Style Network starts episode 2 of Big Rich Texas with Leslie, a good choice because we hated her far less than some of the others at the end of last week’s premiere. But that’s no big surprise- we totally loved her on season 3, episode 5 of Millionaire Matchmaker. Sorry that didn’t work out, Leslie.
But as a refresher, Leslie had just moved to Texas from California and scored a membership at the Woodhaven Country Club in Fort Worth. Since she’s new to the area, producers were able to trick her into believing the club is:
1. in Dallas
2. super exclusive
Now that she’s official, she’s taking golf lessons with Dr. Bonnie, Connie, and Melissa. Seems the only one missing here is Pamela Martin Duarte. Which is good news for A.J.- the hot but socially awkward golf instructor- because one more woman without a filter and the poor guy would be fetal position on the edge of the green.
A.J. is serious about teaching these ladies how to play golf so he gets right down to business with a basic demo, “The first thing you want to do is get the shaft perpendicular to the ground.” Then all 4 women start laughing like teenaged girls at a slumber party. Slutty ones. And as if the cast could see our stone cold faces, one of them repeats the joke, “He said shaaaaft.” And they all break into hysterical laughter again.
Realizing this was going to be a really long lesson, A.J. did his best to work around the distraction with an uncomfortable little laugh that could have been interpreted as a cry for help by another mature man. He got more specific, “The club shaft.”
A.J. gets positioned to demonstrate a proper putt, “Then I’m going to make my stroke.” And rather than attempting the technique she’s just been taught, Bonnie squeals, “He’s dirty.” Another of A.J.’s little muffled laughs escapes and viewers wince in pain.
No lie- if this had been a female instructor teaching men, and they had carried on with the cackling and sexual innuendos like that, Gloria Allred would have been on the next plane to Dallas. Or Fort Worth. Whatever.
Once the ladies finally get over the giggles, they chit-chat while practicing their new skills. Leslie shares that she’s already signed her goddaughter, Kalyn, up for a beauty pageant. She suggests to Connie and Melissa that their daughters, Grace and Maddie, also compete for the crown. Leslie offers her pageant training services as a little nugget of hope for the moms. They agree to enter their girls and then Leslie reveals her fee, $150 per hour.
Are you on crack cocaine, Leslie? At that rate, I think a few hours could equal Woodhaven’s annual membership fee. And Connie is peddling used clothes to pay for that.
Bonnie thinks she’s helping sell the idea by sharing her experience as a pageant mom with Connie and Melissa, “It really helped Whitney with her confidence.”
Was that before or after she had the C-word tattooed on her foot, Bonnie? We love you, but let’s play the quiet game until they’ve committed to Leslie’s fee, K?
Then Style casually throws in a shot of the sun setting over dowtown Dallas- a subtle, yet purposely misleading message about Woodhaven’s proximity to the iconic skyline.
Pam has joined the golfers for evening drinks by the pool where they are still discussing pageant commitments. She asks, “Do I get a crown just for having to listen to this bull****?”
Ha ha, Pam, that would be so funny if it weren’t such a blatant violation of the club’s bylaws you kept yappin’ about in episode 1, “There’s a no cursing code, page 4, section 305.”
Not to be picky or anything but I believe the code you’re referring to is on page 13, section 9.7, number 3.
And while we’re fact checking, when you said you’re on the board at the club, did you mean the diving board? Because I did some checking and you’re not on the list of board members below.
You’re not in the membership directory I scored a copy of either. I looked under M for Martin, D for Duarte and even under P for Pamela. Then I scanned the whole thing and you’re not listed. Maybe because you’re so famous?
But Woodhaven’s owner, Lou Scoma, didn’t return my call so I’m just going off of this club documentation and the testimony of 7 longtime, active members. Not only had they never heard of you until the show aired, but they’d never heard of anyone on the cast.
Anyway, back to your foul language. I think it’s against the rules.
But Leslie takes the high road; I’d love it if your daughter could do it.
Pam: She’s a debutant, so…
Leslie: That’s kind of like a pageant.
Cut to the couch of evil where Pam and her daughter, Hannah, are getting a kick out of Leslie’s low social status IQ.
Pam: Beauty pageants and debutant balls are not the same thing.
Hannah backs that up: They’re not. You have to be high-class, not just some random schmuck off the street.
Back to the pool conversation where Pam takes a stab at unveiling Leslie’s past.
Leslie is honest about her upbringing, “I joke about coming from the ghetto but I really did.” She goes on to explain how she managed financial success beginning with a modeling contract as a teen, “I saved everything and bought a piece of property at 19 and just kept going from there.” That’s a neat story, Leslie.
