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Oh Lord, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood-Starting Over 9/15/04

Because the preview today alludes to much ado about Deborah, I feel I must come clean about something. I am probably the only white person in the viewing audience who thought Kimberlyn got a raw deal in season one. I’m just saying.

We begin in the loft, where Rhonda has asked the Big Question – who is the father of that child? Josie is heard saying that Chloe was her wakeup call, her first clue that there are more important things than partying. We flash back to the end of last season, Josie in the rocking chair in her show-provided apartment, reacting to the message in the phone call that was telling her the results of the DNA test. She sighs, then is shown with her head back and eyes closed, tears streaming down. It’s not the answer she wanted to hear. There will be no fairy tale reunion with boyfriend Jonathan. But it seems like by now, Josie has realized there wasn’t going to be a storybook ending with that manipulating wannabe-playa no matter what. Now she is free from ever having to hear about what a tramp she is because there’s proof she had premarital sex… and as a bonus, now she will always know where her car is. But enough about me. By the miracle of television we are transported back to the present where everyone in the room is waiting for the answer. Drama. Music. Tense faces. She speaks. “My best friend.” She does not say whether he knows yet or not. Josie says Jonathan still calls and leaves messages on her cell phone but that she does not return them. One can hope.

Deborah, in what I will generously assume was meant to be a motherly admonishment about health issues, asks a rhetorical question – how could you have unprotected sex? And mentions some icky diseases. THEN she starts to say something about how she grew up in a religious household. (I don’t think I can rationalize that one for ya, Deb.) Josie interrupts and reminds her that she was on the pill at the time she got pregnant. Deborah reminds her that she’s talking about diseases. She laughs nervously and Josie chooses to interpret this as a laugh of derision. If the editing was sequential, Deborah’s expression reveals she knows she has screwed up at this point. Josie goes on to explain that she was TRYING to run her life into the ground during the time that Chloe got conceived. Then she gives a big spiel about how grateful she is to Starting Over, and Chloe, “the main person of all. I’m gonna make your life so much better than mine was.” This from a woman who, 16 weeks ago, was planning to give birth into the trunk of her car.

Next we see Deborah on the telephone with her friend Pamela. (We notice that the phone cord has not knotted itself up yet.) Deborah is whispering that she may have to leave the house because her roomie doesn’t like snoring, and also the perfume incident that was alluded to yesterday. Apparently Deborah had asked to try some of Kim’s perfume and the request was granted, but Kim made her promise several times not to ever use it without asking first, then hid the perfume as though she thought Deborah might try to steal it. Deborah goes on to describe another encounter when she had washed all the dishes, and then some of the other houseguests pulled the clean dishes from the dish drainer and ran them through the dishwasher. (Shades of season one Maureen, anyone?) Deborah is also still hurt that a blind girl would try to pity her. Some editing has occurred because now Deborah is in full weeping mode and she asks Pam if she would be a failure if she left the house. Inexplicably, someone comes up the stairs behind Deborah wearing nothing but a towel, then crosses over between Deborah and the camera and walks right through. How cold is that, with this woman sobbing into the phone! Not to mention, TMI already.

Next it’s a trip to a park where Iyanla is waiting for them with blue mats spread out on the ground. They do Iyanla’s favorite thing, which is to close their eyes and picture stuff. This time they are to visualize “that one thing” that would make them happy. Then they get to do Iyanla’s second favorite thing, which is writing it down. The paper they write it on is going to be a sail on a little wooden boat. They are going to cast the boats on a pond and imagine their dreams coming back to them someday. The dreams are: Sinae, ME; Jennifer, security; Kim, inner joy; Towanda, baby (she held back her real one because it might prematurely reveal her goal); Josie, a place to call home; and Deborah, paying off the mortgage. Iyanla narrates that how they float their boats could be a reflection of how they live their lives. Then they show us Kim’s boat tipping over. Iyanla is very happy. Jennifer fetches Kim’s boat and Iyanla wants to know why Jennifer had go in the water to retrieve Kim’s dream. (Maybe it’s because Jennifer is 20 and fit, Kim is 40 and chubby and probably wearing her Jimmy Choo’s?) Iyanla makes Jennifer put the boat back and Kim rights it herself. Kim is seen telling Iyanla she knows it didn’t have to be perfect, but she wants it to be perfect. Kim narrates that she hopes it’s not her day to reveal her goal because she’s not ready to look deeper into her issues.

We see the houseguests walking together and Sinae has her new cane.

Back at the house, Jennifer narrates that Deborah likes to take her meals out on the patio alone. Deborah is seen explaining, “bonds have already been done.” She sees it as Jennifer with Sinae, `T’ with Kim, Josie with the baby, “and then me,”

Sinae answers the door holding Chloe who has hiccups. It’s Rhonda, who makes a big show of identifying herself to Sinae, who can probably see who it is, but whatever. Rhonda gets Josie up from her nap (“we’ve been up since six!”:roll:) and takes her outdoors where there is a low practice balance beam.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Kim asks Towanda what she can do to support her if it’s Towanda’s day to tell her story. Towanda narrates that she was afraid to share her secret so she has already told Kim. Towanda’s wearing a very chic woven cowboy hat.

Then we see Sinae baking cookies and Jennifer yelling from another room to see if Sinae needs help. Okay, T with Kim. Sinae with Jennifer. We get it.

