The Husband:

No good deed goes unpunished, and no bad deed goes away completely. At least, that’s what Privileged has been getting at for a few weeks now, culminating in this episode heavy on family interaction and parallels between the Smiths and the Bakers.

Megan decides that in order for the twins to achieve their college goals, they have to beef up their extracurricular activities, so she signs them up for Once Upon a Dress, a charity that helps takes used dresses and gives them to a selection of public high school girls to wear to their dance. Rose and Sage are disgusted by the ugly hand-me-downs, but agree in order to receive a signature from the charity’s leader on their volunteer sheet. Outside the public high school, Megan spots somebody she hasn’t seen in years – her own father.

You see, Megan has kept it quiet so far that she is back in Florida after college and a failed New York writing career, and this includes not telling her alcoholic father. Worried that he may have spotted her, she decides to visit him at the docks where he works as a boat cruise tour guide, only to discover that he is 18 months sober and is looking/acting better than ever. With the permission of an out-of-town Laurel, she invites her father over to Chez Baker for a close personal dinner.

Three little maids from school are we!

Three little maids from school are we!

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned, as Megan’s father invites Lily as a bit of a buffer, Lily invites Will the Next-Door Billionaire Pretty Boy, and Rose and Sage invite themselves instead of working on the dresses.

What I found particularly interesting was how much Rose connected to Papa Smith having only seen him for a fleeting second outside of the high school, telling Sage that she imagines him to be soft-spoken and have a good smile, only to have Sage tell her that she’s describing their own dead father. It seems that despite their assurances that they only need each other to survive, Rose is just as damaged as Megan in the parents-being-gone department – Mama Smith ditches the family when Megan was seven under circumstances that are still mysterious and argued over – and could be a good counterpart of loneliness to Megan’s crappy love life.

At the dinner, Megan is pissed that Charlie would ditch her and the dinner to which she invited him – as her own kind of buffer against Papa Smith and bitchy sister Lily – but has no idea how explosive the dinner is going to get. While Lily continues to be her argumentative, bitchy self, Sage notices that Lily is absent-mindedly wearing the tennis bracelet she stole from Rose during the pool party weeks earlier (you know, the one that Rose lied about having lent out to a friend so as to not have the Smith Sisters battle each other verbally once again) and all hell breaks loose. Rose tries to protect her decision to lie about the tennis bracelet, while the immature Lily storms off, and then can’t even defend her theft to sort-of-boyfriend Will the Next-Door Billionaire Pretty Boy, leading them to break up.

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Honey, you're interrupting this delightful conversation about creme brulee.

In the kitchen, Papa Smith is having a conversation with Marco the personal chef about crème brûlée when Megan comes to apologize for their personal night getting so out of control. Papa Smith understands, but he accidentally lets slip that despite Megan’s request, Charlie had informed him of Megan’s return to Florida almost immediately after it happened. Why would Papa Smith pretend to not know this information during that conversation at the docks? Because he understands that he was once a very horrible father to both Megan and Lily and didn’t want to be a disappointment to her, basically allowing her to make the first move in their reconciliation.

People are all about change on Privileged, and it’s energizing to see a show deal with it in such mature terms. Papa Smith isn’t disappointed in Megan for not telling him about her FL return and instead is trying his best to be everything he wasn’t before she left for college. There are bigger fish to fry than simple petty arguments, which is something which Lily is extremely adept at sticking to. I have a hard time understanding why Lily and Charlie are so mad at Megan all the time for apparently being self-centered/selfish, because I see it as Megan acting like a responsible adult and knowing that her tutoring job could make or break her, and while that may push aside some of her personal life, they should understand that she is trying her damndest to be a mature human being about all the facets of her life. That’s what made the final confrontation with Charlie work on more than one, as Megan isn’t wrong for doing what she’s doing in FL but can’t seem to hold onto her friends, and Charlie is letting his secret romantic interest in her override his own sensibilities. (Bonus points for Megan calling Charlie a “dick,” which is not a word I thought you could use on a network show at 9 p.m., but hey, I’m all for progress.)

I also think it’s just about time for Megan to give up on trying to help Lily be anything other than what she is, because as they say, you can’t save somebody who doesn’t want to be saved. There are only so many times Megan can put up with her sister’s bullshit and unnecessary swipes without it truly taking a piece out of her. Take this phone conversation when Lily informs Megan that she will be present at Chez Baker for the dinner.

Lily: Don’t expect me to be nice.
Megan: I never do.

What sisters talk like that?

And as for the Baker Twins and their charity? Sage decides that the dresses they took home to alter are so hideous that they start ripping them apart, trying to fix them as much as they can and ignoring the help offered by their butler Rami.

“Yeah, Diane Von Furstenberg? She taught me how to top-stitch when I was 10.” – Rose

Because they spent so little time working on the actual dresses due to the explosive Smith dinner down below, they decide to give up and buy brand new dresses for the seven public high school girls, pissing off Pam the charity worker in the process for missing the point of the charity entirely. But the high school girls themselves are ecstatic at being able to wear designer garments and are very thankful to the Bakers, leading Pam to sign their volunteer sheet.

“Every girl deserves one night where they get to feel like a queen, and the best way to feel like a queen is to wear Alexander McQueen.” – Sage

I’m hoping that upcoming episodes can soften Sage a bit more, or at least delve into her damaged psyche a bit, because while I like her character and the actress, the Blairitude is really starting to grate, and not in the interesting way of story conflict. It just hurts my brain.

Quick Note: Why is Tim Burton’s Batman listed on IMDB as one of the recommendations for those who watch this Privileged? I know that engine is a little faulty, but Batman? Really?

The Wife:

I don’t watch this show, but I would like to note that Prom Gown donation programs are really cool. A couple of girls at my high school made that their charity every year and lead dress donation drives for The Princess Project so that underprivileged girls in The Mission District and in Richmond and Oakland could afford to go to their high school proms and feel like princesses for a day.

I may complain about how silly the high school dance plots on 90210 are, but I like the very John Hughesian idea that everyone, no matter how poor, should be able to feel like a princess at prom and not have to resort to making a shitty dress like Andie in Pretty in Pink. (Seriously, that dress is fugly.) So while Once Upon a Dress is not a real prom dress charity, check out The Cinderella Project for information about where you can donate prom dresses in your area. Most of these programs will only take gowns less than 2 years old (so that the girls who get them don’t look out of date and therefore aren’t laughed at by their peers for it), so if you, your friends or your daughters have any prom dresses that they might be willing to give to another girl so she can have a special night, please do so.

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