Omigod! It's Charles Manson! Or Is It Brud?: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Episode 3.5

Yet another round of make-over madness as the Fab Five…wait a minute…Okay, no recap of the tease tonight because my cable box has decided to not change channels at 10 PM and I tried to manually change it from Dr. Phil’s Romance Rescue on Channel 2 to Bravo on 44 but somehow the box got stuck on Channel 4 and I couldn’t switch it. Meanwhile, my friend who had watched Dr. Phil with me was cackling on the couch because she loves to see me freak under pressure. True story. No tease. So the following information is from Bravotv.com.

Brud L. is in his forties and has a huge beard and lots and lots of hair. Kyan’s going to have a field day. He’s divorced but has remained with his ex-wife, Susan, anyway, and now they’re having a recommitment ceremony. They have four kids who love them and they’re one big happy family except that they’re not married. His kids have never seen his face because of all that hair.

Credits. I finally got to Channel 44 and it’s all smooth sailing from here.

They pull up to Brud’s house and pound on his door. And here’s Brud! A mountain-man of a hippie. Long, long salt-and-pepper hair in a pontytail with a bushy salt-and-pepper beard and bushy salt-and-pepper eyebrows. And oh the tie dye! He’s got on a purple shirt with a tie dye flower burst on the front of it. However, Thom is standing in front of him wearing a purple paisley button-down that isn’t a far cry from Brud’s attire.

Carson finds out that Brud is sporting “Thirty years of hair.” That’s how long it’s been growing. They meet son Joshua and wife-ex-wife Susan. The house is pretty clean and basic. Blue walls, white walls. More hugs and introductions. They take Brud’s hair down and pull at his eyebrows. Kyan tells him, “You have very beautiful eyes. You’re hiding behind all that hair.” Uh-oh. Sounds like Kyan is on his Haircut Diatribe again.

Thom follows Joshua upstairs and finds a second apartment space. They meet Lenny there. Another son.

In the kitchen, Ted asks Brud if he ever wants to get the kids out of the house. Brud laughs and says, “Yeah. Yeah.” He’s very Jersey.

Carson finds a pet lizard. Thankfully, it’s in its tank.

Kyan finds a large bottle of Heineken outside in the shrubbery. I’m thinking it’s what kids these days refer to as a “forty” but I can’t be too sure. Kyan asks Brud if it’s for when things “get really bad.” However, I think it could be an attempt at decoration.

Carson has released the lizard! Literally. He pulled the pet out of the tank only to skeeve at it and make someone else hold it.

Thom surveys the living room and says it’s pretty cute. Wood furniture. A purple wall. A green wall. It’s all very Queer Eye Décor already. Susan explains that they painted some walls for when Lenny had to make a movie. Thom calls it, “Kinda fun.” Wow, usually he’s so harsh.

Brud says he used to go to the basement to be alone.

Cut to Thom in the basement meeting yet another son, Andy. Apparently, the kids now own the basement, too.

Up in the living room, Carson exclaims, “Look! Our people have been here,” as he removes a decorative jar from the shelf. The jar is labeled Fairy Dust. He sprinkles some around and then some on Brud.

Kyan asks Susan if she remembers her husband’s face. She says it was thin with beautiful eyes. Just as Kyan thinks it still is. Susan, by the way, is wearing a nice red shirt and some gold jewelry and she matches Brud, you know what I mean? They just seem to go together.

Ted and Carson wade through a bunch of movie props. Carson finds daggers and other weaponry. Ted shrieks, “He IS a crazed serial killer!” as he holds up a bloody, armless rubber torso.

Carson leans against the fireplace mantel and candidly asks Brud, “Don’t you scare small children?” Brud, without a beat, says, “Yeah.” Ha! Parents, too.

Ted is fighting with Carson over the torso. Jai is shocked by the gross prop and yells, “I’m telling mom!” Heehee.

The whole family, three sons and a daughter, gather on the couch and chairs in the living room. The FF says that the family is good looking. Carson refers to them as “handsome and Charles Manson.” Susan really gets a kick out of that one. They talk about how no one really knows what Brud looks like because he has all that hair. Well, isn’t that what he looks like then? They should be saying that no one knows what he looks like clean-shaven. Otherwise, he would be invisible, which would make this an entirely different show.

Joshua wants them to remove all his facial hair. Kyan exclaims, “You’re the voice of reason in this house!” Kyan is so easy to please. All the kids want all the hair gone.

Carson asks who’s in charge of the big event at night. They say Alyssa is. Then the kids get kicked out of the house for a while. Carson wants to give them quarters for video games. Heehee.

Ted pulls Brud down to the garden. Brud is growing peppers and things. Edible flowers. Ted is in shock at the edible daisies. Brud makes him taste them.

Susan tells Kyan they got divorced even though they didn’t really want it. But they were going in separate ways and didn’t want to hate each other. She says divorce wasn’t fun but they couldn’t physically leave each other. And it worked.

Meanwhile, Carson is in the living room gathering dynamite and a crystal ball.

Back in the garden, Kyan and Brud talk about renewing the vows. Brud says that Susan is his best friend. They drifted apart and they came back together.

The FF send Susan off. Carson promises that Brud will look like “Barbara Mandrell” by the time she returns. Heehee. Kyan tells Brud, “Your wife is lovely.” Brud says, “Thank you.” Aww.

Ted tells Brud that he sees him as an artistic person. Oh, that could lead to danger and another one of Ted’s Kitchen Obstacle Courses.

Carson finds a painting in a closet of a fairy. He calls it the Kitty Litter Fairy because it happens to be hanging over a box of kitty litter. And the cat’s been there. Ew.

Thom is in the back yard. He wants to make a cool event and hide the pool.

Back inside, Carson and Ted have locked themselves in the closet. Ted says, “There’s a musty smell in here.” Carson answers, “I think it’s cat urine.” Ted responds, “Oh, is that all?” Ew.

Thom loves the flora in the backyard. Ted flips a wine bottle in the kitchen.

Carson goes through Brud’s wardrobe while Brud stands by wearing a green floofy thing on his head and a red boa around his neck. Carson holds up a white shirt with a mandarin color and tells Brud, “You put the man in mandarin.” Brud chuckles. How can he not chuckle? He’s wearing feathers. Carson likes the shirt collar. He has a Fashion Vision—linen, comfortable, relaxed clothes.

Thom is sporting a dynamite belt in the kitchen. Dynamite here is not an adjective. It’s a belt made of dynamite. Ted suggests he not wear the belt.

Cut to the pool and Carson yelling, “Let’s go swimming!” He jumps in shirtless with denim cutoffs and saves the rubber torso. Shirtless Brud is right behind him. They play “Marco Torso.” Then decide to go shopping instead. Good idea.

Susan says Brud is hairy and mountain man looking.

Daughter says that Brud’s clothes are older than she is.

In the SUV, Brud says he came up with his own look. Carson wants to change just the “axe murderer part.” Carson and Thom start listing all the different events Brud’s hair has seen.

Back at the house, Ted cleans the kitchen.

Thom asks Brud if he’s ready for the wedding. Then corrects himself and says recommitment. Then Carson calls it the “reaffirmation of commitment to each other—that sounds so gay!” Heehee.

Thom and Brud stop off at Smith and Hawkins, a gardener’s paradise. Joshua shows up to help pick out a trellis for the ceremony. It’s wrought iron and square. Obligatory sitting. Only this time it’s on lounge chairs. Teak wood—Thom suggests they don’t seal it and let it turn gray and it will look pretty at their house. I like the sealed look. Then they move on to wicker which usually isn’t good for outside, but what the heck. Thom gives a wicker lesson.

Brud heads over to DKNY with Carson, who asks Brud if he likes his blowout. Heehee. Andy shows up. He calls Brud “the dude.” Like in “The Big Lebowski?” Carson picks out soft colors and fabrics. Andy likes them. Carson says, “Andy knows fashion!” Brud tries on a jacket. Some shirts. He gets changed in the middle of the store for no reason other than that Carson tells him to. In a white suit and blue shirt, Brud says he looks like, “Charles Manson with a suit on.” By the way, Brud does NOT look like Charles Manson and I don’t know why everyone keeps saying that he does. Sure, the hair is similar, but No No No. It’s NEVER OKAY TO COMPARE YOURSELF TO A DERANGED MURDERER/CULT LEADER. I know, I know, Manson never actually killed anyone but he put out the orders, dammit.

Next, Brud tries on white linen and a brown button down. Carson shows Brud how to tie the drawstring. He then gives him some sunglasses. Brud says they’re crushing his eyelashes. Carson calls him the Unabomber. Again, NOT OKAY.

Carson and Andy go work on Susan, who has miraculously appeared. Brud leaves to find Ted. Ted says that Brud has a great eye. Artistically speaking. They meet Sylvia, the woman with the largest eyeglasses ever. Seriously, she’s wearing two magnifying glasses taped together. Lenny’s there! They’re all going to make cakes. Sylvia says all ingredients are special and they make sugar flowers to decorate a cake. Sylvia instructs, “Roll it around. Cut it four times. Then press and pull and press and pull.” A little flower is born! Brud’s doesn’t go so well because the sugary substance starts to melt in his hands. At least he’s trying.

