No Bones About It – Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 9

[i]by atarus[/i]

The after-effects of the previous tribal council are not surprising. Ami is proud of herself because “we shocked the shiznit out of the guys.” Chris, ever the level-headed strategist, says that the TC was a surprise, and that he had put too much trust in Julie and Twila. Twila says that even though Sarge gave me his word, I couldn’t trust the men. Chris says that if Julie and Twila were worried that they were at the end of their pecking order, where do they think they are at in the women’s pecking order after being away from Yasur for such a long time? (Chris has definitely become my favorite this season. I picked him from just bios as my favorite, then I wavered between Sarge and Twila as the show progressed, but I have definitely settled back to Chris, just because I think he is the best strategist of the bunch, and he’s entertaining at the same time.)

Sarge is down because he thought that Twila was sincere, and he doesn’t understand her reasoning behind voting with the women. He says that the women are all conniving, and hats off to them for fooling him. In a funny picture, we are treated to Scout getting her hippy on, and singing while doing her hair, while Sarge broods and looks generally pissed off at the world.

It’s now time for the pecking order revelation challenge! Ever since this challenge single-handedly changed the Marquesas’ boot order, Mark Burnett has used this to hopefully stir up the game. However, it has never managed to work. Maybe the Marquesas was magical.

Anyway, for this reward challenge, the winner gets a helicopter ride and a picnic with champagne and chicken wings. And we start off lighting torches. In quick succession Sarge, Chad, and Chris in that order (reveal pecking order much, ladies?) are eliminated, and the threesome heckles the women, saying “oh it’s not a women vs. men thing, is it?” Next eliminated is Eliza, who broods along with the men. Julie follows her, leaving the foursome of older women, Ami, Leann, Twila, and Scout…who happen to be that alliance from the very beginning. Anyone notice that? Julie? Eliza? Guys? No? ….Damn. Anyway, Scout and Ami are eliminated next, and it’s Leann vs. Twila. And Leann wins, and takes herself fifteen years ago. Aka Julie.

Leann says that she took Julie because she was the only one where she was unsure of where her head was at. The twosome enjoy the scenic view and the champagne and chicken wings. They talk strategy, and Leann offers Julie final 4 with her, Ami, and I believe Twila. Julie accepts. They also talk about how maybe they could get rid of Eliza over Chris. So, according to this strategy talk combined with the reward challenge, the boot order will be Sarge, Chad, Eliza, Chris, Scout, Twila, with Julie, Leann, and Ami in the final 3. Yeah, right, okay, let’s look for a major shake-up in alliances soon. All-Stars was way too predictable, the great Burnett wouldn’t hand us a boot order like that on a silver platter for this season.

Back at camp, Scout and Eliza get into an argument, Scout saying that you have to understand that the challenge was a game, and you have to take out the smartest first. Eliza is grumpy, and confesses that she was mad that it seemed like Scout and Twila specifically targetted her. Scout confesses she’s been fed up with Eliza since day two. Chris, Chad, and Sarge go out on the boat and discuss the challenge. Chris says that Scout will burn Eliza, and the threesome decide to try and sabotage Eliza’s game and get her voted out.

Next up is what I think is one of the rottenest things ever done on Survivor. While the guys are still out on the boat, Julie and Leann return and give just the ladies chicken wings. The girls are all excited and eat the chicken wings, and none of them feel guilty at all. But if that wasn’t bad enough, they decide to humiliate the guys and give them the bones of the chicken wings they just ate, and say that’s all they could bring back. How disgusting is that? I lost all respect for any of these women now. That was just…awful. Even though Chad is clueless in gameplay and Sarge turned into a grumpy ol’ fart, I highly doubt they would have subjected the women to such humiliation if they’d won.

Eliza goes to get the treemail and finds a pig. She has trouble dragging the pig to camp, so she calls on Chris to help her carry it into camp. (That’s right. All women final 6? Who’s gonna carry the pig then?) Sarge and Twila want to attack the pig with a machete, but Eliza tells them no. Sarge is disappointed that he can’t have bacon for breakfast, it was almost as big of a letdown as letting Estrogen City move into Lopevi.

The immunity challenge is a ho-hum boring puzzle challenge. The three men are eliminated right away, and Ami wins immunity. Joy.

Ami is worried she’s going to be seen as a threat since she’s already seen as a stronger woman, but she can’t let herself play badly. Sarge feels like he’s done for, but there could be a twist and Eliza could go home. Chad and Chris try to sway Scout’s vote, and Eliza talks to Leann about being paranoid of how Scout will vote. Scout knows that there is tension between her and Eliza, and she sees that Julie and Leann have gotten close lately, and she feels like the chicken wing trip could have bumped her down in the pecking order. Twila talks with Sarge, and Sarge points out honestly what he was planning on doing, and Twila feels bad. She says that she thought the guys were playing her and she screwed up when she didn’t vote with them. She respects the guys more and she let them down. Chad suddenly has a revelation that maybe if they sway Eliza instead of target her, they may have a better chance. (You can almost see the gears in his head turning, huh.) Chris has the last confessional saying that your strategies change immediately in the game, and that you have to watch what you say when you don’t have the numbers.

At Tribal Council Eliza admits that she was pissed off, and she was annoyed that she was the only woman that came to TC with her bag packed. (Isn’t that arrogance for you? I hate the women.) Sarge and Twila admit to the entire group what happened last round, with Twila not trusting the men and making a mistake even though she felt more at home with the men. Leann feels like the guys came down hard on Twila and Julie, and Chris says that the game is still going, everybody is still playing.

It’s time to vote, and the only vote we are shown is Chris’s, who votes for Sarge, saying “This isn’t a vote against you, it’s a vote for you.” Or something. Anyway, Eliza and Julie both get a vote, but Sarge is the one voted out of TC. And I’m left with two people to root for. I swear, if the final 6 is all women, I’ll scream and die.

Next time, Scout “makes her move” and Ami doesn’t fully trust the ladies. Oh, and there’s a bad storm too.

Sarge’s Final Words: He enjoyed himself, it’s another chip in his foundation, and good luck to y’all because he doesn’t want to be there when they tear each other’s heads off.

I picked after episode 2 had aired that Chris would be the winner of this game. I still stand by that notion, because I can’t bear the thought that a woman will win Survivor four times in a row. So c’mon Chris, don’t disappoint me. You said at the beginning when you said that “the men are easy to manipulate, but the women stick together.” You can break them though! Please break them! My e-mail is atarus33@yahoo.com, if you’re on your knees begging to the Survivor gods to let Chris win, e-mail me. Until next week!

Judgment Day – Starting Over, 11/11/04

by LauraBelle

We are never done learning life’s lessons, not even at sixty-three. After becoming the first graduate to leave the original Starting Over house, Maureen left with a new set of tools to develop her career as a stand-up comedian, fix her relationship with her husband Larry, and began to grieve her children who had died years earlier. A year later, after her home had been devastated by a fire and most of the contents lost, Maureen has found herself in need of a new set of tools.

As Rhonda opens the door for a group meeting, she finds the housemates in quite the festive mood. They tell her they are feeling this way after Maureen’s exciting night of stand-up the night previous. Asked what changes they have seen in Maureen, Kim says she believes Maureen has learned she can’t grieve through her comedy. Asked of their hopes for Maureen, Josie hopes she will lay down the bartending for good, and pursue comedy full time.

The conversation switches to Sommer and her lack of abilities in the romance department. Asked what her challenges are with it, Sommer’s housemates feel she’s too negative about it, and Towanda specifically feels Sommer doesn’t think she’s good enough for romance. They all feel to heal this part of her, she needs self-confidence and practice. Rhonda reveals she will be getting all this tonight during a blind date that Sommer’s housemates will be choosing for her. Some matchmakers from a dating service will meet with Sommer’s housemates to find the type of guy they feel she is looking for.

Sommer begins to get upset. On top of knowing she will be having a blind date that evening, she is also the one responsible for buying and choosing Maureen’s going away gift. She feels very overwhelmed as each of the other housemates has their own idea of what type of gift is appropriate. Rhonda advises her to choose what she feels is best for a gift, and that the picture the six housemates had taken the other day in a beautiful frame would be a great gift for Maureen.

Iyanla meets with Towanda and has brought her a heart-shaped puzzle with Towanda’s face on it. Iyanla takes the heart apart and asks what broke the heart. She answers her parents’ divorce, Tamar splitting from the group, and arguing with her father about his affair. Asked what is needed to repair her heart, she replies courage, love, trust and forgiveness. Iyanla tells her to write those four words on the backs of all the pieces, and put it back together. Later in the day, when she is done, she shares with Iyanla that she felt naked when it was done, like it was taking something off her heart. She know what is missing – she must forgive, and wants to, but doesn’t know how. Iyanla brings out the Judgment bag Towanda has been asked to carry around for several days, and says Towanda must write to her dad and apologize for judging him and her stepmother.

