Tarzan Ain't Sherlock – Survivor: Palau, Episode 6

Tarzan Ain’t Sherlock Survivor Palau Episode 6

[i]by atarus[/i]

It’s that time again! Survivor time, which is also now synonymous with Ulong being pathetic time. At Ulong, Ibrehem is saying he walked into TC believing he was going to be voted off, but the other tribe gave him immunity. Way to recap there big guy…that’s my job! James tears into Ibrehem yet again, saying that next challenge everybody needs to pay attention and listen, since the last challenge Ibrehem didn’t remember to pull on the bottle, not the rope. James continues to tirade and Ibrehem explains himself again and again but James says that “the bottom line is you went down three times and didn’t come up with anything.” Bobby Jon isn’t a fan of this, and he says that you win as a team and lose as a team, and if you can’t get over beef and stew, well… (Go Bobby Jon!) The next morning, we are shown Ibrehem’s faith, and he is praying to Allah and saying that there’s a reason he’s still here and that Allah had a hand in it.

Over at Koror, Ian recaps the night before, saying that they had to vote out Willard last night, but the beef stew revitalized the tribe and everybody was working today. Coby has a gem of a line that made me giggle a lot. “Today was Camp Koror craft day! Oh wait, no that was just Katie. Everybody else was working.” So while everyone else is doing fire, working on the shelter, etc. etc., what’s Katie doing? Making necklaces. She then has the gall to say in her confessional that “this has been easier than I thought.” Right Katie. Your tribe wins a lot of immunities that you haven’t been stellar in, and you don’t work around camp. I wonder *why* it’s easier? Caryn tries to knock down Katie in her confessional, but ends up tripping over herself. She says “I’d like to see Katie movie a little faster. She’s here to entertain…I don’t know what her purpose is.” ….*facepalm* Caryn, you just said…er…ah never mind.

Reward challenge time! They get to shoot a big gun! YAY! The reward is Pringles and maitais on a cruise, and then a swim in Jellyfish Lake. The first tribe to knock out 8 of their own tiles wins the reward. So it starts out with everybody missing. But then Hero Tom comes in and first shot..BAM! Koror gets first point. (We all know where this is going.) But wait….Stephenie steps up and BAM! Tied. Then Caryn misses, but BJ connects! BAM! Ulong takes the lead 2-1! But Koror is hot on their tails, as Gregg connects. Ibrehem and Steph connect again, putting Ulong up 4-2, but Coby connects for Koror, then BJ and Gregg both connect again, and Steph and Caryn connect again, making it 6-5 Ulong. Bobby Jon nails the next one, and Ulong is one away from victory. Meanwhile, Gregg keeps pace and knocks one home, making it 7-6. It’s up to James. Putting the shot through will win it for Ulong…and James…misses. (Note, he didn’t make a single shot the entire challenge. Huh, James. Eyes on the prize, buddy.) Coby steps up, and once again James is showed up by a “homosheckshooal” and it’s tied 7-7. It’s time for Ibrehem to shine and redeem himself…..but he misses. And guess who’s up? Hero Tom. You know he’s going to win it for Koror. Even the music goes up in tempo and in attitude, proclaiming a Koror victory.

But what’s this?

Tom misses?


As Tom misses, the music kinda goes “Awwwww…..” and gets softer again, which makes me giggle. Steph is up for Ulong, and BAM! Steph is savior of Ulong! It’s now up to Caryn to tie it up and force a tiebreaker….but it isn’t in the cards. Ulong FINALLY WINS AGAIN!!!!! You can’t help but smile as the foursome of Ulong does a happy hug dance similar to the Lil’ Maraamu group when they won the reward way back when.

So Ulong goes on the boat and enjoys their Pringles and maitais. Steph says that this is a “whole new chapter” for them and a boost for morale. Rupert makes a cameo apperance through Pringles trivia, as do Rob, Amber, and……Shii Ann? Then it’s time for swimming with the jellyfish, and Bobby Jon proclaims that it’s “amazing to swim with jellyfish that don’t have their stinger-things.” Hehe, Bobby Jon. He also says it’s a euphoric experience and he enjoys it because it’s a place in the world he’ll never go again.

That night, a storm bashes on Koror, hard rain and hard wind. The next day Janu has a bit of a breakdown. She said that the brutality of the storm made her feel alone, vulnerable, and scared, and it lingered into the day after. Janu is crying in the hammock, but Hero Tom tries to talk her up. He says that you’ve passed your worst fear of going home early, you’ll probably make Jury and maybe even final 2. Janu says she doesn’t have the strength between sobs, but Tom tells her that you may not have the strength today but you’ll have it tomorrow. Meanwhile, Princess Katie has decided that Janu is “always dramatic.” While I found it hard to sympathize with Janu because….well, has she been on the show before this? But Katie’s comment was a bit out of line too. Boo Katie.

It’s challenge time! Ulong gets a treemail with a crate. The crate has the opposing tribe’s flag in it, and they have some rope to make the box impenetrable. James, who was in the Navy, takes charge of the immunity operation and says he has a big knot that will make it impossible for them to get in. So everyone lets him take charge.

For immunity, the tribes have to get into the box and hoist their flag up first. The catch is, the tribes will also have twenty minutes to swim out, grab some floating wood piles, and use that and some more rope to make a fortress around the box. After twenty minutes, they will switch sides and go at the box and whoever gets in first and gets their flag up wins immunity.

On a random note, you have to admit this is absolute bad luck challenge-wise for Ulong. They’re up against Jenn, Janu, Katie, and Ian, who would probably get their butts handed to them in an overtly physical challenge by BJ, Ibe, Steph, and James, but this one is very less physical and more mental and quickness. *shakes head* Poor Ulong. So Probst says go, and if you’re looking for mental and quickness, don’t look at James and Ibrehem. While BJ and Steph go full-tilt into the water to get the piles, Ibe kinda half wades into the shallows and James stands around trying to fix his skirt. Meanwhile, Ian and Jenn are swimming to get wood and Janu and Katie are starting to rope up their box. James…does more skirt work, until Ibe, Steph, and BJ return with the logs, and then he lets the camera-blurrers do their work and gets to work on immunity. While the two tribes build their fortresses, Coby gives us play-by-play commentary on the sidelines. “I think they’re ahead of us.” And when Jeff says that Ulong has used all of its rope, Coby remarks “And we haven’t” right before Jeff does. I think Coby should look for a job replacing John Madden after Survivor’s over with. Either way, we know where this is headed. Koror and Ulong switch places, and Koror gets through the fortress and box the fastest, and while Ulong fights gamely on and isn’t far behind, the flag is hoisted and Koror wins yet again.

Ibrehem is annoyed and says that “Ulong hasn’t won an immunity challenge yet, and my only criteria for voting is who’s done the worst in all the challenges.” James tells Steph that he is confident that BJ won’t vote for him. He makes the comment that “by the grace of Allah Ibrehem stayed last time, but this time my God says he’s going home.” Meanwhile, BJ is honing his detective skills, and says that he’s sure that James voted with Angie against him last time because it was a “male’s handwriting” and he knows that Ibrehem didn’t do it. Steph, meanwhile, stands there and lies to him and manages to keep a straight face and saying she voted for Angie too. Poor Steph, she probably wanted to beat BJ senseless for saying she wrote like a guy. But Bobby Jon is lovable in that dumb but cute kinda way. Think like Andre the Giant. Anyway, Bobby Jon decides to make a pact with Steph that she’ll vote out James and if they lose next time they’ll vote out Ibrehem. Steph is unsure what to do since she’s stuck between two sides.

As the Ulong Four show up at TC, Jeff is merciless. James tells him that they “subconsciously sabotage” themselves when they hear the word immunity. Jeff then points out that James and Ibrehem weren’t trying very hard at the immunity challenge, and asks James if it’s fair to single out Ibrehem for performing poorly when he did poorly too, and James says that “it’s not just challenges, but personality and who I like around camp.” Way to cover yourself, James. Steph says that “she just wants to win one immunity” before she goes home. Jeff also points out the ‘Bama boys and how Steph could feel threatened by the boys sticking together. Steph hopes that doesn’t happen.

It’s time to vote. James votes Ibrehem and Ibrehem votes James. Jeff tallies the votes…and it’s a tie. Steph tied it! Wow. It’s time for a revote with Bobby Jon and Stephenie. They both vote (with a lot less hesitation this time from Steph) and when the votes are retallied, Steph changes her mind yet again and James becomes the next victim of the Ulonging.

James says in his final words that his gut was saying he wasn’t going home, but his gut failed him. He’s happy though because he’s accomplished things that not many people can say they have.

Next time, Gregg and Jenn get noticed again. Bobby Jon brings in a fish for the small Ulong, and Tom brings in a shark for the great big Koror.

