Premise of the show: Nine gorgeous young ladies (who also happen to be spoiled brats) are lured into appearing on a show that they think will feature them bragging up and living their normal lifestyles in the lap of luxury. Little do they know, however, that they have been cut off by their families of all their cash and conveniences. The nine ladies must live together in a rather modest house and learn to get along without all of their accustomed luxuries. Moderating (for lack of a better term) this highly combustible situation is professional lifestyle and relationship strategist, Laura Baron.
Nutshell synopsis of Episode 1: The ladies get introduced to this situation and do not react well! Erica and Gia emerge as the two most over-the-top personalities amongst the ladies (and real competitors to be "Queen Bee" of this rotten hive), but Gia and Jaqueline also emerge as the two most emotionally despondent gals in this group by the end of the episode (almost coming to fisticuffs). Before launching into the episode, I think it's necessary to give a quick description of the 9 ladies:
-Amber: A busty blonde and traditional southern belle from Savannah, GA.
-Chrissy: A very sassy African-American hottie from LA.
-Courtnee: A gorgeous African-American beauty queen from Charlotte, NC.
-Erica: A remarkably beautiful, well-endowed blonde (looks a lot like Heidi Montag before all the plastic surgeries) prone to extremely arrogant, self-centered behavior (which I found hilarious), although also with an apparent streak of just a little ignorant bigotry (she's Jewish, herself).
-Gia: A very well put-together hot lady from Cali (who says she's of Middle Eastern ancestry), and the only married mom on this show (who also says she never changes diapers, feeds her daughter at night, or cleans up dog poop), and with some apparent emotional issues, but also quite the "alpha" female.
-Jaqueline: A hard-to-read brunette from Jersey, very close to her family, very emotional, and very much not likin' this situation!
-Jessica: A feisty Italian-ancestry firebrand from Jersey who reminds me in appearance of Amy Winehouse (I find Amy, though not her lifestyle, very hot, BTW).
-Leanne: Another well-endowed blonde from Cali, with a cool, European-accented daddy.
-Pamela ("Pam"): A brown-haired lady who looks like the cute "girl next door," except that she's anything but; how she makes her money is completely shrouded in mystery.
Segment 1: Before it's revealed to the 9 ladies, the show reveals to us that this is an 8-week program, in which the ladies must cook, clean, budget and work a job. If they "graduate," they then have to convince their families to "take them back" (in the sense of restoring their cash flow). The show starts at LA's Beverly Center, a very high-end clothing and jewelry outfit, with the ladies thinkin' they are there to live it up as stars of "The Good Life," a new (and fake) show about the lifestyles of rich divas. But one problem: When the ladies go to check out (running up tabs in the several thousands of dollars), none of their credit cards work! They all then storm off in a huff to the customer service desk, arriving there all at once and shouting in unison at the sales associate there. He tells them to head through that door over there, where all will be explained.
In the room behind the door, the ladies meet Laura Baron, who shows the ladies videos of their family members telling them that they are "cut off." Some of the ladies become very emotional at the news, as if they just lost their best friend (and perhaps maybe they did), including Jacqueline, Jessica and Gia. Others handle the news much better and much more matter-of-fact, such as Chrissy, Amber, Pam, Leanne and Courtnee. In the meantime, Erica has trouble even concentrating on the substance of the message that she's being told by her mom, commenting: "I was wondering, what is she wearing?!"
Segment 2: After the family videos are over, Laura Baron tells the ladies, "Consider this Princess rehab!" The ladies are not appreciative of that remark and do not like Laura. They are defiant (and in denial), all echoing the sentiment that "They Can't Cut Me Off!" Laura confides that the mission of this show is to "turn these entitled princesses into strong Independent women" (and since this blog is The Independent Rage, I can really appreciate that!). The ladies are then ushered out to mini-vans, which they find very offensive ("no limo!?"). Worst yet, the seats in the vans aren't even leather, as Jacqueline notes.
