Knockin' Down Those Walls – Starting Over, 01-27-05

by LauraBelle

When we want to keep others at bay, we all put walls up. Sometimes it is one thick iron-clad wall that need to be knocked down by a bulldozer, sometimes it’s several thin layers that need to be peeled away. What brings everyone to the Starting Over house is needing to know what it was that put up those walls.

Rhonda meets with Cassie just to be sure she is on solid ground for moving ahead and contacting the birth parents. The old Cassie, the only one the adoptive parents know, was helpless, insecure and lost. When she last saw them and her birth son, he was just three-years-old, and she was drinking daily, but feels she hid it well. Rhonda informs her she probably wasn’t hiding it as well as she thought. Asked what she would want her birth son to know about the new Cassie, she says that she is compassionate and that she never forgot him. When asked what would happen if she never meets him, Cassie indicates she will move on. This, more than anything, shows the progress of Cassie.

Iyanla breezes into Group and asks everyone to put their hands up and facing their palms out. They are asked to push against the person’s hand that is next to them, and leave their other hand free. Iyanla explains that this is resistance, and while fighting so hard with one hand, the other doesn’t move. This illustrates what happens when we put imaginary walls up to protect ourselves. We spend so much energy fighting that fear behind the wall, the free part can’t move. Cassie knows behind her walls is a fear of judgment. Bethany’s walls are up not allowing her to move forward for fear she will lose her memory again, but Candy tells Bethany she has a wonderful future ahead of her, and she isn’t enjoying her life now for fear of not remembering it. For herself, Candy knows full well she has a wall around her femininity.

When the talk moves to who has the biggest wall in the room, everyone agrees it is Renee. Bethany tells her she feels she is listening, but doesn’t ever hear Renee speak about herself. To broach the subject of Renee’s wall, Iyanla asks if she can share some learned information from her one-on-one the day before with Renee, and Renee agrees. Renee has always believed she was stupid, but doesn’t know where that belief originated. Iyanla guides Renee to the realization that her fear of being stupid is the real reason she didn’t go to college, not the fact that her father spent her college fund. Iyanla closes the meeting by urging the women to find the wall, and then start by pulling out one brick at a time.

Rhonda believes if Bethany learns to ask for help it will help her break down some of her walls. She is given four envelopes and Rhonda tells her to get a roommate to drive her to a certain intersection in Los Angels and to not open the first envelope until she gets there.

Denise drops Bethany off “in the middle of nowhere” and Bethany is the epitome of wide-eyed and innocent. The first envelope instructs her to find the Greek restaurant and buy souvlaki. She struggles saying she is worse than a man when it comes to asking for directions. At the restaurant, she is presented with a choice of chicken, beef or veal for her souvlaki. Wanting to experience different things, she chooses lamb, only to lose her nerve and get the chicken after all.

Bethany’s scavenger hunt next sends her to a book store where she is to buy a book in a foreign language. Given the choice, she says, “Reckon I’ll take public transportation.” After asking a few different people, Bethany eventually gets to the store. She chooses a book in Spanish, knowing she took Spanish in school, but not remembering a word of it. She is hoping Candy, of Puerto Rican descent, can help her with it. Next she is sent to a shopping mall where she needs to ask someone to take her picture in front of the Virgin Megastore. She feels silly, but does this and anxiously awaits a ride home back to safety.

The social worker comes and meets with Rhonda and Cassie, as Cassie reads the letter she wrote to the adoptive parents. The social worker feels this was a wonderful exercise to get to the point of why she is contacting them. Cassie is asked now that the current address and phone number is known for the adoptive parents and her birth son, how she will fee if Rhonda called them and how she would feel if she sent the letter. Cassie doesn’t know which is best, but given the choice she jumps up and down and says, “Call today!”

Candy, meeting with Iyanla, says on the inside she feels sexy and feminine, much more than on the outside, and wants to know how to get that feeling from the inside to the outside. Asked what is blocking it, she realizes it’s how she feels about herself physically. Iyanla instructs her to close her eyes and feel her face, and she describes having chubby cheeks and a softness. Feeling down her breasts and alongside her body, Candy says it’s not very feminine, because big is bad, and realizes that big hides things, and it’s her femininity that is being hidden. She knows she started hiding this so that her father would see a boy and not a daughter. She is tired of being referred to as the fat girl by him. Feeling her face again, she says it’s not a boy’s face, but a beautiful girl’s face.

Iyanla sends Candy to a photographer where they will take what they have now and make it beautiful. Inside the stodio she is nervous, knowing she doesn’t take good pictures. But they send her through wardrobe and makeup. They even take a flat iron to her hair, and leave it down and very straight. She is absolutely gorgeous when they are through. Looking in the mirror, she knows her roommates will freak. Candy takes many different pictures in very femine poses, and they are printed out for her to take home. Once there, her roommates are astonished, just as she knew they would be. Iyanla walks in and sees her and shouts, “Oh my God!” and tells her that she is blown away. Looking in the mirror, she tells Iyanla she sees female and happiness, and most of all, sees herself.

Rhonda, sitting with Cassie, calls the adoptive mother and is rebuffed from the very start of the call after introducing herself as an intermediary for Cassie. The adoptive mother nearly hangs up, and Rhonda works real hard to not just get her to stay on the line but to also get her to allow Cassie to talk to her birth son. The adoptive mother doesn’t want any problems in her family, and Rhonda tells her neither does Cassie, she just wants information. The birth son has had addiction problems and is currently in recovery, and it’s clear the mother blames Cassie for the problems, knowing Cassie’s history. Rhonda urges her to believe this is not the same Cassie from eighteen years ago. Rhonda ends the conversation giving the mother her phone number and encouraging her to call if she changes her mind. Rhonda tells Cassie she believes her son doesn’t know he is adopted because the adoptive mother refused to answer that question. Asked if it’s worth all this, Cassie says yes, as she has already called herself enough names; this won’t hurt her any more, and she knows she is now a different person.

Cassie has lifted many of her walls, but the interference now is the adoptive mother’s walls. She fears the old Cassie, and is so afraid her appearance in the son’s life will send him back to addiction. This is where many fail. We can lift our own walls, but we can’t lift other people’s walls around the perceptions they hold of us. That’s why many of us give up. Hopefully, Cassie will continue. She has come so far, if her adoptive son knew her, he would be proud.

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

Giving and Receiving – Starting Over, 01-26-05

by LauraBelle

Giving and receiving is such a multi-faceted topic to broach. It’s one we drill into our children’s morals, such as,”It’s better to give than to receive.” Yet, even as adults there are still more facets to it that we need to learn. Once we realize giving and receiving isn’t just with material things, but also thoughts, ideas and emotions, it changes all of our pre-conceived notions.

Renee starts her day calling her friend, Neely, to let her know she is donating her time at Pet Orphans this day in dedication to animal-lover Neely because of realizing she had wronged Neely in their friendship. Renee shares with her that the trouble was all centered around Jamie and the time Neely spent with him. Perhaps this information was shared on an earlier show, and I just don’t remember, but I do wish we were enlightened as to just who Jamie was in the midst of the friendship.

As Renee is on her way to Pet Orphans, Iyanla shares with the camera audience that this shold be interesting, as the the taks she will do there is anything but glamorous. None of th hard labor chores seem to bother Renee, however, as she makes her way through cleaning the cat cages with nary a problem. The cats watch her seemingly intrigued as to what Renee’s story is and what brought her there.

Rhonda opens a Group discussion about giving and receiving by giving each woman a small gift. And I mean s-m-a-l-l. She wants to see how the women will react getting the very different gifts. Renee receives a small votive candle while Cassie receives a bracelet with the words, “Live the Life You’re So Intended.” Candy receives a makeup sponge and Bethany receives children’s hair ties. Denise gets a staple remover and Renee an apple, which she bites into right away.

All the women seem to enjoy their gifts, and especially noting why each woman got which item, such as Denise knows the staple remover is because she’s trying to become organized. Rhonda asks how everyone feels when they give a gift and it’s not liked, and Renee says powerless, misunderstood and sad. Rachael opens up and says her first Christmas after her parents died, she received the most presents, and it made her feel angry, as she knew it was because they felt sorry for her. Rhonda asks what she would have wanted more than the gifts, and she says a hug and and her parents. Everyone realizes then that the emotional gift is better than the material gift.

