Episode 17

Merci: EcoModa continues to be fantastic! Today was extremely funny. After Betty and Armando my favorite couple has to be: Mario and Armando! Incredibly, THREE days passed in one single episode… What continues to be terrible are the vaunted “advances” (teasers for the next episode) - they have NOTHING to do with the actual story. Today there weren’t any teasers since I believe there won’t be a show next Sunday due to it being Easter.

Mario opens the door to Armando’s office, sits down in front of the computer, inserts a diskette and opens the Oracle of the Goddesses. Gabriela opens the door and asks, Since he has a virtual girlfriend, has he forgotten what real women are like? He replies that she should help him remember. She tells him he not only has a problem with taste, but also with memory. Did he forget their night of love in Buenos Aires? Mario says no, he well remembers the cold of her body from head to toe. Gabriela asks if he forgot they have an appointment [Beth: note: the word used here, “cita,” can be used either as in a business appointment, or as in a romantic date. as i’m sure you can guess, Gabriela means the former while our boy Dimples the Snake pretends to understand the latter…]. He says yes, but gets choked up… She nearly shouts at him that the date is with a customs agent! They have to leave immediately and he doesn’t have a chance to save the Oracle on his diskette. Gabriela hurries him because they are already late. While Gabriela pushes the button for the elevator, Mario goes to Sandra and asks her to go to Armando’s office, save the file on the diskette, and turn off the computer for him - and all before Betty finds out. She asks him what she should do with his diskette and he tells her he will stop by her house to pick it up that night. She gives him her address and Mario leaves with Gabriela. Aura María asks Sandra if Mario is going to stop by the apartment and Sandra tells her yes. Just then Kenneth comes by and asks Aura María if she wants to go out to dinner with him that night since he’s discovered a new place. She asks him if it has to be precisely that night and he says yes. The problem is, they have a [Tarot] reading with Mariana that night and she can’t go out. Kenneth says it’ll have to be some other time, then, and he takes his leave of Aura María [Merci: Wow, how loyal of Aura María to not stand up her girlfriends].

They didn’t show this next scene in the United States…

Sandra: Copy, don’t look, don’t read. Yes, I got it already.

Armando : Well, doctora, I am going crazy, doctora. Let’s head for home, shall we? or here in the office…

Sandra: Ay, please excuse me. It’s just that doctor Mario Calderón had me copy a diskette, some information he’s going to pick up from me tonight at my house.

Armando : Get away, get away, get away, get away, get away from there, man! Fly away fast.

Betty: How is this that Mario Calderón is going to go to your house?

Sandra: Yes, it’s just that he won’t have a chance to pick up the diskette here and it’s easier for him to get it from my house. Excuse me.

Sandra: Just imagine - tonight we have a card reading at the house. Because, according to Mariana, tonight at 9p the conditions are optimal for romantic forecasts for this year. Yes, because the stars are crossed and because they form a cosmic cross and I don’t know what all else.

Betty: Ay, how wonderful! It’s been a while since Mariana read my cards. But she will know things…

Sandra: But Betty, what else can you want from life? Because anything it had to give you it already has, right? Remember, my girl. Remember that Mariana told you you were going to meet a wonderful man. Ay! and that you would fall in love with him.

Betty: Yes, that’s true. And she was spot-on.

Sandra : What card did you get?

We see Mario arrive outside Mariana, Sandra and Aura María’s house in his BMW. They (the women) are all inside in their pajamas [Merci: Sandra’s is really more like a “baby doll” - a sexy, short, negligée- and those of the others are very pretty too]. They are in the middle of the card reading when doing some sensual exercises [Beth: “sensual exercises”?? i rather wish i’d seen this part, just so i’d know what she’s talking about…]… Mario knocks at the door and Jimmy goes running to answer [Beth: i don’t know, but i’m guessing that Jimmy is Aura María’s son]. Sandra says it was so late she figured Mario wasn’t coming after all. All three get very nervous. Mario asks for Sandra, and Jimmy [Merci: who has grown a lot and is still styling his hair the same way Freddy does his] tells him she’s inside with his mother and Mariana. Mario says he’s sorry to interrupt; they try [Merci: but not very hard] to look modest - Sandra is showing all to her boss!! Mario says not to worry, they’re like family [Merci: …and obviously he’s really enjoying getting a good look at Sandra]. Sandra hands him the diskette, Mario says that, just like in the movies, he “knows the way out,” ciao, ciao, and he heads back the way he came. Mariana says they have to consider cosmic energy while Aura María sends Jimmy to bed.

