The Real World Philadelphia: Queer Eye for the Dating Guy, Episode 23

by DrivenAmbition

This week’s episode, I have decided to call Queer Eye for the Dating Guy. The show centers around Willie and his wacky dating exploits. The show opens with Willie dancing at Club Pure.

The next day, Willie talks to Sarah about his relationship blues. He explains to her that Dan, the free-spirited flight attendant, is always on the road. During a phone call that Willie had with Dan, Dan gave Willie permission to date other people, and he took it and ran with it.

While playing pool, Karamo and Sarah talk about Karamo’s attitude. Karamo then tells Sarah that he has a vicious mind. Sarah stares at him for a while, then she drops it. Later she talks to Mel and Shavonda, and they all agree that Karamo is weird. Newsflash: all of you freaks are weird, why do you think you’re on television?

At Club Pure, Willie finds a new love interest in Neil, or should I say a physical interest. While in a cab, Willie tells Neil, “I’ll make it worth your while, I promise”. Hey Willie, desperation doesn’t look good on you.

The next night Willie goes to dinner with Neil, and he tells him about Dan. Neil plays cool and ignores it, but we have to wonder, what will happen when the good flight attendant arrives?

Later that night, Sarah has a talk with Willie about how high her standards are for him. Willie gets another phone call from Dan, and this time Willie finds out that Dan is coming back to town.

That Mel is just like a cat, but we all know what curiosity did to the cat. She confronts Karamo about what he has been telling Sarah. Karamo sets the record straight, and justifies his comments by simply saying, “I was joking”. Obviously Karamo must think that we are all stupid.

When Dan comes back, Willie takes him out to dinner and tells him about Neil. Dan reassures Willie that he is allowed to date other people, but you can tell that Willie still felt guilty. While at Club Pure, the happy couple begins to dance, and I have to wonder if Club Pure is the only gay club in Philadelphia, because if it wasn’t, why would Willie bring his boyfriend to a club where his other boyfriend would probably be? I guess not everyone is as clever as yours truly. Confrontation is happening when Willie talks to Neil, and Neil reveals his anger about Willie bringing Dan to the club.

Meanwhile, Karamo confronts Landon, and they talk about the whole slitting his throat thing, and all of the snide remarks, but Karamo promises that he will change. Personally, I think that they all have issues.

At Karamo’s request, all of the roommates engage in a rousing game of dodge ball. I don’t know who wins, and I don’t care, because the subtext of the game was what was important. Karamo is probably the smartest of the roommates; he got all of them, none of which he gets along with, to play a game in which he was allowed to assault them with balls. That Karamo is no dummy.

3 Boots In 60 Minutes – Survivor: Palau, Episode 1

[i]by atarus[/i]

Guess who’s back, back again. Yep that’s right, your neighborhood Survivor recapper, who dilligently stuck through Vanuatu with you, is back for the new and exciting season of Palau! Now I’ll be honest, I was not too excited for this season. In December, when it was revealed that 20 Survivors would be playing and how the game would change in the first 10 minutes, I thought to myself “If Survivor pulls one of those eliminate someone right off the bat and waste a cast member or two, I’m going to freak.” And what happens? After the cast release in January, we are let known that 3 people won’t make it through the first episode.

Gahdammit.

So needless to say, I approached this premiere with skepticism and cynicism. We start off the premiere seeing Jeffy Pop Probst schooning in his schooner. (Awwww, Jeff likes to schoon. What a cutie. You have to wonder if Julie was somewhere in the cabin of the boat.) While Jeff is powering his way through the water and giving his normal Survivor schtick introduction, we see the Survivors rowing. Just like Jeff to put the Survivors to work while he rests. Anyway, Jeff pulls up to the Survivors and acts like he was steering the boat himself and turns it off or whatever. (In reality, there’s a little midget out of camera range that’s operating the boat.) Jeff reveals the twist. The Survivors have to go to the flag waiting on the island. There’s two machetes and a map to water. Oh, and two immunity necklaces for the first male and female to get to shore. Coby perks up and gets up, but realizes nobody else is, and sits back down sheepishly. The group decides to row in and then make a mad dash at the end.

James gets the first confessional of the new series, and man do I love James. Did you think you could get away from the redneck accent? Hellllll no. James is hysterical, saying that they were expecting breakfast food from Probst, but was he giving it to them? No. Okay, that wasn’t really hilarious, but it was funny when he said it. People are rearranging themselves in the back of the boat, to maybe get a better angle on the necklaces. And then Wanda gets up and starts singing an inane song. It was funny for oh…about a second. Willard delivers a great line, saying “some lunatic jumps up and starts singing a song” and “I wanted to knock her out of the boat with my oar.” Wanda, in a confessional, says that she wants Survivor to be “one big party” while she’s there. I can only groan in agony. Jonathan and Stephenie get the bright idea to jump into the water, since they think they can probably swim faster than the boat. Um, honeys, no. The boat cruises by them, and the competition is down to eight.

The boat gets near the island, and the Survivors go psycho. Everyone dives in and makes a mad dash for the necklaces. Ian is the first one on the beach, and easily takes the male necklace. Nobody even close to him. Jolanda and Jennifer make it to solid ground at the same time, and in a sprint, Jolanda nearly knocks Jennifer and the flag over to grab the necklace.

Caryn takes charge of the twenty people and starts splitting them up into different jobs. Tom makes the comment that people were walking around every which way, and when somebody approached him to start the fire, he refused because “fire was a loser job.” Yes! Somebody’s that actually SEEN THE SHOW. Angie is one of the ones who finds the water, and there are also tennis shoes for everyone. “No more stilettos!” is her war cry. Coby and Angie bond instantly since they are both the outsiders. We then are treated to Janu the showgirl being the monkey and climbing up a tree to help put together the shelter. And the guys just stare in wonder. Tom, Stephenie, and Ian all get together and say they should stick together, since nobody knows what’s going on. Everyone thinks there’s going to be a huge tribal council. Coby is going around whispering in everyone’s ear about hey, maybe Jonathan should be voted out. Why? We don’t know. But Coby does that.

The next day the Probstmeister shows up. Everyone gathers together, and Jeff singles out Ian and Jolanda. We then know what’s going on, Ian and Jolanda are going to start a chain pick ’em and two people are being eliminated RIGHT THERE ON THE BEACH. *gaspys!*

*sploosh-flush* Here that? That’s Mark Burnett wasting two contestants.

Ian picks Katie who picks Tom who picks Janu who picks Gregg who picks Jenn who picks Coby who picks Caryn. On the other side, Jolanda picks Bobby Jon who picks Stephenie who picks Jeff who picks Kim who picks James who picks Ashlee who picks Ibrehem. We are now left with two people of each gender. Willard vs. Jonathan, and Wanda vs. Angie. Caryn is the first to choose, and she picks…….Willard. Looks like Coby got to people, and Jonathan is left in the dust. As for Ibrehehehehehehem, he chooses Angie over Wacky Wanda. Wanda and Jonathan are shipped out, with the Survivors crying and Wacky Wanda singing. I can’t tell if they’re crying ’cause they’ll miss Wanda and Jon, or because they’re empathizing with Jonathan being stuck alone with Wanda on a boat ride. Jolanda’s tribe is blue and Ulong. Ian’s tribe is brown and Koror. You can tell that those Survivors looked at the brown buff and thought “Brown? What the hell?”

Angie is sad and hurt that she was picked last, especially when she was expecting Coby to pick her. She feels like she should be on the other tribe. Ian is happy because he’s on an older, wiser tribe, and he thinks that will be better, while Ibrehehehehehehem thinks that athletics on his tribe will prove more valuable.

