9-20 Renovate My Family Recap – It all just happened so fast, Officer!
Judging from the amount of traffic through this forum, I think we all know that I’m the only one still watching this show. So I figure I can look at this in two different lights. A) No one cares; I can write a really crappy, inaccurate and apathetic recap in a half hour and then get on with my life. B) I am the sole witness to this train wreck; my recap is the only taste my three faithful readers will get of the action, therefore I must devote the entire day to providing an entertaining and thought provoking look at the show. I’m not going to tell you whether I picked the lady or the tiger. I think you can figure that out for yourselves. Just from reading this intro…
We’re off to Lancaster, California this week to meet the Cole-Reimer family, the “modern day Munsters” as Jay likes to call them. If you’ve been taking notes (and who hasn’t!), you know that you need a gimmick to get on this show. Well, you can cross off washing-machine-in-the-kitchen, suffering-a-crippling-injury, and, now, decorating-your-house-with-fifty-bucks-worth-of-Halloween-clearance-merchandise. I wish you luck with your future gimmick brainstorms.
Da da da dum *snap snap* <--Adam’s Family theme song
Tina Winter (no, not Cole, not Reimer) is the matriarch of this clan—the “Lily Munster,” if you will. She’s also the lead singer of a gothic rock and roll band. Randy Cole is her lead guitarist and live-in fiancé. We get a disturbing look at the band in action. Tina reminds me of actress Jennifer Coolidge in a Stevie Nicks dress, but with flat black, wig-ish looking hair, sharpie-drawn eyebrows, and a metal stud coming out of her chin. I can’t really tell you what Randy looks like; he was wearing this mesh shirt over his pale, fleshy man chi-chis, and the sight blinded me momentarily. That reminds me—I need to call my therapist.
Seventeen year old Ashley (think Marilyn Munster) is the family’s blonde and ordinary outcast. It is her plea for normalcy that brings Renovate My Family to the scene. She has a little brother named Ian, who is Eddie Munster with Carmine Gotti’s hair, and if you can imagine a more horrifying image than that…please, don’t share. There is another sister, Lauren, who doesn’t throw the Munster analogy off too far, as she appears to be just a smaller version of mom. We don’t know if she is older or younger than Ashley. We don’t know if the kids are siblings or half-siblings.
There’s a lot we don’t know.
Because apparently some gimmicks are more entertaining that others, and being funny-spooky characters from an old sitcom doesn’t get much mileage. FOX seems to have decided that the Cole-Reimer-Winter-Munsters didn’t merit the usual two hour treatment, and so if you were excited by the peek of the Munsters on the zip line that we were shown in last week’s Scenes From Next Week, too bad. (Also, if you were excited by any part of the Scenes From Next Week, it’s time to turn the TV off and get a hobby.) They edited the heck out of this week’s show to get it down to an hour, and it ended up disjointed and confusing. So blame the same faults in the recap on that. Thanks.
It’s Only the Most Important Meal of the Day!
The Cole-Reimer house is decorated for Halloween all year long, down to the six-foot coffin (with resident skeleton) in the living room. The house is also short on space: Ashley-Marilyn sleeps on the sofa. Other than that, the Munsters seem perfectly happy. If they have any deep emotional turmoil, it’s been edited out. (You want to know my theory? Of course you do. I think there were counseling sessions with the Cole-Reimers, but somebody in the family called Jay’s bluff and asked to see his license.)
As usual, we are bored to tears by the elaborate set up created to shock the Cole-Reimers with the news that they’ve been chosen for Renovate My Family. Cameras everywhere, blah, blah, etc. (If they wanted something useless to cut out… ) The one thing that catches my attention is Jay’s comment as he watches the Cole-Reimers arrive: “There they are, the Cole-Reimers, sitting there all goth-ed up in the desert!” I’m confused. Is it somehow less socially acceptable to be goth if you live in the desert? Please, somebody let me know the etiquette on this! I live in Arizona, so this is more than just idle curiosity. I need to know.
The Cole-Reimers show polite surprise as Jay jumps out from his hidey-hole screaming at them. In what will become a running theme for this episode, Jay is forced to beg for reactions from the mellow family. They placidly tell him what he wants to hear. “We sure were surprised, Jay. Real surprised. You betcha!” *patting Jay condescendingly on head*
Jay encourages the Munsters to skip breakfast (my mother gasps in horror as she reads this (or she would if she did read this)) so they can hurry home to pack their clothes and demolish their house. There is no panic. The Cole-Reimers calmly head home and pack methodically and efficiently. The best quote they can give us is Tina-Lily saying, “Oh, boy, this is it. Here we go,” in a placid tone.
