LAST EDITED ON 01-14-04 AT 11:56 PM (EST)
I should probably explain something to you. Until tonight I had never actually watched this show. I always found a way to avoid sitting down and losing 30 minutes of my life each week to a show that quite honestly sounded lame. Ra would sit in his favorite recliner to watch, and I would always seem to find something else to do. (Grouting the bathroom tiles, refinishing my sons oak dresser-- even grading papers can suddenly become a favorite passtime under the right circumstances.) Besides, all the summaries have been so good, that I felt as though I “got” this show.
So tonight I came into the living room, snuggled under an afghan with my notebook, smiled sweetly at Ra, and proudly announced, “Well Luv, 30 minutes won’t kill me. How bad could it be?”
To which he replied, “Oh, Didn’t you know ‘Bun? Tonight is the reunion show-- It‘s an hour.” My look must have scared him. He has now gone off to install a new sprinkler system in the back yard. No easy task, considering the snow on the ground.
The clock on the wall above the Telly mocks me. I can hear it slowly ticking away 60 minutes from my life.
Tic. Tic. Tic...
Well, the beginning has some promise! Classical Music in the background, a lovely Beverly Hills mansion, and an approaching butler. In the large, luxuriously made up bed lies Sleeping Beauty with the Taco Bell dog nibbling at the straps of her pink silk nightie. Our fair maiden is in the throes of a farming nightmare-- but it’s the cow that wakes up screaming. There is an ominous shot of Pa staring intently out of an upstairs window. I assume that's because he has never actually heard a cow scream before. We cut back to sleeping beauty, now awake and facing her butler who informs her she is leaving for Arkansas in 3 hours. We hear more screaming. I’m not sure if it was the cow or Paris.
The music swells, launching into a catchy “Green-Acres-if-the-writers-were-on-crack” theme. And now, the Simple Life Reunion.
Tic. Tic. Tic.
Fade in to Fort Smith, Arkansas, with Leeza Gibbions suitably dressed down for her interview and standing center stage. She smiles amid the no-holds-barred-spare-no-expense-set consisting of a few burlap covered hay bales, old wood floor, rough wood beams, and a backdrop provided by Mrs. Crabsters Jr. High art class-- complete with a wooden cow. I feel like I am watching an old 1940’s musical, and find myself waiting for Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney to come out exclaiming “Lets put on a show!” But I digress.
Leeza introduces the family by first commenting on Grandmas enormous hair, then exclaiming to Ma and Pa “What were you thinking?” Oh, I don’t know Leeza-- money? The two eldest boys announce that the girls were annoying-- but hey, it was better than having two ugly girls staying with them. For a moment, I thought I had returned to the Amazon, and Heidi and Jenna were being interviewed. Paris (complete with Taco Bell dog, dressed elaborately in some pink frothy number) and Nichole enter and hug everyone. Lezza demands that the audience give them a proper “Unintelligible Arkansas welcome” and they exuberantly comply. You can feel the love in the room. Naturally the producers take that opportunity to showcase the shows “Johnny Fairplay” moment; Nichole announceing that her kitty cat died to get out of a punishment.
They Move on to Braxton, who steals the scene when he prefers to sit next to Leeza rather than the girls. More insipid conversation about how Paris became Nichole’s maid because she made the bed each morning.
When we return, we get to see the working girls in action. Oh, rapture.
Tic. Tic. Tic.
The first job they decide to recap is on a dairy farm. The girls were asked to check on the pregnant cows. This “checkup” consisted of actually inserting ones arm into said cow. Nichole told the audience “It was hard! HE doesn’t want you in there!” Well, yes dear...if you were checking a bull for pregnancy, that would make him a tad cranky. This was followed by Leeza asking Grandma how she felt about the girls. Grandma of course loved them, that’s what Grandmas do.
Since this is not the answer the producers were looking for, Leeza turns her questions to the Dairy Farm owner, who was the first of many bosses to fire them. He announces that no, he didn’t sell any milk extracted that day; that would have been udderly unthinkable. He did say he would recommend them to an employer someday, provided they swore never to go near a cow again.
Next was on to Sonic Burger, where they couldn’t prepare food, couldn’t fill napkin dispensers, and Nichole couldn’t wear the shake suit without flipping the bird to traffic on the street. (Now, in her defense-- having once been Snow White at Disneyland for a summer, I can tell you that she did what every person who ever donned a character suit would love to do!) Paris liked the roller skates she got to wear, and flirting... oops... I mean waiting on customers. She’s a real people person, that Paris. Boss #2 also said she would recommend the girls someday, provided they swore never to go near a fast food chain again.
Next were clips of “Jobs you didn’t get to see.” The first: fishing. Of course these girls are screaming in glee on the boat, scaring away any fish within state lines. The one fish they did catch, they played with like a puppet and it slipped out of their hands into the water. Fisherman Fred fired them after reprimanding them for losing the 5 dollars he would have gotten for that fish. He does, however, promise to recommend the girls someday, provided they swore never to go near a fish again.
The next job was at a vet’s clinic. Veterinarian Victor asks them to help with a simple castration procedure. Nichole squeals like a bull being inspected for pregnancy when the animal is snipped; Paris cowers on the floor. Curiously, the vet isn’t on hand to say if he would recommend them for a job or not. I assume it’s because he doesn’t want them to have to swear that they never go near a Dr. who would provide a vasectomy to their future mates. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
The word on the street according to Leeza, was “is there any place these 2 can go to work?” Even Pa admits that most people “volunteered to take them off our hands for awhile.” Ah, nothing like pity to get your friends to hire the most inept duo on the planet.
