The Joy of Pre-Production – Project Greenlight, Episode 2

Last week, John Gulager was picked as the Director of Feast, much to the dissatisfaction of many involved. Feast also wasn’t a thrill among Dimension studio executives who are weary of the budget constrictions involved.

We start off at the celebration where Gulager was picked as Director. “We’re going to have to make a funny as hell scary ass movie,” he muses. Chris Moore believes they are going to ruin the Project Greenlight, even though Ben Affleck and Matt Damon think he’s going to save it. Affleck confronts Moore about it, angered. Craven listens and stands by without adding anything. “We’re going out in a blazing of glory,” Moore says.

“Filmmaker is basically the only thing I know how to do,” Gulager explains. “It’s taking me 35 years to get here. It’s the biggest opportunity I have.” He goes on to explain his family background in television and movies; his mother passed away last year, while his father still helps him produce films. He’s done a lot of B-rated movie and on the side, he shoots wedding videos to make a living when not directing.

“There’s so many e-mails and phone calls,” Marcus Dunstan laughs. He puts some of the calls of speakerphone for the cameras. “This is an uncommon opportunity,” he says. “Finally, the weird boy gets to do something that people can see.”

We’re then cut to Gulager and his girlfriend, who have been together for twenty years, in a bathtub going over the script. “As a director, I’d like all the help I can get,” he says about getting his family to act in the movie. “I’ve never really had a boss. I do everything myself, and this is completely new to me.”

At Neo Art and Logic, home to the Feast production, everyone gathers for their first meeting of the project. Patrick Melton and Dunstan join him. They get new laptops and other tools to help them out with production.

Later that day at Dimension Films, they met with Andrew Rona. He’s Head of Dimension in New York. “A lot of what I say will be influencing your lives for the next year,” he jokes. He notes the concerns of Gulager, such as not being able to speak up and speak his mind. “That’s what the director does.” Gulager was upset a bit by it. “We’re making a movie, and we’ll do what we can to protect our interests.” Then, he looks to the scriptwriters, and tells them they need $20 million to make it; it looks like a marketable idea, which is why it was picked. “It’s going to be difficult for you guys. You’re going to have to make major changes.”

They threaten to have the script rewritten because it’s so horrible. If they can’t do it themselves, Dimension will bring in the people that can make them look good. “Can you fire us?” Gulager asks. “Yes,” Rona says in all seriousness. “Is it over?” Gulager looks around, laughing. Rona threatens to bring in someone else to do it if they can’t do it.

Back at Neo Art and Logic, with thirteen weeks until production, Mike Leahy (one of the producers come in). They have budget meeting to sit down and discuss the realities of the film. “This is the most important part of the producer’s project,” Joel Soisson says. They have a script that’s worth $20 million, and they have to whittle it down to two million dollars “If we go and do the three million dollar Feast, let’s not make line cuts, let’s use a machete,” Soisson jokes. “It’s going to be gutted.”

They want to get the script in shape, first, before being able to go in and try to get all the money needed to make it a great film. It’s a better way to go about it to get the money than to do it the opposite way demanding money.

At the first script meeting, Soisson went in with an agenda from the budget side and creative side. They want to decrease the amount of creatures to decrease the price. Gulager’s asked a question, and he flounders, with his creative vision. “John by no means inspires confidence,” Soisson sighs. There’s three weeks to do script rewrites and not a minute more, because they have to convince the studio to still back it.

Melton and Dunstan work twenty-four hours a day on their script in shifts. Where one of them will work for 12 to 14 hours, then pass it on to the other for another 12 to 14 hours shift; this is a consistent 24 hours of scriptwriting, which can be a bit confusing but is most effective if they want to get their script done in the three weeks allowed for pre-production.

Gary Tunnicliffe is going to create the monsters for Feast and has visions of what will be in the movie. However, when Gulager had another vision and saw Tunnicliffe’s vision as alien-based. “Less of the alien-thing,” Dunstan jokes to him. “Everybody has a different take on it,” Gulager explains. “Today’s meeting was good,” Tunnicliffe says, planning to get it to look like what he wants rather than what they are trying to do, because they merely think it’ll look good on screen.

Another meeting is discussed about the rewrite. Rona and Moore were on hand. “Without Andrew, it’ll be hard to get the money for the film,” Moore says. “Every step of this line we’re walking a thin line between comedy and horror,” Rona bursts there bubble, “This is a scary movie with comedy in it. You’re making a horror film.” Gulager compares Feast to Jurassic Park, but he isn’t giving anybody a clear vision of where the film is going. Thus, everybody is waiting for Gulager to step up and give a vision of what the point of this film will be. Again, he flounders, “You want me to say something?” Rona ends up hanging up, angered by the lack of an actual meeting or Gulager’s input.

Melton and Dunstan talk about how Gulager isn’t being a leader. They find it frustrating, because they feel they had the answers Rona wanted, and it makes them all look bad. He talks to Gulager, who didn’t really understand what the big fuss is, and again, makes excuses for his lack of leadership. He also tries to pin the blame on his fear of “suits” and people who don’t understand him.

Two hours later, Gulager is advised to call Rona and talk to him. Gulager tries to get someone else to call him; he’s given Rona’s number, but decides not to call today. He says he’ll call tomorrow but doesn’t seem so confident and we watch as the days go by and he doesn’t call him. “I still have the phone number in front of me, and I’ll probably call him Monday,” he deflects.

Dunstan and Melton go meet with some agents at ICM. “I’ve never seen two first time screenwriters step into the process with more confidence,” Soisson jokes. They have the biggest egos, and Soisson notes that. Gulager hasn’t had anything change, even though the screenwriter’s lives have changed significantly. He picks up his paycheck and ends up using most of it to go pay his bills and pay back debts. Gulager takes his family out to eat and gives them the rest of his three thousand dollar paycheck.

“The anti-Gulagers,” as Soisson dubs the screenwriters, are having lunch at Le Dome with their lawyers. They’re eating up the Hollywood spotlight, as opposed to their director, who is now showing off his cashed check. Michelle Gertz, the Casting Director for the film, meets with the screenwriters and Gulager to discuss casting. The writers were displaced for casting, and they had to go and share offices with others for the pre-production portion of Feast. “They just want name recognition,” Ben Affleck explains about the casting.

They had people come in and read for them, to see what they can find in the way of casting. Gertz and Gulager weren’t impressed at all by who showed up and what they showed in front of the camera. Gertz is frustrated by the lack of knowledge and feedback Gulager had when dealing with the potential actors and actresses. “They really crave direction and feedback from you,” she tells him. She flips when he tells her he wants his family in the film; she tells him that he can’t necessarily do that. “The director usually gets to cast people he wants in there,” he says. “Ideally, I don’t want to bring anybody in for any of the roles.” Gertz holds her ground to tell him how the casting actually works. She’s very frustrated with him. “I think he still has his plan, there is some friction,” she says.

Rona makes a call and tells everyone the creatures look horrible. He doesn’t want them to be aliens; he wants them to be better than that. Tunnicliffe is floored, and he doesn’t know what to do, and he wants to make whoever he can happy. “I’m not designing them for John Gulager,” he muses. He comes back with better drawings, and everyone sits around, not sure what to make of the picture. Ten weeks closer to production, and they don’t have a budget or creatures.

“I’m not getting great feedback from their meetings with them,” Gertz talks to Leahy about the casting process. So far, nobody wants to come in and audition, because of his lack of confidence. “It’s with everyone,” she says, nobody has confidence in his ability behind the camera and because of that nobody wants to come in and audition for Feast. Later that day, Gulager’s family comes in and reads for various parts. Basically, he wants to get his family into the spotlight and break into the big time, too. As Gertz tries to work with his family, she gets them to do things that Gulager doesn’t necessarily want them to do, because he is close to them. She gives him the benefit of the doubt, but it doesn’t hold much wait. “What do you feel about nepotism?” Soisson asks. Gulager tries to use other director’s as example as to why he should be allowed to hire his family members, but Soisson tells him he’s going to have to deal with hiring people who aren’t his family.

