Jane by Design: 1.03 “The Merkin”

Season 1 Episode 3
Airdate: January 17, 2012

Jane starts the episode with this voiceover. “Rivalries in fashion are the rule, not the exception.” Then she lists off a bunch of fashion brands I remember being mentioned on pop songs around 2002, before ending with, “But do our rivals…teach us who we really are?” Aww fuck, she’s going to go all Carrie Bradshaw on us.

Bo Braun is Gray’s rival in the fashion world. Gray is the name of Jane’s boss, which I waited until the third episode to learn. But Bo Braun is a fun name to say. Let’s all say really fast like it’s one word. Do it now! All together! BoBraun! BOBRAUN!

Gray does not like that Jane’s purse came from Goodwill. I guess when you work for a company that sells clothes and other lady fashion stuff, it’s not considered loyal to buy used. It’s like if you work for an auto plant and buy a used car, a bunch of UAW guys will corner you in the parking lot and beat you with broomsticks.

Gray loans Jane her fancy Merkin bag. Jane is overjoyed and sniffs it. “Did you just smell my Merkin?” Gray asks. Gray will soon leave for upstate New York to go moose hunting, so gives Jane a long list of tasks to accomplish in her absence.

Jane’s big brother, Ben, got a job as the Assistant Athletic Director at her school. He catches a ride with Jane and Billy and he thinks it’s wicked cool to be back in high school and wants to have lunch with them.

The guidance counselor Ben graduated with shows him where he will work. She says the school laid off three dedicated teachers and the front desk assistant to make room for his position. She says this with contempt, but it makes sense. I mean, he will teach gym and sex-ed, but that will less than half of his day. Plus, he’ll be overseeing sports after school, but I still don’t think all his duties add up to a full day of work. If it took four people to do his job, this school was being horribly inefficient. What’s great is that Ben is suddenly acting like Andy from Parks & Recreation. This show would start being good if they had a character like Andy.

We go to Jeremy the Brit and India in bed together. India leaves for work, and Jeremy says it is because she wants to get the jump on Jane. No, it’s 10am and she doesn’t want to be fired. Jeremy doesn’t care about this job. He onky took it to keep his visa from expiring.

“Bite me!” India yells as she leaves. “Yeah,” smirks Jeremy, “I already have.” Eww!

Jane and Lulu are in the guidance counselor’s office at the same time. The principal is there as well, to inform the girls that they are currently tied for first place in the class ranking. He says that every test, every quiz, every grade matters now, because one slip up could mean the difference in who becomes valedictorian. The guidance counselor tries to tell the girls not to stress out, but the principal is like, “Pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure!” What kind of guy is this principal? He’s the kind of guy who thought you needed three teachers and an office clerk to teach gym.

Outside the office, Lulu says to Jane, “You and me, it’s on!” Lulu has always hated Jane. It’s hard when the girl who is a bitch to you is black, because no matter how nasty she is, Jane has to resist the urge to call her a nigger, or else everyone will turn against her. And, let’s face it, since Lulu has bullied Jane since they were little kids, Jane has had to repress the urge to scream that A LOT. I don’t care how liberal she is.

Over coffee, India talks to Jeremy the Brit about how Gray will never respect her and won’t get over how she is trying to take Gray’s job. India was Gray’s assistant back in the day. Gray was ruthless in order to get ahead, and India says she only learned from her, and says “I am NOT going to apology, um-na.” That is such a chick thing to say. Jeremy suggests India apologize to Gray, because he knows nothing about women. An apology from one woman to another has never worked. There is no such thing as two women becoming friends after a fight. It’s why Feminism hasn’t made much progress since the ‘70s. Whenever Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda get together, all they do is talk about how Betty Friedan was a bitch.

But India calls Gray on the two-way video. She apologizes for trying to take her job and says she admires Gray and wants to be just like her. “Nice try,” says Gray, “but I’m not buying what you’re selling.” Gray turns off the video feed.

Back at Gray’s hunting cabin, BOBRAUN pops in. We learn that he and Gray are married and BOBRAUN hasn’t signed the divorce papers. He is still in love with her. Also, he was the Romanian guy who was killed at the end of Congo.

Jane is busy with Gray’s list. India warns Jane that Gray may like her now, but if she screws up that list, she will find herself out of Gray’s favor, just like India some years back.  I don’t know what India is complaining about. After she was Gray’s assistant, she was promoted to a better job at the same company.

With Billy’s help, Jane checks off all of her boss’s list, except one: “Break up with Brad”. Who is Brad?

Brad is a male model who lives with several other male models. Jane has to fight her vulva’s takeover of her brain long enough to tell Brad the news. But Brad refuses to believe Gray does not love him. Jane tries to console him by saying he is catch and can get any girl he wants, and will have to show Gray she is wrong about him.

Brad is a happy Brad and hugs Jane against his chest.

That night, Jane has to host a small party for a client at Gray’s house. Brad shows up with a bouquet of roses to win Gray back. Jane has to tell him that Gray isn’t there. When he won’t leave, Jane hides him in Gray’s bedroom. Brad reminisces about when they used to videotape their sex. No, he really says that.

There is another crisis. Suddenly there are ton of people at the party. When Jane was out of the office, India changed the invitations from a small get together to say “bring your friends.” Now there is loud music and red cups and a keg and uncouth ruffians.

If Gray sees this, it’s all over for Jane and her Merkin. In desperation, Jane calls Billy, who comes right over and disperses the crowd by playing classical music. With 40 minutes before Gray arrives, the two hurry and clean her house. There was a black guy from the company who was there earlier but I guess left with everyone else. India is passed out on the couch.

Gray arrives after her home has been cleaned, leaving no evidence of the Can’t Hardly Wait level antics that went down that night. But Jane forgot one thing. Gray opens her bedroom to see her ex-boy toy in bed with roses.

The next morning, Ben asks Jane if it is weird to have her older brother working at her school. Jane says it is not and now she has a second friend at school.

There is a pre-Calc test today, and both Jane and Lulu stressed. When Jane enters the class, Lulu is already taking it. They are the only two people in the classroom. Are they the only two who are taking this test? The rest of the class enters shortly after, but do you get to take a test as soon as you sit down? That happened to me once during a final exam in college when the professor wasn’t there because he left for England a week earlier.

Over at the fashion house, India is hungover. Also, Gray makes Jane give back the Merkin due to the Brad incident. Jane is sad. She had stuffed a lot into that Merkin.

Grade: B- Due to BOBRAUN!