Total Divas is a reality show produced by the E! Network. It is similar in format to Keeping Up With The Kardashians and it revolves around the lives and careers of the WWE Divas. The women the show focuses on are:
The Funkadactyls - Naomi Knight (real name: Trinity McCray) and Cameron Lynn (real name: Ariane Andrew). They act as dancers to Brodus Clay and are just making the transition to in-ring wrestlers. Like the twins, the show explores the differences between them - Trinity being more about the in-ring athleticism and Ariane being more about the glamour and character.
Natalya - Nattie Neidhart, third generation Diva and Cool Big Sister to the rest of the cast. The series deals with her frequently feeling left out by the company and her troubled engagement to childhood friend Tyson Kidd (real name: TJ Wilson).
Eva Marie - a developmental Diva. Portrayed as very ambitious and desperate to make a name for herself, angering a lot of people in the company.
JoJo - another developmental Diva. Was the youngest out of all the Divas, being only nineteen (and below WWE's policy of wrestlers on the roadnote WWE does not call up wrestlers under the age of 21). Was replaced (perhaps due to this) for Season 2 by:
Summer Rae - new WWE diva best known for being the valet of Fandango.
The show has a balance between storylines and reality. On the one hand, it acknowledges that wrestling itself is scripted and breaks Kayfabe. On the other, the women clearly play up their onscreen characters and the show is used to further storylines on the main roster.
A-Cup Angst: Ariane goes through this, considering getting a boob job. She decides against it, feeling it would be a Family-Unfriendly Aesop to send to her fans. Nikki Bella also went through the same and chose to get a boob job before the show aired.
Actor Allusion: Eva Marie says to Summer "you're not an NFL linebacker". Prior to getting into wrestling, Summer (real name Danielle Moinet) played football in the Lingerie Bowl.
All Women Are Lustful: Ranges from superficial (the girls delightfully seeing a male striptease show, Nikki brings along a vibrator when John can't make it to Vegas) to dramatic (Nattie worrying that she and TJ haven't had sex since he got injured, Eva Marie takes off her engagement ring for a 'business meeting' with Fandango).
Ascended Meme: Cameron's "Girl Bye" became the name of her finisher, got her a personalised t-shirt and was also the name of her first single. Brie also named one of her signature moves "Brie Mode" after what Nikki calls it when she gets too drunk.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: This trope is likely the reason Nattie gets so worked up about accidentally peeing during one of her matches.
Showing how prominent this trope is in real life, Nikki gets a tooth knocked out in one of her matches. She avoids John for ages because she's terrified of his reaction (despite the missing tooth not even being a front one and barely noticeable).
Bitch Alert: Tyson/TJ's mother before she's even shown onscreen. TJ and Nattie are staying in their hometown of Calgary for Nattie's birthday week. They want a hotel to spend quality time together. TJ's mother phones them and demands they stay at her house (where she would make TJ sleep on the couch and Nattie share her bed). TJ caves and goes to her house, while Nattie refuses and stays in the hotel. When his sister makes an appearance later in the episode, this trope happens to her instead. It's never stated why but TJ makes plans for them to have dinner at his sister's on Nattie's birthday. Presumably the sister did a lot of pressuring.
Eva Marie tells producers that she has a background in ballet and ballroom dancing. She doesn't.
The show also tries to pass off segments on Main Event and Superstars as "live on Raw". It might work on E! viewers, but WWE fans can tell in a heartbeat. For the first one it's a little more justified since some Superstars matches are taped before Raw and it's likely producers don't want to confuse viewers.
The Cameo: From various WWE employees in different episodes. Vince himself made an appearance on episode 7.
Career Versus Man: A justified example. Jojo's high school boyfriend gives her this ultimatum. In this case her career puts her on the road for most of the year and her man has to either accept he won't see her as often - or else end the relationship.
Catch Phrase: Ariane - "Girl, bye". Trinity also always greets her by affectionately saying "hey, baby girl".
Eva Marie's has become "All Red Everything".
"Brie Mode" seems to be Brie's in a sense.
The Cast Show Off: Jojo gets to show off her singing voice by performing The Funkadactyls' entrance music live.
