Vengeance Is Mine – Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 11

by LauraBelle

As the popular cliche says, there are no guarantees in life. Surely that holds for reality shows over anything else. With Chris the last surviving man on Vanuatu, we knew it didn’t look good for him, but we refused to give up hope.

The survivors were barely back at camp after the last Tribal Council that ousted Chad, before they were pointing fingers and second-guessing the others. Chris opened up his mouth first and outed Scout and Twila for the alliance. He wants to shake things up and try to split apart this women’s alliance. Leann was uncomfortable with how everything went down that night, and she goes to Twila to find out what happens. Twila makes sure Leann knows it was Scout’s idea to team up with Chris and Chad to try and vote out Eliza, not hers. Leann thinks they should have stuck with that plan, because they’re screwed now.

At the Reward Challenge, they get a “taste” of the reward first, just to whet their appetite. Is there food inside the hut? No, it’s a computer set up for emails, Jeff Probst says. The winner will get a one hour email chat. He tells them they each get to do a quick one minute email before the challenge. He notices Twila already crying and offers her the first one minute chat. She asks if someone can type for her, as she doesn’t know how. Jeff says he’ll do that one better, and sets up a webcam.

Soon, Twila’s son, Jeff, is on the screen. Now, I’m a huge sap for these loved one visits and chats, but to really, really get to me, you need to throw in a parent/child relationship. I was sobbing – could have been my third glass of burgundy getting to me, but I think it was Twila. I think she is real tough on the outside, but has the biggest heart of any of them.

Leann is next up and gets to chat with Teri, her friend. Eliza gets a short chat w/ her mom, Susan, and Julie sees her friend, Justin, on the camera. Scout gets to see Annie, her life partner, and is crying so hard she can hardly talk. Ami wants to talk to only one person, her girlfriend, Chrissy. Lastly is Chris who sees his girlfriend, Laurie. They announce they are getting married when the show is over.

For their challenge, they will need to answer trivia questions based on the previous challenges. By the end, Julie and Eliza are tied. They go into a sudden-death round, and Eliza wins, giving her a one-hour web chat with her mom. Had it not been for my tears and fourth glass of wine, I probably would have noticed that all the loved ones were seen on the webcam with the same background. Surely they don’t have the same decorating schemes in all their houses. The loved ones aren’t back in the states – they’re right here hidden behind a screen. Eliza will get her one hour with her mom in person, and the others get a quick hug and kiss. Twila is first up to share a hug and kiss with her son, and it could be my fifth glass of wine, but it just made me cry hysterically. The child/parent ones get me every time.

The other loved ones get their hugs and kisses in as well, and they go quietly away, but Eliza’s mom goes back to camp with her. Eliza is ecstatic, as her mom is her best friend. After Eliza explains how they made their own trail mix, Susan mentions how thin and bony Eliza is. She has been worried if Eliza is eating well, if she was getting hurt by coral or eaten by fish, and was even worried Eliza wasn’t flossing every day. Umm, Mom? This is Survivor. She’s lucky if she can just brush her teeth, let alone floss.

Leann goes to Scout, and tells her Twila told her everything last Tribal Council was Scout’s idea. Scout says it was all Chad’s idea. In a confessional Scout says she set out to be honest and have integrity, but if she has to lie to stay in the game, she will. Scout had thought Final Four was set with herself, Leann, Ami and Twila, but talking to Leann, she realizes it’s not as solid as it once was. They confirm for her that Julie has been added to the mix as well. That leaves just Eliza and Chris out. Scout makes a very notable quote (sounds like a Jeopardy category – wait, that’s quotable notables … or is is notable quotables …), “vengeance is mine, sayeth the jury.”

Susan is preparing to leave, and knowing she will be around the other loved ones, the others set to work preparing little trinkets for them – painted rocks, coconuts and shells. Susan, realizing Eliza has no shirts with sleeves, takes her shirt off and gives it to her. Scout yells out, “This is my kind of woman! Stripped to her panties, left in only her bra.” With that, Eliza’s mom is driven away in the boat.

Leann and Ami take the info from Scout and go to Twila on a search for manioc. She tells them she is still with them one hundred percent, and swears on her son Jeff’s life. Ami believes Twila, and thinks last week she was just twisted up between right and wrong. Julie goes to Chris and tells him his head is on the chopping block.

Just before the Immunity Challenge, Chris was predicting he would get immunity. As he and the others show up at the challenge, they find they will be in a race and work in pairs. Jeff brings in who they will be paired up with, their loved ones, back for an encore. Somewhere Susan has found another shirt. The loved ones will be blindfolded, and the Survivors will direct them to color-coded bags of puzzle pieces. Once all their correct bags have been brought, the blindfold can be taken off, and the Survivors and loved ones will work together assembling the puzzles.

Chris is absolutely screaming at his fiance, Laurie, directing her around. He knows he needs it. Ami and her girlfriend, Chrissy, are the first to begin assembling their puzzle. Chris and Laurie are right behind them. Ami and Chrissy have some trouble with the puzzle, and one by one the other teams begin their puzzles. Chris keeps whispering in Laurie’s ear that if they lose, he is gone tonight. Amy and Chrissy end up winning; she will be immune tonight. The Survivors share a tearful goodbye with their loved ones, knowing this will truly be the last time they see them until the end of the game. Jeff Probst comes up a with a great word, calling it a strange cacophony of emotions.

Ami, Leann, Twila, Scout and Julie are discussing who will be booted. Leann doesn’t feel right for it to be Chris and not Eliza. Ami wants it to be Chris, but will go with Leann’s decision. And all this time we thought it was Ami pulling the strings. Julie tells Chris it isn’t him. Chris, whose voice is hoarse after the challenge, feels this is like being in a tornado, as he doesn’t even have to do anything, and the women’s alliance is breaking down on its own. Chris and Twila go to get some wood, and Twila tells him he could change the game completely. She tells him to pull into an alliance the one person they keep trying to vote out, Eliza. She says it’s a guarantee of three people voting along with him. Chris tells Eliza Twila’s plan. Eliza trusts Chris, but not Twila and Scout. Chris pleads with her to take this risk and save both of them.

At Tribal Council, Jeff asks Eliza if the visit with her mom woke her up to how close she was. She says that it did, as the family visit is a long term goal they talked about after only seven days on the island. Jeff points out to Chris that he needed Laurie’s help to win immunity and asks if he feels it help or hurt him. Chris knows that him winning immunity meant a lot to her, and that she tried one-hundred-and-ten percent.

Jeff mentions to Leann that it was interesting that she didn’t seem to be trying real hard at the immunity challenge. She seemed to just be having fun out there. Leann says she was just happy to have Teri there, and after they fell so far behind and she know they couldn’t win, she just wanted to have fun. Jeff digs in deeper, adding she didn’t seem to be worried about having to win. Leiann begrudgingly admits she wasn’t worried about it. Jeff says that Chris, on the other hand, was connecting with Laurie desperately. Chris agrees, saying it was a life or death decision. Leann didn’t feel it was life or death to her.

Eliza talks about her chances at leaving tonight at yet another Tribal Council. She could leave tonight, and says it’s not a joke; she knows she really could go again. Chris is asked as an outsider if he sees the tension. He says it’s him and six women, and he can see the tension between the six, that not all six are agreeing with each other. Ami, of course, keeps her immunity.

The only vote the editors allow us to see are Julie and Ami voting for Eliza. We just know that means it probably won’t be her. The votes come in at a four to three decision, with Leann leaving. Chris is finding it hard to contain his excitement and Ami looks bewildered. Chris winks at Eliza. In her final words, Leann says she is just floored. She wants to know who voted for her, and feels like the world’s biggest idiot. Well, first off, Leann, you should have never admitted to feeling safe during the Immunity Challenge.

Could by the sixth glass of wine, but I find myself elated. I am so happy Twila finally got her ducks in a row and saw the writing on the wall. Had she done this a few weeks earlier, it would be a very different game now. I think she needed to see her back up against the wall, though, to go against her original alliance and change things up.

Here’s to hoping everyone out there had a great holiday with their own loved ones today, and held them close as if they hadn’t seen them in several weeks. Cheers.

I welcome questions and comments at Laurabelle@realityshack.com

Getting The Edge on The Competition – The Apprentice 2, Episode 12


by aurora

Last week on The Apprentice, Kelly was sent over to Apex and the teams were assigned to create an in-store catalog for Levi’s. Apex won the task hands-down, largely due to a ‘fit wheel’ created by Ivana. Ivana was angered when Jen took credit for her creation, leading Trump to congratulate her on her performance on the task. While Apex enjoyed their reward – a visit with Billy Joel – Mosaic headed to the boardroom where Maria and Wes blamed each other for their failure. In a surprising move, Trump fired Maria…and Wes. Six are left; who will be fired tonight?

Up in the suite the members of Apex are preparing dinner and speculating on who will be gone. Jen thinks Wes will be gone, and Kelly doesn’t really care. Andy and Sandy return to the suite and everyone is shocked – suddenly they’re at the final six and it’s truly every man/woman for themselves.

