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The Surreal Life 2, Episode 3: Warming Up to Vanilla Ice



Trishelle is drunk, Tammy Faye is sweet, Traci is vapid, Erik is amusing, and Ron is self-deprecating. No surprises there. But Vanilla… er… Rob is so levelheaded and likable that if we had a Decency Hall Of Fame he would have earned his moment this week. 

Every Surreal Life episode this season begins with a “previously on…” segment. Did they do this last year? I don’t recall. I think it would be easier for them to omit the flashback and just do a screen shot with the url for my last recap. Doubt it will happen, though.

It’s morning in Campbell Manor and Erik starts the day off right by opening his robe and giving a little flash to the camera man, amid laughter from Rob. Tammy Faye begins her day, as always, by reading her bible. In another room of the house the activities are a little less pious. Traci and Trishelle notice that Ron sleeps naked so they try to pull off his covers to get a look at his famous package. They giggle as Ron falls to the floor clutching his blanket. I guess he’s shy; who would have thought? This whole scene is so reminiscent of the Tami/David fiasco from Real World: LA. Except there is no Beth S. around. That’s one thing this show has going for it, no Beth S. Don’t mention her to the producers, or they may book her and my resentment will be endless.

Back to the happenings in the rest of the house: Erik does push-ups while Rob makes coffee. For some strange reason the scene then cuts to Ron giving Erik a shoulder massage, which is so good that Erik loses his conversational train of thought. Ron did this for Tammy Faye last week and I have to say, the man looks like he gives a wicked good massage.

As in all reality TV, lighthearted moments never last, so we cut to Trishelle and the drama of the moment. She is checking her voicemail on the communal phone and hears one from an ex-boyfriend. According to the message he isn’t doing so well and can’t talk. I always call people when I can’t talk. Whatever. Trishelle talks about this with Traci, saying she can’t get a hold of him now. Traci proves herself the queen of unnecessary exposition when she says that John called Trishelle because he needed her and now she will be freaking out all day because she’s unable to reach him. Which is what Trishelle just said.

The Surreal Times arrives and the headline is, “What’s in the stars for the stars?” They learn they will be visited by a medium. Tammy Faye says that she loves that. To use Jessica Simpson’s favorite word, she’s being facetious. Trishelle is also less than thrilled as she, “doesn’t want to contact dead people.” She just finished two MTV challenges, The Gauntlet and The Inferno (which is airing now), but I don’t think that counts. Those people are technically alive even if the same can’t be said for their careers.

The medium arrives and we learn that she is Cheri Manusco: Doctor of Metaphysics and Psychic to the Stars.

Doctor? I checked out her web site because I had to know if she actually had a doctorate in this stuff. According to her official bio she is: a certified Metaphysical Practitioner, certified in something called advanced symbology, and applied psychometry, is an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, a doctor of metaphysics from the Universal Life Church. She’s also a reiki master, and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

I think it’s safe to say she isn’t a real doctor. Oh, and Daughters of the American Revolution applies how exactly?

Regardless of her lack of credentials and total misappropriation of the title of doctor, here she is, and Erik invites her in. She tells everyone she’s been a medium for twenty years, and was born and raised on a Native American Indian reservation. She is also part Indian way, way back. I’m not sure how that adds to her credibility but the way she said it, it’s supposed to.

Traci has no issues with psychics and is open to it. The medium says she is here to “tune in” to everyone and I wish she would finish the Timothy Leary plan and “drop out” as well. Too bad no one is asking me. Erik says he’s open to it and believes in the afterlife. As he says, “this can’t be it. How sad would it be if being on The Surreal Life (or recapping it) was indeed it?

The medium tells us she isn’t here to intimidate anyone but merely to tune into them. It’s my experience that when someone says they don’t want to intimidate you that’s exactly what they plan to do. But she says, “we’re here to let ourselves feel we can be ourselves.” This 'be yourself' thing is a running theme of this episode. Since when do we get morality plays on this show?

Trishelle interviews that she was raised with the same beliefs as Tammy Faye, and that this is a sin. Seems to me she picks and chooses which sins to stay away from. Ron is a skeptic and says he doesn’t believe, but wants to.

