We pick up our story this week right where we left off last week. The Family is preparing for bed after the Secret Board of Trustees voted to deny access to the million dollars to Cousin Jill. You’ll remember that Jill was none too pleased with the fact that “her best friend” Rob had been responsible for sending her name before the SBOT for consideration. She even went so far as to tell us that “Rob will die slowly in his sleep tonight.”
Well, it’s now the next morning, and Rob is sitting at the breakfast table, alive and apparently unharmed. I’m guessing that Jill realized she couldn’t actually go through with killing him, I mean, not now anyway; videotape of a murder suspect saying that the victim “will die slowly in his sleep tonight” has a way of swaying a jury. Patience, Jill, patience. The cameras won’t be able to protect Rob forever.
The family members who have been voted out are having breakfast at the kitchen table. Cousin Robert, attempting to mend fences with Jill and regain “control” of the kitchen table, states “We outcasts have to band together.” Melinda whines “I don’t like that – why do you have to call us outcasts?” Anthony graces her with an answer “Because we’re out. And we were casted out.” Or cast out. Whatever.
Ringo the Social Secretary is busy chatting with the group at the kitchen table, asking how on Earth Jill ended up with them. As they try to explain that the SBOT voted her out over Cousin Ed, Ringo acts bewildered with the entire process and seems embarrassed at his inability to grasp the concept of this “board.” And the Oscar for Blatant Overacting goes to… nope, it seems that the group has no clue that he’s faking.
Not That Kind of Gesture
The family gathers for an art lesson. They each take a seat at one of the easels arranged in a circle around the room. They are going to learn to sketch, and Anthony is hopeful that their subject will be a nude Jill Swid, the stylist. Something tells me that when she watches the tape, she won’t be describing that comment as “endearing.” When the model finally arrives, it’s the women who are delighted, for the model is a very chiseled, muscular young man clad in only a ring of fig leaves covering his, uh, family fortune. Inexplicably, the young man also has a leaf covering his left nipple. As the women try not to drool on their paper, sketching commences.
The instructor attempts to move Cousin Mike’s easel to allow him an unobstructed view of the subject, Mike protests “I can already see more than I need to.”
The art instructor, a slightly pompous looking fellow, asks Cousin Ed “Have you ever worked with clay?” When Ed says that he hasn’t, the instructor’s condescending follow up question is “How about mud?” Watch it, Art Boy. Keep that up and he might demonstrate that he has amble experience working with brass knuckles. Ed decides to take it easy on the fellow. He tells his uncle that he’s going to simply draw some lines and the instructor will praise him for it. Ed quickly draws a single vertical line, which he bisects with two diagonal squiggly lines. The instructor falls into his trap almost too easily. He takes the drawing from Ed and shows the rest of the family that Ed knows how sketching is done. “This is a gesture!” he proclaims. Ed and Uncle Michael exchange a knowing glance that simply says “Idiot. A gesture if what you use in when you’re stuck in traffic on the Jersey Turnpike.” I’ll bet you didn’t know that particular message could ever be exchanged with a knowing glance, did you? I try to make these recaps educational, if nothing else.
Later, on the estate grounds, Jill begins her plan to sabotage Robert’s chances of getting back in the game. She tells Aunt Donna that Rob believes he’s in control of the kitchen. AD replies “Why would I pick him over you or Melinda or myself?” Why didn’t she mention Maria and Anthony? I’ll speculate. Maria is the pretty one, and Jill, Aunt Donna, and the rest of the girls all secretly hate her. As for Anthony, isn’t it obvious? He’s insufferable when he’s broke; if he had a million dollars he’d be the Barry Bonds of insufferable.
Robert and Mike theorize about how you get back into the game once you’re out. Neither of them really know the answer, but they’re pretty sure that if your name is Cousin Mike and you’re out, you’re out.
Anthony tells us that if he can’t win, he’d like to see Ed win. Really? What happened to always having Dawn Marie’s back?
In the evening, the men of the family all don burgundy robes and gather for a game of chess. Uncle Michael enters the room doing a fair impersonation of Don Corleone. He speaks to Ed “Fredo was a jerk-off. I always wanted better for you.” Ed laughs “He never said jerk-off.” Uncle Michael, still in character “They spliced that part out of the movie.”
This the Cream?
Before dashing off for a game of tennis, racket in hand, our host George Hamilton gives the family the details of the upcoming Fantasy Contest. There will be a ball at the estate, with millionaires, heiresses, and the cream of the crop of Palm Beach society in attendance. The family will be broken into five teams of two: Melinda and Maria, Uncle Michael and Jill, Mike and Aunt Donna, Dawn Marie and Ed, and Anthony and Robert. The will be given clues about the identities of sixteen of the guests. If they match the clues to the correct guest, they will be given a small glass slipper. The first team to accumulate three slippers will win a trip to Disneyworld. Mr. Hamilton says “This will force you to use your smarts as well as your social charm.” Does he honestly expect us to believe that any of these people have smarts and social charm?