You can’t help feeling bad for Ulong at this point. Well, at least for Bobby Jon. Ibrehem and Stephenie aren’t my favorite players ever, but c’mon. How can you not like Bobby Jon? He’s definitely not the smartest player to grace Survivorland, but he’s honest and hard-working to the point where you can’t help but enjoy his innocence and attitude. And to think he was one of my pre-show picks that would annoy the heck out of me, but he’s absolutely awesome now. And James I was a fan of at the beginning, but very quickly my opinion of him soured. As for Hero Tom, Team Player Ian, and Sarcasm Coby? They waver back and forth. The only unwavering thing I know of in this season is that Jenn and Janu will never get enough airtime for me to even have an opinion on them. E-mail me at atarus33@yahoo.com with comments, and I’ll see you next week back at our regular time!

Opening Up – Starting Over, 03-23-05

by LauraBelle

There are two very difficult points a Starting Over woman hits during her time in the house. The first is when she learns this is actually going to involve really hard work. The second is when she hits a pivotal point where it’s time to put up or shut up. Vanessa is at the first point, and Candy is at the second.

Iyanla starts Candy’s day off in a big way. She barges into Candy’s closet and starts tossing clothes that aren’t feminine enough, while Candy gets upset, and Allison observes, laughing. Iyanla demands to know where Candy’s “horrible” sweatpants and “horrible” t-shirt are. When Candy objects to Iyanla throwing away her nightgown, Iyanla tells her to sleep naked.

This was just the beginning, Iyanla announces. Next on the agenda is for Candy to speak to people honestly, and find out how they see her control. She must call her boyfriend and also consult her housemates. Allison is told to take Candy shopping and buy her some more feminine clothing.

Rhonda meets with Vanessa and tells her it’s time to learn a valuable skill. Focusing on support is going to be one more caveat to her goal. To accomplish this, Vanessa is not allowed to speak to her boyfriend for one week, needing to learn to seek support from other sources, specifically her housemates. She needs to have an intimate moment with each of the five women today.

Iyanla leads Group, and asks Rachael to sit in the love seat here she reveals she has earned two more steps – Mourn Losses and Reconnect With Brother. Iyanla feels Rachael made the biggest leap of growth not at the memorial service, but in the days leading up to it.

The discussion today is built around the words, “I’m sorry.” Those words imply “I was wrong” or “I know I hurt you.”

Asked to name a time when they know they offended, hurt or harmed someone else and haven’t apologized, Vanessa knows it has to be with her mom. She always blamed her mom for the failures in her gymnastic career, but now would like to take responsibility for her own choices. While Cassie would ask for forgiveness instead of apologies, it would be offered to her son.

Candy would apologize to her brothers and sisters for leaving home at sixteen when things only got worse for them in the house. Iyanla doesn’t like the fact that Candy is apologizing for trying to improve her own life, and sees it as another way for Candy to control. Candy is told maybe she needs to offer the apology to herself for always feeling like she has to make it better for everyone else.

Vanessa chooses Cassie to be the first housemate she will try to have an intimate conversation with as they walk on the trail. Vanessa asks what Cassie has learned in the Starting Over house that might help Vanessa as well. Cassie offers up her lessons of self-image, and how it all comes from shame. Cassie also tells Vanessa that she sees a lot of herself in Vanessa.

Allison takes Candy shopping and gets her to try all sorts of new and feminine thing like ponchos and color. Candy notes how Allison keeps bringing her stuff, saying, “Try this. Try this.” We all know Candy is objecting to the control.

Iyanla brings an empty basket to a one-one-one with Rachael. The basket represents the emptiness of Rachael’s heart, and needs to be filled. Iyanla asks her to spend the day filling it with things that bring her joy. Rachael realizes she needs to think about her future to feel complete.

Vanessa makes the difficult call to her boyfriend, Mike, to tell him she can’t talk for a week. He is less than thrilled with it, and Vanessa says she’ll have a hard time falling asleep without talking to him at night.

Candy goes out to lunch with Allison, Bethany and Cassie to ask them about her control issues. Cassie says she always feels controlled when Candy wants them to all eat together at the time she chooses. Allison says another way is that instead of offering up suggestions, Candy offers up direction. Bethany says if she doesn’t get her way, Candy controls the situation and isolates herself. Allison says it’s as if Allison needs to order and compartmentalize everyone else.

When asked why they feel she controls, Cassie says her belief is that Candy controls her emotions, because if she allows herself to feel everything, she’ll lose control. This really hits Candy, and she says, “Ouch.” Allison says she finds it interesting that in Group Candy feels safe and lets it all out, but once they walk out of Group, Candy is not the same person, and holds all those emotions in. Bethany adds it’s scary to give up control, but Candy needs to give it up to feel everything. Candy is shocked. She had felt she had changed, but finds she hasn’t changed like she thinks she had.

Vanessa tries another intimate conversation, this time with Rachael, asking her for some true, honest, constructive criticism. Rachael notes that Vanessa doesn’t like to ask for help. They have connections such as both have brothers they would like closer relationships with. Vanessa asks how she would go about getting closer with her brother, as she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to him. Rachael says she needs to be clear what she wants, as he may not be capable of it, just because he’s a young man, and suggests Vanessa write a letter to him, to state her intentions.

Candy calls her boyfriend, Robert, and asks how she controls. He says she pretty much controls everything they do, although she doesn’t always get her way. When asked why he feels she controls, he states her past history, and raising her siblings and kids. Controlling is all she did for years and years, and it comes natural to her. She asks if she changed one thing, how it would improve their relationship, and Robert says immensely. He says Candy just never wants to listen.

Iyanla moves on to report her findings to Iyanla, and says it seems like she is speaking Greek and everyone else English. She repeats what she learned from her housemates, and says she doesn’t feel her isolation is that bad. Before she thinks she would have demanded control, but she has changed. Iyanla says no. If three people are looking at you saying this how you control, than that’s how everyone else sees you.

Moving on to what Robert said, Candy begins to cry. He never told her he sees her this way, and says it hurt. She made herself not argue so she could hear him. Candy says most things she sees or feels aren’t something people can see. Iyanla points out Candy can do things out of care and concern, but people see her differently because she has a hidden agenda. And whenever this happens, there is always an issue of value and worth.

Rhonda meets with Vanessa to talk about her intimate conversations with the other women. Rhonda notes how she was told she gets defensive about her boyfriend, and says maybe that’s where she is vulnerable. Vanessa says she feels like everyone is always talking about the bad things about her relationship with Mike. Rhonda says that’s all she shares, just the bad things, and she is the one controlling the conversation. Vanessa cries and says she just wants to talk to him. Rhonda tells her she has no one else, of course she does, but he may not always be there, and that would leave Vanessa alone.

Rhonda encourages Vanessa again to talk to her housemates. Rhonda says she hopes she’ll learn to see herself like everyone else does. She’s not cold and stupid, she’s apprehensive. Rhonda is proud of Vanessa today. She really is a good person, and just wants to love and be loved back.

Rachael shows Iyanla her basket, and says she feels it’s like her heart in a way. She has included a book on human physiology, as she actually loves learning about gross diseases. She has included a clipboard for organization, a picture of her family, her Bible, and her jump rope to play, saying she loves double dutch, to with Iyanla says she does too. Rachael also includes a pair of silly glasses that look like they were left behind from Renee’s assignment of changing her vision. Also in the basket are knowledge, boundaries and college. Iyanla says home is more important as Rachael needs to have a house where no one can put her out again.

Vanessa talk to the other women, and shares her struggles not talking to Robert. Candy notes how Vanessa puts on a smiley face so they don’t know how hurt she is. Cassie says in the end this will all make her more independent. Candy turns to the conversation to herself saying her conversation with Robert really sucked. Cassie tells her control is keeping those emotions in, not taking to anybody.

Rachel says while Candy is the most compassionate and kind person she knows, Candy’s control has hurt her and probably others. It makes Rachael feel unworthy and she feels like Candy is belittling her when she compares Rachael to one of her children. Candy cries hysterically and says her highest value is on her children. To call Rachael her own, is not belittling her, it’s because she values her that much. Finally, she has opened up. Rachael comes and hugs her.

Vanessa says she relies so much on her boyfriend and Candy says talk to me instead. It was obvious Vanessa was upset she couldn’t talk to Mike anymore. They note at this point how similar they are. they are both trying to be everything for everybody, and burn themselves out in the process.

These two pivotal point Candy and Vanessa have hit will have profound impact on not only their own time in the house, but on everyone’s. It has already brought them all closer, and once they learn to be more open about their feelings, everyone will feel a much closer bond as they did when Renee and Denise were still in the house. And for themselves, Vanessa and Candy will notice closers bonds with everyone else in their lives, to be able to share more of themselves.

