"Are you ready to party tonight?"
And so it begins.
That's Tiffani Chance, uttering the first words of the first season of Little Women: Dallas and letting it be known right up front what this season is going to be like. We shall see, Tiff. We shall see.
"Everything's bigger in Texas ... but us."
Oh, so that's how we're going to play this. Interested. Tell me more.
We continue our intro, with a voice over shots of things to come: Amanda stumbling in heels in a dance class (please let it be Hip-Hop Heels, please let it be Hip-Hop Heels); a keg stand; Caylea sliding down a steep water slide; more drinking; Caylea driving her big old GMC four-door orange truck; more drinking; and Caylea, Caylea, Caylea.
"We're six close friends with big hearts, tall hair and huge trucks." I'm still trying to figure out who's talking.* Yee-haw? And the reason for the franchise: "And we happen to be little people."
All right ... leggo!
(I figured it out. It's Tiffani talking.)
Then we get the stats: Tiffani announces that she's 3 feet, 11 inches tall; Caylea Woodbury is 4 feet tall; Emily Fernandez is 4 feet 1; Bri Barlup is 3 feet, 11; Amanda Loy is "4-2;" and Asta Young -- oh, Asta -- is "4 feet, 5 inches tall ... short."
And that leads us into Amanda as she announces that they may be little but they're just as tough as any other cowgirl. Um-hmm. I would like to say for the record that I may be a steel magnolia, but do I not bleed?
Anyhow, this is a story I can get behind. These sistas are doing it for themselves. Don't tell them they can't do something just because of their size. We get shots of them riding out, moving a mattress, just doing the dang thing.
As Asta says, "We are independent, driven women."
But is this the show or is it just more promo? It's all catchphrase.
Their bond is "Texas strong." They "love hard and party hard." They look great doing it, but still ... And all this before the sassy opening song even plays.
I think we're in for a ride, ladies and gentle readers, and hopefully in Caylea's truck. License plate: LIL TWERK. To where, I couldn't tell you, but still ... a ride.
But it starts out even better than I imagined (well I had hoped there would be vampires, but ...) with some nice realistic shots of Dallas. Because, you know, we are a city of signs. We stare at the signs that say 75 a lot because, well, traffic. The West End one isn't even lit, but it gets its moment. And, look, there's a sign with a Pegasus on it. Did the Omni bail on the show?
Tiffani is 21 and a cosmetologist. She "just started working at a hot new hair salon in Dallas." I think I recognize those walls. Help me out, would you? Is that one of the new salons on West Davis in Bishop Arts?
She's matter of fact about it, but talks about how hard it is to be a hair stylist when you're a little person, especially with the shampoo bowl, and the camera focuses on her cracking her knuckles and stretching her fingers while at work. But, though it's interesting, the show doesn't dwell and does a fast turn to wait? They're roommates?
Caylea and Tiffani are roommates. Before we can even marvel at our luck, talk turns to Tiffani's boyfriend Austin, who is "average size."
Another quick turn: "Not too long ago, I was twerking," says Caylea ... and then it turns, "this frickin' girl decides to come up to me and -- no lie -- decides to pick me up. She picked me up off the bar and started running with me."
Tiffani hates when people do that. She also hates when people rest their arms on their heads. Who does that? Who are these people who do that? The way they're talking, it's as if it's an everyday thing, too. Grrrrrr.
"Even when another little person does it, it's not OK," says Caylea.
Wait, I need to know more! But there they go again with the quick cut. Caylea says they call her "Lil Twerk." She's a "professional dancer." She says it's "one of the easiest ways for LPs to make money." Ah, so now we understand why three of the six cast members are dancers.
So much subtext, so little time.
It turns out Tiffani and Caylea are best friends and have known each other since they met years ago at a Little Person convention. They moved here because they have lots of friends and more career opportunities. Ooh. Shots of Caylea doing body shots, dancing, and look, there's that shot of the water slide again.
They go to Pink Magnolia where Caylea hopes the waiter will overlook that she's not 21
Bri joins them. Caylea has known Bri since she was a kid, too. From my geezer perch, that could mean they met yesterday. I digress. Their mothers are good friends.
Bri gets to do her introduction, which is really a two-fer since she and Emily are quite the pair. Bri, also known as Left Cheek, and Emily, also known as Right Cheek, have made a successful career out of dancing. So, we get shots of them doing just that.
Bri says now they get to see what's next for "The Cheeks" as Emily's priorities seem to have shifted after her infant son died and the move to Texas.
Cue her entrance with her boyfriend, Wooda, and 3-year-old son, Malik, who is also a Little Person. Bri says he's the cutest. I do not disagree. She and Wooda live together, but aren't officially "together," though they are co-parenting their child. Put a pin in this. There will be a test.
Emily came home to Dallas for the birth of her infant son, who died when he was 3 months old. And Bri followed to support her friend.
Quick cut. Sigh.
Asta says she grew up in China where everyone is short. She's married to "regular human-sized" Ty. Yes, she said that. And now she works for him at a Dallas bar.
Find that bar, people!
"I didn't realize I was a Little Person until I moved to the U.S." she says. Ba da bump. Groan.
