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Recap: Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, Somebody Call The Cops Edition

tanisha

Obviously, I have to start my “Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars” recap talking about Tanisha’s giant anxiety attack at the end of the show after she tried to beat the crap out of her husband Clive. We finally saw the ambulance that WEtv and Thinkfactory Media teased us with from the beginning. Fortunately, Clive wasn’t on the stretcher. He easily could have been.

I’m not a doctor and have no idea what was wrong with Tanisha, but the teasers for next week show her back at the mansion the next day so I’m GUESSING anxiety attack. Same symptoms sometimes. And hey, if that’s the case, it’s well deserved because she finally figured out that she can’t spend the rest of her life physically and mentally abusing Clive because he might actually leave her.

Was anybody else cheering for Clive when he basically told her to fuck off? Finally, right? I mean there she was, in interview, verbally and PHYSICALLY beating the crap out of her husband. And she actually screamed for security – TO PROTECT HIM. I think she was afraid she’d kill him (um no, she doesn’t get points for calling security on herself).

I have ranted about the way WEtv let domestic violence slide by on previous seasons of this show featuring former Bridezillas couples, and the celebs are no exception. We’ve gotten to watch all season as the daily destruction of Clive by his loving wife Tanisha escalates.

After the last five minutes of tonight’s episode, I’ve had it. I’m blowing the whistle on this crap. I do not understand why the network doesn’t tell these people that if they hit their spouses they are kicked out of “Marriage Boot Camp” and the police will be called. Is it really worth the ratings to promote such a horrible thing? Would this behavior be permitted at the real Marriage Boot Camp? I doubt it.

There is a massive multi-party lawsuit going on with the whole “Dance Moms” crew and their production company and Lifetime because it’s “alleged” that production removed an attacker before police arrived when Abby Lee Miller called 911. We all watched that unfold on camera and it was fascinating. But what’s more fascinating is that Abby Lee followed up and had that mom arrested and convicted of attacking her. Mom says production made them leave. Hence the crazy lawsuits flying everywhere.

Wouldn’t you get just as much drama for the show if you called the police and let them arrest the guilty party right there on camera? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? That would be the right thing to do.

The California Penal Code Section 13700 defines the law pretty clearly:

“Abuse” means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.

“Domestic violence” means abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.

Yep, Tanisha qualifies on both counts. So did Gloria. So does Shaun. I honestly cannot think of any other reality show I’ve watched that had this sort of domestic violence go on over and over and over again, season after season. Is this really what the viewers want to see? The Twitter world was outraged – and so was I.

While it’s true that usually the police won’t respond to a call with no complainant, domestic violence is different. It’s assumed in many cases the victim is afraid to press charges so it doesn’t require a victim or witness to say they’re pressing charges. The police MUST ARREST the aggressor.

Police have a lot of discretion based on witness reports, and in this case, they’ve got an entire week of her hitting him on camera to refer to. But we saw the same thing with Sophia and her asshole husband last season and nobody called the police then either. I am seriously perplexed by this.

So while it’s too bad Tanisha had a meltdown and had to be transported, I think Clive lucked out because he could have just as easily been the one on the stretcher the way she was behaving. She is 100 percent, totally out of control. A few weeks in lockup might teach her what Jim and Elizabeth Carroll haven’t been able to in just a few days of relationship counseling. They’d need a few months with her.

Did anybody else notice that Tanisha didn’t want to hit Jim when he told her she could during the exercise about releasing the past? But she has no problem threatening and attacking her husband shortly thereafter. WTF is wrong with this woman? Why are so many people letting her believe she’s a good example for anyone? And why hasn’t Clive left her?

I do not care how many times he ignored her “honey do” list or forgot to take care of his hearing aids or couldn’t keep up with her – hitting your husband isn’t okay. Never ever. I’ve had it. I’m furious.

Hey Los Angeles County Police – this isn’t drama – this is actually happening and the statute of limitations isn’t up. You have all the evidence you need. Are you going to go arrest her ass now? Please? And if not, why not? Because you didn’t lock up Gloria, Mark or Shaun? Four wrongs don’t make a right.

What is wrong with California law enforcement? Do you use these same standards when a citizen shows you a video of the same thing happening to a neighbor? OMG.

I am the wife of a former SWAT team commander from Washington, DC, and I just made him come sit and re-watch this episode with me to see if I was over-reacting. I’m not. And for the benefit of those of you who don’t understand why I’m so upset about this, let me help you understand why domestic violence laws work the way they do – when somebody actually calls the police.

