Chantel and Pedro
Chantel hasn’t spoken to Pedro since the fight at his grandmother’s house the previous evening. That’s because he’s too busy listening to his mother and sister trash talk his wife and her family. The Family Chantel behaved rudely, especially since Pedro’s grandmother went to the trouble of preparing a big meal for them, but it’s hard to sympathize with his mother and sister because they’re just so awful. And wow, does that sister have a chip on her shoulder! She needs to shut up and grow up.
Pedro is heading back to the hotel so he and Chantel can talk. It doesn’t go well. Chantel agrees with her family, who were “shocked” to see Pedro’s family’s humble origins given that his mother and sister now live high on the hog with the money Pedro sends them. God, they’re snobs. They think Pedro’s mother forced him to marry an American girl so she and the sister could benefit from having a relative with access to all the money tree orchards in the Land of Plenty. Pedro repeats that she doesn’t understand his culture, which dictates that sons take care of their mothers. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, it seems to me that Chantel and Pedro are at an impasse. She wants to be his first priority, but his first priority is always going to be fulfilling his duty to his family. They probably should have understood this about each other before they got married. Pedro tells Chantel she needs another husband, and he’s right.
Chantel’s friend GG and her boyfriend are in the DR for the wedding. Chantel describes the debacle this trip has been and GG offers her support. She says Pedro needs to put Chantel first as his wife. The boyfriend says Pedro is struggling to balance his manly responsibilities. GG asks if the wedding is still on, and Chantel equivocates.
Pedro meets Chantel’s father and brother so the father can educate him on what’s expected of an American husband. Once again we hear that the family Chantel is suspicious of Pedro’s motives. Once again Pedro complains that they don’t respect his culture. Once again we hear that Pedro and Chantel shouldn’t be living in a studio while his mother and sister live in a three bedroom apartment. Pedro explains that the rent in the DR is much cheaper than in the US, and that he and Chantel have a two-year plan to better their circumstances. Father Chantel tells Pedro that Chantel was better off before she married him. Pedro takes offense to this and, after some more futile back-and-forth, walks out.
Why can’t the Family Chantel understand that in Pedro’s culture, he’s expected to take care of his mother? Why can’t the Family Pedro understand that in Chantel’s culture, the wife is supposed to come first? There are two different sets of expectations working against each other here, and both Chantel and Pedro and their families need to respect the other’s cultural norms and find a happy medium. If they can’t, then it’s time to move on.
Loren and Alexei
Alexei’s mother is leaving for Israel and everyone is sad because it looks like Alexei’s family will not be able to immigrate to the US. Half this show is made up of flashbacks and commentary about things we’ve already seen and heard several times. How memory-impaired does TLC think its viewers are? Oh right–much of its audience is comprised of people who watch the Duggars and the Sister Wives. Slobbering inbreds are probably dealing with less than impressive mental capacities, therefore TLC has been forced to dumb down its programming so the simple folk can follow it. I get it.
Loren has been asked to speak at a Tourette’s Society event in Washington, D.C. She is nervous and wants Alexei to get off work to accompany her. He probably won’t be able to because the invitation was last-minute. Loren pouts. I don’t why I bother to chronicle Loren and Alexei’s activities when their whole lives can be summed up in two words. Just like Jesus wept, Loren pouts.
While Loren is in Washington, Alexei has a bone to pick with her father. Why did he tell Alexei’s parents that Tourette’s wasn’t hereditary? Was he truly ignorant or was he lying? Turns out he was truly ignorant, because there were no support systems in place for Tourette’s sufferers while Loren was growing up and the doctors did not offer her parents any guidance. Alexei is relieved. I’m not sure I buy Loren’s father’s explanation. Is he saying that at no time during the last twenty-something years of Loren’s life were she or her family able to access information about her condition? It seems fishy, but as long as Alexei believes him, I guess this storyline is wrapped up.