Ben Ormand, the line producer, comes in to discuss the budget. Rona was going to give them range. Even though reductions to the script, for five million dollars, was too much for a film of this caliber. Out of a $5.3 million budget, it still has to be slashed down by one-third, as said by Soisson. He advises a one week major restructure, he’s coming to Los Angeles the next day and have a conversation face-to-face to discuss the project.

At another casting meeting, Gulager gives little feedback. Gertz confronts him about his brother for the “beer guy character.” “Usually, you submit a number of actors to a studio for a role,” Leahy says, “That’s going to be problem with the studio.” Gulager sticks to his guns, but nobody is happy about it. He then confronts her based on her audition skills, and she goes back at him for bringing it up three days later. “So, if you don’t get your brother where are we going to be with beer guy?” she asks. “I don’t know,” he shrugs. They tell him he can’t do this, but he doesn’t want to listen to anybody.

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.

It’s Still a Race, Phil – The Amazing Race 7, Episode 5, Part 2

It’s Still a Race, Phil – The Amazing Race 7, Episode 5, Part 2

by Carrie

Part 1 of this two-hour edition of The Amazing Race can be found right here.

Since Ray & Deana took advantage of the Fast Forward and arrived at the pit stop in first place, they get to leave 12 hours later in first place. Their first clue instructs them to drive to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, where they will have to feed the lions to receive their next clue. The time is 10:41pm. As they arrive at the reserve, they find there is a board with two sign-up times. Three teams will go at 8am, and the remaining four teams at 9am.

The teams arrive at the reserve in pretty much the order they arrived at the pit stop. The first three teams to feed the lions will be Ray & Deana, Ron & Kelly, and Brian & Greg. Lynn & Alex, Rob & Amber, Uchenna & Joyce, and Meredith & Gretchen will take the later shuttle. In the parking lot while waiting for the reserve to open, Gretchen hits up the other teams for some cash, pitching them as “Rhinos looking for money – and that’s no lyin’!” Every team gives them cash except for Ray & Deanna and Rob & Amber. Ray goes on to say that he sees Gretchen & Meredith as “sacrificial lambs”, and instead of helping them he will wait for their demise. Grrr, I can’t stand that guy.

The shuttle arrives to take the first three teams to feed the lions. They’re warned that if a lion jumps on the shuttle, to keep completely still. Eek! They have buckets containing chunks of raw meat, which they hurl at the lions. It’s quite a spectacle, and everyone seems to enjoy it.

After feeding the big cats, the teams get their next clue. They must fly 150 miles to Gaborone, Botswana, where they will then travel by train and bus to a giant aardvark statue, where they will find another clue.

The second shuttle goes out, teams feed the lions, and everyone is headed for the airport. The first three shuttle teams plus Uchenna & Joyce make it on the first flight to Botswana, leaving the other three teams about an hour behind. Outside the airport, Rob & Amber see Lynn & Alex in a large van (taxi) leaving for the train station, and try to climb in with them. Lynn says that there’s not enough room, when clearly there are two extra seats, and Rob argues with him. Rob eventually gives up and Lynn & Alex speed off, with Lynn saying that if it has been any other team, they would have shared their cab. Rob says that Lynn has his head up his ass, and that “he might be able to run Alex like a little farm boy, but he can’t treat everyone like that”. Rob adds that he’s done being nice.

Everyone catches up once again though at the train station, and they all get to the aardvark (which Rob calls “aardvdark”) at about the same time. Once there they find a Roadblock. One team member must perform a bushman hunting exercise, which consists of throwing a spear at a swinging target from 20 feet away. Everyone struggles with this one at first, but Brian, Ron, and Lynn eventually get it and get their next clue.

Teams must now drive to a cattle post called Xua Xarra. As the first three teams head off, Brian starts swerving on the road, with brother Greg telling him to be careful. In an instant, their car slides off the road and flips over, stunning passengers and viewers alike. (Yeah, I saw the previews, but it was still pretty shocking to see it happen.) The brothers are shaken, but physically fine. Their cameraman isn’t so lucky though, and we see him lying in the sand with his head in someone’s lap.

Lynn and Alex drive by and see the wreck, and stop to see if everyone is okay. Greg and Brian are very upset, but tell Lynn and Alex to get going – they don’t want to be responsible for anyone else losing the race. The brothers must wait for another car to arrive so they can continue.

As Lynn & Alex are there with the brothers, Rob & Amber drive by without stopping. Lynn & Alex are incredulous that they didn’t even slow down. The other teams all stop and shout out their windows to ask if anyone needs help.

Having been ahead of Brian & Greg and not knowing about the accident, Ron & Kelly are the first to arrive at Xua Xarra, and find a Detour. The choice is between Food and Water. In Food, teams must use a traditional wooden bowl and two giant sticks to grind corn to the consistency of flour, and grind enough to fill a basket. In Water, teams must use reed straws to suck water out of a hole in the ground and fill 12 ostrich eggs, and bury the sealed eggs in the sand for cool storage.

Ron & Kelly choose Food, and quickly find out how difficult it is to grind corn using traditional bushman methods. Meanwhile, Rob & Amber arrive and make quick work of the Water task. Both teams battle for first place as Lynn & Alex arrive and choose Food. They tell Ron & Kelly about the accident, and dish the news that Romber didn’t stop to help. Kelly tells Ron to hurry up, because Rob & Amber don’t deserve to finish first.

Ron & Kelly and Rob & Amber get their final clue for this leg of the race, instructing them to drive to the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans, the largest salt pan in the world. There are beds set up there, and the teams will spend the night in the salt pan.

The two teams battle it out to the last second, where they end up in a foot race to the mat. Ron & Kelly finish first, with Rob & Amber coming in second. Phil asks Rob why he didn’t bother to stop at the scene of the accident, and Rob tells him, “It’s still a race, Phil.”

Lynn & Alex are still grinding corn as Ray & Deana, Meredith & Gretchen and Uchenna & Joyce all show up and begin grinding their own pots of corn. Ray & Deana have a rough time with this task, and their corn is continually rejected by the bushwomen for not being fine enough. Eventually Lynn & Alex and Uchenna & Joyce finish and make it to the pit stop.

As Ray & Deanna continue to struggle, Meredith & Gretchen finish up, just as the brothers finally get to the Detour. They see the two teams at Food, so they decide to take a chance and do Water, hoping to catch up. They find the task easy enough to accomplish, and with Meredith & Gretchen already gone, end up neck and neck with Ray & Deana.

Gretchen & Meredith make it to the pit stop, and are elated to be in fourth place after coming in last on the previous leg.

Ray & Deana are falling apart, complaining to each other and saying how depressing it is to work with one another. The brothers, on the other hand, are united in their quest to not be eliminated. Both teams finish at exactly the same time and rush to their cars. Ray & Deana have a head start out of the cattle post, but Brian & Greg quickly catch up. They both pull into the pit stop at the same time, and it’s another foot race to the finish.

Brian & Greg make it to the mat first, and are exhausted and out of breath, but obviously very relieved. Phil tells them that their cameraman will make a complete recovery.

Ray & Deana are unceremoniously philiminated, and Ray says privately that he’s not sure he can be with Deana any longer because she lacks the drive to win that he has. Deana says, for her part, that she hopes Ray can figure out that there are two people in this relationship, and that he can’t always have things his way.

About the author: Carrie is the owner of this fine establishment, and also a freelance writer and full-time mom. She can be reached for questions or comments at carrie@realityshack.com.


Blood, Sweat, and Fears – The Amazing Race 7, Episode 5, Part 1

Blood Sweat and Fears – The Amazing Race 7, Episode 5, Part 1

by Carrie

This week’s race is a two-hour special edition. After seeing how much action is packed into each hour, it’s not difficult to figure out why.

