SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TOTAL BELLAS, SEASON TWO – EPISODE 3
SEPT. 20, 2017
AIRED ON E!
REPORT BY SARAH K., PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The show opens with a mini montage of moments to come (either on this episode or season): Will Bryan miss the birth of the baby, Nikki & John have that promo against Miz & Maryse, JJ & Lauren go to marriage counseling, and Brie has a baby shower.
If you watched whatever they threw at you on YouTube, then this episode is about the baby shower, and maybe JJ & Lauren agree to marriage counseling, but I digress. The show actually opens with the Bellas at the Oscars — with red carpet footage where 80 percent of the people shown have their faces digitally blurred. So, Nikki has a yellow dress and Brie has a blue dress (these pics were on Instagram). They facetime with Winston the Dog.
Anyway, show open and then we’re backstage at an arena 40 days before WrestleMania. This is, in fact, the episode where Nattie actually wins the feud with Nikki in a falls count anywhere match… I wonder if they show the finish? Wow, they actually showed the finish where Nattie won.
Meanwhile, Nikki & John arrive at Brie & Bryan’s house. It’s John’s first visit. Evidently, there’s some anxiety about the size of the house… not sure why since it’s already been established that John Cena ain’t staying there. John might want to watch his step outdoors; I’m guessing the Danielson’s are the sort of fine folks that let their dog poop wherever and then just leave it. Yeah. John asks Bryan why he doesn’t attempt to get the yard’s zoning changed from residential to agricultural. Anyone who grew up on a farm or knows a farmer, do roll your eyes hard with me. Did they make it all the way to the back of your head?
Next, Bryan consults with John about whether or not he should attend WrestleMania since he might miss the birth of his daughter. Spoiler alert: that baby is born well after the due date. Anyway, John doesn’t think it’s a great idea. Then we discuss Winston the dog. Nikki bought the dog, and then Nikki couldn’t take care of the dog, so now the dog lives with Brie and Bryan. Evidently they figure that the people that watch this show don’t look at the Bella’s YouTube channel…
Next up (because this is an un-ending 15 minute opening segment), Brie and Bryan go to a store to create a baby registry. Bryan is one of those people who would apparently have a long drawn out conversation with the Unibomber about living in a shack in the woods with no running water. Yeah, most people hate those people, the ones who want to live without possessions and think that “everyone” consumes too much. Did you know that 50 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck? Yeah, lectures about the evils of consumerism ring hollow; extra hollow when you consider the basic demographic of wrestling fans. Anyhoo, Bryan is going to be the killjoy who tells his wife about all the things she doesn’t need in the store for the baby registry. Bryan doesn’t want Brie to register for a specific gift, so, you know she’s scanning it…
Moving right along, the Bella family meets at Birdee Bee headquarters. JJ announces that Lauren is “still part of the family.” Yeah, he’s still a human turd. I do look forward to the marriage counseling thing where we find out who the inflexible, ignorant partner is (trust me, it’s JJ). Anyway, Brie grouses about having to shop with Bryan, and then she introduces the concept of throwing a party for Nikki since Nikki has thrown her so many parties. If there are any feminists watching this, it’s not just you: When Brie says “women empowerment” we all want to smack her with a grammar book, both WWE.com and the E! Network’s website corrected it to say “women’s empowerment” which is the correct phrasing. If only we could empower Brie with some English lessons. But I digress; let’s plan this shindig.
So, this segment never ends, JJ, Nikki, the Mom, and some random woman are having lunch. So, JJ tells Nikki about Brie’s plans for a “woman empowerment” party. Nikki interprets this as a “sympathy party.” And we’re on that she and Cena aren’t having kids thing again. Oh, hey, lord have mercy; it’s time for a commercial.
So, back at Brie and Bryan’s where Bryan discovers that Brie has gotten things that he deems unnecessary for the baby. This is the clip from YouTube. Brie got that $400 baby monitor thingy. They have a minor fight. No one ever really wins a fight with a pregnant woman. Anyway, Brie then visits Lauren and finally tells her that the family knows that they’re separated. They have a heart to heart, Lauren wants to go to therapy. Brie says the word we’ve all probably used to describe JJ: selfish. No transition, Nikki & John are in a restaurant. John imitates Jim Carrey faces. Did anyone still have a live fantasy involving John Cena as a boyfriend? They discuss the party Brie wants to plan. John calls it a pity party. Honestly, I should know better, but why didn’t someone just frame it as a “thank you” party. People and companies do that all the time, and no one so much as bats an eyelash. Commercial.
