American Woman Season 1 Episode 4 Review: The Cost of Living

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Welcome to the real world, Bonnie!

At least she lives in Hollywood, has talented kids, and friends with money because the rest of those without those little perks don't get out of their low-paycheck situations as easily as Bonnie did!

That's right, reality hit Bonnie square in the face on American Woman Season 1 Episode 4, but it's also the moment when her talented kids start emerging as breadwinners. Aha!

Little Girl in a Big Studio - American Woman

In real life, as in Kyle Richard's real life, as she is the person running this ship, and it's based on her life, she and Kim were acting well before her mother got divorced. 

Mom may or may not have had to get a job or worry about things like a broken dryer or paying $200 for Kyle's tuition as Bonnie did Becca's.

It is certainly a lot more dramatic for Bonnie to feel the heat.

She was really riding on her ability to provide for her new, smaller family. She knew nothing about finances when she was married and knew even less about them after she was separated. 

Bonnie: Where did all my money go?
Co-Worker : To taxes. Uncle Sam thinks it's important we learn to share. With him.

The Cost of Living is High - American Woman Season 1 Episode 4

But who hasn't had one of those days when everything seems to go wrong? 

Bonnie had no milk for her kids' cereal, was trying to use a hair dryer to dry their clothes on their bodies before school (come on, they really were down to their last outfits being in the laundry? I don't think so...), and Bonnie was looking forward to being rewarded for her first real job.

Related: American Woman Season 1 Episode 3 Review: The Party

While the shocking amount of $54.55 might have made your eyes bleed, a quick internet search showed that in 2017 the equivalent unskilled wage would have been roughly $246. So imagine that with two kids and a house in Hollywood, Bonnie is making $246 a week or $12,792 a year after taxes. With taxes, about $14k. 

Yeah, she needs both kids to get in front of the camera STAT!

Luckily for Bonnie, Kathleen isn't afraid to act first and ask forgiveness later (if warranted).

Jessica Wows Mommy - American Woman Season 1 Episode 4

Jessica is adorable, and with all the other little actors run through and an unsatisfied client, Kathleen went with her gut. That gut scored Jessica an orange juice commercial and a $350 paycheck.

Kathleen: When I saw her playing there, I just got this feeling in my gut. I just knew she could do it!
Greg: That feeling is worth a million bucks. You are a natural.

Bonnie is a good mom, though, and she didn't relish the thought of her daughter taking on hard labor to support the family. She was very supportive throughout the process and it seemed to give Jessica a nice boost of confidence to have the job and be told she was very good at it.

Bonnie wasn't even thinking about the money involved. She was only considering her daughter.

That's why when it was time for a celebratory dinner with Kathleen, Greg, and Diana, Bonnie got a little confused. First, she was hit with the check and the realization that earning a living can be downright insulting in comparison to what her daughter did in one day.

Mommy of The Year - American Woman Season 1 Episode 4

Bonnie: So, in order to be an independent woman, I have to be completely dependent on my 11-year-old daughter. So, I'm asking you, what are we celebrating?
Kathleen: Jessica booking her first commercial and you being her amazing mama.

That made her rather miserable company from the beginning of dinner. But when she had the gall to ask what was being celebrated, Bonnie kind of went off the rails.

Alicia Silverstone has that perfect face that cries out for comfort when she's been wronged, so the scene worked really well in Bonnie's drunken state.

Bonnie: Oh. Am I the God damned Mother of the Year? I didn't know. It's so unexpected. Thank you all for coming tonight. First of all, I'd like to thank Kathleen and Greg for showing my daughter what it feels like to have to work for a living.
Diana: You're a little drunk. Why don't you just sit down?
Bonnie: And I'd also like to thank Diana for tearing herself away from doing absolutely nothing in order to be here.
Diana: I'm actually very busy. Tonight was my only free night, so...
Bonnie: Lastly, I'd like to give special thanks to my daughters who couldn't be here tonight because one was so exhausted from hawking orange juice and the other won't speak to me because she thinks I've driven her father away. Thank you so much.

All things considered, her life is looking up. Bonnie needs to take her head out of her rear end and be a little more in tune with the lives of her friends who are also not living high on the hog.

Related: American Woman Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Changes and the New Normal

Kathleen, bless her heart, can't see what's going on with Greg, but he's doing a much better job of hiding it of late.

He's the horniest bastard, isn't he? As soon as a man shows interest in him, he's toast. He simply cannot say no to a tryst whether it's with a pool guy or someone he loved long ago. 

Everywhere You go - American Woman Season 1 Episode 4

I appreciate that he's hiding who he is, but he knows he's hiding who he is and nobody is forcing him to do it. We've yet to be given an explanation why he's doing it.

Greg has many talented and homosexual friends who are doing well financially and are very happy. From where we stand, there's no reason for him to sneak back into the closet. He's in Hollywood. 

To buy into his story, we're going to need more from him because as it stands, it's hard to care about him when he's leading on Kathleen, stupid as she may be when it comes to him. 

He wants to put his old life behind him. Why? What happened? Is he running from something? And if so, why don't any of his friends know about it?

A Real Gentle Man - American Woman Season 1 Episode 4

Poor Diana got pulled into the life when Kathleen tried to set her up with Greg's old lover, Alan. Alan's putting the moves on Greg in one room while Diana is mooning over him in the other. 

Probably the funniest part of it was when she got home and was defending his sexuality to her mother by saying he was neat and clean and cuts his hair regularly.

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When I was younger, my mother always wanted me to find a guy who wore sweaters and slacks. I kid you not. I was an '80s rocker chick. Needless to say, slacks wasn't even a word in my vocabulary. 

It was adorable that Diana was looking for what everyone had always said women should look for in a fellow -- a clean cut, hardworking guy who would be nice and walk you to your door. 

No wonder women have been so screwed up when it comes to men. It can be very confusing out there.

Mother Knows Best - American Woman Season 1 Episode 4

Mother knew straight away Alan was gay, and then told Diana to warn Kathleen about Greg since "they" tend to group together. 

The biggest surprise though was that Diana is still living with her mother! I'd imagined her living in a cute little studio apartment, the likes of which the women involved in the cases on Charlie's Angels and such always had, or Peggy Lipton's cool pad on The Mod Squad.

The odds are that Diana can't afford to live on her own on her Jr. Loan Officer salary from the bank. But given her coworker has a wife and a kid on the way, you can bet he makes enough to afford the necessities.

Bonnie got her happy ending by getting her dryer fixed and planting a check for Becca's tuition on the principal's desk. What about Kathleen and Diana? Their days didn't get a followup with a minor triumph. 

How many of you out there are still watching with me? I'd love to know what you have been thinking. Are you still enjoying American Woman?

Who do you want to know more about now? Did Bonnie's paycheck send you into a panic for the poor woman?

Drop me a line below and let's chat!!

The Cost of Living Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (14 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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American Woman Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Becca: Wow. Cereal AND milk?
Bonnie: Try to make it last, please. Cereal and milk cost over a dollar.
Becca: My friends will be so jealous.

Bonnie: Where did all my money go?
Co-Worker : To taxes. Uncle Sam thinks it's important we learn to share. With him.