Yesterday I happened to catch something called Shahs of Sunset, a new program on Bravo brought to us courtesy of Ryan Seacrest. Here’s what it’s about: vile people who say vile things like, “I don’t like ants, and I don’t like ugly people.” They also trash H&M and go to pool parties. It’s the worst of the worst—which is good for our purposes. It made watching GCB a lot easier.
Sure, last night’s episode—”Love Is Patient”—very much tested my patience. There are too many jokes about “getting back on the saddle”; too many references to Samson and Delilah; and someone named Bethany Mae from the Texas Chili Council hotline actually gives a major character marital advice. But at least no one says anything like, “Telling someone in our group that you are wearing H&M is basically telling them that they are broke.” High praise, I know. Let’s do this.
We open in Carlene’s and Rip’s bedroom. The once amorous couple is experiencing some troubles in the bedroom. Despite all of Carlene’s efforts—including licking his face—he’s having trouble getting his man parts to work. In order to blow off some steam, he goes outside to shoot his bow and arrow. (Did anyone else have flashbacks of We Need to Talk about Kevin)? Guess whose photo graces the bullseye? None other than Bill Vaughn, Amanda’s late husband. It seems Rip got ripped off (see what I did there?) by Bill, and this is what’s causing his flag to fly at half mast.
Across the street, Amanda gets home from her shift at Boobilicious to find her mother, Gigi, in a strapless Laura Ashley, one of Liz Taylor’s old diamond necklaces, and an updo. It’s been a full month or so since Amanda’s husband died, and Gigi is ready for her daughter to stop being so pathetic and single. And if that seems unseemly, it’s not. Because Amanda’s husband was a philandering crook, “back here in Texas, that means you can get back in the saddle a little sooner,” she reasons. So in a reverse Pretty Woman move, she’s hired two men—Jason and Beau—to take Amanda to the opera. (They don’t actually say that she hired them. I’m just guessing.) Amanda refuses to even consider it.
Trying to recover from bedroom problems, Carlene calls her friend Crickett for advice. Unfortunately, Crickett doesn’t have much time for talk—she advises Googling “Holy Spirit” and “horny” and making a visit to the local religious bookstore for council. Why so short? Because Crickett is married to a gay man, she naturally sleeps with her Pilates instructor, and she’s ready to get down to business. But before the couple can get busy on the reformer, her teacher confesses that he’s engaged to a woman named Kiki. Not only is he firing Crickett as a client, he’s also relocating with Kiki to work at a place called Waco Workouts. Crickett seems to take the news well, but once her naive instructor has exited stage left, she makes a call and instructs, “Waco Workouts: Buy them. Tear them down.”
When these women aren’t busy making puns and destroying gym chains, they like to spend time in front of the church. It seems that, once a week, the handsome minister changes out the letters on the sign out front to spell out the title of the next sermon. This week, it’s “Love is Patient.” This causes the ex-beauty queen some pain. Remember last week? She found out her husband Zach may or may not have kissed Amanda? Well, she still hasn’t confronted him. She’s too afraid of the consequences. Carlene gives her some Bible quotes about vengeance, and Sharon is convinced to take action. “It’s time I stomped on a snake,” she says.
So Sharon, Carlene, and Crickett head over to Boobilicious to confront Amanda. (She works a lot of day shifts. She should probably try to get on some nights if she’s serious about making money.) Sharon tells Amanda that she needs to step off and stay away from her husband. Amanda counters that Zach is the problem. “That is what makes a harlot a harlot. They lie,” Sharon says. She compares Amanda to Eve, Delilah, and Salome. And then Sharon gets crushed by a woman coming down a pole with an order of fries. Who knew Boobilicious was two stories? And is that an efficient way to serve food? I don’t think it is.
Now that Crickett is Pilates-less, she has returned to tae kwon do with an extremely long and chunky necklace and some major needs. Her instructor is ready to take action. “I miss your kick,” he says.
