This week’s episode, which aired last night, was titled “Courtney Loves Mom.” It was all about Courtney’s mom and her cancer diagnosis and surgery. Only a fool would attempt a snarky recap of such a deeply personal episode, one that came equipped with an impenetrable force field of crying and cancer. So let’s get to it.
The show opens in Courtney’s apartment. Courtney wakes up. She is super sleepy, even though, one presumes, the Bravo camera crew must have arrived at least an hour earlier to set up and film her getting out of bed. Were they able to sneak into her pad without rousing her, or did she get out of bed to let them in and then return to bed and only pretend to wake up? These are silly questions to contemplate, because this is reality television, and any number of alternate universes are equally real. I choose to believe that Courtney’s apartment is a holographic projection of a two-dimensional universe perceived on a macroscopic scale. Best friend Tori arrives with coffee. Courtney reveals that her mother’s cancer is “a spot on her face.”
Now then. Of those people who watch this show, either for professional reasons or because they are shut-ins whose TVs have been set to the Bravo channel and whose remotes and channel-changing buttons have been made nonexistent by new advances in string theory, I am surely not alone in thinking that Mom’s cancer was life-threatening. Brain. Bone. Something along those lines. That’s what the previews set us up to expect. So “face spot” is a welcome relief. Is it a squamous cell carcinoma? Melanoma? If the latter, is it in situ? These are details we do not need to know. Details are complicated. Face spot. That’s all we need to know.
Matt Nordgren calls. He offers his support, says he can be there for her. Courtney cries. Sad music plays. As Tori observes, Matt is using the face spot to work his way back into Courtney’s heart. Matt!
Smash cut to Courtney in her panties getting ready to drive to Fort Worth to help her mom through the face spot surgery. She says the following: “There is definitely an outfit in anyone’s closet to help any sort of disease. Obviously, if you are dealing with skin cancer, you want to wear camo with, like, you know, definitely a pop of color, like red or yellow or pink, something cheery to, like, juxtapose, like, the heaviness of the camo and the battle you’re about to go into.” It was at this point in the episode that I stopped worrying about writing the recap. Because, just to take one example, my closet does not offer an outfit to help with necrotizing fasciitis. As stated earlier, though, I wear orange socks so that I don’t have to worry about matching them with my shoes and pants. Maybe my closet does harbor an outfit to help with necrotizing fasciitis. Maybe I’m covered for harlequin ichthyosis and fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, too.
There follows a driving scene. Tori and Courtney are headed to Fort Worth. They agree that they both like bananas, but they dislike eating them in public because they don’t relish the idea of strangers watching them eating bananas and thinking about having sex with them. I totally get this. I feel the same way about kumquats.
Interestingly, Courtney does not appear to be wearing the same outfit she picked out to do battle with the face spot. In the next scene, the girls arrive at Mimi’s house. Mimi is her mom’s mom. Courtney looks to be wearing the same drab olive green pants, but gone is her red top, the pop of color. Instead, she’s wearing a dark blue top. In other words, there is no camo and no, like, juxtaposition. I am confused. Courtney says: “Dallas and Fort Worth are similar but so different. Fort Worth is like basic solids. And Dallas is like leopard print or sequins.”
Mimi’s house is filled with taxidermy. And clothes. While Mom and Mimi watch, Tori and Courtney try on Mimi’s clothes. Oddly, Tori tries on a sequined dress. Isn’t that more Dallas than Fort Worth?
All four ladies then head to the Clover Lane Salon, where Mom and Mimi again sit passively while Courtney and Tori get their hair teased, I suspect because the Bravo producers found the salon, and Mimi and Mom have enough sense not to climb into a chair at a salon they know nothing about. Tori says: “This is her weekend. We’re here for her.” It is only because I have a dark heart and no outfit to help with elephantiasis that I suspect the weekend is actually for Courtney and Tori and Bravo.
After the salon trip, the ladies head to the Stockyards. Tori climbs atop a longhorn for a photo op. Courtney says: “Men and bulls have a lot in common. They have big balls, but they only last eight seconds.” This also confuses me. I belong to the downtown YMCA, which uses the old-school communal shower setup. I know for a fact that some men have small balls. And I think it’s bull riders who only last eight seconds. I’m pretty sure if they let the bulls buck as long as they want, without removing that dang flank strap, the bulls could last way longer than eight seconds.
After the Stockyards, the ladies go to Mom’s house, where they steel themselves for the face spot surgery the next day. Courtney gives Mom leopard-print pajamas, to be worn during her convalescence. AND JUST HANG ON A MINUTE. We are in Fort Worth. Shouldn’t Courtney give Mom pajamas in basic solids? I am now beyond confused and headed into gobsmacked territory. I have no idea what to wear in either city, especially if I come down with fecal vomiting.
The next morning, Mimi reads Courtney a children’s book and makes her cry. Of all the real moments in this episode, this one feels the realest. I like Mimi. With her oversized eyeglasses and short-cropped silver hair, she’s hip and comfortable in her own skin in a way that Courtney might one day become. For now, though, Courtney seems a long way away from comfortable. And Mom and Mimi strike me as being more than a little like Shel Silverstein’s giving tree. Courtney returns to Fort Worth with camera crew in tow, needing drama for her reality show. Her mother and grandmother give themselves and their private moment to her, even if it is only a vaguely identified form of face cancer.
The ladies hop in Courtney’s car and head off for the surgery as we cut to commercial. When we return, only Tori, Courtney, and Mom are in the car. Where is Mimi? This is the 30-second scene that appears toward the end of every episode of Courtney Loves Dallas. They arrive at a strip-mall clinic with no external signage. Mimi materializes out of thin air just as they open the front door. At this point I am so confused that I need Matt Nordgren to hold me.
When we return from commercial, we find ourselves at Mom’s house, post surgery. Mom has a smallish bandage on the side of her nose, and Courtney tucks her into bed. Mom is wearing her Dallas-appropriate leopard-print pajamas. Courtney says: “We were prepared for mom’s forehead to be sliced open, to have total reconstructive surgery. She comes out of surgery with this tiny, little nickel-sized patch missing.” The only thing I can figure is that this surgery had to be done on the Bravo per diem. That’s the only way this makes sense. With so little money, they had to go to a doctor who sometimes confuses foreheads with nostrils and who mentions “total reconstructive surgery” when he really means “a Flintstones Band-Aid.”
The episode ends with Courtney again crying, talking about her best friend Tori and how selfless and giving she was to come to Fort Worth in Courtney’s time of need to try on a sequined dress and visit a random hair salon and sit on a longhorn.
And, yes, I am a fool and a jerk. Can’t wait till next week.