The formula is simple…
Take GTL, replace the L with an M and there you have it: Gym, Tanning, Marriage.
Welcome to My Big Friggin’ Wedding, the show that wonders, “Is there life after Jersey Shore?” There is and it involves matrimony! This show follows five couples (whose story lines do not intersect, making this feel less like Basketball Wives and more like Showbiz Moms and Dads — it’s a welcome return to an underused form). Since it follows each pair one at a time, we’ll do the same — here are character breakdowns of the first episode, in advance of any wedding-based temper tantrums that may ensue. Consider these, then, the breakdowns before the breakdowns…
Johnny and Megin
Johnny and Megin enter arguing.
It’s about food, which is something Johnny takes seriously, as he’s attempting to launch a franchise/line called Johnny Meatballs. (Just because he’s taking it seriously doesn’t mean you can’t laugh or think about balls as a result of his dreams.)
Megin, as the screen shot of Johnny patting her womb above suggests, is pregnant. She says she wants to pop out this kid ASAP, so that she can drink at her wedding. Makes a hell of a lot of sense to me. She already has one kid, Matthew.
No, he doesn’t have to pee — he’s imitating Michael Jackson. Actually, he might have to pee. I have no idea, I didn’t interview him.
Johnny and Megin’s dynamic could be best described as argumentative. They seem to play one-upping games as a matter of course. Some sample dialogue:
Johnny: It’s my wedding.
Megin: It’s my wedding.
Johnny: I call the shots.
Megin: I call the shots!
The nice thing is that as long as one of them has something to say, they’ll always have something to talk about.
Johnny and Megin have different visions for their upcoming wedding, of course. Johnny wants “the biggest ultimate Jersey crazy fist-pumpin’ wedding.” Megin seems to just want to act like a normal person. They meet with a DJ and Johnny tells him he doesn’t want to play “any slow s***,” that he wants his wedding to be a 24/7 nightclub (or, I don’t know, a 5/24 nightclub). He would even like his invitation to look more like a club flier than a traditional invite:
He says this is “classy.” I wonder what it would take for Johnny to find something not classy. Crayon? Food stains? “I can’t believe you’re doing this in my friggin’ wedding!” says Megin regarding Johnny’s choices and proving that yes, indeed, people do talk like the title of this show.
There’s a grit to Johnny and Megin’s story — you get a sense of their struggle, as she works 10-hour days and he spends his trying to get Johnny Meatballs off the ground (“My passion is meatballs,” he says with a straight face):
“I had to do some cutting and pasting, you know. It’s a big thing,” he explains, unconvincingly, recapping his day for her.
But at least he has food on the table for her when she gets home. Granted, it’s takeout that he’s passing off as home cooked…
And he claims, “Presentation is everything,” while spooning it onto a Styrofoam plate. But this irony is not lost on Megin, who dryly remarks, “You broke out the fine plastic, I see.” No matter their financial struggles, it’s reassuring for our purposes that they are each other’s perfect comic foils.
Tyler and Alyssa
You most likely won’t relate to this, but these two have a special place in my heart for being from South Jersey, which is underrepresented on reality TV (poor South Jersey!) and really is an entirely different animal than North. Up North, the main influence is New York, whereas South Jersey is mostly touched by Philly. Also, they talk funny, both in the realm of vernacular (“shoobies” and “hoagies,” anyone?) and the actual accent, which sounds a lot what you hear in a John Waters movie (the Baltimore/Philly/South Jersey accents are so similar, they might as well be the same). Basically, they really like to emphasize O’s in whatever form they come and also add L sounds in weird places (“house” is “halse” in South Jersey). It sounds like a Southern accent after a tornado blew through it.
Tyler and Alyssa are so South Jersey, too, bless their hearts! They party in Somers friggin’ Point, for Christ’s sake! (That’s one town over from the one I grew up in, not that you care!) They met at a keg party there! Alyssa announces, “I’m gonna f***in’ rock this wedding South Jersey style,” which is seriously music to my ears. The only thing better than someone from South Jersey is someone who’s proud to be from South Jersey. This girl is a treasure.
She tells stories that involve ball hair hanging out of the sides of shorts. She brags about her Juicy Couture stroller…
…her Louis V bag…
…her Benz and her “big-ass house” (sorry, halse)…
Her (and Tyler’s) daughter eats pizza backwards!
Her mom is also amazing!
“People think Alyssa and I are sisters, and believe me, we party like we’re sisters,” she promises. Or is that a threat…of a good time?
And just when you think it can’t get more awesome, we meet her stepdad!
“My daughter and my son in law are having fun, period,” he slurs, right before dropping his beer and spilling it all over the couch. He gives a halfhearted, “Oops,” and takes the opportunity to toast:
To the future! (Which hopefully involves drunken spectacles such as this at the actual wedding.)
At this party (what is it? A bridal shower?), Alyssa and her girlfriends talk about razors.
Alyssa makes a joke about using a guy’s razor after he shaves his balls. One of her friends says, “I didn’t know guys shaved their balls.” Alyssa reveals, “Tyler does!” Maybe he just wants the carpet to match the drapes.
Stubbly, you know? Alyssa explains that balls smell like B.O. if they aren’t shaved. Some people like the smell of B.O. Just saying. Anyway, being that this is the second time in mere minutes that ball hair is mentioned, I’m very interested to see if Alyssa can maintain the motif throughout this series. I’m pulling for her! (And what I’m pulling, of course, is my own ball hair.)