Then they decorate the cake! Sylvia pipes an edge. Brud pipes the rest. She says, “Hey! You’re good!” He is, actually. Next, she does some green leaves that kinda look like big green boogers hanging off the side of the cake. However, there aren’t any flowers on it yet, so hopefully it will eventually look better. Brud tries. Worse boogers.

Sylvia and the boys down a bottle of champagne and Brud leaves.

Jai meets Brud at Doyle and Doyle to shop for jewelry for Susan. And she’s there. She jokes to Brud, “You look so different!” because he hasn’t had his haircut yet. Ha! The jeweler says to buy antique jewelry that speaks to you. As Susan tries on the rings, we see her hand and wrist tattoos. Cool. She’s never owned diamonds. Brud loves a ring that has a silver braid. Jai says that it can represent his hair so he’ll always have it with him. I’m sure that’s why he chose it, Jai.

And now it’s Kyan’s time to shine. It’s his big moment. It’s the orgasmic time when Brud gets a hair cut! Brud dons a white robe and Kyan hugs the stylist. Then he hugs Brud because Brud looks nervous. They decide to shave first to find a jaw line and then shape his hair around that.

Electric clippers. Kyan is in awe of his face and his teeth. Brud can’t speak. Next, some woman plucks his brows and Kyan asks Brud what his vows will be. Love love love. Brud sits up and can’t believe what he sees. No one can. He’s taken at least ten years off of himself. He has eyes! He has lips! He looks fabulous in phase one.

Onto phase two—the cutting of the hair. The stylist lops off the ponytail and then Kyan makes Brud hold it. Kyan then wears the ponytail and pretends to be Susan so Brud can practice talking to her. Kyan says he looks like a movie star. Brud says that he doesn’t not like it but it will take some getting used to. His hair is short with a little longer top-front. No color. Good. Color would be too much.

They walk outside. Kyan says to Jai, “Dude, you’re not going to believe it.” Jai falls back against the SUV. “Omigod!” He hugs Brud. “Omigod! You look a million years younger!” That’s real nice, Jai. He’s not a dinosaur!

One of the sons says that all their friends love to hang out at their house.

Another son says that when pops wants to be alone, he goes into the garden to escape all the friends.

Jai is still in shock driving home. Brud predicts screaming and crying. Brud doesn’t remember their first ceremony.

At the house, Ted and Thom are amazed at the transformation. Thom says, “It feels like I’m meeting you for the first time.” Brud is still in shock. Thom wants to rename him.

Thom has put up new wallpaper and has reupholstered the furniture. All the stuff is the same but the wallpaper pulls it all together instead of having all different colored walls.

In the backyard, Thom has created a bamboo fountain. He says, “I know, it’s a little gay…” Ted jumps in, “A LITTLE gay?” Thom insists it’s perfect for the ceremony. He’s also set up a sweetwater bungalow for Brud and Susan to enjoy year-round. Teak chairs and a picnic table complete the look.

In the kitchen, Ted helps Brud bake a cake and he’ll leave the decorating for Brud for later. They’re not making a three tier cake but a smaller cake. Ted asks how many people are coming. Brud says about thirty. Ted asks if they’re big drinkers. Brud says, “Oh, yeah!” Gotta love the Jersey when it comes out. Ted then has Brud beat the mixture as Ted takes a load off. “This is fun!” Ted says. Heehee.

Ted folds eggs and almonds and stuff. Brud says, “You’re doing a great job!” Ha.

Brud meets Jai outside. Jai says that the garden is amazing. He gives Brud an i-Pod for no other reason other than Jai has become the Electronics Fairy. He then instructs Brud to write his vows and then tells him basically what to write. Overstepping your boundary! Then he tells Brud to delegate all the different tasks, especially who is responsible for the ring. Brud says, “Thanks, man!”

Carson goes through a bunch of outfits for Brud to choose from. Khaki-colored suit and white button down. They love it. White mandarin color shirt, white pants, and sandals that form to the foot. They love it. A cool jacket. The boys love the ink. Brud calls it addicting. Carson has him try on a linen tie dye with white pants. Brud can’t believe how he looks.

Kyan warns Brud that his skin will be sensitive for a while so he shows him how to make a mask with yogurt, peaches, carrots, and cucumbers. Brud chops everything up perfectly. Then he blends it all. Kyan says carrots are calming and cucumbers are cooling. Good to know. Brud tells Kyan that a cucumber is twenty degrees below air temperature. Kyan says, “Yes, I did know that. That’s why it’s cooling.” Wow. That could be the most boringly scientific conversation on a make-over show. Luckily, it was between Catty Kyan and Brud, who I have come to love. Plus, Brud said it half-jokingly, as if to show that he already knows that cucumbers are cooling, so there.

Carson and Ted lick Kyan’s face after he has put the mask on. Jai is standing there with an “ew” look on his face. Kyan goes to rinse his face with regular water because saliva doesn’t really cut it.

They all sit in the living room. The FF say that “Brud is now the Stud.” Thom says that the kids cannot claim the backyard. It’s Brud’s. Brud thanks them. They leave Brud with Thom yelling, “Take care of the big gay fountain!” Then we hear Ted chuckle, “Big gay fountain,” under his breath. Heehee.

Hip Tip: If you like a five o’clock shadow, shave from the jaw line down. Damn, Kyan looks good scruffy.

Casting Call: Queer Eye is looking for fathers and sons to be made over together. Ah, two generations of mismatching mayhem to make-over magnificence. Wow, that poetry class is paying off.

The children say that they’re happy their parents stuck together.

One of the sons says that it’s the best time for his parents.

The Fab Five gather round the Critic Couch highly excited. Carson and Jai come in as a couple walking down the aisle. Ted serves champagne.

Enter the Grateful Dead soundtrack. Nice! This is really great music for Brud. The Dead sing “I will get by” as Brud first decorates the cake. Jai mentions that it shouldn’t go too badly because Brud used to be a chef. At first, they’re all impressed by his technique. He spreads all this icing over a slab of cake. Carson “loves a creamy filling.” But then the creamy filling starts to cream overboard and oozes out all over the place. The guys are no longer impressed.

And it’s raining outside! Excellent. Brud says, “Oh man!”

Brud has added the second layer and smoothed the rest of the icing over it without excess oozing. The guys are impressed. Then he starts in with the green piping. The guys are, yet again, no longer impressed. Instead of making leaves, he’s making zigzag lines around the side of the cake and. Ted says that it looks “kinda terrible.” Yes it does. The icing itself looks like toothpaste but that’s apparently beside the point.

And now Dr. Ted schools us on the art of superstition and reproduction. If it rains on your wedding day, supposedly you get pregnant. Who knew?

Brud finished the icing. Voila, they’ve got dessert. Thom exclaims, “That’s the scariest cake I’ve seen in my life.” Heehee.

Brud then writes down his vows in a journal as Jai had told him to do. Jai has gotten quite bossy with this vow business over the past few episodes. Maybe that’s because there’s been a vow and writing theme. The FF try to make out what Brud is writing but the camera angle is weird so they really can’t see all of it. Thom thinks there’s a line that says, “I like you in the dark.” Ha! Brud ends the vows with “I love you.”

Cut to a shirtless Brud entering the kitchen. I am so against shirtless men in the kitchen. At least when they’re cooking for others. But thankfully, he’s not cooking. He’s blending a mask for his skin. Kyan is impressed. Carson is instead focused on Brud’s large tattoos on his arm. Carson says that the “skin art” is “kinda hot.”

After the mask, Brud moseys on over to the closet to choose an outfit. He picks out black linen drawstring pants and a tie dye coral linen shirt with a white jacket. The tie dye shirt sounds horrid but looks nice. It’s a far cry from the homemade cotton tie dye of his hippie days, which ended just hours ago.

While Brud is in the kitchen again, the kids come home. Alyssa is first in a black dress with a flower in her hair. “Omigod!” She smiles. She covers her mouth. She covers her eyes and uncovers them. “Omigod!” She’s in awe. The brothers follow, all wearing white button down tuxedo shirts and black pants. “Omigod!” They smile. They cover their mouths. They slap their foreheads in disbelief. “Omigod!” They keep saying it over and over again. They laugh in disbelief. “Omigod!” This is the most shock I’ve ever seen. It’s well deserved too because they’re actually seeing their dad for the first time. They had never seen his face. That’s gotta be weird. They all hug. Brud says that he had fun all day but that they’re behind schedule.

Brud then takes off the sunglasses he had on to complete the look, and starts to delegate. But before he can get out the directions, they break into another chorus of “omigod!” and “that’s so intense!” because now they see his eyes and not his bushy eyebrows. The kids pitch in around the kitchen and the house. They move the dining table towards the wall and Thom flips out. “Why are they moving the furniture?!” Um, Thom, it’s raining. They’re gonna be inside and they need the space. Take a pill.

The boys remain in the kitchen as Alyssa takes her dad aside to plan the ceremony. Because she’s master of the ceremony. Cool. Brud tells her about his vows. She “omigods” some more and continues to laugh. When they’re done, Brud makes his way back to the kitchen to yell at the kids and tell them how they’re doing everything wrong. But he’s obviously yelling out of nervous energy and they don’t seem to pay any attention to him anyway. His pits are sweating. Alyssa says, “Mom’s gonna have a heart attack.” Brud agrees.

