Well, it looks as though we’ve arrived at our point.
We begin with a survey of the way things are: Dana is excited to use the little remaining time there is in the show to “get more closer” to Frank, while Kerry’s eyes may be permanently rolled back in her head as Cathy’s discussions of her hook-up with Frank have yet to cease.
At this point, Kerry’s spirit is no longer dead — it’s zombified.
Frank’s loose-leaf announcement of the day’s activity promises “family business.”
Dana says she is terrified…for Frank! We see flashback footage in support of her fear:
I’m kind of afraid for everyone, actually.
Before the girls break, Dana wonders aloud, “You think it definitely means family, though?” Although the use of the word “family” is often ambiguous, especially when it comes to drag “families” and people’s “cousins” who aren’t actually related, this is VH1 we’re talking about, where no amount of literalism is too much. Also, it’s the second-to-last episode on a dating show, so hello? It’s all very strange because Dana’s behavior suggests she’s a lot more well-versed in the the way things work on reality TV.
We see Dana repeatedly attempting to call her mother to make sure she’s not on her way. She can’t get through and so it’s confirmed that she is. I think Dana’s the only person involved in this whole thing that isn’t anything but dying for her mother to walk through the door. But then, Dana’s always been a singular sensation, now hasn’t she?
Felicia’s parents are the first to arrive and they’re early.
Felicia’s dad is a talkative dude, who jokes about not tipping Kerry when she gives him some coffee, and says he has kids whose ages range from 23 to 63. That’s impressive, if procreation’s your thing.
Susan tells him he “looks great,” and it seems like maybe someone slipped her some MDMA or, I don’t know, lie serum or something that would cause her to be effusive and kiss unnecessary ass, until we find out that Felicia’s dad is freaking 90. 90-years-old!
We never find out his secret — possibly because he’d have to feast on our souls if he told us.
Next to arrive is Kerry’s mom, Debbie…
…and then comes Cathy’s hot sister, Adrienne.
With every ring of the door bell, we’re reminded that Dana is dreading her mother will be the owner of the finger who just ding-donged. Our hearts are pounding for every different reasons, in anticipation of the same person. Isn’t it ironic? It’s like rain on your wedding day, if one party was hoping for sun and the other melts in water.
At last, the moment arrives that we’ve all been waiting for. Dana’s mom dings the dong, Frank crosses himself as he answers the door, and a woman flutters in like a butterfly who’s been up for three days straight and just got her parking spot stolen right out from under her, on top of it all.
Dana’s mom is hungry, mad and overtly resistant to calming down. Dana says that she didn’t think her mom was coming and her mom snaps back, “Well, I don’t like what’s going on, that’s for sure!” She’s kind of ranting as a matter of fact, to the point where Dana has to tell her to shut up repeatedly. Dana’s mom explodes with, “I’m not gonna shut up, so don’t tell me to shut up, or I’ll go crazy!” It seems like such a small step, though.
Susan notes that Dana’s mom came in and said hello to no one. “What a rude woman!” Susan says. It would seem, then, that this butterfly has found her cocoon given how thick rudeness runs in the house.
Meanwhile, Frank and Cathy talk outside about her sister showing up and not her parents. We find out that Cathy’s dad’s job is important (or something — “high up in a big company” is about as specific as it gets) and he doesn’t want anything to do with a reality show. I love that we’ve come to the point where open scorn is breaking down every fourth wall it can get its hooks in. Leave it to reality TV to make being s*** on into something meta.
We see Dana and her mother sitting down on the couch. It is the couch on which we’ve seen them speak so many times before, just never in person. This really is a dream come true, complete with a plastic couch covering to protect the furniture from the drool that inevitably comes with dreaming.
