Week of May 31 - June 4, 2004
Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Monday ....
Normally, at the end of series, you wrap things up. This show must be taking the tact of leading into the next series and leaving all the ends frazzled. If they even try to finish up this week, it's going to be a forced graduation for some of the housemates.

Lynnell is focusing on boundaries in her relationship with her husband. "I will not go back to the life I've been living", says Lynnell. Good for her, that's the whole point of this show. First, Hailey argues with Stage on the phone over her dog. Lynnell is going to baby boutiques to explore selling her crochet. The editing on this show is disjointed today, because next, Lynnell is going over her steps, one away from graduation (can you say forced?). So finally, Lynnell gets to the boutique. The first owner is very supportive, telling the camera that she sees lots of homemade items, but that Lynnell's are very good. The second boutique is edgier and the owner gives Lynnell some good ideas for her product. Rhonda wants Lynnell to talk to her husband about starting a business with her crocheting. In the past, he's complained about how much time she spends at it. Later, he calls to scream at Lynnell about Hailey and the dog. Lynnell holds her ground and refuses to get in the middle. Stage is more concerned with his relationship with Lynnell than her opening a business. Really, it would be a concern of mine too. What is Lynnell supposed to do? Go home and act like everything's normal? What a mess.

Cassie is back in the house for an intervention, supposedly. Personally, I'd like to smack the smirk off her face. Rhonda is meeting with Hailey and Cassie to discuss the dangers of partying and drinking too much. I personally don't like mixing old houseguests and the current ones. So far, it's only been a source of irritation and disruption. I can't really see any benefits. Christine has done little other than complain and act superior. It just causes more confusion and tension, which isn't helping anyone. Hailey is worried about returning to her former life after leaving the house.

Josie is going to check out a local college that has a program geared toward single parents. She is pissed at Cassie also for hanging out drunk around the baby. Cassie and Christine think they know the whole story about Josie, but all I can think about is stones and glass houses. Who wants advice from a drunk or a bitch? It's just not a good source and a mistake on the producers part to mix all these elements.

Finally, they have the intervention. Cassie looks like she would like to have a beer and party now that all her old friends are back. (after all, she and Christine partied last night). But NO, that's not going to happen this time. If you think my writing is disjointed today, wait until you see the show.

The main focus of this episode pretends to be Cassie's intervention, but it's still the resentment the old housemates feel for Nyanza. Drama within the drama sort of thing. Is it sweeps week? This whole thing reads like a sweeps week push rather than a season wrap up. This whole show is all over the board. Old resentments, old stories, new resentments, new stories. It's poor editing and poor therapy. It's a grand idea for a wrap-up, but a failed one in my opinion. It's two, two, two shows in one. And while that may be good for advertisisng and publicity, it sucks for the viewer.

Tuesday ....
Interventions are always so much fun. Not really, but they needed some reason to bring back all the first crowd so we'll remember a bit about them next week when the repeats start. Also, Cassie needed it. I wish they'd more clearly separate the old/new housemates and issues . Trying to tie in the current housemates (Hailey in particular) with the old group was just unnecessary manipulation on the producer's part. It's clear who needs what to the viewer, so don't confuse us. The current housemates aren't particularly happy either. As Lynnell says, "It's been awkward". As usual, Christine and Cassie are defensive. It erupts in morning meeting and Hailey lets loose. (Go Hailey! Thank goodness someone will say it out LOUD! Leah, pay attention.) I fully support Hailey and what she says. There's a strong young woman there. Christine can kiss my ass and Hailey's too. Go Hailey!!!

Later Christine and Cassie reassure themselves that they were so supportive. Christine is really a controller and manipulator. I don't see her as much of a success story. She doesn't understand the difference between confidence and rudeness. Her level of personal warmth is still somewhere down in the reptile category. It doesn't make me want to know her or her story, if that's the set-up the producers are looking for.

Cassie is meeting with Scotty, an advisor that has had experience with alcohol problems. She's still defensive and in denial. She insists she is not going to quit drinking. She just wants to drink enough, but not too much, just like every alcoholic I've ever known. They're going to investigate a 12 step meeting. They ask Hailey to go, but she doesn't want to go and who could blame her. Hailey is more adult about it than I would have been and does go. Afterwards, they talk in the living room.