And here comes Mom! Thankfully, she doesn’t have a heart attack. She walks in and her first reaction to the house is, you guessed it, “Omigod!” Then she sees her family standing in the kitchen. They’re lined up as if they’re a cheerleading squad. She notices a strange man standing in the middle of her children. “That’s Bruddy? Is that your father? Bruddy, that’s you?” One of the sons says, “Take off your sunglasses,” which is really funny to say because he’s saying it because he wants his mom to see his dad’s new look completely, but it seems like he’s saying it to prove his dad’s identity.

Mamma Susan hugs Pappa Bruddy and they can’t get over each other. Susan is decked out in a white shawl and pearls. They love each other! He’s great! She’s pretty! She wants to have sex with him! Right then and there! The kids didn’t need to hear that. She cries. The FF give a simultaneous “Awww!”

They all head out to the backyard. Kyan tells Thom that he did a great job with the pool, which is now camouflaged. Carson says that the couple is falling in love all over again. The guests arrive and the FF can’t help but make fun of the wardrobe. After all, they are on the critic couch.

When all the guests are in the house, the kids reveal Susan and Brud. Kyan describes the scene best when he says that they’re all “gasping, crying, hooting, and hollering.” Lots more “omigods!” Brud’s future daughter-in-law hits on him jokingly.

Alyssa starts the ceremony by saying they’re all there because of love. She’s nervous. She starts bawling.

Brud says his vows that include stuff about rain and sunshine and rainbows. Seriously. But it’s sweet. The family and friends yell “keep on truckin” which is a necessary toast at every wedding. Brud gives Susan that spectacular ring, and she’s completely taken aback by it. Ted notes, “even the bikers are tearing up.” They are! It’s all so sweet.

Then a son rings a cow bell and it’s time to eat. Kyan says, “Somehow in this environment, even the cake is okay.” Still scary, but now okay. He then notes the “ink” in some woman’s “cleavage.” Everyone eats. They’re all happy. Everyone loves each other.

The Fab Five think they’ve done an amazing job once again. They toast to Susan and Brud, mazel tov and cheers! Jai says Susan gets to sleep with a whole new man. They toast to family and a house of love.

Kyan says to clear your skin with hydrocortisone and other things I can’t spell on the first try.

Thom say to use small centerpieces because big isn’t always better and that joke isn’t funny the second time round.

Carson says to use a dryer sheet to clean your shoes and to tuck them in at night.

Jai repeats his tip: don’t use nicknames on work email.

Ted repeats his tip: use beer to cook things.

What a long strange trip it’s been for Brud and Susan and the Queer Eye gang.

–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl

Is it ever okay to kinda look like Manson?
Email me: christina@realityshack.com

Nail-Biting Tension – American Idol, 02-15-05

by LauraBelle

The rule changes enacted this year on American Idol have apparently been made to cause more drama – lots more drama. By the end of tonight’s show we find there will be one more obstacle before getting to live performances – they will be sent to the chair.

At the beginning of the show, I begin to wonder if they are showing tomorrow’s show by accident, as they started out showing us all seventy-five remaining contestants broken into four groups. After each performed a song of their choice a capella for Randy, Paula and Simon, they were broken into these groups to find if they were leaving or staying. All just to provide us with more nail-biting tension, as in actuality, we were shown each group waiting, then would see some select performances, and then we would see Randy and Paula deliver the news.

The first performance shown of group one is by Sharon Galvez, the singing cocktail waitress from Las Vegas that is very popular with the American Idol message boards. She sings Greatest Love Of All. None of the performers tonight hear critiques. Just out and done.

Shunta Warthen, who couldn’t figure out how to board the correct bus her first day in Hollywood, follows. She sings If I Ain’t Got You, and after, feels very invincible.

St. Louis vocal teacher, Angel Hicks sings Till You Come Back To Me. She entered the contest with her student; he couldn’t make it past Randy, Simon and Paula, but here Angel is one of the last seventy-five.

Rashida Johnson’s laryngitis is still affecting her singing as she makes her way through Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed. By this point, I am already figuring this group is one that is not going to make it through.

Sean McNeil wowed them with his personality in Washington, D.C., but he makes his way shakily through Your Song by Elton John. He is no longer able to depend on his smile, but he does have a good extended note at the end.

Randy and Paula arrive to meet Sean, Rashida, Angel, Shunta, Sharon and the others in their group, to deliver the news. Simon had been pulled away on business. They tell them their performances had brought them great joy for the past four days, but unfortunately they are going home. Randy, still not able to refrain from name-dropping famous celebrities he has worked with, tells them to keep the “Journey” going.

Up first for group two is Jamar Jefferson, minus his twin, Lamar. Jamar had been warned before that this wasn’t a strip club. He takes a huge risk and sings an original song, Shake, that he had written at his grandmother’s house.

Mario Vasquez’ mom says through a thick accent that he’s been singing since he was four or five. He also takes a risk, and sings Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Note to Mrs. Vasquez: Please urge your son to contact Annie.

Matthew Kester sings a very different version of Simon’s favorite song, Unchained Melody. This could spell trouble, as if I am unimpressed, I can only imagine Simon is as well.

Innocent farmgirl, Carrie Underwood, goes back to her country roots and sings Independence Day. Having someone say she “knocked it in the box,” she asks a very cool Constantine if that’s supposed to be good or bad. He believes good. I am thinking this is the first group to make it through.

Judd Harris sings Ride, Sally, Ride and the crowd joins him at the appropriate time of the chorus.

Vonzell Solomon, a United States postal service employee, sings, Natural Woman, and does quiet well. We are also treated to a clip of her delivering mail in her mail truck.

Along with these people are David Brown, Anwar Robinson and Constantine Maroulis. Again, Randy and Paula come in to break the news. They do a little acting bit about how sad they are before letting them off the hook to find out they made it through.

For group three, Paula’s favorite, Desmond Meeks is up. He sings Heard It Through The Grapevine, and it’s clear why Randy and Simon had their reservations about him, as he performs more than sings.

Jennifer Todd from Las Vegas is still in it despite being told she had an image problem because of her weight. She sings I’m So Excited, a song that is a little hard to do a capella.

Carrie Zanuba had battled with Elizabeth Pha over forgotten lyrics. She remembers her words as she sings Lately. It won’t be lyrics holding her back, and I don’t think this group will make it.

Aa’Shia Jackson, she with the very high-pitched voice, says before her song that she has to have a purpose in her life for her life to have a purpose. Still, her rendition of Never Can Say Goodbye brings my daughter in asking if it’s a little boy singing. Too much early Michael Jackson for her.

Larry Ellis sings Last Cry, and I think I actually liked Camille Velasco’s version better last year. Please don’t shoot me.

Rounding up the singers reminiscent of last year is San Francisco crooner, Ross Williams, singing Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke. I believe he was channeling Mel Tormé in this one.

To keep the suspense going, we don’t find if group three made it or not, instead we move straight to group four. Antony Federov, known sometimes as Miracle Boy, sings the same song he did in his first audition, Angel, by Jon Secada. Even better, somehow. Already, I know this group makes it through.

Jaclyn Crum says she is the most emotional person (and I thought I had that award wrapped up) and admits to crying over everything. She sings Beautiful Disaster. Pretty brave and gutsy, I think, singing Kelly Clarkson.

Also emotional, is Tammy Nash, feeling an overwhelming pressure. She sings Somehwere from West Side Story.

Scott Savol thinks he is in good company in his group with Bo Bice and John Zisa. He sings Ribbon In the Sky … beautifully. I hope his father is eating his words for saying Scott would never go anywhere.

Mikalah Gordon tones the performance down from earlier ones, not even talking at all this time. She sings a song I have never heard before. Low-toned Lindsay Cardinale does the same.

Jessica Sierra sings a jazzed up version of Boys Are Back In Town. I can’t even remember hearing her before. By this point we should know all the contestants very well, but the editors have played with us, not letting us see all our favorites every week, and popping surprises at us here and there.

Randy and Paula approach group three with the same lines from group one. They are gong home. Approaching group four, Paula adds crying to her acting skills, only to of course say they have made it through.

The people from groups one and three are meeting in the hallway to commiserate, all very disappointed. In fact, Larry Ellis is pissed! Aa’Shia still feels completely invincible, and yells something about not being fed with a silver spoon all her life. Whatever. Later, Larry Ellis turns to being philosophical with another contestant about where they go in their lives and careers from here.

The forty-four that have made it are being given three weeks off, then will meet with Randy, Paula and Simon once again, forced to sit in a chair, sans light shining in their eyes, to hear critiques from the judges. There will be twelve females and twelve males left by the end of tomorrow.

This season certainly looks promising. The talent pool overall is tremendous and great effort is being made to provide us with some serious drama. Although, this is one show that usually doesn’t need the added drama, midway through the finals. Should be very interesting!

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

Gimmee Two Steps – Starting Over, 02-14-05

by LauraBelle

I don’t know if there are only old rock ‘n roll fans out there, but REO Speedwagon used to do a song called 157 Riverside Ave. In it, Kevin Cronin said, “Sometimes if you want to get through to someone, you have to talk to them in their own language.” This is what the life coaches on Starting Over have learned as well. For the women on the show to see it, they have to be outside out of it.

After going to bed reading the card that said, “It’s okay to remember … NOW,” Bethany has woken up with a memory flash. She remembers walking out of her band director’s office, and everyone looking at her, “Like, wow!” She wants to call her parents and double check that memory to see what type of validity there is to it. She calls her dad and repeats the memory, saying she remembers she was wearing her red dress with the black overlay. He believes it to be an accurate memory, saying that was when she was giving her crown up and had performed for the whole student body.

