Episode 3 begins with the ladies going to Michele’s kick boxing instructor for a class. Elura isn’t thrilled. They do a little boxing on punching bags and Elura tells Michele that her son, Franklin, wants a birthday party with the theme of modern China. Elura takes parties very seriously, more important than the bar exam. So the ladies go to Manhattan’s Chinatown to find all the supplies they need for the party. They look at some dresses which are designed for flat chested girls, not boobs.
In this episode the case involves a landlord/tenant dispute. Michele and Elura go visit LaQuana, the tenant, who did not get her security deposit of $1700 back when she left her apartment. She was friends with Bob, the landlord, and lived there for four years. When she sent her 30 day letter and asked about getting her deposit back, he told her to speak to his wife. The wife told her she wasn’t getting anything back. LaQuana went to pursue the matter in small claims court and found she was being countersued for even more money than she was owed. She says the apartment was not in good condition when she rented it, there were issues. The stove never worked right and there was a leak under the sink. She complained, but nothing was fixed. She is upset Bob is suing her now.
The ladies then go meet with Bob, the landlord. He says he had to do a lot of work in the apartment after LaQuana left. He admits she always paid her rent on time or early and they were good friends. He also says the apartment was renovated just 10 months before she moved in. When she moved out he had to replace a three year old stove. It cost him $3,000 to repair all the damage. The ladies go see the apartment, which looks very nice. There is a new stove and cabinets. Bob also complains that the countertops are chipped. Michele and Elura believe this is a matter of communication and if it can’t be resolved they go back to court.
Time out to prepare for Franklin’s party. Everyone is assigned a job to do. The party takes place in the yard and there are lots of kids there.
Next thing you know, the ladies are back at the salon…Salon Nouveau! They are there to get some feedback about their latest case while they get their hair and nails done. Everyone has to offer their two cents. There is money and friendship at stake. Bob is willing to go along with whatever Michele and Elura come up with as a fair resolution.
Its hard to tell who is telling the truth, but the apartment had to be repaired. LaQuana agrees the apartment needs painting, the stove needed a cleaning and the countertops were chipped. Painting the walls comes out of the equation, that falls under normal wear and tear. The stove issue is troublesome because Bob said it was new and LaQuana says it didn’t work… they will split the replacement cost. They both agree the counter was chipped, they will split that cost too. There was $1329 total damage that they will split and she will get back the remainder of the money from the security. The pair are friends again.
Episode 4 begins with some family issue. Elura’s mother has a room on the side of the house that she refers to as the cottage and she wants to turn it into a little business that will be open 100 days a year. It’ll be like a little yard sale, antique sale type of place. She needs free legal advice and uses GUILT to get it, like any good Italian mother would.. Elura says the county requirements will run about $10,000 which comes to $100 a day for time the store is open. She advises her mother that she needs to make $200 a day for the venture to be worthwhile. The cottage is very pretty and full of items for sale. They decide they will help her have a real garage sale and see if she can make $200.
This episode’s mediation concerns a mother/daughter dispute called Robin/Robin because they both have the same name. The ladies meet with the mother first. She wants her daughter to be a responsible young adult. All she does is go to college and sit at her computer when she is home. She wants her to get a job and help out more around the house without her having to ask her to do things. Mother Robin says she cleans her bathroom three times a day. No one cane get over that. When the ladies look at the bathroom they say “You could fry an egg on that toilet.” They both feel three times a day is excessive. The mother shows them her daughter’s room and then imitates her laying on the bed with the computer.
Next they have a meeting with the daughter, Robin, to get her side. They ask her what responsibilities she thinks she should have. She says she goes to college full time and doesn’t want to work, her mom doesn’t need her to help out financially. She says her mother wakes her up screaming and telling her to clean the bathroom. She just wants to be treated with more respect.
At the yard sale they are trying to help Elura’s mother sell $200 worth of stuff to see if she can make a go of the business. At the end of the day they have sold $147 worth of merchandise. Elura doesn’t think that’s too bad. Then it’s off to the salon to discuss the mother/daughter issue and cleaning the bathroom three times a day. Everyone adds their two cents. Elise, the secretary, was assigned to poll 20 students and learns that they all have jobs in addition to college and do chores. Now they will try to work out an agreement between mother and daughter.
Daughter Robin doesn’t want to get yelled at. Her mother yells at her before she even asks her anything. The plan Michele and Elura come up with will use legal concepts as tools to resolve the problem. They will create a contract. They write in it that the daughter will attend college full time during spring and fall and part time in summer; they want her to at least look for a job; they tell the mom cleaning the bathroom three times a day it OUT, instead they let the daughter pick specific chores she will do (washing dishes and mopping floors). The mother has to show her daughter more respect. She cannot say things like “I’ll knock your teeth out.” The mother really just wants her daughter to be able to take care of herself without depending on anyone else. They want her to change her communication style. The mom says she is proud of her daughter and loves her. Tears. Problem solved.
MY TWO CENTS
I just found out there will ONLY be two more episodes next week and that is the end of season one. I am really surprised because how can you establish a following of viewers in just three weeks? I don’t think that’s enough time to get the word out about the show. Frankly, I only found out about it at the last minute because they interviewed Jennifer Graziano to see how she felt with more Staten Island ladies being on television. If not for that newspaper interview, I would have been clueless. If there was any promotion of the show I didn’t see it. I hope people will give the show enough support for a season two. The premise of the show and the ladies have great potential and are very likable.
Now for this week’s episodes. The format is basically the same for each episode. I still feel too much time is spent on things that aren’t that relevant to the primary purpose of the show, mediation. What I want to see is less punching bags, less shopping at Chinatown and more law and mediation. The shows are only a half hour long and there isn’t enough time for all the personal stuff and the legal stuff too. I think one personal event plus the mediation of a case is more than enough for 30 minutes. For example, episode three could have had just the birthday party and the case; and episode 4 pretty much did that with the garage sale and mother/daughter dispute. I’m not sure how I feel about the salon interlude where they kick the case around. Once in a while it may be good idea, but every week, I’m not loving it. I would rather see Michele and Elura bouncing ideas off each other and discussing some legal tips, like taking pictures before you rent an apartment, for both the tenant and landlord. This show is an opportunity to entertain while teaching every day legal concepts and laws to the viewers, like Judy Judy does.
I think the show should be expanded to an hour an episode. Then there would be time for all the things they want to include without it feeling so choppy. I like the format of the Long Island Medium. She handles her personal business and talking to the dead, without the show feeling crammed with too many events. It has a nice flow to it. Maybe Staten Island Law could be modeled after Long Island Medium? If it remains in it’s 30 minute format, then something has to give.
Regardless, I think this show is a winner and I would like to talk to Oprah and share my thoughts! Hopefully there will be a season two at some point. I am really disappointed that season one is so short.
Picture credit: Staten Island Law Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Staten-Island-Law/474156585939159