Last week we met the Sanfords, a down-to-earth and loving family, whose daughter Chrissy agreed to take part in what has been billed as the biggest hoax in television history. She’s convinced everyone that she’s won 5 million bucks in an internet lottery, and the whole family has been shuttled off to Palm Springs to wait for Chrissy to spin a big wheel and have the chance to win up to $50,000,000 more. Chrissy’s task is to spend all of the five mill on herself, while being as rude and obnoxious to her family as she possibly can. If any of them catch on, and if even one family member refuses to be at the ‘wheel spin’, then Chrissy loses out on the $400,000 in prizes she’s been offered for her and the rest of the Sanford clan.
It’s a new day in Palm Springs, and we’re told that Chrissy has to up the ante and transform herself from sweet sister to greedy diva. She’s chartered a private jet ($15,000) to take them to Beverly Hills for a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. She choses to take two brothers, Holly, and her parents. On the way, Dad is on the phone and he says that he wants to make sure that Chrissy takes care of herself and invests her money instead of blowing it all, and privately he says that he’s getting a little concerned about his daughter. Mom agrees, and asks herself what Chrissy could possibly want to go to Rodeo Drive to buy.
The family boards a stretch limo and arrives on Rodeo Drive. Spectators crowd around the limo, thinking someone famous is inside, and Chrissy pretends to love the attention, waving to her ‘fans’. The first stop on the shopping trip from hell is Jonathan Salon for a makeover. Dad comments that he’s seeing a side of his dauther that he hadn’t seen before, and Mom tells us it was apparent that Chrissy was calling the shots. David and Eric, the brothers, decide to head over to Supercuts for their own makeovers, and as they pay $14 plus tip for their do’s, Chrissy forks over $300 for her haircut. Holly says that she doesn’t think that it’s the money that’s turning Chrissy into this terrible person that she’s becoming, she thinks it’s selfishness and greed.
Everyone’s in the limo again, and voiceover dude tells us that there’s a new rule in place – if anyone in her family wants something, Chrissy has to buy it for herself. Nice. The next stop is Lladro, home of some of the most expensive porcelain sculptures in the world. Champagne is brought out as Chrissy browses, and Mom comments that she’s going to be a drunk before this day is over. Holly finds a piece that she really likes – a small, $400 mermaid. Eric (boyfriend) suggests that he can cash his disability check and buy it for her, and as Holly thinks about his offer Chrissy comes along and snaps up the mermaid for herself. Chrisst ends up spending over $47,000 on 12 sculptures.
Now it’s off to St. John, where Madonna and Paris Hilton shop. La-de-da. Chrissy looks and belts, shoes, jackets, dresses, etc etc, as her family watches. More champagne is uncorked, but Mom abstains while Dad says he thinks he’s going to need “a lot of this stuff”.
As Chrissy tries on clothes, Mom and Dad ask each other if she has offered to buy anything for them, and of course the answer is no. Mom tells David that Chrissy is winding down now, she hopes. After paying $57,000 for her new duds, this is questionable.
The next store they hit is some fancy-schmancy jewellery store, where Chrissy is shown a diamond bracelet that Charlize Theron wore to the Academy Awards. Sold. Then Chrissy looks at diamond earrings and necklaces, while Dad is blown away by the prices of these items. The family is getting fed up, and it shows. David points out a watch that he wants, so Chrissy picks up a pink diamond watch for herself. She says privately that if she had actually won this money, the first thing she would do is buy things for other people. But as things are now, she’s going along with the hoax and pays for her $1,700,000 in jewels. Meanwhile, the rest of the family discusses how disgusting the situation is. Chrissy asks David if he’s loving this, and when he says he’s not she tells him that he deserves to be poor. Ouch.
While the shopping portion of the day is over, there is still more spending to do. Chrissy heads to a recording studio with her family in tow. Dad is sure that Chrissy is finally doing something for someone else, and nudges Holly happily. Remember, Holly is an aspiring country singer. Alas, generosity is nowhere to be found as the Sanfords discover that Chrissy’s intent is actually to buy herself a career as a pop star.
Mom’s favourite band is N’Sync, and who should be at the recording studio but Lance Bass. He’s there with voice coach David Cory. Lance meets the family, and Eric is impressed that he’s just a regular guy. Ah, irony. Chrissy admits that she can’t sing a note to save her life, and when she works with the singing coach this proves to be true. Holly is getting madder and madder, and as Chrissy attempts some scales, she blurts out “Come on, stupid!”
David Cory brings out the lyrics and music for Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again”, and Chrissy’s rendition is horrible. Mom makes icky faces and proclaims the performance to be “just awful”. Holly can’t take it any longer and heads outside. She talks to someone who’s outside having a smoke, and says that she’s worked all her life for something like this and it’s hard to watch “this bitch” just walk in and do it because she has money. Holly is so upset she’s crying. Chrissy notices that Holly is gone, and wonders how far she can take this before she’s “affecting someone’s being” and changing their perceptions of herself as a person. I think it’s past that point now, at least for Holly.
Anyway, Holly tries to cool off and comes back inside. She attempts to enjoy the platinum and gold records hanging on the wall. and fantasizes that one day it will be her up there. Eric arrives and Holly breaks down again, crying and obviously devastated. At this point I have to wonder – is this all worth it?
