Dietland (2018) s01e01 Episode Script

Pilot; Tender Belly

1 I used to answer letters for a fashion magazine Letters from girls all over the country.
"Dear Kitty, my boyfriend made me have sex when I didn't want to.
Should I break up with him?" "Dear Kitty, what are these gross red bumps on my arms? How do I get rid of them?" "Dear Kitty, all the girls in your magazine are so skinny" "Dear Kitty, sometimes I cut my breasts with a razor.
It hurts, but it feels good, too.
" "Dear Kitty, sometimes I just want to fight back," "but I'm not strong enough.
" " what he did to me should happen to him.
" "I'm ready to kill myself, or maybe somebody else.
" That's me.
Alicia Kettle.
But everyone calls me Plum, because I'm succulent and round Also known as "fat.
" It's OK, I'm allowed to say it.
" I said," How tiny we are, girl when a girl jumped in front of the high-speed train.
I'm telling you this from the future, if you haven't gotten that yet.
But don't think this is one of those stories.
I'm still fat.
I still get the looks Ooh, shake it there, sweetpants.
Like some people would prefer me dead.
When I look back, think of my life at that time, it's like it was contained in a box A diorama.
Everywhere I went was within a five-block radius Apartment, café, my Waist Watchers meetings.
The magazine I wrote for was called Daisy Chain.
The original intent was all about inspiring great young women to become great young wives.
Ah, you're so retro, with your newspaper every day like my grandpa.
It's my artisanal skill Reading on paper.
Oh, Rolo.
Somebody loves me.
Get your own dog.
I can barely keep myself alive.
You answering letters? - Yeah.
- Hit me.
Best one.
"Dear Kitty, you're so pretty" Even though you look like a skinny wax Dracula.
"Is it always wrong to have sex with your father?" Come on.
Really? No, not really.
But it wouldn't surprise me.
My job was answering the letters girls send to the editor at Daisy Chain, the editor being Kitty Montgomery, editor for all the women's titles at Austin Media.
But it all started when I revamped Daisy Chain and made it relevant.
Oh, and I don't look like a wax Dracula That's just envy speaking.
I know Plum thinks I'm a fool.
But I pay her to make me look smart.
Who's the fool in that equation? Hey, can you work tomorrow? I gotta see the city guy about the liquor license.
Oh, I'm on my food plan You don't have to eat, just bake.
Just smell the heroin, don't snort it? I thought you needed extra money for your dumb surgery.
It's I'm losing weight already.
This is just gonna speed things along, that's all.
Well, I read it's pretty dangerous.
Oh, my God, have you been talking to my mother? I'm offering you extra work.
I'm trying to get booze up in here.
And your letter-writing thing pays crap.
My uncle said he might lower my rent.
Again? Pretty soon he's gonna be paying you to stay there.
I do water his plant.
I water the crap out of that plant.
Fine, I'll bake.
Be dazzled by my iron will.
You're the best.
Thank you, Auntie Plum.
Aside from Steven and a few other people, I had learned to live deep inside myself.
My body was just a thing I used to move my head around.
So I missed a lot.
Good job.
That's another pound this week.
My home scale said two and a half.
I know.
My God, a person can just look at a French fry and put on water weight.
But you're making progress.
That's what matters.
You do need to pick it up a bit.
You're still morbidly obese.
Because they changed the charts Let's table this for now, OK? You're staying for the meeting, right? We'll get our one-on-one after.
I mean, I'm doing everything right.
I'm exercising, and that is not easy with the kids at home.
I log every bite.
I mean, why won't the scale move? OK, let's talk about that scale mentality.
- It is very hard to just - Sorry! I hate the bus.
Oh! Pr Proceed.
First time.
I'm pumped.
I was just telling Karen that the scale is only one measure of our success.
I mean, she's doing this to look great naked.
I am.
I have to look great naked.
And you're doing so good.
I want you all to appreciate that Karen isn't giving up on herself.
Yeah, but she doesn't need to lose weight.
That's not what my husband thinks.
Screw your husband.
Uh, Janice, we don't use profanity here.
I'm sorry.
Screw your husband.
Janice, I love your enthusiasm, but again, Karen wants to be comfortable in her body just like you came here to be your best self.
Excuse me? Plum, why don't you tell Janice our philosophy.
Plum has been doing such good work.
People don't come to Waist Watchers because they feel good about themselves, they come because they're ready to feel good about themselves.
Are you kidding me? I feel good.
I love myself.
Oh, no.
Screw this ass-sucking crap.
I came here to get some help losing weight because I have back problems, not because I hate my body.
- Why don't we talk about this outside - No, don't.
Don't you touch me, wench.
I am a unicorn.
I am a goddess.
And I get more hot dick than I can handle.
It's so sad, right? So much denial.
So sad.
Lookin' good, Plum.
Slow but steady loss.
And you still have seven weeks to practice good habits before your surgery.
- Any slips? - Just one.
OK, let's talk about that.
I had some SnackWells.
- Ten.
- Hmm.
That must have felt bad.
You know, after your surgery, if you eat more than this at a time you're gonna get sick.
My bypass clients, they say that it is torture.
I know.
I think that since I won't be able to indulge after the surgery But now's the time you gotta dig deep and figure out why you felt the need to sabotage.
Plum, it's time to say good-bye to comfort food.
Food is fuel.
That is all.
What were you feeing? Hungry.
Angry at being hungry.
Good identifying.
OK, well, next time tell that anger you're in control and your thin person within wants out.
- OK.
- Mm-hmm.
Thank you.
Are you still taking the Y? Yeah.
And how long you been on that? Since grad school.
A while.
Oh, gosh, yeah.
Yeah, that's so stressful.