The medium takes them one-on-one for individual readings and Trishelle is up first. As she leaves the room Rob makes a face. Erik says he knows Johnny Rocket doesn’t believe. In the bedroom, the medium tells Trishelle she needed to get them one-on-one in order to get into detail. She tells Trishelle that she should “let her go” and not tell her anything. She is such the poor man’s John Edward. She beings to read Trishelle and I have to wonder, if she’s a genuine seer, why she isn’t getting any aural visions about how to pronounce Trishelle’s name. She calls her Tricelle, throughout. She sees for Tricelle a man in black who’s depressed. Trishelle’s hands are cold. Is this her boyfriend? Trishelle is freaked out by this, as she says yes. [Editor’s Note: Didn’t she just tell Trishelle not to tell her anything? Then why is she asking a question?] The medium is now seeing red which indicates anger, and again black as she makes an ominous face. She feels she is sensing death. Couple of things - at least John Edward is soothing, and this woman will never get her own TV empire if she insists on frightening people. Another thing - she’s seeing red? Is that really such a shock seeing as she’s in a room with bright red checkerboard flooring and walls and sitting on a bed with a red checkered comforter? What other color could you possibly see in that environment? That horrible decorating scheme is burned into my corneas, and I’m not dooming Trishelle to a life of depression and death. I leave that job to Bunim and Murray.

Trishelle comes out, visibly upset and crying. Tammy Faye asks, “How are you doing, baby girl?” The way she says it makes me love her. I wonder if Tammy Faye would like to adopt me? Rob is this episode’s truth screamer, as proven by his totally justified rant to the medium. He goes off about how pissed he is that she upset Trishelle and tells Trishelle not to buy into it. He says people are easy to manipulate and basically calls this the load of crap that it is. Trishelle no longer wants to be a part of this. Me either, hon, but I’m obligated to finish this part of the recap.

The medium then tries to get Tammy Faye to go along, and she refuses. Ron says that after she terrified Trishelle no one wants to be alone in a room with her. Rob tells the medium that Trishelle is buying into her spiel and basically tells her to knock it off. Then the medium hugs Trishelle. Hasn’t she traumatized her enough? Rob continues that now Trishelle thinks her ex-boyfriend is going to die, and that you have to take it easy on some people. He can’t believe this and doesn’t think it should dictate what anyone thinks. The medium replies that she hasn’t even gotten warmed up yet and everyone laughs. Perhaps you shouldn’t predict death for people until you are on your game.

Tammy Faye says that the medium has planted a seed of fear in Trishelle. Looks like she planted an entire crop.

The medium goes on to say that in twenty years, she’s healed a lot of people. Rob asks her if she doesn’t think that people can heal naturally? When the medium agrees to that he asks if she also takes credit for those who heal themselves? She absolutely does, if she helped them. Rob is incredulous that she credits herself for things not of her doing. The medium says that she has her gifts as they have their gifts. What a coveted gift that must be, the gift of being a raging charlatan. She says she reads doctors (real doctors or pretend doctors like herself?), attorneys, and some of the biggest celebrities. Rob asks if there is anyone she doesn’t read and she says no. He asks her to clarify; she has read everyone? Yes. He asks her if she reads cannibals and she seems nonplussed. She totally doesn’t get the mockery he is making of her.

Erik, ever the peacemaker, asks Rob what difference it makes. He doesn’t like conflict, Mr. Estrada. Rob continues that it isn’t real and that gullible people buy into it and, case in point, Trishelle is crying. He tells people to not be followers.

Did anyone see that coming? Rob making total sense, sticking up for the wounded in the face of nonsense, and being strong and articulate. It was a pleasure to watch.

Tammy Faye notes that the medium is setting up a séance and she thinks that séances are stupid. Rob chimes in by playing his guitar and singing a little riff about raising the dead. Funny. Erik tells Tammy Faye she should participate but just listen; she should observe and show no reaction until it’s over. He thinks she should go in as a blank canvas. Tammy Faye says the problem is she may not come out as a blank canvas. She might have the same problem as Trishelle. She interviews that Erik tried to convince her to be part of the team but the Bible says she should be afraid of the occult. Ron asks Tammy Faye if it’s possible to follow every rule in the Bible. She says she tries. She goofs all the time but she does try to live her life by its tenants. Ron understands.

Tammy Faye says she has what a lot of people don’t have, and that’s peace and joy. So it must work; at least it works for her. She respects others' right to do it if they want to, but God has gotten a hold of her heart. He’s kept her from suicide, protected her through things that could have killed her, and He has given her peace during horrible circumstances. She says the medium seems like a nice lady but she won’t go to her for advice. She gets on her knees for advice. Anything this lady can tell her she can hear from God, if God wants her to know.

