Body Image – Starting Over, 04-11-05


by LauraBelle

In the Starting Over house currently are several women with body image problems. Alison feels disfigured after her mastectomy and Vanessa has a distorted view of her body after a childhood in gymnastics and a coach that encouraged her not to eat to stay thin. Bethany, who will be graduating tomorrow, overcame her poor body image problem recently. She had thought she was fat and ugly, and that nobody would want her.

Dr. Stan says body image concerns affect both men and women, but when it begins to rule your life, it’s symptomatic of something deeper. Rhonda, Iyanla, and Marcus, Starting Over’s trainer, join in a discussion with Dr. Stan. Marcus says that fitness has always been a part of his life, and that self worth helps him to make better choices.

Marcus says that many women walk into his gym and want to have a body like the ones they see on the covers of magazines. They need to have more realistic expectations, though, as many times the time allowed for that type of transformation is just not enough. They need to have a long term goal, and not just a short term one of a certain desired size or weight.

Asked what women that are not lucky to have their own trainer can do to stay fit, Marcus says they can do their exercise routines sitting in a chair. Instead of using weight machines and free weights they can use cans of food. Dr. Stan adds that walking and simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator can be beneficial.

Marcus believe the three keys to maintaining fitness are commitment, consistency and not making any excuses.

Starting Over graduate, PJ, joins the discussion. When she first joined the show she was wearing a size 24, and by the time she graduated she was wearing a 14. I must say she is looking quite different as a redhead and wearing glasses.

PJ says she had been an anorexic for six month when she was younger, and when Dr. Stan asks if she had ever been diagnoses with it, she confirms she had been. She was more or less eating very little, if at all. After this behavior was stopped, she then became a bulimic.

Since PJ has left the show she has continued to make progress, but feels she has now reached a plateau. She is now employed as a full-figure model and feels she has a really good image of self. She feels good and much better than before.

Iyanla says she is hearing everything, but it is not ringing true. She is quite skeptical that PJ is comfortable with her current size; seeing her and hearing her and not congruent. Marcus admits he is skeptical as well. Reading her body language, Iyanla says she can’t even sit back comfortably on the couch, and that indicates she doesn’t hold a healthy image of her self.

Dr. Stan asks how PJ feels about herself today. She says she won’t lie; she still thinks of not eating when she looks at herself in the mirror sometimes. She believes she will always struggle with that. She has a crazy schedule now, and is not as strict with her habits as she should be. Dr. Stan says she appears successful, and he can see a difference in her, yet she is still unhappy with what she sees. Young women with eating disorders will always have issues with that.

Rhonda says sometimes you question a person’s motivation and may wonder if they are cheating. She is obviously leading into a discussion about Sommer, who had come on the show after losing seventy-five pounds after gastric bypass, then was kicked off the show when her life coaches felt she wasn’t honoring the process.

Iyanla asks Marcus, who personally trained Sommer, why it was so hard for her, and he says it had to do with her emotions. For her, everything came down to eat, smoke, and feeling secure. With many people food covers their emotions. He believes that is one of the problems that exists with losing weight fast via something like gastric bypass. People aren’t reading to deal with the mental issues yet and fall right back.

A clip is shown of Sommer gorging herself with a hamburger and fries and then lying on the floor. Rhonda walks in and asks why Sommer is on the floor, and it was because she was ill from eating too much. She didn’t have to do the work to lose all that weight, and in the normal process of losing weight, you are given a great deal of time to accept it gradually, as you worked at it and were proud of it.

All believe that Sommer still had the negative body image of herself and that when she looked in the mirror she still saw someone one-hundred pounds heavier. She envisioned herself looking fantastic at the end of the process, and she was never going to get there from just the gastric bypass.

Everyone acknowledges that the influences and demands of the media can affect a woman’s body image. Judy Evans, an actress currently appearing on Days of Our Lives joins the show to discuss her issues with her body image and appearing on television.

Judy is asked when she first had a shift in her body image, and she explains that when she got her first television job, she gained a few pounds, was probably only around 120 pounds, and basically told to either lose weight or lose her job. She was comfortable with her image of herself until then and thought she was beautiful. Yet she was so young, that she thought if she changed, maybe they’ll like her. She did everything she could to get that desired weight they wanted – dieted, starved, etc.

Dr. Stan asks what kind of a message is that sending out to the viewer of the television show, and Judy says that people need to have a perfect look, and that it’s all about how thin can you be. Her advice to people with a negative body image is to get in touch with who you are on the inside. She now loves who she is as a person, mother and friend. Once she loved herself, that image changed.

Although Andy Paige doesn’t appear on the show this day, her story is told. At twelve-years-old she was five-foot-ten and 165 pounds. When she was thirteen she started modeling, becoming one of the first full-figured women in the country. Once she got older, she wasn’t wanted anymore and had to grieve for her career.

Andy turned it around on Starting Over and looked at her assets and talents, and began doing seminars to show women how they could achieve a desired look as easily as her. She has now devoted her life to helping others feel good about themselves, letting them know it’s about them, not about the images they see on TV.

Another graduate of Starting Over to help women with their body image is Karen. She was a seamstress for strippers. At once claiming if she saw someone naked, she could sew for them. It was a gift, she felt, loving and having an admiration for all shapes and sizes of bodies.

Joining the show today, Karen says the perfect body doesn’t exist. Interestingly enough most strippers feel good about themselves and are heavy. She believes the right clothing can make any woman’s body appear just a little bit better. A simply thong can change a woman’s large bottom into appearing smaller, and can make a small bottom appear larger. She would love to see women stronger at accepting who they are.

Dr. Stan adds to the conversation, saying men are attracted to women both inside and out. He also believes men are more comfortable with women that aren’t perfect. As if they aren’t perfect, they are looked at as being better givers.

One of the first exercises for women in the Starting Over house that struggle with body image is to become comfortable looking at themselves in the mirror. Iyanla believes this will work with viewers as well. Look into the mirror and stand there until you aren’t laughing or crying anymore.

Viewer questions on body image are addressed. The first is a question on increasing your sex drive if you have low self esteem. Dr. Stan says that’s difficult as if you don’t feel attractive, you won’t feel like having sex. All of that leads to the age-old question on if something can truly be happy while overweight.

Another viewer mentions they are contemplating plastic surgery as they have never felt comfortable with their appearance. All of the life coaches yell stop. Until a person has more self confidence, they shouldn’t entertain the idea of having plastic surgery. Asked what happens to a person that doesn’t feel good about themselves and has plastic surgery believing it will help, Dr. Stan says they just end up having more plastic surgery.

Along with many women I have struggled with a body image perception most of my life. I grew up thin, and still thought I was ugly and fat. It wasn’t until I watched an Oprah show with actress Tracy Gold discussing her battle with anorexia that I realized I had a problem. I was listening to her thinking how great it must be to not have to worry about thinking you’re fat.

But that’s the whole crux of the situation. It doesn’t matter if I or anyone else is thin or heavy; it’s how we perceive ourselves. If we aren’t happy with what we see in the mirror, we need to change that. Once we can look in the mirror and be happy with what we see and become accepting of ourselves, we can never be happy.

I have been exercising five or six times a week for fifteen years. At one time I forced myself to do it, but now I enjoy it as I know I am doing something for me. After many years I can now look in a mirror and be happy with what I see. But it has nothing to do with the numbers on the scale or on the measuring tape. It has to do with how happy I am with the rest of my life.

I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

What The Heck … Go For It Anyway … – Starting Over, 04-08-05


by LauraBelle

As Bethany talks to Rhonda about her day spent as a “bad girl” along with Vanessa and the bikers, she tells her she learned that being a bad girl means going after what you want. Bethany has spent so much of her life, or at least of the life she remembers, pleasing everyone, it’s about time she realizes this!

Rhonda asks Bethany what her capacity is now to love herself, and Bethany knows it’s so much better, although she wishes she didn’t struggle with accepting compliments still. Just about everything else has changed, though, as when she first came to the house she was sad and scared; yet now she realizes her worth, knows she is smart, and knows what she can offer to others.

Asked to rate herself now, Bethany gives herself a nine or ten for her vulnerability, a five or six at accepting self, and never gives herself a rating for risk taking, but states that she loves risks!

Bethany’s assignments for the day are to call Justin, her favorite of the three blind dates, to be vulnerable and take a risk. Next she will write a biography to submit to an internet dating website, representing living fearlessly, and last, but certainly not least, Bethany will call her parents and inform them she is going back to school and moving out.

Iyanla leads a group discussions about sacrificing and not getting rewards. Bethany says her sacrifice was not going to school because she felt inadequate. Alison’s sacrifices were her career and the opportunity to be a mother. Iyanla is beginning to notice how Alison is rare to show emotion bout her life. She is always calm.