Renee takes this opportunity to open up to Renee and says she is going to tell her something she has wanted to say since her first day in the house. She doesn’t think Renee gives a damn about her story, feeling she lacks compassion, and that she is too self-absorbed. Renee simply replies that she appreciates Rachael telling her this. The other women echo Rachael’s sentiment, noting Renee’s all-too-often blank stare, yet they also reiterate they don’t want her to beat herself up. Rhonda winds it up saying Everyone needs to be responsible for how they come across to others.

Dr. Stan meets with Denise and wants to see how she is doing with her new schedule. She feels good about it, noticing a sense of accomplishment. She says even when she goes off the schedule a little, it’s a reminder she needs to get back to task. Dr. Stan asks if there’s a risk or danger if she goes off the schedule. Denise says if she doesn’t get things done, she would feel like giving up. She hasn’t made time for intellectual time, and Dr. Stan asks why. Denise blames it on her undiagnosed ADD. Dr. Stan encourages her that if she forces herself to do it more, she will develop more attention and interest and will eventually enjoy it.

Rhonda wants to meet with Cassie before they go see the private investigator just to be sure she is ready for any information she gets. She assures Rhonda she is ready. Once at the P.I.’s office, he tells them he has the phone number and address, and that it has been confirmed. He has found the adoptive mother and she is residing with Cassie’s birth son, and has since been remarried again. Cassie believes this is now the third or fourth marriage. The P.I. says he operates under integrity, and will share the information with Rhonda as intermediary, but not Cassie herself, since he doesn’t know her or her true intentions.

Rachael and Renee enter into their “fierce conversation” under Iyanla’s guidance. Rachael says she wants to open up, and would if she felt more compassion, and not be met with Renee’s blank stare. She is extremely honest, and admits to putting judgments on her from the get-go. She hates the fact that she has had thoughts that she was better than Renee, and she realizes it is out of the knowledge that Renee doesn’t respect her parents, and the notion that having parents is the thing Rachael would like most. In other words, she feels Renee has been given a gift of having parents, and doesn’t feel she is accepting the gift well, and knows if Renee ever lost her parents, she should would feel as badly as Rachael has, and doesn’t want her to hate herself. Renee understands more now, and Iyanla commends them for getting to the heart of it, making them realize they are mirroring each other.

Rachael moves on to a meeting with Dr. Stan, and he wants to reconstruct her feelings surrounding her mother’s death. She tells him her mother said she was sick and that she would be okay. Dr. Stan wants to move on to Rachael’s aunt, he wants to know why she was sent to foster parents, then a boarding school. Rachael says she was too nasty of a girl. He asks if she was nasty before her parents died, and she believes she was. He suggests perhaps she was only nasty after the rejection of her aunt, and tells her to stop making excuses for the people in her life that have wronged her. He encourages her to realize she isn’t hurting them if she shares the pain she felt when they rejected her.

Not being able to move past the fears that Dr. Stan just placed in her, Rachael calls Iyanla to basically complain about the conversation. Iyanla explains if she didn’t have the knowledge her aunt wnated her, she would have been frightened and alone, so she has needed to believe all this time that she was a bad person to give a reason for her to be unwanted. But regardless, she was alone. Her aunt’s behavior was not appropriate, but it was her best. Yet, it still wounded Rachael. Encouraging Rachael to stop the witch hunt for Dr. Stan, noting she’s glad it’s him this week and not her.

Looking at it unmaterialistically, the topic of giving and receiving works into all of these women’s lives. Rachael was never given the gift of a loving household after her parents’ death, and in turn, has a hard time giving herself to anyone else. Renee thinks she is giving, but doesn’t realize that she also does not do it unconditionally. Denise is always willing to give everyone the gift of laughter, but she isn’t always willing to receive gifts from herself or others. Cassie gave her son the gift of having a better life being raised by people more grounded than she, and she would simply like a small gift back of knowing the fine person he has become.

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

“Don’t Flush My Toilet!” – The Apprentice: Season 3, Episode 2

“Don’t flush my toilet!” – THE APPRENTICE 3, Episode 2

By: Cori Linder
clinder@realityshack.com

Battling ceiling mold, grimy toilets, and the stench of unsightly motel rooms, this week’s candidates prove the old adage “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”—literally.

After Todd’s departure, Danny and the rest of the Net Worth team return to the suite. Smiles and open arms embrace Danny, but based on candidates’ hypocritical remarks moments earlier, we know what they’re really thinking. When Danny remarks that his team and The Donald probably underestimated him, it seems that he’s the person who might be most in need of a reality check.

Decked out in a purple tie, Mr. Trump meets with the candidates in front of Trump International Hotel and immediately compliments Danny’s professional business attire. “I rose from the dead and I cleaned up my act,” says Danny.

The Challenge:

With a budget of $20,000 and a time span of 48 hours, each team must renovate and refurbish a motel on the Jersey Shore, and then welcome paying customers. Upon checkout, these customers will then rate the motel and service. The team with the highest rating score wins.

Probably due to lack of running mates, the Net Worth team decides that Brian (whose voice and presence often inspire images of Danny Devito) will be the project manager. He seems ideal for the challenge: He’s in real estate, he’s sold motels, and—here’s the kicker—he’s from New Jersey. Of course, this perfect formula will add up to, well, nothing.

The Net Worth team must run the Surf Side motel which, from the outside, looks “adorable” and “beachy and fun.” But, the putrid delights await inside! Ceiling tiles are broken, walls are cracked or covered in mildew, the carpet is filthy, and the toilet is up! “Come, dumpsters, come!” implores Audrey. “No!” screeches Kristen. “We need a budget. It’s all about the budget!” This argument about the budget will continue throughout the next couple of days, annoying anybody within yelling range.

The Magna team gets to renovate the “Sea Garden” motel and are also horrified that a “so cute” exterior could hide such ugliness. Real estate developer, Michael, volunteers as project manager.

In the pit of filth stands smartly-dressed Verna who decides it is customer service that The Donald cares so much about. Who cares if customers sleep on slabs of wood and chip their bottoms on broken toilet seats? For Verna, it’s all about the service and welcome packages.

Meanwhile, while the ladies on the Net Worth team shop at Target for room accessories, Brian confidently tells the contractor to completely rip out all 14 toilets. The other team members are outraged because toilet seats would have sufficed. Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on Brian’s obsession with toilets: Did he want to be a plumber as a child? Or, perhaps, did he spend too much time sitting on them?

The sun sets as the Magna team paints the motel. “Customer satisfaction and budget!” stresses Verna, armed with a paint brush.

At the Net Worth motel, John, in his usual condescending tone, argues that Brian’s abrasive tone is irking everybody. “Donald Trump is exactly the same way that I am,” says Brian. “…And if people don’t like it, they can go ‘frig’ themselves.” “People don’t like you,” replies John.

The next morning…Realizing that a lot of money was spent on toilets and sinks, Brian admits he now needs a budget. With her wounded ego, Kristen refuses to comply and begins to spit out insults, which continue until the very end.

In comes Carolyn to view Magna’s progress, and perhaps one of the most humorous moments is when she sits on a sheet-covered bed only to discover that the plastic was never removed from the mattress. Did we detect a hint of a grin from her? Let it all out, Carolyn! Laughter is the best medicine!

George looks in on the Net Worth team, and his cold facial expressions are enough to chill any food remaining in the motel’s moldy refrigerators. “I am the team now,” explains Brian.

Customers check in…

Danny’s party skills come into full bloom when he organizes a “party” with the guests while Tana passes out gift baskets to customers.

Ironically, Verna, who continually stresses the task is all about customer service, is the least customer-friendly. She is overwhelmed and emotional. “I don’t believe that I could have talked to anybody because of the mood I was in,” she says.

Let’s check in on Kristen and Brian…are they still arguing? Of course: This is Reality TV, after all.

While Verna complains that she’s not taking care of herself (not eating or sleeping), I can’t help but notice that she’s dressed well, her make-up is freshly applied, and her hair is styled. Maybe it’s just me, but food and sleep seem more important. Finally, she and her suitcase leave the motel, strolling aimlessly down the Jersey Shore. We see another side of Carolyn when she chases after Verna and convinces her to come back.

Verna returns and admits that her team is “wonderful.”

