Adventure of a Lifetime – Rebel Billionaire, Season Finale

[i]by atarus[/i]

This is it! The season finale for all the bananas. We start off with a small recap of the fact that Shawn and Sara have to make a 3-minute speech about why they should win, and the shock of seeing all their former competitors there at Necker Island with them. Sara is first, and she starts by saying that “she’s never done brainstorming in a bathroom.” She then proceeds to talk about how she founded Spanx, her company, and about how she wants to free herself up to help women in other ways. Candida remarks that she knows the Spanx story, but she wanted to know more about Sara as a person and wanted to connect with her. Jermaine says that he felt a bit alienated since she only talked about helping women. Sara, in a rehash of her audition video, says that her life goal isn’t to make women’s butts look better. She also reminds them that after the first day she never lost a challenge, and they should look at how much farther I had to step out of my comfort zone to get to where she is.

Now it’s Shawn’s turn. He starts off by saying that the last 8 weeks, Richard told him that he was big-headed, confident, and cocky. He says he deserves to win because he wants it so bad his teeth hurt. Tim comments “His teeth hurt? That doesn’t separate him from Sara!” Shawn continues and talks about LoveSac, saying it’s not just a little beanbag company, it’s 600 people and he can get more people with the prize money, and that everyone has a dream. Candida comments that Shawn really touched her, she realized he had a profound respect for all human beings. Shawn says that love has brought him this far, and he’s brought loyalty and productivity.

The next challenge is a physical one. They have to go out on the water to a little island on the reef and get back. Shawn has to use a sailboat, and Sara is going to kite-surf. Shawn is frantic as he’s never touched a sailboat before, and Steve comments that it was fun to watch Shawn panic in the final challenge. Because of the increased wind, Sara finds a way around the rules in the challenge, and jumps on the back of an experienced kite-surfer and lets him do the kite-surfing. While Sara speeds away, Shawn kind of flounders around in the water. Shawn is shocked, as he doesn’t realize until Sara is on her way back that she’s not actually the one doing the kite-surfing. Sara wins the physical challenge!

The third challenge is a grueling interrogation by their peers. Branson tells them that a successful leader surrounds themself with the best people, so they should choose people for their team that will support them and help cross-examine the other person. Shawn and Sara both try to choose Gabriel first, and Gabriel sides with Sara. Gabriel says that he was uncomfortable having to choose between them, but he worked better with Sara and he had a few questions for Shawn. Shawn’s team consists of Candida, Tim, Nikki, Erica, Jermaine, and Michael, and Sara picks up Heather, Steve, Jessica, Sam, Jennifer. Jennifer comments that from the looks of the teams, Shawn is going to get killed.

Both teams have a pow-wow meeting to discuss the faults of the opposite person and what they should ask. Tim tells Shawn that they should ask Sara what abilities and characteristics she thinks Shawn has that makes him deserve the million. Jessica tells Sara to ask Shawn what everyone on their team does because he probably won’t know. Heather, in a confessional, gives another remark saying that “Shawn rubs people like sandpaper sometimes.”

Shawn is the first one to be grilled. Sara asks him what his three biggest weaknesses are, and he says he’s a bad listener, he’s very cocky, and he has trouble reaching out to and helping people. Gabriel asks Shawn why he snapped in London and Hong Kong, and Shawn tells him that it’s hard for him to be an Indian and not a chief, and he pushed his perogative. We then see flashes of Sam, Jessica, Gabriel, and Heather all talk about Shawn’s bad characteristics. Shawn comments that “they began with challenging questions and ended with lectures on what I’d done wrong, it became an attack against me.” We then see Heather ask the question that Jessica proposed: Name the jobs of everyone on Sara’s team. Shawn only gets Sara’s job right, and almost gets Heather’s. He completely stumbles over everybody and looks very uncomfortable. Branson says that Shawn stumbled and you could tell it damaged him. It’s not looking good for Shawn.

Sara is grilled, and the first question is about getting to know her and how most people felt that they hadn’t gotten to know Sara at all. Sara says that I don’t like walking up to people and telling them about myself. Michael comments that he still felt that Sara was being political, and he felt like she was still hiding. Tim asks the question that some of your teammates felt that you undermined their authority when they were leading. Sara says that she stands by her gut and her gut hasn’t failed her. Nicole asks the loaded question: Name some qualities that Shawn possesses to be a winner. Sara looks dumbfounded and can’t answer at all, she stumbles over her words and doesn’t give a direct answer. Nicole says that she was disappointed that Sara couldn’t answer the question.

The questioning is over, but Branson asks about whether they’d give half of the prize money (if there is some) to charity. Sara agrees whole-heartedly, but Shawn says that he feels he’d do better to use the money and multiply and then be able to give more to charity. It’s time for a lovely dinner, and everyone chats like old friends about their favorite places on the trip, and we are treated to snapshots of the entire experience they had. Steve decides to make a public apology to Jessica about what happened, and while he confesses later that “I think she was moved by what I said” Jessica, at the dinner table, whispers to Heather “Oh please spare me.” Rut roh, sorry Steve, you aren’t getting lucky tonight!

Shawn comments that he’s been open about his weaknesses, and people have jumped on him because they don’t have as much dirt on Sara as they do him. Branson has a nice chat with both Shawn and Sara about different things, and he feels that Sara has a step up on Shawn in terms of business. Sara confesses that since Shawn doesn’t know half of her team, she feels she’s got an advantage because to lead people you have to know them.

It’s time for the final challenge. Sara and Shawn both have to choose someone to be an advocate for them. Both, again, choose Gabriel, and once again, Gabriel chooses Sara. Shawn, in a surprising move, chooses Heather to represent him. Heather says that “choosing me is a compliment to Shawn’s intelligence.” Branson then drops the bombshell: These two will be deciding who wins the game. Shawn immediately regrets choosing Heather. Candida says that she would have fought for Shawn, tooth and nail. Tim comments that Shawn picking Heather sealed his fate and put him in second place. Sam says that Gabriel has been teetering back and forth though, and he had a real special bond with both.

Gabriel and Heather call in each of the contestants individually and ask them who they think they should win. Michael says Shawn, Tim says Sara, Steve says Sara, Candida says Shawn, Jessica says Sara, Nicole says Shawn. It’s basically 50/50 and Gabriel and Heather get nowhere with questioning. The two then begin a two-hour argument over who should win. Gabriel says that Shawn was polarized, either people loved him or hated him, but Heather comes back with the fact that Shawn has the edge on being Richard Branson. Gabriel says that there is a fine line between being a hero and a leader, and while Shawn is a hero, Sara is the leader, and while he’d go into space with Shawn, he’d go into business with Sara. The argument continues, as both Gabriel and Heather make good points and don’t back down. Gabriel remarks that while Shawn will jump off planes, Sara talks to people and people trust her. Heather says that Sara feels that “liberating you from your G-string is saving women.” Gabriel points out that Shawn’s lost his temper before. Gabriel comments in a confessional that it feels like they’re going in circles, and Richard is expecting a decision.

It’s time to choose a winner! Branson stands in front of Shawn and Sara, with Gabriel and Heather behind him, and the rest of the cast behind them. Branson says that as successful entrepeneurs, you sell yourselves, and they did that in their speeches, and then in the cross-examination their speeches were critiqued. He then goes to Gabriel and Heather and tells them to reveal who they decided on. Heather starts off by saying “I’m sorry Shawn…” and then says that they came to a stalemate and couldn’t decide. Shawn and Sara both look kind of relieved, and Branson says that the whole decision now rests with him. Branson tells Shawn that the group has concerns about you being a team player and a better leader. He tells Sara that she has shown an even-keeled leader style, but that’s prevented the group from knowing the real you. He says he looked at personal visions, and that both of them would be excellent choices, but he could only choose one….and that one is Shawn.

:whoohoo: :whoohoo: :whoohoo: :whoohoo:

Shawn says that he is immediately fluttered with a million emotions, and everything he’s done has been completely validated. Heather remarks that if she hadn’t been Shawn’s advocate, anyone else would have caved against Gabriel. Richard then shows Shawn his prize….a check for one million dollars. Shawn is flabbergasted. But that’s not it. Richard tells Shawn that it’s not just about the money. He tells Shawn he can give up the money and take one more risk, flip this coin. If he wins, he gets a prize even bigger than the million dollars. If he loses, he gets nothing. Shawn is confused. He doesn’t know what to do, whether to take the risk or take the easy million. He comments “This isn’t another keg over the gorge is it?” It then goes to a flashback of Sam and Branson over the gorge, and Branson saying “you can take risks, but take calculated risks.” Sam tells Shawn to go with his gut. Steve, from the sidelines, is motioning for Shawn to flip it, and says his first reaction is for Shawn to flip the coin because he wants to know what the bigger prize is. Shawn is sitting for thirty minutes, trying to decide what to do. Gabriel walks up to Shawn and tells him to manage his curiosity. It’s easy for them to say risk it, but its not their money. He reminds Shawn that that money is HIS money now, and would he take a million out of his company for a flip of a coin? Shawn says no. Sara becomes the devil’s advocate and tells him that she thinks he’s a risktaker, and she looks at him and says he’ll make a million easy.

Shawn eventually comes to a decision. There’s too many people in his company to take a risk on 50/50 odds, so he takes the million dollars. Branson then tells Shawn that if he’d taken the coin toss, he would have lost all respect for Shawn, to put all that money at risk after all he’d done for a 50/50 shot would have been sad. He then asks what Shawn thinks of the Virgin empire, and Virgin says that “Virgin is the only brand I would emulate with my own company. The way they dress and the way they act is exactly what I want to do.” Branson says he’s happy Shawn said that, because he’s going to make a position at Virgin Worldwide, effectively making Shawn President of the company. Shawn’s mouth hangs open, and he says “No way.” Branson continues, that for 3 months Shawn will share his job, and after 3 months he can either because president of a Virgin subsidiary permanently, or he can go back to being a part of LoveSac, and with either decision the money is still his. Branson then flips the key to Virgin to Shawn, and Shawn remarks that it’s “so bizarre that it’s real.”

Sir Richard isn’t done yet. First he tells Shawn that it wouldn’t be right for him to celebrate this moment by himself. Then Tiffany, Shawn’s wife, sneaks up behind him and gives him a hug, and Shawn is absolutely ecstatic. (I would be too, his wife is gorgeous!) Shawn says that to travel the world and have no moral support was disheartening, but seeing Tiffany helped him a lot.

