Hey Friends, welcome to your first full recap of “Bama Belles!” Or really, TLC’s really awkward handling of the Housewives franchise. Mini-mini-cap of last week – Amie’s the momma (which means she totally starts shit behind the scenes, and sidesteps the rabbit fur when it starts to fly), and she likes to feed cows cookies with her mouth.
If you feed a cow a cookie, he will want a rub-and-tug.
Jana’s the poor, childless minister’s daughter and part-time beautician. She’s sweet and really, REALLY wants babies. She’s also really stressed, and her mother-in-law’s a cunt.
I’ve got the vapors…
Melissa’s ambitious and cutthroat and cries like a bitch when she undergoes a setback. She also dresses her husband son in matching outfits and can do nothing more than smile stiffly when her bratty kid messes up her very important photo shoot.
It’s all going to be fine, fine, fine!!
Then there’s Val, who is on this show for no other reason than to stand around and say things like, “Where are all the stores?” Get it? She’s a fish out of water!!
What’s this SUV behind me?
And I’m so thankful, because without Val’s helpful Yankee insights, I would think EVERY town was just like Dothan with its two streets and centralized medicine.
And finally, Dakota. Dakota has no discernable money or income of any kind, and seems pretty trashy. Her hair’s super-jacked up, she rides a motorcycle and has an air of “trucker” about her. I feel as though the show will depend entirely on her for its violence and inappropriate sexual behavior.
So what are the ladies up to this week? Jana still can’t have babies, Amie’s shocked SHOCKED that Dakota would think of starting shit with Val, Melissa and her husband go out to a nice dinner to discuss their money issues, Dakota’s a crazy bitch and Val’s a pouty bitch. In her defense, though, Val kind of gets pushed there.
We open at Rancho de Amie, and she and Dakota are catching up. Amie gushes over how nice it is to have her friend back, and I’m wondering where the hell Dakota road off to for months with no luggage after cheating on her husband. They make it seem like she was off to some exotic Vegas trip for her own little Indie movie about self-discovery, but I’ll be she just holed up in Shreveport or something with friends.
Anyway, wherever she went, she left scandal in her wake – Amie met Dakota at a ballgame in which her daughter Ainsley and Dakota’s soon-to-be stepdaughter were playing. They hit it off and have been friends ever since. But then, a few months back, Dakota up and divorced her new husband Ashley. Ashley? Okay, I know Ashley and Leslie and Shelby and Madison are all long-hallowed southern boys’ names, but why do I get the feeling Ashley had trouble stoking Dakota’s fire?
She doesn’t look that easily satisfied.
Amie asks if Dakota’s seen Ash, and Dakota’s eyes fall to the floor and she starts playing with some lint on her shirt. Amie takes this as a no, and we cut to Dakota’s camera-twanging that when her marriage was over, she left Dothan, and she’s really frightened she might have destroyed all of her relationships in the process. What with totally abandoning them and all. I’d say what might have hurt her reputation the most, though, was the fact that Ashley apparently blabbed to the whole town (most importantly Mama Gossip Girl Amie) that the reason for the divorce was that Dakota cheated on his feathery ass. And I’m sorry, but my suspicions about Ashley seem more and more accurate with everything I hear about him. It is a bitch move to kiss and tell like that on your ex. Especially since Dakota does me proud and when confronted about the whole mess by Amie and simply says that she loved Ash, will always love him, but circumstance wasn’t in their favor.
Okay, I know how guilty that sounds, but it’s still the classiest thing she does this episode, so I had to give her a point.
Part of the reason Dakota left was to cede turf a little bit to Ashley, who’d grown up in Dothan. Wait, let me get this straight – Dakota and Ashley were married for only a few months before divorcing, and she’s not from Dothan. With the way she tells it, it seems like she hadn’t been in Dothan all that long, so what is the big fucking deal about coming back? Why the hell does Dakota need to come back? It’d be like getting divorced in Greenland, heading home to Canada because what the fuck’s in Greenland, and making some sort of triumphant return to Greenland to catch up with all the sort of friends you’d made in the six months you’d been married. I guess if there were a TV Show being filmed in Greenland and you fit the bill, that might be more motivation.