In the boardroom…

With more favorable customer responses, the Magna team wins. Their reward is to join Steve Forbes on a yacht.

The Net Worth team returns, and Brian declares that he should be fired. Where are your negotiation skills now, Brian?! To optimize the “drama” time in the boardroom, Mr. Trump decides to prolong the firing process and recruit everybody’s negative opinions about Brian. As the conversation ensues, Brain gains back his gumption. But, it’s too late. It all comes down to the toilets, and basically, he flushed his opportunity down them. He’s fired.

Until next time…

Quotes of the week:

“He said I was wacky, and he said I am a disaster, but I think Mr. Trump likes me.” – Danny

“You’re not going to know if you’re sitting on a $500 toilet or a $5 toilet; Your ass doesn’t know the difference.” – Audrey

“If you think that, you are a silly little man…you screwed the poodle.” – John (When Brian complained that John was still in the project manager role)

“It’s a little crunchy.” – Carolyn (Sitting on a bed whose mattress is still wrapped in plastic)

Feel free to email comments to clinder@realityshack.com.

Interview With Lea Sarge Masters of Survivor: Vanuatu


by atarus

Hi Sarge! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! You were such fun to watch on the show, and congrats to you for standing up for what you believed in.

How hard was it for you to keep your drill sergeant persona under wraps while on the island?

It was my intent in the beginning to stay low on the Drill Sergeant side but I found it extremely hard not to get frustrated at the laziness among the group. I wanted certain things done and they kept questioning them constantly. I would have rather yelled more but I did seem to keep from it

What did you think when the chicken bone incident that the women pulled aired on TV?

I was appalled that they would act in that manner even though we were playing a game. I thought they had a little more character than that but I soon learned as I watched the show that they were women of very shallow character and it was beyond their control to act anything other than their true selves.

Do you think it’s possible to play Survivor with 100% honesty and integrity?

Yes it is but you have to cross your fingers and hope you are not double crossed. I feel if I was not betrayed by Julie then I would have gone all the way. That was my fault for not reassuring her that we were strong to the end and that she had every bit of a chance to win as any. My fault for assuming.

How do you think the game would have changed if you had voted out Julie or Twila instead of John K?

I would have been the next to go after the girls left. John K. did not care for me. He had moved out to get rid of someone that could see the laziness in him and he did not need anyone around to remind him of that.

There was an “age gap” on Lopevi, but Chris was barely two years older than John P and was the same age as Brady. Was it really young vs. old, or was it something else?

No it was not the old and young in respect to years. It was the old and young as to whom you hang with. The group that I went to first was on the beach making their little cliché from the moment we arrived and I tried to talk to them and they didn’t want to think of anything about groups and making alliances; they wanted to talk about women and T&A.

I asked them first and they disregarded it as foolishness and I went to the next group which happened to have a few older guys in it and they dubbed it the older group or the fat five. Which of course was funny to me as they were not fat and there was no one on the island more fit overall than I was. It was just their way of handling rejection from the team and their inevitable dismissal from the game.

How long did it take you to get “Sarge” as your nickname on the island? Did you ask to be called that?

It was about five hours and Bubba called me that when he found out that I was in the Army. It was his way of showing respect. No I did not ask, as this is an insult in the Army and I would never ask to be called that. It was allowed because this group had no idea what it meant and I saw the true meaning in their eyes as to what they were trying to say.

You and Rory had your differences on the island, and were eventually split up, but as soon as you merged you were buddies like nothing happened. What changed in the relationship between you two?

Nothing changed. I needed to ensure that he was with us and that I could count on his vote to go the way I wanted. I am a leader and know when to change my persona when I need something and that was not the time to show my ass when I need to find out some info. He was, is, and will always be a sore in my side. I will not say that I agreed with him and he is back in his world and I am back in mine

That was a neat little test you pulled off in your Jury questions. Do you think Chris was on to you? Could he have said anything to get you to vote for Twila instead?

Yes if he had gone off the deep end I would have maybe changed my mind. Twila was the reason I changed my vote. When she refused to apologize to Eliza for a million dollars I was shocked and stumped at that point. All she had to do was say the simple words “I’m sorry” and she would have made that little girl’s day but she would not. I knew that she had issues and did not deserve to win the money.

How was Survivor different than any military training or excursions you’ve been a part of?

# 1 we have water and food at most of them or I have to hunt for it but not for everybody. I am trained to find and hunt for food. I usually have the means to make water and fire and that was the toughest not having water at my disposal. Military training is different mainly because of the people that I am working with and that I can trust them wholeheartedly.

Do you think that your experience on the show and the fan reaction afterwards has prepared you for civilian life?

Yes it has shown me that there is a war in the civilian world and that people will do anything to get what they want. I am ready for that challenge and I have 17 other people to thank for that. It is worth far more than a million dollars as to what they have given me and taught me.

Would you be willing to take part in Survivor again?

Yes I would like to play the game as an evil SOB this time taking no prisoners. I would like to be out of the Army next time so I can not portray to the American people that the American soldier is cunning and sly and would do anything for money. I want America to see the Soldier as the greatest person to have ever lived and they are defending this great country and giving their lives because they actually believe that this is a great place to live and raise their families

Thanks again for your time Sarge. We wish you the best of luck for the future!


Break Out the Boxing Gloves – The Apprentice 3, Episode 2 Commentary

RETURN OF THE DONALD: “BREAK OUT THE BOXING GLOVES”
EPISODE 2: COMMENTARY
By: Tony Roach

Last week proved to be a decent premiere for The Apprentice. We were introduced to eighteen candidates who sang songs together, laughed with each other and even made a commitment to always remain a team no matter what. Well, that pact lasted a whole seven days and now the second episode of The Apprentice 3 looked more like a ninety minute preview of the reality boxing show The Contender. This week the contestants decided to hold nothing back when it came to how they felt about each other. Maybe they are buckling under the pressure of Donald Trump, or maybe they made a bet to see who can drop the F-bomb the most. Either way this episode gave the sensors something to do and had more “bleeps” than an episode of The Osbournes.

This week the two teams “Magna Corp” and “Net Worth” were given assignments to renovate two motels. Magna Corp came out on top thanks to the “party skills” they acquired in college, as Danny pointed out. They were able to mingle with their guests and provide a comfortable atmosphere, which helped them receive a better scorecard according to a Yahoo survey. However, Magna may have won the mission, but boy did Net Worth provide the entertainment. Just like Mr. Trump said, “this team is a mess” and that was definitely the case in tonight’s episode. I thought that Brian and John were actually going to box a few times. Brian may not have good leadership skills, but he sure does have patience. Although he is not soft-spoken, he sure did take a verbal beating from Kristen and John. I found myself getting a little on edge a few times hoping that he would step up a little and put those two in their place. It’s one thing to be honest and tell someone how you feel, but it’s another thing to be brutally honest and degrade someone on national television. Kristen and John actually seemed to take pleasure in letting Brian know how they felt about him. It was like they were trying very hard to find the meanest thing to say, just waiting to for Brian to flip out and go crazy on them. Personally, I thought that it was sexual tension brewing between Brian and Kristen. Because I have never seen two people so passionate about arguing with each other, unless they are in love!

Other honorable mentions included Verna wandering around town in circles, hoping that if she walked up and down the block enough she would miraculously end up home. That wasn’t the case. Carolyn actually talked her into coming back and some how got everyone, including Donald Trump, to view her walk off as a “great comeback”. The boardroom provided some laughs and was very brief considering Brian told Mr. Trump to fire him. But where did Chris come from? One minute he is sitting quietly minding his own business, next thing you know it looks like his head is about to blow off and he started pounding the table. F-bombs were being thrown all over the place; candidates were screaming even Donald Trump and company looked as if they have never seen anything like it. I think that this episode provided some good entertainment and I still find it easy to relate more to this season’s candidates. Does that mean that I have some anger issues…or do I just like seeing other people express their anger? Either way I liked tonight’s episode and I’m betting on Kristen to be the next to go. One more thing, I said it last week and I’m saying it again. Does anyone else think that Carolyn is looking good? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ll still tune in next week, if not to see Carolyn then to see who will succeed, who will fail…who will be the next Apprentice!

E-mail comments to Roach@realityshack.com

Which One Is the Engine? Simple Life Episode 1

“Which One Is the Engine?” – The Simple Life Three – Episode 1

No credit cards! No cell phones! No problem! Nicole Ritchey and Paris Hilton are back and ready to earn some cash in the business world as Interns.

