Questions, Comments, and Concerns: The Unauthorized Full House Story

Another day, another unauthorized story of a 90s TV show from those fine folks at the Lifetime network. This past weekend it was all about Full House, that TGIF (and TBS/WGN/ABC Family/Nick at Nite) favorite that was a staple in our adolescence. We grew up with the Tanners-Katsopolis-Gladstone clan in our living rooms as we watched them grow up in theirs. We saw Rigby the Rhino, Tommy Page, the Beach Boys and even Little Richard come through the doors, and now, we get to see what really went down behind the facade of the Full House. In theory, that is.

Lifetime describes the movie as “the rise of the cast of one of America’s most beloved family sitcoms and the pressures they faced in balancing their television personas with their real lives”. But according to the FH cast, the movie wasn’t exactly how it went down, and to be honest, I’m more inclined to believe them.

Why? I had a lot of things going through my mind while watching it, so if you tuned in or even if you didn’t (probably better that you didn’t), let’s discuss The Unauthorized Full House Story

Question: Why is the VERY first shot of this movie a bush?

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Comment: We start in 1987, when they shoot the pilot, but I’m distracted because the fake Full House set looks like Becky’s house on the real Full House.

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Comment: The cameramen are laughing at the show. While it’s filming. This isn’t how television works.

Comment: We flashback to 1985 for origin stories, starting off with Bob Saget, who is doing stand up and taking about tampons. He sounds like Seinfeld shouting, ‘What’s the deal with tampons?!’

Question: Bob and Dave knew each other before the show? The world of standup comedy is smaller than you think, so it makes sense these two knew each other before FH.

Question: Dave Coulier was almost on Saturday Night Live? Really, how did I not know this? Apparently he was hired then Lorne and co. were like JK, you’re too similar to Dana Carvey. Ok… But tbh, he seems like a better fit for Full House than sketch comedy.

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Comment: John Stamos is played by Justin Gaston. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he used to date Miley Cyrus. Now he’s playing John Stamos playing Uncle Jesse in a Lifetime movie. Miley is hosting the VMAs on Sunday.

Concern: Bob’s wife tells him she’s pregnant. He says he’s happy about this. His face says otherwise.

actual snapshot of fake bob saget

Comment: Creator Jeff Franklin’s first pitch to ABC was a show called House of Comics (three men/comedians living in a house together, shenans ensue).

“The Cosby Show is doing so well. So the network really wants more of a family show.” Exec who clearly doesn’t know the shit that goes down with Jell-o man in 2015.

After the exec says that quote ^^ Jeff makes up a new show on the spot, which is the plot of Full House. And to think, Full House is all kind of Billy Cosby’s doing. ::insert joke and side eye here::

Comment: Candice Cameron, was only known as Kirk cameron’s little sister at the time. When she went in to audition for Deej, she overhears the casitng director say she was “only okay”. However Candace later redeems herself after a pep talk from her stage mom, and eventually gets the part. Being Kirk Cameron’s sister didn’t always help, folks.

Concern: Paul Reiser was the first choice for Danny Tanner, but he was busy with My Two Dads. What’s that show you ask? Well it’s where the girl from Step by Step is adopted and raised by the dude from Mad About You and straight George Michael. It only last three seasons, so is Paul Reiser upset? Probably not. He went on to Mad About You.

Question: John was already a star. At least with the daytime mom crowd, and he was getting hounded by crazy General Hospital fans. By the time he was approached by Jeff about FH, John was ready to find a new demographic. He was so eager about the new gig that he told Jeff the vision he had for “Uncle Adam” – he pitched that Elvis had a twin brother whose name was Jesse and died at childbirth, and he wanted to be Jesse. Uncle Adam became Uncle Jesse. I still don’t get why he wanted to paid tribute to Elvis’ dead brother?

Concern: MK & A just happened to be sitting in the waiting room of the casting office because their mom’s friend took her kids to the audition. How PISSED is that friend now?

Question: John Posey was originally cast as Danny, because Bob wanted another job on CBS or something. The pilot was shot with this Posey dude. The network picked up the show w Posey and Jeff Franklin (EP) wanted to reshoot the pilot w Danny. This is what one in the biz calls a “Shitshow.” More importantly, where is this footage with Posey as Danny Tanner???

Concern: Justin Gaston is like, significantly younger than the guys who play Bob and Dave.

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Comment: The dude who plays Bob is like *almost* nailing the real Bob Saget’s voice to a point, however it also sounds like he has a frog in his throat the entire time.

Question: Why does the guy who plays Bob have more chemistry with his sister than his wife?

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His sis convinces Bob he needs to bond with his co-stars

“If looked like him (John) I’d never get out of the shower.” – Bob

“So start there” – Sis

“In the shower with Stamos? – Bob

“No, you know what I mean” – Sis

Cue: boys’ trip to Vegas.

Comment: It’s interesting that they keep portraying Bob as a serial monogamist, seeing as how he decided to play blackjack instead of hanging out with John, Dave, and three hot ladies in Sin City. However, back on set, he’s still got a pottymouth and basically told Jodie Sweetin she hopefully won’t grow up to be a stripper. I mean, good advice, to be fair. He even pitched to Jeff that Danny get OCD or terets (so he can curse). The Olsens twins and Cameron’s moms hate this about him and decide to talk to Jeff about it.

Question: Did Dave Coulier really single-handedly convince MK&A’s  mom to stay with the show? She is basically juggling being a stage mom all by herself since her husband is not in sight, but Dave assures her everyone can help raise them, and even offer to help find them a nanny, just so they don’t leave the show.

Comment: Dave farts during tender moment about season 2 pickup. This I can believe.

Question: WAIT JOHN AND LORI DATED ‘A FEW TIMES’ BEFORE SHE JOINED THE SHOW??

“We went on a date to Disneyland before we were both married. In real life, when we were 18, 19 years old… No disrespect to her family and her husband now, I would say that she could be the one that got away. She’s one of my dearest friends, and that’s good enough. I really do adore her.” Real Stamos saying OTP could’ve been real {x}

Question: Why is Danny surprised when he gets fan mail dumped on his person? Like, he’s shocked that the bag of fan mail dumped on his person is all for him and not for the Olsen twins.