Andi is making over Josie (and Chloe). If she can arrange it so Josie can never do the Leia hairdo again, I'll give her double props. The first outfit looks like a hooker, but eventually they get where they're going. Next is the hairdo. She actually worries about what Jonathan thinks. Oh, brother. It was a push for her confidence level, but to what end. So she looks better for Jonathan. Expletive deleted! Later they do a photo shoot. Don't ask me why. Parting gifts from Don Pardoe? Proof that Josie actually was in the house? Later on, Josie calls Jonathan and allows him to drip nasty slime on everything. What a pair of idiots. Maybe she'll get tired of the emotional beating from him soon. She does let him have it somewhat, but why did she call in the first place?

Hailey is focusing on making some unique jeans. She has a creative idea that she might work into a business. Rhonda meets her at giant used clothing store where she is to buy some jeans and do her thing with them. She already had the artwork ready for her labels. I say go to art school and go into Graphic Design, Hailey. She's damn good at it. I like her style. The most important thing that Rhonda shows Hailey is that she can hope, and expect a better life for herself.

Three more days. I've read the spoilers. One big surprise and a few other smaller ones. Stay tuned.

Wednesday ....
Cassie and Christine still think they could help someone with their advice. Christine says Lynnell is closed off to her. Big wonder. Cassie says Hailey is like herself, only Hailey wants to get better whereas Cassie was forced to be better. These two might be better off asking for advice instead.

Josie once again talks to the super idiot. What a multifaceted creep. Slime personified. Maybe he could get a part in the next Harry Potter movie as the evil blob. He makes my skin crawl. He’s jealous of her and Chloe in addition to being cruel, sadistic, and manipulating. Josie might be getting the hint, but I swear you could hit her with a brick and she’d call back later and ask about the brick. She does talk to him like an adult, but the next step is NOT talking to him at all, please. Now, she’s filled out an application for housing, but she has a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt and MIGHT be a criminal on the lam. Please. Let’s create drama out of air.

Leah. blahblahblah. yadayadayada. Problem solving hits an all time low with Leah’s mysterious steps. Waste of time, waste of tape. I actually like Leah, but she needs to get on with her life and see a therapist to discuss her family issues. She says she finally gets this thing called Freedom. Spare us the epiphany. One more ceremony filled with symbolism and very little rooted in reality. Bird in a cage, fly away. Fly away.

Lynnell and Hailey are talking about what happens when they leave the house. Executing a life plan is not the same as learning about one. Personally, it seems like a rush dump job to me. Lynnell is NOT ready to deal with her problems yet, but so what, the series is ending. Where’s the producers life plan? I don’t think they had one for the finale. Hailey, on the other hand, has got it. She’s a smart girl with tons of potential, but she doesn’t want to live with Lynnell and Stage. She’s going to live with her dad. She really has had a breakthrough. As she says, she really feels for people, but she hasn’t wanted to show it. Today she does.

Lynnell tries to talk to Stage, but he prefers to yell like a child. It’s easy to see that he brings her down to her lowest level. I hope she goes it on her own for a while. She’d be better in a nice quiet little place of her own.

Cassie is still in denial. She’s inviting her friends to discuss her drinking problems at a pizza party. She still wants to argue with Scotty that she can still drink in moderation. Yeah, her and every other person with alcoholism. Her friends say they support her. They haven’t enjoyed her drunken behavior either, but she’s never discussed it before. Now that they’re aware of the problem, they feel they can support her. I still see denial from Cassie.

Board of Review tonight. Rush job to get everyone ready to leave. Ready or not, here they go. Josie gets an A, Chloe an A+, but they‘re not graduating. Leah gets an A, but she’s not graduating. Hailey gets no grade from the counselors so far, but she gets an A+ from me. Her mom says it all when she says, “ I walked in with a girl, and she’s leaving as a woman.” Hailey IS graduating. Two more days to wrap it up. Two more weeks or two more months might have been a better time line for the housemates, but summer is here and the season is nearly over. Get out the shorts, shades, and sandals and give your problems a rest.

