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The Family, Episode 1: It’s Time to Start the Family Feudby C. Brian Devinney -- 03/05/2003
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There hasn’t been this much family bickering on TV since LaToya Jackson sat down for an interview to bash her brother Michael (and let’s face it, who hasn’t bashed Michael?) or maybe when the Hatfields and McCoys actually went on Richard Dawson’s game show Family Feud in the late 1970s.
This time we get a nice Italian-American family competing against... well themselves. This isn’t The Sopranos after all, although something tells before this is all over I’m going to have enough Joey Pants, Paulie Walnuts, Bacala, Sack, Big Pussy, and Spoons jokes to last me for quite some time. This isn’t even going to be like that production of Romeo and Juliet I was in where the Montagues and the Capulets were portrayed as warring Mafia families (for the record, I played Mercutio, and I do see that Queen Mab hath been with you). Now there has already been some uproar that the family chosen is more of a low rent version of the cast of The Sopranos and that the producers are only out to show Italian Americans in one light – gun-toting Mafia members or total nimrods. I didn’t see either of those from this group aside from some very shrewd game playing. Although there was something Aunt Donna said that I’ll get to in a minute that will totally back up my statement.
Anyway, we have ten family members from New Jersey, various parts of New York, and one from Boston in one house in Palm Beach, Florida. Apparently, even though they auditioned as a family (or something like that... who really knows what this audition process was really like), the members of this motley crew have no idea which of their relatives are actually going to be showing up. I find this somewhat hard to believe since according to her ABC bio, it was Jill who suggested to her family that the group try out for the program and there really would be no reason for her NOT to be on the show. Maybe that’s just me. Who knows.
The first to arrive at the house are Uncle Mike, Aunt Donna, and their son, the dance instructor, Anthony. Uncle Mike says that he’s the true leader of this family and something tells me that if he doesn’t stop with that attitude soon he’s going to find himself booted out of the competition and fast. Donna and Anthony both want to win this competition just so they can hold it over Mike’s head that they beat him at something. It’s nice to see some competition already brewing when we’re only three family members in, but it already seems a bit cutthroat if you ask me.
Cutthroat? Is someone going to take that as a Mafia term? I didn’t mean it that way, I swear.
Jill, the person who thinks she should win it all since it was her idea for them to audition, is already touting her position as the family gossip and I’m sure Aunt Donna is really thrilled to see her, since she makes a very welcoming statement to us that Jill drives her completely crazy. I have a few cousins like that but it might be because they all have thick Southern accents and I think my IQ drops about ten points each time I hear them talk. But that could just be me.
Cousin Ed comes in and says that he will lie, cheat, steal, or lash someone to a pole and force them to watch episodes of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman if it’s going to help him win the cash. If you remember from my preview article, Ed is the one that I have pegged to win it all since no one really expects much out of him.
Following Ed is Cousin Robert, who I have pegged for an early dismissal already because he’s openly proud of how ruthless he can be (or so it says in his bio). What’s interesting to note is that the family really doesn’t do anything when he arrives and I think that no one really likes Robert beyond his sister Melinda (coming up in a few moments).
Maria is next and she’s the one who lives in Boston and is one of the two self-admitted outcasts/outsiders of the family. She even says that the family doesn’t have her address because she moves around so much. Personally, I think Jill and Maria are going to wind up bonding with each other on this show and become a strong alliance to keep each other from facing the Board of Trustees.
Melinda, Robert’s sister, is up next and she’s the supposed “good girl” of the family but I think she possesses a much darker side that she has never really had the chance to delve into or expose. Her strategy, though, seems to keep up that “good girl” image so that it keeps her in the running to win the million dollars.
Our next outsider, Mike, now arrives. By blood, he is really only related to Jill, which makes him a distant relative to all of the other family members. Aunt Donna, being the kind soul that she is, wants Mike to be the first one gone because he’s not really family. Those were her words. He’s not really family. And you’re not really human, Donna.
Well damn. I blew it.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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