Breakdown of Second Episode
15% "Coming up next" blurbs/recaps after commercial breaks of what had occurred immediately before commercial breaks
20% "Last week on $25 Million Dollar Hoax" recaplets
15% "Next week" spoilers
5% New footage
Enter the Drag On
I live my life by three simple rules: 1. No good has ever come out of a weekend email from your boss. 2. No song that starts with "Uno, dos, tres..." can possibly be bad. 3. Never eat food from the dollar store.
Before watching Monday night's second episode of $25 Million Dollar Hoax I would have assumed that "Don't sing in public unless you can actually sing" would have been common sense to most people, but maybe that needs to be spelled out to some.
More about that later.
This latest episode begins with a summation of last week's episode (for those of you who have the long-term memories of goldfish). Again, we see George Gray, who, rather than showing up in person, has become a disembodied, all-seeing voice (like Obi-Wan Kenobi) telling us what we can plainly see for ourselves on TV.
Once more, we see dear old Ed McMahon, whose appearance, although hyped, was relegated to a few minutes of the first episode. No doubt, he has returned to the land of Rotary Club speaking engagements and ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Chrysler dealerships in Nebraska.
George Gray's voice gushes that Chrissy's challenge becomes more difficult as she must "become more selfish, spend more money and continue to annoy her family." (In other words, she has to become a Hilton sister.)
Chrissy has chartered another private flight. Destination: Beverly Hills, home to some of the most hoity-toity shopping in the world, hillbillies, actors in their 30's posing as high school students, and, of course, rogue police detectives from Detroit.
In a little-known law passed around the time 90210 was on the air, no depiction of Beverly Hills on television or film may appear without at least one shot of the Beverly Hills or Rodeo Drive road signs. $25 Million Dollar Hoax is no exception, but alas, no shots of wealthy women in tight clothes accompanied by tiny dogs. (And I'm just kidding about that law, of course.)
The Sanfords pull up in a limousine longer than my list of excuses the last time I called in sick to work. The Sanfords emerge, very self-conscious that the looky-loos on Rodeo Drive have stopped to stare at who merited such a limo because as anyone who lives in California can tell you, the bigger your limo, the bigger your ego.
Chrissy gives her adoring public a wave from the wrist fit for English royalty. As far as I can tell, no one stops to pay any mind whatsoever.
Chrissy's first stop is the Jonathan salon for a makeover. If Jonathan is anything like Fantastic Sam's, I hope that naming one's salon after oneself means the same thing: premium quality. However, can Jonathan offer what Sam's can? Namely, sticky floors and copies of Mademoiselle from 1993? I think not, my friends. I think not.
Jonathan does offer one thing that Sam's doesn't: fruit trays for $100. (If fortune smiles on you at Sam's, the derelict next to you may offer a bite of his pear.) I don't care how good that fruit is. If you pay $100 for fruit, you better be regular every damn day until you die at the ripe old age of 200.
While Chrissy has her hair done and eats $50 cherries, her brothers hoof it down to the Supercuts for their makeovers.
"I don't need no $300 haircut to make me look good," Eric quips.
This brings up an obvious question: There's a Supercuts on Rodeo Drive? Well, why not? There's a Chili's on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. I know it's there, because I've eaten there. Do you know what they call "chicken-fried steak" at the Chili's on the Champs-Elysées? "Biftek au poulet frit avec sauce." And now you know how to order in French. Ooh-la-la. Try ordering it the next time you're in the South of France and have a craving for nourriture d'âme.
Clothes, Jewelry and Porcelain Crap Fit for a Queen
George Gray's disembodied voice butts in again to add to Chrissy's troubles. If any of the Sanfords express an interest in a purchase, Chrissy must purchase it...for herself only.
Chrissy's next stop is Lladro (pronounced "YA-drow"). For all you schmucks like me watching this show while eating a second helping of Hamburger Helper, we learn that a Lladro is a unique, handmade porcelain statue. Holly passes this lesson onto Chrissy. (And that's one of the reasons--one of many--that I like Holly. She has a just-got-paid fabulousness to her.)
(Note that your intrepid recapper had some trouble finding Google results with the term "Yadro." How the hell was I supposed to know that it would be double "L" = hard "Y" sound, as in "llama"?)
Chrissy and the Sanfords meet a whole group of salespeople and are offered more champagne.
"This is how we live every day on Rodeo Drive!" gushes one of the salesmen. Funny--all along, I thought the rich existed mostly in their panic rooms surrounded by antique snuff box collections, emerging occasionally to ride their midget manservants in polo competitions.
But "Mr. This-Is-How-We-Live" doesn't know when to stop.
"We have no limits today; you can buy as many sculptures as you want!" he quips to the delight of the Sanfords. (Hey, did I accidentally change the channel to Last Comic Standing? This guy's slaying me!)
The saleswoman at Lladro starts naming off prices for statues. The figure $4,400 comes up, and I think, "Llikes!"
David is flabbergasted and blubbers, "You're going to spend that much money on a piece of glass?" Glass/porcelain--what's the difference, right?
