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God Wants Me To Dress Better – Starting Over, 10/4/01

10/4/04

The show opens with Sommer telling Kim and Jen she wants to tell Josie she has been unreasonable, but she is afraid of Josie. The others agree that Josie is explosive and Jen says it happens every day. Sommer wants to know when she will earn the right to say something to Josie about it. The others assure her she already has the right, but Sommer remains unconvinced.

Josie meets with Rhonda, who is waiting for her with a throne, robe, crown and sceptre. She crowns Josie The Queen of Punishment and they talk about ways Josie punishes the people in her life and punishes herself in relation to each person. This is very upsetting to Josie who is weeping and squeaking as she describes that her last encounter with her grandfather was when she came home and found him standing in the doorway giving her “The look.” The last words he heard from her were “What!? What!?” before she stomped off to bed. Rhonda narrates that we often take too much responsibility for relationships in childhood, then spend our adult life mad at ourselves for things we did as kids.

Jen is narrating that she is emotionally drained by Josie and will not approach her til she apologizes.

Kim is getting ready to wash her two pairs of ugly sweats. She offers to do Sinae’s and Jen’s laundry, saing it makes her feel good and she enjoys folding clothes.

Josie is still enumerating all her ways of punishing. Rhonda even gets her to say she punishes Chloe by keeping everyone else out of her life, thus keeping Chloe from being truly happy because Josie is not.

There’s a cute scene of Towanda snuggling with Chloe in bed.

Rhonda narrates that Josie is so stunted in her growth that she won’t move forward til she gives up her throne as Queen of Punishment. Josie says she is the one keeping Chloe’s father away because she is afraid Chloe might find out he is better than Josie.

Kim is asking Towanda and Sommer if they think she should get her clothes back, and if the Universe wants her to have them back. She plans to call Iyanla to tell her she believes she has earned the right to have her clothes back.

Meanwhile Iyanla meets Jennifer outdoors. They are going to “whack away some anger” by chopping wood. Jen, still in her paper necklace, notes that they are wearing open-toed shoes but Iyanla glosses it over. She demonstrates to Jen that she has had anger too, and chopping is a good way to release it. She tells Jen to imagine she is chopping through the string of her necklace. Jen takes a whack for each thing she is angry about: being judgmental; not letting herself love other people; her mother for giving up; people who betrayed her; lied to her; choosing other things over her; not being there. She’s mad at God for making her mother sick and for giving her this life. (And no baby talk!)

Rhonda is having Josie imagine life in 10 years when Chloe is 10 and she’s 32. Josie realizes that if it continues this way, all her expectations for Chloe will be in the toilet because Josie keeps her isolated. Rhonda gets her to see that this is similar to Josie’s relationship with her grandmother, where nobody else gives you love for your whole life. Josie cries that she doesn’t know any better.

Cut to Kim telling Sommer and Sinae that her ugly sweat clothes got ripped in the dryer and this means “the Universe” wants her to have her own clothes back.

Back to Rhonda giving Josie a piece of poster paper. Her assignment will be to draw a picture of her Kingdom of Punishment. She must also interview the housemates – Josie stops Rhonda and tells her there are some she isn’t speaking to. “THAT’S a good punishment.” Rhonda tells her. Josie says that “they were saying I’m not thankful”. Then she qualifies that Jen was the only one who said it. Rhonda asks “isn’t it true?” and Josie admits it is. Rhonda says she can interview them last if she wants, but she must ask each housemate how she punishes them and how she punishes herself. If she wants, she may call other people on the telephone and ask them how she punishes herself, and, if she is brave, ask how she punishes them. Josie calls it “confrontation” and Rhonda stresses it is an interview, not confrontation. Rhonda and Josie will meet again in the evening and decide if she wants to keep her crown as Queen of Punishment.

Jen has finished chopping wood (she didn’t get to actually split a piece in half like firewood, which would feel extremely satisfying and is cool to watch – but she seemed satisfied to just hack away on the end of a big log) Iyanla has her lying on the ground on her back, eyes closed. Jen says she gave up anger, but it was replaced by fear, and at least it’s better to be scared than violent. Iyanla tells her she’s just overcorrecting. They rip up the “have to be strong” and “fear” tags from the necklace. Iyanla tells her you can be not strong, yet still get things done. Jen narrates she is angry about things that have happened to her, but more fearful that it will happen again.