FOX’s Right Wing Agenda
Jay tells the Cole-Reimers that he going to “change the way you look, and change the way you live. Tina and Randy, you’re finally going to get married, and then you’re going to return to an incredible new home.”
Tina and Randy have only been engaged for six months, lest Jay’s words lead you to believe otherwise. When I tied the knot, it was after an engagement of four months, but judging from the piercing cries of horror that the lady at the dress shop emitted, I think that is considered an extremely short engagement. Six months hardly deserves a “finally.”
I feel the need to editorialize. I mentioned before that the majority of the Cole-Reimers, much like their TV Land counterparts, seem perfectly happy with their life. Just because Ashley-Marilyn wants a more normal atmosphere, is it really right that the rest of the satisfied family must change? As a child, I wanted a cat. Since I lived with several people with allergies, I did not get my wish. Did Jay McGraw show up to bend my family to my misguided will? No. Why should a seventeen year old get to dictate her parents’ lifestyle? And what’s with the shotgun wedding? Due to the cut throat editing, we never get Tina or Randy’s reaction/opinion on the event. Maybe this was edited, again, due to honesty. “Sure we’ll get married for a new house full of plasma TVs, who wouldn’t? After all, this is a no-fault divorce state.”
Touch My Lizard. Touch It!
The dream team shows up to give their horrified reaction to the house. Jude is afraid to mock Tina’s wardrobe, because she wears the kind of boots that might easily kick him to death. Scott loses some of his rugged appeal when he reveals that he is a coward. “This house has an energy all its own. There’s a certain intensity about it. I don’t want to get all hooey-hooey, but it really does.” A coward that makes up stupid words. (Hooey is how they translated it on the closed captioning—I’m not making this up…or maybe I am, but I’m just being very thorough about it).
Once again, the Dahm triplets pay particular attention to the underage male in the house, and once again there is harp music. Either the producers of the show are really hung up on their adolescent fantasies, or the Dahm triplets are dangerous and need to be registered (and I’m not talking about Target’s bridal registry). Ian-Eddie enjoys the attention. “They wanted to hold my lizard,” he tells us smugly. Happily for everyone but the lizard, this is not a euphemism.
Jude discovers Ian’s gallon tub of Gotti-glue Hair Gel, and is more frightened of that than the little hoo-doo skeleton Kahi taunts him with in the living room. It seems that Jude is an even bigger baby than Scott.
We get a high speed glimpse of the make-shift recording studio in the kitchen, Ashley’s couch/bed, and the bare dirt backyard; this is the best FOX can do at foreshadowing this week. Any other issues are on the cutting room floor.
Mr. Gorbachev, tear this wall down!
The packing concludes without any real drama, and we’re on to demolition. The family goes at it amiably. Only Lauren (Mini-Lily) is emotionally affected. She hopes that they won’t destroy the house in front of the family, because she might not be able to handle that. If you don’t immediately sense the foreshadowing, your senses are rusty.
Random demolition thoughts: Randy’s t-shirt logo is blurred, and I wonder, if FOX had the technology all along, why they couldn’t have spared my eyes from his mesh covered chest? Jay is working really hard to start his own catch phrases, but he needs to realize that “Let’s bring this house down!” and “Welcome home, _______s !” just aren’t phrases that lend themselves easily to everyday conversation, like “You’re fired” and “The tribe has spoken”—to be successful, a catch phrase has to be able to work as a put down. Move on, Jay. As Randy is sledging, Tina chants “Slave! Slave! Slave!” I don’t want to know what this means to them.
The family’s token effort is over, and Jay sends them out to the lawn to watch—you saw this coming—the giant claw pull down the front of the house. Lauren starts to cry (the camera’s push in, thrilled to get an emotional response) and Scott, yes Scott, the construction foreman, steps forward to counsel her. He’s been hanging out with Jay too long, and I hate to see this. Scott’s stock plunges lower. To be fair, though, he’s every bit as qualified as Jay. In the end, he promises Lauren that she will be happy with the final product, or, in his words, “We will do you right.” Must. Not. Comment.
