Have you ever been on boat just cruising around like at some party or some other affair and some of the gears just start to make a high-pitched squealing noise? It's this ringing din that is quickly proceeded by smoke, a burning smell, and certain immobility. You know that noise. Well, that is the noise I expect to hear Kernya Moo-ah make whenever her ex-boyfriend Walter is in the same room. And it would probably have the same effect: squeal, smoke, smell, immobility, expolosion.
That was essentially all we had to deal with on last night's episode of Real Whale Watcher of Glouchester Bay, just a bunch of stuff about Kernya. Oh, there was some nonsense about Kandi moving her office (an early plug for The Kandi Factory, coming soon to Bravo?) but you know that I will not cover any sort of moving type activities in these here handy dandy recaps. Speaking of which, I feel like NeNe Leakes' whole thing about going to New York to be on fancy TV shows is kind of like moving. Can we just cut her out from the rest of the season? Nothing she does seems to have any impact on the rest of the cast (other than when she invited them to LA and then kicked them out of her house) so why are we even bothering with the pretense that she's on this show anymore? Maybe NeNe can be like a Real Housewife at large and just pop in and hang out with whatever cast she is around that week. Here is NeNe having lunch at SUR with Lisa Vanderpump and Brandi Glanville and that bitch Stassi is spilling her soup on her. Oh look, now it's NeNe swigging down white wine with Ramona Singer and Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Bilouxi Morgans. Oh look, NeNe and Teresa Gee You Dee Chay are getting in a fight because Teresa is trying to steal some of NeNe's forehead for herself. See how fun this would be? Get on it, Andy Cohen.
Before we can get to Tyler Perry Presents a Kernya Moo-ah Production of Kernya Moo-ah and Her Awful Ex-Boyfriend: All Is Not Lost – Starring Tyler Perry and Gabourey Sidibe as Kernya Moo-ahwe have to talk about Porsha Stewart. Oh, you dim bulb still aglow in the wilderness. Oh you fizzling little nymph, Porsha. This week we were back to arguing about whether not not Porsha's husband Carvell, a Cookie Puss that has come to life, controls her. He tells us, "I am in control, but I am not controlling. I am the man and I am in control but that does not mean I am controlling." OK, sure Carvell. That makes a ton of sense. He says that he is the man of the house and he controls what happens, but that does not mean he controls Portia. I think that is some sort of semantic difference that he has made up in his head and it is not actual real life. I do think he is absolutely in control of this relationship considering he has all the money, smarts, and ingenuity. Porsha has, well, she has a collection of velour sweatpants that say "PINK" across the ass, she has that.
What Porsha really wants though is a baby. She wants to have a baby so that she can lock up that Carvell Stewart money for the rest of her life. That is what she wants more than anything. No, that is cynical. I think she really loves Carvell and wants to have his babies, but I think mostly it's because she's bored and doesn't know what else to do with her life so she is doing what everyone told her she would always do: get married to a rich guy and then have babies. She doesn't have many other aspiraitons. Carvell, however, who is not controlling at all, tells her that she can't have a baby and her "career" because he wants a wife who is going to cook and clean for him and raise his baby and, even though he has tons of money, he is not going to hire a nanny. No, he wants things to be convenient for Carvell and he wants things when he wants them and he wants them they way he wants them. Though that isn't controlling, per se, he is in control. It's not asshole-ish necessarily, but he is being an asshole.
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When he tells Porsha she can't have a baby and a "career," she starts to cry. What is wrong with both of them? First of all, Porsha does not like to work. She doesn't like to do anything but shop, look at shiny things, and occasionally eat pickles (but only if she's spent an extra 20 minutes on the elliptical). She doesn't do any work. So why is she getting all upset, and why is Carvell telling her she can't do it? Just let her have a baby and throw a fundraiser or two for her family's charity every now and again. It will make her happy and feel like she has purpose and, yes, you may have to microwave yourself a Swanson Mac 'N' Cheez Bowl every once in awhile, but that should hardly be a price to pay to keep your wife off your back (and on hers, ZING!).