The whole concept of the “MUST ARREST” law for domestic violence exists because battered women fought for years to put laws in place NATIONWIDE to make sure that police MUST ARREST the aggressor in a domestic violence dispute.

The reason they changed the law to say that a victim of domestic violence didn’t have to be the prosecuting party was so that victims AND WITNESSES wouldn’t be afraid to call the police, so that the fighting couple would be separated for the interim at least, and so that the victim couldn’t be “blamed” for pressing charges. Revenge is a real thing in familial disputes.

The state presses charges on behalf of the victim (with or without consent) and the state prosecutes whether or not the victim wants to actually press charges. While most public cases are about women as victims, there are plenty of men being abused too and the MUST ARREST rule applies both ways.

So now, I ask again, what are the Los Angeles police going to do about the domestic violence we’re seeing on a regular basis now on reality television?

You do realize that if these people, Bridezillas or celebrities, are this violent with each other on camera, they’re worse in private? Last season, I predicted Gloria would get locked up AND SHE DID – before they even filmed the reunion show. Do you remember this lovely mug shot of her that WEtv showed? She didn’t get arrested for beating her husband (yet), but she attacked somebody else in a family-related incident.

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Left unchecked, domestic violence results in death. As the wife of a retired police captain, I’ve heard one too many horror stories about police responding to a call from the neighbors about fighting, and then leaving after the couple in question says everything is just fine. Hours later, it’s the ambulance – or the morgue van – responding back with the police because one spouse has proceeded to continue beating their husband or wife TO DEATH.

I’m not being dramatic – I’m speaking the truth here. Showing this sort of behavior on popular reality television shows with no consequences for the offenders tells the average person that it’s okay to hit your husband or put your wife in a cast. This isn’t a bar fight at the Jersey Shore or two drunk college kids on the “Real World” fighting over a girl, this is domestic violence as specifically defined by California law (and pretty much every other state almost word for word). Why are we, the viewers, okay with this? I’m not. Are you? Lots of tweets tell me that most of you agree with me.

The rest of the show was lost to me after seeing that last scene with Tanisha and Clive. Jenni and Roger weren’t even there because of a previous network commitment on the East Coast.

Gretchen had a fight with herself (no, I’m not kidding) when she had to forgive the person she was most resentful about. The “white Oprah” strikes again. It was so weird to watch.

And the second exercise where they had to choose a door representing their future paths and might or might not encounter their spouse on the other side was a little bit confusing to follow.

I felt like they set up Trista and Ryan to fail on that one – and I’m not some lifelong fan who saw their TV wedding. I just think everyone’s frustrated that they can’t get this couple to do or say anything shockingly dramatic and so twisting things up a bit made it look like they finally failed an exercise.

My blogs are usually chock full of quotes – and I have them – I blogged this show the way I always do and took meticulous notes. But after watching what went down – or should I say what was ALLOWED to go down – between Tanisha and Clive at the end of the show, nothing else was important to write about.

The very first episode Tanisha chased Clive around swatting at him and threatening him. It wasn’t in a joking manner. She was abusive. This is the next to last episode and things have escalated. What’s the point of allowing it to continue?

I understand it’s supposed to be relationship counseling but I sincerely question the value of risking physical safety to continue production. It’s not just cuz she’s a celebrity because this happened last season too – but it’s becoming the highlight of the show each week and the most criticized thing in social media.

Let me be clear – I’ve laughed about how the production company for this show spends half their lives ducking furniture and being attacked by the cast for a couple of seasons now. That doesn’t mean I think it’s right – I’ve said I think it’s terrible (even when it’s funny). But that’s production choosing to continue filming for the sake of their art and keeping the network happy. There is nothing artistic about domestic violence in any form.

Maybe people are tuning in because of Tanisha, but I read more postings by viewers tonight who would rather see something be done to put a stop to her abuse of Clive. I don’t want to hear that she was given extra counseling because of her messed up childhood or that she’s apologized, it’s time for that woman to have some consequences for her actions. She’s an adult. A mean, violent and abusive one. Why has this behavior been permitted to continue, and is this the future standard we can look forward to in reality television? I’m just sick about it.

Sandy Malone is a reality TV star, expert wedding planner, and internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast's BRIDES and The Huffington Post, in addition to Monsters... read more
Sandy Malone


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