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Crank It Up – Surreal Life 3, Episode 3

by LauraBelle

I am resolving to not take generic allergy medication anymore. By the end of tonight’s Surreal Life episode, my drug-induced state had me thinking that underneath the viking hat, and behind the flashy gold teeth, Flavor Flav is an alright guy.

As all of his housemates sleep, Dave Coulier is on the tennis court playing roller hockey. When he is done, he wakes up Flavor Flav, and together they proceed to wake the rest of the house. Charo admits to being a person who likes to sleep late, and when Flavor Flav wakes her, she says she is going to jump through a window because she just can’t take it. Flavor Flav then points to Charo’s opening robe, and asks if she’s “Got milk?” As he moves on and wakes Bridgette Nielsen, they remember the previous night in a shared bed, and decide, “They got it goin’ on.”

Dave gets the Surreal Life newspaper with the headline, “Crank It Up.” Assuming they aren’t talking about adding heat to Flavor Flav and Bridgette’s burgeoning romance, Dave reads on and finds today will be the First Battle of the Surreal Life Bands. The housemates will be split into three groups of two – Dave/Bridgette, Charo/Ryan Starr, and Flavor Flav/Jordan Knight – and will each work with professional musicians, choosing one of three songs – Born To Be Wild, Play That Funky Music White Boy, or Wild Thing. The winning band will win money that will be awarded to a charity.

Ryan interrupts Charo who is playing spoons on the countertop, as Ryan would like to get some rehearsing time in before the musicians arrive. She is facing problems as she would like to perform Born To Be Wild, but Charo has never heard of the song. As Charo is refusing to learn the song, Ryan tells her to stop being so negative. “You’re a performer; you can learn it!” Charo quickly replies no, and performs for Ryan the song she would rather do. Ryan says it’s odd, because as a Spanish singer, she would like to do a Country/Western song.

Bridgette is getting scared, and Dave tells her not to be. Although he admits they are an odd pair musically, since they are the only non-musicians in the house. I’m not sure why he figures himself to be a non-musician, since he has, and plays, a guitar and harmonica. As Bridgette shows him a dance she would like to contribute to the song, he tells the camera she wants to “do something so completely weird.” Bridgette? Wants to do something weird? Dave, how could you say such a thing?

The musicians arrive, and the housemates are shocked to find they are young ten- and eleven-year-old kids being led by Suzanne Jones, a music teacher. Jordan thinks this is a great idea, as the teams are choosing the kids they will work with sports draft style, and he thinks it will work if they choose the right kids. He hopes they don’t get stuck with Rosa, the accordion player, but she is the last one left, and they accept her willingly. Apparently Jordan thinks accordion players are too nerdy for an ex-New Kids On The Block star.

Realizing they will only have three-and-a-half hours to practice, Charo thinks she should teach them all a new song she just wrote that will be a “humongo hit”, instead of learning Born To Be Wild herself. One boy working with her and Ryan doesn’t feel they are learning anything from Charo, and wishes she would dress her age. This kid doesn’t realize there are adult women out there hoping to look half as good as Charo at her age.

Flavor Flav thinks his and Jordan’s band is having a lot of fun. He says that kids and instruments are his world. Wearing a huge clock around his neck and his viking hat, Flavor Flav tells Rosa to, “Rock it! Kill that accordion!” He has the kids follow him into the kitchen, and asks them what they would like to eat. When one boy says he would like a grilled cheese, Flavor Flav proceeds to make grilled cheese for everyone in his band. Bridgette says he is deep-hearted even though he is “wild and bad to the bone.” I think this is the most sense she has made since arriving at the house.

Bridgette is wearing a revealing leopard-print swimsuit, and Dave thinks that’s a lot for “eleven-year-olds to chew on.” Meanwhile, he admits to slipping into the Dad role. Bridgette slips into her familiar role, and takes a nap. Dave never even had to put up with the Olsen twins napping. Then again, it was a one-person role being played by twins. Maybe Bridgette needs to be twins, so that she won’t be missed while sleeping. That’s just too scary for me to even contemplate.

A Very Brady emcee arrives – it’s Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady. He introduces Bridgette and Dave’s band – Surreal Deal playing Wild Thing. Bridgette is wearing feathers and a shiny wig. She feels great on stage, and thinks the napping and resting made her kick butt.

Next up is Charo and Ryan’s band – Madison Ave. Rockers playing Born To Be Wild. After, Ryan thought the drummer was playing the tempo too fast, and that Charo was in her own little world, but you could tell she was having more fun with this then when she was singing for Simon Cowell on American Idol.

Last up is Flavor Flav and Jordan’s band – King Kold Kuts with Play That Funky Music White Boy. Jordan now admits that despite his earlier reservations, the accordion player sounds kind of funky. Rosa, herself, admits that Flavor Flav taught her she could really rock that accordion.

In a vote by applause from the child-filled audience, King Kold Kuts wins in a landslide, and pushes Barry Williams into the pool to celebrate. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought Flavor Flav and Jordan’s band with the accordion player sounded better than the Laurie Partridge wanna-bes I was forced to endure on “In Search of The Partridge Family” while waiting for Surreal Life to start. Is it too much to ask to find people that not only look like the original Partridges, but sound and act good too? Maybe they need an accordion player. But, I digress.

Sure, Flavor Flav makes many crude comments, but every one or those kids had a great day with him, and felt they learned something too. Sure, he keeps Ryan up late at night playing pool, but he makes a good grilled cheese. And for a kid, if they have fun, learn, and can eat grilled cheese, that’s all that matters.

I welcome all questions and comments at

Someone's Goin' Down! – Big Brother 5, September 17th

by aurora

We’re almost finished, just two episodes left. Tonight the final, most powerful HoH is crowned and the last person to be evicted will leave the Big Brother house. Will it be Drew, Diane, or Cowboy?

As usual we start off with a recap. Last week Drew was HoH and nominated Diane and Nakomis. Cowboy somehow managed to win the veto and evicted his sister Nakomis from the house. Now, on day 78, we’re about to find out how the first two parts of the final HoH competition have ended. We’ll then see the last part played live, followed immediately by the eviction. Woohoo – let’s get started!

When we last left our final three, they were perched on a platform surrouded by rocks, holding onto their keys, and preparing for a long evening of endurance. The added bonus was that the platform shook like an earthquake at random intervals, making it difficult for the houseguests to stay at their posts. Cowboy is right in his element here, saying that it’s just like riding a bull. He holds his hand up like he’s holding a lasso when the thing starts to shake. They all talk about being the final three, and Cowboy says in the diary room that “y’all must hate me now” for evicting his sister.

About 20 minutes into the endurance competition, Diane decides she wants to put her hair up. The only problem is that she can’t do it with one hand. She asks Drew for help but he refuses. Cowboy steps up and while he’s wrapping the elastic around Di’s hair, his other hand slips off his key. He’s toast. Diane is feeling guilty, and Cowboy is very angry. “That’s what I get for being a nice guy” he says and walks into the house.

Diane and Drew talk about who’s going to throw the competition. Apparently the plan was to let Diane win it, but Drew second-guesses that idea after Cowboy’s departure, thinking Di might be feeling guilty about the pony tail thing. 25 minutes later, the platform begins to shake and Diane slips off. Drew wins the first part of the HoH competition.

Drew thinks that Diane threw it, and he’s upset with her. In the kitchen he tells her that he has trust issues again. They make up of course, and plan for the final two.

