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SYFY WIRE Katy Keene

Katy Keene Discussion: 'Kiss Of The Spider Woman' packs on the drama

By Jessica Toomer & Alyssa Fikse

Oh, the drama of it all. 

Katy Keene must've known we'd be craving a theater and over-the-top spectacle during our coronavirus self-quarantining, and they gave it to us with this week's episode, "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

Jorge struggles to get his one-queen show off the ground while Katy finds herself in the middle of a royal throuple and the guilt is just eating away at her. 

We're Jessica Toomer and Alyssa Fikse and yes, we're finding this whole social-distancing thing rough too, but if Katy Keene is good for anything, it's escaping the real world for a bit.

Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 7 of Katy Keene.


Royal Drama

Alyssa: While Jorge is starting his “one queen show” adaptation of "Kiss of the Spider Woman," Katy is in a bit of a pickle. Patricia — who still seems AWFULLY NICE — desperately wants Katy to design her wedding dress because her impending nuptials to Prince Errol are back on (were they ever really off?). Katy feels that designing the gown for her latest hookup’s fianceé is something that will certainly come back to haunt her in the karmic scheme of the universe, so she says no. Claims she’s too green. Gloria is pretty understandably furious, Errol is stiff and awkward, and Amanda knows something is off. Katy claims that she’s too busy designing costumes for Jorge’s show, and makes it sound like a much larger, more prestigious production than it actually is. KATY. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS. Meanwhile, Jorge is trying to get his show off the ground, and it is not going particularly well.

Jessica: Katy’s overwhelming sense of guilt might sabotage her budding design career while Errol is over here looking like a little boy whose favorite toy was just taken away. I just can’t with this show sometimes. While she causes Gloria to have a debilitating migraine, Jorge’s production is stumbling along. He’s got Francois to choreograph, Josie to help with the score, and Pepper to manage things. Remember, Jorge doesn’t know Pepper is actually broke which makes the moment he asks her to fund his show — after she already committed to letting him use her warehouse space and inviting all of her press contacts — really awkward. I’m just going to say it: Jorge was A LOT this episode. 

Alyssa: You’re right and you should say it. I love Jorge and I am rooting for him, but when people were getting up and leaving his one-man show and muttering “self-indulgent,” I didn’t blame them. Katy and KO also had a moment to catch up a little before the show began, and he encouraged her to make Patricia’s dress (without the knowledge that she hooked up with Errol) and he joked that when he saw Katy trying on wedding rings with Errol, he thought that they would eventually date. That is one insightful meathead! Katy returns home to work on Jorge’s costumes, and lo and behold, the prince is waiting for her outside her apartment. He explains that he was bullied into staying with Patricia because ending things so close to the wedding would cause a scandal. This explanation seems off to me because isn’t Patricia a commoner that they weren’t really on board with in the first place? Anyway, he tells Katy that he wants to be with her and he will completely blow off Patricia and his family if she wants him to. Security, we’ve got a Stage 5 Clinger.

Jessica: If Katy was ever on the fence about Errol, this should’ve tipped her to the “Steer Clear Girl” side. Dude is quick to chuck his fiance for a shopgirl he’s hung out with a couple of times, max. Also, after seeing Prince Harry give up his royal titles for his queen, Meghan, I don’t want to hear Errol’s whining about duty and familial obligation. Just admit you’re a well-dressed garbage heap and move on man. Katy’s clearly not into him but the whole interaction — plus a well-timed spider infestation — really has her on edge. 


The Show Must Go On

Alyssa: Finding the spider in their apartment did lead to a fun musical number, but Jorge is in for some bad news: They didn’t get a single investor after their little review. However, Pepper is at her scamming peak, and she managed to get both Alex and Xandra Cabot on board. She told Alex that Josie could play the Spider Woman to Jorge’s Molina instead of Jorge playing both parts, and she told Xandra that she could play the Spider Woman in case the show makes it to Broadway. What a tangled web she weaves! Jorge is not impressed. He is upset that he doesn’t get to play Molina and the Spider Woman because he wants to show his dad his Ginger Lopez side. Katy and Francois do their musical best to show Jorge that Molina is a plum role too, and Jorge seems to get on board. For now. However, when he invites his parents to the show, his mom warns him that his dad isn’t ready for Ginger just yet.

Jessica: Personally, I think Jorge should be falling on his knees at Pepper’s feet for securing investment into this little passion project. Katy does too, which is why she points out how much Jorge loved Molina, the male role of the play, when he was younger. I get wanting to introduce your dad to Ginger but, hear me out, maybe springing it on him with a Broadway musical playing to a packed audience isn’t the best way to do that? Why can’t people just sit down and talk to each other on this show instead of making everything such a production? At least we get a little musical number from Jorge’s mother who continues to be the absolute best, assuring Jorge once again that she’s proud of him — this boy really needs constant self-esteem boosts doesn’t he? — and warning him of attacks on queer members in their neighborhood. He brushes it off so easily, you just know it’s going to come back at some point. 

