All aboard for Charm School…
Note that they’re on the shortbus. That’s no coincidence.
Before we begin, let’s flashback to why the 13 girls from seasons 1 and 2 of Flavor of Love are on the way to Charm School in the first place:
(OK, this begs for an interjection. Calling Hottie "the crazy girl" is like calling Flav "the rapper" or calling New York "the woman with the intimidating false eyelashes." While these statements begin to describe what’s special about the people they respectively describe, they’re mere doorways to confounding awesomeness.)
(Also, this isn’t really fair because there was, like, one scene of Like Dat acting a mess. She’s only being called a slob because she’s big. Enough with the pigeonholing, already!)
(Another issue: While Buckeey’s balcony brawling was ultimately her undoing, Krazy was merely an innocent scapegoat. Plus, when you think about Krazy, don’t you think about her music first? Shouldn’t she be dubbed "The Singer"? Think back. Think of all the lives she saved. Just think of all the lives she saaa-uh-haaaaved.)
As the girls make their way to their as-yet-unknown destination, some reflect on Flavor-full pasts. Rain says her behavior embarrassed her mother. That never happened before Flavor of Love? Pumkin reflects on the infamous spitting incident: "I wouldn’t take it back for anything. If you don’t do something to be remembered, it’s like, you’re a nobody, you know?" This is equal parts despicable and honest. In other words: reality TV missed you, Pumkin. Saaphyri wonders what Charm School will bring. "Do they teach you stuff like meat has to be situated a certain way on a plate or it’s not etiquette-like? Or edi-ca-piss-a-ca-piss? Or whatever you call it?"
Saaphyri, please call things whatever you want because your words are bound to be more entertaining than the real ones.
The girls pull up to a (ahem, rather familiar-looking) mansion.
Buckwild says that she thought the mansion was the Playboy Mansion. Apparently, Buckwild forgot that she signed up for a reality show. Happens. The girls wait and then Mo’Nique comes out. They applaud. Again, more wisdom from Buckwild: "I am a huge Mo’Nique fan. She gonna bop the skinny bitches on the head."
Either Buckwild is referencing Mo’Nique’s comedy, or Mo’Nique has already gotten to her.
Mo’Nique doesn’t mince words. She tells the girls that as a result of their time on Flavor of Love, "The world was not laughing with you, we were all laughing at you, including myself." So Charm School is like comedy camp, then? Then she announces that whomever makes is through Charm School and is deemed most refined at the end will win $50,000. The girls rejoice.
Flav considered, this really is the best reality show prize they’ve been offered so far.
They take to the house and immediately there is drama. Specifically, blog drama. Oooh! Petty and technological. How fun. The rift starts when the girls realize they’ve been assigned rooms. Bootz and Buckeey have been placed with Pumkin, which they don’t like because Pumkin supposedly said on some blog that all the black girls on Flavor of Love 2 were jealous of Krazy. Typing that was about 10 times more tedious than you’d expect. Seriously: they said she said they felt blah blah blah. Are you gonna eat your fruit cup, reader? Let’s go play on the swings. Recess is but minutes long.
Besides, this such crap because the girls clearly weren’t jealous of Krazy. They were jealous of her music.
Pumkin cries because she’s supposed to sleep in the room with the girls who hate her.
Oh Pumkin, dry your eyes. No matter what room you were in, you’d be living with girls who hate you. Doesn’t that make you feel better?
The girls are corralled downstairs, where Mo introduces them to the other judges:
Keith also runs an agency. Also, he’s a jerk. But you know, a good jerk. He tells the girls that none of them would get within 50 feet of his office. Not even under his desk?
Then comes the most important of the initiation activities: Mo strips the girls of their Flavor of Love nicknames. Apparently, symbolism is more important than the confusion we all are set to face when we start calling these girls by their real names. We went to all that trouble to learn those fake names with their rule-defying spelling and now this? Does this mean that we can start spelling Mo’Nique’s name without the apostrophe? Could save some time in typing.
And so, one by one, the girls lose their Flav names.
And then, something magical happens.
Hottie approaches Mo, and…
…wait for it…
…produces an apple from her bosom. Perhaps this is her way of kissing up (as a teacher’s pet, see). Perhaps she figured, "Mo’s a big girl. She must be hungry." Perhaps this is her way of announcing her pro-farm activism. Perhaps she’s out to poison. Any way you slice it, though: Hottie is freaking weird. And really: a lot of these girls are, but Hottie’s weirdness is always accompanied by her chilling smile and general air of of kindness. Hold onto your bunnies because Hottie may or may not have a pot of water going on the stove.