Iyanla meets with Rachael to discuss finding her biological father. She tells her when she first entered the house, she described herself to Iyanla as an orphan. Iyanla tells her this isn’t the case, as she has her biological father out there somewhere. Talking to her aunt yesterday, Rachael triggered a memory of her dad. She went to his house, and remembers crying because he wouldn’t come out or something like that. Iyanla asks how she knew when she was little that was her daddy; someone must have told her. This touches on Rachael’s concerns on finding him now. Her mom had tried to protect her from him, and she doesn’t want to mistrust her mom’s feelings, yet she feels she must get in touch were her heritage.

Denise talks with Rhonda about sending the letter to her sister, and admits she hasn’t heard back from her. Rhonda says the reason Denise has a larger problem forgiving her sister than her father is because her sister is alive, unlike her father, and can refute anything that is said. On a scale of ten of forgiveness, Denise is giving herself a nine. Rhonda tells her the next step is learning how to set boundaries in her relationships, and tells her that her inappropriate behavior is her way of setting boundaries. Instead of pushing people away with the behavior, she needs to take responsibility for herself. I don’t know if Denise is understanding you, Rhonda, but I sure am.

The picket fence slats are back in front of Renee as she meets one-on-one with Iyanla. Those slats, written on in Renee’s first day in the Starting Over house, represent all her obstacles. Iyanla questions why Renee’s mom isn’t on there. Renee answers that she doesn’t want to upset her mom, saying she is all she has. Iyanla tells her, “No, YOU are all you have.” Renee is still upset over the excuses her mom made for her brother, and knows her mom will deny his abuse of her. Iyanla gives Renee some blank slats, and tells her she has been defending her mom and sacrificing herself, and instructs her to make some new slats that deal with her issues with her mom.

In Group, Iyanla brings Renee over to sit next to her in the “Love Seat.” Asked why she is there, Renee knows it it because she has been working hard. Iyanla shows her she was received two new steps toward her goal – Dismantling defenses and Uncovering true story.

Iyanla passes out clipboards to everyone and tells them to write down the five most important aspects of their history. Among the ones she has chosen, Rachael lists her mom going to Liberia, her parents dying, and visiting Costa Rica. Iyanla notes that it is interesting she has chosen all the times she felt separation. Renee chooses her parents divorce, the death of her grandmother, the loss of her relationship with her dad, the molestation she suffered and her relationship with Brent. These all represent tragedy and/or separation. Bethany is, of course, of a different sort seeing as that she doesn’t remember the first seventeen years of her life. She only has four years to choose from, and chooses losing her memory, remembering God and her decision to come to the Starting Over house.

Rachel says her history was that she was a disrespectful brat, and Iyanla corrects her that that is others’ view of her. She urges the women to realize their history is not their destiny. If you think negative thoughts about your history, you will recreate more negative things in your future. Iyanla’s final thoughts are telling the women when they look at their family tree, but not let it put its noose around their neck.

Denise’s assignment for the day is to walk the streets of Hollywood with a sign that says, “I need your input.” She asks about boundaries, and they discuss putting walls up. One woman tells Denise that she holds it all in until she explodes, and then offends people. Denise is amazed that this woman does the same things she does. This woman admits to carrying a fifteen year grudge until she finally forgave the person. She says if she would have never forgiven it would have hindered her making her feel like a hermit. A huge bell has just gone off for Denise, and she realizes this has provided her with an opportunity to step outside herself, and realize she has been pushing everyone away.

Renee’s new slats made, she goes over her mom issues with Iyanla. They discuss the damage that was done when her mom never acknowledged the abuse and how she kept saying the abuser was a good person. Iyanla tells Renee that her own experience was not her mothers. She talks again of the abuse from her brother, and says she depended on him for things like feeding her lunch, and then he went and treated her poorly. She admits to being scared of having a conversation with her mom, but knows she needs to trust herself.

Renee prepares for her fierce conversation with her mother by calling her brother. She tells him how she needs to talk to their mom. She then tells him he was mean to her and it affected her childhood. No surprise here, that he doesn’t remember. He says he’ll have their mom call Renee, and she emphatically says no. It has to come from her.

Rachael and Iyanla make a huge step and begin the search for Rachael’s biological father. They meet with a private investigator who tells them she should have information in a day or two. Rachael tells Iyanla she is not excited, she is scared. Iyanla gives her a blue candle to light that evening to communicate with her mom. Fire is universal for communication and blue means mom.

Denise and Rhonda meet to talk about Denise’s day out on the streets of Hollywood. Denise has the revelation that if she doesn’t say how she feels, no one will know. Ding ding ding, Denise. Took me forty years to learn that. She knows setting boundaries with her husband will make her marriage stronger. Rhonda gives her a video camera and tells her to record a message to her sister and send it in the mail tomorrow. The consequence of not doing it will be a C at the next Board of Review, and since she already has one C, that will mean immediate dismissal.

Renee delves in and calls her mom. She tells her the good news that she received two steps, and instead of congratulating her, her mom tells her they must be getting tired of her. Nice. Renee asks her to come out, and she says she can’t; she has to work. She asks her to on the weekend, and she says she can’t because she needs to bake a cake for someone’s birthday. Have you heard of the bakery? Her mom finally admits she is afraid fingers will be pointed at her in a confrontation. Renee says she’s not blaming her, but feels it would be helpful for their relationship. Her mom says they only had problems from when she was thirteen to twenty-one, but then Renee grew up. She makes some more excuses about having to let the dogs out, then says she thinks Renee is being brainwashed. Gee, can’t imagine why Renee is in the place right now she is.

Renee finds some support talking to the other women in the house, and they talk how her mom thinks this is like a cult or something. Renee says she cried out to her mom, and her mom didn’t her hear. She knows her brother probably called her mom anyway and tipped her off. Candy tells her she is a big girl now, and relationships change. She says Renee is responsible for defining the changes in her life.

Bethany calls a friend, Callum. She asks him for his memories of her. It turns out they were like boyfriend and girlfriend, making Bethany extremely embarrassed. After the phone call she tapes Denise’s message to her sister. Denise can’t get past the jokes, but eventually does, saying she hasn’t been the best sister, and says to her sister that she is very important to her. Cassie, listening in, is excited that Denise is finally taking responsibility.

Denise finally got the message Rhonda has been trying to tell her for weeks, because she finally stepped outside of the situation and looked at it from this other woman’s perspective that happened to be her own. This holds for the other women as well. They could never get past these issues, as they were so deep in them at their home, it was hard to step out. Once in the Starting Over house, they can look outside, and see who they are and how they got there. Iyanla’s right; their history is not their destiny, but they have to look outside first.

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

This Episode Brought to You By…, The Bachelorette 3, Episode 6

We’re winding down to the end now with Jen going on three overnight fantasy dates with her three remaining men. Wait, haven’t they all been fantasy dates? Well, this is Super Ultra Fantasy Date.

The first SUF date was in Bermuda with John Paul. First the couple spent some time on the beach until it started to rain, and then they went inside and sat on the couch, talking and drinking wine. Later that evening John Paul asks Jen if Andrew Firestone still plays a part in her life and her dating relationships. C’mon guys, haven’t we covered all this about five times already? Jen says no, they’re “friends”, but she doesn’t consider him when dating or anything like that. Apparently Jen isn’t too annoyed by the question, because she asks John Paul to spend the night as a couple in the fantasy suite. He accepts, then the two watch fireworks before going inside to make some of their own. Once in the suite, they sit on the floor and make out and then John Paul invites Jen upstairs. The two walk away and our overactive imaginations are left to fill in the details.

The next date is with Jerry in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Jen admits before the date that she’s afraid that Jerry will break her heart. The two picnic and then play a game of croquet. They sit down and Jen asks Jerry for three things that he likes about her. Jerry seems a little uncomfortable with that, but says that he likes the way she lights up a room, that she makes him feel nervous and comfortable at the same time, and something else that wasn’t very significant. The questions continue later on at dinner, when the two get a little loud with each other. Jen accuses Jerry of not being himself. She tells the camera that he seems too slick, and he just seems to skirt around questions and tries to schmooze himself out of situations. She wonders if he’s not used to being questioned by women, if they just swoon over him and don’t get to anything with substance. After all this, Jen still invites Jerry up to the fantasy suite. Yeah, Jen, we think he’s hot, too.

Before I continue on with the next date, I have to mention something that I found odd. Did anyone else notice this? After Jerry’s date, there are commercials (obviously), and the last commercial is for Oral B Brush Ups. Then, the show is back, and Ryan is standing on the beach waiting for Jen, and he whips out an Oral B Brush Up, sticks it on his finger, and does a quick brush up. What was that all about?!? Can I also mention that they did a close up of the package, so you knew for sure that it was Oral B? Is The Bachelorette now endorsing products? I was very disturbed by this and still am.

Back to the show. We next see Ryan on the beach in Cape Cod with his Brush Ups. He and Jen unite and share a brief kiss. They hang out on the beach, and Jen tells him that she was a little weirded out by his family. Ryan told her that he thought she should have asked his family more specific questions. Jen liked that Ryan was straight forward with her. Jen invites Ryan to the fantasy suite. They share dinner, and then champagne in a bubble bath. Don’t worry, folks, Jen was wearing a bathing suit.

