Kimberly, what?! The second season of The Sex Lives of College Girls is wrapping up story lines like Tanya McQuoid-Hunt on a yacht with a gun. Everyone’s relationships are blowing up. Kimberly dropped her hot climate refugee, Leighton and Tatum are on the rocks, Whitney and Andrew might be cursed, and Bela may have tanked her comedy friend group. This episode has penultimate written all over it as the pieces move into place for the finale.
Kimberly agrees to go with Canaan to an economics gala, where he is being honored. She doesn’t think of it as a date. Her suitemates don’t think of it as a date. But halfway through a slow dance, Kimberly silently starts to wonder if she’s on a date, and when she and Canaan part ways, she marches over to Jackson’s dorm and tells him they’re breaking up. Is she going to tell Whitney about this? At the beginning of the episode, Kimberly advises Leighton not to catch up with Alicia, her ex-girlfriend, behind Tatum’s back if she really cares about her. Praying that she takes her own advice. Canaan is sweet and nerdy and vulnerable in this episode, but he still broke her friend’s heart.
Speaking of that friend, Andrew approaches Whitney in the dining hall and informs her that she and him are going on a date. The girls are agog over his confidence and BDE. I would like to remind readers, and myself, that there is a difference between confidence and being an asshole. Andrew displays a little bit of both, and later when we see the date that he and Whitney go on he starts to tip in the wrong direction. He’s so concerned with ordering the right food and everything going well that he doesn’t really pay attention to Whitney or do anything to get to know her better — which should be the point of a first date when you already know someone! They’ve done lab work together and they’ve done the deed together. If they actually want to date each other they need to connect as people. That ain’t happening when you’re preoccupied with letting Yelp dictate what croutons are worth it.
Whitney’s hoping to backslide back into a casual thing with Andrew. When he sees her at the gym and mentions that they should go out again, she tries to distract him with basketball. What’s confusing is that this basketball hang is actually a good date! They do have chemistry that isn’t sexual. They even laugh together! I thought for sure that this was going to lead to Whitney changing her mind and deciding that dinner dates just aren’t their thing. Some people don’t do small talk — that’s totally normal. I’m happy that this relationship seems to be going nowhere, because I wasn’t a fan to begin with, but a little bit confused that the show ignored one of the only really good moments the two of them had as a pair. But I guess saying “I never would have guessed that’d we’d be together … dating … I like it” with zero emotion was enough of a turn off to keep Whitney in doubt. Vulcans aren’t for everyone.
Meanwhile, Leighton meets back up with her ex Alicia after following her suitemates’ advice to give Tatum a head’s up. An hour of volunteering at the Women’s Center later and Leighton remembers how much happier she was in season one. (Except, you know, for the being closeted thing.) Renee Rapp is so good on this show. She’s easily one of the funniest cast members, and then the subtle way that you can see how much more relaxed she is around Alicia and her friends at the Women’s Center goes above and beyond. She’s more herself there than she is with her haughty girlfriend Tatum and even her suitemates. When she brings Tatum to a fundraiser where everyone dresses up as queer icons, it’s blatantly obvious that Tatum is a bad fit for her. It’s also blatantly obvious that Tatum is a bad person, and maybe Leighton should not have wasted so much energy earlier in the season going toe to toe with insults.
Oh, and Bela makes another bad decision that I don’t fully understand. Her comedy magazine is getting a write-up in the alumni magazine, and she not only micromanages the interview but approves the copy after seeing that the writer turned it into a profile of her accompanied by a photo of just her. While the group was being interviewed, I understood her frustration with the other writers and editors. The girls were giving goofy answers and not taking this huge opportunity seriously. However, okaying a final article that’s just her quotes and a glossy picture or her, solo, is 100 percent going to cause problems with the group. Take it from someone who has written up interviews before: Even if only Bela’s quotes were usable, there is definitely a way to write a piece that focuses on quotes from one member of a group and still acknowledge the group as a whole. I don’t understand why Bela didn’t at least ask that they use the other photo of all of them. Even if she didn’t like it, it’s the right thing to do.
• Charlie Hall was actually a high-school and college basketball player. He walked on the Northwestern University team in his first year.
• This Kimberly and Canaan thing came out of nowhere, right? Were there sparks in season one that I missed? I need a fancam to catch me up, if so.
• Today in The Sex Lives Of College Girls, girls are more self-aware than I was at their age: Leighton accurately telling Tatum that their similarities are all things she doesn’t like about herself. It took me years to realize that about friendships and relationships. That’s also a brutal thing to tell someone you’re dating, even if they were being a jerk first.
• I’ve stayed silent on this for too long. The dining hall at Essex looks like a library. I keep expecting the Ghostbusters to show up. Does this bug anybody else? Is this just a private-school, liberal-arts thing? Where do they keep the actual food? I know it’s fancy because of their endless boxed-water supply, but the aesthetic is just not my college experience at all.
• When did that ponytail from the alumni magazine even take a portrait of Bela? Does he have portraits of all of them?