Fox could not have picked a better night to air the second part of this trade: it’s the eve of Festivus, and there are plenty of grievances to be aired and feats of strength to be attempted. Gather ‘round the Festivus pole and hope for the best for these crazy folks. As you will recall from last week, Marla, the constantly working mother of Cierra, Jordan and Justin, swapped places with Henrietta. Marla got to spend time with Marco, Henrietta’s Italian model husband and their kids Orion and Leonardo while Henrietta had the pleasure of trying to crack Marla’s tough husband, Maurice.
That page in the book with the corner turned down.
To refresh our memories where we left off last week with Henrietta and the Hawkins clan, Fox graciously treats us to black and white shots of the last confrontation, in which Henrietta told Maurice he needed to hug his kids. Those crafty black and white shots really take me back to the days of yore…last Friday. Henrietta says in her interview that it occurred to her quickly that nothing was accomplished in her initial confrontation of Maurice. Ya think?
Picking up where we left off in South Beach, Marla says that she’s gotten close to Marco and the boys and she can see that Marco and Henrietta’s marriage is in trouble because Marco is gone all of the time. She plans on confronting Marco about spending more time with the family and less time looking pretty for money.
Time to hug it out.
After Henrietta’s command to the kids to confront their dad about lack of affection, Maurice walked out of the house. It turns out he didn’t walk far, but went out to get the grills ready for use. Henrietta follows him out and the kids trail behind. Maurice generally implies that Henrietta is making everything up because the kids haven’t said anything to back up her accusations. Henrietta gets mad and threatens to leave if the kids don’t speak up. Finally Cierra says that she’s disappointed that her dad doesn’t show affection toward her. Maurice counters that Cierra just walks in the house and shuts herself up in her room and keeps away from the family. Cierra says that’s because if she’s around Maurice they will fight. Then a curious thing happens. Maurice accuses Cierra of being corny. Then she says she’s not being corny, but he’s being corny. I don’t know what dictionary these folks are operating out of, but nothing at all was corny about the scene.
Cierra walks off, back into the house, and Maurice suggests that Henrietta take the boys and go practice some more, since they’re clearly not prepared with her little show. Henrietta gets increasingly angry and again threatens to walk off the production if the boys don’t speak up in ten seconds. About 8.5 second later—or so the editors would have you believe—Justin speaks up and says that he thinks Maurice is critical only to be mean. Jordan then says that Maurice never says anything good about them. Maurice then has an epiphany and decides he needs to be better to the kids. Henrietta makes them all hug, and, after a bit of struggle, they all do.
Family over money.
Marla, Marco and the boys head to dinner at a nice restaurant where the patrons have view of the kitchen. Marco mentions to Marla that he really would like to go to culinary school one day. Marla sees this as a way to keep Marco with his family more than the modeling. They get to talking about Marco and Henrietta’s relationship, and Marco admits that things have been very strained in the past two years. He has been gone a lot and he feels his wife doesn’t love him anymore. Bear in mind Marco is spilling all of these details while the boys sit there right next to him. Marla suggests retiring from the modeling, but Marco says that if he did that, they wouldn’t have the money to live the lifestyle that they do. Marla tells us in her interview time that family is far more important than money, and it should always come first.
Barbeque in Buffalo.
As it turns out, Maurice wasn’t outside cleaning the grills just to get away from Henrietta’s drama. The Hawkins are hosting a barbeque to introduce Henrietta to their friends. (Didja ever notice that the people on Trading Spouses have barbeques constantly? Never a pot luck, fish fry, fiesta, or anything. It’s always about cooking raw meat on an open flame.) By this time, Maurice has either opened the floodgates of emotion, or he’s really good at acting because he asks Henrietta do to the “hug thing” with his dad, who will be coming to the barbeque. At first, I think he’s just playing her, knowing full well that his dad will laugh her out of town.
The guests arrive for the barbeque, and after a goodly number of them arrive, Maurice calls Henrietta to come out and meet everyone. She comes out and does this little dance that makes every white person in America cringe with embarrassment. Eventually, she finds Maurice’s dad, who is a littler guy that you’d expect, and tells him he needs to give Maurice a hug. The dad hems and haws for a bit, saying that his arms aren’t long enough to reach around the big guy that Maurice is, but finally he does hug Maurice, who is elated. The dad then says that he loves Maurice and is really proud of him; Maurice comments that this may be the first time he ever heard his dad say he loves him. Cue the violins. Now THAT is kinda corny…but most definitely cheesy.
Marla is on a mission to help Marco and Henrietta’s marriage. But before she can get to that, she decides to share with the three guys some things that I will call do-rags. Now, I’ve no idea if that’s the current vernacular, but back in the day, that’s what they were called. Essentially, they’re triangles of fabric, with the Z axis of the triangle being very long, and they are used to wrap around the head and contain the hair. Anyway, the boys, even Marco, look kinda cute in them. Marla then sends the boys away so she can talk to Marco.
