The brawls, bling and teenage brides are back and bolder than ever as TLC’s My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding premieres eight new episodes beginning Thursday, April 3 at 9/8CT.
Ellen K. returns as narrator along with Boston’s bling queen Sondra Celli, the go-to designer for even the most far-flung gypsy communities.
The Season 3 premiere, “A Love Worth Fighting For,” revisits a love story that blossomed in the Season 2 finale, when spiral-haired, whip-smart Romanichal Heather Small, 18, met her long-distance, online suitor, 16-year-old Brandon Boswell, at a Valentine Ball.
Turns out it was love at first sight. Brandon proposed shortly after and a wedding is in the offing. There’s just one problem. The Small and the Boswell families have been feuding for as long as anyone can remember, and neither side is much in the mood for a Romany Romeo-and-Juliet story to heal the rift. Which is made plainly clear when Heather’s uncle Ivan, who formed a non-traditional gypsy union of his own in Season 2, tries to intervene on the lovers’ behalf.
For Heather’s headstrong single mom Connie, a Boswell is persona non grata no matter how much he loves her daughter. For baby-faced Brandon’s affable mother Jeanette, Heather’s high school education has rendered her too “gorger-fied” to be a proper gypsy wife. So Heather is hoping that just the right traditional-gypsy wedding dress will facilitate a happy ending for everyone.
“Heather is not a typical gypsy,” says Celli. “First of all, she was raised in a gorger lifestyle, so she wants to bring out the gypsy part of her. But Heather’s personal style is pretty tailored — not walking around in rhinestones — so that dress is heritage. But we did a little Sondra Celli to it — we blinged it up! Connie is very blingy, so she had a say in it, too. We did a cross between the two to make them both happy.”
“Heather is a pretty sentimental girl, a quiet girl,” Celli continues. “She is not a wild child like some of these girls. She wanted her mother-in-law to be happy and she was trying really hard to wear something she thought her mother-in-law would approve of. She wasn’t just thinking about herself. I think Heather and Brandon want the families to mend for their own sake, so she really tried to do something to impress her mother-in-law by wearing heritage. Connie would have had her in neon pink if she could have.”
Though she bent some on the dress design, Connie has a few other demands regarding her baby’s married name and living arrangements that could render any fence-mending the dress might do, irrelevant.
Also in the hour, viewers will get to know Maryland resident Josh Small, 16, who is chasing his dream of being the first Romanichal professional jiu-jitsu champion. Josh explains that he got into MMA as a means of controlling his anger. If you’re going to fight, you might as well make a career of it, he reasons.
Josh’s dad, Footy, a roofer, is fine with his son pursuing a career path outside the family business — especially one that celebrates a time-honored gypsy pastime. “My mom always told me that if you get in a fight and you don’t whoop their ass, I’m going to whup yours,” Footy says.
Josh’s primary trainer is his beer-toting, wisecracking cousin Chael P. (the P stands for perfection, says Chael) Swayze, who gets his own gypsy wedding a little later in the season.
The pair is getting prepped for Josh’s inaugural bout in an advanced division of a national MMA tourney. Josh says losing is the worst thing that can happen to a gypsy, because they’re representing the culture. And in this tournament, Josh is only fighting gorgers, making the idea of defeat that much worse.
Will Heather and Brandon get their happy ending, or will an age-old family feud put the kibosh on their teenage dream? Will Josh make cousin Chael and the rest of their clan proud?
Find out when My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding Season 3 premieres Thursday, April 3 at 9/8CT on TLC.
Tell us who you’re hoping to see back in Season 3 — Mellie? Priscilla? Jackie Dee? Pat Baby! — in the comments section below. And check back soon for more of Channel Guide‘s newest exclusive interview with Sondra Celli.