Well, you’ve got to hand it to the E! Network for having some grapefruits. They took the most obnoxious part of Total Divas (Nikki Bella) and gave her and her sister Brie a TV show of their own, hoping that people will tune in. But, I guess it worked, because here’s the first of SLAM! Wrestling’s weekly coverage reports on the show.
The show starts off with John Cena condescendingly laying down the law to the extended Bella family about the rules of living in his house for the duration of this series.
Via flashback, the Bellas catch viewers up to speed about their horrible wrestling, and the injuries that have forced Nikki and Bryan to both take time off from the ring (unfortunately, in Bryan’s case, it’s permanent; more unfortunately, in Nikki’s case, it’s only temporary. In order to act as mutual support systems, Nikki and John invited Brie and Bryan to move in with them.
It’s the night before Nikki’s surgery, and the Bella’s mom Kathy and brother JJ join Brie and John at the hospital. Everyone’s nervous, fearing the doctor will botch the surgery and Nikki will end up paralyzed. But it’s a success. Nikki’s so happy she starts fantasizing about boners.
A few days later, Nikki is recovering, and everyone’s moving into the house for a few months. JJ, Brie, Bryan, Kathy, and Kathy’s fiancee John – better known to wrestling fans as John “Johnny Ace” Laurinaitis – are all on-hand. They get to John and Nikki’s guest-house and are impressed by its fanciness, noting it’s probably more expensive than their own actual house. Nikki tells them they have to keep the place spotless, including never wearing shoes indoors. And they still don’t have the sense to say F-this and go back home.
Bryan gets down to brass tacks, asking Nikki why the heck they’re all there – i.e. what help does she actually need from them that they’ve all uprooted themselves to live with her. She says she needs them to drive her around and entertain them, to which Bryan is like, “we’re clowns here to amuse you”, but sadly doesn’t go all Joe Pesci in Goodfellas on her.
Cena’s more concerned about the entire family being formally dressed up for a weekly family dinner, and his insistence on this is something that would start off the descent into madness of a character in a horror film. Seriously, they’re all sitting at dinner in suits and fancy dresses. But then Nikki gets mad because Brie and Bryan aren’t wearing shoes – this is after she told them that they couldn’t!
Then, Cena drives further into Crazy-town, immediately panicking about a spot of red wine that landed on the tablecloth, and he runs to get his spray-bottle of bleach to wash it away. Then he hits them with the house rules, including a formal weekly family dinner, and other formalities, like daily coffee and breakfast together, with the women and men separately retreating to the drawing room and the smoking room after dinner like they did in “Titanic” (which I get, because this show is already like a shipwreck), to let him know if they’re going to stay up late, gives them instructions on how to open and shut doors, trash can protocol, and generally instructs them to treat the guest house like it’s a priceless museum. As everyone else seems bemusedly offended by his officiousness, treating them like children, Nikki chimes in her agreement like a true Stepford wife.
In the smoking room, Cena grills Bryan about what might happen now that he can’t wrestle again. Bryan doesn’t know, because he’s still kind of living in denial, and says it’s too fresh a wound to think about that for now. Instead, he makes his escape from under Cena’s thumb and heads down to his room where he, Brie, and Josie their puppy all make out and reflect on the day’s events.
The next day, Bryan heads off to the New Orleans comic-con, while Brie has to stay in the indoctrination centre alone. Actually, she joins Brie, Kathy, Cena, and JJ for happy hour at a local winery. The girls tease Kathy by suggesting that Johnny should wear the white suit he wore in-character for their wedding instead of a traditional tux. And then they all make bad innuendos like they’re twelve. Brie asks for pickles, prompting pregnancy speculation, but instead she bemoans the fact that Brian has been saying “No! No! No!” whenever she suggests it. Cena and Nikki then go into details on their sex life, which ewww, your mother’s at the table. Then then all question and make fun of Bryan’s manhood. Way to be a S.T.A.R., folks.
Later on at a club, the core Bella family (the twins, JJ, and Kathy) are out for drinks, and the talk again turns to sex, and finally Kathy has had enough of that kind of talk. Or has she? Because she drops the bomb that she got Aced the night before.
The next morning, Brie and Bryan notice that Josie pooped on the pool deck, but clean it up before Cena can see it. Cena uses an electric pump to blow up some pool toys, which freaks out Josie, and she ends up biting Cena on the back of the heel afterwards. Cena loses it and picks up Josie, casually breaks her neck, and throws her lifeless body over the fence, telling Nikki he’ll tell Bryan and Brie that she ran away. Actually, he doesn’t. But he is ticked off, and suggests Nikki call Animal Control to take the dog away. JJ calls Bryan to tell him what’s happened, and Bryan says he’ll text John to apologize.
Later, JJ and Kathy confront Nikki about Cena’s rules. She says that just recovering from her surgery is already stressful enough, so she thinks having some semblance of order will help make things go smoother. They see Animal Control wrangling a loose alligator near the house that Cena probably brought in to eat Josie and that would be a neat plot twist.
At home, Bryan apologizes for Josie, and Cena threateningly asks what they’re going to do about her. Bryan tries to explain that, dude she’s a dog, but Cena can’t see that, and suggests she needs an attitude adjustment. Later, Bryan and Brie get the idea to build a running area for her in the back yard, since she can’t run in the house under Cena’s rules and she can’t walk freely in the neighbourhood because of the wandering alligators.
As they begin putting up some light fencing, Nikki catches them and is angry that they tore up Cena’s lawn without asking permission. JJ rightfully points out that the wire leaves nothing but tiny holes, far from “tearing up” the lawn, but Nikki won’t hear it. Brie and Bryan say Josie needs to run free to be happy. In actually some funny editing, Nikki suggests Josie is happy already – cut to Josie growling at Nikki. Nikki says if John saw this, he’d kick everyone out. Brie notes that they came to help Nikki, and didn’t sign up to be part of the Cenation army with all these rules and restrictions. But they concede to not build it, but Nikki still lectures them further, even scolding Brie for daring to raise her voice at her. Nikki plays the “it’s my home” card, and drops the mic, but only also after demanding one of them drive her to the dry cleaners. Brie and Bryan have had it with the rules, and they show a flashback of unaired scenes where Cena criticizes everyone like a drill sergeant for not following rules, including when Kathy didn’t make her bed. They decide to leave and go back home. And the series concludes.
Actually, no. Instead, they waffle like Winston Smith and put on their dress clothes for formal dinner. Brie suggests that Bryan tell Cena they’re leaving, but he says it’s a discussion that she should have with her sister – that he’s only a captive there himself, held there by his bond with Brie. At dinner, they tell Cena about their aborted dog-run plan, and he seethes, asking Nikki if she okayed it before seeking his permission. They explain their point of view, and confront Nikki and John about their iron-fistedness. Cena is flabbergasted by the fact that everyone is scared of him, and wants to figure out why that’s the case.
Cena then admits that he’s very set in his ways and that he may have come across too strong. He apologizes for making everyone feel uncomfortable and making them not feel at home. What he does want, though, is for everyone to meet every morning and evening, so they can all talk freely and hash things out before they fester. He notes that they can expect to have ups-and-downs in the time they’ll be there, because otherwise there wouldn’t be a show, but that’s what happens with family, leading to smiles from everyone to end the episode.
Bob Kapur needs a stiff drink after that episode. But worries that saying “stiff” will lead to bad innuendo from Nikki Bella. E-mail your dirty jokes at [email protected].