When we left you last week, the family had just learned that the Secret Board of Trustees had voted to deny Robert access to the million-dollar fortune. The family was off to bed. The staff was off to get ready to face yet another day with these bozos. I was schmoozing with Uma Thurman. And George Hamilton was off for his midnight tanning session.
This week we pick up where we left off. Of course, none of the family goes straight to bed. Instead they get out of their formal clothes and change into something more comfortable. Tuxes and sequins are exchanged for sweats, t-shirts, and Cousin Anthony dons a white dew rag. While Anthony naps, Dawn Marie decides it’ll be funny to paint his toenails. All the cousins watch the process in amusement, and confirming the love and respect we all know they have for him, none of them intervene.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
The next morning, the staff futilely attempts to rouse our favorite extended family and get them ready for breakfast. Last week we learned that Anthony isn’t big on getting up early, and this week we learn that it isn’t his fault; it’s a family tradition. Ringo attempts to wake Aunt Donna by standing next to her bed and uttering the word “Madam” repeatedly. Frankly, I expected Aunt Donna to leap from beneath the comforter with claws out, pounce on the poor little man and scream “I ain’t your damn nuthin’!” but thankfully he is met with nothing more than a sleepy groan.
After breakfast, Ringo offers the family a lesson in formal table manners. He’s pleasantly surprised when eight of the ten members of the family show up; only Anthony and Cousin Mike fail to attend. Our pal Ringo actually manages to sound enthusiastic as he goes over the various types of forks, spoons, and glasses, and how to use them. “The oyster fork should never be with our friend the fork.” The poor man. Apparently he has so much trouble making friends that he’s reduced to befriending cutlery. Just as I’m about to doze off, Dawn Marie asks about the absence of a salad fork. Ringo looks stunned. He franticly searches for the missing item. The music builds just like it does before Perry Mason gets a witness to crack on the stand. “Of course” there’s a salad fork, stammers our etiquette teacher, “It just depends.” Dawn Marie stares back in silence, waiting for the little man to crack. Before the beads of sweat break out, he admits, “You got me.” This social secretary has tutored the wealthiest people in the world, only to be undone by a housewife from Staten Island. Oh, the humanity.
Meanwhile, Anthony and Mike are hanging out on balcony (sporting dew rags of course) talking about the Secret Board of Trustees. “I’m very anxious to know who the hell they are. Gotta be someone around us.” Claims Anthony. Mike responds with an almost-too-casual “Not at all.” Clearly, Mike knows it is someone nearby, and is trying to throw Anthony off the trail.
Having shrugged of his ignominious defeat at the hands of the wiley Dawn Marie, Ringo tries to bounce back, offering a class in formal table etiquette. His credibility shot, only DM and Uncle Michael show up. As the lesson in manners commences, it becomes clear that Anthony has discovered his painted toenails, because his bellowing is heard throughout the house. No one will fess up to doing the deed; we all know what happens to rats in this family.
At lunch, Ringo gleefully informs the family that has scheduled a polo match for the family. Stunned looks are exchanged and Aunt Donna asks, “How are these horses going to put up with us? We don’t know what the hell we’re doing!” Aunt D, I think the better question would have been to ask how the hell the audience and the staff is going to put up with you for another 7 weeks.
The family struggles into their polo clothes. Dawn Marie whines about the fit. Melinda whines about the fit. Apparently the only thing that fits right is Anthony’s dew rag. Uncle Michael, Aunt Donna, Ed, Robert and Jill are in blue. Mike, Anthony, DM, Melinda, and Maria are in yellow. Gone are the yellow cabs they arrived in, and the family piles into limos and heads off to their match. As they approach the polo grounds we learn that the family will not be playing traditional polo, but donkey polo instead. Still, it take some longer to realize this than others. Anthony: “I see these extraordinarily small horses, and I’m like, what the frig are these things?” Anthony, your dew rag is on too tight again, buddy.