Now the dates are done, and there’s a shocking twist: Jen wants to talk with each man privately before the rose ceremony. Whoa, don’t throw us too much of a curve ball! We’re still recovering from finding out that Ryan is addicted to Brush Ups! Anyway, nothing significant was uncovered by these meetings. Jen still is mystified by Jerry. That’s why she picks him and John Paul, and sends Ryan home. Jen walks Ryan out and tells him that her instincts told her that he just wasn’t the one. Ryan says he understands, but in the limo we find out otherwise. Basically he thinks she made a mistake and he’s very disappointed. You have to feel bad for the guy.

We’re down to the final two! But before we find out who comes out on top, next week we have The Men Tell All, where we’ll be reunited with Stu the Stalker, the Dueling Virgins, and Frenchie Fabrice, and the previews say that his sexuality will be discussed. This is going to be fun. The week after that is the finale. Both men will propose to her, and she’ll choose one. Who are you rooting for? Even though Jerry is yummy eye candy, I think she is best with John Paul (from what we see), which means she’ll pick Jerry. What do you think? Who will it be? What product will be advertised on next week’s show? Email me at Rachel@realityshack.com .

Survivor Palau – A Preview of What’s to Come


by aurora

The premiere of the highly anticipated tenth installment of Survivor is less than 48 hours away. We’ve been promised some new twists and ‘never-happened-before’ events, including a shark fight and three castaways leaving the show in the first hour. Here’s a quick look at what we know so far.

** Spoiler Warning! **

Although this article doesn’t contain any information that hasn’t been published elsewhere, it does contain some material that people could consider spoilers. If you hate finding anything out until after the fact, then don’t read any further!

To kick things off in the islands of Palau, twenty Survivors (the most in one season so far) will be abandoned, literally. Jeff Probst will drop them off, bid them farewell, and leave. The group will have to fend for themselves right off the bat, with only the clothes on their backs, and try to survive the elements as one very large tribe. After that, things will really get interesting.

Presumably after a challenge, tribes will be picked. The tribe captains will be the winners of the challenge, and the last two people remaining after two tribes of nine have been chosen will be asked to leave. No votes, no choice; just gone.

Challenges this season will be tougher than ever, and will mostly take place in the water. According to Canoe.ca, Probst has said “The visibility underwater was so good we decide to pull out a lot of challenges we have been sitting on. In the first three or four episodes we have some of the most physical challenges I think we have ever put on in terms of endurance and needing to be physically fit.” This bodes well for those of tired of seeing the strongest players eliminated early.

On top of all this, there have been tales of a shark attack, where one survivor battles a shark and eventually kills it. The shark is apparently a bit larger than the one Richard Hatch caught in All-Stars.

Probst has also promised that the “underlying theme” this season is choices and their consequences. With the setting a backdrop of World War II heritage, expect another theme of war and a tribute to the area and the heroes who fought there.

Personally speaking, I’ll be happy if there are more people who are there to play the game than to promote a future, obscure acting or modelling career. This is Survivor, and strategy, cunning, and planning will always win out over a pretty face and self-righteous attitude.

We have also just learned that there will be another premiere this Thursday night. The Survivor Talk Show, hosted by WeLoveBigBrother.com, goes live to air immediately following Survivor, from 9-9:30pm ET. It will be rebroadcast in each time zone after the premiere airs in that area. The special guest for the first show will be America’s favourite Survivor, Rupert Boneham.

To listen to the broadcast, tune in at mms://64.71.188.27/BigBrotherExtra – and if you have a question for Rupert you can e-mail info@welovebigbrother.com, or call 1.866.697.2256 toll free and leave a voice recording.

For more information on the Survivor Talk Show, visit www.welovebigbrother.com. And for weekly boot predictions, episode recaps, and weekly commentary on Survivor: Palau, keep visiting us here at RealityShack!

Comments are most welcome! You can reach me at carrie@realityshack.com.


What's With All This Drama? (Episode 5)


by Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos

This week we find out what sort of fallout there was from the team switch and how Ralphie’s team’s sleepovers went. Remember that because Ralphie’s team lost less weight last week they had to spend the night one of the panel members. Joe G got Dr. Katz; Ralphie shared a bunk with Marisa Peer (psychotherapist); Wendy got Harvey – the drill sargeant and Kim Coles spent the night with host ANT.

This episode marks the halfway point – the celebs are 6 weeks into their Fit Club experience and well, they’re running out of gas. Not one of them made their target last week. Not one! The panel’s getting ticked off and they don’t really want to hear anymore excuses. (As my ex used to say, “Excuses are like @$$holes…everyone has one and they all stink!” Boy what a poet – and so original too! I can’t imagine what caused the break-up.)

Ralphie’s “Angels” were pretty happy that Judge Mablean was gone – especially Kim and Wendy. Kim sang, “Ding, Dong the Judge is Dead…” (a take-off of the song from the Wizard of Oz) Wendy, who seemed to be so sweet and kind in the beginning of this journey may be feeling the withdrawal crankies or something. She was not very complimentary to the judge either. She told the panel that she felt Mablean’s heart wasn’t “into being the team captain.”

At “Fit Camp” (the celebs’ shared exercise/assessment time), Judge Mablean expressed some hurt feelings over the trade. She said she wasn’t upset at being traded; but rather, by her team’s comments about it. She honestly wished they would have came to her about it sooner. She said she wasn’t aware of their upset feelings about her leadership.

Kim countered by saying that she felt pity for the judge. Before the two ladies could get too deep into a cat fight, Ralphie played peacemaker. He threatened to “get nakid” and said “y’all know you don’t want me to take my pants off too” – after he took off his shirt. He said he doesn’t like conflict or “drama.”

Overall, I think that Mablean could have handled things differently, to a point. The fact remains that Kim and, to a lesser degree, Wendy, weren’t as committed to things as maybe they could have been. And — although the celebs may know what to do – they could benefit from some guidance now and then. If they did the ‘right things’, they’d be hitting their targets more easily.

(Listen: I’m overweight. I feel the heartbreak of missed targets — weekly, it seems — but I try and I know that I could lose more weight if I did the right things. The celebs have a chance for support and an opportunity that many of us don’t get and would love to have here — so I’d like to see a little more effort from some of them. Not all. Just some!)

Although Judge Mablean had an emotionally tough week, she walked up to the panel with as much confidence as she could muster. She stood before Dr. Katz, Marisa & Harvey. She told them that if she didn’t lose weight this week then there’s something wrong with this show, not her. Her target was 2 lbs. She turned it up and out – the woman lost 6 lbs.

Marisa asked her what she did differently. Mablean said that she had been eating better, but wasn’t counting calories. Marisa said that was an important distinction. You can eat a bunch of good stuff and still gain weight – IF YOU EAT TOO MUCH OF IT!

Dr. Katz asked her if he could “approach the bench.” He gave her a hug and told her that he was proud of the job she did. I was too. You go, judge. Losing well is the best revenge, right? Harvey told her he was thrilled and gave her a 4 lb. target for the next two weeks.

Next up to be weighed was Joe G. ANT mentioned how Joe G. and Dr. Katz who was his ‘house-guest’ for the last penalty are polar opposites. Dr. Katz hasn’t gained one pound in over 30 years. (Dang!) He exercises 2 hours a day and he is devoted to healthy eating. Let’s get the guy a bozo button and make him a saint right now! Nah, that’s just my jealousy talking. But I hate “perfect” people! However, I think I will buy his book now!

Dr. Katz hated the squalor Joey was living in. He hated the smoking especially and, at one point, asked Joe to put his cigarette out. He did show Joe his nighttime ritual of drinking herbal tea. Joe wasn’t having it. Joe gave Dr. K his bed for the night. In the middle of the night, Joey came in to sleep with Dr. K who quipped, “They aren’t paying me enough for this!” AMEN!

Dr. Katz told Joe that they had a ‘special bond’ and that he was rooting for him. Joe went down 5 lbs from 294 to 289. 5 lbs was his exact target so he hit a bullseye. Marisa noted that he didn’t look happy. He said he thought it was more. Harvey told him to keep up the good work.

Mia Tyler was up next. She says she loves her curves. I must admit I was rooting a lot for Mia. I applaud her positive attitude that sexy comes in all sizes and shapes and a woman with curves and some chunk can be beautiful too! She says that her goal here is to get a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Katz tells the cameras that Mia’s been the toughest one to deal with. Her attitude basically sucks – and it does.

She’s very angry. This week she lost NADA. Nothing. She said she was happy with that because she is not obsessed with numbers on a scale like the panel is. She showed contempt for the panel, especially Harvey. She said that her face is thinner and she can put her belt in further than before so she’s looking at those victories.

I agree that those are positive changes. They’re wonderful — BUT — I also think that there is something more to Mia’s resistance too. I know that I often get defensive about losing weight. It’s a sense of shame for me – being overweight – although I think that I am beautiful despite my ‘fat flaw’, I know that others don’t. I don’t want to live for others, but for my health. However, I don’t have my health either anymore.

I used to be fat and fit – now I’m just fat and it’s harder to get fit!

I hope she rocks it out and shows them who’s boss. Lead by example, not by force.