As Diane heads off to the diary room, Drew and Cowboy discuss their plans for the final two. It’s hard to tell at this point who Drew is playing and who he wants to keep. Cowboy is upset that he lost the challenge, but thinks he can step up his game and win part two.

Speaking of part two…it’s time for it to begin. The houseguests retreat to the backyard to find two giant DNA strands along with discs that have the faces of all the houseguests on them. The DNA strands contain eight clue bars which have questions on them that can be answered with two houseguests’ pictures. Basically Diane and Cowboy have to match the pictures to answer the questions, but the catch is that the pics only move in one direction, so if they get one wrong they have to start all over again.

Di starts off quickly, but gets stumped on the third question: Who was morphed with the twins in the Morph-o-matic challenge? Cowboy finally catches up and struggles with the same question, but gets it on the fourth try. As Diane continues to blunder through this third question, Cowboy plugs along and gets a substantial lead. Eventually Diane decides to match up the faces for the other questions to give her fewer options for the one she’s stumped on. This still doesn’t work though, and Cowboy ends up winning. Take a moment to let this sink in – Cowboy beat Diane in part two of the competition.

Diane is really upset, and goes into the house crying. She says privately that it bothered her to lose to Cowboy more than anything. She walks through the house saying, “I hate you Cowboy, you’re going down SO hard!”, while Drew and Cowboy hug each other and do the horseman giddy-up thing in the backyard.

Drew goes to comfort Diane, and she tells him that she feels like she let him down. She’s really angry, and says again that Cowboy’s going down. He doesn’t deserve to win this game, and they can’t let that happen.

Julie now joins the houseguests live. She reminds them that the winner will be crowned in four days. She asks them who they miss the most. Drew misses Scott because of his crazy antics, Cowboy misses everyone, and Diane misses Will and Lori. The next question from Julie is about who they’re most worried about seeing once they’re out of the house. Drew: Marvin and Karen. Cowboy: no one. Diane: Holly, for sure.

Now we get to catch up with Mike, Lori, Holly, Scott, and Jase – the early boots who didn’t make the jury. Mike is back home and says he doesn’t get recognized; nothing’s changed in his life. He thinks Drew and Cowboy will be the final two. He also doesn’t regret anything about his time in the house. He couldn’t bring himself to act intimidated by Scott and Jase, which he thinks led to his demise. He’s impressed with Diane’s gameplay.

Lori says she’s the one who took the money and ran. She gets asked a lot if she thinks she made the right decision, and she absolutely does. She was shocked when Will was evicted, but loved his parting words to Adria (if karma is a boomerang, I’ll see you sooner than later), and Adria’s reaction (Karma? What’s karma? Did he mean Karma Electra?).

Scott ‘the Savage’ is shown without his mandanna, and I gotta say he should just wear the thing permanently. Early male pattern baldness anyone? He can’t go out anywhere without people asking him for his autograph. *insert eyeroll here* He’s rooting for Cowboy to win it all. Jase’s final words to him ticked him off, so they don’t talk to each other now.

Finally, we get to catch up with Jase and Holly (whether we want to or not). Holly explains that Jase’s reaction to her meeting him when he was evicted was just because he was really nervous. They’re still together and are having a great time. I like Holly, but Jase…oh my. He’s covered in lipstick kisses, and wearing more eye makeup than Julie Chen. He says that he doesn’t talk with Scott at all, but he still thinks he came out ahead because he got a great girl. Jase wants Cowboy to win, because if either of the other two wins he’ll “vomit for like a month straight”.

Just when we thought it would never happen, the final part of the HoH competition is underway. Drew and Cowboy are sitting in little cubicles with the letters A and B in front of them. The task is easy – Julie will ask multiple choice questions based on the opinions of each of the jury members. Drew and Cowboy have to pick A or B for each question, and they’ll get a point for each correct answer. The competition goes something like this:

Question 1: Karen said her biggest regret was

A) not breaking up Drew and Diane
B) voting out Adria over Cowboy

answer: A
both get it wrong

Question 2: Natalie said the person she most wants to maintain a friendship with after the game is:

A) Cowboy
B) Drew

answer: B
Drew gets a point

Question 3: Marvin said the houseguest that he would hate to find out he’s secretly related to is:

A) Holly
B) Cowboy

answer: B
Drew 2, Cowboy 0

Question 4: Nakomis said the houseguest whose behaviour shocked her the most was:

A) Cowboy
B) Jase

answer: A
Drew 3, Cowboy 1

Question 5: Adria said the best manipulator in the house was:

A) Diane
B) Will

answer: A
Drew 3, Cowboy 2

Question 6: Will said that if he had to marry one houseguest, it would be:

A) Drew
B) Scott

answer: B
Drew 4, Cowboy 2

Julie says “Congratulations Drew, you are the final and most powerful HoH!” She then reminds him that he has a very big decision ahead of him. Right now he’s guaranteed second place. Who he chooses to keep with him could decide whether he wins or ends up in second place. The live, final eviction begins now!

Drew sits looking shocked and scared. He has to finally make a big decision in the house, and you can tell it’s not easy for him. Julie allows the two nominees to make their final pleas.

Cowboy says that he knows Drew has a tough decision to make, but they’ve given their word to each other since day one. Whatever Drew decides, Cowboy will understand because he loves him and feels that Drew is like a brother to him.

Diane tells Drew that she cares about him more than anyone in the world, and if he votes to evict her then she’ll understand and still care about him the same way. He’s the reason that she is still there, so she wants him to know that and thank him for it.

Drew stands up and says that he knows he’s made promises to both of them, and he now has to choose between his girlfriend and his best friend. This week he’s had to keep his word with both of them, and now he’s going to have to shock one of them and he’s sorry. He wants them to understand that it’s just a game, and this is just strategy. He tells Diane that last night they had a conversation about the jury votes, and it scared him. So, this time, he chooses to evict Diane.

Diane is shocked. She’s crying and telling Drew it’s okay. They whisper a few things to each other at the door – Drew repeats that it’s just a game, and Diane says “I didn’t say that to you, but that’s okay” as she walks out the door.

Julie welcomes Diane to sit with her as they watch the reaction in the house. Drew and Cowboy are bawling like babies and hugging each other. Cowboy keeps repeating that he loves Drew, and follows him around the house. He then thanks Drew for keeping him. Cowboy’s disappointed that he couldn’t win this last HoH and save Drew from having to evict Diane, and he actually says “Fuck!” – guess the censors are gonna start putting the live stuff on a 5-second delay from now on.

Diane tells Julie that she’s shocked, but she thinks he did it for strategy purposes. She says she doesn’t remember the conversation he alluded to, but he knew that she would get more votes than him from the jury. He’s smarter than she is, she says. She also doesn’t think he can win against Cowboy. She says the relationship is real, at least she hopes so. She has no regrets except for maybe not getting rid of Cowboy. They all said all along that he would make it to the end if they kept putting him off, and that’s exactly where he’s at right now. She says her greatest moment in the BB house was winning HoH by standing on that block for over nine hours.

Now Diane gets to see her good-bye videos. Cowboy is shirtless (gak!), and of course he tells her that he loves her. Drew says something about things happening for a reason, and says it’ll be strange being apart from her for more than a minute. He’s looking forward to ‘after the show’. Diane’s not impressed with Drew’s message, and says that her vote will be a big decision, since Drew lied to her and that might hurt his vote.

Diane will be on House Calls (at on Monday, btw. So if you’re a fan, go check her out!