Vanessa sacrificed her passion for gymnastics, as it saved her from failure. Iyanla explains she would have been inauthentic had she not done it. She sacrificed her authenticity for what she was no longer willing to sacrifice. Huh? I will have to sit and ponder this one for a few hours later. Tess feels she sacrificed her honor as a woman. Just another one of those times Tess says the right thing, trying to sound like she gets it, even though we all know she doesn’t.

Iyanla leaves the women with a mantra learned from one of her own teachers. “Oh … what the heck … go for it anyways …” The women repeat this three times after Iyanla, but on the third one, Iyanla subs “We’re having a Board of Review today …” for the last line.

Karen notes with her strong fear of rejection she is afraid of being kicked out at the Board of Review. Tess is nervous because of the conflicts she has had with Rachael, and Bethany just says, “No thank you. I didn’t like the last one, and I’m not going again.”

Rhonda and Vanessa sit down together to discuss ways Vanessa can support herself. Number one is asking for what she needs. Vanessa would like support from her boyfriend, Michael, mostly needing positive remarks about her dreams. Rhonda tells her to call Michael and invite him to the house that afternoon so she can ask him that in person.

Number two is to do one loving thing for herself a day. Vanessa says she can dress up, do her hair and just feel good about herself. The third way is acknowledging the love around her each day.

Bethany is putting her biography online at match.com with Alison and Rachael alongside her. They suggest the names Country Bumpkin and Carolina Cutie for her screen name. Rachael questions who is graduating, realizing it has to be either her or Bethany.

Vanessa calls Michael and invites him to the house for a chat later in the afternoon at 2:00. He tells her he is not coming to the house and asks if she is crazy. He further asks why he would do that, as he doesn’t want to. Vanessa tells him he’s making her upset, and he tells her to relax; he’s coming. He was just joking. Great guy.

Rachael calls Iyanla and asks when she should call her aunt. Iyanla tells her she can get that settled later. Rachael explains she is worried Iyanla and the others won’t be there later for her when she needs them back home. She is obviously thinking she is the one graduating at the Board of Review later. When Iyanla won’t answer, Rachael exclaims, “I knew it!” To which Iyanla says, “No, you’re not.” Rachael argues, “Yes, I am,” and Iyanla says, “Fine, but you have no place to live.”

Michael arrives for his visit with Vanessa and she immediately begins baby talk with him. Later she returns to seriousness, and tells Michael she needs more support from him in the form of positive remarks about things like going to college. He continues to make light of the situation. She also asks him to be more sensitive about her appearance. He says the problem is they joke about things like that to each other, and he can’t tell whether she wants him to be serious or joking. Vanessa stands up for herself, for probably the first time in their relationship, and tells him she never likes it. It’s never a joke to her. He asks why she does that to herself then. Vanessa is thinking he came prepared to fire back at her.

After Michael tells Vanessa that humor is such a big part of their life together, she says she knows, but he still needs to be a little more sensitive. She is working on healthy eating, and needs more support when she is back home. He says he doesn’t care if she is off or on a diet, and doesn’t understand why it’s an issue. Vanessa says it becomes an issue when he says she won’t stay on it. She goes back to the college issue, and says when she says negative things, it stops her from going. He says he doesn’t mean to hurt her. She summons the courage to say she didn’t always believe in herself, and she needs to live with someone who believes in her. After he leaves she is filled with mixed emotions, and is now nervous, feeling attacked.

Bethany calls her mom and tells her there is a Board of Review that night. She also tells her she will be moving out on her own and going to college. Her mom admits it’s wonderful she is going to college, and doesn’t want her to move out, but knows she has to let her grow up. Bethany says she is not going to let fear stop her anymore. Obviously, fear is not a factor for her. Sorry, mixing my reality shows.

Moving on, Bethany tells Rachael she’s worried about calling Justin. Rachael encourages her and has her do the Iyanla mantra. Before Bethany can even say anything, Justin says, “Hi Bethany.” She is stunned he knew it was her, and he explains he put her phone number in his phone, and it came up on his caller ID. He then asks how her stomach feels after all the onions. She says her stomach is fine, but not her breath. She asks if he wants to do something soon, and he says yes, as he had a god time and she made him laugh.

At the Board of Review Tess notes that Karen looks like she was hit by a tractor-trailer. Nice. Vanessa is first on the chopping block. She says she has learned to make great decisions for herself, and that when she left the Olympics, that was a good decision, as she wasn’t happy with it anymore. Maybe that helps explain that inauthentic thing Iyanla was talking about before. She knows she made good decisions today with Michael. It was scary, she says, as it seems she is realizing it might not work out. The longer she is in the house, she thinks she will see more truth of that. Bravo, Vanessa.

She feels she is still not trusting herself or being vulnerable. Her housemates are asked for their opinions, and Bethany says she can tell Vanessa has lost weight, and notes she is becoming so confident. Tess notices the vulnerability, but that she is a bit indecisive still. Oddly enough, this is the complete opposite of what Vanessa just said about herself. Apparently, Tess’ listening exercise the day before didn’t have a lasting effect. Rhonda gives her a B+ for knowing where she is, and tells her the effort makes the difference.

Alison is up next and says she is learning that living is better than not living. She will probably not bore children and that is okay. Iyanla yells out Bravisimo at this performance. She notes she wouldn’t be a card-carrying honorable life coach if she didn’t see through this. She asks Alison what she is doing beyond the activities and Alison says supporting her sisters in the house. Asked what she is doing for herself beyond the activities, Alison admits nothing.

Karen tells Alison not to work so hard at being perfect. Rachael tells her she thinks she became too comfortable with her squatters heads; she doesn’t mind carrying them around every day. Vanessa says she wishes Alison would cry sometimes, and says she is one of her favorite people, and wants to be there for her.

Iyanla says she gets nervous when women cry silently, as it represents years and years of uncried silent tears. She keeps waiting for Alison to show up, but she’s not. She tells Vanessa she has forty-five seconds to destroy the “happy” squatters head. Alison kicks it into gear, slamming it against the wall, biting it with her teeth, and Iyanla tells her to ask for help from her housemates to make it unrecognizable. Finally, i tis broken, wounded and hurt, like the real Alison.

Alison breaks down and says she has lived many years of pretending to be perfect. She wants to stay because she wants to live. She is gifted, talented and not worthless. She is special and needs to love herself. All in all, she thinks she is pretty damn great. Iyanla notes she just showed up for the first time. She tells Alison to pick her own grade, and she picks a B. Iyanla says as you speak it, you will be it.

There is a hesitancy over who the next person will be, and it’s Bethany. She says she told her parent she is moving out, and everyone shouts hallelujah. She knows her confidence level is a littler bigger, and she is accepts there’s hepl out there. She is now speaking her mind and being honest, and even being a little mischievous.

Rachael says Bethany has grown so much, she can’t sum it up in just one comment. Tess says she has changed in leaps and bounds. Alison says Bethany seems ready for anything, and notes as someone else that has been through the ringer with medical problems, to go from hating doctors to loving doctors is huge. Rhonda agrees with the housemates, and tells Bethany she is graduating.

There’s a knock at the door, and it’s Justin with his guitar. He tells Bethany he wants to sing some songs for her. Swoon! He goes on to play and sing while the other women watch from inside the house. In the end, he kisses her goodbye … on the lips!

Rachael and Bethany talk later, and Rachael says as hard as it is to not be graduating herself, and to be losing Bethany, part of her is happy for her. She tells Bethany she is so different now, she doesn’t remember the old her. Bethany says she doesn’t want to leave “because of y’all.” Rachael says the selfish part of her doesn’t want to let Bethany go, and Bethany says they will always be sisters.

Rachael certainly can’t be far behind. She has changed nearly as much. I can’t imagine what she has left, other than finding a place to live. Bethany does have all loose ends tied up, but Rachael entered the house with many more ends to tie up. They both came in scared and alone, and both are far from alone now. Rachael will never be an orphan again and something says this is an experience Bethany will never be able to erase from her mind if she tried.

I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

Contender Commentary Episode 7, Juan Comes Out Smelling Like A De La Rosa

Contender Commentary – Episode 7, Juan Comes Out Smelling like a De La Rosa

by Panndyra, aka the Goddess of Chaos

I want to comment – this is a commentary, so I have the right. I think Ishe Smith, who I had originally picked to win this whole thing – is nothing but a hypocrite. I am withdrawing my endorsement of him. (I’m sure he’ll be sooooo upset, right!?!)

He had called Ahmed Kaddour out from like the first week and it took him three weeks to finally give in and fight him. He also mentioned that he did not want other people, namely his team to pick his fights for him. He had to face his own destiny. Well, he and his team then decided that they would ‘pick’ the fights for everyone else.

