Nice Guys Finish Last – The Amazing Race 6, Finale

by LauraBelle

Just what does it take to win The Amazing Race? Guts? Stamina? Physical Ability? Cunning? Pure Luck? It seems tonight it takes all of the above. Yet, as we also saw, nice guys do finish last, or second to last.

Hayden and Aaron leave the second to last pit stop, Shanghai China at 11:20 PM. They are excited, and think their cohesiveness and ability to work as a team is going to win them the whole shebang. They are headed to Xi’an; eight-hundred miles by train.

Freddy and Kendra leave next, with Freddy noting he has seen Kendra grow a lot during the race. Kris and Jon follow right behind, noting they didn’t have a great day the day before between cabdrivers and translation problems. Adam and Rebecca are last to leave, barely surviving after a non-elimination leg, and are stripped of all cash. They think Freddy and Kendra made a mistake in yielding them, as it will only make them stronger.

Freddy and Kendra are arguing at the train station with Freddy saying to Kendra, “No, E-X-I-T, Honey!” Once on the train, Kendra is pleased to have beds. Adam can’t figure out how to climb up to his bed, and Rebecca says, “Look! A ladder!” In the same area with Kris and Jon, Kris says Jon’s biggest fear was her turning into a raging bitch, and Adam says, “Raging bitch? That’s Rebecca on a good day!” Aaron is keeping himself occupied looking out the window, noting he expected to see rice paddies, but instead it looks like Michigan.

The teams race to the Drum Tower, only to have to sit and wait for it to open at 8:00 AM. One inside they are met with a Detour – Spray or Scroll. In Spray, they need to travel thirty-four miles to a car factory where they will need to don appropriate clothing and spray paint a car completely. In Scroll, they will need to travel thirty-one miles to a textile factory, and look through ten bolts of fabric to find two printed Chinese characters, which they need to then cut out. All the teams choose Spray, and I wonder if for the second to last leg of the race they could find something a little less thrilling.

Adam and Rebecca are the first to arrive and Adam says he feels like Michael Keaton in Gung Ho. Good call, Adam; you’re right. Finishing first, they receive a clue telling them to go to the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses. Freddy and Kendra and Kris and Jon get through quickly as well, but Hayden and Aaron are having cab problems. I think they must have Kris and Jon’s bad driver from the day before. Hayden says she feels like she’s on a “goose chase,” which just sounds weird without “wild” attached to it.

In the lead, Rebecca tells Adam he did well and that she’s proud of him. Fate hits and they lose their lead in a government motorcade, as Kris and John catch up and pass them. Hayden and Aaron are still having cabdriver problems. Hayden pleads, “Honey, make him go! Buses are passing us.” They eventually make it to the car factory after asking for directions.

Kris and John and Adam and Rebecca arrive at the Museum at the same time. Adam and Rebecca are thinking ahead for a change and purchase tickets to enter before they reach the gate. Uncharacteristically, Kris and Jon fail to do this, and need to go back for the tickets, placing them slightly behind the lead. Adam and Rebecca search through the terra cotta statues and find the next clue, sending them to North Peak, Mount Hua. Adam strategizes and they leave from the other side of the museum so that when Kris and Jon see them exiting, they will start on the wrong side.

Freddy calls their cabdriver a buffoon as he doesn’t think the driver knows where he is going. They eventually arrive at the Museum just as Kris and Jon are leaving. Just leaving the Spray Detour, Hayden thinks they should take a different taxi, but Aaron resists and they end up taking the same one. They eventually reach the Museum still behind everyone else.

All four teams are now headed to Mount Hua. Adam starts talking of how they might win, and Rebecca shushes him quicklly, fearing his over-confidence will jinx them, substituting his head for wood to knock on immediately after. Adam and Rebecca arrive at Mount Hua first, buy entrance tickets, then bus tickets to travel to the mountain. They hope to be the only ones on this bus, keeping their lead, but Kris and John step in at the last minute with Kris and Jon kissing and Rebecca fanning herself.

Upset with their cabdriver once again, Hayden says, “Aaron we need a new cab.” When he agrees and tells her to get out, she becomes incredulous, and points out they’ll have a hard time getting another cab out there. She does as told anyway, and as their previous driver departs, there are no others in sight. Wondering if they’ll have to walk to Mount Hua, another cabbie comes up and saves them. Hayden can’t believe Aaron’s not upset, and he tells her there are more important things than money.

Once at the base of North Peak, Kris and Jon and Adam and Rebecca need to take things that look like ski lifts, but are called gondolas, to the top. I thought gondolas were only found on the water. Shows what I know. Adam just wonders if the gondolas are safe. Adam and Rebecca had taken flak earlier for always being followers, and now as the leaders, they have led themselves and Kris and Jon up the wrong peak. They need to ride back down and then back up the correct peak.

Freddy and Kendra, not picking the wrong peak, are the first to arrive on North Peak. Kendra says she feels like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory up there. At the top of the peak they find a Road Block. One member from each team needs to search through thousands of locks with a key. Once their key opens up a lock, they may proceed. Kris and Jon and Adam and Rebecca arrive in the meantime. All three women are doing this task.

Woefully behind, Hayden and Aaron are just arriving at Mount Hua. Already frustrated with the cab ride, Hayden finds it was just the beginning. They buy entrance tickets, but can’t find bus tickets. A language barrier prevents them from finding out how to proceed. They get on the bus at one point, only to be told to go back and get tickets. As they get off the bus, Aaron throws his backpack in frustration.

The women aren’t having any luck with the locks, and Kendra thinks some of the locks are from the year of 2. Adam barks orders and is termed the “Key Nazi.” Kris is the first one done, and gets a clue sending them to the pit stop at the South Gate of Xi’an City Wall. As they depart the gondolas, Hayden and Aaron see them as they’re gong up, and have hope that they’re not that far behind.

Rebecca and Kendra have reached the end of all the locks, and neither has found a lock that fit their key, leaving them very frustrated. Kendra gets it shortly after this, leaving Rebecca to apologize to Adam. Hayden and Aaron arrive at the top and decide Hayden is the one that has the patience for this. Not only is she impatient, she is slightly illogical at times. I do believe, though, that since Aaron had perhaps done his maximum of allowed Road Blocks, Hayden more or less had to do this one.

Hayden gets her key stuck, and says she is ready to use her teeth. Shortly after, the impossible happens, and she breaks her key off in the lock. She and Aaron need to run down to the receptionist desk to get a replacement key. This seems just as frustrating of a task as counting the items at IKEA. Meanwhile, Kris and Jon arrive first at the South Gate and win a trip to Caribbean and a guarantee of being in the final three for this race. Jon says he just wanted to be in the top three, so he has met his goal.

Freddy and Kendra arrive at South Gate in second place, and Freddy says that was his only promise to Kendra, that they were in the top three. Back at the locks, Rebecca is wondering what the definition of insanity is. She thinks it may be doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, and notes she’s been doing this for over three hours. The two remaining teams begin to panic once they realize the park closes at 7:00pm, and it’s 6:33.

Rebecca mentions that she is destroying her fingers and will never be a hand model. When she starts to complain, Adam tells her to stop being a baby. Funny words coming out of the man that still has his mother clip his toenails and says things like choo choo. Hayden thinks of quitting and taking the four hour penalty, and Aaron tells her he is happy with whatever decision she makes. Adam tells Rebecca he will not be happy if she quits.

