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With a title like, “Where Good Dresses Go To Die,” all I have to say is somebody better sure as hell meet her maker this episode. Cuz something interesting needs to happen in order to make this television-worthy. But, no. Today we are treated to yet another slice of life at Joann’s Dress Shop.
The first customer is Celeste, Paige’s best friend! They’re such good friends Paige has never mentioned her before. Celeste is a 42-year-old single mom who didn’t learn her lesson the first time, so she’s decided to get married again. Good for you. Go have a second wedding while the rest of us women who have never walked down the aisle sit here and wait it out. If you don’t mind, I’m gonna open another bag of Oreos and channel surf while I wait for Prince Charming to arrive on his horse in front of my apartment. On a busy street in Los Angeles. Shut up. My weight is just fine, thank you.
Celeste is pretty practical. She never thought she’d get married again, but never say never, right? Since she’s “no-frills,” she’s keeping this one low-key. It’ll be a small wedding – even her dress is cheap. Yep, she and her groom will save a ton of money with this wedding. Oh, did she happen to mention it’s a destination wedding, where everyone is forced to come to them? Cuz plane tickets, hotels and restaurants are not at all expensive these days.
Let’s cut to the chase and try on the dress. It’s perfect – but there’s one problem. OK there’s a couple of problems. First thing first – Celeste has big boobs. What a surprise: We’re only four minutes in and already there is a ton of boob talk. Paige points out that Celeste has enormous breasts, so she’ll need to make some alterations to “pick them up a bit.” But it’s ok for Paige to say that. After all, she says, “I dress a woman with big breasts every day.” See, it’s not at all offensive if you say something negative about people of your own kind.
You signed the waiver that states we can air anything you do, regardless of how tasteless it is, right? Good.
Next, Paige doesn’t like the brooch that comes with the dress. Understanding that they want to keep costs down, she has three brooches custom-made for Celeste to choose from. Seeing as Celeste and Paige are cut from the same cloth (ha ha), Celeste picks out the brooch that is also Paige’s favorite! Could television be any more exciting, people?
After a ton of boob and rhinestone talk, we get to the real issue. The dress is a little long in front, and Celeste wants a reduced hemline so she doesn’t trip on her face walking down the aisle. This is a big effing deal, people! They only have one chance to get this right – but they have several chances to make puns about how important this is. According to Paige, cutting off material from your wedding dress is like making a cake or losing your virginity – you need to get it right the first time or it’s lost forever. Because heaven knows once you bake that first cake, you can never, ever get that experience back again.
Born-again virgin? Well, I never! Or at least, not since high school.
There is a tense, tense moment over the cutting of the dress. Finally Stephanie is called over to do the deed, which she trims in like a second. Talk about a let-down. Not only does it look just fine, but all this build-up about how terribly it could go wrong leaves us with nothing to talk about over the water cooler the next day. She could have at least nipped her ankles with the scissors or something.
Trimming is important, ladies!
Hey remember that episode where Stephanie cuts up one of Joann’s old dresses that they found in the attic? Since that plotline was so riveting, we’re gonna go back to it. The second floor of Joann’s Dress Shop is what Paige calls the dress graveyard, where unsold dresses are stored. Or, as the episode title states, it’s “where good dresses go to die.” And they’re treated like your single, lonely uncle who passed away last year – stashed away is a remote part of the cemetery where no one ever goes to visit him. Poor dresses. The graveyard has been terribly neglected, with dresses scattered everywhere. So Paige orders Jared to clean it up.
In case you missed episode one, it’s usually Jared who hands out the meaningless chores. Let’s just say he’s none too happy with his task. He pulls total diva rank on Paige, with snappy lines like, “You want WHO to do it” and “I’m the manager. I don’t do real work here,” it’s apparent that Jared is way too important for this task. With all the force of a sloth, Paige convinces Jared to take care of business.
I’ll take care of it as soon as I’m done with my double stripper-pole routine.
I’m not entirely sure Paige is aware she’s on a reality show. She handles everything professionally, never loses her temper and actually seems to like her employees. She’s every human resources manager’s dream. But unfortunately, kindness and professionalism doesn’t make for good television. Trump would have definitely fired her by now.
It’s a good thing that Paige is handling the floor while Jared is cleaning out the attic, because she encounters a problem that would have made him rip his Mohawk out of his head. Savannah and her mom have burst into the store with a huge demand – they need a dress hemmed like, right now! She has a big pageant tomorrow – Miss Strawberry or Miss Peach or something.
Paige explains that pageants in the area are so common they have what’s called “Saturday Night Specials,” which are all named after fruits and vegetables. There’s even a Miss Banana. Heaven forbid Savannah miss out on Miss Banana. But this is her dream, and as any performer knows a wardrobe malfunction can be a nightmare. Let’s listen to Savannah as she tells us the riveting story of her first (and probably not last) pageant wardrobe malfunction:
Savannah: Well so like this is what happened. I was doing this pageant and the reigning pageant queen tripped over my dress when she was attaching the crown to my head and ripped my slit and you could like, totally see my underwear. Hehehe.
I really hope there’s no interview portion in tomorrow’s pageant, Savannah.
But it gets worse. Savannah’s crazy stage mom makes her wear the ripped dress in the Corn Fest, and the only reason she didn’t place is because the judges said her slit was too high. Just to show the world what we’re talking about, let’s have Savannah model the dress:
OMG. You can see her kneecap!
