A Basement Affair Recap – Episode 8 – Shattered Dreams

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In this episode, Frank asks Kerry to pull his finger.

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That right there is greatness in a nutshell.

When we resume, everyone’s still reeling over last week’s Danattack, which found violence as a proposed answer for compassion and freakiness, alike.

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Melody, purveyor of compassion, was particularly hurt. She says that the girls can look forward to defending themselves against the infliction on their sanity that is Dana. Well, Melody, you can’t really look forward to hell…but we can!

The girls are gathered. Today they’ll be writing a screenplay that explores their vision of what life after the basement with Frank will be like. It will come as a great shock to you that none of these women are particularly gifted at predicting the future or writing, for that matter. It’ll be an even greater shock that incompetence does not make for hilarious material. This one’s kind of disappointing all around, I gotta say. Even the girl with all the potential in the world doesn’t really make good on it:

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Cathy thinks that it may be weird to perform this while the parents are watching. If Annie’s debacle last week taught us anything, it’s that as long as you avoid the words “balls” and “b***j**,” you should be fine.

The performances will take place in the kitchen. It’s transformed into a set via a standalone door. If VH1 ever goes scripted, prepare to see a lot of those. One standalone door makes all the difference, as we see.

Anyway, the funniest things about these little scene studies is the way production categorizes them via their title intros. Cathy’s, for example, is turned further into a porno:

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Oh, all of these also involve Frank coming home from work and then hanging out in the kitchen. There’s a lot of food talk. Cathy’s produces sexy results like, “I’ll skip dinner and just go for dessert instead!” She says, “I’m gonna go make some coffee? Want some?” He replies, “Mmm, yeah. I want some of you first, though!” Fun stuff like that, you know. It really is pitch-perfect porno dialog in its abysmally unrealistic way, if that’s what she’s going for.

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They get into a bed prepared on the floor. I believe Frank says, “Sit on my face,” at one point.

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This is all, of course, scandalous (or scandalishious, even). Susan compares it to a “Cinemax show,” not that in her 59 years, she’s ever watched such trash. In an interview, she wonders if Cathy is in heat. Isn’t everyone, though?

Next up is Melissa.

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Melissa says that her scene is “traditional” and “suburban” with some comedy thrown in. Really, Christmas dinner with my family again so soon? In actuality, this means that she employs the “talents” of some of her friends to play brats.

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Dana, who seems to be gunning for Rex Reed’s title of the campiest critic in New York, interviews that this scene is a “nightmare of everything a man doesn’t want in his life,” including poorly behaved children. It is a rather curious scenario. Susan says, “You think I want my son to be white trash, living in a trailer park?” Melissa interviews, in contrast, that she thinks life with her “looked fabulous.” She does not specify if she means trailer fab or fab fab.

Then there’s Felicia:

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Felicia’s script finds her saying things like, “I was even able to cut corners in some areas. I know how much you love money.” That’s clever in a way that show’s she’s been paying attention to Frank’s “career,” and that strokes VH1′s ego by acknowledging its past success. Smart and smarter. Frank interviews that Felicia is too perfect.

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Given his logic for the eliminations so far (good is bad, up is down, bikini is porno), “too perfect” might be a signal of trouble ahead. Felicia, you in danger, girl.

Next up, Kerry:

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Basically, an alternate title could have been Knocked Up…with Children.

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During their scene, Kerry chastises Frank for smoking, winning Susan’s approval. These girls are as diabolically overachieving as sleep deprived AP students.

Dana announces that her play may be “more detailed” than the other girls’.

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And so it is. She flaps her gums so much, it has a butterfly effect on my soul. It’s chaos inside me, trust.

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Susan interviews, “What is this, Gone With the Wind?” Gary replies, “It’s gone with somethin’!” Well, look at the natural born dialog writers we’re witnessing. They don’t even need pen and paper! No wonder why they want to test these girls’ screenwriting skills – they’re essential for fitting into this family.

Finally, there is Melody.

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Susan takes exception to her wearing a negligee and kissing Frank.

