Billie Jean and Jerry -- who has flown in to meet with her -- argue. "Something about this stinks," she complains. Jerry says fine, pull out and he'll get Chrissie Evert to play Bobby instead. "Okay…I have no problem with that…I won't do it unless there's a level playing field," Billie Jean retorts defiantly. Jerry simply shrugs and points out that any contract with him -- like Bobby's -- is going to maximize a person's marketability and subsequent earnings, but as far as ticket proceeds, Bobby isn't getting half. "By the way," he smarms, "my daughter's betting me a month's allowance that you're going to win." Billie Jean glares at him, then looks away.
In front of the television, Billie Jean pumps iron. She stops when she sees a promo for the Battle of the Sexes, "the Lover vs. the Lobber." Disgusted, she switches channels and watches a football game's halftime show. The announcer says the marching band that's on the field is wishing Billie Jean good luck, and as he says it, the band forms BJK on the field. Near tears, Billie Jean smiles thinly.
"Honey, whose résumé is that in the driveway, muddy, torn and stick under the tire of that new silver Kia?" "It's yours, Frank." "It iiiiiiiiiis, isn't it?"
The next few scenes comprise a montage of Billie and Bobby's separate arrivals in Houston. He walks into a red, orange, and yellow nightmare of a dressing room, which looks like someone dropped E into a Tequila Sunrise and then pumped it onto the walls through a garden hose. Billie Jean's is blue and green. He whips out amino acids and vitamins; she loads sports drinks into the fridge. He checks for gray hairs, and she checks her racket strings. He tucks jockstraps into the drawer, and she stows sports bras. Same cup size, though, it seems. Hang on, I'm not sure which of them is on the receiving end of that insult. Good thing I'm an equal-opportunity bitch. While Bobby watches television and parties with his followers, Billie Jean is analyzing footage of Margaret's ill-fated match. Suddenly, she yells for Larry to stop the tape and rewind it. "I'll show you where she got into trouble," Billie says grimly. We see Bobby hand Margaret the flower bouquet, and she gives a curtsey in response. "That's where she gave it all up," Billie Jean grins.
Three tennis balls sit in the center of a glossy wooden conference table. "Welcome to the Astrodome, the finest sports facility in the world," says owner Judge Hofheinz. And yes, this is the same Astrodome -- stuffier than a vacuum-cleaner bag -- whose obsolescence led to the construction of Enron Field, the year-old replacement. Billie Jean, ever the eloquent one, says, "Right on." No, Billie Jean. You are right. And you are on. Hofheinz flips the coin, lets Billie Jean call it -- "heads" -- and then awards her the right to select which brand of balls will be in play during the match. "My balls of steel and his soft, sweaty crotch-putty," Billie Jean might have said, had she been drunk. Instead, we cut to a scene "one hour later," in which Bobby is talking needlessly. "You don't want a faster ball. I know your game!" he wheedles. "You'll do better with a slow ball." Billie Jean tells him to cut the crap. "I want this to last longer than three sets!" he protests. "I want you to play your best game." Bobby tries to play up his age, saying this could be the last match of his career and he wants her to hang in there as long as she can. Fed up, Billie suggests that she give up so that he doesn't go out having lost to a girl. "If I was a gentleman, I'd throw the match for you. It's the only way you're going to win," Bobby brags. "I'll throw in another handicap. I'll give you both alleys, I'll serve left-handed and I'll wear high heels." Everything is a joke to this guy, including women. He's repugnant, yet no one is reprimanding him -- even Billie Jean lets him blather as long as he likes without correcting him or even fighting back. Her reticence takes some of the bite out of her eventual victory. I guess she figures tennis will speak the volumes she chooses not to utter aloud. I'm not sure that, in the face of buffoonery that blatant, I would -- or could -- have been so restrained. Billie Jean does get up and walk out, claiming that she has a headache. "Girls are so sensitive," Bobby says, amazed. "Why is she so sensitive?"