Sandy asks if anyone honestly thought that she would be in the final six, and most of them say no. She says privately that she’s the last one left without a college education, but she doesn’t think that will “play a toll”.

Ivana calls a team meeting for Apex and says that she’d like to be the next project manager. Jen wants it too, however, and throws up a roadblock. Ivana is steaming mad, saying that she feels that she’s earned the opportunity to lead the team since she kicked butt in the last task. Kelly says he wants it too so that he can get an exemption and be guaranteed a pass into the final four. They decide to draw names, and Kelly’s is pulled out of the hat.

Kelly, Kevin and Ivana are in a bedroom whispering about Jen. None of them like her and want to see her gone. Jen overhears them and says that she knows she has no allies, but she’s there to work hard and win.

The phone rings, as it always does the following morning, and Kelly once again gets to be the studly half-dressed answerer. Rona tells him to meet with Mr. Trump at 9am at Trump Place, a new property he’s developing on the West Side.

Andy is the project manager for Mosaic, and he says that Kelly is 37 (old) while he’s 22. He wants to show everyone that youth and creativity can win out over age and experience. Hey wait a minute, who says us “oldies” aren’t creative?

The teams arrive at Trump Place, where The Donald tells Apex to send someone over to Mosaic. Kelly offers up Jen immediately, and when asked why, he says that he wants to keep the strongest team possible. Jen doesn’t look thrilled, but makes no comment.

Trump brags about Trump place, saying how much people love the name “Trump”. Oh please. I don’t know whether to roll my eyes or admire his confidence. Anyway, he says that the teams are about to go to the head offices of Pepsi where they will design a new bottle and an ad campaign for a new product called Pepsi Edge. Isn’t that the low-carb Pepsi? Don’t get me started on that.

With Trump is David B., the Chief Marketing Officer of Pepsi. He will be the judge and decide which team has the stronger presentation.

Sandy and Andy welcome Jen to Mosaic, while Ivana breathes a sigh of relief at having the blond tumour removed from their team. Jen says that Kelly, Kevin and Ivana are very negative, and she would like nothing better than to have a “big victory”.

It’s that time again – Trump’s Lessons to Live By. “Form Your Own Opinion” is this week’s mantra. Trump says that he’s a leader that listens intently to his team, but in the end he forms his own opinion. He says that the leader who wants to be loved ulimately is not going to make it.

Mosaic arrives at Pepsi and Sandy explains that Pepsi Edge has less calories but all the taste of regular Pepsi. Gosh, that sounds like an ad all on its own. They brainstorm some ideas, and Andy starts to get hyper. Could be all the soda he’s guzzling, but Sandy chalks it up to a lack of maturity.

Meanwhile Ivana suggests that they make their bottle in the shape of an Academy Award. Um, fit wheel good, Oscar bottle bad. Kelly puts the kibosh on that idea, and suggests a bottle with a hole in the middle. Ivana keeps joking around, annoying the others.

Sandy comes up with a round Pepsi bottle, but Andy doesn’t like it. Jen thinks a bottle with bulbs on either end is more practical, and talks over Sandy while trying to present her idea.

Apex presents their bottle with a hole to the design team, and it’s not received well at first. They decide to go ahead with it anyway and watch as it’s being developed. They have to wait 12-13 hours for manufacturing, and Ivana feels that since they now have all this time they must be missing something. They all leave the Pepsi building and head home.

The next day Mosaic is at Pepsi early to hammer out the graphics. The graphics team isn’t moving fast enough for Andy, and he gives them each $100 as an incentive. Carolyn witnesses this and raises her eyebrows, as Sandy wonders if this isn’t bribery. She says privately that you just don’t do business like that in the corporate world; it’s like a used-car salesman move.

Andy says that lunch will not come into the room until the designers are done. He reminds them that they’re all $100 richer, hoping to get them to move faster. It doesn’t seem to work very well, however.

Apex is also at Pepsico, admiring their bottles. Ivana says that it was so beautiful it brought a tear to her eye. Meanwhile, Andy and Jen are discussing how much they want to take Kelly down.

Ivana, Kevin and Kelly are all walking around mumbling their pitch, looking like a bunch of crazy people. They deicide they’re ready and head into what they thought would be a conference room, and discover at least 100 people in what looks like a college lecture room. David is there and welcomes them, saying that the entire marketing team is there to see their stuff. The blinds close and Kelly is off and running.

Kelly explains that they asked them to think outside the box, and what they did was put the box into the bottle. Ivana explains that they can put promotional items into the hole in the bottle, and describes how they spelled out Edge with the holes and the labels. At the end of the presentation, they get a round of applause.

Mosaic is up next, and Andy kicks things off. He says that the soft drink world is divided in two – regular vs diet. Their bottle has two bulbs on either end with a platform on the bottom, and the bulbs look like globes. This leads to the slogan: Pepsi Edge, the Best of Both Worlds. The ad execs look rather shocked, and one woman’s eyes almost pop out of her head. Sandy describes a contest that they can use to promote the product, and stumbles over her words. Jen wraps things up with an instore promotion idea. Mosaic also gets applause.

The advertising execs tear apart Mosaic’s bottle, saying that it looks like two blobs of badly coloured tennis ball, and they don’t remember the last time geography was cool. The whole toom is laughing at this thing. They like the Apex bottle quite a bit though, and think that Apex really captured what Pepsi stands for.

David brings the teams back in and gets Trump on the phone. He says that Apex had an innovative design that was exciting and contemporary. He tells Trump that Mosaic were very consistent, but their bottle wasn’t very interesting and you couldn’t tell there was even anything in the bottle. Apex wins the task, and Trump congratulates them on the speed with which they put everything together. Their reward is a trip on Trump’s personal helicopter to the Pocono’s race track, where they will race Lamborghini’s. Andy swears while Apex hugs, and Kelly is assured that he will be exempt next week and guaranteed final four.

Apex takes off for their reward, and are very impressed with the cars. Kevin says that this is his dream car, and it does not get better than this. They race around the track, and Ivana says that the experience was almost like having sex. What I want to know is why they weren’t wearing helmets. Do they have sex without protection?

Back at the suite, Ivana tells Andy that Jen sucks to have on a team, but she’s really good in the boardroom. She says that Jen has a way of kissing up to the PM and steer blame away from herself. Andy goes straight to Jen and tells her that it’s Sandy he wants to go after. They shake on it and Andy leaves. Later in the kitchen, Sandy asks Jen how she thinks Andy did as a leader. Jen replies that it’s difficult to say, and Sandy points out that he gave out money and acted immature, but Jen won’t commit to anything.

In the boardroom, Trump asks who came up with the overall concept for their bottle. Andy says it was his idea, and that he likes it quite a bit. George asks if he can honestly see 10 or 15 million of those out there, that won’t even fit in a cup holder. Trump suggests that maybe it could be used as dumbells. George points out that the bottle relates to geography, which has nothing to do with the product.

Sandy says that she came up with the contest concept, but when Andy is asked who was the least creative, he says that Sandy was. Andy also says that Jen is smarter, and Sandy is harder to manage. Sandy tells Trump about the money Andy gave to the designers and how he made them wait for their pizza. Andy tries to stand up for himself, but Carolyn isn’t buying it.

Jen is asked about Andy’s leadership, and she says something wishy-washy about him being enthusiastic. Carolyn says that it’s a “safe” answer, but Jen doesn’t think it is. She adds that Sandy did an okay job, but she wasn’t as good as Andy was. Trump says that this team got along fine until they lost, and now they’re at each others throats.

Trump asks Andy if Sandy did anything, since he keeps saying how great Jen is. Andy says that Sandy did the label, which is “pretty good”. Trump decides that the whole team will be coming back in, and sends them out to reception to wait.

George likes the way that Sandy defended herself, and Carolyn questions why the project managers always stick up for Jen. Trump thinks it’s because Jen is smart. Meanwhile, outside, Mosaic is arguing over who did what and who’s pointing fingers.

Trump calls them back in, and he asks Jen why each week she continues to slide by. She says that she works hard and the PM’s have stood up to say that she has done a good job for them. Sandy is asked who did the worst job, and she says Jen because she flies under the radar. Sandy and Jen argue amongst themselves while Andy sits and looks around shaking his head.

Jen throws out the fact that Andy came to her that morning to tell her that Ivana wanted to get of her, and Sandy realizes that Andy went to Jen so that she could back him up. Even George wants to know why Andy didn’t tell Sandy about his decision, but his question just causes a flurry of more arguing.

Trump finally thumps his desk to shut them up, and tells Andy he’s getting pounded on and out-debated. He doesn’t want someone running one of his companies that’s going to get beat up this badly, and so Andy…you’re fired.

Jen and Sandy get up and leave, and start bickering again as they board the elevator as Robin watches. Back in the boardroom, Trump tells Andy that the two women are “tough hombres”, and Andy agrees. He thanks Trump for the “opportunity of a lifetime” and leaves.

As Andy is taking the elevator down to the street, Trump tells George and Caroline that he thought Sandy was going but he just couldn’t fire her after she showed so much spunk. George adds that she “went at it”. Trump says that he’s always thought that women were tougher than men, and this proves it.