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Concern: Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler) runs into the on-set classroom to tell Candace she got upped to a series regular, and Jodie Sweetin looks on at their friendship longingly and a lil jeals. I feel like maybe this would’ve been true on a nine-year-old kid level, but not for realsies.

Comment: The guys find out MK&A are the most popular stars from the show, so Dave lit’rally runs to Jeff’s office so he can campaign for more scenes. Bob and John look at each other and say, “Should we tell him the EPs office is that way?”, in a way that easily could’ve been in the real Full House – it was that corny.

Question: Because MK&A were getting popular by the second, their parents decide to negotiate their contract to get more money. They ask to DOUBLE their salary. The twins are THREE YEARS OLD. Aren’t the other cast members a lil pissed about this??

Comment: Network execs are hoping to tie-in more of their programming with the super popular Full House by asking Bob to host a new show called America’s Funniest Home Videos. His response: “Americas Funniest Home Videos? That seems ever more sophmoric than Full House. Just kidding, that’s not possible.” They are really making it look like Bob had so much disdain for the show.

Question: Did John really set up a rehearsal space for his band in the.. green room on the FH set? And were there actual fam jam sessions

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Question: They keep giving a behind the scenes look at Bob’s marriage with him juggling a marriage (that’s clearly disintegrating), three kids and two jobs setting it up for disaster. Also how does this effect the show?

Concern: If this is how people gathered to watch TGIF in 1990, I really missed out.

The book on the coffee table, The Century, was published in 1998. Full House ended in 1995.

Comment: Instead of a talking woodchuck Joey has a talking dog.

Did somebody say…. BONES? (idk, i’m not good with dog jokes)

Comment: Dave announces he’s engaged to some chick, and for some reason, John mystericously jealous about this.

Concern: Candace goes crazy looking for Lori because she got the new script and found out she has to have her first onscreen kiss. Lori enlists “Stamos” to show Candace how to kiss. I feel weird about this.

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Question: Were John Stamos and Paula Abdul a tight enough couple that they almost got married? I always forget they dated, but per the movie, Stamos says, “I really like Paula I think she might be the one.”

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Except she wasn’t because in the next scene he says they break up. Wah wah.

Comment: Execs see Bob molesting a mannequin on the closed circuit video feed of the set, so Jeff chastises him for being inappropriate. Again with the ‘Bob Saget was an overly dirty man on a set about pure family values’.

Concern: Candace has a heart to heart with John after seeing an article in a tabloid that says she’s chubby. Stamos gives her advice to not let it bother her. She says, “My brother thinks I need to be closer to God.”

if you don’t get this picture, read this immediately

Question: WHY IS THERE NO COMET??? I just realized no dog has come on my screen yet!

Concern: I feel really bad for Dave, who says, “The truth is I’m not so good at being a grown up,” a notion we all can relate to. He reveals he’s getting divorced and his sister just died, so things aren’t going swell.

“Wouldn’t it be great if real life was more like Full House? No matter how big your problem is, you knew that everything was going to be okay?”

“And anything could be solved with a few bowls of ice cream and some hugs.”

Concern: Candace starts going to public school in ’93 AND SHE IS A NEW ACTRESS. Also, the clothes from “1993” are so “2015”.

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Question: Did Stamos, Bob and Dave really have whipped cream battles backstage? And if they didn’t, was this really the worst thing they could do? It’s like they’re 6th graders getting reprimanded at recess.

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Comment: Earlier in the movie, Bob’s sister tells him that their mom has some disease, but now it turns out that his sister has scleroderma. She later passes away and now I feel like an ass for saying they flirted earlier. All of the adult FH cast shows up to her funeral, and it’s nice to see them all supporting each other.

Question: Jeff Franklin created Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper? Because of his success with the show, he left Full House in order to get Mark Curry and co. off the ground. Jeff Franklin is responsible for your TGIF memories.

Comment: I’m so over this Bob/wife drama, especially because I know how it ends. There’s more about this than Jodie Sweetin.

Comment: We’re suddenly backstage at a fashion show where Dave and John are guests and John literally has a meet cute with Rebecca Romijn (I still call you last name Stamos).

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Concern: Lori gets divorced right as John starts dating Rebecca. Talk about bad timing. Perhaps they would have actually made a good couple?

Comment: The whole cast is gathered in a room and told the show is cancelled and they’re filming the last one next week. Jodie has a difficult time accepting this. This is really her only storyline beside being jealous of Candace/Andrea friendship.

“Now I’m even losing my make believe husband.” Lori about John. Too soon?

Question: WHO are the people in this audience?

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Comment: The last scene is very similar to the final scene of the series, in which Deej is off to her prom without a date but Kimmy surprises her by inviting Steve, who we see for the first time. Also for the first time: Nicky and Alex. Not seen: Michelle’s concussion where she forgets everything and confronts her other self AKA screen time for both MK and A.

“See somehow everything has a way of working out.”

“As long as we stick together.”

‘The way we always do.” META, MUCH?

Concern: We cut to two years later, and we’re back to seeing Bob doing standup. He overhears a woman say “It makes me feel gross. That’s Danny Tanner up there saying those horrible things!” You know what makes me feel gross? This woman’s inability to separate actor from character. She’s overreacting.

Comment: We see that John went on to star in a Broadway revival of How To Succeed… and he’s super in love with Rebecca Romijn, Bob gets a divorce (obvi), and Dave hosts a charity hockey game. Candace and Lori (who look the same age, BTW) visit Dave in the locker room, where he introduces Candace to Russian hockey player and her future husband Val, who lrearned Rnglish watching Full House in Russia… So their relationship started because he was a fanboy?

Concern: Candace and Val get married a year after FH ends, and all the cast goes to her wedding. Dave sits next to this woman:

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Candace meets and greets every. single. member. of the cast as if she’s a pop star backstage and meeting her fans and I literally say outloud  I HATE THIS.

Comment: Bob gives a speech at Candace’s wedding, and talks about the influence Danny Tanner had on his life.

“The best thing about Danny was that he knew what was important. He surrounded himself with lots of poeple he loved…”

“With ice cream and so many hugs!”

“As you start your new family, just know wherever you go – wherever any of us go – we’ll always have this family (John aside: that’s true). The one we made.” ::Dave farts::

Cue: Follow You Down. No, seriously, Follow You Down started playing in the background.

