Charm School Recap – Episode 8 – Not Their First Time At The Rodeo

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…but for some…

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…it may be the last!

After intensely applying eye make-up…

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…Bubbles cleans the bathroom to get her mind off of what happened last night (i.e. Bay Bay Bay dangling the prospect of bringing one expelled girl back and Bubbles not hating the idea, both to the chagrin of everyone else with a thirst for cash and/or pulse). Cleaning therapy? What a radical concept for VH1. Considering the state of these houses after, like, two episodes of any given series, I’d assume that the people on these shows are told not to clean to keep them all tense and as dirty as they fight.

Then, we see Marcia calling her Rock of Love Bus co-…star (?) Maria, who like Ryan White and Michael Jackson had gone too soon. You remember Maria, right?

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She had her mouth open a lot, per this clip. What a weird flashback. I know she stayed around for, like, five seconds, but still, there had to be better footage than this. Yet another flattering VH1 edit!

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Marcia tearily explains that she hasn’t drunk for nine days and she’s getting frustrated watching the other girls drink. Maria says that she’s going to give Marcia a pep talk. A what?

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It’s standard stuff, but hey, support is support. However, a cloud looms over this accomplishment of Marcia’s…

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Oh right. That. I don’t know if the belligerent expression and bar-tussled hair are a product of separation anxiety or if this is foreshadowing or what.

The announcement of today’s lesson jostles a groggy Ashley out of bed. She interviews, “I dropped out of high school for a reason and that’s because I can’t wake up past noon.” A shame, it is: if she had stuck around, she probably would have learned the difference between “past” and “before.” Ah, well. Stay in school, kids, or you might end up on TV using the wrong words.

Today’s commandment:

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Today’s guest speaker:

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She is introduced by Stryker as “the fastest woman in the world.” Per Google, a lot of women seem to stake that claim. RIP, FloJo!

April will be talking to the girls about determination. Her story is about getting back up when you fall. See, she was in a train accident. She explains that she woke up to find, “my leg had fallen off.”

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She clarifies that it was amputated, which makes me relieved. I was starting to think she was making up her story as she went along.

It isn’t too early in the day for Ashley to be witty: when April holds up her prosthetic leg, Ashley notes…

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…”Nice shoes!” What a positive spin! Looks like Charm School‘s working for at least one of its students!

Anyway, the point is that even though April’s a professional runner, she refused to let five toes stop her from being who she is. Wise! She asks the girls which people in their lives are motivation. The answers are mostly family. Since no one listed themselves, April hands out Charm School brand mirrors to have the girls praise themselves and tell themselves what they need to fix. It must be a weird feeling — they usually do the former while staring into a camera.

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Risky sees someone who’s strong and who wants to help others, but could use to open up a little more. And a master of angles.

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This exercise proves daunting for Brittanya. She says she looks like crap today (which: lie!) and then she doesn’t know. Is she supposed to describe herself? Basically, yeah. Radical concept, I know. “I see, I don’t know, I see someone that, I don’t know, wears a lot of makeup!” says Brittanya. I didn’t know the concept of “a lot of makeup” existed amongst these women. Brittanya does think she’s pretty. That I did know. Bubbles chimes in that Brittanya is a caring person and has the potential to do good. Bubbles, meanwhile, has the potential to do pissing off.

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“Ashley, you are a bitch,” Ashley tells herself. I wish she would have commented on her own cosmetic overdosing, but whatever: you can’t rush self-awareness. Bubbles straight-up interrupts, saying that Ashley is a person who needs to love herself more. Big words from someone who’s consistently putting herself in harm’s way. What is she, a masochist?

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Bubbles then tells herself, “Bianca! I love you, Bianca! You know what I mean?” I wish she’d answer herself back with, “Um…I’m a little unclear?” Bubbles tells herself not to let anyone bring her down. She can rise above this. Like bubbles.

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Marcia does love herself, she admits. She’s making herself nervous and shaking. That could be the withdrawal, too, though. The wagon keeps rolling, though, so whatever.

In closing, April tells them to look in the mirror everyday and love themselves. Mirrors, TV sets, whatever — I think it’s kind of inevitable that they’ll be looking at and loving themselves a lot.

Later, Bubbles says that April missed a part that was very important: when you love yourself, it helps you be more secure about yourself. Risky’s reaction is all you need for commentary:

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Risky interviews that Bubbles doesn’t need to be there. Foreshadowing!

The girls are told to get ready for their challenge. They find cowboy hats in their lockers.

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Bubbles wonders if they’re going on a hayride. After the fear challenge, I’d wonder if they’re going on a haunted hayride. Or, I don’t know, a house of mirrors maybe.

But no, it’s the Saddle Ranch!

