Back at the Fortress, Lisa is setting out the plates for dinner. This causes Ruth some mild consternation, however, because she's using the "good-good" china instead of just the "good" china. Heh. My mother has good-good china, too. Hell, she's even got good-good china that's just for Passover. We never use that, either. Kathy is the first to arrive for the party, and she greets Lisa by announcing that she's heard a lot about her. "Oh, don't worry. It's all good. She likes you a hell of a lot better than the one before you." Yeah, well, she's the only one. She then presents Ruth with a birthday present, and clarifies that it can't be returned because there isn't a receipt, nudge nudge, wink wink. Ruth is shocked (shocked, I say!), but not as shocked as she is when Kathy suggests moving the dining room table so that people will have room to dance. "We don't dance in this family," wet-blankets Ruth. "We may fart a lot, but we certainly don't dance." Kathy sends her off to the bedroom to change into her new clothes, and then enlists Lisa to help move the table and turn off the "Lilith Fair crap" that's been playing on the stereo. Lisa, of course, struggles valiantly to retain at least some semblance of control over her perfectly planned party, but, like everyone else in the world, she ends up powerless in the face of The Kathy.
A random bar. Olivier and Shrug entertain a group of students with a long, pretentious, insincere debate about what it means to be an artist. And it's every bit as annoying as you'd expect, by the way. Although if nothing else, I can at least enjoy the fact that the line "I would rip your dick off and feed it to you if I didn't think you would like it so much" is immediately followed by "I so fucking love you, you stupid bald peasant." Sigh. After reminding the assembled students to tip their waiters and waitresses and promising to be back for a second show at 11:30, Olivier remembers precisely why he's there and oh-so-suavely asks Claire why she wants to be an artist. "Um, because I have a lot of pain?" she answers. Yeah. Okay, that was a little bit of a downer. The conversation (naturally, of course) turns to how beautiful Lauren Ambrose is, with Shrug opining that she has skin like "Carrara marble." His skin, of course, looks as though someone's been shining it with a can of lemon-scented Pledge for the last few hours. Shrug then makes an awkward situation even worse by asking if Russell is Claire's "lover," and the boy is forced to sadly answer no before adding that he still thinks Claire is very beautiful. Then he answers the whole "why are you an artist?" question himself by saying, "If I can't create art, I don't want to live." Yeah. Okay, that was a little bit creepy. Olivier ends the scene by telling a passing waitress that Shrug will have "a shot of ouzo with a big dollop of shit in it." For some reason everyone acts like it's all shocking that he said "shit" to a waitress. Which I suppose it is, but only in the sense that he didn't say "fuck."
And now the party at the Fortress is in full swing, with Kathy looking over David and Keith's vacation photos as everyone relaxes in the kitchen. Keith is describing the horrible buffet line they witnessed, and how all the guests would gather in the morning "for the breakfast burrito and the free shuttle to the outlet mall." "I never really understood the concept of a breakfast burrito," admits Ruth. You know, it's too bad that Mr. Moons Over My Hammy isn't still there, because I'm betting he'd be more than happy to demonstrate. Kathy wants to see the X-rated pictures from the trip, but Keith jokes that she'll have to go on the internet and pay $9.99 to get a look at those. Or, you know, she could just come here and get the written description for free. With all the practice I get, I'm sure I could paint a highly impressive word-picture of David and Keith's respective penes by now. Much to David's dismay, Ruth finds a photo of him in his swimwear and announces that "David always looked so funny in a bathing suit." Yeah. Probably because bubbles kept coming out of it every time he went under the water. Lisa stands in the corner, watching all this back-and-forth like it's a tennis match, and seems torn between being happy that people are having fun at her perfect (perfect!) party and being worried that she's not the center of attention anymore. Nate and David, on the other, look utterly creeped out by the entire affair. Lisa presents Ruth with her gift, which turns out to be a coupon redeemable for one free foot massage. Now, I thought that was a pretty weird gift to give a mother-in-law all on its own, but it only gets worse when we learn that it will be Lisa herself giving the massage. Immediately, in fact. Oy. You never saw Brenda stoop that low, and she gave massages for a living, for God's sake. As everyone else heads to the sun room to watch Ruth getting her feet rubbed, Nate wanders over to David and asks, "Does this party seem a little weird?" "On a scale of one to ten?" replies David, "Ninety." But…but…these only go to eleven.