Amanda returns home from yet another day shift and finds that Gigi is donating old fur coats to the homeless via the hot pastor. Somehow it comes up again that Amanda is an old maid, and the minister invites to her a church single’s meeting. “Just follow the sound of Christian camaraderie,” he says. But Amanda is in no mood for church socials. She’s too busy concentrating on the mysterious package that has arrived for her. It seems her late husband had written her a letter—an apology of sorts for dumping her for her best friend—on the day he died. He also had included a photo of the family—from happier days—in front of the Inferno, an old pirate ship. Amanda, in her shock, drops the package, and the frame breaks, revealing a map! Amanda and her frenemies embark on a treasure hunt with Sean Astin. After some misadventure with the Fratellis, the gang finds all of Bill’s ill-gotten gains hidden on the old ship! All of Bill’s victims get their money back, Amanda can quit her job at Boobilicious, and the town is saved.
I’m sorry. I just stole the plot from The Goonies. This is so boring, I felt like we needed some Goonies.
Back to Rip and Carlene’s bedroom problems. They’re still having them. She dresses in Bible-inspired costumes, but somehow that does nothing to solve the problems. She even makes a visit to Crickett’s tae kwon do instructor to relieve some frustration and is shocked to find out that martial arts aren’t the only thing on the menu. Finally, she talks to her husband and finds out the problems are less marital than monetary—he confesses that he lost millions to Bill Vaughan, and he’s pretty sure Amanda knows where the money is hidden. And he’s going to get to the bottom of it. The lesson: Communication works better than costumes!
Things aren’t going well at Sharon’s house. She is still unable to confront her husband about the possible kiss he shared with Amanda. She decides to call the Texas Chili Council hotline to ask a few questions about food and fidelity. Bethany Mae, the chili maven, advises that she confront her husband ASAP.
It’s finally Singles Night at the church. Amanda’s sole friend, Heather, has convinced her to attend. Once they’ve followed the sounds of Christian camaraderie, they find themselves in the church basement where the pastor has assembled three teams of “Marriage All Stars” to teach the singles how not to be so awful and alone. The couples are, of course, Carlene and Rip, Sharon and Zach, and Crickett and Blake. Carlene takes the mike and says that they are there to take the “sin” out of “single.” The singles are then separated into three groups.
Amanda’s group is the “once marrieds.” They are encouraged to write down every bad thing their ex-spouses ever did to them in full detail on small pieces of paper and place them in a piñata. While Amanda writes furiously, Rip comes over to ask how she’s doing. Amanda mentions that things are worse now that Bill has “popped up again.” Confusion alert! Because of that statement and the stuff she writes on the tiny papers in the piñata—which Rip obviously steals—Rip has reason to believe that Bill is really alive and living off stolen money. (In his defense, some of the crimes Amanda details are things like, “Bill, you suck.” and “Bill, leave me alone.”)
Meanwhile, Carlene decides to tell Crickett’s husband about what’s really going on at tae kwon do. She also gives him a selection of books from the religious bookstore. I think I might like Crickett the best on the show. She does not put up with the nonsense. She shuts down Carlene and tells her to “stop projecting sin onto others.” She stands up for herself when her husband tells her she got “sloppy” with her infidelity, as he’s worried that it will come back to him and eventually get him outed. And later, in bed, she accepts Blake’s apology because she really loves him. And then they watch television together! (That is actually my true idea of romance.)
Over at Sharon’s house, things remain sad. She is eating a gallon of ice cream when Zach finally shows up. Earlier, at the church social, she had confronted him about the kiss, and now he’s ready to explain. Here’s what happened: Zach isn’t happy with his life. When he was young, he thought he was destined for greatness. He was going to play football with the Dallas Cowboys, but then he blew out his knee. And now he’s selling cars. So when Amanda returned to Dallas, it made him realize just how awful his life is. “I guess it’s because she hasn’t changed. It reminded me of my glory days,” he explains.
I’m sorry: Isn’t the whole point of the show how much Amanda has changed?
Anyway, to their credit, the writers don’t make Sharon accept this horrible, selfish thing that Zach has confessed. Sharon places the top back on the ice cream container, throws it away, and says, “You’re not the only one with glory days, Zach. And maybe mine are still ahead of me.”
I’d like to see more of that from the ladies. I’m going to say a little prayer. Until next time!