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Well, after all, she had to take exception to something! In the end, Kerry wins, scoring her first solo date with Frank. Susan interviews that she’s happy Kerry won, “…she just better ease up on the tanner.” Like I said: she had to take exception to something! Taking exception is just what she does.

While Frank and Kerry attend their date, the rest of the girls are banished to an outside dinner with the ‘rents.

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“It was fun today watching you ladies,” Gary tells them. Doesn’t that go without saying by now? It’s kind of the conceit of this show, no? They talk about the scenes. Melissa doesn’t actually want four kids — I guess she olive oil was talking when she wrote that? She thinks she’ll go back to Minnesota, which is something Susan does not want for Frank. Speaking of kids, Melody wants some, too. She says that she wanted her scene to be from the heart. Dana openly laughs at this.

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Dana interviews, “Do they realize she’s almost 50?” Probably not, since she’s 35. Also, I’m not sure how old Dana is, but let’s say she’s as young as you can possibly be on this show: 21. If she’s 21, then by her logic, she’s almost 35, which is, in her words, almost 50. She’s old, Melody’s old, I’m old, we’re all old.

Almost incoherently, Dana asks Melody, “Is there like an age with you being a little bit older than, like, the girls here? Is there like an age where you would say, ‘I think it would be better to adopt’?” Here is Melody’s reaction:

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“I think it’s much smarter to wait these days,” says Melody. It’s so true — ovaries are taking longer to settle down as we progress as a society. She mentions something about emotional problems and anger problems and not having enough experience in life to raise a child. It’s all very vague and, you know, pointed. Dana interviews, “I can’t control my temper and I have an anger problem? She can go screw herself.” Maybe she will to celebrate just being proven right over the course of two sentences?

Meanwhile, Kerry and Frank dine outside.

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Frank toasts to a beautiful evening and a “better night.” Kerry nods solemnly as if this means she’ll have to be part of a ritual sacrifice when they get home. Lighten up, it’s just proposed implied sex!

They talk about the normal things people talk about on these shows. Kerry thinks no one in the house is better for him than she is, and she’d love to stay with him after the cameras stop rolling if he picks her. You kind of can’t comment on what will happen when the cameras stop rolling when they are rolling. Rolling (and not) changes everything.

They talk about the other girls. Now Kerry hates that she’s fighting with her friend Cathy over a man. She stops short of smack talking her friend, though. That’s pretty righteous. In fact, Kerry suggests she’s an all-around good egg when Frank asks her about the other girls and the only one she has any real smack to talk about is Dana. And she even does this kindly, saying that Dana is “very beautiful” and “attractive,” but that she has a bad temper and threatens violence. Kerry goes even further to clarify that she isn’t worried about Dana “as a person.” For all that diplomacy and kindness, I give you this wonderfully flattering shot of Kerry:

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Kerry says she likes him so much that if he picked someone else, she’d be happy for him. That’s a stock answer, but it’s a good one. Someone take her to a softball field, because Kerry’s batting a thousand. Frank says that she says she’s there for him, but he wonders if she really feels it? Frank wants to see how much she feels it. Is that pressure? Nope, just gas: it is here that he asks her to pull his finger. She’s certainly not feeling that. Bravo, Kerry. Every move has been impeccable. You win this episode. Your prize is…the real prize that is Frank (temporarily).

Back at home, Melissa informs Dana that Melody is trying to get everyone against her because of the menopausal implications at dinner.

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“I don’t really care, I’m not speaking to her anymore, she doesn’t exist and she has a saggy vagina, I’m over it,” says Dana. I love that when Dana says, “I’m over it,” inevitably everything that has led up to it suggests otherwise. Just one more thing that makes her special!

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Melissa plays the fence (to put it in Danaspeak), and reports to Melody that Dana said, “Did you see how I called that old vagina out?”

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Thing is, Dana didn’t call Melody an “old vagina,” she commented on Melody’s “saggy vagina.” There’s a difference, and Dana’s words are worth getting right.

We then see Dana on the phone, being screamed at by her mother for not picking up the phone when she calls.

