Survivor Strategy – Rating the Rookies


by aurora

Survivor Palau kicked things off with a few surprises, which have been reported and analyzed to death already. But what about the contestants themselves? Is there anyone there who is really ready to play the game?

Before delving into the remaining 17 Survivors and their various strategies, let’s take a quick look at those already eliminated.

Wanda prepared for Survivor. She studied the game, conditioned herself physically, and planned out where she would fit into her tribe. She knew who would be targeted first (the leader), and she was right. Wanda wanted to be someone people could turn to, someone who would listen and understand and be sympathetic. According to the Survivor Insider (available at CBS.com), she planned to approach a strong player and explain that they were a target – and then offer herself as a partner. The idea was then to pull in a few other people and form a strong alliance of five, which would help her get further in the game.

While there were no guarantees that this plan would work, you have to give Wanda props for her preparations. Could she have become a serious contender? It’s hard to say; but it’s always a shame when someone who knows how to play the game and is ready to give it their all is eliminated so early.

As for Jonathan and Jolanda, really, there are no excuses. I admit to being puzzled by the reasons Jonathan was never picked to be on a tribe. He’s obviously a strong guy, so why was he passed over for the older and less buff men? As Jeff Probst has pointed out on more than one occasion, the game begins as soon as he tells them it’s on. So whether Jonathan was a victim of Coby’s plotting, or rather just a victim of his own inability to secure himself a place in the game, it really doesn’t matter.

Then there’s Jolanda, who wears the strange and contradictory title of “first individual immunity/ first person voted out of Palau”. Jolanda has a fascinating life story, and it’s no wonder that she’s a strong and outspoken person. In life, that has gotten her far and she is to be admired. However, this is Survivor, and one only needs to watch a few seasons to know that those who come off arrogant and overbearing from the get-go are among the first people escorted to Loser’s Lodge. ‘Nuff said.

It’s difficult to decipher the strategies and game plans of 17 other contestants after only one hour of Survivor, but there are a few glimmers of hope among this crew already.

Coby got a lot of face time in the first half of the show, and he’s shown himself to be a gamer. Thinking that there would be an immediate, large Tribal Council, Coby took charge and targeted a strong challenger in Jonathan. He then made an alliance with Angie, but failed to choose her in the pick ‘em tribal split. Coby will end up using his ‘charm’ and wit to keep himself in the game, all the while plotting his next move and next target.

As atarus pointed out in his recap of episode 1, Tom knew right off the bat that “fire was a loser job”, letting the audience know that he has indeed seen the show and knows his way around sticky situations. He approached Stephenie and Ian about an alliance, knowing that getting together with a strong male and a strong female would put him in a great position early on in the game. Even though they didn’t all end up on the same tribe, it wouldn’t surprise me if these three end up aligning after the merge.

Ian is another one to watch. He’s strong, quiet, and always observing – but gets involved and seems to be having a great time. He’ll be able to win people over and form solid bonds along the way.

Angie took a hit when alliance-buddy Coby left her standing on the mat instead of choosing her to be on his tribe. Being picked last for Ulong has left her feeling pretty insecure. If she could get over the pity-party and start looking for ways to divide the tribe she might have a chance – sadly, I don’t see that happening.

Stephenie also sends out strong vibes, but more in the same style as Ian. She’s not going to be a drama queen, and she won’t be relying on her looks to get her farther in the game. She’s got a strong alliance in Tom, and she’s athletic. She also wasn’t afraid to make her opinions known before TC, but didn’t push when Ibrehem disagreed with her. If Stephenie isn’t seen as an early challenge threat, she will do well.

The only other person who made an impression (as far as strategy goes), is Janu. When the tribe was building their shelter, she thought twice about showing her climbing abilities before jumping in to help. Although it’s only a spark, it’s a hint that she knows the game and realizes what makes someone a threat – and therefore a target.

As the season progresses, of course, we’ll get an opportunity to see more of the others and be able to determine how their strategies will help or hinder them. It’s an interesting and diverse group this season, with potential for a great deal of drama.

Comments are always welcome! Drop me a line at carrie@realityshack.com.


You Just Gotta Get Out There Sometimes – Starting Over, 02-21-05

by LauraBelle

Sitting in the kitchen this morning in the Starting Over house is a dry erase board that says, “We’ll Miss U Denise!” How true. She was such a larger than life presence; I think we’ll all miss her.

First up for Denise on Graduation Day is her last chat w/ Dr. Stan. He asks about the most important things she learned while on Starting Over. She replies compassion, kindness, joy and peace. She feels she always had compassion, but it was hard to find, so buried beneath her anger. Asked what’s next for her, she believes she will work on finding a career, although when pressed, says she has no plan. She does know she would like to possibly find an agent or taking acting classes. Dr. Stan says those are great ideas, and a collection of great ideas is a plan. He starts to tell Denise how much he will miss her, then decides he will tell her tonight at graduation.

Iyanla meets up with Renee and remarks on how much she likes her green shoes. Renee admits to being nervous about her test today for a possible learning disability. Iyanla urges her to realize the more information she can give them during the testing process, the more it will help them figure out how to help her learn better. Iyanla changes the subject and asks if she has called her dad yet, and Renee admits she doesn’t even have her dad’s phone number. She has tried calling other family members to get it, but hasn’t gotten it yet. She doesn’t even know where he lives to call 411.

Rhonda wants to check in with Bethany and see how she is doing with her timeline, and asks what Bethany thinks actually happened on December eleventh four years ago to make her lose her memory. All Bethany can figure is there was too much pressure on her, making her sick and tired. Yet, she doesn’t understand why that would take her memory away. Rhonda asks if she has to understand why or if she has accepted what has happened to her. She says she keeps having memory flashes that don’t make sense, and she she can’t explain it to her dad or anybody else, but feels she has finally accepted her amnesia. Rhonda wants Bethany to make a chart of her values, and how they compare both before amnesia and after amnesia.

Renee meets with the neuropsychologist, and admits to being nervous about the assessment test. The neuropsychologist tells her not to be; it’s just testing her to see her learning patterns and learning style. I will say that my daughter went through this recently, and while hearing your child has a learning disability is not exactly what you want here, it’s a a relief to know what the answer is to the struggles she has had all her life. It’s a blessing that she is now being helped to overcome this.

Rhonda leads Group today to talk about Denise graduating. Denise’s old self portrait is shown, a B/W image of herself surrounded with clutter. She notes she was pretending to be happy before. She looked good, but inside was a complete mess. She never wants to be that person again. Her new portrait shows her standing alongside Ermanno and their pet – I couldn’t tell whether it was a dog or cat, and can’t remember from Denise’s introduction video which it was. It says “Welcome” on a clean house, as she won’t be embarrassed to have company now.

In Starting Over tradition, graduate Andy Paige arrives for a makeover. Her housemates give her some feedback on what they would like to see. Bethany wants her to keep her red hair as it befits her personality. For her makeup, Cassie would like to see some voluptuous lips. Rachael thinks green eye shadow would look great with her red hair, and Andy agrees. Clothing-wise, Candy would like to see less “boobage”, yet would like to see Denise in something clingy and sexy that moves with her.

Andy brings Denise to soap star Lisa Rinna’s upscale clothing store, Belle Gray. Andy tells Denise she bets she has a whole closetful of black dresses, and Denise has to admit that Denise is right. Hey, Andy, what’s wrong with that? It’s classic! Denise tries on a champagne colored dress and loves the color, but really doesn’t like the panty lines that show. They both settle on a red dress that goes unseen by us viewers, presumably to save suspense for the graduation later.

Dr. Stan meets with Renee after her testing, and she says she feels drained, and that she did good in some areas, and not so good in others. She admits to also being tired about her fears of making the phone call to her father. She hasn’t talked to him since 1997. She has always blamed her father spending her college money for her reason for not going to college, but realizes now it was to cover her fear of being stupid.

Dr. Stan says he doesn’t think she wants to heal the relationship, and Renee says she doesn’t think so either. She knows she has disappointed him and that she is not the daughter he expected. Sounds like her and Candy have more in common than they would have ever thought before. Renee says the worst case scenario would be for him to say screw you, and her dream is for him to say look what you have accomplished. Dr. Stan tell her that if he chooses not to reconnect with her, all she can have is pity for him, for wasting the opportunity.

