Guests coming, Jane. Round up some rats for tomorrow’s breakfast, all right?
Howdy, Gasmii! This ep certainly invited comment, didn’t it? Let’s get right to it!
This week Tabs was at the so-called “Cinema Suites”, owned by Dianne Bennett, in what we were told was Hollywood. More on the neighborhood later, but first let’s look at the really basic points:
First, the name – Cinema Suites. “Suites” has a specific meaning in the hospitality industry. A room in a house is not a “suite”. Nor is it like a “suite” type hotel – I’ve stayed in them – where the rooms are large, come with a table and chairs (so you can have meetings, etc.), are equipped with coffeemakers and the like, and usually have a nice breakfast too. None of which can even remotely apply to Cinema Suites. Why would you name your business “suites” when you know people will expect something entirely different? Their website says they were voted “best bed and breakfast”. By whom? One person? Themselves? Did they pay for that “honor”? The site also says they have a “beautifully landscaped yard and patio, as featured on HGTV”. Then why didn’t we see it on Tabs’ show? And when was this alleged HGTV program? Apparently this home was formerly the home of a “furrier to the stars”. So your claim to fame is that a guy in a business that involves skinning animals alive used to live or work there? Oh, Dianne. It’s not the
twentieth nineteenth century anymore. People have consciences now.
Second, where was the business license? The law requires businesses to prominently post their business licenses in a publicly-accessible area. Never saw one at Cinema Suites.
Third, where was their health department letter? In LA County, all establishments that serve or sell food – from 7/11s to fine restaurants, and that includes hotels, food trucks, etc. – have to be inspected by the health department and get a letter grade. (Tip to travelers – avoid anything that isn’t “A”). The certificate has to be posted prominently – and it has a big honking letter in the middle of it. I didn’t see that anywhere either.
No A, no eatin’. My rule.
Which leads me to, fourth, does this gal even have a business license? Is her property zoned for commercial? Since it’s in a neighborhood/on a block with other single-family houses, I suspect it is not zoned commercial, she has no license, she’s not had the required health department inspection and is, in summary, running an illegal business. (Allegedly). Which doesn’t surprise me in the least. Seems like she realized she needed money to pay the mortgage, and thought oh I know, I’ll rent the rooms out by the night to bring in cash. As we find out later, my supposition is spot on.
Dianne said that she wanted to get people “in the industry” to stay, yet in the undercover footage we saw no “industry” people at all. Probably because “industry” people would want a full-service hotel. And also because –
It’s not in Hollywood! It’s in Mid-City and as I mentioned in the Minicap, I lived a couple of blocks away for 6 years. It’s not even close to Hollywood. And it’s miles from Beverly Hills, too, not the “1 minute” Dianne claimed. Their website says it’s 7 minutes to Pasadena. Via jet? Because even on the best day you cannot get to Pasadena from Mid-City in 7 minutes. 70 minutes, maybe.
So what about the neighborhood? It’s not good. You saw the bars on the doors and windows – they’re needed. I moved to LA from Northern California and was told by my landlord that the area was “transitional” but getting better. Well, I’ve lived in neighborhoods before that were up-and-coming, so that wasn’t an issue. Except he had lied. It was transitional all right – downwards. There’s a lot of crime in that area, both by people living there and folks living in nearby neighborhoods. Mid-City is apparently the destination of choice for people running from the cops. It’s routine, several nights a week, for police helicopters to be overhead, sometimes for hours, trying to find criminals. I would often be kept up at night by the noise and the lights (from the helicopters). Yeah, that felt safe.
Also, I was attacked in broad daylight on a major thoroughfare. In broad daylight. 10:15 in the morning. Armed robberies are pretty common. Break-ins are epidemic and I was the victim of one of those, too. Again in broad daylight, kicked in my front door and stole a lot of stuff. So the criminals are brazen, the neighborhood is unsafe especially at night – not a place to put a B&B. It’s not a neighborhood where a lot of people walk, there’s no sense of community or safety.
Plus there are almost no places to go. There are no nearby parks or anything people would want to stop at. There are a couple of shops a few blocks away, one is a thrift store and the other is a pawn shop. There is a specialty cake bakery (not the first destination for the average tourist). No delis, no cafes. The one redeeming feature is a Starbucks. There’s also a Carl’s Jr, a couple of Ethopian restaurants, 2 middling pizza places, a chicken place I swear is a front for money-laundering, an ok Chinese place, and oh yes, the crown jewel, the You Are My King Liquor Store. Need I say, the “you” is of course booze. So there’s almost no place people staying at Cinema Suites would really want to eat at or visit.
Note the “R” is drunk. One klassy neighborhood.
What they didn’t show us is the view from Cinema Suites. 2 main thoroughfares, a school (with a big wall facing the street), some homes. That’s it. And the B&B is on a main drag, which means traffic noise well into the night. And that includes trucks and buses. Great location, Diane.
