like a Band-Aid is better at the end of the day than stepping on a subway grate and becoming paid-for Internet content.
Lesson 3: Getting acquainted with your co-workers.
Don’t: Coo to them like hippos in a zoo. Roxy arrives at People’s Revolution and no one says hi to her because they have better things to do than try to befriend the strange new Megan Fox Wannabe who doesn’t really work there, wears hideous pants, and is generally ridiculous. “It’s like robots. Hellooo,” Roxy says to no one in particular as though the people around her don’t have working ears.
Do: Get online. We’re not sure about other offices, but at ours, instant messaging spares us 99 percent of the time from the awkwardness of face-to-face interactions and verbal communication. People’s Revolution could operate the same way. If Roxy wants to make friends, she needs to talk online like a normal person rather than annoying everyone by loudly discussing with Whitney her serious office manner and direct approach with people.
Lesson 4: Dressing cover subjects for major fashion magazines.
Don’t: Talk in cover meetings if you have no idea what you’re doing. Joe tells his team Victoria Beckham is on the cover of Elle’s personal-style issue (out this month), and asks them to be on the lookout for fabulous styling ideas. Despite whatever lies are on her résumé, Olivia has no magazine or styling experience and shouldn’t embarrass herself by speaking in this meeting.
Don’t: Suggest they pull from a place you heard about in an e-mail press release everyone in the office probably got. Olivia, who is evidently on e-mail and getting press releases, suggests to Joe and everyone else they pull from a vintage store she just got an e-mail about. Joe tells her in nicer words than we’ll put it that this is a dumb idea because Elle is about current fashion people can buy now. If Olivia wants vintage, she is on the entirely wrong show.
Lesson 5: Keeping the city’s streets safe.
Don’t: Tell a new hire fresh from L.A. to drive your giant SUV around Manhattan. Kelly tells Roxy to drive her Ford to the photo shoot probably because this seems like a bad-ass scary-boss thing to do, and what is Kelly if not a bad-ass scary boss? Roxy has driven neither in Manhattan nor in a car that big. Thank God we take the subway during daylight hours.
Don’t: Drive the biggest car you’ve ever driven in your life with your hand over your eyes while checking out hot bikers. We’re all for soaking up the city’s eye candy, but do so behind sunglasses, not Plexiglas.
Lesson 6: Making horribly generic photo shoots less horribly generic, maybe even decent-looking.
Don’t: Forget basic things you need on every photo shoot. Kelly asks Whitney to bring clips to the photo shoot for the denim ad because the model is too skinny (aren’t they all?) and they’re worried the jeans won’t fit properly. Whitney forgets the clips, which could potentially take the ad from horribly generic to just bad.
Do: Incorporate nudity. The model is a bit of a doorknob in the posing department. She has one look and doesn’t understand Kelly’s directions to move around more (maybe that’s because Kelly’s lying down waving her arms around as she’s giving instructions — even we didn’t know what the hell was going on). Roxy — because she wants attention, not because she knows anything about, or wants to succeed in, a career in styling — suggests to the designer that the model take her top off. He loves this idea and they go with it. The model is Brazilian and this loosens her right up.
Lesson 7: Getting out of buying counterfeit bags for work.
Don’t: Suggest the police have gotten rid of all the counterfeit bags on Canal Street. Joe and Erin send Olivia down to Canal Street to buy fake handbags and accessories for another morning-show segment Erin’s preparing about real versus fake designer fashion. They emphasize that they want lots of options and lots of different kinds of accessories. Olivia says she lives in Tribeca and she sees the police busting counterfeit rings all the time so she might not be able to find stuff. Joe tells her — much more politely than we’ll put it — that though there have been some busts, she’s full of shit and needs to do what she’s told.
Don’t: Try to get out of it at all! She whose job entails leaving the office to shop on a bright summer day is a blessed one indeed. Not that Olivia or her friends who don’t have to work and get their hair professionally curled and de-frizzed every day will ever understand that.
Lesson 8: Taking a lunch break in the city.
Do: Run to the closest place that sells food, even if it’s gross, and rush back with your sustenance because you have work to do and if it doesn’t get done everyone around you will freak out and everything will fall apart.
Don’t: Go to your friend’s office to meet her for lunch so you can gossip about your new housemate and all the lip-liner shavings she leaves on your bathroom sink. At least, we’re assuming that’s what Whitney and Samantha’s lunch break was all about. Fortunately, MTV spared us from having to watch them sit down at a restaurant, during which time we might be reminded these people get paid thousands of dollars per episode to do stuff like this, while we get paid what we get paid to be chained to our desks all day without a national television crew there to make us look glamorous.
Lesson 9: Selecting counterfeit bags for a morning-show segment after you failed the last time you had to pick things out for a morning-show segment.
Do: Treat it as you would buying crack: with a strong preference for not getting caught. Olivia makes the counterfeit-shopping excursion as dramatic as possible. She has her flats on and she is ready to motor and be illegal. Ducking through the streets of Chinatown, eyes darting to and fro for cops, she spots a sketchy character with a laminated handbag brochure. “Cross the street then. Walk with me,” she says like an undercover CIA agent. She selects some bags, even talks down the prices and insists on seeing them before she purchases. So this is where being a total bitch comes in handy!
Don’t: Make the same mistakes you made last time. Although Olivia certainly looked savvy (as any socialite should when it comes to knowing what makes a designer handbag real) and made being illegal in Chinatown seem glamorous, she still fucks up the assignment. Erin asked for sunglasses and belts and all kinds of stuff. Olivia only brought back a few bags. Erin tells Joe she doesn’t have a complete segment, but he, enjoying the drama brewing between them, says he thought she did a good job and that “it was a difficult task for her.” So just because she thought it was difficult means she did a good job when she didn’t complete the assignment. If only everyone could be lucky enough to work at Elle.
Lesson 10: Putting new hires in their place.
Don’t: Yell at new people in front of the entire staff. Kelly likes to be what she thinks is scary, but yelling at Roxy for suggesting the model go topless just seems insecure. “I am momma wolf, this is my company, don’t go up to my client and make suggestions,” she says. Roxy relishes the camera time and tries to act like she cares, while Whitney genuinely looks as scared as her face can emote.
Do: Come up with subversive revenge tactics. Women aren’t supposed to be direct. They’re supposed to passive-aggressively stew and come up with ways of making the offending female miserable without telling her that’s what you’re trying to do. Kelly should have just made Roxy scrub her car with a toothbrush. This way she’d have to be outside where everyone could see her. Her mass-text network might even see and change her name in their phones to “Don’t Answer.” Erin would have no problem doing this to Olivia.