It’s been six months and it’s now July 1973. The new and improved Bottom Dollar is up and running, thanks to investment from Constance (Elizabeth Perkins) and Minx’s success. They’re doing so well that they’re being featured in Rolling Stone, much to Joyce’s (Ophelia Lovibond) dismay. She is rather tight-lipped in the staff meeting as reporter Simon Michaels (Joshua Gomez) shadows them, which Doug (Jake Johnson) later points out is not how she usually acts. Normally they butt heads, but Joyce had little pushback when she learned that Doug removed her feminist quotes from the mock-up of the Minx calendars they’ll be selling and replaced them with phrases such as “thick and juicy slices of beefcake”. Doug doesn’t fully seem to mind Joyce’s not wanting to speak to Simon, because it gives him more opportunity to push his pet project for the feature: Beyond, a science magazine edited by Carl Sagan (Josh Fadem).
As Doug does his best to get Carl interviewed by the Rolling Stone team, Simon is still more interested in Joyce, hoping to get her to open up a bit more. Joyce hands him typed-out answers to questions that she’s prepared in advance, used to interviews where she’s asked the same questions over and over again. Simon continues to tell her that he just wants to get to know the woman behind the magazine, but Joyce isn’t so trusting of that. She’s had her words twisted before in interviews and she knows that Simon has a reputation for serving biting profiles. She is worried about being painted in a bad light if she acts like herself. Unfortunately, that begins to backfire on her as Simon draws his own conclusions after following her around and relays she seems like “a woman gripping the wheel so tight her fingers are about to snap off.” After this comment, Joyce is determined to show Simon that she can be fun so she doesn’t come off as a stick in the mud in the profile.
She brings Simon to a Linda Ronstadt (Caroline Arapoglou) listening party. She does some drugs, joins Linda’s jam session, and finally can relax. Joyce eventually opens up to Simon in an uncharacteristically vulnerable moment to tell him that she wonders if she and Minx became a success through sheer luck. It’s almost as if she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the fantasy of the past year of her life to end. Simon reassures her that it’s okay to be happy about her success and that maybe she’s exactly where she belongs.
We also get to see the rest of the Bottom Dollar crew at work under their new management. It’s clear that Tina (Idara Victor) is the brains of the operation, trying her best to keep Minx from going over budget with Richie’s (Oscar Montoya) lavish photoshoot ideas. Constance doesn’t mind Minx going over budget, seeing as it’s Bottom Dollar’s most profitable publication. That being said, she does later tell Tina that it’s clear she’s the one with all the power since both Doug and Joyce listen to her. This is seen when she convinces Joyce to actually speak to Simon properly and when she tells Doug he needs to make a decision so they can finalize the Minx calendars. Constance even takes Tina’s projections for all their different publications to heart, especially after Tina says that she thinks Minx has no ceiling (which unfortunately ends badly for Doug when Constance tells him that Beyond is one of the publications that’s getting the axe).
It’s lovely to see people taking Tina seriously, especially after the last episode when she was fed up with being Doug’s errand girl. It seems like she has a lot to offer the company and the people around her are acknowledging her value. Bambi (Jessica Lowe) is also searching for her place in the company. She’s been introducing herself as the CFO (Chief Fun Officer) and of course, Minx’s centerfold coordinator, but by the end of the episode, she submits herself as a candidate to be Doug’s secretary. She says she wants to learn from the best, and seeing as Doug hasn’t been able to keep a secretary, perhaps this will be a win-win situation for both of them.
Meanwhile, we also get a glimpse into how Shelly (Lennon Parham) and Lenny (Rich Sommer) seem to be working through their marriage troubles. They’ve taken to hosting neighborhood sex parties. It looks like this new outlet has relieved some of the pressure they were both feeling to please each other in their relationship. We also get to see a whole new side of Shelly as she takes on the alter ego of Bella La Roche. All of this leads back to Shelly deciding she’d like to go back to work at Bottom Dollar, which Lenny fully supports.
I’m excited to see what Shelly’s new contribution to the team will be when she returns to work now that things are ever-changing as the business grows. It’ll also be nice to have her back with the rest of the gang since I think this ensemble really shines when they’re all together.