After celebrating their last moments of wealth by spending a little pocket money at Mikimoto – $49,604.25 – and dancing the night away, Paris and Nicole begin the first day with Bill the Butler serving them breakfast in bed along with their dogs – Ms. Foxy Cleopatra, Ms. Tinkerbell and Ms. HoneyChop. Bill the Butler warns them they need to “make haste”, so the girls pack the mounds of suitcases that are scattered throughout the Soho Hotel room. And after enlisting the aid of Bill the Butler’s hind quarters to close one overstuffed bag, they are ready to go. Nicole and Paris are stunned however, when Bill the Butler hands them bus tickets for their mode of travel.

At the bus stop, Nicole keenly observes that there are people on the bus, while Paris notes the dog picture on the outside. Nothing gets past these girls, huh? They settle in and Nicole wonders if they show movies on the bus like they do on the airplane. No one answers her. I guess they didn’t know.

The bus continues on in to New Jersey to their first stop at the Brower house, and we are introduced to Joyce, Ralph and her sons Chris and Justin.

Spotting the dogs, Joyce asks if they are potty trained and are reassured by Nicole and Paris that they are. A dog lover herself, Joyce shows them the dog shrine for her dog Madison, whom she had put to sleep a month ago. She tells them the shrine contains Madison’s ashes, and that she misses him. Nicole and Paris are sympathetic. Meanwhile, Tinkerbell, Foxy Cleopatra and HoneyChop have made themselves at home by leaving a present on the living room floor.

Later in their room, Nicole and Paris discuss getting a dog for Joyce because they feel bad for her. They think a small one would be great. They look up dog breeders in the phone book and make calls.

The next morning they’re ready for work. Although they were hours late, they stop in to say good morning to Justin and discover he had a sleepover last night with his girlfriend Brisa. They did the polite thing and introduced themselves to Brisa, who hid under the covers.

Their first day at the Quality Auto Center starts with polyester coveralls, which they hate, and instructions from the manager who can barely speak English. They manage to overcome the communication problem and learn their first task is to change the oil in one of the cars. Paris is willing, but needs to know which one is the engine before she can proceed.

Throughout Day One, Paris and Nicole try their manicured hands at moving cars around the lot and changing oil. They need a break, so they take off in a police car from the lot and go shopping for nail polish. The manager runs after them screaming all the way. Paris and Nicole return the police cruiser and are chastised by the manager and the owner.

The girls are picked up by Justin and go to a dog breeder to buy Joyce a replacement for Madison. The breeder only has Great Danes, which are huge and $2,000 a piece. They choose two of them and name them Celine and Billy. Back at the house, Joyce is speechless and then asks “Is it a dog, not a horse?”

Day Two at the Quality Auto Center, Nicole and Paris try customer service and crashing…I mean moving cars around the lot. The girls are graded on their job performance and only receive $20 instead of the $100.

Their time at the Brower’s has ended, so the luggage is packed and stacked once again for the next stop. Its hugs and kisses for Joyce and the rest of the Browers as they wave goodbye. Later, Joyce receives a visit from the Great Dane breeder, who is there to collect the $4,000 Paris and Nicole promised her. The Great Danes wave goodbye to Joyce, too.

The second half of the show takes the girls to Staten Island and the Zucarro family. They make themselves at home. Mama Zucarro has fits when Paris and Nicole don’t help with the luggage and when Tinkerbell, Foxy Cleopatra and Honey Chop make themselves at home, too.

The second internship is with an advertising agency – Kirshenbaum, Bond and Partners. Paris and Nicole start off in the mailroom. When the task of sorting so much mail for so many people becomes too much, they stuff the pieces in whatever box is empty, assuming they all know each other anyway and will deliver it to each other.

The girls then assist Kirshenbaum and Bond by making reservations for dinner meetings. Paris can’t remember how to pronounce Kirshenbaum’s name. Nicole wins an impossibly hard to get dinner reservation at a posh restaurant by making up wild stories about Bond.

Their day ends with an evening at Lou Zuccaro’s Jujitsu studio. Paris and Nicole are grateful for the Zuccaro’s hospitality, so they agree to buy them something. It’s decided that Lou needs an outside sign for his studio.

Day Two at Kirshenbaum and Bond, Nicole and Paris explore the copy machine and all of the intricate ways to make copies of their body parts. They get hungry from their exhausting task and decide to get lunch for everyone in the office.

At the restaurant they sit down and taste everyone’s order. Meanwhile, back at the office, their co-workers wonder if they are really going to get lunch or if it was a joke.

The girls pack up the remaining crumbs of the lunch order and head across the street. Before they make it across, Nicole drops the bag and the food falls all over the street. They shrug and go back to the office to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

At the end of the day, they are evaluated. Their bosses love them, so they get their $100. Good job, Paris and Nicole!

Back at the Zucarro’s, Paris and Nicole want to earn more money to buy Lou his sign. They hand out flyers to everyone in the neighborhood inviting them to come to the Jujitsu studio. The time arrives and there is a line of people snaking around the block, waiting to be pounced by Paris and Nicole. The girls make their money and pay for Lou’s sign, which arrives at 8:00 the next morning. Lou loves it, but mentions that they spelled his name wrong.

The bags are packed once again. Paris and Nicole board the bus with their three dogs, ready for another adventure.

Comments? Talk to me… – Chloe@realityshack.com.

Hair's Tamara: Queer Eye for The Straight Girl Episode 1.3



Hair’s Tamara!

File footage of the Gal Pals clad in black hustle out to the SUV. Yes, it took me this long to realize it was file footage—as soon as they get in the SUV they are no longer in black, but very nicely dressed. The guys are in button-downs, although Damon should borrow his half-brother Roger Lodge’s turtlenecks if he’s going to wear a button down striped shirt that looks like Zebra Stripe gum. Honey in the driver’s seat has on a dress black shirt, no button down. They open up their dossier and give a united “OH! GOODNESS!”

Tamara Wiggins is a 24-year-old mom who is an artist in hiding. And she has big hair, which is the understatement of the year. Danny says she’s very “Chaka Khan.” She also has big breasts—38DD. Honey wonders if she can drive with one hand now. She and her husband have a little house with one lamp, which they move from room to room. The lamp has a monkey on it. I love monkeys! The GP agree they need to fix her up and fix up the house as well. Honey wants her to “get her art on.” Their mission is to host Tamara’s first art gallery show. Danny plans on making her a “funky new soul sista” or something like that. I guess I’m not down with Danny’s lingo.

Credits. You dance with that animated chick, Danny!

The Gal Pals pound on the door and Tamara answers wearing an oversized long-sleeved red shirt and baggy pants. Oh, and she has an afro. I think her afro has an afro. It could be two afros. She’s got one of those afros that’s picked out and all floofy-like. She claims that her hair protects her skin from UV rays. Seriously, I have no idea what her face looks like because it’s covered by either hair or shadows of hair.

Her husband, Damien, has an afro as well, but it’s smaller and stiffer. Aww, afros in love. He’s a nice lookin’ dude! The living room is gray and white and stark with a red couch and a massive wall shelving unit with crap thrown all over it and hanging off of it. They’re disheveled shelves! And what’s on top of the shelves? The monkey lamp. It’s so cute! But I’m biased because I love monkeys. Also on the shelves is a basket in which they keep their bills. To show how that system is so disorganized, Danny takes the basket and dumps it over, allowing the paperwork to cascade across the living room carpet, which has, by the way, seen much better days. He finds a cassette and says, “Everyone should keep some Pearl Jam with their bills.” Ha!

Chloe, Tamara and Damien’s older daughter, wears tinsel as a boa and has the smile of an angel. In the background, Damon, Robbie, and Danny are shout-singing and she jumps, startled. Honey says, “Don’t be scared. They like to sing and shriek. They’re actually more like girls.” Heehee. That answer satisfies Chloe.

Cut to some horrified Gal Pals in the bedroom. It, too, is gray-walled and in the center? An orange bed. Did you know that orange could clash with a neutral color? Well, it can. Tamara and Damien have made it happen. And that’s pretty much all that’s in there. The bed and a dresser. Nothing else, but the room is huge. Lots of empty space.