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Concern: THERE IS A VOICE OVER. I THINK IT’S DAVE? THERE IS A VOICE OVER THAT MIGHT BE DAVE PLAYED OVER A MONTAGE OF WHAT WE’VE SEEN SO FAR AND THE FH BILLBOARD BEING TAKEN DOWN.

“We had such good memories… and to this day, when one of deals with hard times, or one of the many challenges that life puts in front of us, the other ones do whatever they can to help out. You know, it’s pretty incredible after all these years we all remain close and get together often  – like the family we are.”

This actually faded into a pink background and FH graphic.

 

Live Blog: Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs

Let’s be real. This movie has two of my favorite things: The best/worst president of the fake United States and the crazy world of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Call me crazy, but I love learning about insane groups of people like Scientology or cults. Do I have a problem? Maybe. Whatever, I’m LEARNING.

This particular Lifetime movie is based on Stephen Singular’s book When Men Become Gods, documenting FLDS leader/prophet Warren Jeffs’ (played by the great Tony Goldwyn) rise to power following his father’s death. It should be quite interesting watching our beloved POTUS acting as a mentally ill man. Here we go!

M: I  never read the Singular book, but I can definitely recommend Under The Banner Of Heaven if you’re interested in non-fiction works about LDS offshoots. Look, we never pretended to be cool; only interested in things.

T: One second into the movie and there’s already a shirtless Tony Goldwyn. I already know I’m going to have very conflicting feels about this :\

OH GOD IT’S BECAUSE HE WAS NAKED IN BED WITH TWO WOMEN AND ONE OF THEM CALLED HIM “UNCLE WARREN”. AND THEY’RE FLEEING. Well, he’s fleeing. With a gun. So, I mean, that’s a sign of trouble.

Apparently Martin Landau is in this and TBH I thought he had passed away already. Whoops.

The executive producers of this movie are Craig Zadan and Neal Meron who have been producing the Oscars for the past few years, but more importantly, a lot of your favorite movie musicals, including Footloose, Cinderella (with Brandy), Annie (with Kathy Bates), Chicago, Hairspray, and Smash. Clearly they thought the next step was to make a Lifetime movie about the FLDS.

Oh yeah POTUS singing, playing guitar and harmonizing… is that what these people do at their sister wives weddings?

M: I will say, the establishing shots of the rural Southwest really make me want to take a vacation in Arizona or something. The wedding music sounds a LOT like folksy protest music from the late 60s, early 70s. Like hippie stuff but minus the drugs.

T: Martin Landau plays Warren Jeffs’ father Rulon, who litrally said, “Help this old man get to his feet” then proceed to grope the girl who helped him get up.

He proceeded to get married to a young girl, and it total at his death, Rulon had 56 wives.

M: Martin Landau is in the exact same costume and makeup as he was for the Anna Nicole movie. As he feels up a young pioneer-looking girl’s ass, I realize he’s basically playing the same character too. Bet they saved some cash and filmed these movies simultaneously.

T: Basically the FLDS believes that Jeffs was a direct descendant of the big JC and Mormon bigwig Joseph Smith, so he preached that this plural marriages were necessary in order to preserve the “sacred bloodline”.

Rulon also told WJ: “Why don’t you go entertain people with your little guitar” the SHAADEE. WJ didn’t take it well because he went into the bathroom and proceeded to slap himself

M: It was very “Crazy Eyes” from Orange Is The New Black.

T: One of the weirdest things about this sect of the FLDS is that they didn’t go to real school and Warren Jeffs taught the kids, and only taught them from the Book of Mormon. Side note: I bet Tony Goldwyn would be a fantastic teacher.

M: Okay, in the classroom scene a girl is wearing a really unrealistic side-braid. Please, lady. It’s bouffant or nothing. I always wondered if these sects taught all girls to do the big puffy braid as some sort of a right of passage. Or maybe there’s like one lady who’s really good at it, and you’d never want to piss off your sister-wife who did the ~good braids. I bet these women talk shit about sister-wife LaMarvys or Dorcas or whomever whose braids always look flat.

T: True story: When I went to Austin recently, I got there ahead of my friend so I spent some down time in the hotel putzing around. Apparently in Texas they provide you with not only a Bible in the drawer but the LDS bible (The Book of Mormon) as well. I found myself reading it and I got lost within the first few pages. What a snoozefest.

BTW, when we were texting about this movie, Molly said, “The girl from Ramona and Beezus is in this”, because that’s a reference that we both embarrassingly would know her from.

WJ has a heart to heart with Beezus who I’m so afraid will have an inapprops relationship with POTUS :\

M: She’s so grown up! In FLDS circles, I believe that’s what you say before you decide it’s about time for a gal to get married off. In case you’re wondering, Ramona and Beezus is pretty cute. You should watch it. Maybe instead of this, if it’s airing on FX or HBOFamily right now.

T: RULON HAS A GIANT PORTRAIT OF HIMSELF HANGING ABOVE HIS DESK. DO YOU THINK IT’S HIS HEAD SHOT?! DEAD.

M: It’s also of really poor quality. Looks like a paint-by-number. By the way, paint-by-numbers of Rulon Jeffs’ head is one of the few sanctioned hobbies for FLDS ladies. It also passes for art class in their weird Book Of Mormon One-Room Schoolhouse.

T: June 12th is apparently the “Day of Reckoning”, and that entails a lot of candles and Rulon dying because his prophecy of the End of the World didn’t come true.

M: Yeah, there are so many candles and vintage-y dresses and creative braids at the announcement about the Day of Reckoning that it honestly looks like a wedding from Pinterest.

T: Wait so Rulon didn’t originally want WJ to be his successor as prophet? It’s like when *Scandal season 2 spoiler alert* Fitz killed Verna in the hospital bed to keep her quiet about Defiance!

M: As in every board room scene, I totally zone out when they’re meeting in the conference room about the successor. Unfortunately, I also zone out the same way in conference rooms in real life. Ooops. Warren has a chat with Ramona The Pest and she says her second cousin is “mean to her.” Oh shit I smell a forced marriage.

T: After Rulon dies, WJ takes his dad’s glasses and proceeds to wear them throughout the movie. But this guy was legitimately cuckoo, no?

Oh boy a white-haired man spies on WJ and his wives and the rest of the family as they’re burying Rulon – I smell undercover cop.

