Recapping and Grading 'Total Divas' for Sept. 15: "No Longer the Bridesmaid"
This week, on Total Divas:
- Nattie and TJ's wedding is finally here. Jaret shows up since Nattie invited him. Shenanigans ensue. Most of the episode is centered around the wedding, but in addition...
- Ariane is rushed to the hospital after a Raw taping.
- Nikki finally meets John Cena's family.
- Jojo and Eva Marie are in a tiff over the whole Maxim thing.
Since, like the Las Vegas episode, this one revolves around one event, I'm going to do this in the order everything played out in within the episode instead of my usual separation of each storyline.
Our mid-season finale opens with TJ and Nattie at home. Since the wedding is days away and Gismo the cat is the ring bearer, Nattie tries and fails to tie a bowtie around his neck. Then she makes funny voices as she puts him in a full nelson. TJ found this hilarious. I love that the wrestlers on this show are huge geeks who do wrestling moves into swimming pools and put their pets in wrestling holds.
After the opening credits, Nattie's family arrives in Tampa. Only one of her two sisters (Muff) was identified on camera and had lines. Her parents were a sight to behold. If you've seen Jim Neidhart recently, he looked and acted the same here, constantly fidgeting. Meanwhile, Nattie's mom Ellie Hart is slowly turning into her dad Stu. I don't mean that as an insult: Like her brothers (seen Bret lately?), age is making her look and sound a lot more like Stu.
Ellie made a wedding dress for Nattie, apparently not knowing she had bought one months ago. Normally I'd call shenanigans, but everything I've ever heard about Ellie (like in Bret's book) makes me think she'd actually do this. Nattie explains that her mom is actually a hell of a seamstress, but the dress is awful and she compares the fake rose near the belt-line to "a female part."
When she tells Ellie that she can't wear the dress, she decides to lie and say that she can't wear it because they're having a beach wedding and the dress is too heavy. I don't get why "I already paid for a dress and the wedding is like a day away" wouldn't have sufficed except that Ellie is kind of wacky. She didn't take the fabricated reason very well anyway, so Nattie failed. That was basically the last of Ellie for the night, which was the disappointment of the season for me.
Next up is the WWE Performance Center opening in Orlando. They cover the basics and then we move on to shenanigans. Jane Geddes explains that with the Bellas out due to Nikki's injury (ahem), there are available roster spots so one or two Divas may be called up. Since Eva Marie and Jojo are apparently the only women in developmental, their "competition" heats up.
At John Cena's house, he tells Nikki that his whole family is getting together on one of his days off, which never happens. Unfortunately, it's the same day as Nattie's wedding. Seriously? As Ryan Pike pointed out at F4WOnline, couldn't they figure something out using the private plane we see them on?
At Raw, Nikki falls down because she's trying to walk with crutches while wearing high heels. Why is she at Raw if she's been pulled off TV? Anyway, Mark Carrano tells the Divas that Eva Marie will be working as Nattie's valet on TV. It's not really explained why this is happening so I guess it's implied that the Total Divas' connection is the reason. Jojo is sad it wasn't her, and rightfully so since Eva Marie is an awful babyface. In the middle of all this, Nikki tells Nattie she can't go to the wedding. Nattie pretends to be OK with it.
Oh, and the important match where Eva Marie is debuting as a valet? It's Nattie vs. Trinity on Superstars.
At the hotel, Ariane, sounding awful, calls Trinity. She's in a ton of pain. Trinity rushes to her room and she's a complete mess from severe abdominal pain. Trinity calls an ambulance, kicks out the cameramen temporarily, sees Ariane off into the ambulance, and then sprints to her car so she can follow Ariane to the hospital. We pick them up hours later: A medicated Ariane is feeling better. She needs to follow up, but the ER doctors think it was a flare-up of endometriosis. Ugh.
Back in Orlando, Eva Marie and Jojo decide to go their separate ways as roommates. I can't really care about anything involving Eva Marie, but the new snarky version of Jojo is wonderful.
