This week on Sixteen Candles  Jane By Design, it’s Jane’s birthday, but no one remembers! Sad trombone. Except that actually, Billy and Ben totally remember but have decided to act like they’re too self-absorbed to remember, because when isn’t that a good idea? Rita Shaw and Rebel Without a Credit Card Limit Zoe tell them as much, but they don’t listen, and the result is that Jane spends her birthday engaged in a cute date montage with Eli, then celebrating with the whole Donovan Decker crew. Of course, Jane being Jane, her two birthday parties are not without drama: at the Donovan Decker party, India rains on her party parade and Jane learns that Vesty is the mole. At the world’s saddest surprise party, Lulu throws salt in Billy’s game, Ben reunites with Former Prom Queen Amanda, and Ben and Jane’s mom decides to make an appearance. How did she know that her son would throw her underage daughter a birthday party at a bar? Must be her impeccable parenting skills.

 

Jane’s got it tough. It’s hard enough picking out the perfect birthday outfit for school, but she has to find a way to make it transition from history class to high fashion. Of course, because she is Jane Quimby, fashion ninja, she manages to look cute all freaking day.

Her perfectly school-appropriate outfit. I am stunned but thrilled she didn’t muck this up with excessive belting. I’m also impressed that her subconscious picks out such cute outfits for her. Then again, her subconscious is also able to predict what Ben and Billy will be wearing that day, so maybe that’s her superpower or something.

 

Jane transitions to Donovan Decker with a sunny cropped yellow jacket and trademark flouncy skirt.

Love the color on her and the structured nature of the jacket, but that skirt is dangerously short. I feel like we should get a Gossip Girl crossover next season wherein Jane designs the Serena van der Woodsen Collection, aka Macaron.

 

To keep Jane out of the office (and, supposedly, get her mind off potentially being fired), Eli takes her out for a stroll through Manhattan and a cute date montage, complete with some … creative accessorizing.

Ah yes, the old standby of falling-in-love montages: the scene where the boy flirts with the girl by putting a baby bib on her.

 

Speaking of creative accessorizing, how adorable is this ring?

I am more than happy to see giant animal rings replace belts as Jane’s “thing.” Love that the bee is paired with the bright yellow jacket.

 

Eli spends the day keeping Jane away from the office so that the Donovan Decker folks can set up her surprise party. I’m pretty sure they could have just put her in a corner with a Rubix cube, given her powers of observation. Case in point: when they return to the office, she wonders where everyone went.

As she stands in front of the glass logo, behind which several of her coworkers are hiding.

Veronica Mars, Jane is not.

 

I know L-A was all about Jane and Billy’s matching leather last week, but I just can’t get on board the Billy/Jane train. Especially when there’s the very cute Eli running around, being all adorable and hipstery.

Fashion-wise, he’s such a better match for Jane. For starters, it doesn’t look like he’s borrowed her favorite pair of skinny jeans. Plus, he’s got a rock-and-roll edge without trying too hard, like some people on this show whose names start with a B and aren’t “Ben.”

 

No, I wasn’t talking about you, Chris Benz.

I do want to know what brand of dye you’re using though, because that is an awesome pink.

 

Oh, Billy! What a surprise. I totally wasn’t just writing about how your pants are too tight and you try too hard to be punk.

Also, quick tip: if you actually wore those suspenders, you wouldn’t have to descreetly hold your pants up with your left hand.

 

Is there some sort of faux-punk law that requires one to improperly wear menswear? Avril Lavigne with the ties and tank tops, Billy with his constantly dragging suspenders.

And is it just me, or has Billy’s fauxhawk gotten higher since he’s been out of the slammer? It’s as if he’s making up for lost time with all his hair product.

 

Or maybe, much like a peacock in the wild, he’s showing his plumage off to a potential mate.

I don’t have much of an opinion on Zoe yet, except that she looks like a mix of Salma Hayek and Nina Dobrev, and she has the prettiest hair in all the land. Seriously, ignoring the overly-precious side braid (and what self-respecting punk girl spends that much time on a french braid?), look at her flowing hair! It is so shiny! ABC Family really does have the best hair stylists on TV, hands down.

 

Also, a great outerwear stylist. Okay, maybe that’s not an actual title, but damn if their costumers don’t have a knack for finding genius outerwear. Case in point: Zoe’s badass leather jacket.

Lace-up sleeves and a peplum, with a ridiculously supple leather? How did Billy not know Zoe was actually an uptown girl living in her whitebread world?

 

Maybe he’s in denial. After all, by dating Zoe he has the chance to double his accessory collection.

