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Gallery Girls, Episode Two: Budgets, Bitches, and Flying Bechamel

Maggie, unlikely hero of Gallery Girls' second episode.
Maggie, unlikely hero of Gallery Girls' second episode.

See our recap of Gallery Girls, Episode One.

When Gallery Girls debuted last week, people like us compared the reality show to HBO's fictional series Girls. And other people got all salty about it, saying the comparison is unfair because Girls is actually great and misunderstood and blah blah blah.

Our response? It's only an unfair comparison if you don't like Girls.

The characters on the HBO series are young, and trying to make it in New York City, and yes, they do act pretty entitled sometimes. But that doesn't mean they're unlovable. Same thing goes for the girls of Gallery Girls. Well, some of them, anyway.


Previously on Gallery Girls: Liz doesn't lift things. Kerri is interning. Maggie is the very dirt beneath gallery owner Eli's fingernails. Amy freaks out about her eyelashes. Chantal is drunk. Claudia worries.

Gallery Girls, Episode Two: Budgets, Bitches, and Flying Bechamel

We enter the episode through an Instagram filter to find a lone red Solo cup stuck on a fence outside End of Century. Claudia's there to clean up after last night's party. You remember, the one where Chantal slurred something about sailing away to Cuba to "just chillll"? Unsurprisingly, the Olsen twins' creepy cousin is two and a half hours late to help with the clean-up. "I got a good night's sleep, I did some yoga, and I had a French press coffee," she explains, just in case you weren't properly impressed that she didn't just hit up a Starbucks like some awful Manhattan girl.

Meanwhile, Kerri's back at her other job -- you know, the one that pays her -- so she can afford to keep interning / flustering Amy / networking constantly. She's in the lifestyle management business, which from her explanation involves catering to people like Chantal, but with money. Will she be able to juggle a real job and the fake one that's necessary to keep her on this reality tv show? We don't know, we were too bored to pay attention to most of this bit. But one thing did perk us up: the mention of Art Basel, "just the biggest art convention in the world," Kerri says, noting that it's also "a big networking opportunity." Again with the networking. Kerri Lisa: singlehandedly supporting the business card printers of New York.

Back at Eli Klein, it's Maggie's first day back, and she's pulled dog duty. Literally. Eli assigns her to fill the dog bowl with water, which is a shitty task, but one made worse by Maggie's exasperated eye-rolling and seeming inability to work a water cooler. As she complains that it'll take, like, a decade to fill this single bowl of water and bring it back outside, Liz and Eli sit side by side at their desks and talk casually about whether Maggie should add ice cubes. This goes on for longer than it has ever taken any person to fill a bowl with water.

Next, Eli tells Maggie to fold a bunch of plastic bags. "This poor girl has a degree in art history," Liz sympathetically points out, before going back to doing nothing to help or interjecting on Maggie's behalf. Not that she necessarily should; it's fun to watch Liz react to things in her very amused, uninvested Liz way. She speaks for the people, Liz does.

Next, it's nighttime, and the mean girls of Brooklyn are out on the town. (It has been pointed out to me how great it would be if they all lived in Bushwick, so that we could refer to them as the Witches of Bushwick, but I digress.) Things didn't work out between Angela and the photographer. [Nonexistent pause for nonexistent picking up of nonexistent jaws nonexistently dropping] So girl's on the prowl.

 



Some fluffy-haired dudes pick up on those vibes, and turn on the charm -- by sticking a finger into the girls' shared macaroni and cheese. It's kind of like the strawberry scene from the Miami episode of Louie , except you don't really like anyone on your television screen. The guys are rude and pushy, and say some racist line about Asian month to Angela. But that's not the girls' problem with them. "I get very offended when unattractive men hit on me," Chantal complains. When they finally do shut the guys down, one dude grabs a fistful of pasta and shoves it into his mouth, messily spraying Angela with food in the process. She awesomely (if belatedly) grabs her own fistful of macaroni and nails him in the back with it as the guys leave. Hooray, Angela! More food fights, fewer lace bodysuits, please.


The next unofficial official Gallery Girls event is an art auction hosted by Simon de Pury, who not-so-coincidentally happens to be a judge on Bravo's Work of Art . Kerri and Amy are there with their boss, Maggie's there with her boyfriend Ryan, allegedly on Eli business, and the Brooklyn girls are there to roll their eyes at everything. They sit right in front of Maggie and Ryan, who helpfully taps Claudia on the shoulder and tells her, "Your shirt's on backwards." Claudia and Chantal then have a lengthy, whispered discussion about whether her shirt is, in fact, on backwards. "Is it on backwards? It could be on backwards," Claudia worries, and I love that this one comment from a "bro," as she described him last week, has sent her into such a tailspin of self-doubt. Her unexpressed meathead Manhattanite fantasies are clearly messing with her head. Go bag a beefcake, Claudia!