In his cab ride of shame, Andy says that everyone has always said that he’s too young, but that’s not the case. He thought that Sandy was going, but obviously Mr. Trump thought differently. He laughs about the absurdity of the boardroom scene he just experienced and says he never though it would happen this way. He’s proud of what he’s done, and he hopes his family is proud of him as well. I’m pretty sure they are.

So what do you think? Have you read the spoilers? Do you agree with them? I sure don’t! Direct comments, complaints, and kudos to carrie@realityshack.com. See you next week for the recap episode on Wednesday and the regular installment on Thursday.


American Idol – Home for the Holidays


by Panndyra

(Note to my readers – Help me! I’m stuck in hostile territory – I’m at the in-laws for Thanksgiving!)

I must say that when I offered to do this review I had high hopes for the show. What’s not to love – Ruben, Kelly and Fantasia – the three American Idols, singing holiday classics. The title suggested that there would be holiday music. There wasn’t much of that however.

From the beginning of the first song, I felt like I should’ve been watching the [b]Bachelor[/b] finale. This song was called something like “All Night”. It was a bit of a holiday love song. More for New Years Eve, after I’ve had a few – okay, more than a few. Then, it may have been enjoyable.

Kelly had the first solo which was her latest single, “Since U Been Gone”. It was edgier and more of a hard/alternative rock song. It’s okay, but where’s the holiday in the song. I should’ve known that this was just a way for the American Idols to plug their latest albums:

Ruben’s, “I need an angel”
Kelly’s, “Breakaway”
and Fantasia’s, “Free Yourself”

Let’s just say, “I’m not impressed yet, but I’m still holding out hope.” Ruben then introduced Fantasia (might I add that the intros were cheesy and must’ve been written by the William Hung of TV writers! I don’t mean to be a Simon or a Scrooge, but this stuff is terrible!)

Fantasia sang the Willie Nelson classic, “You Were Always On My Mind.” OH GOD! Help me. Then, she said, “I’m so glad I made it through the song without crying. It’s one of my favorites.” I didn’t make it through the song without crying. What about me, Fantasia? Hmmm? Who did I hurt in this lifetime so badly as to deserve this punishment?

Fantasia then introduces Ruben. She says, “What more could you ask for for Christmas, ladies…(than Ruben Studdard!)” Well, I could think of a few things – Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen, Taye Diggs…but Ruben…nah. Does Santa have a return policy or something?

Ruben and Fantasia do a duet called “Save It All For Xmas”, or something like that. I don’t care so I try an experiment. I close my eyes and I swear I hear Luther Vandross and Chris Tucker instead. Yes, I do believe that Fantasia and Chris Tucker are the same person. You never see them together. Never!

Ruben then introduces Kelly. She comes out all bedecked in white and sings, “Breakaway”, her mega-hit ballad from the Princess Diaries 2 movie and her newly released CD of the same name. Yes, buy it folks. It’s not exactly subliminal messages here, folks.

The best part of the show is the fact that we know these three aren’t lip synching.

Kelly then sings her favorite Christmas song. It’s one I’ve never heard of called, “Jesus, O What a Wonderful Child!” The song turned into a duet with Fantasia. It was given a beautiful Gospel treatment complete with choir in the background.

I must say that this show is so corny that the coolest thing I saw came during the next commercial break – you know the Adrien Brody Diet Coke commercial. Yes, it is that bad. I’m not exaggerating. I want to spend time with the in-laws…yup.

Now, it’s Ruben’s turn for another solo. He sings “Amazing Grace”. It had a little R&B in the background. It was good until the end when his embellishment turned the song into a love-song to Jesus. Why change the song? It’s a classic…Oh well, what do I know.

After his song, Ruben gets to plug the new season of American Idol, which premieres in January. He quips, “and we think we’ve already found the next William Hung!” Then, we see clips of horrible renditions of Christmas classics. Hey, at least I hear Jingle Bells! My favorite was the dude who sang:

SI-YA-LENT NIGHT…I said, ah SI-YA-LENT NIGHT!

I spit out my Diet Coke with Lime. It was funny.

Now, Fantasia comes back out in red. Thank God! She got rid of the pink dress. It was so not her color. She looks good in vibrant colors that showcase her personality.

She thanked the band and sang her song, “Truth is” from her new album “Free Yourself”.

It was pretty good. Actually, I thought this performance was the high point of a low-light evening.

Then, we see the three idols again. All dressed in ebony and ivory. They sang two songs:

**”You’ll Never Walk Alone” (Isn’t that the song from the Jerry Lewis MDA Marathon on Labor Day?)
** and “Joy to the World” – I think.

It was a Gospel treatment and I must say that, during this song that I noticed how Ruben’s sweat glands parallel those of Kevin, while he gave the Levi’s presentation, on last week’s Apprentice.

Kelly and Ruben walked off the stage. Fantasia danced out at the end. Ruben had to come back out and get her — so contrived.

All in all I must say that this “special” got me in the mood to be a Scrooge this holiday season. Now, I know why Simon’s so damn cranky.

*****Sure, tell me I’m wrong. Email me at panndrya@realityshack.com. I’ll ignore you, of course.


There's Something About Mary – The Bachelor 6, After The Final Rose

by LauraBelle

Out of all the Bachelor/Bachelorette series they have had to date, the only relationship that stuck in the end has been that of Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter who parlayed that success into a televised wedding. The extremely romantic ending to this year’s Bachelor series leaves us optimistic for yet another success story.

Chris opens the show introducing Mary Delgado first. He asks Mary if it was better this time, and she says absolutely. They go back and discuss that night when Mary received the proposal from Brian Velvick. Mary says she was so tense she nearly ripped Chris’s arm off getting out of the limo. We are treated to seeing a portion of the proposal again.

Byron joins Mary onstage, and they are clearly happy to see each other. Chris jokingly asks for a fire extinguisher. They have been forced to remain separate and keep their engagement secret for three months, with only phone calls back and forth to tide them over. Chris mentions Byron had been skeptical about this process, and Byron says he came into it as an optimistic forty-year-old bass fisherman. Chris mentions how Mary wanted to leave twice, and she adds what a mistake that would have been, but she was hiding her true feelings as she was so scared.

A camera is set up in Tampa Bay, Florida watching Mary’s family react to the news. They look happy, yet stoic, and it leaves me wondering if Mary had already told them she had won, or if some type of maternal instinct had led her mother to knowing the probable outcome. Mary’s parents say that it meant so much to them to hear the proposal from Byron in Spanish. Byron says he wanted them to be a part of it. In Spanish, Mary’s mother says she is happy to add another son to the family, and Byron replies, “Hola, Mama!”

The talk switches to Byron’s Mom, Joan, in the audience. She is happy for them as well, and says she was absolutely sure Mary was the one, and says that was due to the connection she saw between them.

Byron has a surprise for Mary. He produces the box from his pocket that held Mary’s engagement ring the night he had proposed to her. I hadn’t even thought about it, but of course Mary couldn’t have been seen walking around sporting this expensive ring until their engagement was common knowledge. Byron gets down on his knee, and presents her the ring again. She shouts, “I win!” He also surprises her with the final rose. She had thought it was lost that night, but he secretly saved it and has been using it as a bookmark in his journal. He reads a passage from his journal, and it is one discussing guardian angels and citing people that have died. He believes they are the angels, and that they have brought him the message that Mary was the one. Byron’s mom is seen crying in the audience, and it’s clear she agrees.

Chris asks Byron and Mary if they have picked a date. They joke that they are going to Vegas tomorrow to elope. They seriously add there is no date, but it will be sometime in the next year. They want to be a real couple first. Asked where they will live, Mary says Byron has a one way ticket to Florida, and they will live in Tampa Bay. He says the switch won’t be too hard on his career, since his tour starts in Florida every year. Mary doesn’t seem all too ecstatic at the thought she will be a “fisher girl.”

Tanya comes out onstage alone with Chris. Byron and Mary are backstage watching. Tanya says it happened so quickly – it was only three minutes before she was back in the limo, going home alone. Chris asks why she felt played. Tanya answers that she felt misled, as they had talked of their futures together, and people only in a casual relationship don’t talk of the future together. She had been one hundred percent sure she would be the one. She adds how tough it has been to keep this a secret and go through this pain alone. From a camera in her hometown, Tanya’s mom, Peggy, says they love her, and that she is in a win-win situation, which is hard to believe after hearing Mary shout, “I win!”

Byron comes out to talk to Tanya, something she had asked for, to get some much-needed explanations. Mary is backstage and looks piiiiised. Both Tanya and Byron agree it is the most awkward situation they have ever been in. Tanya tells Byron what she is upset about. She had asked him by the limo how long he knew that Mary was the one, and Byron had told her eight to ten days. She replays their days together back, and realizes that must have been during his visit to her hometown. This is what she feels is the most hurtful, that he had already shut her out when she was opening herself and her life up to him.

