SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
I wasn’t going to watch Total Bellas. I am remiss to admit that I have watched most of Total Divas. However, at some point I just started fast-forwarding through anything that had to do with Paige. I’m not a millennial with a life goal of a face tattoo, so, she’s really just not something I have time for. Anyway, when the original promos aired for the show last winter, I had promised myself I would sit this one out solely based on the fact that either the commercial for the show or Michael Cole referred to these women as “smart.” There are many words you could throw at the Bella twins as accurate descriptors; “smart” is not among them. You know this if you’ve seen Total Divas.
Last night I watched episode 1 of Total Bellas. I will recount the events from memory since I did not take notes. The show opened with a Reader’s Digest condensed version of “Daniel Bryan retires” and then skipped directly into Nikki Bella having neck surgery. They belabored the part where she could be paralyzed… despite the fact that she posted neck-brace selfies for four months straight on Instagram well ahead of the airing of this show, so, that was obviously a false premise. But the Mom shed tears over it because that’s dramatic, and was also crammed into the first 15 minutes.
Brie and Bryan move into the guest house. Brie is bad at packing boxes. Yes, that was a plot point, technically. Then we re-up John Cena – worst boyfriend ever. John Cena was established as the worst boyfriend ever on an episode of Total Divas where, before Nikki signed a legal agreement for cohabitating, she came to his house and cooked him a romantic dinner, which he ignored in order to pay attention to whether there was water on the kitchen counter. I’m serious. He had to have a friend explain that when your girlfriend cooks you dinner, the correct course of action is to pepper her with compliments instead of nag her about housework. Ergo: John Cena – Worst Boyfriend Ever.
Anyway, John comes across as a psychopath automaton when he goes through the rules for Brie and Bryan staying in the guest house. I may leave some out, but the rules include: no wearing shoes indoors, no towels on the floor (does he not have bath mats?), laundry in the correct area, don’t go outside at night because this is Florida and he has guns and might shoot anything that moves, make your bed, and they meet for a morning and evening meal, and once a week they have a meal where they have to dress up like socialites. Also, because Josie the dog sheds, she is not allowed in the house. And there is a certain way you are supposed to jiggle the door handles to close them.
Cena not only has a bunch of expensive features in his home – fancy staircase, lots of wood work, giant fish tank, plates that don’t look like you should eat from them – but he also seems to have a maid… who I can only guess doesn’t like to make beds and presumably narks out people who don’t make beds? Maybe John Cena’s maid – who got screen time, but no lines – drove a really hard bargain when she signed up for the job?
Anyway Brie and Bryan are hipsters, so you know they can’t follow these rules.
There are a lot of dinners at restaurants where they all openly talk about having sex. Since Bryan was forced to retire, evidently he has the sex drive of Rudy Giuliani post-cancer. Bryan also is not versed in the art of the quickie (yes, seriously), and we get to know that the Mom recently had sex with Johnny Ace. I cannot unknow that. Thanks – not.
They blow up floaties for the pool, although we never actually see them in the pool. Josie the dog is there. Josie is bothered by the noise of the air pump for blowing up the floaties. No one does anything to calm the dog. The dog follows John to the door of the house. John uses his leg to prevent the dog from entering. The dog bites John and then saunters off triumphantly. I’m not a dog person, but I was kind of happy for the dog, if only for that moment. Nikki overreacts to John being bitten, but no one actually disciplines the dog. Brie and Bryan are both gone for this moment. So, Nikki calls Bryan who’s going to text an apology to John.
The creepy Bella brother is there. He’s driving a car. They stop to rubberneck at a crew that is detaining an alligator. The mom dramatically overacts here because just the other day they walked the dog that bit John Cena in the area where the gator was captured.
Brie and Bryan get caught red-handed trying to put in some thing for the dog to use in John Cena’s very manicured yard. You know, so the dog that’s not allowed in the house for fur reasons can amble around in a pen. Nikki tries to read them the riot act for not respecting John’s property or getting permission. Brie sort of tells her off. Nikki makes sure to nark them out to John.
The dramatic crescendo of this 44 minutes of tv TV that Brie wants to leave! Yes, after only three-fourths of the first episode, John Cena’s personal love of his possessions over all things is not going over huge with hipster Brie and her hipster husband. Brie feels like she’s trapped in a “padded cell.” They’re going to “confront” John at one of their dress up dinners.
So, they confront John Cena – Worst Boyfriend Ever – at the dress up dinner, and, yes, John Cena seems surprised that treating house guests like second class citizens isn’t going over huge with the guests. He makes an attempt to deflect and laugh it off, it doesn’t quite work. John Cena is still alpha psycho though, so, even though he takes a little slack for his valuing of objects over people, he’s still awkwardly on top of the pile as the show goes off the air. Roll footage of teasers for future episodes.
Now, I’ve never been a John Cena fan girl (let alone a fan girl), but considering that the target demo for this show is women (and I am a woman who watches wrestling) I can only imagine the disappointment of every women who ever possessed an imaginary boyfriend scenario involving John Cena. He comes across as calculating, sometimes affable, but mostly from another planet where he very much values his expensive things above all else. There’s a scene at a dress up dinner where a drop of wine spilled on the table cloth and he was squirting wine-out on it. You know, because John Cena values the sanctity of white linens over the natural flow of a dress up dinner party. What woman has a fantasy about a guy who acts like Danny Tanner from Full House? I mean, I’m sure that’s a fetish – one not held by a single lady who’s ever fantasized about an imaginary relationship with John Cena. If anything, Total Bellas will dispossess some John Cena fan girls of their John Cena fantasies.
I guess maybe for once Brie might come across as likable… which is something that hasn’t really yet transpired on Total Divas. I suppose that’s the silver lining of this series, and as of the first episode, that’s not saying much.