The First Live Show – The X-Factor, 23rd October

by Luke

As the X-Factor went live for the very first time last Saturday the tension was
high as the nine acts left in the competition would face the public vote and one
of them have to leave the show. However, there was a twist in store. While the
format of the live shows is very similar to “Idol” extra elements have been added
in to make sure the show is updated with a fantastic looking studio and much
more emphasis on the judges.

As the show started, presenter Kate Thornton introduced judges Sharon
Osbourne, Louis Walsh, and Simon Cowell (living upto his image by being booed)
as they came on the main stage rather than already being seated. Each judge
introduced their own acts and had chosen who would play in which part of the
show. After each act had performed they also came back on stage to receive the
other judges feedback and give their own. This is where it got interesting, for
the first time the judges on an “Idol” type show are effectively managers for the
acts in their category and are openly biased. This led to plenty of fireworks as
where sometimes the performers are too shy to answer back, the judges
certainly weren’t and things got very heated.

Voices With Soul – There was a shock in store for previous doubters of this black
female vocal group as they opened the show with a great new look which really
suited them. They sang “Aint No Mountain High Enough” and really won over all
the judges.

Verity – The nervous singing teacher sang a slightly out of tune “I Will Always
Love You”. It was made even worse when Louis implied she didn’t have much
talent and there there were no housewives in the charts. Simon and Sharon
thought she was improving all the time.

Roberta – She sang “Superstar” with a reasonable performance. Louis liked her
but Simon thought that while she was the stereotypical chart type singer she
might not be the star they were looking for and could be better off in a hotel.
Manager Sharon was angry and implied that Simon would like to meet her in a
hotel as more than a chamber maid

Cassie – Singing “Alfies Theme” the baby of the competition performed with a
fantastic look and a belting voice. Simon criticised Cassie, and all of Sharon’s
acts for looking very dated. He said the choice of song made it look like a child
auditioning for a musical part. Louis asked if Simon had been taking any of
Ozzie’s drugs as Cassie looked gorgeous. An outraged Sharon accused Simon of
always picking on very young contestants and said Cassie was typical bait for
him. She accused Simon of making things personal with her and her acts.

G4 – Louis introduced his male vocal group with the disclaimer that they were
something “very different” than the acts usually seen in reality TV competitions.
They sang “Everybody Hurts” and it was the first time the group had ever used
microphones. Sharon, Simon and Louis all agreed they were fabulous. As
manager, Louis commented that they were so good even Simon liked them and
they had a long career ahead.

2 To Go – Singing “Don’t Know Much” Sharon loved the duo of friends Peter and
Emma, but criticised their name as sounding like something said at a Chinese
take-away. Simon said they looked dated and had sang a “safe” old song.
Manager Louis Walsh replied that most of Simon’s recording acts had sung
“Unchained Melody” in the past so he was a hypocrite.

Steve – Introducing the cheeky chappie Simon announced that Steve had
Laryngitis but would still sing – the song was “When A Man Loves A Woman”.
Louis said that Steve reminded him of a cab driver singing cabaret, and while he
was a good singer he wasn’t a star. Sharon liked him but said he sounded better
in rehearsal and said he grins too much. Simon told the other judges that if this
was what Steve was like at only 50% imagine what he’d be like when back on
top form.

Rowetta – One of the favourites in the competition she was announced by Simon
as an example of the reason the age limit was removed for X-Factor. Rowetta
sang “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” and gave a performance suitable for
this British diva in the making. Louis loved it and said he’d buy her record when
it came out. Sharon agreed saying she had a God given talent and that Simon
had nothing to do with discovering her. Simon agreed with both and said that
Louis was jealous he wasn’t managing Rowetta. She ran off stage whooping as
she was so happy with the comments.

Tabby – He rocked the show out with the song “You Really Got Me” playing his
own guitar and moving around the stage. Introducing him Sharon said a rock
singer makes the contest well rounded and very “2004”. Louis said he was
fabulous but Simon said that although Tabby did good he was also a little flat.
Sharon said she was very proud of him and her gamble had paid off.

As the final act had performed the audience were told there would be a twist in
the nights show. The bottom two acts from the results of the viewers vote would
have to sing again, and this time it would be the judges who would decide the
singer who had to leave. There was also an interactive studio audience poll
where 57% of people there thought that Sharon had done the best job with her

In the results episode it was announced that “Roberta” and “Voices With Soul”
were the bottom two acts and they performed again. As Roberta was managed
by Sharon she opted to keep her, while “Voices With Soul” managed by Louis
also received a vote from him. It was all down to Simon Cowell in the final
minutes of the show, he chose Roberta to leave based on her performance
on the night.

Don’t miss “The X-Factor” show updates and episode recaps each week here at
Reality Shack and check out the shows official website at for
video clips, competitions and the latest news.

You can contact Luke with comments or questions at

NYPD Blues – The Apprentice 2, Episode 8

by aurora

Last week on The Apprentice, the two teams faced a corporate restructuring, placing men and women together on each team. They were then sent to Central Park to create a ‘dog’ business. With Jennifer at the helm, Apex easily defeated Mosaic. In the boardroom, Wes kept Andy and Stacy with him, and ultimately it was Stacy’s constant complaining and lack of responsibility that got her fired. Eleven candidates are left; who will be fired this week?

Once again, the contestants in the suite are positive that Andy will be the one leaving this week. As they discuss the probability that Andy’s gone, he returns with Wes and quietly walks outside. He says privately that he felt like the kid in school that never got picked for sports’ teams. He’s looking forward to leading his team so they can see a side of him that they’ve not seen before.

In the morning, Andy answers the phone and Rona tells him to wait by the TV at 8am for a message from Mr. Trump. Trump is on a jet heading to Ecuador for the Miss Universe pageant. In an overdub, he adds that last year’s winner Bill Rancic will alos be meeting him there – this is one of the perks of working for Trump. He reminds Jennifer that she is exempt is her team should lose this task. Speaking of the task, they are assigned to meet up with Donny Deutsch to design a recruitment campaign for the NYPD. He wishes them luck and signs off.

The teams head over to the offices of Donny Deutsch where he explains the big ideas of the campaign to them – they’re asked to focus on the emotional part, to make people want to give of themselves and serve their city. He reminds them that the real core of the campaign is heart – and tells them not to screw up.

Andy has been chosen to lead Mosaic, and he’s brainstorming with his team. He has some good ideas and brings up the emotions again, but Maria wants to depend on sex appeal. She says that she should have been leading because she has so much experience in advertising, but she sarcastically adds that it has to be all about Andy.

Apex gets to the NYPD training facility to shoot some footage for their ads. Raj is impressed with the array of helicopters, tanks, boats, etc that they have at their disposal. Elizabeth is once again the project manager, and she feels she needs to win this time because she failed the first time she was pm and Trump thought she was a ‘crappy leader’. Chris wants to stress the terrorism/military aspect of theNYPD, suggesting that they don’t have to be on the other side of the world to be on the front line. Elizabeth doesn’t want to lean on a military theme, but tells them that if they really want to go with it then she will as well.

Raj jokes that he should run towards the compund shouting with a body bomb attached to him. Chris and Raj laugh it up, but Elizabeth says it was “the rudest thing I’ve ever heard in my life”. The group gets out and starts filming SWAT team and helicopter shots as Mosaic arrives at the compound.