The vans drive through a well-kept, yet distinctly middle class suburban LA neighborhood, which the ladies actually believe to be "the ghetto" (as is obvious, these ladies sure have a lot to learn!). They pull into the driveway of where they will be staying. It's a modest ranch-style house, with admittedly outdated '70s or '80s style outside decor (but very well maintained). The ladies are outraged by the digs, with Erica commenting that "my housekeeper doesn't even live in a house like this."
Then we get a big pan shot of all the ladies' luggage: Literally dozens upon dozens of huge suitcases all piled up in the driveway. The ladies are then informed that from among their huge mass of luggage, they will only be allowed to take one large canvas bag full of stuff into the house (with hair products and diamonds not excluded from the requirement). Then It's Rat Race Time!: The ladies are then told that it's first come, first served as to the choice of beds in the house, and so they will have to quickly pick out their bag of stuff to take in if they want to have an early pick of the litter in terms of the beds (this angle was a pure stroke of genius by the show producers, BTW). Needless to say, the ladies become completely FRANTIC, scurrying to pick out which items of clothing, jewelry, etc., that they will take in, all the time realizing that they really needed to hurry! Interestingly, only Erica departs from this behavior, saying that she will take her time in picking out what to bring in (she says that she's going to make sure that all of her outfits are very well "coordinated" -- really though, you just can't make this stuff up, folks).
The ladies are appalled by the interior of the house (which is very modest and admittedly very outmoded style-wise). Courtnee crows, "Back home, my closet is bigger than this whole house!" (which was perhaps the funniest line of the entire episode, harkening back to the Days when The Nature Boy Ric Flair ruled the world -- one of Natch's famous lines was, (taking off one of his shoes and pointing to a fan): "See this Shoe?! This Shoe costs more than your house, Pal!!!" But I digress.
Anyway, in the bedrooms of the house, Jessica remarks, "SINGLE BEDS! -- I can't believe this!" Even more funny is the bunk-bed set up of each bedroom! And they have to SHARE a mere TWO bathrooms between the nine of them! Then they realize they will have to cook their own meals, and they lament that there are only frozen foods and eggs in their fridge! The segment closes with it being almost nightfall, and with all the ladies inside the house save one -- Erica, who's still out there picking out what to take inside (although, she did resolve to follow this very strategy).
Segment 3: Jessica takes the lead on trying to scare up some grub for dinner. She's taken aback by the ground beef she finds in the fridge that comes in a wrapped roll. Then Erica puts on a very hot French Maid costume and starts traipsing around in it (Erica IS very hot, despite anything else you might want to say about her). Jessica comments that Erica "has nothing between her ears." Gia hangs out in another room, not helping with the meal. She likes to drag upon her hookah, which she does here, and comments that "a diva needs soft hands," and therefore she can't be helping with any cooking or cleaning.
Dinner Time! But the Eats don't turn out so well: As best as I could discern, it looks like the ladies serve up to each other (1) some burnt meatballs, (2) some badly dried up noodles, (3) a very greasy looking salad (how do you get grease into a salad, BTW?), and (4) a dish that my grandma used to call "hamburger crumbles," much to my chagrin (i.e. ground hamburger with some mild seasoning on top). Blah! Yuck! Methinks these ladies need to spend just a few hours of their lives, for once, in a kitchen! (Hey, I'm bad in the kitchen, but could have done a whole lot better than THAT!). As the ladies sit there on the edge of vomiting over this pathetic food, they agree that they are suddenly living "lower middle class" (and again -- not even close!).
After Din-Din, this cheap "box wine" that the ladies have been drinking (the only alcohol in the house) starts to kick in, and business really starts to pick up! Erica knows a trick where she can take the bottom circle of a large wine class and fit it entirely within her mouth (quite impressive)! Then Erica trots out the jewelry box that she so meticulously picked out and brought into the house, allowing the ladies to sample it ("Because if I were them, I'd want to be like me too!"; "I love myself" -- truly endearing, hilarous stuff!). The Big E (as I'm now calling her) Show continues from there, with E quickly shedding the maid outfit and running buck naked in a big circle around the house. BUT Gia is not amused: "I get the sense that Erica wants to be Queen Bee of the house, and that's not gonna happen because there is only one Queen Bee, and that be me!"