Rhonda meets with Bethany to check on her placement of values before and after amnesia. They particularly look at her values of hard work. Before amnesia, she strived for A+ across the board on her report cards, and after, though she is plagued with headaches while she works at the bridal shop, she never gives up. The Starting Over house, too, represents her hard work value. Rhonda takes the separating line from between Before Amnesia and After Amnesia and shows her she still has the same value of hard work. She is the same person she was before, and there is only one Bethany, not two.

Denise is at the salon and they are discussing how her hair should look. They all agree to keep the red, and she says she is thirty-four years old. She doesn’t want to look like a kid, but doesn’t want to look like an old lady either. She wants to be balanced outside just like she feels she is inside. They will maintain her length, but add dimension.

Renee is sitting near the phone and nearly hyperventilating over calling her father. Bethany offers to get her a drink. Rachael comes in and kisses her, and one by one her other housemates arrive for support. Her father doesn’t answer and she leaves a message.

Denise is led into the house with a paper bag over her head so no one sees her makeover just yet. There is bright red yarn stringing out of it for hair and Denise thinks Carrot Top would be proud.

Starting Over graduates Kim and Towanda arrive to support Denise during her graduation. Both hug their former housemates and the ones that have arrived since their departures. They say it is fun to be back here again, and excited to be part of it.

Denise has seen others graduate, and now it’s finally her turn, making her very emotional. This is a side we don’t get to see of Denise very often. Denise makes her entrance and Rhonda says it’s an honor to host this graduation. She talks of the many memories of Denise’s time in the house – how her life was such a literal mess beforehand and how it was affecting her marriage. Rhonda discusses how they discovered her mess and her bullying were masks to hide her internal pain. Her biggest moments were forgiving her deceased father and finally finding herself after being locked in an all white room with nothing to occupy herself for an entire day. Rhonda has seen that she has a passion for helping others like Shirley, and that Denise has a willingness to persevere. Rhonda says this is an honor and joy. She has laughed and cried with Denise as Denise has resisted, whined, wanted, complained and loved. All along she was being Denise. Rhonda says she’s going to miss her and she loves her.

Dr. Stan comes to the podium and says he always gets sad at graduations, particularly this one. These women become part of his life, and when they leave, he loses a part of himself. Plus, he says, no one calls him Dr. Stan like Denise. And no one makes him laugh like Denise. That was very touching, nearly as much as when he offered to be Josie’s surrogate father should she ever need one.

Rachael wants to say that Denise is very notorious for being funny, but she will always remember Denise’s compassion. For nine years no one held her or cried with her. Denise was the first person to do that, and it means to much to her. Denise, for her part, says she will miss Rachael the most. She sees so much of herself in Rachael. I wish Candy would have spoken today of Denise leaving. We know she had way more special feelings for her than she ever let on.

Iyanla presents Denise with her graduation gifts. A $2000 gift certificate to Closet Storage and Concepts. She will also be visited by an organizational specialist. Denise issues her last joke in the Starting Over house as she asks if it will be Shirley visiting her. To honor Denise’s strong marriage, she and Ermanno will enjoy a romantic weekend at a spa in Mystic Connecticut.

At the podium, Denise tells Rhonda she knew they had a connection when she could see the compassion in her eyes. She is so thankful Rhonda came into her life. She wants to give Rhonda a report card like the one she received, and wants to give her all As. To Iyanla, Denise says she is truly delicious, and wants to eat her with a fork and knife. To Dr. Stan she says he set an example of what a kind, sensitive, understanding man could be. She tells the women they are all her sisters, and that sometimes you just gotta get out there sometimes.

The phone rings as the women are outside wishing Denise a fond farewell, and we hear, “Hello? Hello? Renee?” We know deep down in our hearts her father is calling for her, and hope someone will hear he’s trying to reach her.

Dr. Stan is right. These women not only become part of Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan’s and each other’s lives, they become part of this house, and I feel being involved in these women’s lives five days a week that they have become part of my life. But you just gotta get out there sometimes.

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

Love Found in Cupid's Depends – The Surreal Life 4, Episode 6

by Samantha

The house wakes up to find Chris searching for Adrienne. He states that he is ready to cave and give into the model’s advances. When he finds her outside, he is taken aback that she is upset with him. Don’t you remember the night before when you told her she was trying to act like the house mental patient, Chyna? Or, how you laughed at her liking you? Well, she lets him know he’s a hypocrite and judgmental. Chris says he’s sorry for doubting Adrienne’s sincerity … and of course, she accepts her man’s apology!

The Surreal Times arrives and it states that “Love is in the Air”. The Surreal Lifers must prepare for a date night. Adrienne quivers in excitement that she will have some alone time with her man. Seeing how everyone but Jane is single, the house mates will be going through a dating game. The house shakes … is it a common California earthquake? No! It’s a diaper (or Depends) clad Ron Jeremy complete with wings and a bow! Brat comments that she would NEVER sleep with this man … even if he’s hung like a horse. The rules are set: the surreal gang must pick a date out of three candidates after some questioning. Adrienne is NOT happy about this. She wants a date with Chris.

Verne is up first, and in parades a few Playboy bunnies. Every one injected with silicone, bleached hair, and blue contacts. None of them are little people, but I guess that’s discrimination. First question? Verne asks if the first lady wears a thong … jeez! The woman says yes, and then drops her pants to show the wee man and the whole gang ala Adrienne. He asks the second lady if her boobs are real (NO!) and she comes over so he can take a feel. Who does he pick? Miss Boobies of coarse! Why? “Cause she let me feel her boobs” is his answer.

Marcus is next. He’s a supermodel, right? So why the normal looking women? These are your everyday mall girls. He selects the best looking one; a black woman showing a good amount of skin. I see why.

Brat gets a choice of three thugs. After asking which could “toss me around in bed” she picks afro-man.

Chyna gets 3 good looking choices! She skips the tall, dark, handsome, and goes for the short, stocky, and cute. She seems to have power issues over her boys.

Adrienne is next, and she could care less about date night. She asks her boys if they enjoy a woman who burps. The one that says yes gets picked. He is covered in tattoos and looks to be the type of guy she wanted to GET AWAY from according to the first episode.

Chris is last. Since Jane is married, she will be hosting one of the date “setups”. Three stations of romance. In walk 3 out of shape women for the fitness guru. Yet another cute guy set up with normal women, that haven’t seen the gym in a bit by the looks of it. Adrienne seems happy with this, seeing how she is WAY hotter then them. May I add 25 years younger too? Chris tells the women that there is a lot of rawness in the house, glancing over at Adrienne while he says it. Can they be raw? “Of coarse we can Peter Brady!” they all answer. He picks a woman that looks 10 years his senior, while an unhappy Adrienne watches.

The couples are grouped into pairs for the dating stations. Chris and Adrienne must double date – could this be a clever idea from the producers? Of course! The stations include row boats in the pool (?), a bear blanket with a spin the bottle game, and Jane’s FETISH dungeon where she prances about in a pleather suit, dishing out spankings!

Adrienne, Chris, and whoever they picked (some dude, some chick) head off to Jane’s Playground first. Whips, chains, and paddles hang from the ceiling. Chris and his date are taken aback by the whole thing. Adrienne, if anyone can remember, was on America’s Next Top Model always sporting leather slavery wrist and neck bands. She looks EXCITED to be there! Adrienne strips off her skirt to her undies to get spanked, while Chris takes off his shirt to get oiled. Chris comments on his date being uncomfortable by Adrienne’s nudity. I would think that was what she was going for. Adrienne’s date is on cloud nine, spanking the beautiful lanky model with an ear to ear grin.

Chyna and her date, along with Brat and hers, are in the bear rug room. They are all getting HAMMERED. Brat had made a comment before on Adrienne being Chyna’s drinking buddy, but I guess she’s opting for the spot now. They slam back more then a few, and have fun.

Verne, Marcus, and the dates they chose are in the rowboats in the pool. CORNY! Mini Me complains the entire time, and his date looks none too happy about it. He wraps himself in a blanket and complains while his date spends her time feeding him, rowing the boat, and listening to his crap. Marcus is never really shown with his date.

