My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding 2012, Week Three: Spray Tans & Fat Nans

Thelma Madine's arm is in a sling, someone's dressed like a Bolivian sex-worker and they've only put salt in the bloody tea...
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Thelma Madine's arm is in a sling, someone's dressed like a Bolivian sex-worker and they've only put salt in the bloody tea...

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Fires, fights and car stunts, were it not for the abundance of dutty-whining gingers, you could be forgiven for thinking that the opening montage of Gypsy Weddings was for an (admittedly shit) action movie. This week’s show opens with seamstress to the slums, Thelma Madine, working on what she promises us, for the 137th time this series, is her ‘biggest dress yet. Ever. Of all time. It’s a big bastard,’ etc.  Thelma is very discreet about her relationship with the travellers, she never discusses money or any other arrangement she has with them. Honourable stuff indeed, but the fact her arm ends up in a sling by the third part of every episode says all we really need to know on the subject.

8 year-old Mary is preparing for her Holy Communion. As if the fact that her name is Mary and not Nangirl was not disappointing enough, the girl has a lisp and is seemingly bigger than the caravan she lives in. Having made an appearance on the show in an earlier series, Mary’s cousin Sammy-Jo is back, cleaning her caravan dressed as a Bolivian sex worker, as you do. She explains how important it is to keep a clean and tidy home and that for Gypsies, being dirty is a complete no-no. I am always surprised at how much effort is put in to keep their homes immaculate, when they get married looking like Dickensian pickpockets. They are one blacked-out tooth away from being in the cast of Oliver! It is the morning of Mary’s communion; she is surrounded by family, who are also getting ready for the big occasion. Mary’s grandmother appears to have come straight from the set of a Dolmio advert and her cousin, who looks like the secret lovechild of Phil Mitchell and one of those toilet-roll holder dolly things, is pulling the sort of poses that people have lost CRB certificates over.

Her and Granny Bridie notice there are not one, but two car parks.  They both laugh as they realise the grabbing opportunities to be had, ‘hahahahahahahahaahaha! Rape! LOL!!!!111!1!’

Meanwhile in Hertfordshire, Santana-Casey introduces us to her 87 siblings.  She cheerfully washes her dishes, in bleach, obviously, whilst explaining to the crew how she cunningly tricks her family into not asking her to make them a drink, when she is trying to clean. When asked to make a ‘coop o’ tay’, Santana puts vinegar, salt or pepper in the drink, thus discouraging the offender from repeating this offence in the future. I mean, she could tell them to go fuck themselves, say something about being held a prisoner, ask what that shit-heel Grandmother/Aunty combo have done with her actual Mum and Dad, and then make their tea WITH the bleach. But yeah, vinegar, or whatever. Aunt Doll arrives, dressed like an albino extra from Dr Zhivago, to help Santana finalise the plans for her Sweet 16th birthday party.

Next we meet Casa Cassidy, a 16 year-old obsessed with Barbie and her sister Lottie (lotta pies, more like). Casa is preparing for her annual trip to Gypsy-Glastonbury, the Appleby Fair, by getting a spray tan the same shade as a KitKat Chunky. She heads to Appleby wearing a revealing outfit in the same colours as the Jamaican flag. Between this and her new-found ethnicity, squint your eyes a bit and she’s now Vybz Kartel. Lottie looks like a heady combination of Shrek, Princess Fiona and the fucking donkey to boot. She is single-handedly the argument against HD TV. Meanwhile, Santana is at the restaurant that will be the venue for her birthday party, to finalise the seating arrangements. Her and Granny Bridie notice there are not one, but two car parks.  They both laugh as they realise the grabbing opportunities to be had, ‘hahahahahahahahaahaha! Rape! LOL!!!!111!1!’ A 16-tier cake topped with an edible version of Santana has been specially commissioned to mark the occasion (incidentally, if you missed the programme, just YouTube the video for Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ to see what the top of that cake actually looked like.)

Casa Cassidy’s big night has arrived but disaster strikes. Her dress is too big to get on the coach with the rest of the prom-goers and her Headteacher says she cannot travel in the stretch Hummer her mum has laid on to accommodate her now 8-foot wide girth. This is a house that is clearly not missing their EMA grants. Casa does the sensible thing and loses her shit in front of her friends. In her acres of pink satin, she is stood at the school gates, screaming, weeping- she is all over the fucking place. It was like watching a PIP implant explode before our eyes.  The Headteacher gives in and Casa is allowed to travel in the Hummer after all. PHEW! I can’t really tell you what happened after this, as I became hypnotised by Casa’s eyebrows, which looked like two sperm that had decided to fuck each other and not bother looking for the egg at all. Back at Santana’s party, and a good time was being had by all. At this point I became quite angry at the blatant sexism of the programme. Not because young women were being bundled into vans against their will, to be openly sexually assaulted by the shit-weasels that will be their future husbands in an episode or two. No, my real issue with the programme is the huge effort these girls put into making themselves attractive, for a bunch of men that look like they ought to be putting their thumbs into their belt loops and welcoming you to Munchkin Land.

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