Tonight, on a very special episode of Charm School…
We begin with Natasha talking smack on the “Skanktourage.”
She’s referring, of course, to Ashley and Brittanya. You know, now that that clique isn’t mostly blonde, Natasha’s renaming of it is fairly functional. So, thanks? Natasha scoffs Ashley for not having changed her hair since Rock of Love. That was, like, two seconds ago. She charges that Ashley has a “nappy-ass hair weave covering up her Darth Vader forehead.” Finally, we’re getting to the bottom of this Darth Vader stuff! I feel like we’re being treated to a grandmother’s secret tomato sauce recipe. Natasha explains that Ashley wears her hair in a “helmet”…
…”then she has a f***in’ forehead from hell.”
Additionally, Ashley supposedly sounds like Darth Vader. Hmmm, I’m still not so convinced that this analogy is sound…
…but it’s good to know that Natasha’s thinking. At least someone is!
And then, just to reinforce her divide from the “Skanktourage,” Marcia mocks Brittanya by lying in bed and saying, “I’m so hot!”
This leads to a confrontation that goes nowhere (a shaggy dog confrontation, but on VH1, aren’t they all?).
Brittanya knows she’s hot, but Marcia suggests her getting a Sharpie to fix her eyebrows. Wouldn’t that just add to the problem? Ashley chimes in that Marcia’s never been hot doing anything and points out her double chin. I thought uniforms were supposed to eliminate this kind of looksism. Maybe the girls need masks, too. Ooh! Reality Kabuki! Please make it happen VH1! If any network is going to do it, it’s gonna be you.
Whatever. Today’s commandment is:
Today the girls will be assisted by this woman:
Annnnd, I guess we’re not acknowledging the fact that Doc Ali was Scott Baio’s right hand for two seasons of his reality show on this very network. OK, then. Today’s lesson will concern:
Doc says that fear is created mostly by your mind and that it may cause people to be defensive and tough in response. Since what’s assembled is the most defensive group of women ever collected in one room (“I’m trying to wait on her to say the wrong thing!” “Stop calling me young!” “Stop saying I’m hot!”), this should be particularly helpful. One by one, she’ll call the girls up so that they can talk about their deepest fears.
First is Brittanya:
Brittanya is afraid that she’s not going to be there for her son, since she’s facing jail time. Brittanya breaks down pretty quickly, proclaiming, “I look stupid!”
But the thing is that she’s never sounded so smart. She worries about being the reason her son is eventually messed up, when it comes time for him to tell his story. It’s kind of profound. Weirdly, after this moving moment, Doc Ali says, “You’re beautiful,” and Brittanya chirps, “Thank you!” like nothing just happened. Well, at least we know how to wipe Brittanya’s cobwebs away. Future husbands take note.
K.O is afraid of losing “the only blood [she has]“…
She’s referring to her twin brother, since both of their parents died, leaving them to be adopted. K.O admits that she doesn’t think her life is living without him and that being K.O isn’t enough. OMG, sad. Doc Ali has the girls come up to say nice things to K.O. Bay Bay Bay sees strength in her, while Ashley sees a girl that doesn’t give herself enough credit. Ya think?
But, you know, Ashley’s being nice, so that’s new and fun.
Bay Bay Bay is afraid of a stalker.
This causes extreme measures: “I carry a guuuun,” she purrs. Not to take away from the gravity of her sitch, but that is about the most delicate way you can announce that you’re packing heat. Doc Ali wants her to turn her fear over to God. She has Bay Bay Bay lay on the floor and calls the other girls to surround her…
They basically then do a round of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board…
“I commit to life!” Doc has Bay Bay Bay repeat. In the middle of this incantation, she says, “Why meeeee?”
Next up is Ashley.
Like Brittanya, she wants her son to be proud of his mom. She talks about stripping, that she grew up with a mother making $10 an hour to support two kids, and that she resolved never to be poor. Thus she strips. And (we can assume), thus she appears on reality TV.
And then there is Bubbles.
“I’m afraid of psycho men,” explains Bubbles. It seems like the usual Bubbles goofiness, but things take an extreme turn. She talks about being afraid of getting attacked, and Doc seems to jump to an unpredictable place: “Were you sexually abused when you were a little girl?” Bubbles confirms that she was. Heartbreaking. Ugh. There are no words.
Doc asks the girls if they can relate “on some level” to what Bubbles has gone through.
Soooo many of them have. In retrospect, this isn’t shocking, but god is it sad all the same. Bay Bay Bay interviews that she now feels like “a bag of crap,” and that by this admission, she now understands why Bubbles is the way she is. Doc has the girls gather around Bubbles to support her…
…Bubbles, in her unfailingly kind manner, says she doesn’t want anyone to feel bad. But it’s OK if they and we do. Really is is.