To wrap things up, Julie reminds us that the finale will air on Tuesday at 8pm ET, when the winner of Big Brother 5 will be crowned. We join Drew and Cowboy in the house to ‘eavesdrop’ for a minute, and it’s about as exciting as watching Robert Roman pick his nose. Drew is looking out the window, and Cowboy is getting something out of the fridge. Those of you with live feeds might want to use the next couple of days to detox and get back into the world of the living, since watching these two would be enough to drive you deeply into insanity.

See ya on Tuesday!

Comments are welcome! Contact me at

Secrets and Lies – Starting Over, 9/17/04

The show opens with Josie on the phone to Rhonda. Deborah is packing. Rhonda is narrating that Josie left the house at Jonathan’s urging before the baby was born and ended up begging to come back, so Josie feels a personal stake in keeping Deborah from doing the same thing. Rhonda asks to speak with Deborah who is still dressing, so Josie sends Kim to the phone in the meantime. Kim tells Rhonda everything seemed fine until 6 this morning when she got up and saw Deborah’s journal in the trash and she was going home. Deborah gets to the phone and reminds Rhonda she promised to stay for 3 days, the 3 days is up and she feels even worse. She’s tired, worn out, and can diet and exercise at home without having to be phony and kiss ass.

The cab (it’s a minivan) is outside and Josie pays the driver and sends him away. (Josie is really taking initiative this season. Suddenly she’s not sitting back and pretending to be stupid so people will give her stuff. I hope she likes herself better this way. She’s still braying into the camera in confessional though.) Rhonda gets Deborah to promise to wait for her. In the kitchen, Jennifer is sitting cross-legged on the counter dissing Deborah. Kim mentions that she has already started to lose weight. Deborah is hauling her luggage upstairs and outside to wait for Rhonda on the porch. Kim tells her she’s glad she’s waiting and tells her they sent the cab away. Deborah cries as Towanda tells her it’s because the other women don’t want her to leave. (Could-a fooled me.) Deborah tells Kim she doesn’t like being humiliated and taught about patience, and now she doesn’t want to share her story, knowing how the others feel about her. If Rhonda doesn’t get there by 9, she’s calling the cab again. Rhonda arrives and Deborah tells her she appreciates the effort the women are making to get her to stay. Rhonda tells her it is because they want her here. (yeah right) They go inside where everyone is waiting for a group meeting. Deborah tells them that in a group, everyone assumes a role and she has become the bitch, the one who talks too much. Rhonda says she can now be the truth-teller. (oh, so now it’s ok.) Deborah promises to stay until the end of the month and all the women act thrilled as she goes off to breakfast. Jennifer narrates that she would like Deborah to start fresh but doesn’t expect it to happen.

Next we see Deborah driving alone. She gets out of the van and makes a cell phone call. We can barely hear her, so there are subtitles. She is talking to someone wanting to know if a man has gotten her messages, that he and Deborah were having champagne to celebrate her being on Starting Over, the condom broke and he needs to concoct a reason for her to fly to San Diego for a couple of days to get this taken care of, because soon she will start to show. Luckily we go to commercial because I need to scrape my jaw up off the floor. This is not the greatest position to be in, at 46, in questionable health and all alone.

When we come back from commercial it’s the middle of the night. The backyard is on fire the firetrucks are showing up. I think, but I don’t know for sure, that the crew leaves at night and there are security cams in the bedrooms, because late night bedroom shots are always black & white and always from above. We see the women being awakened by the firetrucks. I believe the crew re-staged the flames at a later time and added it in. The fire was started by a homeless person who sneeked in through an unlocked gate. The women kick themselves for not keeping things locked. (Do they not know how many fans found the house and spied on them in Chicago last season?) It’s interesting to see what people grab when fleeing a fire. Josie got the baby, Towanda got the baby bag; Kim got Jennifer and Sinae; Deborah got a framed picture of her daughter and a diamond bracelet. In the morning they are all trying to recover. Towanda is on the couch with Chloe asleep on her chest. Deborah is eating and Kim tells her chicken for breakfast is disgusting. Deborah tells her the best breakfast is a cheeseburger and some onion rings. She does not seem offended by Kim’s comments. They act like friends. Deborah tells Kim she will be brief today when it’s time to tell her story because she does not want to have them get to know her. Kim tells her she wants to know the story and that she’s hurt Deborah doesn’t want Kim to know her. Kim advises Deborah to say exactly what she would have said all along and Deborah is surprised. (Did somebody threaten these people to start being nice to her??)

Iyanla and Towanda work on discovering what’s beneath Towanda’s armor. Iyanla suggests different emotions and Towanda acknowledges that she’s offended by the way her singing career turned out; that she’s hurt by her parents’ divorce. She knew about it before her mother, and it was a damaging secret to keep. Apparently “secret squirrel” is Towanda’s nickname for herself. When Iyanla asks a question, I get the impression she is working from extensive background information, like when she tells Towanda there are problems in the Braxton house that pre-date her father’s affair. In fact the father was extremely strict with the girls and they never tasted freedom until Toni – she holds up a hand – became TONI – she waves both hands in a big arc. Towanda shares that she forgives but has a hard time forgetting. She wants to be right so she creates a fantasy scenario and has to protect it from being wrong. I wonder if this refers to her eloping because her sister’s wedding date was too close to hers. We aren’t given any examples. Iyanla narrates that Towanda doesn’t feel in any hurry to discover herself, but that she’s really a “quiet storm”.

Jennifer’s on the phone telling someone “the crazy lady” tried to leave. Jennifer says she is loud, talks over people and did apologize, but it still leaves Jennifer drained, She doesn’t understand why they couldn’t have just let Deborah go.

In the loft, everyone applauds that it’s Deborah’s day to dish. (that’s it, they were either threatened or bribed.) The first picture on the plasma screen is her adolescent daughter Aja next to the red convertible Deborah bought herself for her 40th birthday. Then a photo of her father. They worked together until she was 30, and he has passed away. The next is her wedding picture. Her husband’s name was Edwardo; she called him “Cardinal”. She said that was the happiest time of her life: cute husband, cute baby, even her dog was cute. Then after they had been married 3 years he was killed by a drunk driver. She got to the hospital thinking he only had broken arms and legs when in fact he was unrecognizable. A machine was breathing for him and when she lifted him to hold him, the back of his head was not there. At the funeral home, she was so shocked she checked with them to see if he had somehow come back to life. She relates that Aja, who was 11 months old, walked for the first time at the funeral, and did it perfectly. Iyanla tells her it’s because the baby knew that without a father, she would now have to walk alone. :roll: There is another photo, Deborah’s brother Jerry who was supportive to her when she lost Cardinal, and who died prematurely of pneumonia. Jennifer narrates that by now, even she is starting to feel compassion for Deborah. Josie narrates that she’s envious that Deborah has had 3 special men in her life. Iyanla wants to know if Deborah has let go of her three heroes so someone else can come in. This is where Deborah mentions she’s had 300 blind dates and has been celibate for many years. (What, it doesn’t count if the condom breaks???) Next there is a photo of a thin Deborah just 2 years ago. Deborah says she has gained 50 pounds due to a sedentary lifestyle. Rhonda narrates Deborah is in for a shock when she realizes her weight is just a symptom. Deborah is told her goal is to claim her womanhood. She amends it to REclaim.

The group is told they are to meet again tonight with someone special who will work with them “in different and particular ways.”

Deborah meets with Marcus, a personal trainer. She tells him she has 42DD’s and does not want to do any bouncing. They discuss diet and she is firm that she will not eat skinless chicken. She does compromise on cotton candy though, promising to eat one handful instead of a bag at a time.

