This Katy Keene review contains spoilers.
Katy Keene Season 1 Episode 4
“I’m not allowed to wallow, I’m the one who broke up with K.O.”
A week after dumping the love of her life, well, for a decade anyway, Katy is at a crossroads. As this episode opens, she awakens in a bed in the display window of Lacy’s, seemingly hungover and out of it. Through flashbacks, we are shown that this — like many events in her life — is just a mildly amusing comedy of errors. This is a fairytale after all, so viewers are immediately treated to a Pretty Woman-esque montage (complete with use of Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love”) of Katy trying to get over her breakup. She’s eating ice cream! She’s watching Casablanca! Love sucks everybody, except that it’s also the greatest thing on the planet. Heart emojis from here to infinity!
Katy’s got it so bad that she is blowing off hanging with her friends and lacking the inspiration to sew her designs at night. Worse still, she commits a faux pas at work that costs the struggling Lacy’s a much-needed financial boost in the form of having hotshot designer Guy LaMontagne (Luke Cook) create for the store. Forced to make things right or lose her job, Katy spends most of the episode chasing after Guy, an arrogant-then-likable guy who yearns for the grit and brashness of old NYC. This is a hilarious character trait for someone on this show to possess, as the edgiest thing that has happened in this take on New York City is a rat running across Josie’s foot. Following trying to charm Guy at Studio 34 and failing, Katy has an unexpected run-in with K.O., who is annoyed that she broke up with him and yet is still constantly reaching out to him.
After some time chatting with her friends, Katy fortuitously sees Guy again and drunkenly puts him on blast. There’s that New York ‘tude he was looking for! This charms Guy enough so that he will hear her pitch. She then gives him a personal tour of Lacy’s where she explains the importance that the store has in people’s lives. Guy connects with this because…he has a wallet from Sears? Eh, it’s a fairytale so I’m going with it. Katy promises him a floor of Lacy’s to do with whatever he wants, and she is about to kiss him when she vomits from all the booze. It gets on her purse. On her coat. Everywhere. When she returns from cleaning up he is gone. Katy is sad.
Cut to the next morning and we are back where the episode began, with Katy awaking in the display window. After getting reprimanded for giving Guy the private tour and making promises above her paygrade Katy is forgiven. Guy will be working for Lacy’s after all. And like that, Katy has got her mojo back. (At least until K.O. inevitably appears in next week’s episode).
The Katy story rightfully was front and center, but of the subplots here the Josie one was this episode’s clear winner. It was obvious that something was going on between Alex and Alexandra, but the reveal that they are only step-siblings but also dated in high school was a juicy one. Josie is the show’s most realistic character, one who prides herself on putting her self-respect above everything. She even says as much in her dialogue this week. But now this will be put to the test by Mr. Cabot’s indecent proposal — that he will allow her to record an EP if she resumes dating Alex. It’s not that Alex is a terrible guy per se, just really, REALLY clueless. The pair do have chemistry that is as undeniable as Josie’s talent. But the way that this opportunity has been presented to Josie is utterly gross, so I am eager to see how she responds to it next week.
Pepper’s scheming was mostly backburnered this time around. Whatever her deal is remains the show’s sole mystery, so it’s one I want to see more of. That said, The Rodfather: Part II being the Pepper Plant’s inaugural production is delightful…as are Pepper’s attempts to put a bullshit Warholian spin on it.
Then there’s Jorge. Two of the four episodes to date have had him given great opportunities that he let his insecurities nearly ruin. Issues of masculinity among homosexual-identifying men and how they are perceived by those in their lives are rarely addressed on network television. As a gay man myself, I give the show all the credit in the world for attempting to do that here. But the problem is that Jorge’s parents already have been shown to be supportive, as has Bernardo, that this subject wasn’t handled with the profundity that it could and should have been. This is especially frustrating as we know what a courageous person Jorge is on stage. Perhaps once he reveals his Ginger persona to his parents he will be able to fully integrate her strength into his life.
The main problem to date with this series is that it is struggling to find its tone. Is Katy Keene a romantic comedy? A soap opera? A romantic comedy soap opera with occasional musical numbers? Stylistically, it’s been all over the map — jumping from potentially dark storylines like Pepper’s constant lies to Katy’s charmed existence. It takes time for these things to work themselves out. My suggestion is to try to amp up the comedy and get weird with it. Maybe take more inspiration from Aesop Fables then traditional fairytales?
Despite only being on the air for a month, Katy Keene is a respite from the worries of the current news cycle. There’s no Trump blundering or Coronavirus fears in this show’s version of New York City, just fashion, romance and likable characters seeking fame. It’s just what 2020 needs, a lightweight distraction where the stakes are low and everyone is fabulous, always.
– Josie didn’t mention Riverdale once in this episode. Hooray!
– Studio 34 is an obvious Studio 54 ripoff, minus the hype and cocaine.
– Exactly how many low-level employees have keys to Lacy’s? No wonder the store is doing so poorly. That cash refund policy is terrible too. Maybe they don’t need Guy’s fashions so much as they do new management.
– Even in his one scene tonight, K.O. is such a bore. Team Kuy! (Or is it Gaty?)
– It’s a terrible idea to get into a car with a celebrity you’ve just met when you are drunk.
– In a show that puts high couture on a pedestal, I loved Josie owning the fact that she shops at Target. She remains the most real character on this show.
– Let me continue this Josie lovefest by remarking that her sincere complimenting of Alexandra’s singing was a really sweet character choice. Will these two become unlikely friends?
– Raj’s film “about the intersection between organized crime and homoeroticism” does sound like a legit film school work.
– In lieu of a Molly’s Crisis performance from Ginger, we get an ensemble number in this episode. More of these, please.
– What is this show’s music budget? This episode alone had David Bowie’s “Fame” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” among others.
– Have any actual New Yorkers ever sung and danced around their apartment like pop culture tells us they are constantly doing?