But wait, there’s more! Sir Richard isn’t done! He then tells Shawn that he can choose one person from the cast to go with him and help him in his new position. Shawn chooses Gabriel, and Gabriel is shocked and runs up to Shawn and gives him a great big bear hug. Gabriel says that since he was eliminated he never contemplated winning a prize in the end. But Branson still isn’t done yet! He turns to Sara and tells her that he’s going to donate $750,000 to her charity to help women. Sara is awestruck and starts crying. Heather comments that “I guess I got the shaft” since she was the only one of those four that didn’t get anything. Aw, poor Heather.

Branson then takes Shawn to his “office,” where Shawn sits down in a hammock, but Branson remarks “Shawn, the hammock’s still mine.” I found that cute. Branson then takes Shawn on one final adventure…Shawn and Richard go flying around the island dangling from a helicopter. Branson says that he enjoyed the journey, and he’s definitely learn a lot from it…..and that’s the end of that.

Well I definitely enjoyed recapping this show! Sir Richard Branson is definitely a warm-hearted and very sincere individual, the kind of person I love to see with several billion dollars. Shawn emulates Richard in a lot of ways: Gabriel scorned Shawn twice when having to choose between Sara and Shawn, and when Shawn had the chance to scorn Gabriel, he chose Gabriel to share in his prize. A real class act. I must say, my winning streak with columns has continued: First Chip and Kim won TAR5, Dominic got second in Benefactor, Chris and Twila were the final 2 of Vanuatu, and now Shawn wins Rebel Billionaire. I think a lot of good has come of this. My e-mail is atarus33@yahoo.com, and I’m out until Palau!

The Process of Healing – Starting Over, 01-11-05

by LauraBelle

Today’s Starting Over was based around a group discussion of grief, but I think of it more as healing, that process of healing after a loss. There are only four women left in the house right now, after Towanda’s graduation and Sommer’s dismissal, and all of them have a great deal of healing left to do.

Denise has a lot of healing to do over her abusive childhood. She realized in her day of isolation the day before that she was holding in a lot of anger from her childhood, and Rhonda is showing her that anger is another stop of grieving for her lost childhood.

Rhonda no more than gets out the words, “I want you to write … “ and Denise starts to cry. She is asked why she is crying before Rhonda even finishes the instructions. Denise says she knows what Rhonda is going to ask – she is going to ask her to write a letter to her dad, and Denise is just not ready for that yet. Rhonda finishes her instructions, saying she is only asking Denise to write a letter to “her childhood,” but if her father fits into it anywhere, that’s all the better.

Denise calls her mom to get a little encouragement, and they argue about blame. While her mom tries to make excuses for keeping herself and daughters in an abusive situation, Denise gets made and just wants her mom to admit she didn’t do right by her and her sister. Her mother gets upset and says that back then they didn’t know they had a choice to leave an abusive relationship, and believes she did the best she could.

After writing the required letter, Denise brings it to her one-on-one with Rhonda. Knowing that she was most confused in her childhood when she was five-years-old, she tells Rhonda she wrote the letter to five-year-old Denise. she begins to break down while reading the letter, but holds it in. Rhonda tells her not to hold it in like she usually does, just let it out. Denise has never seemed more vulnerable than she does right now.

Cassie has quite a bit of healing to do as well, after a childhood of abuse, abandonment and attempted rape, and an adulthood of alcoholism and giving her child up for adoption. She is beginning to find a new self-confidence, and Rhonda encourages her to do different things all day long, to explore that new Cassie. Instead of pulling her hair straight up and wearing a sedate blue, she wears some wildly colored clothing, and put her hair up with dramatic curls.

A sush chef comes in to show Cassie how to prepare sushi, and she is most excited. She has tried to do this a few years earlier, but failed. With his instruction, she does quit well. Rhonda comes in and asks the chef if he velieves Cassie is stupid, as that’s waht she belives about herself. He says certainly not, and Rhonda leaves.

The sushi chef asks Cassie why she thinks she’s stupid, and she gives a quick review of her childhood and adulthood history. The chef tells her he finds it interesting as he, too, had a difficult childhood and was constantly being told by his father he was stupid. He tells her he even lived on the streets for about six months. Cassie is in awe he turned his life around this way and begins to think she could as well.

After he leaves, Denise and Cassie catch up in the kitchen, and Denise tells Cassie to try speaking differently. She loses her baby-doll Alabama accent, and begins to speak with confidence. Rhonda walks in and is delighted. She tells Cassie she wants her to write a poem and read it that night at an open mike poetry night. She does so, and brings her housemates along for the reading. They are delighted as she reads, “The confidence of Cassie.” She certainly can’t think she’s stupid now.

Rachel is still struggling with creating a memory box of things to honor her mother’s memory. The project has taken on an increased importance as tomorrow is the anniversary of her mom’s death. Rhonda helps Rachel plan out a memorial service that she will hold at midnight with her housemates. Rachel continues to get information from her family and mom’s friends.

The candles are lit for the ceremony promptly at midnight. Rachel is upset that her mom’ dress, being sent form an aunt, never arrived, as it was to be an integral part of the ceremony, but she carries on, and tells her roommates all that she learned of her mother’s life. She breaks down when she tells how she learned her mom loved her very much and did everything she could for her. She also remembers her mom calling her into her room when she was twelve, and being told she had cancer. Rachel has now learned the doctors said her mother lived longer than many do with her particular form of cancer. She gives credit to her mother for doing that for her.

These women have so much healing left to do, but they have been given a great start today.

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

Nicole H (and the H Stands for Hotness): Queer Eye For The Straight Girl Episode 1.1

Series Premier: Nicole H. Is Hot

Spinning off with a vengeance, Queer Eye For The Straight Girl is down to four fashion mavens who will transform one down-on-her-luck gal into The Goddess Fortuna. As the Gal Pals ride in their SUV, we meet the straight girl, Nicole H. The Gal Pals gab about how Nicole is all about business and not about a social life, although she has a crush on some guy named Joe. Their mission is to give Nicole a fabulous change for a fabulous thirtieth birthday.

In come the standard Queer Eye credits with pretty colors and cartoon reenactments of make-overs. The Gal Pals apparently also live on Gay Street, one block over from their Fab Five cohorts on their sister show. I wonder if they play in a gayborhood weekend stickball league. The theme song? Sounds like the same woman but it’s a different song with the same upbeat rhythm. The creators obviously realized that a fifth stylist is pretty unnecessary (Sorry, I do love love LOVE Jai Rodriguez but seriously, why is he there? Doesn’t the “culture vulture” pretty much do what the other four already do, aside from teaching people how to shake hands properly?). So we have only four L’s here.

The Look is Robbie Laughlin. He is blonde and cute as a button.

The Life is Danny Teason. He’s a bald eagle of a man who looks like he has abs of steel. And he has a British accent. Hooray, we’re international. Yum. Oh, wait, I almost forgot. I have no chance—he’s gay and I’m a girl. Still, some great eye candy.

The Locale is Damon Pease who looks alarmingly like he could be the missing half-brother of Roger Lodge from “Blind Date.”

Finally, there’s The Lady. Now, The Look, Life, and Locale all connote an area of expertise (The Look being clothes, Carson’s counterpart; The Life being food, wine, and culture, Ted and Jai’s counterpart; the Locale being the living quarters, Thom’s counterpart). The Lady? Well, that tells me that the stylist is sporting breasts and a vagina, not very creative for the Queer Eye people. However, thankfully we have a woman on board who I assume is Kyan’s counterpart. She’s a sassy-chic lesbian named Honey Labrador. No, really, that’s her name. How absolutely fantastic is that?!

So the Gal Pals, complete with customized license plate, raid the house of our straight gal. Nicole meets them at the door in a baseball cap, black t-shirt, and denim shorts. Her house just has crap all over the place. The walls are white but there are drapes and decorations and junk all over. Oh, and Nicole’s friends are there. I’m not sure why. The Gal Pals start pulling apart and trying on the stuff they find in the piles and piles of stuff. Danny finds a sari from India and tries it on while Honey wears a Batman utility belt (at least that’s what it looks like) and then shows up in some glow-in-the-dark beads wrapped from head to toe, claiming she should be a stripper. Since when do strippers wear Christmas-tree trimming?

Danny drags Nicole into the kitchen to get her to make him her specialty, the ultimate sandwich. I have no idea what goes into it as we never really see him eat it. While in the kitchen, Nicole’s friend asks Robbie where he got the glass that he’s drinking water from. He points to an overhead cupboard. She points to the same one and says, “This one?” He nods. “Oh, that’s okay then.” Robbie almost spits out his drink. That’s real nice—rat out your friend’s poor cleaning habits.

Damon and Robbie then find their way into the bedroom with the friends and start tearing apart the wardrobe. They get to a pair of pink pants and the friends don’t want to say where Nicole got them from. All they’ll say is that the pants were a gift. Robbie wants them to give up the information, as they gave up the fact that Nicole has germy drinking glasses, but right now their lips are sealed. Robbie works to unseal them using the fourth grade tactic of “I’m your best girlfriend!” Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t it Honey’s job to be the best girlfriend? I mean, she’s The Lady! No matter—the friends open their lips and admit that Nicole’s ex’s mother gave her some clothes. That was the big secret?

Meanwhile, Danny is berating Nicole in her living room about her sex life. He asks her when the last time was that she had sex. She answers with ers and ums, obviously uncomfortable with the question. Before forming a response, Honey jumps in with, “How about, how long has it been since you’ve had some heavy petting?” As if that’s a less personal question. My response would be, “None of your freakin’ business” but Nicole comes up with she can’t remember so it must be a long time and then offers a weak embarrassed laugh. Now that was just cruel. They had already discussed how they wanted to boost her self-esteem. Did they think pointing out her lack of a sex life would improve her image?

Switch over to Robbie and Damon who are destroying Nicole’s closet. Robbie is now holding up a heinous vest with large buttons. Her clothes are pretty bad.

Back to Danny and Honey who now make Nicole cry by bringing out her “Dad Box.” Nicole explains that her dad passed away a few days before her first final in college. The box has a bunch of letters and other things that remind her of her dad. Danny half hugs Nicole as she sniffles. So that’s twice they made her feel crappy. Off to a good start, they are. Now if only she overhears the smack they’re talking in the other room about her wardrobe and they won’t have to complete the episode because she’ll be sent off to a psych ward for a borderline emotional breakdown.

Speaking of the other room, Damon tries to inject Robbie with some mysterious substance. Robbie tells Damon to get away because he doesn’t want to mess up his shirt. After all, he IS The Look. Danny throws curtains out the window. Then encourages Nicole to throw some stuff out the window too. I guess that’s how these Queer Eye shows work. Want to change your life? Just throw stuff out the window. It does look like fun. Robbie has found, I’m guessing in the closet, some sort of satiny black cape. He wraps it around himself and plays on the organ a la Phantom of the Opera. Or Liberace.

