A Basement Affair Recap – Episode 3 – Frankie Loves Tchotchkes



For once, I’m thrilled to watch a show without a happy ending!

We open just after last elimination. Frank’s parents are tucked away in their beds while visions of unopened water bottles dance in their heads. Frank, on the other hand, is cavorting.


Melissa says that she’s teaching Tammy her Minnesotan accent, and Tammy’s teaching her Vietnamese. That sounds about as difficult as teaching a moose how to eat with chopsticks! Whatever keeps you from dire boredom, I guess!


Jenny has an uncomfortable exchange with Frank about her unwillingness to step up and fight for him. “What am I supposed to do?” she wonders. Throw a tantrum like Hot Wings! Threaten to leave! Invest in pasties! Anything!


Annie feels like she doesn’t know where she stands in the competition. There is one thing she’s certain about, though: Frank’s cute when he’s chubby, too. Editing pans to a picture of a pre-adolescent Frank…


…and I’m pretty sure that’s not the vision of a chubby Frank incarnation that Annie had in mind. She didn’t add, “…and I wish you were 11.” At least, not as far I heard. But who can be sure of anything with her?

Renee, meanwhile, reveals herself as a gleeful snitch:




People? Running their mouths? Pshaw! That never happens except, oh yeah, right now!

Frank leaves a note on loose leaf for the girls to vaguely announce today’s challenge. It will require hard work. There are shirts left on the table for the girls, color-coded to divide them into teams. Cathy realizes that she’s teamed with her rival (at least in her head), Renee.




Throwing challenges? What the hell does she think this is? I Love Money 2? And wouldn’t this just amount to cutting of your nose to spite your own face time with Frank? With just two episodes down, Cathy’s already willing to subvert the entire point of this show just to deny another girl. It’s as though she was born to be on reality TV!

The girls meet Frank and his parents outside and discover that today they will be orchestrating the Maresca Family Garage Sale.


As Frank is explaining this, Susan interrupts him to tell him that he should have shaved because he looks dirty. It must be fun to be allowed to say whatever criticism pops into your head about whomever your eyes happen to pass over, for all of the world to see. For real, I’m jealous. Also, isn’t dirtiness part of Frank’s appeal? Whatever. Susan tells the girls not to under-price the stuff, because clearly it is of great value.


Those monkey figures strike me as precious heirlooms. Oh wait, no they don’t. Anyway, the girls in their teams (which you can check out in the screen shot below, because I don’t feel like typing them out) have to run up to the pile of beautiful Maresca family treasures, one at a time, and select a single item for their inventory.


Cathy, making good on her promise of undermining, notes, that she’s focusing on grabbing stuff that won’t sell. “And I’m thinking ceramics,” she says. Amen. Ceramics are the scourge of the textile medium. Just thinking about them clinking against fingernails runs chills down my spine. Because Cathy’s doing such an openly crappy job, Renee feels the need to compensate, so she grabs big items like a TV…


…which she promptly wipes out as a result of…


She’s OK, though. She’s a real trooper for love, this one. Jenny points out the folly of Renee’s choice, as nobody wants a TV like that. People are into flat-screens. Hold your microchips, Blade Runner: this neighborhood is filled with old, Italian ladies, who won’t want flat-screens until they’ve been made obsolete by at least two additional advances in technology.


To answer this lady’s question, by the way, Melissa says, “No, but I like spaghetti!” I guess we all speak the international language of slurp! In her own way, Melissa is way multilingual.

The haggling begins.


This woman, apparently, studies her teddy bears intently before purchasing. It’s so hard to tell if teddy bears are ripe or rotten, you know? Try holding it up to light while tapping it gently, lady.

Renee demonstrates the use of this horse thing…


She says, “It is sturdy. It is a lot of fun.” Whee! Being on VH1 isn’t very different than being back in preschool. The nap time is shorter, that’s all. Renee also lies to the Italian-speaker about the TV that she just probably destroyed…


Renee assures her that it does. Whatever, this woman is older. Her eyes probably don’t work that well, anyway. She’d probably barely notice if she were watching a non-working TV!