M: Do they have a pathetic-looking cemetary for religious reasons, or did Lifetime just blow its budget on booking Martin Landau back-to-back? It is a half-step above the elephant graveyard from Lion King.

T: Well, WJ straight up tells the congregation during his eulogy for his dad that he’s the next prophet and all the church elders are all… “WTF”

M: Rulon is one of those names that sounds more and more ridiculous every time you say it in a row. Rulon. Rulon. Rooo-lon. Actually maybe it’s just one of those names that sounds ridiculous.

M: A little girl just told Warren that her dad’s about to make pancakes. F’real? I never got the impression that this was like an “even division of household chores” type community. Although, there’s something to be said for having a lot of backup like the sister-wives do. No wonder they got so pissed when the compound got raided. They had it good. No, they had it GREAT. Every kid having like 20 different moms? What a plum deal. (The reasons that this setup is actually the worst deal ever will be clear soon enough, guys.)

T: Uncle Warren confides in Beezus that he’ll always take care of her… then creepily looks at her through a crack in a door and sees her making out with some other kid… and in a fit of rage/jealousy, he forces her to marry her step-cousin Allen!

WJ: “Your mother tells me you’ve been getting your monthly visitor. That means you’re ready  (to be placed).” #vom

M: Okay, this Menarche Wedding is a billion times worse than that First Moon Party from that commercial that was all over the internet a few weeks ago. Ewww. #RedWedding

T: Beezus is ACTING. And omg this is the worst. Too bad they couldn’t give her a sedative before this ceremony. She’s 14 YEARS OLD!!

M: Ugh okay this is the part – as in almost every Lifetime movie – that I remember that this is based on actual events and feel really horrible for watching it as entertainment. I mean I even feel bad that Quimby had to ACT this because I still feel like she should be playing with her doll Chevrolet, let alone that this for real happens.

WJ: “Go forth multiply and replenish the earth” REPLENISH the earth?? Replenish the earth with humans who are all related to each other and most likely have birth defects?

M: Oh, gross. They’re like the freaking Habsburg monarchs. Also is this horrible wedding (that I can’t even quite watch) happening in a Marriott suite? Or is the FLDS compound just modeled after Holiday Inn-level hotels?

T: WJ’s first wife is inspecting some girls who are getting prepared to be set up with their future husbands. In this process of making sure their horrendous dresses are perfect and not a hair on their head is out of place, she comments to one, “Your braid isn’t tight enough” I mean also your braid isn’t in fashion, but apparently there’s a reason. That reason is for Jesus.

M: I guess this answers my braid question from earlier. We are also treated to the first wife slapping a girl in the face, and the foley artist REALLY gets into the slap sound effect.

T: Rebecca is the Jinger Duggar of the family (in that she wants out immediately, one can assume). Formerly married to Rulon before his death, Rebecca wants to be “obedient” to their marriage contract, and refuses to be placed with another guy. Because she disobeyed the current prophet, WJ, he has her locked up in a trailer to think about what she’s done (?). Rebecca is a real person who escaped the FLDS at 19 and helped the police decipher evidence of child molestation and bigamy found on the ranch WJ and his hundreds of followers live in in Colorado City, Arizona. She has since become an advocate for victims of human trafficking and also wrote a book, called The Witness Wore Red (which you’ll read later why).

In addition to locking a girl up for not wanting to be married off to some guy way older than her, WJ grabs the kid Beezus was making out with and drives him off to the middle of nowhere and leaves him to fend for himself. Great prophet, this Warren Jeffs. On the way back to the compound, he notices the same undercover cop from earlier and then basically harasses him through the window. Then back at the cop’s motel, he discovers an open door and goes into to find a bunch of papers strewn about and basically evidence against WJ. Shit’s going down.

Oh god this is horrible. WJ has three of his wives sitting naked on the bed, while he’s having sex with another one and making her say “I feel god in you” and it’s the most awkward.

M: If I were not live blogging this I would have turned the TV off by now. I’m now remembering that it took me weeks to get through Under The Banner Of Heaven because I kept wanting to put it in the freezer like Joey Tribbiani. To tell the truth, I’m watching this on DVR and fast-forward through the rest of the scene.

T: WJ is not messing around with Rebecca Duggar. He tells her, “I’m going to break you. I’m going to teach you to be an obedient wife” Cue Rebecca Duggar escaping the HEllllll out of there. This remind me of another Lifetime classic, Escape from Polygamy. Miss that one? Don’t worry, I liveblogged that for you too.

M: To focus on the positive, with her normal side braid and white nightgown, Rebecca Duggar looks like a girl from the junior’s section of the JCPenney catalog circa1994.

1991-xx-xx JCPenney Christmas Catalog P156

T: WJ stirs from his slumber after all the sex and has some kind of creepy Spidey sense that something is wrong and goes to check on Rebecca. He sees she’s not in her room, and he yells out, “ONE OF YOU BITCHES LET HER OUT!” What a nutjob.

M: At first I thought that WJ was wearing that special LDS underwear but isn’t that more of a onesie? I guess he’s just wearing a t-shirt and white boxers. By the way I obviously have a huge problem with these weird break-out groups where Ramona Geraldine Quimby marries anyone but Howie Kemp – because I’m a normal human, right? – but nothing against regular LDS folks, here.

T: I just LOLed because WJ slapped the kid who married Beezus after telling him that she wouldn’t have sex with him. He’s all what do I do and he straight up slapped him. Is it wrong that I think this is hilarious?

But then they finally do have sex (obviously they didn’t show it) and it physically makes me want to vomit. Right on Warren Jeffs. Not Tony Goldwyn. Warren Jeffs in jail.

M: I also am getting closer and closer to vomiting as this goes on. I don’t even mean that metaphorically, I mean maybe don’t eat too much before you watch this movie.

T: The cop tells the local news that Warren Jeffs’ compound is much like the Taliban and WJ gets so be mad he legit pulls the tv from the wall and throws it out the window. That’s not exactly how the news works, but okay.

As a result of his furor, WJ attempts to gain “power” back by setting some more rules within the compound. Here are some completely reasonable rules: The color red is forbidden. That means no wearing red or having any objects that are red (a kid’s tricycle is taken away!). Sports are no longer allowed, no media allowed (except radios – and apparently someone had satellite TV before?!), no dancing or music, and probably one of the worst ones: no canines since they’re relatives of the wolf.