Well, I don’t think too much of that. The only thing about this competition that’s team-oriented are the challenges. This is an individual competition with ONE WINNER!!! Yes, [b]ONE WINNER[/b]. The team doesn’t win the competition. One fighter wins.

Anthony Bonsante lied to his teammates and chose his own destiny. Do I think he chose his closest competitor in Brett Cooper? I’m not sure. It doesn’t seem to be so. Brett fought very hard. So did Anthony. He fought like an animal, actually. It was a very aggressive fight.

Ishe had no real right to be upset at Anthony. Yes, Brett was his friend. However, Ishe over-reacted in true Ishe Smith fashion. He didn’t even go to the reward dinner with Ja Rule to showcase his point. He also fired up other people in the house.

Brett is a grown man. He knew what he signed on for. Anthony is a grown man. You don’t need to agree with his decision. It’s NOT about you, Ishe.

This week the winners of the team challenge get to choose not the last one but the last two fights. It’s a biggie. The West wants to earn it but no less so than the East. Every fighter wants to have a hand in deciding his own fate. It’s only fair.

Juan De La Rosa, from Texas (and since when did Texas become an “East Coast” state? I wanna know!), told Joey Gilbert, who’s dad is in Afghanistan, that if it comes down to it, he wants to choose his best match-up – and that’s Tarick. OUCH!

Joey is being disregarded all around. First, Anthony takes his planned fight. Then, Juan tells him basically that he’s perceived as the weakest link. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Oh well! Next week, Joey gets to fight Jimmy Lange.

This week it was Juan vs. Tarick – the young kid vs. the experience fighter who had a title shot and got completely dissed. I wasn’t sure who I wanted to win. They both had a bit of the underdog factor. It’s not like the “Rocky” movies where, each time, Rocky had to overcome some significant odds – everyone has things to work through.

That’s something I really like about this show. Everyone in life – no matter who they are or what you think they have going for them has challenges. No one’s life is perfect. Everyone is an underdog sometimes.

Tonight Juan won his bout. The East got another much-needed win. Juan fought for his deceased grandpa and his dad, who was watching. Tarick fought for his pretty wife, Dena, and his little girl, Ava. Tarick has a successful real estate business to go back to and a cool new website at http://www.tarick.com

Unfortunately, boxing has left a hole in his heart. It’s what he wanted to do to build a legacy for his family’s future. As a mother, I can understand that. For me, it’s hard watching these guys beat the crud out of each other and then go home. It’s also hard as I look at myself in my early 30s and feel like my days are numbered in certain things.

I like almost all of them. My vote is for either Peter Manfredo Jr. or Sergio Mora. Those are my two favorites at this point. I am sure it’ll be subject to change.

No matter who you like – watch the show. It’s worth it. Great human drama for ‘free’.

[b]About the author[/b]: Panndyra is the Goddess of Chaos. When she’s not ruining lives, she’s writing about Reality TV. Email her at panndyra@realityshack.com if you have questions for her. She’ll try to be nice.

Clean Up the Ghettos – The Contender, Episode 7

“Clean Up the Ghettos” – The Contender, Episode 7

by carpesomediem

In a surprise twist to West Coast’s dreams, last week’s episode ended as Anthony Bonsante called out Brent Cooper and sent Cooper packing with a flurry of punches that called the match in Bonsante’s favor by way of knock-out.

We begin with the West Coast’s not-quite-celebration for Anthony’s win; after all, he did betray their trust by choosing to fight Brent (taking the easy way out). While the crowd loves it, as does Anthony’s kids and mother, his team is less than thrilled. “I’ll make him pay,” Ishe tells Sly. “He knows what he did, he knows what he did.” Ishe says he won’t go on the reward even if the rest of the team goes with Anthony. “I had to do what I had to do,” Anthony says.

They head back to the suite and Ishe threatens to make Anthony pay. “We should’ve never agreed to that,” Ishe says. “I swear dog, I can’t even live with this cat.” Anthony tells his mother he’s mad at him, because he made his own choice. “I didn’t think that fair was fight,” Juan announces. “I was had by Anthony pretty good, the guy lied to me to my face,” Miguel admits, and he moves out of the room they share. “I don’t know if I told you this or not but I’m very proud of you,” Anthony’s mom tells him in the lockeroom. Ishe goes insane, throwing things around. “I don’t even want to hear his name in this house,” Ishe yells.

Anthony comes back, and Tarick congratulates. “When you’re in the ring, you got to do what you want,” he tells him. “This opportunity is probably one of my last shots,” Anthony says, “but I’m going to do whatever I got to do for my two kids.” Tarick admits he has nothing against Anthony for what he did. Ishe and Alfonso come out to the kitchen without saying a word, just starting him done. “You want to take me out, you’re going to have to put me in a body bag to do it,” he grins.

During their daily training the next day, everyone takes part in their normal routine. Tarick gets some time in the ring with a trainer while Sugar Ray looks on. He talks about how he signed a contract for a championship fight until the champion backed out. “The frustration of this business took the will out of me,” he says. “Tarick is so disillusioned by the world of boxing, but as he sees it, The Contender is his second chance,” Sugar Ray notes.

Ishe tells Juan, who is only 18, to fight the weakest person on the West Coast team. They tell him to pick Joey. “I feel everyone should try to go their hardest round,” Juan says, “That’s how you built greatest.” He decided he wants to fight Tarick. “If they want to call me the weakest, what do they know?” Joey scoffs at his team who thinks he is the weakness, pointing out he had won three NCAA championships in boxing.

Later that day, Anthony is presented his golden gloves by Sly. He offers to give them to Brent Cooper, much to the astonishment of everyone. “I want Brent to have them,” he says. “I personally hope you keep those,” Sly says, “I know there’s been a lot of anger, guilt in this house, but everyone knew what they signed up for.” Everyone applauds the little speech, except for Ishe and Alfonso, who just sit there ready to kill Anthony. “I was not feeling anger toward Tony anymore,” Alfonso admits. Ishe refuses to go, but Alfonso tries to convince him to go, but he refuses.

Ja Rule shows up for the West Coast’s reward challenge; Ishe smiles when he sees him. He gives them all watches, and Ishe looks on longing. “We didn’t miss him,” Sergio laughs at Ishe’s pride. “We’re about to tear L.A. down,” Ja Rule says, “Hook them and cook them!” They head to a night club to drink, dance and party the night away. “The club was classic Hollywood,” Sergio smiles, “It was a good feeling.” They discuss boxing, and Ja Rule admits he admires what they do, because he doesn’t have the discipline to do it.

“My father works for the military,” Joey explains. “Last couple of times I’ve talked to him are by satellite phone.” He calls his father, and he finds out he’s home. He was in Afghanistan for awhile with the Marines. “I had no idea you were home,” he cries when he finds out his dad has come home from overseas. “I can probably walk home from anything now. I’m the last guy you want to mess with right now, and they’re calling me the weakest link. The hell to all of this. My pop’s home. I can sleep better at night. I can go home tomorrow with a smile on my face.”

Next day Sugar Ray comes to visit them. “There’s only two rounds left of the first round,” he tells them. “This is your chance to control your own destiny. This is your insurance policy.” Jimmy says, “The stakes for this challenge are heavy.”

On to the challenge! They go to a plot of line that Home Depot and Ka Boom is building for inner-city kids. They must destroy a brick wall in two two minute rounds, then, they must hall the cinder block bits into the back of a Toyota Tundra. Four of West Coast’s side must sit out. West Coast isn’t doing to well, but East Coast has a good rhythm and is destroying their war. Next part begins and Joey begins to destroy their wall, taking care of most of their war. “You’re going to be a construction worker, kid,” Anthony yells at him. “You guys are animals, man!” Sugar Ray says then blows his whistle and they begin to load up their trucks by using a wheel barrel and by carrying them. “Don’t scratch those Toyota!” Tommy yells. “Keep working!” They’re carrying parts of the wall left with 10 seconds. Ishe throws a ton of bricks into the back by diving with seconds left. Now, they bring in the East’s truck to be weighed, which comes in at 6655 pounds whereas when the West Coast’s truck is brought in it weighs 7015 pounds. West Coast wins!. “Once again, you have the power, you choose the last two fights,” Sugar Ray tells them. East looks defeated.

West Coast heads into their lockeroom to discuss their win. They applaud Joey. “Pick the fight that’s best for you,” Ishe tells Tarick. “We’re here to fight the best,” Tarick nods. “I chose my own destiny,” Anthony explains, “You never know until you toe the line who is fighting.” East Coast joins them in the gym. Tarick steps up to the line and calls out Juan; they hug. “This has the making of a very interesting fight,” Sly says. “It’s just the making of a great fight,” Peter says. The match is set: Tarick versus Juan. “I think the fight between Juan and Tarick is going to be explosive,” Alfonso observes.