Trinity's father is a music producer, and she's shown recording vocals for a few songs over the course of the show. Additionally she demonstrates her dancing talents in a few episodes.
Christmas Cake: Nikki (who is near 30) voices her worry about getting married, afraid John Cena won't want to as he has recently divorced.
Also this could be a Berserk Button for Summer. Nattie gets slapped after she makes a crack about Summer still being single when she's nearly 30.
The City vs. the Country: A variation. Brie's apartment in sunny San Diego is contrasted with Bryan's modest house in damp wet Aberdeen, Washington. They eventually move to Phoenix instead.
Continuity Snarl: Nattie's dislike of Summer Rae comes across as rather contrived and forced. Especially given that earlier season 1 episodes showed her to be very fond of the new girls and helping them out.
Control Freak: John Cena apparently once Nikki moves into his house. To the degree that he starts panicking about keeping the kitchen spotless when he finds Nikki making dinner.
Possible Fridge Brilliance sets in regarding the kitchen when you remember that a very expensive, drawn-out, and frustrating home renovation had a lot to do with Cena's marriage coming apart. It doesn't completely excuse his behavior (he seemed especially ungrateful when Nikki cooked for him and acted like he didn't want the kitchen to ever be used for cooking at all,) but you can at least understand where he's coming from if you realize he might not be wanting history to repeat.
Corpsing: Nattie and Ariane/Cameron get into an argument while out drinking. A cop approaches them and warns them they'll be arrested if they get too rowdy. They go inside and immediately burst out laughing.
Daddy's Girl: Trinity and Eva Marie are both quite close to their fathers. It's Played for Drama with both of them in separate episodes. Trinity's father comes to stay with her and Jon but oversteps his boundaries (and Trinity is reluctant to tell him). Eva also struggles with her father not approving of her relationship with Jonathan.
Dark-Skinned Blonde: As the show was being taped, Ariane (who is black) added a two-tone caramel shade to her hair and lightened that to blonde.
Disappeared Dad: The twins' father who split from their mother when they were fifteen. They are reunited on the show.
Do Not Call Me Paul: Played with. The Funkadactyls Cameron and Naomi are called by their real names - Ariane and Trinity. Natalya is often just called Nattie onscreen anyway - and likewise 'Jojo' is just a nickname for Joseanne. The Bellas are referred to as 'The Bellas' as if it's their real name (though Brian does use Brie's real last name Garcia when he proposes). Eva Marie's real name is Natalie but is called Eva by everyone (even by Jonathan towards her family) - though her family does say Natalie a couple of times in the season 1 finale. Summer Rae is also called by her ring name rather than her real name Danielle. Most other WWE workers get called by their real names except Fandango, Alicia Fox and Chris Jericho.
Dye Hard: Eva Marie (brunette dyed red) and Ariane (black dyed caramel brown and eventually blonde).
Evil Twin: Nikki is portrayed as being this compared to Brie. Funnily enough whenever the two were pit against each other on WWE TV, Nikki usually played the heelnote Aside from Team Teddy vs Team Johnny for Wrestle Mania 28 where Nikki finally got to be the face.
Failed Audition Plot: Inverted. The second episode builds towards an audition that we know is doomed to fail.
Fanservice: Lots and lots of it. Especially one episode which has Nikki and Nattie modelling lingerie for each other and Ariane walking around with boob implants.
Freudian Excuse: Ariane's erratic temper is the result of growing up in a household where her mother and (now divorced) stepfather fought a lot.
Funny Character, Boring Actor: John Cena. His character in the ring and during promos is nothing if not animated and energetic. On camera for the series behind the scenes, he comes across as very serious and reserved. Even in "fun" scenes like the pool party at his home or on dates, he's most often the quietest person in the group.
Gag Boobs: When Ariane is considering a boob job, she's given a pair of silicone implants to "test drive". Hilarity Ensues - they fall out while she's in the pool, her boyfriend names them, Brie tries them on and she ends up having to go out on TV with only one in.
Girls' Night Out Episode: The episode featuring a trip to Vegas for Nattie's bachelorette party. Despite being a show about the women, it's still a straight example as TJ's bachelor party happened alongside it but the show only focused on the women.
