The Maniacis Recap: No Blondes Need Apply.
We first meet the very cute (and surprisingly young) Giancarlo Maniaci in the first season of Meet My Folks when he visited the Carlsons, was subjected to a fertility test, and was booted shortly after his friend revealed that Giancarlo is a gentleman who doesn’t prefer blondes. He is polite, cute, and successful and a was such a fan favorite that the show brought him back to star in his own episode with his parents. That’s the good news.
The bad news is . . . this episode was filmed a year ago, sat on the shelf forever, was slated to air last spring and was pulled at the last minute, and then . . . got edited down from a 60 minute episode to a 50 minute one so that it could be aired after the For Love Or Money spillover in which Erin gave nice Eric the boot so she could keep around ishy pishy Rob from the first FLOM series. Whatever. Somewhere in those lost 10 minutes, this show also lost it sense of humor. Seriously, it was originally edited as a fun episode, as the ads and the show descriptions on the NBC website described a stunt where the mothers of the three female contestants were secretly watching how far their daughters would go to “win” on this show, and hilarity ensues. Well, that hit the cutting room floor, and with it, my best opportunities for fun and games with this recap. Instead, we’re left with “A Deeper, More Meaningful Meet My Folks” which like its predecessor, “A Very Special Episode of Blossom” just sucks ass entirely. Let’s face it, Joey Lawrence’s range can only extend “so far” beyond making silly faces before becoming even more excruciating than The Lawrence Brothers short-lived sitcom, and this show dealing with serious life issues is just painful. Couple that with my disappointment of having this happen during the long-anticipated return of Giancarlo Maniaci, and color me sad. But we’re professionals here at www.fansofrealitytv.com (well, actually we are amateurs, because we don’t get paid) so I will endeavor to persevere and recap the episode nonetheless.
Let’s Meet The Folks:
Bob / Dad has outgrown the hair on his head, um, is follicle-ly challenged, um, has such an attractive head it is fabulously not obscured by hair, you get the picture. He doesn’t appear to have a have a neck. He seems like a friendly sort, but man, I would not want to tick him off.
Mary / Mom is your typical mom, as she can’t help gushing about her cool yet incredibly hot son. You’ve got a right to be proud, Mom and Dad, because Giancarlo is a catch. Giancarlo is only 21, but his parents seem, well, older than I expected. No clue, but I’m guessing Giancarlo is the baby, so Mom can’t help but rattle on about his accomplishments. It’s cute. I like Mom and Dad. In fact, as long as they don’t drag the girls in to a clinic to test their fertility, they’re cool in my book.
Meet My Dates This week they tossed introductions, initial challenges, and bad facts at us in rapid succession (in an attempt to edit this down to make room for FLOM, I suspect), so I’ll cover all three of those together.
Lisa is studying for real estate license. She reminds me of a famous TV star. Who could it be? Ah, that’s it. Mr. Ed. Neigh, say it ain’t so. Ok, that was mean, but she does remind me of another long faced, big in the tooth celebrity, namely Tori Spelling, and her ability to eat corn on the cob through a knot-hole in a fence didn’t hurt her career in Hollywood. The fact that her Dad is Aaron Spelling didn’t either. I’m just saying. . . oh never mind. I’m sure Lisa is reading this and is fuming by now, so I will say that she has a nice personality, so when you send me a scathing email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org m just remember your winning personality and the fact that I have a profanity filter on my email.
I’m wondering about her personality somewhat when the three girls are told to divvy up embarrassing tasks before entering the house and Lisa, who is reading the card (and therefore at an advantage) reads and then immediately claims the easiest task. I thought that was incredibly cheesy, and not in a good way. This is jalepeno cheddar-jack which has been left in a plastic bag in a hot car all day smeared over stale Funyons, not Reggiano parmesan heaped over a steaming plate of lobster fra diablo. Then again my role model with respect to these challenges is Giancarlo, who refused to even try the challenge when at the Carlsons because he wisely surmised that no bad fact about him was worth the imposition of bad behavior when trying to make a good impression.
Lisa’s challenge, take a drink from the faucet with her face. She went right for it, and with that mouth, she hardly had to even lean over. Dad looked aghast. I don’t think it was worth it. They later revealed (a different) bad fact anyway: Lisa cheated on a boyfriend with his best friend at his own birthday party. She defends herself by saying that they were already broken up, this guy wasn’t his very best friend anyway, yada, yada, yada. Yup, just like Elaine on Seinfeld, I just “yada-yada’d” intercourse.