Tarick heads home for awhile to spend with his daughter and wife. “Being away from my family isn’t easy, especially my daughter, she’s only two and a half years old,” he says. “The energy I get from my daughter is unexplainable.” Her daughter has never seen him fight, and she says she doesn’t want to see him fight. “I’m doing this for my family,” he says at the end of his visit. Meanwhile, that night Juan heads down to the ring to envision the fight. He relates that his grandfather would’ve loved this entire experience. “My grandfather always told me there was going to be obstacles in the way,” he says. “I want to overcome all challenges that are put in front of me. I know my grandpa is going to be there. My grandpa would leave to see something like that.”

“I envision myself fighting in the ring,” Tarick says in the lockeroom. “You have to be mentally prepared for this stuff,” Juan explains. They talk to their respective trainers, and Juan talks about his grandfather. “I feel like he’s with me all the time.” Tarick’s daughter and wife come to visit him before the fight. “That fuels me to fight,” Tarick explains. “My dad’s a big inspiration for me,” Juan says, when he comes to visit him.

One hour before the fight, the boxers get their hands wrapped up as they get into the mode. “I’m sort of at the last hurrah of my career,” Tarick reflects. “Nothing is better than this,” Tommy tells Juan as he wraps his hands. They begin to shadowbox and psych themselves out by listening to music. Juan’s trainer puts the picture of his grandfather around his neck, as he often wears it, before he goes out.

Anthony stands ringside in Tarick’s corner while Peter is in Juan’s corner, as East’s fighter – Juan – is introduced and comes out, talking about how he will become a world champion someday. Next comes Tarick, “It’s time to fight,” he says, “I’ve been doing this all my life. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in the ring, but I’m going to have more speed and more strength. It’s either now or never.” He comes out and his daughter smiles before he enters the ring.

Round 1: They play defensive, with Juan out-speeding Tarick’s punches. Juan gets more punches in and Tarick’s wife closes her eyes. Tarick is being careless, just trying to land a hard punch as Juan’s speech gets him in for punches. They lockup and Juan ducks to land punches to Tarick’s face. They both are nailing one another, Juan gets Tarick to the ropes, but he gets out. Round goes to Juan.
Round 2: Juan’s dad tells him to relax as they lockup right away. Tarick gets a few punches in and Juan chases him, reaching for punches carelessly. Tarick lands an uppercut and fakes out Juan who comes right into his punches even though he gets sent to the ropes. Tarick nails into Juan and he’s ducking to get out but can’t avoid getting hit. “That’s experience,” Sugar Ray notes. Round goes to Tarick.
Round 3: Juan gets Tarick to the rings in a flurry of jabs to the face, they lockup again, and Juan lands a hard punch and keeps going in. They lockup again, and Tarick is physically tired. Juan lands a punch in Tarick’s abdomen and takes advantage of his tiredness. Juan’s speed is his saving point, he lands a flurry of punches and stays on him until the bell rings. Round goes to Juan.
Round 4: “He’s dead, he’s finished,” Peter says to Juan when he comes to the corner. They lockup right away, holding one another, and the referee breaks them up. “His legs are gone, ” Sly says. Juan lands a load of punches, and pulls back into Tarick’s head taking advantage and following him as he stumbles back. Juan is landing every punch where Tarick can’t get a thing in edgewise, eventually he gets a few here and there, but it’s not enough as he headlocks Juan. They stare each other down and Juan’s face is cut. Juan drops his hand and eggs Tarick on. Round goes to Juan.
Round 5: “You got to give it all, Tarick,” his trainer tells him. The medics are looking over Juan before the final round starts, and he is cleared to continue. Tarick needs a knockout to win, no doubt, and they lockup right away. He punches a few times, but Juan goes under and lands a flurry of punches to his abdomen as they lockup once again. Tarick can’t get in to punch, and he’s faltering back, tired. He lands a few punches but Juan lands more, Tarick nails him in the head a few times but they lockup once more. Tarick is tired, and it shows, he nails Juan in the head once again and keeps punching even when letting his guard down. They both begin going into one another’s heads without blocking, they just keep punching, as the crowd cheers them on. They get locked up again as the bell rings. Round goes to both.

They both hug and then go to their corners as West Coast’s team joins him while they await the decision. Juan’s father puts the picture of his grandfather around his neck. The judge’s scorecard is in by unanimous decision: East Coast’s Juan de La Rosa wins! “Nice fight kid, you showed a lot of heart,” Anthony comes to shake Juan’s hand as his father comes in to give him a hug.

Tarick heads back to the lockeroom. “I couldn’t lose to a better fighter,” he says. “Tonight he was the better fighter. Better late than never to have the opportunity. Before this, I had a big whole in my chest because I never had a chance, and I gave it my all. He’s a good fighter.” He wallows in the lockeroom after visiting with his wife and kid.

Salmaci, the seventh contender to hang his gloves on the wall and have his pride shattered, leaves saying, “I got my shot, and it’s like a relief off my chest.”

Carpesomediem is an aspiring freelance writer from Lancaster, Pa. who enjoys music, movies and writing about the way the world works; you can contact her at carpesomediem@realityshack.com to talk about this week’s episode or anything at all.


Bad Girls! – Starting Over, 04-07-05


by LauraBelle

On Starting Over today we learn rebellion doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It doesn’t have to mean we’re doing something that will get us thrown in jail; it can mean simply stepping out of the box and taking a risk. Karen struggles to forgive herself for her own rebellion, Tess still needs to realize her infidelity was rebellion, and Bethany and Vanessa learn how to take charge of their lives from a few very surprising sources.

Tess places a call to Rhonda to discuss the incident with Rachael the night before. She says Rachael was reading them wrong and feeling ignored when she came back from her dinner with her father and the other women were playing Scrabble. She wants to complain about Rachael, but Rhonda explains this is such a different situation with Rachael meeting her biological father, all bets are off. Rhonda encourages Tess to see it’s not about her, and Tess looks quite confused.

A man driving a harley motorcycle shows up at the door and asks for Vanessa and Bethany. He presents them with a note from Rhonda and asks them to read it out loud. They read that their assignment for the day will be to be bad girls and will be encouraged to be Born To Be Wild. They will meet with Rhonda later.

Karen calls her ex, Phil, looking to speak with her estranged daughter, Anna. Phil tells her he has given Anna the messages, but if she doesn’t call Karen back, there isn’t much he can do about it.

Dr. Stan walks into Group looking like quite the dude in jeans, a black t-shirt and shades. Perhaps he borrowed the getup from Michael Jackson from the “Bad” days. The women are hootin’ and hollerin’ for him. He tells them right off the tattoos are fake and not real, but the muscles are. Gotta love that Dr. Stan.

Explaining that rebellion can be healthy as well as destructive, he asks the women if they were rebellious in childhood. Bethany says No Sir, she was easygoing, did her own thing. The “No Sir” alone, he says, speaks for itself. Vanessa says she was never, ever rebellious and was quite eager to please all the time. Alison claims she was a goody-two-shoes as well.

Speaking of adolescence, Karen says she was very rebellious. You name it; she did it – she had been in jail even. Dr. Stan asks, “Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll?” Karen agrees, and says her most rebellious was when she was caught on date with a boy at the beach and they were partially clothed.

Dr. Stan then turns the tables and asks what happens if you don’t rebel? Vanessa says she cursed her coach out on TV, she talked back, she rebelled against it all, even her mom. She was angry at everyone. It was the first time she stood up to anybody for herself.

Karen says she had the perfect life, and then had an affair as her rebellion during her marriage. Dr. Stan thinks this is as if she was saying, “Don’t think you know me. I will shock you.” She is a separate person and wanted to establish her identity.

Rhonda walks in looking for some rebellious chicks, and takes Bethany and Vanessa for a chat. Bethany explains rebelling to her is stepping out of the box. Before all she did was work and come home. If someone would ask her to go out, she would say no thank you. Vanessa thinks if she was rebellious she would be giving up the good girl image. Bethany says if she rebelled she would go to college and begin dating. When Rhonda asks Vanessa where being a good girl got her, she says nowhere. Rhonda tells them being a bad girl means willing to live the life you were meant to live. She gives them blue and red hair dye and fake tattoos and tells them to help each other out getting ready to be bad girls today.

After Vanessa and Bethany have their hair dyed and tattoos on, Rhonda takes them leather coat shopping. Bethany thought it was funny at first, but then thinks she can definitely get into this. Rhonda asks Vanessa to wear a bandana, and she says, “Bad girl not wearin’ a bandana! Sayin’ no to bandana, Rhonda!” Two bikers pull up to take the two bad girls for a ride. Bethany is excited, but Vanessa is much more reserved. They hop on, putting helmets on first of course, and take off.

