Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce recap: 'Rule No. 67: Don't Kill the Princess'
My favorite relationship to watch on this show has quickly become the one between Abby and Becca Riley. I know that they hardly ever share screen time, and that their only connection is Jake, and that their relationship is tenuous at best, but It’s. Just. So. Complicated. A show about divorce lives and dies on complicated relationships, and while I generally look forward to an Abby/Jake scene, I always find myself most moved by Abby and Becca.
I didn’t expect a character like Becca from this show. What does a twentysomething CW actress know about divorce? But the most relatable part about Girlfriends’ Guide isn’t its characters—no one looks like that when they pick their kids up from school or can have multiple clubbing adventures per month when they have kids—but its subject matter. Everyone in America is affected by divorce in some way, whether they’ve been through one or not. Your parents were divorced, or your grandparents, or your sister, or maybe you started dating someone who’s going through a divorce. Becca didn’t make do anything in her life to lead up to dealing with a divorce, but that’s the hand she was dealt. And so far, she’s handled it really admirably, and Abby along with her. They both try their hardest in a bad situation, and sometimes they still do things wrong, but these are characters to root for.
Except, you know, Jake keeps killing all the princesses. Don’t kill the princess, Jake. Why can’t you just get it together, Jake?
Of course I could just be pushing that connection because I miss Lyla’s presence, but the show really did go on quite well without her (or rather, with just her voice). This episode of Girlfriends’ Guide deals in two plainly stated, but dead-on metaphors, both revolving around Lilly’s upcoming birthday; they also led to one of the most absurd teenage birthday party scenes I have ever witnessed. I mean, it was bad—but it was funny. The first is discovered by Chad, Charlie’s gastrointestinally minded imaginary friend: There’s a crack in the foundation of Abby and Jake’s house. Abby and Jake—who, mind you, slept together in the last episode—are just catching up about their tryst now, two days later, when Jake and Max come over to check out the crack.
“Do you and your girlfriend use protection,” and “Are you still on the pill,” probably aren’t two questions you plan to keep having to asking your husband/wife after you get married, but that is the life these soon to be divorcées who happened to have slept together are living: They’ve got a crack in the foundation of their house that can only be fixed with a $20,000 retaining wall and Abby is at her gynecologist’s office telling her she had unprotected sex and is off the pill. After an appropriately judgmental stare, the doctor gives her a prescription for a morning after pill that can be taken for up to five days after.
But we don’t have time to analyze if Abby is trying to have a baby with her ex-husband right now because she’s got a fully realized 14-year-old to throw a birthday party for. And said 14-year-old just walked downstairs screaming with excitement to both of her parents because she invited her dad’s famous CW girlfriend to her birthday party—and Becca accepted. As Abby later tells Delia and Phoebe, “Jake’s embryo Becca invited herself to Lilly’s birthday party…and he just stood there, staring dead-eyed like the shark in Jaws.”
And while that’s entirely true about Jake because Jake just loves playing clueless to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings, it’s not true about Becca: Lilly invited her and she said yes because she’s not sure what to do in these situations, and she gets absolutely zero guidance from Jake. Though Abby doesn’t say anything at the time Lilly announces her special birthday guest, she has a minor breakdown when she sees Jake at school later. That breakdown probably comes as the result of much more than just Becca—like, oh say, that she thinks she might be pregnant, her career is in shambles, she recently slept with the husband she’s trying to divorce, and her best friend is missing—but either way, Abby suddenly finds herself screamin, “There’s a crack in the foundation!” She fears that the house will cave in, and the last memory that Lilly will have is this Becca Riley in the house that Abby and Jake raised her, and Jake needs to uninvite Becca, or they can throw Lilly’s party themselves.