Our good friend George Hamilton (as opposed to Ringo’s good friend the oyster fork) greets all with a smile and explains the rules of this week’s Luxury Contest. They will have 20 minutes of polo. They can pull their donkeys around, but they have to be on the donkey’s back when they hit the ball. The team with the most goals after 20 minutes wins dinner on board a luxury yacht. In cast we didn't get it last week, Anthony tells us yet again how much he wants to beat his father.
Robert informs us that now that he’s out of contention for the million dollars that he’s going to go all out to win the luxury prizes. “Now the gloves are off” and you know what that means? Yep, Robert is doing away with the self-imposed“short of killing a baby” limitation he saddled himself with last week. Somewhere a FOX executive curses the fact that the ABC guys beat him to Cousin Robert.
George follows “Take your places and lets… haul ass!” with his cheesy laugh, and the game is on.
Aunt Donna puts the blue team up one nothing. Anthony tells the blue team they have no chance, and ties the game at one. George sips a julep and works on his tan. Dawn Marie whines. Melinda whines. Jill decides to play goalie and stands in front of her goal on the ground. Uncle Michael attempts to tell her that she can’t hit the ball if she’s on the ground.
Jill: “Uncle Michael tries to exude that type of control and that type of leadership, but with me personally I’m not always going to do it.” Following the rules is apparently not Jill’s bag. There’s a guy named Robb in Arizona that would be perfect for her.
With time running out, Ed scores the wining goal for the blue team. “That hurt a little bit.” Anthony informs us. “My father – he beat me in donkey polo and I told him that wasn’t going to happen again.” Bold statement, Anthony. Like you’re ever going to play donkey polo again.
We return to the house, and after a change of clothes, the winners head off to the yacht. Anthony has changed into a teal dew rag, and Mike is now sporting a dark blue one. I wonder if they’ve been contacted by the folks that sponsor the Survivor buffs yet, because this has “marketing opportunity” written all over it. As the winners pile into their limo, Uncle Michael announces that the captain of the blue team (self-appointed Uncle Michael) is entering the limo. It’s a tight squeeze, but thankfully the limo is big enough to hold Aunt D, Jill, Ed, Robert, Uncle Michael, and Uncle Michael’s ego. The yacht is spectacular, and Team Uncle Michael is treated to a cruise around Palm Beach while dining on a sumptuous meal of steak and red wine. Salute.
Back at loser lodge, er, I mean the family estate, Dawn Marie is suspiciously watching Chef Franck and his staff prepare dinner. She doesn’t like the look of the prime ground beef they are working with, and asks if it is donkey meat. I’m sorry, but HUH? Franck assures her that he’s good with food, but he’s never worked with donkey before. At dinner, everyone drinks beer and chows down on some of the best-looking burgers I’ve ever seen. Everyone, that is, but DM. She tosses her burger in the trash and opts for a peanut butter sandwich instead. “I’m not going to eat that meat” she says “I watch too much reality TV – I’m sorry.” Over at NBC, the Fear Factor producers jot down “donkey meat” before returning their attention to the show.
Melinda admits that DM drives her crazy and she is going to try to get her name before the board. Folks, this is what is known as “foreshadowing.”
The next day, the family is seated in the dining room, presumably after lunch, complimenting Franck on the strawberry cream pastries they are feasting on. Andrew the butler enters the room to introduce the family to Natalie Garcia, their personal trainer. Natalie is stunning, blonde, tan, and there isn't an ounce of fat on her. She’s wearing form-fitting blue Lycra pants. Her blonde hair flows over a sleeveless top that reveals the best abs I’ve seen since Janet Jackson’s. Robert stares blankly. Mike tries to look cool. Uncle Michael struggles to put his eyes back in their sockets. Anthony checks his nose for stray boogers – seriously, I wouldn’t make that up. Ed picks his tongue up from the table and rolls it back into his mouth. I ask Uma to pack her things.
Natalie informs the family that she will be out back with the fitness equipment if anyone would care to join her, and she departs. The family looks around in stunned silence; Uncle Michael has vanished. Aunt Donna: “I wanted to kill her – she was gorgeous.” I make a note to look as unattractive as possible if I ever have to meet Aunt Donna. The women join Natalie for a workout. The nephews are clearly intimidated, and rather than join in the workout, they try to impress Natalie with their toughness by playing football instead. Wise Uncle Michael opts to watch the proceedings up close and personal. Natalie bends down gracefully, utters “shove the bootie out” and I lose consciousness. My first thought when pick myself up off the floor is that it’s lucky I taped the show. My second thought is that it’s lucky I turned down the assignment to recap Are You Hot?