Josie shows up in the living area in her Queen of Punishment costume. The housemates think it’s hilarious and she wants them to take it more seriously. She tells them she has to confront each of them and also that she is required to call people and confront them too. Jennifer tells her that Josie punishes her by nitpicking and finding something to be mad about whenever their friendship starts to get close, and punishes herself by not allowing anyone to get close. Then the baby talk comes back. “We’re going to be friends whether you like it or not. We’re partners in crime. So knock it off.”

The group meets with Dr. Stan. “I see chipperness”, he observes. He wants to talk about house dynamics and everyone’s role in the “family”. Kim is the surrogate mother. Josie says she doesn’t always like it because she’s supposed to be a mom too. Towanda says she’s “just here” and Josie tells her she has the dad role. Sinae sees herself as the entertainer and Kim says she’s like the youngest child, and Jen is the more serious older child. Sommer says how she feels depends on the day and who she’s with. Dr. Stan asks her if she feels like the stepchild and she says “the red-headed stepchild”. Sommer says that in her real life, she is always the leader. She’s crying again which is very hard for her – she has a habit of picking up each tear on a finger and inspecting it like it’s a foreign body. Now the women jump on her and tell her she’s pretending she agrees with each person in disputes, which makes her look two-faced. Then we see flashbacks of Sommer trying to stay neutral while the women vent on her about each other. The women say she is not sharing her real self because she is too worried about making everyone like her. (Oh, suddenly you WANT to get to know Hester Prynne?) Sommer gets a little melodramatic about it, and is not convinced these women really want her to be honest.

Sinae is watching Josie draw her “Queendom”. There are dragons and demons to represent certain people in her life, and there are good things outside trying to get through the barriers.

Sommer is sitting with Kim and Towanda, who tell her that when she listens and nods while someone vents on her about someone else, that’s the same as taking their side. Sommer says she feels she can’t win and the others say they understand.

On the phone with her father, Josie wants to know how she punishes herself. Her dad says she does it when she refuses to let go of mistakes she’s made. He tells her she doesn’t really punish him. He also tells her he loves her and thinks about her a lot and also loves Chloe. He asks for pictures of Chloe, and when she hangs up she believes he has only talked about Chloe and not Josie. (Geez, don’t tell him, it’s much better to make him guess!)

Rhonda comes back for her evening meeting with Josie and stops in on Sinae first. She tells Sinae she will be able to choose one housemate whom she will take to breakfast the next morning, and her guest is not allowed to help her.

Josie shows Rhonda the poster of her Kingdom. She shows a zone around herself where she keeps all the bad words around her to punish herself. She tells Rhonda about the phone call with her dad and says he’s in denial and that she knows she punishes him. Rhonda gets her to admit she used to say good things about herself for the first 18 years of her life and it’s only been the past 4 years that she’s gone negative. Rhonda starts really hollering now and demanding whose opinion matters more – Jonathan’s, or Grandma’s and Rhonda’s? (She’s yelling but she only repeats it once.) Josie says the bad feelings always creep in and Rhonda shouts “that’s because you’ve never said “NO!” Josie tells Rhonda that everybody used to adore her and Rhonda tells her they still do, she just doesn’t let them. Josie is officially dethroned as Queen of Punishment and now becomaes The Princess of Growth.

We see Kim on the deck praying. She narrates that a white dove has flown onto the railing. (It’s a pigeon, and it’s on the roof) She says she believes this means God is listening to her and she’s getting all her clothes back. Sommer narrates that Kim thinks it’s a sign from God and Sommer thinks it’s a sign FOR the psychiatrist. Kim calls Iyanla to tell her the good news. We see Iyanla laughing “Do you believe this?? Kim is so used to getting her own way that her INTENTION actually influenced the dryer!” Iyanla compromises and lets Kim wear her own sweat suit but no other clothes, and no jewelry.

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