Byron now doesn’t remember saying eight-to-ten days. He says he still didn’t know for sure himself back that far, and doesn’t feel he ever misled her. They chalk it up to a misunderstanding. She says now that he has explained she is okay with it. Mandy is not. Mandy is a friend of Tanya’s that Byron met on his visit to her hometown and that is now in the audience. She wants to know why he said he was probably falling in love with her. He says at the time it was all flowing so naturally, and that’s what he felt. By the end, though, he realized he loved all the things about her, but was not in love with her.

Becky, another friend of Tanya’s from Houston, is on camera along with Tanya’s family. Becky says she agrees with Mandy and wants to know how Byron could do a toast with his parents, Tanya and Peggy, “To Christmas in Texas” if he was already in love with Mary. Byron says he was toasting a potential future, a hope, as that’s all you have to go on. Mary, backstage, continues to look piiiiised.

Mary comes onstage to join Byron and Tanya. Clearly, all are very uncomfortable. Chris asks Mary how difficult it was to watch that, and she says she understands, having been in that position herself with Bob. She says her and Tanya had been very close while living in the mansion, and she tells Tanya she is an exceptionally beautiful woman inside and out, and she knows Tanya will find her Prince Charming one day. Tanya wishes them both luck.

Some questions are taken from the audience, and Bill stands up and asks Mary what her wedding colors will be. He immediately throws in an afterthought that his wife made him ask that. Mary laughs and says she has no idea.

Chris says “Now on to my favorite part of the show. I sing show tunes.” He laughs, as he explains it is actually time for them to show the outakes from this season. Byron is shown making lots of funny faces to the camera, asking for another drink, putting chap stick on, and saying he has to pee. The most funny thing he says is, “There’s something about Mary.” The next comment could only have come from Krysta, as they show Krysta discussing being with a fisherman, and she stands up and says, “Where’s my rod?”

Chris presents Byron and Mary with an engagement gift. Sabrina, Byrons’ dog, is seen sitting in a new 2005 Pontiac G6. I think Sabrina should have been part of the proposal, but that’s just me.

Seeing Byron and Mary’s love for each other leaves us hopeful for a forever bond between the two of them. However, it’s hard to look past two of Mary’s comments. The first is while waiting to see Byron that last night, and hopeful for a proposal, she doesn’t say she wants to spend the rest of her life with him, she says she is looking for her fairy tale wedding. After being proposed to on the show the second time, she says, “I win!” She had told Byron their last night together before he proposed that she wasn’t focused on winning, and it was not a game to her. And every single bachelor/bachelorette couple to come before them has said they want to take some time to be a couple first, before they get married. Somehow, it usually doesn’t end up happening. I hope in this case it does. I hope she will keep her fairy tale ending.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

Alma Gemela – The Bachelor 6, Episode 9

by LauraBelle

Byron’s mom, Joan, is a very astute woman. The first thing she notices about Byron’s two love interests, Mary and Tanya, are that they are both very secure with themselves. Both of these women are drop-dead gorgeous, so for anyone to look past that upon first notice is poignant. Secondly, she tells Byron after meeting both of the women, that they both have all the traits he is looking for in a woman, but they will take him on different paths. He just needs to decide which path he wants to travel on.

Byron opens the show by welcoming his parents to the Bachelor mansion. He tells them he is feeling good about both of these women. He is looking very forward to his parents offering him their opinion. I think those are words every parent wants to hear. I’m not likely to hear them soon from my eleven-year-old son.

Mary is still unsure what to do. Her parents were hurt badly after meeting Bachelor Bob, and then having Mary dumped shortly thereafter. She isn’t sure whether she wants to expose her parents to that pain and hurt again. They meet her in the hotel room and all three are speaking Spanish (those of us taking notes are grateful for the subtitles). Mary’s parents are of Cuban descent and don’t speak any English. Asking them if they would like to met Byron, they both just say last time hurt them so much, only because it was hard to watch Mary be in so much pain. Mary wants them to see how comfortable she and Byron are together.

Byron is saying that if Mary brings her parents, he will know she is ready for a commitment. He opens the door and finds Mary with her parents. The first thing he does is speak Spanish to them, putting them immediately at ease. Joan asks if Mary’s parents know how Byron makes a living. Mary replies that they do, because her father was a fisherman in Cuba. Mary’s mother adds some humor and says he’s too old for that now.

Mary’s dad asks the million dollar question – What are Byron’s true intentions toward Mary? Byron explains the experience has been very difficult, and that he is in it to find a woman to spend the rest of his life with. Much different than Bob who was there to bed as many women as possible. Mary’s mom says she’s happy to see Mary with such happiness, as Mary has been looking for it for such a long time.

Mary asks to borrow Joan, and takes her to the side for a private talk. She wants Joan to know her innermost feelings, things she hasn’t even shared with Byron yet. She tells Joan that she has fallen for Byron, loves him, and wants to take care of him and have a family.

Without their Mary as interpreter, Byron, his dad, and Mary’s parents are getting along just fine. Mary’s dad wants to know what kind of fishing Byron does. Byron answers in Spanish, and all laugh as they discuss how Byron kisses the fish good-bye as he sets them free. Their evening over, Mary escorts her parents back to their hotel. After he is told he’ll like meeting Tanya too, Byron’s dad says they’ll have a problem if Tanya is “just as good.”

Back at the hotel, Peggy, Tanya’s mom, shows up at Tanya’s hotel door. Her dad wasn’t able to get away from work. This is very important to Tanya, as she feels her mother is her best friend. Peggy gets a little upset initially when she finds Byron is quite a bit older at forty. Back at the mansion, Joan is glad they are meeting Tanya on a different day, so as to better differentiate between the two women. Byron tells his parents that Tanya had initially chosen Jay over him, and that he likes to tease her about it.

As Peggy and Tanya show up at the mansion, Byron’s dad says it’s so great to see this side of Byron again; they haven’t seen it in quite awhile. Tanya tells them she used to teach secondary education, but is now an elementary Special Education teacher, and would like to teach Physical Education some day. Joan notices that Tanya is very secure-looking woman.

As they explain their lifestyles to their prospective in-laws, Byron and Tanya are making good impressions. Asked about his life, Byron says he fishes on Lake Mead, and travels to Spain and Japan often for his fishing tournaments. Tanya can appreciate this lifestyle as she was raised around a beach. Asked how she’ll feel about Byron’s frequent working absences, Tanya feels she’ll adjust. Asked why Tanya is here with him now, Byron says they enjoyed a connection from the start. Byron’s dad uses the opportunity to tease Tanya about originally choosing Jay.

Joan and Tanya sneak away for a bit, and Tanya feels this is “hugely important.” Asked how she’ll feel if she gets the final rose, Tanya says she’ll feel great about it, as she is there for a purpose, and tells Joan she is falling in love with Byron. She can picture him being a dad and raising a family.

Joan’s talk with Tanya done, she asks Byron for help in the kitchen. She tells him both women are great, and he has some work cut out for him with making a decision. She advises him to examine what his life will be with the different women, and chooses one of the paths. She winds it up telling him no matter what, she and his dad will back him one hundred percent.

The next day Tanya joins Byron in his hometown of Lake Mead, Nevada to meet four of Byron’s friends – Mikey, Monica, Jason and Carrie. Tanya feels immediately comfortable with them like she does with Byron. After explaining she is in Special Education, she is asked if she can do that anywhere. Tanya adds her license extends to Colorado, so why not go somewhere else? Tanya is then asked a really tough question. What does she have over Mary. Tanya says she’s a better mach because she sees so many commonalities between her and Byron.

Monica and Tanya sneak away for a private chat and Monica doesn’t beat around the bush as she asks Tanya if it will bother her to be away from Byron so often while he is on his fishing tours. Tanya says it won’t be easy, but she’ll learn to adjust. Next, Tanya is asked if she has considered what she’ll say if Byron proposes. Tanya doesn’t hesitate as she says she would accept. Monica winds up the chat by saying if she had a picture of Byron’s perfect mate, it would be a picture of her.

Back with everyone else, Carrie asks Tanya if she thinks she and Byron are “too similar.” Tanya maintains they are very compatible. Monica says Byron is happier than she has ever seen him. By the end, Tanya feels Byron’s friends’ feelings are validation of her and Byron’s relationship.

Byron wants to spend some time alone on the water with Tanya, and they board his fishing boat. He gives her some quick lessons in fishing. Tanya says she loved seeing Byron in his natural environment, as it’s very sexy. After, they go back to his house, where he shows her his “two-boat garage.” Byron wants to share this place he values so much with Tanya. After some more time alone, Byron says it has been a long day, and winds up the evening. Again, Tanya feels this solidified everything she was feeling, yet she still has fears because of Mary.

The next day, Mary is waiting for Byron at the the beach. She says she instantly got butterflies when she saw him. Byron tells her this is Lake Mead where he won the US Open. Oddly, Mary asks how yesterday went, and Byron replies it went great. Mary seems a little upset, saying, “Oh really? But I wasn’t there.” Byron appears to shove off her feelings.

Mary and Byron go to his friends’ house, and meet up with Mikey, Monica, Jason and Carrie. Jason and Carrie are obviously Bachelor fans, as they recognize Mary right away as having been on the show before with Bob. Mary talks of how difficult it has been this time, and how twice she wanted to leave, but that Byron had convinced her to stay. Asked if she would leave Florida, she says no, because of her family.