Here it was in 1936. That big building to the upper left is the school. Across the street from it is an empty lot beside Dianne’s house. Not seeing any Hollywood here THEN, either.
And it’s not in Hollywood! Why would anyone stay in Mid-City when for not that much more they could stay in a place where it’s safer, where there are things to do – theaters and the like; stores; your choice of restaurants. You know, like they have in Hollywood.
And it’s not that close to the studios. Universal is in the valley (nowhere near Mid-City); Disney and Warner are in Burbank (also the valley); Sony is in Culver City; Fox is in Century City and CBS is in Beverly Hills. So only Fox and CBS are close enough to attract the “industry” crowd Diane wants. But really, why would anyone not stay in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Century City or Beverly Hills? Or in the valley for the 3 studios there? No one would pick Mid-City. And for the price, you can get much better.
And now on to Dianne because I’m in that kind of a mood. (Can you tell?) What is up with these old women desperately clinging on to long-lost youth? Get your d-mned hair cut! You look like a creepy crone. Also, ixnay on too much akeupmay. I know a woman who’s similar in age and appearance to Dianne. She seriously believes people take her for 35. No, honey, they take you for 60. Or older. Which is what you are.
If only Dianne had a scarab to keep her eternally youthful like Pamela.
And yes, Dianne seems to also run a matchmaking service, or at least that’s what she calls it -and runs that out of the B&B as well. (We don’t see that in the show, of course. An extra source of income contributing to the mortgage? Can’t have that). Apparently if you’re not up to Dianne’s standard of beauty, you’re not her client. Go f yourself, Dianne. Given Dianne’s propensity for
exaggerating lying, though, I think “escort service” might be the more apt description. So these red carpet events and glamorous parties with other “industry insiders”? Not so much. As I said before, I really think her “parties” are hanging around in some dive bar drunkenly reciting stories about the (now dead) musicians she used to know.
And she looks like Baby Jane. I want to apologize here to the great Bette Davis, for even daring to say this. But it’s totes true. Uber creepy.
I realize I’m what, 10 paragraphs in and we haven’t yet actually gotten to the show. Get some leftover Easter candy (or some tasty matzo, if you’re observing Passover) and settle in!
It’s that once-a-year taste sensation! Well, except for Matzo Brie. Which, for people who haven’t had it, is not brie the cheese – it’s matzo and scrambled eggs and onions. Pronounced “bry”. It’s good. I’m hungry.
This is gonna be a snark marathon. BTW I am completely high on sugar and chocolate myself. So I’m not exactly sure what turn(s) this recap will take. . .
When Tabs calls and asks Dianne to step outside, Dianne responds “yes, dear”. Way to alienate Tabs right off the bat. Dianne talks about how her house is a “little bit of Hollywood” (for the hundredth time, no it’s not).
Love how their website never shows what the rest of the neighborhood is like.
She says she was (or is, we never get that clarified) married to an “industry attorney” that she doesn’t seem to live with anymore. Dianne owes 30K on credit cards and $733K on the house. Her mortgage is $4600 a month. Why in the name of all that’s holy did she buy a house she could not afford? And $4600 a month? No wonder she’s in the
escort matchmaking business too. Ever hear of refi, Dianne? She says she got the idea for the B&B business from “freeloading friends” who stayed over in her house. Dianne decided she might as well charge for that privilege. If she considers friends “freeloaders”, no wonder we never see any of them.
Dianne goes on to say she’s “very social” (just not with paying customers, apparently). She has a full-time housekeeper/cook.
Tabs asks what the experience of the average guest is. Dianne says “largely, they like it”. Then we see hidden camera footage. Dianne seems surprised that there were cameras in her business. Has she never seen this show before?
Anyhoo, we see a “guest” having to look for the key to the house under a rug. PS – It’s not there. So in the neighborhood I just described, this idiot is leaving the key under the mat? Oh right, no criminal could ever penetrate that security system! There’s no one to check in the guests, not surprisingly.
We see Michael taking an online reservation. Tabs asks how often people reserve online, and Dianne says Tabs has to talk to Nicole, her daughter. We then see Nicole and Marguerite, the housekeeper/cook – sort of.
Then we see Dianne and her staff eating at the dining room table. A guest comes into the room and inquires about breakfast. Dianne is brusque and dismissive. Oh, and she has the delightful habit of responding to anything even remotely critical with “Huh”. So from now on, I’m putting in every Huh that Dianne
We then see Dianne gossiping about guests like they’re an imposition. Huh. Dianne says that her friends are big shots. Funny, then, that we never see any of them except for Michael. Oh wait, they’re all “freeloaders”. He’s a nice guy, but no big shot. That fantasy world Dianne inhabits sure is a fascinating place, ain’t it?