So yeah, Dakota’s back in Dothan, and it’s gonna be awkward now that everyone thinks she an abandoning whore.
If anybody cared about Val’s corner of the world, it’s time to check out what our bitch out of water is up to. There are a few shots of her walking her lameass pocket dog (Bebe, pronounced “buhbuh”) around town and then cut to her explaining why she’s in Dothan. Apparently her website is very “cosmopolitan” and she wants to be able to attract a southern readership. Put up your hand right now if you think heading to BFE to learn the Way of the Hick is a way to make ANYTHING more cosmopolitan.
Good, now raise your hand if you think being on television is a good way to increase readership.
Okay, I think we’re all agreed that Val’s a big fat phony.
Also, here’s her website. http://profiles.valsecrets.com/profiles/val Apparently “cosmopolitan” means shitty grammar and willy-nilly capitalization.
What else is Val besides a fake? Terrible! She toddles out of her room adjusting the towel she’s thrown over the dead and therefore harmless stag head adorning her room, all the while talking about how she’s there to learn about what it means to be a southern woman. Then she goes on to be agog that there are no espresso cups in Amie’s model home kitchen and makes scrambled eggs for her dog.
If Buhbuh were a real dog, she’d puke up that shit on Val’s bed at the first opportunity.
Then Val interviews that she’s still wondering quote: Where are all the stores, where is the civilization??? Seriously, I get that’s she’s from New York, but has she ever been out of New York? Has she ever seen a movie set in a small town, or maybe caught an episode of “Austin and Santino Hit the Road”? I feel like that show’d be right up her alley.
There’s some more of Val being all bugeyed at the nothingness that surrounds her, then she heads out to Jana’s spa for a real country experience – a facial! While there, she and Jana goss-goss-gossip about all manner of things, namely Josh the Cowboy. Josh the Cowboy is handsome. Josh the Cowboy is a gentleman – not aggressive like New York men. Josh the Cowboy has invited Val to watch him break a horse that afternoon… Hmm… Is this like a southern version of a guy asking a girl to come watch him at football practice? Incidentally, I thought that was a southern thing to do… Anywho, Jana assures her that not only is Josh beautiful, he’s lovely and amazing, and she wholeheartedly approves of Val dating him. She also seems to have totally fallen in love with Val, as she expresses that even though they haven’t spent more than two hours together collectively, she’d never let her New York friend date someone she didn’t approve of. Jana interviews that she thinks Val’s great, and will bring some spice to the group.
Jana needs better judgment of character in her life.
Then they start talking about Dakota, and apparently Jana doesn’t like Dakota nearly as much as she likes Val, because she TOTALLY sells Dakota out. It takes her less than a minute to tell Val that Dakota’s a great girl with major issues. She got divorced after six months, and rumor has it, she cheated. But now she’s back, and Jana wants to hear Dakota’s side of the story. Hey Jana, traditionally it’s customary to hear both sides of the story before you start flapping your jaws to a carpetbagger. Jana’s take on the Dakota situation makes Val nervous to meet the wild child, and with that, the facial is over.
Back to Dakota and Amie, the two are having a philosophical conversation about whether or not people can change. Dakota wants to tame her wild ways, but according to Amie, much like she cannot stop buying expensive jeans, Dakota will always be fucking crazy. Amie further explains that just as it is in her nature to shop, it is in Dakota’s nature to get drunk and start either fighting or fucking.
Just as it is in BuhBuh’s nature to whine and be useless, it is in your nature to self-destruct.
Then Amie casually reminds Dakota that Ashley’s house is a half-mile down the road, and they could totally drive by if Dakota wants… They do, and Dakota freaks out and has a mini-nervous breakdown. Then Amie proudly intertwangs that there was definitely a twinge of feeling that went through Dakota when they passed Ashley’s house. No shit, Sherlock!