Mo doesn’t even know what to do with the apple, so she places it on the mantle next to her.
Mo’s reaction is priceless: "That apple was hot as hell. What am I gonna do with a t**** apple?" Run from it!
The baked brown sugar on top of this entire incident is that we find out that Hottie’s name is…
Schatar. How regal. How sexy. How Star Search-interracial-May-December-male-female-loves-Shalamar-a-whole-hell-of-a-lot dancer duo. That name deserves at least three and a quarter stars!
More awesomeness comes along, this time with Krazy. But, of course it does. Krazy announces that she’d like to be called "Nevaeh." In an interview, Buckeey notes that this is, in fact, Heaven spelled backwards. "That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard," says Buckeey. This is coming from a woman who listened to Flav blather on for half a season, and yet, it’s still believable. Amazing.
Anyway, Krazy will be called by her birth name…
If it’s any consolation, Heather is Rehtaeh spelled backwards.
Finally, we come to Saaphyri. Mo tells her that that name represents something ugly. She asks Saaphyri’s birth name and it’s…Saaphyri. So basically, Mo just called Saaphyri’s life ugly. Way to motivate, Mo! See, Saaphyri never received a nickname because she was thrown off Flavor of Love before the naming ceremony. Anyway, at least now she won’t be known just as "the Lip Chap girl."
And then, it’s time for the first lesson. Mo says that there are 10 commandments of Charm School.
The first is:
See how "thy" and "thou" can make an Ice Cube-coined statement seem so much more official? Next episode, they should translate "Cave Bitch" into Old English.
Basically, what all of this means is that the girls will have one-on-one meetings with the judges. Straight away, Keith proves himself to be the voice of a nation by commenting on Schatar’s hair. "What is the hair? Is it a wig? Is it a weave? Is it a…what is it?"
The answer is: none of the above. It’s actually an apple-warmer.
At least, that would explain the bump she’s got going on.
Saaphyri talks about the prize money. "$50,000 to me is like saying 5 million right now." So then, $5 million would be like $500 million in Saaphyrithmetic? She tantalizes you with her vocabulary and then she wins you over with her math. Charming, indeed.
"Where is that money at?" she asks Keith. Oh, you little potential robber, you!
Then come the waterworks.
As the girls talk to Mo, many of them lose it. Mo screws up her face like a Disney villain and mocks them.
She says that he should be called Mo’Prah, because they cried on her couch. Another nickname that she doesn’t consider: Barbara Mo’Mo.
What amounts to an exhausting day ends. Saaphyri hopes that the next day will be easier on them. "Hopefully maybe we’ll do something fun like, do brunch. That seems etiquette-like. Y’know, teach us how to eat brunch or somethin’. Some marmosas."
Saaphyri is officially adorable. You almost don’t want her to change. Leave the show now, Saaphyri, while your vocabulary is still so colorful-a-piss-a-cuh-piss.
Saaphyri’s wish more something more etiquette-like is not realized. Instead, the girls get a buffet breakfast and a surprise that has Schatar piddling. "It looks like clothes! And they’re pink!" she squeals.
Schatar is as queer as…well, Luther Vandross, actually.
The girls make their way down to the food, where they read off a note that they’ll change their insides by going outside. Nothing like an open-air colonic to turn a girl into a lady!
The girls figure they’ll be camping. Schatar figures that they’re going to a spa. Oh, you know royalty. Always expecting spas. She decides to bring her (fake) fur coat, perhaps to impress her massage therapist or her facialist or any bear she should run into.
The girls are shipped to their destination:
Here they face the second challenge/commandment:
And by "goeth," they mean, "walketh" wo miles, to be precise, to a campground while towing whatever they think they’ll need for a night outdoors. Thela freaks out.
She apparently has a "torn Achilles heel," and thus the two-mile walk will be too taxing on said heel. Ultimately nobody cares. Really: do you?
The girls get on their way. So…slowly…
Four hours! And Schatar is merely the first! Two miles in four hours? Are these girls crawling? Are they moving by willing their way through space? Thela may have a bum "Achilles heel," but the rest of these girls move like they don’t have heels at all. No wait, strike that: double amputees without wheelchairs are faster.