The rooms are switched and Marcus and Verne head into Jane’s torture chamber. Yet again, no Marcus and his date. Verne is shown licking this woman’s feet and getting spanked by her, all the while complaining. His date seems to be enjoying this WAY too much.

At the bear rug room, Adrienne and her date get to drinking. Adrienne asks Brady’s woman if she is reserved. Adrienne then tells her she has an extensive vibrator collection (guess she really doesn’t have a boyfriend!). Peter Brady’s date then decides to go on about how much she loved Peter Brady – you ruined it right there baby. Adrienne has called Chris a Brady … but never Peter.

Chyna, Brat, and the dates are now at the pool. Getting TRASHED. Chyna jumps into the pool fully clothed. The sad part is, she actually looked good tonight! Brat starts to cuddle with her man, and even gives him a lil kiss. They move on to Jane’s Torture Chamber. Jane notes that they are reeeeeallly wasted. Chyna begins to dominate her man and boss him around. He speaks up in a small squeaky voice “This is SO degrading!” You think? Brat tears her date a new one with a paddle, but he can’t keep up … and vomits on the floor!

Before you know it, it’s over. And no new episode next week due to the Oscars! Back to the family room where Ron Jeremy tells the roomies that they can either give the person they dated their number, or a picture of themselves. Verne immediately gives up his number to the beautiful blond bimbo. Is this love? Marcus also hands his number over to his date. Da Brat rips into her date calling him a “weak man”. Hello Brat!! He vomited all over the floor! Of course he’s gonna be a little weak! He takes it like a beaten puppy, and receives only a photo of the huge A-list rapper. Chyna tells her date not to call her, she will call him … riiiight. Adrienne goes down on one knee and tells her date he’s a nice kid but her heart is stolen, and offers only a photo. Chris gives his date the photo too, but the lame excuse attached to it is this: “I don’t like my number out there.” What arrogance! He asks for her number, much to the dismay of Adrienne.

The dates leave. Adrienne spanks Chris and tells him to never make her that jealous again. She is then shown giving Chris a massage in the bathroom. Everyone hits the sack around 2 – that is, except Chyna. She runs about the house making her usual fuss. She then barges into Chris, Marcus, and Adrienne’s room asking for T.P. Adrienne responds with “What The F**K!” I agree. Chyna then puts the T.P. over her mouth and begins to perform “surgery” on a basketball …. May I ask Chris WHAT Adrienne did to be compared to this????

Tune in next week for a rerun of the first episode…which is by far the most AMAZING HOUR IN REALITY TV EVER!

Next new episode- Chyna’s psycho boyfriend comes over … and the gang makes a Kung Fu epic … riiight .. see you then!

Pitches, B*tches, and a New Show! – The Surreal Life 4, Episode 5

by Samantha

This week begins with the Surreal Lifers jolted awake by what sounds like another mini-pee episode! Moans are heard throughout the house … waking everyone in it. No my friends, Verne isn’t in the corner peeing again – it just so happens to be Christopher Knight lifting weights. He sounds like a deer in its last agonizing throes of life. Chris is wearing the worst imaginable outfit EVER to work out in. Not only does it not match, it’s just UGLY. Adrienne is doing stretches next to him on the floor, wearing a red top and underwear-defying shorts. Chris pretends he doesn’t notice her amazingly taught buns … but we know better. He lets us in on the fact that she is the most “amazingly beautiful woman I have ever seen.” Adrienne is shown on the treadmill; the camera man was having a GREAT time considering the view … all butt, which, I may add, is an amazing behind.

Surreal Times arrives informing the celebs that they will be given the chance to pitch TV show ideas to the giant heads of VH1. Will there be a wee man behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz? Ideas are thrown around by the cast. Adrienne suggests getting Verne to do stunts. “Give ’em some initiative! Shoot him outta a cannon into my boobs!” Somehow, I think Verne would do this. Brat, alas, is not talking to the rest of the gang. (BIG surprise) She doesn’t think anyone but her is taking this seriously. Because she isn’t a has been. Brat has to make sure she gets this show so she can make money, even though she doesn’t need any cause she’s an A-list rapper.

The gang jumps into the Surreal Van (could you stand cruising in a van with your freaking picture on it?) and heads over to the MTV/VH1 offices. The magnificent seven arrives and is greeted by Missy, Chyna Dolls friend, manager, and roommate. OH MY GOD. This woman has had so much plastic surgery that she could easily be compared to Mr. Wacko Jacko himself. Personally, I think she was called in not to help Chyna with her pitch, but to restock her stimulant department, if you know what I mean. The freak show runs amok, talking, bouncing saline injections, a non stop annoyance. After asking Adrienne if she was a lesbian and if she had her lips done (which Adrienne handled rather calmly), it was time for the interviews.

First up is Jane. She walks into the office and notes a LONG table she must sit at the end of. 3 big giant heads of VH1 (Jeff, Jill, and Linda I think) ask Jane to pitch it. Jane starts off by saying she lives in a 600 square foot house on a coffee plantation in Panama. WOW. She’s Jane of The Jungle! She goes on to describe the monkeys running about her home, naming her show “Monkey Mountain”. “This is discovery channel stuff” note the execs..”What does it have to do with VH1?” Jane then replies, “Umm…well….cause I’m a rock star?” Tell em Jane! NEXT!

Chris is next up to bat. When asked to describe his show, he proves the little time he put into thinking it up. “Celebrity Chariot Racing.” This buys some glares and stares from the giant heads. “We will put celebrities in dangerous situations that may very well result in death.” Although I believe this would be a great way to rid ourselves of the likes of Omarosa and Trishelle, the big heads don’t like the word “Lawsuit”. NEXT!

Marcus and Verne come in for a swing. Marcus informs us that this show would be “some sort of comedy variety awards show.” Taking snippets of good moments of TV and movies. Have we not seen BEST WEEK EVER? Oh yeah, he’s from Sweden. NEXT!!

Brat waltzes in and pitches a show called “Brutally Honest”. This is a chance for her to be mean and ruthless, telling people why she doesn’t like them and what they need to change. Isn’t this what she’s already been doing??? When asked if she could be honest with exec. Jeff she replies, “One ear is bigger then the other…maybe you can get some plastic surgery and fix it.” “GET OUT” was his response. This show should be called “Brutally Rude”. NEXT!!!!!!!!!

In walks in the stunning amazon Adrienne. “Beauty and The Brady” is her working title. (Best one so far!) She asks for two weeks to get Christopher Knight to ask her to marry him. Shock and disbelief from the big heads. Wasn’t she supposed to like the equally stunning Marcus?? When the bee sting wears off Jeff asks “Cant you do this now? You have a little over a week left.” Adrianne responds with “If I can make money off it, I’ll hold off.” This girl is smarter then I thought. NEXT!!!

Here it comes. The train wreck to end all train wrecks. Missy and Chyna walk in, and the panel is already shaking. “Man-eaters” is the shows’ working title. Missy and Chyna then proceed to crawl on the table, sit in the women execs laps, nibble on Jeff’s ear and explain how they will get revenge on men by stealing shopping carts from the homeless. God Help Us! After the departure of Hurricane Missy ‘n Chyna, the execs look like they can use a drink or two.

Back at the Mansion again (minus Missy) the Surreal Lifers wait for the final judgment. Who can extend the meager 15 minutes given to them? The phone rings and is answered on speaker phone. It’s Big Giant head Jeff! Jane is given a “NO!” Marcus and Verne? “NO!” Chris? “NO! Chyna? “NOOOO!” Adrienne? Jeff blows her cover on the marriage idea. Adrienne is embarrassed and covers her face. The other roomies try to pry outa her what exactly her idea was. Now to Brat … Brat gets the show! Are you kidding?? I will NEVER, EVER watch this show. This woman his full of hate, and deserves it in return!

Adrienne runs off to the kitchen to hide, but is followed by both Chris and Jane. Chris tells Adrienne it’s time for a chat. She informs Chris of her idea and is hurt when Chris laughs at her for it. Chris tells her to drop the act, and to basically leave him alone. What team do you bat for Chris?? Adrienne looks like she is about to cry, grabs a drink with the rest of the gang and tries to suck it up. Many drinks later (the whole gang is getting wasted) Adrienne and ManChyna wrestle. This girl has BALLS to go against this thing. We get a great shot of very pretty undies on Adrienne, yet the camera man graces us with NOT having to see Chyna’s… Thank you Mr. Camera Man! Chris then follows Adrienne outside to tell her she is modeling herself off of Chyna. Adrienne is very upset and adds, “Why would I want to choose as a role model someone who is in self destruct mode?” I agree. I see no comparison between the two.