Yes, she said that, too. Goofball.
Amanda is 24, a personal trainer and figure competitor. She says she's an adrenaline junkie with "no fear and pretty much up for anything." She and Asta are best friends and she moved here after her mother died to be closer to Asta and her husband Ty.
Fast cut, again.
Caylea says she wants to do something different for her birthday, like a rodeo: "Ride a bull." Mechanical. Amanda says she wants to ride a real bull. Bull.
Oh, but they keep questioning Bri about Wooda. Girls, you are on the outside looking in. Step back. To Bri's credit, she plainly tells them that's her business. "I share a kid with him, not anyone else at this table." Well, now. She clapped back once and that seemed like enough when she brought up how people talk about Asta's "old-ass husband." (There's a 10-year age difference.)
Asta gets in a good line here. When talk turns to if Wooda will come out with them for Caylea's birthday, she says they should have called him Shoulda, as in he shoulda stepped up and married Bri. Ha!
Emily has a 5-year-old and lives with her "average-sized" boyfriend, Lon. Bri's trying to get her out of the house. Emily says she'll be a total downer at a 21st birthday party. She decides to come when she finds out that Amanda wants to ride a real bull.
"She says she'll get an adrenaline rush," says Bri.
"What? From dying?" quips Emily. Heh. I like this girl.
I guess she's got to see it to believe it.
Caylea and Tiffani are in the living room when Caylea takes a video call from her boyfriend, Austin, who lives in another state. They are so young! I love it when girls act their age. And more of that comes out when they go shopping at Western World for, well, Western wear. And we become privy to how they have to shop in the kids' section and that sometimes, because of proportions, that doesn't work either. Caylea says she wears a kid's size 1 shoe, but because of her calves has to have the tops stretched out for boots.
Caylea: "Everything is not bigger in Texas." (We learn about the differences in Little People, too, as Asta says because her proportions are different, she doesn't face that problem.)
While Emily is getting her hair done at Tiffani's, we learn that Tiff's birthday Austin is 19 "this month." She says, "Oh, he's a child?" Emily does the math and says, "That [expletive] is illegal] when Tiff cavalierly says that she and Austin started dating when she was 18 and Austin was 15.
And she's sprung like that? Welp.
Anyway, all this is so Emily can go out with the crew, so that's where we leave it.
Emily's boyfriend co-signs on her going out, saying it will be good for her. She counters by saying that he doesn't go out, either.
"You just go to work and that's it," she says.
"I know," he says. "That's doing something." Preach, brother.
Fast cut and Emily and Bri are at a splash park. Bri wants Emily to get back to performing as the Cheeks so she can make some money. Emily says she's "done, like it's no big deal." Emily says she definitely doesn't want to dance. She wants to manage dancers instead. Bri says she might try modeling. Emily stomps on that dream. Sigh. Girl, don't be mean. As my mother says, "Nothing ever failed but a try."
I know Emily's hurting and wants to wallow in the space for a minute. And she deserves to, bless her heart. I love you ... don't be mean to your friend.
Caylea drives that big old truck to the Stockyards where the bulls "sound like dinosaurs over there." They're not wrong. Amanda, don't let your desire to show off your no-fear attitude get you kilt.
But she's not doing it before Caylea takes what someone's calling a "shot." Clothes and boots might not be, but that dang shot was Texas-sized, I'll tell you that.
I'll tell you who needs a shot of something: Amanda.
"If Caylea wants a rodeo for her birthday, I'm gonna give her one," says Amanda. Lawd! She's actually doing this. And she looks intense, but I don't see any fear, just concentration.
Whatever. Caylea would be getting a toy rodeo from Fisher-Price.
And then Caylea is all up in Bri's Kool-Aid again, but talking to Wooda. Girl, dip your cup in something else. Back. Up. It's not for you to understand.
They start taking bets as to how long Amanda will stay on the bull as she waits in the chute. I know she lives, but it's still scary. (I love these pictures of the ladies as they go to commercials. Poster worthy.)
Anyway, Amanda does it. And does it well. The cheering is short-lived, though.
Emily's dancing up top with Caylea and Bri doesn't understand. She thought her friend was done twerking.
And then Austin shows up from Ohio as they're celebrating by line-dancing. A happy, surprised Tiffani decides to leave with him after a while. I mean, I understand that.
But Caylea ain't having it and stalks behind them out the door. She might be bossy. Just a tad. Or some other adjective. Anyway, she does not like that her best friend is leaving her birthday party early.
Something in this milk ain't clean.
Waitaminute, she did just turn 21; at that age, I probably wouldn't have understood, either. I keep forgetting.
And then next week's promo gets all confrontational, with just about everyone and some more Little People that I don't know. It looks as if a fight might break out. With several people. Um, OK. And there are lots of tears. OK.
Things I like
The show felt much shorter than the hour it took.
Every one of these women tells it like they see it, unlike some other shows I can name.
The friendships are old, lasting ones. They'll be tested, but she said they're "Texas strong."
Things I didn't like
The scenes went by too fast. I don't feel as if I got to know the individuals enough. The confessionals felt too scripted, as if some of the women were reading from cue cards.
This is a hip-hop crew. What's with the music?