Wes is worried that they spent too much time thinking about the campaign ideas and now won’t have enough time to film what they need. The weather isn’t helping either, as it’s going to start raining any minute. Andy takes charge and gets the filming going. He says that he’s not weak, he’s here to get things done. They get their footage, complete with quotes from police officers, and head back to the office.

It’s that time again – Trump’s lessons! This week, “You Have to Love It”. He says that you have to be driven and you have to love what you do. Once someone loves it and knows what they’re doing, and Trump sees that they have the talent, then they can’t stop. Okee dokee.

Back at Deutsch, Elizabeth complains to Kevin that the military theme isn’t something she believes in and that it’s stifling her creativity. The rest of the team goes back to the suite to get some rest, and Kevin offers to stick around with Elizabeth and hash out a new plan. As the evening grows late, Kevin hits on an idea that Elizabeth likes. It’s more focused on getting a ‘hip, great job’ than military. On the way out of the office, Elizabeth tells Kevin that she’s not going to back down and change her mind again.

The following day, Kevin leaves for a meeting with the designers and Elizabeth presents their idea to the rest of the team. Chris says that after all of their work, Elizabeth decides to change the idea – but she didn’t sound confident in presenting it. Raj isn’t happy at all, and Ivana says that no matter what they had decided to do Elizabeth wouldn’t have liked it because she flip flops all over the place. Elizabeth says that she’s back to the drawing board once again because her team doesn’t like the new plan.

Meanwhile, Mosaic is in the editing room choosing background music for their TV ad. Andy explains the ad to everyone, but they don’t seem to love it as much as he does. Wes and Andy stay in the editing room as the rest of them go outside to complain. Maria calls Andy and tells him that he’s stripping the sex appeal out of it and that will result in a campaign that’s too conservative. Andy says privately that young people understand class, and that people will join the police force out of a sense of pride and honour, not because they want to get laid. For some inexplicable reason, Kelly sides with Maria and says that if Andy doesn’t add more sex appeal to the ad then it will cause them to lose and will come back to haunt him in the boardroom.

Elizabeth is still waffling, and trying to explain another idea to Kevin. He loses it and tells her that she needs to make a decision. He tells the camera that their project manager sucks. Elizabeth leaves the room, and the rest of the team discusses firing Elizabeth as the pm. They don’t want to go to the boardroom, but they feel that if they do end up there they’ll get rid of Elizabeth. Kevin finds her and tells her that she’s got a coup on her hands and she needs to decide exactly what she wants to do. Elizabeth won’t let him get a word in and talks over him, making Kevin even more frustrated. He finally tells her that she’s not getting any more input from him on this and walks away.

The Mosaic team is talking about who should deliver the pitch to Donny. Andy wants to do it himself, but Kelly thinks that Andy is too in-your-face, too much of a debater. Kelly wants to do it himself, and Andy agees to it to placate him.

Elizabeth’s crew is looking at the final proofs of the ad campaign. She says privately that her whole team wanted a military theme which she wasn’t comfortable with. So she took what they had and softened it up as best she could. Carolyn notices that the rest of the team has a lot of animosity towards Elizabeth because they feel disorganized.

Trump returns from Ecuador and tells Rona to “patch Donny Deutsch through when he calls”. At Deutsch, Apex presents their campaign first. Their ad is almost scary, featuring tough-looking officers and a lot of swat team action. Donny himself winces several times during the ad. He thanks them and sends them off.

Mosaic is up next, and Andy delivers an introduction explaining their catch phrase, “When was the last time?” All of their ads feature this question; When was the last time you took a leap of faith? When was the last time you showed your true colours? Their ad is personal and direct, and the television commercial is moving. It features officers asking when was the last time questions interspersed with action shots from the compound. Donny thanks them as well and deliberates with his cohorts.

The panel thinks that the Apex presentation lacked emotional qualities and had the potential to deter many civilians. They think that Mosaic really got to the emotional qualities and dimensionalized what it means to be a policeman. Donny agrees and calls the teams back in. He also gets Trump on the phone for the results.

Donny says that the Apex group turned New York into a police state, and tells them they can’t run an effective recruiting campaign and at the same freak a million New Yorkers out; it’s just not common sense. On the other hand, Mosaic nailed the heart and emotional aspect of the campaign, and created a very effective ad without scaring people. Donny tells Trump that Mosaic has won by a landslide. Trump tells Mosaic to be ready at 9am the next morning, when his limo will pick them up for their surprise. He thanks them for doing a great service for New York. Of course he also tells Apex that he will meet them tomorrow in the boardroom where someone will be fired.

Mosaic’s limo arrives the next day and the group heads off into the heart of New York City, Times Square. They get out of the car and notice that their ad is playing on a huge screen above them. That’s their surprise. They all seem very moved and awed that something they’ve just finished creating is now being presented to the public. Andy is very proud of how well his team did, as well he should be.

Later in the suite, Wes gives Elizabeth a bit of advice; be opinionated and honest, and make sure her opinions match up with what everybody thinks. Jennifer calls Wes out on giving advice to the other side, and Wes defends himself saying “All I told her was don’t be a pussy”. Jennifer adds “Not that she can help it”. Meow.

Raj and Elizabeth hash out a few differences, telling each other that they will be pointing fingers at one another in the boardroom. Raj knows that he’ll come under fire for emphatically supporting the military theme, but he says that the rest of the team supported it too so how wrong could he have been?

Apex enters the boardroom and Trump asks Elizabeth what went wrong. She explains that they didn’t have a good idea before it was time to start shooting. She says that they had generic ideas but nothing concrete. Trump wants to know if she thinks she’s a good leader, and she says that a good leader stands by their convictions. She refused to lead her team with a bad idea for the campaign.

Trump wants to see the ad, so it’s played for everyone again. He hates it, and Carolyn says “It’s pretty bad”. Trump says that he feels like he’s in a police state, and wants to forget about everything and go upstairs and lock himself in his room. He adds that most wives wouldn’t want their husbands joining the NYPD after seeing that ad, and George enthusiastically agrees.

The Donald asks if it wasn’t Raj that really wanted this angle, and Raj steps up and admits that he did. He says it was better than any of the other ideas on the table, and Trump admires his honesty. The rest of the team agrees as well, and says that at least Raj made a decision and stuck with it.

Ivana says that Elizabeth was both weak and ineffective, and Jennifer hammers the final nail in Elizabeth’s coffin by calling her incompetent. Jennifer says that “she was indecisive to the point of paralysis”. Elizabeth tries to defend herself saying that she said she would not be about a military campaign, seemingly unaware that a military campaign is exactly what she delivered even with the “softening”.

Kevin explains to Trump what went on with the second idea that the two of them came up with, and Elizabeth says that the rest of the team didn’t like it. Trump is astounded that she let the rest of her team change her mind for her. He then says that she just doesn’t have a lot of…something… and asks what the hell is missing with her. He wants to know who she would bring back into the boardroom with her and she says Raj and Chris. Trump says “Honestly Elizabeth, I just don’t think it’s necessary. You’re fired.” Everyone looks at each other, and Trump ushers them out.

