By Lesley | August 19, 2009
Hey, no “THE AVERAGE WOMAN WEARS A SIZE 14 SO WATCH THIS SHOW AND FEEL SUPERIOR” montage this week! I guess Fox has decided they’ve ensnared all the viewers they’re gonna get. Last week: there was a fake prom, and laydeez cried. Incidentally, does anyone know how many episodes this horror show is going to go on for? If it’s six, I’ll be very sad I squandered an opportunity to set up a series of Star Wars-themed post titles.
The episode opens with Luke at home in the guesthouse. He makes coffee! He sits on a couch! Famous people, they’re just like us. Luke blabbers in voiceover about wanting to do something repellent to the laydeez (okay, I’m embellishing), so he’s asked Emme to assemble the laydeez for a little activity. Oh, I hope they’re going to make friendship bracelets! Alas, no, they’re going to assess one another’s wifely qualities. In confessional Luke tries to take credit for this idea by saying, “I’m hoping that their honest opinions of each other could help me find out who could potentially be who could be Mrs. Luke Conley.” OH, I need to unpack this a little. To start, this is not going to bring the honest opinions of anyone; in fact, it’s more likely that the laydeez will each try to downplay the advantages of their biggest competition, if not sabotage each other outright. It’s politics and jockeying-for-position; ain’t nothing “honest” about it. I guess we’re supposed to assume that Luke’s never seen a reality show before. Secondly, I love that it’s just assumed that any and all of the laydeez would be into marrying Luke. I mean, I’d expect some of them are rational enough to occasionally think: hmm, maybe we should get to know each other without the warm glow of industrial lighting and an omnipresent camera crew watching us before we talk about spending the rest of our lives together? Lastly, Luke sucks. Really, though, I think we’re all aware these are producer-hatched shenanigans and Luke, ventriloquist dummy that he is, is just saying the words they’ve told him to say.
The ladyeez are assembled on the laydee-stacking couch in the laydee-stacking room, and Emme passes out sparkly-edged plate things that say “good wife” (in pink!) on one side and “bad wife” (in RED! WARNING WARNING) on the other. Emme tells the laydeez that they’ll each stand up before the group and be judged by the others as a potential wife for Luke. (My husband interjects at this point to say, “I can’t believe Emme is doing this; that’s like the biggest disappointment of all,” and I’m inclined to agree.) The laydee being judged stands with Emme before the other laydeez on the laydee-stacking couch and has to listen to each laydee explain their assessment of her. It’s like the worst group therapy in the world. I wonder if the More to Love Fat-Lady Prison Compound has a locked gate or something. Not to inject myself into the proceedings, but folks, it’d be tough for a woman with a shred of self-respect to stand up there and let this happen. I’d be all “See you assholes later! I’m out! Fuck you very much!” but unfortunately none of the other laydeez seem to be receiving my psychic suggestions to get the hell out of this circus.
Oh yay, Kristian is the first punching bag! I bet she cries! Bitch Lauren calls her “emotionally unstable”, which is kind of harsh. I mean, emotional, sure. “Unstable” might be a stretch. Though I admit we’ve never seen her make lemonade. (I’ll be satisfied if even one person gets that reference.) Tali very sagely and seriously instructs Kristian on what’s involved with marriage, but I wasn’t listening because TALI ISN’T MARRIED SO WHAT THE FUCK DOES SHE KNOW. Sorry, did I say that out loud? Kristian confessions her shock – which is genuine, in my opinion – and cries a bit. Poor Kristian. I don’t think you’re a dangerous psychopath, dear heart.