Meanwhile, on the living room floor, Chloe is drawing. Damon lies down next to her to doodle. They talk about Hello, Kitty. Chloe says she likes girly things like that. Damon tells her that his mother always wondered why he was gay. Then says, “My mom gave me Hello, Kitty stuff to play with when I was younger. I think that had something to do with it.” Heehee. Did your mom buy you that shirt too, Damon?

Coming in from the bathroom, Honey is armed with a curling iron and a flat iron. She waves them around at Tamara. “I’m guessing you don’t use these very often.” Tamara smirks and shakes her head. Nope, she likes the frizzy head she has.

In the kitchen, which is also stark white, Robbie is performing. He’s found Tamara’s tap shoes—apparently Tamara is very artistic, and dances as well as paints and draws. Robbie taps on the tile floor and everyone claps when he’s done.

Back in the living room, Honey finds an album of Tamara. In the old pictures, Tamara’s hair looks shorter and less wide. Honey comments that Tamara looks really happy in the pictures. Tamara admits that she used to be a lot more fun and have a lot more fun, and Tamara misses her old self. And that’s why she’s getting a make-over obviously.

Cut to Honey and Robbie whispering about Tamara’s breasts. You can tell that as soon as Honey and Robbie met, they became best friends with their own secret handshake. The way they whisper is totally middle-school-girly-locker-room-talk-about-the-other-girls-and-then-go-home-and-gossip-some-more-over-the-phone-until-it’s-dinnertime-and-then-bedtime whispering. Robbie holds out his hands in front of his chest, indicating how large Tamara’s are. Honey does the same, leans in towards Robbie, and comments, laughing, how she can’t imagine hers being that big. Neither can I. I think I would be hunched over all the time.

Meanwhile, Danny makes Tamara dance in the living room. He likes to show off his moves, doesn’t he? That’s why he continues to make the make-over straight girls dance. At first, Tamara won’t budge, but then does a step or two.

Damon has found a picture of Tamara from when she was in school. In the picture, her hair is in pigtails or ponytails, not sure what you would call it. It looks like one is down at the side of her head and the other is way up on the other side. He waves the picture in front of the camera saying, “Hi. I’m Tamara. I’m in seventh grade.” If that were my seventh grade picture, Damon would no longer be able to speak. Only my closest friends get to see my seventh grade picture, and even then it’s for only a split second. Yes, it’s that bad. I define the term “pasty white.” Tamara’s isn’t that bad. Just the hair is funky.

Honey, after searching under Tamara’s hair, finds that she has ears! And each ear has three piercings. That’s such a waste if you can’t see the earrings. Honey says that if she had piercings, her mother would be like, “And what does that third hole mean, hmmm?” And she’d be like, “Nothing mom!” Heehee.

Back in the bedroom, Robbie has found a spandex-like, long, gray, umm, thing. I don’t know what it is. Neither does Robbie. As he stretches it in and out, he asks, “Is this some type of scuba pant?” Tamara laughs. Then he asks what Tamara would like to see done with her hair. “Straightened,” she says without thinking. Well, she has a hair iron! She could do it!

Back on the living room floor, Chloe is drawing a picture of the Gal Pals. Danny sits down to look at the picture and find out who everyone is. He points to one—“Who’s that? Robbie?” Chloe nods yes. They she shows him which one is supposed to be him. Danny gets all upset and says, “But then that can’t be Robbie! He’s not taller than me!” He’s so twelve. I love him.

Meanwhile, the closet is being ripped apart in the bedroom. Robbie asks Tamara how many dashikis she has. (Dashikis are colorful shirts that are baggy—Tamara’s are really really baggy). She says about 8 or 9. Honey dons the dashiki and Tamara runs away. Robbie suggests that running away from a shirt is a bad reaction, and that she probably shouldn’t wear shirts like that.

In the bathroom, Danny finds Tamara’s make-up. I don’t know why Tamara would wear make-up because no one can see her face. Danny examines the eye shadow and says it’s a “freedom flag color palette” and I have no idea what he’s referring to but it’s still hysterically funny.

And now all the Gal Pals are wearing rubber medical gloves. Oh, wait, Damon isn’t. Which gives Honey and Robbie the perfect opportunity to throw unsanitary bathroom findings at him. Which they do. Which causes him to run away and leap over fallen shelves and yell, “ew, ew,ew.” Danny appears in the kitchen with the same gloves on. He knows Tamara likes to cook and she says something about frozen veggies. He says, “Well you know that you lose vitamins with frozen vegetables,” only he doesn’t say vitamins with an EYE sound, but vitamins with an “it” sound, which makes him only more endearing. She’s like, “oh really?” Shocking.

Cut to Robbie sort of helping change the baby’s diaper. He says it’s a nightmare. I wouldn’t be too happy if I were that baby and Robbie was making those disgusted faces at me. Robbie’s just upset this episode because there’s nothing for him to steal and he can’t feed his klepto-compulsion.

Back in the living room, the Gal Pals find Tamara’s art. The drawings are gorgeous. All figure drawings—that’s pictures of people for those who aren’t in the art world. Some colors. Some black and white. All very, very good. She says she does them late at night. They ask if she ever thought of framing them, and she says that she does think about it but then always decides it’s not worth it. Danny says, “well, of course, they’re much better in a folder under the couch.”

After putting away the pictures, Honey holds the newly-diapered baby. Damon walks by and Honey says, “That’s Damon, not Damien.” Damon leans over and says, “Yes, I’m not your daddy.” Ha.

Back in the bedroom, to represent freeing herself from the old clothes, the Gal Pals chant as Tamara tears a dashiki in half. Robbie joins in the tearing. Then Damon throws it on the floor and stomps on it. Wow, why aren’t they doing that to Damon’s shirt?

Now Danny’s holding the baby and says that the baby could be in years of therapy from this. Heehee. Honey takes Chloe into the bathroom and puts make-up on her. Chloe says that she and mommy never play with make-up. That’s because you can see Chloe’s face and you can’t see Tamara’s.

Cut to the kitchen, where Robbie is attempting to tear down the blinds. They come down halfway but are stuck on the wall. He literally hangs off of them with his whole body weight. Nothing. Heehee. Then Damien and the kids leave.

Damon takes Tamara into her bedroom. He says that the entire place is so white. So stark. He wants to make the bedroom a “sanctuary.” Tamara agrees that it would be nice.

Danny is now in the shower. You would think that I would be elated by this but, alas, he has his clothes on and his pants are rolled up to wade in shallow water. He sloshes around and then Robbie joins in.

Honey takes Tamara aside and asks her what she wants to do about her own style. Danny and Robbie wonder if the “lesbo” is “talking about vaginas again.” Well, she is the Lady and that’s what Ladies do. Talk about vaginas all the time. I mean, what else could we possibly talk about? Honey wants Tamara to create her own scent, her own creative style. Makes sense, since she’s an artist.

They gather on the couch. Danny says that they have a surprise in store for Tamara. They don’t tell her yet. Robbie and Honey leave with Tamara in tow.

Damien says Tamara has big hair.

Mom says Tamara’s hair is beautiful but all over the place.

Tamara’s sister doubts that Tamara even combs it out anymore.

Over in the SUV, Honey asks Tamara what it’s like having a model for a sister. Tamara says she loves it. Robbie pipes up that people ask his sister that same question all the time. It takes a few seconds, but then Honey and Tamara crack up. I do, too. Tamara says that her sister is unpredictable, and she’s not sure what her sister will think about the new look. Robbie thinks her sister will be jealous.

Back at home, the Hunky Helpers show up but they aren’t labeled as such and there aren’t any slo-mo chest revealing or butt clenching shots. Sigh. Instead, they move furniture and clean the kitchen in fast forward mode. Whatever.

Honey and Robbie run with Tamara into Fred Segal. When Honey mentioned creating a signature scent, she literally meant scent. Apparently, she goes to Fred Segal for them to create a mixture of perfumes specifically to her liking. She wants Tamara to create an artist scent. The Fragrance Gurus make “couture aromas.” Okay. Tamara says she likes warm scents. The bald guru lets her sniff vanilla and amber. Then there’s a lot of plunger, cork, eyedropper action. Then, voila! A scent is made. They give Tamara a perfume bottle with a puffer and she says it’s elegant. Rule about scents: When things heat up in the bedroom, the aroma heats up too! That’s because it works with your body chemistry. Thanks, Fragrance Gurus. They finish up and run out for more make-over madness!