Obviously everything else is bound to pale in comparison. Great job Bubbles. How can they not feel bad now? Kidding, kidding.
Natasha’s biggest fear is not being in control. Additionally, she isn’t close with her family because she doesn’t want to deal with death. That’s a dictionary-definition example of cutting off your nose to spite your face, but I guess that’s the control thing. Doc Ali attempts to get Natasha to talk to herself, but Natasha isn’t ready to do that. Also, it is kind of weird.
Marcia is afraid of pain and she drinks to deal with her fear. But not anymore! She pledges to quit drinking, here on TV.
“One seeep, I’ll pack my stuff and leave,” she tells the group. I’ll believe it when I see it — good thing I have to watch it for work!
Finally, there’s Risky.
At first she lies or whatever. After some prodding, she admits that she’s been through a lot and she tends to keep it inside. “I had to live through it. Why relive it? Why bring it up again?” You can’t really fault her logic. And, try as she might to contain it, some emotion does slip out.
“I been through it all. Everything,” she cries. She doesn’t even need to say more than that, I don’t think. I hear her loud and clear. Man, these girls have not had things easy. It’s said a few times on this episode that Bubbles’ reveal helps shed light on her behavior and general demeanor, but I think that goes for all of these girls. Most real episode of reality TV ever, y/y?
Lala announces to the girls that their challenge will, similar to the lesson, deal with them facing their fears. They’re given coats and split up in teams via the coats’ color. The Blue Team consists of Natasha, Bubbles, Ashley and Risky, while K.O, Bay Bay Bay, Brittanya and Marcia are on Pink.
On the way, Risky tells the girls on the bus, “Don’t believe your thoughts!” Talk about closed off!
“Oh yes, that is true!” says Bay Bay Bay. She sounds like someone who’s been trained to change her instincts or at least ignore them.
They arrive at some place that looks spooky, but probably mostly because it’s so damn dark.
It is Linda Heights Hospital, which has been closed for 15 years and is currently considered a hazard to its community, Lala explains. Many people believe that it is “extremely haunted.” I mean, is there any other way for something to be haunted? Ghosts don’t strike me as being particularly into moderation, but I’ve never been touched by one, as it were, so I’m no expert.
The main goal of the challenge is to “make the hospital safer,” explains Stryker. The girls and their deans pile into the “safe room.” So, if this place is “extremely haunted,” how is it that there’s a safe room? What kind of negotiating with ghosts do you have to do to set that up? “You guys can only scare us and moan about crap you’re not afforded in the afterlife but only in certain wings…” And the ghosts listen? Like, what?
What’s going to happen is one girl from each team will be “the communicator” and read off instructions via walkie talkie to the girls who are off doing their set tasks. Risky and Bay Bay Bay are chosen as the selected communicators, and they didn’t even have to talk their way into that post. But they could have!
Bubbles and Natasha elect to brave the morgue. The best thing about this challenge becomes immediately apparent as soon as they begin their trek:
…the Requiem for a Dream-style mounted up-the-nose cams. New York sported one of these recently. It’s a trend this season, much like leaving the reality show you signed up for.
The girls find the morgue…
It immediately becomes clear that they aren’t alone, and I ain’t talkin’ ’bout no ghosts. There are rats in the body lockers. Bubbles claps a few times. At first it seems like she’s trying to incite her rodent friends into a Babe-style performance, but then she reveals her true objective:
I’m sure if one wanted to bust out some acapella stylings, she wouldn’t complain about that, either.
They’re able to close the top locker, but the bottom one seems to have something going on that’s preventing it from shutting all the way. This requires climbing in and shifting crap around. Natasha interviews that since Bubbles was the one afraid of the vermin, she thought it was important for her to face her fears. She then laughs maniacally. It would seem that Natasha is interested in forcing everyone to face their fears.
Bubbles climbs in…
It’s all very [Rec]. I hated that movie. But I like seeing these girls succeed. Trade-off! And that they do — Bubbles and Natasha return to the room having completed their task and bank $200 for unspecified charity.
Bay Bay Bay immediately steps up and shows just what kind of a communicator she is…
With directions like that, how could they possibly fail? Marcia and K.O elect to take on this task. Their strategy is to curse at the ghost. They walk through the hallways of the hospital screaming, “F*** you, bitch.” You know the ghosts were like, “Well, they’re filming a reality show. We did expect that sort of talk.” They probably don’t even take it personally.
