Last week met Julie from Oregon, who held extreme views on all manner of social issues. She traded places with Judy, one mom of a pair of moms from San Diego. Judy wasn’t have a grand time when we last saw her, and her partner, Pepper, was having an even worse time with Julie. On tonight’s conclusion of this trade, we can only hope the drama continues. From the previews, it looks like everyone is going to be mad as hell with the distribution of the $50,000, and you know Fox would never mislead us.
The obligatory dinner party.
It’s about half way through the week and Pepper has had it with Julie and her insensitive remarks on everything from being gay to being Mexican (and/or Hispanic) to having Down’s Syndrome. Pepper wants to connect with some normal people so she decides to have a dinner party with some friends of hers. They begin to arrive at the house, and it’s a real mixed bag of folks—an older guy, some middle aged people, some younger people, and kids that belong to the guests. Everyone is pretty jovial, but Julie is a bit standoffish. Pepper tries to introduce Julie to the crowd of about a dozen adults, and Julie meets this with a shout of “I’m straight! Just so we get that clear!” She tells us that it was important to her that everyone know from the get-go that she is not a lesbian. I’m fairly certain no one cared one way or the other.
Less assault, more flattery.
Similarly wanting to get things out in the open, Judy calls a family meeting in the Chase family. Charlie is suspicious from the start, saying that most family meetings are just a bitch session. Judy, tired of the meanness in the family, wants to try to pull the family together. She starts by saying that sometimes, the way the girls address their dad, is just disrespectful to him. She goes on to say that he is also too hard on the girls, especially when it comes to coaching their sports. She suggests that he try to be supportive and encouraging. Judy also points out that they all call each other derogatory names constantly, and that they should try to stop the negativity. Both girls agree that their dad should be more supportive and that the name-calling is out of hand. Charlie, ever the realist, says that’s the way they’ve operated for twelve years, so it’s going to be hard to change overnight. I kinda wonder what happened twelve years ago, because both girls are older than that. Maybe when the youngest, Cyndi, turned 3 it was o.k. to call her every name in the book. Must have been a knock-off version of Dr. Spock they were using as a guide. Judy continually impresses with her calm demeanor and pitch-perfect choice of words. Sign her up for the UN peace negotiation team ASAP.
Back at the dinner party, the adults are around a big table on the back deck. One of Pepper’s friends asks Julie what her biggest challenge has been so far, and she says that it has been not getting in a cab and going home. Julie says that the week has not been fun. Through the course of the conversation, Julie reiterates her views on Hispanics (they are invading her town), being gay (something just isn’t right with gay people’s brains) and birth defects (she’d abort a fetus if she knew it had Down’s Syndrome). The Hispanic girl takes the “invasion” statement personally, and Julie is flabbergasted. The woman who has a Down’s child (and the child is at the party) obviously takes offense as well. Pepper has already been put out about the anti-gay slurs, and everyone else is similarly dumbfounded. Julie says she’s a monster, and she doesn’t need Pepper to declare her one. After a while, Julie feels like she’s been set up and storms back to the bedroom, away from the party. I used to know this really annoying girl who, when drunk, would constantly say, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.” In this instance, Julie should have stayed on the porch.
Daddy issues…what else is new?
After the whole family discussion, Judy sits down with Charlie alone and talks about the family dynamic. She says the kids are good kids, they want to please him, and he should be proud of them. Using her own experience, Judy relates that sometimes laying off the harsh criticism can help the kids more than constantly pointing out their faults. Charlie then relates that he always goes to their games because, when he was a boy, his dad wouldn’t go to his baseball games. As it turns out, Charlie’s dad was a minor league ball player and he was always disgusted at Charlie’s low level of play so he couldn’t watch. Judy says that Charlie has clearly tried to correct his father’s errors by actually going to the games, but he’s failed to take it to the next step. She hopes he got what she was trying to say, but only time will tell.
“There’s your t.v.!”
The day after Pepper’s party, Julie is righteously pissed at Pepper and aims for a confrontation. After the kids are situated with whatever is occupying them, Pepper and Julie go for a walk to talk. Julie starts off by saying that she feels betrayed by Pepper, that she was set up to be verbally attacked, and she won’t be a part of a family that treats her in such a way. Pepper rejoins that Julie brought it all on herself by strongly proclaiming her beliefs and bringing up the issues. Pepper tries to explain more, but Julie continually interrupts her to tell Pepper that she is interrupting her (Julie). Her argument makes even less sense than that last sentence did. Julie then suggests that she is too complex of a character for Pepper to understand. Pepper decides she has had enough and won’t back down from the argument. At the thought of someone actually standing up to her, Julie storms off and goes back to the house.