“Why do you like him?” asks Dana’s mom, who rants a few dozen more words including, “You’re going to PACE, I don’t need this s***.” That’s a mother’s loving struggle in a nutshell. Dana explains to her mother that Frank is a great person, if only she’d open up to him. Those things are mutually exclusive, but OK. There’s more ranting about Frank’s lack of work/motivation. Dana shushes her mother. “Don’t tell me to shush, man. I ain’t f***ing shushing!” she says. Someone melt this woman into jewelery right now because she is pure gold. She’s extremely stuck on Frank not working, and Dana suggests that Frank could be a stay-at-home dad. It’s always marriage scenarios with this one, eh? Dana’s mom finds this ridiculous. How strange it is to watch someone morph from a bulging ball of nerves and no’s into the voice of reason. “Get back to school and get home. I have nothing more to say,” ends Dana’s mom, who’s obviously back to her old self. Lady, give her a few days — the show’s almost over, either way.
Frank enters the room, calling Dana’s mom “Debbie.” Her name is actually Donna. Donna and Dana, nice. Dana’s destiny as one half of a comedic duo with her mother was cemented upon her birth.
Donna is very frank with Frank. She says she doesn’t like the idea of Dana being with him. Frank asks if she knows him, and she knows some things, like the fact that he doesn’t have a job (although, hello, does she think his work on this show is pro bono?). Frank assures her that he’ll be able to provide for Dana and 25 kids. What kind of a womb does he think that girl is rocking?
Speaking of wombs, Donna also thinks that Frank is sleeping with everyone on the show. Not everyone, Donna: just one. Frank asks what she does, and she says she’s an esthetician. And then Frank says, “Is that like video games?” Just kidding, but he does need to be explained that this means she does facials and microderm abrasion and the like. I kind of want to hire her as my new facialist. Something tells me that she’s really tenacious, which is exactly what my clogged pores need. She asks Frank about his future goals, and he says he sings and plays the piano. But is he making money? “Yeah!” he says, neglecting to add the “right” his assertion desperately needs.
Anyway, Frank gets Donna to calm down, saying his intentions are pure. She relents slightly, telling him to prove her wrong. If that sounds like adult-film dialog, well, that’s just perfect, now, isn’t it?
Frank shares “dates” with each of his girls and her respective family members. First up is Kerry. She, her mother and Frank all go out by what looks like the Verrazano. He must really love that place — he just took Dana there last week. He asks Kerry’s mom about her daughter’s previous boyfriends. There was an Italian fellow that she liked and disliked. Isn’t that nice? And mean? Apparently, Kerry is the type who attracts dudes who think they’re involved when really she just sees them as friends. Hate that.
Kerry’s mom reveals that she isn’t crazy about Frank living in his parents’ basement, but for now, it’s OK. Frank asks her about her ex-husband, Kerry’s dad, and she says that their relationship is nonexistent, but no longer hostile. Things turn awkward when it surfaces that Kerry has never discussed this with her mom, and that she doesn’t have a good relationship with her father. It is clear that Frank is prying. He’s oblivious to this again when he pulls a similar move with Felicia and her parents…
They talk about Felicia’s past relationships, and they say that Felicia was shy and never revealed much about that sort of thing with her parents. “Something’s up if she doesn’t want to open up to the people that raised her,” says Frank, moving from entertainer to analyst in a single interview. “I really wish that this conversation about being not open would end,” says Felicia. Hmmm, a closed-off person would say that. Anyway, their “date” seems to begin and end with a walk around the block. Only the best for Frank’s girls!
The final date finds Frank taking Dana, Donna, Cathy and Adrienne to a bar for some pre-dinner drinks. There, Frank asks if Dana’s mom has ever scared her daughter’s boyfriends off. She protests slightly: she just wants to know them! It’s like the way great white sharks use their mouths on whatever they’re curious about, even if they aren’t trying to eat it or cause major disfigurement, per se. They just want to get to know human flesh!
“I’m really a nice person. I was thinking all those crazy things like strippers, hot tub,” explains Donna on her initial resistance to, oh, everything. Sounds like she gets the VH1 deal, too. I wonder if reality fandom is genetic.