Hayden can’t take anymore and quits, taking the four hour penalty, noting that her fingers are bleeding. Just after she quits, Rebecca gets a lock to open. With both teams arriving at South Gate at the same time, Rebecca and Adam let Hayden and Aaron go in first knowing the four hour penalty will be given. Now eliminated, Hayden says Aaron has been the anchor. Aaron drops to one knee and asks Hayden to marry him. She says yes, and even Phil has tears in his eyes. Aaron notes Hayden is speechless for once, then says, he doesn’t want to cry, he’s a tough guy. They celebrate and say, “Screw everything else!”

Kris and Jon are the first to leave the final pit stop of the race, Xi’an, China, at 5:27 AM. They are headed to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they will need to drive to Puu Ualakaa State Park for their next clue. By law they are not allowed to book international flights at the airport, so they must do so somewhere else before arriving at the airport. They try to arrange their flight in the hotel, only to be told it can’t be done yet, as they don’t have the key for the business center. Kris and Jon may not have had trouble with the key yesterday, but they do today. They leave to find a ticket office.

Freddy and Kendra leave next, saying they are not going to be the sweet people they were before. They get into the business center and arrange for a flight that will arrive in Honolulu at 9:30. Kris and Jon have trouble at the ticket office, and go back to the hotel, hoping the business center is now open. They get a flight that will arrive in Honolulu at 9:45.

Adam and Rebecca leave last, noting the key to winning is to stop fighting. Their flight will arrive in Honolulu at 11:00 AM. In their taxi, they note that their driver doesn’t understand a word of English. While extremely frustrating a few days earlier, now it has become funny. Rebecca tells him Adam has three testicles, just to test if he really doesn’t understand a word, and it’s clear he doesn’t.

All three teams are on different flights, and all 3 have stopovers in Japan. Freddy and Kendra and Adam and Rebecca in Osaka and Kris and Jon in Tokyo. Arriving in Osaka, Freddy and Kendra notice an earlier flight will be taking off soon for Honolulu, and ask if they can be switched. They are told no, as there are seats, but no meals. Freddy and Kendra quickly say they don’t need a meal, but this doesn’t matter. Company policy states everyone must have a meal and a seat. Kendra lies and says she has a sick kid in Honolulu she has to get to. They are still refused.

Kris and Jon try to trade up in Tokyo, but aren’t allowed. Adam and Rebecca, arriving in Osaka, see Freddy and Kendra leaving, and try to get on their flight. They are told the same thing. No meals. Big boy Adam winds up the conversation telling the airline employee, “You’re really mean.”

In Honolulu first, Freddy and Kendra find their marked car, and take off for Puu Ualakaa State Park. Kris and Jon are behind them only a short distance. At the state park they are met with a Detour – Outfit or Outrigger. In Outfit, the teams will need go to a tropical clothing distributor and match the clothing on the mannequins to the clothing hanging up in the warehouse. In Outrigger the teams will go to a canoe club and paddle an outrigger two and a half miles along with a steersman. Freddy and Kendra choose Outrigger and he gets mad at her for waving at people watching. She tells him, “God forbid I have a little bit of fun.” Kris and Jon choose Outfit and do it easily, walking away in their new Hawaiian outfits. Adam and Rebecca choose Outrigger.

The next clue sends the three remaining teams to Kamaka Air. Kris and Jon are the first to arrive and find a Road Block. One member from each team will need to sky drive along with an instructor onto a sand bar. Jon jumps at this chance, as does Freddy who gets there slightly late due to getting lost. This time it can’t be blamed on a cab driver. Freddy and Jon end up going up in the plane together, although Jon is allowed to jump first. Surprisingly, Adam also chooses to do the Road Block, and does so willingly. He’s afraid to ride a gondola, but this he can’t wait to do.

After their jump, the men find clues to fly back to their final destination of Chicago, Illinois, the start of this whole journey, 40,000 miles ago. There they will take a train to the Watch Tower. Kris and Jon are the first to the airport, and are told they are getting the earliest flight arriving at 5:43 AM. Freddy and Kendra arrive second, and really get the earliest flight arriving at 5:25. Adam and Rebecca get an even later flight, and the interesting thing is no one knows what and when each other’s flights are. Boarding his flight, Adam says, “Hey, I just jumped out of one of these.”

In Chicago, Freddy and Kendra arrive first, and ask for directions to the train. Kris and Jon arrive shortly after, and ask the same person for directions, and are told the other two just passed by, and that train hasn’t left yet. They know Freddy and Kendra are on the same train somewhere. Off the train, the teams now need to take a taxi to Gino’s East and each person needs to eat half of a deep dish pizza. Freddy decides he doesn’t care if it has bugs on it, he’s eatin’ it.

Freddy and Kendra arrive first, and let me just say, if you can’t eat that much pizza, you’re a wimp. Every single person complained it was so much. Living in the Chicago area all my life, and having Gino’s on a number of occasions, I don’t get why they complained about it being so much. We ate a stuffed pizza this weekend, and the pieces were double the size of the ones they were asked to eat. Kendra even says it’s disgusting. Freddy encourages her, telling her it’s million dollar pizza if they win. Kendra finishes, belches, and they leave, after getting a clue to go to Ping Tom Memorial Park. Their cab driver doesn’t know where it is, and seeing Kris and Jon enter Gino’s, Freddy panics and tells a police officer it’s an emergency, life and death, that he find Ping Tom Memorial Park. That’s just plain wrong, and Kendra tells him he can’t do that.

Kris and Jon eat their pizza seemingly with no problems and are on their way to Ping Tom, their cabdriver knowing where it is. Freddy and Kendra’s cabdriver is calling his dispatcher, and even the dispatcher doesn’t know. Adam and Rebecca arrive at Gino’s and both complain about the pizza. Adam doesn’t want to eat the tomatoes and Rebecca doesn’t want to eat the cheese, but they both do eventually. Kris and Jon offer their cabdriver an extra ten dollars to go through a light. Freddy and Kendra are offering their cabdriver fifty dollars to get them there quickly.

Kris and Jon seem to arrive seconds after Freddy and Kendra, but are stopped in their foot race by a train. Freddy and Kendra run in, to the cheers of all the other teams that had since been eliminated, and are the first place winners of The Amazing Race 6. They both hug Phil. Kendra says she has never been so proud of a human being before in all her life, and Freddy says he is honored to be among the other racers. Kendra says Freddy is definitely worthy of having her children.

Kris and Jon wait for the train to pass, kiss and say it doesn’t matter, they have each other. Running in, Jon says Kris is absolutely unbelievable, and Kris calls him the most incredible person ever. Adam and Rebecca make their way in for third place, and Adam says the race has taught him he could leave home, while Rebecca says her and Adam will always have love for each other.

I do believe that Freddy and Kendra ran a good race. I think they had the guts, stamina, physical ability, cunning and pure luck. I just wish they hadn’t turned nasty a few times. In Senegal, Kendra couldn’t have been any more rude with her comments of the locals. And tonight, she used a sick child excuse to try and get an earlier flight, while Freddy tried to tell a police officer it was an emergency that they find the memorial park. At least they didn’t get the desired effect with those excuses tonight. But had Kris and Jon who never had a disparaging word for each other, locals (other than the cabdrivers last week), or their fellow racers, and ran a clean honest race won, it would have been truly amazing.

I welcome all questions and comments at

More Fun Than Barbaritos – The Bachelorette 3, Episode 5

On the fifth episode of The Bachelorette, Jen goes on four hometown dates. Also in this episode we find out that spoilers can be, and usually are, wrong.

Jen’s first hometown date is with John Paul. He greets her with a pair of cowboy boots, which Jen loves, and then they’re off to his parent’s house. Once at the family home, Jen meets everyone and they sit around and chat (this is a common theme with the hometown dates). John Paul’s family likes sports, as does Jen and her family, so they think that everyone will get along smashingly. Jen tells John Paul’s mom that she was a cheerleader.