After they all leave, Trump tells George and Carolyn that he just didn’t want to waste a lot of time. George agrees, saying that the results would have been the same either way. Trump adds that it was a no-brainer, and it’s done.

Sitting in the taxi on her way out, Elizabeth tells us that she really doesn’t know why they all ganged up on her in the boardroom. She says she’s a person who stands by her convictions and could not have led a team using a campaign that she knew was wrong. She thinks that they all said some things about her that weren’t true, and that’s unfortunate.

Finally, I completely agree with Trump! This is only the second time this season that I’ve thought his firing was entirely sound and based on the right criteria. Jennifer C was the first. Now if he would just take out Maria, we’d actually have a battle of the best on our hands.

Comments are welcome! Contact me at

Interview With Kelle Jacob of America's Next Top Model 3

by aurora

Kelle seemed to lose more and more of her confidence each week as America’s Next Top Model progressed. Even though her photos weren’t always the worst of the bunch, she endured constant criticism from the panel of judges right up until her exit this week. Find out how she feels about the experience now!

Hi Kelle! What inspired you to try modelling?

Well, I’m tall! People always ask me if I play basketball, and I wanted to be able to say, “No, I model”. My family was very supportive of the idea and they encouraged me to try it.

As you were leaving the apartment you seemed to be having doubts about a future in modelling. Have you made any decisions about what you want to do now?

I didn’t doubt that I wanted to be a model – I do. I was more doubtful that anyone would contact me for work! I love to model.

Have you been contacted yet?

No, not by agencies yet. But I’ve had a lot of fan support.

You had a valid complaint when you asked Jay not to tell you that you were doing great when you weren’t. How frustrating was the lack of direction and feedback for you during the shoots?

Well to be honest, I don’t think Jay liked me. I felt he was giving me a verbal spanking for saying something.

During the shoots, the photographers would be saying “great, great” so I thought it was really good. Then the panel would tear me down week after week.

The judges’ comments towards you seemed especially harsh. Were you surprised to hear what they were saying behind closed doors when you saw it on television?

Definitely. I’m very sensitive, and I was really trying to give them what they were asking for. You know, they’d tell me things and I’d be thinking “I don’t know anything! Help me!” I can take constructive criticism just fine.

Maybe they were like that because I was so confident going in, they wanted to bring me down a bit.

That leads to the next question – you were very confident when the show started, and then each week you got more and more self-conscious and unsure. Have you been able to bounce back and regain your sense of self?

Surprisingly, I think I’m even more confident now than before I went on the show!

I left there with a smile on my face, I held no grudges with anyone. I walked away and held my head up high. If I can live through that I must be one tough cookie!

You were criticized for being ‘too white’. What was up with that?

You know, I know I’m black. I happened to notice that when I looked in the mirror this morning. I don’t understand how a person acts, dresses, speaks can define their race. They all said that I needed to embrace being black; I’ve embraced it. I know who I am.

Out of the girls who are left, who do you think stands the best chance at becoming America’s Next Top Model?

It’s hard to say. I was sure I’d at least make top two, and look at me! Things change, the judges change their minds about what they’re looking for. One week someone is golden and the next they’re leaving.

Which judge do you think was the toughest?

Hmm, I don’t know. You’d think it would be Janice, because she’s so outlandish. She just says whatever she’s thinking and you can’t take her seriously. It’s funny though, because when we were away from the judging panel Janice was incredibly nice. She told us all the time that she loved us, and she was funny and warm. She can definitely separate the judging from the rest of it.

I guess the toughest judge would be Nigel. He’s just tough and unsympathetic.

What was going through your head when Tyra was making her speech to you and Ann at the elimination?

I was okay with it – either way I was fine. I was thinking that if I stay, I’ll give it my best but if I leave then I tried my hardest. Really though I was tired of being beaten down every week so it wasn’t all that bad to go.

How did you come to own an art gallery at such a young age?

When I was 18 I was working at a gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. I was travelling to New york to do research for Sotheby’s auctions and things like that. I was learning all about art and art history, artists, just everything about the art world.

One time when I came back to the gallery in Connecticut, I found all kinds of pieces just sitting on the floor in the back and I thought “This is money just laying around in here”. So I got them all together and sorted out and researched and I put them online. Eventually I started to wonder why I was doing all this work for someone else when I could be doing it for myself, so I opened my gallery online.

And your gallery is named after your father, is that right?

Yes, it’s called the Oswald Cleveland Gallery.

Is there anything else you’d like to add Kelle, about your experience on the show?

Just that I’m okay! Believe it or not, I’ve taken really good pictures and I actually am photogenic. And I’m not that emotional normally – I felt that they caught one or two instances of me crying and threw them in every episode.

Thanks very much for your time Kelle, and good luck to you!

Thank you!

You can check out Kelle’s online gallery at

Comments are welcome! If you have something to say, drop me a line at

Yasur Will Burn – Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 7

[i]by atarus[/i]

We start off the show at Lopevi. Chad’s talking, saying that everyone on the tribe has their own work roles, cleaning water, doing dishes, everybody does stuff. Except John. John confesses that he’s tired and bored, and he likes to sit back and relax. Chad says that John is an enigma, and he had gotten away with not doing anything up until this point, but now people were talking. (And they voted out Brady over this guy? C’mon, please.) Chris and Chad diss John’s work habits, and Chris ends with saying that John “won’t coast through this game with us here.”

On Yasur, Rory starts off the morning with prayer, saying he has a lot to be thankful for since he’s still on the island. He tries to rat herself into Ami and Leann’s alliance, but Ami tells him “no women’s alliance has ever stuck together” and so Rory’s out of luck. Rory tries to point out that Eliza doesn’t bring anything to the game and he’s worth more, but Leann sticks with Ami on the female alliance, and since Rory is spotting a few things the ladies lack (like a beer gut) he’s excluded. He then gets angry and indignant, saying that the guys treat him like a lackey, he doesn’t want to ally with them, but Ami and Leann flat out refuse him. Rory in a confessional says that if he gets voted out, Yasur will burn. It’s funny that burning camps down coincide with the two male/female seasons of Survivor, eh?

Anyway, we have a reward challenge. Lopevi is shocked to see Rory still around, Twila says she was sure that Rory would be gone, but oops! Nope, he’s still here. Alright, time for the challenge. The tribes have to break coconuts, fill shells with the coconut juice, and take the juice through an obstacle course. Sounds fun. So the challenge starts and we are treated to the slowest obstacle race ever. We see the first run and the last run, skipping basically the entire challenge because, well, it’s boring. Leann nearly screws up by tripping when she’s returning the bottle, but Yasur wins the reward, a trip to a cafe and “things from home.” YAY!

When they get to the cafe, there’s a bulletin board of pictures. Aw. We see assorted pictures of family and friends of the Survivors. Double Aw. They get coffee and stuff. Then there are letters, and we have the usual montage of a few people crying, etc. etc. We learn that Ami’s little brother was killed in a car accident 7 years ago. We also learn that Rory’s wife is psychic, and in the letter told him exactly what he needed to hear. Mainly, think before you burn things.