Next there’s a very unnecessary shot of a very scary clown. For no reason other than to freak me out.

Enter Damon in a handcrafted, imports, furniture store. He shows Tamara some dark wood storage pieces that have decorative cabinets. The fronts of the drawers or doors or whatever they are have a reddish design repeated in a pattern. I’d love to have it in my apartment. He shows her that the bottom level pops up to reveal a secret passageway to the Fountain of Youth. No, it’s just a secret compartment. Honey and Damon tell her she can keep stuff hidden in there so the kids won’t find it. Umm, no. The kids would be the first to find anything in a secret compartment because that’s what kids do.

Then he takes her over to the chair section. She literally jumps for joy. Tamara has been making a lot of figurative phrases literal this episode. Anyway, she’s jumping. Damon says that the cavernous rooms can have chairs to fill them up, and chairs add function! Obligatory chair sitting. She’s in heaven.

Next they find a huge wooden arch thing for the bed I guess. I have no idea what it is. They don’t make it very clear. Then they leave so I’m left wondering. Maybe I’ll see it in the room later.

Damon drags Tamara down the street to the Fresh Paint Gallery. I assume they’re going to choose wall colors. But no, happily, I’m wrong. Here’s Danny! With Tamara’s artwork set out across a huge table. They’re going to frame her artwork with the help of Russ, the owner. Russ has a bushy mustache and a Hawaiian luau shirt. Russ could probably make it big in the porn industry, but don’t quote me on that. He suggests using simple frames to let her artwork shine. Danny says that once the art is framed, Tamara has a new career. I wish all jobs were that simple. Stick a frame on me and call me a multi-millionaire.

Danny then brings her into an empty white room. He asks, “What do you think of this art? I like the clean lines.” Hee. Tamara jokingly says that her art would look good on those walls. Well, you got it. Damon and Danny reveal their surprise gallery opening. She gets all screechy and repeatedly asks, “Seriously??” She’s thrilled! Yippee!

Over to the Christophe Salon in Beverly Hills with three, count em three, hair experts. They suggest angle, cut, layer, cut, moisturize, cut. They want to cut her hair. They need to cut her hair. First, one stylist sprays her into a cloud of detangler. Snooty stylists says she needs a lot of it. Then suggests she have a hot oil treatment frequently to moisturize. All helpful suggestions, but the detangler comment could have been less snooty. And then? CUT CUT CUT. Tamara says, “I need to close my eyes” and pushes her hands over her face. Danny says, “It’s only a little bit” but it’s not! Clumps of hair are falling to the ground. She may need it, but it’s not only a little bit.

Let the tears commence! Tamara just lets loose and wipes away tears as they pour out and down her cheeks. The stylist stops for a second, grabs some tissues, hands them to Tamara, and then starts snipping again. Robbie starts crying too. Then tries to make light of it—“At least you have something. I’m crying and have nothing in my life: no art show, no fiancé, no kids…” Heehee. I think he’s genuinely upset that she’s upset, which is so cute. The stylist says, “No more crying!” They dry her hair. Bam! Instantly, no more tears. Tamara loves it. She has a face. She sees, for the first time, that she has dimples! Danny calls it “genius.” Tamara, to make the stylist feel better and no longer fear that she would come after him in the night, hugs him.

Tamara’s friend says that she has no home décor. It’s just paint and a lamp.

Mom says that she bought them the monkey lamp. Ha!

Back in the SUV, Tamara says that her hair and all that comes with it is a big change. Her hair is pin straight and shoulder length. Her face is gorgeous. Honey says that Tamara is becoming the artist. Tamara says that she’s going to stop neglecting herself now, and Robbie responds, “That’s music to our ears.”

Back to the house which is now all tones of orangey-red. The focal point in the living room is a huge painting of flowers in a vase, which hangs over the red couch. The couch now has a bunch of different colored throw pillows on it. The wooden storage unit with decorative red patterns is in the living room as well. They have set down an oriental rug with red and golden shades. Also, there’s a big easel and a bunch of art supplies for her to work with. Next to that is a little easel for Chloe which Tamara “awwws” at. The kitchen keeps the red and orange and umber tones. On a counter is the monkey lamp, upon which the entire color scheme was based!! The lamp now fits in!!

The bedroom is a soft beige and maroon. The crib has matching bedding. The bed is a canopy now, but I’m not sure if the canopy is the same arch thing they saw in the furniture store. It could be though. Tamara is tearing up again. She also has a chair in the bedroom now, instead of empty space.

And then she sees her closet, which is now filled to the brim with couture. Yeah, there was a lack of clothes shopping in this episode but here are the clothes. She pulls out a pair of ecru boots and screams, “God, that’s so hot!” Robbie says they’re courtesy of Steve Madden. Honey gives Tamara control top fishnets and high-waisted power panties. Nothing says sexy like hosiery that cuts off the circulation to your lower extremities.

Fashion show time. Outfit #1 is a black off-the-shoulder shirt with white cotton trousers. They hug her in all the right places.

Outfit #2 is a peach flowy dress that shows off her cleavage. Massive cleavage.

Outfit #3 is a brown shirt with an attached scarf and an off-white skirt. Robbie says that the top is much like her regular cotton shirts, but more modern.

Outfit #4 is a black jacket over a yellow shirt with beige pants. To be less formal, she needs to only take off the jacket.

And then, Danny and Tamara shoulder shimmy at each other to celebrate her new look. Because they’re dancers, and dancers always shoulder shimmy at least once a day.

In the kitchen, Danny shows Tamara how to make a low-carb pork chop dish. By the way, Tamara is wearing her new clothes and no apron and pork juice is squirting everywhere. He stuffs cheese and olives into the meat and seals it with a toothpick. Sounds delicious the way I write it, doesn’t it? Danny says to sear them. Tamara’s like, “Sear them??” Danny says, “Yes. As in, put them in a hot pan.” Ha! He then says to throw some salad on the plate and you’ve got yourself an entrée. Tamara says that it looks as if it came from a restaurant.

Honey drags her into the bathroom for a lesson on Five Essential Things In A Make-Up Bag. They are blush, lip liner, lip moisturizer, mascara, and powder. Wow, I have all that! Honey then breaks out the lip stain and Tamara is mesmerized by it. Lip stain is cool unless you use too much and your lips get all dry and then all you see is blotches of the color coming at you. Gross. I guess that’s what the moisturizer is for.

In the living room, Damon and Honey reveal a gift in the secret compartment in the new furniture. It’s a meditation CD. They include a card about blessings and believing and it says, “P. S. You’re wonderful.” Those Gal Pals are so dang sweet. Tamara calls them wonderful gal pals. The wonderful pals leave and Tamara keeps covering her face in disbelief at how fantastic her house has become.

Hip Tip: Weight train to maintain and even replace muscle mass. Okay, another recycled tip. I expect more from you, Danny. You’re breaking my heart.

Mom says people know that Tamara can draw.

Sis says that the gallery showing is major.

The Gal Pals, all in black (just like the file footage), gather round on the Critic Couch with martinis in hand. Honey says that Tamara will be a diva.

Diva Tamara makes a salad and then washes some meat. Then she grabs a super huge knife. And then she grabs the phone “just in case” she needs to call 911. Danny and Robbie cackle and say they love a woman who’s prepared.

Tamara leaves the kitchen to get herself ready. She pulls out gold sandals. Then she returns to the kitchen in her robe and does some praying thing over a pot. Ha. She goes back to the bathroom and does her make-up, which the Gal Pals say is unnecessary because she’s gorgeous. However, she does blot her face with a dirty towel and they ask Honey if she taught her that. Heehee. She puts on her peach dress and Honey says she instructed Tamara, “Flaunt em” because she’s got em. Tamara hot irons her hair. Then returns to the kitchen and throws some garnish on a plate. The Gal Pals yell, “Garnish!” I didn’t know parsley could be so exciting.

Damien comes home and all he can say is “Shut up!” Danny says the baby is thinking, “Who the hell are you?” when she sees Tamara. Chloe is all smiles. She had wanted Beyonce for a mom, and the Gal Pals say she’s now got the closest thing to her. Damien? He’s still yelling “Shut up!” Tamara takes him down the hall to show him the bedroom and Robbie exclaims, “Look at her diva-ing down the hallway.” Damien’s response to the bedroom? Everyone say it with me: “Shut up!” Danny figures out that Shut Up is an affectionate term.