Karen is getting out her art supplies instead of her journal to get her emotions out. She wants to show a graphic depiction of her saddest moments.

Rhonda meets Tess back at the Starting Over house and wants to continue working on her Laws of Love. Today’s law is Listening. To work on this skill Rhonda is sending Tess to the Improv Olympics, which makes Tess very scared.

The longer the bike ride goes, the more Vanessa gets used to it. The bikers, Joe and Chris take the bad girls to a pool hall. Joe is asked if he considers himself a rebel, and he says he’s from Tennessee, most people from the south are. He goes on to say it’s about being a free spirit and that you have to please yourself. Vanessa says she is scared to go to college, and he says four years isn’t that long. It’s one of the funnest things she will ever do and will never regret it.

Karen finishes her drawings and brings them in to show Dr. Stan. She is feeling quite anxious and explains it has always been a problem for her. Asked about it, she admits to being diagnosed with Depression with Anxiety. She tells Dr. Stan after Anna was born she wanted to die, and has had thoughts of suicide, but her love of her daughters always stopped her. Dr. Stan asks if she ever thought about how she would do it, and she says she thought of a bathtub and razor blade, but if it ever got that bad, she’d ask for help.

Dr. Stan gives Karen a quick depression test, asking where she is on a scale of one to ten, and she says seven. She feels lost. She has lots of skills and knows she is intelligent, but doesn’t know how to make a living.

Showing Dr. Stan the self-portraits she just finished drawing, he calls them very dark and disturbing. She says it shows her sadness over her estrangement with her daughter. She still feels horrible she did that to her. He asks about the picture that looks like knives are stuck all over her, and she says it is to show she is alive but bleeding constantly.

Dr. Stan grows more concerned and says if Karen is so depressed she needs sixty day treatment for depression, not Starting Over. When he notices her face drop, as that clearly isn’t what she wants, he asks how much is drama, performance and getting attention. He says they need to cut that part out as they need to be sure she is honest and open so they know she is okay. She says it’s both. She is depressed, but she also wants attention. He winds it up telling her this isn’t family theatre or fairy princess. Her life needs to be honest now.

The topic switches back to Karen’s estranged daughter, and Karen is not calm enough to call her daughter yet, Stan thinks. He says she should write a letter and not ask for anything, just to say hi and that she misses her.

Tess arrives at the Improv Olympics and is anxious and fearful of looking stupid. the instructor pulls Jonathon out, and puts Tess and the three others in the class around him. They are to pretend they all know him, and are to all keep talking to him nonstop while he tries to manage the four separate sources of information. All I can think watching this is I feel I’m sitting in the middle of my kids talking. After Jonathon is done, Tess sits down in the middle. In the end she says she was overwhelmed, and that it was hell. Yep, like talking to the kids.

Back at the Starting Over house, Bethany and Vanessa meet again with Rhonda. They say the bikers were really fun, and that they learned rebelling wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was also a freeing good thing. They liked the philosophy of the bikers – Just enjoy it and don’t worry about what others think. they now believe being rebellious means living a passionate life. Vanessa wants to get into dancing and go to clubs. They’re not done rebelling yet. They will be having dinner with a drag queen.

Dr. Stan is a busy man these days. He must be taking some time off from the Michael Jackson trial. He is now meeting with Tess, asking her how she is doing with the other women in the house. She says the relationships are progressing. When asked about her assignment, she says she learned listening means not to just agree out of respect. She won’t argue or interrupt anymore. Dr. Stand thinks she seems to understand why it’s important, but she hasn’t totally convinced him.

The drag queen, Bridgettes of Madison County, gets together with Vanessa and Bethany over dinner. Vanessa loved him right away, thinking he was cool and funny. He tells the girls that as a man he didn’t get any attention, he was just some chubby guy. Now it’s different. He tells them the key is that it isn’t about other people; it’s about fulfilling yourself. Vanessa says her dream is to dance, and he says, “That is sooooo Chorus Line!”

Karen says she is afraid to work through her problems now while in the house. She believes happy and fulfilled is all the others want to see. She gets out a picture she has painted of a mother and child and says it’s a picture of her taking care of herself. But there is a big gate around her. She seems to be feeling a little lonely. Yet, you also have to wonder about what Dr. Stan point out. How much is just a big drama. Rachael and Tess seem so intent on calling each other drama queens, but maybe the real one is sitting here in Karen. Then again, they are all struggling to step out of their box and rebel against the image that they’ve been afraid to let go of for so long. They are all looking to escape the drama queen image and rebel and be the bad girl instead.

I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It – Project Greenlight, Episode 4

So, I’m glad they told me at the end of episode three that Project Greenlight was being moved to Thursday nights. It would’ve been nice if this was advertised on television, but nevertheless, I found out by surfing to iWon (www.iwon.com) and checking their television grid for Tuesday night, then, to confirm my doubts, I headed over to Bravo’s web site for the show (www.bravotv.com/Project_Greenlight) and lo and behold: Project Greenlight was moved to Thursday night! (I would go into the reasons for the move, but I think it’s pretty obvious if you’ve watched the show since episode one. Ok, I swear, no more commentary [for now, hehe], on to the recap!)

Last time, we saw the debacle of Jon wanting to cast his entire family in Feast which caused Chris Moore to threaten to fire him if it was ever brought up again by his fellow producers. “It just sort of encapsulated all my fears from when John won the contest,” Moore said, “I just want to fire him and get a director who won’t be insane.” He comes back and talks to John about the situation; John tries to justify this by citing other directors that did what he wants to do, but unfortunately he’s unknown, and these comparisons don’t work for him. “You are putting the desire of putting your people in above [the film],” Chris tells him; John tries to rebuttal, but he can’t. “If I really wanted to fire you, I can fire you.” He promised not use the “f” word anymore when talking to John, it’s just he was very angry. Chris explains that many directors want to hire people they know, because it will help them feel comfortable. “I really didn’t think he was going to fire me,” John smiles, and they leave on good terms, with the director feeling a bit

John and the writers head over to Live Planet for a meeting. They are given three new cars so that they can be ensured to get to the set during production. They’re hybrid cars that run on electric and gas, and they all hop in and drive off. “Due, you can’t tell when the car is on, it’s so quiet,” John’s amazement is shown.

With six weeks until shooting begins, sets are being built and casting is still a problem. Ricki Lake auditions for the movie and sits down to read. Michelle believes that John understands the casting process a bit more and praises him for changing his attitude. He gives feedback to the actors as well as to Michelle. They discuss the importance of finding the hero of the movie, that it has to be someone with a name, and it’s the most important role. They’re looking to read Ben Affleck, Sean Penn and Matthew McConaughey for the role. They bring Navi back in to read for the heroine, because Michelle really feels she is the actress for the role; she gives Navi some tips for the reading as well as telling her to ask for direction and guidance from both her and John.

John, however, feels that she came to the second audition with the same attitude as the first one, which doesn’t impress him. (In all honesty, she sucks, she shouldn’t do horror. Stick to the O.C., lady.) “I just really wasn’t sold by her… on the Navi thing,” John admits to Michelle, who disagrees. “I have a different view of heroine,” she says, “I could see her doing it.” She decided to go behind John’s back to get the tape to be seen by Andrew, without telling anybody involved with the project, this way she can not only cast the roles in the best way possible, but also get Dimension’s approval for the cast quicker.

The Maloofs have decided to sign on and become partners for Feast which means they will now get the additional funding to be able to pull off the full spectrum of the film. “Thank goodness for the Maloofs, we think we have a fighting chance to make this film,” Mike says. “We got an extra week for the show,” Joel says. “Starting Monday we’re a real movie.”

They take a trip to the actual set, where it’s being built, and three weeks prior to filming. “I walked in, and I got goosebumps,” John says. “It was pretty bitching.” Mike discusses how amazing it was to watch John on his first real set. “First time I’ve been on my set, ever,” John smiles as he walks around and talks with the workers to evaluate their work. Wes Craven joins them and talks about the script. Craven invites him over to his set to watch him work on a scene for his upcoming film. “I just don’t be able to take the time and care that they’re taking on Wes’ set,” he says about his own film.

Next, they take a trip to see the monsters and how they’ve progressed. “This is kind of a case to get the producers and directors to go with what I want,” Gary says. Now, they see this “monster genitalia,” as Mike calls it, about the monster sex scene that occurs in the film. They are all silent, and to be honest, it’s not impressive. Then, they all burst out laughing. “It’s just a giant monster package,” John laughs, showing you have big it is with his hands. “You’re always worried about the rating of your film,” Mike says, “I don’t think that [genitalia] is going to end up in our movie.”