As Sommer leaves for shopping, the others meet with the matchmakers to discuss the type of man they feel Sommer is best suited for. Upon Sommer’s return, she tells the women the gift is wrapped and in the confessional along with two cards, as she couldn’t choose between them.

Everyone meets outside for Maureen’s going away celebration, and Rhonda and Iyanla present her with gift certificates to Linens ‘n Things, Z Gallerie, and Hunter Douglas, and a mattress from Tempur-Pedic, all to help decorate her new home. Each of her housemates leave Maureen with their hope for her life – Kim hopes for love, Towanda for joy, Jennifer for compassion, Josie for room for new things, and Sommer hopes for laughter for her. Being presented with the photo of the six of them together, Maureen feels she is ready to kickstart her life.

As the celebration draws to a close, Rhonda asks, “Why is Sommer on the floor?” Sommer had moved inside, and was laying motionless on the floor. Sommer says her stomach is upset, and all know it’s due to her blind date that evening. Maureen whispers in her ear that she’ll miss Sommer the most.

After some tender moments spent with Chloe, Maureen bids good-bye to everyone and announces she is ready to start over in her home and marriage, and this time she won’t be back.

Sommer brings Jennifer with her to work out, and shares with Marcus, her trainer, her fears over her blind date. She tells him they know she has a crush on him, and thinks the women will choose men like him. Marcus seems to be caught between embarrassment and trying to counsel Sommer.

Driving home, Sommer tells Jennifer her fears of the women choosing “a guy like Marcus.” Asked what she means, she explains she likes Italians and Hispanics, but isn’t attracted to African-American men. She has dated them in the past, but found them to be momma’s boys. Jennifer tells Sommer if they are present with an African-American man, she will do what she can to persuade the other women to choose a different man.

As Sommer goes to her room to prepare for her date, the matchmakers arrive with three attractive men they have chosen as her possible suitor – Chris, Al and Howard. Let’s hope they are seriously looking for a woman, and not just camera time like the man Brenda found herself with last year. Towanda, Josie, Jennifer and Kim begin grilling the men asking how they handle conflicts and what they see as the characteristics of an ideal woman. Al is pretty much discounted from the very beginning. Howard gives such thought-provoking answers he is referred to as Dr. Phil.

The women send the three men outside, and they adjourn to discuss the choices. There is a split camp with Towanda and Josie preferring Howard, and Jennifer and Kim preferring Chris. The problem arises when Jennifer discloses her choice is based on her earlier conversation with Sommer, but refuses to go any further. Towanda says she is talking in “code” and she gets the code. Putting up with racial discrimination all her life, she understands this to be just that. They all decide to go the safe route with Chris, and Towanda is absolutely fuming.

The women call the potential suitors in, and let the others down as they tell Chris he is the lucky one. As Jennifer brings Sommer up to meet her blind date, Jennifer says, “Now Sommer, no having sex.” Sommer says she didn’t shave her legs for that. She meets Chris, and they leave for their date.

Towanda is told Sommer’s exact reasons for not dating black men, and she is furious that Sommer would judge all black men the same. The woman who is required to carry around a judgment bag until she can let them go is furious about another having judgments that would affect her. Towanda, the woman who judged Sommer when she first walked in the house and admitted to sleeping with a married man, is mad at Sommer for judging potential men before she meets them. Towanda makes yet another judgment on Sommer, but is probably correct, when she says, “She only has a crush on Marcus who is black because it’s safe, but she considers other black men that she would have a real chance with, based solely on their race.”

Sommer and Chris have fun on their date, and she calls home to tell her housemates how well it’s going. When Towanda answers the phone and finds Sommer on the other end, she tells her to hold on, and tells Kim the phone is for Jennifer. Kim goes to get Jennifer, but finds her asleep, and gets on the phone and tells her she’s sorry, but Jennifer is asleep. Sommer explains she didn’t want to talk to Jennifer specifically, just anybody, and doesn’t understand why Towanda passed the phone off like that. Kim understands Towanda’s “code”, and declines to explain it to Sommer.

Sommer returns form her date, and ends it with a hug from Chris. With the turmoil in the house right now, it will probably be the last hug anyone in the house gets for awhile, save for Chloe.

Kim is worried that Towanda is so upset she’ll leave the house, but I am hoping Iyanla will use this to get Towanda to see all pre-judgments are wrong, no matter who is judging, who is being judged, or what the judgment is. If Maureen can learn new tools at sixty-three, Towanda is certainly capable of it at thirty-years-old.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

Always the Bridesmaid – The Apprentice 2, Episode 10


by aurora

Before we get to this week’s episode, I’d like to address the mail I’ve been getting about my reviews. It seems that if I even hint that Jennifer M isn’t the end-all be-all of human existance, people are upset. For the record, I like Jen. Really and truly, I do. Out of a whole team of women, most of them were just embarassing to the gender, and Jen stood out among them as someone who was willing to work hard and stand up for what she believes in. Having said that, anyone and everyone who appears on this show is fair game, and if I think they’ve done something worthy of a flippant comment, I’ll include it. That’s my job. But I love hearing from you! By and large, Apprentice fans send intelligent and insightful comments and that is very much appreciated. So whether you agree with me or not, I love hearing from you. Thank you!

Now, let’s get on with the task at hand…

Last week on The Apprentice, the teams were given run-down homes and asked to renovate them. Bradford, Rob, Jennifer C and Stacie J were brought back to work on the task with their former rivals. Mosaic pulled off another victory, sending Apex to the boardroom once again. Chris blurted out that his team wasn’t gelling, and he wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to lose. Raj was the project manager, and even though it had been Kevin who championed the contractor who didn’t deliver, Raj took full responsibility and ended up being fired. Can we have a moment of silence for Raj please? Nine contestants are left; who will be fired this week?

In the suite, Jen tells Andy that she hopes Ivana is the one to go. Privately she says that she thinks Ivana is disruptive and hopes she doesn’t come back. Cue Ivana, who walks in the door with Kevin. Jen is visibly disappointed that Raj is gone. Andy goes to welcome Ivana back, and says that you can’t build half a house and not have the project manager fired.

As a result of his outburst in the boardroom, Chris is the next project manager for Apex. He explains that, at the end of the day, Trump wants to see who’s strong and that’s why he put himself on the chopping block. Chris gathers the remaining members of his team and tells them that nothing about this is personal – it’s all business. He says that they all have to put up or shut up.

Over at Mosaic, there’s a mini-battle over who the next project manager will be. Kelly wants to do it, but Andy doesn’t want to be overlooked. He says that exemptions are huge at this point, and he wants to be the one to lead his team to victory. They decide to draw names, and Kelly winds up on top.

The following morning Rona calls, and Kelly is our ‘stud of the week’ once again, answering the phone in a towel. The teams are to meet with Trump at 9am at Tavern on the Green.

Tavern on the Green is a popular restaurant in Central Park, and the teams arrive to meet with Trump in the back courtyard area. George is back from his business trip, complete with a great new haircut. The Donald points out that at least once a week, a wedding is held here at Tavern on the Green. He says that he knows a little something about weddings, but one day he hopes to get it right. Their task this week is to take an empty space and turn it into a bridal boutique. Sandy, who owns a bridal shop, lights up like a Christmas tree, as does Kelly. Trump even mentions that Sandy has a huge advantage in this task, leaving Apex looking rather dejected. The teams will have four hours, from 5-9pm, to hold an exclusive sale. The winning team will be the one who brings in the most money.

Kelly is very confident, but Chris and the rest of Apex stand around awkwardly looking at one another. Chris says privately that if they can pull out a victory here it’ll be huge. They get to their store, and are very impressed with the amount of space. Chris wants to just ‘pack this place with vendors’, offering them no rent, but they have to split their profits. Sounds easy enough, no?

Meanwhile, Mosaic is plowing through their marketing plan. Or maybe I should say Sandy is plowing though, as she’s the one delegating tasks, giving out instructions, and making plans for everything. Kelly lucked out on this one, as he gets to sit back and just take credit for the whole thing.

Chris is on the phone trying to get vendors for the Apex shop, but he can’t convince even one of them to accept. He says the task is impossible, and continues to whine and complain and hold his head in his hands. No one else on the team is helping either – Kevin is flipping through bridal magazines, while Jen and Ivana sit on the floor and watch Chris talk on the phone.

Here come pearls of wisdom from Donald Trump. His message this week is to believe in yourself. He talks about having a positive attitude, but I’m distracted by the background music – it’s sort of Beatle-ish, circa Julia/The White Album. Anyway…

Sandy, Andy, and Kelly head out to the bridal shops to scrounge for inventory for their shop. Sandy asks for discontinued gowns, and the shop owners are all for it. At one of the high-end places, Andy decides to jump in and compare bridal gowns to cars, prompting Carolyn to ask, “You’ve never done this before, have you?”

