American Woman Recap: Sink or Swim

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Photo: Patrick Wymore/Paramount Network
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american woman

The Party Season 1 Episode 3
Editor's Rating 3 stars

I have to give mad props to the American Woman wardrobe department because, at any given moment, I’m as interested in what anyone is doing on screen as I am interested in what anyone is wearing on screen. But I am a little disappointed about one particular shot during this episode. When Bonnie, Diana, and Kathleen were walking into a fancy Hollywood party like they were Destiny’s Child stepping into the clurb they could have used a little bit more coordination.

Bonnie was wearing a flowing coral gown with a gold belt tied around an empire waist. Diana was wearing a buttoned-down red dress that matches her buttoned-down personality. Kathleen was wearing a short, graphic, Pucci-inspired dress full of psychedelic colors and little glittery patches that were de rigeur at the time. They were all masterpieces, but when the three of them are in formation it looks like absolute trash. The red and coral next to each other looked like they were supposed to match but didn’t which made it look like all three of them should be coordinated, but the solid colors with one pattern made it look just like totally confused. It’s like if Tito showed up wearing a muumuu for a Jackson 5 video. Not even the House of Dereon would make something like this.

When the women stepped into the party, though, they each had a clear objective. Kathleen needs to meet Laurie Meltzer, one of the top agents in Hollywood, so that she can put her casting agency on the map. I’m assuming that Laurie Meltzer is based on Hollywood super-agent Sue Mengers. Diana wanted to prove that she’s not the stick in the mud that the other girls think she is. Bonnie wanted to, I don’t know, just have fun so that she could get the most money out of the babysitter she got for the kids?

Things start to go badly for Bonnie. While a pair of weird hippie swingers give her grass and try to get her to engage in a little ménage à trois, Bonnie breaks away when she recognizes her friend Candy. “You’re so brave to be here,” Candy says to Bonnie. “I would be too embarrassed to show my face if what happened to you happened to me.” My first question is why are all the other women always so mean to Bonnie about what happened. Secondly, why is she always telling them off? Okay, I understand why she’s telling them off, but maybe she should show them why she’s not embarrassed rather than just giving them more grist for the gossip mill.

Things go from bad to worse when she runs into an actress named Masha having a gnosh-a at the buffet table. Turns out that she’s there with Bonnie’s ex-husband Steve. Can’t we go anywhere without running into Steve? And how did Steve get invited to this chic party? Maybe he went with Masha? Steve, as always, claims he loves her and then acts like a total jerk. Never go changing, Steve.

But Bonnie isn’t going to allow a run-in with her ex ruin her night and all of that money she spent on a babysitter. Also, she’s probably still a little bit stoned from that grass she toked with the “couple from Dark Shadows.” (Did anyone get that joke?) Luckily she doesn’t have to do anything because Adam, a sexy painter who seems like he’s taken one too many benzos shows up and starts to come on to her. Bonnie feels the vibe immediately and goes in for a kiss but bungles it all up and ends up spilling Adam’s red wine all over his shirt.

What did Bonnie expect? She was holding a glass of wine and a cigarette at the same, how was she going to kiss this dude and not spill or set something (like his cheap wig?) on fire. Speaking of the icons of the ’70s, there is a trick I learned from Barbra Streisand that would have come in handy in Bonnie’s predicament. If you spill red wine on something, pour some white wine on it and it will keep the stain from setting. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

Bonnie goes for club soda and approaches Adam again and apologizes. He says he forgives her by planting a big fat kiss on her. She raises her arm to reveal the most amazing gold and coral bangle bracelet. See, I told you I pay attention to what they have on rather than what is going on. Adam then gives her oral pleasure while she leans against one of his paintings that looks like someone threw up about one quadrillion Jell-O shots on a pink shag carpet. She leaves with his number and you know, you just know, she’s going to be calling inappropriate Adam really soon.

Diana has a bit of a harder time accomplishing her goal. After getting turned down by a hot lawyer because she was droning on about her boring bank job, she approaches a rocker with a top hat, flowing garments, and a one-winged dove who is sitting on a couch. They call her Judy Maxwell, but her name might as well have been Stevie Ricks. She talks Diana into eating a Quaalude and doing a line of blow. That takes all of Diana’s edge off and next thing you know she’s pulling an Almost Famous and jumping from the roof into the pool wearing nothing but her underwear.

After a brief interlude with a Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh imposter, Kathleen finally ends up meeting Fake Sue Mengers at the party. She’s a 50-year-old blonde with a raspy voice so there is absolutely no reason on Earth why she is not being played by Kim Richards, co-executive producer Kyle Richard’s older sister. Fake Sue tells Kathleen that she’s going to have to have some balls to succeed in this business. She finally sacks up after she pulls Diana out of the pool and Fake Sue is like, “Are you really with this awful wreck of a bank teller?” Diana said she was, and that is the best move that anyone has made this entire episode, other than the move Adam made on Kathleen. Looks like this party really was worth it, and at least one of those uncoordinated outfits got destroyed.

American Woman Recap: Sink or Swim