The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: After Nikki gets injured, she feels very threatened by Brie's singles push on TV and worries that she'll be forgotten about. Also earlier when Brie and Bryan wanted to move cities, which Nikki got annoyed about. They also frequently snipe at each other.
Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Nikki loves her wine though it's actually Brie who becomes more of a mess when they go out. Nattie seems to be one too.
Hidden Depths: Surprisingly after Eva Marie's disastrous attempt at being Fandango's new girl, she displayed more maturity and sense than she had previously shown. Character Development people.
Hypocrite: Nattie complaining about Eva Marie being asked to dye her hair blonde because she herself is also blonde. Does she really think people aren't going to tell the two of them apart if they have the same hair colour? Eva Marie did resemble the Bellas but even with blonde hair she wouldn't look like Nattie.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Nattie previously dyed her hair a different colour because she felt there were too many blonde Divas. She went the same colour as Eva - redhead.
I Was Young And I Needed The Money: This is initially what people think about Eva's raunchy pictures that Ariane shows to the locker room. It turns out Eva was battling alcoholism at the time.
Informed Ability: Trinity cops on to Eva's supposed dancing experience being this when Eva says she can't do the splits. Any trained dancer would have the flexibility to do the splits.
The Ingenue: Jojo is presented as this, being younger than the other girls.
Lady Drunk: When Brie gets like this, it's called "Brie Mode".
Lysistrata Gambit: Played with and given a Gender Flip. Brie is able to make Nikki show her missing tooth to John by reminding her of how long it has been since they've had sex.
Manipulative Editing: Especially between breaks, when one thing that what was shown in the preview before the break, and the "One The next..." doesn't match when we actually see it. Also, certain things that happened on Raw or Smackdown, are let out of the Total Divas airing. Such as Daniel Bryan winning the WWE title, but failing to show the aftermath with Triple H and Randy Orton.
Manly Tears: TJ when it turns out that Gismo is going to die.
Never Trust a Trailer: The season 2 previews made it seem like Summer slapped Natalya for calling her a stripper. It actually happens because Nattie makes a crack about Summer still being single at her age.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Brie wanted to get a bus, after seeing Nikki's and John's bus and managed to talk Bryan in to it by getting the rest of the cast to join them. With a few rules (no poopingnote probably because the bus was equipped to handle it, and no sexnote Well, no boner, but still. It didn't last long as the rest of the crew treated is a party bus, and Brie caught Naomi and Jimmy in the act. After that, no more bus.
Old Shame: In-universe example where Eva has some raunchy pictures from her past.
Once More with Clarity: Some segments on WWE programming that makes little sense why they would occur we find out here why. An 8 mixed tag match between Tons of Funk with the Funkadactyls vs The Bella Twins and The Usos, the latter being heels teaming with faces. This was a segment done for Total Divas.
A meta example. During the Winter of 2013 there were rather a lot of random 6-Diva tag matches featuring the cast - usually the Bellas and Natalya. The amount of 6-Diva tags make more sense when they show up as necessary stock footage in season 2.
One Steve Limit: Averted with Nikki's boyfriend John Cena and Trinity's boyfriend Jon Fatu. Also Josie is the name of Eva Marie's mother and of Brie's pet dog.
Played straight in the sense that Eva Marie's real name is Natalie. She is referred to by her stage name the entire time, presumably to avoid confusion with Natalya - whose real name is also Natalie (though is always called Nattie).
Only Sane Man: Pretty much the girl who isn't getting the focus of whatever episode becomes this to the rest. Even Eva Marie and Ariane occasionally. John Cena also seems to function solely to tell Nikki to stop being so immature.
Daniel Bryan, full-stop. Brie makes him sammiches.
Plenty of Blondes: Inverted. Management feels there are too many brunettes and want Eva Marie to become a blonde to fix that.
Polar Opposite Twins: The show plays this up with the Bellas. Brie is calm and sensible while Nikki is more aggressive and passionate.