Towanda is on the phone with her husband. She tells him her goal is “getting to know Towanda”. She lists her steps: get to know self; get to know priorities; learn to forgive; build communication skills; and build family relationships. He sighs like he doesn’t think it’s possible.

Cut to Marcus narrating that the biggest challenge for Deborah will just be “her doing it”.

Next the ladies are back together for the special group session, except Deborah who is late. The women wonder if the special visitor will be “a dude” as Kim puts it. Jennifer mocks her for using that word but Kim is not shown reacting. Deborah arrives. the women ask if she has been at the gym for four hours and she lets them believe she got lost coming home. (I think she spent part of the time making the cell phone call that was shown earlier in the show.)

The visitor is a man after all. It’s Dr. Stan Katz, clinical psychologist. He announces he will be the man of the house and wants to know what they think of it. Sinae reminds him he’s the man of the LOFT. Jennifer’s baby talk gets worse than ever and everyone is tense. They discuss the fact that all the women have man issues resulting from their relationships with their dads. Even Deborah, the one with a good paternal relationship, is messed up because she expects men to be reliable and dependable. (Shame!) Josie is shown putting the baby to bed and narrating that she hopes someday Chloe’s father will acknowledge her. Then she says she thinks it’s already affected her at six months old (:shrug:), so she hates to see what will happen when she’s 16.

The closing scene is Deborah on the phone with her daughter. Up until now I have defended her, identified with her, commiserated with her. Then I hear her berating her daughter because Aja has failed at some task where she was supposed to call someone pretending to be her mother to get some information. Deborah asks “do you feel like a human being? Do you feel like the person that you should be?” Then tells Aja she will not raise a child with excuses and orders her to do it and report back.
The previews show Rhonda asking Deborah if she is pregnant. There are also allusions to more closed-eye sessions with Iyanla and something about Josie having to imagine life without Chloe.

Could Cowell’s X-Factor Be The End Of “Idol” ? – The X-Factor, September 11th

by Luke

For those following our coverage of Simon Cowell’s new reality TV project “The
X-Factor” here at Reality Shack you will have read how certain aspects of the UK
show seem very similar to the “Idol” format he’s most famous for. It’s for this
reason that the most interesting thing to happen last week occurred before the
episode had even aired. The night before, the co-creator and owners of “Idol” –
Simon Fuller’s “19TV” began legal proceedings against Simon Cowell, his
production companies “Simco Ltd” and “Syco TV”, and also “Freemantle Media”
who produce and distribute both the “Idol” shows across the world and “The
X-Factor”. They claim that Cowell’s own show is a direct copy of “Idol” right
down to the camera angles and similar music. They even say that most of the
staff who work on the UK version of “Idol” are also working on the new show,
even though their contracts prohibit this.

So the two Simon’s, business rivals with big egos have had a bust up.
That’s what happens in the cut throat media world, right? Well, kinda, but there
may be a bigger picture here that could have a major effect on reality TV as we
know it. Let me explain …. Simon Cowell has been very vocal about the future
of “Idol” lately hinting that he doesn’t know how much longer it will last, yet he
is signed up until 2006. There have also been rumors that the current season of
“American Idol” in production will be Paula Abdul’s last, while in the UK the show
has been rested completely. Simon, with a first look deal at Fox TV under his
belt quite conveniently now has a rival show to offer them, owned completely by
him and with a broader, wider range of contestants and other fresher added
elements. I don’t think anybody could doubt that the best place for “The
X-Factor” is America which has more than its fair share of eccentrics and
downright kooky people. It wouldn’t pay for Fox to air two similar reality shows
at the same time though and Simon could only really appear in one but how
could he get out of “Idol” so that the people at the network make his own show?
Well, oddly enough the only way would be for Simon to go in front of a judge
himself. If a court said that he had breached his “Idol” contract, it would almost
certainly mean paying out a huge settlement but it would effectively make his
contract null and void. Is the jigsaw puzzle starting to piece together now? You
can be sure that as further developments follow they’ll be covered right here.

On to the show itself – the ratings were up for episode two which was the second
of five programs dedicated to the first round auditions. This week it wasn’t
Simon being adored by the ladies, it was judge Louis Walsh. An old
acquaintance called Ed turned up to audition, she knew Louis back in the 80’s.
After failing dismally Simon persuaded her that Louis would take her out to
dinner the following night. While the other judges took this offer as a light
hearted joke Ed actually turned up the following night along with her dog.
Viewers were treated to clips of Louis hiding in Sharon Osbourne’s dressing room
and Simon and his minder pursuing him throughout the building until he was
given the slip.

Besides the romance there was the usual groups of people present to sing –
some good, some terrible. Two twins called “Sistermatic” failed to impress the
judges, Simon said they looked like something out of “I dream of Jeanie”. A
postman also failed to make any kind of impressive delivery, and a woman who
sung in multiple different voices was told she needed an exorcist more than a
judge. An enthusiastic Christian boy sang a song about how Jesus loves you, but
Simon, Sharon and Louis hated him. A girl called Adele arrived as part of a
group but on rejecting them the judges asked her to leave her group and
audition as a solo singer. Expecting this to be a hard choice she was asked to
come back later, but it took her just five minutes to part ways with her friends.

There was more luck for the senior citizens this week who probably came more
to just be seen on TV and get in out of the cold than win a recording contract. A
lady of sixty-eight years old, Tessa, who liked figure skating and marathon
running in her spare time made the cut. The judges thought she looked a lot
younger than she really was. Probably the most entertaining of all was Frank.
The old man showed the judges how he could groove and move as he danced
and sang better than most of the “cool” teenagers who auditioned for the show.

If there’s one thing that does really make “The X-Factor” different from “Idol” it’s
that the most important aspect of the show has shifted from actual singing talent
to sheer entertainment value. The point is illustrated by a “Jerry Springer”
element being incorporated into the show this week as two people amongst the
auditionees were shown fighting. A girl called Lucy Jane who was rejected by
the judges earlier got bitter about it and stayed around to tell everyone how
talented she was and that she would be back. One of the other contestants
mothers got into an argument with her reminding her that she might need some
actual talent to have a chance at actually winning. If this is only week two then
I dread to think what might happen before the finale at Christmas! Until next
time …..

Don’t miss “The X-Factor” show updates and episode recaps each week here at
Reality Shack and check out the shows official website at for
video clips, competitions and the latest news.

You can contact Luke with comments or questions at

At Least They Got A Rock – Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 1

[i]by atarus[/i]



Jiffy Pop Probst is standing on Mt. Yasur. He introduced Vanuatu, a land of cannibalism, black magic, etc. etc. Shots of the Survivors on the boat, you know the drill. And then there’s a really cool camera shot of Probst with a bunch of smoke behind him that’s really really spiffy. And then the natives start yelling and screaming and come out to the boat in little boats. Chad looks shocked, JP had this smirk on his face like “Cool.” And Leann was all O_o

Probst climbs aboard the ship and says that to be granted access to the land, the Survivors have to take part in a tribal ritual, and it’s an authentic Vanuatu tribal tradition. Mia gets the first confessional of the show, saying she’s “really nervous about the ritual.” Travis is up next, and he says he’s glad that there were boats, because he just learned to swim 6 weeks before the show. He then proceeds to tip the boat over and hangs onto the ladder on the boat for dear life. (I love this guy already.)