First to reach the pit stop last week were Rob and Amber, and they’re the first to depart this week at 3AM. They get their clue and find out that they’ll be flying to Johannesburg, South Africa. Of course all of the teams catch up with one another at the airport, leveling the playing field once again. They all take the same flight to Johannesburg, with a stop in Sao Paolo. Ron & Kelly and Uchenna & Joyce are required to check their backpacks before boarding the plane, however, giving them a bit of a disadvantage.

In Johannesburg, teams must locate marked cars where they will find their next clue. Ray & Deana manage to talk the steward into letting them off the plane first, and once outside the airport they locate their car and the clue. The find one of only two Fast Forwards in the race, and decide to go for it. The Fast Forward consists of walking across a suspended bridge that is hanging over a cooling tower, 26 miles away in the town of Soweto. Ray & Deana decide to go for it.

Lynn & Alex decide to skip the Fast Forward and instead opt for the Detour. The choices for the Detour are Tunnels or Tribes. In Tunnels, teams must drive to the underground caves, repel 45 feet into the earth, and crawl around in the tunnels to search for their next clue. In Tribes, teams must drive to the Lesedi Cultural Village and sort through different items to deliver to the five different native tribes who reside there. Lynn & Alex choose Tribes, and are off.

Rob & Amber decide to go for the Fast Forward as well, but Ray & Deana have a head start on them. When Romber arrives at the cooling tower after getting lost en route, they are told that another team is already up there and they must wait. If the other team can’t complete the task, Rob & Amber will get a chance to try it. They argue over whether they should stay and wait, or just leave and do the detour. As they try to make a decision, Ray & Deana complete the task and are handed directions to the pit stop.

Ron & Kelly and Uchenna & Joyce, having picked up their luggage, both decide to do Tunnels. Meredith & Gretchen and the brothers also decide on Tunnels. Ron & Kelly get there first, followed closely by Greg & Brian. Ron & Kelly rappel into the cave and make their way through, coming out through the other side without getting their clue. They read the previous clue over again and realize that their next clue is actually inside the caves, so they must start all over again. Meanwhile, the brothers have found the clue but can’t figure out how to get out of the tunnels. Both teams help each other and make it out with clues in hand. The next task is to head to Soweto and find the Baragwanath Market.

Meanwhile, Lynn & Alex are delivering their items to the tribes at the Lesedi Village. When they deliver an item to the correct tribe, they get a necklace in return. Having gathered all five necklaces, they get their clue and head off to the market. As Lynn & Alex are finishing up, Ray & Deana are arriving at the pit stop.

Phil tells Ray & Deana that they’re the first to arrive, and their prizes are two Toyota Rav 4’s, courtesy of course of Toyota USA. They’re very excited and pleased with themselves, and Ray says that they changed things around this time and tried working together instead of against one another. Let’s see if this lasts.

Rob & Amber have decided to do Tribes, and head off to deliver their items. Rob seems to have fun with this, giving high fives to the tribe leaders and calling everyone “Chief”. They quickly finish up and get their next clue.

Meredith & Gretchen and Uchenna & Joyce arrive at Tunnels, and both teams rappel down into the caves. Meredith & Gretchen have a hard time navigating around the caves and are both sweating and struggling, and eventually make the same mistake as Ron & Kelly did – they come out without their clue. Meanwhile, Uchenna & Joyce make it through with their clue and wish them good luck, as Meredith & Gretchen realize they have to do this difficult task all over again.

Ron & Kelly are the first to arrive at the market in Soweto, where they find a Roadblock. The question is, “who likes to shop?” The shoppers must search the market and buy five items off a list to donate to a local orphanage. Kelly heads out and quickly scoops up a backpack and blanket, while Greg arrives and begins searching for diapers.

Back in the caves, Gretchen says that her knees are killing her, and tells Meredith to be careful. Right then she slips and falls, and calls out for help. Meredith, obviously scared out of his mind, rushes to help his wife and joins her in screaming for assistance. This is all out of sight though, as the scene is shot from the front entrance of the cave. It was heart wrenching, and I had tears in my eyes.

When we finally get to see Gretchen, her face is covered in blood. Poor Meredith is badly shaken, but as the crew cleans up Gretchen’s face and bandages her wound, she orders her husband to go find the clue so they can get out of there. Gretchen is bruised, cut, and shaken, but she will be fine. Thank goodness.

Out of the caves and en route to the car, Gretchen tells Meredith that she can’t go to the market looking like this. Her spirit certainly took a beating, but she still has a lot to draw from.

At the market, Kelly finishes her shopping and she and Ron get their next clue. They now have to drive to Orlando Children’s Home and deliver the items they just purchased. They find the home easily, and playing outside is a group of excited, cheering kids. Ron & Kelly wave and smile, and drop off their things, getting a clue that instructs them to head to the pit stop, where the last team may be eliminated.

Brian & Greg are right behind Ron & Kelly, and while exiting the orphanage one of the brothers tells the kids not to do drugs. Both teams arrive at the mat in second and third place. Lynn & Alex are next to the mat, finishing in fourth place.

Rob & Amber hit the market, and Amber is off to do the shopping. As she’s looking for diapers, she is recognized by an excited local, who takes her through the market and helps her purchase all of the items on the list. Running to get the next clue, the local sees Rob and exclaims “Boston Rob! This is so exciting!” She goes with them to the children’s home, and even takes them to the pit stop, where Rob tells her she can come to the mat with them. They finish this leg in fifth place.

Uchenna & Joyce get lost on their way to the market, but eventually get there and complete their shopping task. At the children’s home they are overcome by emotion, since they’ve been trying to have children of their own for a long time. Joyce says that they’ve considered adoption, and seeing those kids made them realize that there are so many children out there who would be fortunate to live in a home like theirs. Uchenna & Joyce finish sixth.

Bringing up the rear are Gretchen & Meredith. Gretchen, trooper that she is, does the market shopping, afraid that she will frighten the locals with her bandaged and scraped appearance. She gets her shopping done and the two of them deliver their items, and head off to the pit stop.

Phil gives Meredith & Gretchen the bad news; that they’re the last team to arrive. The good news, however, is that this is a non-philimination leg, so they’re still in the race. Of course they have to hand over all of their money to Phil and start off the next leg of the race with no cash. Phil looks apologetic as he explains a new rule to them – they not only have to hand over all of their cash, but their backpacks as well. All they have now are their passports and the clothes on their backs. On the bright side, at least they can travel lighter now.

Meredith & Gretchen look absolutely spent, but they promise each other that they will keep going until they can’t possibly take another step.

Read part two of this special two-hour edition of The Amazing Race right here.

About the author: Carrie is the owner of this fine establishment, and also a freelance writer and full-time mom. She can be reached for questions or comments at carrie@realityshack.com.


Tipsy Paula – American Idol 4 – 3/29/05

by Annie

Tonight’s theme is a celebration of ‘90’s. All the songs selected by the contestants were from this time period, which gave them a wide array from which to choose. The songs tonight ran the gamut from country to rock to ballads.

First up is Bo who sings “Remedy”. Bo wears some kind of floppy cow print hat with matching MOOOO-boots. I think Granny went over the top on this outfit. I can just see Bo backstage drawing the line with Granny – “Ok, I’ll wear the hat and boots but not the plastic holster with the orange cap-guns!” :lmao: During his performance he was up on the judge’s table singing and it all looked a bit cabaret-ish to me. He gave his floppy hat to Paula who caressed it like a pre-teen groupie. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this performance. Randy liked the outfit and felt Bo was on the right track. Bo jokes that he is “mmmooooved” (please Bo, you are cuter when you don’t talk). Paula is gushing and says she adores him and is keeping the hat (is Paula a bit tipsy?). Simon didn’t like the song and says it’s something you’d see at a wedding.

Jessica sings “On the Side of Angels”. I think she sang it very well but I wasn’t impressed and it doesn’t get the audience moving. Randy says it’s not his favorite choice of song but her voice is consistent. Paula says this song didn’t showcase her vocals and she needs to keep pushing for better songs that demonstrate her ability. Simon explains to Jessica that she doesn’t have the same likeability as the other contestants and needs to work harder to outshine the rest.

