This week’s episode of Total Divas should have come with a trigger warning for anyone whose actual real-life job at one point included watching every single episode of basically an entire season of Dancing With the Stars and writing lengthy recaps chronicling the progress of former Alaska first daughter Bristol Palin during her unlikely run as a Mirror Ball Trophy contender.
Which is possibly just me.
Why? Because the action this week swings largely on whether neck-injuired, sidelined, undrafted (but still fearless!) Nikki Bella will accept an offer to compete on Dancing With the Stars.
At a conclave over lunch, the entire Family Bella (minus new stepdad John Laurinaitis and frowny-faced social conscience Bryan Daniel Bryan Danielson, both of whom are presumably on the road without time to mull career moves over early cocktails) is supportive of DWTS as a “huge” “career” “opportunity.” Which, obviously yes, just ask Bristol Palin, who now works at a doctor’s office next to the Starbucks by my parents’ house and Instagrams paid posts for diet tea on the side.
In Nikki’s mind, she can do DWTS even after returning to the ring and its punishing travel schedule, which is BANANAS because, as I know from watching almost an entire season of the show and writing recaps much like this one, Dancing With the Stars airs nine days a week for about eleventy hours at a time during its season, for a grand total of approximately twelveteen zillion hours of broadcast or sixty cases of wine, whichever comes first.
It is John Cena, as usual, who lowers the boom as the voice of reason:
“You can’t,” he says, simply, before allowing how he’s “a guy that likes to try to split atoms,” but even he turned down a show on Fox because if he got injured there he’d be out of the ring and vice versa.
And so it came to pass that Nikki horribly disappointed her agent and saved me from having to go back to Dancing With the Stars because I WILL NOT DO THAT RICH AND JOE, DO YOU HEAR ME. I WILL NOT GO BACK THERE.
Also this week, Lana and Rusev got married again. This is one of two actually recycled plots on this week’s episode of Total Divas; there’s another one that involves Eva Marie and her dad, who is still getting old, still has health problems, and still as not-dead and not-dying as ever. This is a well to which Total Divas has been returning basically once every season since its inception, and all you really need to know is Eva’s dad is still keepin’ it real and she’s still trying to make him live forever, except now her brother also has a baby.
Back to Bulgaria, where Lana has been joined by Natalya and the Jon Fatus for her second wedding to “a-rRussiv.” The first wedding was a Malibu beach affair officiated by Lana’s dad. This time they’re doing things the traditional Bulgarian way, which starts to be a problem after Lana agrees to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox church and her ceremony turns into a bit of a meltdown when, instead of the sprinkling of water and oil Rusev had promised, Lana gets doused repeatedly and has to offer up a trimming of her hair on the spot.
Her ensuing freakout raises one critical question for me, which is: Why would anyone, especially someone who grew up in a religious home, enter into a rite of initiation into any religion without finding out what would be involved? Like, does your phone not have Google on it?
Many arguments later, Nattie steps in as the voice of reason and convinces Lana to chill the eff out and just go with it, which she kick-starts by making her yell “I surrender!” off her hotel balcony.
We’re then treated to a number of charming Bulgarian wedding traditions, although the cameras catch some side-eye between servers at the reception that makes me wonder just how many Bulgarian weddings actually look so very much like a scene from the It’s a Small World ride.
Worth it, though, for the scenes of Jon Fatu absorbing Bulgarian culture (at one point he stares blankly at a cab driver who has been talking in rapid Bulgarian mixed with heavily accented English and then asks, “You from here?”). When “The Usos Go To Europe” spins off from Total Divas, sign me up. 10/10 will watch.