With two weeks to go, Dimension gave the thumbs up for the cast. Michelle admits she’s taken more liberty than she normally would on a film. “For me, it’s good news,” Michelle smiles about Navi being approved. “I had no idea she [Navi] was still on the list,” Mike admitted. Mike is definitely not happy. “We didn’t even know Michelle had submitted it to Dimension,” Joel says. “We felt like we were casting a movie that didn’t please the producers or the director,” Mike sighs. “I felt Michelle was gaming the system a bit, I think she might have gone through some back channels to get that done,” Joel explains. They go to watch her second audition tape, and they’re still unimpressed. “If she ramped it up 20 percent,” Joel sighs. “She’s gets there with a good director,” Michelle tells her. Now, they head off to tell John.

Chris comes in to visit in the middle of the casting debacle. Michelle explains the history and casting to Chris when he has questions about Krista Allen. “I was pretty shocked,” John can’t believe. “I’m a little perturbed,” Mike says, “I feel like I’ve lost. Even though I don’t want Navi in the movie, the studio’s behind her, so, she’s going to be in the movie.”

So, the casting is set with the exception of hero:

  • Navi Rawat, Heroine
  • Henry Rollins, Coach
  • Duane Whitaker, Boss Man
  • Balthazar Getty, Bozo
  • Jenny Wade, Honey Pie
  • Krista Allen, Tuffy
  • Anthony Criss, Vet
  • Judah Friedlander, Beer Guy
  • Diane Goldner, Harley Mama
  • Clu Gulager, Bartender
  • Somah Haaland, Charlie Tyler
  • Patrick Jones, Cody
  • Jason Mewes, Edgy Cat
  • Eileen Ryan, Grandma
  • Josh Zuckerman, Hot Wheels

The next day, Michelle comes in to take to Mike and asks, “Are you going to talk to me today?” “She didn’t consider my desires,” Mike admits, “You made Navi.” They get into a discussion about Navi. “I think you guys felt a little backdoored by it. I am friendly with some actors,” Michelle explains, “I know she can do it.” She talks about being proud of the cast, because they’re with her name, and says that people will judge her in the future based on who her name is associated with in this film. “I feel like I’ve got what I wanted,” she smirks, and that’s the end of it. “Besides me pushing, she totally earned it,” she tells a friend over the phone. She told Navi, “I can’t wait until you prove me right and everyone else wrong.”

John and Michelle discuss the role of hero, and they both are short with one another. “I’m just stewing about everything that’d happen over the week,” John says. “It’s so unfair,” Michelle whines. “You undermined me,” John rebukes. Michelle begins defending herself. “I, for not one minute, misrepresented myself or you,” she argues. “She’s supposed to fight for my opinions,” John explains where he’s coming from to the cameras. “If you want to believe I was malicious, I’m really sorry for that,” she continues to whine about how he was upset about it and how he handled it. “I’m sorry it’s different than what you thought it was going to be.” She whines more, “I shouldn’t have to deal with people’s moods and attitudes. How old are we? It’s just ridiculous.”

A few days later, they go through the script to discuss his vision for specific parts of the film. There cast has really come together and John’s girlfriend and father will be playing two roles in Feast, Harley Mom and the Bartender, respectively. They show his dad in the bar learning his role to “make it his own,” John notes. “I think a lot of people can learn something from that.” They cut to his father and the camera, “He wants his father to be in his first film had he wanted his mother in his first film,” Clu – his father – says. “It lightens the load of this crummy life.”

They still don’t have the hero role cast, and they want to talk to Jean-Claude van Damme, but some aren’t that convinced he will work. Since they have nothing to go on right now, they’re strapped for time. Mark Wahlberg’s name is thrown around as well.

They go to Panavision to do a monster screen test and see what they will look like on camera. “I have to say I felt a wave of relief. It just looked really good. Gary did a really good job,” John is relieved. He gives some feedback on what he wants to see and what he wants to see more of as well.

One week to go and the sets are almost done as is the script; they are now moving their offices to the set. “We saw the next script and there were changes made that we didn’t make,” Marcus says, angrily. They want to work on one important scene, scene 74, which is an ensemble scene with the entire cast. “These are the scenes they [audience] get bored with,” John admits, “We kind of decided to cut it.” However, before they cut it, John and the writers sit down to try and fix it.

“We’re at that very critical point,” Joel says, where the table read begins with everyone involved. “It’s a very important part of the movie.” Then, a green package has been found on the set and everyone is evacuated with the bomb squad comes in to check it out. He jokes that he’s being Punk’d by Ashton Kutcher. “I don’t know how long we’re going to stand out here,” John is bummed. Joel is very concerned, because now he has no time to rehearse with the cast, because the day is lost and shooting begins, even without the role of hero.

They are still working on casting hero, and they think Mark Wahlberg will take on the role as he dug the script. “It’s just so overwhelming,” John says, “That you stop being nervous.” He’s taken home video of the set as well as the process for his own records. “It feels like it’s been so long since the contest. Here I am on the set, and it’s pretty exciting. It’s actually taken a long time for this to actually sink in.”

It’s 1 A.M., and he’s still not asleep. “I think we’ve done everything to support John’s vision of Feast,” Mike says, “Will he survive the first week [of shooting]? I don’t know.” Joel explains that many things could go wrong and the movie could bomb if all the circumstances go the way of Murphy’s Law. “We could have meltdowns on several different fronts,” Joel points out.

Carpesomediem is an aspiring freelance writer from Lancaster, Pa. who enjoys music, movies and writing about the way the world works; you can contact her at carpesomediem@realityshack.com to talk about this week’s episode or anything at all.

Snot Rockets and Shower Water – Survivor: Palau, Episode 8

Snot Rockets and Shower Water – Survivor: Palau, Episode 8

[i]by atarus[/i]

We start off the episode at Ulong. There’s general talk, Stephenie thinks they can get a victory, BJ chose Stephenie because she’s good at challenges. Blah blah blah.

At Koror, there are rats everywhere. Coby is complaining about how nobody cleans up and the rats are becoming bolder and eating the leftover coconuts because nobody is doing anything about it. He says he’s the only one that gets firewood, he’s the only one that does anything, he asked Tom to move the shark’s head but Tom didn’t do it, so Coby moved it away from camp because it was attracting flies. Coby is annoyed that Jenn, Katie, and Janu don’t do anything because the alpha males are waiting on them hand and foot. He wants to “push them in the fire.”

Reward challenge time. The survivors have to eat belut eggs. (Didn’t I see this on Fear Factor once?) Anyway, Tom and Ian participate for Koror, and they tie up through the first four rounds. Then the tiebreaker is Bobby Jon vs. Tom having to eat five belut eggs the fastest. In quick eating contests, as I have learned, you do not stuff it all in your face and then try to chew it all. Chew some of it quickly, it goes faster. Bobby Jon does the former, Tom does the latter. Guess who wins? Tom. Bobby Jon is disgusted. (Tom also, throughout the entire challenge, heckles Steph and Bobby Jon, saying things like “watch out for the beak” and “I heard a chirp out of that one.”)

Koror is excited for having a shower, well Jenn is, but Tom steps up and says they should use all the water for drinking water, since it’s the first fresh water they’ve seen in a while. Jenn doesn’t want to step up to him because it might hurt her in the future, even though there’s 50 gallons of water and some could have been used for a shower.

At Ulong, Bobby Jon’s pissed that they lost. Nothing new.

At Koror, Katie says something about there’s not going to be “happy Koror day” for forever. Ian is worried about Gregg and Jenn switching over to take out him, Tom, and Katie, and that the tribe is on the verge of “utter ridiculousness.” Tom says that him, Ian, Katie, and Steph hooked up on day 2, and they wanted to see how far that’d last, and Steph is their wolf in sheep’s clothing.

At Ulong, Bobby Jon blows snot rockets, and Stephenie is disgusted. Nothing new.

It’s time for the immunity challenge. They have to swim underwater, grab four bags of puzzle pieces, and return over the water on floating pontoons. Then they have to assemble the puzzle, do a word search, and unscramble a phrase to win. It will be Gregg and Coby vs. Ulong. It starts out interesting, and when Bobby Jon runs out Jeff says “Bobby Jon almost walked on water” continuing with the whole Bobby Jon is Jesus thing. However, Ulong sucks it up on the puzzle and Koror wins. Nothing new.

After the challenge, Koror is excited. Coby never fathomed he’d be on a tribe this strong, and that all of them had made Jury for sure now. There is then an emotional interlude about how Coby quit school because he was picked on, and that he’s given up a lot in his life and he wasn’t going to let anyone make him quit this time.