The Stevie Wonder sound-alike, Anwar, does “I Believe I Can Fly”. Randy says it was a bit pitchy in the beginning but had big notes at the end. He encourages Anwar to pay more attention to the whole song. Paula not only didn’t hear “pitchy” but she claims she has never heard a better rendition. Simon says Paula needs to buy a new cd collection. Someone get Paula another drink.

Nadia did “I’m the Only One”. She looked and sounded hot and sultry in the beginning but she quickly lost me in mediocrity. All the judges agree that it was much better than last week. Simon says it’s not a great melodic song to capture the fans. I think the people who purchased this cd might disagree.

Constantine never ceases to surprise us. He sings “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and I was totally blown away. He sounded terrific. His appearance is a little rough for me (the mussed hair and stubble) but otherwise he is a star! Even the audience gives him a standing ovation. Randy says it’s the best vocal performance. Tipsy Paula tries to echo that by saying “That’s your best male vocal performance.” :drunk: Simon says he out sung Bo. Simon adds that Constantine is a classic pop star and did a good job of appealing to his target audience.

Nikko sings “Can We Talk?”. Personally, I thought his voice was all over the place and I didn’t like at all. The judges felt otherwise. Randy says he is most improved and “blew it out”. Paula feels so proud. Simon said it was a good copy of the original.

It was just a matter of time, but Anthony has de-dorkified some more and his glasses are now gone. He has also shaved off his peach fuzz. He sings “The Way You Look Tonight”. He sounds good. And that about sums it up. Randy said it was alright. Paula says he did a great job (another drink for Paula, please). Simon says he wants to be nice because he likes Anthony; however, the performance was excruciating.

Carrie sings Martina McBride’s “Independence Day”. As usual, she never misses a note. She is consistent and predictable. Randy says it was a great performance and the best of the night. Simon says she has the “it” factor.

Scott sings “One Last Cry”. I’m a big fan of Scott’s voice but I’m really disappointed tonight. Randy says the song was an ambitious choice and was a bit pitchy. Again, Paula doesn’t hear “pitchy”. She says he has her heart (which might just be pickled by now). :partyhat: Simon said if he was at a karaoke bar, he’d switch off Scott’s mic.

Vonzell finishes up with a bang! What an exciting performer she has become! She sings “I Have Nothing”. She sounds fabulous and looks gorgeous. Randy says it was a great performance. Paula says she sang higher than Whitney Houston and Simon says she pulled it off. Good job, Vonzell!

Except for Nikko, it will be difficult to see any of the contestants leave. They all have had good and not-so-good performances. Unfortunately, I think the men will be on the chopping block tonight. I hope that Nikko goes. But I fear it will be Anthony or Scott.

Does anyone else agree with me that Paula is probably nursing one heck of a hangover this morning?

annie@realityshack.com

”Don’t Compliment Me” – Starting Over, 03-29-05

By: Cori Linder
clinder@realityshack.com

Sometimes the networks try to interrupt the show we are currently delighting in with a news story or special they think is more immediate, more important—it is called preempting a show, and when it involves golf, it is called robbing us of anything fun. For those of you who love watching golf, good for you; for the rest of us, preempting a Starting Over episode for a golf tournament is just not nice. To make a long story short, GOLF was the reason why I (and many of those living in California) was not able to watch yesterday’s episode, and thereby, recap it.

Through my sources, I have been able to come up with a summary of yesterday’s episode. A new woman, Tess, joined the Starting Over house and is already rubbing some of her roomies the wrong way. Although married only a year, she has a skewed image of love and has (along with her husband) struggled with infidelity almost the entire span of her relationship. (Towanda would not have welcomed Tess with open arms!)

Today, Tess gives Candy advice about dieting, such as eating grapefruit after every meal so that the acid helps to burn fat.

Vanessa meets with Rhonda and admits that she hasn’t let go of beating herself up. You need to own this, says Rhonda, and produces a ball and chain on which Vanessa must write down her failures (weight, giving up, weakness, etc.). She will need to stay active and must follow a to-do list with her ball and chain.

In group discussion, they talk about compliments, romance, and love. Each woman receives a rose with a flattering compliment. Most of them have problems accepting the compliments. For example, Vanessa thinks her compliment is cheesy. Rhonda says that Vanessa is obviously choosing her compliments she will accept. Candy says “thank you” after reading her compliment. Good for you, Candy! Rachel accepts hers too. But Tess, when complimented about her sensuous lips, becomes annoyed and angry that somebody would focus on her physical attributes. Like Vanessa, she wants to control the compliment.

What is the difference between romance and love, asks Rhonda. Vanessa says she doesn’t want to be romanced until she’s gone through the ringer with a guy. That’s not love, says Rhonda. And then, in a bold statement, Rhonda says, “I don’t think you even know if you love your boyfriend.” Vanessa is taken aback by the boldness of this statement.

Candy said that in her 11-year relationship with your boyfriend, she’s seen a lot of romance and that it’s “love in action.” Vanessa compares herself with Candy and says her love is similar to Candy’s. No, says Rhonda. She comments how Vanessa is always concerned that her boyfriend doesn’t love her.

Bethany has achieved another step of “Giving up the Charade.” Tonight, she’ll meet with a dating coach.

Rhonda meets with Tess who has put together a timeline of her relationship with her husband. After the discussion of all this infidelity on both sides (there was only 6 months out of a 7-year relationship that there was no cheating), it’s too bad that her husband isn’t in a Starting Over house for men. Tess learns she has a distorted view on love.

Rhonda informs her that she and Bethany will be interviewing long-married couples to find the key to love. Tess’s assignment will then be to call her husband and tell him what she learned and also to ask him what he wants rather than tell him what she wants.

Tess and Bendy meet the couples in the Jewish community center and learn that life/marriage is precious. It’s not always about winning but about “sticking to it” and sharing opinions. Tess also learns you have to work on a marriage, build your love, and have complete trust and honesty.

Vanessa hates her ball and chain because it (representing her emotions) has caused her a lot of pain. Rhonda meets with Vanessa again, and Vanessa realizes that some of her negative thoughts are really dragging her down and that she needs to change them. She buries her ball and chain, and then says she’s a great person.

A nervous Bethany goes on a date with the dating coach (it’s her first date). Over dinner, she tells him she’s afraid of rejection and doesn’t feel that a guy would want to date her. The dating coach says, “People see you through your eyes.”

Meanwhile Tess calls her husband and tells him about what she learned. “We’ve cheated for 6 ½ years out of our 7-year relationship,” she tells him. “Doesn’t that seem like a lot?” Readers, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on this… YES!!!!!

Stay tuned…

Manly Defeat

by Mrs. Agnello

There is one thing that the Gotti household has too much of and that is: testosterone. With the exception of Victoria of course who is getting in touch with her feminine side.

Victoria and her friend Robert go to her office at the “Star” magazine to see if she got any mail. She finds five crates full of letters for her. She opens one which she is intrigued by. The letter mentions how she is a beautiful, intelligent woman and the woman also mentions that she would like to make a doll of Victoria. Victoria sounds interested in it and says she will think about giving her a call.

Meanwhile, back at the house in the back yard there is a manly game of football being played with the boys, their uncle Peter, and some of his friends. The rules were that there should be no tackling. However, the boys right away talked one of uncle Peter’s friends by the name of Chubby.

In the house, Victoria is calling Robin, the woman who makes dolls. She seems really nice on the phone and Victoria decides to get together so they can talk more about this doll business.

The Guys that just played football are in the kitchen. Uncle Peter is upset that the boys tackled Chubby after he said that they shouldn’t and challenges them to a real football game. The boys agree. Why do the compete with Uncle Peter? I will never understand.

Uncle Pete mentions that they are metrosexual (which I have to agree with). John quickly says that they are a lot tougher than they look. We’ll see about that!

