Before this week’s episode of WEtv’s “Marriage Boot Camp,” I was pretty anti-Speidi. True confessions: I watched every episode of “The Hills” and I remember when it appeared that Spencer was isolating Heidi from her friends and family.
And then they got married. I’ve always believed the press saying that most of what Speidi presented to the public was fake, and I blamed Spencer and Heidi. After watching the latest “Marriage Boot Camp,” I’m not so sure anymore. They were really young and reality television was still pretty new when Speidi jumped into the shark tank.
“That was an exorcism, not a forgiveness,” Director Elizabeth Carroll says to her husband Director Jim Carroll about Spencer and his deep emotional issues regarding the reality TV producer who he believes messed up his entire life.
Since episode one, Spencer has been saying that he doesn’t want to do reality TV anymore and I (along with lots of other people) have been snarking that if he really doesn’t want to be making more reality TV shows, he shouldn’t be on “Marriage Boot Camp.” He’s gotten his degree and he could get a real job if he wanted to. But this episode made me question my assessment.
Spencer Pratt truly believes that the producers who were directing his reality television career ruined his life, and tried to ruin his marriage.
“My parents supported everything when I was on reality television and never said anything. And then it shifted. You know, a new season, new direction. All of a sudden, ‘Let’s make you more the bad guy’… My mom was like ‘your father wants you to change your last name,” Spencer explains. He felt abandonment and shame about the way his parents were responding to his television persona. He’s deeply hurt that his parents weren’t proud of him.
“You know they are your parents and it’s like they really feel this way… so like it’s hard to say you don’t care what your parents feel or say,” Spencer tells the boot camp directors. There was nothing fake about the Spencer we’re seeing in this episode.
During the second drill of the day, when the campers had to choose the person they were most angry with in their life, Spencer chose the same reality TV producer who messed up his life. He never mentioned a name but I’m dying to know who he is talking about so I did a little Googling.
Done and Done Productions, which no longer exists, created and produced Spencer’s first reality shows. Adam DiVello, who Spencer’s wife Heidi Montag accused of sexual harassment for touching her inappropriately during a photo shoot back in 2010, was the creator and executive producer of “The Hills.” He denies all charges. Clearly, it wasn’t a happy relationship across the board. Whatever happened to the couple, Spencer is seriously damaged by it.
“It’s just frustrating. I have to be extra-guarded now because I got so played out and manipulated so many times by reality TV producers. I gave them what they wanted and then I lost,” Spencer says.
He admits he’s even a little suspicious about the current production company filming “Marriage Boot Camp,” Thinkfactory Media. He can’t help it.
Jim tells him that he’s got to let himself be free of that stuff to move forward.
“I’m not sure I’m ready to forgive those people who just destroyed where my life was at and continue to make me just live in this pain… I’m not ready, I don’t think,” Spencer is crumbling.
“Obviously, I want to move forward. There’s so much anger that just haunts me.” Spencer says.
“I’m angry at a former television producer I worked with… who tried to sabotage my life. The hardest were reality TV producers who tried to sabotage our marriage before it existed,” Spencer explains to Jim and Elizabeth.
Role playing with Spencer like he’s the producer, Jim says “I have the power. I don’t care about you anymore. I’m still controlling little chunks of you. And if you want to get rid of me, it’s not by talking me to death. It’s by you taking your life back by forgiving me. That’s how you get your life back. That’s how you grow again.”
Jim really fucks with Spencer’s head.
“I can get back in there any time I want to and make you do stuff you don’t want to do,” Jim goads him. Spencer just wants to hit him. You can see him gritting his teeth and flexing his hand.
“You’re a more forgiving man than that, Spencer, c’mon,” Heidi encourages him.
“I forgive you for everything,” Spencer breathes his way through it.
Warm fuzzies aside, Spencer really believes reality TV producers destroyed his life. Sadly, we’ve heard that before from other reality “talent” – just not quite so directly and specifically. And not during a reality show, usually in interviews explaining how they ended up in jail or rehab. Speidi makes you take a step back and think.
Jim leads him through a forgiveness exercise, and Spencer forgives the producer who ruined his life. But it really gave me something to think about regarding Speidi the couple and my preconceived notions about them.
Reality TV messed up Heidi’s life too. She’s most angry with her best friend (and co-star on the “The Hills”) Lauren Conrad.
“I am so mad at you for feeling like because you put me on TV that I was indentured to you for everything. I’m so mad at you for how awful you treated me,” Lauren tells Co-Director Ilsa Norman, who is role-playing Lauren in the exercise.
“I made you, Heidi,” Ilsa says, being Lauren.
“You had your sex tape and you blamed it all on me. It’s disgusting and it’s awful…” Heidi is screaming and yelling and sobbing.
Jim stops her and reminds her that she needs to forgive Lauren for herself to be free of this former friend.
“Lauren, I forgive you for being so insecure in your life and so frustrated for everything you went through that you felt like you had to blame it on me because I was easier. I forgive you for trying to ruin my life… I do love you despite everything you’ve done to me, I do,” Heidi says.