Holly spots a mermaid that she likes, and it costs "only" $400. Boyfriend Eric is floored by this price but offers to buy it for her. He considers cashing his disability check for the purchase. (Did I mention that Eric has spent most of last week and this week on crutches? No? Whoops.)
I actually am momentarily touched by Eric's generosity. Eric could spend his disability on what I buy with my disability check (crack and Froot Loops), but he's willing to spend whatever it takes to make Holly happy.
I'm so touched by his thoughtfulness that I consider my own miserly ways toward J. and resolve to let her order anything off the dollar menu the next time we're at Wendy's.
Ah, but remember the cruel irony of this situation: If any family member expresses an interest in any item, Chrissy must buy it for herself. Like a Klingon Bird of Prey, Chrissy swoops in and buys the mermaid Lladro. Cling-on Holly watches impassively as Chrissy makes the purchase.
I must say, I award Holly bonus points for keeping her composure in check because I myself may have thrown the Lladro against a wall by that point.
Chrissy's next stop is the clothing boutique St. John, where she proceeds to rack up $57,412.06 on clothes. It is worth noting that the clothes are a marked improvement over what she bought last week, but yet, none of the Sanfords finds this suspicious.
The spending spree continues at Chopard, the quote-unquote "most exclusive jewelry store on Rodeo Drive," according to George Gray's voice. Upon entering, Chrissy is met by a salesman who steers her toward a bracelet worn by Charlize Theron ($750,000). Throw in earrings for $850,000. And, because we're all friends, why not add a necklace for a total of $2.2 million?
David makes the mistake of admiring the watches at Chopard and is put in his place by Guy. Because David expressed interest in a watch, Chrissy picks out a pink diamond watch. And frankly, now I understand why Guy was so set against David buying a watch: the pink would have looked funny on David.
Oh Baby, Baby
Chrissy's next challenge is to convince her family she wants to become a "pop star."
The Sanfords walk into a music recording studio, where Guy remarks, "Is this a recording studio? Oh my god!" Well, if the microphones, sound booths and singers are any indication, then yes.
"Finally! She's going to do something for someone else!" thinks Guy, eternal optimist. Keep in mind that Holly is an aspiring country-and-western singer. (How much do you want to bet we're going to see Holly on the next Nashville Idol or Country Star or whatever the hell that thing's called?)
We learn that mom Lois's favorite band is 'N Sync, and just to sweeten the deal, Lance Bass from 'N Sync is in the recording studio.
In a dictionary-perfect example of damning with faint praise, Lois remarks, "I've washed many dishes playing 'N Sync."
Chrissy's work with the voice coach of course upsets Holly (as it was designed to do), not to mention other members of the Sanford family.
Chrissy's voice coach pushes Chrissy to perform a selection of Britney Spears' songs. And, you know, I'm not even going to touch that. Let me give you five minutes to come up with your own jokes. You can read on when you're ready...
Okay? All done? Good.
The Sanfords smile gamely as Chrissy takes her voice lessons, but Eric, already angry at this slight toward Holly, takes a swipe at his sister: "My sister is my dad's favorite son," he fumes. What more can I say?
At one point, Holly is so upset at this turn of events that she walks out of the studio and outside where she proceeds to pour her heart out to the poor bastard unlucky enough to have picked that exact moment to stroll outside and take a smoke break.
Session with voice coach: $18,000
"This whole trip to Beverly Hills has been to piss me off," Holly pouts.
As the family leaves the recording studio I realize for the first time that Chrissy is wearing the furry skirt and the blue top she bought in last week's episode.
As the Sanfords cruise off in the limousine, tempers flare and the Sanfords begin snapping at one another.
"Me, me, me, me, me, me. My, my, my, my, my money," Guy teases his daughter about her spending habits. Guy's rendition of Jennifer Lopez is decidedly better than his daughter's Britney Spears.
"You were still a Sanford before you were a millionaire, dip____," David growls. (Now, I wonder why NBC edited out "dipstick"?)
When a woman strikes it rich, what more natural reaction is there than to want to buy new boobs? (Men have the same inclination, but, thank goodness, they don't want the boobs for themselves but for their girlfriends or mistresses.)
Chrissy visits a plastic surgery clinic, and Guy exclaims, "She's going to get me LASIK on my eyes!"
It was at this point that I realized something had been bothering me about Guy. And then I figured out what it was. Close your eyes and listen to him speak, and he sounds exactly like Kurt Russell. It's uncanny. I mean, if I wasn't watching him on TV, I would think I was listening to Tango. (Or is it Cash?)
Chrissy starts by asking the doctor about some surgery to clear her skin, but, like my friends and I after a couple of beers, the conversation quickly turns to boobs. And not just boobs, mind you, but big boobs.
Chrissy's enthusiasm for breast implants comes much to the chagrin of her mother, father and brother Paul.
"But she loves to play soccer!" Lois protests. Well, listen, Lois: If all women in women's professional soccer were freakishly endowed in the chest department, women's soccer would be the #1 sport in America overnight, I guarantee it. Fox would have a show called "Big-Boobed Women's Soccer." What with all that running, and jumping and...and...sorry. Where were we?