Heather’s next, and everyone is all about how Heather’s great and upbeat! All Heather’s sentences end with an exclamation point! Everyone thinks she’s fun! Everyone except Bitch Lauren. Bitch Lauren observes to the group that marriage isn’t just about being a fun person. Bitch Lauren then proceeds to announce in confessional, “I’m already a better wife without even being married!” She tells Tali that she’d “look fabulous on Luke’s arm, but…” she doesn’t think they have much in common. Look fabulous on his arm? Seriously? Tali, who is a freaking blank slate so far as this show is concerned, blinks at this but maintains a stonefaced calm. Bitch Lauren then observes that these laydeez can’t even microwave food by themselves (I’m assuming this is hyperbole, because everyone knows all fatties have an innate ability to seek out, prepare, and consume food!), so how can they care for a husband and children? (My husband: “Way to be invested in stereotypical gender roles! Wait, why the fuck am I noticing that?” Me: “My influence. Exxxxcellent.”) And it goes on. Bitch Lauren gives every single laydee (all the single ladies? allllll the single ladies!) a “bad wife”, and in confessional holds court on the finer points of wifely responsibility which, again, slays me because she’s never been married. (My husband says: “LAUREN IS AN EXPERT! ON EVERYTHING!”) When Bitch Lauren herself gets up, it’s payback time, and she gets mostly “bad wife” signs. Mandy tells Bitch Lauren she is a “strong woman” but that her “vulgarity? Is up the roof.” I have no idea what “up the roof” means. I love how the laydeez mix their metaphors constantly.
At this moment, I’d like to formally acknowledge how Bitch Lauren has worked hard to earn the title I’ve bequeathed upon her. Bitch Lauren, in recognition of your valiant efforts in bitchery and being an asshole, I am hereby upgrading you to the aristocracy: henceforth you shall be Bitch Lauren, Duchess of Jerkshire.
Melissa (I should probably be referring to her as Mel B like the show does, but in text you can see how Melissa and Malissa are spelled different and in my head “Mel B” always refers to the Spice Girl, so, I’m not) is last. She’s been sporting some ROLLLLSSSS!!!! on the laydee-stacking couch that were making me very happy as they looked a bit like my rolls, so I am sad to see her stand up. She gets all “bad wife”s from everyone except Bitch Lauren. Oh irony. They call her “young” which is code for insecure/immature/unconfident. Eh. You’re all young, in varying degrees, but I’ll allow the prosecution to continue this line of questioning. Heather got the most votes for “good wife”, and Melissa got the most votes for “bad wife”, so the both of them get solo dates with Luke. The rest get a group date. If you didn’t see that coming, then you weren’t paying attention. This show likes to reward the losers! It makes the show feel altruistic and self-satisfied! Bitch Lauren, as usual, takes a parting shot and says, “Heather got voted best wife because she’s fun…. What the fuck does fun have to do with being a wife?” Oh Bitch Lauren, with that attitude, some day you are going to make some lucky guy into a dire and miserable bastard who can’t get away from you fast enough. Bitch Lauren bitches some more about not getting a solo date with Luke. Bitching sure is attractive! I think I’m falling in love with Bitch Lauren myself! See the clip below for Good Wife/Bad Wife horror show in its entirety.
LUKEMAIL WOOO!!!!!! Anna grabs it and takes the opportunity to bitch about her lack of solo dates as well. I notice the Lukemail Giant Plastic Ring Delivery System is not white, as I previously said, but silver. Still plastic, though. And I still would have gone with the trained potbellied-pig pony express. Go big or go home, that’s what I say. The note instructs Melissa to get ready and meet Luke out front. Once there, we find Luke is wearing another dreadful shirt: it’s black with red topstitching, white pearl snap buttons, and light chambray trim on the collar and cuffs. Yikes. Where did he even find that shirt? They’re going for Moroccan food, yum. Of course, if there is a couch within a fifty-mile radius these fatties will find it and sit on it, so they’re encouched as usual when Melissa asks if he thinks it would be hard for him to be with a woman who’s shy. LIE, LUKE! “No, I think it’s possible for a woman to be shy or reserved, yet confident. I need a woman who’s confident in herself.” My husband is baffled by this comment so I explain to him my armchair-psychologist assessment: that Luke doesn’t really want a woman who’s confident already, but a woman he can make confident through compliments and positive attention, so that way her confidence is dependent on Luke’s presence in her life. If she loses him, she loses the confidence he’s given her, because that confidence wasn’t something she cultivated organically within herself, but something that was dependent on having him around to periodically reinforce it. It’s a delicious little method for keeping someone in a relationship with you and it’s not restricted to use by skeevy Ken dolls like Luke, but can happen in lots of circumstances. Regardless, no matter the situation, it’s unhealthy and plain old fucked up.