I think Amie might be a bit of a sadist…
After commercial, we head to broke-ass Melissa’s house and find an Escalade and a really nice pickup out front. Jana’s coming over to babysit so Melissa and Frankie, her husband can go out on a formal date. Before I can think of a funny comment on the couple’s poor money management skills, Jana whips out cookie dough she brought for her and Gray, and Melissa interviews that her son is going to be jacked up like a rat on crack.
He sure does love his candy!!
Gray’s stupid excited to see Jana and especially her dog, so it looks like a delightful evening will be had by all. But not! At the Old Mill restaurant, Frankie brings up the fact that they have no money, and Melissa’s failure to get the full-time medical sales position didn’t help. Hmm, Frankie’s kind of a dick. Melissa re-explains that she and Frankie opened up a luxury water sports company in 2008, and the falling economy has hit them hard. Hey, at least they have a fleet of jet skis to ride when they feel down. Until the fuel runs out, at least.
Frankie starts wondering about how necessary it is to keep Gray in private school, and slowly the conversations morphs into one they must have a million times before. Melissa refuses to take Frankie out of private school, Frankie thinks it’s stupid to pay $10,000 a year in tuition for something that isn’t college. They argue a little more with Melissa swearing she’d work four jobs if it meant giving the best to her child. Pretty convenient for you that you can’t even get one, huh? Then she interviews once more that they couldn’t have possibly foreseen that the economy would take such a dip. And apparently not the fact that something like 90% of small businesses fail in the first few years.
Frankie’s brilliant solution to their troubles is to have Melissa come back to work full-time at H20 Sports and make it what it truly can be – she’s the cheerleader and he can’t do it without her. They shake hands and agree that everything will be fine as long as they keep sticking their heads in the sand.
These stories always have a happy ending – just ask Frank and Lynn Curtin.
Meanwhile, back at their ranch, Jana and Gray are reading before bed, and Jana interviews that Gray is so sweet and lovely when he’s still and not talking, and she talks once more about how much she wants children. I hope Jana does get pregnant and saddled with the whiniest, colicky baby on the planet. If only because I like seeing the dreams of the naïve shattered.
To that end, the next day, Jana heads to the Doctors Center to meet with a new doctor. She and her husband Grant have tried In-Vitro fertilization twice, and she did get pregnant once, but miscarried. The new doctor is empathetic to Jana’s situation, and she interviews about how much she desperately wants to experience pregnancy – even the parts that other women complain about. She leaves her appointment and heads to talk to her husband about the possibility of switching doctors, and it’s clear this situation is wearing on her. Shit. Despite her gossipy, dippy ways, I do feel bad for Jana – no amount of money is going to help her situation unless she’s going to use it to buy Gray from Frankie and Melissa when they finally hit rock bottom.
Certified Pre-Owned child!
Onto Val and time for her go to see Josh break a horse! Yahoo! I’d actually jump at the chance to do something like that with a boy, if only for the possibility of a tramplin’! She and Amie put on their cowboy hats, and jabber about how excited they are to see Josh break the horse. The ladies arrive at Josh’s massive estate, and Amie practically licks her lips at the sight of Josh in his “cowboy” attire. He is ridiculously hot, I must say.
All manner of beef and horse double-entendres are dancing in my head…
Josh gets to the breaking and skillfully explains that if the horse runs, it’s her choice, and if the horse stays, it’s her choice. There’s no getting upset over it – so this horse is like a relationship. I think the advantage cowboys have over regular men is that they can talk about their job and use sexy metaphors at the same time. Val’s totally into the whole thing, and after Josh is successful in breaking the filly, he probably could have stripped naked and had a threesome with both Amie and Val right then and there. Thankfully, he doesn’t, and Amie, as obviously as she can, leaves her two baby lovebirds alone to talk.