Brat decides to practice her show right there and busts out a mic to start digging into Adrienne. Adrienne looks very uncomfortable about this “Brutally Honest Episode.” Didn’t she get embarrassed and torn into enough? Brat doesn’t seem to think so. She sets it up so Chris can start ripping into Adrienne, who, by the way, looks like she’s about to bolt right outta there. Chris states Adrienne is beautiful but he questions her motives. Adrianne takes the mic and tells him she finds him attractive, but if he can’t like her for her, he can walk! Adrianne runs off to the bathroom to cry. I feel sorry for the girl. She was attacked by the cast about her crush the second exec Jeff let the cat out of the bag; attacked by her man accusing her of wanting to be Chyna; and attacked AGAIN by the cast on the Chris thing. Nothing a little booze can’t fix!

Next week … Ron Jeremy as Cupid? Chris and Adrienne talk about a “relationship”… and Jane gets Kinky!

Interview With Eddie of The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott

Eddie
Age: 25
Construction Worker (builds homes for hurricane victims in Florida)
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

By Chantae Benson

What motivated you to audition for the show?

I was riding down the street and a friend told me to audition for it. I really didn’t even know anything about it. Once I got out there and saw all the people and asked around I just went ahead with it.

How long have you been writing rhymes and what mc’s do you most admire?

I started doing this in 1999 when I was in Grambling State University and just realized I did not want to be in school. The people I admire are people like Nas, Big L, Jay Z, and Scarface. They really inspired me when I started taking it seriously.

What was your expectation of the show and did the show meet your expectation or disappoint you in any way?

I really was expecting some real hip-hop, somewhat of a battle in a lot of ways. I was a bit out of my element in some cases but that’s a part of learning in life, doing different things … I wasn’t feeling the editing in some cases. I thought they did a really good job editing the whole show but with my character they toned me down. They didn’t make me look bad but I did better then it seems. But they got to do that to build their story. I felt like if I did 10 that day they toned me down to a seven or eight. Sometimes the editing went my way, so you have to give a little to get a little.

What was going through your mind week to week with each elimination especially with the majority of mc’s being eliminated?

Basically, a lot of times I could be next. As mc’s we started feeling like we were outcasts, like we wouldn’t be here long. I feel I did as much as a rapper could do to stay that long. A lot of rappers couldn’t make themselves comfortable and they vocalized it. I just said this is Missy you’ve got to expect anything and I had that in mind.

How difficult was it trying to define yourself and stand out amongst the remaining contestants who were predominately singers?

I didn’t really find it hard. I found it hard to battle a singer. Battling is one of my strong points and up against a singer she can take a note and hold it for eight seconds and I have to think of words in eight seconds. My stage presence is how I kind of stayed a step ahead of them.

How difficult was it for you to step out of your element and sing and what were you thinking after that performance?

It wasn’t hard, I just imagined I was in the shower…I know I can’t sing but I was comfortable they’ll find something they like. It wasn’t hard it was just another part of the competition I did.

What was your most memorable experience on the road?

When I did the memorial to the strength of a black woman in the junkyard. I remember the look on Missy’s face. It felt good to impact her in that way. I can tell I touched her in more than just a competitive way. It made me feel good to know I could impress her like that.

Missy Elliott is looking for a contestant that is a triple threat. Who do you consider a triple threat amongst the remaining contestants and do you feel this person has the best chance of winning the competition?

Akil would have been a real good triple threat. The triple threat that I think Missy is looking for is a mainstream triple threat. I would say Nilyne because she has that New York slang, she can sing and dance her butt off and she has the look.

Do you have any regrets about anything during the competition?

No, I would have pretty much done the same thing I did then because what I did it wasn’t planned, it was authentic, it was me. If you can’t be yourself why even do it.

Is there anything that happened behind the scenes that you wish could have aired?

I wish sometimes they would have showed me freestyling on the bus. It was times with me and Yelawolf – I am sitting there trying to help him with his freestyle and we’re going back and forth.

If you had to do it all again would you still want to be a contestant on the show?

I would do it all again. It was an opportunity for one. You kind of knew what you were getting into and you’ve seen reality tv and ain’t nothin changed. Reality tv is like nature, when there’s humans involved it gets distorted.

What are your future plans? Will you be seeking a recording deal?

I will be working with Akil on some things, Nic wants to work with me and I wouldn’t mind working with Nilyne or Jessica. Right now I’m in the process of putting my team together, but as of now I have been doing a couple of interviews. I am in the studio working on some songs and finishing up a mixed tape. I’m building up my catalog so I have a list of songs to pick from. I’m just grinding right now.

Thank you for taking out the time for this interview and good luck with your collaboration efforts with the other show contestants.

Fans can contact Eddie at www.doubleedoublee.com

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to write to me at cwriter@realityshack.com

Change Is Good – American Idol, 02-21-05

by LauraBelle

After a somewhat lackluster season last year, American Idol decided to change it up a little bit. Simon had been forever bitching about not liking the younger contestants, and last year there seemed to be an overabundance of the teen scene. The show decided to lengthen the age limit to twenty-eight, to broaden that talent pool.

The other big change was restructuring the semi-finals process. Instead of being broken into four mixed gender groups, they are separated into two large gender-based groups. Instead of two people being voted in from each group, two people are voted out each week. Gone is the wildcard round. True, Clay Aiken was a wildcard, but I think the thought here is no good performers will be voted out based on one bad performance. There should be no need for a second chance.

Many, many, many people have complained, as people are prone to do when there is big change around. I was glad there was a change, not because I felt it was needed, but because it keeps it fresh. Yet not all of the performers tonight kept it exciting.

The first guy up tonight is Nikko Smith, previously auditioning as Osbourne Smith, and who is the son of baseball player, Ozzie Smith. He sings our first Stevie Wonder hit of the night, Part Time Lover. He sounds great, but doesn’t look too comfortable. Randy Jackson says he would do Stevie Wonder proud, as it was one of the best boy performances ever. Paul Abdul adds that it’s definitely difficult to be the first one out, but he came out strong. Simon Cowell says it was okay, but feels by the end of the night this performance will be forgotten. I have to say, by the end of the show, Simon was right. I no longer remembered Nikko singing.

I still love the way Scott Savol emotes. He sings a very smooth version of You Are My Lady, originally by Freddie Jackson. Randy says it wasn’t Scott’s best and he didn’t like the song on him. Paula feels it was interesting as people wouldn’t expect him to sing that song. Simon tells Scott once again that he doesn’t look like an American Idol, but has a nice voice. Randy points out that Ruben and Clay didn’t look like American Idols either. I have to say Simon’s been harping on this since Scott first auditioned. Simon, you made him part of the final twenty-four despite all that. Let it go already.

Anthony Federov sings Hold On To The Night by Richard Marx, and while he sounds great, his grandiose arm gestures are extremely annoying. Randy says it was good, but a little boring and safe. Paula echoes this, saying they have heard such great vocals from Anthony, they need more. Simon says it is dull as dishwater and predictable. Leave it to Simon to pinpoint it for us.

Up next is the first rocker of the night, Bo Bice, the “other” rocker of this year’s American Idols. He sings one of my favorites, Drift Away, originally by Dobie Gray and more recently by Uncle Kracker. This is the only song I have ever karaoked to (and even that took three or four rum and diet cokes first). He blows me away. Randy says he loved it as Bo knows who he is. Paula says Bo’s voice feels good like a great fitting pari of jeans. Even Simon said Bo had a great recording voice and that he did everything right. And Simon usually hates the rockers.

Travis Tucker sings the second Stevie Wonder song of the night, My Cherie Amour. He is obviously very nervous as his voice cracks a few times. Randy says quick, plain and simple, he’s bored. Paula says before he had something so magical, but now it’s gone, and as she says gone she makes some type of strangling pantomime. Simon says it was out of tune and not good enough for a hotel lobby.