Back at the suite, Wes and Maria are working on the marketing plan. Kelly calls to tell them that they’ve secured over 200 gowns so far, and that they need to pick everything up at 6:30. Wes says that the way Kelly has set things up is that he’s out with Sandy, who is a pro at this, and left Wes and Maria behind to do the marketing. So if something goes wrong, Kelly has two people to point to. I’ve noticed this before, but it bears mentioning – Wes is very well spoken. Maria gets in touch with TheKnot.com, and wrangles a deal where they will put up an advertisement on their site and send out an e-mail blitz to over 23,000 brides in New York for $1000. Nice!

Apex is still struggling, moping around doing basically nothing. Chris is still whining, so Jen suggests that they actually go to some of these stores and ask them personally for inventory. Ivana tells Chris to keep his head up, and he says that no task is eay, but this one is “friggin’ ridiculous”. Jen and Chris meet up with a few vendors, and Jen does all of the talking while Chris stands around looking bored. They end up getting a few vendors for the shop, so things are looking up.

Ivana and Kevin meet up with a vendor named Bernadette (from the Bridal Suite in Manhattan) who goes well out of her way to help them. She gives them sound advice about the industry, about advertising, and about displays. Kevin asks her if she could come and take a look at their store property, and she agrees. She provides even more input, telling them where to set up mirrors, where to put various products, and even giving them sales techniques. Look out Sandy, Apex has their own pro helping them out.

Sandy, Kelly, and Andy arrive at their store, and things get a bit ugly when Sandy realizes that their advertisement went out without a phone number for people to call to make appointments. On the phone, Maria says that she gave the advertisers the phone number, but they must have taken it out after she sent the final draft in.

Kelly and Wes go out to pick up the dresses, and Wes is driving the truck. He comes a little close to a pole and nearly takes off the side-view mirror before actually grazing a parked car. They get to the store and go to unload the gowns, only to find that the back door is jammed because the gown rack has toppled over during the accident. Their main concern? That Sandy never finds out.

Inside the shop, Sandy is working her butt off while the rest of them are playing around. Maria is holding dresses up to herself in the mirror, while the the others are browsing or hovering over Kelly and his computer. Sandy asks Kelly if she can talk to him, and voices her frustration. She’s also upset that Maria and Wes put all of their advertising eggs in one basket, with no plan B if it doesn’t work out. Kelly shares that concern, and Sandy says that she has a bad feeling about this.

Apex decides to do a marketing blitz of their own the following morning. They head out to Penn Station and Grand Central Station to hand out thousands of flyers to people passing by. They seem to think that this is going to work very well for them, as we get shots of the flyers lying in trash cans and puddles.

Sandy, Maria and Andy go over to TheKnot.com to ask if another e-mail can be sent out that includes their phone number. They’re told that the final draft of the original e-mail was approved by Maria, but they agree to send out another e-mail even though the brides may not receive it before the sale. Sandy is astonished that Maria is caught in a bold-faced lie.

Apex is busy setting things up when George arrives. He asks what else they’ve done as far as marketing goes besides handing out flyers, and Jen tells him that they have an artist ready to paint the windows for them. Kevin is optimistic that they will get some good traffic.

Five o’clock rolls around, and as Mosaic opens their doors there are at least 40 women lined up outside. Wes is working the crowd as Sandy helps the potential brides find the dresses of their dreams.

Apex also has a lineup outside the door, only theirs consists of two people. Jen says that they could have all the merchandise in the world, but if no one comes in to buy it, it doesn’t do them any good.

Sales are brisk at the Mosaic boutique, with everyone working hard to keep things moving. Kelly is ringing up sales and says that he thinks they’ve sold 16 or 17 dresses already. Andy closes up for the night, and Wes says that he feels they had an advantage having Sandy on the team, but Apex could easily have hired a bridal consultant themselves. Yes, yes, they certainly could have…

It’s time to find out the results, and the teams meet with Trump, Carolyn, and George in the boardroom. Getting right down to business, Trump asks Carolyn how Mosaic did. She says that their shop was beautiful and they showed great team work. They ended up selling 27 dresses for a profit of $12,788.94. George gets right to the point for Apex. They sold a whopping 2 dresses and made a profit of $1,060.47. Trump points out that Mosaic did 12 times the business their competitors did, and he’s impressed. For their reward, Mosaic gets to go to Graff jewellers where he bought Melania’s engagement ring, and they’re getting $50,000 as a team to buy something for themselves. Wowza, now that’s a reward!

In the suite, Chris is asleep as the camera pans in for a closeup of what he was reading when he dozed off – The Art of The Deal by Donald Trump. Jen, Ivana, and Kevin are in the kitchen lamenting the butt-kicking they just suffered, and Jen points out that Mosaic is now out spending $50,000 on diamonds.

Over at Graff Jewellers, that’s exactly what’s going on. Sandy gets to try on a $6 million diamond necklace, which she says was “blinging all over the place”. Andy decides to pick out something for his mother (aw!!), Wes selects an item for his wife, Maria gets a ring, Sandy picks up a necklace, and Kelly buys himself a watch.

Apex is preparing for the boardroom, and Chris says that he’s a straight-shooter, so if Trump is looking for someone to tell it like it is, then that’s him. Kevin is embarassed and thinks Chris needs to go. Ivana tells Jen the same thing, that Chris gave up within the first few hours and he should be leaving for that reason alone. Chris says that he’s not going down without a fight, and adds another comment that is bleeped so heavily that I honestly have no idea what he said.

In the boardroom, Trump asks Chris what happened, and Chris says, “Well, we lost”. He adds that the team came together, and when Trump says that they can’t have come together all that well, Chris corrects himself and says that their personalities came together. Ivana says that she feels that Chris gave up on the task, and Chris admits that he felt it was an impossible task. He says that the other team had an advantage in Sandy, and Carolyn cuts him off. She points out that both teams ended up with the same number of gowns, they had the same amount of store space, and Apex ended up with Bernadette who pretty much walked them through it. George jumps in as well, saying that their target market was handed to them and all they had to do was figure out how to get to that market.

Trump asks why they think Mosaic did so well, and Jen says that they had a great marketing plan set up early. Trump asks if they think that handing out flyers at Penn Station was a good idea, and when no one responds he answers it himself – it was a terrible idea. Kevin says that Chris is hard-working, but as a leader he feels that sitting down and planning is a waste of time. Kevin adds that Chris didn’t delegate anything to anyone.

Chris now gets to decide whether he’ll bring two people back or keep the entire team there. He says that out of all of them, Jen worked the hardest and she should be upstairs having dinner. Trump asks Jen who she would fire before she leaves, and she says Chris because he was the project manager and he didn’t give them any focus. Trump sends Jen upstairs and the other three into the lobby.

While they’re waiting for the results, Chris tells Ivana and Kevin that none of this is personal. They understand, but don’t understand why he’s protecting Jen. In the boardroom, Trump says they were all terrible. Carolyn adds that none of them said anything on a positive note about the entire task. Outside, Ivana says that Jen always skates by because she’s all presentation, and Kevin and Chris agree. Back in the boardroom, George says that he didn’t see any fire or any spark from any of them. Carolyn says “Send ’em home.” Wait a minute – will more than one person be fired this time? Sweet!

The three Apex members return to the boardroom, and Trump asks Chris why he let Jen go. Chris says that the others are upset about this as well, and he defends himself by saying that two vendors told him that Jen would make an excellent salesperson. Carolyn bursts out “You sold two dresses! How good can she be?!”

Trump asks Ivana what she thinks about Chris as a leader, and she responds with “Chris is really good at identifying problems, and by that I mean that he’s really good at complaining.” Trump tells Ivana that she always has the most unbelievable backhanded comments, and Carolyn asks Ivana why they see her in there so often. Ivana says that she takes a lot on her plate, and therefore ends up responsible for a lot. Kevin and Ivana both say that they would fire Chris.

Trump points out that there is more spark now, in the final minutes before execution, than there has been in the last two days. He says that last week, Chris said that this team was a mess, and then he lets Jennifer go upstairs. Frankly, he says, he might have let Jennifer go if he had had the opportunity. Even his teammates wonder what the hell is going on with Jennifer, she continues to slip under the radar. Trump can’t believe that Chris led his team so badly, so Chris is fired. Rats, I thought he was going to dismiss all three of them. How great would that be? Can you imagine what would go on in the suite, after waiting hours and hours to find out who’s returning only to get the call for the next task with none of them coming back?

In the cab ride home or to the airport or to the hotel where they all stay in seclusion until filming is completed, Chris says that he regrets exactly nothing. At the end of the day he finished in ninth place out of over a million applicants. He’s got a great wife at home and they’re expecting their first child, and he’s got a tremendous business. If he were regretting anything now that would be selfish. He thanks Trump for the learning experience, and he guarantees that he will prosper from it. Way to go Chris, that was really classy of you.

Okay Jen M fanatics, what say you this week? Do you think Trump and the rest of Apex were too hard on her? Anyone else rooting for Wes now that Raj is no longer in contention?

Comments are welcome! Contact me at carrie@realityshack.com.


