When Place to Be Nation sought out a correspondent to watch and write about the new WWE/E! reality show Total Divas each week, they initially wanted a “female voice.” Unfortunately for them, lifelong wrestling fan Ben Morse also happens to count Melrose Place among his all-time favorite shows and already has every other E! show on in the background via his lovely wife Megan, so he whined until they let him do it.
Jen Engle doesn’t watch wrestling or E!, but the Powers that PTB roped her into this anyway.
Find out what happens when one overly enthusiastic dude and a lady who has no idea what’s going on talk about a weekly “reality” show focusing on the female side of WWE.
Ben: Jen, before we get to recapping, as you do not follow the regular WWE product, I feel it important to give you a quick update. Last Sunday, while Total Divas aired, the Survivor Series pay-per-view also went down, and on there, the full cast took on all the girls not featured on this show in a 14-person tag team match. For the full week leading up, our colleague Scott Criscuolo has been taking shots at the Total Divas, declaring them “Ben and Jen’s team,” but we got the last laugh, as not only did our girls win Sunday, they won a rematch the next night on Monday Night Raw as well. So please, let me allow you to have the victory lap.
Jen: I’ll take that victory lap. I may not know a lot about wrestling, but I do like winning. Especially if it means beating Scott.
Ben: We pick up where we left off last week—and sadly without the theme song, so no Ariane talking about working “the cam-er-a”—with Nikki exiting John Cena’s palatial estate, having been served a cohabitation agreement and wanting to get out of Dodge. Naturally she calls Brie, who expresses similar shock and confusion over John’s actions and backs her sister up. Nikki doesn’t know what to do, as the incident clearly disheartened her, but she’s afraid if she doesn’t play along, she’ll lose her man.
On the other end of the country and the relationship spectrum, we head out to California and the cohabitating Ariane and Vinny—Vinnie? Not sure. Regardless, Ariane asks if he wants some water and he enthusiastically replies, “Yeah, why not!” in a way that made me crack up for whatever reason. This segues not at all naturally into the fact that this couple has been having—or seemingly has always had—problems in the bedroom, as Ariane does not enjoy sex, attributing it to her endometriosis and that Vinman has a big penis that causes her pain. My wife, the nurse, hesitates to give a formal diagnosis, but does comment that it doesn’t shock her that outgoing and over-the-top Ariane seems a bit sexually repressed, saying one could well owe to the other.
Jen: I’m not really surprised about this revelation, but there are few things I want to hear about less than Vinny’s anatomy.
Ben: Nikki has checked into a hotel and gives her mom a call. I’m no fashion maven by any means—jeans and a t-shirt, thanks, I work at a comic book company—but Nikki does seem somewhat overdressed every time we see her lounging around this episode, but who knows, maybe a nice dress counts as casual wear for her given what she wears at work. Anyhow, I thought Mama Bella would go to town on John, but she’s actually extremely level-headed, supporting her daughter but also noting that if he waited this long to spring the agreement on her, he obviously has more on his mind that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with her; Nikki ponders.
Jen: With Mama Bella being so levelheaded, I can see why Nikki and John work so well together. Mama Bella is definitely right, there is definitely something else on his mind and it’s not necessarily Nikki that causes the concern. I never read any details on his divorce, but he obviously got pretty hurt and/or pretty burned by his ex.
Ben: At Raw, Brie and Bryan head into the arena where he gets mobbed by fans and takes the time to sign autographs while she seems annoyed. No doubt Bryan has become incredibly popular, but I’m not sure I buy that not a single WWE fan would also want a picture or signature from one of the Bella Twins. Brie’s definitely having trouble dealing with having to share her boyfriend with the world, despite still seeming genuinely happy for his success.
Jen: I find it hard to believe that Brie wouldn’t have been mobbed had she gone over to the side with Bryan. I think she’s having some trouble sharing, and I am sure there’s some jealousy there too.
Ben: The Funkadactyls have a match and then afterward Ariane goes into TMI mode telling Trinity about Vinny’s one eyed jack, etc. Trinity looks like she’d rather be back dealing with Jon Uso’s fungus-covered toe.
Jen: (sounds of Jen gagging…again) I would rather hear more about Jon Uso’s toe too.
Ben: Down to Florida we go, and the WWE Performance Center, where Nattie saunters in and says hello to developmental talent CJ Parker, which amuses me and my wife to no end as it leads us to conclude she not only loves saying “TJ” constantly, but any approximation as well. Speaking of TJ, Eva Marie has enlisted him to help train her on some basic moves and Nattie flips out, basically treating it like her new husband’s been caught in an affair. That doesn’t seem so far-fetched when she explains that they fell in love when he trained her, but Nattie comes off pretty crazy here. I just enjoyed that former WCW star and current WWE trainer Norman Smiley made an extended cameo and that Alicia Fox showed up for a third week in a row to play the role of pot-stirrer, egging Nattie on.
