Sound the alarms! I’m not sure which of the seven signs of the apocalypse this is, but it certainly must be one of them; in the season finale of “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Zoe actually bursts into tears — and not because the latest Chanel collection was totally maj. No, she weeps because she loves her little family of worker bees so darn much. And her kid. Possibly her husband, but we’ll get to that in a moment. All we really needed to finish off this sugary sweet episode was the residents of Whoville joining hands and singing around a Christmas tree. But unlike a tale from Dr. Seuss, this was both heartwarming and a little weird. If Rachel Zoe can be melted into a big puddle of goo by post-partum hormones, is no heartless fashionista safe?
Of course, our dogged little stylist/designer isn’t wearing mom jeans and scheduling play dates just yet. Zoe and her husband happily float in a bubble of domestic bliss at the beginning of the episode, and there’s no doubting that the woman who spent previous episodes acting about as enthusiastic about giving birth as she would be about having a tumor removed has been transformed. She loves her little boy, although I’m not sure she fully understands that the quiet, sleepy little newborn she has is not going to stay quiet or sleepy for long. “I think I have it all figured out,” she announces to the camera. “I’m just going to take Skyler with me everywhere.” Knowing that Zoe has a very, very deadpan sense of humor, she could be joking. Somehow, I doubt it. I can only imagine this first blush of baby love fading the minute her precious little bundle has a poopy diaper blow-out that spatters baby feces all over a vintage Halston, but we’ll just have to wait.
Still, you have to admire her sudden devotion to motherhood. She takes her baby to the first photo shoot for her collection, which is ultimately run by her second-in-command, Mandana. While Zoe weighs in with comments here and there, her mind is clearly on her baby boo’s latest burp. So it’s probably a good thing when Mandana sees an opportunity to bring the recently fired Jeremiah back into the fold to design a Rachel Zoe store-in-store experience for Bloomingdales. With Zoe operating at half speed, this team needs all the help it can get.
Of course, you can take the girl out of the office but you can’t completely take the office out of the girl. When it’s time to tell little Skyler a bedtime story, Zoe trills about a little prince who “loves to wear beautiful clothes all the time. He loves Ralph Lauren, he loves Missoni, he loves Stella McCartney…” You get the idea. Later, she gushes that her new little guy is “like my live doll” and clearly relishes the opportunity to dress him in head to toe labels until he’s old enough to stand up to her. Rodger clearly hopes this is sooner rather than later, and I can’t blame him. I’m with Rodger — his wife seems determined to dress up the kid like a tiny, very wealthy transsexual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But this episode isn’t so much about Zoe’s transformation, which would probably become gag-induxing in larger doses. It’s mostly about how Jeremiah doggedly keeps working for Zoe despite having been canned, whether they need a nursery (last episode) or that store-in-store at Bloomie’s. You have to admire his willingness to tuck his tail between his legs, put on a happy face, and do whatever needs to be done, even if that includes figuring out where to put the diaper wipe warmer. When Rodger finally accepts that Jeremiah might actually be useful after Bloomingdale’s signs on for eight store-in-stores when Zoe was hoping for two, it’s a testament to hard work paying off, and how often does that happen on reality TV?
Speaking of Rodger, his part on the finale seems to have been downgraded from “voice of reason” (his role for most of the season) to “petulant man child.” He poutily demands that Zoe make him a sandwich, complaining that she no longer cares what he eats. When she amazingly concedes instead of throwing a toaster at him, he then complains when she yelps at having burned herself. Apparently he thinks buying an enormous diamond for his wife as her reward for carting a baby around for nine months, then pushing it through a smallish opening, gives him carte blanche to be a whiner. For the record, it really doesn’t — especially if he bought that diamond using her money in the first place. Plus, I find it hard to believe that anyone in this family needs to cook an anything, by the way. Don’t they have minions for that?
But all’s well that ends well, and this season ends very well as Zoe gushes that the past year has been the best of her life, though the kid is just part of it. She also dressed her biggest Oscars ever! Yes, Rachel Zoe is still Rachel Zoe. As she coos over her baby, whispering, “He’s so maj,” I have to wonder if this big, goopy lovefest will continue next season — or if Skyler will fade into the background like Rachel’s kid on “Friends.”