It’s going to be a tough day in the Starting Over house. It’s the anniversary of when Jaclyn was raped AND her mother’s birthday. It has to be tough to associate those two things that way. It’s also the day of Lou’s personal Board of Review. His probationary 48 hours are just about up. He was told to figure out what he was hiding by then or get out.
At the Board of Review Lou’s housemates are asked about the experiences with him the past 48 hours. All find him to be much more open now, and even Simon says he’s not the same “mad little boy” anymore. Jennifer says he was different with her starting when he came back from interviewing women on the street finding out what they really wanted.
Lou tries to explain the difference in himself and holds up the two-page note his housemates had written him stating how much they cared. For the first time we have seen, and perhaps ever, Lou is tongue-tied. What the other people wrote on that note were all the thing he didn’t believe about himself. He realized the game was over and no one believed what he was trying so hard to convince them of. Lou tells Jennifer to expect him to listen now, be more emotional and be there for her. He receives a B+.
After Rhonda and Iyanla leave, the housemates continue sitting around the table talking. Kacie decides they should help each other out with any issues. Michael urges her to go ahead and say what’s on her mind. Kacie finally admits to Simon that she pushes him away, because she feels she’s giving him all she has, but he’s still holding back. How can you give someone your all and push them away at the same time?
Simon says he holds back because he feels he’s not good enough for Kacie. She never compliments him on how he looks. She says she doesn’t want perfect; she wants it all. Everyone in the group tries to help them out as Simon take the blame to things physical. He has issues with how people “see” him. When he was growing up, he was always the darkest kid at school, and people called him “the N word.” He notes that although he’s a dark Pakistani and KC a black woman, he doesn’t feel she understands.
Dr. Stan meets with Jaclyn to discuss it being the anniversary of her rape. She tells him she is numb and afraid to feel. He decides it would do Jaclyn good to talk to a sexual assault specialist. He also feels it’s important that she go alone as this happened to her and not Michael.
After the others in the house alert Iyanla to the difficulties Simon is having with his looks, she meets with Simon to get him to discuss it more. Iyanla pretty much has it figured out already. All Simon’s tattoos are an effort to cover up the skin he doesn’t like. He says they each tell another part of his story, forcing Iyanla to wonder if he’s trying to cover up his skin why he puts things on it that are inviting people to take a closer look.
Everyone is starting to get uncomfortable around Cheryl, as Lou tells her as they all sit down for group. Once Rhonda walks in, she announces they will be discussing TRUST, most notably infidelity, both physically and emotionally. When Cheryl is asked if she has done one or the other, she tries to admit to it but only ends up blaming Troy again. Rhonda says Cheryl has low self-esteem and is a manipulator, which is why she always shifts the blame back to him.
Jaclyn says even when she had an emotional affair, it was still demoralizing herself. Rhonda notes to everyone that how Jaclyn is wearing less makeup she has become much smarter. Okay, I noticed the lack of makeup equaling a change in behavior, but I never would have explained it as “smarter.”
Rhonda takes it back to Troy and Cheryl’s issues, as Troy still doesn’t really see himself as cheating. As Rhonda asks who else would ever cheat in a chat room, no on raises their hand, and Troy starts to realize it’s not all that innocent of an act. She explains all cheating, whether emotional or physical, is an effort to get core needs met, such as attention or to feel loved.
Iyanla meets with Kacie and Simon again to try and resolve their issues, and goes back into their issues with their parents. Simon admits to having “old world” parents and Kacie never felt either of their parents approved of their biracial relationship, leaving the two of them to actually sleep in their car at one point. As the conversation goes back to Simon not allowing Kacie to have male friends, Simon says it goes both ways as she doesn’t allow him to have female friends either. They can’t move past it and decide there is still too many walls up.
Jaclyn meets with the sexual abuse therapist who believes she suffers from responsibility issues over her rape. She never even reported it to the police, and the therapist believes that is why. Jaclyn is told her mind and body shut down because of the guilt issues, and to move past it all, she has to first accept any responsibility and move past the guilt.
Rhonda has Cheryl chart the differences between “Cheryl” and “Little Earl,” her childhood alter ego. Little Earl is the strong tough side and Cheryl is the vulnerable open side. They then move into a small room representing a “dollhouse,” and Rhonda gives Cheryl a doll that represents the little girl Cheryl was never allowed to be. Cheryl finally sees that her Little Earl persona protected her and that Little Cheryl felt abandoned and left.
The next time the group is together they make fun of the “Little Cheryl” doll and say it’s going to be sitting on her dresser talking to her in the middle of the night like Chuckie. They say pretty soon Cheryl will start dressing her and Little Cheryl in matching clothing. She goes along with it, and it doesn’t seem to bother her, but it makes me think it’s only the same thing her family used to do when they would make fun of “Little Earl.”
It doesn’t bother WGN to call themselves a Super Station, even though they are far from super. When they showed Tuesday’s episode early the next morning instead of the normal time slot, they forgot to change the programming, so my TIVO picked up an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and a half hour of the White Sox post season game. For this reason I can’t report on Tuesday’s episode, but I think we got the gist of it from watching Wednesday’s.
Wednesday’s episode starts off with Troy up to bat for the Board of Review. It appears he was the first one up, so we didn’t miss any others, but we did miss the beginning of Troy’s appearance. I am assuming that it was noted that along with stealing away Cheryl’s childhood, Little Earl has also stolen Troy’s manhood. He is now asked to reclaim his power and beat on his chest like Tarzan. He has trouble with this and is urged to ask his community for help. He asks his housemates and they all beat on their chests together.