The salesmanship hits utter ridiculousness when Tammy attempts to foist a ceramic bell on a woman:


Tammy rings the bell in this woman’s face and says, “How ’bout, ‘Dinner time! Dinner time!'” The woman isn’t hungry and also doesn’t know awesome when she sees it. She passes. Her loss.

When selling items proves too hard, Felicia magically comes up with the idea of her team selling themselves (kinda)…


First of all, you could take a trip to Hunt’s Point and get a lot more bang for your buck, literally. Christi assures us, “We are not giving the kisses, we are just bringing men in with the offer of kisses,” which, uh, whatever, because the next thing we see is this team starting to give massages:


This Italian woman is really taking full advantage of whatever the girls are offering, right? I bet this is the most fun she’s had in years. Taking this team’s cue but offering a less touchy alternative, Annie offers portraits for $1.


And, you know, you get what you pay for:


Annie’s depiction of this little girl…





And here’s her rendering of Italian lady:



Hmmm, needs more chicken wire, I think.

Meanwhile, in another hilarious attempt at foisting junk, someone calls this crystal bell “so beautiful.”


I’ve never seen a group of women more into bells. It’s Christmastime in their city 24/7.

Susan, who’s been watching from the balcony for a while, eventually gets around to admonishing the girls for acting like back-room back-rubbers:


“I don’t want girls like you in my family if you’re going to be giving massages to strange men for money,” she tells them. Not even if they’re licensed professionals?!? Whatever, the massages are over, and so is the garage sale. The Marescas take the cash boxes inside to count their contents.


That is a wad, right there. That’s a standard result of a massage, I guess.

When the money is counted, Frank returns outside to deliver the results. Last place was the Pink Team…


…who earned $62. Green…


…did $80. And coming in first place is violet…


…who did $141. We never find out how much yellow raised, but we can assume that there’s more of a market for sketches in this neighborhood than massages. VH1 proves once again that there is virtue in cleaning up one’s act.

Obviously, the winning team is going on a date with Frank, but everyone else gets the consolation prize of eating with his parents. It’s really nice of them to offer their services of torture.

Before Annie departs for her date, Tammy decides that she needs a makeover. Frankly, Tammy had probably decided this as soon as she set her eyes on Annie, but it is now that she decides to go through with it. “Annie’s eyebrow? It need work,” explains Tammy.


When they are done, they have transformed Annie into this:


She actually cleans up a lot better than I ever would have expected, especially since the hands that were doing the cleaning belonged to women on reality TV. If you think that’s mean, consider this: would you go to them for a makeover? Tammy explains that they’ve turned Annie into a “beautiful swan” from a duck. She’s careful to explain that Annie was not an ugly duckling, just a duck. People who aren’t attracted to ducks are probably lost right now, though.

Frank takes his winners to a pool hall. Yeah, that’s about right! He takes the opportunity to get closer to a sexed-up Annie…


Meanwhile, at home, the remainders eat with the Marescas. Tammy says, “All these Italian food, it’s so heavy!” She misses Vietnamese food, by which she apparently is referring to:


Vietnamese food, bodega food…it’s a small world after all! Kerry notes that Tammy is a cup of noddles, and Frank is spaghetti and meatballs. So they’re cultural equivalents, then? “It just doesn’t go together,” she adds. I beg to differ: they are simultaneously birds of a feather and horses of a different color.

Meanwhile, back at the pool hall, Frank spends one-on-one time with his girls. First up is Jenny, who says she doesn’t kiss him that much because she wants it to mean something…


That this woman is searching for meaning on VH1 can only mean one thing: she is a masochist. Kinky! Dana apologizes for coming off shy. That does not amount to her not caring about Frank.