Her new target, although she didn’t want to hear it, was 6 lbs over the next two weeks. She told the panel to f&*k off. ANT gave her a hug. She said, “I don’t need a hug.” He told her, “I’m giving you a hug, b*t*h. Take it.” You go, ANT. I think she needs a hug too.

It’s Ralphie’s turn. He is the new team captain. The team also changed their name. It’s 3 Fat B@st@rds and a Black BIYATCH. ANT was like, I am NOT saying that team name each week. I don’t blame him.

So, how did team captain, Ralphie do? At Fit Club, Ralphie who was coming in last in the 3-mile hike decided to take action. He ran the last mile. This 467 lb man RAN A MILE! That gave me hope. If Ralphie can run, I can walk for 20 minutes every day – at least and so can my husband – – thank you, Ralphie.

I was glad to hear that Ralphie understands that he’s an inspiration and he wants to be one. He wants someone who’s watching and may not be as out of shape as he is to think, well – if he can do it – why am I NOT doing it!?!

It’s Day 47. He lost 1 lb. Ralphie was frustrated. Harvey wants to make sure he’s being honest with his food and exercise logs. Ralphie says he is and that this won’t work if he isn’t. Dr. Katz thinks it’s just a plateau and that he should see some downward movement on the scale soon. He’s still probably building muscle, especially since he’s exercising so much. His target for the next two weeks is 6 lbs.

Ralphie confirms his commitment to weight loss and says, “Once this show’s done – I ain’t!” He’s in this for the long haul and has a wonderful attitude about weight loss.

Well – how did his sleepover with Marisa go? Well, he joked about her ‘cans’. They did a hypnotherapy session. In it, she told Ralphie that he wanted to be big when he was a little boy but BIG means TALL and powerful. Even after Marisa went to bed, Ralphie pulled a joke on her. He sent his dog, PIMP, (yes, PIMP) into the bedroom. *LOL*

It’s Daniel’s turn to get weighed. ANT asks him is Daniel, who’s lost the most of all the fit-clubbers, can “keep it up.” Daniel quips – “honey, I don’t need no Viagra.” OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWEEEEEEEEEE

Unfortunately, Daniel hit a snafu. He was easily meeting his targets up until this point. His goal was – 3 lbs. He only lost 1. He has lost 22 lbs. overall and I could really see the loss in his fact and his stomach area (he had a bit of a gut at the beginning). His sweater also fits him very loose so I think Daniel’s doing well. So does the panel. They told him to just bet back on track. Marisa did ask how he’d help Mia meet her targets next and she got angry. He told Mia to relax and basically said, “he couldn’t do it for her.”

For the next two weeks, his target loss is 5 lbs. He said, “I’ll bet you anything I’ll hit that target!”

Wendy was Harvey’s sleepover partner. Harve brought over a workout mat and made her do push-ups, not on the knees like at fit camp, but from the ankles. She quipped afterwards, “Now we can watch some TV.”
Harvey was like – no, it’s crunch time. She tried to distract him with card games and other stuff but it wasn’t happening.

After they brushed their teeth, she had to do the crunches. Wendy had joked while brushing that she puts so much paste on her brush because she eats some of it.

Harvey joked with her, as she did the crunches, that — this was his dream date. He got the last laugh, or did he. This week Wendy only lost 1 lb. Her target was 3. She was both surprised and disappointed. She seems to have lost some steam. The panel notices and asks her to renew her commitment to the program and get back on track. She says she has NO EXCUSES for not losing the weight and quietly accepts the 6 lb target they give her for the next two weeks.

Biz Markie’s weigh in was uneventful pretty much. He was supposed to lose 4 lbs. He lost 1/2 of that (2 lbs). He was happy with that, but the panel wanted to get him back on track. He is NOT doing as much exercise as he should. Harvey told him to double the 2 days he does and make it 4 at a minimum.

He has an 8 lb loss target for the next two weeks.

Was it just me or did Mablean look angry that her team was sucking so badly this week?

Now we get to the team challenge. Up til now Daniel’s team has won all of ’em. Ralphie wants to win. They have to deal with the “Speedtalker” – remember the guy from all those commercials in the 80s. He talks superfast. Well they used him to read an excerpt from Dr. Katz book. Then, the teams had a quiz on what was read.

In the end, Daniel – who thought his team would win for sure because he thinks he’s the only one who read the book – lost. They got 5 wrong whereas Ralphie’s team only got 3 incorrect.

The prize – a barbecue grill!

The final celeb to be weighed is Ms. Coles. She and ANT had a fun time. ANT invited her to his house. He thinks Kim is just a big, black, beautiful woman. They laughed. They had fruit and whipped cream. ANT said he wants Kim to be his roommate. They get along famously.

Kim jokes that she’s the woman to turn ANT straight. That ain’t happenin’.

She was down 2 lbs this week; it was supposed to be 4. She all but admitted that she wasn’t committed to this program. Dr. Katz couldn’t understand why she was there then because this is a support system that is unique and if she can’t do it here, then she probably won’t be able to do it on her own either. (At least, not until she’s ready!). Harvey told her to get back into it and gave her a 6 lb target over the 2 weeks.

I don’t think she’s gonna hit it. I hope she proves me wrong, tho’!!

Daniel’s team was down 9 lbs and so was Ralphie’s. This was the first tie. However, Daniel’s team has lost 55 lbs overall and Ralphie’s has lost 76!

*Next time, someone goes AWOL. Check out http://www.vh-1.com for the lastest info and video from the show! Email me at panndyra@realityshack.com if you have questions. I’m off to eat a sandwich.


Wickedly Perfect Episode #6 – The Remodeling Challenge

It’s day 16 at the Connecticut estate. Denise says she wants to ‘ramp up’ her crew on Team Artisan for the next challenge. Meanwhile, Darlene from the Crafty Beavers is having an impromptu sing along while her teammate Mitch plays piano.

The Wickedly Perfect contestants assemble in the kitchen where Joan Lunden meets to tell them about the next challenge. Both teams will remodel bedrooms in the estate’s carriage house. There is also a “great room” in the carriage house that is divided in half with a curtain. On Team Artisan’s side of the divided room they will create a dining room and fitness center. As for the Crafty Beavers’ side of the room, they will design a home office and media center. The teams have to create at least one piece of original art, and a bed with a custom headboard made from scratch.

This time the teams will be sharing tools in the shop in order to complete their projects. Each team has $15,000 to spend on supplies at Sears. This challenge will be judged on creativity, ingenuity, and overall craftsmanship. For the individual projects, the contestants will have to gift wrap a box. The catch is they can’t use wrapping paper. With 48 hours until the judges arrive, the teams get to work.

Darlene, who was moved from Team Artisan to the Crafty Beavers last episode, says she feels like a newcomer. Mitch says Darlene has a lot of energy and is like a ‘jumping bean’. Dawn and Kimberly start working on fixing up their team’s bedroom. While scraping old paint off a couple of doors they discover that the doors are made of really nice wood. The ladies plan to spend hours meticulously scraping and refinishing the doors. Their teammate Denise worries that they will waste too much time on the doors and not be able to work on the other projects. Denise wins out and they end up covering the doors with a fresh coat of paint.

In the shop, Kimberly and Mitch are working separately on their teams’ projects when Mitch realizes he’s out of staples needed to finish making his ottoman. He asks Kimberly if she would give him some of her staples in exchange for some of his wood molding. She agrees because she needs more molding to complete the headboard of her bed. Kimberly’s headboard is coming along nicely, but Team Artisan’s Denise and Dawn joke that Mitch’s headboard, which is covered in pink fabric, looks like the top of a casket.

Judges Candace Bushnell, David Evangelista, and Bobby Flay arrive and check out the Crafty Beavers’ work first. Candace says she’s not crazy about the textured wall in the home office that Darlene worked so hard to create. Candace says she likes the stripes Mitch painted on the walls in the bedroom and the ottoman he made which can be opened to serve as a storage area. However, Bobby says he thinks the rooms are too monochromatic. The Crafty Beavers’, who have been called by the judges ‘all flash’, say they went with a more subdued color palette this time to show their diversity.

The judges visit Team Artisan and all agree that they love the headboard Kimberly made. David says the bed they built is very comfortable, but that the colors used in the bedroom are a bit flat. Bobby and Candace are not impressed with the home gym because the only type of exercise equipment in the room is a treadmill. The team had bought a weight machine at Sears but couldn’t figure out how to put it together so they didn’t use it. Oops.

Time for the verdict and the judges pick the Crafty Beavers as the winning team. They decide that Kimberly’s and Denise’s individual projects are the weakest so Dawn will have to vote one of them off the show. Before Team Artisan heads out to the Rock Garden, Mitch pulls Dawn aside and tries to convince her to kick her good friend Kimberly out. He tells her to play with her head, not her heart. It turns out Dawn voted with her heart instead and voted Denise off the show.

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

Real World Philadelphia, Episode 22 – We All Hate Mel Anyway

by DrivenAmbition

This weeks’ dramatic episode opened with Mel walking in the house with those strange friends of hers from that bar that none of the other roommates are allowed to attend.

MJ, Sarah, Landon, and Shavonda talked about Mel, behind her back of course. Sarah’s thoughts were, “She’s the most self-righteous person I know “, and Shavonda’s thoughts were, “her personality bugs me”. Soon we would find out that Shavonda was holding back.