(Anyone having flashbacks to the Thailand tribe set-up?)

It’s time for the immunity challenge. It’s the basic starting-off obstacle course with a reward. There’s a rope maze, some tires and some bars, and a big wall, a canoe trip to get a flag, and oh. Sticking with the military theme, the tribes each have four crates that are weighted down. One crate has flint, one crate has rice, one crate has something else I’m not remembering, and there are two extra jugs of water for helping to carry water. They have to untie whatever they want, but they don’t have to take anything. And they only get what they take if they win. A unique twist to the reward, I think.

So the challenge starts, and Tom from Koror kicks total ass for the entire challenge. It was impress to see him hurl himself through the rope maze and then over a wall, and you see him fall nearly flat on his face, then get up and jump over the next wall. Tom kicks butt. Anyway, the tribes are really neck and neck until the untying part. Koror has a plan, and only wants the fire/flint, and they get that and are gone gone gone. Meanwhile, Jolanda insists on untying stuff for the reward, while Jeff and Stephenie are insisting they get going to keep up with the tribe. Finally Jolanda gives up and Ulong takes off with the jugs of water and the food ( I think.). But Koror has a lengthy lead, already in the canoe. Ulong tries to canoe, but they end up floundering around and not really going anywhere. Koror kicks butt, and ends up winning the challenge. Ulong is unhappy. Jeff then gives Koror a proposal. They can stay and live at the old beach, or go to a new beach and see what’s up there. The tribe decides out with the old and in with the new.

Katie has a confessional that winning was huge for the tribe, but on the way to their new home, a huge wave tips over the canoe, and the crate with the lead weights sinks to the bottom of the ocean. No more fire. Tom says that it crushed the tribe, because they’d lost everything they’d won. (Uh, hello, immunity didn’t sink to the bottom.)

On Ulong, Angie is complaining. She says that Koror was smart and her tribe wasn’t. She’s the weakest link and she’s afraid she’s going home. Jolanda talks with Bobby Jon and Ibrehehehehehehehem and says that Angie has to be voted out to keep the tribe strong, and they agree. Stephenie, however, doesn’t agree, and proposes to Bobby Jon voting out Jolanda because she was the one that messed them up in the challenge. Bobby Jon won’t hear of it though, and Steph looks exasperated. Ashlee, Kim, Jeff, James, and Angie go on a walk though, and they decide that Jolanda isn’t a team player. Angie is happy, but doesn’t trust anyone on the tribe because she remembers the order she was picked.

It’s TC time and Jeff’s (the Probstmeister, not the Survivor) doing the interview. Stephenie says that the hardest thing was that they made bonds with people on the other tribe and then were separated, and also they didn’t have fire. James says that they are a “damn fine tribe, and we’re tough and young.” Jeff (the Survivor, not the Probstmeister) says that they have the endurance, but they messed up at key times. James says the tribe was a “dumbass.” Ashlee says they haven’t come together as a group, and Angie says it’s hard being picked last. Hey Angie, stop whining. Be happy you got picked. You’re getting to play, unlike Wanda and Jonathan.

It’s time for the tribe members to vote. Jolanda votes for Angie (“I’m not happy with losses.”) and Angie votes for Jolanda (“Nothing personal, either you or I, and I don’t want it to be me.”)

The votes are tallied, and in a 6-3 vote, Jolanda takes the walk of shame. After Jolanda exits, Jeff turns to the tribe and gets very snippety, saying they need to stop making excuses and come together if they don’t want to be back here again. (Probst is really pissed off already? Not a good sign. Maybe he’s having Vanuatu flashbacks when Brook the strength was voted out.)

Jolanda’s Final Words: She says she played the game, the tribe was a lot more happy-go-lucky than she was, and it’s an experience everyone should try.

Next Time: Rats! EEEEK RATS! Koror is unhappy on the new beach, Jeff and Kim get cozy on Ulong, and Koror is out looking for their sunken flint.

Well I think the premeire delivered, mostly. I can’t say I’m happy with what I know about the Survivors. If people complained that Vanuatu had a bad premiere because you didn’t get to know anyone, then they should complain about this one too. I hardly know anyone. Everyone I’ve talked to loves James, Coby, Angie, and Tom. Why? They were the only ones to get air time, DUH! But add Ian to those four and you have my favorites. Could this season be interesting? Yes. Will it be? It depends. I’m just hoping that the fact that my favorites got a lot of air time doesn’t mean they’ll be hitting the road soon and making a boring season later. Hit me up at atarus33@yahoo.com if you have any comments, otherwise see you next week!

“You’re No Donald Trump!” – The Apprentice 3, Episode 5

“You’re No Donald Trump!” – The APPRENTICE 3, Episode 5

By: Cori Linder
clinder@realityshack.com

He believed he was the less expensive version of Donald Trump, but would this cost Michael everything and lead to a poor standing with the billionaire?

When the Net Worth team members return to the suite, nobody—especially Audrey—seems to miss Kristen. Audrey unleashes her anger towards Kristen, saying that she (Audrey) is a nice person until you cross her. I become immediately grateful that I am not near an intersection.

It’s apparent that Michael is also far away from any intersection for he seems to be living in “La La Land” (or “Michael Land” as Erin refers to it) where he sees himself as identical to Mr. Trump. Perhaps, he should be comparing himself more to John Belushi.

The challenge:

Jill Kramer is substituting for Carolyn this week, but there seems to be no real difference—same stoic expression, just a darker shade of hair color.

For this task, the teams will be doing business on wheels (adjoined to 28-foot Airstream trailers). Using their Visa credit card with an amount of $5,000, they need to design each trailer and create almost any type of service business. The team who generates the most revenue wins.

Assigning project managers:

Net Worth – Tana immediately volunteers to be the project manager because she wants to prove she is a leader. She believes they will destroy those “pencil-neck geeks” on the other team. Did she forget that Michael would be in that group?

Magna – Bren will be the project manager and soon realizes that his group tends to over analyze things and lacks creativity. (Where’s Danny when you need him?)

Strategies:

Magna decides to create a massage business although Stephanie objects to the idea. They eventually hire a massage therapist. While the others check out the trailer, Erin, Stephanie and Michael are in charge of finding a location and developing a marketing plan. “Massage-a-go-go,” says an almost giddy Michael. “You’re a pig-a-go-go,” responds Erin. Not only is Michael continually sticking his foot in his mouth, he seems to be gnawing on it. The “think before speak” axiom doesn’t apply here.

Led by Tana, Net Worth opts to go out of the box and hire a casting agent to meet with prospective actors. Angie is thrilled with the idea and tries to recruit the casting agents via cold calls. Finally, they find one.

Meanwhile, on the Magna team, Erin and Michael bicker about the business name while Stephanie complains about the dirty kitchen. Michael seems more concerned with eating than with the task at hand.

Food has apparently spilled onto the other team members for Bren asks Michael, Erin and Stephanie to spend time buying and delivering cheeseburgers. This request repulses Stephanie, prompting her to complain some more.

Showtime…

After a slow start, Net Worth’s mobile business begins to roll. For $25, a person can meet with the casting agent and discuss acting opportunities. Soon, there is a long line of customers. The team’s success is due, in part, to talking with prospective customers and informing them about the chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity. The casting agent is even hiring customers for actual acting jobs.

Magna’s “City Spa on the Move” business opens, and the team members turn into street hustlers trying to recruit customers. Paying no attention to the pink flyers in his hand, Michael fears his male ego might deflate if he solicits men to buy massages.

In the boardroom…

George, Mr. Trump, and Jill enter the boardroom, and I am suddenly missing Carolyn and her snide expressions and remarks.