Twila and Julie start plotting on Lopevi. Twila says the two of them needed to talk since they were outnumbered. When Twila asks Julie if they gave her a final 4 deal, Julie plays Twila like a fiddle and says they did when they didn’t. A remarkable move, Julie gets Twila on her side and makes her distrust Sarge and the gang. Julie says that Twila and her have a rocky relationship, but now they have a plan and she’s weaseled her way back into Twila’s trust.

The Survivors get treemail, and have to practice with slingshots. Lea states that they’re “reverting back to little boys, breaking windows.” He’s cocky and says that the Yasur tribe will lose, it may be close, but they’ll lose. John says he needs immunity. There’s a no-brainer. Over on Yasur, Rory’s hopped up on coffee like it was crack, and he’s ready to take on the world.

At the IC, the tribes have to knock out plates. Once all twenty plates are knocked out, the tribe wins. The catch is, once a column’s knocked out, the Survivor that represents that column is knocked out. Good luck! And they’re off. Apparently Leann is the weakest shooter of Yasur as her column goes down like lightning. Scout and Rory are the shining stars for Yasur, while Chad and Lea seem to be the strongest from Lopevi. It’s a close race, but Rory outshines his Lopevi brethren and kicks booty. Remember in S2 when Colby kicked butt with the breaking things challenge, and he just got back from coffee or alcohol or something? And same for Tom in S3? There’s a correlation there, I tell you. Caffiene and alocohol sharpen your slingshotting. Anyway, Yasur wins immunity, and Rory gets funky and jiggy.

On Yasur, Rory is happy that he saved his own butt with immunity. He says that Ami could have had him as a close ally, or thrown the challenge to get rid of him, but she did neither, so she’s #1 on his hitlist. Ami says Rory’s cocky, but he has a right to be, and she’s sad that Julie or Twila will be going home.

On Lopevi, Chad isn’t comfortable with Julie sticking around. Julie wants to get rid of John, and Chad says that trust is huge, and he doesn’t really trust either of them. Chris says that John is a target to go home, but Chad wants to keep John in favor of booting Julie, because Chad thinks Julie has more loyalty to the women. Chris says that the women booted Lisa, they obviously aren’t thinking about an all-women alliance. John says that he trusts Chris and puts faith in him. He points out that Chad is a sympathy vote, and he should go before he continues to coast. In a confessional, John says that Chad slips by without anyone noticing, and in the final 2 he’ll get the sympathy votes. He talks to Twila and Julie, and he says that Twila is a rough redneck, and rough rednecks are loyal from his experience.

At TC, Jeff doles out the questions. Chris says that they’d won 4 in a row, they were dominating in challenges, it sucked to lose. Chad says you start to pay attention to who is gathering wood with who. Chris says everyone has a role in camp. John says he likes to kick back and relax, and it’d make him more comfortable if Twila the workhorse did too. Chris says he’s basing his vote on the future of his game, as well as trust.

John is the only vote we see (this spells bad news for John) and he says that he can’t let Chad sneak by anymore. However, with no surprise at all, John is voted out instead of Chad.

Next week, Sarge gets naked with the girls? Rory is ready to get the hell out of Yasur! And something shakes up the tribe.

John’s final words are him talking about how he came, he played, and he lost, and he’s bitter. He’s shocked because he would have never turned on the guys. He hopes Chris wins and Sarge is in second, and everyone else loses.

Comments or questions? E-mail me at Toodles!

Dirty Dirt in the Dirty Dirt Dirt – Starting Over, 10/28/04


I like this season’s practice of beginning each show with the Housemates waking up for the day. Today it’s Nancy, Josie’s mother, getting up and greeting Chloe. Then Nancy lights some candles and does a little prayer ritual. Chloe almost always has an expression of pure wonder on her face.

We see more of Sommer and Maureen bonding out in the smoking area, possibly from the day before.

Josie and her mother discuss their plans to all live together in Illinois. (I wonder what happened to their earlier conversation about moving to an assisted-care facility?)

The women meet with Dr. Stan in the loft. The topic is loss. Maureen says the fire will be an opportunity to move forward from things that were holding her back anyway. Dr. Stan observes that this sounds healthy, but she’s purposely skipping a step: grieving. He advises the women that when something catastrophic happens you should make a point to have an emotional catharsis before moving on. Jen and Kim mention how they use anger for that, but it doesn’t feel good afterwards. Towanda talks about how she just tries to ignore grief it reaches a certain limit, then runs away from it.

Iyanla’s outside at some park scratching around in a flowerbed. Towanda comes over and Iyanla tells her this is what she will do today. When Towanda realizes she is going to have to get into the dirt with her manicure, she looks at Iyanla like she’s crazy. (Hello, gloves or a little soap under the nails before digging? Iyanla has her doing some other crazy things too, but I’m just wonky about gardening. And maybe they don’t care if the flowers die right away, or anything planted there for the next 2 years. End of tirade.) So they compare the weeding to rooting out the bad in her life, and then planting pretty flowers to grow, you get the idea.

Rhonda has a one-on-one with Nancy. Nancy explains that she made the decision to have Josie stay with her parents because she was living behind the bar where she worked (I thought Josie said she owned it) and it wasn’t safe for Josie to be back there alone. They are not shown discussing whether there could have been child care or if Nancy’s own drinking problem was an issue at this time. She tells Rhonda she would still make the same decision. Rhonda asks her if there is a difference between being a mother and a grandmother and Nancy says there might be no difference because she might be the mother sometimes and the grandmother sometimes, and there might be times when Josie will be the mother to her.

Towanda narrates that while gardening she felt like it was going to take some getting used to, getting down and dirty in that dirty dirt dirt. She understands the message behind the exercise though, that to accomplish hard things you have to get down and dirty.

Rhonda wants Josie and her mother to have a fun day together, her idea of which is to subject Nancy to a haircut and makeover. Nancy looks horrified and Josie just grits her teeth and hopes her mother will let it pass. Nancy decides to be a good sport even though she’s never worn makeup in her life and in my opinion, doesn’t need any, except maybe someone should offer to update her eyeglasses or spring for some dental care.

Maureen’s on the phone with her friend Dorothy, who observes that she’s never seen Maureen cry. Maureen says she cries only about her two dead children, and only in the car or in the shower where nobody has to see. She narrates that if she ever does begin to grieve fully, it will be like a dam bursting and she still doesn’t know if it will ever happen. She meets with Doctor Stan, who narrates that he will try not to push her too far. Maureen tells him she had wanted to die before her own mother because she had always felt she couldn’t live without her. Then when Mo’s daughter Linda got leukemia, Maureen’s own mother declared she would survive until Linda was well. So when Mo’s mother died anyway, Mo took it as a sign that Linda would get well. Then Linda died, and shortly after, Mo’s son Joe had a heart attack and died. She starts to cry and she’s got me crying too, the pain is so palpable. She tells Dr. Stan she can cry about losing her home if she thinks about her children at the same time. Dr. Stan wants her to stay in this moment for a while.

Iyanla is telling Towanda that family business is messy. Towanda narrates that this exercise has freed her from all the years of not communicating with her father and that he is going to know, whether he wants to or not. (1. She’s trying to convince herself 2. She has figured out what to say to earn a step in the S.O. House.)

Dr. Stan tells Maureen it’s ok to be devastated and that she needs to be really sad right now and not warp it all in a neat little package just yet. She doesn’t like to feel weak, and he assures her it’s not a sign of weakness, just of sadness. Mo doesn’t want to cry in public and be a downer. He encourages her not only to feel sad, but also to be angry.