It's A Giant Buddha! – Rebel Billionaire, Premiere Episode Part 2

[i]by atarus[/i]

The second part of the premiere episode starts off with Branson telling the contestants that the next assignment will be divided into two teams, the men vs. the women. Both teams need a team leader. The women choose Sara, who says if she loses her neck will be on the line again, and she wonders if it wasn’t a strategy from the women. The men want to pick Shawn because he’s been to China and speak Chinese, but he doesn’t want to, so Jermaine steps up. Branson then makes the revelation that the men’s leader will be leading the women’s team, and vice versa. Rut roh!

The challenge is called InFlight Service. The teams will have $500 and 24 hours in Hong Kong to create something that will better the Virgin airline upper class area. Steve has a bean bag pillow that he wants to use in his idea for the men’s team. Candida on the women’s team is afraid that Jermaine isn’t taking her seriously, and isn’t listening to her ideas. The plane lands, and Gabriel for the men says they were going to hit the ground running, and wanted to create a little supply kit of a mirror, fortune cookie, and bean bag pillows. The women’s team is to create a small morning-after kit. Candida is once again complaining about Jermaine, saying he’s letting Erica steamroll over the team and her ideas aren’t being acknowledged. The men’s team can’t find anything, so they decide to get some sleep. Steve feels that going to sleep without getting anything done is a bad move.

Both teams receive a note from Sir Richard about visiting the largest Buddha statue that is in Hong Kong. The men’s team decides to get work done first and not go. Jermaine thinks that it’s something Richard would do, and they should have time to go see the Buddha first and then get the task accomplished. Candida feels like it will probably cost them the mission.

In the morning, the women’s team is off to see the giant Buddha, while the men’s team is hard at work. The boat to the Buddha isn’t going as fast as promised though, and a supposed ten-minute trip takes an hour. Back with the men, Shawn runs into a kiosk in a Hong Kong mall with the bean bag pillows. They aren’t sure what shape to get the pillows so the entire team comes to look. The team gets 45 pillows within the budget, and they get the other things they are looking for, and are very proud of themselves. Meanwhile, the women’s team enjoys the Buddha, but then gets in some very unBuddha-like arguments.

Jermaine splits up the teams, and while his group finds exactly what they’re looking for, the other team is too busy arguing to find what they needed. So Jermaine’s group takes up the slack, and they find less than par items, not the ones they wanted originally, however it’s better than what the other group found. Jessica is a tad annoyed that her group had to pick up the slack. Erica and Candida obviously don’t like each other, as while Erica complains about Candida to Jermaine, Candida complains to the camera that Erica is barking orders and being rude. Jennifer says that the game is getting ugly. Sara, the men’s team leader, says her biggest concern is that they didn’t see the Buddha. Jermaine, however, says he is confident his team will win. (At this point I can’t stand Jermaine, because he has such a monotonous tone of voice, he is so dreadfully boring in his confessionals too. Him replacing Sir Richard, who is very entertaining and fun to watch, would be blasphemy.)

Back in England, Branson calls the women’s team to meet with him first. Jermaine decides to explain the kit to Branson, explaining he felt seeing the Buddha was important and it’s something that Sir Richard would do himself, and then he talks about what’s in the kit. Candida points out what I don’t like about Jermaine, that he uses too many words and he talks too slow. After it’s over, Jermaine feels he made an outstanding presenation and that the team will win. Yeah, yeah, we get it Jermaine. Now it’s the men’s team’s turn. Sara explains their kit, first the mirror that will attach to the TV to help the passengers clean up. Then they have fortune cookies with Virgin-like fortunes. Sir Richard reads one, and it says “It’s not the size of your carry-on, it’s how it fits into the bin.” (That’s not very virgin-like in my opinion, but moving on.) Then there’s the bean bag pillows (I have one of these, actually. And I agree with Steve, once you sleep on one, you’ll never want another pillow again.) with special Virgin tags on them. Branson then brings the women’s team back in, and with no real surprise, the men’s team wins.

Branson says that the more serious team had better things in their package, and that maybe if the other team hadn’t seen the Buddha, they would have done better. Jermaine now has to select somebody to go against him in a challenge, where the loser will be eliminated. Jermaine feels that Jennifer and Candida have formed an alliance to undermine his leadership. Candida speaks up and says that Erica has been acting like a prison warden. Jermaine and Candida get into a shouting match (well, more like kinda talking a little louder than normal in Jermaine’s case) and Jermaine picks Candida to face off with and then walks off, leaving Candida yelling at his back. Candida feels that she’s being used as a scapegoat by Jermaine.

Branson then tells Jermaine and Candida the challenge. They each have to stand on the wings of an airplane and pass a baton between the two planes, while in flight. Cah-razy. However, there’s a problem. Jermaine is a big guy, so he is too heavy to stand on the plane’s wings, so he has to choose a surrogate. If the surrogate fails, he will be eliminated. Not surprisingly, Jermaine chooses Erica, and it’s Erica vs. Candida, battle of the loudmouth outspoken women.

We are then treated to a random shot of Jennifer calling home. She says that even though it’s only been a week, but it’s felt like months. And then we go back to the challenge. Erica and Candida have two tries to complete the challenge. One plane will be upside-down, and the other will be right-side up. Now, the one thing that I really like about Branson is he does the challenges himself. He goes flying up on the wings of his own airplane along with Erica and Candida. Candida says that being on the wings against the wind is like fighting against an enormous weight. Erica is the one with the baton, and she is upside-down. They have 30-seconds to pass the baton, but they fail to do it on the first try. (Call me crazy here, but isn’t it in the pilot’s hands as to whether they can pass the baton? Candida and Erica are kinda strapped in and don’t have any real control over how close they are to each other. Meh, anyway.)

Jermaine is 2000% confident that Erica will pull through for him. Well, you have to admire this guy’s optimism, but it gets kind of annoying that every confessional he has is about how confident he is. On the second attempt, there is a lot of dramatic music and changing of camera angles, but Candida manages to snatch the baton and they are both safe! Until later when Branson has to eliminate one. Aw. Anyway, back on the ground, Erica says that her and Candida have had a bonding experience, and even though they had a spat, this helped them bond. (Does anybody really believe that? I give it two episodes before the two ladies are spatting and fighting again.)

It’s time for the tarmac elimination. Jermaine and Candida are left behind and Branson gives them their spiel. Branson says that Jermaine did a good job in picking Erica. He tells Candida that it’s good that she’s strong-willed, but she needs to find a balance, to talk and to listen. He then hands the tickets to Candida and Jermaine. They both open their tickets, and Candida starts crying. We then go to the plane, where the contestants are waiting to see who is chosen. Sir Richard walks in…followed by Candida…….AND Jermaine. Say what? Branson says that there’s a special situation. Jennifer has decided to go home, because she says that she isn’t going to put her life in jeopardy, and she feels like someone else shouldn’t be eliminated when she knows she’s not willing to do things and they are. (Oh, yeah, remember that 30-second bit on her missing home? Yeah, that was supposed to be forewarning that she was quitting. You know, it would have been sad, except…who was Jennifer? She was barely introduced.) Anyway, Jermaine in his monotone says that Jennifer has given him and Candida a second chance, and Branson says he’ll have his eye on Candida and Jermaine for the rest of the game. I must say that I highly doubt either is going to take home the prize.

Next episode, we see a reality TV first as Branson puts one of the contestants (it looks like Candida) in an ambulance because of his task. And Branson and somebody (a male) are going over the Victorian Falls in Africa in a barrel, the first time it’s been done.

After the two-hour premeire, I am definitely liking this show. It seems to me that each elimination will consist of a team task, and two people from the losing team will go head-to-head in an extreme challenge, and from that Branson will decide who stays and goes. It’s a unique format, like a cross between The Apprentice and Road Rules. Branson is a great guy, and a good host. Right now, from current exposure, that either Sara or Steve will take the money. Steve is my current favorite, with the “I’m going to make everyone my bitch” comment and his bean-bag pillow. Go Steve!

Comments? Questions? Wondering when exactly this show is on? E-mail me at atarus33@yahoo.com. See you next week!

Beware the Cinnamon Bun – The Biggest Loser, Episode 3


by aurora

We kick things off this week with a quick recap of episode two – both teams were shocked at the diminished weight loss during their second weigh-in. Jillian arrives to boost her army’s morale, which has suffered a beating after losing the weigh-in and subsequently team member Lizzeth. Jillian decides to shake things up a bit, because the Red team’s bodies are in shock. She wants to increase their calories with healthy foods, and decrease the workout regime just a bit. She thinks this will allow their bodies to relax a bit and let go of some more weight. I have to commend Jillian on this one – she’s exactly on the right path. The team itself is conflicted – it sounds great, but will it really work?

Bob shows up to advise his Blue team. He’s decided to stay the course and keep doing what they’re doing, except for maybe upping the workouts just a touch. Gary is struggling with an injured knee, and Bob is afraid that Gary will end up holding his team back.

