What makes TLC's "Mario & Courtney's Wedding Fiesta" an enjoyable two hours is also what makes it an unnecessary two hours, in a way. If you've ever gone to a wedding, had a wedding, or watched a wedding on TV, you won't see anything new here -- nothing particularly tacky or tragic happens.
But that's quite refreshing, actually. It's always nice to see celebrities who seem to know how to do something besides, you know, be celebrities -- and Mario Lopez and Courtney Mazza strike us as a pretty normal couple with a pretty normal life. We get the feeling that, without cameras watching, they act more or less the same way they do during their "Wedding Fiesta," and don't take themselves too seriously. (During one sequence, Courtney threatens to Frisbee their daughter Gia's poopy diaper into Mario's face, which is gross, funny, and exactly how the parents we know behave.)
Mario, host of "Extra" and "X Factor" (a job he landed during the filming of "Wedding Fiesta"), met Courtney when they were both in "A Chorus Line" on Broadway a few years ago; the couple got engaged six months ago, and married in Mexico on December 2. It's sort of strange that they agreed to open the process up to TLC, especially since the small amount of drama that does crop up is familiar to anyone who has coordinated a big event, or clashed with family -- but perhaps the couple wanted to show the rest of the world how to throw a sweet, meaningful wedding with a few other famous folk in attendance (Eva Longoria is a guest) and not get too carried away.
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And in that, Mario and Courtney succeeded -- and though we aren't sure we needed two hours of proof that they make a cute couple, or that trying on wedding dresses with your two-year-old is a hassle (spoiler: total hassle), we enjoyed it overall.
In a hurry? Here are the highlights:
1. Their French bulldog, Julio Cesar Chavez Lopez, shows up in marzipan form on the groom's cake at the reception, and is also shown fleeing from Gia's attempts to put lip gloss on him, and sleeping through Courtney's consultation with the wedding coordinator, "Schultzy."
2. "Schultzy" is actually Michael Schultz, but Mario apparently calls everyone by some similar variation on their last names. He calls Courtney "Mazza" -- she reports that, in her case, it's because he expected a more Italian first name for a full-blooded Italian lady -- and "Schultz" is of course "Schultzy." We love that detail, since we do that everyone from friends to in-laws to Mayor Bloomberg.
3. Looking for a drinking game to play while watching? The word "blush" is invoked so many times, it's an excellent candidate. The background is that Courtney's dream wedding is a "snowball wedding" (i.e., in the winter and all white) like her grandmother had, but Schultzy keeps pushing at various points for some pink accents, and tries to ease her into the idea by mentioning very pale, "blush"-colored roses. Even Mario starts joking about it. We couldn't stop thinking about Shelby blathering about her wedding colors, "blush and bashful," in "Steel Magnolias." Drink your juice, Courtney. Hee.
4. Speaking of Courtney's grandmother, she wants to incorporate her great-grandma's sparkly brooch into her wedding bouquet, along with a crucifix. Cute idea; the actual bouquet looks like a refugee from an Atlantic City floor show. When did it become the rule that a bridal arrangement had to be a 25-pound monstrosity the maid of honor can barely lift?
5. We didn't love the subplot about Courtney trying to "get closure on" her parents' divorce. The circumstances of her father's leaving aren't really discussed, which is the classy move, but she's still trying to work through it on TV, and they do reach an understanding of each other's emotions in time for him to agree to walk her down the aisle, but it still comes off kind of manipulated. Here's what doesn't: Mario talking about how hard it is for him to watch Courtney struggle with her relationship with her father, because he (Mario) isn't quite sure what to do for her. Aw.
6. It's a good thing Mario's there for her, because Courtney's sister Gina is kind of a crap-stirrer. Sure, the producers probably made her bring this stuff up, but Gina makes sure to mention in the makeup salon that 1) the tables haven't arrived yet (and this is an ongoing "storyline" that we suspect was made more of in the editing bay; honestly, if the bar is open, nobody cares about the furniture, and we think the furniture was probably set up in plenty of time in reality) and 2) Mario is going surfing three hours before the ceremony. Girl, everyone knows the groom can get ready in 10 minutes, and it gave him an excuse to show the audience his 18-pack of ab muscles. Courtney is crying about the tables now. Time to stop talking.
7. In case we've made Courtney sound like a bridezilla, she really isn't. She passes a few comments like "you can have whatever you want, right, it's your wedding!", but she also goes the extra mile to surprise Mario at his bachelor party by practicing a strip routine with the founder of the Pussycat Dolls. (Although Mario is like, "The thing is that her brother is here? Which ew?" but that was funny.)
8. We find out that their first date was at Chez Josephine in Manhattan. It's a perfectly nice place, but it's also for out-of-towners, mostly. It's pretty adorkable that they had their first date there. (Also amusing: the debate about eye contact during a toast that they conduct while eating there in the present day.)
9. On the "X Factor" set, Mario can't get his tie to hang properly, so he has an assistant cut off the narrow end to speed things up. Love it.
10. Between the ceremony and the photos, Courtney chirps, "I'm your wife!" and they have a high-five. Courtney changes into a second, more revealing dress later (…OK, so they're not that normal; most brides make do with one) and when Mario admires the high leg slit of the second gown, she cracks, "I worked that one leg out for four months." They really seem to enjoy each other's company, which is so key. Mazel tov, you two.
Mario Lopez shares his wedding photos on "Ellen":