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Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Daddy -Starting Over 9/13/04

The first shot is of last season’s holdover houseguest Josie with her baby Chloe in the apartment she had been given when the Chicago house was disbanded. The shot is filmed at the end of the first season when Chloe is no more than a few weeks old. Josie narrates that this is the day she will get the results of a DNA test to tell whether her on-again-off-again boyfriend Jonathan is the father of her baby. She is concerned because she has realized that while she would stay by his side no matter what, he will probably leave, if it turns out he is not Chloe’s dad. We hear a phone ringing and the show intro begins.

It’s new! The script is the same but it’s read by “real” voices, not the melodramatic ones of last season. The montage is now of scenes from last season plus one that looks like new life coach Iyanla. There are also shots of L.A. including -yuck- traffic… then the new house, a beauty perched on a cliff. I wonder who will be first to get pitched over the edge!

Next we meet Towanda, tall and long-haired in a slinky black tube-top dress. She gets to the house and is greeted by Amy Harkin from last season. I was happy to see that red hair coming to the door! In confessional, Amy narrates that she will be there at the house to start the women on their new journey of self-discovery. She muses that Towanda seems so polished, so it must be that appearances are not always what they seem. Next Amy shows Towanda to her room, the biggest in the house with all kinds of perks and plushies. Amy narrates that the house is designed in a way to make women feel comfortable, whatever that means… and that there are 2 more bedrooms, one of which is very small, which may lead to some fights.

The next houseguest arrives and it’s Jennifer. I am going to have to get used to her baby-talk speaking style. She’s more plainly dressed in a tee and jeans. She is immediately shown to the middle-sized bedroom.

Then Kim arrives. Kim wears spike heels and a pink tweed ruffled suit. Jennifer narrates that the sight of Kim’s Louis Vuitton bag makes her think Kim must be stuck-up. Right away Kim is shown protesting that the women don’t get to pick their own bedrooms. Amy shows her to the small, closet-challenged 3rd bedroom and Kim does not hesitate to ask to be put in the master bedroom with Towanda. Towanda and Amy come to fetch her for a tour and Kim decides she will try to get Amy’s permission to send Towanda’s roommate to the smallest room and that she, Kim, will offer to do the roommate some favor in exchange.

After the commercial, Kim and Towanda are seen looking for Amy. Kim says that she will just go ahead and move her bags into the bigger room and Amy won’t know. They find Amy, propose the plan, and Amy is firm in her refusal. Amy is shown in confessional observing that Kim seems to be used to asking for -and getting- whatever she wants.

Now we cut to a shot of Josie packing.

Then to Deborah, pronounced “de BOAH rah”. She’s arriving in a pretty blue shorts dress with a matching blue shiny shirt jacket. Right away she is shown proclaiming her pre-menopausal state and warning of nights sweats and ending up nude by morning. Deborah has A LOT of luggage. So of course she is sent to the tiny room with Miss Kim. Perfect. Deborah says her large wardrobe is important to her “mission”. Kim does not look happy and narrates that this is the least likely person she would choose to room with. She wants to show Deborah the bigger bedrooms but Deborah tells her she’d rather see the rest of the house. Kim is still talking about finagling a way into the master bedroom.

Towanda narrates that Deborah is a character and doesn’t think Deborah “is ever gonna be pleased”. Deborah is shown quietly praying for “a house that’s not divided”.

Over lunch, Kim shares with Deborah that she has hot flashes too, but she will not be sleeping naked. Deborah tries to sound good natured but stubborn about trying to be comfortable when she feels hot.

Next shot, Josie looking at her plane tickets.

Then we meet Sinae (pronounced sin- NAY) a blonde with coke bottle glasses. Sinae is also in a tee and jeans. She is in confessional, wondering aloud whether this will be the kind of house where women will be willing to help her with things. She giggles that meeting Kim was like “legally blonde in the middle of the house”. Then you see her being given a tour, with Kim pointing out, still incredulous, that she has the smallest bedroom.