Josie narrates that she and her mother have had days of fun but not with makeup. She’s quite sure this is her mother’s worst nightmare. Nancy persuades them not to dye her hair (which would be a mistake in my opinion because she’s on a fixed income and can’t afford to re-dye, so she would have a giant stripe in her hair for the rest of her life). She is also having a hot flash, but is more willing to let them chop her up as long as Josie is holding her hand.

Maureen tells Dr. Stan she thinks if she goes through the grieving process and lets go of her children, they will not be in her heart anymore. They discuss parental guilt and the tears really start to flow now. She narrates she can never cry for her own life, and that if she ignores pain she can get away from it. Dr. Stan tells her they can figure out how to make the past meaningful so that she can have the future she wants.

Nancy steels herself for a lop job. They take off several inches and it is a lot smoother and thicker (but now it doesn’t go with her clothes). She narrates she’s not wild about the hair but she’s glad Josie was there and was open-minded with her. Back at the house, Josie tells Rhonda she did all the communicating and felt sorry for her mother, because after all they were raised the same way. Rhonda is hoping Josie will have the courage to break the cycle of abandonment and loss. Rhonda tells Josie her mother said it was years before she stopped asking to come home. Josie doesn’t remember that and Rhonda wants her to discuss it with Nancy so there won’t be any resentment. She wants Josie to listen to her mother from an adult perspective. Josie is worried her mother might feel guilty. Then she starts crying that she would never just pass Chloe off onto the next person in line. Rhonda asks how Josie likes the plan of all 3 living together and Josie says she’d rather have her own place with Chloe but still have her mom in the picture. Rhonda narrates that Josie always dreams of “forever” but needs to get it together NOW. Josie tells Rhonda that her way is to run whenever things don’t feel good, but no longer has that option.

Iyanla wants Towanda to show the other housemates what she learned about gardening. They have some cardboard flats with soil in them. Towanda explains that her flowerbed started out ugly but was beautiful after she worked on it.

Nancy, Josie and Chloe are going to go out to dinner and then Nancy will babysit Chloe in a motel.

The other housemates work with the little garden patches and each pick something icky to throw away. Jen throws away a worm. Maureen makes a little pile of rocks for stability. The smallest rock is her house.

At dinner, Josie and her mom talk about living together, then Josie turns the subject to the past. She asks Nancy if she would have taken Josie back if the dad had reurned, and Nancy does not like this question. (Neither do I. Who wants a violent man?) Josie asks if Nancy thought it was better that Josie should live with her grandparents, and Nancy repeats it was safer. Josie wants to know more about her parents’ breakup and Nancy insists that she has already told Rhonda she would not be discussing it, only that she was fortunate she got her to her grandparents house at all. Josie narrates that her mother is shutting down and she has probably gone to far. She apologizes to Nancy for offending her and narrates that her mother has not given her an explanation.

Iyanla is adding little piles rocks to everyone’s garden box to illustrate financial abundance and beauty. (I think Iyanla has to do this because everyone except Maureen refuses to touch dirt.) She narrates that the women are now ready t grow and heal. (Right on schedule!) Towanda enjoys teaching and being a leader.

Josie and Nancy are now in the hotel room and Josie is giving instructions about caring for Chloe. She is trying to be casual about it but feels weird doing it to her mom. (She shouldn’t.) She tells her mother she loves her but is looking at Chloe when she says it, so Nancy doesn’t realize she’s supposed to respond until Josie repeats it. Back at the house, Josie tells Towanda the relationship is improving, but slowly. She didn’t get any questions answered but feels her mother will not be resistant to the changes in Josie. I believe Josie has gotten through an entire day without screaming the F-word while holding her baby.

Lost! – The Bachelor 6, Episode 5

by LauraBelle

Okay, so it’s my lame attempt at capitalizing on the success of ABC’s new hit drama, but I do have a basis for recallng this name. Much of this episode is based on Jayne, her psychotic ways, and the incident in which she becomes lost.

Jayne has noticed since the slumber party, that everyone is tense; she senses it. The other women have noticed since the slumber party the difference in Jayne. Out by the pool, all the women, including Jayne, discuss the evening of the slumber party. Trying to explain her actions, Jayne says she was frustrated with Byron leaving, as she didn’t know the circumstances. She wasn’t aware he had left with Mary. She adds that she wasn’t acting on her own anger; she was instead fueled by the feelings of the others in the house. Oh, Jayne … Jayne, Jayne, Jayne … I learned long ago not to fight battles for others. You are old enough to know better.

Byron takes Cheresse out by a nice little spot for a little chat. He would like to rekindle that early connection between the two of them. He thinks she is one of the most normal ones there. Cheress tells him she is still upset about the slumber party night, and tells Byron she thinks he was a gentleman the whole evening. He tells Cheresse he appreciates her honesty, and he is reminded of how great their first date was.

Byron feels Cheresse has wisdom and maturity, and feels she would be a great life partner. She tells Byron when she first got to the show, she thought all the women were great, and wondered how all these great women weren’t married. Spending time with them, she now understands. Honey, I’ve been saying that about Andrea since the first show.

Cindy is the first to get an official date with Byron in this episode. He thinks she is fun, vivacious and quirky. He picks her up, and she is blabbering something about not being able to find her toothbrush, so she grabbed someone else’s. He thinks he should now get his toothbrush as well.

They arrive at the ocean for a quiet clifftop picnic. Apparently there will be no place appropriate for them to embark on their teeth-brushing. Byron tells Cindy he has liked her and set her apart from the others since the first day he met her. While all the other women were trying to sell themselves. Cindy was aksing what his itentions were to determine if they were right for each other. As their date is ending, both Byron and Cindy get excited when they see a school dolphins playing in the surf.

Arriving back at the house, Cindy feels she has never connected with anyone else the way she connects with Byron; she believes he is experiencing the same feelings. Interingly enough, Andrea thinks Byron sees Cindy as just fun-loving and beautiful, and doesn’t see her as a threat. As far as sparks go, Cindy feels it was like the fourth of July. As she is telling the other women how great her date was, Jayne says she is feeling jealous. Jayne? Jealous? Nooooo.

Mary yells to the other women to “Come hither.” Two date boxes have arrived. The lucky recipient is none other than Mary! In the first box she finds elegant shoes and knows the other box must contain a dress, which it does, a beautiful slinky red one. Watching Jayne as Mary recives the date boxes, Cindy thinks Jayne must be jealous. Gee, she didn’t need a ton of bricks to fall on her head to clue her in; she reralized this on her own! True to Cindy’s predictions, Jayne says she is furious and so jealous. She wants a fancy dress and shoes!

On Mary and Byron’s date, he says he is so glad to be away from that pressure cooker of a house. They sit down to a private dinner for two at a hotel. Mary asks when Byron was married the first time, if he felt “she was the one.” He admits he did, and it was gamble, but it felt right and taught him a lot. Mary likes that he is still romantic and optimistic about finding someone to share the rest of his life with. Sh tells Byron she feels people give up too quickly in their marriages. They move their date to a hot tub. I always wonder if they carry a swimsuit or wear it under the clothes to always be prepared for the sudden onset of a hot tub. I mean, there was no swimsuit in Mary’s date box.