Sucked into the Black Hole of Editing
The stretch limo suburban is back for the Cole-Reimers (the Rosiers must feel even more hick-ified now!) and they’re off for the adventure that Jay promises will be just as hard at the job the construction workers have. But still fun. Just like construction.
We have a brief moment of nostalgia as Randy and Lauren worry about tearing down 18 years worth of memories. I feel for Lauren, but I’d like to remind Randy that he’s only lived in that house for a few months. Tina gets poetic about pruning dead branches for new growth. I’ll bet she’s working on lyrics for a new song.
Where did the Cole-Reimers go? A wellness center? A rustic cabin? A terrifying, yet homey dungeon? This is where the editing goes all hooey-hooey on us. We don’t know where the Cole-Reimers go. And we will never find out. <--scary, gothic music crescendos.
Oddly, we are suddenly back at the house, and it is day two. Scott gives us the rundown on what the Cole-Reimers are going to get: a honeymoon suite for the newlyweds—a very private place that they can decorate any way they want (though Kahi may not agree with Scott on this), a new room for Ashely so she doesn’t have to sleep on the couch, a pool in the backyard…and that’s all we’re going to get now. It’s painfully skimpy, yet refreshingly free of “working” triplets shots.
No Growth For YOU!
This episode is also refreshingly light on Jay’s pearls of wisdom. Instead of intensive confrontations, the Munster kids spend a day wedding planning. Jude chaperons them rather than Jay, so the emphasis stays on style without the psychoanalysis. They meet up with Ricardo Luna, floral designer, and get to work. There is much pink.
Jay, in an aside, tells us that Ashley has been given total control of the planning, so that the wedding will be the traditional, totally non-gothic ceremony that Ashley has always dreamed of. Let us pause. If we are being traditional about this, then traditionally isn’t it the bride’s dreams that we should fulfill? Shouldn’t the people who are getting married be consulted? Jay tells us that this shall be a “vision of normalcy,” so I supposed the answer to my question is no.
Abruptly, we find ourselves at the salon for the “most challenging(dramatic) makeover(rose ceremony) ever!” Jude tells us that “this goth way of life is the all they know,” and I picture the Cole-Reimers like little pale, black-clad vampire children wandering, frightened and lost, in a bright, horrifying world of lollipops and sunshine. *Hissssss* The sun! It burns!
Look normal, dammit!
They are separated, as is customary, not to be seen until the wedding. Is it just me, or did we lose six days here? I guess we can just rest assured that, no matter what happened, it must have been really boring.
Jude is sickened, as he was with the Rosiers last week, by the home salon the Cole-Reimers have been running without a license. (Did he really think a professional had done that to Tina’s hair?) “Stop the madness of home hair care! The humanity! I shall destroy every box of Loreal Couleur Experte with my own hands!” Jude shrieks (in his head only, but the words shine crystal clear in his eyes).
The main challenge Jude faces seems to be creating realistic eyebrows for Tina and her little clone Lauren. “Eye vey!” Jude exclaims. He asks Lauren if she shaves her eyebrows and she replies, “Once I shaved them on accident, and they never really grew back,” leaving both Jude and me to wonder how the heck you shave off your eyebrows by accident.
Ian asks the wandering Jude, “Shouldn’t you be doing stuff?” “You think this is social hour for me? I’m working!” Jude throttles Ian in a very Homer/Bart-esque way. <-- not a product of my overactive imagination—this really happened.
Jude convinces Tina to leave out her chin piercing for the wedding.
The Cole-Reimers all assess their new looks calmly. “Cool,” Ian says of his shorter, de-greased hair. “I look so different,” Ashley coos, though she looks the most the same of any RMF makeover to date. Randy raises his eyebrows at his shorter hair, which seems to be the only difference, and gives a half-hearted, “Hey. All right.” Whatever Lauren said, it was so indifferent it didn’t even make my notes.
Tina’s hair is still dark, but glossy now and falling in soft waves (I want some of whatever they gave her). Her face looks much softer and younger, but all she says is a wary “It doesn’t even look like me,” which probably doesn’t translate to “I lurve it!!” Jude, overconfident as Jay usually is, thinks she’s awe of her new look—“she embraces it!” (Everyone is morphing into Jay McGraw, and he is the worst part of this show, triplets excepted. No wonder I’m the only one in here.) But the most positive reaction they can get from Tina is, “I’ve never seen my hair like this,” and she doesn’t say that like it’s a good thing.