After meeting the family, Jen goes with John Paul to his house. Jen is very impressed at how established and mature John Paul is, especially at age 25. John Paul tells us that he is hoping to kiss Jen on this date, and on his couch by the fire, he gets his wish. The two sit and talk while he strokes her hair. They look very infatuated with each other.

The next home date was with Ryan. He and Jen met up at an ice rink, where the two skated and then sipped hot chocolate. They then head over to Ryan’s family home. Ryan’s parents have just returned from Thailand, and that’s about all they talk about. We find out about their every waking moment in Thailand, and everything in every day life gets compared to Thailand. Jen is a little put out by this because she had wanted to talk about Ryan and find out what his family thought about the situation. Jen and Ryan later chalked it all up to nerves. It was a rather boring date, with the exception of Ryan’s mom’s creation, Barbaritos, which are a strange concoction of Mexican foods that mom Barbara invented. You don’t see or eat that everyday.

Jen goes next to meet Wendell’s family. They live in Chicago as does Jen. Before meeting the crew, Jen and Wendell take some alone time in his apartment. He asks her what she does and doesn’t like about him. She says that she likes how comfortable he makes her feel and skirts around what she doesn’t like. Wendell says that he feels very comfortable with her, too. Then they are off to see the family. Jen thinks that everyone was nice, and seemed amused that they had a bit to drink. Could it perhaps have been wine they were drinking from Firestone Vineyards? No, most likely not, because Wendell’s mom pulls Jen into the kitchen to help cook dinner and there tells her that she didn’t like Andrew Firestone, that he seemed too stuffy on The Bachelor. Jen doesn’t really say much to that. Later, after Jen leaves, Wendell’s family expresses concern over the premise of the show. His mom says that she thinks Wendell is more into Jen than Jen is into Wendell.

The final hometown date is with Jerry. They met in his high school and hung out in a classroom, because that was part of his growing up. And you thought Thailand and Barbaritos were weird. He’s lucky he’s hot. While at the school, Jerry tells Jen that his Mom is deaf. Jen asks Jerry how to sign hello, and he teaches her to say, “My name is Jen.” On the way to meet the family, the city experiences a blackout that lasts through the night. Jen is caught off guard by having to meet Jerry’s family by the light of candles and lanterns. Jen and Jerry’s mom hit it off, and both Mom and Jerry are touched that Jen put forth such effort to communicate with Jerry’s mother. Jerry’s brother tells Jen in front of everyone that his biggest concern is that Jen is honest with Jerry, so Jen asks him to come with her in another room to talk privately. Once alone, Jen asks Brother if he thinks Jerry is in this because he genuinely likes her, or if he just is in it to win it. Brother says he doesn’t really know.

It’s finally time for the rose ceremony. Jen must send one gentleman home. Jen gives a rose to John Paul, Jerry, and Ryan. Sorry Wendell, there’s no parting gift. Jen says that feelings and attraction just didn’t develop with Wendell like she had hoped. Wendell said he had kind of felt the same thing. Sure you did. We have to wonder, though, who will the spoilers say the winner is now?

Next week it’s time for the overnight dates. We’ll see what doesn’t happen.

What do you think? Email me – .

Victoria's Secret (Admirer)

by Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos

Victoria’s got a secret admirer. He sends her flowers. For a woman without a lot of dating prospects right now (and that’s mostly because she doesn’t go out a lot and not because she couldn’t get dates), she doesn’t seem too thrilled about having an admirer.

Oh well! She and Robert are compensating for the lack of love in their lives by eating sweets. They talk about the fact that people often equate the sweet stuff with sex. (Don’t I have a waist line to prove that theory.)

Robert wants them to go out and meet some nice-looking men. Victoria’s like “You gotta get in it to win it.” They eat some moist and yummy cupcakes, making all these noises. Robert has to light up a cigarette after finishing his.

Unfortunately, Victoria has another problem in her life – RACCOONS! They are taking apart the garbage at Casa Gotti. She wants Luigi to ‘take care of it.’ His idea is to get raccoon traps. The ones he’s talking about are illegal. Then, he says – why don’t I shoot them? Um – that’s illegal too, “Einstein.”

Carmen asks his mom if they can get a dog like a Pit Bull or a Rottweiler. She’s like – no, you won’t take care of it. (Sounds a lot like my mom when I was growing up and me a year ago before we got our dog!)

Victoria wonders who’s the bigger nuisance – Luigi or the raccoons? Hmmm. Pick me! Pick me! I know the answer – Luigi! Whadda I win?

Wait! Luigi has a plan. He spreads peanut butter along the top of the dumpster. Then, he sits outside, smoking a pack of cigarettes. He’s got a hockey mask and a net. (If you didn’t see the episode, catch the repeat next Monday at 9:30 pm EST – It’s worth it!)

After a bit, he goes in ‘cuz it’s “too cold.”

Victoria quips the next morning that she’s going into the office because things are ‘saner’ there. In a meeting she gets flowers from her secret admirer. The staff is thrilled. They think it’s sweet; Victoria’s not so enamored of the situation or the potential datemate.

He gives a few clues:

*He’s 100% Italian
*Has salt/pepper hair
*Good Physique

(Where the hell do I sign up!?! Oh yeah! I’m married!)

When she gets home, she and Robert want to find out who it is. Victoria is adamant that she won’t go out with anyone until she knows him.

A while later, we see Victoria. She’s eating some chocolate cake and muses that she hasn’t heard from her secret admirer for a bit. She was sort of glad. Then, the bell rings. It’s some chocolates – from her secret admirer. He leaves his phone number too.

Robert decides to call the guy. They make a lunch date to meet. Robert will not call him “Romeo” as the guy wanted to use as his code name. He tells him, call me “Johnny”, then. He’ll be the only “tan guy” in the restaurant. He’s been laying out in the sun. (Sounds perfect for Victoria! Am I wrong?)

Meanwhile, Luigi is driving around with an associate. They’re looking for the building of 1-800-RACCOON. It’s a good idea since Luigi doesn’t even know what a raccoon looks like. (What an idiota!)

Victoria wonders where Luigi and Robert are. Robert’s meeting “Johnny” for lunch. His name is Gianni Russo. (That’s Johnny in Italian.) He was an actor. The guy played “Carlo” in the Godfather. (Carlo was Talia Shire’s {Connie’s} first husband. He beat her up. Her bros made sure he had an “accident”!)

I feel terrible for Gianni. He’s good-looking and doesn’t seem insane, but I doubt that Victoria would date him now. I could see the headlines in Star Magazine now:

*Gotti Nabs “Godfather”
*Vicky & Gianni – A Match Made in “Mob” Heaven

(Someone stop me!)

Here’s some stats on Gianni:

–He’s not dating anyone right now.
–He’s been married 3 times.
–He has children. He said “lots”.
–He’s 61.
–Works out 7 minutes a day. (I want his exercise program. He looks good, especially for his age!)

He’s currently pursuing a singing career. He does traditional Italian music and Andrea Bocelli (yes, that Andrea Bocelli – every Italian knows Bocelli! The blind singing sensation!) is his vocal coach!!!!!

Bells go off in my head. All could be forgiven for the “Godfather” role. If Bocelli is his vocal coach, well I’m planning the wedding now. Bocelli could sing at it.

Robert decides to take Victoria to one of his concerts. He brings home a copy of Gianni’s CD. He plays it at the house. Victoria likes it. She says it puts her in a ‘romantic mood’. Robert feels encouraged by this.

Meanwhile, Victoria hopes that Robert got rid of her admirer. She meets up with Luigi and the Raccoon Catcher from 1-800-RACCOON. She wonders who’s paying for the guy and tells Luigi she hopes it’s him.

