Katy Keene Learns That Sometimes Wishin’ and Hopin’ Ain’t Easy

Katy keene, a brunette woman, wears a black, short-sleeved dress dotted with red hearts and a white peter pan collar. She smiles toward someone off-camera in a sunny, well-lit room at Lacy's department store

In Katy Keene chapter nineeveryone’s dreams come horribly true. Katy turns to Pepper for help when her new position at Lacy’s becomes too much for her to handle, thanks to Guy; Josie’s viral video inspires Alex to reunite the Pussycats, but he, Josie, and Alex’s father all have different visions for what the new version of the band should look and sound like; Jorge tries to bring together his new boyfriend and his ex in a very intimate way; and Pepper gets into an internet slap-fight with a surprising person.

Katy Keene
“Chapter Nine: Wishin’ and Hopin'”

Mia Katherine Iverson (writer), Pamela Romanowsky (director)
Lucy Hale, Ashleigh Murray, Camille Hyde, Jonny Beauchamp, Julia Chan, Lucien Laviscount, Zane Holtz, Katherine LaNasa, Nathan Lee Graham (cast)
Based on Archie Comics
April 16th, 2020

This week’s Katy Keene is about being very careful about your fantasies and dreams. Everyone gets a little slice of what they’ve always wanted, but it’s not even close to what they actually needed.

Katy has officially been named the new apprentice to Guy Montagne – just an unpaid internship, which leaves her within Lacy’s orbit. But Guy proves hard to please as a boss: he’s “notorious for his revolving door of apprentices” and, according to Gloria, those apprentices have a tendency to disappear from the fashion world after dealing with him for any length of time. Guy becomes increasingly mean and demanding, and Katy is stressed to her maximum and eventually driven to tears by him.  She has no idea how to impress him, until she turns to Pepper for advice. The ultimate answer to the problem is a little pat that continues to spin the wheels of Katy’s career plot as she continues to struggle and succeed in alternating measures.

Elsewhere, Josie follows Alex’s father’s request to document the process of putting the new Pussycats together, but Alex’s father picks out two non-singing, non-playing Cabot models to work as Josie’s backing band, much to Josie’s horror. She convinces Alex to let her audition members who can sing and dance, and Josie finds her first member in the shy, nervous Cricket (Azriel Crews), who can sing like a nightingale offstage but has stage fright on it. They then find Trula (Emily Rafala), a sardonic badass drummer.  Naturally, Alex’s father throws a fit about their lack of couth or traditional beauty, but when Josie won’t back down Alex chooses to rebel against his dad for once, even as the guy threatens to cut him off.  I doubt Alex will survive being off on his own long-term, but I needed Josie to finally strike out on her own and for HIM to make a sacrifice of his own for their partnership, which finally happens.

Ginger Lopez, a drag queen, stands before a microphone on the purple-backlit stage of Molly's Crisis, a nightclub. She wears a black dress, a blond wig, and orange cat ear headband. Her expression shows alarm.

Jorge is, meanwhile, hanging out with Buzz, his ex, and trying to develop a healthy friendship with him while experiencing a joyful and perfect – nay, ideal – relationship with Bernardo. He’s attracted to both men and torn between them, and he makes the mistake of asking for advice from the eternally semi-wise Pepper, who suggests he have a threesome with the two. The result is surprising only to self-centered Jorge, who does not come off well during this plot as he tries to have his cake and eat it too.

The connecting tissue of the episode involves Pepper’s involvement in a Twitter fight with one Hannah Melvey (Tedra Millan), who proceeds to bully her and call her a has-been and a phony on her social, which leads to her giving advice to all of her friends — most of it universally poor. We won’t reveal the culprit, but at this point Pepper has far too many plots for me to keep track of, and I wish the connection had linked back to more recent cons. Pepper mainly flits between plots, offering advice to her three friends, all of which they follow and all of which bode ill for them.

Katy Keene — much like the rest of the nation — is in a holding pattern. Katy keeps struggling with her job but pulling it out at the last moment due to pluck; Josie keeps going independent, only for Alex to woo her back to his side. Jorge keeps alternating between making frankly terrible decisions and being selfishness to having moments of great activism, generosity, and altruism, with this being his worst plot line so far. And all of Pepper’s exes have melted into a single glob of indistinguishable, gummy-like ball of angst.

It’s not that I want the show to become formulaic – heavens no!  But I’d like some form of consistency. Am I supposed to root for Katy to stay in window dressing and remain independent while her course comes through and she becomes her own designer?  Or am I supposed to support her becoming a part of Lacy’s and changing the power structure there? They seem to be settling in on her discovering that designing for a big-time label isn’t what she’s suited for, and she belongs in her neighborhood and owning a small couture shop, but the message isn’t consistent. Also, dropping the stuff about her mom’s secret past at Lacy’s for a full episode remains inexcusable.

Meanwhile, Pepper has a trainee protégé, a doorman father, an ex-mentor who keeps pressuring her to do jobs, and now a full-out rival who wants to expose her. How do these things tie together? Will they ever make an impact on the storyline?

I feel like I’d enjoy Josie’s storyline ever more if Alex weren’t a part of it, or if he’d rebelled against his father earlier. Now he’s just kind of moving in Josie’s wake, and everything he’s done to help her feels utterly useless in the end, forcing her to go out and reinvent herself and wash, rinse, repeat. With Xandra humanized, Alex’s father has been brought in to fill the villain void, and an us-against-the-world story should be so much more romantic than this.

And then Jorge’s story seems to exist just to give Jorge something to do. We know he can be reckless and hedonistic, but here he torpedoes his life wantonly for not real reason.

With its properly New Yorkish charm and fairytale feeling, the frame here keeps the story spinning.  But “Wishin’ and Hopin'” isn’t the best episode of the series, and the inconsistencies in the plot annoy.