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Dana’s mom seems like an absurd off-shoot of a stage mom: a psychic mom. “Shape up your clairvoyance or ship out,” is probably something Dana’s mom tells her daughter regularly. Dana recaps the argument regarding Melody’s womb and vagina. “You’re misunderstood,” her mother says, quickly adding, “Did you punch her in her face and knock her the f*** out?” I love the way that moms always seem to know best. I mean, duh, the best way anyone’s going to understand Dana is by concussion. Why change logic when you can change minds…manually?

Melody walks by and this wonderful exchange commences:

Melody: Dana, are you off the phone?
Dana: Don’t even talk to me. I’m not a fake bitch.
Melody: Yeah, you’re just a bitch.

Ha, for someone so nice, Melody’s tongue sure is sharp. What a little triumph of the human spirit that retort is!

Frank arrives home and instead of strapping Kerry to a table and carving out her soul, he does some pre-elimination scramble talks with the girls.

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Melissa calls Frank out on labeling her proposed domestic scenario with him a “nightmare.” She says she was trying to make it funny. She didn’t take it to the “La La Land level,” she just took it to the funny/cute level. Isn’t it up to him to decide that? Also, these people and their logic make me feel like everything exists at the La La Land level.

Frank discusses the Dana situation with Melody.

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“I just don’t like her,” says Melody, explaining all about Dana’s aggression. Frank asks if she’s used fighting words, and obviously she has. Melody says she heard Dana’s mom said that she was going to beat Dana up if Dana didn’t beat Melody up. Ah, the cycle of not being there to make friends starts at home. Society weeps because of it; industries are founded upon it.

Speaking of not being there to make friends, Dana reminds us that she isn’t (again!), which could only mean one thing:

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It’s time for elimination. Frank takes a poll, and asks who he should eliminate. Dana says Melody, Melissa says Felicia and everyone else says, duh, Dana. Frank obviously doesn’t care — he just wants to rattle some cages. Melissa interviews that she didn’t want to say Dana because they’re friends. Not according to Dana’s frequent proclamations, you’re not!

Kerry’s called first, prompting Susan to shout out, “She’s one of my favorites!” Pigmentation and all? Things go the way they do, and it finally comes down to Melissa and Dana. Melissa’s vision of the future “scared the s*** out of” Frank, while Dana is a menace to the sanity and well-being of the house. Guess who’s staying! Another wonderful exchange with Dana ensues:

Frank: Well Dana, you’re definitely not popular.
Dana: I’m not here for them, I’m here for you, so…
Frank: Well that’s good because I like you.
Dana: Thank you.
Frank: So step forward.
Dana: Thanks, baby!

So, Dana’s staying, Melissa’s going.

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Melissa’s exit interview is, in a word, cordial.

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Melissa says she doesn’t necessarily think her elimination is unfair. She says that any of the girls that are still here are going to be great for Frank. “Unfortunately it’s not me, but that’s OK.” The girl who was there to make friends isn’t there anymore! Would ya look at that!

Felicia hilariously interviews that she thinks Dana should have gone home. “She’s just a fake person, I mean, she’s just very hotheaded and she thinks she’s the s*** but she’s from upstate New York, and I don’t dig it.” I love that in Felicia’s view, being the s*** and coming from upstate New York are at odds. I don’t know if I agree (do I even know anyone from upstate New York? Tiffany Pollard, I guess), I just like the catty nature of her rationale. The logic on this show is breathtaking.

Speaking of! It’s time for the toast and Melody finds herself with a glass for Dana. She offers it and Dana says, “Not from your hands!”

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Melody must then give it to Kerry, who gives it to Dana, who finally accepts it.

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Dana interviews that she’s not there for them, but for Frank (I had no idea!), and if they want to be fake that’s their deal. Then something magical happens. Dana punctuates her proclamation with a brief flip of her hair…

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And it’s just so characteristic and oblivious and, as a result, hilarious, that all of a sudden I feel like I’m on board with Dana. She’s just so self-assured and…she’s just so her that I’m kind of fascinated. I love that her hair differs in practically every interview…

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It’s all variations on a crispy, multi-tonal theme. And her aggression manifests itself in the most unpredictable ways. She is clearly a mind-boggling person.

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I look forward to figuring her out. Or not! Either way: obsessed.

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