Josh and Val sit on a bench, and she interviews that she’s nervous about being set up with someone in Dothan, not because she wouldn’t settle rural Alabama if her life depended on it, but more because she’s difficult and picky. But “Joshua” as she keeps annoyingly referring to him, is definitely growing on her. They watch the sunset together, Josh offers to buy her a cowboy hat, and it’s love!
Or some weird version of Town and Country Jungle Fever.
Back at Amie’s, all the pieces of the inevitable throwdown between Dakota and Val are being put into place by the Godmother. Amie tells Dakota they need to get ready because it’s time to go Cowboys with the girls – and Josh, the cowboy next door is going to be there. As they sip drinks out of Solo cups (it’s just one big eternal barbecue in Dothan, isn’t it?), Amie explains that this night is about celebrating Dakota’s return, introducing her to Val and reestablishing the friendships with Melissa and Jana. But really, it’s about some good old fashioned drAWma. When Amie describes in detail what a delicious piece of man meat Josh is, Dakota and her raging wild child hormones get all excited and she begs to steal him. Feigning worry, Amie says she smells a catfight and sighs.
This is Amie’s “It’s all falling into place,” face.
The girls and the cameras pull up to Cowboys and OMGOMGOMG I WANT TO GO THERE SO BADLY!!!
Music and cowboys and line dancing, oh my! Dakota’s a little nervous, so she heads straight to the bar, and when Melissa Jana and Amie arrive, all the girls get to some line dancing! Well, almost all the girls. Val gets to this:
Rock on, Jackwagon.
She interviews that she’s never been in a place like Cowboys before – it’s a little country – maybe too much! Har har. She feels the need to tell the TLC audience (obviously made up of farmhands and Eskimos with no cable or travel experience) that Cowboys is very different from the clubs in New York. Seriously? What was she expecting? Tao with truffle cornbread? Her dumbass doe-eyed intake of everything “quaint” in Dothan is making New Yorkers look retarded.
What’s a “town”?
And now for the good part – Dakota? Meet Josh!
Josh is impossibly charming as he teases that Dakota’s reputation precedes her. Dakota actually has the gall to look embarrassed for a minute before Josh clarifies that he just heard she was (a) fun (drunk slut). Amie observes that she did see an instant click between Josh and Dakota, which makes sense since she totally choreographed the entire thing. Josh and Dakota do seem to hit it off for the next few minutes with their rodeo talk and southern banter. Val is so left out she actually walks away, and Dakota looks like she wants to throw some horse metaphors Josh’s way if you know what I mean.
Val politely sips her drink and simpers in her interview that her first impression of Dakota is that she was very aggressive with “Joshua.” Val does not feel as though that was a good way to make friends. What a wimp. She sits at the table like she’s better than everyone in the bar AND her delicious looking pink drink in front of her and Dakota drunkenly wonders if they teach girls to get muscles and fight in New York. Val subtly reaches for her mace and confirms that she does indeed know how to fight, and Dakota backs off. Commerical!
Does the army take little blind girls?
And if Val couldn’t get any whinier or lame, after commercial, she’s dragged Amie out to complain about Dakota stealing attention from her NOT!BOYFRIEND Josh. Granted, I think what Dakota’s doing is pretty unsisterly, but shit, that’s just how the game is played sometimes. Val needs to climb up on a mechanical bull and show Josh what real sex appeal is all about. Like a Rhinestone Cowboy…
Amie pretends to be put-upon by Val’s whining, but really, she’s a duck in water at this point. They go back inside and Val whines to Jana about how Josh ignored her and snits that he and Dakota make a perfect couple. Jana’s sympathetic, but does say that Josh didn’t have much of a chance to say anything to anyone given that Dakota practically jumped on his shoulders the minute he walked in. Josh asks Dakota to dance and then Amie gets bored so it’s time for her and Dakota to head outside for a chat about Val. These women seem like awesome, awesome friends to have.