Cut to eating dinner. Tamara cuts Damien’s meat for him. Not sure why. The Gal Pals think it’s sweet. Danny points out that although sweet, she cuts the meat as if she’s chopping wood. Tamara then asks Damien, “Are you ready for goat cheese?” Do you ever need to be READY for cheese? What does that mean?

Then she tells him about her art show. Damien grins from ear to ear. They toast to her show. The baby makes a grab for the champagne glass. Damon (I think) says it’s the “first time the baby perked up all night.” Ha.

They head off to the show. A bunch of people are milling around the art gallery. They all shriek when she comes in. Honey says her friends are obviously so proud of her. Danny says, “This morning she would have been wearing a tent.” Now she’s in that sexy, sassy dress. Mom loves the look, which is a relief for Tamara. Honey says it’s now all about Tamara.

Tamara thanks her mom for always supporting her and motivating her. Damon says mom’s tough and that she has a “That’s my girl” attitude. Tamara then thanks the gallery owner. Danny and Damon high five as if they own the gallery. People pile into the show. Mom explains one drawing of her son who holds a book entitled, “Momma” and she explains it’s because he’s a mama’s boy. Nice.

The gallery owner has Tamara guess which piece is her favorite. The owner points to a black and white drawing that she calls “soulful” and “deep.” The Gal Pals are happy that someone else gets her art.

All the friends gather around again and it’s Mom’s turn to speak. She says she’s so proud, “today and always.” Danny says that Tamara doesn’t hear that a lot and it’s the best gift she could have gotten. Mom likes the new look too. Damon says, “Kudos, Robbie!” In unison, the Gal Pals “awww” at the end of the mom’s toast.

Damon comments that Tamara made a “seamless transition.” Honey is amazed at the gallery. They all toast to new beginnings and to Tamara. And then they shout something that sounds like, “Go Homos!” and I don’t think that’s what they say and I listened to it five times and each time it sounded more like “Go homos!” even though I’m pretty sure it’s not.

Tips for the week:

Robbie says blow dry frizzy hair with a comb attachment. Nope, that tip hasn’t changed since the last time they used it.

Honey says put perfume on the backs of your knees. There’s too many ways to go with that comment that I can’t say anything!

Damon shows us once again that we can make a lamp out of a vase. At least show us how to make that monkey lamp!

Danny says don’t pop a cork when opening champagne. Instead, turn the bottle and slip it out quietly. And I get chills.

And an artist emerges from the depths of her hair.

— Christina M. Rau/Gatsby Girl

What’s with the reused Hip Tips? Email me: Christina@realityshack.com


Viva Las Vegas! – American Idol 4 – 1/26/05

By Annie

Viva Las Vegas!

You know what they say about Las Vegas: What happens there, stays there. Certainly this proved to be true for many of the squeaking, squawking, screeching contestants. Fortunately, some made the grade and are on their way to Hollywood.

Among the glamour and glitz of my favorite playground were thousands of contestants and our beloved judges, Randy, Paula and Simon. Kenny Loggins (still looking fine!) joins them as a guest judge.

Whoa! Wait a minute! STOP the press! Men of the world get ready to restyle! Ryan combed his hair! It was a definite improvement!

First up was 16 year old McKayla Gordon who sang Lullaby of Birdland. I didn’t think she was anything above ok. I was positive the judges would give her the boot, however the judges loved her saying she was “born to do this”. Perhaps you had to be there.

Next was Jeffrey Grey who worships Neil Diamond and (surprise!) sings “America”. When you see Randy hiding behind his papers, it’s time to leave the stage.

Amanda Avila is a Vegas showgirl and shows off her singing abilities by singing “I’m Going To Love You Forever”. After Simon is assured that Amanda will bring her showgirl friends with her, the male judges give her silly grins and thumbs up.

No trip to Vegas is complete without BEI’s (Bad Elvis Impersonations). BEI’s included Christopher Tamura, Jane Woodall and countless others. Ugh. Who finds this entertaining??

Richard Malfetta from the Malfetta Brothers (last night’s show) returned for another try, leaving his brother at home. He sang “I Who Have Nothing”. Simon still doesn’t like him but the other judges give him a yes.

Emily Neves is a girl that just wants to have fun. She sang an awful rendition of the Lauper tune but we sure liked her personality. The judges told her to sing another song. Welcome to Hollywood!

Joseph Land is only 28 years old. Honest! Don’t you believe it??? Twice over maybe. Buh-bye Joseph.

Dino, a reject from the second season, has a brother, Desi. We learn this voice runs in the family. Maybe next season we’ll get Billy and have a Dino, Desi and Billy remake! (Kudos to anyone who remembers that group!)

Sharon Galvez, another Vegas girl, wows the judges with “Saving All My Love for You”. Simon is obviously flustered by beauty.

Jason Galber just can’t wait to be king and sang about it. Don’t you just love The Lion King? Too bad there are no kings in Hollywood.

Psychic Bobbie May predicts she will be in the top ten. Kenny Loggins says that’s the first time he’s ever seen anyone destroy two careers at once.

Jennifer Todd is “SOO going to Hollywood” after impressing the judges with “If I Ain’t Got You”. She really had a gorgeous voice. Kenny suggested there is an image problem (can you say D O W D Y?). I’m willing to bet she cleans up nicely and is a force to reckon with. Go Jennifer!

Mario Vasquez – what can I say? I have found MY American Idol. Mario serenaded me – just me – with a song called Whatever Happens. Yes, Mario. You are going to Hollywood, and might I add that I only live 25 miles from there in case you need a place to stay or someone to show you the sites or someone just to sit and gaze at you.

Oh yes – the judges liked Mario too. VIVA LAS VEGAS!! :clap:

I welcome your emails: annie@realityshack.com (this would be a good address for you as well, Mario :heart: )

Real World Philadelphia, Episode 20 – Alpha Male

by DrivenAmbition

Fiji, home of love, lust, and drama. This week, the roommates spend part of the day on a boat tour of a river. They eventually decide to take those bizarre donut floats under the waterfall. Shavonda was afraid of the water, but because Landon, someone she met a few months ago, told her he’d keep her safe, she decided to jump off of the hill and into the water.

Later the roommates visit a restaurant, and Landon and Shavonda end up slow dancing, as if they haven’t done that before.

The next day everyone goes sand boarding. The guys mostly enjoyed it, but the girls were able to hold their own as well.

Later at the beach, Sarah goes topless and Landon loses his swimming trunks. The funniest thing was when Shavonda sprayed Landon’s butt with sun block. Gee, that Shavonda is so handy to have around.

The dramatic highlight of this weeks’ episode is when later that night, the roommates all play truth or dare. Some of the dares included stripping, and Landon dared Shavonda to make out with him for 30 seconds. Karamo said that he was disgusted. But then again, is what Shavonda and Landon do any of Karamo’s business anyway?

The next day, the roommates take a bus tour, but that’s not even the most interesting part. Later that day, while on another boat tour, Karamo tells Sarah that he feels that Shavonda doesn’t pay enough attention to her own race. I have to wonder as an African-American myself, does Karamo speak for all black people? I know he doesn’t speak for me.

Bad weather forces the roommates to cut their boat trip short. That night Landon and Shavonda share another bed, but nothing happens.

The next day the bad weather has passed, and the roommates, minus Karamo, decide to sun-bathe and Shavonda goes topless, and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed.

Later, at the resort, Landon watches Shavonda get ready for their farewell dinner. At the table, Karamo decides to bring the night down by telling MJ that he has a problem with him and Landon. MJ ignores it, but then decides to ask a question to all of the roommates. The question was, “If we were stranded on an island, who would you pro-create with?” Everyone gives fairly honest answers, then Karamo decides to further bring down the night by saying, “I’d slit Landon’s throat because he’d be the only other alpha male, and then I’d mate with Vonda”. I am really starting to not like Karamo.

That night Landon and Shavonda share another bed, but this time something may or may not have happened. The morning after, the roommates minus Karamo all hint around to the two love birds, but Shavonda clams up, as does Landon. When the other roommates drop it, MJ brings up the night before, when Karamo brought the party to an end with his personality that just makes everyone want to smack him a few times. MJ proposes a roommate conference, where they can get everything out on the table. I’m sure it will work, we all know how accepting Karamo is.