OK, Kernya Moo-ah. Cynthia warned her last week that Peter was throwing some Making Men Healthy, Why the Y Chromosome? party for men's health and that he invited Walter because he and Walter hit it off on the group trip to Anguilla. I think all of this is fair. You can't fault Peter for making friends, and you can't expect Cynthia to intervene in the guest list for her petty grievances. She also gave Kernya plenty of advance notice so that she could act accordingly.
Kernya shows up at the party with Jamal Anderson on her arm. Sure, he might have been arrested for suspicion of cocaine possession and driving under the influence, but he is fine and probably a little rich form his days in the NFL so good for Kernya. She is wearing a long white gown and her hair is done beautifully and she is just killing it. Sure she is a scarecrow set on fire on the inside, but on the outside she is pulled together nice and tight. She says that she is on a date with Jamal, but that it is not a romantic date. So, what kind of date is it? Is it a, "I know you have a girlfriend, but I need a hot rich guy to pretend to be my date to make my ex-boyfriend jealous" kind of date? That's what it seems like to me.
Kernya gets all bent out of shape that Walter is there, and she is convinced that Peter is going to sit her next to Walter becuase she says that is who Peter is. No, it is not. If there is anything we have learned about Peter it is that he tries to avoid drama, so Kernya thinking that was going to happen just proves how narcissistic and paranoid she really is. Also, that is something Kernya would have done, so she just assumes that everyone else would do it to her. She is not sitting next to Walter, she is sitting next to the rest of the crew. See, Kernya. Shut up.
She informs them that she is having a costume party where everyone, including the men, have to show up as iconic black women in film and she, of course, is going to tell the women how they should dress. "OK, Cynthia, I like you and you always wear a huge weave, so you get to be Diana Ross. Phaedra, we're still in a fight, so you have to come dressed as Big Momma from Big Momma's House 2: The Revenge of the Spanx. Kandi, we're on good terms so you can be Tina Turner. NeNe, well, I'm still pissed she wouldn't let us in the house, so she can be Medea. Oh, and Porsha, you can be Halle Berry in B*A*P*S."
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Yes, this is what happens, so even when she feels she is being wrongly wronged and slightingly slighted, Kernya still has room to tell Porsha that "Halle Berry in B*A*P*S" is how she sees her — as a ghetto con lady in a movie that is appallingly bad.
But the worst problem of all at the Testicals for Vesticals party was the bow ties that all the men, particularly Peter and Apollo, were wearing. Guys, a little fashion tip: bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to bow ties. If the bow is wider than your head, it's a no no. It just means that your head is going to look comically small and you'll come off as some sort of Joker-esque idiot who doesn't know how to dress. No one wants that. Well, maybe you do, but if you do, well, maybe you should be the ones who have to dress as Halle Berry from B*A*P*S.
Walter shows up at another party, and this time it isn't really OK. Well, first Kernya had to go dress shopping with Cynthia and talk all about the first party. Cynthia tells Kernya that Walter was all talking with the guys about how they didn't have sex (in fairness to Walter, they did ask him before he brought it up). Kernya gets upset and then alleges that Walter is gay on the DL and that is why he didn't want to sleep with her. Then she says, "I don't care about Walter at all." Well, for someone who doesn't care about Walter she sure does expend a lot of energy trying to avoid him and talk shit about him. Maybe she should look into what not caring means.
Now it's time for Kandi's housewarming. No, I'm sorry, her houses warming. Yes, Kandi has two freaking houses in one. Her daughter Riley has a room that is so tricked out that it should be on Silver Spoons or one of those awful themed kids rooms from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Anyway, Walter shows up and no one is quite sure who invited him. Kandi knows she didn't, because she doesn't want to piss off Kernya, so she assumes Todd did. I have a feeling that Walter heard about the party and showed up knowing that he wouldn't be turned away, thinking he could make a scene. So he brings his date Clemicia, who looks like a busted drag queen version of Sheree Whitfield, and he shows up looking like an old Louis Vuitton bag (thanks for that joke Rachel Dodes Wortman) to embarrass Kernya. Now, Walter brings this date and then totally ignores her. He goes around talking to all the guys and the Housewives about her and telling them how hot and young she is but doesn't spend any time actually talking to her.