The guy takes Luigi aside and tells him to catch a raccoon he has to think like one. (He assumes Luigi thinks. Poor man!)

It’s a waiting game. Luigi wants help. The guy says he’ll stay for beer. Just like my 1st husband – lol!

Victoria and Robert are going out tonight. Robert tells the boys about their mom’s admirer. Frankie is not happy about the situation and later gives mom a hard time about going out. He thinks she should be home with her kids. She usually is so Victoria’s not letting him give her the guilt.

At the ristorante, they are listening to Gianni sing. Victoria seems to enjoy it. Gianni comes to talk to her during a break. He kisses her on the cheek. He looks over the moon to be sitting so close to her. After he leaves, Robert says “you promise you won’t smack me.” Then, he tells her that Gianni is her admirer.

She’s not happy. She wants to leave now. She feels embarrassed. Eventually, she excuses herself to go to the ladies’ room. Gianni slips over and asks how it went. Robert tells him that she’s not ready to date now. Poor Gianni got shot down on TV!

In the limo on the way back home, she said that she’s not a blind-date kinda gal. She would rather know someone first and then let it progress.

Why can’t she get to know Gianni now? I don’t fully understand.

At home, they caught a raccoon. Luigi, Victoria’s not-so-secret-admirer, asks her out on a date. She’s like – “So NO!” Luigi can’t get further than Gianni. It wouldn’t be right!

She did keep the CD of his music, though.

Episode 1 – Let's Get Physical

by Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos

Author Note: Sorry for the delay of this piece, but I was busy watching the Patriots solidify their place in Football history. Gooooooooooooooooooo PATS!!!!!!!!!! Whudda thunk it?

This was the first episode. I came about watching and reviewing Celebrity Fit Club in a round-about way. I am a fan of both ANT and Ralphie May, having covered their endeavors in comedy and their exploits on the series Last Comic Standing. I happened upon the show as I was flipping through channels and saw episode 3 first. You can get the recap here.

ANT shows us around. He is the host of this here show, “queen” of the castle, so to speak. ANT is also a weight-loss success story. He lost over 30 lbs himself so the man can offer some inspiration to the celebs. He is a success story and hysterical. (Check out his web site at for more info on ANT the legend, the comedian, the man!!!)

He says that this will be an amazing experience for the celebrities. They will face harsh realities, however. They may win some fabulous prizes in the challenges, but they are going to go through a lot. It won’t be all fun.

So, ‘inquiring minds’ wanna know- What made the celebs join up for this tour of duty?

Mia Tyler is a beautiful and famous plus-sized model. She is also the daughter of Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) and sister to actress Liv Tyler. She is driving one of the Mack Trucks to the castle, with some of the castmates in tow. She says she feels like “large Marge” and isn’t sure what she’s set herself up for.

She does want to lose weight to be healthy and not ‘thin’.

(Author Commentary – I thought it was awfully tasteless for them to put the celebs in Mack Trucks. But, I guess I’m just sensitive about those things!)

Daniel Baldwin is an actor. He is one of the “Baldwin Brothers” – you know them – Billy, Alec and so forth. He’s got the killer instinct. In fact, he’s quite competitive and is taking this fit club idea seriously. He says that if people are slacking off on this challenge, he’ll kick them in the a$$. He says it’s time to lose the weight. He’s ready.

Biz wants to do this for the ladies. He wants to show them that he’s “got what they need” so he doesn’t have to be “just a friend” anymore. (If you don’t get the quotes, they’re references to Biz’ rap hit of over a decade ago.)

Judge Mablean of Divorce Court fame (she makes Judge Judy look like a softie) wants to have a Janet Jackson stomach. The visual will haunt me for months – I picture Mablean’s face on Janet’s abs and well, it ain’t pretty.

Wendy Kaufmann, aka the Snapple Lady, says it’s important to her to lose the weight and it’s important to the people who love her. This concerns me because I wonder if Wendy’s doing this just for herself and for the right reasons. I’ve found in my own personal experience that you have to lose weight for you. Other people’s expectations can’t really come into play or it can lead to disordered eating (and thinking).

Kim Coles says that she just wants to be able to burn her girdle before the show is over.

Ralphie May, a comedian, and Joe G., a chef turned actor from the “Sopranos”, round out the celebrity contestants on the Fit Club. We’ll get some more info on them soon.

Now that we’ve been introduced to the celebs, let’s meet the experts. Harvey Walden IV is the drill sergeant and the fitness trainer. He says that he wants ‘every muscle in their fat bodies to ache’ by the end of this process. Nice, huh!

Marisa Peer is a psychotherapist who specializes in hypnosis. She has worked with celebrities and royalty. She believes that much of overeating can be linked to emotional issues and will work with the contestants on that.

Dr. David L. Katz is a graduate of Yale Medical School. He is overseeing the health and nutritional aspect of the action. He wants to help the celebs focus on changing their lifestyles and not just losing weight.

At this time, we get some feedback from the celebs’ about their first exercise session with Harvey. Wendy says it was traumatic and Ralphie said he’s never had to run before because he’s “got a Lexus.”

It’s time to get the teams together. The experts pick Daniel Baldwin as the first team captain. They say he has a strong character and will pull his team together. Daniel says he’ll lead by example. He’s going to commit 110% to this process. His goal is to weigh 220 or less by the end of this experience.

Daniel says that the public thinks he’s a troublemaker. He’s had troubles with addiction in the past, but he’s sober now and has been for a number of years. He’s also a tough guy and we see him getting a tattoo in his one-on-one segment. He jokingly referred to the show as “Celebrity Fat Club.”

Currently, Daniel’s weight is 264. His body fat is 20.1% (which, according to charts, puts him in the BMI of a normal weight. Goes to show that the charts aren’t always right!). He’s actually shocked when Dr. Katz tells him that his blood sugar is close to diabetic levels. His mother had the disease.

Perhaps, that will give Daniel even more motivation; however, he seems pretty serious about this. He’s got a target of 5 lbs for the next week.

The second team’s captain will be Judge Mablean. The experts chose her because of her take charge personality. They also think that she’ll take control of her team and show them the right way to do things. Her daughter says that her mother (who’s single by the way, guys) is “even tougher in real life than on Divorce Court.

Mablean says that she doesn’t care about finding a man. This is about her health. There is hypertension in her family. Judge wasn’t thrilled that they were going to broadcast her weight to the world. (The celebs get weighed on a scale in front of the experts, each other and the tv-viewing audience.)

She’s 208 lbs. She said that was devastating. Mablean doesn’t seem to have much use for Marisa (but – since we’ve watched subsequent episodes we know that’s certainly the case!).

She has a 5 lb target loss for the next week and her body fat is 29.1%.

Now, the team captains get to pick their teams. They are instructed to choose teammates based on who they think will lose the most weight and who is the most committed. ANT reminds them to think back on performances at Fit Camp.

Daniel chooses the person he thinks is one of the best athletes. She also reminds him of himself when he was her age. Obviously it’s the lovely Mia Tyler. Mia says that growing up backstage has shaped who she is today. That you just can’t be a ‘lawyer’ with that upbringing. You have to be an entertainer.

She is married to Dave Buckner of the band Papa Roach. She loves her ‘chunkiness’ and says that she’s sexy regardless of how much she weighs.

Currently, she’s 210 lbs and has 33.2% body fat. She’s gained 30 lbs in the last year and her hubby has gained about 50. She says she moved from the city to the suburbs and being married has helped wreak havoc on her model figure. Harvey calls those excuses. She says they’re reasons and doesn’t let him give her that s**t.