You know, when I was getting my GED, I gained like 25 pounds.
I loved school.
I kept getting degrees until they kinda kicked me out and made me get a life, such as it is.
Well, if you loved school, then why did you decide to go on the Y? Just You said it.
I would say that 90 percent of my people say that stress is what makes them binge.
Well, that and loneliness.
But everybody's lonely.
Well, being on the Y could be helpful.
Some patients get a little blue after surgery.
It can be hard to say good-bye to bad behaviors, such as eating.
I've been feeling this intense nausea, like I need to throw up.
Could that be related to my diet or the Y? Are you taking it on an empty stomach? My stomach's always empty.
Yeah! Good for you.
But yeah, I mean, that could be the problem.
Or you could be having a little breakthrough anxiety.
No biggie.
Are you planning any follow-up surgeries? Thigh lift? Skin removal? Not right away.
I'm already putting a lot of the bypass on credit, what insurance won't cover.
The whole thing is so expensive.
Well, I would save your pennies, because I think you're gonna do great, and you're gonna have a lot of loose skin.
This one girl that I know, she said she looked like a flying squirrel.
Can you imagine? Aaah! - Are you following me? - What? S - Sorry, I couldn't hear you.
- Are you following me? You have an amazing day.
You're capable of that.
So the girl was a weirdo, but I was going to have an amazing day.
After the surgery, when I was thin, I wouldn't even be Plum.
My name would be Alicia.
And I'd burst out of my sad diorama into a big, sexy life.
Next, we visit a community rocked by the disappearance of two men, both former military - Hey, Mom.
- Hlo! You picked up! I did.
But I'm about to head out.
- That's a lie.
- You good? Really? You're leaving the house? Mom.
How's your shoulder? Better.
- I went bowling the other night.
- That's good.
How are the fine ladies of the league? Did you get that article I sent you? What are you doing? Are you eating? Yeah.
Good! You should eat.
That's what the article says.
Only one in one hundred people who do that stupid surgery Stop.
I swear I'll hang up on you.
Yeah, I know you will.
I just wish you could be happy with what God gave you.
You have Grandma's body.
Grandma was fat.
Grandma was married.
She lived a good, full life.
She knew who she was.
A fat wife.
Oh, well, fine.
You're in a mood.
Let's just talk about something else.
They canceled my program.
Yeah, which one? After my sad excuse for a meal, I tried to forget how hungry I was and sleep but my dreams took over.
That right, it pays to dig deep.
Oh The sweet, delicate meat and the rich melted butter Fresh cut, and fire-kissed perfection! It's not safe.
But my dreams were no comfort They were trying to wake me up.
Because across the country, a war was starting.
Oh, yeah.
It's a Plum day.
May I? Yes, I made extra.
I know you.
Oh, man.
That is You're like a professional, right? You trained in Paris or something? - Glendale, California.
- Oh, wow.
My aunt owned a restaurant.
She taught me.
She taught you good.
I didn't set out to write vague advice as somebody I wasn't to sad girls I didn't know.
I wanted to be a journalist Or a baker.
Yeah, I know.
I loved baking my whole life, but back then I hated what it made me hunger for, which was everything.
Don't even go to a movie show If you are not at my side I stay home by my radio But I'm satisfied All my flirtin' days are gone On the level from now on I have told them in advance They can't break up our romance Livin' up to every vow I'm keepin' Keepin' out of mischief now Can I help you? I like this shade.
It's called Juicy Plum.
What? Hey! No go.
You're dog is anal-retentive.
Like father, like son.
Hi, Rolo! Here, can I try? Can I try? Come on, baby, come on.
Let's go.
These scones are beyond.
If you baked every day, you'd I have a job.
- You OK? - You see that girl? Queen of Darkness over there? Oh, yeah.
She's here all the time lately.
She basically told me to go on a diet.
Wrote it on my arm in indelible eyeliner.
What? No, I'm gonna tell her get out of here.
- She can't do that.
- No, stuff like that happens.
It's It's fine.
I'm leaving anyway.
I don't want a whole thing.
I hate people.
Everybody sucks but us.
Daisy Chain was just a small part of a corporate giant Austen Media.
My command performances for Kitty forced me out of my comfort zone and into their crooked monolith.
Could you give these to Julia? - Hi.
- I'm here for Kitty.
Sure, Plum.
Oh Would you like one? They're just jellybeans.
There's so much pussy around here I'm syncing up with everybody's cycles.
I'm good, thanks.
Kitty's still in a meeting.
All right.
I'll just wait.
Yeah? You work here? Kind of.
I answer letters to the editor for Kitty.
So I mostly work from home.
That sounds like a good deal.
I'd like to work from home.
It's good and bad.
Gets lonely.
Yeah, I guess sometimes you need someone to talk to.
I forget that, because all I do is talk to people all day.
What do you do, if you don't mind me asking? Not at all.
I'm a detective.
That sounds fascinating.
It usually does to people, but a lot of times it's like a missing person isn't really missing, runaway husband, or it's just really sad.
A lot of the letters I get are sad, too.
Lost girls.
So we're just two gainfully employed sad folks.
Hey, could be worse, I guess, right? I bake, too.
That's happy, I guess.
I make an incredible chocolate cake.
- Do you now? - I do.
I would kill for a good chocolate cake.
Well, you would have a good lead on the investigation.
- 'Cause you did it.
- Yeah.
- The cake murder.
- I'd I'd Yeah.
Plum, Kitty's ready for you.
You'll be right after.
Thank you.
It was nice to meet you, Detective.
You too.
Say, it's Dominic.
Maybe you'd like to grab a coffee sometime.
When you need someone to talk to.
- OK.
- 'Cause you work from home.
- Yeah.
- Or you need a cake tester.
Have a nice day.
