Quick Review: The first "season" of NBC's Lipstick Jungle (based on a novel by Candace Bushnell) introduced us to three New York women who were best friends, professionally successful, and juggling busy personal lives as well. Bonfire magazine editor Nico (Kim Raver) is married to a stiff academic and begins an affair with a younger photographer's assistant named Kirby. Movie studio exec Wendy (Brooke Shields) is married with a daughter and feeling guilty about not playing enough of a role at home. Fashion designer Victory (Linday Price), who suffers a professional embarrassment in the pilot, ends the season entangled with billionaire Joe Bennett (Andrew McCarthy) on both a business and a personal level. Where does season two find them?
Three episodes in, Lipstick Jungle seems to be setting up its characters for a series of major life resets. Nico's husband dies in the season premiere, leaving a pregnant mistress behind (the grad student who had seemed a little too interested last season). Understandably guilt free, Nico continues her relationship with Kirby and tonight finds struggling with "coming out" as a recent widow dating a younger man. When the two run into NBC celebrity chaser Jill Rappaport (playing herself) on the street, Nico can barely manage to introduce Kirby. She tells him she has things on her mind, and she does. A new boss has taken over the media conglomerate that employs both Nico and Wendy; he replaces Julian Sands' Hector and is played by James Lesure, an NBC repertory player you may remember from Las Vegas or a brief guest arc on Studio 60. Lesure's Griffin is savvy enough to order an apology when Nico's fashion shoot offends an interest group and to leak a fiery in-house email in order to stir up gossipy interest in Bonfire magazine.
Griffin plays it straight with Wendy however; she has forged an insurance form in order to send a new movie into production with an old actor friend. When the actor dies on set Wendy reveals her actions in order to save the actor's family from being sued. Griffin fires her, and Hector (now in some new higher echelon of the media elite) doesn't step in. For now Wendy's film composer husband (Paul Blackthorne, my favorite male on the show) is the breadwinner.
Victory - over Joe/not over Joe? A publicist's (Rosie Perez) efforts to get Victory into the social scene and Joe's squiring of a hot Russian blonde seem to have Victory ready to move on. It helps that she's dating her single dad contractor, and we'll see more of him next week. There's a running gag in the entertainment press and on blogs about how surprising it was in that Lipstick Jungle got renewed. It won;t win any Emmys, but on a pure entertainment level it's a fair bet that it will be around at least a few episodes longer than some of the new competition this fall. Stay tuned for more frivolity in two weeks....