“Gallery Girls” Recap: Of Mice And Middle-Aged Men

A friend of mine noted that, “Watching ‘Gallery Girls’ and attempting to determine which ‘girl’ has the least redeeming qualities is, frankly, exhausting.” I say, that’s a trick question because they’re ALL the least redeeming.

Last night’s episode begins with Eli being terrible to Maggie — again. Eli has Maggie count pebbles while Liz does virtually nothing. That apparently merits a reward, so Eli takes Liz out to dinner. Eli thinks ordering Maggie around is funny. He’s a total, total sadist. Leo Johnson would be proud. Liz thinks Eli is a total buzzkill and makes fun of him constantly yammering on about China.

Meanwhile, Claudia and Chantal are installing a show by an artist dude named Ethan Cook. Ethan looks like he hasn’t seen sunlight in a long time, but that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that Chantal is ordering Claudia around. You can just see Chantal’s machinations — she’s just trying to see how far she can push everyone before they break. And when they do, she’ll act like they’re “freaking out over nothing.”

Then we meet Liz’s mom — and see her huge sleeve of tattoos. So surprising and out of character! But then! Oh yeah, Liz used to have a major drug problem, which she’s refreshingly frank about. It seems that her late-teens coke binging and drug use got her a stint in rehab, and though she’s clean now, she is still having a hard time gaining her father’s love and trust back. It’s pretty clear that Liz is really hurting from the level of distrust her dad has in her, and it’s sad to see her so uncomfortable trying to connect with her father. We also see Liz at school making art at the School of Visual Arts — she’s making a collage, which is actually pretty good. But then she goes and makes a nasty comment about how her class is full of “quiet little Asian people.” Nice, Liz.

We learn Angela’s dirty little secret — she’s a waitress. Oh no! She’s one of us regular people. She meets up with her best friend Alex, her “gossiping gay,” and Angela tries on some tickety-tackety outfits which are mostly hideous and a parody of what hipster girls in Williamsburg look like. She’s got to photograph the Creators Project event in Brooklyn, but what she really wants to do is “take arty photos of my friends.” You and everybody else in Brooklyn, honey.

Amy is out at Upper East Side hangout Dorrian’s — her own personal “Cheers,” as she explains it. (Mental note: never go to Dorrian’s.) Maggie and her boyfriend show up with Hot Eric, the guy who Amy was sloppily hitting on last episode. Amy, already knee deep in tomorrow’s hangover, slurs all over Maggie about Hot Eric, and Maggie, seriously just trying to be polite, responds that she knows he has a nice apartment. This sends Amy spiraling into a conversational tidal wave about how she comes from good money and doesn’t need a guy to take care of her.  Maggie is in the direct and deadly path of an Amy tornado. We have probably all had a friend do some variation of this at some point. I really (actually!) feel bad for Maggie … except then she ruins it by saying, “This is why I don’t hang out with other girls.” Ugh, worst attitude.

Amy’s own personal drunktober fest lands her on top of the “Gallery Girls” terror chart this week.

The following day, Amy and Kerri meet up with their mentor/internship advisor Sharon Hurowitz. Sharon had given the girls an assignment at the Uptown Art Fair — pick out one painting or piece of artwork that really speaks to you. Kerri took her time and picked out a gorgeous paper collage. Amy sped around the fair at lightning speed and clichely picked a piece by Damien Hurst. Sharon was not impressed.

Chantal complains about how Claudia hasn’t sold any artwork, so she sets up a trunk show with artist Nettie Kent, who has created a terrifying “Hellraiser”-esque set piece for the show. Nothing sells artwork like Pinhead!

Amy and Kerri show up with Kerri’s friend/hairdresser Smith. Smith is really … something. He’s wearing a skirt and carries around a fan. It’s cool that Kerri really breaks the mold of Upper East Side or downtown girl. Explains Kerri, “I’m like Karl Lagerfeld. I don’t have a scene, I go anywhere, I adapt.”

The show is a mild success, which gives Chantal more ammunition to go after Claudia for failing to sell any pieces of art. Geez, Chantal, selling a pair of earrings is NOT the same thing as selling a painting. “I’m a little embarrassed for Claudia. It makes me wonder if she’s even cut out be gallery director.” Oooh, underminery friend, much?

Then we catch up with Angela, who tells us that she’s going on her middle aged man fantasy date. “My gays convinced me that I have very high standards.” says Angela, so she goes out with “older” photographer Peter. She gives him a hard time for not shooting digital photography, the fact that he doesn’t have a Facebook, and that he uses an old flip phone instead of an iPhone (so does my neo-luddite boyfriend, but whatever). Angela is totally bored by this guy, and I confess he’s got a very monotone voice.

Now that her dream date hasn’t worked out, Angela is totally focused on her “art” career. She’s enlisted one of “her gays” (so awful and condescending to refer to  human beings this way) to help her put together a show of her work, asking, “How will the show establish me as a photographer/It Girl?” Her friend Ben, who is not an Angela sycophant, tells her that her work could be better.

We end with Liz bringing her dad’s friend, art collector Jane Holzer, to the gallery. Of course, Jane Holzer isn’t just Jane Holzer — she is Baby Jane Holzer — art world superstar and FOA (that’s friend of Andy [Warhol]). Eli can barely contain his slimy glee. After giving Jane a brief tour, Eli actually tells her that “there’s not too many people more qualified than me” to show her art. I’d say, uh, pretty much anyone is more qualified, creepo.

Next week: A showdown between Liz and Amy, Maggie’s boyfriend acts out, and Angela and “her gay” break up.