That night, the guests arrive. These people look like they happened upon a trailer full of Liberace’s old clothing on the way to a family reunion in the Ozarks. I can’t decide which item these people spend the most money on; their jewelry, their wardrobe, or their plastic surgery. Upon closer inspection, I think Option #3 is the runaway winner. The family enters the ball. Jill Swid, still clothed much to Anthony’s dismay, is very excited, as she thinks they all look beautiful. I have to admit that they do appear to have cleaned up rather nicely tonight.
A little more about the clues. There are sixteen cards, each with a clue, and three words that the contestants are not allowed to use when questioning the guests. For example, one card reads “Find an artist whose work is in the White House and the Vatican. Do not say the word Artist. Do not say the words White or House. Do not say the word Vatican.”
Looking for someone who owns a $75,000 D&G crystal coat (those of you who’ve been following the show will recognize this particular monstrosity) Melinda is not allowed to say coat. So of course, she walks up to a table, starts a conversation, and two sentences in says coat. Melinda, get a clue. And another clue, as well.
No one seems to be fairing much better than Melinda, but at least they aren’t running around the room yelling “coat, coat coat!” Anthony spends a few minutes chatting with an odd little fellow in an odd hat and a bow tie, and correctly guesses that this is the artist whose work is in the White House and the Vatican. Anthony takes the glass slipper back to base, and as he gathers another clue, he tells his partner Robert “A lot of people look like what they do.” If that’s true, then the guy he though was an artist actually drives the clown car for Barnum & Bailey.
Other family members continue to strike out. Uncle Michael blows off the concept of the game and is busy schmoozing with the surgically enhanced women of Palm Beach. “I don’t know if you’re Italian or not, but you look just like my sister.” The head of a snare drum isn’t stretched as tightly as the skin on his “sister’s” face.
Maria correctly identifies an artist whose work is in the Louvre.
Rob chats with three elderly women held together with bailing wire and duct tape. “So I’m completely off the mark, as I understand it?” The Witches of Eastwick grin wildly at him, and with a “Come back” and a wink, send Robert fleeing as fast as his legs will carry him.
Anthony bags another slipper when he identifies a person who has designed jewelry for Queen Elizabeth.
Finally, Rob guesses that an attractive blonde woman once played professional basketball in Hungary. Rob and Anthony are declared the winners. They invite George to go to Disney World with them. George is so flustered that he makes up some nonsense about how he can’t because each of them have two family members from outside the game waiting for them. This sends the producers scurrying to locate extras to play Anthony’s little brother and sister, and Rob’s mom and girl friend.
Anthony and Rob arrive and Disneyworld and are thrilled to see their loved ones. Perhaps George wasn’t making anything up after all, and Robert really has a girlfriend. Which I’m sure absolutely crushed the young lady who emailed me last week looking for Cousin Robert’s email address. (While I’m on that topic, I don’t have Jill Swid’s email address either, nor do I know where you can find pictures on the internet of Natalie Garcia, the personal trainer from back in Episode Two.) In addition to getting to go on all the fabulous rides in the park, they also got to be the Grand Marshalls of the Disneyworld Parade for the day. Still, what a Mickey Mouse prize compared to last week’s Maserati. Sorry, that didn’t sound quite so lame in my head.
Back in Palm Beach, Uncle Michael and Aunt Donna are walking and talking strategy. UM commenting on appearing too closely aligned with his wife. “If it is perceived that there is strength in groups, then people will start forming their own groups.” Aunt Donna replies “That’s ridiculous thinking.” A somewhat perturbed Uncle Michael maintains his composure and states “No it’s not. I don’t think ridiculously.” I realize that if Mary Queen of Scott’s had been protected by a network cameraman, Henry VIII never would have lost her head.
The outcasts and, er, incasts (I think Dawn Marie’s vocabulary is starting to rub off on me) are allowed to eat a meal together. Melinda shares with us that they’re used to big meals, but not delicacies. In other words, they often Super-Size their Extra-Value Meals. As the staff serves very exotic looking dishes which no doubt taste delicious, Dawn Marie looks like she’s about to hurl the remains of her last Big Mac, and she leaves the table. I don’t care how disgusting the food was to her, leaving the table showed a complete lack of class, and was rude to Franck the chef. But then, why does that surprise me? Aunt Donna tells the family that DM is going to be the next family member to lose.
Dawn Marie tells us “My strategy is to trust nobody and to look out for myself.” DM, in this family, that’s not a strategy, it’s a way of life.
After dinner, the women are sitting in the hot tub discussing the money. DM comments that Uncle Michael is the only one that hasn’t gone before the board. Aunt Donna gets riled up and angrily retorts that they can’t put him up there just for that. I was under the impression they could put anyone before the board for any reason they wanted. She must be referring to another one of the obscure rules in that damned rulebook Anthony had a few weeks back.
One of the girls asked Dawn Marie if she would share the fortune. She stammered out “Well I… that goes without…I…I would definitely…” Did I say stammered? Porky Pig has less trouble getting a sentence out. I think what she meant was “Abadeee, abadeee, uh, No.”
