The only person who's more excited about former child star Tina Yothers's "What Not To Wear" makeover than Tina herself is her daughter, Lily.
Tina, who played Jennifer Keaton on "Family Ties" for most of the '80s, is now a stay-at-home mom, and she embraced the process enthusiastically -- quite a change from last week's anticlimactic non-reveal with a reluctant Shannon Elizabeth. But before she got with the "WNTW" program, Tina had been wearing a lot of shapeless hoodies and unflattering capris -- usually in black. (After "Family Ties," she dyed her hair black, but the black clothing goes back decades; Tina shared that, on the "Family Ties" set, co-star Michael J. Fox used to call her "Johnny Cash.")
After "WNTW" hosts Stacy and Clinton surprised Tina at the Gotham Comedy Club (with some mean heckling: "Your clothes aren't half bad; they're all bad!"), Tina explained why she's hiding in what Clinton called "frumpy mom gear." She's lost confidence; never a "stick figure" teen star, Tina explained that she appealed to the "average" girl. "'Average' doesn't mean 'schlumpy,'" Clinton pointed out gently.
And Tina was in some serious trouble, wardrobe-wise. She was living in yoga pants even though, as she noted dryly, "I don't do yoga" (hee!). And Tina's date-night outfit? Yet another blobby black cardigan, cropped jeans, and flip-flops. Even Lily, 7, begged Tina to let her dress her mom before she went out. Pushed by Stacy and Clinton to talk about why she hides in shapeless black shmattes, Tina sighed that she doesn't think she "can achieve attractiveness"; her coping mechanism is to "go big, or not go at all." Stacy noted that Tina's not fooling anyone, and suggests that Tina learn about shapes and cuts that work for her body -- instead of refusing to deal with said body at all.
After Stacy congratulated Tina for confronting her fears of the form-fitting and the non-pant, and explained how elastic waistbands and the right pleating can work on Tina's body, she and Clinton threw out all of Tina's clothes and sent her out shopping. Tina pinky-swore (love it!) that she'd try to break out of her comfort zone.
Was Twitter on board this week?
Things got off to a wobbly start when Tina didn't know what "bootcut" meant ("The only American who doesn't know what a bootcut is," Clinton muttered), but she tried on a few fitted items that revealed Tina's not as shapeless as she seemed to think. "Look how happy she is," Stacy burbled, and Clinton added, "Her boobs look fabulous." (Like Clinton, we're not the demographic for that, but they did look pretty great.)
But she didn't try on any dresses, and on Shopping Day 2, encouraged by Tina's increasing confidence, Stacy and Clinton got Tina into a dress; talked her into considering white as a neutral once in a while; and were horrified to hear that Tina avoided events in the past: "I fear what I'm going to wear." Clinton whapped her playfully with a pair of jeans and then said sternly, "This is about you living life to the fullest."
And Tina heard him, big-time. She seemed t-happy to see both Ted, who did a bit of minor choppy layering with Tina's hair but didn't change the color. (Tina totally sold that "Once you go black…" joke, too. She's kind of hilarious, y'all.) Carmindy helped her bring out her eyebrows in a way that opened up Tina's face. By the time she modeled for Stacy and Clinton, it was like she was a completely new person, on the inside too -- empowered to buy "things that were hugging my body," experiment with scarves, and wear fuchsia. Tina never knew what style was, she told Stacy and Clinton: "You guys have given that to me."
Tina's big reveal back home went great, too. Lily and her super-cute eyeglasses couldn't wait to see the transformation -- "I want my mom to wear gold, silver, blue, pink, and purple!" -- and when Tina turned up in a pink dress, gold cardi, and leopard flats, Lily approved. "I love it. It makes me super-duper happier than just, like, plain old dark colors," she said, before admitting that she's also happy Tina did the show because "now I get to dress up in her jewelry." Attagirl.
A nice happy ending after last week's letdown, the episode ended with Tina dressing up for date night, Robert saying she "looks beautiful and I love it," and the Lily seal of approval: "I'm just happy to have a fancy mom."
If Tina gets the band back together, should she name it "Fancy Mom"? Did you like Tina's makeover, or were you mostly relieved she was participating, unlike some people whose names rhyme with Cannon Shmelizabeth? Did you think Carmindy went a little overboard with the blush? (We did. Sorry; Carmindy, we still love you.) Discuss in the comments!
"What Not To Wear" airs Thursdays at 10 PM on TLC.