The latest in a long line of dating show cast-offs, Frank the Entertainer now has his own dating show. Upgraded from being just “The Entertainer” to “Frank the Entertainer,” the 31-year-old who still lives at home in his parents’ basement has 15 ladies vying for the opportunity to pry Cinderfella from his cellar dweller digs to live with them and pick him up as a boyfriend.
The show kicks off with a voiceover about how “New Yorkers are born independent and ready to take over the world,” which jump-cuts to Franks’ parents yelling at him about leaving his undies in the kitchen. All of Mama Susan’s squawking after “Fraaaaaaaank!!!” seems a bit forced for the camera, particularly when you stop to think about what exactly would a grown man be doing with a pair of drawers in the kitchen. Using them as a potholder? Twirling them around his finger while debating a second helping of linguini?
After hearing about Frank’s tighty-whities (although, I think they could have been boxers. The aforementioned drawers were not shown on camera), Frank’s parents, Gary and Susan talk about all of their other successful kids and their professions. Their progeny include an attorney, Special Ed teacher, Masters Degree candidate, and a few others with stellar jobs and homes of their own. Frank is the only one who’s camping out in their basement and on the occassion he actually is employed, can only write “Reality Show Contestant” in the occupation slot on his tax forms.
From there, we’re given a tour of Frank’s basement. Truth be told, it’s a pretty sweet bachelor The bed is a full-sized bed, which is pretty normal for a single dude. For a guy who leaves his underwear in the kitchen, the finished basement is actually quite sparkingly clean. After the mini-tour, Frank divulges the details of his life as a perennial runner up on VH1’s reality TV shows. He got his start on I Love New York’s second season and had thought that Tiffany Pollard — AKA — New York, was his meal ticket out of the basement. After Mama Susan and Sister Patterson (New York’s mother) got into it, Tiffany dubbed him a “loser” who lives with his parents and gave him the boot. Some footage of his time on I Love New York and two seasons as a losing contestant on I Love Money are shown, as was Frank’s failed plan to use winnings from I Love Money to move out of his parents’ basement.
Now, VH1 gifted him with his own reality show and he’s going to try to find a hot, spicy ticket out of his parents’ house with a lady of his own to mooch off of! Awesome! The only hitch is, instead of being given a mansion like the ones Brett Michaels and Flavor Flav have hosted their hoes in, Franks chicks have to come to the Maresca family home… And not just win his heart, but the approval of his parents. Oh, schnap!!
We’re shown the Maresca’s home as the 15 contestants start arriving. Screw the mansion, The Entertainer’s parents have some pretty sweet digs. No wonder why he doesn’t want to leave home!
As Frank’s parents’ introduce themselves to the ladies, they erupt into cheers when Frank walks in. He’s giddy at the prospect that there are 15 chicks in the house and hes stoked they’re all there for him. This must be what Tommy Lee feels like backstage after a Crue show. Meanwhile, Susan and Gary bring it back to reality and tell the girls that while they’re under their roof, they will be treated like family and will be expected to respect them in the same way. (This will probably be pretty difficult for a few of them.)
The main “challenge” (which isn’t much of a challenge at all) this ep is for each of the girls to take a photo with Frank and his parents, giving them an opportunity to get to know one another better and see how they “fit in” with the Fam. But first, they have to choose their rooms and roommates.
Since this isn’t a mansion, the girls get to cram into their choice of several Maresca family members’ rooms. First among the choices are Grandma’s Catholic-themed bedroom with all sorts of statues of the Blessed Mother, Jesus, and photos of more saints than you can shake an unemployment check at. (This is not the room that a chronic masturbator would want to take up.) In what seems to be an odd fit, Melissa, overly tanned and kind of chunky and possessed of a mad desire to touch Frank’s pecs and let him touch hers, gets the Jesus Room. During the photo session, she remarks about how buff Frank is. Her willingness to hang out in the Jesus Room totally blinds the Marescas to any of Minnesota Melissa’s perv tendencies and Gary and Susan single her out as one of their favorites.
Then there’s the boys’ room, which seems to have not been updated since the late ’90s and has bunk beds and a baseball theme. Actually, it’s more of a Little League theme than strictly baseball. It’s in the Little League room that we’re introduced to the girl who will probably be the House Victim, poor, unfortunate Annie. Annie has several things working against her: An annoyingly squeaky voice like Frenchie from Grease; a huge honker; and a hideous sense of fashion which includes a neon pink half-shirt and ’90s floral spandex pants so awful, Peg Bundy would turn her nose up at them. We later find out that she’s a “video artist,” although what the hell a “video artist” actually is, is never explained. Frank and his parents admit that she doesn’t seem like his “type,” but she’s sweet.
Seems like Annie’s a bit too sweet since already the rest of the girls have marked her as a scapegoat. Felicia, who is gorgeous and sort of a bad ass, chucks Annie’s bag off of one of the beds in the Little League room and claims it for herself. Meee-ow!! It’s later revealed that Felicia is 100% Italian and working on her MBA, both of which earn her mega-points with the Marescas.