Uncle Peter says that the losing team will serve the winning team at dinner. Victoria mentions that her money is on her boys and that this will separate the men from the boys.

The next day the boys and some of their friends are practicing early in the morning. They practice throwing, receiving, and of course the touchdown dance. I think they should have practiced scoring the touchdowns and then worry about the touchdown dance.

Uncle Pete’s team is practicing as well, only their practice is a little different. They are all sitting in a restaurant enjoying cigars, wine, and relaxation. Now that is my kind of practice!

Victoria and Robert go to Robin’s house to talk to her more about the dolls she is making. Robin shows Victoria what kind of face she will be using and that she will be wearing the famous black dress Victoria loves to wear. Robin then tells Victoria the idea of making dolls of the boys (which Victoria guessed even before she said it). I would buy one of those, only if it came in a life size.

It is the day of the big game! The boys are all getting ready putting on all kinds of padding, and those adorable tight pants with the drawstring on the front! Uncle Pete’s team is very energetic and walking toward the field while Chubby is beating a drum.

Carmine moons the opposing team, which was a really nice way to start the game. There are many girls on the side of the field cheering the boys on.

The game begins and John was the first to be tackled! So much for planning out his touchdown dance. After many hits on the boys side of the team and many touchdowns for Uncle Pete’s team, the game was over. I am sad to write that Uncle Pete’s team won 14 – 1. Ouch!

You know what this means? The boys now have to serve the men at dinner.

Back to Victoria and Robert in the house. They received the doll from Robin, and I have to say it was kind of insulting. The doll looked nothing like Victoria, the only thing that was similar was the hair. The doll had a totally different face, fish net tights, and a stuffed dress, which was stuffed with two socks for the breasts. Victoria was shocked and very disappointed.

The guys are at the restaurant where the not so happy boys are carrying trays of food to the men, and eating some on the way. I have to hand it to them however, they did look gorgeous! Especially Carmine. John made a toast and said that the good thing was the nobody got badly hurt and that’s all that matters. As Victoria would say, at least her sons are good losers, and they are gracious in defeat which makes them men.

Disclaimer: The pen name Mrs.Agnello is just that, only a pen name. I am not I anyway related to any Agnello, although I can only hope that one day I will be.

“You Snooze, You Lose…Unless You’re a Blond” – The Bachelor 7 Commentary

“You Snooze, You Lose…Unless You’re a Blond” – The Bachelor 7 Commentary

By: Cori Linder
clinder@realityshack.com

You have to like him. Even though he presents himself as a “player” and is seemingly seeking fun (even fame!) over love, there’s something endearing about Charlie O’Connell. Maybe it’s his down-to-earth nature, his polite honesty, or his humor; or maybe it’s his attraction towards the girl who is less maintenance and more spunk. Perhaps, it’s just an act. He is, after all, an actor (ever see his character on the past show “Sliders,” who also starred his famous brother, Jerry O’Connell, better known as the chubby kid from “Stand By Me” who transformed into the hot guy dating Rebecca Romain-Stamos?). Charlie does seem keenly aware of the camera at all times and is quick with his one-liners. But, by the end of this 2-hour season premiere, you just want to throw on some sweat pants, grab a beer, plop down next to him on the couch, and talk sports. Or, in Sarah’s case, you would talk scars and scabs.

Since Carrie wrote a fabulous recap of the premiere, I’m going to skip to the part I love the most: offering my opinions about the show. These thoughts and feelings build up inside me with no place to go until they are released after the show. Now, you get to see them manifested in this article—lucky you!

First, ABC must have hired some new producers or staff—and thank goodness!! This season seems to have a lot more energy and fun than the previous seasons. Finally, we get to see the girls in their natural imperfect states. In the beginning of the show, the girls are ambushed and have five minutes to roll out of bed and dress before meeting the bachelor. Many must choose between hygiene and appearance, and I feel relieved for Charlie that most of the girls at least brushed their teeth.

Then we meet Charlie who seems like he has everything going for him. He claims he’s looking for a funny girl who likes to laugh and has a great personality, but you know he’s just being nice. And, does he really need a date? Are his pickings so slim that he must participate in a reality TV show to find a nice girl? I’m guessing no. But, who cares really? In comparison to the previous bachelors, Charlie is fun, witty and has a charming personality.

In all their body odor and halitosis splendor, the girls learn they will each have a conversation with Charlie. Note to future girls trying to impress a bachelor: It might not be in your best interest to repeat the following that were so enthusiastically said/done by the girls in this show:

– “I’m going to hug you but I didn’t shower today.”
– “I can be a little bitchy.”
– Playing thumb wars
– Squawking like a chicken
– Participating in a Monkey sound contest
– Planting a flat kiss on his mouth
– Asking for a rose

It seems that Charlie was more interested in girls:

– Showing scars
– Stripping down to a bikini and reading a poem
– Showing a tattoo “downtown”
– Having a tan
– Being blond

Oh, and did I mention that being a blond scores you extra points with Charlie? He gave a rose to Sarah, a beauty with thick long blond hair, who displayed her spider bite. When the other girls saw her with the rose, they hatefully asked, “What did you do to get it?” Sarah answered, “I showed him a scar.” But, you and I both know, it wasn’t about the scar.

Regarding the blond hair issue… At first, I gave him a chance. I thought maybe I was being delusional that Charlie would consciously choose blonds over brunettes, but then, during the rose ceremony, he sent five girls home—five brunettes! An insightful girl asked, “You don’t like brunettes, do you?”

I thought I would use the rest of this commentary to offer my opinions on some of the girls (ejected and remaining):

– What was going on in the head of stalker (a.k.a. bikini model and FBI agent) woman, Kristine? She was a bit scary in her obsessive love for the young chap. Poor polite Charlie graciously stood there while Kristine hugged him—too long in a creepy kind of way.

– Danushka, Danushka, Danushka…where did they find you? In the beginning as the other girls scrambled to meet Charlie, Danushka walked, saying “I just took my time because I don’t run for men.” Yes, Danushka. They run from you.

– Charlie definitely has chemistry and a strong attraction towards Kindle, Sarah W., and Sarah B.—ALL platinum blonds. My prediction is that he will end up with one of these.

Until next time…

Question of the Week:

Each week, I will ask a question regarding “The Bachelor” in the hopes of stimulating some reflection (or just gossip!) about the show. Feel free to email me with your answer, and I will start the following week’s commentary with the poll results.

Question: Do you think Charlie is on the show to find a girl (even love?), or does he want the fame? Or, is he seeking something else?

***Cori Linder is a freelance writing consultant and can be reached via clinder@realityshack.com or via her website at http://www.granolaink.com/.

The Only Rules Are: There Are No Rules! – The Bachelor 7, Premiere

The Only Rules Are: There Are No Rules! – The Bachelor 7, Premiere

by Carrie

After the farce that was The Bachelorette 3, ABC is doing some damage control. This time out, they’re shaking up the usual Bachelor formula and giving us something a little different. Thank goodness, it’s about time. It’s a two-hour premiere, so get comfy and strap yourself in – it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride.

First let’s meet our Bachelor. For those of you living under a rock, he’s Charlie O’Connell, brother of ‘Sliders’ star Jerry O’Connell (who also happened to be the chubby kid in ‘Stand By Me’, which is a fantastic movie – if you have the means, I highly recommend it. But I digress.) Charlie is 29, and shares his time between homes in California and Manhattan. He’s a real estate investor and actor, who has appeared in ‘Sliders’, ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’, and ‘Cruel Intentions’.

Chris Harrison tells us that this season, everything will be different. I think we’ve heard that before, but this time it seems to be the truth. He promises “more reality in this reality TV show”. One thing that’s certainly a change is that roses can be handed out at any time, and women can also be sent home at any time. I like the sounds of this!