Nicole then shows Danny her “panic room.” It’s a small room. Whatever.

Robbie and Danny play darts. Robbie jumps up and down when he hits the board with a dart. Honey tries on Nicole’s cowgirl gear. Damon finds a shirt that fades from one shade of pink at the top to a darker shade at the bottom. He starts to get all fake nostalgic about shirts that would change color when you touch them. He calls them “mood shirts.” I think he’s talking about Hyper Color that basically changed color when you sweat. I remember this kid from fourth grade who used to wear those shirts all the time. And he was really sweaty so it was always a different color at the end of the day than it was in the beginning except for the very bottom hem. I never had those shirts but I did have a pair of gloves that had appearing and disappearing pom poms and cheerleaders.

Nicole somehow winds up in a leather jacket and stands on the bed next to Honey who is still sporting the cowgirl hat. The boys yell for Nicole to stay away from the Lesbian when she’s wearing leather. Nicole comes down from the bed and the Gal Pals reveal their plan to “release the Nicole inside.” Her house in now in shambles—yes, even more than it was in the beginning. Honey and Robbie drag her out while Damon and Danny stay behind.

Some friends and co-workers interview that Nicole has a messy apartment and bad clothes. Nice friends and co-workers.

In the car, Honey starts checking out guys on the street. She asks, “Is that your type?” Robbie answers, “Yes!” They all laugh because Honey had been asking Nicole. Nicole agrees that the guy was cute.

Back at the house, the Hunky Helpers show up. Ooh, la, la. They have shirts with Queer Eye logos and everything. Are they gay too? Can we please have some straight good looking men on this show eventually? Please?

Meanwhile, Honey, Robbie, and Nicole are all a-gossiping about Joe, the guy Nicole has a crush on. He apparently is everything she ever wanted in a guy. He’s perfect. But isn’t that how all crushes are? That’s why we crush on them. They hold the ideal qualities we all want in someone and since we’re not with that person we magnify those qualities in that person and become infatuated with the idea of being with that very fake image that we think is real because we want it so badly. And so ends the psychoanalysis for now. I’ll bill you.

The HH move furniture in slo-mo. Aww, I love the HH.

Honey and Robbie make fun of the woman in the car next to them. They joke that she puts on make-up while at the stop light. A lot of women do that. Then they realize that she’s plucking her eyebrows while driving. Okay, I’ve never seen a woman do that. That’s just plain dangerous. You can lose an eye, dammit! They arrive at Nordstrom’s and Nicole goes into shopping panic mode. Every time Robbie holds something up for her to look at, her eyes grow wider. I feared for a second that her eyeballs were going to pop out but then realized this wasn’t a cartoon, and my fear subsided.

Robbie and Nicole discuss heels. She says that guys don’t wear heels. Robbie starts to get offended. Nicole defends her answer by saying only Prince can wear heels. Robbie says, all dignified, “I wear heels.” Nicole holds up a shoe with a pretty large heel, “Like these?” Robbie smirks, “Well, at home!” Heehee. I love Robbie. He’s so darn cute.

Honey and Robbie put Nicole into fitted jeans, a sexy top, and a sparkly heeled sandal. Robbie comes out of the dressing room a few seconds later wearing NICOLE’S CLOTHES—the hat, the tee, and the shorts. Heeheee. Nicole does look a lot better, very sexy, actually feminine. Robbie needs to put his own clothes back on. The next outfit is a chocolate brown suit (mmm, chocolate) that she can wear for a sophisticated look. If she takes off the blazer, she has a party outfit.

Nicole then shows up at Interior Illusions to meet up with D&D. They want to get her girly furniture. Damon does the obligatory sitting on the couch. Danny does the obligatory lying on the bed. He suggests that Nicole bring Joe over as an accessory. Then further suggests Nicole purchase the hanging lamp so she and Joe may have something to swing from. I whimper into my pillow knowing that I will never have Danny as a bedroom accessory. Damon then shows Nicole a bookshelf that spins around to reveal a mirror. He calls Nicole “Miss Stuff” and tells her she can hide her stuff behind the mirror.

Nicole makes her way to a spa to meet up with Honey and Robbie who are taking a soak. They reveal that she’s going to get pampered from head to butt—she’s getting a butt treatment so she can wear a thong.

Meanwhile, Nicole’s friends show up at a bakery and meet Danny in the kitchen. Since when are friends such an integral part of the make-over? I can’t tell if I’m annoyed because they break up the flow of the show or because they get to be with Danny. Oh, Danny Boy, why are you gay? Silly me—you’re gay because I like you. Moving on. The gals are going to decorate a birthday cupcake tower. This is a really cool idea. Instead of having to cut pieces of a cake, everyone at the party can grab an individual cupcake. They’re decorating the cupcakes with real flowers that are edible. I’m not a big fan of that; I’d rather have my pure sugar icing flowers. But it’s Danny’s idea, so that’s okay.

Back at the spa, Nicole gets a salt scrub and a warm honey full body massage. And who shows up to watch but Honey Labrador who is intrigued by honey. Then the three of them get butt facials.

Nicole’s co-worker makes fun of her decorating.

Nicole’s friend says her apartment looks as if a hurricane hit it.

Back in the car with Robbie, Honey, and Danny, Nicole tries to answer the question, “What do you think of what you’ve learned so far?” She starts out with, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…” which is always code for “Now I’m going to insult you.” She finishes by saying that everything she’s learned is superficial but that’s what she needs to work on. She needs to care about her appearance to make herself more confident.

They make it back to the house that no longer has The HH at home but only Damon Lodge. Nicole is amazed. She hugs Damon and is practically in tears. The room now is purple and cream tones and everyone can see the floor. There’s no crap anywhere, which is a nice change for Nicole. There’s no more mismatched wood or drapes. Damon says he got a lot of the accessories from Target. The bedroom has even more purple tones with black furniture. The Gal Pals urge her to lie on the bed even though she doesn’t want to. Why not? Danny’s on the bed! They joke that her padded headboard will help her avoid bedroom injuries. An easy joke but still funny. Damon has also made gold curtains that accent the room perfectly.

Damon has also created a little garden outside with a bed. There are a few live plants that Nicole stresses over and then asks for future instructions about how to care for them. I’m guessing water them but I could be wrong. The five of them lounge in the Zen garden and tell Nicole that there’s even more. Then they joke that the even more is Turtle Wax or a washer/dryer. You know, like the consolation prize on the Price Is Right.

Honey is back in the bedroom with Nicole and gives her facial products for her skin problems. Honey uses some of the stuff herself to maintain a glow. The key tip she gives Nicole is to drink a lot of water. That was actually one of my New Year’s resolutions and I’ve been sticking to it. I’ve also been running to the ladies’ room every ten minutes, but, hey, my skin is all aglow.

Danny comes in to talk about relaxing and tries to make Nicole cry again by talking about angels and her dad. He gives her oracle cards to talk to her guardian angel. She picks a card that stands for new beginnings. Oooh, spooky. Or coincidence. Nicole talks about how her dad never let her quit in the face of change and that now her dad is her guardian angel who challenges her to change.

Robbie schools Nicole on cheap shoes versus good shoes. Good shoes are stitched and not glued! His mother owns lizard shoes from 1962! Wow. He makes Nicole put on her little black dress for a fashion show, but she still has her baseball cap on. Enter Honey, who shows her how to finger tease [insert your own innuendo—it’s too obvious for me] her hair for volume.

Cut to the dining room where Nicole learns that bread, olives, and nuts should replace her ultimate sandwich gimmick. Everything is either cheese flavored or pickled. Danny then gives a mini-red-wine-lesson from sediment to serving. They all toast to Nicole and then give her a gift. I assume it’s a journal she can write in. The book has an inspirational inscription from the Gal Pals that makes Nicole all teary-eyed. They leave and tell her to enjoy herself.

Hip Tip: Lighten up. Vase plus light kit from hardware store equals cheap homemade electrical fire hazard. Thanks, Damon.

Nicole’s friend says Nicole is stressed about turning 30.

Nicole’s in-law says Nicole doesn’t realize her own beauty.

The Gal Pals gather on the couch and compliment each other. They all agree that Robbie is a dead ringer for 007. Okay. He’s cute enough. Nicole showers and Honey says she’s hot. Robbie says she’s doing a good Joan Crawford Scrub. Danny notes that Nicole is really, really concentrating. She is! Her face is scrunched in determination. They are all impressed with how Nicole volumizes her hair using a roller brush and the hairdryer. It looks as if Nicole has done this before and she probably does it whenever she goes out which may not be that often. Anyway, they’re impressed.

Kneeling in front of her closet, Nicole has a Loafer/Heel dilemma, and chooses the heels to everyone’s sighs of relief and glee. She then puts on her make-up like a madwoman, poking and pushing colorful brushes all over her face. Damon thanks God that she doesn’t have an eyelash curler because that could cause some serious damage. Ha.

Nicole goes back to the kitchen and prepares all the snacks she learned about. She puts dips in bowls instead of serving them in their jars.

Nicole’s friends show up at her house and are shocked with the place and her shoes. Nicole says her shoes could also double as a weapon. Hee. She then shows them the mirror-bookshelf. And then, three cheers for diva shoes. Nicole goes to serve her friends some wine. Danny comments that she needs to learn to balance in her heels because she walks like a bricklayer while Damon calls her a truck driver. Nice.

Nicole makes a toast to her “Yin, Yang, and hot-ass apartment.” Her Yin and Yang take her out of the hot-ass apartment to a club called Deep, which is where her birthday party is. Nicole looks awesome. Volumized blonde hair, reflector sunglasses (which are allowable only because she has just been made-over), a little black dress, and diva shoes. She walks with much more confidence.

Danny talks about how Nicole doesn’t know that Crush Joe will be at the party. Honey calls Nicole a rock star. Nicole spins for the crowd as the party cheers for her. Nicole’s mom loves the new look. Nicole says that the Gal Pals brought the inner diva out.

A server brings out the cupcake tower which Robbie says looks like a Christmas tree. It kind of does but since Danny made it, it’s perfect.

Nicole’s friends cover Nicole’s eyes and Joe comes into the room. Honey asks if the guys think she has a chance with Nicole before Nicole sees Joe. Danny says Honey has two chances: Fat and None. Aww, so mean yet so true. Crush Joe is a hottie! They bring Joe right in front of Nicole and then tell her to open her eyes. She hugs his neck and keeps saying that she was hoping it was him. He keeps telling her that she looks beautiful but she’s always looked beautiful. That’s so sweet and such a guy thing to say. He’s probably telling the truth and saying it from his heart but he’s also covering his ass so she doesn’t turn around and say, So I look good now and before I looked horrible? Joe is hot and smart! And straight! But taken. Drat. They lock lips. Yippee. She can’t stop hugging him. Neither would I.