But it would have been better if you’d stopped there. She goes on, “I did buy a Ferrari though. It was beige.”
Pam holds back on any warm sentiments about Leslie’s past and calls total bull on that, “There’s no such thing as a beige Ferrari. No way, I beg to differ.”
Leslie assures her the Ferrari was indeed beige. Pam says, “Well maybe someone painted it beige, but it didn’t come from the factory beige.”
Pam, you’re with friends on this exclusive property overlooking the city at dusk and you’re going to challenge the rags-to-riches newbie to a Ferrari trivia contest?
Next we’re at Leslie’s house where Grace and Maddie are undergoing intense pageant prep. I wonder if Leslie’s fee is reduced since the training is now a group session? Leslie tells viewers that Kalyn, the goddaughter she moved from across the country away from her parents, is going to be her assistant. Kalyn assures us, “I’ve won A LOT of pageant titles.”
Leslie morphs into something like a west Texas high school football coach, “You’ve got to want that crown.” She demonstrates the walk and the smile and explains if their faces don’t hurt from smiling that their doing it wrong. She reveals some $150 per hour tips like putting Vaseline on teeth and then sits the 15 year old contestants down for a pep talk, “I’d like you to lose 5-7 pounds in the next 2 weeks.”
Connie takes that as a challenge and tells Melissa, “They can do that.”
As Leslie pumps Grace up for unneeded weight loss, Melissa says, “If you think she needs to lose 5 pounds, what about my daughter?” Wow, Melissa, way to increase the probability that Maddie will end up purging her childhood memories on some lonely journey to self discovery.
But later Melissa tells Maddie that she doesn’t want her to lose weight. I think she’s just tired of watching Leslie get the attention and would rather Maddie do something that shines the light back on her. Just a hunch.
Oh, I’m right. Melissa takes this opportunity to remind America, once again, that she was a model and doesn’t want her daughter to experience the struggles of being so amazing. Too late, mom.
I guess it was rush hour and they didn’t want to take a road trip to the club because next we’re watching Connie, Grace, Melissa and Maddie have dinner at Little Katana. We get a glimpse of the restaurant with a limo in front.
The moms ask the girls for a final verdict on whether they’ll be fully committing to the pageant. Grace is so in, “I want a crown and dress.” Who can blame her really? Connie shows her support during the couch interview with a refreshingly genuine smile and says in a cute, peppy way, “We’re in it to win it.”
Connie, no matter how much we wanted to hate you, we’re having trouble with that. At this point, you’re adorable. But we reserve the right change our minds.
Hey, Maddie, you seem a little stressed out. Sup with that?
Grace, a cheerleader and all around precious looking teen, shares with the moms that she’s OK with taking off a few pounds. Again, Melissa takes this opp to remind us, “It took me back to my modeling days, when you’re 5’10” and weigh 119 pounds and they tell you you’re too big.”
Melissa, we get it. You were practically a supermodel and you’re using the concerned mom disguise to make absolutely certain that we know you were once A MODEL. Got it.
Maddie has already picked up on her mom’s sudden hesitation with the pageant scene. So she’s in 100%. Melissa doesn’t waste any time, “Then I want to hear what you’re having for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
On the couch, Maddie is confused, “The pageant actually seemed really fun when I was with Leslie but with my mom, it just seems like a lot of work.”
So we’re not surprised that the child is already throwing up in the restroom. It seems more stress related than bulimic but either way, we’re left with an entire commercial break to wonder if Maddie will just climb out the restroom window and run far away.
Back to Bonnie’s parenting show. She arrives at home in the middle of the day and finds her daughter Whitney, a student, lounging in front of the television .
Bonnie wants to know why she’s not in school. Whitney has an honor-rollish answer for that, “I don’t have to go everyday. I make excellent grades.” Bonnie corrects tattooed Whit, “You don’t make excellent grades, you make average grades.”
Cut to the couch where Bonnie is explaining something about Whitney being pre-med but we’re unable to process the words because she’s wearing something that has such huge shoulder pads she’s looking like a Jetson.
So back to Whitney’s afternoon tv-a-thon. Bonnie is still trying to renew her daughter’s sense of purpose but Whit seems annoyed and with an open mouth full of food, aims the remote at her mom, “Can I mute you?”
This is where Bonnie shows great patience. Most good mothers would have backhanded the punk. But Bonnie just tries to make Whit see her point, “I take care of everything, what else do you need?”
That’s simple. Whitney replies, “Boobs. If I get straight As will you get me boobs?”
Bonnie does not agree and Whitney tries the mute button again.
Next we find ourselves shopping for pageant gowns with Leslie and her three contestants. Kalyn starts to whimper in the dressing room. Not because she misses her family of origin but because, “My normal size isn’t zipping up.” Get another size, princess.