I have to interject here. Before this show I was like a lot of people in regards to my opinion of Tammy Faye. I thought she was one of the worst kinds of scam artists, preying upon people’s faith. My opinion has radically changed with how she is presenting herself here. She is a wonderful representation of Christianity. She doesn’t force her beliefs on anyone, nor is she judgmental. She admits to being imperfect. She seems to have a live and let live policy, concerning herself with living her life based on her own faith and moral code. She will share it with you, if it’s brought up, but she isn’t preachy. She seems like a very cool lady to hang out with. As for her aversion to the medium, that’s very common among Christians. Kudos to Tammy Faye for not lecturing them on doing it, and for refraining from compromising her religious beliefs for a silly reality show.

Lest things get too deep, we cut to Traci braiding Ron’s hair. She is doing him up in a million tiny braids. My ten-year-old daughter does this. When she’s bored you have to guard your head, lest you come out looking like Coolio. My ten-year-old also loves Bratz dolls, but the similarity ends there, as she is far more mature than Traci. Ron is afraid it will take hours to come out, and Traci poo-poos that. This is his way of getting ready for the séance, apparently. He wants to believe there is a place to go after you die. Traci asks if he’s afraid to die and he says no – he’s scared stiff. If Ron is indeed searching for something to believe in, spiritually, he might be better served by talking to Tammy Faye, or studying the Kabala, or pretty much anything besides listening to the “doctor” the show has hired. I’m not worried about him though. He’s taking everything the crazy lady says with several hundred grains of salt.

Trishelle doesn’t want to do the séance and plops down on a couch to talk to Tammy Faye as she walks the treadmill. She asks Tammy Faye if they will be mad if she sits this out. Tammy Faye says they probably will, but that’s okay.

The men head in for the séance, which is held in a room they have not yet been in. Erik sends Rob out to get the girls. Trishelle wasn’t going to participate, but does when Rob comes to get her. Tammy Faye peeks into the room and then “ran away like a bunny from the wolf.” With the exception of Tammy Faye, everyone is gathered around the séance table while the medium burns some sage. She tells everyone to inhale the smoke and breathe it into their hearts. What works onCharmed doesn’t really work here, does it? Ron is still in his crazy braids, showing how seriously he’s not taking this.

The medium begins her shtick starting with “Tricelle.” Seriously, either get the girl’s name right or stop addressing her. It’s not even my name and it’s irritating me. She tells Trishelle she will have issues with love. She is seeing the initial “F” which could stand for “father.” There could be an illness. Well, after telling her that her ex-boyfriend might die, why not play the daddy card and put her in fear for her father's health? Is she trying to push her over the edge? Trishelle is scared and doesn’t want this woman working her voodoo on her. The medium moves on to Traci, telling her that she sees the initials “J.B.” Traci says that that’s her fiancé, and the medium predicts she will have a child with him. How original. She tells Erik to be careful of his back this year. She sees him hanging upside down. She also says she sees a child, and perhaps he will adopt a little boy this year. Erik is amazed that she was on target, as no one knew he’s had back problems or about the adoption. I don’t know about the adoption, but more people than not, once past their 20s, have had at least occasional problems with their back. Not exactly a stretch there… Rob notes that people are easily brainwashed.

It’s Rob’s turn and she “sees” that he’s a good dad and she feels there will be another child for him. He asks if that means it’s already in the oven and she hedges. Big surprise. Traci is amazed that everything the psychic said was totally true. Really? Like what? Never mind, it was a rhetorical question. Rob says, “pppft… whatever.” Didn’t I tell you he was the voice of reason this episode?

The medium then turns to Ron. She tells him that love is very important in life. I see she’s going out on another limb. Everyone wants to be loved and everyone wants to share that love. If you are referring to love in the physical sense, many people have shared Ron Jeremy’s love. She tells Ron that this will be his year of finding a soul mate. He appears to be sleeping throughout this, which had to insult the oh-so-serious medium. Traci interviews that Ron wasn’t open or truly focused, and she blames his braided hair for that fact. Or maybe he’s just way too smart for this? You make the call.

Séance over and Trishelle finally gets in touch with her ex-boyfriend, John, on the phone. He tells her to “stay away from the psychics, dude.”

Is it just me or is it grating to hear a woman referred to as dude? That speaks to a lack of vocabulary, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s just too hip for me. Let’s continue…

Since John is fine, Trishelle is relieved. She’s up for celebrating by getting drunk. Ron says that when Trishelle drinks she becomes more playful. Who doesn’t? That’s why I don’t drink - I’m afraid to lose my sardonic edge. Rob says no one should feed these chicks alcohol, as they go around crazy.

Note he called them “chicks,” not “dudes.” That is gender appropriate. Take a lesson, John.