Alyssa: Oh, to be able to leave the house. #justCOVIDthings Katy is actively trying to sink her pitch to Patricia, showing her an incredibly simple (a.k.a. boring) design and talking down her talents. Patricia is a little taken aback by what Katy’s prepared, and she assures her that she knows that Katy can handle the project. I really hope they don’t try and push Errol as a viable love interest for Katy because Patricia is so nice and doesn’t deserve any of this. Katy attempts the dress again, but this time she hallucinates Patricia dressed as the Spider Woman haunting her steps. The fact that Errol sent her flowers and a note telling her how much he misses her certainly doesn’t help things either. She goes to Gloria and tells her all about her guilt and what happened with the Prince, and Gloria essentially calls her a huge baby and tells her to suck it up and not derail her career. Katy handles this advice by going home and ripping the dress to shreds. Get it together, Katy!

Jessica: The drama is infecting everyone this episode. Luckily, Francois stops by to speak some sense into his employee which is how Katy ends up tapping Guy (remember him?) to help with her dilemma. He’s currently building his eighth-floor experience so, you know, he has loads of time to design a royal wedding dress. Patricia loves the new concept and Katy comes clean that Guy is the one who made it. She’s talented, but Patricia needs an experienced eye if she’s going to marry into this uppity family full of liars — the biggest being her husband-to-be. Look, I know this isn’t the most important thing to happen this episode but I would not mind if Katy and Guy hooked up. There’s chemistry and a bit of sexual tension. Plus, he’s a bad boy with teddy-bear-soft center which always blows my TV ship sails. 


Opening Night

Alyssa: I strongly agree. Out of all of the romantic possibilities that "Katy Keene" has presented us with for our heroine, her chemistry and rapport is waaaay more interesting than the others. KO is sweet, but he feels like her past. Errol is a prince, but despite the jawline, he’s not making a great case for himself lately. Guy? Guy is fun. Guy is tall. Guy gets her work. Guy is down to go see Jorge’s Kiss of the Spider Woman not in an attempt to suck up to Katy and get in her pants, but because he’s genuinely intrigued by her costuming. Consider me Team Guy. Katy arrives at the show, and luckily Josie and Jorge have figured out their conflict: They’re both playing the Spider Woman. I will admit that I’m not familiar with this particular musical, but it seemed like they were only an arachnid duo for the final scene. Either way, Jorge got the chance to be in drag in front of his dad.

Jessica: Yeah, I’m clueless about this entire show but it seemed to work when Josie and Jorge shared the stage. Did he throw a complete tantrum about not being the Spider Woman for a bit, sure, but they sounded great together and everyone seemed happy in the end so … win-win? Even dad was cheering along which is why I can’t understand where the show is taking this particular family squabble. They could really dive into the complicated family dynamics when it comes to queer representation, having Jorge and his dad really dig into their issues with each other, but instead, we get a quick scene that makes us think all’s well and in the next, we see Jorge’s dad say something completely insensitive and instead of confronting or correcting him, Jorge just dejectedly takes it?? I … don’t get it. 

Alyssa: I’m glad that Jorge’s hunky boyfriend was back to gently defend him to his dad, because yeah, the moment when Dad said that he liked seeing Jorge kiss Josie and immediately asking him to take off his costume was a slap in the face. I think Jorge had built up how this was going to go in his mind, but his mom was right. I wanted to give Jorge a hug despite his diva antics earlier in the episode because the realization that our parents aren’t as evolved as we would like always hurts like hell. Some people had an unequivocally good night, though. Josie was approached by a booker from the Apollo about doing a show of her own music, and Guy asked Katy to be his apprentice on his new line. While things haven’t gone very well for Katy when she mixes business and pleasure in the past, I am at least hoping for some delicious tension between these two. However, what we really need to talk about is how this episode ended. Easily the darkest moment on an otherwise very sunny show.

Jessica: Finally, some stakes! Look, I don’t want to see violence, especially violence against the LGBTQ community, on TV just for the sake of plot but I do think the characters on this show need to face reality a bit more. If your biggest problem is whether to design a wedding dress for a soon-to-be-princess or not, or that your EP listening party didn’t get you an immediate contract offer, your show is a bit too detached from the real world. There’s fantasy, and then there’s an outright delusion. Still, I’m nervous for Jorge and how they handle this situation. What purpose will it serve? Will it be true to real experiences of harassment and violence that queer individuals face every day? The hopes are staying low until next week for me. 


What’s Next

Alyssa: I’m a little torn over this. Like, I want stakes, but it feels pretty awful that the first character to get truly punished is one of the openly queer ones. Katy and Jorge are similarly dramatic and self-centered, but Katy gets to be wooed by a Prince and Jorge gets harassed in the street. I understand that life is not at all the same for a straight white girl and a Latinx gay man therefore the things that are thrown their way are going to be … different. Speaking from experience, it’s pretty goddamn easy to be a straight white girl in the grand scheme of things, so I hope the show grapples with that. I don’t want the violence against Jorge to be just for cheap shock value.

Jessica: How refreshing would it be if a straight white woman had to suffer for once? I mean, I know women, in general, suffer but we rarely explore the trauma of women of color and of the LGBTQ community in meaningful ways. White women get to grapple with how abuse and harassment affect them, at least on television. Minorities just aren’t offered that same privilege. So yes, I want Jorge to come out of this stronger than before, but it’s tough to see how the show plans to do that without exploiting his queerness and Latinx background. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.