THEY ARE PUSHING DOGS INTO A PIT AND SHOOTING THEM WITH SHOTGUNS HOLY SHIT IS PETA AWARE OF THIS WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK.

M: My dog actually started whimpering when the dogs cried, stood up and looked around in concern when they shot them, then came over to me for reassurance. NO WJ. NOW YOU GOT MY DOG UPSET.

T: THESE WIVES ARE GETTING YOUNGER BY THE MINUTE.

WJ HAS A GIANT PORTRAIT OF HIMSELF HANGING ABOVE HIS DESK JUST LIKE HIS DAD.

M: I feel like I’m watching some bizarre combination of The Giver and The Handmaid’s Tale. Reminder: THIS REALLY HAPPENED IN AMERICA. UGH the new wife is an actual baby, like should be shopping at Limited Too (is that still a thing?)

WJ straight up excommunicated a group of men for warning him about the cops being on to him, making them leave their families ASAP.

M: Fun fact: when I was a kid I used to sometimes go to a church where everyone ended up getting excommunicated from the Catholic church. My aunt went there, and she was my Confirmation sponsor, so I’m not sure if I’m still all the way Catholic, technically? Point is, excommunication is about as big as it gets as far as punishments from religious organizations.

T: Wait Beezus was pregnant? And she lost the baby? After that one time? I mean if the girl has a stuffed animal (for herself) in her hospital bed, it’s a sign she’s wayyyyy too young to be having a child.

Someone just used the word “rabble rousers”, which frankly is a word I don’t think is used quite enough. Let’s start that, shall we?

Beezus is out of the hospital and going into the lake to ‘cleanse’ herself, and I thought she was straight up going to drown herself (which obviously is not the way to go, ever, but I would get it). But luckily – Praise BEEZUS – she’s leaving! She followed in Rebecca Duggar’s footsteps and straight up said deuces the compound by stealing a car and driving away.

M: Jeez, Ramona Quimby Age 8 should still be dubbing her dad Nosmo King and accidentally making a crown out of burrs, not running away from forced marriage and child rape, but PRAISE BEEZUS indeed.

T: Eeee another difficult scene to watch. Even with a seemingly naked Tony Goldwyn it’s completely wasted because he’s forcing a group of his wives (like 6 of them?) to basically gang bang this one girl. Also, filming this must have been horrendous too.

M: Fast forwarded. Not sorry. By the way, during the Warren Jeffs trials, audio of these sessions was presented in court and even the transcripts will make you want to simultaneously puke and cry.

Oh look! Surprise visit (B-Roll footage) by Anderson Cooper! More movies need this.

M: There are some very Lilith Fair-sounding vocals going on behind the Cooper footage. Did they tell us how WJ picked which wife to take? It reminds me of visiting my grandparents as a kid and having to decide which stuffed animal to bring. Except, horrible.

T:  THIS MULLET DISGUISE I CAN’T

WJ: “10 Most Wanted List? I’m gonna be bigger than Bin Laden” oooh chile.

M: Oh, so it’s okay when YOU compare yourself to Taliban affiliates, but the news does it ONE TIME and nobody can have TV anymore?

T: He gets caught in Texas while a passenger in a RED CAR eating a salad. This is a true story. the cop asked his name multiple time and he kept eating the damn salad.

M: That is one of the craziest things I’ve seen thus far. Nobody likes salad that much. I actually had the same salad that I brought in my lunch for three days last week, just waiting to finally feel like eating it.

I never ate the salad.

Further proof that Warren Jeffs is not actually even human.

T: The cop just asked the driver if he was carrying a firearm because he could see there was one  in his belt holster – hello you should know better than this. It’s Texas.

“What do we do?” asks the young wife that was chosen to accompany WJ on the run for 2 years.

“Keep sweet,” says WJ.

Apparently “Keep Sweet’ is the mantra for the FLDS.

M: Yep, it’s very much A Thing. And actually “sweet” in general shows up in a lot of fundamentalist Christian circles across the board – like if you read fundamentalist mommy bloggers (even though you are neither a fundamentalist Christian nor a mommy), when they talk about a lady they’ll always call her “sweet [Name].” It is basically what they aim for as a personality trait. NOPE. NOT OKAY. Anyway after I found out about that, my “creepy meter” goes off when a certain kind of person talks about a lady being sweet.

T: So Beezus is back in court testifying against WJ – but where did she go after she fled? Like who did she stay with?

M: I Googled it, and found pictures of Elissa Wall when she got married. She’s such a kid, she looks like season 1-era DJ Tanner.

Tony’s face in trial is so disturbing and looks just like WJ that I’m getting the chills.

AU: Warren Jeffs gets transferred to Litchfield for a day and all the women beat him up then he gets sent to SHU.

Once in prison, the other cell block mates yell at WJ as he walks in, and someone actually says, “You the wife now”! Yeah. you sit there in your cell and think about what you’ve done.

BALD TONY GOLDWYN! BALD TONY GOLDWYN!

All the wives are wearing black now, because he’s in jail. So dramatic.

Uh oh big ol’ WJ is breaking down. He admits he’s not the prophet and never was. What do you do now followers????

WJ attempts to kill himself using his bedsheets to hang himself, and the cellmate across the way sees this and yells to a guard, “The dumbass prophet is trying to off himself!!”

M: They set it up with WJ talking to a successor and it feels like the end of a horror movie when they leave room for a sequel and it’s clear that nobody is safe.

T: At the end, there’s a moment when WJ realizes he still has power inside of jail after a dude comes back to him saying that his 10,000+ congregation will not back down and continue to follow him even if he’s in jail. And I got chills. Tony Goldwyn – you are superb and expertly creepy in this role and I’m gonna need you to star in some kind of rom-com where you play a charming sonofabitch who has hot sex scenes with a beautiful woman okay bye.

 

Live Blog: Escape From Polygamy

Ah, another week another ridiculous Lifetime movie. Now I don’t watch anything on Lifetime to know that this movie even existed, but I was flipping through Entertainment Weekly and this was a featured item on their TV guide. All I read was the title and I knew I had to report on it.