Trishelle says she is so hammered. Erik interviews that a nice glass of wine with dinner is fine but you don’t have to kill the whole bottle. You do if you’re an alcoholic. Not diagnosing, just commenting. Erik says Trishelle has no limits. Tammy Faye opts out of the would-be frat party and goes to bed. Rob doesn’t think anyone should give Trishelle any more liquor, which upsets her. She’s so drunk, and her words so slurred, I’ll give you what I managed to get. They make as much sense in any order, which is to say, none.

“Rob…you know…fine…alright…cool….cool…sure thing…pffft.” Rob asks what he did, and Trishelle tells him not to be such a dick. He is genuinely confused, as he says he isn’t being a dick. I agree. Last week: dick. This week: not a dick. Erik says that when Trishelle over-drinks she becomes too emotional. Trishelle says Rob is pissing her off and he asks why. He tells her he hasn’t called her names, he just said she didn’t need any more. She shows her appreciation for his concern by calling him an a**hole.

Ron interviews that people say alcohol brings out the truth, but it’s an exaggerated truth. Rob still wants to know why Trishelle is calling him names. She says he’s an a**hole because she’s trying to hook him up. He has no idea what she’s talking about. His innocence is really adorable. He says he was just trying to slow her drinking down so she doesn’t have a really rough day tomorrow. He walks away, and she tells him, repeatedly, to stop. She is so wasted she can barely stand as she takes a blanket away from him and touches his arm. He asks her again, stop what? She just shrugs and looks at him. I know that look. That look says “I’m offering myself to you, and it’s very insulting that you aren’t taking me up on it, so I’m trying to be pissy and coy at the same time.” It’s not an attractive look for anyone.

Rob interviews that he’s been very open about the fact that he’s married with two beautiful little girls, and he is faithful to his wife. He thought that was enough. For most people it would be but, for Trishelle, apparently not. She’s sitting with Erik, and Rob is behind the couch. She slurs that she wants to kiss someone. Erik asks who and she, eyes wet with tears, confesses that she’s totally in love with Rob. Being at the mercy of your hormones to the extent Trishelle is has to be hard enough. When they are so linked to your emotions without your brain engaging… well, that has to be a very painful way to live.

Rob is shocked at this revelation, and says that the others must have put her up to this. It has to be a joke. Ron assures him that no one else had anything to do with this, and it’s proven, as she said it high, not sober. Rob isn’t buying it, and Ron tells him to believe it. Rob tells Trishelle that he loves his wife and he loves his kids, and she knows that. Trishelle is crying as she covers his mouth to make him stop talking. She cannot handle rejection. Isn’t that the understatement of the series, so far?

Ron puts Trishelle to bed. Rob says that until tonight, she’s been hiding her feelings and he had no idea. Erik tells him to be cool, be cordial, be friendly, and leave it at that. Trishelle gets out of bed after Ron covers her up and inquires about her comfort, and heads to the bathroom. Very loud noises follow as she vomits. I could have done without such graphic sound editing there.

Scene cuts to morning, where Traci asks Trishelle what time she finally got to bed. Ron answers for her saying it was about 3:00 am. Trishelle tells him to shut up, as he isn’t running for governor? What? Traci says that Trishelle was drinking even more than she was, and must be hurting bad. Ron tells Erik that the girls don’t recall anything from the night before. Erik tells the girls that they both have drinking problems, which they emphatically deny. He says that’s the first step, denial. I think that’s the first symptom…the first step is acceptance, if I remember the free AA literature from high school accurately. Trishelle asks who she was playing with all night? Ron points out that she doesn’t remember. To this, Traci says, “okay, Mr. Flawless.” Defensive much? Trishelle does remember spilling the beans, accompanied by a flashback of her declaring her love to Rob. Erik says they have come to the conclusion she has a crush on Rob. Traci says she can have a crush, while Ron says that’s wrong. Traci asks what’s wrong with it? Trishelle is single, but Rob isn’t, and he’s attractive and intelligent and women are attracted to that. Maybe someone should clue Traci in - it’s the whole Rob isn’t single thing that makes it wrong. Does this woman have any moral compass whatsoever? I have no evidence of one.

Ron says that Rob is dashing (cut to a shot of Rob blowing his nose. That is sexy! Clever editors) and good looking. But he’s happily married and that’s the problem. Actually, that isn’t a problem for him; it’s a problem for Trishelle. I’m thinking when his wife sees this show she won’t be rooting for Trishelle on The Inferno. Ron tells Trishelle she should drink a little less, and she makes a face. Erik laughs. Seeing good advice whoosh right over someone’s head is funny.

Tammy Faye and Erik discuss the drinking. Tammy Faye says it takes away from the experience, and Erik says it makes people obnoxious as well. Tammy Faye hates to see nice people become obnoxious. I bet she’s a good mom.