Daniela is a full time model. As promised in the introduction, all of the women on tonight’s show are non-blondes and Daniela has beautiful brown eyes to match her long dark hair. Her challenge was to squeeze Dad’s ass. Dad was a little surprised, but he actually seemed to like it. Daniela wisely did this right away when Dad opened the door so it wasn’t in front of everyone, and Dad . . . didn’t tell Mom. I wonder if Mom is going to utilize the skills and equipment of Nick the Polygraph Guy while he’s in the house to find out what else Dad wasn’t telling Mom about their weekend in a house full of young women.
Mom likes Daniela as that is her daughter’s name. Then we trot out the first round of bad facts. Daniela posed nude for Playboy Magazine. She is a model, I guess that isn’t too far a field. She doesn’t deny it, says that she did it for money, but then adds the old jewel, it was a form of expression, very tasteful and conservative fully nude pictures. I guess as “conservative” as being photographed completely nude can be, but my idea of conservative attire is wearing a belt and suspender with your PANTS ON, not just a belt and suspenders alone.
Desiree is looking for a guy who treats her like she’s special. I can’t remember what was her described occupation, my apologies. This whole part of the show seemed rather rushed. Desiree’s challenge was to use the word “word” in every sentence. Ugh, this is the worst, but Desiree actually choose this over pinching Dad’s ass after Lisa gobbled up the easiest one. They showed Desiree attempting to introduce herself to Mom and Dad and “edited” it to make her sound like a complete idiot, and it was all for naught. She flunked the challenge because she responding to a question with the sentence “I’m 20” without saying “word”. That was sooooo not worth it, Desiree. Word! As “punishment” for failing in the challenge, it was revealed that she once broke up with a boyfriend so she could date his richer, older brother. Desiree looked shocked and proclaimed that this was “not necessarily true” but didn’t plausibly deny it and it did raise a red flag. The Maniaci’s look pretty comfortable financially and don’t want someone who is more interested in Giancarlo’s wallet than, er, other things in his pants. As part of the parade of bad facts, we also find out that Desiree flashed a crowd of 500 people at a 4th of July party. No indication of whether or not people threw fireworks at her, as I doubt that the Independence Day party-goers were sporting bead necklaces.
Date with Lisa – they went to watch horse racing. This episode has been on tape for so long, they may have been watching the real Seabiscuit race. Lisa proclaims that she loves horses. I’m speculating she feels a kinship. I’m mean, as she seemed nice enough here, but I couldn’t really see any spark with Giancarlo.
Desiree’s date – they are on a boat cruising around the harbor. She wanted a “secureness” between the two of them. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but if it meant sneaking in a kiss, then she succeeded. They seemed to enjoy themselves. Looked like a fun date, as boats are cool.
Daniela’s date – in contrast to the “higher budget” of the prior dates, Daniela and Giancarlo are driving around some type of goofy two-seater go-cart device on a baseball diamond. Very odd indeed. It looked like the show ran out of money budgeted for dates on this episode. Daniela and Giancarlo made the most of it.
Dinner with the extended family. We get to see that Giancarlo has many, many relatives, and nary a blonde in sight. They’re gregarious, they’re Italian, for a minute I thought we were channeling a broadcast of ABC’s The Family. In the middle of dinner Dad announces that it is time for Show and Tell, as the contestants all brought something that they were proud of and wanted to share.
Not surprisingly, Lisa is a horsewoman. She brought one of her many trophies for equestrian related events. We never did hear Lisa’s last name, but I’m betting that it is Palomino or Stallion because she’s definitely got a theme in tonight’s show, with her date and her show and tell item, and her teeth. Oh, I’m too mean. Let’s move on.
Daniela brought her high school diploma. She explains that she was on her own at age 16, graduated and was accepted into college but didn’t decide to go. They asked her where she saw herself in 5 years and she replied “married, happy, and successful with whatever I decide to do.” Ok, I’m jaded by my own life experience, but being successful in life often involves going to school when you get the chance in your early 20s, but that’s just me, as I was not happy that she never really explained why she decided to model instead of going to college. That would have impressed me a lot more than getting by on her looks now and hoping that marriage is the answer to her future. Trust me, it’s often not the answer, just more questions. I know college isn’t for everyone, but dear readers in your teens and early 20s, go to school if you can. Looks will fade, but no-one can take your education away from you. Ok, end of the lecture, back to the recap.
Desiree brought crocheted hats that her grandma made for her. She started crying just thinking about her Gamma and that she’s old and won’t live forever. Thank heavens. For a minute I thought she was the lost daughter of Tuck Everlasting and that her relatives never died. This is entirely too sappy for my liking, but it got Mom crying too. Just having some stupid hats to cry about made Desiree the highlight of Show and Tell according to Dad. Remind me to crochet up some stuff next time I’m going on a reality TV show. I can whip up a pretty nifty baby afghan.