I went in not really knowing anything, but this description per the TV info: “Deeply in love, a young man and woman plan to run away from their polygamous community and its leader.”

Yeah, because that gave me more information than I had before. Anyways, the only name I recognize is Mary McCormack, who played Kate Harper on the later seasons of The West Wing, and is making her polygamy debut as the mom, Leann. The rest are relative unknowns, which I suppose is good, because I always get distracted with that kind of thing, especially in movies such as this (see: Sharknado Live Blog & the dad from Home Alone).

Alright, polygamy. Let’s do this.

Meeting the family

Mary McCormack/Kate and her daughter Julina get picked up on the side of the road by an old guy in a truck – on purpose. He’s MM’s new husband, to which Julina responds, “He’s old.” MM says, “He’s my salvation. The Prophet doesn’t make mistakes.”

Okay, so this is supposed to be like Warren Jeffs, then? Got it.

Warren Jeffs 101

Founder of the  Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church)

Called the ‘President and Prophet’ of the ‘church’. He was the one who assigned the (polygamist) marriages within the community, no matter how old or if they were related

It was reported that Jeffs himself had 70 wives

In 2006, he was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List for fleeing Utah to avoid getting arrested from charges stemming from his alleged arrangement of illegal marriages between the adult males & underage girls in the community.

He was arrested last that year and in 2007, he was charged with 8 more counts, including sexual conduct with minors and incest. He was eventually convicted of 2 counts of rape as an accomplice and sentenced to 10 years to life. But apparently there were incorrect jury instructions so the conviction was overturned.

Buttttt, he was sent to Texas, where he was found guilty of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault of children in a FLDS owned West Texas ranch in 2009. He was sentence to life plus 20 years in prison.

Speaking of The Prophet, we are introduced to him when a whole gang of kids run down a dirt road following another pickup truck (vehicle of choice in the town of Hillcrest?) and they’re all yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!” That’s not creepy at all. What Is creepy is when he introduces himself to Julina and it’s as if he’s eyeing her to be his own wife.

MM officially ties the knot with her old guy husband, in a creepy way which involves dresses that look like Lane Kim’s from Gilmore Girls before Lorelai altered it. What’s even worse is that the guy’s latest wife, so his third, is the one that “gives away” the new wife. Polygamy, y’all.

Julina meets Ryder

Per my research, this movie was actually supposed to be titled Ryder and Julina, but because it’s on Lifetime, it has to be called something that’s juuuust scandalous enough to garner your attention. So Ju goes climbing on this big ass mountain and finds Ryder sitting pensively with his shirt all unbuttoned – a big no no in the community. Obviously. Sparks are flying everywhere and at her mother’s ‘wedding’ the two dance all romantic and kiss in the wedding barn.

I’m starting to think that this is a play on Romeo and Juliet except without you know, all the polygamy. Besides the obvious R(omeo/yder) + J(uliet/ulina) similarity, there was a window involved, frequent flirty glances at each other, etc. etc. Not related to R+J, but they are communicating by cell phone. Like a flip phone with T9. What year is it??? And are they allowed to have cell phones??

After an awkward inappropriate hair touching scene in a church service, we find out that Ryder is The Prophet’s son. Ah, star-crossed lovers if you will. To make matters worse, The Proph tells his Ryder that God told him he’s the next in line to be The Proph but he clearly doesn’t like this news…

The Revelation

In a really unsurprisingly turn of events, creepy Proph tells Ju that God has sent her to Hillcreek for a reason – to be his next wife. FYI she’s like 16.

Obvs, Ju starts to freak out and goes to Ryder for help, but his efforts seem wasted. He goes to confront his dad about this new revelation, and The Proph doesn’t back down (and even slaps his son), telling him that he and Julina are moving down to Mexico to start a new community. Mexico? Really? Because starting a polygamist community in Mexico is exactly what the country needs right now.

The Proposal

Both The Proph and MM are soooo gung ho about this new venture, so much so that Ju’s supposed to get married in ONE WEEK. Listen, you can take all the 200+ family members in this family and still wouldn’t be able to pull that off. I guess under these standards, all you need is a nasty wedding dress and a barn. Are barns like symbolic of something in the polygamist world or something?

Anyways, to try to stop the marriage, Ryder proposes to Ju and she says yes. They then seem to have their ‘wedding’ later that night in the same barn, but pretty sure it’s not legal since there is no officiant and no witnesses. Then they have sex and a bed suddenly appears. Taking a page right out of The Notebook, folks (if that empty house was a barn).

One of Ju’s sisters, Esther, creeps on them in the barn, saying ‘it’s a sin!’ before running away like a little bitch. Loose lips sink ships, Esther.

And a Baby Makes Three (or 20)

Shit’s going down now. The next day, Esther runs to Ju, and while she’s trying to convince her not to tell anyone about her and Ryder, there’s a cut to Esther’s feet and water coming down it. Um, yeah. she’s pregnant (note, Esther is also 16 years old-ish). She says, “The Prophet’s blessed us both now. Once he sees this baby, maybe he’ll take me for his next wife. Don’t tell him I want it to be a surprise.”

what the what??

Esther is legit hemorrhaging because of this baby, and The Proph comes in, says they can’t take her to the hospital. Basically, he’s all save the baby, idec about Esther. Hey how about we address the fact that you committed statutory rape?? Unfortunately his wish came true and Esther dies while her baby girl has to live in this messed up family.

Parenting 101

The Proph takes Ryder on a long ass road trip to the middle of no where and leaves him there because he finds out about Ryder and Ju (thanks, Esther). The Proph tells him that ‘Julina must give birth to a prophet a prophet he’ll never be.’ Yeah, okay that sounds like a great idea.

The Proph drives off to conduct the memorial service for Esther, and has the balls to blame it on someone else. “Help us learn our lesson from this immoral girl and the wicked boy who seduced her into sin.” Aka me. I seduced her into sin. He’s an asshole, basically.

Ju is NOT happy about that and ran the eff out of there. When confronted by The Proph, he tries to kiss her and she pushes him off and runs to her house to pack her bags and leave for good. Except some large men say she attacked The Proph and drag her away to The Proph’s house and won’t let her leave.

Sin City

Meanwhile Ryder is still on his Moses walk through the deserts of Utah, and somehow finds himself in Las Vegas. They filmed this scene as if he’s on an acid trip or something, because honestly it would probably be like that if you went from polygamy country to Sin City.