At Ulong, Bobby Jon and Steph are despondent they lost, and that one of them will be coming back and spending the night alone, after an individual immunity challenge for TC. Something new.

At TC, it’s more of a conversation between Jeff, Bobby Jon, and Stephenie than anything else. They congratulate each other and say the other is strong, yadda yadda. The individual immunity challenge is fire-building. Whoever lights their torch first stays, the other goes home.

Steph wins, nothing new.

Bobby Jon becomes the fifth person to leave Survivor without being voted out, and the second person to leave Survivor without being voted out or quitting, not including second place finishers.

In his final words, Bobby Jon says that he feels like a brand new man, he wants to return and use that energy and attitude for something positive, and he says good luck to Steph, the girl is almost invincible.

Next time: Tom offends Coby and Steph works alone.

I’m sorry if this review was dull, boring, and unenthused, but that’s what this episode was to me. This isn’t interesting to me anymore, this season has become one of my least favorites. The funny thing is, four of my five favorite people from this season are on Koror and still there. However, it’s not exciting to see them stay when they are never in danger. It’s just boring and…uninteresting. I haven’t seen strategy in the game except for James’ and Ibrehem’s boot. Excitement in Angie’s boot, but not strategy. This is just…bleh.

And if I may say something that might offend every person out there reading this, I do not get the Stephenie love. Yes, she is strong and yes she’s a tough woman, and yes she is better than any of the women on Koror. However, she isn’t this spectacular goddess that so many people are making her out to be. At least, in my humble opinion. She’s just a strong chick, like Tammy or Kelly W, and not the best Survivor ever. I don’t hate her, but I don’t worship the ground she walks on either. I will not rejoice when she is voted out (which I will do when Janu, Caryn, Katie, and Jenn bite the dust if they do) but I won’t cry or be sad either. She’s just a neutral, okay cast member in my opinion. But, like I said, that’s my opinion.

See you next week.


Cootie Exterminator – Starting Over, 04-06-05


by LauraBelle

In today’s Starting Over, Iyanla tells Karen everyone needs one person in their life they know will frighten away their cooties. The cooties being these bad feelings that take residence in us making us feel bad about ourselves. After thinking about it all day, I think she’s right.

Rachael begins her day looking forward to meeting her biological father, as she has been an orphan since the death of her mother and stepfather 9 years before. Her mother’s family sipped her off to foster care, and later an institution, leaving her with no one to chase away those bad cooties.

Alison doesn’t have cooties, but what Iyanla has referred to as squatters, bad feelings that have taken up residence in her and are refusing to leave, yet it will take Alison, herself, to chase them away. Today she feels empty. She doesn’t think the other women understand being a cancer survivor, gaining thirty pounds, or feeling so alone.

Bethany gets a phone call from Rhonda wanting to hear how Bethany’s three blind dates went the day before. The first one went really well, and they found they have a lot in common, Bethany tells Rhonda, although neither sought out the other’s phone number. The second date she only describes as interesting, but tells Rhonda the third ended with a hug and quick kiss on the cheek. Rhonda is impressed with Bethany’s progress. It can take a lifetime to learn to love yourself, and Bethany has changed it all around in just a matter of weeks. Apparently, Bethany has a few squatters too.

Karen tells Bethany she enjoyed sharing Bethany’s dating experience with her the day before. She says her whole day was so miserable, but Bethany brought her a lot of joy. Bethany is happy to affect her this way, but remains worried about Karen’s well-being.

Dr. Stan comes to meet with Karen for the first time. Asked why she came to the Starting Over house, Karen explains her sexless marriage and subsequent infidelity. She says that her lover, also her doctor, was married, which she never even thought about at the time. After the first time, she cried all the way home, as she first thought he had forced her, but then realized she had allowed it to happen. Dr. Stay says many women in sexless relationships justify cheating in the same way.

Karen explains how she hid the intimate pictures under the bed she and her husband shared. She had hid them in an envelope marked “PRIVATE.” Dr. Stan laughs and says, “Boy, that would keep me out!” When pressed, Karen admits she was hoping her husband would find them and realize she was desirable after all, but her daughter found them instead.

Dr. Stan suggests since Karen’s daughter took the pictures to her dad, instead of asking Karen about them, Karen and her daughter must have had relationship problems before the pictures were even discovered. She knew her dad seeing the pictures would be catastrophic to her parents’ marriage. He says she’s not ready to let go of her anger yet, but needs to in order to develop into a person with her own good relationships.

Alison meets with a cancer survivor, Betsy Mullen, who runs the WIN Against Breast Cancer Organization. She had her cancer seven to ten years ago, and her tumor was four centimeters while Alison admits hers was seven. The two survivors compare losing their hair during chemo, gaining thirty to thirty-five pounds, and going through early menopause.

Betsy talks about her reconstructive surgery, and Alison admits that is important to her since she is only thirty-eight and would like a boyfriend at some point. When Alison says she worries about more surgery, Betsy is encouraging, and says she has the strength of spirit to get through it because she’s already been through so much. By the time Betsy leaves, Alison admits she has gained some insight to how proud she is to still be here. One of those squatters has just left.

Rachael is talking to Bethany about her nervousness of meeting her father, Jerry, in mere minutes. Bethany tells her to just breathe, as Rachael leaves to get a tissue as she’s already crying (me too!). Iyanla greets Jerry outside first, and is immediately amazed how much Jerry and Rachael look alike in the eyes.

There is a knock on the door, and Rachael opens it to find her dad standing there. After they hug, she says it’s like looking into his own face. Rachael says she had always wondered where she got her freckles and moles; now she knows.

Father and daughter sit with Iyanla to talk. Jerry says the last time he saw Rachael she was a little girl, and notes how much she looks like her mother. Rachael was the light that shined in their lives. He was there when she was born and says he didn’t get a lot of sleep as she was always energetic.

As Jerry mentions Rachael learning to talk around eighteen months when she would visit him at his place, he begins to explain the difficulties between himself and Rachael’s mom, and says things were hectic. Rachael asks why her family didn’t want her to keep in touch with him, and he says it was due to his unwillingness to succumb to their way of thinking, as they liked to put labels on people.

Iyanla reads between the lines and says she had always assumed it was because of his race and he confirms that. He says it was his family as well, not just Rachael’s mother’s. He says his mom is a pistol, and Iyanla notes then Rachael has two pistols for grandmothers. When Iyanla asks what his family says about Rachael now, he says they say, “Bring her over.”

Jerry tells Rachael he would have contacted her eventually, and she asks why he didn’t contact her sooner. He says he didn’t know where she was, and she slams the point home, saying there are ways of finding people. She should know; she found him in twenty-four hours.

Opening up a little more, Jerry says he went though a heavy divorce with his first wife and didn’t have the ability to recuperate from it. It just wasn’t feasible for him to contact Rachael, as he was not a nice person then.

Iyanla is sending Rachael and Jerry to dinner alone, but first she has a private chat with Rachael. Iyanla tells her she loves him, and talk again about how much they look alike. Before Rachael and Jerry leave for dinner, she introduces him to her roommates who find him to be calm and saintly.

Finding Karen in her room, Iyanla pays her a visit, asking why her roommates are worried about her. Karen tells Iyanla she had said to be truthful and that’s all she’s doing, yet it leaves her roommates feeling differently about her. Iyanla said it has to do with her roommates and their understanding, not Karen, as it triggers their own pain.

Karen tells Iyanla she is powerful and scares her a little. Iyanla believes that is because she fears the power in herself, and that she knows who Karen is, and she is glad she is afraid of her. This is when she explains that while Alison has cooties, Karen has cooties and they are pissed off. They are messing with her head as they know their days are numbered. Everyone needs one person in their life to frighten the cooties, and Iyanla is happy to be the cootie exterminator.

Over dinner Jerry asks Rachael about her aunt CeCe, and Rachael admits they don’t talk much. She explains after her mother and stepfather died she lost her whole family for the most part, as they didn’t reach out to her. He tells her she was very outspoken as a little girl and used to fight with him all the time. She is feeling more comfortable with him over dinner the longer they talk, and says she is getting an odd sense of deja vu. Back at the house later, Bethany takes a picture of Jerry and Rachael together, and has he leaves he tells her not to get into trouble, making her laugh.

Rachael walks in the house and tries to tell her roommates, who are gathered to play Scrabble, about her dinner with her father. Finding Bethany to be the only one that appears to be listening, she mainly talks to her, saying he wants her to come and move closer to him. Tess tells Rachael if she is sharing with everyone she didn’t hear her. Rachael says she thought they didn’t want to hear, as they didn’t appear to be paying attention to her. Tess gets upset and claims Rachael shut her down. She tries to make things better, and Alison does her best to make sure everyone is still okay with each other. In the end, Rachael feels Bethany is the only one to understand the magnitude of her meeting her father, which is interesting since Bethany is another that Rachael used to not get along with until they found common ground.

