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The Envelope please-Starting Over, 11/5/04

11/5/04

Time to shake things up. Josie, who’s up with the baby, answers the door and it’s a hollerin’ drill sergeant. He strides through the house screaming at everyone to wake up for boot camp. The women are quite annoyed to be woken up by a yelling man, and Jen says he’s lucky he’s cute. He gets everyone together and asks if anyone has injuries. Maureen says she has asthma and puffs away on her inhaler to prove it. Kim has knee problems so she will be swimming while the others work out on dry land. He takes them through a series of calisthenics. Kim’s workout doesn’t look all that hard at first glance, but in fact she does seem to keep moving the whole time and comes out breathless.

Later, Towanda tells Iyanla she didn’t like boot camp because she hadn’t eaten yet and had rather do a class to target just her arms and thighs. Iyanla is going to have her work on her music more – goals this season are very fluid and today it seems to be training Towanda to be an alternative-rock singer. One of Towanda’s issues is that she has spent mot of her life trying not to hit a wrong note, figuratively and literally. Today she’s going to get tips on expression from a creative voice coach.

In the loft, the others are also tired from what Josie calls “the neo-nazi boot camp makeover.” Kim didn’t like the whistling & yelling, and Sommer says it pissed her off that someone would act like they know better than you, what you need to do. Dr. Stan tells them it really is about control, how much you need and how much you are willing to give up. They go around the room and Towanda says she controls her dreams for the future. Kim says that she tries to control the people around her and her environment so she won’t get hurt, and Dr. Stan acknowledges the effort probably does reduce her stress. Kim admits that she still gets wound up, “and when I blow, I blow, and it isn’t pretty.” He reminds the women not to waste energy on trying to control things you can’t, just prepare when you can, otherwise work toward your goal.

Towanda meets Lisa Popeil, the creative vocal coach. Towanda wants to move away from R&B because that’s what everyone else in her family is doing. She tells Lisa what she has told others, that she wants to be like “a black Pink.”

Kim is on the phone with her mother and a miracle has happened. Kim’s sister came to her mother’s house at the same time Kim’s children were there, and they all played tennis and swam in the pool together. Kim’s mother says she cried all night.

Maureen meets with Dr. Stan and he asks how the grieving is going. (I am not sure I could grieve on command! But mo knows the drill by now.) Maureen now understands she hasn’t let go for fear of dishonoring the memory of her mother, daughter and son. She has kept herself trapped in Chicago because she doesn’t dare get too far from their graves. Dr. Stan asks how her husband Larry handles her grief, and she says she doesn’t act sad around him. When asked about her married life, she says it’s boring because he won’t do anything. They started dating shortly after her son Joe died. Larry was supported, good-looking, they had common interests and did fun things. He also knew that she was struggling financially. Maureen now feels she just wanted comfort and someone to be with her. Dr. Stan assures her it’s normal to choose a mate not becasue you respect them, but to fill a void. He asks her to name something she loves about Larry and she can’t think of anything. Dr. Stan tells her that when a marriage starts to go south, we tend to spin it in a negative way to feel less guilty and make the other person the Bad Guy. He asks what Larry would say if asked about Maureen, and she tells him Larry “Thinks I’m the cutest thing in the world” (she is pretty cute!) He also thinks she’s funny and extremely intelligent. Yet, Dr. Stan points out, he doesn’t want to spend any time with her. (Actually I think Dr. Stan has it wrong. It seems to me Larry loves to spend time with Mo – at home.)Anyway, her assignment will be to write Larry a letter telling him why she loves him and what she’s grateful for.

Lisa the voice coach gives Towanda pointers on posture and muscle control. It’s hard to keep still, but Towanda can see that it adds “a certain beefiness” to her voice for the desired rock and roll sound.

Jennifer meets with Iyanla and the plan is to invite Krista to come to L-A or go home to visit her. Jen is afraid of “doing it wrong”, and Iyanla assures her there’s no wrong way, but that it might make more sense for Krista to come here and see what it looks like for women to support women. Jen is told to make the call today. Later in the kitchen she complains to Kim that she doesn’t know what to say, and Kim reminds her that at least she’s on speaking terms with her sister, and she doesn’t like to plan ahead anyway. (Maureen is there too, puttering at the sink and I am struck by how much nicer these housemates are to her than the evil “trifecta” of season one.)

Towanda is having a good time with the voice coach. She narrates that she is letting go of having to control her voice and having to already know how it will sound. Lisa shows her that rock has anger in it and if you sound too sweet, it becomes pop. She’s going to make a tape for Towanda that will target her specific goals.

Kim cuddles into the chair and holds Jen while she calls her sister. Without using baby talk, Jen gives Krista the option of meeting in L-A or Denver. Krista doesn’t want to fly but Jen talks her into it. After they hang up, Jen and Kim discuss what fun thing the sisters could do together and Jen decides a spa day will be good, adding “My sister’s probably never even had a pedicure.”