The results are very close, but Net Worth slightly edges out Magna for the win. Their reward is to visit Mikimoto where Miss Universe and Miss USA will help them to spend $20,000 on pearls. Tana buys cuff links for her husband, and I’m wondering, “Is this woman too good to be true?”

Meanwhile Magna prepares to get down and dirty in the boardroom. Michael believes his team members are evil while Bren, decked out in his innocent-looking multi-colored bow tie, reveals that he’s going to come out as a “vicious and mean son-of-a-bitch.”

Back in the boardroom, the I’m-a-carbon-copy-of-The-Donald Michael is donning a pink tie—perhaps Mr. Trump predicted this and chose to wear a navy blue tie.

Bickering, sarcasm and insults permeate the boardroom while Erin’s witty one-liners please Mr. Trump. Bren complains about pompous Michael and negative Stephanie, which has polluted the entire team. Erin claims they had to be street hustlers but Michael lacked passion.

Bren brings Stephanie and Michael back into the boardroom, and Jill comes to life a bit more. Interrupting Bren’s complaints about Stephanie, Michael foolishly sticks his foot in his mouth again and leaves it there. “How stupid can you be?” Mr. Trump asks. “You claim to be like me? The difference is that I work hard. You’ve been lazy; you’ve been nothing but trouble…” Michael is fired. And then, something a bit odd (and desperate) follows—Michael hands Mr. Trump his business card as though he believes they can one day be business partners.

From the beginning, Michael saw himself in Donald Trump and basked in their supposed similarities. Perhaps it won’t be until the end of the cab drive home when Michael will notice his vinyl seat, the running meter on the dashboard, the back of his driver’s head, and the gum that is so often stuck to the side of the door, and realize that his taxi cab was not the limousine that drove home Mr. Trump.

Until next time…

Quotes of the week:

“The only thing separating me and Donald Trump is a few billion dollars. I think we’re the same people. He likes eastern European women; I only date eastern European women exclusively.” – Michael

“When Bren decided the name, Michael threw a five-year-old temper tantrum. ‘Mommy, Mommy, Mommy’…and I was like, ‘Now Michael, Mommy is busy.’ ” – Erin

“If I were to empty out a swimming pool and fill it up with an inch full of water, that would describe Stephanie—shallow.” – Bren

“Mr. Trump, Michael has become the boardroom cliché.” – Erin

Discovering Information – Starting Over, 02-16-05

by LauraBelle

Today is a day where some of the women hope to find out information they have been waiting for. Denise will have to keep waiting, and Rachael is shocked. Bethany is delighted to finally have at least a morsel of the information she has waited four years for.

Iyanla meets with Rachael so early that Rachael is still in her bathrobe. Of course, she also has the purple throw draped around her shoulders, as usual. She is anchored and grounded, waiting for information for the last forty-eight hours on her biological father. Iyanla tells her the private eye has called to say she has located him. Rachael’s response is, “That means I have to get dressed.” She is hoping for the worst, and hopes her fears are correct, as it will be so much easier.

Candy, Cassie and Ermanno are talking in the kitchen. Ermanno tells the women he doesn’t think Denise’s progress is where she thinks it is. He wants to make sure she is one hundred percent committed. Candy asks Ermanno how he feels to come home to a messy house every day. He says tired, and thinks he could get used to it being clean every day.

Iyanla moves on to a one-on-one with Renee, and asks her why she thinks the phone conversation wit her mom went badly. Renee thinks her mom is in denial and finding excuses to the problem. This all leads to her feeling abandoned all over again. Yet she is so determined. Iyanla feels they must find a way to get Renee’s mom to the Starting Over house for a fierce conversation.

Dr. Stan is wondering how it was that Bethany moved quickly form a happy child to a strict, religious woman. Bethany arrives for her self-hypnosis session. He tells her this will help her concentrate on just one thing. He will be offering her suggestions to stimulate her thought process. Immediately felt like I was in junior high again putting each other in trances at slumber parties, as Dr. Stan starts talking to her about her eyes getting very heavy.

Dr. Stan tells her to think back to December 2000. He tells her to think about current events, remembering it was a strange election result year. He says Gladiator was the number one movie. This all sparks something for her as she remembers everyone kept asking her about the presidents when she was in the hospital. Dr. Stan asks her to remember waking up that morning. She remembers the smell of the Christmas tree and gets scared. Dr. Stan urges Bethany it’s okay to remember.

Bethany now remembers the black dress again. She had remembered it a few days earlier as well. It’s not on anybody; it’s in the closet. It’s long with a draped neck and a bow in the back, and Bethany says it was awful. It was her singing group dress, she remembers. She was to have wore it in a concert the night of the day she woke up sick. When Dr. Stan asks what she was going to sing, she begins to cry.

Bethany has a sudden memory of being in the car laughing and having a good time. They got in an accident with the guy in front of them. She and her mom were slightly hurt in the crash. The man in the car in front had been drunk and pulled out in front of them.

Thoughts of a bat now come in to Bethany’s mind. She remember now playing first base on a softball team and that she would spin the bat three times before she would hit. She would hit it to the fence, but never over. She remembers the girls. Dr. Stan asks who the catcher was and she says Emily. Her own number was 19. She gasps as she realizes that’s where her email address comes from.

Bethany’s mind switches to a bathing suit, a green and blue one. She’s seventeen when wearing it. She can’t figure out why she’s wearing it, and says it makes no sense. There’s a lot of people there, and they’re all wearing the same swim suit as her. It’s about to be her turn and she is very nervous. She cries, “Oh … oh!”

Pushing on, Bethany realizes she’s supposed to be swimming the two-hundred meter, but doesn’t want to. Asked by Dr. Stan if she was a good swimmer, she compares herself to a mermaid. She adds they said she looked pretty, but she’s not. She can’t believe the memories that are coming back, but is very tired. Dr. Stan decides this is enough for today.

Iyanla and Rachael meet with the private investigator. Rachael is completely thrown for a loop when she hears about her father. He is a property owner and homeless outreach program director, and is three years older than Rachael’s mom. Rachael asks if his criminal record revealed anything, and the private investigator says that wasn’t checked. She could check, but it would take longer than forty-eight hours.

After the private investigator leaves, Iyanla tells Rachael she just wants the criminal check for evidence she was right. Iyanla knows Rachael was programmed to only expect bad things from her dad, and suggests if she has questions about it to ask him directly. Iyanla asks if Rachael should be judged now for her horrible behavior when she was twelve to sixteen.

Iyanla tells Rachael it’s her choice whether to contact him or not, but urges her to do so with an open heart. Asked what her mom would want her to do if she was alive still, Rachael just gets very flustered. She tells Iyanla she wants to go home. Iyanla asks where that is, and she says back to the Starting Over house.

“Talk to me,” Iyanla tells Rachael, and asks if she’s speaking to twelve-year-old Rachael or twenty-year-old Rachael. Rachael still doesn’t feel safe here, and Iyanla says she’s so resistant it doesn’t matter where she is. She also tells her if she’s twelve-year-old Rachael, she doesn’t want her alone with her thoughts without adult supervision, because she knows how twelve-year-old Rachael thinks. Rachael is still beside herself, and Iyanla tells her she can talk to Dr. Stan about it that night.

Ermanno tells Denise he has a surprise for her and gives her the report card he prepared for her. Denise doesn’t like what she sees. She was given a D on listening skills, and not a single A. For being loving and kind she gets a B. She asks if he’s judging the old Denise, but Ermanno says no, he’s judging the new one. He thinks she still says inappropriate things. She admits feeling pretty crappy right now. This is just a start, Ermanno says, as Denise needs to continue this back at home. If she doesn’t keep the changes at home it’s all worthless. Denise says good-bye to Ermanno and now accepts his grading. She still needs work.