Matt confesses that he’s finding the menu and the continuous workouts challenging, but he’s going to stick with it. He still feels so badly for gaining three pounds last week, it’s really impressive to me that he didn’t run for his refrigerator of food. Every time I see him I just want to give the guy a hug. Dave admits that it’s not the food or the exercise that’s getting to him – it’s the monotony of living in that house and not being able to see his family. Gary is also homesick and misses his family a great deal.

This of course is the segueway to the next challenge. Dave enters the house and finds a wrapped box and a telephone, each with signs in front of them. In front of the box, “Eat this”, and in front of the phone, “Get a Two-Minute Phone Call”. Dave brings everyone else inside to check out his discovery. The box is lifted to reveal a huge cinnamon bun dripping with frosting.

The contestants are initially focused on the pastry, but the real temptation here is the phone call. Maurice is seriously considering eating the bun just to have the chance to talk to his family, when there’s a knock at the door. There’s a basket waiting outside, which contains a note that informs them they have 15 minutes to make their decision, and the time for the phone call has been upped to ten minutes.

A few people have gone upstairs (maybe to be as far away from the bun as possible?) and are shouting encouragement to those still in the front hallway. Maurice is getting closer and closer to throwing caution to the wind, and Matt says that if the phone time is upped to 30 minutes then he’s chowing down. Right on cue, there’s another knock on the door. This time the basket contains good news – they’ve resisted temptation, and as a reward they will all get a five-minute phone call. Ryan begins to cry, and Dave cries “My God, he has emotions!” Everyone thanks Maurice for hanging tough.

The phone calls themselves are very emotional. After talking into an answering machine for at least a minute, Aaron finally get his brother-in-law on the phone and learns that he has a new niece. Ryan is overjoyed to speak to his wife, and Gary and his wife both break down in tears at the sound of the others’ voice.

After being re-energized by their families, the Red team is out for a run. Jillian wants to shake things up and give them different types of workouts, and this one is going to be a real challenge. They hike out to a vineyard where Jillian informs everyone that they will be running up a mountain. As the Reds are running, Jillian is telling them to just burst up the hill and rest when they get there. Lisa has a tough time with it (as do the others), but they all stick it out and run up and down the hill.

Upon their return to the house, there’s yet another surprise in store. A giant sign is in the front hallway which reads “Oversized Pop Stars”. Matt is all over this one – he says he lives for this stuff. But the others are scared and embarassed. Their task is to create an original song based on their own feelings towards weight loss, and then they will have to perform their song, complete with dance moves, in front of an audience. The teams split up to hash out their numbers, while Bob and Jillian tell us that this task is about the contestants pushing their limits and breaking out of their comfort zones.

The challenge takes place at Universal Studios (again), and when the teams arrive onstage the reality of what they’re about to do hits them. The seats are empty, but Caroline tells them that later on they will be full, and that the audience will be the judges deciding on who wins the task. The winning team will get a gourmet meal prepared by chef Juan Carlos Cruz, aka The Calorie Commando. The losers will have to make their own dinner, but more importantly will lose their trainer until after the next weigh-in.

It’s show-time, and the audience has arrived. Both Jillian and Bob are in attendance – gosh, I wonder who they’ll be voting for?

The Blue Crew is up first. They’ve done a rap/hip hop number which was pretty entertaining. Maurice kicks things off, and even though he’s reading his lines off a cue card, he does a great job. They all seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves.

Next up is the Red Team. Matt is fabulously decked out as Elton John, complete with sequined red jacket, matching boa, and large sunglasses. Red is also doing a rap tune, and it’s kicked off with Lisa and Kelly doing cartwheels across the stage. I’d give them the win just for that – I’ve never been co-ordinated enough to do a cartwheel without hurting myself in the process. The Red team’s performance is great, with Ryan breakdancing and a real sense of fun.

Caroline asks the audience to vote, which they do with their little electronic devices. With 77% of the vote, the Red team is declared the winner. Jillian congratulates each one of them.

As the Redds settle in for their dinner courtesy of the Calorie Commando (who has lost 70 pounds himself and knows what he’s doing), Bob pays a visit to his Blue team. He seems genuinely emotional as he tells them to push themselves in the gym without him. He knows that he’s taught them enough to do it on their own, and the only thing that worries him is that there might be one fewer Blue team member the next time he sees them. Maurice decides to lighten the mood by donning a top hat and asking Bob if it makes him look fat.

The Blue team hits the gym, and they’re working harder than ever even without Bob. The treadmills are going full tilt, while Aaron is doing a workout that he did with Bob the day before. Morale is high despite the challenge loss.

It’s weigh-in day and Jillian is pushing the Red team hard. She becomes upset when Lisa complains too much, and orders extra reps for her and her partner. Matt confesses that he’s scared about the weigh-in. After all, he gained three pounds last week and was mortified. Jillian shows that she truly is human by telling him that he’s still lost 19 pounds in two weeks, so he needs to let it go and move forward. She explains that losing weight is not a straight path, and that there will be ups and downs along the way. the main thing is to hang in there and keep pushing himself. Once again the overwhelming urge to hug Matt comes over me, and my respect for Jillian goes up a couple of notches.

The teams meet up with Caroline at the scale for the dreaded weigh-in. The air is a little tense, since no one really knows what to expect. The numbers this week are:

Lisa – 12 pounds lost!
Gary – 7 pounds
Kelly M – 10 pounds
Aaron – 7 pounds
Dave – 7 pounds
Andrea – 6 pounds
Ryan – 14 pounds
Kelly Mac – 5 pounds
Matt – 17 pounds!! (woot! Go Matt!)
Maurice – 8 pounds

The total weight loss is astounding, no matter which team you’re rooting for. But, since this is a competition, the win goes to the Red team with a total loss of 60 pounds. Maurice is disappointed and says he’s been busting his butt – he’s not sure how much harder he can work.

Back at the ranch, Kelly Mac starts packing her bags. She thinks that since she lost the least amount of weight that her team will automatically vote her out. She’s not ready to leave yet though, and discusses this with Andrea. Andrea wants to vote for Aaron, because he commented that he’s learned enough now that he thinks he could do this on his own back home.

The guys are talking about the vote as well, and they decide to vote for Kelly Mac. But Gary’s not sure – he approaches Kelly and says that it’s not sitting right with him, and that he’s not going to vote for her.

The Blue team waits to be called down for the elimination, and Aaron suggests that they all pray. No one else seems to be in the mood for prayer, so Aaron asks God for strength for all of them.

It’s time to vote, and the Blues meet with Caroline in the refrigerator room. Kelly Mac says that although she lost the least amount of weight this week, she’s not ready to go home and she deserves to stay because she is strong and determined. Maurice says that his teammates can trust him to kick things up. Caroline announces that it’s “Time to cut the fat”. (cringe)

Aaron and Andrea vote for each other. Kelly Mac also votes for Aaron, saying that her vote was completely personal since she thought he would be voting for her. Gary votes for Andrea, leaving Maurice with the deciding vote. Mo says that he’s basing his vote on this person’s potential to continue the program in the real world. He reveals his vote, and it’s for Aaron.

Aaron is stunned, and says that he’s worried about his team. He’s lost the most weight out of all of them, and thinks that the Blue team will continue to go downhill without him. Andrea calls him out, saying that he’s arrogant.

At the end of the show, we learn that Aaron has indeed stuck with the program and lost an additional 27 pounds. Well done Aaron, you’re looking great!

Comments are welcome! Contact me at carrie@realityshack.com.


With Friends Like This … – The Bachelor 6, Episode 7

by LauraBelle

Relationships that are going to last a lifetime need to have security from the get-go. A relationship begun on a reality show especially has to bide by that golden rule, as it’s tough enough to start out amongst the glare of lights and intense romantic situations, without the constant worry over where your man is and who he is with.

Byron will visit the three remaining women’s hometowns over the next few days to meet the women’s friends. First up is Tanya’s hometown of Plano, Texas with four of her girlfriends. I have double-checked the location of Plano, Texas twice, as a reader alerted me after last week’s recap that I had mistakenly put Whistler in Colorado instead of Canada in last week’s recap. This time I KNOW they are in Texas, and will take less capricious notes from hereon out.

Byron is excited to see Tanya in her natural environment, as he feels she has been holding back emotionally. He is quite surprised to see her full of contentment and with a sparkle to her. Tanya’s friends fill Byron up with questions such as how far away he lives from Las Vegas, and if he needs some type of corporate sponsor with his professional fishing gig, and then all are off to do some mechanical bull riding. I wondered if they would chance upon John K., the mechanical bull operator recently booted from Survivor.

After the bull-riding, Tanya and Byron spend some time alone at her home. We find that after the next rose ceremony, the parents of Byron and the two remaining women will be meeting up at the mansion. Tanya discloses if she survives the next rose ceremony, her dad won’t be able to make it due to work commitments, but her mother and possibly sister will be there. As their date concludes, Byron admits he could see developing a long-lasting relationship with Tanya.