The next date invite goes to Jayne, and she feels like the others don’t want her to go. The other women are actually wondering what Byron could possibly see in Jayne, and wonder if he just likes the drama. As they are talking, Jayne walks into the room. They aren’t sure whether she heard them or not. Jayne may not have heard them, but she does notice the hush that came over the room when she entered.

Byron picks Jayne up for their date on horseback. He saw a different side to her the night of the slumber party, and he wants to see if he can sort that out. Jayne somewhat realizes this and thinks they need this date so that Byron realizes her intentions. That would be the difference there. Cindy asked the intentions when she met Byron; Jayne waits for Byron to ask for them. They sit down to talk about the communication difficulties, and Jayne says she didn’t grow up in a huggy-kissy family. Byron wants to know if she gets huggy kissy with her boyfriends, and she tells him she’s trying. They walk into the barn and find little kittens, and as Jayne is overjoyed, she doesn’t seem to have a problem being kissy-huggy with them.

Jayne comes back from her date, and this is where everything falls apart. She wants to be the first one to not come back gushing about how great it was. She goes to bed, still angry about the fact that she didn’t do it (I think …). She then pops out of bed yelling at Cindy. Cindy argues back, and they are arguing about the differences in how they two women acted when they came back from their dates. At one point Jayne screams, bug-eyed, “I didn’t [expletive] ask you about your [expletive] date!” It’s hard to tell between her ranting and raving and the editing exactly how this fight began.

Jayne has had enough and storms out of the mansion. Mary is worried about Jayne being lost, and enlists everyone, including Cindy, to help her search the grounds. Oh Honey, Jayne was lost a long time ago. As the other women are searching and searching, Jayne is really holed up at Byron’s tattling. He’s trying to tell her this is taking away from the specialness of their date that just eneded, but she just doesn’t get it. As Sabrina, the dog, is lying at the foot of the bed, Byron kicks Jayne out, saying he just doesn’t want to confuse things with sleepovers. I’ll let my son know to put away the PS2 and sleeping bag.

As Jayne arrives back in the mansion, Andrea comforts her. Mary then confronts her, telling her that wasn’t cool. She tells Jayne she came looking for her, and wants to talk to her as an adult. Jayne’s still yammering on about not coming back from her date gushing, and says she felt attacked by Cindy. Mary wants to know why Jayne always has it in her head that it’s about her. Secretly Mary is hoping Byron sees Jayne for who she is. I think everyone sees that, Mary.

It’s time for the “most explosive rose ceremony … ever!” At least they’re not the most dramatic anymore. Chris tells Byron he can choose three women for the last minute talks, and he chooses Tanya, Cindy and Jayne. Jayne goes out for her talk cautiously. She doesn’t know what he knows and doesn’t know. Byron says she confuses him, and he wants to know what’s on her mind. She says her and Cindy patched everything up, and that they’re over it. She’s worried about what they might say about her, and Byron tells her he won’t formulate an opinion on her based in anyone else’s eyes. Jayne thinks this is great news.

Cindy goes out for their talk, and feels tongue-tied as she asks if he has any questions. He says he wants to know how the drama is. She says she hasn’t experienced anything like it since Junior High or High School. Aked if he wants specifics, he says no. Tanya changes places with Cindy, and addresses Byron, “Hi, Stranger!” They note they haven’t talked in awhile. Tanya wants to know if there’s an interest still, but can’t tell as Byron has his “poker-face” on today. There doesn’t seem to be anything Byron wanted to know in particular.

It’s time for Byron’s decisions. He says he knows he’ll hurt someone real bad. Chris tells them traditionally Byron would go and meet the final four’s families, but this time they will go on exotic fantasy dates. As Byrons says he is going with his heart, he chooses Cindy (who says “Hot Diggity Dog!”), Mary, Tanya, and Cheresse (who does a little dance with him.).

Rejected, Andrea says it would be nice if this were her time, but it isn’t. I guess her eight yards of white satin will have to sit on the shelf. Jayne feels betrayed. She feels Byron lied and led her on. Byron says her words hurt, but seeing her unravel so quickly, he just couldn’t continue. Where’s the explosive ceremony they promised? Maybe it was just leftover fireworks from Cindy’s date.

Jayne is gone from the show, but I’m afraid she’s still lost. She will continue to be until she understands the whole world isn’t waiting for her to show up, she’s waiting for the world to show up.

I welcome questions and comments at

Mo Berry Blue – Starting Over, 10/27/04


The women are all atwitter about who the new roommate is going to be. Kim is already predicting horrible things, and Towanda helps her to put her expectations aside and just wait to see who it will be.

In the loft, there is even more excitement because Josie’s mother is coming today. We didn’t get to see too much of Nancy in Season one because she had to take a bus to get to Chicago for Chloe’s delivery, and she was pretty quiet. (I’m still mad at Josie for hounding her for a car safety seat when she’s on disability.) Iyanla reminds Josie to push the delete button on any bad memories to allow Nancy to be a good grandmother to Chloe. Josie, crying, narrates that Chloe brings her and her mother together even though she could feel jealous that Nancy is able to nurture Chloe in a way she could not with Josie.

It’s also Jen’s mother’s birthday today. Jen narrates she’s been feeling better about her mother in the past couple of weeks and that now Jen believes her mother did not favor her sister after all, that Jen just made it all up in her mind. And she’s starting to believe that her mother did not choose to not care for her children. Then we see Josie hollering about how she did all the housework to please her mother, then her mother would get drunk and make a big mess. She tells the group she had already lived with her grandparents by then, and seen the same behaviors in her grandfather. Josie says her mother is good at playing the mommy role, then going back to being a drunk. She is asked to remember some good things and says her mother started the school newspaper at her school and got the dress code changed so girls could wear jeans, and passed on that empowerment to her. They go around the room and all tell one good thing they got from their mom. Sommer says her ability to release tension through laughter; Towanda, singing to relieve stress; Kim, volunteering and advocating for women; And Jen, being very forgiving. (I am gagging on the baloney by now.) Iyanla reminds the group to get a photo of Josie with her mother and Chloe, because 3 generations of women is a powerful visual.

She hands out assignments for the day. Jen will meet with an MS specialist to discuss her mother’s condition. They will all return to the loft this evening to meet their new housemate. Jen narrates she will be fine as long as the woman is nothing like Deborah.

Josie narrates that she hopes the Starting Over house is rubbing off on her mother, and that she doesn’t consider her a bad mom.

There is a knock at the door and someone, I think Kim, says “come in”, and is scolded by Josie for not saying it loud enough. It’s Lori Fox, a social worker with the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Jen tells her mother has had MS since the age of 19 or 20, and had Jen at 21. Her mother doesn’t have episodes of good and bad days; she is just down all the time. “Every day is a bad day, and some days it’s even worse”, is how Lori puts it. Jen shares that her mother has never mentioned her illness or her father’s imprisonment.

Nancy, Josie’s mother arrives. She’s an earth muffin with long grey hair and cute hippie clothes, and 70’s vintage wideframe plastic eyeglasses. Chloe hasn’t seen her in months and doesn’t recognize her but doesn’t seem afraid.