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

Hoses and Poles and Sandi, Oh My: Queer Eye For The Straight Girl Episode 1.10

Hoses and Poles and Sandi, Oh My: Queer Eye For The Straight Girl Episode 1.10

by Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl

Sandi is a firefighter who works with 30 men. Wow. A few years ago, this is what I would have thought heaven was. Let’s just say I had a slight obsession with firemen. (Yes, firemen. Not women. Hence, my use of the politically incorrect term. It’s not incorrect when you’re talking about just the one gender.) As in, I dated some of them. And I may have made out with a few between the ones I dated. Maybe like six. And of those six, maybe three were from the same firehouse. Perhaps. Oh, come on! We all have our weaknesses and I was young and stupid. But back to Sandi.

She can’t cook. Cooking is key when you’re a firefighter because you need to cook for everyone else in the firehouse when you do overnights. God, why do I know this stuff? Seriously, I could go on and on about terminology and secret handshakes. I’m so pathetic. It’s all so wrong. But back to Sandi, again. Danny says her cooking sucks.

Sandi is dating a firefighter from a different house. She used to dress like a girly girl but now she dresses like one of the guys. Speaking of dress, Honey is wearing a hot top! It’s a camouflage halter. Love it!

Robbie says that the mission is to go from fashion burn out to burning siren.

Credits. This song is really groovy.

The Gal Pals arrive at Sandi’s house. Not the fire house, but her house house. She has her blonde hair in a low pony tail and wears a basic white tee and comfy black pants. The house has hard wood floors, white and beige walls, and a turquoise couch with elk pillows. Sandi says that her boyfriend firefighter Glen got them for her. Robbie says, “Nothing says romantic like an elk pillow.”

Honey puts on Sandi’s fire helmet and says, “I always wanted to be a firefighter.” The hat is bigger than Honey’s whole body.

Damon picks up a doll that’s lying around the living room. He says, “This is some décor element: a fireman bobble head doll.”

Danny goes into the fridge and suggests that she can’t clean either. He opens a bin and there’s brown crusty crud on the bottom of it.

Damon then says that Sandi should put some color into her house. “What’s your favorite color? And don’t say white or beige.” Heehee.

Then they go through the closet and find some black leather studded tie-shirt thing. Robbie puts it on and says it would get the guys at the firehouse going. Sandi says, “They will never see that in the firehouse.” She points out that the tag is still on it and she doesn’t plan on wearing it.

They find some of her shoes which are all broke down. She has slides and says that she likes them because they slip on and off like her fire uniform. Robbie says, “Like my underwear.” Ha!

Then out comes Danny with a long blonde Bo Peep curly wig, cowgirl hat, and a belly shirt. God, he looks good in that! That’s so wrong yet I can’t look away. He asks when the occasion to wear that outfit would be. Sandi can’t come up with an answer. Ha! I think Danny should wear that all the time. Check out those abs!

In the bedroom, Sandi has some exercise equipment. Danny runs his finger over it and dust flies off. He guesses that she doesn’t use it much. Actually, I use my treadmill quite a bit and it still collects dust. I have no idea why.

Sandi owns horses. She says, “These are my kids.” They’re right outside her back door. That must be smelly. Honey says that Sandi must have been confused growing up and then switches from fire helmet to cowboy hat. “I want to be a firefighter. I want to be a cowgirl.” Heehee. Apparently, Sandi chose both.

Sandi’s boyfriend tells Honey that she doesn’t cook very well. Apparently, he’s lost weight because she doesn’t cook. Hey, he’s a firefighter. He should be able to cook, too.

Off to the firehouse! I’m way too excited about this.

Handshakes all over. Honey looks at the fire engine and says, “Ooh, it’s so shiny.” Then she makes some men and direction jokes. Danny wants to see the hose. Heehee. He’s dirty. Then he finds the kitchen and goes crazy over the spice cabinet. All the guys give her a thumbs down on her meatloaf, which is the only dish she makes.

They go to the laundry room. One of the firefighters says that the machines are currently broken because they use them so much.

Over to the bathroom. Honey finds a bottle of shampoo that’s about a gallon. It has a pump on top and it’s hanging from a rope as if someone would steal it. How bizarre.

Then they go to the gym/lounge. Danny suggests that they need new equipment. So judgmental.

In the bedroom area, Robbie plucks at a comforter and says that his nephew has the same one. The other beds have orange-yellow comforters. The space is very empty. It should be homier.

Sandi says, “Let’s go over to the pole.” The boys get very excited! Damon, Danny, and Honey all slide down. The pole is very squeaky. Robbie dances around the pole for a bit. He looks as if he’s going to pee in his pants. He decides to take the stairs. Honey says that she’s still trying to convince him to sky dive. Ummm, I think that would be a different category. There’s no free fall involved with the fire pole.
Sandi starts to follow Robbie out the door and then says, “No, I’m taking the pole,” and slides down. Heehee. Then she gives the GP a lesson on how to get into gear really quickly. She does it in about three seconds. The GP take a bit longer. They fumble with the gear because it’s so heavy. Honey says that she could pick up so many women in West Hollywood by wearing it.

Sandi takes them for a ride in the truck. She’s going to be an official driver soon. She tells Danny that he doesn’t need the helmet on in the truck. Damon says, “Once again, Danny over-accessorizes.” Ha!

Glen interviews that they’ve cooked maybe ten times in a year and a half.

In the SUV, Robbie and Damon talk to Sandi about how it’s her five year anniversary in the firehouse. They’re going to have a dinner in her honor and she’s cooking it.

HUNKY HELPER ALERT! They roll up some carpet. They take things out of the room. Sigh.

Damon says that he wants to work on her house first. They go to Mitchell Gold. He shows her Asian inspired coffee tables. She says, “Negative.” He says, “Moving on.”

Obligatory chair sitting. He shows her a chair that’s substantial for a man because she has a lot of men over. Robbie jokes, “It’s like a revolving door of men.” Damon says that he means the firefighters. Heeheee.

Damon shows her a chocolate brown bed with cream pillows and white linen. She likes it. He picks out more stuff for her while Robbie takes her away to Danny.

He meets her at The Palm which is an awesome looking restaurant. There are large supercomic book drawings on the walls. Neat-o. Danny introduces her to the head chef for a private cooking lesson. She’ll be cooking her anniversary dinner for the firehouse. He shows her how to cut tomatoes with a really sharp knife to make mozzarella and tomatoes. Mmmmm.

Danny then starts babbling about protein and grams and fiber. Very boring. I think he may be trading notes on how to bore people with Kyan. I’m still reeling from Kyan’s cucumber conversation. This mini-lesson of Danny’s is running a close second. They cook meat on the grill. Then the chef teaches Sandi that to tell if it’s ready, grab Danny’s wrist. What? I don’t understand this demonstration other than it shows how Danny is a limp wrist, reminding me that I will never have him for my very own. Sandi grabs a last piece of meat for the road.

She meets Honey at the Bar Method. But it should be Barre because they’re doing ballet. Oh! Danny is in tight pants. The instructor says, “Danny has perfect form. Show off.” Honey says, “I’m feeling this already.” Heehee. Danny talks about working the core. Stop lecturing, Danny. The three of them squat and bend and plie. And done!

Over to John Frida. Sandi asks, “Why are all the guys in purples and pinks and I’m in black and white?” Ha! The stylist says that her fringe makes her look like a little girl. She agrees. He makes her change because apparently you can’t wear a shirt when demanding stylists cut your hair. He gives her a floofier cut that’s layered and moves more.

Sandi’s friends interview that her house needs lots of work.

In the SUV, Sandi says she fears that her walls will be pink. She walks in and says, “Oh, you had me scared but I love it.” But she’s not screaming and jumping. The walls are sage. The couch is white. The chair is black. There’s a painting/computer generated photo of her horse over the fireplace. The coffee table is black. The dining table is black. There’s more brown artwork on the wall. It’s all very Zen even though she didn’t like the Asian coffee table in the store.

Her bedroom? Is pink. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! She likes the pink with the brown. She likes her bed, which has a striped white and pink comforter. The pink is very Pepto. I don’t like it either, Sandi.

Fashion Show Time. Robbie bought her clothes and she tries them on. Jeans, a white tank, brown leather jacket, and pointy brown shoes. Next, a pair of shiny slacks, a blue lingerie top with chocolate lace, and a velvet blazer. Damon yells, “You have a very nice ass!” Sandi comes out in a little black dress but stands kinda manishly in the heels for a moment. They love it.

Out to the garden for an herb lesson. Or, as Danny says, Herbs, and prounounces the H. Heehee. Love him. He holds up two gloves to Sandi. “Do you want gay or gayer?” She chooses the gay gloves. They pot plants. They fertilize. She asks, “Are you scared to get a little fertilizer on your hands?” He says the gloves are so your hands don’t dry out. Danny takes the basil with them in the SUV.

Damon says, “You smell good, Dan. You smell like horse, ass, and basil.” HA! Now that’s comedy.

They meet back up at the firehouse. The GP give them new machines for laundry and new gym equipment. Sandi yells, “Do you guys love me or what?” The firefighters clap.