That night, the family gets dressed up in their formalwear, and Anthony begrudgingly exchanges his Sacred Family Dew Rag for his Sacred Family Crest. They head downstairs where George is welcomes them to the casino and their second immunity contest – Family Craps. The NBC Fear Factor guys right down “Family craps”, and there is high-fiving all around before they once again return their attention to the show.
George explains the rules. First, Robert is already eliminated, so he is removed from the game. Each member of the family is given 30 chips. They will take turns rolling a special die. Whenever it comes up “Secrets” or “Lies” George will ask them a question. Each family member will bet as many of their chips as they want on either “True” or “False.” After 18 questions that will test how well they know each other, the person with the fewest chips will have their name presented to the Secret Board of Trustees. This week’s “twist”? That person gets to chose whose name will go with them. Ooh.
We’re treated to such lovely family questions as “Half of you have had sex in another family member’s bed” (true), “One of you has fallen asleep during sex” (true) and “One of you has spent a night in jail” (false), we near the end. Until now, Cousin Maria has been playing it safe. But she realizes that if she doesn’t go all out, she’ll lose. When the question comes up “One of you has had your picture taken in the nude” Maria bets the house on “True”, doubles her chips, and avoids elimination. George comments that Maria had been playing safe until then, and says something like “I didn’t think you had it in you.” Whether he means that he didn’t think she had the guts to bet aggressively or he didn’t think she’d pose nude, we’ll never know. But I’m guessing that Internet searches for “Maria” hit an all time high right after the show.
With the game over, the chips are counted to see who will face the ax. Remember when I mentioned foreshadowing? Is there really any doubt who is going to lose? Melinda is last with 24 chips, and she names Dawn Marie to join her. Of course, she points out that she chose her because DM had the second fewest chips, but not even the donkeys are buying that one.
George slips through the secret bookcase entrance to the wine cellar to present the names for consideration to the board of trustees. Funny, last week I missed that – I thought he just went down some stairs. I look forward to next week when he pulls back Shakespeare’s head, presses a button, and slides down the Bat-pole.
Stylist Jill: “We have the two biggest complainers in front of us tonight.”
The Board points out that while Melinda has a “crabby whine” at least Dawn Marie has a “serious, go get ‘em whine.” Man, I’m so uncultured that I didn’t know there was a difference. Despite the Donkey Burger incident, Franck thinks DM is a good person. Andrew points out that Melinda was willing to give up her prize so her brother could win last week’s luxury prize. Jill says that even though DM can be “like a pesticide sometimes”, she respects her because she’s gutsy. Ringo comes up with the best description: “Dawn Marie is like a car wreck and you can’t take your eyes off her – she’s like this incredible accident of nature and you’re just riveted.” The board makes its decision, and George heads off somberly to “let the family know.”
This week, before revealing the board’s decision, George has a few questions. He asks “Dawn Marie, if the roles had been reversed, whom would you have chosen?” DM is clearly bitter with Melinda for putting her in this position in the first place and she defiantly answers “It wouldn’t have been a woman.” I could have sworn that George asked whom she would have chosen, but maybe I’m still suffering from Natalie-induced delusions. George opens the envelope, and reveals that Melinda is the second family member to be denied access to the million-dollar fortune. Dawn Marie, revealing that she can apparently turn her hatred on and off at will, hugs Melinda and fights back tears at the news.
As the credits roll, we’re subjected to Anthony standing shirtless in front of a mirror, oiling himself up. And while I know many of you cringed in horror at the sight, hopefully it didn’t keep you from enjoying the music the producers put to the scene for our NY dance instructor; a Saturday Night Fever knockoff. It was quite possibly my favorite moment of the show this week.
Until next week. If you can’t make it, don’t worry; I’ll… let the family know.
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