And then, things take a complete turn for the surreal when Frank starts flirting with her, calling her beautiful and asking if she’s seeing anyone. She is, and a younger man, at that. This seems to excite Frank. He says he would talk to her if he saw her out. He qualifies this by stating he’s just being honest. “I love honesty,” gushes Dana’s mom. Well, of course she does. Also, they kiss briefly:
So that’s, y’know: bizarre.
Meanwhile at home, Felicia thinks she’s about to be eliminated. Her bags are packed because she feels like her parents ruined it for her. They just don’t understand, now do they?
Back at the bar, Frank moves to a private table with Cathy and Adrienne (by the way, I have no idea how Cathy’s sister spells her name — I’m just spelling it the same way that my sister Adrienne does).
There is more talk about Cathy’s absent parents. She is a latchkey reality contestant if ever there were. Adrienne talks about Cathy’s early graduation and her previous relationship, which lasted almost four years. Cathy asks if there’s anything else he wants to know about her. He interviews no – she puts it all out there already. What a considerate way to put it from someone who’s reaped the benefits of her putting it all out there! Then he kisses her hand…
…or perhaps mistakes it for a harmonica. Jury’s out on that one. This leads to a brief make-out sesh, which is exactly the type of thing Donna came in this house raging against…
But now she’s so arrested by Frank’s charms that she’s willing to turn a blind eye.
They return home for dinner with the family.
Susan says it’s time to tell stories about Frank that they didn’t already know. These involve him sleeping through his high-school graduation, Susan sitting at the back of classes to make sure he’d get invited to said graduation and a time when Frank pulled a school fire alarm. Susan calls that the biggest embarrassment of her life. Really? That…
…and not this?
“Well, you did something right,” pipes up Donna. “He’s a great guy.” She also doesn’t see anything wrong with the story detailing Frank taking up with a 38-year-old woman when he was considerably younger. All Donna wants to know is if Frank was of age. That’s all you ever really need to know in any such situation, right? Kerry interviews that Donna came in a lion, but is now a “smitten kitten.” It bums me out that she says this toward the end of the episode, because I would have loved to refer to Donna as “smitten kitten” throughout. Oh well. Maybe next time (and there better be a next time)!
Before they leave, Frank sits down with Felicia’s parents. Her dad says she doesn’t open up to anyone like, and that questions phrased the wrong way will result in being cut off immediately. Outside, Felicia explains that she was raised by her parents as though they were her grandparents. It was a very traditional setting that made her apprehensive of having boyfriends. She’s always serious because she’s always trying to do better and she feels like her best isn’t good enough. To the age old question, “Why do we crucify ourselves?” there’s your answer.
And here’s your…
…elimination. Cathy is called first, weirdly enough. Then Frank says, “Felicia, we both think that our parents look at us as underachievers…” Susan interrupts with, “You’re full of crap! You’re imagining things.” So he’s underachieving in his representation of the way things are, then?
Felicia gets that key, so it’s down to Kerry and Dana.
Kerry is scarred by divorce and her lack of a relationship with father may have led to her lack of LTRs. Dana and her mom are both “attractive and vivacious and direct.” The difference is, Dana’s still a little girl, and meeting her mom showed what they were missing in their connection. Dana is going home and she’s obviously going to do so in the usual odd and self-adoring way she’s been carrying herself all along:
“…That’s why I didn’t try, but I like you as a friend!” she chirps. She didn’t try? So she was just taking out those other girls and “I’m not here to make friends”ing for sport? Amazing, diabolical, invigorating, etc.
Susan isn’t sure what to make of this. She suspects Dana’s words may be a case of sour grapes, but “we’ll never know.” Not until her interview on this blog, at least.
Dana interviews that when she hugs and kisses Frank, nothing’s there, but now that she’s eliminated, he’s blown his chances with her mom. Until we hear it coming from her mother with a few “man”s and “f***”s thrown in for good measure, that is the most important thing we’ll never know.
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