Tough Talk From Steve Ward – Season 2, Episode 5

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As he did last season, Master Matchmaker and VH1 Tough Love commander Steve Ward will weigh in with his thoughts on each episode of his show. Below, Steve talks about episode 5: the blind beauty pageant, Taylor’s modest improvement and Jenna’s need for pity.

What did you think of Taylor’s really strong reaction to Willy’s feedback?

Taylor has a hard time taking negative criticism from anybody. This is first time she’s had to face criticism from somebody she’s expressed an interest in. It was something I’d been waiting to hear a long time. I wish I could have done that in Season One, but she would always guard herself by acting like she wasn’t into any of the guys. But now that it was already established that she had strong feelings for Willy, his feedback was very pointed.

The main challenge of the week was this beauty pageant. What was the thought process behind not letting the girls know that they couldn’t be seen?

I wanted to let the girls know that beauty is only skin deep. These girls need to stop thinking that everything is based on their looks, you know? It’s not. Obviously there are different parts of a woman that make her attractive to a man, beyond just physical appearance. And the blind beauty pageant was designed for them to showcase that.

What did you think of Rocky’s song?

I thought it was inappropriate. I didn’t really see any of the lyrical value in it. She’s convinced it was a really phenomenal song, but frankly, it was a little disturbing.

Jenna offended you the most, though.

Oh yeah, because she was up there making a joke out of it. The swimsuit competition was over. She was standing up there in her cover-up, and I’m asking her legitimate, intelligent-minded questions where she had a chance to showcase her brain, because apparently the only thing she trades on is her brain. I gave her a chance to show everybody how smart she was, and she made a joke out of it. I was really getting pissed off. I mean, I’m up there in pants. It was 102 degrees that day, and I’m up there in a full-blown suit. And she’s making an ass out of me?

Why would she even be on the show? Is she just a difficult person?

She made it pretty clear herself: her entire life, she just never felt loved. She never felt loved by any of her parents. It’s so foreign to her that she can’t even love herself. It’s sad. That’s why I screamed at her.

So she’s just defensive whatever situation is?

Of course she is! She’s very easily hurt, and she doesn’t understand why. She doesn’t understand why everything hurts her so much, and it’s just because the girl never felt loved, she never felt any affection. Every guy that she’s ever cared about basically just walked all over her. I really, really tried to get through to her and explain to her that, “You really are a beautiful and intelligent girl. You have a lot to offer. I’m not going to sit here and let you feel sorry for yourself anymore. The only way you get energy from people is by feeling their pity, and that’s the only thing you’re used to. It’s the only thing that you can respond to, and I’m not giving it to you.”

Alicia gets hooked up with a new guy, Jeremy.

The Jewish guy.

Let’s talk about that. I was really surprised that you were so easygoing about her comments, when they were straight up anti-Semitic.

Can you imagine? Look, I’m proud of my heritage, but I’m not religious. I don’t practice any of the holidays. I just learned what Hanukkah meant the other day when I was flipping through the channels. I’m very proud of where I come from, and the culture that I come from. But if you’re just going to be ignorant, I’m not going to come down on your level. It’s just like Arian in Season One. When she got ignorant, I didn’t drop to her level. Alicia didn’t know I was Jewish until group, though.

Yeah, but still, if you say anything in Hollywood, you’re most likely within earshot of somebody who’s Jewish.

Tell me about. But that’s the thing; this girl’s not used to being in Hollywood. She’s used to being in the middle of Gentile Central. The girl lives in the middle of Chicago, OK? I don’t know if you can set off a nuclear bomb in the city of Chicago and still hit a Jewish person. She says she has Jewish friends, but I don’t know who would be friends with her if they knew that’s the way she felt. “Funny little hats?” OK…

You mentioned the concept of the “wow factor.” This is a case where you’re encouraging the women to embrace their individuality.

At the end of the day, not all of the girls watching the show look like the girls on TV. There are a lot of women out there who struggle trying to find a way to attract a man. It’s not because they’re not a beautiful person on the inside. Maybe there are things about their appearance or look or whatever that isn’t really serving their purposes as well as they’d like it to. For people who aren’t as physically attractive as some of the women on the show, they have to find what it is about themselves that makes them desirable. What is it about them that’s going to make the man that they want to be with want to be with them? They have to do something to show what makes them special, and I believe that every single woman has something that makes them very special. It’s up to them to figure that out.

Taylor gets called out for doing the best this week. Were you impressed at the turn her showing has taken?

Willy’s doing the heavy lifting in that relationship. I mean, really. You can tell by the way he exits and enters. The reason is that he doesn’t want to look like he’s not making an effort. He doesn’t want people to think that it’s him that’s the problem. Taylor doesn’t care. She has no care whatsoever about what people think of her. Except now, she’s dating a guy whose whole career depends on his image. How does that make sense? I don’t really commend her for all that much more than the fact that she was willing to open up and express how she felt without attacking the guy.

Right. She was civil.

That was it. That was the only thing I commended her for. She was able to tell someone how she felt, without belittling them or attacking them.

And that’s progress for Taylor.

That’s progress for Taylor. Exactly! I really appreciated my mom’s help with Taylor this week, actually. I think Taylor wants to believe that everything isn’t on the up and up. I think she naturally wants to feel like there’s some ulterior motive or manipulation going on, and she’s leery of me. I know she trusts me, but she can be leery. When my mom came in to reassure Taylor of how Willy feels about her and to implore Taylor to open her heart and be defenseless, I think it was why Taylor did so well. She had to hear that Willy really cares about her, and my mom convinced her.

And finally, there was the whole hot-seat incident with Jenna. Everybody’s giving her negative feedback, and it seems like you’re at the end of your rope. You say, “I can’t believe I have another five weeks of this s***.”

I feed off of the energy of the people around me. If they’re negative, I’m negative. If they’re positive, I’m positive. When I’m dealing with someone who has no reason to be negative, it frustrates the s*** out of me, because I don’t want them bringing me down. I’m there trying to do good work. I’m there trying to bring some productivity into these other women’s lives. She’s sitting up there just bitching and moaning and bitching and moaning. The funny thing is that she thinks her problem is her body. It’s not her body, she’s at a great place. She’s at the fittest she’s ever been. She’s got to start acting like it! But you know, like I said: “I’m not a doctor.” By the way, did you see The Soup this week?

No.

Both The Soup and Chelsea Lately ripped on me this week, which I thought was pretty funny. The guy from The Soup did a bit based on that line, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a goddamn matchmaker!” He starts doing an impression of me, and he’s like, “I am not qualified to tell anybody to do anything! I’m barely qualified to quote Star Trek! And I don’t even know why I’m yelling right now!” It was really f***ing funny. At the end of the day, I keep trying to tell these people that I’m just supposed to be an arbiter, OK? I’m a barometer of a male perspective. That’s all I’m supposed to do. When I’m sitting there and I’m telling somebody, “You clearly have unresolved issues from your childhood. Clearly you don’t know how to be positive. Clearly you have the lowest self-esteem of anybody I have ever seen. You need help. You need a goddamn therapist.”

Now that the VH1/Shecky’s contest we’ve been promoting all season is over, check out some shots from Shecky’s Girls Night Out event, which Steve attended.

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VH1 Tough Love 2 show page
VH1 Tough Love 2 videos and extras
Master Matchmakers

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