Put the Calgon away, you won’t need it tonight
This segment is brought to you by a really stupid idea. We return to the house, which is going up with no problems at all—we don’t even get a pep talk from Jay—to watch them put the pool in. Someone called “Pacific Pools” has come up with a way to cut the cost and labor of building a pool. It’s so obvious! Why didn’t I think of this? Instead of laboriously laying a thick concrete barrier between the dirt and the water, just drape a vinyl lining over the hole!! Yes, they put a big shower curtain in the cavity and fill it with water. “That really looks like a tile rim,” Jay enthuses over the printed design on the vinyl.
There is no suspense (except for wondering how long that pool will last). The house hums with the sound of productivity and contentment. Somehow we’ve skipped over all the actual building, and we’re already to Kahi’s design moment. This is also the first we’ve heard of a non-Munster side to any of the Cole-Reimers’ personalities. Did you know that Ian loves video games? I didn’t, but Kahi is going to make his room into a video game fantasy, including a mural staring Ian. Did you know Lauren is into Asian decor? Me neither, but Kahi is going to go with an Asian theme in her room. We didn’t know Ashley was a beach girl (though we might have guessed), and Kahi is giving her new room a tropical look.
The living room is contemporary and, Kahi emphasizes, normal. But in the kitchen/dining room she’s honoring the Cole-Reimer’s quirky sense of humor by giving them a sushi bar atop the bar-length aquarium. Did you know Randy likes to make sushi?
Fools Rush In
Across town (and a day or so later, I assume) guests are arriving for the big event. There’s a goodly mix of normal people and freak show attractions. I got a brief glimpse of Stevie Nicks (or a talented impersonator) tuning up the harp. The same harp that plays the Dahm Triplet’s theme song, “Jailbait Desires”? Yes. I will just believe that it is.
It’s time for Jay’s daily dose of solemn contemplation: “Tina and Randy will, through the bonds of marriage, take a huge step toward fulfilling their kids’ dreams of having a traditional family. Also (and more importantly!) they will see each other for the first time since their makeovers!”
Jay plays MC for the very traditional wedding. He announces each member of the family as they arrive in a limo and walk down the aisle. Everyone looks pretty much the same as the last time we saw them and, again, they all take this pretty calmly. They wear traditional tuxes and red and pink bridesmaid dresses. Lauren looks very nice, but she reminds me of Avril Lavigne now, and after last week’s Brittany Spears makeover, I fear for the future. Please just promise me I won’t have to see Hilary Duff next week! *shudder*
Tina arrives in the only white limo. She wears a modern-traditional white strapless dress and veil. Her hair is half pulled up in romantic ringlets. Her makeup is soft and flattering. Her expression is underwhelmed.
The ceremony is short (or so we’re led to believe) and the vows are traditional. They exchange rings and we get our first look at Tina’s fingernails. With monster talons like that to contend with, I give the tarp-pool a week.
The wedding is over, and Randy and Tina both claim to be happy and feel more complete. We can see the white glow of the cue cards reflected in their eyes.
Something Worth Getting Hitched For
Now the Cole-Reimers rush off to get the biggest wedding present ever. Rush is the key word—the show is rocketing by with little or no explanation at this point. Neighbors, friends and/or paid extras stand by to cheer as the family arrives at their new place. Jay begs for suspense; “Are you ready to see it? You wanna see it? Huh? Huh? Do ya? Do you wanna? Really? Really bad? Please people! Work with me! Love me!” *breaks into tears and runs away*
No, he just squeals “Welcome home, Cole-Reimers!” and the billboard of their old house flies magically away to reveal the new house. (Thought: What do they do with the billboard? Can the family keep it? Do they sell it on Ebay? Does Jay have a big collection of other people’s life-sized house pictures in his yard? Do they just add to the growing waste problem at the local dump? Why should we care? Because I kinda want one.)
The new house fits right in with this episode’s humdrum theme. It looks a lot like the original house from the outside, but with periwinkle siding and a little matching arch over the sidewalk. The biggest upgrade is the landscaping. There is a conspicuous white picket fence—very subtle. The family is politely pleased, even mildly enthusiastic.
Inside, it’s the more lavish RMF that we’ve come to expect. Plasma TVs, check. Smart Home console, check. Red paint, check. Pretty? Yes. Predictable? Yes.