Back outside to the balance beam, where Rhonda gives Josie two buckets to carry. In each bucket Rhonda places stones of various sizes to denote responsibilities. Chloe, finances, patience, holding a job and education are big rocks. Friends and family is a small rock. There are close-ups of Josie’s feet on the beam, stepping on her jeans which looks really uncomfortable. Then a shot with the jeans rolled up. Then stepping on them again. (oops, continuityyyy!)

Now Towanda and Kim are in a sitting area. Kim is telling Towanda she doesn’t betray secrets and Towanda seems quite astounded. (Maybe she was expecting Kim to tell, even while swearing her to secrecy?)

Josie and Rhonda are back inside, looking at Josie’s steps on a poster. They discuss three more steps: Become stable; ask for support; commit to be a good mother. Josie feels like she is well on the way to achieving these and that when she has, her life will be perfect. (Shall we check back in 5 years, fellow moms…?;))

Now we are in the loft with Sinae’s cookies and it will be Kim’s day to dish. On the plasma screen we see the “dream house” she shares with her second husband Dave and their daughters, Snowdon and Chelsea, and Cappucino the dog. Then we see a picture of a Jaguar and Kim confesses to being a bit of a leadfoot. There is a picture of a closet stuffed with clothes. Josie narrates that these are material things that don’t really tell you about Kim. We see a Christmas card photo of the whole family, including the dog, in matching burberry. “Everything has to be coordinated”, Kim says. There is a photo of her mother and stepfather that makes her cry. “I hate crying”, she announces. (oooh, you are in the wronnnng house, doll!) Her mother is the only person who “gets” her. She confesses she has a fear that her mother will die too soon and that she herself will die and leave her family too soon. Iyanla: “I wonder what else you could be doing with that energy.” Kim tells the group her natural father left when she was six and became a “typical Disneyland father”. She feels he had a whole separate family that did not include her. The stepmother has even gone so far as to apologize for keeping Kim and her father apart. There’s a picture of Kim’s sister Kelly, whom she hasn’t spoken to in five years. Iyanla asks how that feels. Kim goes to the next topic, describing how many half- and step-siblings there were. Iyanla repeats the question and Kim answers that it was hard. “Hard is not a feeling” Iyanla says. Kim clarifies it’s sad and Iyanla thanks her. Kim acknowledges that she doesn’t have good relationships with women including her stepdaughter which is what she had wanted to avoid; she feels hurt a lot and whenever she feels hurt she “flips out”. Iyanla observes that Kim wears a very expensive mask. Kim’s self portrait is a drawing of a broken fence with each picket representing a fault. There is also a church and the word “guilt” nearby. “Guilt is my middle name”, says Kim. “I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what I want, and the only things that make me happy are external things.” Her goal will be to mend broken relationships but she is quite sure they will not want her.

Deborah is shown breaking in and Rhonda narrates that this is Deborah’s way of asking “Do you like me now? Am I ok now?” Iyanla tells the group she has noticed that Deborah always tries to turn the conversation to herself and they are heard saying “Amen” and agreeing out loud. Deborah points out that she didn’t even bring up her issues during all of Kim’s thing. Iyanla tells Deborah that another problem is that when someone tries to give her feedback, she goes into denial. Deborah says she feels like if she doesn’t participate, she’s accused of being antisocial, and if she does participate, they think she’s trying to get the attention. She wants examples. The laughing-at-Josie thing is brought up and everyone agrees with Josie. The camera shows a close-up of Iyanla snapping at Deborah and mispronouncing her name.

Next we are asked to text on our cell phones whether we think Deborah will leave – a moot point since this happened 3 months ago and we’re all watching at different times all over the country.

Deborah feels attacked but Jennifer insists in confessional that it wasn’t an attack. Then she is shown jumping on the bandwagon, but also is willing to start over and forget something Deborah has done to hurt her, while refusing to tell Deborah what it is. The women want a promise that Deborah will start fresh in exchange for their forgiveness, but Deborah is still not clear about what she’s doing wrong. The group is incredulous that Deborah does not seem to appreciate their generous offer. Jennifer narrates that she is going to leave the house with at least four new friends, and if Deborah doesn’t want to be her fifth friend, that’s her choice. (Is humility one of Jennifer’s goals?) Rhonda narrates that Deborah is frustrated and considering taking the “easy way out”.

In the next scene, Rhonda finds Deborah in her room packing. Deborah is deliciously sarcastic. She brings up the dish situation a lot and I am glad Rhonda will know about this.

We go to a private meeting with Iyanla and Kim. Kim says she is shook up and she is afraid Deborah might hurt her which would lead Kim to “go off on her”. Iyanla asks: “how can you offer compassion and empathy to the part of yourself that’s showing up in this house as Deborah?” Kim is quite disgusted by the comparison. Iyanla continues, “If you weren’t guilty/bad/fake, what would you be?” They decide Kim is not bad, the mask is bad. They talk goals, and removing the mask becomes a goal. Kim mentions that she does not offer herself to her stepmother because of guilt and also she does not know how to forgive. Iyanla says she can learn by forgiving herself and it’s time to close our eyes and find our inner child! :clap: Like Jennifer yesterday, Kim’s inner child is six years old and the tears flow as Kim forgives the inner child for a bunch of stuff.

Back in the tiny bedroom, Deborah is telling Rhonda she does not want to be where she feels negative. Rhonda asks if Deborah is going to let the other women decide her future. (Hel-lo, you were egging them on ten minutes ago!) This is one of my not-so-favorite things about the show, where a houseguest who wants to quit is talked into staying so she can be fired later.

Any questions or comments, feel free to post them or email joyfulnoisefour@yahoo.com!

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