I had met men like him before.
It's a kink.
A fetish.
They screw girls like me, but they marry women like this.
Kitty Montgomery.
I always forget what beautiful eyes you have.
Thank you.
- So, how are my girls? - Well You know, everyone talks about Vogue's September issue, but arguably ours is more influential.
I mean, my girls are going back to school.
It's their opportunity to say, "Hey, I'm new.
Desirable in a whole new way.
" That's the theme this month.
"Thirty Days to Sexy.
" Here is all the information.
Makeup, fashion, fitness.
Did you get that email I sent you? With pitches for articles? There's a new crop of young female entrepreneurs Oh, I wish you had time for that, but aren't you just swamped with letters? My girls have such a special connection with me.
Before I found myself, I was them.
You know, bad hair, bad skin, bad everything.
And look! Now I give them hope.
And you give them hope.
Someone like you has such insight into what they're going through.
Well, thank you.
And you're so good at it.
You make me sound well read, which, of course, I would be, but time who has it? So My letters.
What's new? Well, we've had a lot of cutters.
You know last night it was so strange.
I was testing this new shave cream, and I had my leg out so my foot was resting on the tub.
And I didn't see, but I nicked a little scab on my shin.
This tiny drop of blood just dots the bathroom floor.
It was so beautiful.
I just kept staring at it.
You know, girls, we see our blood every month, but this time it wasn't gross like that.
So I ran the razor over my scab again, and more drops of blood.
Some of it trickled down my calf.
If my boyfriend hadn't knocked on the door, I would've done it all night.
Plum? I'm sorry.
Um how was the shave cream? Oh.
Nothing special.
But it was just that suddenly I understood the appeal, these girls, chopping away at themselves.
What else? - Um, purging.
- Purging.
Confusion about the female anatomy.
Well, there's nothing I can do about that.
Those parent groups target us if we mention the word "vagina.
" Makes writing articles on tampons hard.
Find some euphemisms for "vagina.
" Poontang? Nothing sexual.
Medicalize things.
Come up with a list and send it to the girl writing the tampon piece.
Best advice you can give a 13-year-old: "Start using tampons as soon as you can.
" But I can't tell her where to put it.
Send the list to Plum, too.
You can use it, too.
Oh, I know that some of this seems silly, but we're helping these girls.
We are.
Good! OK.
Oh, one more thing.
Um, you haven't had any unusual letters lately? I mean, anything disturbing in an out-of-the-ordinary way? No, just regular disturbing.
Anybody contact you wanting information about me or the magazine? Any strange encounters? No.
Nothing like that.
Is something wrong? Oh, we've had an eensy security breach.
We just need to find out where the leaks are coming from.
- That's why that detective is here.
- Mm-hmm.
Yes, they got the home addresses and phones for me and every member of the Austin family, including Stanley.
It's absolutely not serious.
But why are the bad people always after the good people? I mean, have you seen the news? Those two boys who were murdered.
Tossed like cats in a bag onto the freeway.
My West Coast editor, he got stuck on the wrong side of the 110 for hours and hours.
It was awful.
Plum, are you all right? Yeah, I, uh, my stomach has just been feeling weird lately.
Oh, dear.
Well, um, let's get you to the ladies' room before we make a mess.
Eladio! You okay? Did you follow me to work? Oh, I'm not dangerous.
Um I don't think.
Um, but but But definitely not to you.
I promise.
I, um, I left you something in the kitchen.
Her boots said she was a witch.
The book she left for me? "Dietland.
" Would it turn me into a good witch or a bad witch? Anti-diet.
Really? Crazy twist, right? - Here ya go.
- Oh, thanks.
Hey, Ben, cover the cash register.
There are no customers at the register.
Thank you, Captain Literal.
Should anyone else come in.
Got it.
It's written by Verena Baptist.
Her mother was the woman who started the Baptist Weight Loss Clinics.
- Never heard of her.
- Yes, you have.
They're all over the country.
Verena's mother died, and Verena shut everything down.
I think she's some kind of big feminist who thinks diets are the root of all evil.
Here's the thing, though I was on that diet.
Really? Yeah.
I was a Baptist.
Doesn't that get a little confusing? Like what kind of freak are you, religious or chunky style? Some of them were both.
Baptist Baptists.
The whole thing was like a cult.
We practically prayed to the founder, Eulayla, and her old "fat jeans.
" Well, if this book is against fad diets, Goth Girl gets free scones from now on.
Those things are awful.
But should I be worried? This girl following me, pushing the book? I think she knew my name.
She's just probably just one of those body acceptance people.
Saving big lives, one book at a time.
But why me? I'm not special.
There could be an exposé in this for Daisy Chain, right? Like "The Strange Legacy" of the Baptist Weight Loss Clinics.
" Maybe that's what Goth Girl wants, for me to write about this.
That seems a little hard-hitting for Kitty.
I could sell her.
It's juicy.
She can't ignore me forever.
Yeah, she absolutely can.
She absolutely can.
Especially now.
There's been some hacking thing at Austin.
- Kitty seemed freaked out.
- Oh, no.
Maybe somebody stole the secret to better brows.
Right? Oh.
Thank you.
Hello? This is Plum.
Can't I do it over email? All right, give me an hour.
The thing about the book, the girl Yes, it felt like an invasion, but something in me welcomed it.
- That's it? - That's it.
Let me walk you to the elevator.
This way.
Get in.
Press S-C.
Excuse me? Why? The Beauty Closet.
They have answers.
Guess plus size really is a huge market.
Coming! You must be Plum.
Come in.
Come in.
You call this a closet? For you.
This is There was a girl following me Leeta.
I asked her to do that.
I'm Julia Smith.
Manager of the Beauty Closet.
