When was the last time you saw a well-adjusted, soft-spoken, non-neurotic Jewish wife on TV? Well you won't see her in this week's episode. Anne Marie is the peppy, prayer-happy Christian who "likes to bless people." Stephanie is the pushy, complaining, loudmouth Jew who's the boss at home. (You think the families will love them, or what?) Stephanie's husband isn't interested when Anne Marie offers hokey advice on teaching his kids abstinence. (She actually likens "purity" to a piece of chocolate, which gets messier the more it's passed around. Uh-huh...) And Anne Marie's church group is appalled when Stephanie applies lipstick in the middle of a Bible-study class. ("We pray for all the people involved in the show," says the teacher. "The editors especially, Lord.") While Anne Marie gets to be the saint, Stephanie plays the bitch, and yet another ugly stereotype is reinforced.
When sisters Kari and Gina went in for their breast reductions, I'm thinking they got lobotomies too. How else to explain why two decent-looking girls allowed surgeons to completely sculpt their faces? In fact, both sets of doctors say the girls were "already pretty" but they needed "enhancement." So why does that mean instant nose job, facial lipo and a brow lift for girls who are unhappy with their figures? I am surprised that the girls actually recognize themselves, or each other, at the reveal. While their bodies look great (for how long, I wonder) their faces almost look distorted (for good, I imagine). And I sorta wish that just once, someone has a breakdown at the mirror and screams, "I hate it, I hate it!" Is that so wrong?
A beautiful teenager with blond ringlets sees the ghost of an old man following her wherever she goes. The eerie spirit haunts her as he floats in and out of her world, following her through the halls at school, down the aisles of a record store, on the streets of her hometown. Rewind, and the beauty is driving her car, music blaring, not a care in the world. Suddenly, the figure becomes real as she plows right into him in the middle of the crosswalk. "You never forget the people you hurt when you're high," says a voice-over. And hopefully you'll never forget this commercial, either. Any questions?
Everybody Loves Raymond
Who thought Ray and Frank would actually set foot in a shrink's office with Robert? Yeah, me neither. No big surprise when they head to the track instead (and win big bucks on hilariously-named Marie's Mouth. "This horse is unstoppable!" shouts Frank. "A sign from God that we are supposed to be here!" Ray hoots in agreement.) But when they plan what to tell their wives about their "sessions," TV's most dysfunctional family members actually gain real insight. And it's both hilarious ("I told Dr. Greenberg I was going undercover," says Robert. "And that I had to borrow my outfit... from my mother") and touching (Frank's father used to hit him every day? Guess that explains a lot.) Their endless bickering has been grating on my nerves for way too long, but the payoff finally comes. Says Ray of his time with Robert and Frank: "We enjoyed being together. We laughed. We found out stuff. We feel good." Me too, Ray, me too.
$25 Million Hoax
At first, I feel sorry for this family. They really seem like good people who want to be happy for Chrissy. But the more she spends (Diamond necklaces? A recording studio contract? A sprawling mansion?) and the crueler she becomes ("You deserve to be poor!" she tells her brother), the more annoyed I get with them ("It's her money," shrugs her dad after another ridiculous purchase). How many times does she have to stiff her parents before they stop hoping she'll finally buy something for them? During a stop at a plastic surgeon her dad actually thinks she's getting him Lasik surgery. Instead he is shown the receptionist's bare breasts as a possible size for his daughter's boob job. Funny stuff, but pathetic. I don't understand how they can keep quiet as their daughter turns into a self-described "rich bitch." A supportive, loving, tight-knit family. Hmmm. Maybe that's the real hoax?
Ritz Cracker Commercial
I'm all about the '80s revival, but Modern English shilling for a box of freaking crackers? When I hear the genius that is: "I'll stop the world and melt with you," I'm thinking about spreadin' some love. But not on a Ritz, baby.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Teenage lesson #41: When your best friend says your boyfriend is insane, believe her! (Even when that best friend happens to be loudmouth, self-centered Paige.) If she is smart enough to see that Rick is bad news, you gotta wonder why Terri refuses to believe it. How many times does he have to push her around before she gets the idea? The whole leading-her-further-into-the-woods scene is a bit hokey, but it effectively sets up Rick as the hunter stalking his prey. When he pushes Terri and she hits her head on the ground, I wonder if small rocks can cause such damage. Guess it doesn't matter, since this episode well-illustrates teenage lesson #1: The first time your boyfriend lays a hand on you, leave him.