Jen: Sure, someone switched on Nattie’s crazy button, but at the same time we all know that Eva is pretty shady and I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her either. Look at Eva Marie’s history here, she doesn’t come off as someone that trustworthy and we all know she’ll do pretty much anything for her career. And the camera.
Ben: In the type of thing you can’t make up, and because I’m 12, Ariane goes to see a gynecologist named “Dr. Bohn,” pronounced “Doctor Bone.” I hate myself a little. She also tries out a new catchphrase to describe the experience of getting probed and whatnot, that being “Awkward.com,” but I miss the classics. By the end of the visit, if I followed it right, Dr. Bohn tells Ariane she doesn’t really have endometriosis—or just not that bad a case?—which has me wondering if she self-diagnosed or what.
Jen: Don’t hate yourself about that. Deep down, I’m 12 years old too. Awkward.com is slightly more tolerable than Bomb.com. Really, its 2013, do we need to add ‘dot.com’ to anything anymore? It sounds like Ariane may have self-diagnosed herself to me. Endometriosis is not a pleasant experience from what I understand, so I would think that you’d want a professional opinion, wouldn’t you?
Ben: Nattie and TJ bicker more about the Eva Marie situation. I hate to say this, but do they ever seem happy?
Jen: Between the whole Jaret deal before the wedding and now this, I can totally understand where you are coming from. It seems as though the cameras only focus on the negatives in this relationship. There was even a showdown between TJ and Jaret on their wedding day!
Ben: Bryan has to cancel a date with Brie to do media, but promises to make it up to her with a fancy dinner. When Brie asks how he will make it up to their dog, Josie, he vows to “scratch her butt like it has never been scratched before.” Whether in normal WWE or Total Divas, Bryan rules.
Nattie comes up with the only logical plan to counteract Eva being all over TJ, and that’s to bring in the one guy sleazy enough to make her dude jealous: Fandango! Seriously, she literally marches into a workout room full of other wrestlers and essentially says, “Bring me Fandango.” He may be a sweetheart in real life for all I know, but I love that this show has established Fandango as the go-to creep. Nattie wrestles around with him in the ring adjacent to TJ’s as she alternately gets mad at Eva for wearing no bra or a push-up bra—make up your mind! Eva of all people calls the whole scene crazy, saying she just wanted to work on her wrestling with one of the best teachers there, and I can’t believe it, but I’m totally siding with her on this one.
Jen: Fandango is so creepy and sleazy! She knew he would probably be the best wrestler there to make TJ jealous and she was right. I can’t believe you are siding with Eva Marie either! I do see her point…but I really don’t trust her.
Ben: Ariane and Vinny visit a sex therapist, where The V-Man saves the show by using “thebombdotcom.” I quickly become convinced the woman performing the “therapy” does not have a license in anything as she mostly just suggests role playing and BDSM. To be fair, I do not know any licensed sex therapists. My wife: “She just has books on her shelf. And she is yelling at Ariane!” The segment got pretty heated, but again, interesting to see the usually bombastic Ariane in a situation that makes her very reserved.
Jen: Considering that Ariane most likely self-diagnosed herself before it wouldn’t surprise me if this lady was a quack. I am surprised to see her so reserved, but it’s an awkward situation to be in with a lady who is clearly not a professional. Vinny seems to be up for anything, so I’m assuming that Ariane is not open to anything new when she does give him some of her “cookie” as Trinity called it earlier.
Ben: Bryan takes Brie out to the promised meal, but it keeps getting interrupted by the office calling him and asking him to step out and do interviews. Brie clearly has no desire to f around on this day, and gets their food wrapped so they can head home. In the car, they get into not a full-blown fight, but definitely a bicker about her wanting him to put more time into their relationship and him thinking she doesn’t want him to succeed. I feel emotionally invested in this pairing more than any of the others, and do not enjoy watching them argue; it’s not fun.
Jen: Fantastic use of passive aggressiveness Brie! Apparently Brie and I have a similar tactic. I wouldn’t have let this slide either. I know that Bryan is popular and busy, but he deserves to spend an hour with Brie to eat lunch. If it was already scheduled then fine, but it wasn’t and he told the office that their timing was “perfect.” I don’t think I could have let that one slide. Actually, I might not have been so passive…I probably would have left him there. I don’t like watching these two argue either; I want them to make it! They are much more fun to watch without the drama.
Ben: Nattie arrives home and yells at TJ some more, then he fires back that Eva Marie just wanted to learn from him because she looks up to her. Nattie does an abrupt 180 and they make up, bringing this storyline to an early and abrupt close. Nattie annoyed me tonight.
Jen: For all the drama that caused, that sure did resolve itself quickly. I wonder if there was more fighting when the cameras weren’t around.