Melissa sweetly says to Luke, in a very quiet voice: “My confidence, it’s getting better.” Melissa, your confidence is not dependent on this California man-lump! I hope you know that. Of course, one minute Melissa’s all, hey I was starting to relax and feeling okay, and the next minute a couple of slender belly-dancers appear and start shaking their slender bodies and Melissa’s totally intimidated. They couldn’t find any fat belly dancers? I only know about a MILLION, for real. The two dancers drag Luke and Melissa off their couch to teach them to dance. Melissa slowly gets the hang of it and seems to enjoy letting loose a little bit. Luke says, “I saw a glimpse of the sexy confident woman she’s starting to become,” and I am so overcome with wanting to protect her from Luke’s weirdly predatorial advances that I all but scream at the television, GET AWAY FROM HER, YOU BASTARD. (In the same vein, my husband immediately adopts a lisping, guttural, deranged voice and rasps: “She’s like a chrysalis! I can make her in my own image, like… GOD.”)
Melissa is overcome with all these new experiences she’s having! Swimsuits, dancing! It’s totally awesome to see her breaking down the barriers she’s built for herself; I just wish she were doing it without the context of a dating competition. How about a show in which insecure fat women are taught self-acceptance and confidence, and in which they build enduring and satisfying friendships with other fat women, and in which they DON’T have to hate on each other or mash faces with some strange orange dude named Luke?
Date’s over, and we’re back at the hippo ranch, just in time for LUKEMAIL WOO!!!! Kristian grabs it and reads it to the group. It’s addressed to Heather, on the subject of their date. The note promises “the royal treatment”, and I’m ever so excited to see what THAT means. After the reading of the note, Heather is led to the secret Room of Requirement in the fatty manse and finds it filled with gowns apsiring to dizzy heights of ridiculousness and an insane woman, who squeals “HIIIIII PRETTY PRINCESS!!!!!!!!” when Heather enters. She might not actually be insane; she’s just really cheerful, I often confuse the two. Clip below:
An aside: what is UP with the use of curtains to create space in the show? The confession room has curtains, the prom location was curtained to death, and the Room of Requirement also has curtains for walls. There’s an Omar the Tent Maker joke in there somewhere, I know it.
Heather has to choose from amongst the selection of gowns (oh lord, these dresses are… unreal; some of them look like something a clown would wear if she wanted to upstage all the other clowns at the big annual Clown Ball) and escape the Insane Gown Woman in order to make her date. Use your patronus, Heather! I bet Heather’s patronus is a fat blonde pony. She selects a relatively-restrained dark blue gown that would be lovely if you scraped all the bling off of it. She shows off to the other laydeez briefly before meeting Luke out front, and together they drive to a castle. Not a real castle; a chintzy LA castle. I guess it’ll have to do. Luke actually says, “Right this way, milady.” HUSBAND! UPCHUCK BUCKET, STAT! We’ve got some strummy guitar music that makes me think they’re inducing the audience to feel warm and fuzzy about Luke and Heather right now. Luke says something about the gorgeous view and Heather agrees, looking out over the twinkling lights of the cultural wasteland that is Los Angeles, and Luke says no, “I was talking about you.” OHHHH I GET IT, SHE’S THE GORGEOUS VIEW. I think all the women watching are expected to melt right now. If only Luke were fourteen, he’d be one smooth operator; as it is, his goofy lines could be either endearingly earnest or eye-rollingly embarrassing. Heather gives a girlish giggle and thanks him, so I guess that’s all that matters. They clink glasses and drink champagne.
While Luke is getting all up on Heather’s jock, the laydeez at home are getting some LUKEMAIL WOOO!!!! Tomorrow morning the group date will get “R&R”, though somehow I doubt it’ll be all that relaxing. Luke’s note advises getting a good night’s sleep in preparation for the knife fights and jello wrestling. Okay, I made that last bit up, but he does advise the good night’s sleep. That’s our Luke, always concerned for the laydeez’ physical and mental well-being!