And since sharing is caring and vice versa, she feeds Frank dessert.


Frank interviews, “She doesn’t dress shy!” Well, who does in these parts, really?

During Annie’s one-on-one, Frank tells her that if it weren’t for her portraits, her team wouldn’t have won.


She sketched, what? Three of them? For a dollar a piece? Whatever. It’s the thought that counts, and indeed, Annie says she chose sketching because she wanted to give the garage-sale patrons something meaningful. More meaningful than a boner, even. She and Frank then finally kiss.


This bodes well for her future, which is fine in my book. I was so afraid that Annie was getting the oddball edit and she was going to go the way of Donald or the Sunset Striplets and leave during the first episode. But she’s doing so well! I’m sure her mom is proud.

At home, Susan complains about the mess.


And you know that the house wouldn’t be in such a state of disarray if Mandy were still around. Just saying! Anyway, it really is a sty…



“I hate to be mean,” says Susan to a group of girls before telling them to clean. Susan lies: she loves to be mean. Wouldn’t you? Anyway, with various levels of grumbling, the girls complete their chores. Susan’ll domesticate them yet!

Since Tammy and Christi were genuinely kind enough to make over Annie, Frank takes them out on a date of their own. Tammy proves as she has been this entire episode that any scene featuring her talking is a good scene for TV:


She is operating on a different plane: she tells Frank that he’s so attractive that she’s…


Explains a lot, you know? Frank asks her what she does for fun. Oh, lots of things: she likes to go out, travel, “eat restaurants.” She adds, “I like to do embarrassing stuff. Make a face, you know.” Oh yeah, totally. If there’s anything I love, it’s embarrassing myself, and if there’s any way I love doing that, it’s by making faces. Such fun, face-making!

Meanwhile, Christi who apparently hasn’t ingested any substance, ecstasy or otherwise, gives Frank the scoop on Renee. She talks about how Renee threatens to tell Frank about stuff that goes down when he’s not around. So Christi’s telling on Renee’s telling them about telling on them. My head just exploded. Now I’m permanently making a face. This is the secret of everlasting joy. How embarrassing!

At home, Frank confronts Renee about her open spying.


Frank says that his request for her as his eyes and ears was deal between them. Renee says the girls are out to get her, and she knows it. Adding yet another layer to this cycle of snitching…


…other girls are spying on Renee talking about spying on them. Anyway, she apologizes and he kisses her, so they’re all good!


Good thing for Renee, too, because it’s time for…


…elimination! Annie is called first. Yay. I love seeing an underdog succeed. I’m not saying she’s an ugly underdog, by the way. Just an underdog. Anyway, Frank’s addresses and explanations are filled with bizarre emphases and non sequiturs. Before he calls Melissa up, he says, “I like women that are aggressive, and I’m not sure if this woman is aggressive enough for me.” O…K? Regarding Cathy, he says, “Well, you know they call me the Entertainer. And this girl can definitely entertain me.” So we should now call him the Entertained? Like, what?

Whatever. It comes down to Tammy and Jenny. Tammy interviews, “It’s my most nervous time ever!” Sounds like she’s led a pretty stress-free existence, then. Good for her. Frank says he’s not connecting with her, but he’s also not sure if he’s patient enough for Jenny to warm up to him. He interviews that he can’t understand what Tammy’s saying. Really? I hear her loud and clear. I mean, whatever she’s saying at any given moment might be a little weird, but it isn’t unintelligible. It’s kind of Tammy’s genius, actually. Anyway, she’s going home.


She interviews that without communication, there is no relationship, but she’s excited to move on with her life. I don’t know, though, after a multi-day stint on a reality show, it might be hard to just pick up the pieces like that. Godspeed, Tammy.

Related content
Frank The Entertainer…In A Basement Affair – Cast Reveal
Frank The Entertainer…In A Basement Affair show page
Frank The Entertainer…In A Basement Affair videos and extras

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