Renee tries talking to her mom on the phone again about coming to the Starting Over house. Her mom says she doesn’t want to be ostracized by strangers on National TV. She feels she did the best she could do without a father in the home, as he wasn’t ever around after the divorce. After the phone call, Renee is frustrated and upset, but needs to know her mom will be there through thick and thin for her.

Iyanla meets with Renee about the phone call. Renee says her intention was for her mom to listen to her. Iyanla decides she will intervene. She and Renee will call her mom together, and Iyanla will talk of her intentions. She thinks this could be the cause of some powerful healing.

While waiting for Dr. Stan, Rachael fills the other women in on what she learned of her dad, how he owns property in Nevada and is a homeless outreach program director. She was taught to hate him, and it’s hard to hear good news. She wished he was dead, as it would have been so much easier. Cassie knows that Rachael is so afraid of the truth, as she doesn’t want any more letdowns.

Rachael moves on to her meeting with Dr. Stan and Iyanla, and tells them that journaling and talking with the other women helped her deal with it a great deal. Iyanla asks what her gut says, and Rachael says that she feels deceived and lied to. She wonders if her family worries if he’ll tell her their secrets. Iyanla says she might lost her aunts, and asks if Rachael is worried about being cut off. She tells her she could lost her last connection to her mom. Rachael believes it’s the right time to contact him.

Meanwhile, Denise didn’t get the information she wanted. She wanted to be told she was graduating, and now she has just begun to doubt if she is ready. Rachael was completely blindsided by this information, and knows she has been lied to at some point by someone. Bethany is just beginning to get this information, and has discovered it hasn’t been erased, but put in long term storage. Discovering it all is going to be so fun for her … and us.

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

I See Dead People's Ashes! – The Simple Life 3, Episode 3

Simple Life – Episode 3

Sitting in their bus seats, Nicole and Paris are looking a bit worn this go ‘round as the bus driver introduces herself and stresses that there is no smoking on board. Yes, this was a big clue as to what to expect from this week’s show.

The next scene slides in showing a tree filled front yard and the weathered, but friendly New Jersey home of our newest host and hostess for Paris and Nicole. Birds chatter sweetly from the trees, but the effect is completely ruined as sounds of a phlegmy, smoker’s cough cuts in. We see shots of the Hirels, Lynn and Mickey, puffing away in the kitchen and in the living room, while a catchy tune about smoking plays in the background. Their laugh bubbles from their chests in excitement and anticipation of Paris and Nicole’s arrival.

Paris and Nicole emerge from the bus and amid polite introductions Tinkerbell gets into a fight with a nearby dog. The dogs are restrained and everyone moves inside.

Nicole wants to know if Mickey likes his cigs. Mickey has been smoking since he was fourteen, so yes, I suppose he does. He says, if she has a problem with it, she should get over it. Paris and Nicole laugh – no bubbles from their chests.

The girls are worried about the Hirel’s smoking problem, so they purchase nicotine patches and gum to help them get started. And if that didn’t work, the dirty video they bought for them will.

The next morning, Paris applies a patch to Mickey, and Nicole elicits a “pinky promise” from Lynn that they’ll try not to smoke today.

Paris and Nicole get to explore the ins and outs of Kohler Funeral Home. There is a funeral currently in progress. The girls sit in the back to observe. Once the service is over, the girls push the occupied casket to the hearse for its ride to the cemetery. The girls are a little apprehensive. After reassuring words from their boss, they manage to get the casket in place without dumping its contents.

Break time! Instead of the cemetery, they stop at a store for a shot of hot chocolate. The boss hurries into the store and anxiously tries to shoo them out the door. Paris will not be budged, however, as she still has more stuff to buy.

At the cemetery, Paris and Nicole struggle to pull the casket out of the hearse onto a dolly. The casket isn’t cooperating and leans a little too far to the left. Vivid images of dead bodies spilling to the ground are in everyone’s mind until they get the casket righted again.

Have you wondered how you go about purchasing a cemetery plot and casket? Is it like purchasing a car, a house? I’m still young enough that it’s not a priority yet. I certainly got an idea of what to expect as Nicole and Paris assisted a couple in planning for their eternal future with their special wit and charm. And what if I don’t want a casket? There’s always cremation!

Nicole and Paris explored the rooms where the cremating takes place. It was a stainless steel mix of science lab and large ovens, which completely creeped me out. The girls find the containers of cremated individuals and drive them to back to the funeral home. They have to transfer the ashes to rosewood chests for keeping.

Okay, even in the best of circumstances this is a messy job. We’re talking ashes floating in the air and coating everything! Even using scoops and other utensils, the girls have difficulty getting all of the deceased into their eternal resting place. Nicole is resourceful and pulls out the vacuum. I’ll let you imagine what happens from there!

Back at the Hirel’s , the girls have a surprise for their host and hostess. They’ve invited a hypnotist to help with the smoking problem. With the assistance of Nicole and Paris the hypnotist takes the Hirels through the process while chanting phrases like “you will no longer smoke” etc.

The girls leave the next morning with the Hirel’s assurance that they will keep trying to stop smoking. They wave goodbye to the Hirels, who are strangely touching their noses every time Nicole and Paris snap their fingers.

I welcome your comments: Chloe@realityshack.com.

The Very Unnecessary Make-Over of Kristen: Queer Eye for the Straight Girl Episode 1. 6

–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl

The Gal Pals climb on into the SUV once again to make over a down-on-her-luck straight girl. Only this time, the straight girl really doesn’t need a make-over at all and there’s really no reason to have her on the show other than to televise her wedding and give her a lot of free stuff.

Kristen is a thirty-four year old Irish-Italian-Catholic. She has what Danny calls a “Brad Pitt Boyfriend.” His name is Peter and he’s from Copenhagen. That’s in Denmark, where I’m planning a vacation this summer! Kristen and BradPeter are getting married in less than eight hours. Robbie exclaims, “I need a dress!” So does Kristen, and I think hers is a bit more important. He loves Kristen because she loves Gucci. She also has dreamed of a European wedding. Damon suggests an intimate Tuscan theme. And that’s the first of many, many times Damon will say Tuscan in this episode. Let’s count them for fun!

Credits. Flippy dress or stiff A-line…that animated girl has got it all.

The GP pull the SUV up to a house in the Hollywood Hills. They’re all impressed with the big house until they run up the path to the door. Danny comments, “Looks like the gardener hasn’t been here in a while.” The plants are a little sparse and sad.

Kristen opens the door in a blonde ponytail and nothing else! No, just kidding. She’s not wearing a red shirt which has been a common motif for all these straight girls. She’s wearing a fitted, dark, ¾ sleeve shirt and a pretty little necklace. No make-up but, in this case, she REALLY doesn’t need it. Why is she getting made over?

BradPeter emerges wearing all black. How Euro. The place is pretty nice. Neutral shades on the walls. A nice brown couch and a few chairs. A rug with a circular pattern. In the kitchen, there’s a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the counter. Danny’s like, “Oh, she baked for us. She knew we were coming.” He’s joking, of course. But Kristen responds, “Yeah, I did bake and they are for you.” The GP all awwww over her. That is kinda sweet and it’s a nice ‘thank you.’ Maybe she’s on the show because she’s giving them free cookies. She obviously doesn’t need pointers in the kitchen either.

Honey actually asks her why she’s getting made-over. Kristen says, “Everyone could be better.” She had that excuse planned for a while.