Erica quickly gets wind of a bad vibe from Gia and confronts her. Erica comments that they are very different people, noting that she (Erica) is Jewish, and guessing that Gia (who looks and is Middle Eastern) is "Muslim". Gia confronts Erica (and rightfully so) on assuming that she's any particular religion simply based on the way she looks (as I assume Erica would not like some person telling her, "you look pretty Jewish there, Erica"). Gia comments that she could "slap" Erica's "ass," but that she'll refrain. Erica comments, "Gia's such an angry person and I think she could really use a nose job."
Segment 4: The ladies have a group session with Laura Baron: First, Jacqueline reveals why she become so emotional earlier -- it sounds like she feels very close to her parents and thus felt a bit jilted when they completely cut her off out of the blue. And then, frankly, probably the truly saddest moment of the episode occurred (and I'm being serious for once), when Erica revealed that in the past year, when she was about 30 pounds heavier, her old man -- a wealthy and prominent plastic surgeon -- teased her about her weight, making liposuction noises to her and pinching her. This from a dude who accused her earlier in the episode of being "addicted to plastic surgery." As an aside, this rotten old man has quickly shot up my chart for the annual award of Most Pathetic Human Father Alive 2010. (We'll see if he remains at #1). Regardless, I think we can now see the precise source of where some of Erica's issues have emanated.
Segment 5: Girl-next-door (in looks only) Pam claims to be the only "independent" lady amongst these nine divas, saying that she lives in her own apartment and pays her own bills with her own income. Pressed by Laura Baron and others to reveal how she supports herself, Pam resorts to the ridiculous claim that she's an investment banker on Wall Street (again, you just can't make this stuff up) -- a story which even this group is not buying! Jessica comes right out with it: "Are YOU a Prostitute!?" Pam denies that harsh indictment, but remains mysterious on the source of her income. Then Gia, Jessica, Erica and Leanne are all shown talking together about Pam and her claim of supporting herself (after all, such a concept is quite the novelty amongst these ladies). Pam walks in and still clings to her having-a-job story, but she admits she was not being forthcoming in the investment banker claim (but saying nothing else).
Segment 6 (final segment -- Aside: "What Chilli Wants" was so much easier to cover -- only 30 damn minutes!): Pam and Jacqueline have struck up a friendship and have in common that they don't like Gia. They start talking about Gia in the very room where Gia will be staying. Gia gets wind of this, storms in, and orders Pam and Jacqueline to leave. Then Gia tells Jacqueline to get her "fat ass" off the bed (truth be told, the two of them have fairly equal asses, and both quite attractive). Then this rapid exchange: Jacqueline: "Bitch." Gia: "Don't ever call me a bitch -- You wish you freakin' looked like me!" Jacqueline: "Shut up." At that, Gia goes pillow-fight commando on Jacqueline's ass, twice pounding Jacqueline over the head with said pillow and threatening to "kick your ass." Chrissy restrains Gia and ushers her out of the room. Pam (sitting beside Jacqueline during this entire event) laughs and exclaims, "What just happened?!" Off in one of the only two bathrooms, Gia is crying and says that she's an emotional wreck and ready to go home. Jessica (impressively) tries to console her. Meantime, Jacqueline is also shaken, saying that she feels very out of her comfort zone and not knowing how she will survive this whole experience.
End thoughts: This was frankly some fairly wild, hilarious $hit! It's like having 9 of your most over-the-top, pompous, conceded WWE wrestlers all in the same room for one hour (except that wrestling's an exhibition, and these ladies are REAL!). Of course, I'll be back next Wednesday night to recap Episode 2! Be sure to check it out! (For the record, this is likely my LONGEST blog post ever, but that's due to the 1-hour nature of "You're Cut Off").