Oh, Lala. She was having such a great season by mostly staying off-camera and keeping her mouth shut, and now she had to go and ruin the ghost of J.Lo dresses past with one mess of a brunch. I will admit that I loved it when, earlier this season at a roller-skating party, she said, “Sorry I called you a twat … you’re welcome,” but now her bad side is not nearly so appealing.
I really think that the whole incident can be blamed on Marina Del Ray, one of the moons of Saturn that no one wants to take a 23-year space shuttle journey to in order to bring Scheana a vajazzled bottle of tequila while she shows off her new apartment and the man who she probably isn’t fucking that she really wants to get on the show. If Lala had never gone to the MDR 14 nebula she never would have gotten into a fight with Billie that led to this whole incident.
During a Saturday afternoon “Brunch With Billie,” Lala, who is working as a hostess, invites Billie outside to talk about the fight from that day. This episode was approximately 17 billion years ago so I don’t remember what the fight was even about, but Lala doesn’t necessarily apologize, but, like a fart next to a smoldering Duraflame, says just enough to just reignite the fight.
When Lala asks what Billie was so upset about, Billie says that she was judging Lala’s character and how she thinks that she’s better than people all the time. Lala says she’s not rude, she just acts with confidence. Well, she later tells Brittany she thinks she’s better than both Billie and James, so maybe she does act a little haughty. Lala answers Billie’s attack by telling her that it is time for her to judge Billie’s character and she also finds it lacking. Doesn’t Billie know what she’s going through, Lala says, her father just died!
Lala then starts screaming and pointing her finger at Billie before barging off. That’s the thing about Lala. People say she’s a bully and I don’t know if that is necessarily true, but she is somewhat incapable of having a conversation. She wants to make her point, have the other person tell her she’s right, and move on. If they don’t, she just screams at them, calls them names, and then walks away. She can’t listen and she can’t possibly fathom that she might be wrong.
We see this same pattern at the same brunch when she butts up against James’s girlfriend Raquel, a Hello Kitty backpack with nothing inside. Lala overheard Raquel, a casserole made out of only yellow Starburst and discontinued lip gloss, say she was “volatile.” Lala responds by starting to scream and pointing a talon so close to Raquel’s face that she just about shears her eyelashes off. Nope, not volatile as all.
Neither of these arguments have any substance, it’s just Lala’s bluster and invective wrapped around a melted core of sadness and anger at her father’s death. But as Ariana, a fellow member of the dead dads club, points out, awful things happen to all of us; it doesn’t mean that we can go around making scenes in our place of business and blaming it on our grief. Lala is not the only one to experience tragedy, she’s just the only one who can’t experience empathy.
Speaking of being at SUR while all of this is going down, Billie tells Lala that all of this fighting means she needs to leave. The best part of the whole fight is when Scheana goes to Sandoval and Ariana’s table and tells them that Brittany can’t bring out their food because she’s consoling Lala, as if this is a normal and acceptable thing that could happen at any Applebee’s. Then we see Peter, the manager, in the walk-in freezer the whole time just moving around pre-frozen containers of goat-cheese balls, completely oblivious to the Three Mile Island that is blowing up in the front of house.
Lala eventually does leave, but all the patrons were living for it. Whenever we see SUR customers on the show, it’s clear they’re just Midwestern ladies there to pay homage to the cast they love so much. They’d much rather eat all this drama up than some stale French toast with two sliced strawberries tacked haphazardly on the side.
They got their fill of drama, too, because Lala at some point also gets into a skirmish with James, the cherry on top of which is her assertion that James can’t be better than her because she’s “charting on iTunes,” which is the West Hollywood equivalent of winning a Peabody.
For his part, James remains calm and doesn’t go absolutely insane like he usually does in an argument. After his DJ shift he goes by Tom Tom to tell Lisa about what happened and she wants to know if James reacted by going nuclear and screaming at everyone. He says no, that he was very calm. Lisa finds that hard to believe because James has a “basic lack of respect for everyone you deal with.” That is the truest thing anyone has ever said about James in his life.
He gets upset that Lisa won’t believe that he’s changed and he’s now chiller than a middle-aged dad on two pot gummies at a Phish concert. Why would she believe that? He was in her place of business telling people to “fuck off,” just one day before. What possibly could have happened in that day that would cause such a remarkable transformation?
After James’s first temper tantrum at Tom Tom, he has a conversation with Raquel, 15 different eyeshadows in search of a palette, about what happened. He tells her that he was just standing up for himself after he was disinvited from the Mexico trip. She tells him that he can stand up for himself without disrespecting people and calling them names, something both James and Lala need to learn. I will say this for Raquel: She’s boring, dumb, and more monotonous than a YouTube videos where screaming goats sing, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” but she’s usually right.
Then they have a talk that’s so meta it almost broke my brain. They’re talking about the friend group, but they really could put “[on the show]” at any point in their dialogue and it would fit. James tells her that Katie is trying to ice him out of group and doesn’t want him [on the show] and she’s winning. She tells him, “I moved here to be with you [on the show] and I don’t know that many people [on the show]. Having the girls exclude you has affected me too [on the show]. If you could be nicer to them it would be easier for me [on the show] to get closer to them [on the show].”
Seriously, though, we need Lala and James because the rest of these oatmeal monsters aren’t bringing that much heat this season. Jax isn’t blowing up about a cheating scandal, he’s getting mad that Brittany wants to spend $300 for a mashed-potato bar at their engagement party. I have never seen a mashed-potato bar and I don’t know exactly what one is, but I can tell you it is definitely worth $300 and if there was one at my engagement party I would pull a chair up next to it and dig in with a fork and just wave all of the well-wishers off until that thing was cleared out.
Kristen, Katie, and Stassi make up after Kristen sages her friends out of her apartment. Boring. Stassi is stressed that she has to ask her book editor for an extension. One can tell Stassi is a first-time writer. Anyone who deals with the lazy, insecure, and generally profligate group that is writers knows to pad any deadline with a minimum of two months. She’s meant to ask for this extension. Actually, you usually don’t need to ask, just take it for granted.
Who else are we left with? Tom and Tom, who’ve both managed to do little this season other than flip their hair and make eyes at each other. One night both of their girlfriends were at work and Schwartz went over to Sandoval’s house to turn on the microwave and the air conditioner at the same time and see if they could make sparks.
He found Sandoval lying in his bed over the covers with his shoes on. Schwartz approached the side of the bed and kissed him three times quickly, right on the lips. He brushed his hand over the crotch of Sandoval’s jeans to see if he could get anything started, but what he felt was limper than all the bizkits in the early ’00s. “I can’t tonight. Can we just cuddle?” Sandoval asked.
Tom agreed and hopped over Sandoval and nuzzled into his neck as they both stared off into space. The soft hum of Los Angeles in the background couldn’t nudge them to break their embrace, but couldn’t lull them to sleep either.