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You may remember this place from the first Rock of Love: Bret took Heather and her parents there and Heather fell off the bull and, while interviewing on that, bestowed the gift upon the world that is the word “tatters.” This place should become a national monument. However, for now, it’s the site of the Charm School challenge. Today, they’re going to be raising money for an organization that provides books and toys to underprivileged kids. The girls will go around the bar, collecting pledges from the patrons in increments of $1, $3 and $5. These will apply to the number of seconds each girl stays on the bull when it’s her turn to ride it. Risky interviews that she’s never ridden a horse or a mechanical bull but stops just short of saying “anything.” She corrects herself and says she’s never ridden an animal before. That information is all very predictable. There she goes again with not opening up enough! Ashley, in contrast, has done topless bull-riding. Again: predictable.

The girls start collecting their pledges. A Kate Gosselin lookalike calls Brittany’s piercings “so cute.”

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I think they’re supposed to have the opposite effect, but Gosselinalike means well.

Ashley, meanwhile, utilizes her stripper skills…

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And Brittanya utilizes her…go-go (?) skills…

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…which are similar to stripper skills but less boob-centric.

Bubbles, meanwhile, announces that she doesn’t use her sexuality to get donations. And for that, she earns…

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…very little. I hope this teaches her an important lesson about the importance of jiggling and lap-bouncing, no matter the endeavor.

After announcing her sobriety, Marcia is tempted by the (fermented) fruit of another…

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…but for holding out, she wins the respect of at least one ringer for J. Howard Marshall…

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Ashley has no such problems:

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Other highlights include Bubbles proclaiming that children are the future, Risky promoting the cause hardcore, Brittanya (on the other hand) claiming that the donations are for a good cause but not knowing what that cause is when asked, and Ashley being propositioned by a girl who offers her pledge tickets in exchange for a makeout sesh. “You don’t even have to give me your tickets!” is Ashley’s response. The charity never stops. What a beautiful thing.

Meanwhile, Bubbles switches her tactics and employs her “party pumper skills.” What this means is unclear, but it does involve elbow-bending and leg-lifting…

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…and I guess a pumping motion ensues? I don’t know. It does look like a party, though. I’ll give her that.

Risky, who raised $120 in pledges, is the first to get on the bull.

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It goes fairly well for her:

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What Bubbles lacks in pledges (she scared up a paltry $39), she makes up for in sheer bull-riding tenacity…

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She seems to hit her head, but it ends up being totally fine. Why am I not surprised?

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After Ashley’s go…

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…she interviews, “If I still have a uterus, I feel like it’s about to fall out right now.” In so few words, she says so much about her past. Bravo!

And then, Brittanya takes her disastrous turn, as seen in the gif that opens this recap. But you probably want to look at that again (and again and again!) so here you go:

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Amazing! She’s about as great on a bull as she is on a pole. I guess at this point it’s abundantly clear that Brittanya is just not good at holding onto things.

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Then comes Marcia, who gets all crotchy with the bull…

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Bubbles interviews, “Marcia was riding like she was making love to the bull.” Darlin’, you can do a lot of things to a bull, but makin’ love ain’t one of ‘em. This is all worth it for Bubbles accompanying expression:

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My favorite still from that gif (since you asked):

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Anyway, I guess there’s some suction in Marcia’s vagina or whatever because she ends up winning…

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And so, she is safe from expulsion tonight.

At the dinner that immediately follows, Ashley yelps, “I love cheeseburgers! Whooo!”

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Yeah, we know! This revelation is less shocking than even the topless bull-riding.

Someone points out that Bubbles raised the least amount of money. “I’m not used to flirting with men,” counters Bubbles.

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Coming from someone who’s man-handling a burger, this comes as no shock. In a voice thick with tears, Bubbles says she doesn’t want anyone feeling bad for her. So restrain yourselves people! Resist your immediate urges to fawn over a person on reality TV with pity that she’ll never be aware of anyway, and restrain yourselves. Perhaps to show how much of a challenge that isn’t, Ashley ignores Bubbles and tells her cheeseburger that she loves it.

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Or maybe she just mistook her cheeseburger for a mirror. Happens to me all. The. Time.

Ashley giggles about Bubbles’ poor performance. Bubbles says she didn’t let Ashley’s words get to her. Ashley is glad Bubbles learned that in psych class. Bubbles knows more than that: “Things that you said I knew it didn’t mean constructive criticism. And you tried to break me but you weren’t able to,” says Bubbles who informs Ashley that she has a 3.5 GPA and a lot of goals. Ashley feels bad for Bubbles as a person “out in society” who doesn’t know how to function with adults. More bickering ensues.

Risky attempts to change the subject to Brittanya’s butt crack. That’s always a brilliant tactic. Next time some idiot is yammering to you about politics or how they heard on the radio that the price of food is going up, mention Brittanya’s butt crack and your life will get easier. Anyway, Ashley shows Brittanya just how much of it was showing:

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But Bubbles doesn’t seem to want to let things go. She thinks Ashley is still a mean girl. Yeah, well, a little thing like a butt-crack demonstration isn’t going to cure that. Duh! Ashley still thinks Bubbles is retarded. Oh yeah, well Bubbles is gonna tell Ricki! That kind of retort isn’t helping Bubbles’ case, just saying. Ashley interviews that she feels bad, but not too bad, ’cause duh: she’s Ashley.