Danielle and Mohamed
Danielle goes to Mohamed’s friend Tom’s house to gather more evidence against Mohamed for the upcoming annulment hearing. Tom refuses because he thinks Danielle is manipulative and doesn’t believe the text message printouts Danielle whips out prove that Mohamed cheated on her. How can she know the texts are actually from Mohamed? Danielle may live and die by social media but Tom doesn’t trust information gleaned from the internet. In any other situation Tom might come off as a paranoid bunker dweller, but next to Danielle his skepticism is sage-like.
Danielle’s flawed logic is on display as she tries another tack. She and Mohamed weren’t sleeping together during the last three months of their marriage, so he must have been sleeping with somebody else. It’s really not that complicated–Mohamed wasn’t sleeping with Danielle because he is repulsed by her. We all saw last season’s reunion. I made the mistake of making myself a sandwich before I sat down to watch this scene and now I feel like I’ll never be able to eat again.
Danielle has a meltdown when she realizes that Tom is not going to help her and screams that she “HA-HA-HAAAAATES Mohamed SO MUCH!” Danielle is perplexing. Her criminal record attests to her ability to hatch wily schemes, but her behavior suggests some form of diminished mental capacity. She’s probably a fan of the Duggars.
Mohamed meets with a lawyer he has not retained to get advice before the annulment hearing. It’s certainly magnanimous of this lawyer to spend his valuable time advising someone who is arrogant enough to believe he can represent himself in a proceeding that could result in his deportation. Maybe he wants the screen time.
Mohamed is defensive and maintains he did nothing wrong. The lawyer thinks that if Mohamed’s attitude doesn’t change, he’ll be headed back to Tunisia faster than you can say “go back to your family goat.”
Russ and Paola
Russ has a job interview for a field engineer position in Miami. It is outside his field of expertise and pays about half of what he used to make, but Pao couldn’t care less about how taking this job could negatively affect Russ’ career. As long as he can support her while she
escorts models around Miami, he can be a goatherder for all she cares.
Or, as she has suggested, a bartender.
Russ has accepted the field engineer job. He isn’t thrilled about the huge pay cut but Pao is thrilled because now Russ can pay for her to visit her family in Colombia.
Pao and Russ arrive at someone’s cluttered home for yet another low-rent photo shoot. Pao needs to beef up her skanky portfolio and explains that this photographer specializes in pictures of “good, juicy booties.” Sounds elegant. First I must comment on Pao’s hair. It is at least three different colors and you can see where the extensions have been added. Her outfits consist of a one-piece thong bathing suit that shows off her “juicy booty,” a cut-off t-shirt that reveals copious underboob combined with a ratty pair of denim shorts, and a sheer black negligee open to her navel. This is not the professional photo shoot Russ was expecting.
Instead of shooting in the controlled environment of a Milk Studios-like facility, Pao is posing next to the fence in the photographer’s front yard. Instead of wearing tasteful clothing that highlights her assets, Pao is dressed like a hooker on a third-rate stroll. Russ understands that Miami is a sexy city but he’s worried that Pao’s photos cross the line. That’s because they do. Apparently, in Miami “sexy” means looking like a back alley crack whore in need of a fix.
Jorge and Anfisa
Jorge and Anfisa are still separated. I love how TLC plays this forlorn music during the Jorge and Anfisa segments, as if we’re supposed to be heartbroken over their breakup. Anfisa is lonely so she Face Times her grandmother in Russia, who tells her she looks fat. That’s nice. I am beginning to understand why Anfisa is the way she is.
Jorge meets with one of the friends he ditched when he hooked up with Anfisa. Then he hooks up with the mother he ditched when he hooked up with Anfisa. Both conversations revolve around Anfisa. Jorge wants to meet with her and bring her a gift to get back into her good graces. He is such a glutton for punishment. His sister advises against it, but she looks like she has realized that Jorge is a lost cause.
Anfisa Ubers to the plastic surgeon’s office. She is depleting her savings because Jorge has not been footing the bill for her during their separation, but she still deserves to maintain her lifestyle. So today she’s getting Botox and lip injections. Anfisa says there are two types of people in the world: those who are willing to spend money to take care of themselves and those who are not. She falls into the former category.
Next week: more of the same.