Did I mention Savannah is 15-years-old? Well now, that’s not acceptable, is it? I mean, you can see just how high that slit is. So after some random comments about poor Savannah looking like a hooker (she doesn’t) and being able to see her cookie (you can’t), Stephanie goes to work on her dress. But not before one more very original quote from Paige:
Paige: She’s gonna show her coochie and look like a hoochie (yeah, she really said that).
Is this as uncomfortable for you as it is for me?
Stephanie can fix anything. I wonder if she can sew Joann’s mouth shut? Speaking of, where is Joann? Right on cue, she shows up while Jared and Stephanie are cleaning out the graveyard – and she notices almost immediately that something is amiss. No one is there to insult her. Paige makes very little effort to keep her from going upstairs, where Joann ends up only to find them ORGANIZING HER DRESSES!!! How dare they! Needless to say, she goes into panic mode, intensely worried that they might give a dress she forgot about 20 years ago to Goodwill.
If you watch this show, you know that Jared and Joann don’t get along. And now she’s here to mess up all of his hard work? I don’t think so… He allows her to search the racks for any dresses she might want to save, but he doesn’t do it graciously. Not to be outspoken, Jared points out that “Joann and I have a love/hate relationship. I love to hate her and she hates to love me (or vice versa),” before erupting in an inaudible rampage. You know, I shouldn’t say that. It’s not nice to make fun of people who have a lisp.
And this one is for real, people. There are real insults over leopard print and everything:
Jared: Those pants are killing me.
Joann: My pants are brand new, and you’re just jealous cuz you don’t have any, hon!
Well, it looks like Jared gets his wish. Joann leaves in a huff and never comes back. Maybe she’s in a bodybag. Or maybe Jared has her locked up in the attic, starving her so he can make a skin suit for himself. But apparently that last, cutting comment about her brand new pants was too much, because she is done. And good riddance.
Joann may be gone, but we still have 11 minutes left to endure in this episode. Paige tells us that not everything is happy-go-lucky at Joann’s Dress Shop. Well, duh, we could tell. But this time she’s talking about her clients, who sometimes disagree – although she’s quick to point out with each other, not with her. Nope, Paige is perfect. Haven’t you figured that out by now?
Jada is an 8-year-old who needs a dress for her school pageant. Wait a sec – school pageant? Is that where our tax money is going? I guess that’s common in Tennessee – almost as common as bad taste. And Ria, Jada’s mom, totally represents. Ria picks out some horrible dresses for Jada to try on – and Jada is having none of it. They bicker constantly throughout the scene. Paige can’t help but feel sorry for the kid. After all, this is what she’s subjected to:
Would you put your child in this dress?
Or this one?
But I think there’s a lot more than meets the eye here. In separate interviews, both mom and daughter reveal they fight all the time. Maybe she picks hideous dresses to cover up all the bruises. We’ll never know. Paige’s understanding of child psychology only goes as far as fashion, and she can relate. See, when Paige was a child, she really wanted a blue dress, but her handlers wanted her to wear a purple dress, which scarred her for life.
Paige doesn’t want Jada to experience the trauma she went through, so she intervenes. And it’s hard. Normally she’d just agree with mom, since she’s the one paying the bill. But she has a real moral dilemma here. Does Paige do the right thing and tell mom she’s wrong, or silently sit by and accept hundreds of dollars, leaving a miserable child in her wake? Of course, Paige does the right thing. She gently explains to mom that when a child feels bad, she looks bad – and unhappy children don’t do well in pageants. So she convinces mom, who gives into to perfect dress for Jada. Score one for pageant children everywhere!
Enjoy it while you can, Jada! Mom will be sure to beat that smile off your face later tonight.
I’m starting to have second thoughts here. Paige throws a little snub towards mom’s way, reminding her that she lost out to a child, of all people.
Rub it in, why don’t you?
To add to the conspiracy theory, Jada slips her a 20 on the way out:
Jada: Here’s a little something for your troubles, babe.
Of course, I can’t confirm the bribe, but it’s funny how the picture goes fuzzy right at that moment.
Let’s wrap it up. We cut back to Jared, who’s dealing with cobwebs and stuff. But he’s pretty much done – everything is organized, and as far as he knows, nothing of Joann’s has been thrown away. That is, until we get to the interview segment, where he reveals his sinister side. Of course he threw her crap away. If she’s not gonna help, then why does he care?
Not that it matters. Joann is gone and her material possessions are no longer important. And as soon as she’s skinny enough, Jared can have that skin suit he’s always wanted.
You can scream all you want, Joann. But no one will ever find you up here. No one! Muh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Oh, and there’s one more thing. Jared created a shrine to skinny Paige – which is pretty much a picture of her from her glory days on top of some shelves. Paige gets to reminisce about better times, when she was 100 lbs. lighter and no one – I mean no one – got to tell her what to wear anymore:
I’m sorry. Did I say earlier that Paige had good taste? I take it back.
Ahhh. This pic is when she won Miss Okra. Apparently Paige is no stranger to Saturday Night Specials, if you know what I mean…
Ugh – we’re not done yet. Paige has to sum everything up:
The moral of the story here? Kids are always right. Even when they don’t want to share or eat candy for breakfast.
So here’s our pageant question:
If you could go back and change one thing in your life, what would that be?