Back at Castle Fattenstein, Luke and Heather are sitting down for dinner, which is being served at a table set up on the “castle”’s lawn. Luke calls Heather “a fun girl” but needs to know her feelings about having a family. Heather’s in favor of having a career, she guesses. Luke wants to know how she envisions their childcare arrangements working out if they’re both working, the implication, intentional or not, being that of course it’s the wife’s problem to figure out what to do with the children if she wants to have a career! Heather says she’s not thought about it that much, probably because she’s all of like 22. Things take a weird-ass turn when Luke straight-facedly pranks her by telling her he has three kids. Heather’s face is priceless at this; you couldn’t imagine a more perfect image of shocked horror. It’s like you can see the needle come off the record in her head. Actually I’m surprised that wasn’t a sound effect. Then Luke’s all NAWWWW I’M JUST MESSING WITH YOU and they laugh in relief. He explains in confessional that the conversation got all “deep” (Lord. LORD.) and so he did it to lighten things up again. It was pretty damn funny to watch but I’m also left feeling like Luke is kind of an asshole. I’m not fond of pranks that involve tricking folks or lying, though, so this is probably just my own stick-in-the-mudness coming out. (Pranks that involve physical injury or wanton destruction of property are HILARIOUS, though.)
Luke’s mom was a stay at home mother and he basically states he wants that for his kids. Heather wisely observes that these are things they’d figure out with time. Dudes, I’m an OLDER woman of 32 and my husband and I have been discussing and planning to reproduce for literal years, and even we STILL don’t know exactly how we will ultimately handle our childcare arrangements. It’s sort of a stupid thing to put a laydee on the spot about at this point.
We head inside Castle Fattenstein to see the backs of Luke’s and Heather’s heads as they make out in front of a fireplace. The camera lingers a liiiittle too long on a shot of Luke’s hand slooowly opening a bottle of champagne – working the cork out, bit by bit, oh yeah baby, you know how I like it, almost there, unnnnhhh – and it looks way too much like a penis-rubbing reference and I can’t go any further because oh the skeeviness of it all. Then they pan up and the two of them are kissing WHILE he’s rubbing on the champagne-bottle-penis, and he pops the cork, which makes Heather jump as she was clearly not paying attention to Luke’s penis-bottle. Luke cutely says “Excuse me, I don’t know where that came from!” or some such nonsense when dude, you just made yourself look like a minute man. Not something to shine a light on too strongly, know what I mean? Heather laughs hysterically. Heather says Luke makes her feel BEEEEYOOOTIFUUUL. Check the clip below for footage of the prank all the way through to Luke’s premature ejaculation.
Luke got his so it seems the date is over and now it’s tomorrow. The remaining laydeez wake up early for their group date. Luke’s going to meet them there. Mandy has what appears to be a dancing seizure before getting into the limo. What the hell WAS that? Inside, the laydeez are talking about who’s been tongue-kissing Luke (GROOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, also are we in the eighth grade here or what?) and it seems that MALISSA has been kissing with tongues too! Burnnn. Bitch Lauren confessions, “Malissa is the freak, and I think she’s trying to get her way to Luke’s heart by affection,” so in order to compete, Bitch Lauren has to step up her tongue-kissing game pronto! How dare Malissa presume that affection has anything to do with romance? Bitch Lauren KNOWS, y’all. She WROTE THE BOOK on using tongue-kissing to get to Luke’s heart and she’s gonna school every last one of you fat lards with your inept tongues.