We now see guests in the kitchen, still looking for breakfast. Marguerite tells them to make breakfast themselves. She says the guests are imposing on her – the so-called housekeeper/cook – and they have “fruit” – apparently the sum total of breakfast unless a guest cooks something themselves.
Then we see guests washing dishes! In a hotel! Huh.
Tabs is, as usual, fed up. She goes back into the “mansion” and makes her takeover speech.
I’m ready for my next guest, Mr. DeMille!
We return to Inspection, and learn the B&B has been in business 3 years. The dining room is the office, and is organized by Post-It, according to Dianne. What a great idea . . .
Mr. President, have you thought about reorganizing the economy with Post-Its? Post-Its? That’s genius, Warren! It’s not my idea, sir. Dianne thought of it. Dianne? Oh, that super creepy broad in the old “mansion”! The Secret Service told me about her. She lives in Mid-City, you know.
The guests get to eat in the breakfast room. I don’t remember seeing that. Likely because it’s probably not a room but just a niche in the wall.
Tabs goes into the kitchen, and we see rotting fruit. Again, why have these folks not been inspected by the Health Department?
The bedrooms (there are 4 guest rooms) aren’t any better. Peeling paint; in one room, the furniture blocks the closet door from opening. And godawful knickknacks and bric-a-brac everywhere. Looks like Dianne bought all the decorations from some studio sale.
Tabs shares “if Norma Desmond ran a hotel, it would be Cinema Suites. Otherwise, I just found out what happened to Baby Jane”. HAHAHAH
We see Dianne’s room, with a lovely “do not disturb” sign on it. How about just, oh, locking the door? Tabs comments on the sign and Dianne doesn’t get it. Tabs tries to explain it’s a hospitality experience. Huh.
Tabs decides she’s going to check in. Huh. She asks to be shown to her room, which is the one where the closet doesn’t open. Tabs, now alone, remarks on the bad lighting in the bath, and the dirty towels. It’s so dirty in the room she leaves her shoes on – even in bed.
The next morning, Tabs says she didn’t get any sleep. No kidding. Someone has apparently made coffee, but there’s none left. There’s no breakfast. A couple of other guests (poor saps) are also there, and Tabs sends them off to a restaurant. I assume in another neighborhood? Tabs goes into Dianne’s
office the dining room and says she’s shutting the place down.
Staff meeting. In addition to Michael and Marguerite, there is Jake a “jack of all trades” and night manager. Michael has corporate experience and for some reason we’re not told, he has a) been friends with Dianne for 30 years and b) has been coerced? tricked? blackmailed? into working at the B&B. The staff say Nicole takes the email reservations. Dianne won’t do anything on the computer or day-to-day work. She’s demanding (quelle surprise). She won’t listen to their ideas. She’s running the B&B to survive, but is always “at parties” and lives in the past, and won’t change. Dianne sees the guests as an inconvenience, something she has to do to keep the house.
Tabs reads from an info sheet for guests. It has a list of amenities that are either an extra charge (cleaning rooms. For reals) or not provided. High heels are prohibited. Tabs says she’d rather camp – and she hates camping. Foreshadowing!
Now Tabs talks with Nicole. Nicole thinks her mother has to come to grips with the fact she hasn’t made it big. Nicole agrees her mother is very critical, and is doubtful Dianne will listen to Tabs.
Just heading out to another “industry party”. Lemme just touch up my makeup. Let yourself in, key’s under the mat.
We’re back to Tabs speaking with Dianne. Tabs says Dianne is using parties to distract herself and to live in the past so she doesn’t deal with current problems. Tabs asks how hard it would be for Dianne to chat with guests. Dianne says guests are more important, but Tabs observes she doesn’t mean it. Dianne says she’s a “Hollywood mover and shaker”. No you’re not now, and you never were, and calling yourself that does not make it true, no matter how many times you say it. Tabs points out that hospitality is catering to people you don’t necessarily like or find interesting.
Except if they’re German, of course.
Dianne responds she “doesn’t know about that”, to which Tabs responds, Jesus.
Little busy right now. You’re on your own for this one, Tabs.
We then go to a field trip, and we’re at the Inn at Playa Del Rey, an actual B&B. Here’s what they offer:
Yep, everything you could want in a hotel or B&B. Note the FOOD. And non-rotten fruit.
Just like Tanya from Barkingham, Dianne is not going to make this visit profitable. Why should she listen to someone who runs a very successful business? Huh? We meet Liz, the manager of the Inn. She says customer service makes repeat customers. They have front desk staff and a night manager. Dianne retorts that’s way beyond her capability. No, it’s not. You have 4 staff including yourself. You either rotate being front desk/night manager, or you hire one.