You know what they say about the couple that shares wrap bracelets, right? They stay together, unless one is hiding a secret life as a trust fund baby while the other drops heavy-handed lines about how they have so much in common since they both work in the coal mines and live like hobos.

 

We don’t ever get a full shot of Zoe’s party outfit, but as far as I can tell she’s wearing her Black Swan Halloween costume.

Ooh, maybe she’s actually a manifestation of Jane’s dark side. It could work. After all, she’s wearing a poufy skirt and impractically high heels … sound familiar?

 

The one big difference between Jane and Zoe, of course – other than Zoe’s ability to run in heels without looking like a six year old on a sugar binge – is Zoe’s humble abode.

You guys, spoiler alert! I’m pretty sure Zoe’s parents are actually villains from an episode of Miami Vice, because I swear I’ve seen this house in at least three shootouts from season two.

 

Harper has officially won me over. The color of her dress doesn’t do much for her, but she more than compensates for the blah color of her dress with her explanation of how surprise parties work (you jump out and yell surprise), and a totally cute clutch.

Jen, the all-powerful Editor In Chief, can we keep her? Please?

[Works for me! – Jen]

 

For all my raving about ABC Family’s epic hair styling, India’s new cut is bumming me out. Yeah, the razor-sharp bob is hot, but I miss her Malifecent curls!

I love this dress, even though I’m pretty sure that if you stare at it, you can see a sailboat, Magic Eye-style. Paired with the bob, her whole look is so very HBIC. She could easily be seated, if not next to, then at least within the sightlines of Anna Wintour at Fashion Week.

 

Especially with a coat this fabulous.

 

She may be evil, but at least she’s evil in style, like a Bond villain whose goal is to destroy the world by making it so fabulous that it implodes.

 

Don’t give me that side-eye, India. It was a compliment.

Of course her primary concern was that Jane would think she’d dressed up for the party. Give yourself more credit than that, India. We all know that it’s after 5:00, which means it’s time for formalwear.

 

Unless you’re Vesty, in which case, it’s just time to get drunk and lament all your regrettable life choices, such as always wearing a vest under your suit.

I believe, dear Vesty, that this is what we call “rock bottom.” Maybe now you can admit you have a problem and stop wearing vests all the time. You’ve broken free of the bowtie stranglehold. Now it’s time to move past the vests.

 

I know, it’s a big step, but you won’t do it alone. We’ve even found you a style sponsor:

You are not alone, Vesty. And you’re not Roger Sterling, so stop wearing three piece suits already.

 

And with that intervention, we transition into those who consistently can’t be bothered to bring their sartorial A-games to a show about fashion. Although, I don’t care what any of the other recappers say. I love Ben and all his schlubby glory.

He’s just too cute! I’m sorry! I said it back in the pilot and will say it again: Ben is Josh from Clueless, if he wound up being a high school gym teacher, and for that I will eternally love him, no matter how tired his sweater-and-oxford combos are.

 

I know that the divorce has been hard on Rufus Humphrey, but it’s really sad to see him trying to recapture his youth by pitching for a high school baseball team.

Oh, sorry, my bad. That shawl collar made me forget what show I was recapping.

 

Is it just me, or does Nick, the oldest high schooler ever, look like an extra from an Archie comic in this striped shirt?

I keep expecting to see Jughead try to sneak into the shot and steal his fries.

 

Oh, Rita Shaw, with your practical pencil skirts and ill-fitting tops. If not for the fact that this is your go-to outfit, I’d say you’re trying to make the breakup easier on Ben.

Your hair is fabulous, though. Never forget that, Rita Shaw, especially if, say, you’re staring down the former prom queen.

 

The former prom queen who is absurdly overdressed for a dive bar. I love sequins as much as any YKYLF staffer, but former prom queen Amanda, you are in suburban New York, not the Jersey Shore. Take it down a notch.

Your desperation makes me sad.

 

Speaking of sad, I won’t often comment on what a dress does to an actress’s body, but in this case, it can’t be avoided.

This dress makes Andi Macdowell look like she’s six months along with the world’s biggest food baby. Clearly, the only explanation for this Grey’s continuing streak of terrible dresses is that fellow YKYLF staffer Lesley-Anne has paid off the Jane By Design wardrobe staff.

 

And, of course, the shocking conclusion of the episode comes with the huge reveal that Jane and Ben’s mom has returned from Wisteria Lane and has taken to hanging out in dive bars.

I was really hoping she’d make her entrance by promptly falling off a chair or flail-running toward Jane. How else can we really be sure that she and Jane are related?