In last night’s episode of Bravo’s Girlfriends Guide to Divorce — “Rule #21, Leave Childishness to the Children” — we learn that older isn’t always wiser, three can indeed be crowd and every mama keeps at least a couple secrets to herself.
As she deals with belligerent teen daughter Lilly and a mouthy literary rival named Cleo, Abby (Lisa Edelstein) does manage to score one in the win column. While racing through her neighborhood mini mart for a tube of sunscreen, she runs into the studly roadblock that is Will (Warren Christie), her dance club manager hookup from episode 1. She once again rebuffs him, but he insists that she take his number. Just in case.
Meanwhile, Lyla (Janeane Garofalo) is dealing with the double-edged sword of trying to talk her water-table-obsessed son Eric out of schlepping his stuff in a rolling suitcase and a visit from her mother that coincides with a visit from the custody-battle case worker.
When the ladies meet up for lunch, Abby ponders the wisdom of calling Will, and Lyla and Phoebe make an uneasy truce that quickly gives way when Phoebe attempts to explain her polyamorous relationship with the European couple whose names I am not going to attempt to spell.
The conversations go something like this:
Phoebe, on dealing with jealousy, parenting issues and the other hallmarks of marriage: “The part of the relationship that sucks, I don’t have to deal with it. Because they have each other for that! I’m with them, but I’m not obligated to them. Do you understand what I’m saying?
Incredulous Lyla: “I do not.”
Unconcerned Phoebe: “Processing. I totally understand that.”
Abby: “I’m literally old enough to be his mother.”
Lyla: “That’s just gender bias — if the roles were reversed, you’d be parading him around like….
Abby: “Yes, like Jake does with Becca — which in my opinion seems sad and desperate and midlife-y.”
Turns out Lyla’s problems go far beyond what is shaking out at home. When she returns to her desk, her boss arrives to inform her that he and the other law firm partners have decided that, after multiple filed grievances and fleeing assistants, it is best that Lyla take a leave of absence to decompress and get some perspective. And no, that is not merely a suggestion.
“It’s not my fault if the Ivys are matriculating idiots,” she protests weakly.
Back at Casa McCarthy-Novak, Abby and Jake are in the process of dividing the furniture in McCarthy (tagged with a pink post-it) and Novak (tagged with a blue post-it) when belligerent teen daughter Lilly busts in, demands that the “smelly” chair stay right where it is, slaps a blue post-it on her forehead and howls “I guess I’m ‘blue’ this weekend.”
There ya go. That helps. Jake agrees with Abby’s assessment that they have to be firm and united as she rebels against the situation and pushes the boundaries accordingly.
And when they all leave, Abby dials Will’s number. Put a pink post-it on the boy’s handsome noggin.
Lyla comes home from her abrupt dismissal to find and her two boys and her mother Annie (Bernadette Peters) dressed in traditional Chinese garb and happily rolling sushi. And — surprise! — the case worker just so happens to be Asian, too. Oof. And she’s also celiac. This should go well!
Meanwhile, Abby drops by Phoebe’s art opening before heading out on her date with Will and runs into Delia (Necar Zadegan) who promises not to talk shop if Abby stops resisting the next steps in the divorce process. Before they can get too far into it, Phoebe strolls up with her significant others, who have promised to take her on “a little adventure” after the gallery. When they walk away, Phoebe explains away Delia’s concern that “One train, two tunnels sounds like a serious supply and demand issue,” by explaining that there are other means of achieving sexual gratification than, uh, “PIV.” Such as TIV, VOV and PIB. I’ll give you a minute to take stock of your own body parts and those of your significant other(s) to hash out the acronyms. And agree with Abby that PIV is, perhaps, TMI.
Back at Jake’s apartment, Abby’s about-to-be-ex is getting a taste of the paradise that is single parenthood. Claiming she needs to go to her room to talk a pal out of the trees about a mascara crisis, Lilly instead stuffs her covers into a sleeping body shape, cues her iPod to play snoring noises and heads out the window. Becca comes over to handle the social media portion of the investigation into her disappearance while Jake calls everyone he knows … except Abby.
Who is at the Echoplex with Will, where the pair discuss the irony of people packing an auditorium to watch a guy spin vinyl records and Will confesses that he sort of stalked the mini mart in order to run into Abby. As they lean in for a kiss, Will spots a familiar face. One that comes complete with a spectacularly loud and foul mouth.
