Hey there, television… Keep them West Virginia-based shows coming, because the state is clearly having a moment. Or at least from last night’s premiere of Gypsy Sisters, we can see a bit of a trend. And speaking of TV trends—MORE GYPSIES! Oh rapture! The weddings were not enough, and I need additional documentation of these people existing. So thank God for you, TLC, and your terrible gift that melds backcountry with gypsy with housewife. My life would be empty without you.
This series introduces us to 4 women from a Romanichal Gypsy family in Martinsburg, West Virginia. They’re “travelers” but some of them have houses? And their husbands lay blacktop, which is super exciting because they always have plenty of tar sitting around, which makes them special. And most of them were married by the time they were 14. But enough delirious babbling about gypsy fun, let’s meet these broads…
This is Nettie! She’s the responsible one. As a mother of nine, she takes her role as matriarch very seriously. We know this because she makes her 10-year old daughter get spray-tanned. And she’s not even in a pageant! She goes above and beyond… But in spite of her exemplary maternal behavior, Nettie is kind of a kill-joy square. But she has to be because she’s got a nightmare of a younger sister who has her perpetually in a gypsy funk. But we’ll get to her in a minute….
First we’re gonna address Kayla, the ditzy one. Kayla is Nettie’s cousin. She uses motor oil to tan herself, because she has a latent death wish. Oh, and she has adult braces. But lucky for her, gypsies like shiny things, and orthodontia is just like, tooth bling. She wears more bedazzled heart jewelry than anyone I’ve ever seen on television. And I’ve watched all of the seasons of The Bad Girls Club, and some of Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, so this is saying something.
This is Kayla’s sister in law Laura. Her life revolves around tanning and shopping. She’s along for the ride, because they needed a 4th girl. We meet Nettie, Kayla and Laura in the midst of a serious discussion. They need to talk about Mellie.
23-year old Mellie is Nettie’s sister, Kayla’s cousin, and the real conflict figure of this show. And wait a sec… She was in that one episode of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding! Remember this?
So now she needs a lawyer, and we’re here to follow her misadventures to find a good one. To pay her legal fees, she strips at a place called Taboo. Her stage name is gypsy and her preferred outfit consists of fur boots and a candy-dot bra. She got fired from her job at Vixens, because she was on probation for fighting and drinking. But luckily, there are always openings for exotic dancers in West Virginia. Mellie is also an admitted alcoholic. “I have became an alcoholic since I’ve been a stripper and I’d better get out before I become a drug addict—cause it’s on its way.”
Nettie has been watching after her since they were kids, and thus feels obligated to take up the role of mother bird to this poor, troubled young hatchling. She tries to talk some sense into her about her occupational and lifestyle choices, because she’s the Kyle Richards in this situation. Millie’s like, “Why you gotta control me so much, sis? You told me to get a job and I did…” And Nettie’s like “Did I say Nellie go show your pussy and make dollars?” I heart WV grammar more than life.
But despite her stripping and drinking, Mellie has landed a guy she loves—Robbie. Or at least he’s better than other guys, “because he doesn’t hit her or nothing.” Home girl at least has her priorities straight. She even gets his name tattooed on her pubic bone! In turn, Robbie’s like “baby, I can tell you’re serious about all this.” So he decides to get a tattoo of her name. A trip to the tattoo parlor reveals that he thought her name was “Millie” all this time. And she doesn’t mind all that much. Love doesn’t judge.
Also, lest we forget, Millie needs a chance to display her drunken antics and totally embarrass herself. So the gang is thrust into a Barbie-pink limo that Kayla rents to take the girls to a day at the raceway. I don’t know if it’s cars or horses. I think it’s cars, but that doesn’t matter anyway. All of them buy hats and wear massive hoop earrings and painted-on acid wash jeans for the occasion. However, they don’t make it to the races, because Millie Mellie drinks a half a bottle of Smirnoff and takes off her pants. She gets belligerent with the limo driver whom is clearly not being paid enough for this fare, and he insists on pulling over. What a party pooper. But like a cranky child, someone gives her Mickey D’s and she calms down.
Phew. And there’s a whole trailer park of baggage yet to be unloaded. Nettie and Millie are reunited with their con-artist mom! We still need to see Kayla brush her teeth with battery acid! We can’t wait for Laura to photo bomb all relevant action! Gypsy Sisters, I’d be mad at you for jamming my Sunday DVR queue, but I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
(Photos from TLC)