Our bachelorettes are sleeping soundly in their hotel, thinking that they have another day to prepare before meeting Charlie. Surprise, a wake-up call comes in the form of a knock on the door, telling the ladies that they have exactly five minutes to get ready to meet the newest Bachelor. If they don’t make it to the ballroom on time, the doors will be locked and they’ll miss out. Ohhh, this would be tough for me! I’m SO not a morning person.

As you can well imagine, panic ensues. Lots of shots of women getting dressed, frantically washing their faces, brushing their teeth, and attempting to make themselves look like they roll out of bed made up and looking fabulous all the time.

Swimsuit model Christine rushes out to the elevator in a bikini, and throws a dress over her head on the way down. Other girls are running for the elevator in various stages of undress, while one woman is still in her pj’s and slippers. My husband is making a point of showing me which women are not wearing bras. Fun stuff.

Model Danushka (yup, there are at least three models in this bunch) strolls casually down the hall, saying that she doesn’t run for any man. You go girl. She makes it in right at the last minute, and all the women gather ‘round as Chris enters the room. He shows them a short video about the new Bachelor, and the women all seem very impressed. You can actually see the light bulbs going off in some of their heads. “Wow, a D-list actor! He might be able to introduce me to Kathy Griffin! I’ll be living the high-life!” Oh yes, there is gold-digging going on here for sure.

Charlie comes in and greets the ladies. They like his “all-American” look and deep voice. Okay, so do I. The guy’s a cutie. Of course he could have washed his jeans before making his first appearance, but we’ll let that slide this time. Moving on.

Chris tells Charlie and the women that they’re about to embark on a round of speed-dating. Each of the 25 ladies will get two minutes to make an impression on Charlie. There are two roses that Charlie can give out during this process. Armed with the roses and a timer, he heads out to await his first speed-date.

The women filter in one by one, each trying to make an impression and garner one of the first two roses. Anitra (who looks a lot like Gabby Solis from ‘Desperate Housewives’) is wearing a tiny little white dress that looks like a beach cover-up, prompting Charlie to advise her to “keep warm”. Kimberly sashays in with her shirt unbuttoned and sits on Charlie’s lap, giving him a choice view of her ample chest. Charlie admits that he was a little uncomfortable, but still enjoyed it.

The first rose goes to Sarah W., who Charlie finds easy to talk to and very attractive. She tells him that she’s into extreme sports and shows off a scar on her stomach that she got while roller blading down a very steep hill. When Sarah returns to the ballroom carrying her rose the other women are seething with jealousy. They all know that they’re going to have to kick things up a notch to get that last rose from Charlie. You can’t tell me at this point that anyone is there for love – it’s game awn.

Kristine, the afore-mentioned swimsuit model, is up next, and she strips off her dress to show off her bikini. She’s also written him a poem that is stored in her bikini top, and she pulls it out (the poem – get your mind out of the gutter) and reads it to him. Charlie is speechless. He doesn’t give her a rose, but decides to pull a flower out of a hotel arrangement behind the couch. As he’s getting the flower out, Kristine puts her dress back on and takes off the top of her swimsuit, saying it’s an even trade. Charlie stands there with the poetry in one hand and the bikini top in the other, wondering exactly what he’s gotten himself into – and likely not minding it a bit.

Geitan (pronounced je-tahn) comes in clucking like a chicken, and proceeds to make monkey noises with Charlie. Katie gets right to the point and asks for a kiss to see if there’s chemistry. She thinks the kiss was great, but Charlie admits privately that he didn’t feel it.

The second rose goes to Kerry, who bluffs her way through the date claiming to be interested in sailing. When Charlie says that he sails and asks her where she goes, she admits that she’s never been but he can teach her. Okay.

Danushka, of “I don’t run for any man” fame, is last, and as Charlie goes through her purse she mentions that she’s not wearing a bra or underwear.

Charlie says privately that he thinks he could fall in love with one of these women. Host Chris enters with a stack of photos, which he hands to Charlie and announces that now Charlie must send five women home. Our Bachelor says, “this is not nice!” as he sits down to go through the pictures.

Chris goes to the ballroom to drop the imminent elimination bombshell on the ladies. They’re not happy, and the tension in the room is palpable.

Charlie comes in and announces the names of the five girls that are going home. They are:

Christina
Heather
Brenda
Debbie
Katie

As Brenda is walking away, she mumbles, “You don’t like brunettes, do you?” Indeed, all of the five eliminated women are brunettes. I don’t see the problem though – the guy is there to find his mate, and if he prefers a blonde that’s not his fault.

Now it’s time for the remaining 20 ladies to move into their New York brownstone. The place is nice – very attractively decorated – but small. Apparently no one knew that NY apartments generally aren’t known for their sprawling interiors. The bedrooms are hilarious, stacked to the gills with metal bunk beds that look like they came from a prison. Or Ikea – it’s gotta be one or the other. Anitra says that crowding this many women into such a small space is a “recipe for disaster”.

Charlie will be taking the women on three group dates. The plan is that he’ll call them and tell them where they’re going and how many, and the ladies will then decide who’s going. Interesting. There will be two roses given out on each date as well, raising the stakes even more. Chris also tells them that the only rules in this edition of the show are that there are no rules. Excellent. Let the cat fighting begin.

The first date will be playing pool, and five women can go. Somehow the ladies work out amongst themselves who will be going, and the mad rush to primp and find the perfect outfits begins. Kindle, who was not among the five who were planning to be on this date, decides she’s going anyway, and gets herself ready and out the door. When Charlie shows up, she rushes into the van to wait for the fallout. The other five women, oblivious to Kindle’s trickery, head out to greet Charlie. Realizing they’ve been had, Carrie offers to stay behind (although she didn’t have much choice after four others rushed into the van before her). She admits privately that she’s angry, but now she knows that she has to step things up in order to stay in the running. She also says that if Kindle comes back with a rose she’ll be even more upset, since that would have been her rose. Because apparently the blondes are all interchangeable.

Charlie takes the girls to a dive bar to play pool, saying that he wants the dates to be realistic, and this is something that he would do on his own. The women are obviously overdressed for the occasion, but try to get into it as much as they can. Charlie takes Kindle away for some private time, and she asks him to go back to the table to get her drink. He does, and the other four women are all sitting there waiting for him. He grabs the drink and a rose, leaving the other women stunned. Kindle gets the first rose of the date, and she couldn’t be happier.

Anitra gets some one-on-one time as well, and Charlie is impressed with her. She says that she’s shy at first, but once she feels comfortable with someone she has no problem opening up. Kristen and Emilie both ask Charlie straight-out for a rose, and Charlie doesn’t like that. He says that it would be okay to tell him that they want to get to know him better, or would really like to stick around, but just asking for a rose isn’t cool. The second rose of the date goes to Anitra, because Charlie says she’s not “over pushy or over zealous”. Yay, I like her.

For the second date, Charlie says he’s taking 8 women for a “night on the town”. Since Siomara answered the phone when Charlie called, she takes it upon herself to choose who will be going on this date, and no one thinks to question her on this. Even though she’s picked the eight women who are going, about eleven of them get ready to go. When Charlie arrives, Siomara stands at the door and points out the women who are joining him. Gina Marie, who had been told earlier that she was among the chosen, is excluded – and none too happy about it either.

Charlie and the ladies head out to a dance club, where they shake their moneymakers for a bit and enjoy several drinks. Kyshawn asks Charlie how he feels about interracial dating, and points out that she’s the only chocolate woman in the group. He says he’s fine with it; he took a black girl to prom.

Kristine, the girl who gave Charlie her bikini top, tells him that she’s not only a swimsuit model, she’s also a private investigator for the government. Charlie thinks that’s pretty weird, and so do I. She gives him a kiss on the cheek, and an awkwardly long hug.

Krisily (pronounced Krissy-Lee) kisses Charlie during their alone time, and then suggests he do a body shot off of her. After downing his tequila and licking salt off of her stomach, Charlie presents Krisily with a rose. Meanwhile, Geitan is starting to feel out of her element.