“I’m done with my former best friend and I just want to let it go,” Heidi says. While most of us aren’t so public and dramatic about it, I think many people can relate to the sentiment she expressed. It’s hard to lose a friendship, regardless of what caused the split.
Syleena is my favorite woman on “Marriage Boot Camp” this season and she had a BAD experience with the forgiveness drill. They brought in her father for a face-to-face opportunity for her to forgive him, presumably because he admits he was a shitty father.
“You abandoned me. And you don’t believe in me. You’re not a father. And you never made me feel like a daughter,” Syleena role plays with Jim. “You made me feel like a son. And you don’t take responsibility for anything.”
Then all of a sudden her father is THERE. On set.
Apparently, the boot camp directors felt having Syleena confront her father would be a good idea, but all of us watching saw what a disaster it was. I guess they never know what will happen when they bring real people together but sometimes it probably has excellent results. I just wanted to reach through the screen and shove her father.
Syleena tells her father that he told her “Even if you sell a million copies you will never be happy.” He comes out swinging, emotionally speaking. He’s all about defending himself and taking no responsibility.
“She was my prime object,” her dad says. Like that was a good thing.
“What I wanted her to be was a superstar,” he explains. But Syleena just wanted him to be her father.
“I did nothing to her,” Syleena’s father isn’t participating in the exercise the way he should be. He’s not doing anything but defending himself and they have to lead a hysterical Syleena away from him.
Jim role plays her shithead dad who is probably being an asshole off camera somewhere. He asks her to forgive him – for her children and her family – he wants her to take her life back.
“I don’t hate my dad, I love my dad, so it felt like a huge burden was lifted,” Syleena says after she forgives Jim, playing her father. Dad’s probably around the corner trying to figure out how to make a nickel off her yet again. I didn’t like him on sight. What a strong, purposeful woman. I think we all understand her a lot better now. And why she needs Kiwane to step up to the plate and be the man of the house.
Meanwhile, in the midst of all these deep, serious emotional drills, Aviva and Reid are in the crosshairs of just about everybody in the entire boot camp.
Aviva and Reid both want to leave. And then we learn from the other campers that Aviva has been texting Reid telling him what he can and cannot say during the boot camp exercises.
Everybody is mad about it and feels like they aren’t putting in the real work for “Marriage Boot Camp.” Even the directors agree in their own conversations.
“Aviva has been fighting us emotionally at every turn. She must get out of her head and into her heart,” Elizabeth says.
“If we’re doing it, then you can do it too,” Rachel says about how Aviva isn’t really sharing her personal true feelings during the exercises.
Natalie turns bully and gets a marker to write “fake” on all of Aviva’s posters in the house. I understand that she’s mad but it’s a childish way to react.
Natalie wants to “address Aviva and tell her exactly how I feel.”
“This is unacceptable,” Reid says as Natalie trashes the posters. I have to agree with him because, although I agree with the campers that he and his wife are robots, behaving like a rude teenager with a temper problem isn’t much better. Natalie is sinking to Aviva’s level by being such a #MeanGirl.
“This is not ‘Bad Girls Club.’ Where does she think she is?” Aviva asks. What sucks for Aviva is that she’s too big a bitch to be a sympathetic character so even though I don’t approve of Natalie’s actions and I don’t like to see ganging up, if it has to happen, they couldn’t have picked a nicer target.
“I think we should have a team meeting and everybody say what they think,” Kiwane suggests when, after the drills, Aviva and Reid immediately go hide alone in their room, per usual.
“You don’t have to come downstairs and hang with us all the time, but it does show a level of respect when you’re living in a house with people,” Syleena is the most civilized.
“Some of us are offended by the fact that we’re really pouring out our hearts and we feel like you guys are not putting in the same effort that you could,” Syleena explains to Aviva and Reid.
“You know, I actually have never cried over my accident,” Aviva tries to say she’s just not an emotional person. She gets into it with Natalie instead.
“I’m not ‘Housewife.’ I’m Aviva Drescher. And you’re not ‘Bad Girl,” Aviva tells her.
Heidi yells at her and says she wishes Aviva hadn’t been in her group because she shared and Aviva didn’t.
“We’re seeing an issue here, but we’re not seeing you guys open up about it at all,” Rachel speaks up.
“With all due respect, we’re not dating,” Reid responds snarkily.
“And you should learn from us,” Aviva says. OMG, seriously? Seriously??? That was a cold low blow and it wasn’t even a good one because there’s nothing good to learn from them.
“I do not envy your relationship,” Rachel retorts.
“I would never ever wait six years for somebody to put a ring on my finger,” Aviva snaps back.
“There’s the real Aviva,” Natalie calls her out for being a bitch.
“That’s a real moment, that was your heart,” Spencer agrees. He’s not an Aviva fan either.
Aviva is not pleased and I’d be surprised if she and Reid actually end up staying in the house much longer. They both miserable. If Elizabeth and Jim push them too, I’m not sure they’ll be able to handle it. And they’re not there for the money – they have plenty of it.
“My housemates should just shut up,” Aviva says.
Yeah, that’s not likely to happen. We’ll have to see what goes down this Friday.