You asked her to? Why? Oh, we'll get to that.
I am so glad to finally meet you.
Leeta has told me so much about you.
W-Will you just tell me what I'm doing here, please? My, my, we are the eager beaver.
No, I I just want to understand.
Don't we all, hon? Don't we all? What is all this for, anyway? We are under 52 floors of lifestyle, hon.
Magazines, TV shows, sponsored YouTube channels.
Every face, every body, must be perfect.
You must agree that everything I tell you is strictly confidential.
Just tell me.
I sent you a message.
Under an assumed name.
To "Dear Kitty"? "Dear Kitty, as one of the great intellectual minds of all time ".
You should have known it was a fake from that alone.
"I have to ask, who is more oppressed," a woman covered from head-to-toe in a burka, "or one of the bikini-clad models on the cover of your magazine?" "You pose an interesting question," one I'm not sure that I can answer.
One woman covers her body, while the other exposes herself.
"You could consider it two sides of the same coin.
" There was no way on God's green earth that Kitty wrote that.
I noticed it in the magazine, too.
Her answers were too aware, too smart.
- Thank you.
- That's not a compliment.
You're squandering your good brain.
It's criminal! Anyhow, I figured someone was writin' for her.
So, I tested my theory, and you passed! And once Eladio told me it was you, I thought Leeta should check you out, see if you could be trusted.
Leeta? Is she Is she here? She's out.
I'm afraid our lovely Leeta may have overstepped her bounds.
You weren't even supposed to notice her.
But she grew quite fond of you.
Or your potential.
- Is that her? - Uh-uh-uh! - Now, now.
- She took notes on me? - I could've called the police.
- But you didn't.
Why? I wa I wasn't sure.
But she gave me that book Oh, "Dietland.
" That was all her.
She thought you might appreciate the message.
Shit! Come with me.
What took you? I can't stand up that long.
Maybe it's time for flats.
'Course not.
I need perfume.
All day long I have been smelling this ass smell, and then I realized it was my ass.
My gross pregnant sweat.
No problem.
Here you go.
No more smell.
Just keep these in your desk for future emergencies.
If I don't have this kid by the end of the week, I'm gonna cut it out with a kitchen knife.
And not the good kind.
Ninety percent of the women here are complete lost causes.
Believe me, I would never do any of this if it wasn't necessary For your confidential undercover work? Exactly.
That security breach Kitty was talking about Was that you? Some kind of radical covert action? Of a sort.
Plum, how much time would you say you've spent trying to better your outsides? I don't count, exactly.
The average woman devotes almost an hour a day to grooming.
That's years in her life.
Not to mention the dieting and self-loathing I know, but that's just how it is.
Who says? Austin? Austin Media is part of the dissatisfaction-industrial complex, a hugely profitable machine.
They get us to pay them to tell us how broken we are, and then we pay for the products to fix it.
But we're never fixed.
Because there's always some new way we don't please the eye of our big brother beholder.
Time to change the game.
But it's not a conspiracy.
It's human nature.
People like pretty things.
You're not a thing.
You are a woman, and you should decorate yourself however it pleases you.
Open your mouth.
Excuse me? Just do it.
I don't understand.
How did you guys know I was a Baptist? Shhh! No more questions for now.
This color it's so you, your your skin is white as a rose.
What color are your nipples? To match.
Doesn't anyone ever tell you you're beautiful just as you are? Please! Just What do you want from me? You know this place peddles bullshit, and you're ready to do something about it.
J-Just do something? Calm down.
It's easy.
All we need are the names and email addresses for Kitty's girls.
The girls who sent Kitty questions? All of 'em? For what? Deprogramming! Truth! Like that book.
" Maybe.
Different things Depending.
Don't worry.
Nothing actionable.
I could get in trouble for that.
Why would I ever do that? Right now you're doin' nothin'.
Aren't you tired of that? I told Julia I needed to think about it.
Even if I wanted to do what she asked me, I wasn't sure I could.
Fifty thousand emails.
Fifty thousand girls lonely and desperate enough to write to Kitty and Julia wanted them all.
"Dear Kitty, my friend Kelsey" "has a thigh gap, and I was wondering" "Dear Kitty, I'm 15 and on the swim team" " I think my stepfather touches me when I'm sleeping, but I don't know" " every night after dinner I got into the bathroom and throw up" I was tired of doing nothing.
I wanted to fight back My whole life But it was going to cost me.
Hey, hey.
How ya doin', beautiful? Look, my friend here, would like a kiss from you.
Hey, look at him.
What are you doin'? Sexy! Turn around.
Talk to us.
Hey! I think it was Margaret Atwood who said that women's biggest fear is that men will kill them.
Men's worst fear about women? Being laughed at.
I had both.
OK, Ms.
One-thirty over eighty-five is still good.
But we're going to need to see more movement with the weight if you want to have that surgery.
I've been pretty religious with my program.
Well, you might want to try a new religion.
Vibrating belt machine, green tea diet, hot yoga, chia seeds, raw foods, sweat cure fasting, meditation, Herbalife, sleep cure, paleo diet, journaling, acupuncture, fat blockers, hypnotism I tried them all, including actual prayer.
The only one that almost worked, and almost killed me the Baptist Weight Loss Clinic.
Hey, I know it's tough.
A lot of my patients almost starve before the weight comes off.
I've been losing slowly, I It's about a shock to the system.
Whatever you're doing now, try reducing it another 500 calories.
That puts me under 700.
A day.
Look, I can't authorize this surgery unless you lose another 15 pounds.
Now, this story just keeps getting crazier and more tragic.
Seems those two men thrown to their death on the 110 freeway were both embroiled in a rape case before their murders.
They were among the alleged attackers Here you go.