Damon says that the place is really nice. He finds mold on something in the kitchen that he pulls out from some deep dark place. I have a feeling he may have planted it there just to find something wrong with the place. So instead of a make-over, maybe Kristen needs a good Mold and Fungus Remover Guy.

Danny is not so big on the dust factor. He finds dust everywhere. He finds a bottle of champagne or wine and says, “This is nice to offer guests but only when there’s not an inch of dust covering it.” He gets half a Ha for that.

In the bathroom, Honey has found a bath bomb. Apparently, it’s a soothing bath thing that turns the water blood-red so when you climb in, it looks as if you have slit your wrists and drifted off to a happy place. Kristen walks in and is taken aback. “I was saving that for like two years.” HA! Now that’s comedy.

The GP raid the bedroom, which they think is bleaker than the rest of the house. The walls are dull and there’s a bed with dull bedding. Danny finds his favorite thing in the bedroom—he holds up Kristen’s thong. She claims that it’s BradPeter’s.

Then Danny hits the jackpot of embarrassment when he climbs into the far reaches of the closet and finds Kristen’s stash of NON-DESIGNER CLOTHES! OH, THE HORROR! Seriously, if that’s the worst she can do, she doesn’t need a make-over.

Damon and BradPeter chat it up in the bedroom. He calls Kristen a control freak, but in a loving way. Damon asks what kind of celebration he wants. BradPeter says a glamorous party “to celebrate us.” Damon says, “well, it should be about the both of you.” Because it’s a wedding, you know.

Back in the closet, Danny finds a leopard coat. Then he pulls out a shirt that looks like it’s made out of gold satiny stuff. Kristen claims it will come back in style one day. If not, she can always wear her Gucci stuff.

Damon asks BradPeter what changes he wants to see in the bedroom. BradPeter says, “a cushioned headboard.” Damon says, “Oh, OH!” Yup, you’ve gotta watch out for those Europeans. They’ll tell you how it is.

In the kitchen, Danny and Kristen dish about BradPeter. First off, BP is learning Spanish while Kristen is teaching herself French. This is sickening to me because it’s just too perfectly cute. However, Danny finds it endearing and now loves BradPeter even more. Why can’t you just love ME, Danny? Why?

Next, Damon is in some random closet in some random hallway, pulling out junk. He tugs on a frosted glass thing. “Is this a trash can or a light fixture?” Heehee.

Danny then gets into his Barbara Walters mode and digs into Kristen’s past. His mission is obviously to make her cry. She reveals that her mom died the night before her high school graduation. Her mom was a strong woman, and that’s why Kristen is so strong and set in her ways.

They all gather round near the front door. Danny wants to make out with BradPeter. He hugs him and then falls to the floor. The GP say they need to get going with Kristen but Danny still wants to stay behind with the straight guy instead. Kristen suggests that maybe Danny knows a kissing technique she’s not aware of and that he can teach it to BradPeter. Danny and Damon jump on this slight opportunity and make a BradPeter sandwich, kissing his cheeks at once. BradPeter takes it all in stride. Finally, they release their lips and go off with the straight girl.

Kristen’s sister isn’t sure if Kristen will let go enough to enjoy the wedding.

Peter says that Kristen doesn’t do well with the unexpected.

In the SUV, Kristen explains that the most romantic she gets with her fiancée is cooking for him and bringing him a beer. Danny’s like, “He thinks that’s romance?” She nods. He says that she’s lucky he thinks so.

Hunky Helpers? Either they weren’t in this episode or I blinked and missed them. Sigh. They would have redeemed this episode.

They get out at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to put stuff on Kristen’s bridal registry. I love love love that store! Danny grabs a hand-scanner and scans a crap-load of home items into her registry. They find square plates and Kristen loves them. “We love anything square!” So Danny zaps the SKU about twenty times. Then they come across candles and Kristen goes a little nuts over them. “Do they have them in chocolate brown?!” Chocolate brown is her favorite color.

Damon then picks out sheets for a more romantic bedroom. He tells Kristen to buy anything over a 450 thread count. He begins to launch into the History of Thread counts, but Danny distracts Kristen by yelling, “I found your wedding dress.” He’s holding up some hideous curtains in front of him. Heehee. He says, “They’re a bit la cage…” Damon, not skipping a beat, launches back into Egyptian sheets and cotton mesh and everything you need to know about European fabric. Ah, Tuscany. They have sheets there, too.

Kristen then heads over to St. Poochie for couture wedding wear. Kristen likes the champagne-gold tinted dresses. They are really pretty. She wants a sexy dress. Robbie suggests, “More sophisticated, less whore.” Heehee. While Kristen goes into the dressing room, Robbie finds a tiara. Honey says that he’s found an accessory to go with his nickname and then she calls him Princess.

Kristen comes out of the dressing room wearing a ruby red dress. Um, didn’t she just say she liked the gold tinted dresses? Why does she have on Little Red Riding Hood’s ball gown? They like the strapless but she says the red is too much. Ya think?

Next is a strapless dress with lots of beading. She doesn’t like the beading.

Third is a strapless fitted dress that’s straight down and made for really skinny people. She wants to wear it home. So that’s the dress, right?

Wrong. Forth dress is a strapless dress fitted on top with a fuller skirt. Robbie? He’s wearing a dress too! They both want to wear their dresses home! Kristen can’t decide between the two. Robbie says not to decide there. Honey will take both dresses back and Kristen can decide later.

Robbie and Kristen leave to find Danny and BradPeter in a dance studio. Danny’s wearing a black sleeveless shirt with the Union Jack across the chest. And he’s going to dance. Sigh. He’s going to teach them salsa-hip-turn-and-dip. Sounds like it would be yummy with some nachos. Danny warns Kristen, “you need to let him lead!” Because she’s a control freak and probably can’t. Kristen starts to freak. Robbie yells, “It’s just dance!” I wish I could yell that in all pressure situations and then everything would be okay.

Danny instructs: “Forward and back and forward and back.” And his hips swivel just so. Then he grabs Robbie as his dancing partner and I swear he cops a feel of Robbie’s ass. Turns. Hips. Right. Left. Then turn her out! Just like the song…turn this mother out…or not. Kristen and BradPeter dance just fine.

Danny wants BradPeter to grope Kristen during the dip. So they dip and molest each other. Robbie yells, “This isn’t a brothel!” Um, weren’t they just told to do that?

Kristen meets up with Honey and the Loreal Make-Up Man to talk about make-up. She doesn’t wear a lot and wants a natural look. Honey and TLMUM tell her she needs foundation, and he can make the perfect match for her. Then he plucks her eyebrows.

By the way, I’m deciding to protest the obviously edited-in voice overs, found throughout this episode. So if there are big gaps in sequence, that’s why. Such as right here.

They head on over to the Loreal True Life Pod!! This is really cool. It’s a pod that allows you to see yourself in all different types of light. They start with daylight and move through until evening. Kristen likes the evening best. Don’t we all!

BradPeter says he met Kristen in 1999 in a Hollywood bar. How special.

A friend says that they’re really sweet together.

In the SUV, the GP and Kristen are curious about what color her bedroom will be. Pink or brown? Chocolate brown? Her favorite color? Could it be?

She arrives home and says “Omigod” a hundred times. The walls are mauve and the bedding is a buttery-yellow. There’s a shelving unit over the bed; alas, no cushioned headboard. Sorry, BradPeter. The furniture is darker wood, a nice contrast to the walls.

Honey gives Kristen a book of vows and toasts. She suggests Kristen write a toast for her friends. Then Honey talks about her mom and makes Kristen cry again.