Back at the apartment, the remaining girls convince Gina Marie to crash the date, since she should have been there anyway. She hops in a cab and heads to the bar. Remember, no rules.

Sarah W., who is sitting pretty with a rose from the speed-dating session, makes out with Charlie at the bar. Charlie says that he thought she was a pretty girl, but he was wrong – she’s a knockout!

Gina Marie arrives and pulls Charlie aside right away. They have a little chat, and Charlie seems impressed that she took some initiative. When they come back to the table, someone points out that Geitan hasn’t had any alone time with Charlie. She says that she doesn’t really want any – she’s very uncomfortable. She wants to remove herself from the situation, and means no disrespect to anyone. She’s not that kind of girl.

Charlie walks Geitan out to the van, and she apologizes and says “I’m not your girl”. Back in the bar, Charlie says that now is not the time to be giving out any more roses, so Krisily ends up being the only girl to get one on this date. The others are very plainly disappointed.

The following morning, everyone notices that Geitan is not there. One girl mentions that her stuff was still there, but she’s pretty sure that Charlie didn’t take her home for the night. Good call there. Sarah W. explains what happened to everyone.

Charlie calls to announce the third and final date – rock climbing and volleyball. There are six women on this date, and they hit the artificial beach for some volleyball. Most of the women are decked out in bikini tops, and Danushka deadpans that if she wanted big boobs, she would have bought them like some of the other girls. I love this chick.

The first rose of this date goes to Jenny, who Charlie says he feels very comfortable with. Jenny is my other fave, so yippee. The second rose somehow goes to Kimberly, the one who sat on Charlie’s lap with her shirt unbuttoned during the speed dating. I guess Charlie is impressed with her, um … I give up. I have no idea what he’s impressed with. (And if you believe that, you probably thought The Joe Schmo Show was a documentary.)

During her private time with Charlie, Kara admits that she’s a single mom. Her daughter is nine years old, and an amazing kid. Aw. Charlie doesn’t seem the least bit put off by this information, and instead seems concerned that Kara isn’t missing her daughter too much. Kara admits that she does indeed miss her, but she’s also really enjoying this time away. Well done, both of you.

Not having received a rose, Danushka decides that she needs to kick her game up a bit. She says she’s coming out of her cocoon, so “watch out, bitches!” Oh, I really hope she’s staying for another week or two!

It’s finally time for the Rose Ceremony, which isn’t being slated as the most dramatic yet. Whoa, things are definitely very different this time! Chris tells everyone that things are going to work a little differently this time. The women will all get a chance to say what’s on their minds before the roses are handed out. Ha – this should be good.

The women who already have roses are sitting off to the side. There are five more roses to be handed out for a total of 12 women staying. The roseless ladies are lined up in front of Charlie in traditional Bachelor style.

Before things get underway, Chris brings Geitan back. She’s decided that, after removing herself from the game, er, show, she’s changed her mind and wants to give Charlie a chance. She felt uncomfortable at the bar, with everyone ‘dirty dancing’ and acting ‘trashy’. This starts up a battle with women accusing Geitan of not fitting in and judging them for their actions. The bickering goes on for a bit, with Krisily accused of getting a rose because she let Charlie lick her stomach and a few others saying simply that they want to stay. Kristine tells Charlie that she’s been praying for him and his heart, and that his name is written on her own heart. Creepy.

Time for the roses to be handed out, and they go to:

Sarah B.
Kara
Carrie
Gina Marie
Megan

But what’s this? Chris doesn’t interrupt Charlie before the last rose to tell everyone that it will be the final rose of the evening? Wow, things ARE different!

Not having received one of the coveted roses, Geitan lets loose in private and says that some of these women “are so nasty I would be afraid to sit on their toilet seat”. Meanwhile, Kristine is in tears. She says that she’s in love with Charlie, and only wanted to hear that he loved her back. She says she will continue to think about him. Note to Charlie: look into a restraining order, post haste.

Next week on The Bachelor, we find out that after a one-on-one date, the ladies will either get a rose or be sent home immediately. That’s harsh. Someone will be asked to leave before the rose ceremony, and Megan will get her hair dyed blonde to appeal to Charlie’s preferences.

What’s this? A Bachelor that promises to be entertaining and different? Woot, I say! While you’re here, check out Cori’s commentary on this episode – it’s a great read.

About the author: Carrie is the owner of this fine establishment, and also a freelance writer and full-time mom. She can be reached for questions or comments at carrie@realityshack.com.


Tears of Pain and Sorrow – The Contender, Episode 5.2

Last episode, we saw Najai Turpin outlasted by Sergio Mora. This brings West Coast’s undefeated streak to 4-0. Jeff was sent home with the Chicken Pox and Peter Manfredo, Jr. was voted to come back in his place by both teams.

We start out in the ring during Sergio’s celebration. “Very impressive,” Sugar Ray tells him in the ring. “A little guy chose a big guy,” Sergio says, “Najai’s a good guy, but I was a better fighter tonight.” Back in the suite, they come together to discuss the fight. “Sergio took it, he landed the better punches,” Alfonso notes. “West side is on top of the world. We’re kicking ass.”

That night Sergio goes out with his family to a local restaurant and bar. “Nothing beats your mom being there, supporting you,” he says. “It’s a rarity when my family and I get together. So, when it happens, it’s special.” They are elated at his victory, very proud of him. “We’re just taking them apart,” Sergio says. His girlfriend is very happy to see him; he’s very happy with her and someday will be comfortable with her in his family.

Meanwhile, back in the suite, Peter and Miguel are discussing the situation. “If we win, he’s up,” Miguel says saying he would fight whoever came back. So, now he will call out Peter, if given the chance. “I’m going to keep my mind focused,” Peter says, “to eventually win The Contender.

The next day at training, Tommy works in the ring with a few of the fighters while others spar or train with the bag. Stallone, too, works with Peter on some of the weight training equipment. “It’s great to come back,” Peter gushes. “Since I’ve come back, everything’s been different for me.” Sly is giving him advice, realizing he’s a big slacking. “I don’t feel like I’m on,” Peter admits. The other contenders see it, too, and Peter knows this. “I’m just not there,” he tells Sugar Ray in the ring that day. “I want to come back to win, and I don’t know if I’m ready for that now.”

Miguel sees himself as the most conditioned fighter even if he may not look the best in the ring. “Miguel is in peak shape, top shape,” Alfonso says, “That’s a very dangerous fighter.”

That day, Sugar Ray and Stallone, gather the boys to give Sergio his golden gloves before going out. Tommy tells him to wear the suits they won in a previous reward. So, they all get dressed up to go out on the town. “We haven’t had a bad one, yet,” Jesse refers to previous challenges.

They are lead by Tommy to this old brick building wondering what the heck was going on. Antonio Tarver, the lightweight champion of the world, is there and they get to meet him and dine with him. “He’s the Superman of boxing,” Alfonso explains. Back at the suite, “We’re sitting here bored. We get no damned reward,” Peter sighs. “Hopefully, we can turn it around and the East will finally get one reward.”

West Coast goes to play poker with Tarver, smoking cigars and just hanging out while having a boatload of fun. “Tommy, I like this,” one of the contenders laughs. “In order to be the best, you have to beat the best,” Tarver advises. “I knew as long as I win, I would get my break. As long as I was winning, they had to open the door.” Tarver gives Sergio two-round trip tickets anywhere in the world for his win against Tarpin; he was very impressed by the fight, as this isn’t a normal occurrence or reward for the winner of the matches thus far.

For the next challenge, it’s called the “Urban Obstacle Course,” as Sugar Ray dubs it. They will run through a Toyota traffic jam, they then have to jump hurdles, then fill a dumpster with tires and bring the dumpster back down to the Toyotas to get keys to get ladder rungs for a blank ladder to reach the top of a Bally’s Total Fitness Mack truck. The first one to the top wins.