They all grab champagne and toast to Nicole because she’s amazing. Robbie says that it’s a goosebump moment but can’t get goosebumps. Damon says it’s from too much Botox. Hee.

Nicole says that everyone has goodness inside. And then she keeps complimenting herself. She’s so hot. She’s got a great body. Whoohoo.

The Gal Pals see how she’s now so confident. Honey says Joe is sweet. Damon adds, “And HOT!” as do I. They wish her happy birthday.

This episode’s tips? Danny says to store wine in a cool, dark place. Damon says to create your own original signature centerpiece. Honey says to go biking for a great butt. Robbie says you can freshen your hair with baby powder.

And the world is better off with one more woman with more self confidence and a new hottie in tow.

–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl
Comments? Christina@realityshack.com

Damn, I'm Good! – The Amazing Race 6, Episode 9

by LauraBelle

In half of the remaining six couples in The Amazing Race, one member of the team is already complaining they don’t work well together. This definitely spells trouble for them. As Chip and Kim proved last season, you have to work together always and never miss a step or get ahead of yourselves.

Lori and Bolo are the first to leave the Budapest pit stop at 11:12 PM and are headed to Budapest’s 14,000 gallon wine cellar in the neighborhood of Budafok. Bolo knows they need to keep making correct decisions to stay in the race. Kris and Jon leave next, followed by Jonathon and Victoria. Victoria says she doesn’t need a lot of affection or hand-holding. She also says that even though her and Jonathon spend a lot of time fighting, they always seem to kiss and makeup. It’s not that we don’t believe they kiss and makeup, it’s that we don’t see how she could after he treats her so horribly.

As Hayden and Aaron leave, she admits to being a brat, but wishes Aaron would be more assertive, otherwise she’s afraid she will steamroll over him. Adam and Rebecca leave just one minute later, and she is getting very tired of acting as his mommy. For his gripe, Adam is tired of feeling like she’s running the show and he’s her caddy. So I am not imagining it as I kept seeing Bill Murray and the gopher appear. Freddy and Kendra are the last to leave.

Getting to the wine cellar, they find it won’t open until 10:00 AM. As everyone sacks out in the street, my son remarks that it looks like they are in body bags. Once they run into the wine cellar the next day, Freddy is finding his 6’5″ frame needs to run through hunched over. Of course, he wouldn’t want to mess up that face of his again.

Once through the wine cellar, the clue they receive says they need to fly to the Napoleon’s birthplace on French Island of Corsica, the city of Ajaccio. Kris and Jon make a stopover in their cab at a pet groomer to use their phone to secure airline tickets. Not only is a pet groomer an odd place to stop on its own, but also Kris has a dog allergy which kicks up while Jon is one the phone. Is the pet groomer the only place on the way to the airport that has a phone? Adam is busy pouting in his and Rebecca’s cab, as he doesn’t feel Rebecca is including him enough. Apparently he’s getting the caddy feeling again.

Jonathon and Victoria and Lori and Bolo are the first to arrive at the airport and secure tickets right away. The next to arrive at the airport, Adam and Rebecca, miss out on that flight, finding Lori and Bolo got the last seats. Rebecca tries unsuccessfully at working it with the ticket salesperson, and Adam asks “Mommy” if he can go to another counter all by himself and try buying tickets like a big boy. When she refuses he lays on the bench and pouts, saying Rebecca thinks he is a moron. No, I believe “Wussy Boy” were her exacts words a few weeks back. Adam and Rebecca, Freddy and Kendra, and Hayden and Aaron all get tickets on the same flight that Kris and Jon arranged for at the pet groomer. Kris and Jon, though, are upset once at the airport to find they don’t have tickets, only reservations. After much finagling, they finally secure E-tickets for the flight.

Lori and Bolo and Jonathon and Victoria’s plane lands at 6:40 PM, and they run to Napoleon’s birth place, only to find it closed at forty minutes earlier, and won’t reopen until 9:00 AM. They decide to sleep on the beach. The others arrive an hour later, and race to the birthplace, only to find the same information and wait until the morning as well.

All rush into Napoleon’s birth place at 9:00 AM with Adam and Rebecca leading the pack. They snatch up the Fast Forward right away, as do Jonathon and Victoria a few teams later. Both of them rush to a harbor where they will need to walk in scuba gear on the ocean floor to receive their clue from a lobster trap. The other four teams all skip the Fast Forward and have to drive to Camp Rafalli, a boot camp for the French Foreign Legion.

As the teams rush to get into the marked cars, Hayden can’t figure out how to drive the car, and makes Aaron switch places with her. Adam and Rebecca make it to the harbor first, and begin getting into the old-time scuba gear. Finding they arrived too late for the Fast Forward, Jonathon gets pissed at Victoria, and as they head back to Camp Rafalli, Jonathon tells Victoria it’s her fault.

As they climb into their scuba gear, Rebecca admits she’s certified. Several viewers would probably agree that Jonathon is the one that is certifiable, but I digress. In their gear, I think they look like they should be hanging out in the bottom of a fish tank.

After they have gotten instructions, Adam and Rebecca jump in, and Adam shouts out, “Tell my mom I love her!” Rebecca has no problem, but Adam can’t seem to figure out how to sink down. His body keeps rising to the top like cream. Rebecca walks the ocean floor, retrieves the clue from the lobster trap and comes back. Adam, who has since quit, assumes they are done, but is told by the scuba instructors he needs to complete the task to move on in the race. With additional instructions from Rebecca, Adam finally completes it, as Rebecca announces it has changed to a Slow Forward. Adam is completely proud of himself , and I keep waiting for him to sing the jingle, “I’m a big kid now!” They receive the clue to board a small plane to the city of Calvi, then drive to the pit stop at La Pietra.

As Jonathon and Victoria catch up to the others in the race, Jonathon announces, “Damn, I’m good.” I’m confident, Jonathon, you don’t think you’re good at the same things I think you’re good at. After earlier demanding Aaron drive since she couldn’t figure it out, Hayden is now insisting Aaron switch places with her again, as she’s not happy with his driving, the control freak that she is.

Jonathon and Victoria are the first to Camp Rafalli, and find a Road Block – Climb Up or Fly Behind. If they choose Climb Up, they will need to use a mechanical ascender to climb up a forty-five foot wall. Once at the top, they will receive a medal from a French Legionnaire and repel back down. In Fly Behind, one person will ride in the Zodiac boat, and the other ride in a flying raft being pulled behind the boat. They need to check the twenty-five buoys to find one of the clues attached to only twelve of the buoys.

All teams choose Climb Up originally, but Jonathon and Victoria change their minds when they can’t find where to go to make the climb, and Jonathon refers to Victoria as useless. He then admits to not wanting to do the climb. Bolo is having problems fitting the helmet for the climb on his big head. Adam and Rebecca land and get into a convertible. They reach the pit stop first, and win a vacation to the Caribbean.

Hayden and Aaron are lost, and Aaron tells her to control her road rage. As Kendra and Kris are climbing up easily, Bolo notes it’s kind of funny that he’s the strongest male being passed on the climb by the two women. As Hayden and Aaron finally arrive and decide to do the climb as well, Lori is now having problems climbing.

Jonathon flies behind on the raft, and Victoria rides in the boat. They check the first buoy they find, and there is nothing there. They, of course, argue about this. They get to the second buoy, colorful in The Amazing Race yellow and red, which looks a lot different than the first plain white one they originally found. They still come up empty. I wonder if the first one was even intentionally meant for the race. Eventually they find the clue on the third buoy and believe themselves to be very behind, and figure they have now lost. We can only hope.

Jonathon and Victoria get a clue saying to drive to the winery at the village of Zilia. As they arrive back at the cars, they see people still repelling, and know they are somehow still in the race. Beginning her repel, Hayden takes a frightening spill, and begins to panic, but the experts there talk her through saving herself. I can’t watch people repel without thinking of the picture of my grandma repelling. In their fifties, my grandparents joined the Peace Corps, and a picture was taken of grandma repelling. I was raised thinking everyone’s grandma did this.

Freddy and Kendra are the first to reach the winery, and they find a Road Block. One person from each team will need to stomp on fifty-five pounds of grapes, and make enough juice to fill five bottles, then drink one glass of it. Kendra decides to do this one. Jonathon and Victoria arrive, with Jonathon deciding he will be the one stomping. Freddy and Kendra finish, and are on their way to the pit stop at La Pietra.

Kris and Jon arrive, and Kris does the stomping. Bolo chooses to do it as well as they arrive. As Jonathon is on his fifth bottle, the spout in the barrel gets clogged. Perhaps Victoria should have done this Road Block, as she’s doing a pretty good job stomping her feet and yelling at Jonathon.

As Kris finishes, she credits her success at the task to watching I Love Lucy reruns. Bolo finishes as well. Freddy and Kendra have made it to La Pietra, and arrive in second place. Hayden and Aaron switch off on driving chores yet again. Jonathon and Victoria finish, and as they leave they note not seeing Hayden and Aaron yet. Jonathon tells Victoria they deserve to lose as they don’t work together enough. Perhaps there was some truth serum in the juice he was drinking.

Hayden and Aaron get to the winery, and Hayden completes it quickly. Lori and Bolo and Kris and Jon arrive in third and fourth place. Jonathon and Victoria think they are comfortably ahead of Hayden and Aaron, but they see them just behind them as they walk to the pit stop, and the race is on. Jonathon and Victoria edge Hayden and Aaron out for fifth place. Luckily for Hayden and Aaron, this is a non-elimination leg of the race, but they will now lose all their money, and not receive any more for the next leg.

Two of the three teams that are not feeling they are working together as a team arrived in last and second to last place. The third came in first, but it was only with the help of a Fast Forward, or Slow Forward which they ended up changing it to. If all continue to work the same way, one of those teams will be eliminated next week.

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

Real World Philadelphia, Episode 18

by Driven Ambition

[font=Arial]On the episode that I affectionately call scabies, the cast spends the better part of the episode gearing up, and making final preparations for their presentation to the Philadelphia Soul. The show opens, as usual, with a wide range of shots from all over Philadelphia.

The show then takes a hideous turn, as the often times know-it-all, Mel, shows Landon and MJ her skin. Usually the male audience would have both eyes wide open, but not his time. Mel had a bad case of what they then thought was a rash. They ignored it for a while, as they went to the office, to go over the presentation.