Uncle Michael tells us that on Elimination Day “You’re anxious, you’re nervous. You’re not sure what to expect.” Dawn Marie tells us that “All I can say is they shouldn’t underestimate me and they better beware.” Is it just me, or does it seem like ABC hired the same Heavy-Handed Foreshadow Guy that NBC used on “Last Comic Standing”?
The family gathers for the elimination. George tells them the rules of the contest. Each of the four remaining family members in contention will be in a race; the first to put fifty gold coins in their piggy bank will win. The catch? Each of them will be placed in a straight jacket, and then inside a giant money bag with only their heads protruding from the top. As they are placed in their personal prisons, George points off in the distance and tells the others “Outcasts, please go out there.” Did you hear what he just called you, Melinda? The winner will chose who will go before the board to be voted off this week.
Uncle Michael says “I watched Lethal Weapon so many times – I know exactly how he got out of the straight jacket.” UM, something tells me that they aren’t going to tighten the jacket so much that you have to dislocate your shoulder to escape.
Dawn Marie tells us “I was freaking out in my head. I don’t like being confined.” I wish back when she was on the sinking life boat she could have freaked out in her head, because that panic attack STILL pisses me off. (I think ALL their vocabularies are rubbing off on me.) Of course, if she had a panic attack now, nobody could help her. Not that I’m saying she had a panic attack on purpose or anything. Wait – that’s exactly what I’m saying.
George blows a whistle signifying the start of the race. Uncle Michael jumps up and down frantically in his bag. Mike unties the top of his bag with his teeth. Likewise, Ed works at the knot on his bag. But where is Dawn Marie? Her head has disappeared from view and her bag looks like it’s got a dozen cats in it. Suddenly her arm appears out the top. Then her torso. She’s freed herself from the straightjacket! There’s no way she could have freed herself from that alone. Not that I’m saying the producers hid someone in her bag to help her or anything. Wait – that’s exactly what I’m saying.
As the men continue their desperate efforts to free themselves, Dawn Marie casually walks over and starts collecting the coins to deposit in her bank. Her snails pace forces Ringo to tell us “I could have strangled her.” Dawn Marie tells us “I didn’t run, I walked with stride, as if to say “Ha ha, look at me.” Yeah, I’m sure the others were surprised to see her walking with stride as opposed to dragging her knuckles on the ground like Cro-magnon man.
Dawn Marie’s leisurely pace nearly costs her. Ed and Uncle Michael get free of their bags and begin actually helping each other out of their straight jackets! Mike, also free of his bag, asks Dawn Marie to help him, but she refuses. Instead, she starts jogging with stride as she sees her lead slipping away. The men finally throw off their bonds, and while Mike starts loading his piggy bank, Uncle Michael is helping Ed fill up his piggy.
Just when it seems they might catch her, Dawn Marie says “Piggy full!” How can that be? I mean, didn’t she leave the table without eating a bite? Okay, that was mean. And I can rest assure that if Dawn Marie wins the money, I’m not getting a dime.
Ed reveals to us “Man, I was pissed, I was pissed at myself.” Uncle Michael let’s us know. I’m pissed I lost, but that’s a losing issue that’s not a Dawn Marie issue.” Just pissed? It seems Ed and Uncle Michael are a little “off”, if you get my drift.
Dawn Marie chooses the Pissed Boys to go before the board this week. Mike tells her “You did good.” Dawn tells us “One of them are going to get eliminated tonight. If there’s no one helping anybody, it’ll be a fair game.” Stop the presses – Dawn Marie just said something intelligent!
Could It Be…Satan?
The SBOT meets and all agree they are stunned that Dawn Marie won. The conversation then turns to the task at hand – voting out Ed or Uncle Michael. Andrew the butler thinks of UM as “cocksure.” I’m not touching that one. Linda the housekeeper thinks of him as “a schmoozer, he’s a dictator.” Ringo thinks of him as a used car salesman. Jill thinks Uncle Michael is a nice guy . What the?!!!
They feel that Ed has shown improvement since entering the house, but Ringo reminds them that Ed is manipulating them. Ringo continues bashing Uncle Michael, saying that he’s “Satan, and Ed is one of his minions.” Damn, I wish I’d thought of that one.
Jill states that if Ed won “I think he would want the five of us to work for him.” Before I have time to realize this is the most idiotic thing anyone on the board has ever said, Ringo interrupts my train of thought. “I would have to trust an employer and I’m afraid I could never work for Ed, because I don’t fee I could trust him.” Jill fires back “And you trust Uncle Michael?” Without hesitation, Ringo replies “No, certainly not.”
As the SBOT votes, Ringo tells us “I voted Ed out because clearly he is an underhanded soul.” Which, if I’m not mistaken, is a prerequisite for being one of Satan’s minions.
George gathers the family to hear the results. Didn’t we see him in this pink shirt and light suit combination earlier in the series? How disappointing. That’s really going to hurt it’s resale value on eBay. George reveals that the seventh member of the family to be denied access to the million dollar fortune is…wait for it… Uncle Michael.
Uncle Michael informs us “I was upset with the choice.” We can only assume that he was also pissed off.
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