Constantine Maroulis is up and is as cool as ever. This guy just oozes cool. He shows some of his range, singing Kiss From a Rose by Seal. Those eyes draw me into his performances every time. Randy says it was definitely out of tune, but a good song choice. Paula says what she likes about him is he has his own style and is so comfortable on stage. Simon says he has to place Constantine and Bo in the same bracket, but feels Bo has a better voice and Constantine has more charisma. I have to agree with Simon here. Might I add, too, that had Constantine sung Drift Away, there would be no review for you to read. I would be passed out on the floor somewhere.

David Brown sings Never Can Say Goodbye by Michael Jackson, and something about him just … fits. Not like the comfy pair of jeans Paula talked about though. Randy says he is a fan of David’s voice, but this was safe and pitchy. Paula adds she feels like they’re being extra hard on the guys tonight, but they expect more from this talented group. Simon agrees, saying they had such high hopes, and feels if David watched a tape of his performance, he’d agree he could have done better.

Jared Yates sings a song I have never heard of, and is the epitome of pitchy. Randy says it was really boring and below average. Paula is wishing the guys had picked some of the same songs they had won the judges over with at the auditions. Simon doesn’t feel the need to make excuses for Jared. He likens it to a ghastly audition for a boy band.

Anwar Robinson, with a smile that won’t quit, comes out and sings Moon River by Andy Williams, of all things. What a risk, but he totally pulls it off! Randy agrees; it was an odd choice, but he sang it! Paula gives a standing ovation, and says she wants to buy the recording, as it was beautiful. Simon is just glad he didn’t fall into a bad impersonation of Stevie Wonder, as we all are.

Judd Harris, known for being able to excite the crowd, sings Playin’ In A Travelin’ Band by Credence Clearwater Revival – yet another risk – and the crowd loves it! Randy says, “Wow, man. Odd choice, but fun.” Paula believes he has found his niche as a crowd pleaser. Simon sees this one comin’; he’s a great entertainer and the girls are going to love him. I would have disagreed with him before, but not tonight, especially as I find myself singing the song during a commercial break.

Joseph Murena comes out singing – UGH! Another ballad! – How Am I Supposed To Live Without You by Michael Bolton. Oh man, hitting a new low here. Randy calls it safe, but says he can definitely sing. Paula thinks it was one of the best with a beautiful tone. Simon has nothing more to add, and neither do I.

Mario Vazquez sings quite a different song, Do I Do, which is yet another Stevie Wonder song. It’s not safe and not a ballad. Randy thinks he was the best tonight, and da bomb. Paula gives her second standing ovation, and calls it a touchdown. Simon says it wasn’t the best vocally of the night, but it was the best performance. I don’t think I agree with Simon this time; I don’t think it was the best in either area.

On Tuesday we’ll hear all twelve women sing, and if tonight was any indication, anyone singing Whitney, Celine or Mariah should be worried. Wednesday we’ll get the results, and two girls and two guys will be voted out. Not sure who will be leaving, but I’m pretty sure it will be two balladeers. Yeah, change is good.

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

5, 6, 7, 8. Is She Gonna Graduate? – Starting Over, 02-18-05

by LauraBelle

The hardest part about attempting to heal a relationship is not knowing how it’s going to be received by the other person involved. Just because you’re ready to get it out in the open, move on and put it behind you, doesn’t mean the other person is. All the women in the house are ready to heal, but that doesn’t mean their friends or family are.

Denise opens the door to find three girls wearing matching white shirts and black shorts. They hand her a note form Rhonda saying to meet her at Shirley’s house by eleven o’clock. Before they leave, the girls break into cheer, “5, 6, 7, 8. Is she gonna graduate?” Denise joins Renee in the kitchen and is literally jumping up and down, then suddenly calms herself and wonders what Rhonda has up her sleeve.

Everyone moves into Group with Rhonda, and she asks what happens when one person is ready to heal the relationship, but the other isn’t. Rachael says she is trying to reach out to her dad, and is protecting herself by expecting the worst. It would be a gift if he would make her feel safe.

Rhonda tells her that’s very honest, but it’s the wrong attitude to enter the relationship with. Rachael starts to cry and says she has ben closed for so long, but she’s trying not to be. Bethany stares at her with a sudden realization. Bethany says she feels like she’s looking at her twin. She says Rachael is “speaking my heart. I can’t put it into words.” Rachael and Bethany stand and hug each other. As they both cry, Rachael says she’s never felt so close to Bethany before. This is huge, as they used to think they were so different.

Cassie, sitting there witnessing this, says they have just given her strength. She says that last night she almost gave up looking for her birth son. She knows how sad Rachael has been, and now that she’s changing, it leaves Cassie with hope of having a good reunion some day with her birth son. They both hug and say I love you. This group is melding so well together, that it’s a shame Denise is leaving.

Iyanla and Renee meet to talk about getting Renee’s mom to visit the Starting Over house. Iyanla want to be sure they get the lines of communication open. They talk of how Renee has set her intentions, but her mother keeps resisting. Iyanla believes her mom’s resistance is a function of Renee’s resistance to say what she needs to say.

A call is placed to Renee’s mom, and Iyanla tells her that Renee had shared her mother’s reluctance to visit. Iyanla just wants to assure her. Renee’s mom says it’s hard when you’ve always dealt with things the same way; it’s difficult to deal with it another way. Iyanla understands and asks if she is willing to share her feelings in a safe and supportive environment, and she agrees.

Today, Renee will be doing another giving assignment, and this time it will be in honor of her mom. Iyanla is sending Renee to Tree People to plant trees and be involved in the circle of life, since that is what her mom has given her. She is to invite Cassie to go along. Then Iyanla drops the bomb. When she gets back this evening, Renee will have to call her dad.

Denise arrives at Shirley’s house ready to tie up all the loose ends she had left the day before. Rhonda is waiting for her with a few surprises. Today Denise is to be the drill sergeant and teach Shirley what she has learned. Rhonda is giving Denise a few extra rooms to clean as well. Denise is doing it for Ermanno and herself. Eight weeks ago she knows she couldn’t have done this; now she wants to prove to herself that she can.

Two million trees have been planted by Tree People, and Renee and Cassie will be helping to plant more. They are told the acorns are all from the same area of the Santa Monica Mountains. Once they grow into oak tree seedlings, they will be replanted in that same area. Renee and Cassie get to work recreating life.

After Rhonda has left, Denise sets to work becoming a drill sergeant, even having Shirley do pushups. Shirley still gets lost in her own thoughts and starts babbling about putting money in a jar every time she curses. She says it’s hard for her to keep weight on, so instead she should be eating a piece of pie or something. Denise urges her to pick up the vacuum and do more cleaning and less talking.

Rachael tells Iyanla that her greatest desire in reaching out to her dad would be for him to say he had looked forward to getting to know her. Her fear is that she will be rejected. Iyanla urges Rachael to be open to his side of the story. Rachael would like her father to know what she wants to do with her life, that she plans on going into nursing. Iyanla asks where she’d be if the situation were reversed, if he showed up on her doorstep wondering where she had been for twenty years.

Iyanla takes this opportunity to share with Rachael how similar her own life is to Rachael’s. Rachael’s family worked very hard to protect its secrets. Iyanla says she herself lived form the time she was two-years-old through thirty thinking her step-mom was her real mom. Once she found the truth at thirty, she sought out her aunt for more answers. Her aunt was mean and asked, “Where have you been?” Her aunt missed the point that Iyanla was a child while her aunt was an adult. Iyanla left vowing never to see her aunt again, only for her aunt to call a few months later and ask to be forgiven.

Rachael is now being asked to create a memory box of her life to give to her father as a way of introducing herself to him. Iyanla comes back to check on Rachael after she had worked on her box for awhile. Iyanla tells her it’s an incredible biography of her life, and just right so as not to offend. She wants to send this box to her dad instead of calling. Iyanla says she is blown away and her heart is weeping for joy for Rachael.

Denise has a visitor at Shirley’s house. It’s Candy! She brought Denise a water. Denise shows Candy around and asks if she has any advice for her. Candy says it’s not too bad; she’s cleaned bigger messes. Shirley wonders why Starting Over didn’t send Candy to help her. I’m just wondering if they would send Denise over to help out my son with his bedroom. It looks just like every room in Shirley’s house. Candy leaves, hoping she can make it. Denise looks at Shirley and says, “Let’s tame this beast.”