Mike notes all the others are getting caught up in the celebrity of having a previous person from Bachelor in their midst. He takes Mary aside for some tough questions. He tells her she got so close with Bob, and is closer now, and wants to know if she is just in it to win. Mary says she is not in love with the idea of getting married, and that this is not a game to her. Mary can seem like such a wounded puppy, but she is one tough cookie when she needs to be. Asked if she would be ready to marry Byron in two weeks, she says she would be ready tomorrow. Mikey moves on to share his observations with Byron, and says that Mary let her guard down and is one hundred percent into him.

Byron and Mary board a helicopter to fly over the Grand Canyon. Mary loves that he is showing her the things that are important to his life. Byron just says Mary is so awesome, and it’s blowing him away. They move on to Byron’s house, and as they enter, Byron says, “Welcome home.” Mary likes the sound of that. She loves being introduced to his home, boat and Harley. It makes her feel like she is home already. Mary tells Byron his friends were tough on her, and asks if Byron thinks it’s a game for her. He clearly is okay with it, and says not anymore. Mary stares at Byron intently, and as he is winding up the evening, it’s clear she is looking for a little nookie.

Byron wakes up the next morning, and starts the day with Sabrina, his dog, and then journals. He knows his decision. He is definitely in love with one of the women. He runs through the qualities he sees in both women, but won’t give away any clues yet. Both women wake up fearing they will go home alone, but feeling they will be the one chosen. A jeweler visits Byron, and Byron picks out the ring he will use to propose. Mary enters the limo saying her heart is wide open, and she’ll be devastated if he chooses Tanya. Tanya is just glad she’ll know one way or the other. She believes Byron completes her.

Byron is waiting by the pool as Tanya’s limo pulls up. Traditionally this means Tanya will be on the losing end. She walks to Byron and he gushes all over at how fantastic she looks. He then tells Tanya he has so much to say. When he first noticed her by the pool, he was struck by her beauty, then found she was beautiful on the inside too. He fell hard for her after their water-car date. He loved building their futures together on the roof in Vancouver, but he has had one problem. He is not in love with her. He can’t believe he is letting a beautiful woman like her go, but he just doesn’t love her.

He walks her to the limo and she hits him with both barrels. She feels lied to and betrayed. She feels like a fool. She tells him her heart is broken, and she thought she was giving him everything. They hug good-bye, and she is driven away in the limo. Bachelor producers – she would make a great Bachelorette.

Byron now waits for Mary to arrive. He says it was awful watching Tanya’s eyes go from hope to shock and pain, but he would go through that one hundred million times for Mary. He says his feelings ring truer for Mary than they ever have before in his life.

As mary enters, she pulls his hands around her closer. He says he is so gad she didn’t leave before. He is so blessed. What he has been looking for is right here. It’s her. He has fallen in love with her. But there is one thing he can’t get past. He can’t spend another minute without her in his life. Byron drops to one knee and proposes to her in Spanish. He gives Mary the fairy tale ending she has looked for for thirty-six years. She then instructs him to hand her the final rose, and shouts out, “I love this man!”

It’s obvious why Tanya feels betrayed. Every person she saw that knew Byron personally led her to believe that she was perfect for him. Especially his friends saying if they had a picture of their idea of his perfect woman, it would be a picture of her. What is she supposed to think after that. Yet Byron’s friends or parents have no idea what type of a connection Byron himself is feeling. Byron is on a TV show aimed at giving us big drama, so is going to lead her on somewhat, and only seeing the edited bits of their time together, it’s hard for anyone else to say whether what she was feeling was true or not.

Byron followed his mother’s advice. He chose the path he wanted to see himself on. Alma Gemela is Spanish for soulmate. It was a word he was searching for while talking to Mary’s parents.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

captainD's Boot Prediction – Survivor Vanuatu, Episode 11

As Thanksgiving approaches it’s time to count all of the things we are thankful for: friends, family, and lesbian life-partners. Oddly enough, all of these will be on display Thursday on the unusual Thanksgiving Day episode of Survivor. Since the beginning of the season in early September, only three women have been voted off. Compare that to the eight men who have been voted off already and that leaves you with a very one-sided game. As everyone knows, I picked a male contestant to win this year, and all sexual preference jokes aside that means Chris should be high on my list. (Hint, Hint)

The family visit reward challenge is a favorite to many fans and this week will be no different. We finally get to learn about Leann’s donated kidney, and Ami comes out of the closet to 20 million viewers. The winner of the family Q&A will get to spend some quality time away from camp with their loved one. Since Ami’s secret is yet to be revealed on TV, I’m picking her to win. At the immunity challenge, our guests return to help guarantee 3 more days for someone. Ami again seems to be the logical choice. In a true holiday miracle, Chris, Twila, Scout, and Eliza finally decide to vote together. Since Ami has immunity they vote off the 2’nd biggest threat. LEANN SLABY.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of us Americans Thursday!!!

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

Flippant Remarks and The New Woman – Starting Over

by LauraBelle

When new women enter the Starting Over house, the plasma screen will show an empty staircase, and at the top, their goal is stated. I think it’s unfair to have their steps be totally empty. If they are in the house, if these women have even crossed the threshold, this means they have really filled their first step. They have admitted to themselves that they have a problem that needs to be addressed.

A new woman, a very bold new woman, enters the house the morning after Josie & Chloe have graduated. This is a house she has never been to before, and she does not know any of the people residing in it. Yet, there are cameras all about. She makes the choice to not knock on the door first, but just waltz right in and begin shaking hands, and introducing herself as Denise. The five housemates look at her with blank stares not knowing who she is or where she came from. Eventually she does share w/ them that she is their new housemate.

All of Denise’s roommates have learned enough during their own stays in the house to know that the multitude of luggage she has entered their home with means she has a lot of internal baggage she needs to clear from her life as well. The last woman to enter this house dragging as many suitcases was Deborah. She had so much baggage, she couldn’t admit the truth to her life coaches and left the house instead.

Rhonda and Iyanla enter to begin the first group session with Denise. As the women introduce themselves formally, adding their goals to their names, Cassie admits she is there to get her G.E.D. and hopefully reconnect to the son she gave up for adoption eighteen years before. When it is Denis’s turn to introduce herself, pictures of her life are being shown on the plasma screen. A picture of her tiny dog is shown, and she explains they “adopted” him from an animal shelter. She quickly adds a quip that maybe she should search for his real parents as well and motions towards Cassie.

God love Rhonda! She calls Denise out on this right away, calls her remarks flippant, and asks why Denis didn’t realize this would hurt Cassie. We can see the fire burning below in Iyanla as well. Denise is upfront and admits she speaks without thinking often, and that is a problem of hers.

Denise shows more pictures of her life and tells her story more fully. We learn that she has been married one year to her “Italian Stallion.” She was the baby of the family, and she, her mother and siblings endured beatings from her father. Hers wasn’t as bad as the others, she speculates, since she was the youngest. All jaws are dropping as a video clip of the inside of Denise’s apartment is shown. There is old food, garbage and clutter strewn about. Her goal will be to “clean up” her life.

Her first appointment in the house will be a meeting with Rhonda, and Denise is late. Anyone that watched the first season with Kimberlyn knows Rhonda doesn’t accept tardiness. Once at her meeting, Denise learns her very first assignment will be to clean and organize the refrigerator in the Starting Over house. By the time she is done, Cassie says that Denise cleaned it so hard she broke it.

Sommer heads to the health cub for a workout with her personal trainer, Marcus. He records her weight and charts her progress, showing her loss to have slowed a great deal. He gets Sommer to admit she doesn’t work out as much as he asks her to. Marcus is questioning her commitment. When she returns home, she is met by Rhonda, a muumuu and a one-hundred pound fat suit.

Rhonda helps Sommer into the fat suit and large dress. Rhonda wants Sommer to realize how far she has come with her weight and her self-image, since Sommer has now lost nearly one-hundred pounds. They go outside amongst the masses and Sommer has to interview people and ask for dating tips. She has a hare time approaching people wearing this suit. Once she changes out of the suit and back into her regular clothes, she realizes it’s somewhat easier for her to approach people. She now sees what Rhonda is trying to show her – how much she has progressed and learned.

It’s Cassie’s turn now to meet with Rhonda. They continue to discuss the quilt of feelings Cassie is making to deal with her fears of reconnecting with the son she gave up for adoption. Rhonda gets Cassie to see all the negative things she fears her son will think about her are the things she feels about herself. When she is worried he will be disappointed in her, that is really because she is disappointed in herself. When she fears he will be angry with her, it is really because she is angry with herself. Rhonda thinks that because of Cassie’s sobriety, she’s spent so much time focusing on the good, she hasn’t dealt with the bad. Rhonda instructs her to make a chart – one space for each of Cassie’s son’s eighteen years. Cassie will write down what she did that year, and the milestones she missed in her son’s life. She goes to Kim for help on what kids go through at different stages in their lives.

