Friday, March 14, 2008

"Take the High Road" - Lipstick Jungle, episode 1.6

The "season finale" of Lipstick Jungle - it felt like we were just getting started - finds the ladies at odds with each other, and in Victory's case with the man in her life. The woman-on-woman tension makes this a different show from the one we've been watching the past five weeks.

There's something about Kirby. From the moment he showed up in Nico's life, she has been both renewed by the sexual and emotional energy he provides and guilty about betraying her husband and her friends. Things come to a boil tonight in true season finale style. Word of a possible Harry Potter prequel (I hope J.K. Rowling got a kick out of this one) sends Nico to Scotland in order to secure a deal to excerpt the book in Bonfire magazine. Things aren't going well at Bonfire (first we've heard of it); we know this because of an early scene in which Nico and colleague/rival Mike (David Alan Basche) get chewed out at a meeting.

It was Wendy who brought the Harry Potter scoop to the table in the first place, but because Shane is bus with the movie composing gig he landed last week she may not be able to make the trip to Scotland to meet with Rowling. (I've heard of media conglomeration, but I keep forgetting that Wendy and Nico both work for the same company) Sensing an opening, Nico invites Kirby along - though he'll have to fly separately and get his own room. When Wendy does make the flight to Edinburgh, Nico is appropriately alarmed and the inevitable revelation leads to a meltdown between the two friends. Wendy caps it off with a crack about being glad Nico's not a mother, and we've got ourselves a season ending cliffhanger.

Shall we consider Nico for a moment? She gabs about Harry Potter immediately after being told not to by Wendy and uses her friend's overstuffed personal life as an excuse to bring her lover to Scotland. Is it possible Nico is spending so much time with Kirby her work is suffering? It seems like just a couple of weeks ago Nico was being told how valuable she was. Exploring the consequences of Nico's actions on her friendships and professional lives is a good road for Lipstick Jungle to go down I think. Not to bring Carrie Bradshaw into it, but other than the whole cheating-on-Aidan-with-Big thing the Bushnellian version of female empowerment hasn't included a lot of guilt up to this point.

I actually enjoyed Joe and Victory's story this week. Last week Victory received an infusion of cash into her struggling fashion design business from the mysterious venture capitalist Mr. Quintero (Ronald Guttman). Quintero seems delighted to accommodate all Victory's wishes: new space for the company, exotic feathers from China (a ruse she devises to test him), etc. Joe, who is sure Quintero isn't laundering money through Victory's company, invites Victory to temporarily move in to his enormous apartment; things seem to be going well between the two.

Victory is heartbroken when she discovers Quintero is actually an agent acting on Joe's behalf, and that Joe now owns her company. I'm not arguing it's the most realistic situation, but this twist is the best example of the problems of "having it all" the show has come up with yet. Victory can't bear to be financially dependent on the man she has feelings for and knows she won't be able to keep the two sides of the relationship separate. If this is Andrew McCarthy's exit from the show, so be it. I'd love to see Victory paired with someone on an equal economic footing.

Not knowing when or if Lipstick Jungle will be back, I pronounce the series so far a promising piece of light entertainment. If only Nico hadn't brought Kirby on that trip.


Carrie said...

There IS something about Kirby. He's smoking hot. And it sure is something, if you know what I mean and I think you do because I'm not being very subtle.

I really liked this episode. I thought there was an emotional investment in the characters and their relationships that hasn't been present until now. Especially in the Joe/Victory relationship. I felt something there for the first time when Victory was heartbroken over what Joe had done.

But I think next week is actually the season finale...

Simon Crowe said...

"Emotional investment" is a good way to put it, and I feel the same way about Victory that you do about Kirby. NBC's website says this was the season finale, but we'll see.