Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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‘A Desert Dilemma’: Bellas, Fellas and a house of Dilemmas

The Bellas have been a little quiet on the reality TV scene lately. But, with the announcement of Nikki Bella being on Dancing With The Stars and the premiere of Total Bellas season two, that’s all changed!

In the premiere of the second season, we see three storylines force the Bella family to deal with some of their biggest issues yet. Three couples, three issues, and one big, messy (but happy) family. Let’s get into the season two premiere!

John Cena & Nikki Bella (feat. Brie Bella): 

John Cena and Nikki Bella go out on a dinner date, and Nikki quickly tells us how proud she is of her comeback to the ring. We then see the couple discuss Birdie Bee. Ah, time to remind fans that the Bellas started a clothing line, and it’s coming soon! However, it’s mentioned for a much more valid reason! Bella tells Cena that as the clothing line is based in Phoenix, Arizona – as well as the fact that Brie Bella is pregnant in the same city – that the two should spend their off days there. On the confessional we see Nikki reference how Brie, Daniel Bryan and the rest of the Bella gang moved to Tampa, Florida to take care of her and Cena during their injury period. So, it’s only fair that they help back – and it’s the right thing to do, of course. Luckily for our Nena shipping hearts, Cena says he’ll look into it. But according to Nikki, they’re “moving to Phoenix”. Nikki also tells us that the communication in the relationship is so “on point”. I’m not quite sure I’d use those terms, but we’ll see how this pans out.

Later on the duo are viewing a villa in Phoenix for lease and it’s pretty clear that Nikki is all for it. But unfortunately, John doesn’t quite share the excitement. Yikes, the miscommunication is already falling in…

John is soon seen talking to his trainer buddy, and some important info is being dished! We find out that Cena isn’t too fond of the moving situation as his schedule is far too packed. With the upcoming Kid’s Choice Awards hosting gig, release of a new film as well as shooting another movie – all within the upcoming months. Ah, so maybe he isn’t being a Negative Nancy just for the sake of it after all!

We’re taken back to Nikki and John’s house and the truth finally comes out. John tells Nikki that he unfortunately can’t work six jobs at once whilst taking care of Brie and Bryan, so the move-in has been cancelled. Fortunately for our Nena loving hearts, Nikki is okay with the dilemma, except she’s a little concerned for Brie’s reaction. And something tells me that she is not going to be happy about it…  But before they get onto that, the couple decide what Brie’s child (as well as JJ Garcia’s child) will call John. And with John’s love for Chinese culture, they decide to have the children call him “Sh?shu”, which means “Uncle” in Japanese!

So now let’s head to the family dinner! Unfortunately Daniel Bryan can’t make it, but the rest of them do!

Dinner is almost immediately awkward as John announces his situation of not being able to show up for Brie and Bryan. And, as expected, Brie is not happy with it. She feels hurt as John is supposed to be “Sh?shu” and is already not pulling his weight. So, she takes Nikki away to have a talk. Brie expresses how she is “pissed off” that John is “never in the picture” in terms of family – and Nikki is not having it. She says that she is like John’s “wife”, and Brie immediately tells her that she isn’t his wife. Ouch. Cue Nikki’s storm out of the situation.

When the women return, Brie and John go right at it. Brie tells the group that Cena needs to “prove” how he is an Uncle to the family, and he has yet to do that. Defending himself, Cena asks about the whereabouts of Bryan, whom is also not present. He then explains his huge workload, and despite Brie understanding it, she still isn’t happy about it.

The next day, Brie expresses how she had every right to be upset, but feels bad about how “exaggerated” she reacted. Nikki does make it clear that she will be making a huge effort to be present in Phoenix, so the mother-to-be isn’t too unhappy anymore. All is now good in the world of the Bellas… kind of.

The family then have dinner at a later date, and Nikki surprises the group with a Cena – right in the middle of his schedule. We find out that Cena will now be spending time with his family whenever he has 12 hours free. What a keeper!

Brie soon tells him that she can’t wait for her child to meet “Uncle Sh?shu” … We’ve come so far!

Brie Bella & Daniel Bryan:

Our first sighting of Brie is when she is getting a professional mould of her pregnancy belly. With Nikki, Kathy Colace and Lauren Garcia by her side, the girls all have a bit of fun preparing for the moment. Somehow Brie convinces Nikki to do the same. But anyway, we soon see Bryan walk in with a mullet wig – so the competition on who looks the weirdest is fierce, but I think Bryan beats a plastered, naked and mould covered Brie. The conversation quickly moves to a naked pregnancy shoot, which Bryan feels uncomfortable with. He openly states that he’s okay with the photos being taken, but only if it’s kept between the two of them. Which, when we’re watching this play out at home… may not seem like it’s falling in his direction. And when Brie goes to SmackDown Live for the day, some of the women backstage – like Renee Young – are completely on her side. Poor Bryan!