The Surreal Times shows up on the doorstep with a bundle of six highlighter markers. They are told that the Brady Bunch needs to move over, since this cast will be putting on its own backyard production. Fifty kids will be showing up that evening at 6:30, and the roommates will be putting on a play for them.

Since Ron has a masters in special education, he will be the director. There’s a joke in there, but it isn’t funny. I think we’re supposed to wryly smile about how he will be directing grown-ups whose personalities are such one needs a background in special ed. to corral them. This insults kids in special ed everywhere. Ron says that he has a permanent teaching license in the state of New York. He left teaching when an ex-girlfriend sent his picture into Playgirl and from there he got into adult films. Traci woo-woos that Ron will have them get naked. Yeah, in front of fifty kids. Grow up.

The play is called “Mutha Gooz.” Ron has directed music videos, some B-movies, and some better quality adult movies, but this will be a challenge. We learn again that he has a masters in special education, teaching disturbed kids, so his experience has some validity here.

Give me a second to climb up on my soapbox. Regular readers of my recaps know that I don’t usually jump up on the PC bandwagon. I’m a big fan of irreverent humor, but this is a subject I tend to be touchy about. I have a child with disabilities, and as a mom of a kid with special needs I have been entrenched in the special education system for the past 11 years. I don’t like the use of the word “disturbed” when referring to children. I am hoping he was referring to teaching kids who were classified as emotionally disturbed. While I don’t like the phrasing, that is the legal designation for children receiving services for emotional issues. If that’s the case, his phrasing is what I would consider insensitive, but not technically incorrect. As it played, it sounded like he was painting special ed kids with a broad and very inaccurate brush. I couldn’t let it pass without comment. If you believe nothing else I ever say, trust me when I tell you this: this cast of hypersexual, drunken monkeys are far more disturbed than any child could ever be, regardless of their issues.

Back to the show… Ron is assigning roles. Erik is cast as Prince Fugly, who wears a princely jacket, bald wig, prosthetic nose, and is naïve. No one likes him because he’s so damn ugly. Traci will be Princess Snottypants, the little rich girl. Trishelle will be the Wiznitch: one hot witch who is part Sharon Stone and part Basic Instinct. Who writes this stuff? Seriously, call me, I’d be happy to join the staff to make sure your analogies are understandable to those of us who speak English. Tammy Faye will play Mutha Gooz. (Speaking of English, anyone else think this creative spelling is contributing to the dumbing down of our society? Me too.) Rob will play the Weirdo Pirate. Ron is cast in the dual roles of the Sofa King and the Hairy Monster. He is a crazy, senile, old king with a beat-up aluminum walker.

Erik tells everyone to eat and meet back for rehearsal. Ron is cool with Erik stepping in. They have six and a half hours until curtain. Erik and Ron discuss the play and Erik says they should play it very exaggerated. Ron is feeling the time pressure, saying this doesn’t happen in real life. Well, this isn’t real life - it’s The Surreal Life. Catch up.

They begin the read-through while Trishelle sleeps. She usually doesn’t get hangovers, but she hasn’t been that drunk since high school. Erik tries to wake her up, telling her they need to rehearse. She doesn’t move, so he asks if she’d like a glass of wine. Surprisingly, even that fails to rouse her. He says that as performers, they need to know what time to be there so they are prepared. This isn’t the pathological seriousness of Gary Coleman; this is just Erik being a professional. No matter how silly the assignment, if you are going to do something, do it well.

Since Erik couldn’t wake Trishelle, Traci heads in to give it a shot. She tells her that everyone is getting agitated. Trishelle feels like poop and thinks everyone needs to calm down. It’s a play for a bunch of nine-year-olds, and kids don’t care. Seems that she and Erik have very different work ethics. She is nauseous. Ron is feeling the pressure of getting it all done on time. Ron comments that when he was first on stage, Rob was still sperm. That a gets a laugh.

Four hours until curtain. Ron wants to know who he has to kiss to get out of this job. Rob’s first run-through of his lines is slurred, and Ron tells him he sounds like a drunken pirate. That’s what he was going for because, of course, a pirate would be drunk. Ron tells Rob that instead of drunk, he wants him to be a dashing pirate. Rob says he knows how to be a pirate because he lives in Miami, which is close to Key West. I don’t really know what this means. I went to Key West years ago. I remember white sandy beaches, excellent restaurants, and a scary bridge, but no pirates. Maybe it’s changed, since everyone laughed. I hate when I’m not smart enough to get the jokes on this show.