Byron’s next date find him in Tampa, Florida, hitting a baseball around with Mary. After, they meet up at the home of two of Mary’s friends, Mark and Lisa, who are married with two kids. When asked how she met them, Mary admits to Byron she used to date Mark. Mary’s fears of Byron being interrogated are confirmed, with Byron being asked if he would consider moving across country to Tampa to be with Mary should he choose her, and Mary is asked why she is doing The Bachelor again after she was hurt so badly by Bob the last time. She replies she felt drawn to try it again, and Byron somehow shimmies out of his question.

Lori and Mary talk privately and Lori says she felt Byron was real, and feels that’s a good thing since Mary is a free spirit and needs someone to help her keep her feet on the ground. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound like a real good friend to say that – then again, it’s not just her friend, but the wife of her ex. Byron and Mark talk privately as well, and Mark feels Byron is right for Mary since they are both outdoorsy and adventurous.

As Mary takes Byron back to her house, she feels it is a huge step, as that’s one step closer to her. She tells Byron if she gets a rose at the next ceremony, she isn’t sure if she will invite her parents to the mansion or not. They were hurt considerably after they met Bob, who dumped her ceremoniously one show later. Byron asks the perfect question, wanting to know why he should have to continue to pay a price for Bob’s mistakes. Mary tells him, as cautious as she is with her heart, she’s even more so with her parents’. Regardless, I can’t see introducing a new beau to my ex-boyfriend before I introduced him to my parents.

The last location Byron visits is Hermosa Beach, California, Cindy’s hometown. As they sit on the beach, Cindy asks Byron if he doesn’t just love this place, and she seems to feel lucky, saying it’s her backyard. Byron admits it’s different with Cindy, as they laugh together and enjoy each other so much.

Cindy’s friends, Bill and Tamara, join them on the beach. Bill and Cindy get into an odd banter over him admitting to not speaking to her before when he didn’t like the age difference of one year of a previous boyfriend of hers. There is nothing not odd about this conversation, as it just sets you on edge. Bill and Byron talk privately, and Cindy and Tamara do as well, with Cindy once again admitting to her stress over the other girls on the show. I can’t help but notice Tamara is wearing a cowboy hat not unlike the one just seen on America’s Next Top Model that the models were panned for adding to their wardrobe.

Cindy takes Byron to dinner, and they are standing outside Element Bar and Grill, which Byron notes appears closed. Cindy admits it’s okay for them to enter anyway as she owns this bar along with ten other investors, and they are rehabbing it, with hopes of opening it soon. Byron loves seeing Cindy’s passion and enthusiasm for her project. She has to take the conversation to other women once again, and asks him not to give her a rose if he doesn’t see a future with her. She then presses further, and asks if he has the same feelings for Tanya and Mary, and Byron refuses to discuss this. Cindy admits later to never feeling like this before. Byron says they have a lot of chemistry, but it’s hard to feel so strongly about three different women at the same time.

The next evening, all arrive back at the mansion in separate limos. The women enter, all holding hands. Byron has his first last chance talk with Mary. He knows she is still holding back, and wants her to see the past is done. They speak of whether her parents will be invited to the mansion or not, should Mary get a rose tonight, and Mary says she still hasn’t made her mind up. Byron says again he feels he is paying a price for Bob. Mary says it has nothing to do with him.

Cindy walks out to talk with Byron, and her dress looks like she has those noodle things from a car wash hanging from it. They swing back and forth the same way. Cindy apologizes off the bat for coming down so hard on Byron about the other women the day before. He says it’s okay, as she was just asking questions since she is emotionally immersed, but you can tell he is less than convinced by her apology.

Tanya walks out for her last chance talk in a dress that also looks like it has car wash noodles. Although hers are thicker, and must be meant to scrub, Cindy’s to rinse. Byron asks if she is still holding back, and she tells him she is sure she is, but not consciously. She tells him she is absolutely crazy about him. This seems to be exactly what he has been waiting to hear all along.

At the rose ceremony, Byron says he is looking for the rare combination of beauty, heart, compassion and kindness. He has to be true to his heart; he’s looking for his soulmate. His first rose goes to Mary, who does not look joyful. Tanya sighs, and Cindy looks confident. The second rose goes to Tanya, and Cindy looks absolutely crushed.

Byron says even though she was fun and kooky, he couldn’t see developing a relationship based on that with Cindy. She says she is bummed she was wrong about his feelings for her. She doesn’t see it, but her mistakes began the previous week when they had a lot of physical sparks, but she grilled him mercilessly bout his ex-wife. Seems like all too often the girl who connects physically, meaning they probably slept together on the fantasy date, doesn’t win his heart in the end.

Tonight it seemed Byron best connected with Mary, had less problems with Tanya, and the most fun with Cindy. Yet the fun becomes less fun with constant berating over other women. The question for the finale will be whether Byron chooses his best connection or the one that he has endured less problems with. We have to wait two weeks for Byron’s decision, though, as next week is the Women Tell All episode. I can’t wait to see the sparks fly with Jayne and the others.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

Tarantulas, Attitudes and Toodles – ANTM Episode 7

by Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos

This episode started with Tyra talking to her mama about her concerns with Cassie and her eating disorder. Tyra’s mom gave her some good advice — you can’t help everyone. Sometimes, they have to want to help themselves.

Then, we cut to the girls ruminating over the critiques that they’ve received thus far. Toccara seems to have been affected the most. She’s not her shining self. It’s sad that criticism has dampened her spirits. The thing I loved most about her (and there are many things to love about Miss Toccara) was her smile. She can light up a room. She’s a star.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so. For the 4th week in a row, Miss T was voted “Cover Girl of the Week” by the audience.

The first challenge of the day had the girls working with a stylist, a publicist and an image consultant. The stylist tore apart the girls’ closets and their personal style.

Here were some of her critiques:

* Amanda — you’re clothes look cheap
* Yaya — you’re too African. Too earth-mother type. Get some color.
* Toccara — you don’t have any dresses or skirts. You need some personal style.
* Norelle — too girlish, too youthful.
* Anne — you just don’t care what you wear, do you?

Then, the publicist and the image consultant gave the women some feedback on how to present themselves and handle the media.

Note about Yaya: She tells the gentlemen that she feels she can talk with anyone because she’s an Ivy League graduate.

They reply: acting like a know-it-all can certainly paint you in a negative light. You go, guys. Miss Y, we know yous smart and stuff but kin yah stop akting like u’s all that. (I have an IVY LEAGUE Education too. You went to Brown, girl. It’s barely Ivy League, okay. Eu falou portugues tambem. Hablo espanol. Io parlo italiano…but I don’t play it like you do!)

Toccara asked if she’d be able to break down boundaries and the image consultant told her that she should be able to have a long career in this industry. There’s a place for her.

Amanda was told that she could be an inspiration to other people in her situation. (Legally blind). I’m so glad that she’s chosen not to make it an issue, aren’t y’all? My momma’s legally blind too. I’ll ask her if she ever wanted to be a model.

They eat dinner at a restaurant and Anne is like…it’s so weird just having 7 girls left. Then, Miss Tyra comes in and talks to them. She tells them that they’re lucky to be privy to the critiques because usually this is the kind of stuff that gets said about a girl behind her back. It’s a luxury and they need to think of it that way.

Toccara asks Tyra if she has a shot. Tyra tells her yes, but you are breaking down barriers and you have to be better than the rest to get the same recognition. Basically, more work for the same or less benefit. It’s a harsh reality, but true.

Later on they have a competition in which they have to scrounge around “Century 21”, which apparently is more than just a real estate agency. In New York, it’s a discount department store where you can get a lot of designer duds cheap.

Toccara was a little hard-pressed to find clothes in her size. I think it made her feel worse about her position in the industry. Eva did help Toccara with her dress and made her feel a little better. Miss Eva the Diva has more layers to her than the other girls give her credit for.

The girls take their wares (a complete outfit) to a competition in which they pretend to walk the red carpet and answer a reporter’s questions. Most of the girls know not to name names. Norelle mentions that she doesn’t get along with Yaya. Then, she tells Yaya that she said that.

For some reason, the reporter told Yaya that she acted too diva and then said she won the competition. Eva wasn’t the only one confused with that outcome. Oh well. Yaya chose to share her reward with Norelle to ‘build a bridge’.

They ate dinner and talked. Yippee!

The next day was the photo shoot…with a tarantula. Eva is deathly afraid of tarantulas. She cried but she pulled it through and had a beautiful shot.

In the end, Toccara went home. The judges noted that she seemed to be devoid of life and may have given up on herself. They let Anne stay. I don’t agree with the decision, but hey, I’m not on the panel.