Earlier in the movie, Ryder shows off this postcard of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign from his friend Micah. So he finds the sign that’s in a “sketchy neighborhood” (in reality it’s on a meridian at the end of The Strip and not sketchy at all), and starts knocking on doors until he finds Micah. Because this is the movies, it’s the third door he knocks on. And also because it’s the movies, this guy is a third rate version of Emile Hirsch and Shane West put together.

Micah had a similar situation in that he didn’t run away from the community, but The Proph got a couple of guys to beat him up and drop him off in the middle of nowhere, and that’s how he got to Las Vegas. Also, Micah might be gay, which I’m assuming is also a big no no in their community. Ok he actually might be a male prostitute after he ‘jokingly’ came on to Ryder and took a line of coke. Not that doing coke and being gay is mutually exclusive.

The Escape (from Polygamy)

Micah agrees to help Ryder by going back to Hillcreek and save Ju from marrying The Proph, despite an outcry from some guy who says he runs an organization for ‘lost boys.’  They head back and Micah is the one who’s gonna sneak in and get Ju. He creeps in and doesn’t see her in her room, because she’s in the corner with her wedding dress bawling her eyes out.

Ju, probably. If should could drink.

MM wants to say goodbye to Ju before The Proph marries her and takes her to Mexico, and after a few stern ‘No’ from him, he finally agrees…

Which is good timing because Ju just ripped a piece of her wedding dress off to hang herself with. MM walks in and sees her lifeless body, and they take her body out and put it in the back of a pickup truck.

Micah sees this, but some of the guys catch him lurking and run after him. They catch him and bring him back to talk to The Proph, who tells his thugs to send him to “the canyon” which is obviously the place where people go to die. Micah escapes yet again but this time he is stopped by old man – the guy Ju’s mom is married to, whose first wife is Micah’s mom. make sense?

Ryder, who knows nothing about Ju yet, hears someone coming to the barn and it’s The Proph who attacks him with a metal bar, telling him it was his fault he didn’t stay away from Ju when he said to and now she’s dead. Just as he’s about to hit him and kill him for good, Ju comes running in – because PLOT TWIST her mom made her fake her death so she could leave the community – and The Proph is all “I thought you were dead” and she was all, “Well Jesus isn’t the only one who can rise from the dead!” (<- not verbatim) She’s about to hit him when old guy shoots him with a gun and Ryder miraculously wakes up. SHAKESPEARE.

The Aftermath

With The Proph dead, old guy turns into the next  Prophet, but he decides to make the community all wholesome again, and only do the polygamy thing. Micah is apparently accepted back into family, essentially giving up his dreams and day job of being a gay prostitute? TBH, I’d rather be a gay prostitute.

MM willingly takes Ju and Ryder to meet the lost boys guy to meet in the middle of the desert so they can live a life together in peace.

Random Thoughts:

“This whole thing’s crazy.” um yes, it is.

“t’s a sin…” “So let me sin again.” Shakespeare? Is that you? I used to watch Romeo + Juliet at least once a week when I was in sixth grade, don’t even play.

The music in this movie is akin to the stuff you would hear in a coffee shop in a small town or like Providence, Rhode Island near all the Brown students. Or if you turned on the Coffee House station on Sirius XM. Or if you put together all the Best Of songs from Zach Braff’s movies.

Liveblog: Anna Nicole

Because if I’m going to watch a Lifetime movie about Anna Nicole Smith, I’m bringing all of you down with me:

  • Before it even starts, the promo features a minor key rendition of Fame (baby remember my name..) and it shouldn’t be hilarious but it is. It sounds like Fame as played by a musical baby toy that needs new batteries.
  • OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. The film opens with Anna Nicole explaining that she is from Mexia Texas. My grandpa was born in Mexia and nobody has ever heard of it, ever. I usually just say “outside of Houston.” Anna Nicole explains that nobody pronounces it right, and she’s probably correct because I forget how you say it already. So… let’s just say that Anna Nicole is from outside of Houston.
  •  I got curious and looked up Mexia. It’s actually a located such that it’s a 1.5 – 2.5 hour drive from Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. If they don’t use that as a selling point yet they probably should.
  • Cut to dead Anna Nicole doing a voiceover while lying on a coroner’s slab. When I was a kid, a girl went missing in my city. In the scariest dream I ever had, she was narrating her death to me from inside a water tank. Then months later they FOUND HER IN REAL LIFE INSIDE A GOD-DAMN WATER TANK. Anyway, narrations by a dead person are my least favorite plot device, thanks to that one.
  • The font for the credits is really atrocious, even by Lifetime standards. It looks like the cover of a Lurlene McDaniel book.

Lurlene McDaniel? All those books about teens dying of cancer in the 80s?

  • NO. NO NO NO. Little A.N. (Vicky Lynne at the time. Vickie Lynn? Vikki Linn?) lovingly traces the cover of a Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe. Then, a Marilyn-esque version of Vickie’s adult self appears to her in the mirror. So if you want to avert tragedy, don’t let you daughter become obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. Maybe show her some Ask Amy vids instead.
  • Note: Little A.N.’s mom is the victim of domestic violence and that probably did a lot more to screw her up than Marilyn-worship, to be serious.
  • Unintentional hilarity from 13-yr-old Anna: “I ain’t gonna have a baby, Mama, I just wanna go bowlin'”. I think we all know where bowling leads…
  • Older teen Anna has a baby. Why do you think they were so fired up about bowling in that number from Grease 2?
  • Anna Nicole is in a strip club applying for work because this is a film based on the song What Would You Do by City High.
  •   Fact without judgment: Mirror Anna is back and each of her boobs is bigger than my head. I’m kind of surprised they’re not those weird 90s boobs? Remember the implants they used to do that were so far apart you could fit a whole third boob in the middle? Maybe that was the point: room for expansion.
  • Fact without judgment part 2: Anna, wearing overalls, practices her pole moves in the park with her toddler son.
  •   Anna is at the plastic surgeon and they ask her to describe her ideal boob size in terms of fruit. I thought the fruit comparison was only for fetuses (your baby is two months along and is the size of a kumquat!). Anna wants bowling ball-sized tatas, and makes it rain on the plastic surgeon’s desk. Dolla dolla bills.
  •   I seriously cannot and will not judge stripper Anna. She’s buying a house with lots of rooms and a pool. I  have nowhere near that kind of cash yet. Way to go, Vickie.
  •   It’s only been 15 minutes and I’m already bored out of my mind.
  • Anna gives a Lifetime-movie-quality lap dance.  So I’m not a man, and maybe that’s why, but I have so much trouble understanding the appeal of a lap dance. It seems like it would be more frustrating than anything? Like someone walking in with a big box of pizza then being like here, you can hold this slice of pizza for 5 minutes, then I’m taking it away. What is the point?
  • I want some pizza.
  • Somebody PLEASE make a .gif of Anna’s old man future husband’s face while she’s stripping? He’s smiling so wide and big-eyed that he looks like a Muppet.