Pepper returns as well, and for a while there is a strained silence. Pepper says that she feels bad that it came to this point, and that maybe they can regain some calm and find some common ground. Julie says that won’t happen because Pepper won’t listen to her. Julie says she is mad that Pepper had to “air their dirty laundry” at the dinner party, and that’s why she feels betrayed. She is also annoyed because Pepper dismissed her “I feel betrayed” rant earlier. Pepper points out that Julie went on and on about her firmly held beliefs being absolute truth, so if they were such strong beliefs, why would Julie be embarrassed that they were exposed? Julie likely had never been called on that before, and so the argument devolved into Julie telling Pepper to “shut the *bleep* up” repeatedly. I’m sure she learned that in debate class. After a while, Julie goes to her room and starts hugging her suitcase.
The long kick goodbye.
The trade is wrapping up, and there’s one more practice Judy goes to with the Chase clan. Charlie starts out negative, but then compliments Cyndi on her soccer play, and even complements her on the way home. Judy is happy that things are looking better.
Now it is time for the moms to start writing the letters. Judy wants to address things that will help the family, and Julie says that the division of the money is her final card to play. The moms write their letters, seal them up with wax and pack to leave. Charlie and the girls are actually sad to see Judy go, and the girls comment that Judy was a nice and caring lady who brought calm to the house. Julie, on the other hand, just wants to get the hell home.
Of course, before they can actually return home, the moms meet in some empty large room and swap envelopes. Julie tells Judy she did not have a good week. She says the kids were good, but Pepper was not. Julie explains she is a very vocal person when it comes to her opinions, and she expressed that she has problems with Hispanics, with Lesbanics (I kid you not), and felt betrayed by Pepper at the dinner party. Julie says she ultimately had to tell Pepper to shut the *bleep* up because she couldn’t take it any more. Judy, also demonstrating that she’d clean up at a poker game, keeps a neutral look, but in the private interview says that Julie was just being mean and she sees that Julie is responsible for the negative tone back at her house.
Judy then tells Julie that her kids were also great but that Charlie was way too hard on the kids. She recounts the family meeting and that they all recognized that they are mean to each other. Judy suggests that Julie help and encourage her kids to be kind and generous. Julie may have teared up, or may have been afflicted with a digestive issue, because she then gets a slightly pained look on her face. After a few more moments of silence, the moms swap envelopes and go on their merry way.
I don’t think reality tv gets you a SAG card.
Judy’s family is super-excited to see her, and they await anxiously for her to arrive. Inexplicably, Julie’s family is also happy she’s coming back, but Julie isn’t so sure that they are. On the trip back to the house, she cries, shudders, and generally carries on like some starlet auditioning for a soap opera. She sobs, worrying that her family will put her out, now that they’ve met a normal, nice person and she’s such a monster. There are more histrionics than a first year drama class reading Hamlet.
Nevertheless, the moms get home, and are greeted by wild hugs and much enthusiasm. Julie stops short of “You like me, you really like me!” but it’s close. Then it’s time for the letters!
Julie wrote her letter to Pepper, so Pepper gets to read it. Remember that Julie was all “I’m gonna get them when I divvy up the money!” so everyone’s a bit nervous. As it turns out, she did a pretty good job, allocating $2500 for a high quality keyboard and lessons for the kids, $5000 for new carpet to replace the nasty-ass Astroturf looking crap that was in the house, $4000 to re-do the kitchen, $10000 for debts, and $20000 for travel, so long as they think of her once on the vacations. Yeah, they’ll be thinking, “Thank god that crazy bitch isn’t with us!”
We can’t expect anything less from Judy, because she’s been the most nice, level-headed person ever to have appeared on this show. She divides the money as follows: $10000 for Kaci’s schooling, $1000 to Cyndi for clothes, $5000 for Charlie for a fishing or golf trip, $24000 for bills, and $5000 for a Hawaiian vacation to celebrate Kaci’s graduation and Charlie and Julie’s 25th wedding anniversary. Let’s just hope Julie doesn’t have a problem with Hawaiians. Julie also pledges that her family is going to be nicer and stop trash-talking each other, because she doesn’t want to be a “monster” any more. Ahh, just what we needed to make the story complete—redemption at the end.
Next week a punk rock mom swaps with a put-upon mother. And apparently, Keith Richards’ older, uglier brother guest stars.