Ron feels he’s losing authority. He says it’s hard, as he’s not used to being a disciplinarian; it’s not his thing. I guess he doesn’t work in those more specific genres of adult films. He would rather sit back and let Erik direct him.

Tammy Faye has to rap so she asks for Rob’s help with the cadence. He’s happy to help her and she asks him if she could be a good rapper. He says yes and laughs. Nice moment between these two.

Scene cuts to the actual rehearsal, and Ron is again frustrated by the time constraints. Erik says if he has a problem with a role emotionally, then he looks at it technically. Kinda like how I approach writing about this episode. Ron says it’s going to be stupid and he’s the one directing it. Like anyone would blame him for the end result. Ron has always hated directing, and loved to act. While he’s interviewing these thoughts, Rob is behind him playing with his sword in a special way. Teenage boys everywhere laugh. They run their lines on the set and Tammy Faye keeps mispronouncing “Fugly.” I think it’s cute when people don’t know nasty words. Ron is upset with her for flubbing her lines, and Trishelle takes him to task for upsetting Tammy Faye. Tammy Faye, for her part, is panicked but laughing about it. Trishelle talks to Ron like he’s four, telling him that directing porn and directing a children’s play are two different things.

I sure as hell hope so.

Ron calls Trishelle an idiot, and she tells him to shut up. You can feel the love. Traci doesn’t know why everyone is freaking out, but admits it is total chaos. Total chaos makes the calmest people freak out. Honestly, how did she live this long without any functional knowledge of how life works? Rob and Ron bicker as Erik mediates. Traci interviews that she first got into show business when she was very young. She loves theatre and loves her craft. Her craft. You try not to snicker at that. Trishelle notes that all the professional actors are horrible. She’s never acted, but if they can make it acting, she’ll be “f**king famous” after this. Famous for f**king isn’t the same as f**king famous. Just pointing that out.

Ron yells at Rob to shut up, and Tammy Faye is upset because there is too much yelling. Rob tells Ron that he’s acting like Gary Coleman, which, if you saw last week's episode, isn’t a compliment. Trishelle agrees that Ron and Gary are the same person. Really? I’m pretty sure I could tell them apart. Maybe I just have a great eye for detail. Ron is ready to quit, so Rob offers to direct. Erik says that if Rob directs, he’s quitting. That gets a laugh.

A calmer Ron nicely asks Tammy Faye to come on stage, and in doing so she trips over a cord. Seeing that she’s okay he says, “his entrance was good; yours was better.” Ron interviews that they aren’t ready but what choice do they have? Looking at the costumes, Traci notes that Ron will sweat in his. Trishelle doesn’t think she has the breasts to carry off her costume. Judging from the pre-adolescent boys’ audience reaction, she did just fine. Funny, that that was her issue with her costume. Not the fact that it is black vinyl and with the matching knee high boots, so that it makes her look like a cut-rate dominatrix. Tammy Faye heads into the bathroom to change. We see that the sink is also raspberry colored, matching the Traci-offending bathtub. Poor baby, I hope she recovers.

It’s now thirty minutes to curtain. A clown escorts the kids to the house, entertaining them until show time. Clowns are scary. While the kids are waiting, Ron talks to Trishelle about her stomach. She’s still nauseous. Erik isn’t surprised as she was pickled in liquor the night before, and now she’s nervous. She’s ready to, “kiss the toilet.” In case you were dying to hear her throw up again, you’re in luck. Another shot of the closed bathroom door accompanied by sound effects of her emptying the contents of her stomach.

Six minutes to curtain and everyone is getting into costume. Rob puts on his make-up, musing about how his fans will react to this performance. He thinks they will probably watch and think he’s gay. I don’t think gay is the word he was looking for. Silly fits better. I have never known a gay man with a pirate theme, but then again, I’ve lived a sheltered life. Tammy Faye is worried about Trishelle, and gives her some of her Prevacid to settle her tummy. Trishelle is hungover, aggravated, and pissed off and doesn’t want to deal with any of this.

Rob says this is like throwing yourself into a mousetrap full of cheese. What is with these people and cheese?

Erik walks into the kitchen where Rob is eating and shakes his substantial bottom at him. He is wearing a prosthetic butt, and it’s quite a sight. He asks Rob, “Hey sailor, how do you like my ass?" Rob replies that it’s better than J-Lo’s. He gives him a little wolf whistle, too. Erik interviews that his training is from the American Musical Dramatic Academy so he has a little background.

Ron says if this thing works, it will be coincidental, and he hopes people know he only had six hours to prepare. Honestly, Ron, no one is expecting anything out of any of you. He says it won’t help his directorial career since he doesn’t have one. Ron tells Tammy Faye she needs to memorize her lines, but she’s glued them to the inside of her prop book and will read them. That’s genius.