Finally, they go into the bathroom area. Sandi says, “I’m so glad it’s not pink! I’m sorry I doubted you.” Damon says, “I am too.” He wanted to create a spa. It does look like a spa. There are dark bamboo drawers and some plants and frosted shower doors. Very cool. Very Zen again. I want my bathroom to look like that. Instead of have sponged frogs and starfish on my walls courtesy of my brother’s excellent painting skills. Don’t get me wrong—I love the frogs. But if I had the choice between the sponging and Damon’s design, I’d go for the Zen.

Honey then gives Sandi lip plumper because she deserves to be pampered. Okay then.

Back into the kitchen. Danny gives her The Palm cookbook. Sandi finds black pepper and wonders why it’s there because she didn’t use it before. Danny rolls his eyes. Sandi panics some more.

Over in the truck room, Danny says, “With everything we’ve done today, there’s still no telling you how grateful we are.” He gets all teary as he usually does. Sandi quickly reprimands, “There’s no crying in the fire station!” Hugs all around. I’m so loving Honey’s shirt.

Hip Tip: Grill fruit. It carmelizes. Yum. Danny and caramel. Yummier.

Sandi’s co-worker says you’ve got to be tough and have thick skin in a fire station.

Danny calls, “It’s happy hour at the esquire house!” No critic couch. It’s a critic counter. They pull up stools and martinis. What the hell is the esquire house?

Sandi tries to convince her co-workers that she’s going to make a good meal. All the guys gather around the kitchen to watch her. They ask if there will be appetizers. She says, “yes. And I’ll be serving them on a silver platter.” Heehee. They won’t leave. She threatens to carry them out. Robbie says, “I’d like to see that.”

Sandi leaves to get dressed. Some co-workers come in and replace her basil plant with geranium. Danny freaks, “I planted those!” Heeheeheee. Then they change the recipe cards.

Sandi showers. Honey loves it! Because she’s the lesbian! And she’s supposed to like it when straight girls get naked! Sandi goes through her Gal Pal kit and puts on some make-up. They say she looks really good. She does.

Meanwhile, her co-workers yell, “This meal must be catered because there’s nothing going on in the kitchen!” They sit around the empty kitchen and wait.

Sandi puts on jeans, pointy shoes, and a flowy tank top. It’s exactly what Robbie wanted her to wear. She goes into the kitchen and then searches for her real recipe cards. She realizes that it’s 5:30 and says it’s bad time management. Danny agrees.

Sandi then gets on the speaker and asks for her basil plant back. Danny says, “I was worried she wasn’t going to notice.” She then goes into the truck bay and demands her basil and tomatoes. One of the guys says, “Oh, she’s hot.” They come into the kitchen and give her the stuff back.

Glen the boyfriend shows up and hugs her and kisses her and so tries to cop a feel. She begs for help and he says, “I’ll help you.” She “oh jeezes” at the hot water. Hot water isn’t hard. She goes into the freezer and finds out that they froze her cookbook in ice. Damon calls it clever. Danny says, “I’ve got another word for it and it’s not clever.” Honey says, “At least they put it in a plastic bag first.” That’s nice. Heehee. I love the firehouse practical jokes. I’m a loser.

Sandi’s friend shows up and she helps too. Sandi has inadvertantly kept the stickers on some of the tomatoes she’s cut. Robbie says, “I call that roughage.” Sandi then takes off the heels and puts on her firefighting boots. Robbie faints. He won’t look until she changes back. Honey says, “Come on. Have you ever tried to cook in spikes?” Danny says yes. Heehee.

Sandi then starts ordering people to cook the meat on the barbeque because she’s now running behind. She’s behind schedule because of them anyway so they should help.

The guys finish the meat. Robbie says, “The meat does look tasty.” Danny says, “And so does the steak.” Ha.

More of the guys pitch in. Sandi continues to cook with her friend and Glen. Danny says, “This is the most feminine I’ve seen her.” That’s a compliment, I assume.

Sandi yells, “Come and get it!” She’s still wearing the big boots. She points at the food and tells them to eat. They start chowing down and they nod in approval. Some guy comes in with dessert, a fire truck cake. They give her dinner a ten. Some guy walks in with a gift for the fire station.

The card is from the Gal Pals saying that they noticed they needed something more. They open the box and it’s a Dell computer!

One of the guys leads a round of applause for her and her cooking. Sandi thanks them for being cooperative during the day and for not harassing her too bad. She says it’s not easy for a woman to hang out with them all the time but she appreciates that they make her fit in. Then she starts eating again.

The fire alarm sounds! She throws her designer boots away and climbs into the truck. Robbie says, “So much for that top.”

The GP clap around the Critic Counter and toast to their hero.

Robbie says use hair care with SPF 15.

Damon says to premeasure doors and stairways to make sure furniture fits.

Danny says to marinate in limes.

Honey says to clean make up brushes with warm water.

From tomboy firefighter to sassy firewoman—Tally-ho, Sandi!

Email me: Christina@realityshack.com Is it wrong to love a firefighter? Is it? Is it?

I'm not your #*@%! Friend. I'm the #*@%! Starlet! – The Starlet – Episode 4

I’m not your friend, I’m the Starlet!

by Chloe

Tempers are short and nerves are frayed. The house of the lovelies is divided. Katie has finally snapped the thin thread of camaraderie between her and the other starlet wannabes.

In a bold move, Katie calls a meeting of the lovelies in the bedroom. She opens the meeting with the suggestion that they no longer cultivate a friendship amongst themselves. She insists that they’ll do better if they separate and not help each other anymore. After all, this is a competition and each girl should be focused on themselves and winning.

Lauren went up in flames and the expletives filled the air. She will not be as selfish as Katie. She will help her friends when they’re feeling down about their screen tests or if they need encouragement for a difficult lesson.

Katie immediately back-pedaled and tried to explain, but it was too late. Lauren, Michelynne, Mercedes and Cecile had had enough of Katie. If she didn’t want to be friends, that was fine with them. It simply gave them the reason they needed to totally shut her out. The atmosphere in the house instantly became strained and uptight.

The next class instruction was certainly apropos as the focal point of the class was creating anger for a scene, use it and then lose it quickly.

First up are Katie and Lauren. Already ripe with dislike, it didn’t take much for the scene to get out of hand and a physical brawl to ensue. The instructor sent them both back to their corners and directed the class into other more productive exercises.

Prompting them through emotional, angry memories, the instructor brought out the violence in each girl. The resulting feelings that erupted from each actress were exhausting and I found myself drained just from watching them.

At the end of the class, the instructor awarded the Diva Suite to Cecile, who truly scared me with the anger that emanated from her. She will also get a free set of head shots from a well-known photographer.

That evening the girls clustered in one corner of the hot tub, while Katie huddled in the other corner. Drinks flowed and toasts were made. Glasses clinked except Katie’s, whose beer bottle remained hanging in the air unclinked.

Lauren, Mercedes, Michelynne and Cecile exited the hot tub and went to the pool. Katie remained behind, sullen and dejected. The bridge has been burned. There’s no going back.

The next day was the screen test. The girls are working with David Gallagher from 7th Heaven in a scene from A Cinderella Story. The girls struggle, as this is a scene with a lot of lines. More expletives fill the air as one by one they forget their lines.

Afterward, David Gallagher offered comments on their tests. He said Michelynne came across as innocent and sweet. David felt Lauren played more with her face than her body. She stayed on her mark and was very stiff. Katie, he thought had the most daring performance and took risks. Mercedes came in as though she had a job to do. The read with Cecile was very different and more intense. He felt like he was a little boy and being yelled at by his mom.

In side interviews with Katie, she continually maintains her decision to distance herself from the other girls and stay focused.

It’s the evening and the girls view their screen tests and face the panel. Joseph didn’t like Mercedes at first, but was impressed with the remainder. The other judges agreed.

Lauren’s test came across as wooden and without depth. Joseph was bored with the test. Vivica thought she rushed through the scene. Faye wanted her to commit to the moment and to dig deep for the emotions.

Katie, by far did the best. Joseph completely loved her test. She was very natural and believable. Faye and Vivica agreed. Katie receiving good responses did not go well with the other girls.

Initially in her test, Michelynne did seem to be there, but later came into the role. Faye is looking for her vulnerability and accused her of being wooden. Joseph praised her for her earlier growth.

Last was Cecile. Her test did not go well. Vivica and Faye tore her up. Joseph was disappointed in her. Cecile broke down and said that she thought it flowed. Joseph disagreed, but said now she was showing vulnerability and is the actor she should be.

While the judges discuss the girls’ tests, Lauren and Katie get into a verbal fight and the expletives heat up the room.

Meanwhile, the decision is getting rough. The judges are looking for more depth and true acting ability – not just a pretty face. The lovelies will need to work extremely hard to get past the next round.

Lauren has a pretty face, but not enough talent to see her through to the next round. She hugs Mercedes, Michelynne and Cecile and then shrugs off Katie’s hand as she exits the room, refusing to hug her.

Later, the remaining girls gather around the kitchen table and toast Lauren. Reluctantly, they allow Katie to join in.