Amie explains that the reason for Val’s standoffishness is that she was a little upset that Josh has paid all of his attention to Dakota. Dakota’s hammered at this point and mocks Val’s hurt feelings, then threatens to beat her up. It is at this point, the genius (and I’m being totally serious here) editors of “Bama Belles” decide to air the part of Dakota’s interview in which she talks about how much she intimidates other women with her assets. Along with said interview, we are treated to a montage of Dakota’s drunken dancing, horse teeth, terrible hair and shot taking.
I mean, there’s an advantage to being able to open your mouth that wide, I guess…
As the shot montage continues, Josh disappears from the picture and Dakota starts dancing with everyone/thing she can rub up against. Melissa delicately comments that while Dakota had a wild streak during her half-year marriage, she’s never acted like this. The ladies stumble out of the bar, and the night ends without a fight (LAME).
The next morning, Amie comes out to the guesthouse to find Dakota thinking (working off her hangover). Dakota sweetly asks if she’s causing any trouble in Amie’s life, and Amie assures her that she’s not. Unbeknownst to Dakota, she is providing much amusement to Amie’s life and the crazier she gets the happier Amie will be. Amie interviews that she wanted to check on Dakota after the night at Cowboys, because she felt that Dakota and Val might have gotten off on the wrong foot. She oughtta know. When Amie stirs the pot some more and asks Dakota what she thought of Val, predictably, Dakota has a negative response. Unpredictably she uses the word “ironic” properly. Apparently, through her drunken haze, Dakota was able to observe Val insultingly thinking it was ironic for Josh to like someone like Dakota. Amie listens, because next to starting shit, it’s what she does best. Then she claims that she and Dakota should give Val the benefit of the doubt because they are duty-bound to Val’s readership to show Val what real southern living is like. And what does that mean?
FUCKING LAWNMOWER RACING!!!
OMFG, that looks like more fun than Cowboys and riding Josh put together! Genius – you don’t even need a track!!! Just a lawn!!! Okay, before we get to the race, though, we have to make a pit stop to Melissa’s Escalade so we can listen in on her and Jana gossiping about the previous night at Cowboys. Jana’s actually pretty offended that the first time Dakota was back and able to see her “friends,” all she did was take shots and dirtyflirt with Josh. Both she and Melissa agree that there’s going to be trouble between Dakota and Val, and you can almost see Melissa accelerate to the lawnmower race in anticipation. Commercial!
“That as fast as this thing goes?” “Yep.”
We’re back! And it’s time for the race!! Amie and I are sisters from another mother as she explains that the lawnmowers go 60 mph (holy shit!) and “this is gownna be FUN.” Damn straight, Amie. Damn straight. Everyone’s all atwitter about the race – everyone except Val.
You aren’t better than lawnmower racing, Val.
Val tries to make a snide remark, but really just sounds like an idiot when she interviews that in New York, people use lawnmowers to mow lawns, but in Dothan, people use them to race. Okay, A) what fucking lawns? Central Park doesn’t count. B) like New York isn’t full of people using every day items for weird shit. I’ve seen performance art that involved fishnet stockings, a ladder and a pilates ball and was titled “Dinner Party.” Shut the fuck up.
Val further alienates herself from me and the girls by commenting that there are people in the stands with no teeth. What happens to Val when she sees a homeless person? She must have avoided them completely up till now or I feel like her head would have exploded. Anyway, this is the opportunity Dakota’s been waiting for to get all up in Val’s face and bump chests. She yells, “What’s that supposed to mean – my daddy’s missin’ a tooth!!” And then all of Val’s past transgressions are erased in one simple word. In a situation where I would have backpedaled and apologized furiously, Val simply says, “Why?” Brilliant!!!
Dakota is struck fucking dumb at someone responding to her aggression with logic instead of fear, and tries to hold her ground. He got his tooth knocked out, you see. Val’s still all, “No, why hasn’t he fixed it. That shit’s fucking gross and it isn’t the 1860s – proper dental care is pretty affordable nowadays.” Dakota keeps trying to win and fails miserably by sputtering to Val’s giggling face that maybe not everyone has as much money as Val, maybe not everyone can afford to fix their teeth. Val just tries to hold in her laughter, and behind her Melissa and Jana do the same. I’m home alone, so I’m braying like a fucking donkey.