Meanwhile, Grace, who has been working out and shedding pounds like she was told to do, is having trouble finding a dress that’s not too big. Leslie is praising her little prodigy and Kalyn, standing in the back with an unfastened step-sister dress, appears to be getting jealous.
Kalyn tells viewers in private, “The other girls looked amazing and I just wasn’t in my pageant zone.”
Leslie pulls Kalyn aside and reminds her that the other girls have never been in a pageant and it would be nice if she’d get excited about their dresses. She obediently agrees but later admits, “Leslie keeps telling me to help these other girls out but I need to focus on me, not these two unprofessional pageant girls.”
Kalyn, earn your keep. Leslie snatched you from the ghetto to give you a better life- work for it. This is her job. Remember that $150 per hour thing? You sabotage that gig and you’ll be in California wearing baggy pants and flashin’ gang signs by nightfall.
Leslie is probably thinking about returning this kid and getting a new goddaughter. She pulls Kalyn aside again and says, “I don’t want you to embarrass yourself, we can work on losing weight if that’s the issue.”
Kalyn begins the ugly, mascara running cry.
With a Mommy Dearest NO MORE WIRE HANGERS similarity, Leslie says, “You’ve got to get it out of your flippin’ head, don’t let the girls see you cry.”
Cut to Pamela Martin Duarte’s birthday party hosted by her husband, Ignacio. Melissa arrives in a top that looks like one of those that comes with cheap accessories already awkwardly attached. Connie looks elegant in what I’m sure is a used, but freshly dry cleaned, couture of some sort.
Ignacio gently taps a spoon on his crystal glass. He announces that he has a special gift for Pamela. For a moment I wondered if it would be a beige Ferrari but that’s stupid because those don’t exist. It must be a ginormous diamond because they’re so rich. No! Maybe he bought a membership at a country club near their home.
But then he tells us that he made the gift. And with that, the birthday girl received a portrait Ignacio had painted of them posed in front of a gazebo and lots of shrubbery.
Ignacio, Ignacio, Ignacio. Bless your little heart.
Cut to the couch where, in front of her daughter, Pamela tells us, “Sorry bitches, he’s all mine.”
OK, so. Yeah.
Back at Leslie’s house the pageant prep is on again. Kalyn is disgusted because Grace has been practicing and her talent, a well-rehearsed dance that looks like it was choreographed by Paula Abdul. Kalyn tells us she will take home the crown because she’s a pro and Grace is just an amateur. Maybe an amateur, but if I had to throw down a bet right now, I’d go with the super focused, hard-working Grace. Maddie doesn’t have anything prepared and tells Leslie she feels sick and needs to go home.
Then across town at Guy Metzger’s gym, Grace further demonstrates her work ethic on the treadmill. And in a touching way she shares, “My mom is the only person I know who works harder than me and I really respect her for that.”
Cut to Kalyn on the couch where she’s already referred to Grace as freakin’ Wonder Woman and continues whining, “I want it [the crown] but I don’t need to be bionic to get it.”
Next we’re in some dark bar where Bonnie is having cocktails with her daughter who is still begging for a boob job. The duo decides to poll strangers about whether or not Whitney’s breasts are OK as is. The votes are registered and the results just aren’t important- a mom had urged random people to back up her parenting decision by checking out her kid’s boobs. There’s nothing more to say.
So thank goodness it’s pageant day. Leslie and her accomplished proteges, along with Maddie, arrive at The Hotel Intercontinental and head to the Crystal Ballroom where a bunch of little Jon-Benet types are already on stage.
Maddie just now realizes, after the dress is purchased and Leslie’s astronomical training fees are paid, that she’s not prepared. Really, Maddie? You didn’t know that yesterday or even this morning? You better be glad you’re not Leslie’s goddaughter. You’d be hitchin’ a ride home to mama.
Kalyn sings a song for her talent. And here’s the deal. Even though their moms have put these girls on national television, making them somewhat fair game for trash talk, I just can’t pass this vague line that I didn’t even know was buried deep within me. So she sang. And she won an enormous crown anyway.
Grace won her age division and took home a more tasteful crown that she can place on a shelf next to her pom-poms as a fond memory of one more thing she earned with class.
And on the other end of that spectrum, Pamela’s daughter Hannah missed her plane home for summer break. So she had the driver that Pamela had arranged to drive her from campus to the airport, just go ahead and drive her all the way to Plano, Texas. From. Missouri.
Check for the Big Rich Texas episode 3 recap next week, right here.
What? Oh, OK, thanks. I have a message from someone named Christy at Woodhaven. Developing.