Of a young girl who took her own life by jumping in front of a speeding train.
Doesn't my insurance cover most of this? - Didn't you get the new policy? - You need to pay in full for your visits.
If you're covered, you'll get it back when your insurance reimburses you.
It's $170 for today.
It now seems these two sad stories - Can I put it on a card? - Yeah.
These two men's deaths may have been an act of revenge.
In a macabre twist, UNN has learned from a source that Plum's credit card may be declined.
Are you sure you made your payment, hon? What? You got 170 smackers on that card for a fatty appointment? I think so.
I-I mean, on the card.
But if I don't get the money back soon it's gonna be tight.
OK, then.
Fingers crossed.
Both men were tagged with a name Great.
So, we emailed a copy of your receipt.
- Calling card, which read simply - Thank you.
- "Jennifer.
" - Sure.
Weird, right? Like, the most harmless name.
My sister is named Jennifer.
Yeah, I guess.
The question now on the minds of law enforcement, as well as the rest of the nation, is: Who is Jennifer? Would someone enlighten me? Who uses primer? You got your serum, your sunscreen, your primer, then your foundation, then your fixing powder and spray.
That's six layers of shit on youface before you walk out the door.
I mean, who does that? Hello? Hello? Sorry.
Sorry, sorry.
I'm just I'm still I'm so impressed that she did it.
Plum! Like, and these notes.
It's like, do you need more evidence that girls need us? Like, lookit.
We ha Cutter.
Exercise addict.
We got so much rape.
Anyone can see our Plum has a secret rebel heart.
Ooh! I could just eat her up.
I mean, not literally, like you, but yes.
Whatever you're thinkin', cut it out.
You are done with her as of right now.
- But what if we could help - Done, dearheart.
We've already got what we needed.
And we don't know if we can trust her.
And I'm not sure she's ready for us.
OK, please just hear me out for a minute Let it go.
Now, I know I taught you to question authority, but not mine.
That seems a little second-wave.
Oh, for heaven's sake.
What now? Some hideous T-zone crisis? ÉWould you grab that, hon? Yeah, I just 'cause I have I'm late for class anyway, I think.
I don't know.
I'm late for something.
So, bye! Julia.
I'd been checking my emails, but there was nothing from Kitty, thank God.
So far no one seemed to know about my very impulsive decision to become a criminal.
All right.
700 calories a day is drastic, but at least it's not nothing.
When I do my green tea cleanses, it's two weeks.
- Can we move on? - Look, I know you work your ass off, all right? It's fine.
I just want to move on.
Movin' on.
So what's been goin' on with you? Any word from the basement lady? Julia? Not since the other day.
No Goth Girl sightings around here, huh? No, not a trace.
I guess that was it.
That's so weird.
Julia just wanted to tell you you're destined for greater things, that's all.
They gave you that book, and now they're done with you? Hello? You scared of it still? Kind of.
I feel like it'll be opening a whole can of worms.
Just a book.
You don't have to read it, ya know.
But it was delivered unto me by a goth angel.
OK, well, you get on it.
I used my triple lipid cream and my rosewater mister, but I just can't keep the glow today.
Oh, shut up.
You look fabulous.
Isn't there some new life-changing thing I simply have to try? Always.
Nature of the beast.
Everything OK, Kiki? I mean, we never see you down here unless you're stressed.
You know that may be why I'm dry.
You want to talk about it? I'm here.
And I'm so grateful.
You are my rock.
My eyes and ears on the ground.
Under the ground.
- You heard about the leaks? - I did.
How's that goin'? Are there any leads? Nothing.
And you know how I hate not knowing things.
I do.
I do.
Must be one of those crazies who blames the media for all the world's woes.
It has to be.
And what if they come after me? I mean, I am the most recognizable face at Austen.
You know Stanly was never interested in that stuff.
You are.
You are the face.
But and please don't take this the wrong way You know I'm not sensitive.
You oversee women's titles.
I mean, with everything that's goin' on, the crazies just aren't that interested in you.
I never thought of it that way.
What you do is vital.
So important.
But people don't think it's important.
So that keeps you safe, see? Oh, my goodness.
I guess that that's reassuring.
I'd like to make more of a mark, though.
And you will.
You will.
But safety-wise, you just rest easy for now.
Ya hear? Thank you, Julia.
I knew you would know what to think.
You always do.
- Well, I try - Bring that up with you, will you? And throw some dry shampoo in there for Eladio.
He stinks.
Do you make birthday cakes? - Um - I'm having a thing.
It's for my birthday.
I Wow.
Uh I'm tryin' to cut back on the baking.
It's not forever.
I I'm just busy.
That sucks.
But hey, you should still come.
- To your party? - Yeah.
It'll be fun.
Just, like, a few friends How many friends? Just fifty? You have fifty friends? Uh, it's like people from school, guys I skate with, my subway buds - I'm sorry.
I just - No, no, no.
Go ahead.
It almost seems quaint now - This is Plum.
- That I was worried about turning over those girls' email addresses to Julia.
When? I had no idea how small a role I was playing in Jennifer's Grand Guignol.
Give it to me.
Come on, Malleck.
Into the woods.
Jesus, this girl's Hey, baby, wait for Daddy.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Don't go too fast.
I'm not really so much in shape.
Any word back from Malleck Ferguson? I've tried everywhere.
Oh, he's the one who - Mal's a character.
- Never convicted.
He's probably on a shoot.
Or at some billionaire's chalet with a bunch of baby "models.
" Leave him another message.
Tell him I want him to shoot Rihanna, and I'll get Tim Walker if he doesn't get back to me by tomorrow.
- He'll hate that.
- We have Rihanna? Dear God, no.
I want him to photograph her.
- Don't we all? - Love it.