She is given a target weight loss of 4 lbs and wonders why it’s not 5 lbs like the team captains. Harvey said it’s healthy for her.

Judge Mablean said that Mia was also her first choice. She regroups pretty quickly and chooses Ralphie May. She says that he’s a winner and not a loser. We see a clip of Ralphie joking that he was told that he was ‘too fat’ to play the fat guy.

He has the most weight out of the celebs to lose. He’s well over 400 lbs. Ralphie tells us that he’s almost ½ the man he used to be, though. He was once over 800 lbs.

His girlfriend, Lahna Turner, is also a comedian. She said that the weight was an issue for her at one point, but then she realized that if the only reason she wasn’t with Ralphie was because he was fat, that wasn’t a good enough reason. That was prejudice. She’s a rare woman, Lahna.

Ralphie wants to lose weight so that he can have kids some day and be there for Lahna. He wants to teach his kids how to ride a bike and to play ball.

When he stepped up to the scales, he joked that he should take his jacket off. His weight was 480 lbs. He was happy with that because, only a year ago, he was over 600 lbs. The panel congratulated him on how far he’s come, but recognized that they had a long road ahead of them still.

Marisa showed pics of Ralphie as a baby. He was normal size. She asked “what happened?” Ralphie told her that he had a car accident at 16. He broke a lot of bones and, due to a long hospitalization and inactivity, which led to more weight gain which made it harder to move (I know that vicious cycle from my own experiences) – this created a horrible situation that contributed to such a massive weight gain.

Ralphie’s body fat level is 72.7%. The panel gave him an 8 lb. target loss.

ANT asked Biz whose team he didn’t want to be on. He said the judge’s. They asked Kim. She said she wasn’t sure. Daniel chose Biz next because he’s got a lot of heart. He’s like a big teddy bear.

They refer to Biz as the “clown prince” of hip-hop. He became a top DJ. He is currently 344 lbs (body fat is 27.2%), which upset him a lot. He says he has to lose weight. His figures that the lifestyle a DJ leads – lots of late nights, etc. has not helped him with his weight loss goals.

Harvey asked him if he exercises. He doesn’t. Harvey wants him to incorporate exercise into his life – and pull his pants up. (For the full scoop on Biz’ Butt Crack issues, check out this recap.) I’ve already devoted enough time to Biz Markie’s pants problems. I have the nightmares – and therapy bills – to prove it.

Now, for Judge’s second choice. It’s a person she feels is ‘determined and focused’ – Kim Coles.

We see Kim, in her segment, joke that she uses her elliptical trainer as a coat hanger. She talks about how, as a young girl, she developed early and got too much attention from older guys so she put on weight to make herself less attractive.

She’s a woman now and ready to break down her wall of “extra fat”. She’s 220 and has 34.7% body fat. She wasn’t surprised with the weight because she’s been weighing herself. She knows that she comfort eats and she has to stop it.

Harvey questions her commitment. He gave her a target of 6 lbs. She said it’ll be tough. She almost looks like she’s gonna crack. ANT tries to give her some encouragement and Mablean ‘rides’ her a little bit. Tells her to get ‘can’t’ out of her vocabulary or something like that. (I can’t imagine where their problems stem from!)

Daniel’s next choice is Joe G. He is second to last picked and says, “hey, it’s about time.” He wants to ‘win this thing.’ Okay. Great. Joe may be best known as Vito Spadafaro on the “Sopranos”. He’s a big guy with a big heart. He loves his food and his fiancée, Dianne.

He was a chef for years. Wanted to be a saucier – a person who makes sauces. He loves the ‘sauce’. He says he was in shape until he got into the restaurant biz. He wants to keep his fiancée off his back. She gets on him about his eating.

To be on the “Club”, Joey is leaving Brooklyn for the first extended time period in his life to go to LA.

The experts question his commitment to the program because he seems to be less emotional than the other contestants about this whole issue. Harvey gives him a 7 lb. target weight loss. Joey asks for an extra pound. He currently weighed in at 302 lbs with 27.7% body fat.

Last but not least is Wendy. ANT tells her she’d have been his first choice. Wendy hides an addictive personality behind her sweet, funny and bubbly façade. She conquered a drinking problem some years ago and said that she gained 70 lbs pretty rapidly after she became sober.

She weighs 245 lbs with 43% body fat. Dr. Katz notes that it will be harder for her with a higher body fat percentage to lose weight. Her basal metabolism is messed up.

(Basal Metabolism is the minimum # of calories that your body needs per day to perform vital bodily functions – like breathing, circulation, etc. You can raise this level by adding exercise which is way people who regularly exercise can often eat more calories without gaining weight. Note too that if you consistently eat below your BMR – basal metabolic rate – you will slow down your metabolism!)

Wendy has a good attitude. The panel notes this. Marisa asks her if she has ever thought of herself as slim. Wendy says she doesn’t see herself as such. She has a 5 lb target loss.

So, now that the teams are selected, ANT wants to know if they’re happy with the configuration. They all give a thumbs up. Now is the time for the teams to get on the big scales. ANT says it’s a brave step that they’ve undertaken and wants to applaud them all for this.

Mablean’s team weighs 1,154 (combined) and Daniel’s is 1,120. They calibrate the scales so that it will even up to make competitions fair. That’s it for this episode and, as ANT says, “the scales don’t lie.”

Interview With Marcus of The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott

Age: 24
Security Guard
Hometown: Houston, Texas
By: Chantae Benson

How long have you been singing and who are your musical influences?

I’ve been singing all my life. I love Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Dave Hollister.

What was it like performing in front of Mona, Teena Marie, Dallas Austin and most recently Jermaine Dupri?

It was like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I feel like I was blessed to be able to do what a lot of people were not able to do and still will not be able to do.

Were you shocked by the double elimination?

It was a shock, I thought she was going to keep one of us.

What were your expectations of the show and did it meet your expectations or disappoint you in any way?

The only problem I had is I just feel we did not really get a chance to be ourselves so far as doing our own music. I feel I did not really get a chance to show my talent and how well I can sing. There’s a lot of parts that they didn’t show like the church singing.

What was the most difficult part about being on the road?

I guess being away from family. After you’re gone for a while you start missing your family. Later on when its time to go on tour again I think I’ll be able to handle it.

What was your most memorable experience during the tour?

In New Orleans with Karen Clark-Sheard. I think she’s a phenomenal singer. They could have sent me home right after that.

How was it being on tour with Missy Elliott? What do you think you learned from her?

We really didn’t get a chance to see her a whole lot. What I learned from her is that you have to be willing to go anytime, anyplace, anywhere no matter the circumstance or the situation and if you want to be a star you have to carry yourself as one.

In retrospect do you have any regrets about anything during the competition?

I would have definitely sung instead of rapping during the battle. The way they edited it made it look like I really messed up. I suck at rap. I wish I would have kept singing. I did what I had to do to be on the show. I made it far. I’m not satisfied, but I can cope with it.

Who do you think has the best chance of winning the competition and why?

Jessica, she’s extremely talented plus she’s got a story behind her talent.

What are your future plans with respect to the music industry?

Just capitalizing off this publicity. People actually just seem to take to my character and love me as a person and a character. There are just open arms everywhere. When doors close others open and a lot of people are calling to work with me.

Thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview and good luck with all your future endeavors.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at .

It's Like A Movie I Don't Want To Watch Anymore – Starting Over, 02-07-05

by LauraBelle

Many married couples out there certainly wouldn’t argue with the thought that there’s a difference between listening and hearing. Especially when I tell my husband what currently needs fixing in our house. I’m pretty sure he’s doing more hearing than listening.