Mariana and Aura María comment to Sandra about the looks Mario was giving her. Sandra says he wouldn’t look at her even if she were to stretch herself naked across the desk. Outside, Mario is thinking about how he’d never before noticed how sexy Sandra is… He gets back out of his car and starts to look at the women through the window. They continue with their exercises… Mario says, By all the goddesses in the Oracle! he can’tbelieve what he’s seeing. Sandra asks Mariana if the card she got is a good one and Mariana tells her yes [Merci: It should be remembered that Mariana is always dead on…]. Without Aura María’s being aware of it, Jimmy has sneaked into the bathroom to spy on the women, but she notices at last and berates him. Mario thinks she’s yelling at him and leaves. Jimmy says, Until tomorrow, witches! Mario cannot believe he’s had Sandra right in front of him all this time - he can’t let this pass him by…

In the morning, Aura María, Bertha, and Sofía are talking about the card reading. Sofía wants to know if they predict a boyfriend for her as well… The elevator doors open and the handsome scoundrel -better known as Mario Calderón- steps out and greets all the women, most especially Sandra, giving her one of those little looks he has. Just then he starts to daydream and we again see Sandra in her attire of the previous night, asking him if there is anything he needs. He wakes up and realizes where he is, and asks if Armando has arrived yet. She says he has, he’s in his office.

Armando is sitting at his desk, virtuously working. Mario throws himself on the sofa and says: My God! she’s a hottie! Armando asks who he’s talking about, and Mario tells him about Sandra and the ‘baby doll.’ Armando asks him, Which Sandra, to which Mario replies “Sandra Patiño, she’s great.” Armando asks him to please get to work, saying Mario suffers from idleness. Mario tells him they’ve been living a lie, they never saw the equal of legs like Sandra’s, that he saw her in a ‘baby doll’… Armando mocks him, saying in a bored tone, Oh, I’m so excited… Mario calls Sandra on the phone and asks her to come to the office - then starts to throw various catalogs Armando has on his desk onto the floor. Armando asks him if he had clown soup for breakfast… Sandra enters and asks Mario if he wanted to see her. Mario replies yes, literally. He tells her he is looking for something he can’t find and he needs it for a plan. Armando clarifies that it’s Calderón’s plan, not his. Sandra starts searching in some file drawers as Mario ‘eats her with his eyes’ and, using gestures, asks Armando what he thinks. Armando moves his hand as if to say ‘so-so,’ but is clearly not very interested in the little game. Sandra looks at them and Armando plays with his wedding ring as if trying to take it off or something to cover up. Mario tells Sandra to try the lower drawer, and continues ‘eating her with his eyes.’ She tells him the files are all empty. Mario says not to worry about it, then remarks on the mess of things on the floor and starts to pick them up, but Sandra tells him not to do that, she’ll pick them up. And the fink Mario is so delighted… He tells her not to worry, about it and she leaves. Mario asks Armando if he got a good look. Armando continues not to have much to say [Merci: look how well that Armando Mendoza is behaving, right?]. But at last he admits that yes, yes he saw it. Mario is overcome and thanks him - saying he knew Armando would not fail him with an analysis. Then he starts to kiss him [Merci: but he kisses Armando’s hand rather than his face]. Armando, revolted, states that if Mario should ever touch him again, he’ll kill him!

The Cartel minus Inesita is looking at Aura María’s computer, checking out a singles club. Natasha is behind them with a look on her face like she’s going to rat them out to the bosses [rat-fink]. The elevator doors open and Kenneth and Gabriela get off. So Natasha, in her best “repressed-despot” tone [Beth: Merci’s phrase! LOL!], starts to berate the Cartel for using the internet for personal things. She then comments on the same thing to Kenneth in English. The Cartel wants to know what’s going on and they don’t understand anything of what the idiot’s saying in English. Gabriela [Merci: who in truth is fantastic] tells Natasha that as long as she (Natasha) doesn’t use the internet for personal reasons she doesn’t have any reason to concern herself about what the Ecomoda employees do [Merci: ouch!]. What’s more, Gabriela seems to be interested in the singles club [Merci: yes, please - so she doesn’t even think about Armando ever again!]. She and Kenneth ask the Cartel about the singles club and they explain. The elevator doors open again and Betty comes out. She greets everyone and asks Aura María and Sandra to come to her office.