So, back at Brie’s, Brie and Nikki discuss the “women empowerment” party. By “discuss” I mean “fight.” Winston the Dog provides distraction. Then Nikki is at the Kid’s Choice Awards, John is hosting. Transition back to Brie’s house. Anyway, Nikki took Winston the Dog back to her villa, then went to the Kid’s Choice Awards and dropped the dog off at her Mom’s instead of Brie’s. So, I guess who has custody of the dog is some strange subplot. My last pet was a fish, I never had these kinds of problems.
Back from commercial, Brie and Bryan have to have a discussion about the number of things on the baby registry. Bryan grew up poor and, well, male, so, likely he has no real idea of how many things he probably actually had as a baby. Bryan goes into a Unibomber “all this stuff” / “material things” diatribe. Insert eye roll. Everyone has a friend who wants to “live simply” and we all secretly hate that friend as they feel comfortable in criticizing anything and everything that other people have, but tell them that that trucking a 40 lb. bag of water softener salt 15 miles on a bike is a no-go and, like, their head explodes. Yeah, I appreciate my car, and when my soap is actually sudsy when I’m taking a shower. Simple life? No. Living like the Amish isn’t appealing.
Anyway, Bryan’s angle is that the baby registry is somehow off-putting to their poor relatives… evidently Bryan has no idea how many women show up at baby showers with whatever the hell they felt like buying, regardless of whether or not there was a list. Yeah, childless people can stand in the baby section and collect a random sampling of things, thank yo – sippy cups, baby wash, baby wipes, and a shit ton of onesies. It isn’t rocket science. Anyway, Brie suggests that maybe Bryan shouldn’t come to the baby shower. I can imagine why. If someone stood in front of me and criticized the necessity of my gift, someone might get punched.
Anyhoo, on to JJ and Lauren. JJ and Lauren have a chat about how many things that JJ has lied about. Let me summarize it: JJ is an ass. JJ is so inflexable and self-centered that he doesn’t think therapy will help his marriage, but leaving his wife to care for their infant 24/7 will make her miss him and appreciate him more. How dare a professional who knows better tell him about this magical relationship elixir called compromise?!? We end that exchange with JJ telling Lauren “be careful what you wish for.”
Moving along, Nikki comes back from LA looking for Winston the Dog at her Mom’s house. Nikki wants her dog back from the people who’ve been caring for the dog for the past half a year. Nikki cries about her dog. You know, the dog she abandoned because she couldn’t care for it. Uh-huh. Commercial.
Brie and Nikki have it out over the dog. There’s a lot of Winston the Dog is “my child.” People with children everywhere are like: Nope, a dog isn’t a child, I totally can’t crate my kid if I wanna go out. Anyway, we give up on the damn party, which, again, if it was just called a “thank you” party, it wouldn’t be an issue. No segue, just go to the baby shower. It was on YouTube last spring. It’s very fancy and it’s also where they reveal that the baby will be named Birdie. Bryan shows up. He brought the $400 baby monitor thing. All is well in the world… until we go to marriage counseling.
So, Jane, the marriage counselor has a talking stick… it’s neither comedy gold or terribly heartwarming. If they actually said anything profound it doesn’t make the air. JJ admits in a cutaway that “marriage is hard work.” Yes, duh. Anyway, we’re closing the show the Nikki & John vs. the Miz & Maryse angle. Sadly, for fans of “Total Bullshit” — they’re not going to air the spot-on Miz/Maryse parody of Total Bellas. It’s a Miz TV promo, the one where Maryse slaps John Cena and Nikki Bella runs out. Anyway, this angle is apparently Nikki’s moment of empowerment as a woman. See, she didn’t need a thank you party.
Teasers for next week: the Mom and Johnny Ace do have sex because they are adults, who will the god parents be, and more Nikki-Cena vs. Miz-Maryse.