Both episodes center around the lives and business of Elura (blonde) and Michele (brunette). This includes time spent with various members of their family or home life, food shopping, visiting a plastic surgeon for a consult, and visits to the salon. In Staten Island, they explain, you need to pay attention to four things clothes, hair, nails and makeup! The two legal mediators have very full lives and have to manage their time well to get it all done. While they go through the course of their day, they throw popular “Staten Islandisms” into the mix and explain the jargon used there. Actually, I found that very funny and knew most of the expressions even though I was born and raised in Brooklyn. Both women talk very fast so we are actually getting an hour’s worth of words in 30 minutes!
Episode 1 centers around a pre-nuptial agreement of an engaged couple, Jamie and Pamela. If they can’t agree then there will be no wedding. They have dated for three years and have been engaged for 7 months. The issue is that Jamie is a saver and pays close attention to money. Pamela is a spender with little to no regard for the value of a dollar. They are both teachers, so I can understand why Jamie would be concerned. Jamie’s real issue is that his father left him a house and he is afraid, if God forbid things don’t go right in the marriage, he would lose it. He wants the pre-nup. Pamela can’t even stand the word pre-nup because she associates it with divorce and feels it sets a bad tone to the start of a marriage. She also shared that it showed Jamie didn’t trust her. They tell all this to Elura and Michele. The mediators head over to their hair salon to discuss this issue and get “advice” from hairdressers and clients. In between the consultations, both separately and together, the ladies have time for family. They pop in to see Uncle Jerry, who is selling his business, I think it’s plumbing parts, and needs legal assistance (for free). The family calls her the “consigliore.” Michele’s mom invites everyone for Sunday dinner at 4 PM, a nice pot of sauce. More issues are discussed concerning Pamela’s spending. She wants a specific dress that costs 10 to 20 thousand dollars, she has 300 guests invited to the wedding at a pricey place AND the honeymoon to Bora Bora to stay in a hut, which will run about 20 thousand too. Overall they estimate her dream wedding will cost the couple $100,000!
The resolution. Michele and Elura explain what a pre-nup actually is and what the law is. The law says that any property you owned before the marriage you keep, it’s called “separate property.” Any property acquired during the marriage is called “marital property,” and would be divided. Jamie is relieved to hear that and decides he doesn’t need a pre-nup after all. Now, in addition, they have devised a budget plan for Pamela to curb her spending and teach her good habits in the future. She will have three separate accounts one for savings, one for household expenses, and a fun account. This is because the couple’s philosophy on money matters is so far apart. They want her to consider a different, less expensive dress and another location that is less expensive, with huts, for the honeymoon. Everyone is happy!
Episode 2 focuses on an employer, employee dispute at a barber shop. But first the ladies make time to go shopping for bras and let us know that unfortunately, a 34DDD only comes in plain colors and design. While there, Michele announces that she thinks she needs plastic surgery for her boobs and stomach. She gained a lot of weight during pregnancy and even though she lost most of it, she has lose skin and other issues. Back to the dispute. Mike, the owner of the barber shop, feels that Tony, a great hair stylist, isn’t pulling his weight. He comes in late, he leaves when there are customers waiting and he is losing money. Tony explains that the place is poorly managed and that why both he and Mike are both losing money. It seems Andrew, at the front desk, assigns all the customers to Mike and Tony sits there doing nothing. When people get tired of waiting they leave. Tony says that has to change or he is leaving. Mike wants it to change, he wants to keep Tony. Everyone feels bad for Andrew, he is a good kid, but isn’t being efficient.
So while they ponder what to do about the Barber Shop issue, the ladies go for a consult with Dr. Colen. Michele explains what she wants and shows the doctor who tells her what can be done. She sends Michele home to think about it so she doesn’t decide on impulse. Then the ladies visit their salon for more advice on this barber situation from hairdressers and clients. Michele and Elura meet with Tony and Mike and rehash all the issues. Then they propose their resolution. Tony should be made manager for a month, in which time he has to train Andrew to handle the customers more efficiently. If Andrew can’t grasp the concept of a more equal distribution, he has to go, nice kid or not. It’s a business decision. Otherwise Tony will leave and that will hurt business even more. Both Mike and Tony seem content with this plan.
Both issues are tied up with a nice red bow and there is plenty of time for all the other things too…all in 30 minutes an episode.
MY TWO CENTS:
First the positive. I love the two ladies, their background story, and friendship. They have great personalities for television. I love the premise of the show, that they go around mediating people’s problems and solve them in 30 minutes. Of course I know we are seeing the edited version and more time must go into the mediation than we are seeing. I love the idea of Staten Island, the accents and lingo used there. I relate to all of that. OWN should be credited with a great original idea for a reality show! But what’s my problem?
Well, frankly, I think they are trying too hard to do too much in 30 minutes. I feel like I am in a race car. The ladies talk very fast. They are used to listening to each other and probably read each other’s minds at times, but we are not. You have to pay close attention or you will miss something. I also think that there should be more quality time spent on the mediation process. This is an opportunity to be entertaining as well as educational. The viewers can actually learn something from the legal issues that come up. The time that is being spent on other things, for example food shopping, would be better spent advising and consulting the people needing mediation, in my opinion.
Another thing that bugged me was why did these legal experts took their clients issues to the salon to brain storm and discuss it? I am not sure what the purpose of that is, but if I was a client I wouldn’t like it. I would prefer to see the two of them spend time discussing it and brainstorming together. They are the experts. I don’t want salon people giving input on my issues, I could get a hair cut and advice myself, at my own salon, for free.
Overall, I liked the show and it’s off to a good start. If you can catch it on reruns, you should definitely give it a try. However, like all new shows, it needs feedback and some tweaking to improve it. You may agree with me or not, either way I would love your comments!