Mrs. Mangel gets her first look at Helen's portrait…
… and she's appalled with the “hideous” and “monstrous” creation! With good reason I guess, Helen has elongated Mrs. Mangel's neck to look like a giraffe. Helen tries to explain that she took artistic license to see Mrs. Mangel's character, but Mrs. Mangel snottily quips that Helen had better get new glasses – pronto. Jim and Rob walk into the lounge and Rob immediately starts cackling at the painting. Jim tries to save face and calls the portrait “regal”, but Mrs. Mangel doesn't care for his assessment and bans Helen from ever putting it on display.
Madge and Henry squabble about money until Henry clocks a fancy-looking woman enter the bar. Wanting to try out his charms, Henry saunters over (with Craig McLachlan nearly knocking a barstool down on the way), starts a conversation, finds out she's American and scores himself a drinking companion. Henry rushes back to the bar to get Miss USA a “slow gin fizz”, much to grumbly Madge's disapproval.
Mrs. Mangel is threatening to make the painting into kindling, so Helen embarks in a tug-of-war to save her art from the scrap heap. Jim tries to placate Mrs. Mangel, reminding her that Helen technically owns the portrait – but Mrs. Mangel will have none of that. She eventually leaves in a huff, throwing about threats of lawyers and injunctions. Rob's ecstatic he didn't miss Mrs. Mangel having an art attack, but Helen thinks she could have gotten through to her if Rob didn't act so gleeful. Rob leaves Helen and Jim in peace to get an update from Paul about their business deal.
Henry has cranked up the ‘Mr. Smooth 3000' charm machine and is flirting his mullet off with Miss USA. He notes her ‘C' necklace and tries to guess her name (please God don't let it be Carly…). He finally discovers that it's Christine.
HENRY: That's a relief. I don't know that I could have handled Chrysanthemum.
Eileen flies in to check out Madge's engagement ring, and comments on Henry's lady friend. Madge tries to pass Christine off as an old family friend, deftly changing the subject to Mrs. Mangel and how she has her nose out of joint about Harold's proposal. Christine appears to buy Henry a beer, and confirms Eileen's private suspicions by asking Henry his name and proving that she ain't no family friend! Christine leaves to do work-related things and Henry looks smitten.
Helen and Jim are staring at the portrait. Helen thinks she should paint another one, to prove that she has a range of styles. The doorbell rings and Miss USA appears – for she is Helen's art agent (whom Helen thought was a bloke called ‘Chris'). Helen squirms about how nervous she us, but Christine thinks that she has nothing to worry about. Obviously Christine hasn't had the delight of meeting Nell Mangel.
Mrs. Mangel is in a flap about a strike that happened recently at Lassiter's, and Eileen is trying to soothe her inner-whinger. They soon get on to talking about the portrait, and Mrs. Mangel moans about it looking like an “abomination”. Eileen gets in some goss of her own, letting Mrs. Mangel know that Henry is ‘scandalously' trying to fix up his debt by picking up well-to-do women in the bar. Mrs. Mangel is delighted – this is a 10 on her gossip-o-meter!
Christine passes on a painting of Helen's that she got from a man in the States called Gerard – he wants Helen to finish it. Christine then peruses Helen's portrait and finds out that the subject of the painting doesn't like it – but Christine thinks that Helen should exhibit it anyway. She likens Mrs. Mangel's appearance to that of a pioneer-woman, and suggests that Helen title it “Pioneering Spirit”. Oh, Mrs. Mangel would be so down with that…
Henry tries to sweet-talk Madge into ironing his clothes, but Madge is too busy glad-wrapping sandwiches and wearing ugly aprons. Grinning, Henry reminds his mum that he's got to look sharp for his date with Miss USA. Madge is appalled that her son has picked up a woman at the bar and gives him a clip across the head for good measure. But Henry is too busy swooning over the fun date he's going to have.
Art talk abounds as Christine lets Helen and Jim know that her main business aim is to get a collection of Australian contemporary art to show in the States. And she's keen to include some of Helen's work – all Christine needs is a photo of the portrait. Since there's a rule in place that you can't take photos in the gallery, they agree to get a few happy snaps of it in Christine's hotel room (which is on the way).
Oh dear – I haven't actually seen this episode before but I smell a misunderstanding coming on that involves Henry, no shirt and misguided kinky ideas…
Paul likes Rob's business proposal but he wants to include car cleaning and detailing for his clientele as well. Rob's a bit unsure that he can handle the extra workload, but when Paul is tempted to look for business elsewhere, Rob says that he can make it happen. They talk about Paul's lunch with Gail and how protective dad Rob is warming more to the idea of his daughter dating Paul. “You're not so full of yourself as I thought,” Rob grins.
1987 PAUL: (takes that slight on the chin)
2006 PAUL: (may have burnt Rob's garage down just to spite him)
Rob exits and Mrs. Mangel enters, asking for some time off from work to attend the art show. It's imperative that she prevents Helen's portrait from going on display! The music of slightly comic doom starts up as Paul tells Mrs. Mangel that he can't allow it, and advises her not to do anything that will upset his grandmother.
Mrs. Mangel exits and has a ‘Days Of Our Lives stare into space and talk to yourself alone' moment.
MRS MANGEL: (sinister) Not if I can help it Mr. Robinson…
Christine and Helen struggle to get the portrait out of the boot, until BigStrongHenry comes along to save the day. Helen's curious about the ‘sexy' vibe jiving between Henry and Christine, but leaves them to have a chat with Paul at the office. Mrs. Mangel gives Mullet Man and Miss USA a withering look as they pass her exiting the hotel, before she rushes to catch up with Helen.
MRS MANGEL: You've obviously got your whole family ganging up on me, but don't count your chickens. You're not going to exhibit my portrait.
HELEN: (determined) Just try and stop me…
Ooh, it's like a standoff in a western!
Christine's Hotel Room
Photo equipment lying around while Henry's in the room? Check.
Christine finishes up taking her photos of the portrait, and then decides she needs a shower to freshen up. She invites Henry to stay in the room and enjoy some champagne while she does so, thinking that Helen will be up to collect them sometime soon. Henry opens the tiny mini-bar champers and manages to spill it all over himself like a klutz.
Opportunity for Henry to get his shirt off? Check.
Christine offers to dry it with her hairdryer, so Henry bashfully disrobes while Christine gazes at his torso.
CHRISTINE: (smiling) Won't be long. Help yourself to the champagne… FEEL FREE TO SPILL IT ON YOUR TROUSERS, YO!
Mrs. Mangel greets a guest who looks like a used car salesman crossed with Mr. Burns' long-lost son on The Simpsons. He is, of course, the American husband of Christine and is here to see his lovely lady-wife. Mrs. Mangel gets her calculating face on and reports that Christine and her “friend” went up to her hotel room a short time ago. Dennis (the hubby) is thrown to learn that the “friend” is a “he” and storms inside to see what shenanigans are going on.
Christine's Hotel Room
Christine walks out in her towel while Henry lounges about, shirtless, on the bed with champers. Oh, and don't forget the photography equipment that is lying around that gives whole room a distinct ‘Boogie Nights' feel.
I don't know about you, but I feel like I can nearly check off point three on my guesstimation list…
Christine walks back into the bathroom just as Dennis appears, all mad and snarly at Henry and even more irate at Christine. Henry sits there, quite aptly looking like a stunned mullet.
Misguided kinky ideas? Check.