Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Girlfriends’ Guide’s prom shows that sometimes mean girls have a purpose

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I believe I read somewhere that on the stress scale, divorce ranks higher than the death of a spouse. Because the death of a spouse is likely not anything you have any control over, whereas in divorce, both parties can walk out feeling like they failed, like they could have done something to prevent this traumatic outcome. This effect undoubtedly magnifies when kids are involved. Things will hopefully get better after the divorce (otherwise, why divorce?), but it will take awhile to get there.

Which is why our Girlfriends’ Guide heroine Abby is having such a tough time this week, now that the divorce papers are finally signed. As she explains late in the episode, she has to keep moving frantically because she’s afraid if she stops, she’ll never get up again. Which kind of (not completely) helps explain her heinous attitude toward everyone this episode. C’mon show, don’t put me in the position of having to admit that Jo is finally making sense.

With Jake out of the picture, Girlfriends’ Guide is again wisely focusing on Abby’s circle of pals, like the show title says. When Delia finally gets her GED, a celebration is in order, and it turns into a prom sponsored by She She magazine. So the girls get a bit put out when Abby can’t drop everything to go dance when she has to go get her picture taken with Mario Lopez. But you know what, that is part of Abby’s job, and the way the bill for this party is being floated, after all.

Abby also commits the cardinal sin of shoving the girlfriends to the back burner in favor of her favorite Twitter date, Dr. Dreamboat Harris, but considering her position, this also totally makes sense. When the floor drops out beneath you, you will grab on to the first thing you see that resembles stability, and for Abby, nobody appears more stable than the good doctor that sends her flowers and showers her with social media messages, even after only two dates. So she makes a bigger deal out of it than necessary when Harris blows off her prom, especially when this was all supposed to be a girls’ night anyway. But in Abby’s vulnerable state, fun dates with Harris are a lifeline that show her that her romantic world isn’t ending completely.

Less understandable: The way Abby treats the girlfriends at the prom, ignoring them almost completely for her job, blowing off the fun ’80s theme (who wouldn’t want to dress like that? I’d dress like that every day if I could) in favor of this icky orange column dress with inexplicable Marge Simpson hairstyle, and worst of all, diminishing Phoebe’s accomplishment. It’s a bit rich coming from Delia that Abby negated Phoebe’s feeling of being smart, when Delia herself told Phoebe that thinking wasn’t her strong suit extremely recently. (Was her engagement party only a few weeks ago? These people have a lot of parties.)

So Abby alienates her friends. and then has to come around in three separate one-on-ones with them, which are all actually quite effective. Since Abby and her friends appear to have these blowups pretty frequently, what’s nice is that these women immediately confront each other. No holding grudges. No unresolved issues that drag on and on. You can be a jerk, like Abby definitely was at the party, and not get cast out entirely. The girlfriends get it. It’s the first week after the divorce papers! So while Jake is wearing his broken heart not just on his sleeve but all over his grubby, unshaven self, Abby hides everything behind a shiny surface, because it’s the only way she can get through. I thought their moment at the prom was rather sweet, even if it underlined how much things are really over for them. But for Abby, the message is: Just because your life is going terribly, that doesn’t mean that you can be terrible to other people. At the end she almost lost her friends, appears to have lost her one romantic prospect, and likely most devastating at all, her daughter wants to go live with Jake. And Abby gets the rug pulled out from under her all over again.


Jumping off of last week’s episode title, this week everyone is finding out that you both can and can’t go home again. Jo goes to the prom with her ex-husband, almost bringing back their good old days, until he rejects her for his current wife, who he insists is good for him. Phoebe gets to visit a place she’s never been—a high school prom—and uses this transition to jump off into her new life. Delia, on the other hand, regresses, avoiding her wedding in the most severe way possible by sleeping with her boss. Not unlike the high school graduates that Abby says Phoebe resembles, they’re all still confused, and are trying to figure everything out. But at least all their friends are in the same rocky boat.

Stray observations

  • Why do we never see Abby’s brother and brother-in-law at the same time? Pretty sure we saw her brother Max at least once so far this season, and now Ford has shown up a few times as Jake’s confidante. Why not together? They at least had their own storylines last season.
  • Glad to see Barbara getting into the festivities, and bonding with Phoebe.
  • This week’s best fashion: Phoebe was born to wear Madonna knockoffs, and looked stunning under all those beads. But all the ’80s outfits were totally awesome. Can’t believe Abby bowed out for:
  • This week’s worst fashion: An orange column dress with upsweep that brought to mind, as Jake mentioned, Marge Simpson and little else. Lisa Edelstein is a gorgeous woman, but that updo was an unfortunate choice.
  • This week’s perplexing fashion question: What was that on top of Delia’s head?