Thursday ....
Next to last day. Hailey is graduating. Lynnell is graduating. Wake up call includes presents for all the housemates. Everyone gets pajamas and slippers. Breakfast is being served by three hot guys. Everyone is having fun. Hailey and Lynnell are getting makeovers from Andi. It's kind of like Christmas Eve with a touch of sadness. Even though everyone is leaving tomorrow, they are all leaving with the gift of new skills and best of all, a support system of friends.

Morning meeting is a review of Lynnell and Hailey's progress on their steps. Lynnell is very expressive as to the purpose and success of Starting Over House. Hailey's artwork very succinctly tells her story. Lynnell is proud of her and so am I. Josie has found an apartment during her visit to the dentist. Cassie talks a bit about her drinking, but she still bugs me because she insists she just wants to cut back, not quit. I hope she and her friends are successful. She leaves. Hailey and Lynnell are going with Andi for their day of beauty before graduation. Andi lets them know that they are not going to be alone when they leave, that they will receive the same support that they got in the house.

Leah is meeting with Rhonda and Rana. She feels she is ready to leave. They say she is leaving on a trial basis. Not sure what that means, unless it means she might come back for a visit to graduate in the fall. We learn that Leah has only been in the house three weeks, so that's not time for very much change.

Josie is freaking out because everyone is leaving except for her and Chloe. She and Rana are going to look at this apartment. It's a basement apartment, great price, and nice enough. Starting Over is going to pay her rent for a while till she gets on her feet (till next season, anyhow). Wonder how long before The Slime invades? At least it's warm and safe and not a car.

Andi is not only good at her job, she's a good spokesperson for the show. What a difference. Her conversations with the ladies during the day help tell all of their stories. The best part is Lynnell sitting in an adjoining room listening to Hailey say how they came in so angry at each other and how they've learned to be friends. I like their haircuts, but I wonder if they kept them. Are the commentaries they show from the houseguests current with their time lines or filmed later? The clothes try on is a scream. Hailey looks hot and so does Lynnell and they haven't even gotten to make-up yet.

Never once do the Life Counselors mention that this house is closing, that the series is ending for the the season, that they are moving to California, who will be back or who won't. Nothing. Maybe they didn't know themselves at the time, but come on. There is no hint in tomorrow's previews that it's the last day. Hmmmmmm.

Friday ....
For some of us, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer. For the rest of us, it’s the end of Starting Over that says no more snow, no more cold windy streets, the sun is out, and it’s time to relax and have fun. Everyone is going home, armed with their new skills and determined to make their lives work better. Instead of snow, expect a rainstorm of tears - a fresh summer rain that cleanses and refreshes.

Josie starts out with a phone call to you-know-who, like we didn’t know that was coming. He’s going to help her move and do the DNA thing right away….. Uh huh, and probably all that other crap he brings to the table, too. She hasn’t and isn’t graduating so what can you expect. Her little girl voice and sense of expectancy just scream “Trouble is on it’s way!”……oh well.

Hailey and Lynnell are getting their make-up done for graduation. It’s time and all their old friends are here. Amy and Rain take their places on the stairs. Graduation is one of the most moving. Hailey and Lynnell started in a really awful place, but they are actually leaving as friends that are good to and for each other. When the speeches start, just give it up and get out the crying towel. Don’t even try to fight it. Gifts are appropriate for both of them. Lynnell gets her own professional website and Hailey gets soccer coach certification clinic and a meeting with a jeans designer, and both get a seminar for starting your own business.

As a matter of fact, just keep the towel out for the rest of the show. From here on out, it becomes a surrealistic cry fest of goodbyes and thank yous. In between, are wrap up stories that go back to the beginning of the housemates arrival at the house. Between blubbers you can make out a few I love yous and I’m gonna miss yous and how am I gonna make it without yous. You’ll get the point, though.

Lynnell sums it though with the simple phrase, “We’re all so scared”. Scared to move on with our lives, or to change the things we don’t like about them. It pretty much sums up all of humanity. And that is why I like this show. Despite the manipulation by the producers, it’s still about people learning to face their fears and moving on to the next phase of their lives, and in doing so we get a glimpse into our own lives and fears and the way to change them, to Start Over.

See you for the reruns