This week is a story of how much the men we love can change our lives. For Carla, Drita, and Big Ang, their ex-husbands come with some baggage, but it’s carry-on sized compared to the enormous Smarte Carte Renee must wheel through security this week.
Woop woop! Drita’s a woman on the prowl! I love that Drita is the type of woman who could seriously have her pick of men, and yet she confesses that she has no game at all. Basically, her pickup lines involve asking men if they like to be punched, and then her punching them, whether or not they say yes. These subtitles basically tell a hilarious story of Drita’s night out.
At a certain point in the night, Drita spots a guy that seems vaguely familiar, and it turns out he knows Lee, which is an instant buzzkill for Drita. She takes one final shot and leaves, because she’s lost the will to punch any other men.
Big Ang, Karen, and Ramona shoot the breeze and discuss their family friendships because Ang’s uncle, Sally Dogs, was good friends with Sammy The Bull. They all reminisce about the good old days when they were flush with gifts and wiseguy money was lavished on them. Those days are long gone though. But if you were wondering where Big Ang got her personality, she tells a story of her mother sneaking vodka into the prison for her uncle with baby bottles hidden under her boobs. Oh, if only Mrs. Big Ang was here, that show would be amazing.
Even crazier than the baby bottle story is Big Ang’s arrest story. Her friend wore a wire to rat her out. “She had the wire on in the bathroom while I was peeing, and you hear it. On the tapes. Me peeing. That is the grossest thing,” Ang says.
“Lately I’m noticing a very big gap between Junior and I,” Renee says. “My spirit is definitely broken.”
Junior is about to be sentenced after his arrest from last year, and losing Junior is weighing on Renee very heavily, as is the fact that Renee still suspects that other women are still in Junior’s life. She addresses the issue that they aren’t very romantic toward one another and Junior basically calls her out for her bad attitude lately that turns him off. Which basically proves the point I learned from that episode of Square Pegs that men are pigs.
In her fragile state, Renee tells Junior that his going to prison “Is killing me inside.” He promises her “I’ll be here for you.”
But that’s a promise that’s about to ring hollow.
But before we get to that, let’s discuss the greatest opening line to a story ever, delivered, of course, by Big Ang, when she says “I have this husband…”
“I’ve been married to Neil two and a half years. When I met Neil at the Drunken Monkey four and a half years ago I thought he was very cute. And then all of a sudden everything changed. My husband is a cheater, sneaky, stay out all night drunk. From the minute we got married, it’s been nothing but a f—ing disaster. Dis-as-ter,” goes the tale of Big Ang’s marriage. Drita invites Ang out to speed dating, which Ang calls “for the really desperate” but more importantly, you can’t go from a street guy to a regular guy. “It don’t work!” she says. Carla’s husband Joe also has some opinions on speed dating, as he basically tells her what it is. “Did you speed date in prison, something I didn’t know about? He knew more than me, what the f—?”
But I don’t WANT Carla to go to speed dating, I want her to stay with Joooooe. I mean, when you hear “Her husband was in prison for six years and he was just released from a halfway house and they’re divorced,” sure, it sounds like I should not root for them as a couple, but I AM. They are so CUTE together. He’s complimenting her butt! And talking about how he walked in and thought “Wow, that girl is beautiful,” and when Carla asked him who he was referring to, he replied “Like, when I seen you.” I CAN’T.
I love this guy!
At the actual speed dating event, Drita is hilariously nervous about meeting these men, who all happen to be firemen. A lot of these men are from other cities, which Drita’s not into (“Long distance is no different than dating a man in prison”, or they’re engaged (??), or they’re weirdly aggressive (“Get your [divorce] paperwork pushed through and let’s press fast-forward!”).
Weirder still is the fact that these are men who “go to sleep, wake up, go to work…Like, they have alarm clocks.” Drita and Carla leave speed dating with no promising dates, but Drita did manage to dish out some advice to some of the men while she was there. “Never get married.”
Renee wakes up the next day to find herself alone and full of anxiety. Once again, Junior has left the house without saying goodbye, though he did leave her a letter.
This letter is shattering, confusing, and upending because it’s not just a confession that he’s turning himself in to the Feds, but it’s a goodbye letter. “Junior has turned himself in,” Renee says. “I’m totally freaked out because I don’t know who to call, so I start calling Nikole and Karen,” who eventually both arrive to her house.
“When you turn yourself in, where do you turn yourself in to?” Renee asks, making additional calls to Junior’s parole officer and various law enforcement agencies. “I’m stressed, I’m confused, I’m devastated, I’m totally in the dark.”
She calls Ramona and reads off a portion of the letter that states “I love you, I’ll always love you, this is our last day” which is probably the most devastating line of all because what the hell does that even mean? It’s so final.
“The whole goodbye letter is so weird to me,” Karen says, and she seems suspicious of Junior’s behavior. She’s also incredibly worries about Renee’s well-being because Renee is definitely in a really fragile place and she’s about to break down. “I’m ready to go,” Renee emotionally says, and it’s frightening because she’s very clear what she means by “go.” “I don’t wanna live,” she says.
She calms down long enough to call the prison to find out where Junior is being held, and at first, it doesn’t go well. The operator won’t divulge any information at all, so Renee ends the call, telling her to “Go f— yourself.” Nikole calls back right away and takes a more calm approach, although the operator is totally on to her asking “Are you the lady that just called?” but even though it’s kind of clear what’s going on, the operator manages to tell Nikole that she can actually see Junior from where she’s sitting and she knows his name. That’s an oddly chatty, TMI-move from an operator that refuses to give out any additional information. Karen is like, really?
Renee’s emotions start to manifest into physical illness and she runs to the bathroom to get sick and she begins to break down all over again. Karen literally boosts her up and has to hold her and talk her through the ordeal and again, it’s heartbreaking to watch.
But the worst is still yet to come…Renee, while on the phone with her cousin and explaining the situation, hears what’s going on on the other end of the phone, and it is the worst imaginable scenario.
“I’m on the phone with my cousin, who’s at my dad’s house,” Renee explains. “All of a sudden I hear a lot of commotion going on. After all the commotion, it becomes quiet on the phone and I hear ‘It’s the police’…I’m completely terrified, and I automatically know that they came to take my father away.”
Renee, who for so long has appeared as an imposing woman, intimidated by no one, shows us that right now, she’s a wife and a daughter whose life has been flung into chaos in the course of hours and she’s never seemed more diminutive.
“I can’t save my family,” she cries. “And I feel so helpless.”