Sometimes while watching The Bold Type I play a little game called “In What World?” For instance: In What World would the head of social media be able to take not just a lunch outside the office with her girlfriend but also leave early to go on a road trip for a birth certificate ON THE DAY OF THE WEBSITE RELAUNCH? Or, In What World could someone like Jane be drunk and high all day, and still have the ability to not only sing a perfect rendition of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” at a dive bar, but then hop in a car and both read a pile of information on fertility options and also write an article for work? FURTHERMORE, In What World is the pitch “fun things to do when you just can’t anymore” accepted with no follow-up details? The answer to all of these questions is In No World Except The Bold Type World and You Should Either Just Get on Board or Get Off the Ride.
Fun game, right?
I am happy to report, however, that there are some excellent moments in “Trippin’” thanks to Sutton’s sojourn back to her hometown to procure her original birth certificate in order to get a passport in time for Paris Fashion Week. Sutton tries every other option to get her passport, including asking Richard for help through his contact at the State Department (IN WHAT WORLD), until she has no excuse: She has to go home to Harrisburg and get her birth certificate from her mom. She isn’t thrilled about the prospect of seeing her alcoholic mother, but the rest of us definitely are. Babs Brady, live and in Technicolor!
Our three ladies hop in Kat’s parents’ car and make the three-hour trip to the capital of Pennsylvania, though this road trip’s not all gas station roast beef sandwiches and sing-a-longs to Dua Lipa. Jane’s super drunk in the backseat thanks to her afternoon Drink and Avoid Life session with Pinstripe — and by “avoid life” I mean “avoid her hot doctor boyfriend who handed her a fairly thick folder full of research on her reproductive system.” This drunkenness gets compounded when she discovers Kat’s parents have a weed pen stashed in the car. Meanwhile, Kat is DOING WORK that she should be doing AT THE OFFICE and keeping tabs on how Scarlet readers are dealing with Jacqueline’s unilateral decision to remove comments from the website. Spoiler alert: They don’t take it well. All of this is happening while Sutton is dealing with both the new knowledge that Richard and his girlfriend are moving in together and the fact that she is about to see the one person in the world she would like to avoid at all costs. And you thought road trips were just for trail mix and that thing people do in the car when they just start reading signs aloud for no reason.
They reach Sutton’s childhood home in the evening, only to find it locked and the spare key missing. For Sutton, this is just another way her mother is ruining her life. High Jane comes up with a plan to break in and steal the birth certificate, because you can’t get in trouble for stealing what’s yours, but as convincing as the argument is, Sutton knows she’ll have to go find her drunk mom at the local dive bar and get the key. She’s harping on her mom so much, and is so sure they’ll find Babs facedown in a shot glass, that you just know this is not going to be the case at all.
And that’s pretty much how it goes down. Sutton runs into her old high school boyfriend Billy (played by Billy Magnussen) who is still performing with his old band at the same dive bar as a reminder to Sutton that everything is the same as when she left. But also Billy is very charming and funny and I would not hate it if he popped up in NYC some time, just saying. But some things have changed! Yes, Sutton’s mom shows up at the bar — but it’s because she works there now. She looks decent! She is not drunk! Kat and Jane are wondering where the trainwreck is, and Sutton assures them she’ll show herself eventually. But she never does.
Babs has been sober for months, she has a job, and she is cleaning up her act — for good this time. Sutton’s heard this all before and continues to reject anything Babs has to say to her. Even after seeing that her home, typically a garbage dump, is immaculately clean, Sutton does not want to admit that her mom might really be changing. She’s been down this road before. She’s gotten her hopes up only to be disappointed by Babs over and over again. Her heart has been broken too many times this way. That’s when Jane drops the Dead Mom card. Do-overs with your mom aren’t things to be taken for granted. It is way harsh, Tai, and I hope Jane doesn’t use that on the reg, but it seems to be effective on Sutton in this moment. The girls share a teary group hug and remind us all what we love about this show.
Sutton, braver thanks to the love of her best friends, has a sit-down with Babs. Mrs. Brady explains that a few months ago, after a classic Babs Bender, she saw a picture of Sutton out with her friends and suddenly realized that if she didn’t make some changes, she would never know her daughter’s life. Sutton is still hesitant to be the least bit hopeful, but she promises that she’ll check in on her mom every once in a while to see if Babs is holding up her end of the bargain. That, at least, Sutton can do. It’s a very lovely little scene and perhaps now a Classic Babs Bender entails chicken fingers and crying while holding hands. It sounds like a fun night to me!
The girls make it back to NYC in the a.m. and Sutton, who for some reason is the only one of the three who looks like the hottest of messes, gets her birth certificate in to the Scarlet travel department on time so they can magically get her a passport in under a week. And even better news: Kat’s going to Paris with her! I’m ready for some heart-to-hearts over croissants. To France, mes amies!
From the Back Page
• Kat has her first confrontation with Jacqueline as a department head over the whole “losing the comments” section thing, but turns out to be correct when there is major backlash over the decision during the relaunch. Jacqueline goes to Kat for advice on how to handle the situation, and that advice is basically: Own your mistake and also put the comments section back.
• The comments section snafu comes at an extremely bad time for Scarlet’s editor-in-chief, thanks to a, ahem, New York Magazine article about the decline of the celebrity editor and questioning Jacqueline’s usefulness. Let it be known that this recap section is a safe space and we would never denounce such a diva here. But also, the one-two punch of the article and the relaunch issues has some board members — cough Cleo cough — wondering if Jacqueline is out of touch.
• Kat makes out with a hot townie bartender, but in the midst of all the relaunch stress, realizes the only person she wants to be with is Adena. The Great Open Relationship Experiment is over.
• Alex Watch Update: He’s planning walking food-tours for fun and making Y2K jokes. Oh Alex, what have they done to you? Remember when you were bribing key copiers and kissing people in cabs? Misty water-colored memories …
• Jane eventually realizes that she cannot hide from her problems, reads Dr. Ben’s research packet, and decides to freeze her eggs. It seems like Dr. Ben is being a little overbearing, but he’s honestly pretty sweet about everything and only wants to help any way he can — which is by doing doctor things. The couple celebrates with sex in a public bathroom.
• But wait! Jane runs into Pinstripe again, who has just sold a book proposal, and he informs the good lady that he is more than just a day-drinking buddy. He is serious about her. Then he gives her some eyes and Jane is like, “Huh?” and we’re all like, “YES.” Maybe from now on we can forget anything about Jane’s professional life and stick to love triangles only. Then we’d truly be living.
• Jane and Kat’s slow dance! Hug your friends, people!