For the first time since this Couples’ Boot Camp began, Troy has a huge smile on his face. Discussing the grade he should get, he says when he first came here it was 10% for him and 80% for Cheryl. Just who was he there for the other 10% of the time? Troy says he now says he thinks he’s there for himself 60% of the time. Iyanla asks him to own it otherwise he’ll never get an A. Lou suggests Troy yell “A” like they had yelled like Tarzan before. He does, and after another big smile, receives an A-.
Michael is next up. He explains he used to think he was there for “us” but now believes it’s for “me” and to heal the relationship with his mom. He mentions he has now called his mom and told her he loves her. He heard the happiness in her voice. Perhaps this was in the missing Tuesday show. Michael says the old him would have given himself a B, but the new him would give an A. He is knocked down a notch, given an A-, and told to remember to have accountability for himself.
Kacie replaces Michael at the podium and says she is in the Starting Over Couples’ Boot Camp to stop letting fear and anger control her. She talks of it being because of the physical abuse she was through, prompting Iyanla to ask physical or sexual, since she’s only talked about being sexually abused in foster care. Kacie says it was sexual, but there was enough of a question in her reply to make us,and probably Iyanla as well, wonder.
When her housemates are asked what Kacie still needs to work on, all her housemates believe she doesn’t believe in herself enough yet. Iyanla says this is really hard for her as she has experienced sexual and physical abuse as well. It’s interesting that Iyanla throws the physical abuse connection back in there despite Kacie only admitting to sexual abuse. Perhaps she’s pushing the connection so Kacie will feel more free to open up.
Iyanla tells Kacie she must be responsible for her own healing. She says that by Kacie telling her story she will be healing herself and others. Six out of ten children eighteen months old to sixteen years old are abused, Iyanla explains. Kacie is not alone. Yet most don’t make it through, while Kacie has. Iyanla urges her to realize she has a purpose for pulling through.
Continuing, Kacie is told she is not 100% available to her daughter, and the part of her that isn’t is what her daughter needs to be able to connect to her daddy. Iyanla then refuses to give Kacie a grade, and hands her a blank card and tells her to grade herself depending on what she’s going to do with her life.
In a private conversation afterwards, Kacie says she isn’t going to tell her story because she doesn’t want the pity. Iyanla tells her she shouldn’t do it for others, she should do it for herself. Kacie says she thought she came to the Boot Camp for help with her marriage, not her past. But Kacie, you can’t help your marriage until you help yourself. Iyanla says Kacie can’t do it alone and needs help. Simon waits in the wings to help her while Iyanla explains Kacie must work through it on her own.
Kacie tells the camera she has been physically and emotionally abused. She details many disgusting details, but I won’t glorify it by putting it all out there. When she is done, she draws herself and “A” and writes down she will work through her past. She then goes into the kitchen and is offered support and many years.
The next day in group the couples compare the ratings they gave their marriages on the first day and the ratings they give them now. On a scale from 1 to 10, Cheryl and Troy have gone from a 4 and 5 to a 7.8 and 9. Jaclyn and Michael have gone from a 2 and 4 to a 6 and 9. Lou and Jennifer go from a 7 and 3 to an 8 and 7. Simon and Kacie have gone from a 5 and 3 to a 10 and 8. Kacie realizes the ratings of her marriage reflect how she feels about herself. Bingo. That’s why you have to work on yourself before you work on your marriage.
As everyone splits up Iyanla gathers with the men, Rhonda gathers with the ladies, and they talk about their fears of going home today. Nothing earth-shattering is revealed here and they move on to their lowest moments. Lou’s was when he woke up the morning after the “car thing” and for the first time had nothing to say. Simon says it was when Iyanla put his “business out there.” Jaclyn says it was the night after her Board of Review, and interestingly enough, Jennifer says it was the night after Lou’s Board of Review.
Troy says his greatest triumph in the house was the first day when he was finally letting it all out with Iyanla. Michael says it was when Jaclyn held the key that unlocked his handcuffs, and he also reveals he and Jaclyn have decided to take some time off from their relationship. Jaclyn reveals the very same thing to Rhonda. Jennifer advises her to trust herself and not let Michael do unacceptable things. Cheryl’s greatest moment was the obstacle course when she realized she was hurting and couldn’t ask for help. Kacie says hers was just last night when she decided to let go of the past.
As the couples all leave the Starting Over house, they are given a plant to nurture like their relationships. When they couples are invited back on the show at a later date, they are to bring these healthier, more mature plants back with them. Jaclyn and Michael are each given a plant since their relationship hangs in the balance and they are taking some time off. Iyanla hopes when they come back the two plants will be together in one pot.
After all are gone, Dr. Stan says he will miss the men and the energy they brought to the house. Now six women will get a chance to sit in that. Rhonda notes they will get a chance to live in a house that has already been lived in. Iyanla asks how much love can you stand?
I must admit after all is said and done, the couples thing really wasn’t that bad as many were fearing. It wasn’t too long and was very informative. It still makes me wonder how anyone could expose their relationship to such a public viewing, but I don’t think these people knew what they were in for. Regardless, they all leave the house much better off than when they started. They have hope where they didn’t have it before. Even Michael and Jaclyn realize it’s possible they could be healthier apart than together, and if it doesn’t work out with them, it’s okay. How smart they were to tackle this before a future wedding. Everyone should be as smart.
I am struggling to find a format for these Starting Over recaps/reviews. I would much appreciate if anyone with an idea or two about them would email and tell me what they’d like to see here. Strictly recap? Strictly commentary? How often should they appear? I want to be able to give people what they want. Email me at LauraBelle@realityshack.com