Candy goes back to the Starting Over house and reports in. She says the last room Denise has to clean is big. Surprisingly, Candy starts to cry. Rhonda asks why she’s crying, and Candy says she can tease Denise, but she knows it must be so overwhelming to her. I am so glad they are reaching this point in their relationship before Denise leaves. I hope at some point they realize how similar they are. Rhonda asks if she thinks Denise will be done at five o’clock, and Candy says she knows she won’t. It’s ten after four.

At 5:00 Denise steps away and admires her work. Outside Rhonda is gathering the other women and Iyanla. They are given white gloves and told they are to say nothing and remain completely serious. They are to give the whole house the white glove test. They ring the doorbell, Denise answers, and and as the whole crew marches in, Denise says, “What the … Why does everyone look so mean?” She knows something is up, though, as she laughs. she tells them she feels like it’s Forensic Science 101.

All the women line up in front of the fireplace and show Denise that their white gloves have been soiled, and are no longer white. Rhonda says they know what they think, but want to know what Denise thinks and what she has learned. Denise says this is a huge accomplishment for her. She did the best job she could do, and she gave 110 percent the whole time. She knows she did a great job.

Iyanla points out that you don’t get rewarded or blessed for what is complete. Denise shoots back that Rhonda had added extra rooms today, and Denise still got them done. They can walk through the rooms now, they couldn’t before. Rhonda asks if this is an excuse. Denise says no, that Rhonda had added all this other stuff. Iyanla butts in, and says, “Excuse me, do I hear you using a disrespectful tone to a life coach?”

Denise defends herself adamantly. She says eight weeks ago her life was total chaos. Just for her not to get overwhelmed the past few days in this house was a big accomplishment for her. This house represents her life. And she feels she has cleaned up Shirley’s house and her own life quite well.

Still using a serious tone, Rhonda says she never assigned Denise the closet. She did more than was asked of her. Rhonda said to look in that big room downstairs, not do it. But Denise did the whole thing. Rhonda finally rewards her and tells Denise she is graduating. Denise hugs everyone and cries. Rhonda tells them to all celebrate tonight by going out to dinner.

The women go to Schwab’s diner and Denise begins going over memories. She talks of playing Bethany in Yonder theatre. She and Candy are even able to now laugh about the big argument over the banana creme pie. Candy admits she will miss Denise. She says Denise has grown on her, but not like a moldy fungus. Normally cold Candy says she is happy, but will miss her sister.

While some of the women learned to heal their relationships with appropriate expectations, Denise learned to have great expectations from her life. She is definitely a person that will be missed from the show. She is such a larger than life person. Even Candy sees that now. I am off now to buy a new box of Kleenex for Denise’s graduation on Monday.

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

Episode 6 – Danny Boy


by Goddess of Chaos

This week’s episode highlighted some issues with Daniel Baldwin. We all know from watching the show (or reading my recaps) that Daniel’s had some challenges. He’s had some serious back pain and hasn’t been able to exercise. However, he’s been a good team leader – he’s led by example and his team seems to respect him. He has lost weight consistently as well.

Unfortunately, Daniel has also been struggling as of late. His attitude (which I never particularly cared for) really stinks. He has been rude and late and some of the other Fit Clubbers aren’t happy with his antics. That includes some of the panel, the crew and the host.

At the beginning of the show, we see that there is one person missing from the East Siders’ team. It’s Mr. Baldwin. ANT replaces his seat with a sack of potatoes. He tells the contestants that the East Siders will be penalized and that Daniel will NOT be allowed to go on the scale at the end of the episode with them. The FB’s, which ANT prefers to call the Fat B&st*rds so he won’t get ‘hate mail’, is able to sit out one contestant as well.

Ralphie says he’s had a rough week and he’s bloated, so he chooses not to go on the big scales at the end.

Having settled that Mablean gets up to face the panel – and the weigh in. Dr. Katz asks her how she thinks she did. The Judge feels she hit her target and wants to know, if she didn’t, if the panel will be as nice to her as they are to the other team. She claims that they’re harder on the East Siders than the FBs.

Could it be, Judge that the East Siders have more attitude and give more resistance to the judges’ than the FBs? I’m just saying – that my mama may have been right when she says, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Basically, when your attitude ‘stings’, don’t expect softness in return.

Can I just say that I honestly think that these celebs shouldn’t be so hard on the panel? I don’t agree with everything Dr. Katz, Ms. Peer and Harvey say, but – they are sincerely trying to support and help them out.

Mablean needn’t have worried because she lost 5 lbs. She hit her target and got kudos from the panel. She has retooled her eating and listened to some of the advice and she looks great. Way to go, Judge!

Next up was Biz. I have to say that I love me some Biz Markie. He’s just a goofball – and I mean that as a compliment. He’s funny, sweet and a bit of a trash talker. He’s the kind of person you know you could hang with and smile all day long. I’m rooting for him.

Biz has had a difficult time incorporating exercise – enough of it, anyway, into his plans. He’s been sticking to his diet, but the exercise was something that Harvey has been riding him on. Well, he lost 8 lbs and admitted that adding the workouts – extra workouts – has helped him out immensely. Way to be Mr. Mark—ie.

Mia was next up. Daniel still hadn’t showed. Anyway, the lovely Mia walked up to the scale. I could see that her dress was loose and her face looks noticeably thinner. Mia’s all about being proud of yourself and having self-esteem despite your size. She doesn’t believe that numbers on a scale define who she is. I applaud that.

HOWEVER –

I think that she could express herself with LESS ANGER. It takes away from the positivity of her message and it’s unfortunate. Dr. Katz brought up last week’s tirade and told her that he was sorry. She got all upset and he said, “I was just trying to apologize.” She wasn’t hearing it at all. She wanted the panel to notice that her body is changing and give her kudos despite the numbers on the scale.

It’s a disagreement that I’m not sure either side is going to win. They may have to agree to disagree on that. The lady did lose some weight this week. She was down 5 lbs.
We got to see a lighter side of Mia – she was doing her Harvey impression – it was quite comedic. She’s got some skills.

This week’s head to head team challenge had the FBs and the East Siders playing an Elementary School Style Olympics. They had sack races, egg runs and more. The East Siders knocked the challenge out of the park, continuing their tradition of beating the pants off the FBs with raw competitiveness – and some trash talking to boot.

At one point, Joe G – who was a former East Sider – himself, got ticked off because Daniel put his left foot in the hula hoop when he wasn’t supposed to. After much fighting and returning to the tape, ANT gave the blue ribbon for that event to the FBs, who said they’d take a win any way they could get it.

Of course, the extra hard feelings may have more to do with the fact that Daniel almost didn’t come out to participate in the challenge. He made everyone wait and got into it with a Vh-1 staffer. He was quite angry and made some of the other Clubbers angry as well.

It’s obvious that Daniel’s in some serious pain. You can see it in his face. It also looks like he may be taking some heavy duty pain killers. Given Daniel’s history with substance addiction, some of the clubbers seem to be dancing around the topic and saying (but not outright) they suspect part of his problem of late has been chemical.

(Disclaimer: I am only reporting what I see from the show and not making a judgment call on Mr. Baldwin’s usage of medication or any other substance.)

Back to the weigh-ins, however. Ralphie got up and he looked a little upset at himself. He didn’t have a spring in his step and admitted to being tired. He is engaged to the lovely Lahna and is excited about their future together. However, his schedule seems to be wearing him out.

He gained this week – 5 lbs. Ralphie looked like he wanted to cry. As a woman of size, I felt his pain. I’ve been there – a lot. The panel is going to work with him to see if there’s more that they can do to help guide him. Dr. Katz reminds him that he’s putting on muscle and that this could just be temporary and to not lose faith.

Ralphie admits in an interview that’s wanted to give up almost since the beginning. It’s hard work but he will NOT give up on himself or this process. He, most of all, inspires me to look at myself and my eating habits. If Ralphie can do it, I can do it too. Thanks, man.

Wendy weighed in. She lost 4 lbs. Her target was 6. She started tearing up and Dr. Katz says that he just can’t beat up on her. Beating up on Wendy is like “beating up on a marshmallow” because she’s so “soft and sweet.” It also wouldn’t motivate her but would have the opposite effect.