She pulls out a bottle of wine, lights a candle, dims the light and looks into his eyes. She then says, huskily, that he is the hottest thing she’s seen since the time Maurice dressed as naughty Santa, and she has always fantasized about a studly Italian guy with pouty lips. Ok, ok, that’s not what really happened, but wouldn’t have it been great if it had? Instead, she decides to talk to him about his marriage. She wants him to work things out with Henrietta, especially for the sake of the kids. She asks him to write down three things that he feels sad about and ways to deal with them. She then is going to ask the boys to come in and tell Marco how they feel when he leaves for his jobs in New York. He says he’ll take on the writing assignment and then Marla asks the boys to come in. Orion says that he’s sad and cries when Marco leaves. Leonardo pretty much says the same thing. Marco later says he wasn’t prepared to hear all of that from the boys. It inspires him to write out the three things that pain him the most, and he gives the list to Marla, who reassures him that all things are possible and he can mend his marriage.
So long, farewell…[© Bravo] … goodnight.
It’s time for the moms to head home. Marla gets weepy, saying she’s really connected to the boys. Marco is sad to see her go, because she’s special and was the right person at the right time to help him out. Henrietta is similarly sad to leave Buffalo. She hopes she helped out the family, and they have a group hug.
The moms then meet up in a Spanish-style villa, where they initially complement each other’s kids. Henrietta then launches in to Maurice needing to show affection for the kids, which Marla understands. Marla then tells Henrietta that she gets where the tension in Henrietta’s marriage lies, and gives Henrietta Marco’s list of three things he feels bad about, which basically boil down to wanting Henrietta to be and act in love with him again. Henrietta breaks down crying and says she’ll try really hard with Marco. I knew the “Dear John” letter hopes I had from the preview were not going to be fulfilled. Then they swap money envelopes and go on their merry way.
We knew this wouldn’t end well.
The moms head home and are glad to get there. Henrietta greets her boys with big hugs, saying she missed holding them and smelling them. Personally, I think that’s weird—the smell bit, that is. She also greets Marco with a big hug and molti baci. Marla is also widely anticipated; the house is festively decorated, Maurice does the dishes and the kids all greet Marla as she pulls up. Everyone is happy to be home.
Finally, it’s time for the money reveal. First up, Henrietta reads out the way the loot was divided: $150 for Orion for shopping for toys. Leonardo gets $250 for a hamster and supplies. That’s one expensive hamster, if ya ask me. Then there’s $3,500 for a trip to Disney in Orlando, to which they’ve never been., $1,000 for Henrietta’s nights out, $5,000 for a trip to Italy, $15,000 for savings, and $25,000 for Mario to go to culinary school in Miami. They are thrilled with the results. All in all, Henrietta has been happy with the experience and, although she sees a long road ahead, she and Marco may make it OK for a little while longer.
Marla also cracks into her letter. They get $10,000 for credit card debt, and $7,000 toward a new car in which the whole family can ride. They are OK with these allotments. Then there’s $1,000 tagged for Marla and Cierra to go to a spa and get pampered. Marla says they are NOT spa people. For $1,000, I could learn to be spa people. Then there’s $4,000 for Marla and Maurice to go on a romantic getaway, perhaps to Rome. Marla says that Rome isn’t even in her dictionary, because they live in the ‘hood. Seriously, some money should have gone to a really good dictionary that defines both “Rome” and “corny.” The next allocations deal with renovation to the house: $2,000 to paint the inside Benjamin Moore white; $3,000 to re-do hard wood floors on the first floor; $2,500 to renovate the basement; some money to retile the bathroom; $1,000 to renew the bedroom furniture; $1,450 to re-carpet the upstairs; $1,000 to pay for a post-construction cleaning. Then there’s $400 for Victoria’s Secret underwear (although it sounded like Marla said Victorian underwear) for Cierra. And, most perplexing of all, $3,500 to be donated to the mayoral candidate of their choosing, and $3,500 to be donated to either a Baptist of Seventh Day Adventist church of their choosing. It was never established that the Hawkins are members of either religion.
Marla became more and more angry as she read through the list of the home improvements. She was furious that Henrietta did not allocate any money to savings and did not give the boys any cash. She goes on a rampage through the house, popping all the welcome home balloons they’d put up for her. Maurice tires to calm her down and talk to her rationally, and she just carries on and won’t let him get a word in edge-wise. She storms out of the house and walks down the street, but eventually comes back in. And we are again treated to the interview snippet where Marla proclaims that family is more important than money. Someone at Fox does have “irony” in their dictionary.