At home, there is…

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…homework! But wait, don’t they technically live at “school?” So it’s home-school work, then. Whatever. The girls will be finger-painting portraits of each other today. I guess since they fight like children, they’ll have to paint like children, as well. They are to depict how they see their classmates inside and name a fault that the person needs to fix. Oh, this should turn out nice and civil. Institutionalized quibbling always does!

The painting gets underway…

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Marcia paints what looks like a giant boob:

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It could be anyone, but I’m guessing that’s Ashley.

We see a quick succession of shots of paintings that we don’t get to return to, but are worth examining anyway:

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We start the official unveiling on this picture of Risky that Ashley painted…

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I love how open everyone is (including Risky) about Risky needing to open up.

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See?

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Here’s Risky’s rendering of Brittanya (or is that Whoopi Goldberg circa Burglar?). At first, I was like, “Oh no she didn’t!” when she said that Brittanya needed to be a better mom, but after hearing what Brittanya’s about to tell Ricki, I’m sure Risky’s just parroting a complaint she’s heard 5,000 times already.

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This is Brittanya’s drawing of Marcia, whom she sees as the Disney character Goofy. How daffy! Brittanya says Marcia needs to work on her rudeness — that she comes off as such even when she isn’t drinking.

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Ashley has painted Marcia as a butterfly, and points out that Marcia needs to fix more than her drinking. Her antennae, for example, are due for a tune-up.

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Marcia drew Ashley as a seagull. Rude without drinking, indeed!

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Ashley drew Bubbles as a smiley face and, as you can see above, thinks Bubbles talks too much at the wrong times. That’s like the pot calling the kettle tactless. Ashley explains that Bubbles preaches about constructive criticism but she never wants to take it. Bubbles points out that calling someone “retarded” and saying they have mental problems is not constructive. The salience of her point renders Ashley’s “constructive criticism” irrelevant. Way to go, Bubs!

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Bubbles, meanwhile, has painted Ashley as suffering from pain. Ricki says something about this proving how much Bubbles has learned. I think we all knew that Ashley suffers from pain the second we took a look at her cleavage. Her back must be killing her!

And then, there are some last-minute one-on-ones.

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Brittanya admits to Ricki that she’s not a good mom. That is a heartbreaking admission if ever there were. But Brittanya is changing, and Ricki is proud. Probably hard to change her mothering since she’s not actually in the physical vicinity of her child, but whatever!

Ashley then talks about the Bubbles situation and about not being 100 percent charmed herself, but all I can do is focus on how her boobs stretch her text-heavy shirt so that it looks like each line is written in a different font.

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Ashley explains that she did her best to ignore Bubbles, but Bubbles’ incessant yammering made that impossible. That’s fair, but it’s hard to decide how much of what Ashley says is a valid excuse and how much is strategy. Ashley says she thinks she needs to be there more than Bubbles. Hmmm, I’m going with mostly strategy.

Elimination! Brittanya announces that she thinks all of the other girls are going to revert to their old ways after the show. That implies that they’ve rid themselves of those old ways. Wrong again, Brittanya! Lala says she doesn’t want to be fooled by Ashley and Brittanya — she doesn’t want to buy into their charm when it’s, in fact, false. Welcome to my world of figuring out what’s what, Lala. You may not sort it all out, but at least you’ll always be occupied.

Three girls are called to the carpet:

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Ricki knows that Brittanya’s in a dire situation and could use the money, but she does believe that she’s there for her son, so she promptly sends Brittanya back. What is this musical carpet/riser?

Ricki calls Bubbles “really special.” Phenomenal word choice there, Ricki. Bubbles sees goodness in everyone around her and has come a long way and knows the drill. Ricki also believes that Ashley wants to change for her son. Bubbles has anxiety all through her neck and back, but it’s not heavy-hooters empathy for Ashley, as far as I can tell. Ashley interviews that she goes through moments where she feels like being nicer, but then someone will do something stupid and make her want to make fun of them again. That’s reasonable in its meanness. No matter what, you can’t charge Ashley with ill logic.

Usually!

And speaking of that:

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Bubbles is going home, guys. She’s been standing up for herself, and Ricki has seen growth, but “this is about progression,” and since she has to make a choice, she believes that Ashley has a further way to go and blah blah blah this is a school that you can fail out of for doing too well. Ricki explains that sometimes you have to send home the girl who has shown the most change and keep the less charming girl who has further to go. Sometimes as in once a season, right?

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Bubbles looks like she’s going to tear off Ricki’s face with her teeth. It would be one way to save herself, given the rationale of her expulsion.

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Outside, Bubbles sniffles that she feels like a powerful woman and that she thinks the other girls deserve to be there. Oh, stop being so damn gracious and throw a fit and show that you really deserve to be there already, Bubs! Maim a cameraman! Pee in a bush! Rant about being prettier than all those other bitches! Something!

Meanwhile, Ricki tells the remaining girls that they are, in fact, not going to be there. They’re going to New Orleans! The Big Easy! N.O!

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Or, per Risky’s expression, make that N.Ooooooooooooooooooo!

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