Jen tells Lori her mother’s MS got way worse after her dad was incarcerated. She fels a lot more compassion but hasn’t told her mother how she was feeling. She thinks her mother is too far into denial to be ready for a serious conversation. She doesn’t want her mother to feel guilty.

Nancy and Josie are getting re-acquainted. She calls Josie “baby”. Nancy calls Chloe “the Chlo-meister”.

Iyanla takes Towanda back to Roca Sound to work on her song. Towanda’s caption reads “Chloe, the artist formally known as Towanda”. She tells Sebastian about her technical experience without letting him know she was a professional or has a famous sibling.

Lori wants to know if they have covered all of Jen’s concerns and Jen asks if it is normal not to talk about the illness with your family. Because the symptoms are always changing, it’s hard to know what her mother goes through. Lori tells her fatigue is the biggest factor, the one that’s always there. Jen’s mother might be in denial because she’s scared.

Towanda and Sebastian are working with the lyrics she has written. The melody that was in her head while she was writing is good, but he says he wants to hold that for another song and show her something else for this one. She’s enthusiastic and appreciative of his suggestions.

Nancy has brought some baby clothes for Chloe and Josie also has a present for Nancy – a little suede bag with turquoise fittings which Nancy really loves. Weeping, Josie narrates she things her mother tries extra hard with Chloe because she knows she failed with Josie. Nancy in turn narrates that she’s amazed at how Chloe has grown. We see them playing outside and Nancy gets her to say “mama”! We see more of Josie crying in confessionalthat she is not jealous (One gets the impression she’s trying to convince herself.) Then more of her riff that Chloe is number one and it is crucial to make her feel she is not a mistake, like Josie felt as a child. (I wonder if this means she has stopped calling Chloe “Little Bastard”.)

Jen meets with Iyanla to tell her about the talk with Lori. She slips and refers to herself as a kid, then corrects herself. Jen believes the “fierce conversation” that will take her to the next step and help her heal, should not be on the phone because she wouldn’t get through the denial. She’s also decided she’s sick of playing the Wounded Child role, so she won’t focus so much on feelings from the past. Iyanla agrees that she should honor it but not live like it’s still happening.

We see some quick confessional wondering about who the new roommate might be, and Jen worrying that it will be someone who’s crazy.
Towanda and Sebastian are putting her song to music. He has thought up what he thinks is an appropriate melody and she likes it. It feels good to belt out her feelings.

Jen calls her mother to wish her a happy birthday, in baby talk.

Towanda discusses her song with Iyanla. She’s happy to discover that you can go through pain and even explore it, and come out ok on the other side.

Now it’s loft time and everyone is staring at Iyanla because they want to know who the new housemate is. The door opens, and no surprise to anyone who’s been watching this week, it’s Maureen Goodman. The housemates recognize her too. The plasma comes up and she introduces them to Larry. He is a loner and this has caused frustration in their marriage. Their fifth anniversary was last April Fool’s Day. We see pictures of her children, the daughter who died of Leukemia, the son who died of a heart attack, the surviving daughter. We see a picture of Mo on the night of her first good comedy routine. Then there’s a picture of her living room and we see a news report (Might be re-enacted though) of the fire. She has returned because she is Starting Over again. (We aren’t told where Larry is, but it’s a shame to pull them apart just when they are finally appreciating each other.) Kim narrates that she feels sorry for Maureen. Losing a loved one is a big fear for Kim, and she also says that every object in her home means something and it would be devastating to lose anything.

Mo and Sommer enjoy a butt together outside. Kim comes out and compares rings with Maureen (the jewelry survived the fire) and marvels that Maureen’s diamond is beautiful, too. Maureen narrates that the Starting Over house will be freedom from the pressures of the loss.

What Kind of Yakka Yakka? Starting Over, 10/26/04


Rhonda is going back to Chicago to see Maureen Goodman. Maureen was the very first graduate of Starting Over. She was a 60-something bartender who wanted to become a stand-up comic, but had to get through some emotional issues she had been avoiding, including the deaths of two adult children and the possibility that her 3rd marriage might be falling apart. We get to see Maureen walking down the street, an American flag under one arm and a cigarette in her hand.

Meanwhile back at the house, Amy Harkin, also from Season One, shows up. (Jen scolds someone for calling out “come in” because they don’t know who is knocking at the door.) Amy is going to help the housemates work on why they are so resistant to their Life Coaches. They go outside to play tug-of war. (Chloe’s not with them.) They talk about how this game is like their relationship with their Life Coaches. (I was sad because when Sommer falls down, she gets up in such a hurry that she looks totally self conscious and also could pull a muscle or something.) Afterwards they all have a nosh and Amy commiserates with how hard and confusing it can be in the house. Kim, Towanda and Jen tell Amy their Life Coach is too harsh. They feel that with every success, Iyanla thinks it should have happened sooner or that it isn’t enough. Amy encourages them to take it up with Iyanla. Kim calls Iyanla and asks for a meeting, then narrates that she feels this will be a mistake.

Josie is playing with Chloe. Chloe startles, then giggles when Josie blows on her face. Josie narrates that she lost medical coverage by leaving Illinois, so now she pays for everything out of pocket. (The women get a weekly allowance and a stipend to cover their back-home living expenses while in the house.) She tells us that whenever she calls Chloe’s father, she gets voicemail and he doesn’t call back. She contacts someone from Child Support Enforcement and he tells her how to fill out some online forms to get the process started.

Kim has gotten a letter from her father in response to her “relationship inventory”. She’s nervous and has not opened it.

Back to Chicago where Maureen is describing what happened when her condo caught fire. She recounts how she started to leave, then remembered the bird in its cage and went back for it. (Some of us Maureen groupies have already learned from her, that this is her grandson’s beloved pet.) She tells Rhonda she has been handling this in her old traditional way, making jokes. She has not been able to sleep well. Larry observes that they need each other now, and starts to cry. He admires Maureen’s strength and feels guilty that he can’t be strong but Maureen can. Rhonda narrates that if Maureen continues to avoid the pain, she’s very worried about her.

Iyanla gets to the house for her emergency meeting with “the 3 sisters”. Kim tells her they need to get clear on the Board of Review grading process, again using the word “curious” when she really means “angry”. (I always feel like someone’s setting up a trap when they talk to me like that!) Towanda announces she will speak for the group and Iyanla nixes that, saying they must all speak for themselves. So Towanda says she feels her C grade was too harsh, and that positive changes are going unnoticed. Iyanla tells her “I hear `I got a C and I don’t like it and I want to know why'” but that Towanda didn’t really say it. (I feel like she did, but I like Iyanla this week so I will cut her some slack.) Kim pipes up that this is really about the differences in grading style between the Life Coaches. Iyanla scolds, “The bottom line is y’all don’t understand why Josie got a B!” She tells the women it has nothing to do with them and says the experience is different for everyone (but when she describes Josie’s experiences, broken home, not knowing where she would be living or where the next meal would be coming from – it sounds just like Jen’s life) Then she points out Kim hasn’t even been graded yet and Kim laughs about this and says in that case, she does not know why she is in this meeting. Iyanla nails her. “I’ll tell ya why: because you gossip. I don’t know what kind of yakka yakka has been going on behind the scenes, but there’s gossip behind it.” She gives a really good riff on how women dispel their power by misuse of the tongue, and how she abhors mediocrity. She narrates that what the women see as harsh, is simply her refusal to accept less than the best from them. She is going to make them walk through fire because “the healing’s in the fire.”