Anyway, the only other thing to report about Alyssa and Tyler is that she and her friends go out to eat (at friggin’ Gregory’s, whose website is a really indication of how it’s aging). At one point, someone asks Alyssa, “If you didn’t have a baby, would you marry Tyler?” After several beats, Alyssa says, “Hopefully!” I’m not sure how that bodes for their future as a couple, but I think it bodes extremely well for our future as viewers.
Joey and Sandra
So, Joey and Sandra…
Oh sorry, Joey’s on the phone. I’ll wait till he’s done. No, no, no bother. I have nothing better to do.
Anyway! We meet Joey and Sandra as they are tanning for their wedding. They both really, really believe in the importance of tanning as their verbal essays on the subject attest. I really like this picture of them:
“Our wedding is gonna be friggin’ unbelievable,” promises Sandra. It really makes me wonder if the producers had the title My Big Friggin’ Wedding all along and lucked out by casting people who say “friggin'” all the time, or if they started filming and discovered there could be no name for this show but My Big Friggin’ Wedding. Perhaps I will use my connections to get to the bottom of this; perhaps I will forget this point as soon as I’m finished typing it. One thing’s for sure, though: you will live in suspense of how it all will pan out, just as you will live in suspense over what color Joey’s vest will be (she wants white, he wants black, and yes, they really do fight about it and are unable to reach a resolution).
Danny and Tammie
Tammie is a straight-up riot. She is a hairdresser, which is the perfect job for her (besides reality TV), as she explains, “It was always my passion, and I wanted to make money and talk all the time.” And talk she does! Tammie’s coworker reveals that Tammie had to have her station moved because no one could stand to hear her talk about her wedding for any longer. Not that it stopped her, I’m sure. I get the feeling that a ball gag wouldn’t stop Tammie; she’d chew right through it and immediately ask for a shot.
To wit: “I will be the drunkest at the wedding,” she proclaims and then threatens to take a shot before she walks down the aisle. In the words of Cosmopolitan magazine, why/why not?
This is literally an actual sentence that comes out of her mouth: “I’m gonna be the classiest bride…ever see a white girl do the booty pop?” Literally.
She says she’s having her seamstress make her dress so that it emphasizes her butt. I’m sure it took her not a long time to think of that idea — when you are the classiest, these things just come to you.
Tammie has a dog, Belle, that she says is her child.
Belle has a stuffed animal that she likes to hump while Tammie and Danny do it. That is such a classy thing to share that I’m shocked Tammie didn’t put on white gloves to reveal it. A rare miss, Tammie. “I would love Belle to walk down the aisle. The churches say no,” reveals Tammie. She says she’ll pray for it. Having your dog precede your walk down the aisle is definitely a thing to pray for. What good is world peace if Belle the dog isn’t taking part of a wedding ceremony?
Anyway, it isn’t all roses for Tammie and Danny. He has three kids from his previous marriage: Daniel, Samantha and Stephanie. There seems to be a lot of resentment there.
Messily enough, the resentment is a two-way street as we hear Tammie tell a client, “They haven’t done much for me.” Yikes. This should be nice and heavy. Complicating matters is that Tammie’s family took a long time to accept Danny, as they were against her marrying outside of her race. Her grandmother cried for months over the fact that she was marrying a Haitian, but on the other hand, his family welcomed her. Her situation is a tangled mess of acceptance and rejection. At least if it doesn’t all get straightened out, it should make for a colorful celebration!
We see Tammie getting Botox, which Danny would probably be against if he weren’t too busy to notice it. But even though it’s injected into her skin, it’s for him, as Tammie explains, “He wants a Long Island housewife and I’m going to give it to him. I’m going to get Botox, I’m going to perk up my National Geographic boobs.” Her aim is to provide Danny with a hot chick on his arm at all times.
She’s 27, and she’s conscious of her head-start on upkeep. “I’m gonna look young forever, starting now,” she promises. Forever starts now, guys. Can’t wait to see where forever will take us and Tammie’s face.
And finally, there are…
Matt and Amanda
Like many of the couples, Matt and Amanda’s relationship spawned from another immediately preceding it (I guess they all do, really): she was dating one of his friends, that friend went to jail and Matt came in and “bagged her up.” Or scooped her up, as it were:
He’s so Italian, it’s coming out of his pores:
Another thing that’s coming out of his pores is…
…his love for his mother. These two points together seem to cause at least slight discomfort in his dynamic with Amanda, who’s 100 percent Hispanic. She calls his mom scary and we proceed to watch his mom freak out when Amanda tells her that an old-world espresso maker looks like the work of Huckleberry Finn.
“When I die, she’s not getting that,” Mom reports.
Mom’s awesome, though. She’s more than a little Judge Judy-esque, and she’s totally OK with throwing her son and his fiance under the bus to the camera when they’re not around. She admonishes them to their faces for not being as prepared as they should be (they have just three weeks till their wedding) and then backs off when they assure her that they are. Once they’ve left, she reveals to the world that they aren’t as on track as they should be. She will undoubtedly be an invaluable source throughout the duration of this show.
We see Matt and Amanda get tattoos together: Roman numerals signifying their wedding date.
“At least there’s no way you could ever, ever forget our anniversary,” says Amanda. Amanda is wise. Anyway, she’s in discomfort…
…and yet Matt leaves the parlor to grab some beer. She doesn’t like this one bit and they fight about it. She, in turn, abandons him during his tattooing (weirdly to his chagrin, which is kind of unfair because you can’t have it both ways). He tells the tattoo artist that what he’s feeling isn’t a hurting pain, but an annoying one “kinda like she is.” Just as permanent, too, or at least, that’s the idea of the show/the overall concept of marriage!