Kim answers the phone that evening, and she knows the voice on the other end, even though they haven’t spoken in five years. It’s her sister, Kelly. Kim has been trying to get ahold of Kelly to let her know she is going to visit Denver in a few days, and wants to get together. Kelly asks why she wants to see her, and Kim tells her it is because she is her sister, and she loves her. By this point, Towanda and Jennifer have joined Kim for moral support. Iyanla comes in as well, overjoyed with Kim’s news.

The next morning, Denise’s second day in the house, and she is late for Rhonda again. She’s not starting off on the right foot. Rhonda takes her to an apartment that is similar to Denise’s, but is clean. Rhonda asks if Denise feels at home, and as she relaxes, lying back on a stranger’s bed, she realizes she feels more comfortable here than in her own home. She also reveals her husband finds it difficult to be intimate with her amongst the mess. Rhonda brings in several bags of garbage and asks where Denise would like it so that the apartment resembles her own. They are dumped on the floor and spread around the tables and floors. Denise is disgusted and ashamed, and admits the mess is her way of hiding.

Denise realizes it must be very hard on her husband, and is instructed by Rhonda to call and get his exact feelings on it. As Cassie is showing Denise around the Starting Over kitchen later, Cassie points out the booze and Denise brings up how she told Rhonda she would need lots of booze to make that phone call home. Rhonda asked Denise if she self-medicates, and Denise came back with, “No, but Cassie does.” Cassie clearly doesn’t appreciate Denise making yet another flippant remark at her expense. Denise calls her husband, and finds it very difficult, as she had expected. Asked how long he would stick around living in her mess, he says, “As long as I still love you.”

The sisterhood meets again and discusses the next day’s trip to Denver for Jennifer to talk to her dad and Kim to talk with her sister. Jennifer and Kim begin to “awfulize,” and Iyanla instructs them to make lists of the ten worst things that could happen on their trip, knowing full well Kim is the queen of awfulizing. Jennifer’s list is of mundane things such as, “He might hang up on me” and “He might refuse to talk to me ever again.” Kim’s list is filled with people spontaneously combusting, being left without a limo and Iyanla and having to walk to the airport, and Kelly killing both Kim and Iyanla in a pool of blood.

Later, a new problem has popped up for Kim, one she hadn’t brought up before. She and her husband were scheduled to leave soon for a European cruise. She tells Towanda it’s non-refundable, and if she stays around, she’ll miss the cruise. Caught in a quandry, she finally talks to Iyanla, who is flabbergasted that Kim wants to chuck all her hard work for a cruise. For a person who talks of having “fierce” conversations, she was definitely giving it to Kim with both barrels.

Iyanla tells Kim she loves her, but Kim appears caught between healing and letting it all go and running away. Iyanla knows this is more about the Denver trip than the cruise. Iyanla gives Kim fifteen minutes to make up her mind. Leave now or stay. At the end of the fifteen, a weary Kim tells Iyanla you probably want to go to bed. Iyanla won’t allow her the escape, and wants an answer. This, of course, is when the show ends.

Just as Denise knew what needed help with and wanted to change when she entered the house, so did Kim. Kim entered the house knowing the cruise date, and also wishing to repair her family ties with her sister. I hope she realizes this and stays.

I welcome questions and comment at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

That Confusing Stick Shift – The Amazing Race 6, Episode 2

by LauraBelle

Reality show producers have to tow the line weekly, deciding how much, and of what they should show in previews – enough to make the viewers desire more; not too much that it ruins it for them. We walked into tonight’s show knowing that a team would be penalized for not following the rules, but it left us guessing which team it would be. If only Jonathon could be penalized for the slew of garbage that comes for his mouth.

As the teams are leaving Iceland, Hayden and Aaron are leading the pack, leaving at 4:57 a.m. Each of the teams will drive to the airport, catch a flight to Oslo, Norway, then drive thirty-five miles to an Olympic ski jump. As Kris and Jon leave, Jon says he thinks they will have an advantage over the other couples since they don’t argue. I really like this couple, so I hope this won’t be a case of famous last words.

Jonathon and Victoria leave, and he says, “This race shows you everything you don’t like about yourself.” Really, Jonathon? I thought it showed us everything we didn’t like about you! Meanwhile, Victoria feels the race will evolve their relationship to a more positive place. Something tells me Victoria’s words will be more a case of famous last words than Jon’s. Rebecca is arguing with Adam as they are looking for the airport. Adam says, “Rebecca, Honey, sit back and enjoy. Spank you.” Spank you? Last time I heard that it was coming from my eleven-year-old.

The flight proves to be an equalizer, as all the teams end up on the same fight to Oslo. As the flight arrives, all the teams scramble for their waiting cars. Jonathon starts screaming since he can’t find the cars, and Don and MJ who has found the cars and are in listening distance (I think all of Oslo was in listening distance of Jonathon) decide to duck so that Jonathon and Victoria won’t find them or most importantly, the cars.

A man from Oslo that had been on the same flight offers Lena and Kristy his son. His son knows Oslo very well, and he suggests they could use his help. Lisa and Kristy gladly accept. Is this in the rules, that an unknown person can ride in your car with you to act out as a guide? Surely this must be the act that goes on to be penalized later.

Maria and Meredith are having quite a hard time with driving this car since it’s a stick shift. For the life of me, I cannot figure why a team would go on this show with neither being proficient at driving stick. Meredith and Maria spend quite a long time at the toll booth. Maria, at the wheel, breaks before the toll booth and must not have hit the clutch or something (I don’t drive stick either). Don and Mary Jean are driving around, not finding the ski jump. Mary Jean notes that knowing they aren’t a physical threat, they were supposed to be the smarter ones. She wonders what happened.

At the ice jump the teams find a Road Block. Phil explains that previously the rules were always that only one member of each team had to do the Road Block Now, no one person on a team can do more than six blocks throughout the race. The producers must have heard the people complaining when Chip and Kim won, being that he did most of the Road Blocks. However, I have always maintained a team should be a team; let them break up the workload as they see fit. At the ice jump one member of each team needs to climb to the top of the ski jump, and then zipline to the bottom. This has Adam crying for his mommy. As he jumps off, he is screaming, “Mom, I love you!”

After they finish they need to get back in their cars and drive to Viking Village. Jonathon stops for directions, and Victoria yells at him to write it down as she knows he won’t remember. Victoria, count your blessings. He’s a man and is going so far as to at least stop and ask. As they reach Viking Village, despite Jonathon not writing the directions down, he gets his revenge by hitting Victoria in the head with the car hatch, and then asking Victoria to apologize for not trusting him with the directions.

Viking Village proves to be another equalizer, which is great news for Meredith and Maria who arrive very, very late. The teams will be divided into two teams of ten each, to race two viking ships. They will all depart at 7:00 A.M. On one team is Lori, Bolo, Rebecca, Adam, Hayden, Aaron, Kris, Jon, Kendra, and Freddy. The other team consists of Lena, Kristy, Don, Mary Jean, Gus, Hera, Jonathon, Victoria, Meredith and Maria. Bolo notes that all the “in shape” people are on one team, and the out of shape people on the other.

Bolo’s team reaches land first, and finds they need to hop in their cars once again and drive to the train station, where they will take a train to Voss. Freddy and Kendra drop part of their clue, so go back and just grab another clue. Wait … is this against the rules, grabbing two clues? We now have two choices for the rulebreaker. While driving to Voss, Meredith cries about how rude Jonathon was with his yelling. Adam is complaining about his glasses again, just as he did last week. Rebecca made him take them off on the viking ship, and now they are gone. He tells Rebecca if it happens again, he will never talk to her again. A little severe if you ask me.

Arriving at the train station, Don asks if there is a senior citizen discount. Not finding one, I wonder if there even is an AARP in other countries. Rebecca approaches Adam and says he can’t keep treating her like this; she will lose feelings for him. Women across America were applauding this one. Adam creates some good drama and puts on quite an act saying he will just jump on the train tracks right now if that’s what she wants. ‘Scuse me? Does it have to come from Rebecca? I want you to jump the the tracks. In a more tender moment that follows, he says, “I don’t want you not to love me.” He tries to hide his tender side from the camera. He must think acting tough like an ass is cool. After, Rebecca feels he is being remorseful. Oooh, Rebecca, and you were doing so well.

In Voss, the teams are met with a Detour. They will make a choice of Endurance or Accuracy. On Endurance they will roller skate with long roller blades that resemble cross country skis. For Accuracy, they will complete three Viking games of accuracy with both team members doing at least one of the three games. The games are archery, ax tossing, and Kubb which seems to be a combination of bowling, horseshoes and bocce ball played with small pieces of 2×4. Many teams go back and forth among the two choices, not being satisfied with either one.

Hayden and Aaron are attempting Endurance, with Aaron clearly having trouble staying on his ski-clad feet. Eventually he takes a huge spill and creates a heart-stopping moment as he clutches his knee. All the while Hayden is apologizing and asking him to find the humor in this. Eventually he gets up and continues on. Mary Jean is having her own troubles with the archery, reminding Don that she took archery in college, and after an entire semester, never hit the target once. Maria is also having trouble with this. Apparently, stick shifts and archery just aren’t her thing.