Leann is overwhelmed, moved to tears from the ceremony and the boats. The castaways get onto land, and then the natives charge at them and poke at them with their spears. *pokey pokey pokey* JP is befuddled. Are we supposed to be defending ourselves or what? This brings a funny image to mind. I see one of the Survivors grabbing a spear and karate chopping a native, and all 18 Survivors + Probst getting slaughtered and eaten alive. Now THAT would have been a killer first 10 minutes!

Sadly, no, that doesn’t happen. Instead, more befuddled and scared looks from the castaways. Rory comments on the fact that nobody jabbed a spear at him, like it was okay for the black guy to visit the island. Then the natives start to slap the girls with sticks to try and move them away. Eliza states that they had no idea what was going on when the natives started slapping us on the butt with sticks. (Funny, she’s a sorority girl, you’d think she’d be used to being slapped on the butt by strangers.) The women realize that they are being seperated from the men, and aren’t too happy about it, because the guys are in the middle of the action, and the girls are off to the side.

Lea is pointed to a bowl, and he thinks he’s supposed to wash his fingers. As it turns out, they have to drink the nasty lookin’ water. Rory says that you drank it, and your lips went numb, your throat went numb, all your body goes numb. Travis has a hard time with the drink and pukes and spits. JP is all happy that the men are getting special treatment, while Ami is PO’d she didn’t get anything. “I’m not used to being second to a man!” You go girl!

Lisa says that the Vanuatu honor pigs. She sees the pig strung up on a pole, and thinks it’s dead…but nope! It’s not! Eliza is all “EWWWWW.” It was cool watching the native smack the pig with the hammer though. Dolly was like, yup, I do that to sheep alllll the time. Nothing strange there. Then the blood of the pig is put on the men’s face, Lea says they’re warriors of Vanuatu!

Finally, Jiffy Pop introduces the immunity rock. Er, no wait. It’s just a rock that keeps spirits away. It’s a reward challenge! The reward: A ROCK. The men think it’s pretty sweet. Travis says “It’s not what I believe, but I just wanted the rock so the women didn’t have it.” The men have to climb up a greased pole and grab the rock. A native does it as demonstration, then the chief picks a man out to do it. The chief points in Lea’s direction, but he doesn’t want to do it. Brady is the chosen one, and hey look, Brady’s smart. He watched the native dude, and gets up the pole like a monkey. The men have a rock. Sah-weet. Travis says it was eerie that as soon as Brady grabbed the rock, it started raining like pee outta something. Man, I love Travis. He’s so Big Tom V.2.0.

Jeff then reveals that the men are going to be competing against the women. Chris is glad, because he can outsmart men better than he can outsmart women. Women stick together and help each other, the men are conniving and backstabbing, and he can manipulate them. Twila is annoyed, the young, prissy ones are going to get to her, what did she get herself into? Mia says that the women got a bum deal in the ceremony, and they’ll be out for the blood of the men. The tribes are Lopevi for the men, and Yasur for the women. (My friend pointed out that Yasur sounds like Yes, Sir. Kinda funny.)

The girls are cautious of going through the dark. Scout wants to hunker down and wait out the night, so it’ll be easier to find the camp. Dolly and Scout and Ami sit together and want to talk with each other and do slumber-party get-to-know-you games. Eliza gets annoyed, she didn’t want to be the odd person out yelling at Scout and such, but she does anyway. Luckily, people agree with her, and the girls get trudging along again. On the guys side, Rory starts telling people that they should split up and it’ll be easier to find the campsite that way. (Hasn’t Rory ever watched a scary movie? If they split up, one of the groups is going to get slaughtered by the Ghost of Vanuatu.) Anyway, Brook says “Who does Rory think he is? Ordering people around!” Rory says that there’s no independent thought among the bunch, they’re all young and headstrong. Finally, back to the girls, they find their flag, and they get all huggy.

It’s the next day, and it’s Amazon all over again. The older women are complaining about the younger women. Scout says that where she comes from they call the sorority girls “bowheads” and they’re like cattle. They’re favorite topics to talk about are themselves. She mentions that Eliza talks non-stop, and would love to vote her out to get her mouth out of her face. Eliza is yapping, but I can’t remember what she’s saying because her cleavage is amazing and out there for everyone to see. Then she gets up and has a “Zuh?” moment. “Are they working on the shelter?” She asks, as Twila, Leann, and Scout go *facepalm*. I hope Eliza sticks around in the show, I really do. It’ll be muchos easios to make fun of her, I think. Eliza, for the camera, says that Twila is working on the shelter non-stop, being a workhorse. Twila, on the other hand, complains that their mouths are moving while their hands ain’t. Just as long as they don’t bitch about things when they freeze their butts off. (You go Twila!)

We then switch to Lopevi. The men have their water, but they still need to boil it to drink. JP is trying to make fire, and Chris comments, saying that “he thinks he’s bad, he’s buff, and he’s young, he’s got the frame, but he doesn’t got the brain.” The guys get all happy about a spark, but they don’t get the fire. Chad then decides that he’s done enough physical exertion to show off his talents as THE BIONIC MAN. *bum bum BUM* John K remarks he had no idea that Chad had a bionic leg, and he’s impressed. Brook says he’ll still vote him off if he has to. And Brady quips that “he’s nice, he’s smart, and he’s the underdog. We’re screwed!” I feel for ya Brady, I do I do.

It’s treemail and immunity challenge time! Leann gives the remark that we all heard in Amazon about how women are assumed weaker, so they’re going to show up the men and kick butt in the challenges. Both tribes need the fire reward. As the women gather, they eye Chad’s prosthetic leg. (Yeah ladies, you know what they say about a man with a prosthetic leg.) Jiffy Pop Probst introduces the challenge. All nine have to go under a mud crawl. Then 3 of the tribe have to navigate a ball through a mini-maze. Then all 9 have to cross a balance beam. Then 3 have to light a fire to grab a torch, light the torch, and then the tribe runs to the finish line and lights the wok. Sounds simple! If they win, they get flint and a pointed stick. Personally, I would have preferred the immunity rock.

They’re off! The women and the men are even through the mud crawl. Scout gets kinda stuck at the end, and the men take a lead going into the ball maze. The men finish the maze first, and they’re off to the balance beam. Now, once again, we all remember Amazon. Personally, I think they put the beam into the challenge just so the women could win, ’cause men suck at balancing. Travis and Chad start off by falling off. John K and Brady make it across alright. By this time the women have started on the beam. And for the men, they all start humping the beam! Travis looked like he was getting splinters up his chest as he shimmied across. One by one, they all get across, until it’s Chris vs. Scout. They’re neck and neck, and neck and neck, and….Chris falls off. Scout topples off into the net, and the girls start to work on the fire. Chris tries and tries and tries, but no matter what he does he just can’t make it across the beam. Women light the fire, grab the torch, and claim the pointy stick for their own. They then go into a chant, laughing at the men. It kind of reminds me of 2nd grade, ya know, when girls and boys have cooties, and all the girls gather together on the schoolyard and chant at the boys and giggle.

