SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TOTAL DIVAS, EPISODE 8
JANUARY 4, 2017
AIRED ON E!
REPORT BY SARAH K., PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The show opens with a recap: Bryan retires, Brie retires, the Brand Extension is going to happen, and Paige gets hurt. You know, in case you forgot. Renee, Nattie, and Paige are backstage eating at a table, Lana arrives and Renee and Paige depart in order to avoid helping Lana plan her wedding. She has a binder. This is serious. This is also the never-ending ever-changing 15 minute long opening segment – so we cut to Renee and Dean at home, they’re in the pool. This lasted for about 35 seconds. I probably would’ve rather watched that for the remainder of the show, but I digress and we move on…
Let’s just take this from my notes: Eva & Maryse are backstage (proving that Eva exists?). Then Paige is backstage. She has a yorkie in a bag. Johnny Ace is on Raw (for his G.M. campaign moment). Naomi explains the brand extension (proving that she too is still technically on this show). R-Truth makes a cameo. Nattie’s backstage doing wedding planning with Lana. R-Truth gets a second cameo. He advises Nattie (who truly does not want to help Lana plan a wedding) to do a terrible job at it and get fired.
Dean and Seth have a match. Renee, Nattie, Lana, and Sami Zayn are at a table backstage. They’re talking about Instagram. Sami says he doesn’t have an account because he’s a boy. All wrestling marks (ardent fans, is that what I’m supposed to call us) know that Sami not having an IG is more like a three hour long dissertation about how he feels about people / photography / celebrity / living in the moment, but I digress. The point of them sitting at the table is for Renee to announce that Dean has bailed on their trip to Orca Island with Brie and Bryan in order to spend time at home with their dog (who has an Instagram account).
This is the never-ending ever-changing 15 minute long opening segment – so we cut to Brie and Bryan in a parking lot with a gushy male fan with crutches. They sit in a restaurant and talk about ovulation. What could be funner? Oh, anything. Bryan likes to say “cervical mucus” (not unlike Nikki saying Kama Sutra all those episodes ago). Brie is grossed out by the word mucus. #womenempowerment (Okay, no one understood that… go look at the Birdie Bee IG, and then try to avoid the urge to bang your head against a wall… this morning I scrolled through the entire thing, and then regretted looking at every post since none of them made me think that the Bella Twins are awesome, wise, role models, or smart business people). Cut to Mark Carrano talking to Paige about her health, because we have to cram everything into this segment and we have the attention span of a gnat.
Finally: The first commercial break of the show! Brie, Bryan, and Renee are en route to the vacation. In the car Brie gets a text that some friend is pregnant. She’s totally jelly (I don’t care if the kids do or don’t say that) that she’s not. In Tampa, Nattie and Lana are going dress shopping, and Nattie’s going to employ her R-Truth tactic of obfuscating. Cut to break.
Nattie makes terrible suggestions. Lana is distraught. Meanwhile, Brie, Bryan, and Renee are eating on an outdoor patio. Renee is worried about being separated from Dean in the Draft, er, Brand Extension. Brie & Bryan are happy to be on the sidelines and not worried about this drama. Anyway, there are deer in a field off in the distance. Renee seems to think Dean would love to see that. I live in a rural area; I’m nonplussed.
We cut away to Paige, backstage somewhere, with an unnamed random guy and her dog. She’s worried about being off the road. Back at the vacation we get the clip that appeared on YouTube of Brie, Bryan, and Renee looking at chickens on a farm where Bryan feeds them raw sweet corn and they react orgasmically… As an aside, women overreacting to things with unrealistic praise is part of why sexism exists #womenempowerment #stopfingdoingthat #seriouslyteenagegirls You know, it was corn. Again, I’m from a rural area and three out of four of my sets of grandparents grew up on farms; maybe corn isn’t novel to me?
Anyway, in this magical garden / farm Bryan introduces the plot point that WWE has contacted him about some mysterious unknown thing. He has no clues to offer. When I watched this on YouTube earlier today I googled the date of the Cruiserweight Classic, because the answer was either going to be that WWE wanted Bryan to commentate on that or be the GM). Brie makes the shittiest face when Bryan announces that WWE contacted him. She’s really not good at reacting to what she perceives as bad news.
Regardless, we cut to Eva backstage (to prove that she exists!). Paige calls the doctor. She has to go get an MRI. Then Maryse comes to Lana’s cake tasting with Nattie, and, obviously, Lana. They go on a tour of the bakery. Nattie is purposefully being unhelpful. Lana doesn’t like vanilla cake, Nattie keeps pushing vanilla cake. Lana is kind of needy — scratch that, Lana is totally needy, but as a viewer Nattie is just being an ass. Just tell her you don’t want to help her already and get it over with.
We can’t complete this thought because we cut to Brie, Bryan, and Renee shopping on vacation. Brie inevitably wonders, “Did my retirement mean anything.” “No,” was what I said out loud to the television. I’ll cop to not having watched WM32 (because I work every Sunday night), but as someone who watches Raw and Smackdown every week, I had no idea that Brie retired at WM32 until I read about it a couple days later. So, no, literally, the Brie Bella retirement was not a crucial moment to me at all. Total Divas is at many times really a surprising alternate universe where things that really mean nothing supposedly have significance (e.g. the length of Nikki’s title reign being based on talent or skill).
Back from commercial, Lana and Nattie arrive at an arena. Nattie finally tells Lana she doesn’t want to help plan this wedding. This is reasonably diplomatic. Meanwhile on Orca Island, Renee facetimes with Dean. Dean announces he’s planned a trip to Big Sur. Renee is delighted. My only thought is: I hope the Bellas don’t come along! Cut away to Paige in a car with her dog. I’m neither a Paige fan or a dog person; but I imagine some people would probably be happy if instead of the show being one-third meaningless Bella Twins segments every week – it was booked around Paige and this dog. Just a suggestion. You know I would make any suggestion to cut out one-third of the show being Bella Twins every week. I’d rather watch Naomi watering plants…
Paige (sans dog) is backstage with Nattie and Naomi. They’re talking about her injury. She’s a bit delusional since she thinks she’s overcoming this with no surgery. Meanwhile, because who has the attention span to finish a thought, Brie, Bryan, and Renee are on a boat. They’re finally going to see the orcas. I pause, to google that. Okay, I guess according to Wikipedia that people do call whales “orcas.” Evidently the term “orca” is friendlier than “killer whale,” I assume hipsters rejoice, or that this is like when your great grandparents say “oleo” and you’re like “oh, you mean butter.” Anyway, this moment is about Brie not wanting Bryan to go back on the road for WWE, so I should temper the whale talk. Brie doesn’t seem like she wants Bryan to go back – except if you’ve watched this show, you may have noticed that every time Brie decides what someone else really thinks of feels — she’s completely wrong. I think she’s the only one who hasn’t picked up on that.
“If you don’t want me to take it, I won’t take it,” Bryan says of the offer. Brie backs down from her complete and total resistance. They finally see the whales, er, orca off in the distance. Orca Island experience complete. We cut to Paige backstage with Carrano. The last segment of the show will be Paige talking to him about her shoulder. She’ll do rehab for 4-6 weeks and then they will proceed from there. She’s bummed because she won’t be part of the Draft, er, Brand Extension. The show ends with the reveal that WWE contacted Bryan about being a commentator for the Cruiserweight Classic. So, Brie meets him at Full Sail, and we get his CC ring intro.
Next week: Nikki Bella is at the ESPYs (and there’s drama) and Lana will have a bachelorette party (the tease seems to be that an old flame shows up).