Rhonda comes for a visit with Cassie and is introduced to Cassie’s birth mother, Nancy. As Rhonda asks if she notices anything different about her daughter, Nancy says she looks “too skinny” and “awfully sad.” Cassie moves on to join the others in Group, and Rhonda talks one-one-one with Nancy.

Nancy fills Rhonda in on some of the family history she had told to Cassie the previous evening. She tells of living in an orphanage from the time she was three months to fourteen-years-old. When Rhonda asks why her mom gave her up, Nancy says she didn’t. The police had removed her and her siblings from the home. Her mother was thirteen and her father forty-something when they had their first child. Nancy also adds that her father was an alcoholic. Rhonda presses and asks what kind of role model Cassie’s dad was. Nancy insists he was a good man except when he was drinking. She tries explaining something else about her marriages, but the only thing I can make out is, “Mean to dogs; mean to people.” That certainly doesn’t sound good, whatever it was supposed to apply to.

In Group, Iyanla wants to discuss the difference between hearing and listening and passes out pads of paper for a quick test. Iyanla tells the famous logic problem of “you are a bus driver…” with the bus traveling all sorts of directions and picking up and dropping off different numbers of passengers at each stop. At the end, she asks how old the bus driver is. Denise admits to tuning out once she feared it was a math problem. Iyanla repeats the story again, and Denise makes sure she really listens and understands the the answer.

By no surprise to Iyanla, Renee is the last one to get it. After it is repeated again and broken down for her, she realizes she herself is the bus driver and her age of twenty-eight is the answer.Iyanla believes this is why Renee has been mislabeled a bad listener. Renee heard it so involved in math, she couldn’t get to the obvious answer. But unlike Denise, she didn’t just need to pay more attention, she needed to hear it several times and have it broken down for her.

Asked who she feels doesn’t listen to her in the house, Denise answers Candy, and Candy … Denise. Cassie feels Renee doesn’t listen very well to her, and Bethany says while Rachael has helped her out many times, she doesn’t feel she really understands her. Iyanla points out that they have come from such different family circumstances, although the same age, it will lead to them having problems communicating.

The most interesting assignment is in store for Candy and Rachael. With Rachael’s ex-boyfriend coming for a visit this day, Iyanla wants Candy to operate as chaperone. Rachael and Jamai will not be allowed to be alone for more than fifteen minutes without checking in with Candy. Rachael objects, calling Iyanla crazy, to which she replies, “Crazy may I be; Crazy as I am.” Rachael objects again, saying she is a grown twenty-one-year-old. Iyanla asks who told her she is grown. Iyanla says all twenty-one-year-olds are watched still, prompting twenty-one-year-old Bethany to agree.

Cassie leaves Group and joins the conversation with Nancy and Rhonda. Nancy launches into a story about the fictitious world Cassie used to live in. She tells of receiving a call from Cassie, holed up with a man in a hotel in Omaha. Cassie made up some story about being a flight attendant and needing to get home to a sick aunt. Nancy thought in those days Cassie was a hooker. As Cassie tries to explain, Nancy tells her she wasn’t smart enough for that. We can literally see the new courageous Cassie crumbling before our eyes.Rhonda asks what the difference is between that twenty-two-year-old Cassie and the present forty-one-year-old Cassie. She says she doesn’t do that anymore because she is sober and not crazy. Nancy admits committing her to an institution a few times as they didn’t know what to do with her.

Asked why she is here, Nancy says because she wanted to see the daughter she hadn’t seen since Christmas ’93. Asked why she hadn’t seen her mother in over ten years, Cassie says she was sober, yet still afraid. Cassie admits the more she hears, the more she is overwhelmed by the sadness of their family life. Rhonda see that Cassie has watched the fantasy of recreating a relationship with Nancy disappear before her and needs time to grieve that fantasy. Nancy is sent away early, and as Cassie says good-bye, she closes a huge door behind her. Something tells me there is a metaphor somewhere there.

Iyanla and Renee meet to talk about Renee not being a good listener. Iyanla suggests maybe she has a learning disability. Renee definitely agrees this is a good possibility. Asked why she never investigated that, Renee says she was afraid of being stupid. Iyanla retorts that stupidity has nothing to do with the ability to digest information. Between this disability and her brother’s good grades, she felt stupid and that no one cared.

Iyanla sends Renee to conduct a survey with people on the street to see if they get along with their mother and father, and in the end if they feel Renee was a good listener. Renee brings back her findings to Iyanla, and is asked for three things she appreciated bout herself today. Renee learned she could engage and feel connected to people and how to control her mouth. Most of all, she was told she was a good listener. Iyanla points out she wasn’t treated stupid and that was because she didn’t present herself that way.

Jamai arrives for his visit with Rachael, and everyone is shocked at how shy he is. Rachael does as told and checks in constantly with Candy, the chaperone. It’s Denise, though, that is acting protective and grilling Jamai on his intentions. She asks him what he is studying (underwater basketweaving, he jokes). Denise realizes Rachael is very controlling of Jamai, and won’t even let him answer questions for himself. Denise jokes that Rachael needs a muzzle for heir next conversation.

Cassie meets with Rhonda again, and Rhonda sees how badly Cassie is awfulizing and unraveling. Cassie admits to trying very hard to let go, but says the more she hears of her awful family life, the harder it gets. It’s like a movie she doesn’t want to watch anymore, she ays. About Nancy, she was upset that her mother wouldn’t answer her questions. Cassie and Rhonda agree Nancy can’t face her own realty, and that they will never have the relationship Cassie desires.

Bethany is preparing for her trip home and tells Cassie she wants to know her past, but is also afraid of what she’ll learn. Cassie understands more than Bethany could ever know.

Jamai and Rachael steal some moments alone in the jacuzzi. Rachael figures the “day” is over, and she doesn’t need a chaperone any longer. Just as they begin making out, Candy appears in her swimsuit for a dip in the pool. When Candy mentions seeing bubbles in the jacuzzi, Rachael jokes, “Yeah, I’m farting.” Candy entertains Jamai with her stories of her work as a correctional officer at the men’s prison, totally killing any romantic mood Rachael was feeling.

Cassie is sinking further and further. She questions staying in the house, then locks herself in the bathroom. The other women follow her there to talk to her. She is worried the shame of her family’s life will make her son disown her. She says, “I’m destroying others’ lives to help m own,” through tears. She says she is trying not to run, but she wants to end it.

I hope Cassie learns that she isn’t bound to repeat the full history of her mother and grandmother. Cassie was the first to stand up, admit the lifestyle was wrong, and attempt to change it. Rachael says at one point during the show her heart was breaking for Cassie, and I think most Starting Over viewers feel the same.

I welcome all questions and comments at

Interview With Melissa of The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott

article title

Age: 19
Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota

By: Chantae Benson

What was your motivation for auditioning for the show?

My friend came over before I had my first audition and just hearing her name (Missy Elliott) gave me motivation in itself.

What was your expectation of the show? Did the show meet your expectations or disappoint you in any way?

It definitely met my expectations and exceeded them. I was very pleased. It was a fun experience. It was very cool for me to do something like that.

Throughout the show we have seen your character evolve. How do you feel you have grown during this experience?

I would say it’s made me a much stronger person. You have to be strong and know who you are and be ready for whatever comes your way. I’ve just grown that confidence and ability to walk into a room and have confidence and have people believe in me, because first of all you have to believe in yourself.

You were practically booed off the stage during your performance at Missy Elliott’s high school. Most contestants would have left the stage. What kept you performing?

The fact that I don’t want to look like a coward and walk off the stage just because I got booed. I pretty much knew I was going to be in elimination.That was the respect I felt I had to earn from Missy, that I had to stay on the stage even with the booing.