    Anna and Paw Paw Marshall IRL. My stomach hurts from this pairing and my head hurts from Anna’s dress, which was part of a short-lived fashion line from the publishers of Magic Eye.

  •   Anna’s future husband is that particularly gross kind of old man. He looks like he was created by culturing a scab from one gross old man’s skin in a petri dish until it generated a whole new, crusty person.
  • Old Man Marshall bequeaths Anna his ranch provided she “be intimate.” Aw, Jesus. This whole thing is the worst already. Also that contract is not at all legally binding. Meretricious services are not valid consideration!
  •   Anna and Old Man Marshall seem happy with each other in a weird way, so whatever, if it works it works. I just keep getting skeeved out though. Was J. Howard Marshall a sketchball in real life or is this something Lifetime is doing? As usual, Martin Landau is excellent, though. His skin looks like paper you found in a sewer drain then left in the sun to dry up.
  •   Someone scary offers Anna Nicole some drugs. It plays out like those drug offers we always saw in school videos from the ’90s. Only thing I’m surprised at is the drugs don’t look more like candy. Those videos always made drugs look like delicious candy, and I always thought well, who would say not to that?

    Also kids, if you do drugs then all of your favorite cartoon characters will come hang out with you!

  •   Anna Nicole’s star is on the rise — but if you want to see a really good “star on the rise” montage, you should watch Evita instead.
  • Anna Nicole is giving out Nascar trophies which in certain circles probably denotes success.
  • A crowd starts cheering on a drunk Anna, who flashes them, and I start to feel horribly uncomfortable. Not to leave you hanging, but I might not make it through the liveblog. Then the child actor playing her son Danny confronts Anna Nicole about her drug use, and I really consider turning the movie off. So we used Anna Nicole’s struggles as entertainment when she was alive and now we’re doing it when she’s dead. This is just rotten.
  •   Anna Nicole marries Old Man Marshall. Oddly, the scenes of her dancing with him are the saddest thing yet. Thanks to early poverty and drug addiction, it was Anna Nicole’s best option at the time.  I truly didn’t expect to get so bummed out by this whole thing, I’m sorry.

    And it was every bit as depressing in real life, too.

  • Anna is hovering her boobs at her dying old husband’s face. He says “is that you, mother?” I laugh and I laugh.
  • Did Anna and Danny really do a terrible, off-key rendition of Amazing Grace at Old Man Marshall’s funeral with her in her wedding dress? I assume yes because that detail is too wacky to make up. I bet J. Howard was so happy he was already dead for that.
  • Yes! We’re at the part where Anna Nicole has an E! Reality Show. This is what I was waiting for. I probably could have just found some old episodes on YouTube instead of watching this.
  • Remember Juicy tracksuits you guys?
  •   My favorite thing about the Anna Nicole  franchise – other than hating on the scary, scary weight loss drugs she shilled – was her show’s theme song. Anna Anna Fabulous Anna… I’m assuming Lifetime didn’t get clearance to use it.
  •   Adult A.N. sees Kid A.N. in the mirror. Never before have I seen a TV movie that owed so much to the sleepover game Bloody Mary.
  • The guy they got to play Howard K. Stern (Adam Goldberg) really does look like him. As an aside, Anna Nicole Smith is played by Agnes Bruckner, who I’m not at all familiar with. She’s not half bad, though. In other casting news, Cary Elwes plays Old Man Marshall’s son.
  • Yes! The “trim spa baby!” commercial is on. Ugh, 2006.
  •   Anna Nicole’s mom LOVES wearing robes. Love love loves it.
  • Anna wants to “make a baby” with Howard. Well you BETTER GET BOWLING, woman! Do you all remember the big Dannielynn paternity debacle? I think Larry Birkhead is the better sperm donor, overall. Looks-wise, I mean.
  • I love the Larry Birkhead wig Lifetime has. Needs a few more highlights, though. Howard listens to Larry and Anna having sex through the wall but the only thing I can pay attention to is Howard’s GIANT laptop. Were laptops really that big in 2007?
  •   In one of my favorite cross-sections of American life, not only did the Supreme Court consider Anna Nicole’s claim against “Paw Paw’s” estate, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion. RUTH! There was a procedural hot-damn-mess for years after, BTW. SCOTUS revisited the case in 2011 and Roberts wrote the sassiest opinion!
  •   Danny says “wake up and smell the flowers, Mom!” Wow. It’s been a minute since I’ve heard that phrase. Actually, isn’t it “smell the roses?” Or am I thinking of “stop and smell the roses?”
  • Iconic Anna moment: Anna is painted like a scary clown, cuddles a doll as though it is a real child, and dismisses her pregnancy as “just gas.” God, don’t you remember being so terrified when you saw that video? Only watch this if you are in the mood to get really, horribly angry at the people who surrounded Anna. Except Riley. Riley tried, bless her little heart.
  •   Danny has a trucker hat on. Nice nod to mid-2000s authenticity.
  • Two people have to die in the next nine minutes.
  • Anna Nicole says she’s naming the baby Dannielynn. I thought she named it something else then changed it after her son died? I can really distinctly remember reading a gossip magazine on an elliptical in my college gym and learning that little fact.
  • Now Anna blames her mom for not letting her go bowling, so I guess I read that one wrong. Bowling is maybe really good birth control? Actually that sounds about right, yeah.
  • RIP Vickie Lynn. If this Lifetime movie tells us one thing, it’s that you never had a shot. And for the last two hours, really, neither did we.