The dinner entrees are the ex-boyfriends. Desiree is shocked and asks: “It’s my ex-boyfriend! What is he doing here?” Hello honey, have you ever bothered to watch the show you are going on? They always have exes on to grill the contestants. Welcome to reality TV. Desiree tries to hide in one of Gamma’s hats, but alas, the crochet pattern is too loose and we can still see her.
Adam (Lisa’s ex) – dated when Lisa was 15, the relationship was all about sex. Breast implants, fake tan, she’s a shop-a-holic and a gold-digger. He’s got kind of a boy-band wanna be look going on, complete with oh too cute glasses, and he looks positively glee-filled at the prospect of trashing Lisa on national TV. How bizarre.
Jason (Desiree’s ex) – went to Hawaii with Desiree and it was his worst vacation ever. She cheated on him with entire groups of guys. Mom thinks she looks too sweet for that to be true, but concedes that looks may be deceiving.
Brian (Daniela’s ex) – dated for 4 years, explained that Daniela got emancipated from her parents when she was 17, got into credit card debt, she took nude pictures and posed for nude websites to get out of debt. Unlike Adam, Brian looks pretty darn somber when telling Mom and Dad about Daniela’s past, like he genuinely still cares about her. This is a bummer.
Dad asks the whole extended family to vote for their favorites with a show of hands. Desiree got 5 votes, Lisa got 4 votes, and Daniela got no votes. Giancarlo felt very badly for her.
Your Just Dessert is served, and they need to eliminate someone immediately. Giancarlo is lobbying for Daniela to stay, but Dad kicks him out and discusses it with Mom.
After an intense debate, they booted Lisa. Giancarlo said she has a “great personality” and, well, that says it all as they had no chemistry.
Now it’s Desiree and Daniela, sitting down for breakfast. They asked Daniela about “divorcing” her parents, she cried and said that she left with the clothes on her back because she needed to get away from them. Giancarlo is swayed by Daniela’s plight and her heart, but Dad wants him to take another look at Desiree, as that is Dad’s favorite. Daniela is crying non-stop, and made Mom cry too when she said she wanted to belong to a family like the Maniacis. Desiree steals a page from Daniela’s playbook, and started crying also. This whole episode is really grating on my nerves. Oh, please let it end soon. If I wanted to watch people crying, I’d, um, I dunno, I’ve never wanted to watch people cry. This episode sucks. The lie detector test, oh goody.
Would you like Mom as your mother-in-law – yes
Would you be faithful to Giancarlo – yes
If he lost all his hair, would you still date him – yes
Have you lied to Mom or Dad this weekend – yeah
*OK, this is a truthful answer, but not something Mom and Dad really want to hear*
Are you attracted to Giancarlo simply because he has money – no
*Mom makes a pained face.*
Have you been pretending to cry just to make us feel sorry for you – no
Did you flirt with Dad this weekend – yes
Would you ever marry a man for money – no
Would you consider having a long term relationship with Giancarlo – yes
Do you plan to pose for more nude photographs in the future – and now we have “the longest lie detector pause in HISTORY.” Nick prompts her for an answer, she finally says NO, long pause,
*My guess is that Daniela was framing up the question in her mind so she could truthfully answer “no” to it, which is smart. For example, if she gets an “ambiguous” question like that, and she justifies to herself that the question is really “if you have a long-term relationship with Giancarlo and don’t need to worry about money anymore, would you pose nude in the future” to which she could honestly answer “no” – just a theory*
Mom and Dad picked Daniela, Desiree cries, smarmy “it’s so hard to say goodbye” music plays, new members will join the website just to try to find out what that song is . . . the beat goes on. I was really hoping that we’d get treated to a sampling of the Flashdance hit song “She’s a Maniac” given the family’s last name, but no, that would be too funny, and funny isn’t allowed on this episode, as this is a newer, unfunnier Meet My Folks. Please NBC, let us end on a high note next week, I’m begging you.
Giancarlo walks Desiree to the door. Desiree says the weekend helped her be a stronger person. Daniela is happy, Dad likes how she takes responsibility for her actions. A big lesson about judgment and honesty, applied with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Big group hug, and Giancarlo is off to Hawaii with Daniela.
Join us next week for the season finale of Meet My Folks, where hopefully there will be more fun and less crying, and that’s just from the recappers watching the show looking for material.