Poor Communication Kills: The third episode in season two deals with Nikki suspecting John Cena of cheating on her. He gets up and walks away from Nikki while answering a phone call from a woman. He closes his laptop and locks his phone whenever Nikki might see. And most damning of all, he lies about paying a visit to the gym when in reality he was nowhere near it. In the meantime, Nikki has passed her real estate agent's exam and was showing clients a high-end beachfront home in San Diego. After confronting John about her suspicions, she heads off to her new job thinking to resolve things later, but then John shows up at the property she's showing. He tells her, "There's no other way to say this. I went to see another woman. Her name is Sarah. She's an escrow agent. I wanted to find out about this place. I wanted to do it without you knowing. I've decided I want to buy it."
Ariane is a more aggressive and loud Red to Trinity's calmer and more sensible Blue.
Refuge in Audacity: Nikki Bella is a massive massive pervert. And she's also kind of brilliant with how open she is about it. She owns six vibrators and claims she needs them whenever John is away for too long (and brings one along for a trip to Vegas). She has no problem making jokes about her private parts. And then another episode reveals she loves looking at a reflection of herself while doing it with John.
Replacement Goldfish: After Gismo's death, Nattie and TJ get another kitten called Louis. Played with in that they already had a second cat.
Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Eva Marie and JoJo. Two episodes deal with them having Odd-Couple like issues and a potential "break-up". The Funkadactyls as well. Trinity affectionately calls Ariane "baby girl".
Satellite Love Interest: Justified. All we know about the various boyfriends is how they fit into the women's world.
Shameless Fanservice Girl: There's one scene where a breast implants consultant bares her breasts to Ariane and Trinity and lets them cop a feel. She even does the same for Trinity's fiance, Jon AKA Jimmy Uso, by flashing him and letting him feel her breasts.
Shirtless Scene: John Cena and Bryan Danielson for the sake of a wood-chopping contest.
Spicy Latina: Eva Marie, who is Mexican-Italian, describes herself as such. Nikki appears to be a straight example too (same ethnicity) though she doesn't play one on TV (the Bellas are more Alpha Bitch than Spicy Latina).
Stay in the Kitchen: Implied with Vincent's father regarding Ariane. He doesn't like that she's on the road most of the week, leaving Vincent alone. He's basically two steps ahead of them, wanting them to get married, despite it has never come up between the two. It's also implied he's pushing Vincent to propose, which he was sorta did, he took her to a jewelry store to look at rings, in which she freaked out and the two decided to take a break. They got back together before Nattie's wedding, due to a health scare.
Sugary Malice: What Summer's attempts to apologize to Brie and Nattie devolve into. Culminates when Summer makes an unannounced visit to Nattie's house, get the apologies out of the way, and then starts in on accusing Nattie, in just the sweetest voice, of being threatened by the new crop of Divas and of wasting years of her own career. When Nattie comes back with a dose of Brutal Honesty of exactly why the rest of the women's locker room doesn't care for Summer and her antics, Summer slaps her right across the face.
The Teetotaler: Eva Marie doesn't drink, and we've seen a couple examples of it. First during the house warming party she and Jojo had for the rest of the cast, then when they where in Vegas for Nattie's bachelorette party; she hung out with Jojo, who was too young to drink. It's reveled in season two that she is a recovering alcoholic.
Eva Marie, particularly in the first few episodes. There is a whole list of infractions that would get almost any other wrestler in the company released if it weren't the show's resident crash test dummy doing them:
In the pilot episode, her very first impression with WWE creative is to completely disregard their instructions on her hair color note She admittedly had a point. Going in, she has an already sexy and distinctive brown color with red highlights and was told to dye her hair blond, which would do absolutely nothing for her complexion. Instead, she went with Rhianna fire station red, an improvement over blond but still a downstep from her original color. .
Next, she wanted to take a shortcut to get on camera by insinuating that she has a background in ballet and ballroom dancing in order to get an on-screen position as Fandango's escort/manager. A fair amount of planning goes into this until she has her audition and fails miserably. Fandango himself looks fairly disgusted with the whole affair, the creative staff is flabbergasted and has to find a replacement for the dancer role, and Stephanie Mcmahon herself takes Eva to task for wasting so many people's time. note Stephanie's on-screen anger is mostly staged, but Eva didn't know that at the time. Still, as the person in charge of the creative division, she had to have been pissed to some degree at Eva for causing such a distraction.