They wind up at a spa, which, obvious. Luke’s left a note asking the laydeez to “put on their robes” and meet him by the pool for lunch. Bitch Lauren astutely observes in confession that this means taking clothes off! Sheltered by the privacy and safety of the confessional curtains, she cops to the fact that she’d “like to lose a few pounds,” but she’s got no choice but to bite the bullet and deal. A worthy concern, as surely Luke will see your fat asses and run screaming for the hills! Except that HE LIKES FAT WOMEN AND TALKS ABOUT IT EVERY FIVE SECONDS OR SO. Luke confessions: “We had the whole spa to ourselves: no tension, no stress!” Luke truly fails basic human understanding 101 if he can’t see that these laydeez are nerrrrvous. Or maybe he just doesn’t care. (Husband, on Luke’s observational fail: “I like this guy Luke, he makes me feel like a fucking Romeo.”) Luke then goes on to drool audibly in confession about ogling the laydeez in their swimsuits, and sure, this is not something you hear on mainstream TV every day, but somehow it doesn’t quite feel like a great moment in Fat History to me. He says he’s looking at six “full-figured” laydeez with “curves in all the right places” and yay, he’s like happy about it or has a boner or something. I don’t know. I’m wondering where the “wrong places” for curves are.
Malissa doesn’t like having her mammoth ass flapping in the breeze, as she doesn’t even like wearing a swimsuit around her friends. That doesn’t stop her from some private hot-tubbing with Luke, though. He massages her and mumbles in what I presume is meant to be a sexyvoice about finding a knot in Malissa’s back, and calling her “naughty”, and I am not sure but it’s just possible this is the most squicked out I’ve been yet. In confession he talks about Malissa’s “curves in all the right places” for the second time in like thirty seconds. Then, predictably, it’s noisy-smacky makeout time! As they face each other and kiss in the hot tub, Malissa says, “Well it seems like you’re definitely attracted to me,” and Luke says quickly, “Yeeeeaah, that’s like, an understatement” and OH MY GOD I THINK THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT HIM ACTUALLY REALLY-FOR-REAL HAVING A BONER AND I WAS JUST JOKING BEFORE. EWWWWWWWW.
Malissa comes back and talks about her tongue-kissing. Mandy cries in confession about the tongue-kissing. I truly feel badly for her as she talks about how awkward it is and yeah, I bet it really, really is. Painfully so. Evidently Malissa doesn’t talk about the boner that may or may not have happened.
There is more eating, and then more alone time. Luke wants to hear more about the laydeez’ Fat Pain, though seriously y’all, can we hear something about what they do for a living or what sort of music they like or even their favorite fucking colors? ANYTHING but more Fat Pain. But Luke demands it! Desperation Vampire that Luke is, he wants them to “open up” their Fat Pain to him such that he can gobble it down and taste every sweet drop of their despairing tears and heartache. YESSSSSS.
During their alone-time, Luke asks Anna if she can see herself with him in five years and she says yes, “but don’t get a big head.” Haha, points to Anna. High five, my crazy-tall Amazonian-warrior girlfriend. Luke says in confession, for the ten billionth time, that “it’s not about size” with him but in how a laydee “carries herself”. WE KNOW. We’ve heard it. I’d suggest a drinking game for these monologues but we’d all be in the hospital with alcohol poisoning before the first commercial break. Luke and Tali, who we have basically never seen before this moment, are getting foot massages, and eventually are left alone on the foot-tending couch/bed hybrid thing, to snuggle or whatever.
Elsewhere at the Whale Spa, Bitch Lauren is preaching to Anna about how she takes her confidence from “the way [Luke] looks at me. Like I honestly feel like he looks at me like, ‘I’ll see you at the end.” Anna hopes she’ll be there too and Bitch Lauren immediately calls her a bitch. Indeed! On their own, Mandy and Luke get back massages and, again, snuggle. Mandy tells Luke she still feels shy. Then they talk about the “right person” and they kiss and Luke says “the feelings were flooding the room!” I don’t know that those were feelings. Luke confessions that kissing Mandy did something to his heart! OH GOD EVERYTHING THEY SAID ABOUT FAT BEING A DEATH SENTENCE IS TOTALLY TRUE. No, Luke means his emo heart. He actually seems really sincerely taken with the shy and soft-spoken Mandy right now. Who saw THAT coming? Clip below.