Landon has stated before that he has experience in the field in which they were working in, so when he naturally took the lead, Sarah had a problem with it. After the arguing, the two decided that the presentation would be done Landon’s way. If things aren’t done Landon’s way then it’s the highway, as Sarah so graciously pointed out. Gee Landon, an attitude like that wont help you during a Real World Road Rules Extreme Challenge.

Meanwhile, when the group returned to home sweet hell, Mel returned with news. While Landon and MJ begged to know what the hell was on her skin, she reveals the nasty truth; she had scabies. The looks of suspense on MJ and Landon’s faces quickly turned to disgust, can you blame them? As Karamo stated, who get scabies in 2004? But then again, someone had to explain to him what scabies was, and I ask you, my loyal readers, who doesn’t know what scabies is in 2004?

After everyone was made aware of the fact that it was contagious, everyone suddenly felt the urge to clean, and wash. Nothing like an itchy skin condition caused by tiny mites to make everyone want to clean up. I declare scabies to be the quicker, cleaner, picker-upper.

What I consider to be the most humorous part of this episode would have to be when Landon answers the phone, “Scabies Central”. Hey everyone, Landon said something funny, and he didn’t even have to be drunk to do it.

In true Real World fashion, the cast minus Mel, talks about their roommate and how no one can touch her, because they’ll catch it. The next hours were spent spraying, and tossing everything in the plush home that used to be a bank; it used to be clean, we all know how sanitary money is. The doctors came and checked everyone out, and no one tested positive to having scabies.

Wow Mel, good job at separating yourself from you roommates even more than you were before. Up until now, they were treating her like she had a disease, now they have an excuse. Hey Mel! I have an idea, why don’t you go to your private bar that you didn’t want any of your roommates to know about, and spread the wealth?

When Landon, Shavonda, and MJ shared a small dinner, they came to the conclusion that, for a lack of a better phrase, Mel had a know-it-all complex, big surprise!

The last day before the presentation, Landon expressed his concern about the presentation to MJ, because let‘s be honest, who else would care?

On the day of the presentation, our dynamic cast of multiple personalities shows up bright and early, dressed in those oh-so chic Polos, and they give their presentation. That day they had a surprise when Jon Bon Jovi, part owner of he Philadelphia Soul, shows up to lend an ear.

The presentation was actually good, and Jon Bon Jovi told them that he was impressed, which put a smile on each of the cast members faces. They were told to return to the newly infested home by at least 2:00pm.

When that time came around, something coincidentally seemed to be wrong with the door. When they finally got it opened, they each got luggage with their names on each piece. I have to say that I am very impressed with their looks of surprise, because anyone that watches the Real World knows that each cast goes somewhere different, and I know they watched the Real World before they decided to audition.

After searching the luggage and finding things that are used for travel, they finally find out that their destination is Fiji, so buckle up, because its going to be a bumpy ride. Lets hope no one gets drunk and has a 3-way, then mysteriously doesn’t remember like our dear brooding Alton of Real World Las Vegas. MJ, I’m holding my breath. [/font] 😡 😆

Bringin' on the Heartbreak – The Bachelorette, Episode 1

The third installment of The Bachelorette is set in New York City, and this time the lady looking for love is Jennifer Schefft. You may remember Jen as the “winner” on The Bachelor with Andrew Firestone. He proposed, she accepted, and the two were off to San Francisco to live happily ever after. Or, in this case, for nine months. Their relationship from start to end was splashed over magazine stands, and even after the broken engagement, the tabloids continued to follow Jennifer in Chicago, linking her romantically to Bill Rancic, the winner of the first Apprentice (she contends that the two got together for dinner once or twice).

Now Jen is back on the husband hunt. In case you aren’t already familiar with her, Jen is a 28-year-old Ohio native, and currently resides in Chicago. She seems to be in search of what nearly every single woman is looking for: someone who is balanced, who has a good sense of humor, someone that is successful (he doesn’t have to be rich; even if he’s a gas station attendant, it doesn’t matter as long as he’s good at it), he should be kind to others, blah, blah, blah.

There are some new twists on The Bachelorette, as there are in most new installments. This time, Jen had a hand in choosing the 25 contestants that will vie for her affections. After the introduction, this is how the episode begins. Jen is shown going through piles of video taped interviews, attending open casting calls, and poring over thousands of photos.

Jen chooses her 25 men, and she’s ready for New York! Before she leaves, her best friends Abby and Michelle come by to help her pack and say their good-byes. They look through the album of bachelor photos and ask general questions, like, Are you nervous? Yes, she’s nervous, but this worked for Trista and Meredith, and she’s so impressed by this that she mentions it at least five more times throughout the episode.

The Bachelorette arrives in NY and checks out her huge new apartment. It seems to be a very large flat with sparse furnishings, nothing too fancy or ornate. The lighting is rather dim, though, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Her next chore is a shopping spree on which she buys something to wear to meet her bachelors. It’s nice that they let her have a day of relaxation, because the next few weeks are sure to be pure hell for our heroine.

We next see Jen enter the room where the host, Chris Harrison, is seated. It’s time to dish before finally meeting the 25 single men from which Jen must ultimately choose one. She is wearing a low cut, shimmery gold dress. Jen and Chris discussed her experience on The Bachelor. He asked her if their break up was painful, which she answered, to everyone’s surprise, that it was. She stated that as a couple, they traveled too much, and that she needed stability in her life. Jen also said that she had spoken to Andrew after being chosen for The Bachelorette, and he wishes her the best of luck. What a nice guy.

Chris then revealed the second twist of the evening. Jen’s friends Abby and Michelle were in NY, and would be posing as waiters throughout the evening to spy on the men while Jen mingled. Jen didn’t believe it at first, but then was pretty excited. Very sneaky.

It was now time to meet the bachelors. I have listed them below in the order that Jen met them, with their name, age, occupation, and location.

1. Ryan, 28, teacher, California
2. Eric, 37, firefighter, California
3. Chris, 27, hairstylist, Kentucky
4. Jason, 29, motivational speaker, virgin, Texas
5. Ryan, 34, attorney, New York
6. John Paul, 25, entrepreneur, Oklahoma
7. Stu, 27, attorney, New York
8. Matt, 32, firefighter, New York
9. Keith, 28, welder, California
10. Andy, 29, ski coach, Colorado
11. Michael, 31, teacher, Michigan
12. Kevin, 26, consultant, New York
13. David, 30, consultant, Chicago, Illinois
14. Chris, 33, sports marketing, Ohio
15. Fabrice, 28, real estate investor, Paris, France
16. Mark, 30, commercial finance, California
17. Josh, 28, pro marathoner, virgin, California
18. Eric, 35, magazine editor, New York
19. Wendell, 27, entrepreneur, Chicago, Illinois
20. Andrew, 37, bartender, New York
21. Ben, 26, ski instructor, Colorado
22. Collin, 27, sports agent, Texas
23. A.W., 27, mortgage consultant, California
24. Matt, 33, attorney, California
25. Jerry, 29, gallery director, California

Just as a side note, I included “virgin” for Jason and Josh because they talked about it as if it were their profession.

After meeting all the bachelors, it was time for Jen to mingle. Most of the conversation was pretty general and a few men managed to get some alone time with her. Jerry asked to “steal” Jen and took her upstairs to talk for a few minutes. He told her how happy he was to be there, they chatted, and then he picked her up and carried her down the stairs. Most of the other men were pretty disgusted by this and made snide comments.

While Jen is getting to know people, Abby and Michelle perform their undercover duties. Stu appears to be obsessed with Jen, and Michelle thinks that Jen might get creeped out by him. We also watch Eric seal his fate as he hits on Michelle, asking her what time she got done with work and telling her about a great place for sushi. As the women are serving drinks, they observe Chris getting drink after drink and getting pretty smashed. Not impressive. At one point Jen is chatting with a few of the guys when Josh decides to be sweet and tell her just how happy he is to be there, how beautiful she is, and how he is honored to be getting to know her. Chris lets out a loud guffaw in response to Josh. That’s how you win a girl over.

Stu gets some alone time with Jen, and despite what her friends fear, Jen doesn’t seem too freaked out. Michael also gets a moment alone with Jen, and tells her that their fathers went to the same school and gives her a gift of a teddy bear wearing that school’s sweater. This is met by a lot of razzing by the other guys.

Meanwhile, Abby, Michelle, and Jen sneak off to compare notes. They talk about Eric hitting on Michelle, and Michelle reiterates that she thinks that Stu’s obsessive trance will freak Jen out. They also both agree that Michael seems really sweet and that Fabrice is aloof and stuck up. Michelle and Abby giggle as they recall overhearing Chris offering haircuts to the other men. Michelle shares that she thinks Stu is onto them and could possibly be why he’s laying it on so thick.

It’s now time for the first rose, also called the First Impression Rose. Chris the Host reveals to the men that Abby and Michelle are really friends of Jen and have been spying for her. They will also be choosing who gets the First Impression Rose. The friends decide the rose goes to Keith, which surprises everyone including Keith, who moments ago had been complaining because he didn’t get to talk to Jen.

Stu is miffed because he didn’t get the first rose. He felt that all of his butt kissing should have guaranteed that he got it. Here we get the first glimpse of Stu getting mad when he doesn’t get what he wants. Chris the Drunk says in a private interview that the rose was wasted and that, “She’s going to hate her friends for that one.” I think I know of another choice that would have made Jen push Abby and Michelle off the balcony.

Jen says good-bye to her friends and is left to choose the other fourteen bachelors she will keep. Here is the list of who was chosen in the order they were offered a rose:

1. Keith
2. Ryan from California
3. A.W.
4. Matt from New York
5. Wendell
6. Ryan from New York
7. Mark
8. Ben
9. John Paul
10. Jerry
11. Jason
12. Josh
13. Fabrice
14. Michael
15. Stu

The rose ceremony was pretty uneventful except for when David passed out from nerves (and perhaps too much to drink, he can’t hold his liquor like Chris the Drunk) right after Mark was offered a rose. The previews built it up to be a big deal, but he pretty much passed out, Jen rushed over to make sure he was OK, he was, the rose ceremony resumed, and he still didn’t get picked. He thinks he didn’t get picked because he passed out, but maybe he did it on purpose with hopes for a sympathy rose and it backfired. After the ceremony, Eric says that he realizes that he probably didn’t get picked because of his raging hormones, but that he was just being himself, as if we should all be impressed by that.