In an attempt to throw something against the wall to see if anything would stick, Eva was given a ring announcer's role for a match during Raw. Despite having most of a week to memorize a half dozen names and billed locations, she still mangles a lot of names, including "Ginger Mahal" in 3MB, which to him is a Berserk Button. note This makes sense. He is an entirely disposable mid-carder who might be dropped at some point and never be seen again, so every television appearance he has is valuable. So someone butchering his name, to him, is showing him a distinct lack of respect.
Traumatic Haircut: Eva Marie freaks out on the first episode when management has her dye her hair blonde. She eventually is unable to go through with it and decides to Take a Third Option - she becomes a redhead instead.
Those Two Girls: Three pairs of them, in fact. The only one who isn't is Natalya.
The scene where Nattie is tearful about not getting a match at WrestleMania? Obviously staged. At the time Natalya had barely been a fixture in the women's division, either jobbing at that stage or acting as the Great Khali's manager. Plus the 8-person tag was announced weeks in advance so it's likely she heard about it on TV rather than an agent having to tell her personally. Nattie would probably be more shocked if she did get a match at WrestleMania considering the current Divas' Champion was also a Face and Natalya hadn't been in the women's division much.
JoJo and her supposedly disastrous attempt at singing on Main Event. The show doesn't mention that their version of "Somebody Call My Momma" was sold on Itunes and JoJo was given the chance to sing the National Anthem at SummerSlam.
Natalya's embarrassing pants-wetting incident happened on a match that got cut from the Superstars broadcast. The match a fan refers to is a second one taped the week after (with Eva Marie at ringside).
Cena's elbow/triceps injury. On the show it appears as he finds out the week of SummerSlam, and that no one else knows and only told Nikki, when in fact that he found out about it a few weeks before, and the doctors wanted him to cancel the match and have the surgery right away. At the same time, the show makes a point about how much time Cena would be missing, only for Cena (As he always does) to come back in less time than the doctors say he will and at the same time the episode aired.
The first episode has Trinity and Ariane standing by while Sandra is finishing up stitching together their wrestling outfits for their Wrestlemania match. It's a nice touch of tension, but sort of loses believability when we're expected to swallow that these outfits (for a match at Wrestlemania no less!) weren't finished weeks beforehand and are instead being put together at literally the last possible second.
Nattie's 'rivalry' with Summer Rae. To anyone who knows anything about how a wrestling match actually works, Summer and Natalya have far too good chemistry for two people that supposedly hate each other's guts. Wrestlers who don't like each other in real life tend to stiff each other a lot more. Additionally the match that makes Nattie worry she might miss her TLC title match? It's very obviously from the week of Old School Raw - which happened in January 2014. TLC took place in December.
The Unfair Sex: The series likes to play up the relationship woes in Nikki and John Cena's relationship. Quite a few fans buy into Nikki's strife of wanting John to commit to marriage even though he's actually being forthcoming with his feelings on the matter.
Unusual Euphemism: Trinity for her crotch showing - "all my cookies are hanging out". Cue thousands of "hand in the cookie jar" jokes online. Several episodes later she gave us the reverse. Her boobs are her "potatoes".
Wardrobe Malfunction: Two variations. Ariane has new gear designed for her and Trinity but does not get Trinity's measurements - resulting in her crotch being on full display. Secondly Nikki robs one of Ariane's silicone boobs out of her costume, leaving her very...erm...uneven.
Trinity has a much straighter example when filming her music video. The see-through catsuit she's wearing rips in the middle of a scene. She also suffers a Hairstyle Malfunction during another take.
Wedding Day: The mid-season finale revolved around Nattie and TJ's wedding. Though it was strongly implied by many WWE talents that Nattie and TJ had eloped beforehand and that the ceremony was a gesture to their friends and family.
What the Hell, Hero?: Stephanie McMahon of all people delivers this to the Funkadactyls. She reminds them that they are representing the company whenever they are out in public - and that their Cat Fight was both childish and could have generated negative publicity for them.
Worked Shoot: The show seems to be mixing this in, making fans wonder what parts are staged and which are genuine.