Ms. Kim Coles is taking the floor now. She looks more confident and a bit fitter. She started off slow and was pretty resistant at first – perhaps, even (dare I say it?) WHINY!

Kim took a pole dancing class. She joked that she may have to try her technique out on some telephone poles on the way home. All I could think of was – I wouldn’t want to have to take those splinters out! MEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUCH!

Kim lost 5 lbs this week. She says that the difference has been two-fold. First, she’s connected with Marisa. They had a really great session. Second, she had promised Harvey on her honor to do 5, 60 minute sessions of exercise at her target heart rate. She says when her honor was put on the table, she had to do it. She actually exceeded that.

ANT noticed that she has some confidence. They were talking about if men had noticed yet. Kim was like ‘I live in West Hollywood, honey. There ain’t no straight men around.’

That’s the moment roughly when Mr. Baldwin chose to make his entrance. ANT sent Kim, who looked really upset, over to her seat. Kim was like “y’all put up with him way too much.” She was upset that her time was cut short to accommodate him. In a way, I can’t blame her.

ANT asked Daniel why he was late. Daniel was very confrontational. He said that he left a note for the driver to wake him up. The driver said there was NO such note. Judge Mablean was like, “just take responsibility” and let’s get on with it.

Up until recently, he was a model Fit Clubber. Lately, they say he’s been exhibiting bizarre behavior. He was supposed to show up for an appointment with hypnotist, Marisa Peer. She said he never called her to cancel and she waited over two hours for him. She was very upset. Daniel said that she never confirmed the appointment with him.

Dr. Katz also asked why Daniel never returned his call. Daniel said he replayed the message twice and Dr. Katz never asked him to. Dr Katz asked him if he’s still able to function as team captain. Daniel said yes. Marisa said it was obvious that he was ‘on some heavy duty pain killers.’

Despite all these challenges, Daniel did lose 3 lbs. Dr. Katz is concerned that he does this a healthy way and thinks he may not be. They told him he looked terrible and he said, “This is as good as it gets.” He’s been filming in Ontario, Canada and between the pain and lack of sleep, he’s not doing well.

Regardless, there’s only one month left to go on the Fit Club. At the group weigh-in, the EastSiders won and that was without Daniel. They lost a total of 18 lbs (with Daniel that would have been 21). The FBs benefited from not having Ralphie on the scales this time. Without him, they lost 14 lbs, with him that would have been reduced to only 9 lbs. Overall, the FBs have lost more weight, though. We’ll see if the EastSiders can continue to close the gap.

There’s still lots of drama to come this season including:

*Billy “Tae-Bo” Blanks showing the Fit Clubbers how to kick butt while losing butt.
*Ralphie’s comeback
*Joe G gets on his the FBs nerves
*and more to come from Daniel Baldwin!

Email me at panndyra@realityshack.com if you wanna talk about this episode!


Wickedly Perfect Episode #7- Antique Treasure Hunt

by Heather Angel

Day 19 is a rainy one at the estate. Inside the Connecticut residence Kimberly says she felt awful being on the ‘chopping block’ last episode and is glad she was spared.

Host Joan Lunden meets the contestants in the kitchen to tell them about their next task. First she says they need to even up the number of people on each team. The person who will be moved from the Crafty Beavers to Team Artisan is the player who the judges think made the best individual project from last week’s challenge. The judges decided Mitch is the ‘winner’ with his tuxedo shirt wrapped box. Reluctantly Mitch leaves his group to join Team Artisan. He says working with Dawn and Kimberly is hardly a prize. He says the two are copiers, not creators.

Joan says for this challenge the teams are to create an estate sale with objects purchased from local antique stores. They must buy and refurbish four items. Two of them have to be pieces of furniture. One piece of furniture must be from the 19th century and the other can be from any period of their choice. The third item must be made of wood which they will have to decoupage, and the fourth item can be any type of antique that they’d like to refinish. The four required items must be listed so the judges know which ones the teams chose to refurbish. The teams will also need to create an environment in which to present their wares. They will each be given $1000 and 30 hours to complete the job. The teams will be judged on creativity, ability to spot a bargain, and their skill in increasing the value of their items. For the individual project each contestant must create an item from scratch that best shows off their skills.

Before the teams get to work, Mitch confesses to the Crafty Beavers that he is still on their side and will spy on Team Artisan. This rattles Darlene and she starts to wonder who Mitch really is.

The Crafty Beavers set out to buy some antiques and spot a dresser from the 1800’s. The sale price is $385, but Darlene, Amy, and Heather turn on the charm with some smiles and hugs, and manage to talk the sales man down to $290. Outside Darlene spots a moldy bamboo chaise that was left in the rain. She says for $20 it’s a steal, but Amy thinks it a bad idea and a risky purchase. Team Artisan is also busy antique shopping. They find a child’s wicker rocking chair, as well as a 19th century chair that looks like it was part of a dinning room set. Kimberly and Mitch already begin to lock horns about what type of design they should use in their decoupage project. Kimberly wants to uses a floral picture, but Mitch says that look is overdone. He says he doesn’t think Kimberly is on the same skill level as the other ontestants. The teams don’t know this, but before all their purchases are delivered to the estate, the objects are appraised by a couple of antiques experts. They will also appraise the items after the teams fix them up to see which group got the best deals and made the most profit from their refinishing work. This will help the judges decide who will win.

While the teams are hard at work, Amy reveals that she wants the Crafty Beavers to win to prove that the team can win without Mitch’s help. Darlene sews a new lining for a wool coat she bought at one of the antique stores. She also brings the bamboo chaise back to life with a coat of orange paint and a new cushion she makes from scratch. Team Artisan bought more stuff than they need and now can’t remember if it was the wrought iron table stand or the black table they listed as one of the four required objects. They think it was the table and decide not to use the wrought iron table stand at all. Mitch works quickly covering the 19th century chair cushion with expensive silk and says Dawn and Amy work too slowly.

Minutes before the judges arrive, Team Artisan is told that they broke one of the rules. They had listed the wrought iron table stand, not the black table Kimberly worked so hard to decoupage, as one of the furniture pieces they would use. Mitch rushes to get the weathered stand and set it up in the antique pavilion. There is nothing they can do this late in the game to refurbish it. Mitch tells Dawn and Kimberly to keep quiet and he will handle the judges.

Candace Bushnell, David Evangelista, and Bobby Flay visit the Crafty Beavers first to judge their antique sale. Darlene, Heather, and Amy decided to dress in 50’s themed clothes. Candace says she likes that they have a theme going and Bobby comments that he’s turned on by this era. David is disappointed that they chose to just paint the dresser white. He says he would have liked to see the piece of furniture have a more ‘distressed’ look. Candace says she’s not happy about the Crafty Beavers’ lack of knowledge about the history of their items.

The judges visit Team Artisan and David points out the excellent quality of the craftsmanship of their pieces. Candace says their choices were excellent and Bobby adds that they made some smart choices like buying the wicker child’s rocking chair and refinishing it by simply adding a new cushion. Then the judges get to the wrought iron table stand and realize that it is no different than the way they purchased it from the antique shop. Mitch proves that he’s best skilled at the art of B.S. and feeds the judges a story about how they just left it alone as not to harm the table stand’s weather-beaten charm. Back inside the estate the appraisers reveal which team made the most profit from the antiques. They determine that the Crafty Beavers increased the value of their items by 200%. They say their biggest increase in profit came from the $20 chaise that Darlene refinished (remember, that’s the one Amy said was a bad idea to buy). Team Artisan didn’t do as well. They increased their items in value by 150%.

The judges deliberate and Bobby and Candace are at odds. Bobby is not happy with Team Artisan because he thinks they skimped on the project by not refinishing the wrought iron table stand. Bobby saw though Mitch’s lie and says he’s just a good talker. Candace, on the other hand, bought Mitch’s story about not refinishing the table stand as not to ruin its rustic look hook, line, and sinker. After some heated discussion, the judges decide the Crafty Beavers won this challenge. They chose Kimberly’s and Dawn’s individual projects as the weakest ones from Team Artisan. This means Mitch will decide their fate. Out at the Rock Garden Mitch says he wants to ‘raise the bar’ in the competition and wastes no time getting rid of Kimberly.