The singalong finished, David Cory reprimands Mom for saying that Chrissy’s singing stinks. He says “don’t say that in front of me, I can get a voice out of a cactus baby.” Chrissy pays the $18,000 for Cory’s services, as Holly says that the whole trip to Beverly Hills must have been orchestrated just to piss her off. It does seem that Holly is bearing the brunt of the ‘nastiness’ here for some reason.
The limo ride back to the jet is tense, with Holly sitting up front with the driver because she doesn’t want to be anywhere near Chrissy. In the back, someone points out that Holly is very upset, and Chrissy says “I don’t care. Me me me.” Dad tries to make a joke, but the tension is still hanging heavy. Heading back to the resort in Palm Springs, the arguments start up again. The family tells Chrissy she’s turning into a diva, and one of her brothers reminds her that she’s still a Sanford before she’s a millionaire.
What does a new millionaire with a burgeoning pop star career ahead of her spend her money on? New boobs, of course! Chrissy, Mom, Dad, and Paul (brother) head off to see a plastic surgeon. Poor Dad still has hope that his daughter could possibly do something for Daddy, and thinks that maybe they’re there to get him some laser eye surgery. But no, we all know that’s not the plan. Chrissy meets with an actor posing as a doctor, who suggests a number of procedures that would benefit a young starlet. We get a confessional from Dad that is heartbreaking, as he laments the loss of his little girl. Again, is this worth it for $400,000 in mystery prizes?
The ‘doctor’ addresses the breast surgery, and Chrissy says that yes, she wants to make ‘em bigger. Dad says that Chrissy plays a lot of soccer, and this will hinder that for her. The family plays with some implants as Mom makes jokes, trying to make things more comfortable for the men who are clearly anything but comfortable. The ‘doctor’ calls in his receptionist (who has huge cans), and asks her to show them to the family as an example of some of his work. She agrees, and pulls down her halter top. You thought things were a tad uncomfortable before? Dad looks like someone is plucking his leg hairs out one by one – he can’t even sit there any longer. Mom says that Paul and Dad didn’t know what to do with themselves, their heads were spinning on their necks. Mom is a funny lady, her confessionals are great. Dad admits that he didn’t know where to look – at her eyes or a little lower down. If he had been there with just his son, he would have been throwing dollar bills at this woman. Chrissy decides on the implants and walks out $28,000 poorer.
Even with all of the cash Chrissy has blown so far, she still has a little over $3 million to spend. What’s the best way to blow a large sum of money? Real estate.
Chrissy and her family meet with an agent, who explains that vacant lots go for about a million, whereas a complete house can sell for up to 7 million. Dad tells us that he’s in construction and one of his sons is an electrician – they could buy a lot and build a house, and make some money if Chrissy will front the business. He has dreams that the whole family could start living the lifestyle that he’s been a part of this past week.
The agent suggests they go to see a couple of homes, so the family piles into the car. Chrissy comments that living in the desert, it would be just her luck that she’d buy a house and then get bitten by a rattlesnake and die. Mom throws back that if a rattler bit her, it would be the snake that dies. You go Mom! The first house that they see is gigantic and beautiful, and costs $4,750,000. Just for the record, Holly is not there for this little excursion. Guess she had enough in Beverly Hills.
The second house is even bigger and even more luxurious, complete with a theater room that Dad is hugely impressed with. Dad says that this was just an outing to see how the other half lives – Chrissy actually buying a house like this is the furthest thing from his mind. Poor Dad, he keeps getting these unhappy and unwelcome surprises – you know exactly where this is going of course, right? David comments that if Chrissy buys a house, he’s done. Chrissy tells us that her family was definitely grateful that they made it out of the real estate agent’s grips without spending any money, but adds that tomorrow is another day. She seems to be less hesitant about hurting or disappointing her loved ones now.
It’s the day of the big wheel spin, and Chrissy has something to share with her family before they get ready to go. No, it’s not the secret – remember, the wheel will land on $25,000,000 and that’s when she has to come clean. Chrissy has worked out a plan with the real estate agent allowing her to purchase the first house they looked at. The family is flabbergasted. The money is gone, and they didn’t see a penny of it. Dad is especially disappointed as he sees his dream of his family being financially secure going down the tubes. Mom stands with her mouth wide open and her hands flailing. Chrissy points out that $5 million is the least she can win, and she’ll be making money with her singing career. Dad asks if she even considered the idea of them building the house, and Chrissy says that she wanted it now. The family is furious, and the tension is even higher than it was after all the shopping. Chrissy is genuinely worried that they won’t show up for the wheel spin, and indeed several of her brothers claim that they don’t want to go. She adds that she doesn’t think they even want her to win more money. Well of course they don’t – they’ve been through enough.
Chrissy gets upset and leaves the room, and the final words we hear are Dad saying “Get her back in here. We have to talk some sense into her.”
The finale is next week, and I can only imagine how things will work out when everyone finds out this was a hoax. I’m expecting a gamut of emotions, which will hopefully turn into relief and forgiveness. This is a good, decent family, and I hope they come out of this okay.
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