Meanwhile, Room #3 is bubblegum pink and loaded with bunk beds, having once belonged to the Maresca’s daughters. Among the inhabitants of Planet Pink are Kerry S. (a self-proclaimed “girly-girl” who has had a crush on Frank since I Love New York) and her best friend from back home, Cathy. This could make for interesting alliances down the line. Cathy is one of the more attractive girls in the house, however, her drawback is that she’s a chatterbox. Both Kerry S. and Chatty Cathy are favorites of Frank and Susan, particularly Kerry. She’s 23, works at a gym and as a promo girl and loves spooning. Even though they think she’s a bit young, the Marescas like her since she comes off as rather sincere. Cathy, is deemed a nice girl, but she talks waaaay too much.
During the photo shoot, we’re introduced to the rest of the girls in the house. Some are pretty hum-drum and indistinguishable from the rest of the pack, but there are certainly a few standouts.
Jenny, a strikingly beautiful African American girl really catches Frank’s eye. He all but bulldozes over Christi (who we learn is all about “family values”) when the two of them hang out with him during some quality time at his basement bar. He forgets Christi’s name but remembers the minutia of everything Jenny said during their meeting with his parents. She’s a bartender whose father owns a government contracting agency. (Which is a nice way of saying she’s a trust fund baby, albeit a hot trust fund baby.) She grills him as to whether or not he’s ever been with a black girl before and Frank says the only one was Tiffany. Jenny seems mighty pleased and already a tad possessive of Frank as her new boy toy.
Some of the other girls we’re introduced to are dippy motormouth Jessica who Susan remarks says “definitely” way too much. The jury is out whether or not Jessica is definitely retarded.
Then there’s Melody, an attractive Nashville restaurant manager who is 35. Frank balks at the age thing, considering Melody a bit too old since he wants to have kids. It’s just as well since Melody seems a bit stuck up.
The series also seems to have its potential villainess/object of hatred in Mandy. Mandy is a 30 year old with a Fran Dresher accent who, like Frank, lives at home. This is a huge red flag to the parents. Frank finds her to be incredibly hot but draws ire from Susan who doesn’t like it when Mandy comments that they would be lucky to have her as a part of their family. During the photo shoot, she whispers to Frank that she “has a surprise” for him and wants to show it to him later. We never find out what said “surprise” is, but Frank mentions it to his parents. Gary makes an awesomely offhanded remark and says “The surprise is she’s 40.” (I’m with Papa Gary on this one. Mandy is kind of a hard looking 30.)
Fran-dy Mandy tries to save face by cleaning up and sucking up, putting away leftovers after the party and wiping down the kitchen like it had just been quarantined. Susan sees through it and thinks that she’s a phony and tries too hard… And is usually the type of girl Frank winds up with. Mama Maresca tells Frank just how much she can’t stand Mandy, which she knows will almost guarantee that he picks her as one of the ladies to stay.
Before elimination, we’re introduced to the rest of the girls in the house:
Tammy, a petite, blonde Asian chick who likes to cook strange food and comes off as dumb as a bag of hammers. Not as dumb as Jessica, but still won’t be getting her MENSA card anytime soon.
Dana, who has a husky voice, and while attractive, could pass as a hot drag queen. Frank takes quite a liking to Dana.
Kari M., button cute and sweet… Who Frank has zero interest in.
“Relationship-oriented” Renee who has been engaged twice. Her first 8-year relationship ended and then her second fiancé dumped her for two lesbians. Renee could already “feel the connection” with Frank, although I doubt he’ll end up being Failed Fiancé #3.
Stephanie, a model who trips over her words and reinforces the ditzy model stereotype. She shows up with a shirt with “Entertainer” emblazoned across the front of it. Frank grills her as to her motives for being on the show since she drops that she had never saw him on TV but thinks they have so much in common. Frank thinks Stephanie got the gig on the show through her modeling agency and is using A Basement Affiair to further her career…. And if there’s anyone who’s going to have their career fueled by this show, damn skippy it’s gonna be Frank!
After discussing the choices with his parents, elimination time rolls around. Frank informs the girls that there are 11 beds in the house, but 13 can stay if two girls hang out in Grandma’s bed and one takes the pull-out couch. He also tells them that the preferred item of choice symbolizing the girls’ getting to stay is a key on a necklace. Apparently, the key to Frank’s heart equals the key to his basement door. (Wonder if he’ll be changing the locks after this show?)
Jenny gets the first key and it’s clear Frank has the mega-hots for her.
After he runs through the ranks of the girls, it’s down to three ladies for the last key: Opportunistic model Stephanie; sweet, adorable Kari M.; and Fran Dresher/Leah Remini-hybrid Mandy. As you can probably figure out, Kari M. gets put into the Friends Zone and asked to leave. Frank tells Stephanie she’s beautiful but he’s skeptical of her and she walks. Which means, much to Mama Maresca’s chagrin, Mandy survives another week in the Maresca home, despite her efforts to steer her son clear of her.
This was just a set-up episode to familiarize everyone with Frank, his parents and the girls. Frank comes across as a likeable guy, if a little dense. The parents are a hoot and there’s bound to be a Mama Maresca/Mandy throw-down at some point. Judging by the preview clips for the rest of the season, things look like they will get more interesting with more challenging “challenges” to the girls including a whole house full of Frank Jr.’s and naughty baseball.
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