When the roommates return to work for the first time since the Fiji trip, they find out that they only have 5 ½ weeks to complete their playground project.

Karamo tells his new love interest, Eddie, that he would rather spend more time being a mentor to the children, rather than having to put things together. I’m sure a person who thinks that all white people are the enemy, is the perfect role model for young impressionable minds.

Meanwhile, back at Drinkers (which is the name of the Club that Mel loves more than life itself), the camera catches her laughing, flirting, and dancing with a few of the club’s resident roughnecks.

When Mel comes home drunk, she ends up in the phone room with Shavonda and MJ. When the other two roommates try to talk to Mel, she gets in Shavonda’s face and it sets Shavonda off. The events that followed were at best melo-dramatic, but to summarize what was said, Shavonda told Mel that none of the roommates can stand her. This was definitely the dramatic highlight of this week’s episode.

Once Mel sobers up, she calls her father and has an emotional conversation with him, explaining that she wants to go home and that none of the roommates liked her; which was true, but I personally wouldn’t have let Shavonda, someone who doesn’t know her head from her ass, tell me off to the point of me wanting to leave a house that is as much mine as it was hers.

The work that the roommates were doing changed when Landon, Mel, and Karamo didn’t show up for work. Landon’s relatives were visiting, but Karamo and Mel just didn’t show up, and didn’t have an excuse.

The next day, at work, the playground equipment arrives, and the roommates get a new car and two new cell phones, to be used only for work-related activities. Karamo received a written warning. The boss told him that if he is late or doesn’t show up for any reason, he is fired, and the new Real World rules say that if a roommate is fired from their job, they must go home.

After Mel talks to Sarah and Willie, she promises to change. I wouldn’t have promised anything ecxept to make their lives in the house much more difficult, but then I hold onto things.

The next day at work, the roommates receive a phone call on their new handy dandy phones, from ING Direct. The company wanted to donate $5,000.00 to the Northern Home Project, which is the project the roommates are working on. At least they ended the show on a high note!

The Passions of Extraordinary Cassie – Starting Over, 02-11-05

by LauraBelle

Passion is such a larger term than we normally think of. It doesn’t have to be confined to the physical sense, but it can also be broadened to be anything that excites you, be it mentally or spiritually. I happen to be passionate about many things, and one of them is Starting Over. By the time it’s done, my mind is spinning with all sorts of ideas of myself and the women that reside in this house, and how the life coaches will encourage them on the path to better themselves.

Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan hold private meeting to discuss a few of the women in the house, and to coordinate the direction they will be taking. First up is Bethany and her trip home to North Carolina. Rhonda tells the others they didn’t learn of any specific big trauma that had faced her before her memory loss, but her mother, grandparents and brother all thought she had had a mental breakdown. Dr. Stan believes those memories are repressed and he would like to possibly bring them out by hypnotism. He states she needs to be open and relaxed for it to work, and he intends to keep her that way by teaching her a form of self-hypnosis, where she will be in complete control of her memories that come back to her.

Next, Rhonda brings up her concerns over Cassie, who has been on an emotional roller coasts ride this week after the adoptive mother’s refusal to help and the disappointments she faced learning more of her own birth mother and family. Rhonda sees that pursuing information from the adoptive father could also fail, and between that and getting the results of her GED, Cassie could be headed for a total breakdown, but Rhonda remains hopeful that Cassie will prevail.

Iyanla would like to discuss Renee and the possibility of her having a learning disability. Renee represents a large number of adult women who have done poorly in school, yet have never been tested for learning disabilities. Dr. Stan is going to meet with Renee and a neuro-psychologist who will test Renee on her strengths and weaknesses in learning to help them see where she is at, and also help Renee to see that all this time she wasn’t stupid, just had trouble processing the information.

Dr. Stan moves on to a one-on-one with Cassie, and he wants to know what kind of homework she has done on a future career for herself. She sees her skills as largely anything secretarial and anything that is nurturing. As those are the only things she has done and has confidence in. Dr. Stan adds to her list that she is friendly, warm and kind. He also finds it interesting that she enjoys writing poetry, but creativity is not listed as one of her skills.

Cassie sees medical assistant, massage therapist for the elderly, social worker, creative writer, and doing something in the adoption field as future jobs she would enjoy, without necessarily looking at skills. Her dream jobs. Dr. Stan encourages her to think of becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) as something worthwhile. It takes more schooling, but with her GED, she could certainly do it. She agrees if she had the training she would rather do that than be a medical assistant. Dr. Stan tells her there is a tremendous demand for nurses in the city, and she agrees to research LVN programs.

Rhonda meets again with Bethany with a “long time no see” joke, and asks what she feels she has taken away from her trip home. Bethany says she has learned more of what type of person she was and about all the different things she was trying to do back then. Rhonda wants to know how she feels about herself now after seeing where she once was. Bethany admits to seeing herself going back to that. Rhonda would like Bethany to watch all the interview videos she tape and to choose her top three, then write a history of her life as she knows it now.

In Group today, Rhonda would like to talk about passion and being passionate about life. Asked what it is, Bethany explains it’s a love for life, and excitement. Cassie believes she was passionate at one time, but was deterred. She had a passion for writing, and when she would do creative writing on her own, her adoptive mother would tear it up. Denise had a passion for theatre, and believes she gave up on it thinking it was too hard and too late. Candy always had a passion for photography and felt her location and the market being too flooded held her back. Bethany obviously doesn’t remember her passion, but from what she has learned assumes music was at one point.

Yet Bethany’s passion now is finding out who she is. Rhonda tells her she is not alone; the other women in the house are all searching for who they are as well. The reason we don’t express our passions, Rhonda believes, is that we are in fear of our own power, always pushing against our many fears. There are so many things that can stop us, but we have to trust our passion, as we are more prepared to pursue it than we think.

Dr. Stan and Renee meet with the neuro-psychologist, who asks for and receives a brief history on Renee’s life at school and at home with her family. While discussing her brother, she becomes very emotional talking about him often beating her up. It got so bad she dreaded coming home from school every day, and for a girl that didn’t like school, that says a lot. Her parents were divorced by that time, and her mom excused he brother’s behavior. Renee explains he was four years older than her and very moody. For her present life, she says she doesn’t have a dream job now as a bartender, but loves her customers. Based on this history the neuro-psychologist will prepare a battery of tests for Renee that will be more interactive to test her learning capabilities.

Back at the house, Renee now meets with Iyanla, and says she feels today like there is a dark cloud hanging over her head. She tells Iyanla how she became unexpectedly emotional talking about her brother. She says no one protected her and believes her only defense was running away or crying. Iyanla explains crying is now and was then her defense mechanism, and behaving badly or lashing out is how she covers her fears of not being able to do things.

Bethany meets with Dr. Stan. He explains there is a downside to her having memories as she would most likely have some painful memories that happened at some point in those seventeen years. Dr. Stan explains the hypnosis he would like to put her through and she agrees to it. He tells her the visit she had to North Carolina will help provide data for him to use with the hypnosis. They decide to do this the next day, and he says he wants her to write “It’s okay to remember … NOW” on a card as a visual stimulus, and look at this last before she goes to bed. This will help her mind to open up while she sleeps.

Meeting with Rhonda, Cassie explores her passion for writing. Rhonda encourages her to start it on the side and work on it diligently. She tells her to make a career choice and follow the passion of writing on the side, and hopefully one day the writing will take over as her career. (Jump in, Cassie, the water’s warm!) Cassie explains she would like to write a poetry book of recovery, and Rhonda tells her she can do that AND go to college.

Asked how she is feeling since the phone calls to the adoptive mother of her birth son, Cassie says she is concerned, but grateful he is okay. She is not afraid to have Rhonda try calling the adoptive father again. Once again she says she knows she walked trough those doors of the Starting Over house for a reason. She agrees to work on a letter in case they never contact him by phone. Rhonda calls and leaves a message this time.

Shortly after, Rhonda bursts through the door telling Cassie the adoptive father called her back and agreed to talk with her and Cassie on the phone together. Cassie is so delighted, and I admit, I love seeing her excited. Rhonda puts the adoptive father on speakerphone so that Cassie can hear. He says his son is okay, healthy and happy. The last time he saw his son was on the street about a month ago. Rhonda asks about the drugs and alcohol that the adoptive mother had talked about, and he says he doesn’t know, he doesn’t have a relationship with him any longer. The son doesn’t call, and the adoptive mother does not allow the adoptive father to call him. He is not sure if he knows he is adopted or not.

Asked if he believes it would be appropriate or healthy for his son to know Cassie, the adoptive father says to ask his son, as he’s eighteen now and that’s up to him. Asked his own feelings of Cassie, the adoptive father says he had no problems with her; she gave him a baby boy (it is hard to read my notes here through the tear stains). He says his relationship with the family fell apart due to the adoptive mother and has nothing to do with Cassie. He agrees to meet with Cassie and Rhonda to discuss what he knows of his son and shares pictures with Cassie.

Rhonda hangs up the phone and Cassie says, “I knew it; I knew he had a heart! I feel closer to him; there’s hope!” Later, telling the story to Denise, Denise says the integrity of the adoptive mother is in question. She feels she is threatened by Cassie, and that the mom is now cutting everyone else off. Regardless, Cassie is now closer than she has ever been before.