I think it says something that when he is with some of the laydeez, Luke is capable of being momentarily likeable. I feel like this show would be so much more interesting if they backed off the Fat Pain and actually showed us something of the more intimate conversations the laydeez have been having, both with each other and with Luke, to give us the chance to see them as individuals and not just indistinguishable sad-eyed cows in a herd.
Luke and Bitch Lauren finally get their alone-time on the veranda. Bitch Lauren decides to charm Luke by complaining about having to go last. Meanwhile, the rest of the laydeez have discovered a fresh avocado-based mask in the bathroom and begin smearing it all over each other and crowding into the hot tub. From the veranda where he and Bitch Lauren are chatting, we can hear the laydeez calling, “Luuuuke!” Luke hears it too, and is drawn to the sound like a sailor to a siren. Bitch Lauren is seriously like BITCHES I WILL FUCKING MURDER YOU ALL IN YOUR BEDS FOR WRECKING THIS FOR ME. The hilarity is hilarious.
It’s time for the Final Countdown Cocktail Party. In the laydee-stacking room, Bitch Lauren asks a few of the laydeez to rate their confidence on a scale of 1 to 10. Heather is a confident nine. Melissa is a wobbly five. Is Bitch Lauren really getting cut already? I sure feel like they’re setting it up that way. Two laydeez will be going home. Bitch Lauren gets more alone couchtime with Luke and he asks her if she thinks she’s approaching the group dates with “a competitive spirit”. Bitch Lauren rambles an answer and Melissa spies on them from the other end of the pool. Luke remarks on Bitch Lauren’s jealous side like it’s a good thing. Fucking hell, they deserve each other.
Mandy doesn’t want to sit with Luke for their alone time, she wants to dance. She is a fitness trainer after all, something I know only because it flashes onscreen with her fatass stats, and certainly not because the producers think it’s appropriate for us to know anything about these laydeez aside from the fact that they’re fat. Nonetheless, all this couch-sitting must be getting to her. Mandy tells Luke how much she liiiiiikes him and she wants to call him her boyfriend. Ultimately this evolves into a surprisingly sincere conversation about the difficulty of dating in this fucked up environment (I mean, that part is understood, I think) and it’s one of the most realistic exchanges we’ve seen thus far. It’s almost as if they’re on a real date.
The laydeez are de-ringed. A puffy-eyed and wrecked Anna confessions that she’s getting “attached” to Luke and doesn’t want to go home. She almost looks like she has a terrible cold, it’s that bad. Anna is an ugly crier, poor lamb. Ring toss time! Hi Emme, thanks for reminding us for the bazillionth time that two laydeez will be going home and the last laydee standing may get saddled with Luke for life. Luke makes his dumb speech about “amazing women”, blah blah. I suppose I should be grateful he said “women” and not “girls” this time.
Ringbox is opened. First ring goes to Heather. I’d say yay for her but I think she can do better. Second ring goes to Tali, who continues to be a riddle wrapped in an enigma. She never confessions! Ever! Like I don’t think we’ve once seen her confess! Did she just never have anything to say? Malissa is next. Then Mandy, who is relieved as hell. Is Kristian going to be last, AGAIN? How much more can she take? No, Kristian is fifth! Whew. Emme pops in to flash her tits and shout “GO FUCK, LOSERS!” Not really, she tells us there’s one ring left as her contract requires. Is Bitch Lauren going home? NOOOOOO. I want her to win and be Luke’s complaining bride! Anna gets the last ring. Melissa and Bitch Lauren are going home. Bitch Lauren says “I just know he’s picking someone who’s not as right as me. As far as I’m concerned I can stand out here and laugh at him.” (Husband: “WHAT a BITCH.”) Classy til the last, Bitch Lauren! Let’s see that again.
In confession, Melissa’s weepy about her lost opportunity to bring Luke – whom she now considers her “first boyfriend” – home to meet her parents. Melissa, may your second boyfriend be a real one, preferably one who doesn’t exploit your insecurities. The laydee group has lost another four hundred pounds or so, swell. GROUP HUG. We’re out.
Next week: jealousy, crying, and Kristian as punching bag. Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.
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