You seemed very doubtful of your abilities during the show but as the show progressed you began to gain more confidence. What was your turning point?

I think it was at the high school. After the high school that was a huge turning point for me because I had stood out there as I was booed. I had to think to myself that’s not my talent, I have an unbelievable talent and I need to express that. The fact that I almost got thrown off but got back on that bus was kind of when things started to change for me.

In retrospect, would you have done anything differently during the show?

I wouldn’t have been so nervous, but it’s hard for me to take anything back because I was at such a different level and I was growing. I wish I wasn’t open to people seeing how emotional I am. I was so innocent it seemed like and I would have liked to be seen as a little tougher.

How was it being on tour with Missy Elliott and what do you think you learned from her while on tour?

I felt completely like she wanted to help me grow. She taught me that you can be talented but that’s not all, you have to have all the other aspects at the table when you bring it. She kept giving me a chance to prove it.

Many of the contestants had prior experience performing. Do you think your age and lack of experience worked against you during the competition?

Honestly, I don’t think so. I don’t think it put me at a disadvantage. I think me being at a young age I have to go through something big at a young age and I can be a threat later on. I felt like I was learning more at a younger age then most people.

Do you think the type of challenges you faced while on tour prepared you to be a better performer?

All these challenges were definitely helping me in that direction. That’s what I like about the show, we’re not doing the same type of performance challenge and you’re not prepared for it. Most people had been through these experiences and for me it was a first time experience.

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

One thing in particular was I got to do a duet with Teena Marie. I wished so much that could have been aired. It was an incredible moment for me and I earned a lot of respect from those on the bus.

What advice would you give to the remaining contestants?

Just to give it your all because with every elimination there stands many talented people. With each competition it gets tougher and tougher and Missy expects more and more.

What are your future plans?

I’m working with my manager and producer and trying to make it happen for the summer time.

Thanks again for taking the time for this interview and good luck with your future endeavors.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at .

Our Whole Life Is Sad – Starting Over, 02-04-05

by LauraBelle

The lesson Rhonda teaches everyone today is the difference between being a giver and being a taker. Givers can learn how to take and takers can learn how to give, but I’m not so sure they can ever switch roles completely.

Cassie meets with a group of adoptees and some other people who had given up their children for adoption. One woman had given up two children and has since ben reunited with them. Another was reunited when her birth child was nineteen, and tells Cassie it’s a hard time to do it, as at that age they are still discovering themselves as a person. An adoptee tells Cassie it’s hard in the beginning, but she needs to be patient while he processes through it. Everyone admits that they don’t know anyone that regrets reuniting in the long run.

Rhonda introduces Group by asking the difference between a giver and a taker. Cassie says a giver does so from the heart. She believes herself to be a taker, though, as she only gives, while expecting to get something in return. Candy disagrees, and says Cassie is a giver, as she gives of herself.

Denise says takers expect things from people, and realizes her husband does the opposite, coming home after a long day of work expecting nothing from her. Denise says her sister is a taker, and Rhonda points out they are more alike than Denise cares to admit. The assignment for the day is that eveyrone will take from Denise throughout the day, be it services or material items, and she isn’t allowed to interfere. Candy is looking very forward to this assignment.

Candy starts by asking Denise to give her a makeup lesson, which is interrupted by Rachael asking for some of Denise’s fruit. It is very early in the day, but Denise is already very agitated.

Rhonda and Cassie meet and talk about Cassie’s birth mother coming for a visit later in the day. Cassie believes if she can forgive her mom, perhaps her birth son will forgive her. Her birth mother gave her up to be with a violent man who had once tried to drown Cassie. She went on to have a whole other family with the violent man after abandoning Cassie. Rhonda asks Cassie why she is so afraid of losing a woman that doesn’t care about her. Cassie will be going out to dinner with her mom that night, and Rhonda urges her to ask the questions she desperately needs answers to.

Rachael and Iyanla are having a one-on-one discussing how she was raised. Rachael eventually admits she raised herself after her parents death, and Iyanla tells her she draws her values from the ones she learned as a little girl. With Rachael’s male friend, Jamai, coming for a visit the following day, Iyanla wants to know what Rachael’s dating rules and values are. When asked, she says her rule is not being intimate until the relationship has lasted at least three months.

Asked to separate lust from love, though embarrassed, Rachael says lust is when she gets mad after sex is denied her and love is when she is really listening and cooking for them. Iyanla would like Rachael to conduct a survey and get her housemates’ answers to the values and rules they set for their romantic relationships.

Rhonda arrives to take something from Denise, and chooses her wedding rings. Renee breezes through eating Denise’s pistachios. Rhonda then gives the rings to Bethany to wear, then gives Cassie one of the rings to wear. Denise says the rings bothered her most of all the things taken from her, as they are a symbol of her marriage.

Now ringless, Rhonda moves on to a one-on-one with Bethany, designed to unmask the possible traumatic event that has prevented her from remembering her first seventeen years of life. Bethany acknowledges the church was going through a a tough time when she got sick. Another family at the church had started rumors about Bethany’s dad’s infidelity. Bethany admits her mother and father talk about it a lot, causing Rhonda to ask why Bethany knows no details.

In the four years since, Bethany’s family has been put through the ringer. Rhonda asks again why she has never asked for more details, and she explains she doesn’t want to cause more harm to her family or the other family supposedly involved. When pressed, Bethany admits she would like to get to the bottom of it. Rhonda tells her this will be her mission when visiting her hometown in two days; she will film a documentary of her life and involve people that may know the answers she is looking for.

Rhonda moves on to a meeting with Denise who admits to feeling angry in her day of everyone taking from her for a change. Rhonda explains that takers have short term goals and givers long term goals. She then asks what Denise could give to the people she has taken from, namely her sister. Denise admits saying she is sorry would be helpful. Rhonda asks if there is anything her sister has ever given her, and after a struggle, she remembers a block party her sister invited her to. Rhonda instructs her to write a thank you letter to her. She is told to do this while not expecting anything in return.

Denise struggles with the letter to her sister. While she works on it she is cleaning up the kitchen with Rachael. Denise begins to argue and admits to being on edge all day between the taking and writing the letter; she says it took the fun right out. Oddly for her, Denise says people need to start doing their own dishes.

Listening to Rachael’s survey results of intimacy, Iyanla turns the conversation back to Jamai. Rachael says he is not her boyfriend as he isn’t ambitious enough. Iyanla warns her not to try and be his mother, as a lost man leads to a frustrated woman. Iyanla tells her if he is not the one to move on. You need to let go of what you don’t want to get what you do want. That Iyanla, she has some sage advice sometimes. I wish someone had told me that when I was twenty-one.

After a long wait, Cassie’s birth mother, Nancy, finally arrives. Over dinner, Nancy admits to Cassie that she, too, was abandoned by her mother, when she was three or four and put in an orphanage with her seven brothers and sisters. Her mother didn’t visit very often. When Cassie asks why her birth grandmother never took Nancy out of the orphanage, Nancy says it was not easy to get kids out of a place like that back then. Continuing, she says her mother went on to remarry and have another child.

Cassie is absolutely horrified at the developing pattern. Nancy tells her she was never bothered by it as she was with her brothers and sisters. Cassie tells her the more she hears, the worse it gets, and asks if it stops, explaining she doesn’t want to live in chaos. Nancy tells her she doesn’t have to, and should live her own life. Cassie believes her mother is in denial, and wishes she, too, didn’t have any shame. Nancy tells her she can’t put the past behind her, as it makes her who she is, and tells Cassie she shouldn’t be sad. Cassie retorts their whole life is sad. Nancy says to get through it or ruin her whole life.

