Revisiting Reality Shows: My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding

Twice this past month, I’ve gotten a notification from the fine folks at WordPress that my “stats were booming,” ie: a significant spike in visitors. By like, 400 percent.

Since I have been pretty sporadic about posting lately, I found that a bit odd and did some digging.

And what I found out is that it’s the gypsies that are doing it.

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The post that attracted hundreds of new visitors to the site for several days in July and August was this one from 2012: Reality TV Time: I Cannot Tear My Eye-Nipples Away from My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.

Now, I’d like to think it’s that snazzy title with the incredibly SEO-friendly phrase “Eye-Nipples” that has led to all this PoeLog discovery. However, I think it’s probably much more likely tied to the fact that a season FIVE (??? Is that right? How can that be??) of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding recently started up on July 17 on TLC, formerly “The Learning Channel” but which I rather affectionately call “Total Loose Cannons.”

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I have to admit, I have not kept up with my white-trash cousins, the American Romanichal. Somehow, over the years, I’ve lost touch on all the comings and goings of wee little gypsy Priscilla (she’s now a professional wrestler!) and her ne’er-do-well pappy Pat Baby (not surprisingly, he did some time at what Teresa Guidice would call “camp”). I have missed out on probably hundreds of gaudy yet spectacular Sondra Celli dresses made for under-aged brides with more makeup (and disposable cash) than common sense.

But, with the Olympic-sized absence of Bravo-sponsored reality TV in my life last week, I decided to pour myself a goblet of wine, don my best butt-bedazzled velour house pants, and give my blog readers what they want: like an 80-pound gypsy bride in an 80-pound dress, I carefully maneuvered my way back into My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, ie: I watched the first two episodes OnDemand.

And wow, how I have missed this show. All of the essential trainwreck elements are still there: tangled family triangles (as well as quadrangles and any other geometric configuration you can think of), young girls with big dress dreams and impossible requests, young men who eskew normal wedding attire, fights – both the internal struggles against expected societal norms and actual drunken brawls. And divorce. Lots and lots of divorces, especially for a cultural group who insist that divorce is incredibly shameful and not an option.

Episode one (“Rotting Dresses and Candy Messes”) of this season involved two supposedly “nontraditional gypsy girls.” Eighteen-year-old Maquayla, has several jobs, including, alarmingly, as a makeup artist. Her would-be groom, however, has zero jobs. Maquayla, full of love in her heart, still intends to marry him and she wants a Sondra Celli dress made of real flowers.

Now, Sondra’s magical dress workshop is located near Boston. Maquayla lives in West Virginia. No way a dress made of perishable items is going to survive the 500-mile journey two days before the wedding. And, surprise, it does not. When the supposedly “refrigerated” truck pulls up in front of what looks to be the Days Inn, I can tell right away that that truck is not refrigerated and second, that that dress was not transported with love and care. The door opens to reveal a sad, wilted flower salad of a dress.

Maquayla calls Sondra Celli crying and Sondra Celli jumps into action, flying down to West Virginia with only one assistant and rebuilds the entire dress with only moments to spare. The wedding takes place in a literal field with cows and pigs in attendance. The groom and his groomsmen are wearing vests, ties, trucker hats and no shirts. Oh, and Maquayla tells us and her groom that she’s pregnant. So much for non-traditional.

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Our other non-traditional gypsy girl is Yazzie and she’s celebrating her Sweet 16. The reason she’s non-traditional is that she’s secretly dating a gorger (a boy who is not a gypsy). His name is Anthony and it’s all really rather boring except for the fact that when Yazzie decides to honor her mother and her culture by breaking up with Gorger Anthony, she does it at a park. Then she skates off dramatically on a giant skateboard. It was pretty fantastic.

Favorite lines from episode 1:

  • “Everything was dead….my dream wedding dress was dead. And my dream gypsy flower wedding died with it.”–Maquayla
  • “My eyes wanted to cry and my stomach fell into my butt, but he was the picture of perfection.”—Maquayla
  • “I’ve never lost a dress and I’m not going to lose this one!”—Sondra Celli

Episode 2 (“Double Wedding From Hell”) cleared up for me why I had had so many visitors to that particular blog post—it was a catch-up with our old friends, Priscilla and Pat Baby.

We discover that Priscilla Kelly is now 18-years-old and is now a professional wrestler in Atlanta. She must be doing alright because she’s throwing herself a big, gypsy birthday party. But she’s torn on whether to invite her father, Pat Baby. Priscilla’s parents are recently divorced and cannot stand each other. Plus, Pat Baby has a way of acting out and she’s worried he’ll turn it into a “Pat Baby party,” which he totally does. He’s also pretty fond of embarrassing her in public, including at her wrestling matches where he becomes a creepy superfan.

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She does not invite Pat Baby and makes it clear that he is not invited. However, he somehow takes this as an invitation to just show up anyway. And he gets drunk, hangs all over his daughter, yells at his ex-wife, tries to take over the DJ tables and gets kicked out.

Our other story is, believe it or not, even more unbelievably disastrous. Cousins Stefanie, 19, and Amber-Lynn, 22, are in love with gypsy boys, Mike and Dustin and plan to have a double wedding. The only problem is, Stefanie’s sister, Chassity. She also happens to be Dustin’s ex and has a child with him. When we first meet her, she’s practicing her bb-gun skills, so we know she is no joke.

Chassity objects to the upcoming Amber-Lynn/Dustin wedding and along with her mother (Amber-Lynn’s aunt), vows to ruin the big day. She tries to break up the in-love couple, making it clear that she’s available and forgiving. When that doesn’t work, Chassity and her mother don black garb and attend the wedding, glaring at the couple throughout the brief ceremony and through the ghetto reception.

The reception is where things really start to unravel. Amber-Lynn’s ex-husband shows up to declare his love for her. Although Amber-Lynn kicks him out, her new groom believes there is more there. He calls her a whore, pushes a pregnant girl, gets in an all-out fight with all the other attendees, and the cops show up to break the reception up. The episode ends with the news that Amber-Lynn has gone back to her ex-husband.

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Favorite lines from episode 2:

  • “Nobody puts Pat Baby in a corner.”—Pat Baby
  • “My theme is 1920s Great Gatsby meets rave with a touch of gypsy bling.”—Priscilla
  • “She has no butt, no boobs. You’re going to get bored.”—Chassity
  • “Definitely curse this fucking wedding.”—Chassity

 

 

 

 

 

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