Girlboss Recap: Episode 3

(Photo: Netflix)

Sophia has joined the workin’ world again! Well, sort-of. Our nasty gal is riding the admin desk at the Academy of Art University to bring in some extra cash and, most importantly, snag that sweet, sweet health insurance (shout-out to Giant, Scary Knob, a.k.a. the inguinal hernia she sprouted in last week’s episode). Now, with the promise of actual ongoing medical care on the horizon, Sophia is in a somewhat better mood than when we last saw her, standing forlorn in the rain and bemoaning her horrible lot in life. She also has a potential new cheerleader in her corner, as her boss is played by a delightfully cheerful Norm Macdonald, seasoned SNL comedian and Canadian treasure.

One sign Sophia is becoming ever more in tune with How The World Actually Works: after Norm waxes enthusiastic about e-commerce—Beanie Babies have sold for $500,000!—he shares that “if I had a half-million dollars in my pocket, I’d buy one of those jet-plaaaaaanes.” “I think they cost a lot more than that,” Sophia replies. “Another dream dead,” he sighs. Sophia’s own dream of being the Internet’s chicest vintage purveyor is just getting started—but first, she needs a killer name to make the brand stick. “This is the most important decision of my young life,” she says. “When you sell stuff, you’re asking people to buy into you. And I need a name that reflects who I am.”

(Photo: Netflix)

This is one of the things that Girlboss does best: show the actual ins and outs of building a business from the ground up, as well as the actual nitty-gritty of working in fashion. Sure, it’s a glam industry, but the show has already demonstrated just how much is involved in producing that razzle-dazzle. You have to know your shit (snaking that rare leather jacket on the cheap to resell at a huge profit), how to market your shit (throwing up a backdrop and taking some good photos to pimp your wares properly), and where to find the product that will set you apart from your competitors (combing through the estate sales to find the vintage-rich dead people). You also need to know how to style your shit. Sounds easy enough to civilians, but it really is a rare skill. Case in point: Annie brings over a pile of vintage dresses for Sophia to sell, including one truly atrocious floral school-marm number. (“The lady at the shop said I could belt it,” she says. “The lady at the shop fucking lied to me.”) Wielding just a pair of scissors, Sophia turns that frumpy frock into a flowing boho duster within seconds.

(Photo: Netflix)

So she’s got the goods; now she needs the name. Just Vintage, Minty Vintage, Party Machine and (my personal favourite) White Bitch are deemed not worthy, so Sophia heads off for a whirlwind tour of her beloved city with new piece Shane, hopeful that San Francisco will provide her with the inspiration she needs to bestow the perfect moniker on her fledgling company. Girlboss is also a love letter to SF, showcasing its golden, glowing tones and pops of bold colour. I actually just spent five days in San Francisco and can attest that the show really captures the freewheeling, laidback vibe of the place (and its grit as well, whether it’s the red-lit drag bars or the large number of street-involved folks). The pair get burritos in the Mission, vist the Castro Theatre, grab a custard tart in Chinatown, take in the view at the top of the deYoung museum’s observation tower (I think), and visit a cute old-timey arcade at Fisherman’s Wharf (where Sophia’s shrieking delight at laughing murder puppet Jolly Jack is both charming and slightly terrifying at the same time).

(Photo: Netflix)

A Rubik’s cube keychain provides some potential inspo, but after mulling it over on the trolley, Sophia deems Rubik’s Vintage not special enough and then falls into a sullen funk and refuses to get off the trolley with Shane. (Girl, get it together. Bitch is cute!) But then she hears it: the strains of Betty Davis’ banger “Nasty Gal,” pounding onto the street from a dive bar nearby. She rockets off the trolley and into the place, rendered ecstatic at the drag queen’s impassioned performance of the girl-power anthem. There, Sophia thrashes around, singing along and feeling free for a perfect, crystalline moment—and, finally, truly inspired. The dream is alive. She’s got her name.


(Photo: Netflix)

Annie’s freshly styled boho duster, of course! Shit is fierce.


(Photo: Netflix)

 Sophia is leaving me—ironically—uninspired this week with her black top and jeans combo, even though she spices it up with a satin letterman jacket later in the ep.

Other Good Stuff This Week:

-Heading to San Francisco soon for vacay? The show actually offers some p. dece inspo in terms of what to do there. See above for my own jaunt down the Mission’s chic graffiti alleys (RIP, my beloved Purple One); I’d also totally recommend going a la Sophia up the deYoung’s observation tower (if that is the one she ventures up—there’s a few good ones in town worth the climb) and grabbing burritos in the Mission. Other Briony picks: fresh AF seafood aplenty at the Swan Oyster Depot counter (plan for a long-ass wait in line but DAMN if it isn’t worth it), lounging in the sun on the rolling hills of Dolores Park, honey and lavender and Earl Gray ice cream at Bi-Rite, Instagram-perfect scenery at the Palace of Fine Arts, aaaaaaaaaallll the oysters at Leo’s Oyster Bar (dear lord, is it cute in there) and the bonkers-good five-course $70 prix-fixe at Nico.

 -Sophia doubles back to give Shane a kiss before racing home. I was worried there for a second.

-Norm MacDonald is def this week’s MVP. He explains the intricacies of working the admittance desk at an art school: “If you see a guy—kind of a raggedy fella with a broom around his neck, a li’l broom—just wave him on through! He’s one of our deans.”

-Another hilarious exchange with dear Norm from Sophia’s first day on the job: “There’s seems to be a lot of downtime. Can I use the computer?” “Sure, knock yourself out! No hardcore porno. We had to make a ‘no hardcore porno’ rule because the last guy fried the computer. I’m not allowed to tell you his name. We can it the Dave Rogers Rule.” “Got it. No hardcore porno.”

-Sick burn from the usually p. milquetoast Shane this week: “Oh, so we’re in here to have sex because you’re one of those girls who can only orgasm in the face of danger.”

-The 411 from the psychic: “Okay, so, the way that this works best is for you to be open to the fact that I have a gift. And do not look for any proof or evidence that I don’t.”

-Sophia gets Shane back for the danger-sex burn during their romantic wander with custard tarts: “Whoa, big bite! Y’know, with that weak chin, I thought it’d be half that.”

-Hat tip to the music supervisor of the week: gotta go with the titular track!

Want to hear more from Briony? Follow along on her adventures on Twitter and Instagram at @brionycwsmith