“My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” preview: Girl Gone Wild

In Sunday’s upcoming episode of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, the actual wedding takes a back seat to the myriad ways women adapt to — and sometime rebel against — their role in Romanichal culture.

• UPDATE: Read Channel Guide’s exclusive interview with Mellie Stanley!

If you watched last week’s episode, you’ll recognize Martinsburg, W.Va., Romany Laura as the one-woman cavalry called in to teach teen gorger bride Amber proper gypsy-missus ways before she married Laura’s cousin Tommy. This week, you get to meet the rest of Laura’s family. Or at least a couple hundred of them.

Laura’s cousin Kayla has decided to gather their entire extended clan for a Thanksgiving reunion before winter settles in and everyone sticks close to home. Also in on the party planning is cousin Nettie, who lives across town with her husband, seven children, a teenage nephew and her 22-year-old sister Mellie.

• RELATED: Mellie and Nettie Stanley score their own “Gypsy Wedding” special

Like many Romany girls, Mellie (that’s her above on the left) married at 16 — but she left the relationship and divorced her husband when he became physically abusive. Put off on love and marriage by the experience, Mellie clings to gypsy traditions by the merest thread, running with gorgers, drinking to excess and generally driving the rest of the women in her clan to distraction with her black-sheep ways.

Still, the group includes her in a field trip to Boston to check out the party dresses they custom ordered from — of course — Sondra Celli for the celebration. While the married women are happy with their short, sparkly, strapless creations, Mellie feels hers is too matronly — even though it’s basically an extended, fur-trimmed tube top — and requests further ventilation.

Back at home, the work season has ended and the men have returned, so everyone packs up and heads off to Atlantic City to blow off some steam before the Thanksgiving shindig. Mellie’s behavior further worries Nettie that Mellie will ruin herself to the point that no gypsy man will want her. Which is just fine by Mellie.

Meanwhile, several hundred miles away in Princeton, W.Va., 40-year-old gypsy divorcée Ammie is preparing to remarry her former husband Morris, a raspy-voiced butterball who shows up for the occasion in jeans and a ball cap.

Will the ladies’ Thanksgiving celebration go off without a hitch? Will Mellie be the hitch? Is the second time the charm for Morris and Ammie? And most importantly — should Laura really be doing that with bleach? Find out when My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding: “Wild Gypsy Mellie” airs Sunday night at 10/9 CT on TLC.

In the meantime, if you’re a longtime watcher of the original U.K. Gypsy Wedding, check out a fascinating update on flaxen-haired English gypsy (and “grabbing” victim) Cheyenne Pidgley here. Her costars Josie and Swanley Smith and their adorable pink-dressed tot are pictured, too.


  1. These gypsy men nausiate me. it amazes me everytime i watch these shows what the wives put up with. the double standard is disgusting. why do the wives allow their husbands to rule their lives? do they not have any confidense? have they just been beaten down so much they just take it? it makes me very sad for them. and then they are raising their children to act this way too. when does it end? the cycle needs to be broken.

  2. a few things:
    1. HAHAHA, that you people defend using bleach like it is great. the stuff stinks, and you can tell when a house has been cleaned with it, it smells like the YMCA locker room. burns your eyes and irritates your skin.
    2. if their houses are cleaned everyday then why when she smacked the area rug, clouds of dust and dirt flew out? It’s a trailer, how much does it take to keep it clean?
    3. Gypsies, by and large, are corrupt, theiving cheats and cannot be trusted. The women often are nice because they stay home and don’t mingle much with the outside world. It’s the men who are liars and cheats, they will try to swindle you any chance they can. They do alot in the contractor, trucking, installs, junk and metals worlds because it is heavy cash business. As a whole, gypsies need to go away.
    4. given their ethnicity, the women are often very attractive, they just end up looking cheap the way they dress and act. Features wise, they are quite attractive. too bad