Towanda shows Iyanla the things she learned from the voice coach today. Iyanla listens intently and asks a lot of questions, finally concluding, “Well, I sure am glad I can’t sing.” She asks Towanda if, as a rock singer, she’ll throw guitars at people and stuff like that, and Towanda laughs that she doesn’t do stuff like that. “Are you gonna show your butt?” Towanda’s quite sure she won’t, and Iyanla tells Towanda that if she could moon somebody, it would mean she has learned to be carefree. (Iyanla, they’re not all Courtney Love!) They talk for a little while about “going to the edge” and taking chances. Towanda will be given a pile of musical instruments and her assignment is to put on a jam session, giving each housemate an instrument that reflects them or will pull something out of them. (I wonder if Towanda watched last season’s diva, Audrey Tucker. For some unfathomable reason, Audrey wanted help to achieve her dream on her own – meaning she would accept a recording contract and singing dates, but no coaching or advice of any kind, and most certainly no sharing with the housemates.)

Next Iyanla meets with Kim, who tells her about the big miracle. Kim doesn’t understand why her mother thanked her for getting her sister to come over, but Iyanla agrees it was Kim’s doing.

Maureen is shown at the computer with Chloe on her lap as she types.

Kim and Iyanla have another meeting, at the Vienna Cafe. Iyanla wants to explore how judgments impact Kim’s choices. Kim’s nervous and feels like a bomb is about to drop. Iyanla gives her three envelopes, each containing a $20.00 bill. Kim is to strike up conversations with strangers and then decide if they should get none, one, two, or all 3 envelopes, with instructions not to open it until she has left. Iyanla wants her to realize that when she doesn’t judge, she can give without expecting to receive anything in return.

Maureen calls Larry to read him her letter. It’s shirt and sweet. (The part about how she loves that he doesn’t think retirement means curling up & dying, might be a little bit of spin, given that one of her complaints is that he doesn’t do anything.)

Kim steels herself to approach some strangers. Shoe goes up to a shabby-looking woman seated at an outrdoor cafe but we don’t see any conversation. Then she sits at a table with a young man who identifies himself as Tyler. Tyler is a vagabond who quit his job a few months ago to go in search of adventure. He gets one envelope. Next she stops two twenty-something women and asks them if they’re friends. Their cousins, but Kim gets them to acknowledge that they’re friends too, and ask them what makes a good friendship. They tell her trust and respect are necessary for a good friendship. She gives them each an envelope and heads back inside to Iyanla. Iyanla asks Kim why she gave Tyler and envelope, and Kim replies it was because he was willing to be open. Iyanla asks what Kim though he might think of her for giving him $20.00 in an envelope, and Kim admits he probably thought she was crazy. Iyanla points out that it didn’t stop Kim from approaching. (Having a camera crew would probably make me a little braver, too.) Kim tells Iyanla that she walked up to a homeless lady but didn’t try to talk to her or give her an envelope because she probably would not have known what to do with it. Iyanla assures Kim she would have known what to do with it, and believing she wouldn’t was a judgment on Kim’s part. Iyanla reminds Kim there’s no right or wrong, it’s just for awareness, and that Kim’s judgment of her sister Kelly is what’s keeping Kim from giving to her.

We see more of Maureen’s `phone conversation with Larry. He thanks her for the compliments and the subject changes to the cleanup activities in the burned condo. they bicker about un-damaged items, including a lamp that had belonged to her dead daughter, that haven’t been salvaged yet. He protests that it’s a lot of stuff, and she retorts that he knew she had a lot of stuff when he moved in, and that this is her life they are talking about. Maureen is panicking because Larry might not understand how important these things are. She suspects he’s not working as hard as he could to recover everything.

Iyanla and Kim are still discussing the exercise with the envelopes. Iyanla wants to know, if Kim could give to the homeless lady, (which she didn’t!) and the vagabond free spirit, then why can’t she give to her sister? If you can be a blessing to a stranger, why can’t you be a blessing to your sister? Kim says she doesn’t know and starts to cry. Iyanla presses her: “None of these people is going to give you anything back, why do you demand from Kelly?” (Hullo Iyanla, you talk as though this exercise is Kim’s idea…) She wants Kim to call her mother back and ask what Kim may have done to hurt Kelly. Kim’s not sure she’s willing to do it.

Maureen calls Rhonda and tells her about the phone call with her husband. She can’t figure out why it turned unhappy. Rhonda suggests Maureen could have resisted changing the subject and focused on her original reason for calling. She tells Maureen to think about what she really wants and not stay with Larry out of fear.

Now it’s evening, time for Towanda’s jam session. She tells the women they are going to create a starting over song. Josie and Chloe get a pair of maracas. Kim gets the tambourine. Towanda encourages them all to play what they feel and not worry about making sense. Everyone gets a solo, then they jam together. Everyone enjoys themselves, though Jen sits with her drum like a fogey.

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