Very seriously Betty asks them, What happened? I want a detailed report, of EVERYthing that transpired… during the card reading! Aura María tells her she scared them with that tone of voice… She then recounts that she got the Hope card, but doesn’t know if it has to do with that slippery guy Freddy. She wants something for Delivery NOW! Sandra says that maybe it’s “Don Kenneth.” Betty asks what Mariana got and they tell her she got something about a priestess with extrasensory powers. Sandra got the Passion card, explains Aura María -and how! Today is the most sensual day of the year for her. Betty reminds them that Mariana is really spot-on with her readings [Merci: if she only knew…]. Sandra says that this is all well and good, but where is she going to find the gallant? Betty tells her he could turn up at any moment, especially given how pretty Sandra’s been lately. Sandra says that men had better start taking note!

Armando, with a worried look, asks Mario about his plans for that night. Mario says he is going to pay homage to his secretary. Armando tells him not to dare - that as his “other ex-girlfriend” Blondie-Barbie used to say [Merci: and he says this with a dead-on impersonation of Patricia Fernández!], you are a SCOUNDRRRRREL! Mario tells him that Sandra is like an endless summer: She’s never had a boyfriend [Beth: huh?? i wouldn’t have thought virgins were Mario’s type…]. What will happen with this prodigy? Armando is scandalized - What? Is Mario now the savior of the souls, the redeemer, the preacher? He states that under no circumstances is Mario to mess with Sandra. It’s already bad enough that he made a mess with Aura María, who is a friend of Sandra’s -at which Mario puts on a sad face and says that that was SO tasty! Armando says what it was, was a scandal. He continues, adding that Mario is the Monster of the ‘manfores’ [Beth: Merci isn’t sure she heard this word correctly, and i didn’t hear it at all so…], a cradle-robber, a slimeball…. He reiterates that Mario is NOT to get involved with Sandra because he, Armando, doesn’t want more problems - Sandra is an employee, a member of the Cartel, a friend of his wife’s, and all of Mario’s disasters end up hurting him (Armando) [Merci: Armandito’s eyes have been opened!]… Mario tells him it’s not that he likes Sandra, it’s that he likes certain “components.” Armando sneers and says that if it’s components he likes, he should become an electronic engineer. Or he should look up one of the 3,000 women in the Oracle… Mario replies that there’s an iceberg that interests him (Gabriela) -him, with a Titanic soul!

Gabriela is in her office looking at an online singles club when Mario surprises her with a Hello, my love! He tells her he’s got the evening free and invites her to go out. She says she can’t, this is her evening free to give herself a massage, and their available evenings don’t coincide. So Mario tells her she’s in luck because he has the next night free as well. She replies, Maybe in some other lifetime. He persists and says that in 36 hours they have a date.

Outside, Mario asks Freddy to continue telling a joke about a stewardess but loses interest when he sees Armando emerge with Betty en route to the elevator. Armando asks Betty, Will you excuse me for a moment, my love? Freddy thinks he’s talking to him [interrupting his story], but Armando tells him he was talking to Betty. Armando asks Mario what he’s going to do and tells him to be very careful. Betty tells Armando that the elevator’s arrived… Mario says goodbye to Armando: Goodbye, lover-boy. Mario asks Natasha if she knows where Sandra went. She tells him Sandra’s in the ladies’ room and Mario tells her to go look for her.

The Cartel is in the ladies’ room where, except for Bertha and Inesita, they are getting ready to go out. Sandra says she is nervous. Inesita, as usual, is horrified they are going out on the prowl for guys. At this, Natasha enters and says, “Sandrita, my dear, Doctor Calderón needs you.” [Beth: as mentioned in previous summaries, although the Cartel all uses the so-called “formal” form of you -“Usted”- when addressing each other, Natasha uses the “informal,” or “tú,” when addressing Sandra here, as i believe she routinely does toward all the Cartel. to me this is another clue -as if we needed one!!- that Natasha is NOT a Nice Person…]. Sandra asks her what for, but she only replies: Get a move on already, and see….

Mario is face-down on the sofa looking for a diskette when Sandra enters and asks what he needs. He tells her a tragic story of how he erased some very important information from a diskette and he needs Sandra to redo it. She says she’ll happily do it in the morning. He tells her he’s sorry, but he needs to e.mail the information first thing in the morning (8am). Such a good guy, he tells her he’ll stay with her and help out. Sandra is really sad at having her plans for going out with her friends ruined and tells him she’s going to the ladies’ room but will be right back. Mario says to himself: I’m such a bad man! No - but I am good!

