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Tough Crowd – Starting Over, 9/24/04

9/24/04

Kim is on the phone with her daughter, who’s celebrating a birthday. Kim tells her that today she’ll be getting a new roommate in the tiny bedroom, because her other roommate “flipped out and left”.

The women meet with Dr. Stan in the loft to talk divorce. Towanda relates that in her parents’ divorce, she always felt she had to take a side. The women tell the doctor that men cheat because they are greedy and enjoy lying, that in fact men are born to lie. Jennifer narrates that a lot of the items on her necklace of baggage are the result of anger at her father. Dr. Stan wants to know how you can predict whether your man will cheat. The women tell him you can’t. Towanda says you just enjoy fidelity while it’s there, then plan for a divorce when he cheats. The doctor narrates that for these women to forgive their fathers, would be to betray their mothers. Towanda tells him that if you forgive a cheater, he will continue and just be more slick the next time. So what stops men from cheating? Towanda tells him the thought of what he might lose. Kim says it’s about not putting yourself in a position in the first place. She feels she was robbed of her chance at a normal life. Jennifer says she feels “gypped.” (I wish these women would show me someone who had a “normal” life cause I sure don’t know anyone who thinks they did!) The doctor wonders what is the payoff, to still be angry 20 years later.

Outside, Iyanla has lined up some wooden cutouts of people on the lawn. They are supposed to represent all the members of the Braxton family, including the stepmother. She has a stack of labels already written and Towanda is to watch Iyanla attach labels to the appropriate person. The first thing she does is change “stepmother” to “dad’s wife” because she believes “stepmother” is a label that needs to be earned. Iyanla narrates it’s interesting that Towanda refuses to acknowledge her stepmother, yet says she wants to heal. Towanda gets everyone labeled. Of course Toni is the “golden child”. Towanda is the Angry Martyr, the Sad Pleasing Servant who feels like a Failure. Iyanla narrates that Towanda is the kind of person who has to “see it to believe it”, and this exercise will help. She asks if Towanda is willing to give up the “Angry” label. Yes. Enough to forgive the dad’s wife? Towanda hesitates and Iyanla reminds her that she once admitted that it might be her problem, not theirs.

The women are still wondering who their new roommate will be. Jennifer hopes it will be someone who will seek help. Iyanla meets Kim outside downtown and tells her this will be her chance to start a new relationship, not to judge right away, and no bribing allowed. Her assignment will be to clean the room (done already) maybe buy some flowers or a card, and she is given a small budget to plan a pajama party. Kim asks Iyanla, “what if some people are just cold…distant, rude, mean, inconsiderate?” Iyanla narrates that Kim tries to blame and make others responsible for what she is feeling. Iyanla tells her that some people might just need love, and if you have it to give, why not? But Kim is still worried and wants to know why they can’t give it to HER. (We are seriously hypothetical here!) Iyanla tells her she has to because she’s the better student. She practically orders Kim to “let this be a relationship where you begin without expecting anything in return”.

Towanda is with Dr. Stan. He asks if she trusts her husband. She tells him yes, about 80%. He comments that she doesn’t looks like a suspicious person and she tells him she smiles more when she’s really hurting, but it is exhausting whenever someone pulls anything out of her. She describes her conflicting emotions as “like a mob”. She doesn’t want people to think she’s weak and take advantage of her. The doctor asks her if she has second guessed him already (?) and she says yes. Then he tells her she didn’t because he already knew she would not be telling him anything today. :shrug:

Jennifer picks Kim up from her party shopping errand and they discuss the new roommate. It’ll be difficult for anyone to be comfortable, they agree, because everyone else has already formed bonds. Jennifer says she’s worried it’s “gonna be another f***ing psycho”.

Meanwhile, Towanda tells the doctor that she tries to be perfect so nobody will “think ill” of her or her family. She shares that she would like to have a relationship with her father, but not if that means getting to know his wife. Dr. Stan reminds her that it was her father who had a contract with her mother, not the new wife. So she would be ok with forgiving the man who broke his contract, but not the woman who had no contract. Normal, he says, but not useful.

When the new roommate arrives, the women are all peeking out at her, but they run away so that when she knocks, there is nobody nearby to answer the door. They finally do let her in. Her name is Sommer. Kim shows her to the room and tells her which drawers are hers (Kim gets 3 shelves in the closet, she tells Sommer, because Sommer got two drawers in the armoire where Kim only has one.) Sommer narrates that it will be interesting to see how this arrangement works out, with two aggressive people in a small room. She is also shown saying she is in the house to “discover who I’m really gonna be when I don’t have to let the weight make the decisions for me”. Jennifer narrates that she thinks Sommer is “really nice”.

The ladies gather in the loft to hear Sommer’s story. She’s from Texas, 26 and 4 months post-op from a gastric bypass. She’s lost 75 pounds. She relates that she saw her grandmother being neglected in a nursing home because she was so heavy nobody would come to change her. (Hel-lo-o-o, lawsuit?!? They have hoists for that!!) Anyway, she tells the group she was (past tense) a talent agent in a modeling agency. Kim narrates that she is curious why Sommer chose to have surgery to lose weight. Then she is shown asking Sommer if jealousy over the models was the reason. Sommer says no, and that her insurance didn’t cover the procedure. Josie jumps in and points out that it couldn’t have been a health issue in that case, and Sommer says that at nearly 300 pounds, her health was just beginning to fail, so she decided to have the operation then. More pictures come up on the plasma. There is a friend who died in a car accident. Then there is a picture of Sommer and a handsome young man. His name is Nathan and they were close friends until he joined the military and married his ex-girlfriend. Some time had passed and when Sommer saw him at a party, they ended up alone together and had sex. This immediately sets Kim and Towanda off. but Sommer explains that she later found out that Nathan and his wife had already filed for divorce three weeks earlier. She and Nathan were “inseparable” but then he too was killed, driving drunk. Sommer was “not allowed” to go to the funeral. Iyanla narrates that it will be interesting to have an “other woman” in the house. (I guess this is the closest they could get on short notice.) Josie narrates that this reminds her that everyone she ever dated cheated on her, sometimes with her own friends. As Sommer sees her ultimate goal – “Lose weight, gain self” – Kim narrates that she is trying not to make any judgments. Then she is shown in the kitchen telling Towanda, Jen and Josie that “all of us have been a prodigy (sic) of the other woman”. (Well, actually Jen hasn’t, unless you consider drugs an “other woman”.)

Sommer has her first exercise with Rhonda, drawing life-size pictures of her ideal body, her previous body, and Rhonda traces her current body. Sommer writes descriptive adjectives on all three. She tells Rhonda she just wants to look as good as she feels, but Rhonda points out that her present body is covered with derogatory terms. Sommer says she has high standards, and Rhonda tells her that is another excuse that she’ll be letting go of. In confessional, Sommer says she’s “the most insecure confident person you’ll ever meet.”

Sommer has a cigarette on the balcony while the rest of the ladies prepare for a pajama party/luau. Kim has it all planned, right down to where each one will sit, and makes sure everyone knows she got the pink lei for herself. Josie is wondering out loud why Kim should be forced to make new friendships when her goal is to mend old ones. Kim goes out to fetch Sommer and tells her she can’t smoke there. They have their party and everyone seems to be having fun except Sommer, and Chloe who is frightened by all the noise. Sommer narrates that she will be awake late trying to guess how everyone feels. Kim narrates that she doesn’t respect someone who had an affair with a married man, and she knows this is a judgement. in confessional, Towanda says “it’s gonna be a ride” to accept Sommer.

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