They hop back into the SUV to see where the wedding will be held. They have her close her eyes and they say something about going through gates. Kristen’s like, “Gates?” And Damon says, “Yes, it’s a prison!” Ha. Actually, it’s The Paramour, and Kristen is overwhelmed. Damon says that the Paramour has a Tuscan feel about it. Then he says Tuscan a few more times.

Danny, Damon, and Robbie go for a skip around the pool. Then they come back and Damon plans where the couple will stand for the ceremony. The Paramour lady says that the couple can face the guests if they like. Danny says that at one angle, they can see the Hollywood sign. Is he kidding? As if that’s important?

Inside, the room has vaulted ceilings, shiny hardwood floors, and a distressed fireplace. Mood lighting too.

Danny introduces Kristen to the owner of Catering by Field. BradPeter’s there too. And let the eating begin. They first try a Romaine and mango salad versus a pear salad. The mango wins. The entrees are beef tenderloin, chicken piccata, and a vegetarian choice, which doesn’t have an official name because it’s just some vegetables on a plate. Danny calls it all “stunning.” I didn’t know food could be stunning, but so be it. They decide that the dinner will be the beef with the vegetarian option. Down with chicken.

Moving onto Paul of Breadbasket to choose a cake. They taste chocolate, white sponge, and lemon. Lemon falls by the wayside as BradPeter likes the chocolate and Kristen likes the white sponge. Danny says they’ll have a layer each. Next they need to decide the shape. Square, of course! They love anything square. Kristen also wants a monogrammed cake. Danny says it’s completely doable. Enter Robbie, nibbling on the model cakes. Then he grabs Kristen. It’s time for hair.

They meet up with a woman named Ixy. At least that’s what it sounds like and I don’t want to spell it Icksy because that’s too close to Icky and that’s kind of insulting. They’re at the Kenneth George Salon to learn styling techniques. Kristen wants her hair down because she feels more comfortable that way. Ixy gives her waves with a curling iron and then separates the curls to make it fuller.

Then she teases the crap out of the top. Because it’s 1983. Then the graphic pop-up says not to fear teasing because it gives you a fuller look when you have thin hair. And because it’s 1983.

Honey comes in and likes the romantic soft hairdo. Ixy and Robbie leave and Honey gives Kristen a Kate Spade bag full of make-up, which is now the gift Honey gives everyone. Then Honey goes into giving Kristen something old, new, borrowed, and blue. She hands her a box and says, “Here’s your something old.” Kristen opens it to reveal a charm necklace that belonged to her mom. Honey explains, “Your dad sent it.” It’s engraved with her parents’ wedding day. Kristen is really touched and happy about it.

The Gal Pals come in with champagne. Kristen is surprised and feels blessed about the day. Damon says he has faith in the night. Danny says, “enjoy and don’t control.” Honey says to focus on the beginning of her new life with BradPeter. Kristen toasts to the GP, especially to Honey for making her cry. She’s just joking. Cheers. The GP leave but Danny lingers with a hug. He calls out, “I want to see Fred and Ginger on the dance floor tonight!”

Hip Tip: You can tell if white wine goes bad if it turns yellow. Take it right back to the store if it looks like pee! You tell em, Danny.

Kristen’s friend feels love in the air and says the couple was meant to be.

The Gal Pals are all decked out in shiny suits; Honey is wearing a shiny purple dress. They watch the wedding workers and caterers set up. Kristen shows her sister the locket and the sister is touched as well. Then she shows her sister both dresses and her sister loves them both, too.

Honey loves Damon’s chocolate brown Tuscan motif for the wedding. The napkins and things are chocolate brown and off-white. On top of the napkins are gold boxes with chocolate inside.

Kristen goes to put on make-up and her sister is impressed. She can’t get over the fact that Kristen is doing her own hair. Kristen says, “I need a drink.” Heehee. Because, as we’ve learned from previous episodes, alcohol cures everything.

Kristen makes a “severe part” and then teases away. Robbie shouts, “It’s so cute!” And so is he. Her hair is gorgeous.

Danny notes that the guests are coming “in droves.” They’re all decked out in shiny, pretty suits and dresses, too. The GP approve. Danny calls them a “classy group.”

Meanwhile, BradPeter gets dressed all by his lonesome. He begins to tie his white bow tie. All alone. Damon says in a Barry White voice, “Oh, Peter!” He’s in love.

Kristen and her sister toast to the perfect L. A. wedding. Cheers.

Kristen chooses the fitted wedding dress. Her hair is all flowy and curly. She’s seriously glowing. So pretty.

Kristen’s dad arrives and gives her a peach and white flower bouquet that Damon had prepared. Dad is in awe of his daughter. “You look like a bride,” he tells her. It’s slightly in disbelief and slightly in awe. So sweet.

Then he tells her he has something to give her that her mom gave him on their wedding day, and he’s carried it with him in his wallet ever since. He hands her a shilling for good luck, which is an Irish tradition. Aw, now I’m on the verge of tears.

Danny exclaims, “Everything is in its place and it’s all gorgeous! Perfect!”

Dad walks Kristen down the aisle. She’s luminous. Radiant. So pretty. When she reaches BradPeter, Danny calls them the “picture postcard couple.” They are!

A Justice of the Peace talks about life and love and light and wife and husband. They exchange rings. She’s very jolly and conducts the ceremony as if she’s trying to hold in a belly laugh. Vows. They’re married. They kiss very sweetly. Then Kristen bounces up and down all excited.

The hardest part is still to come according to the GP. They still have to dance and there’s that toast Kristen has to give. And all that is much harder than committing yourself to someone for the rest of your life. Kristen walks in and bounces some more because she’s seeing the room decorated for the first time and it’s all chocolate brown and Tuscan! They sit down and Kristen exclaims, “Damon is amazing!”

People eat. Chew. Eat. Robbie notes that no one is talking so the food must be good. Well, remember, Danny said it was stunning.

Dad announces that there’s a tradition that when the bride leaves the room, all the ladies kiss the groom. “But watch how you kiss because I’m watching you!” It’s a Danish custom. So the women line up and kiss kiss kiss. One of them says, “Nice to meet you,” after the smooch. Ha. At the end of the procession, Damon yells, “Me!” because he wants a kiss. No dice.

Then comes the first dance. First Kristen and BradPeter shimmy towards each other. Danny says, “I don’t remember that!” Then they do some side stepping. Danny is exasperated: “They’re just making this up as they go along!” Finally they start turning and hipping. Then comes the dip. And the big grope. And a kiss. And BradPeter so grabs Kristen’s boob. Aww, I love a pornographic first dance.

The cake cutting is next. First BradPeter feeds Kristen. Next, she tells him to shut his eyes. Damon and Robbie yell, “Be nice to him!” Instead of smashing cake in his face, she gives him a quick kiss and then feeds him the cake. If I ever get married, I’m so doing that because it was just too damn sweet and I can’t believe they’re getting me to be so sentimental.

Kristen then toasts her guests. She thanks them because without them, the day would be nothing. Then she thanks the Gal Pals for teaching her to let go. Cheers! Skol! (That’s Danish).

Danny says that they had a fairy tale wedding that is a springboard into a happy marriage.

They cheers to Kristen and BradPeter.

Robbie says to buy a wedding dress that can convert to evening wear so you can wear it over and over and over.

Damon says that candles make romance.

Honey says that a bride still needs to eat on her wedding day.

Danny says that white wine turns yellow if it’s old. As he said thirty minutes ago, so what was the point of the Hip Tip if he was just going to repeat it?

A non-make-over but a happy wedding day for a chocolate brown kind of gal.