The huge iguana terrarium is something new, and it is cool. The lizards tell Lauren through some kind of reptilian thought projection that they love their new home. The ginormous salt water aquarium under the bar is fantastic, but I’m immediately thinking “upkeep.” Remember Deuce Bigalow? No? Lucky you. Randy enthuses over the “high end restaurant” sushi bar.
Jay looks around the big, bright room and says, “We wanted it to be you.” Well, I think they failed, because, after the last two houses, it looks a lot more like Kahi to me.
Let’s do this.
Lauren’s room: soothing colors, Asian art, plasma TV, and the bed is too big for the room. Jay pops out another surprise—a full scholarship to Antelope Valley Community College’s (trust me—it’s the Harvard of community colleges) “excellent” nursing program. Lauren cries quietly, while Jay works for more drama. We didn’t know this, but I guess Lauren needs some direction in her life. Okay. Lauren promises that she won’t waste this opportunity.
Ian’s room: dark blue and gray, a metal wall thingy, a retarded (just my opinion) looking mural of Aname-Ian fighting a dragon-like creature, and a very cool original Todd McFarland (of Spawn fame) painting. That’s gonna bring a lot when he sells it for crack money. No, they didn’t tell us that Ian had a crack problem, but they didn’t tell us anything thing this episode, so he could. And there was the hair…
I’m not going to mention the plasma TVs anymore. Know that they are there. Always.
Ashley’s room: Strawberry Shortcake was here. Pink and cutesy, but a little too young for a seventeen year old in my opinion. The walls are sky blue and the floor is sand brown and there is a beach “mural” over the bed (isn’t a mural supposed to be a whole wall? I don’t think a poster size painting of a window qualifies). Ashley is very happy that there is no couch in her room. I’m suddenly filled with a burning desire—what if they had put a couch in instead of the bed? Just as a joke? That would have been so great! *giggles to self for a prolonged moment*
The garage: this former junk-storage area is now a state of the art recording studio, with those cameras RMF can’t seem to resist set in the ceiling so they can make videos, too. The walls and floor are blood red and it looks like they get new instruments.
Outside the garage: FOX just can’t seem to stop itself—it’s a disease—and Pimp My Ride is their latest rip off victim. Suddenly, the Cole-Reimers have cars, and these cars must have been in need of a makeover, because they are now pimped. It’s hinted that the triplets were instrumental in said pimping, but, though I believe the girls have a knowledge of pimps, I doubt they know much about cars. According to Random Triplet 1, over $7000 dollars went into just the ugly rims and tires alone. Randy’s truck has flames across the front, and, on the back, a painting of a contemplative Tina—in fishnet stockings and a push-up leather bustier. “You’re on a vehicle!” Random Triplet 2 squeals. Yes, you’ve certainly come a long way, Tina.
Honeymoon Suite: “We didn’t want to rob you of all your goth,” Jay says as he leads Tina and Randy to their room. But the room is really pretty normal. The walls are more a deep pink than red. Tina seems to like it, though, especially the big curtained backdrop to the bed that “looks like a castle” to her. She claims to be blown away by the gothic elegance. I guess I don’t understand “gothic” as well as I thought I did.
Master Bath: dark green walls, black counters, black sinks and black tub. Overhead, the skull-adorned chandelier from the living room has been preserved. Jay throws in a desperate plug for Kohler. It all reminds Tina of “something an elegant vampire would live in.” Question: Do vampires need bathrooms? Discuss.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…
Outside the French doors of Tina and Randy’s room waits the reception. All the wedding guests are there as the Cole-Reimers get their first look at their new pool. Yes, take a good look, Cole-Reimers. Enjoy the view. Savor it as if it were the last…
The obligatory “we’ve grown so much” comments flow. Of course, thanks to the editing, we have no idea what they’re talking about. This is followed by the obligatory gratitude. Tina says she couldn’t thank them if she lived a thousand lives…and she will…
We watch Tina and Randy’s unemotional, passionless kiss in slow motion, and then we see the “don’t anybody smile” Before Picture and the “smile like we’re offering you a big glass of warm blood” After Picture. It’s another happy ending. Only this week, we aren’t sure why we needed one.
Next Week…On Renovate My Family
Who really cares?
Okay. Next week, we’ll meet a family that lost everything in a terrible fire. It’s Renovate My Family to the rescue! But will Hurricane Ivan destroy the team’s plans? Will disaster strike this family twice?
Gosh, I hope so. That would be almost not boring.
Still awake? Let me know you made it, you little trooper! … firstname.lastname@example.org