In the ladies’ room, Inesita is criticizing the length (or lack thereof) of Aura María’s skirt… Sandra enters, tearfully sits down, and relates to her friends how she can’t go out with them and why. Good-bye to her night of passion! Sofía tells her not to ‘drown in a glass of water,’ someone will just have to take Sandra’s place [working late with Mario]. Inesita says she can’t; neither can Aura María; even less likely is Mariana; Sofía can’t either. Nor can Bertha, because she has to go take care of her “gorditos” (little fatties, i.e., her kids). Sandra says it’ll just have be some other time. Mariana replies that that will be in 150 years! Yes, this will happen again when Mario has another attack of responsibility!! Inesita tells Sandra not to worry, that there are still men out there who like pure and chaste women. Aura María says that may be true -in fairy tales… Sofía then states that they shouldn’t worry; the most likely thing is that Calderón won’t stay past 10pm, after which Sandra can leave and meet up with them - problem solved. She shouldn’t worry, just get the job over with and they’ll wait for her at the club. Since Mario doesn’t work during the day, he won’t work very late at night either… Sandra knows that that night she will meet her gallant and she asks her friends to please wait for her… [Beth: i’m sure we can all see what’s coming… poor girl! little does she know how right, and yet how very wrong, Mariana’s prediction about the ‘gallant’ will prove to be!]

Mario asks Natasha if everyone else has gone. She tells him yes, and that Kenneth and Gabriela are about to leave as well. She tells him ‘See you tomorrow,’ and heads off. Sandra approaches and Mario asks her to go into Armando’s office. The rest of the Cartel gives him looks that could kill. Mario shuts the door as Sandra is collecting things as if to take them with her to her desk to work on them. Mario tells her they’re going to work there, in Armando’s office. She sits down and starts to write rapidly, explaining to him as she does that she has a date with her friends. Mario says that since she’s in a hurry, she should be sure do things slowly and calmly to ensure they get done properly. Then he asks if she would like to join him in a glass of whiskey. She says no, she doesn’t drink - alcohol doesn’t agree with her. He tells her she can’t be so discourteous to him. He adds that he’s going to stay with her, help her with the work, but she needs to help him [by joining him in] a little toast. She accepts and they toast. Mario says, “To you!” [for the record, Mario uses Usted with her]. Sandra tosses it all off in one swallow and coughs… She says to Mario that it was “kindof strong.” Mario tells her that always happens with the first, but the second is a lot smoother.

At the club, Sofía, Aura María are complaining about that scoundrel Calderón. They tell Aura María to call Sandra but she is stupefied, staring at this super hottie -who turns out to be gay! How frustrating! Aura María says that at least the rest must admit he’s gorgeous. Mariana gets up to call Sandra while Sofía remarks on the “abundance of scarcity…” [Beth: i like that, ‘abundance of scarcity!’ i’ll have to remember that…!]

Mario offers Sandra another drink. She tells him no because even the numbers are talking to her now. The phone rings and Mario answers it: “EcoModa.” He hands it to Sandra so she can say hello to Mariana (Sandra’s already tipsy from the whiskey). Sandra tells Mariana she’s running really late and it’s making her sleepy. She’ll see them all at home. Mario, the sly thing, asks Sandra if she decided to cancel her date because of him. She tells him the most important thing is to get the work finished so that Mario doesn’t get into trouble. Mario tells her she seems a little tense and starts to massage her neck [Beth: aaaahhhhh…. a neck massage….! just what i need right now! even if it were being given to me by a snake like our boy Dimples]. Sandra asks him what he’s doing and he says it’s something they do in Japan, and he kisses her neck!! She tells him, Ay, no, no, no! She can’t work like this, don’t do that… But it’s too late: The lion hidden within the bachelorette giraffe is loose [Beth: remember, Sandra’s nickname is “La Jirafa” - The Giraffe]! She takes off her glasses and says to Mario, “I warned you, Doctor!” And throws him back on the sofa and starts to kiss him, and our playboy Mario doesn’t know what to do with this too-spirited woman.

Gabriela is leaving her office, speaking on her cel phone, when she hears the ruckus being made by Sandra and Mario -and she goes running to get on the elevator! We see Mario emerge from Armando’s office, nearly naked, and Sandra as well, with Mario’s belt in her hand. Sandra says, I’m sorry, Doctor! Mario tells her he has to go. Sandra repeats, Ay, Doctor, I’m sorry! What must you be thinking of me!! He tells her she cannot breathe a word of this to ANYbody… He’s desperate to get out of there, while Sandra tells him he’s forgetting his belt… Oh, yes, and a shoe as well. She holds it out and he takes it from her. She asks him if he isn’t going to give her a kiss - Mario says she has to let him leave because he’s her boss [Merci: ha ha! NOW he’s her boss!]. The elevator doors close and Sandra says, At last I have a boyfriend!

