Lipstick Jungle wasted no time diving straight into the drama in its season premiere, dealing with unexpected death, teenage antics, overbearing mothers, and breakups that don't seem to stick. We met two new characters — Wendy's mom (Mary Tyler Moore) and Victory's assistant/publicist (Rosie Perez) — and said goodbye to an old one or two. So, how did this return trip to the Jungle work for you? To see my thoughts, just
- When Kirby and Nico took those pictures way back when, I figured they'd get leaked to the media — and then I was disappointed when that didn't happen. Well, I take it back. What the writers actually gave us was so much better: Charles sees a print of one of the photos and buys it for Nico, filling her with overwhelming guilt.
- So that sets Nico adrift, looking for something that will make her feel close to Charles and forget about Kirby. And she must really have been desperate, because on the advice of Victory's new assistant/publicist, she gets a collagen shot "down there." That's the one part of the episode that didn't work for me; I think it was supposed to be comic relief, but it just came across as sad, especially later on. Or maybe I'm just a prude.
- Meanwhile! Charles ends up at the hospital for heart surgery — at which point, given the opening funeral scene, I was pretty sure he was a goner — and while Nico is pacing in the flower shop and saying cheesy things about "literally breaking his heart," his horrible student turns up . . . pregnant. I of course spent a long time wondering how much time had passed and trying to figure out if it was possible that she's suddenly that pregnant, but whatever: Charles is a cheating, lying fool. Not that Nico isn't — but come on, I can't even imagine opening up your husband's desk and finding out that he was trying to build a case against you for your affair because he's gotten his fling pregnant. Sheesh.
- Thus, all the giggling at the funeral, then Nico wandering the streets of New York alone. Does this pave the way back to Kirby? Or will she take some time to heal?
- Meanwhile, Maddie sure seems to have grown up in a hurry, sneaking into bars with a fake ID that claims Wendy would have had to give birth to her in the third grade.
- I'm curious to see how Wendy's new resolution to do it all and do it better will be challenged by her own mom. What we've seen so far is that Wendy's mom sacrificed her parenting for her career — but she's still feeling unfulfilled ("He said I should go back to Connecticut and open a yarn shop"). I think that must be Wendy's worst nightmare.
- Victory's plotline, meanwhile, is pretty light: She wants a new store to free herself from Joe Bennett; Joe Bennett owns all the good real estate in New York. Mostly dull, but I still get a kick out of Joe Bennett, so that's fine. And Rosie Perez's character pushing her gigantic breasts as close as possible to Joe Bennett's face at the funeral was classic.
- Line of the night: a tie between "He left me for someone who sleeps in nightgear" (Nico) and "Did you Google something that I haven't Googled?" (Joe)
Overall, I don't think Lipstick is totally there yet, but this episode did a good job of building on last year's finale and put some interesting things — Nico's widowhood, Wendy's mothering issues, Victory's icy relationship with Joe — into motion. What did you all think?
Photos courtesy of NBC