I welcome your comments! Chloe@realityshack.com

Big J, little j, What Begins with J? Next Week’s Loser! – Nashville Star 3, Episode 4

Big J, little j, What Begins with J? Next Week’s Loser! – Nashville Star 3, Episode 4

by Lisa

As often happens when a group of people start spending way too much time together, the contestants are apparently passing around a nasty bug. It was feared to be strep, but turned out to just be a garden-variety sore throat. Despite the ailments mentioned by various contestants throughout the show, this turns out to be a really strong night of performances. And for the first time, it is not so obvious who is likely to get the ax next week.

Sara Evans is the special guest star this week, and kicks things off with her current hit “Suds in the Bucket”. LeAnn Rimes appears in what I suspect may be one of Nancy O’Dell’s outfits from last year, a micro micro mini denim skirt and stilettos, and attempts to make happy small talk with the not-so-happy-looking contestants. She calls Justin over to ask him how he is doing given the backlash to his cocky comments from last week, and he quips that he hopes Cletus is backstage with that mop and bucket that he had ready after Jenny Farrell’s incident.

LeAnn then puts one mind at ease by calling Jayron Weaver to the stage as the first person to move on in this week’s competition. He sings a rousting version of “Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Me”, though I was not as moved by it as some of his previous performances. Afterward, he tells LeAnn that he is looking for a brown-haired church-goin’ girlfriend. Why bother with Match.com when you can just use national TV as your dating service? Smart man. Anastasia says he is one of her favorites, but it was not his best song choice, Phil says he has set the bar high and he is one of the best in the group, and Bret says he’s got a great tone in his voice.

Next up is Erika Jo, who settles down a bit this week to belt out the ballad “Forgive” and once again does a fabulous job, even if she looks like she might have run a bit thin on air on some of the big power notes. Bret says she looks like she was born to be on stage, Phil says she is one of the best on stage in this whole group (wait, didn’t he just say that to Jayron?), and Anastasia says she is one of the best singers.

Then it is time to check in with Cletus. He takes us backstage to mingle with the jittery contestants, first asking Tamika how she feels after Anastasia said she was the lead horse in this competition and asking if that adds to the pressure. She of course says that she works well under pressure, etc. Next he tackles Erika Jo and asks her if there is tension among the contestants. We had previously been shown a clip where the older contestants seem to be saying that they are more worthy of winning than youngsters Erika Jo or Casey Simpson, as they have been paying their dues for so much longer. I don’t think this was a serious altercation, it sounds like it took some good film editing to make this look even vaguely interesting. Anyway, Erika reassures us that there is no tension at all among the group, and we move on.

The next survivor is Tamika Tyler, who cannot even feign a look of surprise when her name is called. She struts out with a guitar and attempts to rock it with Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About”. She does a fine job, though in my opinion she’s not the wow of the previous weeks. And she still looks like she is shopping at Forever 21, in cuffed capris and a little girl flowered top. Anastasia says “I love me some Tamika” but also informs her that she needs to tweak her image. Phil says that she was three-in-a-row awesome, and Bret says he loves her drive and even her chip on her shoulder.

Then Cletus pops back on to do a quick plug for the hotel sponsor, and also to let us know how we can attend the show in person. Hey wait, for the first time, he is actually telling us something useful – hurray! So if you are planning to be in Tennessee in the next few weeks and would like to check out Nashville Star in person, log onto www.gaylordopryland.com. Hmmm, me thinks it may be time to call in sick to work and do a little roadtrip…

But first it’s back to the show, where Jenny Farrell is called to the stage. This week she picks a song we’ve all probably heard one too many times, “Maybe It Was Memphis”, but does a surprisingly fresh rendition. Phil says it is a hard song to sing but she did a great job, Anastasia says the camera loves you and it was a good song for your voice, and Bret says he sees his Jack Daniels advice worked (his advice to her last week was to take a shot of JD before hitting the stage next time) and that she looked comfortable on stage for the first time in the competition.

Next up is Jason Meadows, who pulls out a classic with Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors”. He leaves the guitar behind, which works to his advantage this week as it allows us to focus on the strength of his voice instead of his overcaffeinated strumming. Anastasia says “I know you think your charm is lethal, but I think that song showed some limitations in your vocal ability”, Phil says he thought it was very sexy, and Bret tells him to keep up his enthusiasm but watch his pitch.

And so it is down to three. Cletus reappears to ask Jody how the fans are doing back in Arkansas and if he’s had any streets named after him yet. I don’t think I need to tell you the answer.

No surprise that the next-to-last name called is Jody Evans, who is back in full retro-Opry mode tonight (don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing!) with his embroidered suit coat and acoustic guitar and gives us a high energy version of “There Goes My Heart”. Bret says he had good energy, a good vibe, and a great live performance, Phil calls him consistent, and Anastasia says he has the most star power of this competition.

Predictably, our bottom two are last week’s least pleasant vocal performance and least pleasant stupid remark, Casey Simpson and Justin David respectively. And the loser is…Casey Simpson. When LeAnn asks her what she would have done differently last week, she simply says “I wouldn’t have sung that song cuz I really got reamed for it.” Yup, pretty much. And so Justin David becomes our new comeback kid. He is totally beaming with happiness on stage and gives an enthusiastic performance of “Highway 40 Blues”. Anastasia says “You don’t have to go Chucky on me tonight cuz you nailed it”, Bret says we won’t count last week, you’ve raised the bar, now bring it next week, and Phil simply says that he really played great.

So who will be leaving us next week? I think it is easier to start with the list of those who are practically sure things in this round, and that would be Erika Jo, Tamika, and Jason, with Jenny close behind. That leaves Jayron, Jody, and Justin, all of whom I would enjoy listening to in a bar over a few beers, but at this point they are just not in the running to win this competition. Which means one of them will be leaving us next week.

There are treats-a-plenty in store for next Tuesday. Not only is it Original Song night, which has historically been a lot of fun and truly separates the wheat from the chaff, but we will also get two of the judges up on stage performing. First, Phil Vassar will sing one of his hits, and then – does it get much better than this? – LeAnn will team up with Bret for a go at “Every Rose Has Its Thorns”. I think that alone might be worth the drive to Nashville. See you there!

You can contact Lisa with questions, comments, or general gabbery at lisa@realityshack.com.

Shame – Let It Go To Waste – Starting Over, 03-22-05

by LauraBelle

Today’s episode of Starting Over was a special one dealing with shame. Cassie has been feeling particularly shameful of late, so Dr. Stan, Iyanla and Rhonda brought back some past Starting Over graduates to help learn ho they dealt with their shame.

Dr. Stan explains shame by saying it feeds on secrecy, and controls our lives. He says you can only feel shamed by your secret until you release it. Along with this comes self-loathing and feeling ashamed of who you are.

After past and present housemates Candy, Renee, Jennifer, PJ, Josie, Vanessa and Denise are shown talking of their own feelings of shame during their tenure on the show, Dr. Stan, Iyanla and Rhonda meet with Cassie to talk of her current and past shame. She says she deals with shame every day of her life. She is ashamed of giving her son up for adoption, her years of alcohol abuse, and even checking herself into a hotel faking kidney stones to get drugs.

Cassie says shame is her middle name, and that she first felt it when she would be with her dad at the American Legion, and he would be drinking. They would stay until 3:00 AM. Rhonda urges her to realize the shame should lie with her father, not her.

In the past, Cassie was driven by shame – she drank, hid and went from relationship to relationship. She is ashamed today of wasting all this time not to complete her GED. Iyanla asks if Cassie can love herself, and she answers that she just doesn’t feel accomplished.

After discussing all of it with Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan, Cassie is asked what’s wrong with her today, and she says nothing. Watching old clips of her, we can see how she’s changed to be more self-assured. Cassie credits visiting the homeless shelter and cemetery for when she began to stop her shameful thinking.

Asked what her poster would say to teach others of the dangers of feeling shame, Cassie says it would says, “Shame – Let it go to waste.”

Successful Starting Over Graduate, Andy, is on the show to talk of her inherited shame. She has two shames she used to carry. Her twin sister murdered her boyfriend, then herself. Andy and her sister also carried the shame of not having a father.

Her father’s identity and her sister’s schizophrenia were Andy’s family secrets, and they led to her feeling shamed. Her home looked pretty on the outside, but was anything but on the inside. They lived with her grandparents who kept three layers of curtains up to be sure their secrets weren’t discovered.

Andy says her sister’s secrets included numerous suicide attempts and violence against everyone in the family including her mom and Andy. Andy felt responsible as her twin; everyone thought she was the only one that could help. Dr. Stan explains when parents burden a child with issues they don’t understand, their sense of self becomes damaged.

Everything in Andy’s adult life was built around keeping the family secrets and preserving the image of perfection. She was a model and once she became older, she tried to force the issue to become a television news person, all things built around keeping up that image.