Bethany prepares for bed and says if she does the hypnotizing and it doesn’t work, it will be just like it is now. If it works, she could remember her family and friends. She gets in bed, and reads the card, “It’s okay to remember … NOW.”

This is my passion. Writing is my passion, and I am like Cassie, working at my passion diligently, hoping someday it will become my career. She has such a good heart; I know that would be a good avenue for her to pursue. The storyteller in me sees a great story in all this. “The Passions of Cassie.” Sometimes I wish she understood how strong she really is. To have survived all she has and to come out of it sober and healthy and trying to fix everything and follow her passions, is extraordinary. “The Passions of Extraordinary Cassie.” There, I like that one better.

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

Halfway Down The Stairs – Starting Over, 02-10-05

by LauraBelle

Many of the women in the Starting Over house right now are partially to their goal, yet not all the way there. It could make them very complacent to think it’s enough, not perfect but good enough for them. There was a poem I read as a child by A. A. Milne, about being halfway down the stairs. Not at the top, not at the bottom, so this is where they stop.

Rhonda posed the big question to Bethany’s dad in North Carolina, and he is finally forced to answer. No, he did not have an affair. Bethany puts everything she has into asking if it’s not true, then why do the rumors persist? He tells her that in life and in the ministry those type of rumors happy. Rhonda knows Bethany wants very badly to believe him.

Iyanla and Rachael are decided where to go from here now that Rachael has decided to take the chance and search for her father. She knows his first and last name and thinks he resides in the San Francisco Bay area. Iyanla says they will hire a detective to search for him, and Rachael is urged to ask Aunt Ellen for information even though she knows Ellen will be unwilling. If nothing comes of finding him, Iyanla says they can just store him in the pile with the other losses Rachael needs to mourn; at least she’ll know one way or another.

Drill Sergeant Alec Hunter comes to see Denise. He has been sent by Rhonda to teach her real discipline and routine. He throws some camouflage clothing, hat and boots at her and tells her she has five minutes to change. As she leaves, he shouts out that quitting is not an option. Before it even starts, Denise says drill cramp sucks; Drill Sgt. Hunter is cute, but a jerk. Candy is laughing in the background, saying, “Oh happy day!”

Fully dressed in her cammies, Drill Sgt. Hunter tells Denise he was told by Rhonda that she was a quitter. When she says, “Yes, Sgt.,” he makes her do five push-ups for not saying, “Yes, Drill Sgt.” Asked to take him to her sleeping quarters, he takes one look at her bed, strips it down, and tells her to remake it. He tells her this is all about attention to detail and going the distance. As she cleans the window sills, Drill Sgt. Hunter is complaining she’s not doing it right. Denise is holding so much anger inside about this whole thing. He gives her fifteen seconds to finish, and when she doesn’t, she does fifteen pushups.

Back in North Carolina, Rhonda and Bethany are now talking to her mother. They instruct her to go back four years and tell them what it was like for her. Bethany’s mom says it was a tough time, but notes everyone came together and stayed together after that. When Bethany broaches the difficult subject of the rumors and what exactly was going on in the church then, Rhonda is happy as Bethany is finally choosing herself. Her mom tells her it’s hard to talk about, but that it wasn’t about her. She adds some people were just not happy with underlying things that happen in a lot of churches. When Bethany asks if she experienced a trauma that caused all this, her mom tells her dad could address that better. She just can’t do it.

Bethany’s mom tells her she believes her father was just trying to make things right at the church. Two other people were having an affair, and she thought the church was going to split up over it. Her mom is asked of the day Bethany lost her memory, and she says she thought she was having a mental breakdown. Bethany feels bad, she says, because she knows there is times she has pushed her mother away, to which her mother replies she only saw Bethany hurting. Bethany tells her to look at her and tell her how it feels to see her daughter hurting. Her mother tells her she would rather die herself.

Iyanla meets with Candy and asks how much she knows about her body, telling her until she learns to care for herself, her care of others is in jeopardy. Candy tells of having a hysterectomy because of having fibroid tumors. Afterwards, she was told it wasn’t really necessary as her tumors were operable, but as long as the doctor was in there, he decided to go through with it anyhow. Candy’s response was, “How could you?” She knows this is one of the reasons behind feeling less female, as bearing children was a fundamental part of who she was. Iyanla tells her although she is always in charge at work and of her family and household, she also needs to be in charge of her mind, body and soul. She is being sent to a female doctor to get another perspective.

Candy sees a female General Practitioner and says she is usually very nervous when she sees a doctor. She tells her history and explains the mishap with the hysterectomy in 1994. The doctor tells her it’s so odd as surgery usually isn’t necessary at all for fibroid tumors. Candy explains her normal busy day at the prison and at home taking care of her children and her home. The doctor tells her women are so busy these days, they don’t take time to care for themselves, and urges her to make sure she follows through with regular doctor’s appointments, including mammograms.

Rachael starts her search to get in touch with her heritage and roots, and starts with obtaining her own birth certificate. She places a call to San Francisco General Hospital to obtain a copy of her birth certificate, yet she admits to still being hesitant. She next places a call to her brother and asks about her birth father; she and her brother share the same mother, but not father. He tells her that their mom didn’t want her to have contact with her father, and she wouldn’t let him get in contact with Rachael. In a very supportive moment, he tells Denise all fathers want to reach out; she shouldn’t feel so abandoned.

Moving on to Denise’s bathroom, Drill Sgt. Hunter asks if she actually cleans her mouth with that toothbrush. As she scrubs her toothbrush clean, he tells her she accepts being sloppy. Witnessing most of this, Cassie says she is waiting for Denise’s anger to appear while Renee says she would have thought Denise would crack by now.

In the kitchen now, Denise is being forced to scrub out the microwave. When she is through, Drill Sgt. Hunter points to the spaghetti sauce he can still see residing in the microwave, telling Denise it doesn’t meet his standards. Totally blowing it out of proportion with an odd comparison, he tells her this is akin to being on watch in combat, and somebody dying.

Denise, now cleaning her second bathroom of the day, sweeps and sponges the floor with rubber gloves on. Still not up to par, Drill Sgt. Hunter has her do more pushups. After several, she asks if she may have time to recover, and he replies no. The gloves are off … literally. Denise takes off the rubber gloves and continues her pushups.

Rhonda, Bethany, her parents and grandparents, meet up in a restaurant in her hometown. Bethany asks her grandpa if she used to get stressed out, and he tells her she was involved in so many things, he believes she became “washed out, as if the Lord said, you need rest.” Rhonda asks if Bethany was the type to be in others’ business, and is told she was a problem solver and good listener. They had thought she would go into the ministry. Bethany is shocked, and is told it’s true; she had thought of the possibility of working with children. Bethany replies, “That’s crazy!”

Bethany talks again of looking for her Aunt Sheila in desperation after her amnesia, and doesn’t understand that. Her grandfather says if she wants to get rid of her headaches, he thinks she just needs to go forward. Her father points out none of these are new questions; she has been asking the same ones for four years. She may have never listened to the answers before.

Denise is now outside doing calisthenics. She and Drill Sgt. Hunter sit down for a water break. She tells him he has standards, huge standards, and she realizes she needs more of a balance. She stresses she understands the message, and that she learned she doesn’t really have any standards. He tells her she has been doing things halfway, and that won’t get her very far in life. If she lets things go, it will lead to letting more and more go.

After Drill Sgt. Hunter leaves, Denise talks with Candy about his high standards. Even Candy admits that’s “extreme clean.” She tells Denise she gives her props for sticking through it, and now Denise sees that Candy’s standards are more a happy medium. She laughs that Drill Sgt. Hunter actually said, “I love the smell of cleanser in the morning.”

In Group with Iyanla, the talk is all of the dangers of being a quitter. Denise admits she quit caring how she lived before. Candy says she quit on her marriage. She did everything she could, yet it was still bad. Renee knows she quit with school, and believes herself to be the biggest quitter she knows. Iyanla says quitting relates to if we’re complete with ourselves, and sometimes we burn out before we are complete. This is the case for Rachael. It’s easier for her to quit before she feels any more losses in her live.

Denise believes everyone needs the perseverance to get to the finish line. She admits to being a quitter and says she is still angry about today with the drill sergeant. She says she felt humiliated and demeaned. Rachael asks if he reminded her of someone she knows, and Denise knows it reminded her of her dad. Being told she’s not good enough makes her angry. She says she can’t get things done sometimes without a push. Iyanla says why push, choose. Instead of waiting for someone to push you along, you need to make a choice. If you’re happy where you are at, fine, but if you aren’t, you need to make the choice to go forward. Iyanla winds it up saying she is proud of Denise for not quitting with the drill sergeant even though he reminded her of her abusive father.

Back in North Carolina, privately Rhonda and Bethany touch base on just what Bethany is feeling now. Rhonda asks after she has learned more of her life before the amnesia, does she still feel it’s a possibility it was brought on by trauma. She says yes, as it seems like it was so much stress. She says this will help as it frees her up to not be so scared of the truth any more. She found a connection with people from her past during the visit, and in the process she feels she found Bethany.

From the moment these women have entered the house, it was their life coaches pushing them along, and teaching them the needed skills to be that person they desperately want to be. At some point during the show, before they truly start over, they need to take those skills they have learned and make a choice to better their life instead of waiting for that push. Only after their choose that better life for themselves will they truly have started over, and get back to the top of the stairs.

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

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