Brie soon decides to go forward with the plan because of the incident with her brother & sister-in-law (more on that below). But to make sure that her relationship doesn’t end up like theirs, she invites Bryan along to the shoot. Thoughtful, I think. Well, at least Brie looks stunning as ever in the shoot… Oh, and Bryan’s here. Nice! Daniel speaks in the confessional about how he would wish he could keep some parts of his life private. And although he poses with a naked Brie in front of the camera, he’s still not okay with it. But by the end, he seems kind of okay with it.

A little while later we catch up with Brie and Bryan as the photos arrive at their house. Brie is completely in love with the photos, and Bryan finally comes to accept that she can do what she wants with them. Ah, the power of love!

At a dinner during the end of the episode, John asks the couple what they’re most looking forward to doing as parents. Both of their answers revolve around the feeling of “unconditional” love, and the change in emotions when their child-to-be is finally born.

JJ & Lauren Garcia

Brie visits JJ and Lauren (AKA Lola) so that she can see Lola’s maternity photos. The photos are lovely, but JJ raises a point. He states that every time Lola does something “just for them,” she also shares it online. He states how she once made a gift for him, and it ended up on her Instagram page. And although Brie defends her sister-in-law by bringing up her life as a blogger, JJ is still angry. Trouble has risen in paradise.

JJ and Nikki soon meet up for a lunch date and the topic quickly moves on to his relationship with Lauren. Garcia tells his sister that he had to move out for a little while – and Nikki is unsurprisingly taken aback. His baby is 3 months old! Although he tells his sister about the issue, he tells her that she can’t tell anyone. Aaaand he’s moving in with her for a little bit. It’s a whole mess Nikki was not prepared for!

As the family arrive at San Diego for a family gathering, JJ realizes that he’s left his child, Vivian’s, stroller back home. So, like the good father he is, he takes a half an hour drive back to collect it – and another half hour drive to take it to the airport. It’s fair to say that he isn’t too pleased. And whilst the family ordered food on his behalf, he returns to eat it and refuses to have a conversation with them – despite his wife’s best efforts. In a confessional we hear Lola discuss how difficult their marriage is at the moment, but keeping it between them seems to be the decision they’ve gone with. Yeah, tell that to JJ and Nikki…

The couple are soon seen taking care of Vivivan, and although they put on a smile to keep the baby happy, the awkwardness is way too real…

During the final scene of the episode, JJ expresses how his biggest fear as a parent is being a bad one. And although he shares his insecurity, he expresses how great of a parent Lola is. Awww!

Thoughts: Well, that was a wild ride. Where do we start?

Firstly, it’s really nice to see how well all three storylines intertwined – I mean, if you excuse the trouble I had with deciding where to recap each bit in the above captions. But let’s ignore that!

Each story played a significant part, and although some were more important than others, it’s nice to see them all tie in together. The Bella family are all dealing with their own relationship issues, and the show found a way to bring that all into one scenario. So, it was pretty easy to watch as although there was a lot of drama, it all kind of felt as though it was just one issue that went on for the entire episode. And when you sit down to watch reality TV, you kind of just want to relax whilst meddling in other people’s lives. Hence, having a three in one storyline being the perfect option – especially when we’re returning after what felt like an eternity!

The JJ & Lauren stuff is something I really appreciate about this programme. On Total Divas we hear about them every so often, but they never get the spotlight. However on this spin-off, we see a more humane side to them. We see that their life isn’t just peaches and rainbows or standing around reacting to Nikki and Brie’s drama. These two have a life, and it’s interesting. It may not be the reason we tune in, but it keeps us entertained.

Brie and John’s argument was something that was necessary since the series began. During the first season, it was always somewhat noticeable that the two had some awkward tension between them. Maybe they never spoke a lot, maybe they disagreed a lot, or maybe they just didn’t care about the other enough. Well, this episode kind of confirms that it’s the second option – and definitely not the latter. Brie wants John to be a part of her child’s life. Obviously her preference is Nikki – hence the rise in happiness when her sister says that she’ll make an effort – but the clear upset in her reaction when Cena says that he won’t be able to live with them is more than telling. The two probably argue a lot behind the scenes, and seeing them reconnect on TV was something we needed to see. This is a relationship that we tend to forget exists, so it’s nice to see it once in a while.

What did you think of the episode? Were you on Team Brie or Team John? Do JJ and Lauren interest you? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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