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The Family, Episode 4: Ding Dong, The Witch Is Gone (For Now At Least)by C. Brian Devinney -- 08/07/2003
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Last week, we had the super recap to end all recaps (something that I don’t think CBS could accomplish on an episode of Big Brother) covering the highlights of three episodes in one two-hour stretch. This time, it’s a fresh brand new episode showing why Ringo might fit in very well on an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Linda is a goddess to be worshipped, Andrew’s clipped British accent will clip more than just words, Jill the Stylist’s love of Dolce and Gabbana makes it seem more like product placement than anything else, and why Franck would never replace Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune.
So let’s hit it with the faux Dynasty-cum-Falcon Crest opening. There’s Uncle Michael as Il Padrino in the back of the limo. There’s Aunt Donna as the shrewish evil witch of a wife - and I just noticed that little cursory eye movement she gives as if to say, “You’re wearing that to my party?”. Anthony, the playboy, wears what looks like silk pajamas. Jill: one of the good girls on the show - but you just know she will claw your eyes out when the time arises. Ed: the hotheaded, ready-to-fight family member whose business dealings may be a little shady. Melinda: the family member with the heart of gold but who will probably wind up on drugs three or four times like Olivia was on Knots Landing and marry an abusive husband and cry to Jill about it and man, I am getting way too into my fake story lines! Robert is the evil family member with a major case of shadows and backlighting to emphasize that he’s evil. Dawn Marie: the wacky neighbor who will always come over for a chat and sometimes bring a bundt cake with her. Then there’s Mike, the mysterious outsider whose motives are as shady as his relation to this family. Since every show needs a sex siren, there’s Maria, coming out of the pool in her bathing suit. And of course, the Professor and Mary Ann - just kidding. It’s the staff, whose five members compose the board of directors who will hand out the million dollar trust to one family member.
We start off immediately after the board of directors met and bounced Maria over Mike. Donna says that she was sure that Maria was coming back still in the game. Of course the fact that Mike has already gone before the board once before and come back safe means nothing to Donna, who says the only reason she took out Maria wasn’t because she wasn’t a blood relative (something I will get on in a second - trust me) but because she was getting some “bad vibes” from her. Hmmm. And what would those bad vibes be? If Donna wins this money I hope she uses it for a facelift and a personality transplant. Come on, Donna. We all know that you have the warmth of an ice cube in Antarctica.
Since the board has just met, I guess we should indulge the board in their humorous view of their “employers.” OK, maybe not indulge, but revel with them for a moment at how they’re driving them nuts - especially Dawn Marie, who has morphed into Jessica Fletcher and is picking up the odd clue such as the missing piece from both the chess and checker sets. Hmm… one checker and one chess piece. By Jove, I think she’s onto something! Actually, what she’s really checking out is a statue of a woman that sits in the main living room. Maybe they call it a Grand Salon instead, but it’s the big fancy room with all the furniture on which they lounge around while being waited on hand and fot. Call it what you want, but I’m calling it a living room.
Dawn Marie is absolutely riveted to this statue. She’s taking a magnifying glass to it and searching for clues in the letters carved on the side (which is most likely an artist’s signature than anything else). Sure enough, the other family members get in on the act, and they are all standing around it trying to pick up something that will give them a clue to the identity of the board of directors. Linda, whom I have come to love more and more every time she’s onscreen (but I fear she’s being overshadowed by Ringo), says that it’s fun to watch this family deteriorate with worry over who the board is, while Andrew is just shocked that they haven’t figured it out on their own. Well, they did at one point, Andrew, when Mike suggested it to Anthony in the second episode, but they dismissed it rather quickly. Maria finally says she thinks her family members are overanalyzing things just a wee bit, while Dawn Marie is sure that statue holds the answer to everything.
Now, as we all know, once you are eliminated from the running, you are no longer allowed to join the family members for their regular meals. You are relegated to the kitchen, where you will dine on far less than five-star cuisine. Last week, we saw the main entrée turn out to be a frozen TV dinner that had to be heated in the microwave and, like Robert said, is something that I wouldn’t even make for myself. Maria is the latest person to join the kitchen coffee klatch and Ringo says, as they sit down to their place setting of a paper placemat, plastic cutlery, and paper napkins, that just because it’s not silver and china doesn’t mean that they can’t have proper manners. Maria, however, sees the bright side of being tossed out of the running for the top prize. Now she doesn’t have to hold her tongue anymore and can say and do as she feels. Apparently she did so at one point because she flounces off leaving Aunt Donna with a sourpuss expression on her face. Of course, Donna always seems to have a sourpuss expression on her face, so I’m not really sure how this moment would be any different from what we have already seen.1 2 3 4 5 Next-->
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