Ben: Vinny brings a bunch of sex toys home, and I expect Ariane to get pissed at him, but instead she shows both interest in and proficiency with some sort of riding crop whip thing. I think those two kids will be alright. And that’s another plot wrapped up so the Bellas can have the final quarter of the show all to themselves, just the way we like it.
Jen: They seemed to try to fill the void created with the absence of John Cena in this episode in the form of Vinny.
Ben: Brie and Nikki do some hot yoga and then get coffee as it’s time for Bella back and forth, easily the highlight of any episode. Brie gets on Nikki for texting during their conversation and I’m 100% with her on that as it annoys the heck out of me. Nikki counters by setting her sister straight, noting that when Bryan came into the company as nobody, he stayed patient as she had appearances and whatnot to do, and that they signed up for this. As John Cena’s girlfriend, Nikki obviously gets it and tells Brie to chill out. She also cracks me up by saying Bryan works hard and “wants to come home to his supportive girlfriend, but ugh, it’s Brie.” I laughed harder than that than at anything else this episode and maybe this season. The delivery—just perfect.
Jen: Am I the only person that thinks hot yoga sounds like a nightmare? People do this because they enjoy it? How? Nikki was the right source of advice for Brie here; I can’t imagine that dating John Cena is easy. Brie does need to chill out, but Bryan needs to figure things out too.
Ben: Back at Brie and Bryan’s place in Arizona, you can tell things have gotten bad because she yells at poor Josie! However, when Bryan comes home, she sits him down and says she knows she needs to try to be more patient; for his part, he recognizes he needs to be there for her. I like that Brie heard her sister’s advice, but didn’t completely back down, because yeah, he does need to make time for her. Bryan says “Now go make me a sandwich, woman!” and after a pronounced pause Brie responds, “I’m going to, but only because I already planned to, not because you called me ‘woman.’” He then says he’s going to take his pants off. How can you not love these two?
Jen: So glad these two are making up. Oddly, I didn’t feel that any of this was staged for the cameras at all. I can picture their relationship being this drama free. I know people watch reality TV for the drama and the arguments but that’s the part of reality TV that I hate the most.
Ben: After avoiding him the whole episode, Nikki meets up with John for dinner, and calls him out on handling the cohabitation thing pretty poorly, saying he should have brought it up before she packed up her life and moved cross country, which he cops to being his bad. John talks about there being no guarantees and how he’s nervous about living with somebody else, but in the early going, it feels like he’s not really experiencing problems any normal person doesn’t have. However, he then opens up a bit more and explains he’s pretty much supporting his entire family, including paying for his mom’s house and making sure his sick brother gets taken care of—ok, it’s kind of hard to stay too mad at that. He apologizes again, but says he needs to make sure he’s extra careful given his position; Nikki says she understands and then says she wants a pre-nup that states he has to have sex with her every day…so they’re back.
Jen: When John presented the agreement, I knew that something related to his family or his ex-wife had to be the catalyst. Sounds like it’s a little bit of both. He definitely could have brought it up before she moved in. It’s definitely hard to stay mad at someone when you find out that they are protecting themselves because they are doing their best to support their family.
Ben: The end of the episode divided me a bit. On the one hand, I see now where John’s coming from, and you have to respect his commitment to his family; I also think there’s more to it, that he probably doesn’t want to get into on national TV, which makes sense. On the other hand, I feel like it should still be a bit of a bitter pill for Nikki to swallow that he didn’t just trust her and the time they’ve already spent together; I mean, kudos to her for being mature and selfless in this instance, but I think I’d still be annoyed.
Jen: I would definitely still be annoyed about it, but like you said we don’t know what was said off camera. On the plus side, if Nikki and John do ever get engaged (although he does not seem so open to it presently) Nikki should most definitely not be surprised when she is presented with a pre-nup.
Ben: Next week, Vinny tries to become a wrestler! What more do you need?!
Jen: Do you think Universal will allow Vinny to wrestle as Gru?! He could wear black with a striped scarf! It’d be great! HE COULD HAVE MINIONS!!!! Okay, obviously, I don’t take him seriously as a wrestler. Now that I think about it, does Vinny have a job? He seems to have some money, but he also seems to be around an awful lot during the day.
Ben: Also, with the lack of theme song this week, JoJo legit made no appearances. Poor, poor JoJo…
Jen: Do you think that JoJo is being written off the show? Maybe one week we’ll tune in and JoJo will be replaced by someone that doesn’t look anything like her and conveniently she will also be called JoJo. I don’t know, it’s not looking good for her. Does she still wrestle?
Ben: She competed in the match I mentioned at the start, and actually looked ok for the brief period she got to compete, so maybe there’s hope for her beyond Total Divas.
See you next week, Divas!