You are wicked, kitty cat.
Isn't there an unofficial boycott on Malleck? I mean, after those models said what they heard - Oh, he said, she said.
It's - More like he said, they said? Rumors.
You know, the lines get blurry with creatives.
Kiss kiss.
More? What am I supposed to do with all this shit? Put it on your face? Ohh.
You're a riot.
Anything good? Kitty got you dry shampoo.
Which is code for "You need a shower.
" Showering is the new sitting, which was the new smoking So bad for you.
OK, I don't even know what that sentence means.
Clé de Peau.
She didn't even open the last one.
If this pretty baby turns up on eBay, it wasn't me.
Kitty seems anxious.
What do you know about these leaks? Not much.
But the detective they got is dreamy, so I shouldn't complain.
Detective? - They called the police? - Mm-hmm.
He's been poking around.
Not in the way that I wish he would.
Well, good luck with that.
I'm gonna keep a look out for this detective.
- Get an eyeful.
- Do.
And the next time she wants to go shopping, give her trial sizes, would you? - Whoo! Hey! - Oh, my God, you scared me.
I can't imagine what you must think of me, like, "Who is this gawky weird girl tracking my ass" like some hunter on, like, a beaver hunting show or something.
" Kitty called me into her office.
Oh, but that happens, right? So I was just there! It has to be about the emails! Not necessarily.
The server you sent that stuff to - is crazy secure.
- I can't believe this.
I had temporary insanity.
I don't do well with strs.
I haven't been sleeping Is that why you take the Y? How do you know about that? Oh, I'm observant.
I have this freaky attention thing, it's like ADD, sort of, but I'm usually all over the place.
But when I care about something, I am crazy focused, like laser-beam focused.
Listen, someone like me has a hard time finding a job.
If I lose this, if I get fired, I lose my insurance, and then I'm gonna be really, really not good.
OK, I'll talk to Julia.
She will wait, because she doesn't want you to suffer, OK? In the meantime, I want you to go see someone.
Verena Baptist.
What! I told her about you, and she wants to meet.
That's ridiculous.
Oh, no, she's super-intimidating, but also a-mazing.
She will change your life.
By convincing me to stay obese.
She hurt a lot of people when she closed those clinics.
Is that what you think? So, wait, did you read the book? You just gave it to me.
And how did you know that I was on the Baptist Plan, huh? - If you guys are hacking me - I didn't know.
I mean, for sure.
It was just you know, the way you eat.
Like the 12 Commandments of Mealtime, um, from the program? You know, the "always leave food on your plate," and "use smaller utensils" and "chew each bite 50 times" and all that stuff, you still do them all.
I do not.
I have video.
Actually, if you want to see Oh, my God! Not like scary video, just like on my phone.
Why am I even talking to you? I don't know you.
But I want you to.
Know me.
I I am ripe for the knowing.
But why? I don't understand why any of this is happening.
Neither did I, and then Julia found me, like like she found you.
People don't really see themselves, you know? Like, some awful people think that everything they do is magic, and then and then people who actually make the world a better place think that they're pieces of shit.
But your letters.
You know, Julia saw you through your writing, just just like she saw me.
- Do you write? - No.
God, no.
Um, I just I did, um I did, like, rants on YouTube or whatever.
But look, the point is that my my life was in theory, you know? Like, I didn't actually do anything just like you.
No offense.
Julia knows that you and me we are too smart we are too smart for the lives that we thought we deserved.
We are special.
Or we're weak impressionable.
You got your attention thing, I'm what I am.
Look go see Verena.
She will help you.
Oh, um, but we don't tell Julia that I sent you? Or, you know, that we talked or anything, actually.
Um, I have to go.
I have class, maybe.
I I don't know.
Anyway, I gotta jet.
Bye! Phew.
Third time's the charm Potions.
Future of beauty.
Collagen drinks that make you glow.
Well, you are glowing.
Am I? Thank you.
So, after our last meeting, I had this feeling.
I can't explain it, but it gnawed at me.
Did you know that Missoni is doing a plus-size capsule collection? - I did not.
- And Temperley is doing Big Gals for Tarzhay.
Something is happening.
- Well, statistically - Exactly, women are getting bigger.
Especially those who work.
But you have to be absolutely fanatical to stay under a size 2.
I never talk about this around here, but menopause Peri, in my case You know me, always have to be first Suddenly I had this middle.
My chef had to cut absolutely everything white out of my menu.
You can do things for the face, the body, even the hands.
But the waist? You have to attack.
Around here you start looking like somebody's grandmother You're out.
Martha Stewart can get away with it, she sells hot glue guns.
But tastemakers? No.
Mark my word it won't happen to me.
I will not be left behind.
What was I saying? - Um, plus-size fashions.
- Fashion Week.
Rene Tyler is doing a show for big gals at Clarkson Square, and I want you to cover it.
Really? You're our hidden resource.
You know what these people want.
Uh, that that is exciting.
How does that work? I go to the show Oh, no, they're showing it on Facebook Live.
You'll watch it there.
I'll send one of the regular girls, you know, just to show support.
- And I'm your hidden resource.
- Exactly.
But you'll have your very own name in the magazine.
How about that? That is also very exciting.
Hey, Chocolate Cake.
On a case, huh? Kitty told me about the hacking.
Any idea who did it? Nah, I mean, I've been pulled onto something else for the last few days, but nothing new.
- Hmm.
- How you doin'? OK.
How are you? Honestly, I'm hungry.
I-I keep thinking about that chocolate cake.
I gathered that when you called me Chocolate Cake.
Kinda tipped you off.
I don't know what I'm thinkin'.
It's not like you're gonna be carrying a piece in your purse or something.
I did actually do a bunch of baking for a café near my place.