Buffalo, the “Good Lord” guy, is the only person who seems to have enjoyed their brief stint as workers. In one of the most honest moments on television, he admits it was because they brought in business. They giggle, and relive the college “ingesting of the minnow” prank. Ha Ha Ha...this is new. I went to Berkeley; we NEVER saw anyone do that. One live fishy would have been to gross.
When we come back, did Justin get his threesome? (my intuition says no)
Tic. Tic. Tic.
Leeza immediately launches into to the “what everyone wants to know question.” Sex; how is the dating in Arkansas? Both girls smile broadly and say “great,” as do all the men in the room. Hummmm.
Nichole announces that the hottest guys are in Arkansas. Leeza uses that to springboard to Justin, who was quickly dropped down from “threesome” candidate to “he’s like our brother.” (Can you say kiss of death here?) All nervously say that they knew that it was a joke, so that Pa (who has quite the pursed lips at this point) will know that they were all paragons of virtue. Enter Trey (Chops) and Anthony, who replaced Justin on the “to do” list. Leeza further expands on that by saying to Anthony “how do you go back to the farm, when you have done Paris?” Everyone is shocked. Leeza makes some dumb remark about that wasn’t what she meant. I had to move my head quickly, as her nose broke through my television screen.
Next, the day the earth stood still. Ahem, I mean the day the girls almost gave up and went back to Beverly Hills.
Tic. Tic. Tic.
Aw, tense moments from our heroines. Pa is too strict, the brothers are geeks, and Braxton while cute, doesn't provide the testosterone needed to keep these two up and running. Pa says he wanted to teach them about values so they could take them back to the big city. Both girls smile sweetly, and swear that they have turned over a new
fig leaf, and are much better people.
Since there is not much more that can be said at this point, Leeza moves on to the family truck which the girls painted “Barbie” pink and destroyed within a month. We are shown clips of this poor vehicle smoking, grinding, and belching out horrible noises. The girls swear it was a piece of crap to begin with. Ma swears they were crappy drivers. Either way, the crap was flung about in regards to the truck.
Next, “Sexy girls with Power tools.”
Tic. Tic. Tic.
Now, being that these two are from California-- all the world’s a catwalk, and all the women merely mannequins. So naturally, Leeza has to comment on the fashion trends these two brought to this quiet Southern town. Did the family like what they wore?
Grandpa: liked it
Grandma: no comment
Pa: Jury is still out on that one.
Ma: Great, if you like to wear washcloths.
Eldest boys: YES!!
This of course, was simply a chance for a nice fade in showcasing the new favorite store of Paris; Walmart. Nichole mentions that this is the place where they bought glitter for the makeovers they did on the cows. Bovine makeovers?! Now, can someone tell me-- were these the same bulls that got checked for pregnancy? It’s amazing the girls survived their stint on that farm.
Q&A from the audience. (obviously, a fill for time by the producers)
Q. Would Pa allow the boys to go visit the girls in California?
A. Hell no! Not without Mother Theresa and Jesus Christ as their chaperones.
Q. Nichole, do you think you over reacted when, in a snit, you poured bleach on the pool table?
A. Um... well... I sometimes do things without thinking... but I apologized. (she also called the felter, gave him her memorized credit card number, and had the table recovered.)
Q. Why questioning lady? Do you think she over reacted?
Oh Goodie! Now we get to the promised hotties with tools segment! We are treated to the girls building a fort for Braxton for his birthday. Both girls are extremely proud of their efforts. Braxton loved his house; the family smiled for a change. But did anyone else notice that there was no question as to whether this little construction project was still standing? Makes me wonder if it wasn't condemned following the taping of the birthday party. Did the poor little chap dare even get into it?
Next. Leeza says to the audience “By now nothing would shock you about these two, right?” Oh, shudder.
Tic. Tic. Tic.
It’s the end. The family is smiling, the audience is smiling, Leeza is smiling, and the girls are missing. I am watching the clock, imagining all the other things I could have been doing for the last 55 minutes.
Lezza takes the opportunity to heap praises on the family. “You are so highly respected, and you are truly what family is all about.” I assume this translated into “Telly speak” means: “You didn’t kill them in their sleep, and you didn’t rig the truck to blow up with them in it, so you deserve a nice parting gift for resisting temptation.”
Cue the engines! In drives the girls in a brand new, blue Dodge Durango complete with something called a “himmy, or hemmy” I couldn’t make out which. I suppose I need to ask Ra what the devil that option is. You yanks and your slang. The family starts to cry, and the brothers say that “I take back every rotten thing I said about you.”
Ah, nothing quite says “all is forgiven,” like a brand new, gas guzzling, totally unsuitable vehicle for a farmer. Yep. This was no pickup truck. It was an SUV. I cant wait to see what it looks like after toting bales and other farm supplies around in it for a few weeks.
“Tune in tomorrow, for the finale,” the announcer tells me.
Tic. Tic. Tic.
“Not bloody likely,” says I.
I think I will put new insulation in the attic tomorrow night.
Newest inductee into "the club." They even gave me a new tub to sleep in, see?