In response to Tabs’ question, Liz says 2 housekeepers can clean one of their rooms in 20 minutes. Everyone goes to a room, and Tabs tells them to clean it, which since there are 4 of them, they should do in 10 minutes. Dianne: “I don’t clean”. No s-it, Sherlock. She then spends time ordering everyone else around while not doing anything. At the end of 10 minutes, they’re not done. The bed isn’t made, the mirror is dirty, the vanity is dirty (although Dianne claims she cleaned it). Liz gives them a 3 out of 10. They then all go to a room that’s properly cleaned. It has things like a welcome note (hand-written) and cookies.
Tabs asks Liz about cleaning, and Liz says there’s no extra charge. Tabs asks Dianne when she last stayed in a hotel, and Dianne says 10 years. OK, that means it’s probably more like 20 or 30. Dianne says “upcharging is rampant” in the hospitality industry, and Liz says that’s not true. Dianne then rolls her eyes. Tabs says to Dianne that with the charges just to have a clean room and towels, she would rather spend more on a quality place like the Inn. Dianne says her place is “budget”. So’s the Best Western, and I’ve stayed in several of them over the years, and I always had a nice, clean room AND FREE BREAKFAST. And no upcharges. Hello! Tabs says Dianne pretends to listen. Oh, I have been forgetting the Huhs. Well, just imagine them – frequently.
Nicole begs Tabs to stay and tries to talk to Dianne. Jake says there’s a difference between hearing and listening. Michael says Tabs keeps pointing to the solution but Dianne keeps giving excuses. Tabs says the staff want Dianne to listen and fix.
Now we’re at the beach for a bonding exercise. The staff get to tell Dianne what they think. Of course first Dianne has to say she’s never been camping, this is a horrible idea, camping is sleeping with horrifying biting insects. No it’s not, Dianne. Staying in your “B&B” is. Everyone – except Dianne – sets up tents, builds a fire, cooks dinner. Then they all get to tell Dianne what they think needs to be done. I’m recapping this portion solely through the medium of pictures.
Dianne’s “pensive” pose for the cameras.
Waaah! A Hollywood mover and shaker shouldn’t have to cook hot dogs!
Would any of you stop me if I shove this red-hot poker up my mom’s a-s?
Completely oblivious that this is a metaphor for her life.
Don’t save me! Save the food!
Look casual and no one will guess you just pushed Dianne into the fire.
Tabs wraps up with saying Dianne has to show her and the staff that she’s willing to change. Huh.
Commercial. Anyone else watching all the Titanic programs? I’ve been fascinated since I was a kid, so this 100th anniversary, while sad, is definitely a bonanza of Titanic programs. And that little movie you might remember . . . in 3D! I am going to make it 4D by bringing ice chips and throwing them at everyone when the iceberg hits. For the total immersive experience. Immersive! I crack myself up.
We’re back at the reopening.
Cleaner, but still packed with mismatched
Tabs says there will be no upcharging, no prohibition of high heels. Dianne now has an office. Guests will eat in the dining room. There’s a rate card. There will be a breakfast buffet like at the Inn.
Everyone cooks (again, LA County Health Department!!!!!) Nicole is hopeful her mother won’t be a total beyotch. The guests from Tabs’ first day are back to eat breakfast, which they like. Dianne says it’s clear guests deserve a great breakfast. Ya think? We see people writing welcome notes. Jake says let’s make a laminated card and put it on guests’ keyrings. You know, there’s not enough laminating going on anymore. Thanks for reviving that, Jake! We see Dianne
meeting people monopolizing her guests’ time with an old scrapbook. Nicole says her mom is doing well.
Final recommendations. Tabs tells Dianne it starts with her, and will fall apart without her. She instructs Dianne to follow through with all the changes. She has to stop living in the past and commit to focus on the B&B. Dianne says she will.
Commercial. Are there extra commercials in this ep?
We’re back to still wrapping up. Tabs says Marguerite has to be sure guests get taken care of, and Nicole should be the manager. She tells the staff about her recommendations to Dianne. Jake says they can do it, but he questions if Dianne will.
Keys back! And now it’s 6 weeks later. Dianne has finally learned the computer. There’s fresh fruit. Jake “got another job”. Nicole is filling in. Michael says Tabs’ visit was fruitful. Nicole says the guests are happy. Dianne claims she’s not socializing as much, and says business is better. She also claims the guests are interesting. Tabs thinks all this is positive.
The. End. of this ep and the season. So what do you think, how did Tabs branching out from salons work out? I liked it, they wisely picked places where Tabs could pick up on the business easily. There was supposed to be an ostrich farm, though, and they never aired that one. Kinda over the whole cray-cray thing though. Bravo, if you’re going in that direction next season, you have to add a psych to Tabs’ team. Seriously.
I will see you all next week for the premiere of Eden’s World over on Logo. I have details in last week’s recap here. Thanks again for coming along on our Tabs journey. Until next week, then!
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