Towanda, Kim and Jen dictate a letter to Josie, who’s typing it into the computer. This will be Josie’s statement to the Child Support enforcement office.

Iyanla meets with Towanda, who feels much better after the emergency meeting. Iyanla tells her that because she has a tendency to “throw everything together”, she will have separate posters for each of her 5 steps. Each poster has grids to write out specific progress she has made toward each step. That will be her assignment for the day.

Back in Chicago, Rhonda is touring what’s left of Maureen’s condo. Maureen is looking teary but does not cry.

Towanda brings her posters to the meeting in the loft. She has written things like “learning to trust self” and a lot of “Being aware.” She feels that “giving honest answers” is one of her accomplishments and I chuckle when I recall yesterday’s “oooh, isn’t that good for YOU.” At this point it seems like more of a wish list. Nonetheless, Townada has earned a step toward her goal. Iyanla skips her up to the fourth step,”building communication skills”, planning to go back and work on the other 3 later. Towanda is exultant and Iyanla tells her it will be getting intense, but not to let Kim define “intense” for her, which makes Kim giggle.

Josie takes Chloe to the copy store to make copies of all her documents and pages for Child Support Enforcement. When she’s finished, she sighs to Chloe that it was scary. (Not as scary as how this guy might beat her up when it hits the fan. Because she already had a boyfriend and was on birth control pills the night they were together, she has not asked him to take responsibility and it does not bode well that he hasn’t stepped up.)

Kim meets with Iyanla and shows her the unopened letter from her father. She’s sure it will be nothing but criticism. Iyanla narrates Kim is still angry that he shattered her childhood fantasy. Kim says he apologizes constantly but never asks how his leaving affected her. Iyanla asks how old he is, and Kim tells her he’s 73. Iyanla wants to know how Kim expects a 73-year-old white American male to have the language or the consciousness to ask something like that. She tells Kim her father apologizes because he feels he did something wrong, and also because Kim hasn’t accepted it yet. She reminds Kim that she turned out ok after all, and wants her to forgive him. She opens the letter for Kim, who doesn’t want to hear what he has to say because she feels so wronged by him. It turns out it isn’t really that bad. In response to her questions, her father writes that he wishes Kim would have more patience with those who are not close to her, and that she should be less materialistic. “I don’t think I’m materialistic. He takes my money just fine,” Kim huffs, and Iyanla reminds everyone what a panic it was to temporarily lose her makeup, fancy clothes and the Louis Vuitton bag. They move on to her assignment for the day. Recalling the dinner plate Iyanla had encouraged her to break, Kim will get to choose a housemate to come with her to create a new plate that will stay in the house after she graduates. Iylanla assures Kim “You’re doing good work. If that’s not too harsh.” And they share a laugh. Kim chooses Jen to come with her and they paint a plate together.

We tour the burned condo some more with Rhonda. It really is gutted.

Iyanla meets with Kim on the deck outside the Starting Over house. Kim will blow up balloons and attach each one to a card, the affirmations that were written the day of the “sisterhood” exercise. The first one is the one Kim wrote to her sister, but Kim is reluctant to launch it because her sister hasn’t responded to it. Iyanla reminds Kim that it doesn’t matter because Kim’s cleaning up HERSELF. Kim narrates that she just wants love in return for all her efforts, and doesn’t believe this will return it to her, but she’ll trust Iyanla. They release one for each of her stepdaughters and her stepmother. (Just surrender this”, Iyanla tells her, “the universe is going to hear you.” (I hate this exercise. I think it’s littering. Balloons don’t biodegrade.)

We see Josie putting Chloe to bed and she narrates that she does want to share her with her father and his family, because not to do it would be robbing her of who she is.

captainD's Boot Prediction – Survivor Vanuatu, Episode 7

And then there were 12. Welcome back to week 7 of Survivor: Vanuatu. Last week went exactly as planned with the new Lopevi tribe dominating in all the challenges and Lisa’s big mouth getting her in trouble again. This time she couldn’t recover and was the 7’th person voted out of the game. Eleven now remain.

The Yasur tribe has their backs against the wall after losing both challenges last week and the last four overall. That number will become five after another heart-breaking defeat at the reward challenge. They will be even more upset when they realize that they were playing for messages from home. Knowing that he is a goner if Yasur doesn’t win immunity, expect Rory to finally lead his team to an immunity victory. In the spirit of Halloween, I promise that it is not a trick, but a treat, to tell you that Lopevi will finally vote off…JOHN KENNEY.

Happy Halloween!!

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Tonight’s episode of The Real World: Pittsburgh…er…Pennsylvania…I mean…oh, who cares anyway, right? Tonight’s episode of the Real World: P-Town started out as any good show SHOULD –with a pretty girl sitting on a bed reading novelized porn. Shavonda informs the viewing audience that she’s tired of being a prude and she’s coming into her own as a sexual being. She continues to read the porn to an “excited” (and apparently frustrated) Landon. They both explain that it’s been a while since they’ve “been” with anybody and that although they try to hide their true feelings, they both have puppy-dog crushes on each other.

After the commercial break we come back to Melanie and Sarah who are discussing Sarah’s life when she was bulimic. Sarah explains to Melanie that after a while it actually became an “addiction”, and although she knew it wasn’t good for her she couldn’t bring herself to stop. Melanie, apparently totally missing the fact that she had no right to offer up her opinion on the matter, states that she could NEVER do that to herself since she “hates throwing up” with a passion. Later in a car ride with Willie and Karamo, Sarah admits her dislike for Melanie’s constant opinion giving. Although Willie understands where Sarah is coming from, Karamo explains in interview that if Sarah would just take the tim to understand where Melanie is coming from she might have a better idea of why Melanie is so vocal about her feelings.

Later, the roomies decide that they’re going out to another gay bar since they had so much fun the last time. In confessional MJ explains that he never thought he and Landon would be going back to one again, but he seems genuinely excited, so you can tell he’s lying through his teeth! Everyone seems to be having a good time until Landon starts throwing back martinis like crazy and starts acting like an idiot. On the walk home from the club he nearly assaults Shavonda and although she brushes it off she admits in interview that she was actually scared.

Shavonda decides it’s fine to take Landon out and discuss the problem he has. She explains to him that she was debating the importance of actually doing it, considering he “already knows about his problem”. Landon admits that he has a problem and aplogizes profusely for coming off the way he did. He blames the strength of the martinis at the club for catching him off guard, which is understandable, and all seems to be resolved for the moment.

The episode ends with Sarah and Melanie getting to know each other a little better. They volunteer at a function for the SPCA and although they end up arriving late, they decide to leave early after seeing that their assistance isn’t really needed. They go back to the house and sit in the hot tub, talking about their lives before the show. After Sarah asks about Melanie’s adoption, Melanie informs her that her mother was seventeen when she had her, and although her father wanted to keep her, she ended up going to live with foster parents in Santa Cruz where she now has her “perfect” life. Everything seems to be smoothed over between the two and the episode ends.

Next week: Landon cries like a sissy.

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