At the end of the episode, we get a recap of the season to come, which includes a lot of the usual; romantic dinners, massages, moonlit walks, all things stereotypically romantic. Dating Godzilla would be great if you were jet setting all over the place to expensive spas and restaurants and everything was paid for. Maybe for a real look at life, they should have dates in one room apartments with broken plumbing and feast on Ramen noodles. But I digress. We also see Jen crying and saying that she knew it would be hard but didn’t realize it would be like this hard. Anyone heard that line before?

On upcoming episodes, it seems that Fabrice annoys everyone and Stu develops his stalker persona. I can’t help but hope that it really is as extreme as they make it look.

What would you like to see this season? Predictions, anyone? Tell me what you think. You can email me at rachel@realityshack.com.

Tune in next Monday at 9 pm EST on abc. For more info on The Bachelorette, check out http://abc.go.com/primetime/bachelorette .

Here I Am – Starting Over, 11-10-05

by LauraBelle

Towanda Chloe Braxton, one of the singing Braxtons, and sister of the more famous Toni Braxton, grew up showcasing her voice, but never having it honored. One of the most important tools we are brought screaming into this world with is a loud, powerful voice, able to bring us our wants, needs and desires. But sometimes people in our lives take that voice away from us – not physically, but emotionally. We grow and no longer feel we will be heard, no matter how loud we are. As beautiful as Towanda’s singing voice is, she never knew how powerful it could be.

As the show returns from a winter hiatus, we are anxious to learn Sommer’s fate. Sommer never learned she had a voice either, and found it difficult to express herself to her parents. Wanting desperately to be loved, she had an affair with a good friend of hers, who happened to be a married man. A year later the man died in a drunk driving accident and she lost her friend and lover, never able to put closure on her relationship with him. Feeling lost, she found herself at her highest weight ever, around two-hundred-eighty pounds. Desperate to rid herself of the weight, she had gastric bypass, and now wanted to learn how to be a thin woman.

By this point, she has lost over one-hundred pounds, but there is a bigger part of her goal she is not reaching. Instead of learning to use her voice, she keeps seeking attention from the wrong people. Now instead of the forbidden married man, she is seeking attention from the production crew on the show, who are supposed to be invisible and blend into the background. Being warned already and put on probation, she has still not stopped, and it has begun encumbering the other women in the show.

The sanctity of the show has become jeopardized as somehow Sommer’s roommate, Renee, learned the gossip the other members of the house were speaking about her in the van. Renee can’t remember where she heard this information from, but all signs point to Sommer finding this out from someone in production.

An emergency Board of Review meeting is called by Rhonda and Iyanla who ask the roommates to stand up and speak about Sommer’s transgressions and their effects on the household. Proving why she is graduating the next day, Towanda voices herself out of respect to the house. Though loving Sommer very much and wanting her to stay, she has been witness to problems arising from Sommer speaking to the production crew, and she voices her concerns at the Board of Review.

Rhonda and Iyanla have no choice, but to dismiss Sommer and ask her to leave, telling her a car will pick her up in ten minutes, and whatever cannot be packed by then will be shipped to her. No one feels right about this, but it clearly needed to be done. The results of Sommer’s actions were showing on Renee’s progress. Renee didn’t feel like she could trust women, and hearing that people were talking about her behind her back, was never going to allow her to heal, and find her own voice, lost after a man had sexually abused her when she was eight.

The next day finds Denise locked in a white isolation room, clad only with a lone clock on the wall. Halfway through Rhonda brings her some paints and markers, encouraging her to voice her feelings on the white walls, and leaves again. Denise paints smiley faces on the walls, and a picture of herself, her husband and dog on the floor, yet writes words about fears and sadness and anger. Rhonda comes back and questions why the room doesn’t reflect her anger, and encourages Denise to not only feel it, but express it. Denise flies into a rage and throws paint all around the room. Rhonda instructs her that now she needs to clean up the mess left by her anger. We know she means metaphorically.

Iyanla apologizes to Renee for calling her a spoiled brat. Not knowing of the abuse she suffered earlier, Iyanla believed Renee was just spoiled and used to getting her her own way. Iyanla knows differently now, and shows Renee that she lost her voice after the sexual abuse when she was younger. She was acting out because of this, not because she was a spoiled brat.

Kim and Jennifer have returned for Towanda’s graduation, and it is wonderful to see the *Sisterhood* again. Kim admits to learning how to be a better sister to her own sister through the sisterhood she felt with Towanda. Privately Rhonda is saddened that Towanda is graduating alone, as she had always hoped she would be doing it alongside Sommer, instead of Sommer leaving in disgrace the day before.

Towanda is gifted with a photo shoot and the chance for a solo concert performed in front of a thousand people in the music industry. She thanks everyone, and before she leaves, Iyanla asks her to sing the bridge of her song, Here I Am. As she sings it beautifully, we hear that she has finally found her voice.

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

Season Two — Premiere: Horror in the Hamptons

The second season starts with home movies of the three Gotti boys as babies. Gosh, they were so cute before the hair gel.

Enough reminiscing because the boys, who are now teens, want to go away for the weekend and enjoy the Hamptons. They try to tell Victoria that it’s not to do anything ‘funny’. Victoria’s like, “I know what goes on at the Hamptons.” Heck, I know that the Hamptons is a resort/beach area a lot like Cape Cod (in Massachusetts where I grew up) and well, they can have lots of fun and it ain’t good, especially if you’re a mama.

Damn! I’m old. I am on Victoria’s side and don’t want them to go. Maybe, I’m just a b&@*h who doesn’t want to see anyone else have fun, especially if I can’t.

The funny thing is that Quack Quack wants to chaperone the boys. He’s 34, but acts more juvenile than the boys. John says to his mom that they’ll be okay with Quack Quack. He’s a “responsible adult.” Neither one of them can really believe that, can they?

Victoria tells John that she’ll see how they behave during the next week and then, she’ll let them know if they can go. Then, we see a segment of the boys doing chores and behaving like “Stepford Children” as Victoria calls them, throughout the week. They wash the car; they don’t talk back and they are just perfect angels.

Of course they can go.

Wait! Did I mention the sub-plot of this 2-part involves Luigi, the not-so handyman. Victoria has a geese problem on the grounds. They are using it for their bathroom. Victoria tells Luigi to clean up the poop and he tries to get one of his underlings to do it. He won’t.

Luigi proceeds to chase after the goose for like oh 10 seconds and then sits down, saying it’s too hard. The goose was too fast for him.

Back to the boys. They can go to the Hamptons for one night. They tell Victoria that Quack Quack wants to take them for 2 nights. Victoria tells the boys, then calls Brian and tells them that they can leave the next morning, but not before. He says he’ll be by around 10 am.

Well, the boys had other ideas. While Victoria’s still asleep, they head out around oh, 6 am. When Victoria awakens, she notices that Carmine, Frankie and their buds have already left. She talks to Frank on the phone and he tries to tell her that he didn’t realize they were going. He was asleep.

She scoffs because he’d have had to be awake to get in the car, right!

John comes downstairs and learns that his brothers have already left. He’s not too happy. Victoria calls Quack Quack and tells him to get over there ASAP. John and Quack Quack leave in separate cars. Victoria wonders why they do this. So do I frankly.

Meanwhile, Luigi is smoking in the house. Victoria smacks him with some pillows. He still hasn’t cleaned up the bird mess. Big shocker there, right?

Victoria’s worried because the boys are alone in the Hamptons without adult supervision. She tells Brian and John to get there as quickly as possible. No stops. Nothing. So, what do they do. They stop for lunch at a restaurant where they proceed to try and pick up some girls. Victoria told them no girls at the house, but it looks like Quack Quack, the ‘responsible adult’ is going to ignore her dictum (it means order, y’all! What were you thinking?)

Quack Quack has already called Carmine at the Gotti house in the Hamptons and told him they were going to party. And – the girl that he tried to pick up at the restaurant was only 17. He’s 34. Some responsible adult!

After they ate, John and his friend took off in his car. Quack Quack got lost. It took him like 3 hours to find the place. Victoria was frantic that her kids were alone and livid that Quack Quack was stupid enough to get lost. (She shouldn’t be that surprised!)

He finally makes it to the house. The boys want to play football with him because they need a patsy (or a punching bag.) Quack Quack would rather go in the pool. In the end, they get to play touch football with him and it’s obvious that he’s their target.

Cut back to Luigi. He’s still trying to chase geese and ducks. He notices that one is hurt. He keeps saying that “everytime I chase the geese, they come back.”

Victoria and her friend, Susan, go to a spa so Victoria can relax. It’s tough. She’s worried about the boys. Meanwhile, back in the Hamptons, the Gotti boys and their friends are having lots of fun. They throw a friend in the pool. They argue with each other. John calls Frankie “Pepperoni Tits”. It’s a blast.

The two of them get into a fist fight. John calls Victoria to tell her what happened. She’s pissed off. She says that when John gets upset like that, he does stupid things. Then, they go and end the first part of the 2-part episode.

John rode off on a pocket motor bike. He falls off as he’s trying to pop a wheelie over a pothole. He scrapes up his back, his arm and his shoulders pretty well. No one tells Victoria about it, but he’s banged up.

Victoria says that this trip is her worst nightmare. She’s worried that Quack Quack needs more supervision than the boys and they’ll get into some serious trouble. Of course, she has more Luigi problems back at the house on Long Island. It seems that her wrought-iron cabana fell into the pool.

Victoria tells Jen to make sure that Luigi gets it out of her pool. Now if that ain’t the blind leading the blind I don’t know what is! Luigi’s like, “now?” Jen’s like, “yes now.” Sooooooooo he says, “you got-ta da rope.” She gives him rope and he tries to pull it out by himself.

Jen’s like, “Luigi you so strong”. I was getting ill. He broke his guido bracelet (yes, I can say that. My mother was born in Italy and it was a ‘guido’ bracelet. Mamma mia!) He wants Victoria to pay for it.

Back in the Hamptons, Frankie cooks dinner for everyone. He knows his way around a stove, although the guys razz him for setting off the smoke alarms.

Luigi is hovering at Victoria’s house. She says to him, “You’re here for something. Is it money?” Wow! She’s gotta be psychic or something. Luigi tells her that he broke his bracelet. Victoria says she isn’t going to pay for it. He then takes a picture frame she was fiddling with and breaks it. The maturity is astounding.

The boys are getting ready to go out to the Star Room. They pinned a sign to Quack Quack’s back that said, “I love single gay men.” My husband thought that was funny. At da club, they let the boyz in but not Quack Quack.

Victoria’s back on Long Island. It’s 1:30 am. She can’t sleep. She tries calling the guys but no one’s picking up their cell phones, not even Quack Quack, who, by now, is getting his party on with a lady.