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Eventually Kernya shows up and everyone is waiting for the fight to happen, just cynically sitting around Kandi's kitchen waiting for the squeal, smoke, burning smell, and explosion that is going to come out of her head when she sees Walter but, at the last minute, Cynthia pours water on this fire and leads everyone downstairs away from Walter. When they're in the basement next to the pool and the waterfall (yes, that is a real place in Kandi's house and yes, you could smell the dank chlorine smell through the television) Kandi gives Kernya the heads up that Walter is there. Kernya freaks out, asks where the back door is (according to her, she should ask Walter because he's all about the back door) scuttles off into the night like everyone is trying to intentionally harm her.
But they don't really care, none of them. They eat their sliders and drink their drinks and have a little blueberry tart downstairs by the pool and wonder who is going to be the first to totter off her stilettos in the the curacao blue water. Finally Walter hears that Kernya has left and he takes Clemicia out onto the street and climbs into his car. He opens up the glove box and pulls out an envelope that is bulging slightly in the middle. "This is for your troubles. Thanks for coming," he says with his signature wonky grin.
She puts her manicured finger nail into the paper and pulls it open slightly, eyeing to make sure the agreed upon amount is in there. "Looks good," she says. "You sure you don't want to..." and she reaches over and rubs her hand on the inside of his thigh. He doesn't back away but he just says, "Naw. I think I'm all good." He starts the car and drives her around the way where she has parked her car, on the cul de sac where they met before the party. She doesn't say anything on the ride, just wondering how everyone gets their grass so green. Finally they get to the car and she opens the door and lowers herself onto the pavement. Before closing the door she leans in, the car seat just below her tits, propping them up in her tight dress. "I hope it was worth it. I hope she was worth it," Clemicia says. "Whoever she is."
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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S3E11: Welcome back, old friend.
Community has generally come out of hiatuses with some of its lower-concept episodes—the pilot, the introduction/dismissal of Buddy (which, although predating its high-concept run, was arguably the first truly meta piece of work Community gave us), the Jeff vs. Britta battle of spite kicking off Season 2. And although the high-concepts are the show’s claims to glory, this is always a pretty good idea. Before we start gallivanting off into paintball games and zombie attacks, we need to take some time to remember why these people are worth sticking with through these ridiculous adventures. This week’s “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts” does just that. In spades.
The various smaller storylines revolve around one central event: Shirley’s wedding. At the beginning of the episode, Shirley’s ex-husband/boyfriend Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) proposes to her, and quite musically I might add. Everyone is thrilled, save for Britta. The proposal comes just in time to overshadow Shirley’s plans to start a sandwich business with Pierce—a conflict that represents a character arc that has been following Shirley for a while now.
Back in a deleted scene from the Season 2 finale, Shirley admitted to Britta that now that she was reunited with Andre, she was considering giving up her plight for higher education and her own food-oriented business, much to Britta’s disapproval. I was disappointed that the show decided to remove this scene, because it highlighted a conflict in Shirley that had seemingly gone ignored otherwise. Her decision to get back together with Andre has infringed on her development as the character we met at the beginning of Community: the woman who admitted proudly in front of her entire accounting/seize-the-day class, “Now it’s time to get what’s mine.” Throughout Seasons 2 and 3, this abandonment of her original journey has gone primary unaddressed. But thankfully, “Urban Matrimony” tackles the issue head on.
"I've loved you since there was a Cold War and only one Damon Wayans." - Andre
Britta convinces Shirley to allow her to plan the wedding (cue literally two full minutes of laughter on Shirley’s part) so that Shirley can have some free time to pursue getting her business off the ground with Pierce, who is passionately invested in this new project. He has secretly been fired from Hawthorne Wipes by the board of directors (they were waiting for Pierce’s father to die before giving him the boot). Shirley concedes, and the two make great headway in convincing Dean Pelton to allow them to open a sandwich stand in the Greendale cafeteria.
