How do you recover from telling your girlfriend your wife died, when she’s actually alive and well? That should be the story of Pietro Mori’s life. The male lead of Acorn TV’s Ladies’ Paradise and a mastermind at being forgiven (at least by the characters on the show), series two’s first matter of business is trying to help him save face. This gets accomplished by clearing up that he and Rose (Andrea Osvárt) are divorced and she was the one who had the affair that broke up their marriage.
Last season the show didn’t let us see her face and this season keeps that up for a bit, using the back of Rose’s head (and its resemblance to Andreina’s) to try and mislead us about who’s leaking stories to the press. It’s all so Rose can finagle her way into becoming Mori’s business partner, a development that causes Teresa no small amount of grief, yet when Mori asks her to marry him at the end of episode one, Teresa says “yes.”
The show’s relentless quest to make Pietro Mori work isn’t news but other changes this season are. Anna’s pregnancy means she’s no longer a salesgirl and Lucia leaves as well (though pleasantly she’s given a scene to say good-bye beforehand). This means a new crop of salesgirls to train at Paradiso, but the show’s biggest misfire (besides Mori) is letting another new hire, Domenico (Lorenzo Cervasio), get a ‘redemption’ arc, while they barely get anything.
Last season’s love triangle is officially over (some might say regrettably so) but the show deserves credit for doing the impossible and not having Teresa hung up on two guys. Few shows can say the same, preferring to have their cake and eat it, too, but if Conti holds out for a while, Teresa stays firm. Any questioning of her relationship with Pietro doesn’t come from wondering if she should’ve stayed with her ex, and they’re able to remain friends, if their scenes together are fewer in number.
Conti’s role on the show changes, as he opens his own PR agency and tries to break into filming commercials. It’s good for Elsa and Roberto, who get to show what they’re capable of when he’s not around, but if you needed another reason to dislike Mori, his treatment of Conti, after everything he’s done for Paradiso, is unnecessarily jealous and petty.
Conti and Andreina (Alice Torriani) start working together, which isn’t the most convincing of pairings. Blatantly forced at first (Conti didn’t like her in season one), the show doesn’t ignore their differences but, when convenient, moves past them. They’ve both jilted and have complicated relationships with their fathers, but while that’s grounds for a friendship, their romance never clicks (especially where Conti’s concerned).
Two returning characters become the season’s MVPS: the Countess (Valeria Fabrizi), whose building becomes the subject of expansion plans for Paradiso, and Corrado (Marco Bonini, whose comedic chops the show plays to).
Absence makes Anna and Quinto’s relationship fonder, while Silvana can’t catch a break, with Roberto or her acting partner. Teresa’s desire to marry a divorcee causes some uproar and the show keeps finding cool ways to incorporate Italian history and culture.
Christmas seems to last forever, as it would in a department store, but finally Teresa starts to look at Mori with a critical eye, and it’s never going to stand. Almost from the moment they start to sour you see her friends start to chip at her resolve and there’s not much suspense about whether they’ll be able work things out before the end. Given how Mori treats women, that’s not without its problems, but the show has a big cast. If you don’t like Mori, there are plenty of others to love.