The empress has no clothes â€” In Indianapolis, Jackie prepares to dance as fast as she can. She’s brought her BFF, Erin, whom we rarely see because she’s not sleeping with Jackie, drama-prone or angling to get on TV. What’s wrong with her?
For her big meeting, Jackie dons a funny pinstripe men’s suit and her best Milton Berle necktie. All she needs are some giant shoes, a red nose and a seltzer bottle, and she’s all set.
Erin and Jackie are staying at a saccharine little bed-and-breakfast. I hate bed-and-breakfast inns. I don’t want to eat scones with a bunch of strangers and listen to the owner talk about the history of their stupid house.
The last time I stayed in a swanky B & B, my then-girlfriend and I went down for breakfast our first morning there. There were two other women already seated at the communal table. I sat down, looked up to grudgingly say, "good morning," and guess what? One woman had a full mustache. And her friend had 10 teeth, if she had any. God knows I love a good freak show, but not before my morning coffee.
Jackie has a list of problems she has to contend with. She has nothing to show the Paiva buyers. She can’t give them a manufacturing date because she’s about to castrate Steve. She needs to explain herself, but she can’t think of a single thing she can tell them.
Erin reminds Jackie that she knows how to put a good spin on things, and it’s all good. Jackie’s unable to eat her oatmeal.
In other fashion news â€” Meaghan may not have lost a ton of weight, but it’s too late now. Meaghan wasn’t around much; all Erika could carve off her was seven pounds. Those are respectable results for one month’s work, but the way Jackie hypes Skylab, you start to have unrealistic expectations. Not unlike this season’s Lost.
Meaghan goes for her fitting for an Oscar night dress designed by her friend Nick Verreos, last seen on Project Runway 2. She tries on a bunch of dresses while Nick and Erika ooh and ahh. Meaghan’s a writer; she’s not expected to look anything but rumpled and tired. Erika’s proud, anyway.
It’s a disaster â€” Jackie seethes and waits in the sitting room of the B & B for Steve to arrive. When Steve waddles in, she can barely contain her anger, but she gives him a pleasant hello and a kiss on his doughy cheek. Ew. Why are women expected to do that, even in business? Why can’t we just shake hands like the men do and leave it at that?
Steve pulls a fugly pair of shapeless, black stretch pants with a denim waistband (yeah, you read that right) out of the box.
Jackie: Like, what the heck, Steve. C’mon. That’s not even anywhere close to the cut and the fabric or anything. I know that we’re up against a time crunch, but I can’t show these samples â€¦
Steve’s beady eyes peer out at Jackie from under his caterpillar brows.
Steve: You know, your â€¦ your taste is great, and wha â€” what you want is great, and what you want to wear is great. But you also gotta â€” got â€” gotta have a mindset, a retail mindset.
Steve keeps squirming, but he can’t put lipstick on this pig. He tells Jackie she has to appeal to the unwashed masses, because what do we know? We all buy our underwear at the grocery store.
Steve: If you really want to be in retail, and if you really want to do it, ya gotta be the masses.
Jackie: I can’t sell anything that I wouldn’t wear myself. And there’s not one piece in there that I would wear. Not one.
I think Steve is the one responsible for tube socks.
At the meeting, our gifted spin doctor, master of the hyperbole and the lesbian Tom Cruise, Jackie Warner, looks uncharacteristically small standing with the group. Miss Thang doesn’t know what to say to a bunch of mall executives from Indiana. I almost feel bad for her.
After a few false starts, she explains her concept of gym wear-to-street wear to the group. I thought we already had apparel like that. It’s called the T-shirt. But no, she has a revolutionary idea.
Jackie: I looked all around, at all the stores, and I couldn’t find anything that worked for me. That I could go to lunch, straight from the gym, or even go have a cocktail, straight from the gym.
If she’s going straight from the gym to lunch without showering and changing, what she really needs to invent is a stronger deodorant.
One of the Paiva guys says their customers are, indeed, clamoring for clothes they can wear from the gym to other places. But not to cocktails at East/West, Ms. L.A. They want to go to the dry cleaners and to pick up their kids. Like I said: T-shirts.
With nothing to show them and Steve being a useless slug, Jackie offers up the only thing she has on hand: herself. She masterfully pitches that she would eagerly promote her rock ‘n’ roll clothing line by making appearances at store openings. The row of Paiva faces in front of her starts to smile and nod. Jackie pulls another one out of her ass.
At Dr. Shirley’s â€” Jackie goes in for a much-needed session with Dr. Shirley. She reports she’s had a lot of alone time, so she can find her place in this crazy, wacky world. She talks about her uptight Mormon mother and how she wants to have her in her life anyway. Jackie thinks it’s time to go home to Ohio.
Maybe it was the group session at Lake Arrowhead that got her thinking about her dad, but she tells Dr. Shirley that she was home visiting the day he shot himself. She shows no anger about it; he was so tortured by schizophrenia, possibly triggered by his tour in Vietnam, it was his relief. Dr. Shirley scribbles copious notes on her notepad.
Jackie says she plans to visit her dad’s grave and bond with her mom in the process.
Dr. Shirley: What if it doesn’t happen?
Jackie: It will happen.
Dr. Shirley: What if it doesn’t happen?
Jackie imagines she can make things happen through sheer will. If only.
Next week on Work Out: Jesse has a new client. Jackie goes home. The gang gets news that no one wants to hear.