The turning point for Andy in he Starting Over house was the camping trip. Climbing up the big wall, she was forced to trust two other women to help her. She realized she couldn’t go backwards or forwards without the help of other people in her life.

Andy offers a tip to other women – you don’t connect if you’re perfect; you do connect through shared weaknesses. There is so much value in her words, that I hope everyone takes note.

A more recent Starting Over graduate, Towanda, shares the couch next with Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan. Like Andy, she too, was brought up to be perfect. They were five perfect daughters with a minister father and evangelist mother. They were seen as a perfect family.

Towanda struggled with Sommer while in Starting Over, because Sommer was an admitted adulterer. Since Towanda’s father had stepped out on her mom, and later married the woman, to look at Sommer was like facing her stepmother.

The turning point for Towanda came the day everyone wore scarlet letters. While Sommer wore an A for adultery, the other women all wore a letter signifying what they were most ashamed of. Towanda wore an N for “not signing.” When she and her sisters were being singed to record label, she knew her pregnant sister was going to be left out, but singed anyway, out of greed, she says. At the end of the lesson with scarlet letters, Towanda had learned we all do shameful things, and she was the one to pull the A off Sommer’s chest, freeing them both.

The last graduate to visit is Rain. Rhonda explains her struggles made her such a powerhouse, and the only person that couldn’t see it was Rain. Her goal was to break the cycle of welfare.

Rain was ashamed of everything; just her mere existence was shameful to her. She was ashamed of having children, not being married, not being a good mom, and being on public assistance.

While she always worked, Rain needed public assistance for her kids to survive. Everything for her was minimal or minimum. She held minimal meaning jobs that earning minimal pay and put minimum of effort in that she needed to.

She was never ashamed of having children, per se, she was ashamed of the ay she had them, as she wasn’t married. Twenty years old when she bore her first child, she stopped going to church out of shame. She was even more shameful when it happened to her again with her second child; ashamed she hadn’t learned.

Rain doesn’t want to talk of the original shame in her life. Rhonda and Iyanla note that as a post graduate, Rain should know to never say she doesn’t want to talk about something to her life coach. Rain says it was something that hurt her so deeply that it affected all the choices she made in her life.

It is pointed out that she still must be shamed because she can’t allow herself to share. Iyanla continues to urge her, saying life gives us an an endless supply of re-dos to start over, meaning she could still do it again, even though she has already graduated, if she frees herself from this shame. Iyanla points out she walked away from this house with the experience in how to deal with it. It could all lead back to this original foothill of shame.

Eventually Rain opens up some, and says it was about her as a child losing her innocence. She was manipulated so that this other person could tell her things she shouldn’t have known. Her life coaches tell her it sounds like an adult exploited her and that she is ashamed of being a woman and human being, with the feelings brought from it, causing a domino effect throughout her life.

Rain continues to try and improve her life. She doesn’t want her children to be like her, and doesn’t want them to be hurt and live in an abusive relationship like she had. She is going to school and is working still, and is now off public assistance, other than her kids’ medicaid. We all know, though, that as long as she continues to hold in the secret and the shame of her early years, she won’t be everything she could be.

Dr. Stan explains shame is so pervasive, and it becomes a burden. He encourages everyone to consult a professional to talk of their shame and secrets, to release it. Everyone needs to confront that shame.

This is something we all can learn from, and is the reason behind the show. The people behind Starting Over realized the therapeutic effects of the show. Some are so shamed, they are afraid to go to anyone else with their problems, but when they see someone on a favorite television show that shares their burdens, it helps them know there’s an end in sight, encouraging them to work it out. I know somewhere out there are women that Cassie has boldly helped, talking so directly and honestly of her struggles with abusive, rape, education, adoption and addiction. Hopefully this will help turn the tide for her from shame to acceptance.

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

Someone Get Mikalah, Anwar, And Nikko A Map – American Idol, 03-22-05

Someone Get Mikalah, Anwar, And Nikko A Map – American Idol, 03-22-05

by LauraBelle

This week’s American Idol theme is Number One Billboard Hits. This opens it up for everyone to be able to express themselves and show something of themselves they have been waiting to show. Most succeed in showing exactly why they are in the final eleven, but some are still struggling to show us what they have been trying to show us for the past few months.

Anthony Federov starts us off singing I Knew You Were Waiting, a song from 1987, that he says feel true for him. To me, the more he sings pop, the more he gets away from those stunning vocals he had in the beginning, and oddly his performance reminds me of Simply Red. Randy admits to working on the original release of this song done by George Michael and Aretha Franklin, and feels Anthony is back. Paula feels he came back strong, and Simon says it was just okay. He thinks Anthony was trying to do a kind of sexy routine. The girls in the audience disagree, and Simon backs it up saying it’s like Randy doing Baywatch. Please don’t scare us like that Simon.

Carrie Underwood sings Alone, originally done by Heart in 1987, saying she wants to take a risk. She definitely takes a risk, and it works for her, complete with big 80s hair. I’m sure if we looked in her dressing room we’d see a huge can of Final Net. She proves tonight she can do pop, not just country. Randy says this is one of her best so far, and likes her hair. Paula admits to working on the video with Heart, and says hat’s off to Carrie for taking on the Wilson sisters. Simon says she has become not only the girl to beat, but the person to beat, and even makes a prediction, saying he believes she will win and sell more records than any other winning idol. I wish he’d stop pimping people like that; it becomes a turnoff, and makes us stop voting for them. He’s not doing Carrie any service by saying that.

Scott Savol sings Against All Odds, a 1984 tune by Phil Collins. He believes his dad could relate to this, and I really hope his dad appreciates all the time and effort Scott has put into trying to prove himself to him. At first I was worried with this song choice; it’s been done so many times before, but he really let loose on this. Every week we see more and more of him. Randy and Paula agree with me and Simon says thank God it was only a minute long sing, otherwise he could have gone into a full striptease, a reference to the fact that Scott ripped off his glasses and threw them to the side during the lyrics “Take a look at me now.” Speaking honestly, Simon did not think it was fantastic vocally. Whatever, go pimp Carrie some more.

Bo Bice– you just gotta love him – picks Time In A Bottle, done in 1973 by Jim Croce. He said he picked it up at a yard sale for twenty-five cents, and knows his mom will like it. He oddly squats during the song and sings to the male guitar player perched on the stage. Yet another genre Bo can tackle. Randy liked the sensitive Bo, and Paula says his fans will believe her when she says he is a gift. Simon gives him what he considers the best compliment, and says watching him, he doesn’t feel he’s watching someone in a competition; it’s like he’s already made it.

Nikko Smith sings Incomplete, a 2000 song by one of his influences, Sisqo. I have never been a huge Nikko fan, and this one just doesn’t sell it for me at all. It almost sounds like he’s screaming the lyrics in part. Randy, meaning it as a compliment, says he’s hoping America finally sees the real Nikko. Paula is speechless, saying it’s the best he’s sounded, and even Simon says it’s by far his best, making Paula kiss him. Maybe she can do this to the judge, too, to get out of that DUI charge against her.

Vonzell Solomon sings Best of My Love from 1977 by the Emotions. She remembers listening to it with her dad, making me wonder if they were wearing cowboy boots and hats. She finally comes out of the overdone Diva mode, and does quite well, capturing the whole feeling from 1977. This is the Vonzell we remember from early on, making it seem so effortless. Randy says she finally came out, and Paula agrees. Simon says to not take this wrong way (uh-oh), but this is the first time people are going to remember her. Going by Finals and most of Semi-Finals, he’s right.

Constantine Maroulis takes a huge risk, and sings I Think I Love You, originally done by The Partridge Family in 1970. He says he thinks this song rocks, and it’s about time someone redid it. I know many people will disagree with me, but I loved this on him. And I can say it was definitely much better than any of the David Cassidy replacements found for that horrible In Search Of The Partridge Family on VH1. Randy found it a very interesting song choice, and feels he pulled it off. Paula notes, out of everyone, he has the best showmanship, and is an excellent entertainer. Simon says it was an odd fit, a rocker doing Partridge Family. He says it’s like ordering a guard dog and getting a poodle in a leather jacket. Reading David Cassidy’s biography, he actually was a rocker, stuck doing music he hated, so maybe it fits more than Simon realizes.

Nadia Turner didn’t find a lot of songs she liked in the Billboard Number ones, as she likes “artsy fartsy” songs, and many of those don’t reach number one, but she decides she likes Time After Time, done in 1984 by Cyndi Lauper. First off, I know this first hand, you can’t do Lauper with a lower voice. Found that out karaoke-ing, trying to do Girls Just Want To Have Fun with another low-voiced woman. I find the same with Nadia. I normally think she sounds great, but this I am less than thrilled with. Randy says she’s definitely a star all the time, and Paula says she looks like a rocker, as she’s wearing what is either a pseudo mohawk or a huge 80s banana clip, yet Paula also notes it’s not her favorite choice of song. Simon evokes his favorite criticism, saying it’s cruise ship cabaret. Ryan notes that he thinks Nadia did pretty well considering her mike pack moved down partially through the song.