It's YOU! It's Always You! – Starting Over, 01-25-05

by LauraBelle

Today’s Starting Over was a “special episode” about resolving conflict in a relationship. Dr. Stan notes that the type of conflict that arises between the women on Starting Over is most likely the same type we as viewers would experience. As a prep for helping Rachael and Renee resolve their conflict, the show brought back past graduates to show how they resolved their conflicts, and how to resolve the conflicts that still exist.

The first graduate brought back is Kim, who struggled in nearly every area in her life with conflict, most notably with her sister. Addressing her as the “Queen of Conflict”, Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan meet with Kim to discuss her conflict and how she resolved it. Asked to describe the original conflict, Kim says it all seems so silly now, but she needed to mend this relationship to fix and move on with the rest of her life; she wanted to be happy and feel good about herself. The root of their conflict was they both thought each other had lied. Asked why there was no early resolution to this, and why it took five years to resolve, Kim says it was pride and wanting to be right.

Kim admits she got in the way of herself. She had set a pattern in her life of not resolving conflicts. She never spoke the truth to let people know who she was and what she needed. Iyanla introduced her to the idea that perhaps everyone else isn’t the problem, perhaps it was Kim. She says she was on her way to healing the first time she laid her story down and realized she had told it all too often. Asked for advice to give other people needing to resolve conflict, she says emphatically, “It’s YOU! It’s always you!”

Brenda and Audrey had a very close relationship while on the show together, but had a falling out on Audrey’s last night there. Brenda had planned a nice evening to celebrate Audrey’s graduation, but it was also a big night for housemate Karen, who Brenda felt needed to be celebrated as well. Audrey didn’t want to wait for Karen’s function to be done and got angry with Brenda. Two separate groups of people celebrated that night. Brenda in one, and Audrey in the other. The next morning the conflict arose in Group; Brenda had said “f*** you” to Audrey, and Audrey was upset, saying she would never use those words to Brenda. Audrey left the show with no resolution of the conflict.

Brought together now, they are asked if that conflict was ever resolved. Audrey says yes, and Brenda says not really, but she has allowed Audrey to think it has been. Asked what the original conflict was, Brenda and Audrey aren’t quite sure. Dr. Stan says sometimes we argue so much, we forget the original conflict. Iyanla asks if this is an important relationship and worth saving. Brenda says no, and Audrey indicates maybe, and when pressed changes to yes. They are told they now need to decide whether they should even try to resolve this or if it’s not important to them. Their segment ends this way, and it just seems so odd. So … unresolved.

Next to join Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan are mother and daughter, Lynnell and Hailey; although the conflict between them has long since been resolved. It’s Hailey’s relationship with her twin brother, Kevin, that brings them here today. Rehashing their original story, it is pointed out that their family was the poster children for conflict. The turning point for Hailey was when she realized the intentions behind her words were not positive. The turning point for Lynnell seemed to be once she learned how badly she triangled in her children’s relationship. She kept herself involved in Kevin and Hailey’s problems, and as long as she did that, it would never be resolved. Hailey and Lynnell didn’t realize how bad their relationship had gotten until they watched the show after graduating. The mother and daughter say they handle conflicts better now by taking a step back and listening, as they had never really listened to each other before.

Hailey says the original conflict with her twin, Kevin, started when they were around fifteen years old. They went to the same school and had all the same friends, and he believed everything bad that was said about her, instead of simply asking her. On the show originally, she wrote a letter to Kevin, reaching out to him. He took the envelope and threw it in the fireplace without even reading it. When she tried a second time with Rhonda’s urging, Lynnell triangled and called Kevin saying she couldn’t tell him what was going on, but just believe her when she says it wasn’t Hailey’s doing. All that did was reinforce to Kevin that Hailey wasn’t honest in her intentions. Kevin, and their other brother, Blu, are waiting in the back to talk to Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan. Rhonda says they will bring the brothers in without Hailey and Lynnell, and if Kevin wants to talk to her, Hailey will be invited back in. Lynnell slides back to her old ways for a moment and says she doesn’t think Hailey will be back. She realizes, once they point it out, she is triangling again, showing some improvement in this area.

When the brothers enter, Blu admits to seeing how much Hailey and Lynnell’s relationship has changed since they were on the show. Asked where their conflict arose, Kevin says it was when they were growing up as he didn’t like the way she treated their mom, Lynnell, and he didn’t like her behavior in general at the time. He gave up on her. He is told brothers are supposed to have a protective instinct for their sisters, and asks why he lost this with Hailey. He isn’t sure. Asked if he loves Hailey and wants to resolve their conflict, Kevin says he loves all his family, and maybe some day he will resolve this conflict. He is told he can love her and still not like what she does. Just because he felt disappointed and embarrassed didn’t mean he needed to stop caring for her. He says he would like to see her be more kind to his mom and to be more responsible. Blu ads he doesn’t like everything Hailey or Kevin do, but that’s their choice. He seems so much more grounded. Asked if he will talk to Hailey, Kevin says no, as it’s not for television, and would like to do it in private. He admits he still loves her, and when asked if he is willing to tell her that, he indicates he will in private.

Hailey is brought back in alone, and wonders why. She is told that Kevin wished to do anything further in private, but that he did admit to still loving her and being impressed with the changes she has made in her life. This is good news for Hailey; it’s not a total resolution, but she now knows a little more of where she stands. Knowing this makes her feel good, she says. Rhonda, Iyanla and Dr. Stan impress upon her that the trouble isn’t about her anymore, it’s about Kevin, as he has his own issues. She is discouraged from having to do a dance to get him to respond to her, and told Kevin may never give her everything she wants in their relationship. It ends on a happy note, and much happier than whatever it is that remains between Brenda and Audrey.

I have to turn this towards a personal note here, and say Starting Over has always been special to me as it has encouraged me to make changes in my life similar to those of the women on the show. I see some of my own issues in them, and try to work on them the same way. I have realized so many things about myself, and feel I have grown very much. The latest change I made was resolving a conflict of my own. The more and more I watched these women, especially Kim, I wondered if I stood the chance of resolving it in the same way.

When Kim and her sister had their “fierce conversation” on the show, I thought about when my own sister and I had recreated our own relationship several years ago. I then thought about a lost relationship that I had never been able to get past. I had had a very painful year, and it was building in me, with me not knowing how to stop it or release some of the pain. My best friend and I began to have problems in our relationship, and I was not a strong enough person to tell her what was bothering me. Just like Kim on the show, I never felt able to be honest with myself with other people and in my relationships. As this is not the only failed friendship I have had, I heard Iyanla’s words to Kim over and over in my head. Does everyone else treat me badly or I am really treating everyone else badly? Remember what Kim said today. “It’s YOU. It’s always you.”

I had ended our relationship three years ago to extricate myself from the pain, although it never went away, and only created more pain. I can’t even find a number for how many times I cried myself to sleep at night over this loss. It was very hard, as like families that fight, we saw each other nearly every week. Our kids were in several activities together, and it was a constant reminder of pain. A few weeks back, I began thinking of our relationship, and if it really was me, and wondered if I should apologize. I saw her the next day at our sons’ basketball game, and for the first time, I didn’t see my pain, but hers. I was responsible for hurting someone that was very dear to me. I came home and fired off an email to the address I remembered of hers, telling her how sorry I was. I waited nervously, and after a few days she responded back accepting my apology, making one of her own, and agreeing to Start Over.

I have included my own story here to let everyone know this isn’t a thing just for TV. It really does and can happen in real life. If there is anyone reading this that has unresolved conflicts in their relationships, be the first to reach out. It feels so nice to forgive the other person, forgive yourself, and even more in the end to be forgiven. Denise said the other day on the show it was like a natural high forgiving her father for his abuse of her. She is right; it is a natural high. I and my friend, coincidentally also named Kim, have enjoyed the past few weeks remembering all the fun we had together, and sharing pictures of times that we were trying too hard to forget for three years. After three years, my pain has been lifted, and I believe hers as well.

As always, I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com. And most especially if you have a story to share about resolving a conflict, I would love to read it. It takes a lot of strength to speak the truth, but it is so freeing to do so. Remember, it’s you; it’s always you.

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