——So what do you think about Toccara’s ouster? Do you think it was unfair too? Email me at panndyra@realityshack.com. We’ll dish.

captainD's Boot Prediction – Survivor Vanuatu, Episode 9

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day! That has been my motto the past few weeks as your favorite prognosticator has stumbled on hard times. Rory gone and Julie in a power position? Who’d a thunk it? Thankfully in Survivor there is always next week (except for when they air those stupid recap episodes). As a great football coach once said, when things aren’t going your way it’s time to drop back 15 yards and punt.

Unfortunately for me, the great comeback will have to overlap the hardest week to predict so far. The reward challenge is designed to sniff out any alliances so expect everyone’s buddy Scout to possibly have an advantage. The immunity challenge appears to be another puzzle and no footage has been shown so your guess is as good as mine. I’ll take Chris. At an unpredictable tribal council, the womens alliance will stay strong and the first member of the jury will be…LEA “Sarge” MASTERS.

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

Tea at 10,000 Feet – Rebel Billionaire, Premeire Episode Part 1

[i]by atarus[/i]

Welcome to The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best. Sir Richard Branson is the billionaire in charge for this show. As I watched The Benefactor and did columns for that, I think it will be interesting to compare these two shows. Anyway, it is revealed that while the contestants think they are competing for a job for Sir Richard Branson, they are actually competing for the biggest prize in reality TV history: Branson’s job. That’s right, they are going to take over the Virgin empire…they will become the next billionaire. That’s some heavy stuff right there. We are then treated to the intro scene, using Live and Let Die as the theme music. Which is a very good choice, in my opinion.

The adventure starts off in England at Branson’s estate. Branson says that this will be a new adventure and challenge for him as well as the contestants. The contestants arrive in groups to the mansion in separate taxi cabs. Or so they think. The taxi driver is actually Branson, which is revealed as he takes off his mask a la Mission: Impossible to his pretty flight attendants, Georgia and Frankie. Branson says that he wanted to get a real sense of who the contestants are, he asked them questions in the car ride and evaluated them, and based on the cab ride, two of them will be eliminated immediately. (It really seems like this immediate elimination thing has gotten to be a trend in reality shows lately…honestly I don’t like it much.)

We get our first set of confessionals, as we see the contestants watching a limo pull up to the estate. Nicole says she’s kind of nervous, Sara says she’s a CEO of her company, and she thinks this will be a humbling experience. Tim says this is a great chance to see what he can do. Spencer says that he’s young, hungry, greedy, and motivated. Steve says, and I quote. “I will make every one of them my bitch.” I like this guy already.

They are watching the limo, and as the limo door opens, a Donald Trump lookalike steps out, and the contestants laugh. A regular taxi cab then pulls up, and Branson steps out of that. As the contestants are giddily having a drink, Branson drops the bombshell…he was the taxi driver, and based on first impressions, he’s eliminating two people right there. Steve is shocked and nervous, says that they’ve only been there for 30 minutes and two people are leaving already. Branson states that three people gave him bad impressions. He says Aisha didn’t come realizing what the challenge was all about, apparently he didn’t like the fact that she compared herself to J.Lo. Shawn was with two ladies and yet he didn’t help them or the taxi driver pack the bags into the cab, and he was a bit cocky for Branson’s tastes. Finally, Spencer was rude to the taxi driver, and Branson says he wants the person that is taking over his company to be warm to people like taxi drivers.

After a brief dramatic montage complete with dramatic music, Branson eliminates Aisha and Spencer. Spencer looks disgusted, and Aisha starts crying. She tells Branson that she’s a businesswoman and she sacrificed her husband and son to be here. Branson says that now she’ll be able to go back and be with them. Branson privately says that as much as Aisha and Spencer would be good employees, they couldn’t run his company, and that’s what this is about. He tells everyone left that 4 AM the next morning, seven of them will be doing something. Shawn says he’s been given a second chance, and he’s going to give the next challenge his all.

3:30 AM, the flight attendants show up (hot uniforms too, rawr) and the 14 contestants go outside….to see a huge hot air balloon. Sara says that she enjoys being on the ground, so she’s a bit scared of what might happen. Jermaine says that you have to mentally have your game on, and Heather says she was about to simultaneously pee in her pants and throw up. Gabriel says they were all expecting a hot air balloon at some point, but not this early. Sara is afraid of heights, and Jennifer says she’ll throw up if she has to participate. Branson reveals that the people selected will have to cross between two balloons at ten thousand feet. Jeeeebus. Branson divides the group into two, 7 are safe, the other 7 he wants to take a closer look at. Sam is convinced that Branson is dividing the groups up because he wants to see certain qualities brought out from certain people. Shawn is made the leader of the flight group because of his almost-elimination in the taxi cab driver challenge.

Branson makes it known that Shawn will choose the order of people that come across. It will reveal first impressions of people, and that it’s best for them not to be chosen last, and they have to get the entire team from one balloon to the other before they separate. Sara tells the group that she is afraid of heights, and she should go first because the longer she waits, the more time it will take her and the more likely it is she’ll lock up. Branson is convinced that participating in extreme physical challenges will prove that people can be successful in the field.

Shawn decides to cross between balloons first. If it isn’t all that bad, he’ll choose Sara to come across after him. If he thinks it’s scary, he’ll choose Michael. He looks down as he’s about to cross and says “it’s the team vs. Sara vs. me.” They have 15 minutes to get across totally. Branson says “go!” and Shawn starts to go. He gets across, and with a lot more dramatic music, Shawn chooses Michael instead of Sara. Michael says that he wasn’t afraid, but as soon as he looked down he thought “Wow, this is crazy.” He makes it across fast though, and he chooses Erica. Erica, Nicole, and Jessica all make it across fast. Sara is feeling betrayed, being left alone in the balloon as Tim goes next. However, he hits the safety wire twice, and has to go back. It’s Sara’s turn. Her heart is racing and she knows the team is low on time. However, she hits the wire twice unconsciously as well. Tim and Sara are left on the balloon as the other balloon breaks apart and goes back to land. Branson then tells Tim and Sara they’re going to go with him to the top of the balloon and have a tea party, if they don’t make it up to the top, they will be eliminated from the game. If they both make it, he will choose between them. He then proceeds to go out on the ladder first and climb up: he doesn’t want to fail in front of the two younger participants. He feels exhausted after the climb, and is afraid Sara won’t be able to do it. (Now this is a reality show host…he does the challenges himself. Let’s see Probst pull that off!)

On the ground, Shawn is worried that Sir Branson won’t like his decision. He says that his job was to get as many people across as possible, and Sara would have hindered that, but now he is second-guessing his decision. Back in the air, Tim makes it up the climb with no problem. Sara, on the other hand, is taking longer. Upwards of 40 minutes pass before she finally reaches the top of the balloon, exhausted but thrilled at the same time. She’s so excited, she forgets where she is….on top of a balloon, and her leg goes straight through the balloon, and she nearly falls to her death. Holy crap. But this is a reality show, it’s okay! Branson and Tim and Sara clink glasses and have tea on the balloon. Branson says they must be the first people to have tea on a balloon. Tim says he’s not going to spend time worrying about tomorrow, he wants to enjoy the experience. Sara says she doesn’t envy her host’s decision at all.

Sir Richard says that the decision between Tim and Sara will be very difficult. Back on the ground, in a cab, Tim talks about how he argued a case in front of the Supreme Court. Sara laughs and says “Gee Tim, all I do is make people’s butts look better.” As Tim and Sara recount their story to the others, Shawn private confesses that he is rethinking his leadership. He is afraid Sara might feel betrayed, and he feels badly that she took one for the team, and will feel even worse if she ends up going home.

We now get treated to the corny catch-phrase of this particular reality TV show. “The airplane has been fueled, it is time to go, a decision has to be made.” Twelve contestants get on the plane, but Sara and Tim face Branson. Branson says that maybe Shawn was a bit Machiavellian in his nature of putting Tim and Sara last, as they are both strong players that could make it all the way. He says Tim is bright, and Sara is a real entrepeneur. Branson gives the tickets out, one is with him for the plane trip, the other is back home to America. It then goes to inside the plane, Sam says they are anxiously waiting to see who is eliminated. Shawn feels bad because the person leaving is his fault, and it is on his shoulders. Branson walks in, and who is following him? Sara. Candida says that Sara definitely deserves to stay, as she is strong. Tim is left standing on the tarmac, and he says that he wouldn’t change a single thing about the experience. He’d do it again in a heartbeat, and he’s so thrilled to have been a part of it.

Back on the plane, Branson tells them that they will be headed to Hong Kong next, and pops a champagne bottle…..

And the second part of the premiere will be covered in the second part of my column! Stay tuned!

Liar Liar, Fancy Pants on Fire – $25 Million Dollar Hoax, Episode 1


by aurora

Chrissy Sanford is a sweet, All-American girl who looks like a Barbie-doll. She has a large, loving family who supports her in everything she does. But now, with the help of NBC, she’s about to pull off the biggest hoax in television history. (Obviously the folks who wrote the voiceover bit hadn’t seen Ashlee Simpson on Saturday Night Live.)