Mikalah Gordon tackles Taylor Dane’s 1990 tune, Love Will Lead You Back, noting she had a great view of the audience from the bottom two last week, and hopes this will lead her back. Umm, I’m thinking bottom two again. Not sounding good at all lately. I really liked her in the beginning, and like Randy tonight, I miss the fun, energetic Mikalah. Paula notes early on this season she thought Mikalah reminded her of Taylor Dane, but is caught up with something (can’t read my notes … must learn shorthand). Simon says it was a complete mess (or is he referring to my notes?)

Anwar Robinson sings 1983’s Ain’t Nobody by Rufus and Chaka Kahn. He likes it because it’s funky and has a groove to it, unlike his performance. He’s lost something in finals, and needs to find it quickly. Randy says he always gets the big note, and calls is awwight. Paula likes that he tackled a song by a female performer, and feels he rose to the challenge. Simon feels it was a risk, and inconsistent, although it was rescued with the big glory note.

Jessica Sierra, last and never least, sings Bonnie Tyler’s classic, 1983’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, because she has always wanted to sing this on American Idol. She proves she can do rock and country. She sounds great, and proves she didn’t deserve bottom three last week. Randy calls it brilliant and welcomes her back to the competition. Paula also calls it brilliant and says she’s proud of her. Simon notes it was predicted that the girls this year would be also-rans, but says Jessica and Carrie were better than any other person tonight. Even in Jessica’s performance, Simon still finds a way to pimp Carrie. Give it a rest.

I thought this was a great week, overall. I think many of the performers stepped up to the plate, and some are just lost, and I want to hand them a map, because I like them. Mikalah, just be yourself. You too, Anwar. A great lesson for your students would be to honor yourself at the same time instead of looking for what you think everyone else will like on you. Nikko, you were voted out once, and I understood. It seems to me you merely try to copy another’s performance every week. I think you should tell Mario, thanks but no thanks. Take your job back.

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

Born With A Horseshoe Right Up My … – Amazing Race7 , Episode 4

Born With a Horshoe Up My … The Amazing Race 7 Episode 4

by LauraBelle

It seems to me with Rob and Amber, you either love them or hate them. I have liked Rob during both of his seasons on Survivor, and like him even more here. But reading message boards, I can see not everyone agrees. You have to give him props, though. For being that ballsy and cunning, and having fate with him week after week after week.

Lynn and Alex, at 3:49 AM, are the first to leave the pit stop in Mendoza, Argentina, and must drive twenty-five miles to La Lunta, to find a ranch called Cabana La Guatana. They recognize that they have a huge advantage in time, and hope to even get on a plane before any others. Uchenna and Joyce follow behind at 4:07 AM. Ron and Kelly and Brian and Greg leave at the same time, 4:45. Ron makes a military reference, for those of you keeping track. I understand a drinking game has developed; every time Ron makes a reference to the military you have to take a drink.

Lynn and Alex reach the ranch first to find a Roadblock. One member from each team will need to do the Gaucho challenge – riding a horse through a course, and grabbing a ring at the end, and finish under forty seconds. Alex decides to do this challenge. Their nemeses, Rob and Amber, are leaving at 6:59 AM. Rob likes being fifth; he likes being under pressure.

Alex finishes easily, and receives a clue stating they need to drive to the airport, to catch one of two flights to Buenos Aires, at 9:30 and 2:30. Once in Buenos Aires, they needs to find the English Clock Tower and a find a man in a raincoat, who will give them their next clue.

Uchenna and Joyce arrive, and having previous horse experience, Joyce decides to do the task. Twice, though, she falls. She asks for another horse, and is denied. The third time proves to be the charm for her as she makes it in thirty-seven seconds. Ron and Kelly arrive, and Kelly decides to do the Gaucho challenge, finishing easily in thirty-nine seconds.

Rob and Amber are lost for the first time in the race. They aren’t sure where to go, and it’s not good since they are starting out in fifth place, so much behind the top four. Lynn and Alex arrive at the airport, book the 9:30 flight, and hope no one else arrives in time. Minutes later, Uchenna and Joyce arrive and get on the same flight.

Brian and Greg originally drove past the ranch, but find it, as they finish quickly in 33.75 seconds. They, along with Ron and Kelly arrive at the airport, and those first four teams are all on the 9:30 flight.

Ray and Deanna are leaving Mendoza at 6:34. Ray doesn’t like being in the bottom pack of teams, not wanting to associate with them. Maybe you’d be happier with Jonathon and Victoria from last season; they seem to be right about your caliber. Meredith and Gretchen and Susan and Patrick are the last two teams to leave.

Rob and Amber happen to stumble on to the ranch; still lost, just happen to drive past it. Rob does the challenge quickly, and as they rush to the airport, Amber hopes to catch up to the top four teams, making all the suffering the top four teams did last week (eating the four pounds of meat) for nothing, being they were the only teams to finish it other than the last team of Susan and Patrick. Those first four teams are on the flight, preparing for take off, laughing at how Rob and Amber are left behind, saying, “Survive that!” All mouths drop as Rob and Amber board the flight just in the nick of time.

Deanna chooses to the do the roadblock and is upset because she can’t get her horse to hurry up. Ray yells at her, and she wants to quit. She quit the meat-eating challenge last week, too, but somehow this seems more doable. She cries as she keeps saying how hard it is, and eventually her perseverance pays off as she gets it in 33 seconds.

Meredith and Gretchen and Susan and Patrick both get caught up on the drive to the ranch by a clown entertaining in the middle of the street. Gretchen says “God bless them, paying for their college,” and Patrick wishes he could run over the clown. Meredith and Patrick do the roadblock, and as Meredith finishes, Gretchen gushes, “What a gaucho you are!” Patrick struggles some with it and is angry with his mother for nagging him. As he finishes he complains that his crotch hurts.

The 9:30 flight ends, and the rush is on to find the man in the black raincoat. Rob and Amber find him first, and receive a clue to take the train to Tigre and find the docks at 700 Lavalle. Brian and Greg, Ron and Kelly, Uchenna and Joyce and Lynn and Alex all get on the same train as Rob and Amber.

Merdith and Gretchen, Ray and Deana and Susan and Patrick all catch the 2:30 flight, and someone, I believe it’s Gretchen’s voice, calls them a menage a tois. Okey dokey. Each of these teams realize one of them is sure to be eliminated, being they are five hours behind everyone else.

Lynn and Alex compare Rob and Amber to an STD, feeling they need to protect themselves from them, as both teams arrive at the docks the same time. They are faced with a Detour. Shipwreck or Island. Teams choosing Shipwreck need to search through the waterways of abandoned ships to find a certain shipwrecked boat that matches a photo of the same boat 30 years earlier. In Island, teams need to travel down the San Antonio River and navigate the river to find a small island.

Rob and Amber choose to search for the shipwreck, and Lynn and Alex choose the island. Both have boat problems. Rob and Amber’s breaks, and they choose to chance it and keep moving ahead, finding the shipwreck quickly. Their clue says they must travel to the La Martina Polo Club in Vicente Casares, the pit stop for this leg of the race. Rob decides that since their boat driver, Carlos, has been good to them, he’ll leave Carlos with “a piece of himself” – his Boston Red Sox hat.

Lynn and Alex’s boat gets a huge leak and a replacement is called for. The rules state they are not awarded any time if a vehicle breaks down (as Bolo and Lori found last race), so they lose valuable time waiting for a replacement boat.

While they wait, Brian and Greg search for and find the shipwreck. Ron and Kelly and Uchenna and Joyce are initially lost, but find the docks, and both search for and find the island. Lynn and Alex find the island quickly after receiving the new boat.

Driving to the Polo Club, Rob said he must have been born with a horseshoe up his ass. They arrive at the Polo Club in first place, winning a trip to London. Some people have noticed a trip is not awarded with every leg of the race this year. Maybe this year’s sponsor, Travelocity, is cheaper than the previous sponsor, American Airlines. Brian and Greg arrive in second place, with Uchenna and Joyce, Ron and Kelly and Lynn and Alex coming in third, fourth and fifth places.

With the second flight finally landing, Ray and Deana, Meredith and Gretchen and Susan and Patrick all find the man in the black raincoat quickly. Ray states he believes Meredith and Gretchen are a couple decades behind where they need to be to run this race. He also says, “he won’t allow it”, of the chances of being beaten by them. Man, I hope Ray and Deana are eliminated before Meredith and Gretchen.

Both of those two couples make the first train, while Susan and Patrick make the second train. They believe, though, that they’re on the first train all alone, and Patrick looks quite proud of himself.

With all three teams arriving at the docks, they all decide to look for the island. Apparently Susan and Patrick got Lynn and Alex’s boat as they are soon stranded as well. They, too, wait for a replacement. Ray and Deana find the island first, and are leaving, but Meredith and Gretchen assume that they haven’t found it yet, and follow them away from the island. Ray repeats again he refuses to lose to a seventy-year-old man, even if it’s checkers. Eventually Meredith and Gretchen find the island, and shortly after, Susan and Patrick find it as well in their replacement boat.