The winners from West Coast have to sit out. East Coast is ahead at the start, West Coast is lagging. Both begin filling the dumpster with tires and West Coast catches up, taking the lead by pushing their dumpster back to the Toyotas. “The team we have is unreal,” Jesse says from the sidelines. East Coast finally gets there dumpster as West is already unloading their tires; East Coast is notably tired as the West side begins to head back for the cars. West Coast is retrieving keys from the rear view mirrors and makes it to the ladder before East Coast finishes finding their keys. They both are now at the locks, getting their rungs, before they can add them to the ladder. West Coast begins to build their ladder as East Coast is still fighting to get them unlocked. West Coast wins as Miguel takes to the top of the Mack truck. “West Coast wins the challenge. Once again, you get to call the match out for tomorrow’s fight. East head back to the gym where you will again be at the West’s decision,” Sugar Ray shakes his head, disappointed.

Back at the gym, both teams meet for West Coast to call out who will fight. Miguel toes the line and chooses Peter. Therefore, it’ll be Miguel versus Peter for the next fight. “He’s a good fighter, I don’t have any disrespect for him. I’m peak to the max, I’m in awesome shape,” Miguel explains when Sugar Ray asked him why to pick him. “I want to be one of those great fights, if not the best.”

Peter goes home that night to spend it with their family. He spends the time with his daughter. “I’m not on my game at all,” he confesses to his wife. “That’s not talking the way you were talking before,” his wife tells him. “You scared, daddy, you scared,” his daughter teases him. “This time I have to win,” Peter says. “Yes, you aren’t done, yet,” his daughter beams. “That’s right, I’m not done, yet,” he smiles. Elsewhere, Miguel comes down to the ring to look at the banner hanging and get psyched out. He shadowboxes in the ring and visualizes the match for tomorrow. “It’s going to be a great night for me,” Miguel muses.

Next day, the fighters take to their lockerooms to prepare for the fight at hand. Both begin to psyche themselves out by listening to music. Peter’s daughter and wife come to visit him, excited to watch him fight again. Miguel’s parents come to visit him to support his fight.

Thirty minutes to the fight, the boxers get wrapped up and are advised by their trainers. Burt Reynolds and Melanie Griffith join Chuck Norris sitting in the audience tonight for the match as the fighters begin shadowboxing in their lockerooms. Sugar Ray comes to wish them both look. “I was in the same position you are, and its all here. You know what to do,” he tells Peter, he’s pulling for him with everything he has, because they have very similar stories.

First out comes East Coast’s Peter Manfredo, Jr. “No redemption. Not many people get a second chance in life,” he says. “There’s going to be different results this time.” Everything he has in boxing is invested in tonight. He has the chance to forge his own destiny (and by golly, I want to see him do it). There’s something about this kid that makes me smile. Next, comes Miguel Espino for the West Coast. “He’s a good fighter, and the better man will win, and it will be me,” he explains confidently.

Round 1: Peter stares down Miguel, as the latter comes out swinging first. Peter is defensive, waiting to strike. He gets pummeled, though, and locks up. He gets smacked in the face and loses it. He comes back from the grave and begins landing punches, using his speed to get the best of Miguel who goes defensive and can’t take it. Round goes to Peter.
Round 2: Both come out cautiously, Peter leads. Miguel is defensive, taking shots when opened. He gets Peter to the ropes and begins tearing into him, but Peter lands an uppercut. Sergio comes back and sends Miguel packing with a series of shots. Peter is all but tired, trying to get in what he can and Miguel lands another uppercut. Round goes to Miguel.
Round 3: Peter comes out first, to the abdomen, only to bet met with a lockup with Miguel. They exchange punches to the abdomen and a few to the head. Miguel gets him to the ropes again. Peter breaks free but is at the mercy of continuous shots to the head. He breaks free, brings Miguel to the ropes and they lockup in a fury of punches to every part of the part. Round goes to both.
Round 4: Peter lands the first punch, they lockup and begin to barely punch. Both are tired. Peter lands a punch to the head that dazed Miguel, and Peter comes in a flurry getting his opponent to the ropes and taking advantage of the position. Abdominal punches and a few head punches end the round. Round goes to Peter.
Round 5: They come out defensively. Both in a flurry of combinations. Peter connects more, as the crowd chants his name, Miguel can’t defend himself. Peter’s speed is his advantage and he lands a killer punch to Miguel’s chin. Peter is on fire and Miguel can’t keep up, he’s hurt and Peter lands a wicked right hook that cements the round in his favor. Miguel can’t defend himself, he’s faltering, as Peter keeps punching until the bell rings. Round goes to Peter.

Judges scorecard is in: Peter Manfredo, Jr. wins by a 48-47 card, a unanimous decision. (This win brought tears to my eyes, I love Manfredo, Jr., and I want to see him take this contest. I know he can.) Alfonso looks on, almost eerily, at Peter who he defeated in the first episode. Sugar Ray is proud of Peter, and comes to tell him so, before he heads back to celebrate. “We let a lion back in, didn’t we?” Jesse muses ringside.

Sly meets up with Espino, “It was literally that close,” he tells him. “Nobody’s going to forget you or what you did tonight.” “This is it, and it hurts. It hurts a lot,” Miguel sheds tears.

Espino, the fifth contender to be sent home, hangs his gloves up on the wall as the first West Coast team member gone. “I’m not ashamed that I lost. I’m more ashamed that my dad has to go back to work tomorrow,” he cries.

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.

The Best Fights – The Contender, Episode 5.1

Following The Apprentice‘s lead, The Contender decided to hold a recap episode to get new viewers up to speed with the events of the show and competition.

Stallone and Sugar Ray discussed the events of Jeff’s departure, and that’s the storyline of the recap episode. They want to show who would get the chance to come back in his place.

“I was very impressed by his bravery,” Stallone says of Alfonso’s choice for the first fight. Alfonso went on to win by unanimous decision. “Nobody in the state of California thought he could win,” he continues, obviously showcasing the shock of the upset. “He’s confident. That’s a trait of champions,” Sugar Ray explains.

For more information on the Gomez vs. Manfredo fight, click here.

“Peter, who everyone thought would go far in this tournament, was out,” Sugar Ray says, almost unbelievably.

Leonard goes on to explain the rivalry between Ishe and Ahmed; they also show Jesse stepping up to the plate. “Jonathan put it all on the line, just like Jesse Brinkley,” Sly says. “Whenever I fought, I had my whole family there. It was really difficult to see him [Jonathan] leave,” Sugar Ray notes, saddened by his loss.

For more information on the Reid vs. Brinkley fight, click here.

Showcasing more of the Ishe and Ahmed rivalry. “We knew we had a war,” Sugar Ray explains on their rivalry. They were waiting to explode from day one, and finally, they would be fighting in the ring in a war that would send one of them packing and possibly create more stability for both teams. The fight was also a chance for Ishe to prove his worth to the West Coast team.

For more information on the Smith vs. Kaddour fight, click here.

When Ahmed went home, he was as cocky as ever, and this was the first time we saw Stallone greet the loser on the way to the lockeroom after the fight. “Even as the man was leaving, I still think he believed he won the fight,” Sugar Ray smiles.

After Jeff was eliminated, for Chicken Pox, as a team they were to vote from the three contenders who went home to come back and take his place. Manfredo easily took the lead and became the first contender reintroduced to the house as Sugar Ray and Tommy read the results. (Ahmed didn’t get a single vote, thank God.) “I thought at first was crazy,” Stallone says, “It also shows the bravery and courage these men have.”

Manfredo comes in, takes his gloves off the wall and comes back to join his team. Alfonso was a bit dismayed. “Things started to look up for the East Coast,” Sugar Ray observed. East Coast won their first challenge and had their chance to call out their first fighter.

For more information on the Mora vs. Turpin fight, click here.

However, West Coast still holds on to an undefeated record in the ring. Turpin lost his life on February 14, 2005 and The Contender has set-up a trust fund for his daughter, Anjai. More information can be found at http://thecontender.yahoo.com

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.

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