Victoria’s friend, Susan, tells her that they could go to the Hamptons and the Star Room if she wants and is that worried. Victoria is mulling it over. Eventually, she gets a hold of Quack Quack, who has the drunk lady with him. He tells her to be quiet because he doesn’t want Victoria to know he’s got a girl with him. The drunk girl doesn’t listen and wants to know who Quack Quack’s talking to.

Victoria wants to know who that girl is. Quack Quack says it’s a friend of his and he’ll bring her back home soon. Yeah! Not before he takes her to his room for a massage, as he put it.

The next morning, the boys awake to discover that Quack Quack is gone. They leave. Victoria calls Quack Quack and summons him to her house. She’s so angry she’s threatening to kill him. She thinks that maybe Quack Quack is a ‘mole’ that her ex-husband placed into her life to give her aggravation. (Hmmm! She may NOT be far off.)

The boys arrive home. Victoria notices that John is hurt. Now, she really wants blood. John tells her that Quack Quack is not a responsible adult and he shouldn’t be their chaperone. Duh! That’s an understatement. Carmine told her that Quack Quack had an overnight visitor as well.

As the show ends, Quack Quack is at Victoria’s house and she’s yelling at him.

Next week – Mamma Victoria’s birthday party, complete with Luigi jumping out of a cake. Oh God!

=== Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos. Email me at panndyra@realityshack.com with your answer to the following question: WOULD YOU LET QUACK QUACK WATCH YOUR KIDS?

The Surreal Life: Season 4, Episode 1: That's the way they all became the Surrealbrity Bunch

By Tweetwara

So another group of celebs have come together in a house for another season of the Surreal Life. If you think that Flava Flav and Brigitte made last season crazy, think again! Even MORE craziness is in store for this season. This time, just like the first season, there are SEVEN celebs in the house to add to the mayhem.

First, a cab driven by Kathy Griffin picks up Joanie Laurer, aka the WWF’s Chyna. She talks about how she has had some tough breaks after being fired from wrestling. She walks in the house and finds a room that has one twin bed, stating that she does not want to share a room. The room has a bar and a bathroom and she claims she is going to rule the house as she walks around in a bikini with her nipples partially showing.

Next Griffin drops off Christopher Knight who we all know as Peter Brady from the Brady Brunch. He says he wants to come in the house and show people the type of person he is outside of the Peter Brady label. He finds Joanie and they walk around the house. Chris points out to Joanie that the people on the wall are the other housemates. A dumbfounded Joanie wonders how Chris knew this. (She obviously has never watched the show, nor did she notice her own picture on the wall). She tells Chris that she guesses someone from the Partridge Family or Brady Bunch is going to be in the house. Chris says, “That’s me!”.

Next the first female rapper to go platinum, “Da Brat” (whose real name is Shawntae) walks in. She seems a little full of herself and says she won’t stay in the house if there are old people or “has beens”. When she walks by the wall and sees “Peter Brady” she calls her agent and says she wants to leave. She introduces herself to them, but still claims she wants to leave, especially after seeing Chyna walk around doing her exercises with her thigh master that look “sexual” to Da Brat.

Soon Jane Wiedlin arrives. She was part of the all female band, the Go-Gos until she left to start a solo career (that did not last long). Jane comes across as a pixie to the rest of the cast.

Chris tells Chyna he thinks her bedroom was intended for Verne because everything is especially low (the bed, dressers, bar, chairs, and closets). Chyna refuses to believe that and says that the room seems “girly”.

Season One Next Top Model winner Adrianne Curry is next to arrive. In the same cab is Marcus Schelenberg who is a break out Calvin Klein model. Adrianne is excited to be living with him and the other housemates who are people she grew up with. Marcus thinks Da Brat is rude because she doesn’t walk over and introduce herself to him. Da Brat got her name because people thought she was spoiled. And…. she IS.

The housemates pick out rooms. Da Brat feels like she is living with the Brady Bunch. There are 2 rooms, each with 3 water beds and the single room that Chyna has already chosen. It seems that the girls are going to share one room and the guys the other.

Last to arrive is Verne Troyer. He is the 2’8″ “Mini-Me” from Austin Powers. He says he is not a big fan of reality TV shows and hopes that everyone leaves him alone. He looks for his room. He is mad when he realizes that Joanie has taken it. Joanie refuses to give up the room. The others tell her that they think the beds and closets are to high for him. Verne says he will leave if he doesn’t get the room. Finally, Joanie says she’ll give Verne the room. Verne seemed to care more about privacy than things being low. Peace is restored and the rooms are set. Verne has his own room, Da Brat, Joanie, and Jane share one room and Marcus, Adrianne, and Chris share the other.

A paper comes and says that dinner is on Adrianne. Not that Adrianne was actually paying or cooking … The cast walks in the dining room and the food is ON Adrianne, LITERALLY. The cast seems to enjoy eating the sushi off of her, especially Verne. He comments the whole time about her body, even rubbing her tea leaf covered nipple.

Later, Adrianne and Jane decide to skinny dip. Chris and Marcus watch. A drunk Verne wakes up and tells Adrianne if she shows her butt, he will show his. They do. Verne gets really drunk and passes out. Chris carries him to his room. Verne starts to make this weird moaning noise.

Da Brat can’t sleep because of Joanie’s snoring. She goes to sleep on the couch and sees Verne drive by on his scooter naked. He goes in the corner and starts peeing! Brat tells him that he isn’t in the bathroom, but he says, “Yes it is”. She gets Chris who has already been given the title of “Father of the house”. Chris tries to talk to Verne (and keep a straight face). Brat says she feels like she is in the “Twilight Zone”.

So there you have it. Another season of craziness and the unexpected has begun. Stay tuned to see what other mayhem occurs in the Surreal Life house!

Tension Tension Tension! – The Will, Episode 1

[i]by atarus[/i]

Alright, just as a heads up, I was a bit skeptical coming into watching this show. Much like there are A-list and B-list celebrities, there are A-list and B-list reality TV shows. I went into this show with a C-list opinon of it. Will that change? Let’s find out.

We start off the show being introduced to Tony Noaks, who will be the host of our show. If I’m supposed to know who he is, I don’t. Sorry. We are then introduced to the man behind the money, Bill Long. He is a self-made millionaire, born in the Depression. He says “if you’re gonna be successful, you have to motivate yourself.” He is a land developer in Arizona and has a 560-acre estate in Kansas. He is 74 years old and with his fourth wife, Penny. He says that he wants to hand over the estate to somebody with the traits he thinks are important: tenacity, aggressiveness, and honesty. If you don’t work, you don’t get a reward.

Back to the mansion, the dueling family members are starting to arrive. First is Penny, his wife. She says that she is tough, vindictive, and that Bill’s money is rightfully hers and she’ll stop at nothing to get it. Next is Billy, Bill’s son from his third wife. Billy says his best memory is the time he spent at the ranch, he loves the ranch and wants to keep it in the family. Bette is Bill’s mother-in-law, mother of Penny. She says that she adores Bill and he’s helped Penny stay on the straight and narrow. Next is Ashley, Bill’s son-in-law, Penny’s son. He says that he has a great work ethic, and he’s a competitor. Then there is Kristin, who is Ashley’s ex-girlfriend and also an employee of Bill and Penny. She says that everyone calls her a mini Penny, they both have fake boobs, blonde hair, and brown eyes. Then there’s Scott, Bill’s brother-in-law, who says that his sister Penny thinks he’s a follower but he may have to cheat and lie in this game. Danielle is next, a “trusted employee” of Bill, and she says that she’s there because Bill likes pretty girls. (I must say I agree with Bill on his choice to bring Danielle into the game. WOW. Even if she doesn’t end up with Bill’s estate and money, she can give me a call any time.) Next up is Mickey, a good friend of Bill’s. Mickey says that while Bill is a pain in the ass, he’s one of his closest friends and he’s going to win because he has the most staying power. Then it’s Crystal, another employee or close friend of the family, and she says that Bill’s been a second father to her, and he must see something positive in her. The last cast member to approach is Josh, Bill’s adopted son, and Josh says that Bill taking him in and living on the ranch saved his life.

Now it’s time for Tony Noaks to explain the game. Each week, the family members will face off in a challenge. The winner becomes the Protected Heir and will wear a ring belonging to Bill. How the elimination works is there is an inheritance chain. The Protected Heir chooses someone they want to save. Then that person chooses someone, and the next person chooses someone, until there’s only one person left that hasn’t been chosen, and that person is eliminated. Pretty nifty way of doing things. Too bad Bill gets no say in who is eliminated.

And the game begins. Penny already has her alliance, it’s her family: her, Ashley her son, Bette her mother, Scott her brother, and Kristin her son’s girlfriend/ex-girlfriend/employee/something. The trash talk begins as Penny says that Billy is a piece of shit kid and has to go first. Billy in a confessional says that Penny is a bitch, in eighth grade she told him he was worthless and not welcome in the family. Penny says she can’t be around Billy, he makes her skin crawl. Move over Omarosa, take a seat Jonathan and Victoria. If there’s a reality contestant I’ve ever wanted to permanently erase from this earth, it’s this bitch. And we’re not even thirty minutes into the show yet.

Josh, Billy, and Mickey are having a pow-wow in one of the bedrooms, Josh says that everyone’s gunning for Billy and Mickey tells them that it’s like rodeoing, the smartest guy always wins. Meanwhile, Penny is having a discussion of her own with Kristin, telling her to “prostitute herself” to Mickey to make sure he votes with Penny’s family. Penny says that she’s an excellent manipulator and she doesn’t feel that anyone can stand in her way. Hey, look, it’s me puking all over my carpet.

It’s time for the first challenge! All the family members have to bring a piggy bank to the challenge. Josh states the obvious: Him, Billy, and Mickey are outnumbered so they have to win. The first challenge is the typical reality-show endurance challenge. The family has to put their palm on the safe and not move it off or lean against the safe in any way, while holding the piggy bank in the other arm. It’s not 2 minutes before Crystal is out because of a few flying bugs. One by one, they all start falling. Billy is next, followed by Mickey, Bette, Kristin, Danielle, and finally Scott, leaving Josh, Ashley, and Bitchy…..er Penny. Penny is trash-talking Billy, telling Josh that he’s a “little sissy” and “he didn’t try to keep you in.” But Josh holds his ground. Ashley and Josh make a deal that if Ashley gets off, Josh will save him, as long as they keep Billy in the game. Ashley makes it a deal and hops off. Penny then makes the same deal, except Josh has to save her this time and Ashley next round. Josh agrees and Penny hops off, and Josh has become the first Protected Heir. Penny says that if “Josh breaks his word, it will be war.”

