by EM RUSCIANO
Take a deep breath, check your judgement, sense of reality and judgement at the door, because we be entering… BRYNNDERLAND!
The second I hear Lawrence Mooney’s dulcet tones informing me that we’re in for musicals, acting classes and shopping I know this show is going to appeal to every aspect of my soul. I co-hosted “The Circle” (R.I.P) with Lawrence many times and he is essentially a hilarious, homicidal teddy bear. Cuddly, lovely and vicious all at the same time.
It’s a GENIUS choice for narrator and a perfect balance to Brynne’s strawberry scented, glitter covered loveliness.
The opening scenes show Brynne in her “day time closet”. She admits she doesn’t spend much money on her day time looks – in fact, there is nothing in that cupboard worth more than $5000. Remember her other half is worth $150 mil – so while most of us would really only consider dropping $5k on a dress that was white and meringue shaped – for Brynne, it’s just a drop in the ocean.
Brynne, like me, is a fan of the day time sequin. Girlfriend be dripping in the stuff by 8am. I imagine she must find sequins and diamantes in places, cracks and orifices you wouldn’t dream about.
Brynne and I have something else in common! She (like me) buys new clothes to avoid washing her dirty ones. Brynne simply cannot deal with the mess in her wardrobe(s) so she just nips out to purchase new outfits instead. SNAP LADY! Why just last week I almost resorted to wearing bikini bottoms as undies to work due to the lack of clean washing in my house but decided against it and popped up to the supermarket (sans undies) to buy a pair!
Soon we’re at a red carpet event and this is where we first spy Dr Geoff, Brynne’s cashed up, 69-year-old husband. Cue my 10-year-old daughter exclaiming: “Wait, what?! That’s her husband? But… I don’t understand? He is old. Proper old. Not just old, but OLD”!
Word eldest child. Word. No amount of “Just for men” or “Ed Hardy” clothing is going to mask the massive age gap. I explained that sometimes you can’t control who you fall in love with and left it at that.
Brynne and Geoff were there to support Brynne’s “friend” Josh Horner who was performing in “A Chorus Line” that evening. The same “friend” who called her a “bedazzled sack of potatoes” when she was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” and he one of the judges.
When Brynne arrived in his dressing room, he exuded about as much warmth as a rattle snake. I sincerely hope their “friendship” is one just for the cameras because Josh appears to have zero respect for Brynne. I found myself screaming at the TV “Honey any of my gay mafia would give their left testicle to join your crew. Drop that jealous toad and MOVE ON”.
I acknowledged, admired and enjoyed Brynne’s costume change mid-show and plan on adopting that in my evening routine from here forward. When I finally get nominated and subsequently win my silver Logie (What? It COULD happen! Why silver? You don’t want gold, that shit be cursed y’all) I plan on doing THREE costume changes, she has truly inspired me.
Moving on.. Hello new day, hellooooo new outfit! I referred to this look as “power canary”. Power: no cleavage, high buttoned collar – take me seriously. Canary: Yellow heels, yellow jeans, yellow chiffon blouse – bloody magnificent.
It turns out that the good Doctor has purchased a large stake in Film Australia, which means Brynne wants to act (which excites me because AWESOME). Brynne sagely points out that “acting is a skill! Just like dancing only with talking”. So naturally the next step is acting classes with highly respected acting coach Jan Russ.
Brynne appears genuinely uncomfortable and terrified. The thought of actually tapping into real emotions scares the crap out of her, as does figuring out which damn eye to look at when your acting coach asks you to look them in the eyes. WHICH EYE JAN? WHICH FRIGGIN EYE? Cut to Brynne taking part in a group acting class involving animal noises, prancing and hand holding. Brynne was clearly uncomfortable and I didn’t blame her.
I could only think of one thing that would help both Brynne and I rid the nasty taste of out-of-work actors from our mouths..SHOPPING MONTAGE ALERT!
Madonna’s “Material girl” struck up ( I love me a literal sound track) and Brynne went shoe shopping. My only criticism of this scene was that is was waaaaaay too short. I wanted multiple shots of her exiting sumptuous change rooms in ball gowns, at least 15 more pairs of shoes and then I wanted hot, bare chested young men to carry all her boxes up to her apartment.
Booooo channel 7, boo.
Brynne meets up with snippy Josh again and confesses she wants a baby. A mini-me, someone to lavish attention on, someone to love. I imagine that when she finally does give birth to the much longed for child, it will come out covered in a fine film of shimmering, transparent, glow mesh.
Yep, I reckon even Brynne’s after birth will “shine like the top of the Chrysler building”!* (*From the film “Annie”. Although if you didn’t get that reference, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.)
Josh offers no words of wisdom, so Brynne seeks out her mother’s advice. Mumsie informs her that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so Brynne sets out to make her man a meal. I’m pretty sure Brynne shouldn’t be near any sort of open flame given the hair, nails and sequin situation but she presses on none the less.
Pre-meal she pays a visit to the pharmacy where friendly Tess tries to advise her on ovulation charts and optimising her partner’s sperm. Cue 10-year-old: “Does old sperm still work Mum”? Fair question. I told her it did and we quickly moved on.
The dinner appeared to be a success. Brynne cooked cutlets and a Herculean amount of Broccolini (or trendy Broccoli as we call it in my house) and Geoff starts chowing down. Geoff hadn’t really offered much, up to this point but he did lament the fact that it wasn’t Juddy, Brynne’s dog, they were eating. Ha! Riiiiiiight. That’s not creepy at all.
Then his phone rang, he took the call and Brynne’s hopes of…. Oh God… I can’t… And Brynne’s hopes of conc….. (Come on Em, you can do this. Type it damn you. TYPE IT) conceiving a child were dashed. (Heavy sigh. Tries desperately to remove the mental picture forming.)
Do you know what? I was expecting a light romp where I could live vicariously through a woman I have long thought fabulous. I was not expecting to feel feelings but I did feel feelings, I felt them very deeply. Hash tag feelings.
I had feelings of saddness, empathy, worry and concern. Yes, I know that they are different shades of the same thing but trust me I appreciate the subtle nuances of anxiety and I felt all of them watching this show.
It appears to me that Brynne is achingly lonely and surrounded by people who don’t really connect with her. Dr Geoff needs to pick up his game in the romance department because against all odds she clearly wants to get it on with him and make babies. Also, I got the distinct feeling that at any time her girlish giggle could turn into hysterical sobs given a little push. I worry for her, I do.
All that aside, I liked it. Brynne is honest, unapologetic and utterly ridiculous. I love her.
Until next time.
Note: A Bedazzled life won its 7:30 time slot with 930,000 viewers and was the fifth most watched show of Thursday.
Em Rusciano is the host of Mamamia Today on Austereo (which you should be tuning into at 3pm every weekday because it’s ace) and regularly appears on Network Ten’s ’The Project’. You should follow her on Twitter here and take a look at her website here.