Monday, April 25, 2005

Start Me Over

So I just quit my job. Let me tell you everyday that I woke up in the morning as an employed person, all I could dream about was the day that I would not have to go to work and could just sit around all day. Well, the moment has passed people. I know that it is all down hill from here on out because of one evil thing that those day people don’t tell you about. Daytime TV.

Like a Meth Addict to a pipe, I’m ready for my friends to call an intervention because I am addicted to this little show called Starting Over. Oh my god, that shit is addictive. It doesn’t help that it’s on every weekday in the middle of the day so my productivity or attempt at it can start until it’s over at 1pm. And let’s not forget that I missed the first two seasons, so I am catching up on those too. God dammit, can’t I get catch a break?

Everyday my little TV sings at 12 noon on the dot with the theme song and a voice over stating ominously “Life Has Never Been This Real”. Starting Over is feel good reality. It describes itself as follows:

STARTING OVER follows a diverse and ever-changing group of women as they attempt to make extraordinary changes in their lives -- all while living together under the same roof. The women are joined by two life coaches, Rhonda and Iyanla, who will help them define their goals and outline the steps needed to achieve those goals.

But it doesn’t stop there, people. These women live in a house in the Hills. Have a personal trainer, gym equipment, a psychiatrist, and plenty of personal problems. All of this combined with a whole lot of estrogen in small spaces makes for great drama, lots of crying, fighting, hugging, and evil manipulation. And like converts at a church tent revival, we get to witness the “healing”.

Let’s take a look at some of the current and past House Guests:

Vanessa: A gymnast and Olympic hopeful who blew it at Olympic trials, Vanessa wants to redefine who she is and in the process needs to lose her crazy pushy parents and emotionally abusive boyfriend.

Bethany: A sudden amnesic, Bethany struggles to deal with what caused her [insert southern accent here] "meemree" loss and gain a better self image. When asked what one thing she remembered about her past was, she said she knew she had never been kissed. So sad.

Cassie: A recovering alcoholic, Cassie struggles to reconnect with her son much to the dismay of his crazy adoptive mother.

Rachael: After her parent’s death, Rachael was shipped off to a home for girls by her evil aunt who kept all her trust money left by her mother.

Tess: Crazy woman hating bitch stirs the pot and tells the other women to stop being such haters because she is so beautiful. Get over yourself girl.

Towanda: Toni Braxton’s sister tries to get out of the shadow of her famous sibling. Or is it all just a show to launch her own career?

Oh it’s getting me all wound up. I can’t even express how delicious it all is. And when the Life Coaches, Iyanla Vanzant and Rhonda Britten take these women out of their comfort zones there are some tears. They challenge the women with exercises like when one house guest had to carry around a suit case with items representing her baggage for a week. They share their own personal life struggles. Iyanla lost a daughter to cancer at the age of 36. Rhonda’s own father killed her mother and then himself in front of 14 year old Rhonda. Can you believe that? It’s crazy. And here they are all glassy eyed, zen and centered.


I have a soft spot for Rhonda. She is so loving and kind. Or maybe the Botox just makes her look that way. In the end, I know it’s all bullshit, but I would like to believe that when she gently strokes Bethany’s arm after the tells her how she wants to choose a path of self forgiveness, that she really believes it. I want Rhonda to stroke my arm too. I want Rhonda to give me a hug. I want Rhonda to come to my living room and tell me it’ll be okay and drive me to the trainer and afterward we'll go get botox together at her Beverly Hills doctor's office. I want Rhonda to be my friend and that is why I have problems.

You see there are thousands of people who are devotees of Starting Over. Most of them middle aged women and gay men. The Life Coaches go on tours to cities across the country and people flock to their seminars. They sit on a stage and hash out all of their life problems in front of a few hundred people on a prefab mall stage for the one small hope that Rhonda will stroke their arm and tell them that it’s going to be okay.

The New York Times calls Starting Over the “gold standard” for reality programming. There must be something in the flash cuts or my water because I think the New York Times is right. For those of us who can’t afford real therapy or have run out of our Cobra, I just have one thing to say: Rhonda, start me over.