–Did Kristen really need a make-over? Email me: Christina@realityshack.com

Who Is To Blame – American Idol

by LauraBelle

Just who is to blame? Who is to blame for the double standard of heavier or unattractive females not being allowed on American Idol, but the heavier or unattractive males are? The girls are told they have a great voice, yet have an “image problem.” The boys aren’t told this, and are allowed to continue. Some blame Simon Cowell for the record companies he represents, but I wonder if the blame doesn’t go much deeper.

The only man to have won American Idol so far was no teen idol. He was in all likelihood a few hundred pounds overweight, and his runner-up, Clay Aiken, was quite geeky before American Idol stylists got ahold of him with new clothes, contact lenses and a flat iron. Ruben Studdard appeared very sweet and had an infectious smile, but was still obese by anyone’s standards. We are told the largest demographic buying music consists of young women, yet they chose these two men over a young, fit Marine, John Gracin.

The two women that have won were very attractive and thin, yet still picked apart. Kelly Clarkson, very girl-next door-ish was our first winner, winning over a young man, Justin Guarini, that young girls and Paula Abdul swooned over. Yet still, Kelly was bombarded on message boards with people saying she has a big butt. A voice that gave everyone chills, yet they preferred to discuss her backside.

Third season winner, Fantasia Barrino, had no figure flaws, so they chose instead to pick on her single motherhood. Becoming pregnant in high school, she left to raise her child. She was seeking this million dollar record contract to better support her young daughter, yet was vilified by many on message boards saying she shouldn’t be an “idol.” She was just trying to support her young daughter; why was that so dishonorable?

In this season’s auditions, a young woman with a fantastic voice, Sarah Sue Kelly sang “I Could Have Danced All Night” for the judges, and was praised for her talent. Ultimately she was told her appearance was what was holding her back. As a heavyset bespectacled brunette, she told them she doesn’t need to look like Barbie. Good for her, but unfortunately, it doesn’t win you a spot on American Idol.

Another contestant this year, a plain-looking young man, Scott Sabol, was told he had a great voice and wouldn’t get his foot in the door of a record company because of his looks. For this, he is told he deserves to be on American Idol to get that chance he wouldn’t otherwise get, and he is put through to Hollywood. I agree with this assessment, his version of “Superstar” gave me chills and was much better than Ruben Studdard’s ever was, but Sarah Sue Kelly doesn’t get the same chance? Why does American Idol let through the man but not the woman?

I look around, and see this phenomena isn’t confined to televised music talent shows. Last week I watched a newly portly Kirstie Alley promoting her new show, Fat Actress, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In the provided clip of Fat Actress, we see her in her car at a fast food place devouring a meal, and is assumably talking to her agent. She asks why she can’t have her own talk show and is told not until she loses weight. She asks why do John Goodman and James Gandolfini get their own shows, when they are quite heavy, but she doesn’t?

She has a point. It’s not just in American Idol or the music industry; it’s more widespread through at least all entertainment. The question remains, though, if it’s really the film, television and music executives in charge that are to blame for this double-standard or whether it is really us, the viewing and listening public. Would we turn on our televisions to watch a fat or unattractive woman? Would we pay $8.00 to see a movie starring a fat or unattractive woman? Would we pay $16.00 for a CD sung by a fat or unattractive woman?

I would; I know that. Or at least I hope I would. Perhaps someday the double standard will be erased, but it will take changing everyone’s preconceived ideas, from the top on down, on what is acceptable entertainment for us.

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

Love Each Other Through All Our Junk – Starting Over, 02-15-05

by LauraBelle

I love it when Iyanla calls Candy by her full given name, Katrinda. It just seems to lead more towards her feminine side she’s searching for. To reach that side, however, she still has some work ahead of her to be able to let go.

Candy and Denise, polar opposites that they are, start their day in completely different ways. Candy is curled up reading, and Denise is putting on her makeup. The doorbell rings, and it’s Rhonda carrying a bag and looking for Denise. Denise is so excited at the thought of getting a present. Sitting down, Rhonda tells her since she thought the day before that she was ready to graduate, she thought Denise may like to practice wearing a cap and gown. Denise dons the black outfit and hums pomp and circumstance.

Her celebration is short-lived as Rhonda tells her she’ll be grading herself. Asked her first priority, she names herself. Rhonda tells her she gets an A for selfishness. Trying again, she places taking responsibility number one her list. Much better. Number two, she says is trusting self. After listing all the priorities, Rhonda asks Denise to now grade herself on all of them. Denise asks if this is like a mid-term, and Rhonda replies it could be that or maybe even a final. It’s up to her. For taking responsibility she give herself a B, trusting self C, compassion A. Rhonda asks even with Candy? Denise changes that to a B. For being structured she gives herself a B, being proactive a C, and supporting her husband she gives herself an A. She is told her challenge will be her ability to self-motivate. She is to make a three-course dinner for her husband when he is in town tonight.

Iyanla arrives to speak with Candy. Iyanla notes it has been much discussed that Candy’s father is at the root of her femininity issues. Candy acknowledges that her and her sisters all have similar issues with their dad. The result is none of them feel they have value. He made them all feel this way, and this is what has made them make poor choices throughout their life. They made these choices because they were trying so hard to find the love and acceptance her father couldn’t or wouldn’t give them. Asked if she has any personal tabus, the first she can think of is not spending time on herself. Iyanla explains this can also be looked as as a loss, and gives Candy a stack of signs with the universal no symbol. Candy is to fill these out later with what she feels are her tabus.

Iyanla decides to try pushing Candy a little while the wheels are spinning. She takes on the persona of Candy’s dad, and starts taunting Candy. “Don’t be a girl. Only whores wear makeup. Who do you think you are?” Candy tries to remain calm and says she’s herself. “You’re nothing; you’re not a woman.” Candy’s voice raises a little as she tells her faux dad he doesn’t know or care anything for her. “You’re a whore, tramp and slut if you wear makeup.” Candy keeps trying to say the right thing and tells Faux Dad that he won’t make or break her. “You are broken.” Candy says she’s not and works hard to be who she is. The heightened emotions rise up out of Candy and she shouts, “I’m not going to grow up like you. We all had to sleep in one room because we were cold. I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” This may not be making Candy cry yet, but I sure am. Iyanla, as herself again, hugs her and says that type of anger will kill her. Iyanla is realizing she is probably correct, that her tabus are preventing her from expressing herself, and leaves her with the signs.

The other women are inside watching Candy scream at Iyanla outside. When she comes in, she says nothing, but starts criticizing Bethany for the way she is cooking her eggs. Rachael thinks she is being defensive, and criticizing others helps take the focus off of her.

Cassie finds out from Rhonda that she will be getting her GED results later, and Cassie admits to being nervous. For an exercise to help her through some of what she is feeling, Rhonda has her writing the things that she feels weigh her down on bags of dirt. There is a board balancing on a barrel representing an even keel. It’s the balance of self doubt against self worth. When all those bags of dirt written with her self doubts are placed on one end of the board, it becomes unbalanced. Asked how to balance this, Cassie writes down the things that bring her self worth on more bags and adds them to the other side of the board. She names things like journaling her good qualities, expressing her feelings, loving herself. She realizes until her visit with her biological mom, she had more unrealistic views. With more reality now comes more self doubt.

Cassie admits it is hard to admit, but she has a lot of anger, prompting Rhonda to say hallelujah. Cassie is angry because she didn’t think she was smart enough, her mother dumped her downtown Birmingham with a suitcase and told her she couldn’t be helped. She’s angry about the disease of alcohol. Rhonda shows Cassie what she wants to do with Cassie’s anger. She picks up a bag of dirt and whips it at the wall, saying she’s angry Cassie has to be so confused. Cassie does the same with the rest of he bags, releasing her anger and hurt. I don’t know how much of a release it was, but it looked fun, and can only imagine the release came out of that.

