Taylor Jacobson is a curious star of the first episode of Bravo’s The Rachel Zoe Project. Curious because Zoe’s former styling associate—and the most interesting thing about the reality show for the show’s first two seasons — does not appear on screen once in the first hour of the current season premiere last night, except for in a few, ripped-from-the-archives flashbacks. But she’s the main event simply because she’s the only thing the rest of the employees of Rachel Zoe, Inc. — and, apparently, the rest of the world who’s interested in the Zoe frivolity — can focus on. “Have you seen what’s happening, like, all over the internet?” Brad says to Zoe’s assistant Marisa right off the bat, stoking the Taylor-obsessed rumors that swirled when Taylor got the boot from the company.
Because, as if you haven’t heard yet, Taylor got fired from Zoe’s company between when shooting for season 2 ended and shooting for season 3 began. Why? Truly, it’s really, really not very clear. “Rodger and I recently promoted Taylor to Head of Product Development,” Rachel says at the top of the show, “and he started to notice some very suspicious activity within the financials of the company.” To which Rodger adds: “The bottom line is we know what happened, we know the truth.” Which is? “The expense reports are all f—ed up. She’s disrespectful to you. She’s disrespectful to us.” Huh. Wait: Huh?
Disrespectful? Screwy expense reports? Last I heard, you don’t get fired for f—ing up expense reports, unless you steal from your company, and Rachel and Rodger never go so far as to commit to saying that. Look, I’ve screwed up an expense report in my day here at EW — and hark, you’re still enjoying my writing! And Taylor’s main thing was being disrespectful. To everyone around her. So, those things said, something’s fishy with what exactly happened in this whole situation. This is shady. Are Rachel and Rodger covering up something else? Are they trying to save face? Will Taylor ever speak and tell the truth? Goodness, I hope so!
At a staff meeting, Rachel is too emotionally stressed about the situation — constantly mentioning how betrayed she feels by Taylor — that she makes hubby Rodger deliver the news to the staff: “Taylor is no longer with the company,” he tells them. And here’s my favorite part. Next, Brad astutely asks: “Are you going to tell us exactly what happened?” Yes, the same thought that’s on all of our minds! Rodger’s response: “At the end of the day, she’s drama. We’ve been getting behind the number, looking at the books. There’s a lot of things I’ve been doing since I’ve been here, and frankly things aren’t adding up, and that’s really all I want to say about it.” So, basically, in a nutshell: No. No, we’re not going to tell you what happened. Instead, we’re just going to make a bunch of veiled references to expense reports, missing product, “things not adding up,” and Taylor, basically, being a bad person. How fair is all that to Taylor? I kept waiting for Bravo to splice in a 30-second interview where Taylor could at least defend herself against everything Rachel and Rodger were spewing about her. Wouldn’t that be fair? Totally suspicious that Rodger and Rachel are allowed to sort of trash her without her getting a chance to respond.
Like I said above, Taylor was indeed the most interesting part of The Rachel Zoe Project in the first two seasons. Sure, she was surly and hard to work with, but this is fashion, people! Divas are a dime a dozen. Just look at Rachel herself! And, yes, people move on, even if we don’t know why. “I feel like at this point I’ve just been knifed in the back so many times, just knifed, like, over and over,” the figurehead of the company continued in her quest to squash Taylor. “I have, like, wounds, and this one is definitely the deepest.” What’s hilarious, too, is how Rachel acts like Taylor owed her something for employing her over the past four years. “I did everything for Taylor,” Rachel later adds. “I trained her, I taught her everything she knows about this business. To then watch her benefit off what I created for her is probably one of the hardest part of this whole thing, honestly.” It’s called business, honey.
The precious few minutes of the hour that didn’t focus on Taylorgate instead revolved around Demi Moore, a giraffe, Rachel freaking out over Demi holding a mouse, and some out-of-this-world, 10-inch Alexander McQueen stilettos. Which is to say, nothing much happened at all beyond Taylorpalooza 2010. I’m not so sure I even want to watch RZP without Taylor. What about you, dear readers? Does a Taylor-less RZP—even with Kate Hudson and Donatella Versace!—appeal to you?