Heather can be reached for comments or questions at heather@realityshack.com.

Shirley, You Can't Be Serious! – Starting over, 02-17-05

by LauraBelle

Can I say I just love Iyanla? I really had never heard much about her before Starting Over. But the things I have seen and learned, I just love. Today she says women don’t require their true wisdom until they hit forty. Currently at forty-years-old, I just want to say, thank you, Iyanla!

Candy’s feelings about aging is what Iyanla wants to talk about today, noting Candy is forty-four. Asked what she feels the age has brought her, Candy says experience and confidence. Iyanla wonders how aging is handled in Candy’s field as a corrections officer, and Candy acknowledges people have doubts of ability and performance at that age. Personally Candy sees her age in her graying hair, lines in her face and skin. Pressing on, Iyanla asks how Candy celebrates being forty-four, and Candy feels she just does that by being happy. For her assignment of the day, Iyanla would like her to chronicle what it is to be forty-four, and present the glories of it to her housemates, being she is the “wise” woman of the house.

Denise meets Rhonda in Beverly Hills, and wonders what’s ahead of her there. First they discuss Denise’s grades received from her husband, Ermanno, who had visited and left the day before. Denise admits to being upset about the Ds in listening and inappropriate behavior. She realizes since she thought she was doing so much better, she must do better listening to strangers and her housemates than with Ermanno. She wants to change this.

Denise has a challenge in front of her. Shirley owns a house in Beverly Hills and is inflicted with the same disorderly problem that Denise has or had. Denise looks at Rhonda and utters the immortal quote, “Shirley, you can’t be serious.” I had to laugh. Leave it to Denise to resurrect one of the best lines from the movie Airplane.

Before Shirley can even show Rhonda and Denise around her house, she tells them they have to go to a different entrance as the locksmith hasn’t fixed the front door yet. She apologizes for the boxes they have to step over in the entryway as she hasn’t gotten the Salvation Army over there yet to pick them up.

Rhonda asks if Denise is ready to prove her worth and prove Ermanno wrong. She is to use her skills to teach and support Shirley how she, too, can change. She would like Denise to clean the whole house and have it done by the next day at five o’clock. If she fails, she leaves the house, if she succeeds she graduates. Denise feels overwhelmed, but knows she can do it. At some point there will also be an organizational expert stopping by to support her.

Iyanla moves on to Group and tells everyone Denise is on an assignment. Iyanla carries on her discussion of aging and talks about how there are many more things to it other than the obvious physical ones of body parts falling, being picked up and added on to. Cassie says she is forty-one and feels like she is running out time to change her life. Rachael, at twenty-one, thinks she needs to experience as much as she can. Candy admits to being forty-four, and feels she is coming into her own, and better able to deal with things. Bethany is the exception to everything, as she says being twenty-one, she doesn’t remember growing up, but she feels younger than her age, and she wants to feel like a woman. Renee is very fearful of growing up as she believes after thirty it’s all downhill, and she’s twenty-eight. Oh, Iyanla, please set her straight.

Iyanla points out that at twenty, women want to be older to feel wiser, and at forty, women want to be younger to have the great body again. Cassie thinks she’s aged so much that she isn’t attractive to men anymore. Candy disagrees, she thinks men find older women more attractive. Asked what she envisions forty to be, Rachael says she wants to have a real cute gray strand in the front of her hair.

At fifty-one, Iyanla wants the women to know what to expect at fifty. At this point she says your body lays down and won’t even speak to you anymore, but there is so much more to it than the physical sense. She believes women have no good sense until they are forty and fifty is just that much better. Rachael wants to have a few more streaks at fifty and Cassie wants to have a house that is paid off. Iyanla wants the women to know what they can find at fifty if they look for it – freedom.

The soul of a woman, Iyanla says, is her heart, and it is never to late fix things or yourself, you just have to want to.

Denise is trying to figure out where to start in Shirley’s house, and notes she is cleaner than Denise herself. Yet, she does admit that she an Shirley are from the same messy image of their lives. While she is reflecting on all this, Shirley is wandering around talking about how there are no sheets on her bed and she has many unused empty flat boxes in her attic.

The organization expert arrives and suggests Denise and Shirley tackle the hardest room first. She suggests making the rooms a clean slate, and then start putting things back in. She urges her to take water breaks here and there and to not burn herself out.

Rhonda checks in with Cassie to let her know the adoptive father hasn’t called back yet. Cassie doesn’t want to keep waiting, she wants to mail her letter. Rhonda urges her to wait a little longer; hopefully while he thinks on it and talks to his wife, he will become more willing. Cassie reads her revised letter, and the only thing I hear coming out of the revision is anger. Apparently Rhonda hears the same, as she asks Cassie what the disempowering part of the letter is. She points to the part where she says she signed the original adoption agreement in trust and faith. Rhonda says she won’t get anywhere if the adoptive mother feels attacked.

Cassie is so confused. She says when she is nice, people tell her to toughen up, yet when she does, people tell her to be nice. Rhonda tells her by being disempowering, it isn’t proof she was right. She says it takes great courage to turn an adversary into an advocate. Cassie just still feels very lost.

While Candy and Bethany wonder what happened to Denise, and what kind of assignment would keep her gone the whole day, Denise is arguing with Shirley about a giant suitcase. Shirley wants to keep it because it’s old and probably worth money. They look around the house for somewhere to put it, and Shirley suggests a closet that happens to be the only clean area of the house. Denise suggests why mess up a good clean area. If you aren’t going to use it, toss it. Eventually Shirley agrees, and Denise feels like a life coach teaching Shirley how to make all the changes she herself has worked on for eight weeks.

Rhonda comes to check in on Denise and Shirley’s progress. She checks the top of the fireplace mantle and finds dust. Denise claims to have dusted the books, but Rhonda still finds dust. She tells Denise to pay attention to D E T A I L S. Denise finds the skiing machine residing in Shirley’s bedroom, in front of the bed with no sheets. She hops on and has so much fun, Shirley says, “I want to be like her!”

Bethany and Candy move on to a workout with Marcus. He wants to talk about workouts in connection with age, very appropriate since Candy is more than twice Bethany’s age. He tells them they can basically do all the same things. He says the only real difference is that older women need to stretch more. Watching the two of them work out, though, he says Candy isn’t like many forty-four year old women. She knows how to challenge herself. Quit limiting us, Marcus, I liked Iyanla’s comments better.

Back at the house Candy meets with Iyanla again. She says coming in to forty is a good thing. She says it means not letting numbers define who you are. She admits to already holding an AARP card. The reason is her boyfriend is 60; they had started dating when she was thirty-three and he was forty-nine. He had hang-ups in the beginning, but she didn’t. Iyanla asks what will happen since he is most likely to die sooner, and Candy says there are worse things than being alone.

Rhonda and Cassie meet again to try calling the adoptive father again. Cassie admits to being nervous but still feels closer than ever before. Once again a message is left on is answering machine. Rhonda asks Cassie what she wants to do; it is time for her to make a decision. She says even though the experts don’t agree, she has looked in her heart and and knows she needs to go directly to her son. She believes in her heart that contacting him would help, not hurt him. Rhonda gives Cassie the next twenty-four hours to decide how to move forward.

Candy presents her Coming In party to the other women. She tells them she has learned she has had a lot of gifts in her life. She would like to give the women advice on growing old with style. She pulls out one of the glamour shot pictures she had taken of herself a few weeks back. She says even at forty-four she still has to have girlie stuff, and pulls out her lingerie and heels. She passes around pictures of her eight children, noting two of them are still at home. She tells them she has a lot of time left to do whatever she wants to. The journey is half the fun, and getting there is fun too.

Denise is winding up her day at Shirley’s. She admits to being teary-eyed seeing herself eight weeks ago in Shirley. She wants to show her roommates and herself she can do this. The cleaning is now energizing her. She is going to go back to the house, dream of her husband dancing naked and her being there at home with him. Maybe she could use Candy’s lingerie and heels.

To me the Starting Over house is about learning. Everyone learns there, and if they don’t, they aren’t taking full advantage of what is there. From Rhonda everyone learns to live their lives without fear of moving ahead. From Iyanla they learn courage, that it’s okay to believe in themselves. And from the other women, they learn about themselves. I know I have.

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

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