How much should an investor on a publisher’s board get involved in the business when she wants her book to be published? That’s the question highlighting the season’s second episode.
Quinn (guest star Laura Benanti), the chief financial officer-type from last week’s episode, turns out to be an investor on the board. She wants her book to be the first release of the revamped publisher. In the beginning of the episode, Diana (Miriam Shor) asks why is the company now looking at focus groups for their books. It turns out Kelsey (Hilary Duff) wants to ensure the success of her first book release as CEO.
The focus group loathes the book with a passion. One woman asks why is the author being given a voice while another is crying about how she wants to un-read it. Liza (Sutton Foster) says her edits weren’t taken seriously therefore didn’t happen, so the book may stay rough and unlikable.
At lunch, Kelsey and Liza invite Quinn to a fancy restaurant where Quinn gifts them with gold-plated business card holders. Then Kelsey suggests holding Quinn’s self-help empowerment book Claw for the spring since it needs more edits when at the moment it’s coming off as “anti-woman.”
Quinn brushes it off and emphasizes how her vote brought Kelsey to her CEO role.
“If a writer doesn’t want to take notes, they might as well self-publish,” Liza hints aloud.
Yet Quinn, determined, remains steadfast that her book is fine. She then starts slamming the table with a cheer: “Guess who wrote a masterpiece? It will be our first release!” The rumble gets louder with diners looking their way at the commotion. Kelsey is confused while Quinn says the cheer rhythm is from her 1998 cheer competition, which Liza brings up the incessant mentions of high school in the book. Quinn keeps going with the cheer until Kelsey and Liza join her to stop it. After lunch, Kelsey asks what happened. Liza interjects it from Chapter 3 of Claw called “Charm and Disarm.”
Now working to save the company from not publishing Quinn’s book first during her new stint as CEO, Kelsey has been in talks with Reese Witherspoon about a screenplay she calls “sexy, millennial and set in the fashion world.” The screenwriter can produce a novel in a month after submitting a test chapter. Liza is uncertain about the quick change of events, but Kelsey is convinced that the simple mention of Reese Witherspoon will force Quinn out of the way.
Later on, Liza drops that she told her current boo/former publisher Charles about the work drama with Quinn. Kelsey doesn’t like the sound of this. She takes it as her actions being scrutinized for her not being prepared to be a CEO since she’s 28. She tells Liza to schedule a dinner with her and Quinn alone.
At the dinner, Quinn reveals she can’t have her book pushed to the spring because she plans to jump-start her senatorial campaign in California. Her book will help her become the “strong, independent voice.” But Kelsey resists.
“Every book that comes out of Millennial has to be the best it can be,” Kelsey pushes. Then she adds, “Board members don’t tell publishers what to do.”
Quinn dares Kelsey to publish Claw or she’ll never hear from her again. Kelsey puts a ballpoint pen in front of Quinn because she wants that in writing.
Other storylines include Josh (Nico Tortorella) becoming a father after a balloon mishap at the gender reveal party and Diana writing a magazine article about how much she loves her plumber boyfriend who usually gets the independent woman burn from her.
The last season, similar to the turn of events in last week’s premiere, show the series emphasizing the book pitches coming to the the publishing house will somehow relate to businesswomen empowerment with Kelsey as a millennial CEO. The series, again with its title, surrounds Liza lying about her age to compete in the publishing industry but also shows how younger people like Kelsey and her competitive boo Zane (Charles Michael Davis) are taking the helm with their pure diligence and ambition. Zane and Charles also seem to be secretly building their own publishing company, so hopefully that storyline turns out to be true in a future episode and cause even more havoc in their career goals and romantic lives.