At last, a show that lives up to its name!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? An A-lister on a reality show. An A-lister on a reality show whoyoutalkinboutWillis?
Now you know. Apparently, Christi was once part of this clique as well. Something tells me that Us Weekly did not assign this designation, but it’s no matter: in a culture fueled by narcissism, you’re only as important as you think you are.
Contrast that with Renee meekly telling her mother that she’s relieved to have survived another round of this game.
She asks for advice. Renee’s mom tells her to be herself. This is irrelevant advice for a costume fetishist. It’s probably better that Renee’s mom doesn’t know about that part, actually…
A note announces that the girls should be ready to party family-style. Oooh, they’re going to be passed around the table in giant pasta bowls? That sounds like a challenge that Larry Flynt could get behind. The note also tells the girls to dress to impress, which hello? Isn’t that, like, their sole task day in and day out? It would seem that they aren’t to impress in that way — they’re supposed to get, like, presentable for a public outing. How outrageous! Kerry and Cathy lament their lack of “appropriate” apparel. Well, they didn’t get on the A-list for nothing! Felicia lends Cathy something that allows her to cover up. In Felicia’s case, instead of “arousing,” A stands for “accommodating.” This A-list really spans the breadth of fashion and behavioral choices.
They’re shipped to the challenge locale…
Someone wonders asks, “Is this like the Medieval Times?” Oh god, I wish it were. What I wouldn’t give to see Susan Maresca jousting in chain mail. Annie thinks it’s weird that they’re going somewhere that looks to be German themed, given the flagrant Italianism of the Maresca clan. She wonders if they’ll be eating sausages. They still do that in Italy, Annie. Her cultural ignorance on the Italian variety of sausages is going to get her banned from ravioli night.
When the girls enter Platzl Brauhaus, Frank explains to him that today will be a celebration for his parents’ 39th anniversary attended by the extended Maresca clan.
First of all, check out how hot Susan and Gary were back in the day:
Not that they aren’t now, of course. Obviously, they’re veritable sex symbols almost 40 years later.
Anyway, the challenge is to make an impression on the extended family.
During the initial meet and greet, Annie stumbles awkwardly (is there any other way to stumble?), while Felicia excels. She’s really getting some mileage out of that MBA! Dana, on the other hand, seems to have gotten her degree from Ass Kiss U…
She tells Frank’s namesake grandpa that, like his grandson, he seems young at heart, as do many of the men in attendance. Dana loves, loves, loves that. I cannot tell if Dana is mostly telegraphing a love of young guys, or a love of older ones that she’s excusing by seeing their youth. Maybe both. After all, she seems to be brimming with love.
They sit down for dinner, except not really because there is still plenty of mingling. Grandpa Frank wants Melissa to demonstrate why she’s referred to as the Crusher in some elite circles…
No really, he isn’t kidding.
Renee tells this group of women…
“I’m 26. I’ve been engaged twice. I’ve been in an 8-year relationship. I’ve been almost married. I almost went down the aisle with somebody and he left me. He was actually a liar, um, and he wasn’t the person I thought he was…” I wonder if he had an aversion to exposition, because clearly, Renee has that for days.
Outside, assorted Marescas take a smoke break. Frank’s sister and her friend gossip about the girls, while Frank’s bearish cousin…
…proves that his opinions are as strong as his hands inevitably are: he thinks Kerry looks like an orange and takes issue with Felicia’s eyebrows…
This is like when schoolboys pick on the pretty girls, just with slightly more syllables, right?
Everyone reconvenes inside and Frank announces that the girls will have to each make toasts for Susan and Gary’s anniversary. First up is Kerry:
She says that Susan and Gary have been “nothing but nice, amazing, respectful and very parent-like” to her since she got there. That’s ’cause they like you. Some girls could literally replace each of those adjectives with their polar opposites. Kerry is glad to be in their lives, if only temporarily, and she hopes their anniversary is is special as they are because they deserve it. I don’t know if Kerry means all that or what, but I do know that she’s an amazing speaker. Whatever she’s lacking in sincerity (and it could be nothing), she makes up for in showmanship. Bravo!
Melody gets misty and says she’s fallen in love with Gary and Susan, as she has with Frank. That seems problematic in many ways. If Frank picks her, get ready for a very complicated arrangement.
Cathy seems to go on and on. “Chatty Cathy?” Susan interviews. “She makes my family look mute.” Thank god she isn’t, though, or we wouldn’t get these gems.
Melissa thinks 39 years together is “awesome” and cackles about that and other things that she says throughout her toast. She also gives Gary and Susan “props.” They don’t want them – can they exchange those props for something a little bit more age appropriate? A tip of the hat, perhaps?
Dana cries. Felicia wishes them the best. Renee becomes extremely earnest…
She calls Gary and Susan a team, and says that it takes love, honesty, acceptance and laughter to stay together, to which Susan retorts in interview: “Who the hell does this girl think she is, Ann Landers? She’s got two failed engagements behind her, and she’s telling me what it takes to have a 39-year marriage?” To be fair, no one was actually inclined to toast these virtual strangers, so the fact that any of them could string coherent sentences together is a feat. At the same time: HA!
When Renee is done, she toasts with sadness suggesting jilting by wine glass:
He’s not worth crying over, Renee: his bottom is way too skinny, and he’s soooo transparent!
After the toasts are done, Frank hands out surveys — these will determine the winner of this challenge.
Obviously, the best question on here is, “Who looks like they could host the best Christmas dinner?” Because, clearly, Christmas dinner is something that is made or broken by its hostess’ appearance.