So Lopevi is headed to TC. Brady says that losing to women is tough, and Chris just couldn’t make it across the balance beam. Chris states he wanted to make it across, he just couldn’t. The point of the game though, is to outlast people, not outbalance. JP, JK, Brady, and Brook are all in a huddle and decide that Chris is the weakest link, and he needs to say goodbye. They bring in the Sarge, aka Lea, and schmooze him into their way of thinking. He says he’ll go along with it, but then says “they were assuming that I thought that Chris was the weakst link.” Lea then talks to Chris, and Chris tells Lea that everything’s under control. They talk about JP, but he’s strong and he wants to build a fire, so they say, maybe Brook? Yeah, he’s kinda useless and has only been shown in like two confessionals. He’s a good choice. Chris then solidifies that he doesn’t think he’s vulnerable at all, he’s got a plan. Brook is worried that he’s a strong, younger guy, and he’s going to be a target for it. And then Brady says that he’s thinking about voting for Rory. For the heck of it. Ya know, ’cause he doesn’t fit in. “He’s on his own sheet of music.” Thanks Brady, I’m actually going to use that quote from now on to describe weird people. Really, I am.

We go to TC. Everyone raises their hand when asked if they were annoyed at Chris. Lea says “all he had to do was bring his tail across the beam, all they had to do then was start a fire.” Chris remarks that he “doesn’t think he’s dead…everyone will benefit the team somehow in the future.” Rory thinks he fits in, and a few of the other guys snicker. JP says the team’s on red alert for having no water. Travis, apparently the only guy to have watched the Amazon season, says he knew the women would be tough competition. Brook says there’s some nice tail on the other team. (I’m so glad most of the men and women are married or somehow attached to someone else in this battle of the sexes. Much less Bachelorish now. Except for Brook, but he’s being voted out in a few seconds anyway.)

We then go to voting. We see Brook vote for Chris and mumble something I don’t understand, Brady vote for Rory and say “it’s all about the team, sorry to see you go” like Rory’s going to get more than just his vote, and Chris votes for Brook saying “Just playing the game, man.” The votes are tallied, and in a 5-3-1 vote, Brook takes the walk of shame. Bye bye Brook!

Columnist’s Note: I am putting my hat in the ring. I am rooting for Chris, Travis, Lea, Brady, Chad, Twila, Leann, and Scout. Chris and Travis are my #1 and #2, with Twila at #3. I hope to see one of those three win. I’m long overdue for a favorite of mine to win Survivor. So let’s go team!

On the next episode, lines are drawn at Lopevi as Travis tells JP that he’s a threat. Yasur pulls a Jaburu and gets miserable. And Rory yells at Lea while Lea mumbles incoherently. (And I bet all of you thought that Lea was going to be the one yelling this season. I’m glad he proved you all wrong and was a smart guy instead of stupid.)

Brooks’ Final Words: Something about not wanting to be the first person off, and that he got schooled in Survivor, and peace out to all those in Survivorland.

My e-mail is I’m long overdue to actually get to talk to or e-mail a reality contestant, so if you’re a Survivor and you like my writing, please e-mail me or something once your silence clause is up. Oh, and if you aren’t a Survivor, I guess I can take your e-mails too. Until next time!

Pick a Card, Any Card – Starting Over, 9/16/04

Rhonda and Deborah are still together in the small bedroom. Now that Deborah has the floor, so to speak, she makes a play of backing down.

In confessional. Rhonda wonders when is the last time Deborah was just listened to. Back in the room, Rhonda is saying she’s sorry Deborah is having a challenging time and feeling like giving up. She talks her into staying but Deborah makes it clear she doesn’t trust Rhonda. (That seems reasonable to me, after Rhonda helped the others gang up on Deborah.)

Meanwhile Jennifer tells Kim and Towanda she doesn’t know if it’s her responsibility to reach out to Deborah. Obviously the houseguests are coached that they are there not only to achieve their goals but to help the others do theirs as well, and Deborah is not following the program.

Sinae is in a hopeful mood on the way to the eye doctor. When she gets there, the doctor says he thinks she will keep the vision she has and function better with better glasses and continuing to adapt to her situation.

Kim is talking to Josie about her next assignment, which is to ask Deborah out to dinner. Josie is shocked and can’t believe Kim is going to put herself out there to be rejected. Kim dives in and asks. There is some bickering because Deborah is once again driving (why???) After dinner, Kim narrates that it’s a misconception that Deborah doesn’t listen. Deborah is on the phone later telling her daughter she will get along ok if she keeps thing superficial and light.

Back to Rhonda and Sinae leaving the eye surgeon. Rhonda tells Sinae she will be going home alone in a cab. Sinae is nervous but she knows she needs to get used to doing this. When she gets back to the house she’s pretty high on her accomplishment.

Iyanla is one-on-one with Kim. Because Kim may not be aware of how others see her, Iyanla has an exercise. Kim pulls cards from a stack. Each card has a word written on it to reflect a bad feeling one might have about oneself. The first card says “ugly”. Kim relates to that. The second card says “judgemental” and it reminds Kim of how harshly others judge her. Iyanla tells her she might be judging people too, whenever she “shoulds” on somebody. Her assignment: go back to her roommate Deborah, who now represents Kim’s sister, and let Deborah pull cards which Kim will then put into her own context. Kim is not enthusiastic about having to deal with Deborah some more.

In the loft, Deborah is asked to hold off for another day in order to practice being patient. She is ok with it. Today will be Towanda’s day to tell her story and she’s pumping her fists with glee, so I still don’t understand why yesterday, Kim was trying to prepare her for this. Towanda narrates she will be watching Deborah closely. The first picture on the plasma screen is a sexy publicity still of Towanda and four other women. The story is that she is Toni Braxton’s sister. Deborah is the only one to show any enthusiasm about Toni, but in fact others are shown doing in behind Towanda’s back later in the show. So Deborah is the only one who will take the heat for that. The Braxtons began singing for their father, a minister, and then as their own group. Towanda sings contralto. Her pain comes not from Toni splitting off, but later after sister Traci had left to have a baby, Tamar signed a solo contract without telling the two remaining sisters, who were still promoting themselves as an ensemble. Towanda was humiliated because everyone in the industry knew it while she was still working on projects for the trio. And furthermore, Trina, the last good sister, planned her wedding date close to the date that Towanda had chosen, forcing Towanda to elope. That sounds really passive-aggressive to me, and in fact Deborah shares in confessional that it word hurt a lot if her daughter felt the need to be married in secret. Also Towanda’s dad had to step down from the ministry so as not to publicly admit he cheated on his wife. He still preaches but Toni does not attend. Iyanla wants her to consider doing so in the future. Towanda is told that her goal will be to “discover your true self.” (This is a major departure from season one and something that has been expressed by women who have attended casting calls. The producers are urging applicants to have a concrete goal in mind for starting over, but in the end they are just picking women who are charismatic, and assigning them goals later.)

There will be an assignment for Towanda – she’s going to sing a cappella in a mall. She still sings all the time at Karaoke, so this will not push the comfort zone as much as Iyanla seems to think. On the phone, Towanda tells her husband someone was impressed about Toni – “you know who.” Towanda’s husband doesn’t understand the point of singing in the mall.

Rhonda and Sinae are together creating steps. We learn that at 18, Sinae is already a senior in college. She talks about her ex-boyfriend Matthew. They dated almost two years. It appears Sinae broke up with him because her parents don’t like him – her dad because he’s black. But yesterday she told us she has no relationship with her dad, so I suspect the real reason for the breakup is edited out. Sinae says they speak often though she hasn’t seen him since she went blind. Among things she admires about him: he’s the closest to perfect she’s ever known, and he adores her. Some of the steps will be: accepting blindness, redefining the role of her mother, and having a support network. Sinae says she would like a future where she meets her mother for lunch somewhere, rather than her mother coming to get her. (sheesh – is this about being blind or being 18!)

Josie is on the phone with a girlfriend who asks if Josie has bonded with anyone in the house. Josie instead tells her how impressed she is that she’s there with Toni Braxton’s sister. (You can probably tell how resentful I am that only Deborah gets called on this!)