Penny says that there is “a lot of tension in the house” because people are afraid of being cut out of the will. (Just for reference, she and other people mention the tension in the house about twenty more times during the episode, so this is the last you’ll hear about it from me because I hate repetition.) Penny and Ashley and Scott and Bette are having a discussion, and while if Josh breaks his word it “will be war” the first thing Penny does is go to Danielle and tell her to eliminate Billy, even though part of the deal was to keep Billy. Penny is confident that Danielle will vote however she tells her to vote. Danielle in a confessional says that she doesn’t know the history between Penny and Billy, but she has a soft spot for Billy. Awwwww. She also says that Penny threatened to fire her if she kept Billy around. (BITCH!) Mickey and Billy are trying to talk Josh into not keeping his word, Mickey telling Josh that he won fair and square and that Penny is trying to make him believe that they gave up for him. Billy says that Josh needs to realize they are just as willing to break a promise as he is.

It’s time for the first inheritance chain of the evening. Josh is up and he picks………Penny. No surprise there. From there it goes down Penny’s family: she picks her son, Ashley picks his grandmother, Bette picks her son, and Scott picks his nephew’s girlfriend/ex-girlfriend/the Jessica Simpson look-alike. Kristin then chooses Crystal, and Crystal chooses her friend Danielle. It’s down to Billy and Mickey. Danielle pauses, and she decides to keep Billy. As Billy walks up, Mickey mutters “what a f—in’ dumbass.” Mickey says in a confessional that the chain just went down Penny’s cartel and that Penny is a greedy manipulative bitch. (AMEN MICKEY! I wish he’d stayed longer.) With that, Mickey is out of the mansion and out of the will. Danielle says that Penny is a strong woman, she wanted Billy to stay and she’s standing up to Penny. (I knew there was something good about this girl! Call me!)

Billy is thankful that Danielle saved him because he has a lot to prove to his dad. Penny meanwhile is rampaging to her cohorts, saying that Josh has a big head and Danielle pouts too much. Kristin is like, totally surprised that Mickey left, and it’s just wow, like, oh my god. Well, she’s not THAT bad. But. Yeah. Anyway, Danielle talks in the sauna with Billy and Josh, and has a discussion with them and she is confident that the two boys will look after her. Penny, meanwhile, is still in full bitch mode, saying she’s going to fire Danielle and she’s annoying because if you don’t give her what she wants, she pouts and whines. (Penny, look at yourself. You’re pouting and whining because Danielle didn’t get rid of Billy like you wanted.)

A twist in the game is revealed. Each family member gets a one-minute talk with Bill, and whoever gives the best talk, Bill will give an advantage to in the next challenge. One by one the members get to talk to Bill. Danielle says she’ll help Billy and Josh if she gets the advantage. Ashley is very cocky and says he doesn’t need the advantage, he has an advantage on everyone else as it is. Penny pulls a class act and says she strained her shoulders and back in the challenge yesterday and an advantage would help her soooooooooo much. Yech. Billy says that he’s here for Bill and wants to impress him, and he guarantees that his ass will be busting harder than he’s ever tried in his life. Penny says that if her husband gives Billy the advantage she will “put her husband through Hell.”

Short prayer by me: “Dear Lord, if you have any kindness in your heart, please strike Penny down with a bolt of lightning. Thank you, amen.”

It’s time for the challenge. Because Josh, Penny, and Ashley did the best in the last challenge, they will be team captains for this challenge. Josh chooses Billy and Danielle, Penny chooses her mom and her brother, and Ashley gets Kristin and Crystal. The challenge is this: Each team must complete a cattle pen for the first leg, then the second leg they have to carry water and fill up a cow trough, and in the third leg they have to muck out a horse stall and refill it with hay. Oh, and the teams will be chained together. After completing all three tasks, the teams will unchain and the first person to ring the bell gets to be the PH. Once the teams are shackled together, it is revealed that Bill is a dirty old man and Penny has gotten the advantage. Billy confesses that it’s always been like that, that his father has always taken Penny’s side. The advantage this round is a one-minute head start on everyone. However, Penny is just disastrous. Scott is in between his mother and his sister, and the three are struggling to put the pen together, and he says that on one side Penny is complaining and whining that they’ll never win, while his mother is saying that they can do it and let’s try. The one-minute advantage is useless to them as both Josh and Ashley’s team blow through the pen and leaving Penny complaining in the dust. Of course she says that her mother and brother were the ones that couldn’t do the challenge. *snort*

Josh and Ashley and their teams are neck and neck as they both finish the water at the same time, and the two get to the stables and are working on the hay at the same time. Ashley and his team look to finish first, but they’ve forgotten to lock the gate behind them so they have to go back. It looks to be a costly mistake, as it becomes a race between the teams to get somebody undone first. As it turns out, Billy is the first person unshackled and rings the bell and becomes the Protected Heir. (insert giddy laughter and cheering by me here)

Josh says that it meant a lot to him to be able to hand the ring over to Billy. Penny, meanwhile, is bitching and moaning, saying that there is no winner here, that they didn’t win, it’s unfair and we need to play fair games, not unfair games. (Hello, Penny, you had an ADVANTAGE and you blew it. Stop whining.) And on cue, Danielle says that Penny had an advantage and she chose her team so she shouldn’t be whining. (I love her! Absolutely love her!)

Ashley, in a confessional, says that some people are really bitter about Billy winning, but he feels that Josh will keep his word about saving Ashley in the inheritance chain. (I’d just like to point out that I nearly giggle every time Ashley talks, because his voice sounds almost exactly like the son from Family Guy.) Billy is frustrated with Josh because he finds out about the promise Josh made, but they find a way around it, and Billy says he’ll save Crystal and then Crystal will save Danielle and Danielle will save Josh, that way all of them will be save and Josh can keep his word. Danielle says that Crystal wants to be neutral since she hasn’t seen the bad side of Penny yet, but she should save Danielle. Kristin says that she knows “blood is thicker than water” and she’ll do what she has to to win the family fortune. We are then treated to Kristin sexing up Ashley and the two of them have a nice, by-the-pool make-out session. Kristin says that Ashley “was a great boyfriend” and there’s “no doubt in her mind that they’ll get back together.” The “romantic” interlude ends with Ashley saying the words every female wants to here: “Come to my room, OK?” Screen fade out.

Penny confronts Josh and she tells him that they made a deal and she feels like she can’t trust him. Penny then swears in a confessional that “if Josh breaks his word, I’d make his life completely miserable.” (If you’re keeping track, she has promised to make Josh’s life miserable twice, Danielle’s once, her husband’s once, and she thinks Billy is a piece-of-shit kid. Just so you know.) It happens to be Kristin’s birthday the day of the inheritance chain, and Ashley hopes that the birthday party will lighten the mood of the house. The birthday party goes well, until Penny realizes that maybe Josh is telling the truth that he’ll pick Ashley, but what if Billy chooses Danielle and Crystal FIRST? OH NO! Damn Billy and Josh for playing the game! Damn them!

So what does the mighty Penny do? She walks into the bedroom of Josh and Billy and tells Billy that “he has no class.” And then she throws her glass of wine on him and walks out. (…..) Billy starts laughing and Josh holds his head. Crystal walks in and Billy shows her the wet spot on his shirt and says that Penny just came in and threw wine on him. Crystal is shocked and says that she’s never seen Penny like this at all, she’s never seen her malicious side before.

So far through the episode, I have been assuming that Ashley is this dumb son who thinks he’s all that and is his mother’s toadie. However, my opinion of him changes rather quickly. First off, Penny goes around telling her family about how she just threw wine on Billy and told him he had no class. The foursome of Danielle, Crystal, Billy, and Josh set the dinner table for nine, but they are the only ones there because of Penny’s insistance that she “can’t deal with Billy.” Penny is having a temper tantrum on the porch, and Ashley says that she is getting hard to deal with, and he tells her that he’s going to go fix things. He goes and talks to Crystal, and tells her that he doesn’t want to see Kristin cry on her birthday, and Crystal agrees that she doesn’t want to do that to Kristin. Ashley privately confesses that he thinks that Crystal is using her survival skills and he doesn’t see her saving Kristin.

Ashley then returns to his mother and sits down, and Penny is still whining and saying that “Kristin is just going to have to go.” After Ashley tries to say something and she interrupts him three times saying the same thing, Ashley gets angry and says “Shut up and let me deal with it. All you’re doing is stomping your own foot into the ground.” When Penny opens her mouth to say the same thing again, Ashley says “You’re making this so much harder.” Penny looks bewildered. Ashley then goes up and talks with Kristin. Kristin says she’s nervous, but Ashley says “Don’t be.” (This entire ordeal makes me realize that Ashley is the brains and probably the only likeable person on that side of the family.) Penny then makes a confessional and says that “if Ashley saves Kristin instead of me, it will be the last wrong decision he ever makes in his life.” (Add Ashley to the list of death threats made by Penny.)

It’s time for the second inheritance chain. Billy is the first pick, and he chooses Crystal. Crystal, as planned, chooses her buddy Danielle, and Danielle chooses Josh. Josh chooses Ashley and I relax, as all the good people are safe now. However, after deliberation, Ashley chooses his mother Penny over Kristin. Penny then walks up to her own son and whispers in his ear: “She’s crying because of you, you know, she loves you so much.” (What. A. Bitch.) Penny chooses her mother, and her mother chooses Scott, leaving Kristin to be eliminated from the will. Kristin is shocked that Ashley chose his mother over her and that people are turning their backs on people and their promises. (From an outsiders point of view though, I think it’s kind of acceptable to choose your blood relative over a girlfriend/not-girlfriend/sex buddy. I don’t really think Kristin should have been that surprised, even if Penny is a bitch.) Ashley says in the final confessional that Kristin probably feels betrayed and she has the right to be, it’s because his mom intimidates him. (At least he admits it.)

On the next episode, Penny is “out for revenge” and she’s saying stuff about Billy and insulting him. And then the challenge is a “cutthroat family road trip.” From the previews, I can kind of tell who’s going to be eliminated (it’s just my Survivor vid-cap analysis habits kicking in) but I won’t say.

So here’s how it stands: Billy, Josh, Crystal, Danielle, and Ashley are decent people and should win. Danielle is also very attractive and should call me because she’s probably in my acceptable age range to date. Just so you know. I just hope a good person wins Bill’s estate and not Penny. Please please please…….just not Penny. E-mail me at atarus33@yahoo.com if you have any comments…and if you aren’t Penny.

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