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Guises, Prizes, and Surprises – The $25 Million Dollar Hoax, Finale


by aurora

It’s almost over. Tonight is the night that we get all of our questions answered. Will Chrissy pull off the “biggest hoax in television history”? Will her family all be in attendance at the big spin? Will they be cheering for her to win more cash? Will they forgive her for spending the last five days trying to convince them she’s turned into a rich bitch? And what exactly are the elusive prizes that Chrissy has been promised for her family if she is successful? All of this and more, coming up on the “dramatic and emotional finale”! (If you had the same thought I did during the show about playing a drinking game and taking a swig every time they said “dramatic and emotional”, then you’re probably reading this with a wicked hangover.)

We join the Sanfords this week exactly where we left off with them last week – in the suite, discussing the bomb Chrissy has just dropped in their laps. She’s worked out a deal with the real estate agent to buy a $5 million house that they all went to see earlier. Her parents are flabbergasted. Chrissy explains that she is putting 20% down and has talked the price down to $4.5 million. So let’s get this straight; after announcing to a car dealer that she just won $5 million and getting milked for every ‘extra’ known to mankind, she’s now haggling with a real estate agent?

Chrissy insists that she can afford this. She’ll be making money with her singing career (how she said this with a straight face I’ll never know), and the payments will be manageable. Besides, the minimum she can win today is $5 million. One of her brothers points out that she’s already spent that, but Chrissy is undeterred.

Private comments from the family range from, “I’ve gone from wondering if she’s going to spend any money on me, to wondering what the hell she’s doing” to Dad saying that he’s reached his breaking point. Mom seems heartbroken that Dad’s dream of running a family business and taking care of everyone financially is ruined. They all know the cameras are still running though, and put on a brave face.

Chrissy forces everyone to toast her purchase with champagne, and Eric can’t decide whether to dump his drink on the floor or on his sister’s head. Tough call there. Chrissy mentions the great parties that they can have in that house, and Eric adds that it’ll have to be BYOB since they won’t have any money to pay for anything themselves.

Fearing that she’s going to blow her cover, Chrissy leaves the room. The hidden cameras are still rolling of course, and the rest of the family starts to digest what’s happened. Tensions get even higher as one of the brothers blames Dad for the whole situation, because he spoiled Chrissy too much. Someone else points out that they all grew up in the same house, so that’s not the reason for any of this. Dad is upset and thinks that all of the life lessons they’ve taught Chrissy along the way must not have stuck.

It’s time for an intervention, as Chrissy comes back in the room. Mom and Dad want numbers – they want to know exactly how much she is putting down on the house and what her monthly payments will be. They even ask to see the deal she made with the real estate agent. This throws Chrissy for a loop, because, of course, there is no agreement and there are no numbers. She fakes it and tells them she’s putting down $800,000 and her monthly payments will be between $5,000 and $10,000. That’s a big gap, and it must have been alarming to her parents that she didn’t know for sure what the costs would be.

Dad asks Chrissy to wait until after the big spin, saying that she can still buy the house tomorrow. She says no, she wants it now and nothing is going to change her mind. She says that she’s surprised that they’re not happy for her, and sounds disappointed. In her confessionals, Chrissy says that she can’t believe her family is reacting this way.

Privately, Dad says that he just wanted to take Chrissy away from everything and talk some sense into her. But under the circumstances, the best he can do is hug her and tell her it’s her money and she can do what she wants with it. David and Eric leave the room, saying that what’s done is done and they don’t want to be involved with it any longer. Mom says that big responsibility comes with big money, and if Chrissy has to fall flat on her face to learn her lesson, then so be it. Mom and Dad will both be there for her if she needs them.

Chrissy is exhausted. She says that keeping up this charade for five days has worn her down, and now she just hopes that her family will be there for the big wheel spin, or else this will all have been for naught. The rest of the family agrees that Chrissy has to win big money now, or they’ll all be sunk.

It’s now one hour before the big spin, and Chrissy meets with creepy-host George Gray. He asks her how she’s doing, and she says she’s terrified. She thinks that Mom will take it the best when they all find out it’s been a hoax, and she thinks her brothers will say that they knew it all along. George says there’s no way they knew, and he’ll call them out on that if they say they did. He wishes Chrissy good luck, and sends her off.

It’s finally time for the spin, and Ed McMahon is there to greet the family. They’re all there in their finery, and everyone has a happy face on for the cameras. The nervous tension is palpable though. Dad says there’s no doubt in his mind that if Chrissy wins big, she will share with her family. David comments that he only came along to support his parents, but when he saw the wheel he got a really good feeling that something big was about to happen. Oh David, you have no idea.