Chrissy is in a limo, dressed to the nines, heading to the ‘middle of nowhere’. The car stops and she steps out into the darkness, and approaches a giant wheel (think prize wheel from The Price is Right). The wheel is spinning, and stops at $25,000,000. From behind the wheel steps our creepy-looking host, George Gray. George tells Chrissy that she’s agreed to participate in a hoax, but has no idea what exactly that hoax is all about. Right. He explains that the hoax involves Chrissy winning a fake 5-million dollar prize in an internet lottery, and she’s going to have to spend it all in five days – on herself. She can’t buy a single item for any one of her family members. After the five days of hilarity, Chrissy will then have to spin the money wheel, which will land on $25,000,000. Her family will think that she’s won that huge sum of cash, and just when they are at the peak of their excitement for her, she’ll have to come clean and tell them it was all a joke.

If Chrissy can pull this off, she and her family will win $400,000 worth of prizes. Not cash, prizes. What these prizes are exactly no one knows. There are few rules to the game, but if any of them are broken the ruse is off and the mystery prizes forfeited. No one can find out that this is all a hoax. Also, every family member must be present and cheering for Chrissy at the big wheel spin at the end. If even one person is missing, the prizes are gone and a NBC is stuck with hours and hours of useless footage.

George asks Chrissy if she’s up for the hoax, and she takes what seems like 25 minutes to think it over. Of course she agrees, and George proclaims that the hoax has begun.

Back at home, Chrissy’s family is milling about as a limo pulls up. There are lots of balloons and a giant check made out to Christine Sanford, in the amount of 5 million dollars. At this point I asked out loud, “What’s next, Ed McMahon?” Indeed, the man in the limo is none other than Ed McMahon. He takes the clown-check and heads up the driveway, saying that he’s looking for Christine Sanford. Chrissy’s parents are so excited they don’t know what to do, and five of her six brothers come out of the house looking confused. Chrissy is surprised that there’s such a production – apparently no one informed her that Ed would be making an appearance.

Ed announces that Chrissy has won at least $5 million from a website called TheBigWin.net (which we are told doesn’t actually exist), and now has a chance to win up to $50 million. He asks each family member what they would like with all that cash, and the answers run from Dad’s retirement to a computer to a guitar. Dad asks Chrissy if she can now pay back the money he lent her to pay for college, and she begins to realize that this might not be as easy as she thought.

Holly, who is one of the brothers’ girlfriends, says that she was so overwhelmed that she cried. Another brother says the situation is ‘sweet’. Not sweet like aw, how sweet, but sweet like sa-weet! David, yet another brother, is away on a business trip, so Mom calls him and tells him that Ed McMahon is there and that his sister is a millionaire. David wants to book the first flight back home after talking to Ed on the phone.

After champagne and some photo-ops, the Sanfords are whisked away to a luxury resort in Palm Springs. The family is very impressed with the private jet they’re travelling in, and they start asking Chrissy if they can all travel like this from now on. In the limo on the way to the resort, Dad says that he can’t get over the fact that there’s wine, champagne, and bottled water at their disposal everywhere they go. As the voiceover man says, Chrissy is now dragging her family deeper and deeper into the hoax.

At the resort, the whole family is incredibly excited at the thought of everyone having their own rooms. With such a large family, this has never happened before on a vacation. Chrissy’s parents are in a dream-like state at the thought of having an entire room to themselves for five days. At least they’re getting something good out of this whole experience, because I guarantee it’s going to get worse for them real soon.

Chrissy’s suite is bigger than most apartments I’ve been in. There are gorgeous rooms with luxurious furniture, a huge bathroom, and fresh flowers everywhere. There’s also a big spread of food laid out, along with wine and champagne. Dad dives into the wine (as would I), and pronounces it the ‘nectar of the Gods’. Sneak a few bottles into your own room Dad; you’re going to need it!

Chrissy is suddenly exhausted, saying that she feels like she just ran a marathon. The rest of the family heads back to their rooms, with Dad saying on the way out that he’s afraid that when he wakes up he’ll find out this will all have been a dream. Poor Mom and Dad. I just wanted to jump through the screen and hug them – they seem like such sweet people.

The next morning, Chrissy gets her first task – go shopping with Mom and Holly. I’m not sure if Chrissy is told by the fake lottery people what her tasks are, or if she decides on these things herself. I’d assume she’s following orders though, because the woman working at the shop they go to is in on the plan. She’s going to help Chrissy spend as much money as possible. Just as an aside, if you’re wanting to blow as much cash as you can in one place, clothing probably isn’t the best route to this end. Then again I’m just the recapper.

The woman at the boutique has a small task herself – insult the family and help Chrissy become a stuck-up snob. I don’t recall George telling Chrissy that she had to make things harder for herself by becoming nasty to the people she loves, but then again that opening sequence must have been reshot a few dozen times and edited even more.

Anyway, Chrissy begins trying on outfits that look like a cross between Paris Hilton and your local call-girl’s wardrobe. As Chrissy is enjoying her one-woman fashion show, the saleslady works on Holly. She asks Holly what she does for a living, and Holly says she’s an accountant. The disgust on the saleswoman’s face as she repeats, “You’re an accountant?” is just dripping. When Holly adds that she’s also a country singer, this woman shoots back “A country singer? People still sing country?”

In private, Holly confesses that she wanted to tell this woman to shove her clothes up her butt, but she was playing nice to support Chrissy. Mom is uncomfortable, but she keeps up the happy charade for her daughter. The saleslady insults Mom’s hair, and when Mom tells Chrissy not to spend all of her money on clothes, Chrissy says “It’s my money!”

Chrissy decides to take the whole lot of items she’s tried on, and the bill comes to a little over $16,000. On the way out, the saleswoman tells Chrissy to look her up the next time she’s in town and they’ll go shopping together, and Chrissy agrees, adding that they’ll shop “without the Walmart and Target girls”, motioning to her Mom and Holly. If I ever said anything like that in front of my own mother I’d be missing several of my teeth, but I digress.

On the way back to the resort, Mom and Holly commiserate over the changes in Chrissy. Mom says that Chrissy is entering a whole new world now, but Holly wants to tells that saleswoman to take her clothes and shove them, she’s going to Target.

It’s time for the men to get in on a little of the shopping frenzy, and what better place to take a group of guys shopping than a car dealership? Chrissy can’t decide between a Hummer and a convertible Cadillac. Dad is gaga over the Caddy, and says that his daughter would look great in it – or he would. (Side note to Dad – if I ever won $25 million, I’d but you the Cadillac just for having to go through this.)

Car salesman Dan arrives to help Chrissy spend as much money as possible – he’s in on the hoax as well. Chrissy announces that she’s just won $5 million, and wants a new car. The men are all slack-jawed; you don’t tell a car salesman that you’ve got millions to spend!

Chrissy decides to test-drive the Hummer, and gets to go on a special “Hummer Test Track” that’s set up behind the dealership. It looks pretty cool, and the men are all jealous that she gets to go by herself. Back from the test-drive, Chrissy announces that she’ll take it. As Dad is looking at the interior, his daughter offers to take him out to look at used Cadillacs. The brothers are again astounded that their sister could be so rude.

Inside, Chrissy needs to talk to the dealer to decide on the upgrades and extras for her new wheels. She asks one of her brothers to help her out, and on the way to the office Chrissy asks, “You hate me now, don’t you?” His reply: yes.

Of course Dealer Dan sells Chrissy all of the available add-ons, and the total bill for her car comes to an astounding $81,159.60. Dad is a little upset that he’s gotten nothing out of the deal, but he hides his disappointment from Chrissy. For her part, Chrissy says that she’s offended her mother, made Holly cry, dissed her brothers, and taunted her father, all while spending almost $100,000 on herself. She’s not feeling very good about the whole thing and hopes that they will all be able to forgive her. After all, she signed up for this, not them.

At the resort, Mom and Dad discuss the Hummer. Mom says that they should see all the beautiful clothes Chrissy bought – now this is a supportive mom, even if she is repressing things a bit too much.

It’s now time for a family dinner, “millionaire style” (whatever that means). The family gathers around the table to eat, but Chrissy isn’t there. She’s up in her room crying, and has asked to speak to the producers. She’s not sure if this is all worth it, playing on her family’s love and trust. She knows that her Dad would never do this to her, yet she’s doing it to him. We go to commercial as the voiceover man asks if this will be the end of the hoax. With two more episodes left, it’s going to be pretty tough if Chrissy comes clean.

Chrissy gets more confessional time, saying that she’s already come this far and her family would be more disappointed with her if she quit halfway through than they will be at the end. This is called skewed logic, but it worked. She’s going to tough it out and see what the next day brings. Meanwhile, her family has finished dinner without her.

Next week on the redundantly-titled $25 Million Dollar Hoax, there’s more shopping, more taunting, and more spending. Chrissy charters a jet, gets a makeover, and goes to a recording studio. And we get to feel even worse for her family.

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


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