Really? Chocolate cake's sold out.
Carrot cake moves slower, but people are passionate about it.
Love or hate.
Happens to be my second favorite.
- Sometimes first.
- Reall.
Depends on the day.
Holy shit.
- Yeah? - Oh, yeah.
- You made this? - Have we not established that? You think I'd drag you to my neighborhood to feed you somebody else's cake? It's sublime.
More coffee? Yeah, thank you.
So, what do you think of my Plum's skills, huh? Incredible.
Bye, Steven.
So, is that your boyfriend? No.
'Cause he called you "my Plum.
" No, no, he's a friend.
He's a gay friend.
I I'm too busy for a boyfriend.
Gay, huh? It's funny, I didn't peg that.
He's right, though, you do have a gift.
It's a shame more people can't have this.
I bestow it selectively on those who deserve it.
" I like that.
It is probably better this way.
If I could have this anytime I wanted, I'd be as big as a house.
Not that there's anything, you know It's like whatever works.
So what else do you do? For fun.
Oh, you know, read, write.
Yeah? Cool.
So what do you What do you read and write? Novels.
Um I studied art and literature in grad school, so I read a lot of articles for research.
I write for work.
So, for fun you work.
Sounds a little grim when you put it that way.
Not if you're happy.
Are you happy? I don't really think about it.
It's more about survival, you know? Because of your work? It's dangerous? Listen, um I don't want to take advantage of your hospitality, but if you could keep your eyes open around Austen, that would really help me out.
'Cause tech crimes, it's not really my thing, we're down a few men and I kinda drew the short straw on this one.
Nobody else wanted it, huh? Yeah, I mean, it's important, it's not like it's not criminal, it's just not sexy, you know? You OK? Yeah.
So, yeah, anyway, you know, if you just If you see anything, somebody's acting interesting, you see something off, you let me know, yeah? Somebody acting interesting.
God knows I couldn't be interesting.
I was only fit for writing from my sad apartment.
Not for public consumption.
But I was done with that.
I'm looking for Verena Baptist? This way.
Because he watches some kid on YouTube, he thinks he's an authority on my spankin' new clit.
I paid good money for this thing.
Honey, you need to date from the community.
Girl, those guys are too earnest.
Look, I need a beast, somebody who's gonna break mine in.
Yes, girl, somebody who's gonna bark like a dog.
- You know what I mean? - Hi! - Who's this? - She's here to see Verena.
I'll tell her.
Are you hungry? No, I'm good, thank you.
Or a drink? We were just about to open another bottle of red.
- I'm fine, thank you.
- What's your name? - Plum.
Plum Kettle.
- No, it's not.
Are you from a children's book? Be nice.
Shall we pretend that you're not even here, dear? Please.
Oh, my God, did you guys hear about that thing that happened? The guys who were thrown out on the freeway? Yeah.
I'm grimly fascinated.
Yeah, I'm kinda rootin' for Jennifer.
- Is that a wrong thing? - Verena would say so.
- She thinks it's horrible.
- Both responses are appropriate, but vigilantism - is a slippery slope.
- You are correct.
They should really only do it two maybe four more times.
I got some names for them.
Well, there is another guy that's missing.
That photographer the one who did those shady pictures.
- The ads for Stella Cross? - Oh, my God, those ones where she's tied up? She's a porn star! What do you expect? - What's his name? Uh, Terrance - Malleck.
He worked with Kitty sometimes.
Yeah, not Terrance at all.
Thank you, Plum Kettle.
Yeah, that pervert guy, right? He was like at a party, and he just disappeared, I think.
Doesn't surprise me.
He's not well-liked.
Oh, my God, did you guys hear that Stella Cross is putting out a line of temporary tattoos for the hairless pussy? Get on it, girl.
You gotta get one that looks like a bear trap! We don't usually talk this much about pussy before dinner.
- Oh, we absolutely do.
- This is a lie.
What is a lie? Absolutely nothing of consequence, love.
I am so glad you're here.
Leeta sent me some of your writing.
Sh What writing? You're Kitty, right? Some subversive ideas in there.
I did what I could.
Well, we noticed.
So, the building on the corner was a church and a home for wayward girls.
Jake is handy, so when I acquired the building, we expanded, but now he can't stop renovating.
- Like the Winchester Mystery House.
- I'm sorry, the what? - Uh, it's not important.
- I'll Google it.
Point is, now I have an auditorium and no idea what to do with it.
Anyway, uh, so what did Leeta tell you about Calliope? Is this Calliope? Ah.
So, nothing.
Our goal is to support women with bold ideas.
Women who will further our mission of fighting misogyny, gender inequality.
I realize that sounds a little sprawling and grand.
Uh, the bottom line is, I find women who have been discounted, abused, marginalized Which is most of us And I help them form their vision for change, then I help them act on it.
No way.
I remember these! God, from the commercials.
My mama.
Those were hers.
- Wow.
- Leeta told me you were on the program.
Quite a life Eulayla had.
My father was a preacher.
He fell in love, first sight, when he saw Mother in a beauty pageant.
She won, and won again, all the way to Miss Georgia, 1966.
My father wooed her and proposed after Sunday services.
She said yes.
Then Mother got heavy after she had me, and she got desperate.
She wanted to get her stomach stapled But he couldn't let her take that risk.
He hired her a cook instead.
Food was the sin and Mama was the sinner.
So, she ate only what was provided and avoided temptation by never leaving the house.
No one saw her for almost a year.
People thought she might be dead.
But no.
From that day forward, she was a symbol of hope for women like me.
You got it.
God and my father's plan Mostly my father's plan Returned her to sound mind and a blessed size four.
They taught us all that.
Eulayla's story.
Only it was a lie.