The voting ends, the results are in: men thought Kerry was hottest (I love that there’s an implied demographic breakdown because VH1 is soooo scientific!); 37 percent said Felicia was most likely to get Frank out of the basement; Melody and Kerry would make the best moms; Felicia looks like she’d make the best Christmas dinner (interesting that she wasn’t named the overall hottest: I guess hotness isn’t key to yuletide joy?). It comes down to Kerry and Felicia annnnd…Felicia is named the ultimate winner!
They steal away to their one-on-one date immediately. Cathy, who has been complaining all episode about not yet having a date with Frank…
…will continue experiencing only the monogamy of melancholy…for now.
Frank takes Felicia to a lookout under the George Washington bridge.
He interviews that he like this place and sometimes goes there to play his guitar, sing and think about his life. I really wish he would follow this statement up with, “No hobo!” but alas. Speaking of things Frank likes, he likes that Felicia is smart, beautiful and fun to be around. She likes that he’s passionate. I like that she is tactful. Frank gives her a present…
…that picture they took on the first day. Felicia will cherish this for life, obviously, even if she doesn’t win. Make that especially if she doesn’t win: it could one day make a colorful dart board.
That’s not the only surprise Frank has for Felicia: since she isn’t going anywhere, she gets her key way in advance of elimination…
So full of surprises, this one! Format of the show, consider yourself shook.
Later that night, all the girls are nestled in their beds. Frank is in the basement, presumably watching the scrambled Spice station in the hopes of a glimpse of nipple. Luckily, Cathy can’t sleep, and so she visits Frank in the hope of getting tired, I’m sure.
Interestingly, the show gives us no illusions about what’s up in this case:
I have to say that I enjoy this as a counterpoint to this show’s general, family-oriented, squeaky cleanliness.
Frank adds to the last comment, “Mmmm, I love it,” like it’s soup or something. And then…
To be frank (har, har!), that’s longer than I would have expected. We then see Frank smoking a cigarette, telling Cathy:
“You gave me a massage, I gave you a massage.” Don’t mention the full release and no one will suspect a thing! He also tells her that they “watched TV.” Me too, and that’s how I learned of their whoopsie doopsie. Funny, that.
Cathy interviews that she isn’t ashamed of what went down (good girl), but the last thing she wants is anyone in the house knowing (smart girl). However, little does she realize that everyone else will know what what down because, hello, what else do they have to do but observe and surmise?
That’s exactly what Melissa, Annie and Dana do when they talk about how Cathy went missing in the middle of the night. Melissa is “sure” they had sex. “Put your va-jay-jay back in your pants, lady!” she said, perhaps forgetting that they’re on VH1, where va-jay-jays stay out for the airing.
Melissa interviews that this turn of events makes her feel like sloppy seconds, and just when I’m about to chortle at her math, she adds, “…or sloppy eights.” Hey, the kid’s all right! She really gets it, this one.
Melissa tells Kerry, who’s appropriately scandalized…
And then Annie sort of grills Cathy herself (how novel to actually confront your object of discussion!):
Cathy says she and Frank just watched TV. Annie asks what was on and Cathy says football. Annie wonders, “At 1 am?” When Cathy leaves the room, Melissa observes in a loud whisper/low scream:
While all this whoopsie-doopsie discourse is going on, everyone keeps saying that Cathy was out of her bed for three hours. Hm, maybe Frank has more stamina than the graphics team would like us to believe.
Kerry, being BFFs with Cathy, of course tells her what everyone’s saying about her. It’s so weird that both Felicia and Melissa now have attempted to double cross Cathy via Kerry, who’s been nothing but loyal to Cathy. Kerry may or may not be here to make friends, but she’s certainly going to hang onto the one she came with. Noble. Anyway, then Cathy goes to Frank, because she doesn’t want him to think that she isn’t trustworthy and is telling everyone. I love how the issue here is that everyone’s getting the story right. That so rarely happens in these situations!
So Frank confronts Melissa…
…who’s fairly candid: “I was just jealous. I wanted to be down there with you and giggling and laughing,” she says. And other stuff -ing, no doubt. Frank thinks she should have come to him first. And said what, “Hungry for some sloppy eights?”
All this talking has Frank exhausted, so he flops down on his bed. But like Michael Jackson, he is not alone…
….Renee pops out of the closet (the literal one), and introduces Frank to her “freaky side”:
She likes costumes. That is a fetish built for a theater nerd, if ever there were. “I have a collection of them. Is it getting hot in here yet?” asks Renee. Frank responds, “Um…” To speed along the heating process, Renee busts out some whipped cream.
She promises “Halloween all year round.” Chilling. And, funnily enough, not unlike Ministry. For that, I endorse Renee’s claim in an interview that she put herself out there and showed that she’s edgy.
Aligning yourself with early EBM is edgy, all right. But not, as it turns out, edgy enough. For you see, we’ve come to elimination.
Felicia already has her key. Kerry’s given hers next and Cathy gets hers after that. Rewards for rewards, I guess. When Annie gets her key she’s like, “Thank god!”
And, as long as she keeps doing things like that, I’m like, “Thank god!” as well.
It comes down to Melissa and Renee. Frank spills the dirt on Renee’s “old barmaid outfit,” to the delight of virtually all of her competitors:
“You told me you were a freak!” is Renee’s response. Well, there are freaks and then there are freaks. RenFair’s probably more the latter’s speed. Renee is leaving, but she does civilly hug Frank before she goes.
In her exit interview, Renee says, “If Frank wanted the girl next door with an edge, he absolutely did make the wrong choice.”
She also says that Frank’s eyes were popping out and she showed a sexy side eight million other men would enjoy. But would they be enjoying it with her or enjoying it at her?