Ray and Deanna arrive at the pit stop in sixth place, with Meredith and Gretchen arriving in seventh, making her say, “Son of a ….” Susan and Patrick are the last to arrive and are eliminated. Susan is very upset, and Phil asks why it was important to her. She says she knew they could do it, but it was out of their control today. She states Patrick’s constant pessimism is hard to take and he states the same about her optimism.

Boy, Patrick really showed Rob. How just that Patrick said in the first episode he was out to beat Amber and Rob, and told everyone Rob was as dumb as a bag of rocks. Interesting that on the leg Patrick and his mom were eliminated, Rob and Amber came in first. True, Rob has that dang horseshoe thing going on, but there’s also much cunningness going on here. He chose to continue with the broken boat, given him the advantage; the other two teams didn’t. Obviously something else in that head of Rob’s other than thoughts of Amber and rocks.

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

captainD's Boot Prediction – Survivor Palau, Episode 6

captainD’s Boot Prediction Survivor Palau Episode 6

by captainD

Welcome back to week six of Survivor: Palau. Now one-third of the way through, this season remains impressive. The double tribal council was a great excuse to get rid of Willard, and now Koror is as strong as ever. As promised by Jeff there will be no early merge, so the fate of the remaining Ulong’s rest in their own hands. Can they finally come through?

This week we have a military shooting type reward challenge that will test our survivors accuracy. Koror will most likely sit out their strong four so they can be available to compete for immunity. That should leave Ulong in good shape to win reward. For immunity a desperate Ulong tribe will have to deal with the strength of the Koror lineup. You can expect them to lose a record 5’th consecutive immunity challenge. Tribal council will come down to a battle between James and Ibrehem with Ibe’s friendship with Bobby Jon being the deciding factor. The next person voted out of Palau is JAMES.

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at captainDs5@yahoo.com

There Is So Much Healing Going On Here – Starting Over, 03-21-05

by LauraBelle

Every day when I’m searching for a title for these Starting Over recaps, I want to call it something hat has to do with healing, but I resist so that the title isn’t the same every day. Today’s title wasn’t spoken about the Starting Over house (although it very well could have been), but instead the memorial service for Rachael’s parents.

Iyanla and Rachael meet over breakfast in Vallejo, California, Rachael’s hometown. Rachael says she knows if Iyanla can make her laugh she’ll feel better about speaking at the memorial service for her mom and stepfather, Jesse. Iyanla makes a fish face, and follows it up saying she doesn’t know why Rachael is nervous about this. It’s her life and she wasn’t nervous when it was going on. Rachael’s brother, Jason, walks in, and Iyanla announces he is wearing a white short and shoes. We don’t see what the shoes look like, but I am imagining Pat Boone shoes.

Back at the Starting Over house, Candy talks on the phone with recent Starting Over graduate, Renee, and explains to her that Rachael is in Vallejo with Iyanla and that while her grandmother, aunt and uncle are not attending, her brother is, and he even visited her in the Starting Over house.

The memorial service is being held at Rachael’s family’s church, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. Rachael and Jason walk in, greet people, and sit together. The pastor introduces Rachael up to the podium.

As she fights back the tears, Rachael talks of when her mother and Jesse died. She explains she feels that all of the brokenness, suffering and pain were a part of an anointing. She feels that she wouldn’t be able to appreciate her family, love and God now if she hadn’t been through all the pain.

As Jason fights his own tears, Rachael says she doesn’t believe she lost her parents; they simply entered into a transition to a better place and aren’t suffering any longer. She tells the crowd of family and friends that there is so much healing going on there, and it isn’t just with her. She ends giving thanks to her family and Iyanla.

Iyanla wonders if Rachael realizes the powerful effect she has had, that as the youngest member of the family, she led them all through healing and a powerful awareness.

As the service is moved to Rachael’s parents’ gravesite she notes she hasn’t been there in nine years. She explains to the crowd the things she enjoyed about her mother – her compassion, the ability to see and relate to others’ pain, and a positive attitude. Of her stepfather, Rachael says he provided her with an example of the type of man she would like in her life.

After, Rachael says she believes her and Jason are lucky; some people never even get to know what love is. They were lucky to have a mom and each other and to be a real family. Iyanla thinks this is the first time Rachael has ever realized Jason was hurt as much as she was all this time.

The family and friends of Rachael meet at a restaurant after the service. Jason says for what seems like the umpteenth time today that it means the world to him to be a part of this service and be there for Rachael. He promises to never lose touch with her again.

The other Starting Over gals are having their own family dinner back at the house. Cassie worries she’ll be the first person to leave the house without accomplishing her goals. She is still waiting for her math GED results and has made the painful decision to stop trying to contact her son. Candy points out she needs to realize she still made some type of connection, whether it was the “ultimate” connection she desired or not.

Rachael arrives home and shares with the other women how the memorial service went. She tells them even her uncle and his wife showed up, despite them saying they wouldn’t.

The next morning, Dr. Stan opens Group, and wants to talk about the joys of laughter, and how it aids in healing. He asks who has a joke. Bethany tells a self-described corny joke, “What does the farmer say when he can’t find his tractor? He says, ‘Where’s my tractor?'” Cassie tells a blonde joke – this coming from the woman who cried for days after her blonde highlights were lightened up a little. “A blond goes to the gynecologist and is told she is pregnant. She asks, ‘Is it mine?'”

The women are asked for examples of how they’ve used humor to get through the hard times. Allison says she just had to laugh the other day when she was on the phone and her breast prosthetic came popping out. Bethany talks of playing a 90s trivia game the other day and had to laugh when she realized as an amnesiac this wasn’t the best game for her.

Dr. Stan explains the physical benefits of laughter. You take in more air, release endorphins, decrease stress, and gain T cells that fight infection. He asks why we don’t laugh more and challenges the women to make each other laugh.

First up is Cassie, who needs to make Rachael laugh. She succeeds, singing a song about knowing the weenie man. Allison scores quickly, taking out her prosthetic and flinging it at Candy. This results in them playing Toss Across with it in front of Dr. Stan’s face. She gives a command performance making fart noises with her hands on her mouth. Rachael fails at making Cassie laugh, but Dr. Stan gives her a point for making herself laugh.

After this great start to their day, Bethany meets with Dr. Stan, and he asks if she dressed up for him, to which she replies no, it’s her new look. She also tells him she’s feeling good about taking care of herself with better diet and exercise.

Dr. Stan takes Bethany to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Duma, for an MRI, just to make sure there’s no physical reason for the amnesia and debilitating headaches. After the MRI films are reviewed, Dr. Duma meets withy Bethany and Dr. Stan. He confirms there is no physical reason for the amnesia and headaches.

Rhonda and Cassie meet at the Karma Coffeehouse. Cassie admits to having anxiety as she knows Rhonda is holding on to her revised GED results. She opens the results and sees she didn’t pass the math requirement once again. She is upset as she hasn’t gotten what she has come here for.

Acknowledging Cassie is right that she has to let herself feel those feelings, Rhonda tells her she has done with her GED in eight weeks what some do in four years of high school. That right there is an accomplishment. Cassie says she is learning to accept that she isn’t going to continue pursuing her son. Since one of her steps was the honor her son, Rhonda is asking her to have a ceremony for her son. Rhonda says she hates to say the word proud, as it isn’t her job to be proud of Cassie, it’s Cassie’s job. Nevertheless, she can’t think of a more fitting word – she is proud of her.

On the way back to the house, Rhonda admits she is worried about Cassie’s coffee consumption, noting she has an addictive personality. Cassie defends herself, saying she only has four or five cups of coffee, and if not that, she’s having tea. Rhonda notes she’d rather have her addicted to water or watermelon. Cassie says she has no shame in telling the women at the house her test results, and Rhonda hopes this is true. If she has no shame, she is finally free. In the house later, Cassie is studying her math, once again.

Rachael and Iyanla meet to talk of the memorial service’s effects the day before. Rachael says she has lots of good thoughts. They both acknowledge Rachael’s grandmother and Aunt CeCe never dealt with this loss, so their presence at the service probably wouldn’t have helped anyway. Iyanla tells Rachael she did an exquisite job. She also tells Rachael although she and Rachael’s biological dad are playing phone tag, he is looking very forward to coming.

I thought of ending this with my own corny joke, but I’d rather leave ’em thinking and feeling, then leave ’em laughing. Along with Rhonda, I realize Cassie has done much healing while in the Starting Over house; I just hope it’s enough to get her through all these continued disappointments. She doesn’t seem as solidly together though as Rachael does. She has never seemed stronger. She doesn’t seem like the same scared little girl that walked into the Starting Over house a few weeks ago. She is now a confident adult, ready to face her life. I wish I could know the same was true of Cassie.

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

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