The "doctor" demonstrates that he's never watched soccer, much less ever heard of the sport when he defends Chrissy's decision to take to the field with new boobs by arguing that bigger boobs will "increase her knee-to-chest hit." Say what? Maybe--just maybe--"knee to chest hits" would be an advantage in kickboxing, but, c'mon, for soccer?
I'm watching this segment with my girlfriend J., who laughs out loud when the doctor tosses breast implants at Guy and Paul. Paul makes a deft catch and quips, "Feels right!" J. thinks Paul's cute. I'm looking at his Punisher T-shirt and wondering who would win in a fight between The Punisher and (wait for it) "SHAZAM!"
When Chrissy asks her family how big her boobs should be, her mother replies, "Are you going to make them hang down like mine do?"
Doc then brings in his receptionist, Tabitha, and offers to show some of his "work." He asks Tabitha to drop her top, and (ten minutes later, after the commercial break) Tabitha does with a giggle. The Sanford men don't know how to react. "I didn't know whether to look at her in the eyes, or look down a little lower," Guy says.
Paul just stares at Tabitha, causing Lois to snap her fingers in his face.
Before I continue with this recap, I would like for you to take a moment and think of some of the greatest moments in reality television:
Rupert taking home $1 million thanks to his fan base in Survivor: All Stars...
Chip and Kim crossing the finish line in Amazing Race 5, ahead of Colin and Christie...
The crowning of Ruben Studdard as the second American Idol...
All of this pales in comparison to what might have transpired (and could have transpired off-camera) in that doctor's office.
The doc asks the Sanfords if anyone would like to feel Tabitha's breasts, and Chrissy is the first to say "Yeah." I craned forward so far, I thought the weight of my head would bring my body crashing down behind me, but Guy is the second one out of his chair and exclaims "No, no, no!" He's out of the doctor's office.
And just like that, my dream of seeing one woman having her boobs touched by another woman are dashed, like so many spilled M&M's.
Our House is a Very, Very Fine House
I am so discouraged by the debacle at the plastic surgery clinic that I try, but mostly fail, to pay attention during this next segment.
Chrissy has begun negotiations with a realtor toward the purchase of a home.
The realtor begins by showing vacant lots at $1 million, and furnished homes at $7 million.
The Sanfords are, again, floored by these prices. Guy protests that if Chrissy were to buy the land and stakehorse him, he could build a house like the ones they're discussing for about a million and turn around and sell it for four. It would be an investment on Chrissy's part and job security for Guy.
Now, let me say that I admire him for his proposal. He's not looking to cash in on Chrissy's meal ticket; he's looking to do some honest work to earn some money for him and his family.
Having said that, everyone seems real comfortable all of a sudden throwing around figures in the range of millions of dollars.
While the Sanfords and the realtor tour one of the super-mansions, the Sanford brothers are most impressed with the pool table.
Phillip remarks, "Oooh! There's a pool table! Someone's going to get their game down! Heh!"
Okay, Phillip? Repeat after me: On. "I'm going to get my grub on." "I'm going to get my mack on." "Someone's going to get their game on."
In the next house the Sanfords visit, they're told there is a theater room. This has them so excited that the Sanfords descend the stairs one and a half times their normal walking speed. Why, it even looks like the editors of this show fast-forwarded this segment to exaggerate how fast and how excited the Sanfords are.
How Time Flies When You're Having Fun at Your Family's Expense
After the Sanfords relax in the theater room, we cut to George Gray's voice telling the viewers that Chrissy's decided against purchasing a home.
The next morning--the morning of the Big Spin--Chrissy lobs a bombshell, the biggest one of all (dun dun DUN!)...well, the biggest bombshell up to now: She's negotiated the price of one of the houses down to a measly $4 million and change, and she's going to purchase.
The Sanfords appear to have finally reached the end of their rope.
"Are you stupid?" Paul recalls thinking.
Guy wants to know what Chrissy thinks of his business plan to buy land, build houses on the "cheap" and resell them at high market value. Chrissy tells Guy that she simply wants a pre-built home.
Chrissy shows that she's immune to their criticism in a "Let them eat cake" sort of way when she pops open another bottle of bubbly (I'm beginning to think that $25 Million Dollar Hoax is single-handedly propping up the champagne industry) and "forces" her family to toast her good fortune with her.
Chrissy muses that if she can't finish the hoax, then all this would "have been for naught." If she doesn't manage to squeeze the phrases "forsooth" or "verily" into next week's episode, I'll be devastated.
We fade out this week on Guy ominously saying, "Get her back in here. We need to talk some sense into her..."
Will Guy "talk some sense into her"? (Why start now?)
Will the family show up for the Big Spin? (And is Holly considered "family"? Because if I were her, I'd be long gone.)
Will Chrissy get to keep her purchases? (Or will the clothes end up on eBay?)
And the biggest question of all (dun dun DUN!)...How will the Sanfords react when they find out they have $400,000 in prizes instead of $25 million in cash?
Next week, all will be answered...maybe.