Rhonda asks what hinders good news in Group. She says the women there are so busy gathering tools to change their lives they forget about letting go of their past. The others name the fear of being a burden as being what Bethany needs to get rid of. They all think Candy needs to let go of thinking she always needs to know the answer. Candy admits to becoming more comfortable having female friends, and believes she wears her feelings on her face. Denise refutes this as does Rhonda and the rest of the women. Rachael tells her she never shares herself, and Candy disagrees. Rhonda points out she and all the other women feel the same as Rachael, and asks if they are crazy, liars or stupid to all think differently than her.

Candy starts to feel attacked, and asks if the others don’t have enough problems of their own. Cassie says that’s what friendship is, supporting each other. She points out when she was upset about her mom, it was Candy that helped her. Candy says it’s different because she cares about Cassie, making everyone nearly say in unison, “And we care about you!” to Candy. Rhonda says they tell her this not to trap her, but to love her. She needs to let go of thinking of others and doing too much for them, and winds it all up telling everyone to love each other through all our junk.

Denise is busying herself in the kitchen preparing food for her dinner with husband, Ermanno. She makes an olive spread for what she calls an “appe-teaser” as she knows Ermanno orders it in restaurants often.

Candy completes her signs and shares them with Iyanla. She tells her the lack of femininity stands out the most. Her other tabus are showing no weakness and showing she can take care of herself so she is not taken advantage of. Iyanla tells her the only thing that will get her past this is to believe in herself. She wants Candy to create a vision and have a new dream so she can lay all the tabus down. She is bringing in a bereavement expert to help Candy grieve the loss of those feelings. Not understanding this one, but I’ll play along.

Rhonda brings the GED results to Cassie who doubts she passed with flying colors. She needs a 410 in each of the other sections to pass it. In Social Studies she gets a 430, Science a 440, Reading a 540 and Writing, one that she was worried about, she gets a 560, the highest of all her scores. Cassie believes she failed the math, and thinks she only got a 310. Rhonda tells her it was actually a 380. While not as much as was needed, it’s still better than she thought. She can retake the test, and only needs to redo the math. Cassie thinks she’ll be ready in two weeks. Rhonda tells here this is a different Cassie today; this is one willing to walk through the fire.

Cassie shares the results with her housemates and everyone cheers each score. They encourage her with the low math score, and Cassie tells them her overall score was above average for first time takers of the test.

Denise is waiting at the window, and Ermanno finally arrives. Before she can spend time with him, though, he is whisked away to speak with Rhonda privately. Rhonda shares with him that Denise believes she’s ready to graduate. He doubts it some, and says that’s what she thinks. Rhonda shares Denise’s list of priorities with him. Secretly, she wants Ermanno to watch Denise over the next day, and before he leaves she wants him to grade her progress. He does this willingly as he has concerns, expects changes, and doesn’t want to go back to the way things were before.

Candy meets with the bereavement counselor. The counselor tells her to let it all go, and tells her she will guide her along the way. She tells her to remain open and honest with her emotions (Excuse me, but you are asking the wrong person for this.) Closing her eyes, she is told to speak to her dad. She says she thought he didn’t love her, and wants to know why he was making her protect the others just because she was the oldest. She doesn’t understand why girls are less. She doesn’t want her last days with him to be like this. She cries, hugs the counselor and proclaims to feel free. I consider myself to be really open with these types of things, but I’m just not feelin’ this one.

Ermanno is impressed with Denise’s dinner and tells her it is really good. They go out after to celebrate his birthday and the new Denise. Asked if he is skeptical, Ermanno admits he is. Denise says it wasn’t just the dinner tonight, she did it all on time, she got it all together, etc. He tells her just keep doing it, and that he can’t judge just from one thing. She tells him his opinion is so important to her, and when he asks why, she realizes maybe she isn’t as ready to graduate as she thought she was.

Denise last let go of so much of her past, but needs to still work on those tools to better herself. Candy isn’t quite there yet, not letting go of that tremendous burden she carries around with her. Denise must be close to graduating, but I was always hoping she would get closer to Candy before that. There’s still time hopefully.

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

American Idol Final 24! 2/16/2005

by Annie

Tonight is the night that the judges will be choosing the final 24. Randy, Paula and Simon review tapes of the remaining contestants’ previous performances. It’s not made clear what criteria they use to further determine who will and won’t stay – but the decisions are in.

Tensions run high as the contestants wait in a holding room with no idea how long they will be there or in what order they will be called. After Ryan Secrest gives us a tour of the elevator the eliminations begin. One by one the contestants take the elevator to a large, nearly empty room. At the far end sit the judges. In front of the judges is a single solitary lonely hard wooden chair in which the contestants sit to hear their fate.

The first seven to sit in the chair do not make it to the next round. They return, one by one to the holding room and their bad news hits the other contestants hard. Tears abound. Hands are shaking. Tummies are turning. It’s clear tonight’s theme is D R A M A.

Among the ones that make it through is energetic Mikalah Gordon (is this Barbara Streisand or what?) with a bubbly burst of excitement and bruising strength hugs.

Sweet Carrie Underwood enters the decision room. Simon admits to her that they’ve had to turn down people they shouldn’t have had to merely to keep a balance. Carrie buries her face in her hands but quickly flashes her gorgeous smile when Simon lets her know she made it through to the next round.

Surely all of America was holding its breath as Mario Vasquez :heart: stepped up to hear the decision. They give him a unanimous YES. *whew* Time to celebrate! :clap: Party at my place (hint hint, Mario!).

The Final 24 are:

Men – Anthony Federov, Anwar Robinson, Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis, David Brown, Jarad Yates, Joseph Murena, Judd Harris, Mario Vazquez, Nikko Smith, Scott Savol and Travis Tucker.

Women – Amanda Avila, Carrie Underwood, Celena Rae, Janay Castine, Jessica Sierra, Lindsey Cardinale, Melinda Lira, Mikalah Gordon, Nadia Turner, Sara Mather and Vonzell Solomon.

The ones that did and didn’t make it came as no big surprise, with one exception. Crooner Jamie Paul Koehler. I thought his voice was smooth and a treat to listen to. I will miss his gentle personality.

So now it’s up to us. Next week the real entertainment begins and we get to vote! I look forward to the good music and hopefully the overdone forced drama of tonight’s episode is a thing of the past.

annie@realityshack.com

captainD's Boot Prediction – Survivor Palau, Episode 1

I’m back! After a slightly longer off-season than usual, everyone’s favorite Prognosticator is back on the case. The number of castaways has been bumped up again (this time to a record 20), and there are absolutely no spoilers to go by as of yet. However, thanks to CBS and a TV Guide special, I have been able to piece together the two tribes:

KOROR (brown buffs) – Coby, Caryn, Gregg, Ian, Janu, Jennifer, Katie, Tom, Willard

ULONG (blue buffs) – Angie, Ashlee, Bobby Jon, Ibrehem, James, Jeff, Jolanda, Kim, Stephenie

If you were paying attention to the list above then you realized that there are two people missing. These are the unlucky losers who never got a chance to play the game. WANDA and JONATHAN

The tribal council boot is an even harder decision to make. During the TV Guide special they show a challenge in which 4 women and 4 men are competing on each tribe. This means, in order to keep the tribes balanced, if Koror wins immunity a woman must leave. And if Ulong wins immunity a man must leave. I predict that Koror wins immunity and the first tribal council casualty is JOLANDA.

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

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