The play begins with Tammy Faye doing a little interactive patter with the kids and then leading the story off with a rap: “Yo, Yo, Yo! Y’all listen up for a tale of magical adventure. ‘Bout a princess with a big taste for pleasure.” The looks on the faces of the kids in the audience and her fellow thespians are priceless. The kids are trying to figure out if it was intentionally or accidentally funny.

Traci: “You know what sucks? I’m supposed to get married today. Do you know to who? A LOSER! Mutha Gooz, I’m more than miffed. I’m miffed off.”

(Do you know what sucks? That someone would use the word “sucks” in a play for kids. Do you know what else sucks? That she had to make the L on her forehead when she said loser, which stopped being funny the second time the Smashmouth video aired. Do you know what else sucks? That they are playing on the phrased “pissed off”, which is also inappropriate for children. One other thing that sucks? That while she is saying her lines her enormous breasts are actively trying to escape the confines of her costume.)

Tammy Faye: Want to see who she has to marry?

Kids: YEAH!!!

Erik enters the stage shaking his now huge behind, which is still smaller than Traci’s breasts.

Traci: Yuck!” As she mimes sticking her finger down her throat. (Because judging people based on their looks is appropriate for small children.)

Erik: She doesn’t like me at all! Doesn’t she know I’m, like, da bomb??

Traci: (Addressing Ron’s Sofa King character) He’s yucky, and stinky, and gross!

(Hey isn’t that what she said about Ron, for real, in episode one?)

Erik: Hey, hey! I’m right here!

Tammy Faye: Do you guys want to see who she wants to marry?

Cue the pirate. Everyone freezes in place as they wait for Rob, who was still busy eating in the kitchen. So much for their ad-libbing ability.

Rob: How are you? (As he addresses the kiddos, making silly faces.)

Rob then interviews that the kids’ applause is enough for him, it’s all about the kids.

Traci: Isn’t he dreamy?

Ron: You’re not going to marry this guy.

Ron interviews wondering how he got roped into directing and taking dual roles.

Rob: I’ve gotta sail the seven seas. And run off, and chase that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’ll never work.

Traci: But why, Pirate? (He just told you why. Because he’s gotta sail the seven seas. Pay attention.)

Ron is changing into his Hairy Monster costume which is so lame, even as Hairy Monster costumes go. It’s like a white bear suit with a giant eyeball as its head. No, I’m not kidding - watch the rerun this Thursday, if you don’t believe me. Once changed, he runs through the audience as the Hairy Monster, scaring the little ones. Oh, and Ron as the Hairy Monster? Could the symbolism be any more obvious? I guess we should be grateful he wasn’t the Hairy Hedgehog. The monster runs on stage and picks Traci up, throwing her over his shoulders. They all hold their places while waiting for Tammy Faye’s next line. Ron growls that he could hold Traci for a while, but they are burning daylight.

Tammy Faye: With that, the pirate was leaving the princess to face the Hairy Monster all alone.

Ron interviews that this will do nothing to help their careers. They are the Surreal Life idiots. When you’re right, you’re right.

Erik is sword fighting the monster on stage to save his princess, as Rob pushes him out of the way to get off stage.

Rob: Oh my God, I’m out of here! (Okay, there are kids here. Would “oh my gosh” have ruined the integrity of this fine piece of theatre?)

Erik: Watch who you’re pushing! Don’t be so stupid, Stupid”

Rob: I heard that!

Tammy Faye: We’re going to see something really good coming up here. (she tries to sell it, but we’re really not)

They wait on Trishelle. She says they are all taking it seriously and she’s chilling. Way to make friends and influence people.

Trishelle: (Entering stage with a broom) I am the Wiznitch, this is my lair. I’ve got magical powers and killer hair.

Tammy Faye interviews that Trishelle has all her lines down, and she doesn’t know how she did it.

Trishelle: I’ve got potions I brew, and spells that I do, and if you cross me I’ll put one on you!

Tammy Faye wishes she had that kind of confidence. One person's confidence is another’s fame whoredom, I suppose.

Trishelle puts her broom under her butt and asks Rob if he wants to hop on and go for a ride.

Rob: Yeah! I’m into that! Sure! And they ride off-stage.

Trishelle casts a spell to make Erik handsome.

Erik: Check it out! Papichulo! (That’s what it sounded like he said, I can’t become bilingual just for the Estrada quips)

Traci now has the big nose.