After a few questions from Ed, Chrissy comes out dressed in an evening gown. Everyone agrees that she looks gorgeous – much different than they’re used to seeing her, in her soccer uniform or sweats. Eric adds that she looked like 50 million bucks. As Chrissy is getting ready to spin the wheel, Dad notices that most of the slots say $5 million, and it’ll take a miracle for Chrissy to win more than that.

Here we go! Chrissy spins the wheel, and after watching it go around a few times we cut to commercial. (If you’re playing the drinking game I mentioned earlier, you’re half in the bag by now and that wheel constantly spinning is messing with your head.)

Back from commercial (swig), and as we know, the wheel stops at $25 million. There’s dead silence for a couple of seconds, as jaws drop and the result starts to register. Chrissy looks nervous, but she smiles and watches her family’s reactions. The silence is followed by hoots and hollers, jumping, hugging, kissing, and chanting. They can’t believe it. Mom covers her face and Dad stands there with his jaw on the ground. The brothers are all milling about, hugging each other and their parents, and joining Dad in a “25 million” chant.

Chrissy says privately that it hurts her to see her family so very happy over something that isn’t real. This is the point of no return for her, and her nerves must be completely shot by now.

Ed congratulates Chrissy and her family, and opens his jacket to pull out a check for $25 million. No one seems to question how he knew how much to make the check out for – I guess at this point, it’s no big deal if they catch on. Chrissy smiles, squints her eyes, and tears the check into pieces.

Dad lets out a stupefied ”WHAT??”, and Mom repeats over and over, “She doesn’t want the money?” Chrissy explains that the whole thing was a hoax. That the past five days, the money, and her attitude have all been a gag. Wowza, give this family credit for not needing heavy therapy after hearing this one, ‘cause I think I would have passed out.

The Sanfords almost seem relieved. Sure, the thought of losing $25 million (even if you never really had it to begin with) is a stunner, but at least now they know they have their daughter/sister back. Creepy George arrives on the scene to explain things further, and the family is laughing and crying and really not knowing what to do with themselves.

George tells them that this was all done for them, that Chrissy did this and gets nothing out of it for herself. Dad comments privately that if they’re going to give him $25 million and then rip it up, not to do him any favours. He tells Chrissy she’s done a great job and he’s proud of her.

Chrissy says that the best thing to come out of this is that she got to spend five solid days with her entire family, and that makes it all worthwhile. She’s crying, and says that she’s learned a lot about her family and she’s very proud of the way they’ve handled everything. Dad echoes this sentiment, and says that you can have all the money in the world, but you’re only a rich man if you have your family around you. Dad’s crying too. Chrissy is happy that she has such a remarkable family, and now all of America will get to see that too.

Now we finally get to see what the prizes are! George says that this little vacation wasn’t actually a real holiday, so they’re sending the Sanfords on a $100,000 vacation in Mexico. They’ll have three private villas, a yacht to use, and the services of a personal chef. And, as Chrissy says, no cameras!

Of course there’s more. When Mom found out that Chrissy had “won” $5 million, she told Ed that she wanted a new kitchen. Well that’s what she’s getting, courtesy of GE. Mom hugs Chrissy, calling her a stinker. The boys are getting guitars, computers, PlayStation 2’s, and iPods. Holly is finally getting something out of this too, besides heartache. She’s getting a year’s worth of voice coaching with David Cory, the man Chrissy ‘worked’ with in Beverly Hills.

Eric is getting a new stereo system worth $5,000. He says that the best speakers he’s ever had were bought off the back of a van in the bank parking lot, so this new system will be great. Paul gets a $10,000 shopping spree to buy new clothes at Von Dutch. On top of all this, the family is getting a home theatre system, and each person gets 100 free movie rentals from Hollywood Video.

Let’s not forget about Dad! I thought for sure he’d wind up with a Cadillac, but instead he’s getting a check (this time it’s a real one), for $200,000. Nice. He says that he’s truly blessed to have this family, and Chrissy says that he deserves the money.

Now, you didn’t think that Chrissy would actually walk away from all of this empty-handed, did you? No way. George tells her that they’re paying off her school loans, and she’s getting a vacation for two to a spa in Jamaica. On top of that, she’s getting a brand new Lexus convertible. Okay, so it’s not a Hummer, but Dad says Chrissy will look better in the Lexus anyway.

The final comments come from Dad and Chrissy, who both say that the time the family has spent together has shown them how loving they are, and that they both feel richer now for having gone through this whole ordeal.

Well thank goodness this ended well! I could care less about the ratings and the show itself – the Sanfords are indeed a tight-knit, loving family and it was heart-warming to see how they pulled together both in times of trouble and in times of joy. Good on ya, Sanfords!

Comments are welcome! Contact me at carrie@realityshack.com and share your thoughts.


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