At the mall, Iyanla is disappointed Towanda didn’t dress up, causing Towanda to wonder if this means she’s feeling more comfortable than she has a right to. This causes her to get a bit more jittery. Iyanla puts up a sign with the name “Towanda Smith” and introduces Towanda to the small audience. They applaud and she sings the National Anthem. Singing, she reminds me of “Gemini’s Twin” from Saturday Night Live. She also gets the words wrong. At the end of the song she does hold two long notes like a real singer, so I don’t know what the other thing is about. She thinks the assignment is over until Iyanla brings out another sign with “Towanda Braxton” and “Toni Braxton’s Sister” on it. She gets about the same reaction from her little audience.

Kim is shown alone with Deborah, who draws a card for Kim. the word is “victim” and Kim shares that she acted like a victim when she complained about the small room. The next card is “ugly” and Kim says she feels ugly so she puts on a lot of makeup. Deborah doesn’t get why Kim needs to tell her this, or tell anyone for that matter. In confessional she wonders how it relates to her and is quite sure that because Kim feels ugly without makeup, that means she thinks Deborah is ugly too. (OK, that IS narcissistic.) Deborah is shown challenging the validity of Kim’s assignment but Kim seems to stay cool and polite about it.

When Towanda gets home she tells Deborah about her assignment. Deborah asks her if she hit the high note and got all the words right, then starts singing it herself. Towanda narrates that this reminds her of people at karaoke trying to say “look, I can do it too.” (Not that Deborah’s right, but that’s arrogant of Towanda.) Apparently Deborah sings the National Anthem again and again as she works out (she’s not a bad singer really) and the other housemates are ready to cut their own ears off. They don’t like how she appears to be competing with everyone in the house, and Towanda narrates that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Psychic Panndyra's Reality TV Predictions

Yes, I am psychic. I don’t like to tell too many people, so keep it on the down-lo. I predicted that John Heffron would be the Last Comic Standing of Season 2. I just ‘knew’ that Rob was going to propose to Amber at the Survivor All-Stars finale. I knew that Johnny Fairplay’s grandma wasn’t dead.

The Donald’s hair, I predicted it would thin out. I also knew that Tammy Nakimura of Trading Spouses would be annoying. I even knew that the Liza Minnelli/David Gest show (and marriage) wouldn’t work out.

I can’t explain how I do it. I just do.

Yes, I am amazing and a bit of a b**ch. Despite that, I want to give you my reality tv predictions for the foreseeable future. (And when you’re psychic like I am, foreseeable is a very long time.)

Here goes nothing:

FOX will steal another reality tv concept from ABC, NBC or A&E Television.

Raj, from Season 2 of the Apprentice, will become a fashion designer when the season ends. He’ll start selling his Charlie Chaplin inspired, vaudeville clothes. The line will be called Duds and will be, well, a dud.

The next season of the Bachelor will result in yet another failed relationship.

The Apprentice’s ratings will drop because Joey, although good, is just not as strong of a lead-in as Friends was.

Be on the lookout for a new show starring billionaire Bill Gates. It’ll be called, America’s Next Computer Geek. Only trekkies and computer geeks will watch it.

Michael Jackson will try to pitch a reality tv show to anyone who will listen. Networks will politely pass because no one can pass off Jacko’s life as “remotely real”.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony will pitch a reality tv idea to VH-1 or MTV to follow their divorce. Ben Affleck, P-Diddy and all her exes will guest star.

NASA is exploring MARS at the behest of Mark Burnett. He’s asked them to scout locations for Survivor 15: The Red Planet.

Louie Anderson, John Pinette and other overweight comics will star in a show called Next Comic Walking.

I will leave y’all with that. If you wish to receive psychic updates, stay tuned to the Reality Shack, or just email me at I’ll be expecting you.
😆 😆 😆

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!

Hunting for Lupulele

I ain’t gonna lie. I like Dog, the Bounty Hunter. I don’t think too many people could handle the streets and the criminals the way Dog and his crew do. I’ve got to give them big props.

The ‘apprehension’ this week is one Lupulele Antonio (aka Chrissy). I love saying Lupulele. It’s the new word of the week. Scream when I type it! LUPULELE LUPULELE. It’s even fun to spell. LUPULELE. She’s hanging in Chinatown. One of Dog’s crew describes her as “the meanest looking woman I ever saw.” Coming from that crew, whoa!!!!!

Lupulele is an alleged dope dealer who skipped bail, of course. Otherwise, why would the Da Kine Bonds crew be after her! They are hunting in Chinatown and well, Dog is quite the celebrity in the criminal community. Everyone knows he’s there rather quickly. Leland reminds us that the cameras don’t help either.

Now, let me backtrack. LUPULELE. (It’s like Pee-Wee’s playhouse with me running this review! Did I mention I’ve had a headcold and well, antihistamines do something strange to me?)

Dog is also loath to bring a girl in. Beth says he’s “too soft-hearted.” I think she’s right. He is a softie. Dog tells the crew not to “go off” on her (basically, not to hit her if it gets rough!)

In Chinatown, they go near where she lives and are casing the neighborhood. Old Chinatown is the place where the drug addicts and criminals tend to congregate. Justin thinks he’s found LUPULELE. Dog finds the LUPULELE lookalike and says to Justin, “yeah, pretty close, Justin. She’s Samoan.”

They start talking to more leads and find Darren (aka Banzai). He says he’ll help. Yeah, turns out he’s helping LUPULELE. Everytime Dog gets close, he starts to bark. He’s her lookout. When Dog figures this out, he “clips” Banzai. That’s the end of that.

They get a hot tip from a hooker. They go to the bar, which is aptly named Paradise Lost. The hooker also reminds them “that everyone knows your coming.” Somehow, I don’t think they’re prepping the welcome wagon. Neither does Dog’s team.

After a bit, Dog decides that they’ve “worn out their welcome” and they retreat. Cecily, Dog & Beth’s 11 year old daughter, has a school play today. Beth is doing Cecily’s makeup. Dog is upset. He doesn’t want her to wear any makeup. Beth wins out. She also reminds Cecily NOT to tell her dad about her boyfriend. She said, “dad’ll wig out.” He’s so overprotective and caring of his children. As a parent, I understand and appreciate that.

At school, Dog admits that he prefers the kids and babies to the parents. The parents are “different”. That’s all he’ll say. He does seem to like Cecily’s teacher. As he says, “It doesn’t hurt when you go to a parent/teacher conference, if the teacher looks like that.” He’s right. The teacher’s quite cute.

Dog enjoys these outings with his family because it reminds him that not everyone is a liar and that there is love and peace and purity in the world. It’s a great way to recharge his batteries from the bounty hunting biz.

Next day, they’re back in the thick of it. They’ve gotta catch LUPULELE. They asked Ili, a Samoan woman who knows the streets and works with them, to help. As a Samoan, she can often get an ‘in’ when the caucasian Da Kine crew can’t. Ili says she was in jail before for beating up a neighbor. Dog and Beth helped her out. They taught her how to ‘be strong.’

Ili and Dog bring their dogs. Yes, we meet Dog’s dog, Nikita. He ain’t no chihuahua. He’s a tracker and an attack dog, if necessary. A bounty hunting machine.