After they got rich, Mama got fat again.
But this time, the plan didn't work.
Now that there was money at stake, my father had a change of heart about the stomach stapling.
But something went wrong.
My mother wore a diaper for the rest of her life.
But that wasn't the only complication.
She got pills to kill her appetite.
Mother started to get all her calories from vodka.
My father was disgusted.
They railed at each other.
And then came the crash.
My mother couldn't live with herself or him or me.
My parents knew the Baptist Plan didn't work.
What person can exist in that state of starvation for a lifetime? My mother couldn't, not of her own volition.
Aren't there laws? They can't make false claims.
The tiny print that says "results not typical," that's all the law requires.
And when you fail, the clinic blames you for not being superhuman and sells you a new plan.
And that is why I closed the clinics.
So, I just happen to have - Try one.
- I'm fine, thank you.
Do you remember the first time you tasted chocolate? Or something sweet? No.
But you remember something.
Just what it felt like to eat something before - Before what? - Why do you need to know this? I don't.
You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to.
I was gonna say I I remember what it felt like to eat something delicious before I knew I was too big.
The world must have been simpler.
I think I was in kindergarten when I figured it out.
We were playing this kissing game, boys chase girls, and this chubby kid caught me.
But he wouldn't kiss me because I was a pig.
I'm sorry, Plum.
There's no excuse for that behavior, but you know how blind and mean some people can be.
How about other guys? How has that been for you? Non-existent, pretty much.
There was one in college.
We were best friends.
We messed around a couple times when he was drunk, but He told me he loved me.
I thought What? I thought he would be my first.
But when I made that overture, he, uh, said he didn't remember ever making out with me.
He said he must have been in a blackout.
So He stopped talking to me.
That's awful.
I can't imagine how painful that was for you.
It's fine.
So, have you been with anyone? I haven't really wanted to.
It's fine.
I don't really have a sex drive.
It's I mean, I get crushes, but it's not a big deal.
Are you on medication? It's New York.
Everyone is.
I'm asking because it can wipe out your libido.
Plus a lot of other things.
I was I went on Y.
After the thing with the college guy.
Y is strong.
It could be part of the reason for your disinterest in sex.
But sex is a primal drive.
You deserve to be touched, to be held.
Well, I will be.
After you lose the weight? Leeta mentioned you're having surgery in a few months.
- Yes.
- OK.
Well, if we were to work together, it wouldn't necessarily affect that.
Work together? I have a job.
Just let me back up.
Um, remember I said I try to help people find their purpose? I think that you could do great, meaningful work that could help a lot of women.
- I'm sorry, this is ridiculous.
- Just stay with me.
I would like to see you flourish, and I have an idea how you might.
We'll call it the New Baptist Plan.
Which is? Well, the first step would be getting off the Y, and then three or four other things, I'll lay out the rest as we go.
Nothing you can't handle.
And when you complete the program, I will write you a check for $20,000.
- Twenty thousand dollars.
- No strings attached.
If you still want your surgery, you can use it for that.
We'll draw up a contract.
But you're hoping I won't want it.
I am hoping that you'll make whatever decision with your eyes open.
Surgery's risky.
But so is life.
So? - It's a lot of money.
- I have a lot of money.
I like to use it productively.
Making reparations for the, um, legacy of my parents is a way of putting it.
I don't know.
There's no catch.
But of course, you don't have to decide right now.
But promise me you'll think about it.
What did Stanley say? I haven't told him about the security issues.
You know how nuts he'd be.
I have to solve the problem before I tell him there is a problem.
And that is why he's a titan.
He's got you all so terrified of him.
- Stop.
- And you're not? Oh, totally.
But I don't report to him directly, so it's rarely relevant.
Did you see that thing on Malleck Ferguson? Horrible.
We've got a pool going in the news room.
I'm letting everything ride on "choked on his own vomit.
" Cheryl.
Hey, what is the word in the news room? Do they think that this Malleck thing is connected to those Jennifer people? It's too soon to tell, but it's looking likely.
Well, it's unfortunate.
He'll be missed.
All hail Jennifer! I asked you for one thing.
I know.
I just thought How dare you go against my explicit instructions?! Verena texted me, saying she and Plum had such a good visit.
The police are involved.
Did you know that? - No.
No, I d - There is a detective snooping around, and you send Plum to Verena? I told you from the very beginning I didn't think that it would be Which is why you question every authority but me.
I am the one authority that you follow blindly, or you get the hell out! Do you understand?! Verena's offer was crazy, obviously but hard to refuse.
Twenty thousand dollars would change everything.
I knew Verena planned to change me, turn me into a cheese-eating happy fatty like I met at her place.
I was no fool.
No bag? No.
But what's the worst that could happen? Oh, that's great, honey.
My first real assignment on fashion, of all things.
Well, those degrees are really pay Hey! Get off there.
Not on the lawn, for Christ's sake.
This is private property.
God, can you believe they're still doing this, after all these years? You know, when I was little, I thought it was because of me.
What, the pictures? Yeah.
I thought they were taking pictures of me.
Why in the world would you think that? Why do you think? Oh, baby, no.
It was Dolores Del Rio's house.
That we're on that map.
That's what happens in Hollywood.
I know that now.
And it's Glendale.
You're so I wish you could see yourself like most people do.
Well, I'm proud of you.
How was the rest of your day? Interesting.
I had coffee with a guy, a detective.
Steven says he's sexy.
Really? What do you think? I think he's probably in it for the cake.
Don't get too excited.
I know.
Why did I bring up Dominic? It just felt good to have a story, any story.
And the new Baptist plan? I kept that to myself.
I thought I had a grasp of the situation.
Move! I figured, try Verena's plan.
What did I have to lose? Get a life.
My life.