Everyone’s cooties and squatters are that much more under control by the end of the day. Alison appears to have lost a squatter, and Rachael is closer to getting someone in her life that will keep her cooties under control. Karen still has hers, but they are on warning … Iyanla is in the house.

I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

“Hang Out with Losers and Become a Loser” – The Apprentice 3, Episode 11

Hang Out with Losers and Become a Loser The Apprentice 3, Episode 11

By: Cori Linder
clinder@realityshack.com

With only seven contestants left, it’s fast-becoming less crowded in the suite. Chris makes light of Trump’s comments that he was a mess and resolves to work at having more control of himself. This is good news because he will face a high-pressure situation very soon.

The challenge:

After showing off The Trump Collection, his high-end clothing line, Mr. Trump informs the teams they will be creating their own line of clothing for American Eagle Outfiitters. They will design wearable technology clothing and incorporate the latest gadgets on the market today. Each team receives $5,000 on their Visa credit card to design the line. The team that makes the most compelling presentation wins.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Trump informs them that customers want cheeseburger pizza, not meatball pizza like the one they created last week. He apparently didn’t ask me—I would want the meatball, with extra cheese.

Strategies:

On Magna, Tana wants to be the project manager because she used to have a clothing business. Her first strategy is to conduct market research and find out what youths are wearing and what types of clothing they buy

On Net Worth, Alex is the project manager and seems really excited about interweaving clothing with gadgets. He assigns Angie the task of presenting. And, he assigns her just about every other task. Looking at the task list, Angie notes how she has 15 assigned tasks while Alex has only 1.

The task:

The boys of Net Worth skedaddle to Best Buy to spend thousands of dollars on gadgets. What man wouldn’t want this task? Later, over dinner, Chris discovers he has lost one of the credit cards. He returns to Best Buy and waits. He comments that normally during a high-pressure situation such as this, he would need to chew his tobacco. But, he’s beginning to realize he’s much less aggressive without it. I tend to agree.

Tana is leading her team wonderfully. They name their line “Wearable Tech,” and decide to place the logo on each item of clothing. When the team asks Kendra to design the clothing for women, Kendra immediately says, “This isn’t my thing.” The team members start to bicker, yet Tana immediately steps in and finds workarounds. Tana has become one of my favorite contestants so far; she has a likeability about her and seems like commando with a sweet smile.

Bren and Chris head out to Brooklyn to get the logo stamped on clothing. However, when they enter a small amateur-looking place that promotes a “creative” grass-friendly environment, they meet with disaster: One logo is upside down and paint is on another shirt. There is no backup clothing.

Meanwhile, on Net Worth, Angie is finding out that there is much more involved in designing clothing, and Chris is still waiting to find the credit card at Best Buy. Finally, after a couple of hours, the manager finds the credit card. I was kind of hoping that the card would have been in Chris’s pocket the entire time. That type of thing happens to me a lot.

When Bren and Chris return with the clothing, Tana is not happy but she handles it well, commenting that she could cry or move on: She chooses the latter.

It’s presentation time, and Tana does a fantastic job. She’s remarkably calm and confident. Their clothing attaches a GameBoy to the sweatshirt’s inner pocket. The executives ask, “What’s the most important technology for kids?” Bren immediately answers, “Cell phones.” Ding-Ding-Ding. Somebody tell him what he’s won.

Poor Net Worth…they’re running late! Their presentation is at 3 PM but it’s nearly that time and they’re sitting in a taxi. Angie is horrified! The models were late and everything was thrown together in the last minute.

Seconds before she’s about to present, Angie is told that one of their key product items, a jean jacket, was forgotten. Now, they have to change their entire presentation. Flustered, Angie delivers the worst presentation, complete with stuttering and reading her disorganized notes. Their clothing line “Beach Tech” featured laptops that were stored in the back of shirts. The executives ask, “What the most important technology for kids?” The team stammers for a few seconds before answering, “iPod.” The executives were not pleased with this answer.

Results:

The American Eagle executives comment that although Net Worth had fun with the product, they did not have a very convincing presentation and had less ideas and creativity. They praised Magna for doing their research and confidently answering “cell phone” when asked about what the consumer would want. They were on top of the consumer’s needs. Magna wins! They will be able to purchase clothing at a high-end clothing store where a tank top can run up to $1000!

In the boardroom…

George has had a makeover and now looks just like Michelle Scarbrough, a very attractive blond who works as Mr. Trump’s in-house attorney. I miss George, for he speaks his mind more in the boardroom.

Mr. Trump is on the attack tonight and confronts the team very aggressively. Angie admits her presentation was not good, but she blames it on her team being late. You’ve been here six times in a row, comments Mr. Trump. But, Carolyn is on Angie’s side and is quick to raise the issue of the lost credit card. It seems Alex is the only one who appears blameless.

But then…Mr. Trump even attacks Alex. “Alex was a star until he met these two losers. You hang out with losers, and you become a loser.” Poor Alex. Poor everybody in the boardroom. “Out!” barks Mr. Trump.

When they return, Mr. Trump asks Alex, “Did Angie choke?” This is when Angie becomes even more unglued. And, I must admit that I feel sorry for her because it looks like she hasn’t slept in a week. Mr. Trump continues to ask Angie if she choked until she finally has no choice but to back down and agree. “Angie, you’re fired.”

In the Cab of Shame…

Angie is still in shock over the whole thing. Most of all, she cannot believe that Mr. Trump fired her over Chris. She’s rooting for Tana.

Until next time…

Quotes of the week:

“Alex is a self-proclaimed metrosexual.” – Chris (commenting how Alex seems to embrace his feminine side more so than the others)

“They brought me sh** on a platter.” – Tana (when her team members return with messed up clothing items)

“Don’t mess with the mom from Iowa.” – Tana (commenting about her success so far and that she’s won twice as project leader)

“Alex was a star until he met these two losers.” – Mr. Trump (comparing Alex to Angie and Chris)

***Cori is a freelance writing consultant. Feel free to contact her via clinder@realityshack.com or via her website at http://www.granolaink.com/.


Don't Shoot Bambi! – The Simple Life – Episode 9

“Don’t Shoot Bambi!” – The Simple Life – Episode 9

By: Chloe

Paris and Nicole are staying in Belle Plain, New Jersey with the Dougherty family. The Dougherty’s live in a huge, rustic, two story home in the country. Chuck, the dad, is an avid hunter and is a member of the local hunting club. He and his wife have three daughters.

The girls are picked up from the bus stop by Chuck and driven home, where waiting to greet them is Chuck’s most recent bagged dear, hanging upside down in preparation for gutting. Paris and Nicole are horrified. They insist on naming the animal – Dettles.

While the entire family leaves to pick up their luggage, Paris and Nicole snoop around their house awhile. They discover dance photos of the youngest daughter, who later treats them to a version of her interpretive dancing. Chuck decides to teach the girls how to shoot with a bow and arrow. Paris and Nicole refuse his offer to go hunting, however.

It is time for the internship to begin at an independent, assisted living facility in Bell, PA, where their first task is to visit the rooms of the residents. Through conversations with the male and female occupants, Paris and Nicole discover the men think the women are hot and the women think the men are scary. One of the male residents insists on kissing the girls on the lips. The girls laughed, but it was obvious they were a bit uncomfortable.

Paris and Nicole decide it’s time for everyone to exercise. This mainly involves finger wiggling and arm twirling along with Paris’ constant comments of “Don’t you love it?”
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Next are the fashion makeovers. Paris and Nicole root through the closets to create fashion statements for a retirement style fashion show. “That’s sexy, gorgeous!” Guests are invited to attend, and as the elderly models parade or motor in their wheelchairs down the runway, applause rocks the roof.

Back at the Dougherty’s, Paris and Nicole give Chuck a hard time about his hunting habit. They decide to cure him once and for all. Dressed in hunting gear, they drag Chuck outside. They insist that he dress like a dear, antlers and all. Paris and Nicole plan to hunt him down with paintball guns. The deal is if they get him with the paint balls he has to stop hunting. If they don’t, Paris will make him cookies.

After many minutes of tracking their quarry to the delight of onlookers, Paris and Nicole finally pelt him with their paint balls. Sorry, Chuck, the hunting goes. Reluctantly, Chuck agrees to stop his killing of Bambi. However, seconds after Paris and Nicole leave, he tells the camera he has no intention of ever quitting.

The girls have the last word though. They make a call and sick the New Jersey Conservation of Wildlife Department on Chuck.

I welcome your comments. chloe@realityshack.com

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