Cassie entered the house believing her son deserves to know his birth heritage, and that she had given him a better life. Now she realizes, after hearing more of her own heritage, that she wasn’t necessarily giving, but doing the only the she knew – putting a child to the side, only to start over again later. The question is if between her birth son and herself they will be able to break the familial pattern.

I welcome all questions and comments at

Wickedly Perfect Episode #5 – Running a Bed and Breakfast

by Heather

In this episode, the Wickedly Perfect gang packs up and hits to road for New Canaan, Connecticut. The teams arrive at the historic Roger Sherman Inn and are greeted by the host, Joan Lunden. She tells them their next group challenge is to run the bed and breakfast. They will be judged on overall experience, including the quality of the food and tidiness of the guests’ rooms.

Joan says someone must be at the front desk at all times and that the teams will rotate desk duty every 30 minutes. For their individual projects, they are to create a wreath made out of fruit. Both teams look pretty confidant about this challenge, but will soon learn that working as innkeepers is tougher than they bargained for. That’s especially true considering the inn’s guests will be the judges ready with a laundry list of fussy demands.

Team Artisan’s Darlene says she’s ‘charged’ about the assignment and that she feels like her team really ‘jelled’ during last week’s challenge. Darlene is about to be in for a big surprise when Joan announces that, in order to even out the number of members on each team, the Crafty Beavers will get to choose someone from Team Artisan to be part of their team. The Crafty Beavers choose Darlene, partially as a strategic move to try and derail Team Artisan. Theyrealize Margo and Kimberly can’t stand each other and know that Darlene served as glue that helped hold the team together. They hope Team Artisan will crumble without Darlene’s guidance.

The teams head into the inn and realize that the guest rooms are filthy. I mean REALLY filthy. One bathtub is clogged and full of brown-colored water, there are clumps of hair all over the place, the toilets look like someone spent hours on the john after eating bad Mexican food, and one of the bed sheets is wet. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to know what was going on there. While the others work on getting the rooms straightened up, Darlene heads into the kitchen to start preparing snacks for the guests when they arrive.

Margo realizes that none of her teammates are thinking about cooking, so she takes on the task herself. Darlene is literally running around the kitchen preparing gourmet appetizers at warp speed while Margo clumsily struggles to make soup for the guests.

Candace Bushnell is the first judge to arrive along with her husband Charles and their dog Betsy. They are greeted by the Crafty Beavers and taken up to their room. Candace tells Heather that she prefers to sleep on her own sheets and asks the team to replace the bedding with the sheets she brought. Candace, Charles, and Betsy then sit outsideon the patio and eat Darlene’s large array of snacks. Candace asks Mitch to make something for her dog to eat. Mitch is perturbed by the requests and thinks Candace specifically asked him to do the lowly task because she doesn’t like him. Heather approaches Candace and Charles to inform them that the sheets they had brought from home didn’t fit the bed in their room. Heather then says she has moved them to another room with a bed where their sheets will fit. Candace is annoyed and says she wants to sleep in the first room, even if that means sleeping on the inn’s sheets instead of her own.

Judge David Evangelista arrives next with a friend named Angie. Team Artisan greets the two and Margo offers them some of her chicken and mushroom soup. David takes a taste and asks Margo if she can heat the soup up a bit. She returns with hotter soup but David and Angie both agree that it’s void of flavor.

The final judge to arrive is Bobby Flay. He gets to the inn in the middle of the night and the Crafty Beavers scramble to prepare him some food and a drink of bourbon and ginger ale. While the team is working to make Bobby comfortable, the front desk is left unmanned. Candace calls down to the desk and the phone rings for 14 minutes.

In the morning, the judges inspect the guest rooms to make sure they are up to snuff. They wear white gloves to test for dust and find Team Artisan’s room very clean, however, Candace spots dust in the Crafty Beavers’ room. Next the judges head down stairs for brunch. The Crafty Beavers serve them mimosas and the judges are impressed that Darlene made them with fresh-squeezed orange juice. Mitch’s cinnamon rolls (his grandmother’s recipe) are also a big hit, but Heather’s chicken pot pie falls short. Candace even says it’s uneatable.

Next, Team Artisan serves their brunch to the judges. They have also made mimosas, but not with fresh-squeezed orange juice and the judges are disappointed. Denise’s caramel apple French toast is too dry and the judges want more syrup. Bobby gets frustrated at the lack of service and gets up from the table and goes into the kitchen to ask for more syrup. On the way out of the kitchen he grabs another of Mitch’s cinnamon rolls. Margo tries to poach an egg but is unsuccessful. Kimberly suggests adding vinegar to the water to make it easier to poach but Margo ignores the advice. After having to throw away three eggs that she was unable to poach properly, Margo starts to cry. Denise tries to help by cooking the egg in the microwave, but it comes out as tough as a hockey puck.

Candace is disgusted with the egg and asks what went wrong. A misty-eyed Margo says she had trouble poaching the egg so Bobby goes into the kitchen to teach Team Artisan how to do it right. He says the secret is to add vinegar to the water to keep the egg from falling apart. Kimberly takes great delight in the fact that she was right about the vinegar.

In the end the judges determine that the Crafty Beavers did a better job running the inn, so that means a member of Team Artisan will get the boot. The judges say Margo’s and Denise’s fruit wreaths are the weakest individual projects so one of them will be voted off by the other teammates. Kimberly couldn’t be more delighted about her archenemy, Margo, being on the chopping block out at the Rock Garden.

As expected Kimberly and her buddy Dawn vote Margo off the show.

Heather can be reached for comments or questions at

Hypocritical Notion – The Real World Philadelphia, Episode 21

by DrivenAmbition

You know, it’s that time again. As the roommates arrive back to Philly, Shavonda finally admits hooking up with Landon, and as usual, Karamo expresses his disapproval of their relationship to Mel.

Shavonda then calls Shaun. When he asks her if she did anything in Fiji, she tells him that she slept with Landon, but says, “but I still love you” because that makes everything alright. Shaun tells Shanvonda, “you can’t have it all, and you just lost me”. Go Shaun, I always knew that Shavonda was no good.

Landon finally pays attention to Karamo’s attitude, and questions if it is a race issue, or if Karamo is jealous of the relationship that Landon and Shavonda have. Hey Karamo…you’re gay, remember?

Meanwhile, Karamo, is dating someone named Eddie, and guess what readers, he’s not black. But I thought Karamo had a problem with interracial relationships. But then I guess his rules only apply to other black people. That probably makes him a hypocrite. Eddie is Puerto Rican, and is Karamo’s first non-African-American boyfriend.

When Karamo introduces Eddie to the other roommates, they all can’t believe Karamo is dating outside of his race.

Later, Shavonda, Sarah, and Willie go for a walk, where Sarah tells Shavonda that Karamo said that he hates her. That Karamo is sounding more and more like a twisted version of fatal attraction.

That same night, Shavonda calls Shaun again. Don’t ask me why he picked up the phone; I would have blocked her number. Maybe he’s a glutton for punishment, because she calls him to say, “ I needed to be on my own and if you can’t understand that, then I’m sorry.”. That Shavonda is definitely the most sensitive of the roommates, but hey, I have a question, what happens when Landon starts to drink again, and she ends up not being his one and only? I hope Shaun forgives her.

Shavonda, being in such a big mood to talk, tells Landon that sex changes emotions, and now that they’ve slept together, she should be the only one.

The morning after, Karamo tells the cameras that he doesn’t even care anymore about Landon and Shavonda. How big of him. I guess now that he’s got his interracial lover, Shavonda can have hers.

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