Now that’s how you blow up a wedding. Lots of TV series have had the disaster wedding, or the runaway prospective spouse, or the bride who may not show up in time, etc. Basically all of Girlfriends’ Guide season two has been leading up to the inevitable failure that is Delia’s wedding, but who among us could have predicted so much carnage? At the end of the episode, everyone is so battered and stained, they look like the last six survivors of The Poseidon Adventure. But fortunately with expensive alcohol.

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You’ll notice that Marti Noxon wrote and directed this episode, and GG always does well when its show creator is behind the wheel. From Buffy to UnREAL, she knows how to write insightful female relationships, and everything comes to the forefront here. There’s so much activity, it’s hard to believe that it all happens in one measly little hour. In a nice metaphor to the rest of Abby’s life, the four Girlfriends try valiantly and hilariously to save the wedding from total chaos, but it’s like a pressure cooker: It’s just going to blow eventually.

So happen it does, with this laundry list of highlights: mother-in-law slap, punch in the kitchen, smashed cake, first hot flash, secret wedding, abandoned baby, many frosting and coffee stains, deejay makeout. Everything blows up in such disastrous fashion, it almost makes me wonder about that prospective third season: Did Girlfriends’ Guide self-destruct just in case there was no season three? Or destroy itself so that season three can basically be another reset?

I’m thinking about Abby’s situation in particular. She’s demolished herself before, remember, in the very early days of the show, when she announced at a book signing that it would actually be easier if her husband was dead, thereby killing all the goodwill of her mommy books. Over the past two seasons, we’ve gotten to see her rebound from that, and what’s been great about this second season is how she (like Delia) has only herself to blame for her current situation (well, with a little help from Carl the gigolo).

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Already having lost everything once, Abby rebuilt her brand from Mother Earth to Sexy, Fun Divorcee. But while doing so, she didn’t give herself enough time to get over Jake, instead rebounding with dumb TV doctor, and taking on way too much. Now that she’s on her own, there is the ultimate goal of survival in mind: Not that Jake offered much to the family budget during some years, but it’s scarier for Abby to be out there completely alone. So she focused on taking care of people like Becca and not taking care of herself. In the end her book is gibberish, her reputation tarnished worse than ever, and her daughter won’t speak to her.

And yet… What’s so great about this finale, even with its side of hokeyness, is the gold leaf falling from the ceiling as Abby realizes what she does have (while holding fake someone-else’s baby). She and her ex-husband still love each other enough to emotionally support each other. Her kids are okay, and Lily will no doubt come around eventually. And Abby has these other wonderful women in her life: These women that, as Barbara said, inspired her to become the best fun version of herself, instead of the bitter, dour one. We’ve seen that over the course of this season, that these friends can stop talking, can have horrible fights, can throw painful truths at each other, and in the end, still be family. With everything that Abby has lost, it’s a nice moment to end the season on, and if the last we see of her is her trudging up that driveway in a white dress, Private Benjamin-style, we know that she will find her way eventually.

After all, the fun is seeing how she gets there, and what makes her come around. This episode, we finally get Delia admitting that she just didn’t want to get married (at last!), which made her do kind of an awful thing (still not deserving of being called “whore,” but we’ll have to take her word for all of Gordon’s lovable qualities). Delia, I was happy to see, got a nod back to the shark we met in episode two, the one who was convinced that marriage is a bum deal—and apparently, still is.

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Is falling in love a trick, a facade? Frumpkus certainly thinks so; Phoebe still seems dubious, as does Jo. And yet Phoebe fell into yet another marriage with J.D., while Jo seems capable of walking away from a truly adorable man who loves her, because she has been so bitten before and is so convinced that people can’t change. Her daughter may even be wiser, or at least braver, than she is. So it would be nice to see Jo more romantic and Phoebe more career-oriented, as with that glimmer of an art-consulting job that quickly faded away, but I guess we can’t have everything. Especially when Barbara gets to make out with the cute deejay.

Everything had to blow up for Abby for her to be able to start all over again. For all of her perfection, she finally has to admit that she screwed up. And as Jo points out, we all do. And we all have to begin again, from wherever we are. In a medium that too often paints us an easy, rosy ending at the end of an hour, Girlfriends’ Guide, in this finale as with the rest of the season, often takes the rough road. And yet, there’s so much fabulousness and mania and hilarity along the way, we’re still awfully happy to be there.

Stray observations

  • “So, the wedding planner quit.” “God, I always hated her.”
  • Jakc and Abby’s reunion conversation on the floor was tear-inducing. But the heated followup conversation about the male escort underlines again, and beautifully, why Abby and Jake 2.0 didn’t work out.
  • “Shut up Phoebe, you’re mellowing my harsh.” Barbara’s right, that was the best wedding ever, with Jo flipping the bird to the few people who clapped for her after her “through with love” speech, and everyone swaying to Nazareth’s “Love Hurts.”
  • That baby was so cute and giant in some scenes that the fake baby with the tiny head really stood out. And it’s not inconceivable that the woman who let another man think that he was the father of her child would also ditch him with that infant the first chance she got. In season three (hopefully), we can get Taye Diggs to come in as the baby’s father, right? Because he and Paul Adelstein are buds from Private Practice?
  • Lots of jitters mentioned this episode.
  • This week: Fashions are the same, and no power rankings this week. We all know where the Girlfriends stand.
  • And so ends Girlfriends’ Guide season two. As far as female-centered dramedies go, this show is a keeper. Unrealistic enough to be escapist, real enough to resonate. Still no word on season three, but fingers are crossed for Bravo’s first-ever scripted series. Until such news arrives, thanks for reading, and if your life is falling apart, I hope you have some breathtaking outfits and a few model-worthy friends to pull you through, just like Abby.

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