However, this business meeting makes Shirley late to her own wedding rehearsal (the whole engagement lasts about a day), which drives Andre furious. He lambasts her for her choosing business over him, and even spouts out some sexist commentary about how once they’re married, he’ll be the breadwinner and she’ll be the stay-at-home mom, just like they used to be.
This seems like a point of no return for Shirley and Andre—his behavior is pretty obscene. But that’s the thing about Shirley episodes: like their focal character, they’re loving, and forgiving, and although maybe a little bit in denial, generally good inside. Shirley and Andre make up quickly, with Andre vowing to be more open-minded and understanding. If you’re a Britta (guilty as charged) this may seem a little hack. But if you’re more of a Shirley, you’ll appreciate the good-natured turn for a sometimes dark and cynical series.
And even though Shirley’s and Pierce’s business does not take off—the Dean sold the cafeteria space to Subway out of spite over not being invited to Shirley’s wedding—it is understood that Shirley will continue her entrepreneurial endeavors. Let’s hope we do see more of that. I want Shirley to have it all.
"Shut up, Leonard! Those teenage girls you play ping-pong with are doing it ironically!" - Jeff
All the while, Britta finds she has an unexpected knack for wedding planning. And she couldn’t be more miserable about this. Britta hates the very idea of marriage, weddings, plans, conformity—you know the drill. But her bitter acceptance of her true nature as a “traditional” woman, destined for a stable marriage and a “conventional” family, drives her to drink.
She’s not alone in her drunken stupor. Jeff, plagued with the task of making the wedding speech, turns to alcohol. You’d think master speaker Jeff would have no problem with this, but there’s a key to his talents: B.S. Jeff can speak freely and convincingly about anything that means nothing to him. But as a child of a very messy divorce, the idea of marriage haunts and weakens Jeff.
In one of the episode’s funniest moments, the drunken pair of marriage-hating narcissists takes the altar at the wedding, pledging vows to one another in front of a minister and their friends, purely out of intoxicated sorrow, desperation and their unequivocal need for attention—stopped just in time by a furious Shirley. Above all, this is a great “welcome back” move for Community. There’s nothing like a good explosion of the Jeff/Britta psyche to remind us how complicated and valuable (not to mention just plain funny) these characters are.
“Troy and Abed being normal.” – Troy and Abed (not sung)
As one would expect, the key to the episode lies in the hands of everybody’s favorite duo: Troy and Abed. As ordered by Shirley, Troy and Abed have to promise not to be weird at the wedding. In order to ensure this, they spend an entire day in the Dreamatorium (that is the happiest half-a-sentence I have ever written) getting all of the weird out of their systems. When they emerge, Troy and Abed are what Troy and Abed consider to be “normal people.” Wearing normal clothing, making normal small-talk, and engaging in normal wedding activities, like dancing and recommending hors d'oeuvres to fighting fiancées. And believe it or not (if you’re a fan, you probably do), every single second of each of their performances is unabashed comic brilliance.
They eventually snap out of it after prolonged normalcy—Troy spots Annie’s Boobs crawling around the vents, reminding him instantly of who he really is. All it takes for him to win Abed back is to put a bowl on his head and pretend they’re playing Inspector Spacetime. They accept that they like who they are far better than they do their normal counterparts, and go on being the greatest members of human society in the history of the planet Earth.
The episode ends with Pierce yelling at his father’s grave, proclaiming himself the first Hawthorne to open a sandwich business (he has not yet heard the Subway news). The scene is cut off quite abruptly, which provokes a little discomfort and a lot of laughter…eventually.
It is so good to have you back, Community, and in such perfect form. While this episode is not likely to be in your Top 10 of the series’ best, it is an adept welcome back for the show we’ve missed and worried about since its hiatus was instituted. And if this spoilerific but way awesome trailer is any indication, there are nothing but even better things on the way, for the next six seasons and a movie.
Do you think this is a good way to get back into the swing of things? Would you like to see Shirley really make her dream of a cooking business come true? How about a drunk Winger/Perry wedding? Let us know in the comments section, or on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter. And rejoice! Greendale is back!