  3. Tami you are an idiot. First, as a microbiologist I can tell you that using bleach in your house is entirely unnecessary for great cleaning. Sounds like you could stand to do a little reading, so rather than explain it, I will let you research it yourself. Suffice it to say, however, you are utterly incorrect in your statement. In addition, “bleaching” refers to the whitening of an object, such as coral bleaching in marine environments. It does not, in any way, refer to using bleach. Whitening of teeth never, EVER involves using bleach. Bleach is chlorine and is highly highly toxic when ingested. In fact it acts like an acid (though it is actually an alkaline) in your skin and if left on, will eat away at it. Don’t believe me? Pour some on your skin directly and see how many seconds it takes for your skin to start itching horribly. Better yet, do us all a favor and drink some. See how that works for ya. In any case, hydroxides are what have been used commonly until recentl to whiten teeth, while new chemicals are now coming onto the market. Before you go spouting your crap next time and endangering people’s lives, try doing 5 minutes of Internet research first. For those wanting to whiten for less money, brush once a day with baking soda, or use crest white strips. They work great and won’t send you to the hospital for a stomach pumping.

  4. They are not bad people I lived in martinsburg wv all my until I married and moved away so maybe u should stop and listen to everything bout them because I have seen and met them myself and truly there just like us just with a lil more bling but there husbands work there buys off to give there family what they want.

  5. I have dealt with these’gypsies’ through the years. I don’t trust a single one out of the experiences by myself, and my neighbors.

  6. i’m just wondering; since this is a casual sort of “meeting place” for people to exchange thoughts and ideas, why do some people act like the thought police, as if they own the site and can tell you what to think. this is not life and death, it’s just discussion, so lighten up, get a sense of humor, give others a break, dump the hostility, okay? you know who you are.

  7. Three points to make…first, if you AREN’T cleaning your house with at least a little bleach, then yours isn’t truly clean. That stuff is God’s sanitary gift to mankind. Gypsy homes are amongst some of the cleanest I’ve ever seen, so mad props to her/them. Second, using bleach to brush your teeth isn’t all that crazy because tons of people get their teeth bleached every single day, especially filthy rich celebrities. Now, admittedly, the way she does it isn’t exactly the SAFEST way to go about it, but it is NOT a foreign concept people. And on that note, my third point comes from something my West Virginian grandmama has told me my whole life: poor people have poor ways when they’re trying to make it. The girl is just keeping her grill looking on point, but she’s simply a stay-at-home mama and wife that clearly can’t afford to bleach her teeth the “right” way like others do when they have the cash for it. Give her (and their community) a break. Please.

    • please don’t be so casual about bleaching teeth. it is NOT okay. household bleach is extremely corrosive and will burn mouth tissue severely. what they use at the dentist’s office is not the same thing. and these people don’t seem poor. even if they were, i think having a hit t.v. show has probably boosted their income a lot.

  8. Kennedi, you will pleased to know that Mellie and her family are back on this Sunday night’s episode.

  9. Can someone tell me what a gypsy is because from the show My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding I really want to be one.

    • They are an ethnic group, you have to be born one, just like with any other. The closest you could get is by marrying in and adopting customs, but you’ll never *be* one.

  10. Mellie you are my role model.I wanna be a gypsy so bad but I dont have a true understanding of what it is,yet.

  11. Just for kicks, I googled the party pooper “Fighting” Frank Small — looks like the guy’s a problem all the way around. And I’m glad the narrator pointed out that brushing one’s teeth with Clorox is not the best idea, diluted or otherwise. Icky. Poo.

    • if any american smalls read this im an english romanichal small ,could tell you a bit about our history

  12. Hello Lori,

    You were right. Oh my gosh that she brushes her teeth with it. She had nice white teeth, however, oh my gosh. If she has a filling, it could eat away at the metal. Then if she doesn’t rinse enough. I would have loved to see how she cleans with it actually. I’m always afaid I don’t dilute mine enough. But I remember using it once in my home and it smelled great. My neighbor came over and said oh Christine, it smells so good and clean in here. I think it was wrong on the venue to cancel their entire party. They should have arrested the man that hit the worker. However, that wasn’t the girls fault. It was only 8:30. I hope they got reimbursed for time not used!! If not, they should let them have another party for free!!

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.