Ili gets Chrissy…LUPULELE…almost immediately. She starts to cry. They find out she’s only 21. The girl looks 40, but she’s only 21. Her dad’s a pastor living in Los Angeles. Dog wants to help her get away from this bad element. She’s hanging with older men and just messing up. She says she didn’t skip court, she went on the wrong day. Dog has her call home. She talks to her sister and asks her not to upset mom and dad and to “pray for me.” Her sister replies. “We do. We always do.”

Dog and Beth want LUPULELE to go home when this mess is over. Home to her parents, that is. Ili said she can hook LUPULELE up with a job as a cashier for a while, to help her out.

Wow! It’s always emotional watching this show. Of course, it would be for me. I still cry at Kleenex commercials.

Panndyra out. If you wanna talk ’bout this recap or just find a reason to type the word LUPULELE repetitively, contact me at

And Then There Were Three – Big Brother 5, September 14th

by aurora

It’s a special live show tonight, and one more person will be leaving the Big Brother house…forever. Sorry, switched into Paradise Hotel mode there for a sec.

Last week, Drew won HoH. He nominated Nakomis and Diane, and now the Power of Veto is up for grabs. Nakomis is disappointed that Drew came up with some fluffy reason for nominating her – she had asked him to say that he was pissed off with her because she wouldn’t share her chips and salsa or something.

Diane and Nakomis kick back and talk about the veto. They decide that one of them needs to win it and save the other. Poor Nakomis. Meanwhile, Diane says that she doesn’t want the veto, because then she’d have to go back on her promise to Nak. For some reason this promise can’t be broken, even though Diane has broken every other one she’s made so far.

Drew and Diane huddle in the HoH room to talk strategy. Diane admits that if she wins the veto, she’d have to save Nak and boot Cowboy, since Nak and Drew are the only people she’s made promises to. Right, and now let’s talk about that swampland in Florida Diane has for sale.

Julie joins the houseguests via giant screen, and asks Diane how she likes her new duds from the luxury competition. Diane’s pleased as punch, and is wearing one of her new outfits right now. Julie then points out that the brother and sister have made it to the final four. She asks Nakomis how she thinks her father feels, seeing that the two of them have made it this far. Lame answer to a lame question – “Peachy!”

Drew is asked what advice his twin brother Ben would give him at this point in the game. He says that Ben would tell him to take things one step and a time and to keep his chin up. Ah yes, generic encouragement. And here I was hoping Drew would say, “Ben would tell me to boot Diane and start thinking with my brain instead of my…” well, you get the picture anyway.

Julie asks Cowboy what he’d do with the money if he wins. Cowboy gets a huge grin on his face and says that he wants to make a better life for his family and open a dude ranch for kids. Seriously. I couldn’t make that stuff up.

The houseguests finally find out how much longer they have to put up with each other – Julie says that the finale will be in one week. They all look very happy about this.

Now it’s time to visit the jury house, where Will and Marvin are keeping their distance from the evil twins. Will says that any place with the twins is certainly not paradise. Marvin is hoping the next person to join them will be Diane, so he can stab her in the eye with a chicken bone. I have to wonder which would be worse – a chicken bone in the eye or another week with Cowboy?

Of course the next person to join the sequester house is Karen. Marvin gives her a big ole fake hug. They watch the tape of Karen’s eviction, and later we see her sitting on the beach drawing caricatures of Cowboy ‘The Snitch’ and Diane holding a sign that reads “Trust Me”. Watch for these little nuggets on eBay soon!

Up next, the final veto competition. Each person is sent to a different room and they will be called out to the backyard one by one to do the challenge. Drew is up first. Outside there are big pictures of the houseguests along with an electrical generator and loads of extension cords. My first thought is, “Dear God, Cowboy is going to electrocute himself!”

The task is to hook up the pictures in order of who won the veto, from first week to last, with the extension cords. If they’re correct, the pictures will light up. Drew starts running around hooking up pictures and running over to the switch to see if he’s right. He gets a buzzer several times before he figures out that he forgot himself in the order. He ends up with a time of just over 14 minutes.

Next up is Diane. She says again that she doesn’t want to win the veto, but if she has to in order to prevent Nakomis from winning it then she will. She does a pretty good job of it. Cowboy comes out next and claims loudly that he has this one in the bag. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off, and privately he says that his legs felt like they were running a marathon. Keep in mind, this is just the backyard – it’s not like he was running great distances or anything. Anyway, Cowboy gets it right on his first try and he’s done.

Nakomis is last, and it’s do or die for her. She seems to be doing very well, but has a couple of mistakes before her pictures light up.

Drew gathers everyone into the backyard to reveal the scores. He finished in 14:27, Diane in 4:14, Cowboy in 2:13, and finally Nakomis, with 6:14. Cowboy wins the veto! Who would have thought?

Julie tells us that Cowboy now has the ultimate power – whoever he chooses to veto stays, and the other person is automatically evicted. Good grief.

Nakomis takes Cowboy aside and asks him who he wants to take to the final two. He’s honest with her and says Drew, and that she must be aware of the deal that he has with Drew and Diane. Nak syas privately that this is the first time she’s heard of it flat out, and she had to pretend to know all about it. She lays it on thick, telling Cowboy that Diane would take Drew, Drew could go either way – but she would take Cowboy and he would win. He’s America’s favourite cowboy after all! (Bucket! Where’s my bucket??) She tells him that she promised Jase and Scott that she would get Cowboy to the final two, and that to her, blood is thicker than water. Privately Nak admits that she was lying, and she’s not happy about having done that.

Nak sits alone in the backyard, and when Diane comes out and asks her what’s wrong, she says nothing. Cowboy joins them and asks Nak if she’s okay, and she flips out. She’s drinking of course, which always makes things worse. She hollers and cries about not knowing what’s going on, and not liking the fact that she has to lie and cheat and steal to get ahead in this game. Diane and Drew sneak off to the kitchen, where Diane says she’s not buying this act for a second. She thinks Nak is trying to snow Cowboy, and that she (Di) is leaving now. Cowboy tries to console Nak and tells her that he needs her to be strong.

The following morning, Diane gets her time with Cowboy. She reminds him that Nakomis was trying to get him out last week, and that Diane kept him in the game. She then promises him that she will take him to the final two if he keeps her in the house. They pinky swear on it, and Cowboy says that he feels much better. Uh oh.

It’s finally time to see what Cowboy will do with his veto. Nakomis and Diane both get a chance to make their pleas to him first. Diane reminds Cowboy that she kept him in the game three weeks in a row, and asks that he honour his word to her. Nak says that her dad will ground him if he boots her.

Cowboy makes a goofy little speech, saying that his decision isn’t personal of course, but he’s a man of his word and has chosen to keep Diane in the house. Nakomis was expecting this, and takes it very well. She says that she’s probably the only person who isn’t leaving with grudges, and wishes them all the best before leaving the house.

Nak joins Julie, and tells her that she knows it’s just a game. She wouldn’t be angry if she lost a game of softball or Frisbee, so she’s not mad now. Way to go Nak, you’re probably the most mature person to leave the house…well…ever! She adds that she thinks Drew will win the game, and that if Cowboy is in the final two he won’t be getting her vote. Okay, maybe there’s a hint of a grudge there.

To close things off, we’re taken back into the backyard for the final HoH competition. It’s an endurance challenge (surprise, surprise). The three remaining houseguests have to stand on pegs on a platform that is covered in gigantic rocks, and hold onto their key. The twist? The platform shakes and moves around at random intervals. Welcome to earthquake country! As Drew, Diane, and Cowboy settle in, Julie reminds us that the next episode will air on Friday this week, with the finale coming up next Tuesday. Don’t miss it!