Marcia interviews that if she comes upon any ghosts, “they’re goin’ down.” Or, per the grammar of her custom shirt, I think she might mean “there goin’ down.” They finish up and come back with the traps.
So far, no one’s particularly perturbed.
That changes slightly with the third task:
This time, Ashley’s going by herself. When she reaches the laboratory, her walkie talkie starts to go out. Also, she seems to almost get electrocuted:
Somehow on the way back, she gets lost. It might be because of the walkie talkies, it might be because her Darth Vader helmet is interfering with her peripheral vision. Hard to say. But her loss is our gif gain:
Natasha eventually retrieves Ashley. She does so patiently, and it’s completely bizarre, as is everything on this show I guess.
Brittanya’s flying solo for this one:
When Brittanya gets to the laboratory, Bay Bay Bay tells her she should see biohazardous waste. “Biohazard? I don’t know what the f*** that means,” says Brittanya. Well, at least she seems open to learning. She ends up collecting a bunch of gross, bloody crap and bringing it back up.
She’s kinda meh about the experience, as is everyone when they return to the room. Also, am I hateful for being slightly disappointed that all of the challenges were completed? Be more difficult next time, show! I guess what I learned from all this is that if you reveal deeply personal things about yourself on TV, you will be able to complete menial tasks in an old hospital. A life lesson, to be sure.
Both teams obviously raised the same amount of money for god knows who, but only one can win. And that’s the Pink Team, since the only mistake made during the entire challenge happened when Blue’s Ashley got lost.
At home, the Blue girls are whisked to detention.
Here’s how voting breaks down: Ashley votes for Natasha, Natasha votes for Ashley, Bubbles writes down “Natasha”…
…but ends up saying, “Ashley” after hemming and hawing when she’s asked for her vote.
Finally, Risky votes for Bubbles. Ashley interviews that she’s happy that Bubbles will be brought to the carpet, as Charm School will not help her since she’s “stupid as f***.” We then see Ashley attempting to leave the room and yelling, “How the f*** do I get out of here?”
The justice couldn’t be more poetic even if Janet Jackson were narrating this episode via words written by Maya Angelou.
After the deans fill in a concerned-looking Ricki on the day’s events…
…it is time for elimination.
I would like to note that Marcia looks great.
Reveal your personal secrets and you can conquer ghosts. Say you’re going to quit drinking and you look like you’ve never touched a drop in your life. You can turn things around, and this episode proves just how easy that is.
Ricki says she wants to talk about the hospital. Bubbles raises her hand and then launches into a soliloquy. It is amazing. Come, let’s explore!
“Um, I was the one that went inside da…I really faced my fears! Those were rats inside that drawer and I went on the table inside the drawer to take out all these drawers out! And I heard the thing go chh chh chh…
…when the rats were in there. And when I was in the basement I was always afraid that someone was gonna come an attack me. But I put that aside and I did it!”
She’s, like, screaming by the end. Like, OK girl, we believe you. We watched it. Remember? Stryker’s reaction is fantastic…
…but Risky’s is even better:
Pointed and restrained, that’s how Risky rolls. You know, last week after she baited Brittaney Starr into a confrontation and then said she wished Brittaney had stay locked in the bathroom (even though she was so angry about that incident around the time of Ki Ki’s elimination), I was kinda mad at Risky. I’m glad to say that as a result of this gif (and her breakdown during the lesson, which totally made me feel for her), I’m back on the Risky train and pulling the whistle in her honor.
But not like that.
The Bottom 3 are called to the carpet.
Bubbles says she voted for Ashley because Risky did better in the challenge. Fair enough. Natasha says she voted for Ashley because the only reason Ashley’s doing anything is that Farrah’s not here. Ashley scoffs this for making absolutely no sense.
Ricki’s taking a risk and sending Ashley back to the group. Indeed, Ashley does strike me as a hair-pulling hazard. Make sure she stands in the front row.
Ricki wonders how far Natasha has come. Bubbles takes the opportunity to tearily rant again.
I’m not transcribing it because I don’t understand like half the stuff she says. But at least now I understand why she says she stuff she says.
Natasha says she doesn’t care about the prize money — she came here to complete a goal. Well, she’s not going to get to complete it or the money. Natasha’s going home.
She says she was bounced because Ricki didn’t see her changing, but why would she want to change anyway? Um, for TV? When something doesn’t makes sense on a reality show, isn’t that the default answer?
Bubbles, meanwhile, interviews…
“I’m gonna feel really determined to keep on st- st- taking a stand.” Adorable. That’s all, folks.