That shit was awesome.
The conversation’s over before Val can suggest that Dakota spend some of her drinkin’ money on a falsie for her pops, and Melissa comments that the whole thing was inappropriate. Val shouldn’t have made the comment and Dakota shouldn’t have egged on the situation. Blah, blah, blah, that was the most entertaining thing I’ve seen on TV this week. God bless inappropriate behavior.
When it comes time to git to racin’, Val totally wusses out. She’s not getting behind the wheel of something that could hurt her, and that’s that. No amount of teasing from Dakota is going to get her to do it, not for lack of Dakota’s trying. Val simps that there’s obviously tension between the two, and while they may be able to be friendly, she’s not sure Dakota and her will ever be friends. Good, because that would effing dull.
See, it’s stupid when they don’t do anything.
Let the game’s begin!!! Melissa swears she’s gonna be the winner, but as soon as the race starts, she tries to shift into third and the mower stalls out. What?? Lawnmowers have gears???? This gets better and better. It’s down to Dakota, Amie and Jana, and I predict Jana’s gonna be out of this thing in about ten seconds, and she is. Melissa thinks Dakota’s uncouth, so she wants Amie to win, hopefully putting Dakota in her place. I have no real stake in this game. I’m a little frustrated that I can’t race lawnmowers because I don’t know how to drive a stick.
Amie also wants to win, and even though everyone’s pulling for her, Amie loses to Dakota by a mile. Dakota is predictably obnoxious about the whole thing, and Amie announces that the drAWma will continue at a barbecue she and her husband Ron will be throwing for everyone at their house that evening. Seriously – enough with the barbecues!
At Amie’s house, Jana takes the opportunity to discuss the new fertility doctor with her husband Grant. It seems kind of weird she’d be so trepidatious about discussing a change of doctor, but it feels like the subtext of this conversation is more, “Do you still want to try and do this?” Grant is frigging amazing, I must say. He sweetly admits that he can’t possibly understand what it must be like for Jana to go through the stress of In-Vitro, but he’ll support her in whatever she attempts. He just wants a baby, too, but he feels very deeply for his wife.
And if you thought the barbeque was going to be as free of drAWma as Jana’s was last week, you’d be mistaken. Amie whips out an old photo album and they all look at pictures of her when she was young. They laugh at her ridiculous hair, and it all seems to be going well until Val says, “You used to be so skinny back then!” It takes her a good thirty seconds and some very, VERY pointed remarks from Amie to get it through to her that she’s stuck her dumb little foot in her mouth. When she should have just apologized, Val continues to try and explain herself – she was thinner, too when she was young. Amie awesomely responds that she obviously wasn’t any smarter. Dakota gleefully starts in on Amie’s side, and Ron walks by remarking that Val’s done stepped in some dog doo and can’t get it off.
Hey, my dog doesn’t poop. She expels doggie dibs, and I put them in magic bags and send them to the fertilizer fairy. It’s all very cosmopolitan.
The ladies take a break and go outside so Val can “wipe her feet off,” but really so they can separate and rehash the situation behind each other’s backs. Val and Jana head off by themselves, and Jana’s totally sweet. She reassures Val that Dakota’s antics aren’t to be taken personally, and that Dakota isn’t really the same person she was when Jana met her, so Val’s not alone in her intense dislike of the dew-ragged beauty.
In Amie’s kitchen, Melissa looks on as Dakota eggs on Amie’s ire at Val’s stupid remark. It’s pretty ugly, and Melissa notes that there’s a bit of division happening. She doesn’t know how it’s all going to work out given that Jana and Val are splitting off and Dakota and Amie are thick as thieves. She imagines Amie will feel stuck in the middle a bit, and sounds worried even though Amie’s probably having the time of her life.
This is gOWnna be FUN!
Eh, who cares. It’ll all be different in a day or so. Next episode – let’s go visit Amie’s cheerleader son! Whaaaat??