Wedding day...and there's a thunderstorm outside. No more beach wedding, and Nattie is sad. The indoor hall where it's moved to is really fancy looking, though. As Nattie ponders “What else can go wrong today?,” Jaret walks through the doors. Because...of course. While he waits for his cue to start his shenanigans, other guests arrive, including Ariane...and VINCENT! YES! He visited her when he heard she was sick and was so wonderful that they got back together. Aww.
Meanwhile, just outside Boston is Saugus, Mass., the extended Cena family is having a great time eating Chinese food at Kowloon's. There's not that much to say...I mean I guess they seem nice. One of John's brothers does a great impression of Stewie from Family Guy. Nikki really enjoys being around them but is sad she's not at the wedding.
At the wedding, Jaret meets up with TJ. For no apparent reason other than being a mustache twirling villain, Jaret is all "Yeah, me and Nattie totally hung out in Calgary. What, she didn't tell you? Gee, I wonder why? Mwahahahaha!" Unfortunately, they didn't fight. If they did, it would look something like this:
TJ confronts Nattie and we get the scene that was already posted online where she explains she told Jaret that she could never love anyone as much as TJ. That was easy.
Finally, it's time for the nuptials. Nattie brushes her dad's goatee so he looks right to walk her down the aisle. Well, as "right" as Jim Neidhart can look in 2013. Gismo is just wearing a bowtie, not a cat tuxedo as promised. BOO! Damien Sandow (identified as such by a graphic and seemingly in character) was apparently head usher or something, announcing the start of the wedding. Also present were Harry Smith (as best man), Christian, Hornswoggle, Dean Malenko, Curt Hawkins, Justin Gabriel, the cast, all of the non-Cena Divas' boyfriends and I'm sure many others we couldn't see.
The actual wedding is nice, and then we cut to the reception, again hosted by Sandow. Nikki calls to apologize and Brie catches the bouquet. Bryan gets a wacky look on his face even though they've been shopping for rings. Maybe we're not supposed to remember that. Everybody dances, including Jim and Ellie, which was, again, quite the scene. Finally, TJ throws to a surprise video of clips of him with Nattie in WWE and that finally gets her waterworks going.
What should have ended the episode?
Because "the real stars" can't be outshined, that's not the end of the episode. We visit Nikki and Cena at a restaurant, where he asks her to move in with him, because I guess that technically hadn't happened yet. Nikki tells us she had a rule about getting engaged before she moved in with a guy, but rules were made to be broken and blah blah blah over course she says yes.
After the episode was a 30 minute after-party special hosted by Renee Young. Not a lot to this. There were clips of the Fall portion of the season centered around Cena's injury, Bryan's ascent and Ariane's anger issues. Jaret showed up, I guess to make it seem like he'll still be around. Jon Uso was awesome, doing his impression of Nikki walking on crutches in high heels. Finally, John Cena looks weird with his hair grown out.
What grade do you give "No Longer the Bridesmaid"?
This episode was disappointing in the sense that it was the finale of the initial episode order AND a wedding episode, but it wasn't completely insane. It was a good episode of Total Divas, but it couldn't hold a candle to the Las Vegas or breast implant episodes. On top of that, how can you promise a Hart family wedding and barely show the Hart family? Jim and Ellie Neidhart, who are much more ridiculous personalities than any member of the cast could be written as, were on a reality show and barely shown. If Bret Hart was there, he wasn't shown at all. Plus, I was promised a cat in a tuxedo and I did not get one.
Jaret business and Eva Marie stuff aside, though, this was a fairly realistic episode. The wedding was really nice to see. The Ariane medical drama was interesting, but probably should have been explained better since endometriosis is very serious (she mentioned on the after party show that she may be effectively infertile) and I don't know how many viewers would know what it is, at least among my fellow males.
All in all, a strong hour of reality TV, but a weird one in that the relative sanity was both disappointing and a nice change of pace.
Final grade: B.
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