Next Amy doles out grocery money. $500.00 to be split among them. That’s a lot of Edamame! She holds up the van keys and tells them to be back at six to meet the Life Coaches. Sinae takes this opportunity to reveal the big issue she wants everyone to know about her, and asks who will be allowed to drive. Amy responds that anyone with a license can drive the van. Sinae coyly states that she has a driver’s license but will not be driving. The other woman are curious, except Deborah who says they should not bother Sinae if she is shy. But Sinae wants the others to know: she is blind. Deborah thinks this is cool and waves a hand in front of Sinae, who clarifies that she has 20/200 vision because of something that happened last December. Jennifer shares that her mother is legally blind. Deborah compares Sinae’s plight to her own life when her husband died. So we get some early insights and there is a little cheerleading.

Amy brings the conversation back to the subject at hand and asks if there is anything else. Deborah tells her that Kim does not want to room with her because Deborah snores. Amy once again affirms that they will have to find a way to make it work. She leaves and the woman get to work dividing their grocery money.

Next we see the ladies in the van (all taillights operational as of this episode). The van is shown grazing a curb. Deborah is driving. She asks the ladies if they want to share their stories and all say no, we have to wait for six o’clock. Then she and Jennifer are shown several times bickering and being snide to each other. Jennifer narrates that Deborah is driving her crazy. Deborah is shown in confessional acknowledging that they both have strong personalities and that there can only be one leader and one lead-ee.

In the grocery store, Deborah decides to shop separately and the others use the opportunity to whisper about her. Jennifer jokes they should buy alcohol because Deborah might drive them to drink. Sinae narrates that Deborah should be trying harder to be part of the group.

After the five roomies eat dinner we see Josie and Chloe being picked up at the airport.

Then Kim is on the phone with her husband, complaining about the crappy room, her roommate and having to go where she was told to go. Her husband tells her that maybe this is the point. The conversation is interspersed with shots of Deborah exercising with wild abandon. Then Deborah is shown flopped out on the couch, eating and listening to music on headphones and we see Kim glaring down at her from the balcony.

Next it’s Josie cooing to Chloe in the backseat of the car.

Then back to the house where the roomies are gathered, and the Life Coaches make their entrance. Towanda narrates that she was shocked to see Iyanla (pronounce YAN-la), whose self-help books she already owns. Rhonda introduces herself and puts in a plug for Iyanla, who has the hypnotic voice and poetic speech pattern of Maya Angelou. Rhonda goes over the house rules and the exit criteria – you can graduate, you can be asked to leave if you’re hurting yourself or others, you can bail out if you promise to talk to the LC’s first.

Now Josie makes her entrance with Chloe who is suddenly a lot older! Kim is gleeful because she had predicted Josie would be the 6th houseguest. Deborah immediately goes for Chloe but for some odd reason, Chloe is still in her car seat on Deborah’s lap. Later she is out of the car seat and being held by Towanda.

Jennifer has clearly seen the first season. She narrates that she won’t make a specific accusation but has her own opinion about how children should be raised (at the ripe old age of 21!) and won’t hesitate to speak up.

Iyanla shows the women their group meeting space in the loft. It’s to be sacred and nobody should go there without permission. Kim can’t hold it in any longer, she needs to know why the houseguests can’t choose their own rooms. There is funny background music.
Iyanla: What room would you have chosen?
Kim: The master bedroom.
Iyanla: And put who in the smaller room?
Kim: I don’t know. I was thinking we could all work that out by ourselves.
Iyanla proceeds to call Kim on putting her own desires before others. Kim retorts that it’s really about being in control of where you go et cetera, and Iyanla seems to hint that she does not disagree, and that this is exactly what Kim will be working on.

After the commercial, we have time for one story. Jennifer is first. Only two pictures, her little sister whom she says she does not love, and her mother with whom there is also not a real relationship. The self portrait is a stick-girl with descriptive words, some of them unflattering, all around her. She shares that her dad is in prison and her mom has Multiple Sclerosis. Iyanla grabs her and swears her undying, unconditional love and support. I personally find these promises a bit insincere coming from someone I have just met, but Jennifer seems content with it. Kim is crying because she sees her own life reflected in Jennifer’s sadness. Iyanla tells Kim it’s ok to know that you can feel bad and recover and it’s not fatal.

The preview has a glimpse of the Chicago house, for nostalgia’s sake I suppose. There is also a hint that we will get the answer tomorrow on who Chloe’s dad is!

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