As they complete the challenges, many of the teams are now in the rain, and need to drive to . Don and Mary Jean finally get done and rush off. Mary Jean becomes very upset, and says, “This is not our car!” We switch to Adam and Rebecca looking frantically for their car. Don says they need to go back, and Mary Jean questions this. He says it’s the right thing to do, as basically they have just stolen. I wonder if disrupting another team’s progress is considered a rule breaker. We now have three possible choices, and it makes me want to hop in a different Dodge Caravan with my keys to see if it will start. Then again, I wonder if they leave their keys in the ignition at challenges. Once back at the three Vikings games, the two teams switch cars and head off again. Not to worry, Maria is still struggling with the archery.

The first to arrive at the pit stop of Nesheimstunet Village, are Kris and Jon, and they win an Alaskan cruise. Jonathon and Victoria arrives next with Jonathon yelling, “What’s up, Phil?” Gus and Hera, Hayden and Aaron, and Bolo and Lori arrive in third, fourth and fifth. Kendra and Freddy arrive sixth, but are told they are being penalized after picking up a second clue. They will be penalized thirty minutes, and will have to wait on the side without officially checking in, and hopefully won’ be the last team at that point. Their cars now switched, Adam and Rebecca and Don and Mary Jean place sixth and seventh. Freddy and Kendra’s thirty minutes expire, and they are now free to take eighth place.

The last position is between Lena and Kristy who are lost and Meredith and Maria who have struggled the whole time. Kristy and Lena come in ninth, and the last to arrive is Meredith and Maria who are eliminated.

CBS successfully previewed this show. They didn’t give too much away by telling us someone would be penalized as it actually seemed to be a tossup of three different teams. Yet it also made us want to stay tuned it, making us want to find out who and what happened for the penalty. The promise next week that Jonathon will blow up certainly doesn’t come as a shock, and doesn’t exactly make me want to tune in to find out what happens. Well, I’ll admit, like watching a train wreck, it does pull me in.

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

Ryan is Human After All – The Biggest Loser, Episode 5


by aurora

Last week on The Biggest Loser, both teams competed in a race up 74 flights of stairs. The Reds had an early lead, but when Lisa had a panic attack the Blues took over and won the reward. Later at the weigh-in, Maurice was the week’s biggest loser and led his Blue Team to victory, keeping the four of them safe for another week. The Red Team ended up eliminating Matt, bringing the teams even at four members each.

To kick things off this week, we get to visit with two eliminated players. First up is Dana, who says that she has completely turned herself around and is working towards a better life. We see her shopping for new clothes, and she says that it felt great. She’s going to stick with the program for the rest of her life. She’s lost a total of 20 pounds. Next we see Aaron, who says that losing weight is one of the hardest things you can do. He knows where he wants to be, and says that if you put your mind to it you can do anything. We see him with his girlfriend Sara, which will hopefully put those Olsen Twins rumours to rest. He’s lost a total of 63 pounds so far.

At the ranch, Ryan says that he’s happy to still be there. Everyone is gathered in the kitchen, and they’re amazed that a quarter of the original people are gone already. Maurice says that the Blue Team is united, but the Reds are coming apart. Lisa says that the game has intensified, and things are going to get nasty.

The next morning, Ryan and Dave have a tiff over Dave lying to the girls to get them to vote with him. Ryan calls Dave out, saying that he knows Dave has been lying and he doesn’t like it. Dave says that he only has integrity when he needs to for the purposes of the game. They battle a bit, and privately Dave says that he knows that the girls are true to him and there’s nothing Ryan can do to change that – he’s “dead”.

Bob arrives and does some yoga with his Blue Team. Gary says that he’s had asthma since he was very young, and had been taking three different medications. He’s not felt the need to take anything since he’s been here though. Good for you Gary! Kelly Mac says that she can honestly see herself doing things she never thought she could ever do, and she takes her own breath away.

Jillian shows up to find out that Matt is gone. She tells the Reds that she respects their decision, but from now on they have to focus on themselves and their progress rather than the game aspect of things. She asks Dave to start listening to her rather than copping out, and Dave says he’s in as long as the exercise doesn’t put his body in jeopardy.

Jillian ties the team together on a long rope in an effort to create team unity, and takes them on a run and hike. Dave keeps up until they get to the trail, and then he takes off on his own. Kelly M is really disappointed in Dave, and can’t decide whether he’s a negative or a positive for the team. The girls tell Ryan that he’s scoring points with them for sticking it out. After their hike, each team member (except Dave of course) says that they feel very close to their teammates now. Ryan is even crying, admitting that he told himself he wouldn’t get emotional about this, but now it’s good to know that as a team, they can do this. He thought he was destined to be “a big fat tub of goo” for the rest of his life, and now he’s starting to realize that he might just be able to do this.

In the gym, Bob is pushing the Blue Team. He wants to keep them focused, since they have to start working even harder now. Bob says that Andrea is tough, and that for her the sky is the limit. With Kelly Mac, he keeps pushing her to do things she’s never done. When Gary tells Bob that he can’t do something, that makes Bob push him even harder. And with Maurice, the progress has been great considering the first week he had to push himself just to walk around.

After their workout, Bob takes Maurice for a hike. Mo thinks that Bob is pushing him harder because the Blue Team is counting on him to keep their numbers up.

Kelly M and Lisa are outside talking about Dave, and they both agree that he’s not pulling his weight. Lisa says that the women have a lot of control and a lot of power. She points out that even though Ryan saved their butts last week, they don’t owe him anything.

Jillian is trying to prep her team for the ‘real world’, and she brings out menus from a Mexican restaurant. Each person gets to tell Jillian what they’d order, and they end up making smart choices. Lisa says that their diet is awesome because, as long as they have their little book to check on calories, they can basically eat whatever they want.

In the bedroom, the women decide that they want to be the last four people standing. Kelly Mac thinks it could be a positive, amazing experience. They all share how good they’re feeling about themselves and a little bonding takes place. Kelly M says that her goal weight is between 140 and 150, which had previously seemed unattainable but now that she’s lost 31 pounds in 5 weeks, she thinks she can do it. Lisa says that she is living proof that this can work. She’s visibly lost weight in her face, and she looks great. Kelly Mac speaks openly about her fears of physical situations. She says that it’s sad to know that she didn’t have to be afraid of the gym her whole life, but is proud that she’d finally pushing herself.

The following day, the teams get ready for their challenge. They arrive at a theater and meet up with Caroline. In front of them are two small tables and a few step-stools. Caroline tells them that what’s behind the curtain might shock them, but these are called “challenges” for a reason. The curtain is drawn to reveal piles and piles of food – pizza, bread, pastries, roasted meat – you name it. The object of the game is to make the tallest pile of food on their tables. The catch is that they can’t use their hands, only their mouths. The reward is a shopping trip to CompUSA, where each person will be given $5000 to spend on home fitness equipment.

The Red Team starts off by planning how they’re going to do this. Dave says that they need to make a solid base, and build up from there. The Blue Team just starts piling food. Maurice and Lisa are both tempted to chew and swallow the sweets, but everyone stays strong.

With ten minutes remaining, the teams are neck and neck. Kelly Mac says that her team is made up of four leaders and no one is listening to each other. They end up trying a last-ditch effort of bringing sticky foods over and piling them as high as they can, and finally try to stick a huge lollipop on a long stick in the top, but their efforts are all for naught. The Red Team’s early planning pays off and they win the reward.

The Blue Team is devastated as the Reds board a limo for their shopping spree. When they get to CompUSA, they’re greeted by the CEO who takes them to the back of the store. He tells them that there’s a bonus reward for them, and starts a video going. Their surprise is taped messages from home, loaded with encouragement and support. Dave says that hearing from his family made him realize that this is all about becoming healthier, not about “all the he-said she-said crap”. Kelly is touched by her sister’s message, and Ryan finds out that his wife has adopted a cat. Ryan’s wife also says that she loves him no matter how much he weighs, which again brings Ryan to tears. Nice to know this guy is really human after all. He’s become rather likeable now – I hope this isn’t his week to go!

The Reds arrive back at the ranch, and they fill in the rest the group about the videos. Maurice says that he’s so happy for them, but it’s such a bummer that he didn’t get the same. He’s crushed because his family is good to him and he misses them a lot. Lisa says that this is a game, and she’s not going to feel sorry for the Blue Team any more. Ryan says that he can’t stop thinking about the challenge and how they could have done it differently. Andrea gets upset, saying that he should just be grateful that they won. Dave says that Ryan should focus on working out more and keeping his mouth shut. The Blue Team is not taking all of this very well and are really put off by Ryan’s comments.

It’s weigh-in day, and Andrea says that she’s expecting huge numbers from Maurice. Gary asks Mo if he’s feeling thin today. Over at the Red side, Ryan knows that if they lose the weigh-in the girls will stick together and either he or Dave is going home. He says that he really does like the girls, and he tells them both that this has been the best week yet. Dave is threatened and says that Ryan is sucking up to the girls, and he hopes that he doesn’t have to do something about that if they lose.