Ron and Erik joke off stage that this has potential; they should take it on the road. Broadway, London, Paris…

Back on stag,e Erik and Traci run toward each other in slow motion, signifying true love. They go back and forth: “you didn’t have to change for me, no you didn’t have to change for me. I love you the way you are, and I love you the way you are.” (Blech.)

Ron interviews that it was cheesy and campy, but went amazingly well. How about we retire the word “cheesy”, and come up with another adjective? Just a suggestion.

Think this fiasco is over yet? You wish! They all come out on stage to sing a song before taking their leave. As I transcribe this for you verbatim, I want you to keep something in mind. Somebody, or several somebodys, got paid to write this. Real money. Think about what you do to earn a living, and tell me how well that sits with you.

The Song:

If you’re thin or fat
Or loose or tight
You gotta be yourself, anyway.

Even if you’re ugly
It’s quite alright
You gotta be yourself, anyway.

Be yourself
Be yourself
Try to be yourself each day
No matter what you do
You gotta be you
You gotta be yourself everyday.

(Trishelle solo) If you’re a nasty flirt
Just say, “oh well!” 
You gotta be yourself everyday.

(Tammy Faye solo) If your ex-husband took money from the PTL
You gotta be yourself anyway

(Traci solo) If you just won’t stop
‘Till you claw to the top
Just be yourself anyway

(Erik solo) If you’re known as just
A Mexico cop
Be yourself anyway

(Ron solo) When you can’t dance
Or even sing
Just be yourself anyway

(Rob and Ron) If everyone knows you 
For just one thing
Be yourself everyday

The fact that people got paid to write this makes me want to kill myself. But I’ll defer that activity in order to comment. This was for an audience of children. Layering humor so it works on two levels is one thing, but throwing inappropriate sentiments at small children is something else entirely. This was just wrong on so many levels.

Traci interviews that the whole theme is excellent advice and applies to everyone. Crazy as it sounds, she got something out of it. That does sound crazy. Which was the excellent advice? That it’s okay to hate and mock ugly people? That if you’re a nasty flirt (with other women’s husbands) you shouldn’t have to modify your behavior and should instead embrace it as what makes you so uniquely you? That children don’t deserve a well crafted story line with intelligent dialogue? That it’s okay to name of the characters in a children’s play “Fugly” which everyone but Tammy Faye knows is slang for “f**king ugly?” Traci is such a simpleton I guess even this can improve her life. Why am I thinking the web sites that claim she attended Harvard are not exactly accurate?

Into the audience for kiddo reaction. One kid said it was the best acting ever, as Tammy Faye brings out a tray of cookies. Rob says the kids made it all worthwhile, and he seems to be having fun with the whole thing. One child liked it when the pirate played his sword like a guitar. I think we have a future Alice Cooper fan in the audience. The cutest moment was when a little boy, who looked to be about five, learned that Rob’s name was Vanilla Ice. “Vanilla Ice, that’s his name? I’m going to go call him Vanilla Ice Cream!” and he runs off to find Rob.

One prepubescent boy, who reminded me of nothing so much as a modern day Jimmy Baio, said his favorite part was the witch because she is good looking. Cut to Trishelle interviewing that she’s not a fan of small children. Not only do they annoy her, but she’s hungover, so is staying out of the way.

Ron was sitting back, not mingling, as not to be in their faces. He muses about the parents having triple bypass cardiac arrests just seeing him there. Oh come on, these people allowed their children to participate in a Surreal Life stunt. I don’t think there are too many pilgrims in the crowd. It isn’t like the kids know who he is. If they do, call social services pronto. He does finally go out into the crowd, and brings his pet turtle, which is a big hit with the kids. Everybody loves turtles!

This little show is finally over. They are in the house getting out of costume, and Traci and Trishelle talk of how that song is stuck in their heads. No wonder it’s Traci’s new life vision - she can remember it.

Cut to a scene of Rob and a can of spray paint, tagging his part of the mural. No, not a hissy fit as we’ve seen before. He covers his pictures with graffiti saying, “Be yourself.” He signs it “Johnny Rocket.” Oh come on, you have to admit that’s funny.

In case you missed it, and you long to see it for yourself, they are running this episode again Thursday night.

Next week: Ron kisses Tammy Faye, Tammy Faye raps some more, then they go to her book signing. Ron has a clothing optional BBQ and Trishelle gets a spanking and make-out session with Andy Dick. Shudder.

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is an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church,

One of the cousins is a minister from said same.  you can get this over the interwebs.  She got this because she does new agey hocus pocus and wanted something as she went further into new age healing stuff that would 'allow' her to touch people with little training (allow being a fuzzy term).  (and I may or may not be into some of her new agey hocus pocus and have acted as a crash test dummy before during her training).

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