Deadline
Daniel In The Lion's Den

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Heathen: D | Grade It Now!
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Who Am I? I'm Jean Valjean!

In the morning Ledger, a headline reads, "Pol fleshes the press." Wallace bursts into Hildy's office in an excited fervor, asking if Nikki's seen the paper yet. "Called in sick!" Hildy whispers, covering up the mouthpiece of her phone. As she ignores her caller, Hildy tells Wallace she has a tip -- Minton gets his hair cut and colored at Bergdorf's salon. Wallace loves it. Hildy lectures her caller about how bulimia's a serious affliction, and she doesn't like busting people for it in her column. The More You Know. "It's weird," Hildy laughs. "I mean, [Minton] is a guy's guy, man of the people, and what the hell, he colors his hair." She slips Wallace a card with the stylist's name and number. Nikki barges in and demands that Wallace leave her alone with Hildy. As Wallace eggs her on and encourages a catfight, Nikki practically crushes him by slamming the door on his body. Hildy defends herself by saying it was a blind item, meaning it left Nikki's name out of it altogether. Nikki reads, "Dashing Democrat spent the shank of the evening sucking face with a distinguished member of the press." She's furious, yelling that everyone at the party saw the two of them talking all night. Perhaps Nikki should have considered that before cleaning Minton's esophagus with her tongue. Oh, but maybe she was just trying to taste one of those delightful crab puffs. Nikki screams, "You compromised me and you know it!" Hildy calmly reminds her that if she "plays the hokey-pokey" with a public figure, newspapers will print it. "Not my newspaper!" screams Nikki. Embarrassed that Bebe is waving her arms, shouting, and basically overacting as though she's on a TGIF show, Bebe's Emmy crawls under the sofa and cowers there, chanting, "I think I can, I think I can." Hildy throws a manila folder at Nikki and spits that she bought the negatives to save her boss's hide. Nikki is floored, stares at the photos, then storms out of the office to scream at Wallace for...you know what? I doubt she needs a reason.

A simpering British stylist called Babs -- Minton's hairdresser -- greets Wallace and pushes him into her purple chair, waxing rhapsodic about his virtues as a writer. She stares at him intently. "May I pluck you?" she asks. He's startled. "Just a bit about the eyebrows here, no charge, of course," Babs soothes. Wallace tries to avoid the idea but thanks her for the thought. Babs immediately becomes my hero: "I can make you lovely," she sighs, eliciting a huge guffaw from my corner. Not that I doubt Babs' superior skills -- the woman's clearly a marvel -- but I'm not sure anything short of reconstructive surgery could achieve her lofty goal for Wallace. "Does Danny pluck?" Wallace asks casually, tipping her off that Minton referred him to her salon. Babs demurs, saying all he likes is the color. Babs reveals Danny's a natural redhead who simply hated the childhood nickname "carrot top." Wonder how he feels about the childish comedian. Babs immediately demands a little pluck. Wallace says she can pluck him once, although Babs contends that one pluck is never enough, not from her tweezers. "You're going to like this," she grins, moving in for the pluck. "It won't hurt a bit." Benton flashes back to the night he lost his virginity to that French whore, and all the ointments he had to buy afterward, and braces himself for the worst.

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