When the girls arrive, they see Schatar like this:
So she’s gone from being vaguely reminiscent of the witch in Snow White to being (extremely!) vaguely reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty. If it hasn’t been clear so far, Schatar is freaking amazing.
The girls set up camp while enduring many a mishap. Their tents tip and they don’t have all the tools they need to eat the food they brought. When a can opener breaks, so does Thela’s sanity. She gets up and rants on the side of a road.
"…And I can’t scream and I can’t yell and I can’t do anything that’s me!" She may be saying, "…and I can’t do anything that’s mean!" Hard to tell. It’s more fun, though, to read it in the first way, as though Thela’s been robbed of her identity. Seriously: take away a Flavor of Love girl’s right to bitch and you’re left with a woman scorned and incomplete.
She calms down and returns to the camp. Later, Mikki stops by and asks the girls how the day went. The girls call out Schatar for carrying up only a log, while the rest had to bring camping equipment and food. "I brought more than one log. I also brought a bag of candy," counters Schatar, referring undoubtedly to a bag of Airheads. Also: Wow! What a trooper! If it turns out that she ate the candy, too, she might just be nominated for sainthood. There isn’t a Saint Schatar yet, is there?
The girls also get word that they’ll be split up into two teams that will need captains. Saaphyri is named one of the captains. Then, Jennifer nominates Schatar and cracks up. Schatar is, of course, oblivious to the humor and agrees to be the captain. Leilene decides that she should step up and be a captain. The girls don’t know what to do: deciding between the bonkers Schatar and the bleeding-heart Leilene is like deciding between blindness and deafness. You’re screwed either way. They finally go with Leilene.
The next day, the girls are awakened by this:
He takes the girls to their next challenge and captures Buckwild’s heart in one swoop. Hot. The girls will have to run a military-style obstacle course. The team that completes the course in the shortest amount of time will win. First Sgt. Jones has the captains pick girls for their team, gym-class style. Leilene chooses the injured Thela and then, almost immediately after, chooses Darra, whom just about everyone, including herself, reminds us is a big girl and therefore a weak spot for the team. You might even call her an Achilles heel. Later, Leilene explains that she chose Darra because she didn’t want her to feel left out. Then, she turns around and slips on the blood that’s been pouring from her heart.
The teams end up being split like this:
Team 1 (Leilene’s Team): Thela, Cristal, Brooke, Darra, Heather
Team 2 (Saaphyri’s Team): Courtney, Shay, Larissa, Schatar, Jennifer, Becky
The run begins. The most notable thing about Team 1 is that Darra has a really hard time making it over one of the obstacles.
Good thing she wore a thong. That wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining if she didn’t.
The most notable thing about Team 2 is Saaphyri’s leadership (she gives the girls tips on faster ways to crawl, for example). Oh, that, and their victory:
This means someone from Leilene’s team is going home.
But first: garment drama. The girls, upon returning to the not-Playboy mansion, are outfitted with uniforms. Everyone hates this idea.
Everyone, that is, except for Cristal.
Whatever, the girl looks cute. Sue her.
Then Thela decides to talk to Mo’Nique. Well, not really talk, per se. More like: make faces at.
Virtually the only coherent thing she reveals during her bizarre rant is that she smokes weed. Makes sense! Mo’Nique basically cracks up in her face.
Thela is like marijuana for the senses.
Meanwhile, the other girls bitch about Thela getting additional one-on-one time with Mo. Uh, girls, if you could have seen what went down, you would realize that this gave Thela no advantage. Regardless:
Saaphyri goes on to call Thela, "Fake, phony-ass. Phony, phony, Shareefa-song phony." If anybody in the world represents Shareefa’s intended audience, surely it is Saaphyri.
In the end, Thela’s one-on-one with Mo’Nique doesn’t help her. She, Leilene and Darra make up this week’s Bottom 3 at elimination:
The judges call out Leilene for leading with her heart, not her brain. Darra’s losing spirit is criticized. But ultimately, it’s Thela, aka Buckeey’s homegirl with the ‘tendernitis,’ who gets the boot. That one-on-one is actually what did her in: during it, she told Mo’Nique that she sometimes has a hard time controlling her anger. Because of her potential danger, she is expelled.
Her? Angry? Get out!