We've had several unlikely moments of awesome in this episode so far. Liz continues to be the queen of observational humor. Angela have well-deserved douchebags some pasta to wear home. Claudia has a kick-ass work ethic when it comes to End of Century. But this episode's star is Maggie, all the way. And this is why: Even after getting snubbed by the Brooklynites in last week's episode, Maggie makes nice with the girls at the auction -- but in the most spectacular, super-bitchiest way possible. If there were just an ounce more sneer in her smile, or just a tiny bit more saccharine sweetness in her tone of voice, she'd be openly mocking the Brooklyn girls to their faces. Instead, she mocks them for the cameras without anyone else noticing. The girls invite her to eat, and she declines, all "Ohh, I'm sooo tired," when what she really means is, "Bitch, please."




Amy's there, too, over-enthusing all over everyone. "I'm not sure if if she's totall faking it, or if she just takes too many antidepressants," Chantal says. In any case, she heads to the restaurant with Chantal, Claudia, Angela, and Kerri, and orders herself a lychee martini. Angela, of course, is unimpressed with the hipness of Amy's drink choice. Watch yourself, Angela -- half of the Bravo TV audience has a lychee martini in their hands at this very moment. Kerri describes Chantal as a darker version of Mary-Kate and Ashley, just so we all know we're on the same page here. Then she ducks out without paying, which is kind of funny, considering she's the only one of them with an actual paying job.


After she leaves, Amy goes off about Kerri and the Upper East Side and why Kerri's rude and Amy's the best because Amy dresses well. It's all a big blustery monologue, barely covering up the girl's myriad insecurities, and it makes me sad. Who hurt you, Amy?


Later, Kerri struggles to juggle her two jobs. Bagels must be delivered to the airport. Paintings must be picked up. Can one woman really have it all? Yawn.


Maggie, meanwhile, gets sent to Brooklyn, which might as well be West Texas to hear her describe it. Maggie does this thing when she talks where she scrunches her whole mouth over to one side of her face, and then talks out of that side in a low, deadpan tone, particularly when she's upset or frustrated. I'm almost certain I've seen Kristin Wiig do it as some wacky character on SNL. In any case, it's highly entertaining when she does this as she says, "I hate Brooklyn." Then she says Brooklyn's ready for a zombie apocalypse, and I'm like, honey, you are not even in Miami yet .


 

At End of Century, Claudia explains that her mom called to complain about the gallery's website. Man, when your parents know your website is bad, it must be bad. Was it a Myspace page? Geocities? In any case, it's better now, and Claudia's called in a favor to bring in some prospective art buyers. She explains the art they have in very artsy terms, and they nod unconvincingly. Then they get distracted by the clothes and accessories for sale, including a $400 giant hat with metal spears shooting out from it that's just a lawsuit waiting to happen. No sales.

Back at Eli Klein's gallery, Eli's interviewing a new personal assistant. Maggie once held the job, and she and Liz talk about what that was like. In short: not so much art, way more assisting with socks and shoes than you'd expect. Maggie and Liz are becoming friends, and their mutual sass warms my heart. It's like watching the Absolutely Fabulous ladies back when they were younger, before they started drinking.

Short salon interlude where we watch Chantal's hair getting cut. Are we going to have a salon scene in every episode? Chantal talks about how she didn't consult her boyfriend before chopping off her hair, like it's sooo edgy to not require permission from your partner about the way you present yourself to the world. Boyfriend Spencer shows up and is soul-crushingly supportive, saying all the right things in a very affirmation-seeking way. Chantal responds with radio silence, essentially. Spence, honey, she's just not that into you.

Gallery Girls, Episode Two: Budgets, Bitches, and Flying Bechamel

Kerri goes home to Long Island to hang out with her dad and the fam. Dad's entertainingly Long-Island-ish. Otherwise, yawn.

End of Century's $5,000 in the hole. Chantal and Claudia discuss what to do. Each thinks it's the other's fault. Yawn.

Angela goes to a bar with her gay entourage, dressed as a French petticoat from the 1800s. Or, as she describes it, "a mating bird. A bird ready to mate." Either way. She outs her dad's extramarital affair for all of cable-watching America, then confesses that she's never had an orgasm. I'm not sure why any of this matters. A stranger at the bar buys the group a round of drinks, and Angela squeals, "Who? Where?" Issues, man.

Gallery Girls, Episode Two: Budgets, Bitches, and Flying Bechamel

Speaking of issues, Liz thinks Eli and Maggie have a little something-something going on. "He's tryna hit that!" she sings. "Ehh! Eww!" Their behavior, for the record, does not disprove her theory. Eli weirdly sends Liz home and takes Maggie to a bar, where they sit awkwardly and talk about Maggie's boyfriend's "uncomplicated" tastes. He asks her whether he likes his new apartment or his old apartment, "since you've seen them both." And he foists more booze on her when she's turned down a drink several times. Maggie, for all her awesomeness during this episode, seems kind of into it, disappointingly. Back away slowly, Maggie. This is the guy who made you fold plastic bags all day. If you get involved, you'll just end up reenacting the sex scenes from Secretary.

Coming up next: Liz has daddy drama. Eli and Maggie continue to be awkward. End of Century's still in the hole. See you then.

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