Caroline welcomes everyone to the weigh-in. The losses are:

Dave – 6 pounds lost
Gary – 5 pounds
Lisa – 2 pounds
Kelly Mac – 4 pounds
Ryan – 3 pounds
Maurice – 1 pound
Kelly M – 0
Andrea – 7 pounds

The Red Team lost a total of 11 pounds, but the Blue Team lost 17. Andrea is thrilled to be the first female biggest loser, and her team rallies around her. Incidentally, they showed clips of each person from their first weigh-in on a split-screen with their current weigh-in, and the differences are remarkable for every one of them.

Facing the possibility of elimination, Dave says that tomorrow is going to be a very long day. He knows how quickly things can change, and he’s worried that something will be said or inferred that will make the girls favour Ryan over him.

The next day, Lisa says she woke up feeling completely exhausted. Jillian shows up and asks them how they did, and she gets the numbers. Dave says that his 6 pounds came up and bit Jillian in the ass. She says that she knows that next week they’ll crank things up and be victorious. She says that she feels closer to them now than she ever has, and doesn’t want to lose another one of them.

We get the usual shots of each person working out, and saying that they don’t want to leave. Ryan cries again, saying that he knows he can accomplish his goal. Lisa cries as well and says that she feels that this week has been the best ever, and she knows that no one wants to go home.

Dave sits outside with Gary and Maurice, and tells them about his tiff with Ryan. He says privately that everyone there is lying, so he doesn’t feel bad about doing it himself. Why he’s trying to get Mo and Gary on his side I’ll never know – it’s not like they have any influence on Lisa and Kelly.

Time to cut the fat. Seriously, I can’t even type that without wincing. Caroline asks Dave about all the lying going on, and Dave replies that the only thing that doesn’t lie is the scale. Ryan says that he’s become a lot more emotionally involved than he ever thought he would be.

Ryan gets to vote first, and he votes for Dave because he’s not as strong a team member as the others. Dave votes for Ryan, saying that he made a committment to the girls and he’s honouring that. Who will the girls vote for?

Kelly is next, and she explains that she wants to surround herself with strong people, so for that reason she’s voting for…Dave. Lisa is last, and she says that this is a hard thing to do since she’s become close with everyone there, but she has to play this game for herself. She also votes for Dave.

Caroline knows that Dave is dying to say something before he leaves, so she gives him that chance. He says some drivel about making promises and keeping them, which is ironic considering the little “I’ll have integrity when it’s convenient for me” speech he made earlier to Ryan. Kelly says that there are no guarantees in life, and with that Dave’s refrigerator goes dark and the team heads out.

Comments are welcome! Contact me at carrie@realityshack.com and share your thoughts.


My Flirt Break Is Over – Rebel Billionaire, Episode 3

[i]by atarus[/i]

The episode starts off with Sir Richard telling the contestants that they are going to be travelling to a game reserve in Africa, and they all cheer. It is Branson’s reserve. They arrive at the place, and are driven around in Jeeps. Gabriel says that it’s “like Jurassic Park.” Except that Jurassic Park had dinosaurs, and you’re in Africa. Mhm.

Branson informs us that their challenge is going to involve helping the community. But first! Jermaine and Sara get to meet Nelson Mandela. I’m not entirely sure why they are chosen to do this (maybe I missed that part?) but either way, the two of them get to have a chat with him. Jermaine says the experience is “completely unbelievable.”

Now we’re informed of the actual challenge. They have to improve the quality of life of Dumfries Village. Whoever’s idea is chosen by the town’s elders will become an actual project sponsored by Virgin with a budget of $200,000. The men choose Michael (who? he’s hardly been in the show up until this point) as their leader and Heather is team leader for the women. The girls are pumped, as Nicole says that the girls need to win this challenge. The guys, however, start off more organized and talk to the elders, while the girls sit around and talk to themselves. The guys organize a plan, while the girls….sit and watch the guys organize a plan. It looks like doom for the girls right off the bat.

Sara says she’s confused, all the women have different ideas. Candida says they aren’t getting anything accomplished while they are forced to watch the men breeze through their idea. The women have too many ideas. The men settle on clean water as the focus of their project, as that’s what the elders said they needed most.

It’s now time for a little romance in the making. Steve and Jessica are taking a liking to each other (although I’m surprised Steve isn’t hitting on Sara too, they both look the exact same to me). Steve says that there’s something about Jessica, and Jessica (being the woman) says it’s too early to tell anything. Branson makes fun of Steve at dinner, and the guys laugh.

Branson gives the teams the option of staying at the house and having electricity to work with, or spending the night with villagers and getting to know them well. Heather decides the women will stay in the house, and the men decide to visit the village…….and half the women join them because of a communication error. The women are really pulling together here.

The visitors to the village enjoy the native festivities, and Shawn and Michael decide to spend the night with the villagers while working on the model for the project. They get to taste the food and live like the villagers do, and Shawn has fun doing it. We then go back to the lodge, where Steve and Jessica are having a “flirt break.” Jessica tries to use her womanly wiles to get Steve to give up team information, but he won’t budge. After five minutes, Steve says he has to get back to work, and while Jessica whines and takes off her shirt (she has something on under it, wackos) in an attempt to get him to stay with her, he says he’d “rather win than flirt.” Jessica can’t believe that Steve actually would choose his team and winning the game over snuggling with her. Aww….not.

The next morning Steve, Michael, and Gabriel are sitting at the lodge table eating breakfast. All the women have left…supposedly. The three men start trash-talking the women very badly, saying they aren’t a unified group, it’s the blondes vs. the brunettes. Meanwhile, Nicole is sitting behind a couch listening in on every word and rolling her eyes. She writes little signs to the camera, saying “I can’t believe they don’t know I’m here.” Finally Jermaine walks in and sees Nicole sitting behind the couch, and Michael, incredulous, says “Was she there the whole time?” Nicole gets up and into Steve’s face, as to her he was the most cocky and arrogant, but as she leaves Steve says under his breath “It’s not my fault half your team hates you” and the guys snicker. Psht, men, who needs them?

The women come together and get some ideas going, as Nicole fuels their fire by telling them about the men’s gossip session. It’s time for the presentations to the elders. The men present their idea: a water pump with a playground so the kids can have fun while working. Steve has the idea of bringing a tennis star to the village to attract people and tourism. Shawn, however, notices the fact that one of the elders is practically asleep, so he gets more active in his presentation and wakes the elders up. He just hopes it is enough to save their idea. The women, however, are more cohesive, more active, and while they have nearly the same ideas as the guys, their presentation is much smoother and the elders enjoy it more. In the end, it’s a unanimous decision, the girls win.

Branson says that this isn’t the same group of girls from Hong Kong, they were much more organized. The guys were too cocky, and even though Steve’s idea for a tennis player was smart, the villagers had probably never heard of tennis. Nicole, in a confesional, says it was taking every ounce of strength not to get in Steve’s face and say “Ha, I told you so.”

The men meet, and Michael is faced with a tough decision, as everyone says they all performed equally. In the end, Jermaine is chosen to accompany Michael in the challenge. We are treated to a humorous portion where the driver of the Jeep and Branson banter back and forth about how leopards crush the skulls of the animals they want to eat, while Michael and Jermaine are wide-eyed. Their challenge is they have to stay up all night in the African wilderness, keep awake the entire time and keep their fire going the entire time. It’s scary, and if they let the fire go out or fall asleep, not only will they be eliminated from the game, they could be dead.

They get a walkie-talkie to communicate, and a camera to give confessionals. Branson says it will be harder on Michael since he got little sleep the night before since he stayed in the village. (To me, this entire scene is something out of Blair Witch Project: Africa) Anyway, Jermaine confesses that he’s getting a real unsettling feeling out in the open, and the two of them talk back and forth over the walkies-talkies to assuage each other’s fears. In a camera confessional, Michael talks about his dad and how much he misses him, and starts crying. Jermaine talks about how much his family means to him, and how much he misses them. The night progresses on, and on, and on, until Michael tries to radio Jermaine and gets no response. We are treated to several calls by Michael and shots of empty wilderness and lions…oh NO! Jermaine could be DINNER!

But no, the next morning comes and it’s time for elimination at the plane. Branson gives the two of them the regular spiel about their good attributes and bad ones, and then hands them the tickets. It is Jermaine that’s eliminated, because he fell asleep for an hour, and that’s just how it goes. Michael boards the plane with Sir Richard, and the plane takes off. Jermaine says that he’s grateful for the opportunity, he had no secret strategy for winning the game, he just knows that his family is proud of him and loves him.

Next time on Rebel Billionaire, the contestants are taking on a concert in London. The relationship between Steve and Jessica comes to a head, and one of the women bare all on stage (it’s a thin blonde, so it’s either Sara or Jessica.)

My e-mail is atarus33@yahoo.com. Questions, comments, complaints are all welcome. I’m personally rooting for Shawn to take this thing home, as it seems like Sir Richard has taken a liking to him anyway, and he seems like the most level-headed yet fun person of the group.

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