Because it all comes down to Lilly: In the midst of dealing with a pregnancy scare and a crumbling house, Abby and Jake are raising a teenager (and Charlie, but I guess we’ll get to him some other time). While planning this 14th birthday party, Abby reminisces about one of Lilly’s childhood birthdays when she secretly hired a Princess Jasmine and was a total mom-hero to her daughter. But now, she can’t just give her Jasmine anymore… she can only give her Becca. So, even though she told Jake he needed to uninvite her—which Jake bungled because he was so excited about the news that Joseph Gordon Levitt liked his movie script, and also, Jake tends to be kind of “thoughtless now, say sorry later”—Abby swallows her discomfort and leaves Becca a message asking her to please come to the party. She will not be a princess killer on her daughter’s birthday.
NEXT: The most pain you’ve had in a pool this year…
Lilly, of course, has plans of her own. Despite heaps of Funyuns and a DJ, Lilly’s party is a bust because everyone was expecting Becca Riley, but instead they just get Abby, Phoebe, Delia, and 18 bowls of chips. Abby watches Lilly go into the pool house with her sketchy friend Jade, but they come back out fairly quickly and just as they do, CW star Becca Riley shows up and all the 14-year-olds lose their shit. A few girls seem a little more excited than others, and suddenly Abby realizes… they’re all wasted. She’d hidden all of the alcohol from the house in her car, so she gathers all the adults to canvas the house for what they could have taken. I’m not Phoebe’s biggest fan, but she’s never been more endearing than when listing all of the things she used to do to sneak illicit substances as a teenager: water bottles of liquor, raiding medicine cabinets, snorting nutmeg, etc.
But you know what she never did? She never suddenly jumped in a pool, clutching her crotch and screaming because, “They soaked tampons in vodka…their vaginas are on fire!” I could listen to Abby scream that a hundred times while teenagers writhe in alcoholic agony around her. Everyone has heard the horror storied of kids doing this exact thing, but that is surely the first time I’ve ever seen it televised—it was a little terrifying. All the parents are called and now, in addition to having a breakdown on TV, Abby is the mother who let all of her daughter’s friends get vaginally drunk at her house: “By the way, your daughter is a delinquent and your mommy book is bullshit!”
Of course, I’ve completely ignored every other storylines because when vodka tampons are in the mix, everything else sort of takes a back seat. But there are other important things going on like Delia sleeping with her client, and Phoebe finally being forced to end her concubine role-playing with her ex because he’s developed feelings for someone else. Phoebe finally realizing that she can’t quite be the free spirit that she likes to think of herself as was a bit of interesting character growth, but we’ll have to see where not letting herself “be taken advantage of by people she cares about” takes her. Hopefully not to anymore choking baby photo shoots.
And then there’s Jake and Becca: Jake found Abby’s unopened morning after pill while searching the house for
tampons alcohol, and Becca walks in as he comforts her; probably as a result of seeing her boyfriend kissing his ex-wife on the forehead, she decides to search his phone and finds the Uber receipt to Abby’s house from the night that he disappeared from their shaman retreat. Jake can’t even admit that he’d slept with Abby, Becca has to spell it out for him that she knows and tells him to get the hell out of her house; I don’t think Jake is a bad guy, but in this moment of his life, he’s not good enough for Becca, who has done nothing but be supportive of him. She was busy building a foundation for them as a couple, while he can barely see the future through all of the cracks in his life.
There’s one crack that’s sealed itself up a little though, and that’s Lyla—hallelujah, she did not steal her children. She calls Phoebe to tell her that she’s taken the kids to Portland and convinced Dave to come there, too, at least for a while: “You told me to find what makes me happy, and as it turns out, it’s my kids being happy and small batch artisanal pickles.” Oh, Lyla—while I’ll miss her jaded presence, I’m glad to know that things are looking up for someone around here. And for the rest, the futures is as much of a mixed bag as this episode was, like Abby, who ends the hour looking at her unopened morning after pill, a glass of water nearby, but untouched.
What do you think will come of Abby’s possible pregnancy? Does she really want to have another baby? Is there a possible road to reconciliation for Abby and Jake’s marriage now that they’re both single and potentially parenting another child together? Did you miss Lyla? And finally, vodka-soaked tampons… a thing kids actually do or a Bravo-sponsored urban legend?