The next morning, Sandra enters Betty’s office and greets her. Betty says she doesn’t have a lot of time, but she wants to hear how things went for Sandra the night before. Sandra tells her she thinks that the Betty and Armando history is going to repeat itself. She met a divine man, who, just like the pre-Betty Armando, is “a bit of a womanizer.” He treated her really well, but she’s not going to say who he is until the miracle “crystallizes…” She asks Betty to keep it just between the two of them. Just then Bertha enters to ask Betty to sign some papers and comments on how Mario made Sandra stay late to work. Hearing this, Betty of course realizes that the “so divine” man Sandra doesn’t want to name is Mario Calderón. [After Bertha leaves,] Sandra admits it and insists that the ‘miracle’ can repeat itself, but that she swore to Mario she wouldn’t say anything to anyone - least of all to Betty. He’ll kill her if he finds out [she told Betty], plus he knows Betty would kill him. Betty tells Sandra that she doesn’t think it’s a good idea… Sandra replies that if Betty could change Armando, who’s to say she [Sandra] can’t do the same with Mario? Betty tells Sandra the only thing she’s going to say on the subject is that THAT guy isn’t Armando Mendoza, and for Sandra not to get her hopes up… Sandra points out that she has a right to take that risk, then thanks Betty and asks her to just give her the chance… [Beth: Ay, Sandra… i would listen to Betty’s advice if i were you…]

Mariana and Aura María are looking at the singles club web-page when Sandra comes out of Betty’s office. Mario arrives and, as could be expected, greets Sandra very coldly. Unfazed, she sits down at her desk with her head in the clouds. Mario goes into Armando’s office and greets him saying, “My dear Colombian Tiger.” Armando asks him what he did the night before but Mario evades the question by saying they have to focus on today. He tells Armando he has a date with Gabriela. In a Mexican accent, Armando says, “Boys like avocados.” [Beth: remember, Gabriela is Mexican, and the word used for “Boys,” -“Chamacos”- is a Mexican word, so i’m guessing this is a Mexican saying. i’ve translated it literally as i have no idea what it means… maybe something to do with hearts of stone??]. Also using a Mexican accent, Mario replies that it wasn’t easy. But if he should manage to get anywhere with Gabriela that night, he would devote himself only to her. Armando says if that happens, he will make Mario a present of all his stock in EcoModa. Mario tells Armando not to complain when he has to ask him for work…

Later Sandra enters Armando’s office (Armando has left) and asks Mario how he is. He tells her he needs his correspondence. She says, “Mario, I wanted to tell you that what happened last night was very marvelous” [Beth: “Tú” alert: Sandra uses the ‘“tú” form here, not “Usted.” in this case, however, it would imply intimacy - remember Armando and Marcela always used “tú” as opposed to “Usted."]. Mario replies that last night didn’t happen, and tells her to erase it from her mind [Merci: SCOUNDREL]. No-one can find out, and especially not Betty. Then he sharply asks her to bring him his correspondence. Sandra leaves crying and runs smack into Gabriela, who tells her not to worry about it [running into her] and asks Sandra if she’s OK. Mario asks Gabriela to come see him for “a moment in my office” [Merci: doesn’t he mean, Armando’s office?].

Mario asks Gabriela to shut the door but she says she’ll listen to him with the door open. Mario tells her that this is long overdue and that night they’re going to go out somewhere together. Gabriela asks him if maybe this time they can go to his favorite place… around, say, 10 or 11pm they will go to Mario’s office and he can do what he wants. Mario tells her there are more comfortable places…. Very seriously, Gabriela tells him that she wants NOTHING to do with him - she doesn’t even want to share an elevator with him. And he should stop asking.

Sandra enters Betty’s office crying. Betty hugs her. Sandra tells her that her (Betty’s) dream became reality for Betty - just like for Cinderella. Meanwhile, for her (Sandra), the pumpkin has remained a pumpkin, the mice are still mice… Betty tells her that she (Sandra) had the bad luck to meet the WORST man in the world (Mario Calderón) and that tomorrow a real man will arrive [for Sandra], not a serpent like Mario Calderón. They hug again. [Merci: Of course, Mariana’s prediction could become reality - and Mario might find that Sandra is the shoe that fits… We’ll see what happens!]

Advances: As Merci said in her preface to this summary, there were no teasers this week…

Beth: What seems to be a rare thing with this series (at least, so far) - this appears to have been a stand-alone episode, unless the Mario/Sandra, Sandra/‘gallant’ or Mario/Gabriela plot lines are carried over and expanded upon in future episodes. if not, i wonder if the rest of the series is going to be like this, or they are going to return to the arc-storyline format seen in earlier episodes. at any rate, they certainly seem to have finally started to get something right: note the absence of rants in this summary…!