Howling that Abby is a slut, Will’s ex Rachel throws her drink in Abby’s face. Abby throws her right back. As security hauls a bellowing Rachel away, Will attempts to comfort Abby … who requires no comforting at all. In fact, she’s exhilarated. Thrilled, even. She may be old enough to be Will’s mom, but she can cat fight with the nest of the booze-soaked kittens.
Speaking of which. As the two belly back up to the bar, Abby spies a familiar face of her own. In the middle of the dance floor is the family escapee, decked out and dancing with the boyfriend Abby didn’t know she had. Turns out, Lilly isn’t actually drinking — she’s there because her date’s dad manages the band that’s about to take the stage.
Abby hauls her girl out of the club, Will trailing behind.
Phoebe isn’t faring much better. Her much-anticipated adventure turns out to be not the orgy that Phoebes is expecting, but a board-game-and-munchies gathering of Merete and Vika’s “committed polyamorous community.” And, they inform her, the fact that they’ve brought her to it is a big step in their collective relationship. They’re in love with her. They want her to move in and help them raise their children as her own. And wear a match-matchy necklace that symbolizes their three-way union.
Arriving at Jake’s house, Abby and her ex get into about his losing Lilly — until Jake spots Will riding shotgun in Abby’s car and lays into her about her “widdle boy” date. Even with his widdle girlfriend Becca standing right behind him on the step.
As the shouting escalates, Lilly peers over the balcony at the foursome and seethes, “How come I’m the only one acting my age? You make me sick!”
Back at her house, Abby apologizes multiple times to Will for the multiple scenes (“It’s like I have apology Tourettes”), then jokes “Do you remember when the girl fight was the big story?”
He knows what is coming next. Abby tells him that he — really — is too mature for her right now and she has a lot of work to do before she can be a decent partner to anyone.
“I want to be someone who knows who they are — not a human time bomb,” he protests, but she is resolute. “You know when you do grow up, you should call me,” he tells her, walking away.
Over at Lyla’s, with the case worker safely gone, Lyla berates her mom for making them all look like idiots, then admits what she really can’t handle is her mother’s relentless sunniness. “Mom. Mama. I’m overwhelmed right now. I feel like I’m losing everything. Your attitude, your optimism — I can’t get behind that right now,” she tells her perplexed mother, telling her that she needs her to leave. “You’re so loving and perfect … Yell or stand by a conviction. When’s the last time you cried?”
Annie says three months ago, when her own father died. It’s the first Lyla has heard of her granddad’s passing. Annie says it’s because Lyla was so preoccupied with her marital horrors. Then Annie also confesses to a few other sins. “When I had my back surgery, I was briefly addicted to painkillers. For five years. I shoplift from charity stores. I have a lot of Jesuses.”
Lyla is stunned. And warmed. But her mother still heads off to pack her things.
And she’s not the only one bailing out of an awkward situation. Leaving her necklace on the nightstand, Phoebe flees the European’s bed, too.
Come morning, Lyla discovers that her mother convinced Eric to ditch the rollie bag by gifting him with a new backpack she called “a shoulder-mounted survival kit.” Lyla fishes the picture perfect cookies Annie baked for the kids’ bake sale out of the trash to replace her own baking failure and heads out the door.
Dropping a sullen Lilly off at school, Abby apologizes and tells the girl that she knows she and Jake suck at parenting right now, but they’re trying to do better. Lilly accepts the sorry with a smile — then tells her mom that Will is too young for her. Maybe because he doesn’t have a poster of his own and has no cred on Instagram?
Abby bumps into Lyla who confesses that once she found out that Annie was “a pill-addicted shoplifter, I felt so much closer to her.”
And the revelations just keep coming. Getting a text that informs her she has trouble, Abby and Lyla check out a video clip that shows her “Back Burner Baby” rival Cleo Stevens announcing that she’s calling out all the B.S. that led perfection-seeking folks like Abby to meltdown and touting her one rule. “More time for yourself. The kids will be fine.”
Abby’s the veteran of an (almost) bar fight. She knows fighting words when she hears them. And she’s not backing down this time, either. “I think that bitch just stepped to me,” she smiles. Better watch your back (burner), Cleo.
New episodes of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce premiere Tuesday nights at 10/9CT on Bravo.
(Photos by: Sergei Bachlakov/Bravo