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Recap: Marriage Boot Camp, The Grass Might Be Greener Edition

Jim and Elizabeth Carroll

So they seriously took these 10 marital disasters camping on “Marriage Boot Camp” on WEtv? Really? REALLY??? OMG, that was funny. My husband and I used to go camping together a lot and it takes teamwork. These couples can barely communicate with all the creature comforts handy. I was highly entertained as soon as they announced the camping trip. And I wasn’t disappointed.

BUT the show didn’t start out one bit funny. More tragic. After last week’s episode (which involved no domestic violence, much to my dismay – just kidding), everybody was feeling all warm and fuzzy after evaluations. Until the directors dropped the “Wife Swap” bombshell on them. Before anything was even explained, Mai-Lee was freaking out.

“No, that’s not going to happen.” C’mon girl, you held it together during the pool party. Don’t be a Blanca or Mark. You’re going to threaten divorce during a marriage counseling exercise? You really think he’s gonna “sleep” with Sofia? The Hulk would kill him.

Did Tomas ever actually cheat on you, Mai-Lee? Inquiring minds want to know. I have to know if I’m going to pick a side here. If he’s a cheating bastard, she’s allowed to be the jealous, untrusting wife. If he’s never strayed, she’s got some issues that pre-date Tomas that need to be addressed. With that said, we saw tonight that both Mai-Lee and Tomas handle their fights the same way. They get mad and stomp off and threaten to quit. That’s a tough way to have a happy marriage.

So right then and there at the end of the last episode, the directors announced the twist. The couples are supposed to switch it up for the night with a new spouse.

“Haven’t you ever wondered if the grass might be a little bit greener on the other side of the fence,” director Jim asks. They get paired up like this:

Tomas with Sofia
Shaun with Gloria
Julian with Tasha
Jeff with Blanca
Mark with Mai-Lee

Mark isn’t excited about Mai-Lee and her issues. Gloria thinks Shaun looks tasty, and Shaun looks terrified to be partnered with her (don’t blame him). Blanca thinks Julian will appreciate her more after a day with Tasha. Tasha is just laughing about Blanca and Jeff’s pairing. She’s relieved to have a night off. Sofia is worried.

“I don’t even think about Tomas, I just think Mai-Lee is going to kill me,” Sofia says… and she’s sorta justified.

“It’s going to teach them how to handle a dead body, that’s what it’s going to teach them,” Mai-Lee rages, when the group gathers to establish some ground rules after the directors leave.

“Mai-Lee is going to kill me and I did nothing wrong here,” Sofia groans in interview.

Gloria decides she’s going to be in charge and tries to break the group up to discuss it, but everyone knows she and Mai-Lee are besties so it doesn’t go over well. Mark actually physically blocks Gloria from going after Mai-Lee. He’s right. It’s not Gloria’s job to force anybody else to do anything.

Mai-Lee and Tomas didn’t participate in night one of “Wife Swap” but the rest of the couples actually seemed to enjoy spending time together. Except Blanca who fell asleep while Jeff was babbling. Which was only fair because Jeff appeared to be napping when they were announcing the matches for the swap. Mark and Sofia were good sports – partnering up together so they could participate in the exercise after Mai-Lee and Tomas walked out.

Sofia tells Mark all about how Shaun is more dedicated to the gym and the bottle than her, leading me to wonder how bad the booze problem really is or was. If he’s really a genuine alcoholic, he couldn’t have gone cold turkey without any physical repercussions during the show. Could he? That makes me wonder if he’s really just a mean nasty drunk and shouldn’t drink, versus being a legitimate drunk. There is a difference.

With that said, Shaun keeps tweeting me and other viewers saying the show misrepresented the situation and he’s not that bad. And he’s hired a publicity team to help explain the whole gay porn debacle that blew open a few weeks ago. Thank you for taking me off your PR team’s distribution list after my third request. I’m not a fan.

Take a tip from a veteran journalist, Shaun (and look me up before you snark at that): You need your viewers and your bloggers to actually watch the show and having us live- tweet about it is a compliment to the show and the network.

I’m sorry your feelings are getting hurt (mine did too during “Wedding Island”) but maybe if you get another shot at television, you won’t act like a flaming asshole for the first two episodes so that nobody likes or trusts you for the rest of the season. Dude, we’re not tweeting to you (or even tagging you in my case). We’re tweeting about #MarriageBootCamp. Would somebody at WEtv call and explain social media to him, please. Please? But I digress…

The next morning, they all find out there’s yet another day of “Wife Swap” to look forward to – they have 30 minutes to board a bus to go camping and when they get to the campground, everybody will have to do assigned tasks with their new spouse.

“Tomas’s spouse is Sofia. I think someone’s gonna die.” Nice Mai-Lee. Great way to start the morning.

Blanca wins the award for the funniest and most accurate line of the episode. “I can’t do it in 30 minutes, what the fuck???” She’s right. If you’ve ever actually packed for a camping trip, you need more than 30 minutes. Oh wait, and then they might have thought to bring their pillows.

The campground is ready for them, and each couple starts their jobs. Jim and Elizabeth are set up in a “Mystery Diner” type of control room at another campsite watching to see how they all interact. Again, I would have paid good money to be a fly on the wall.

Julian and Tasha rocked it putting up the tents… but Julian’s been camping before, clearly. Julian bitches about Blanca to Tasha and they both agree their own spouses would suck at helping put up the tents.

“They’re working really good as a team,” Jim says.

“I think she’s showing a different kind of maturity here. Leadership, competence, things I don’t see when she’s with Jeff,” Elizabeth agrees.

Shaun and Gloria at the camping store is a hoot. My husband says they needed $1,000 if they were supposed to get sleeping bags for everybody too, so production set them up. I just thought the whole shopping trip was very telling and I learned a lot from Gloria. Plastic melts. And Shaun can’t use the “f-bomb” around her because she’s “a lady.” Bahahaha! On what planet? She’s a nasty, trashy, #MeanGirl with less class than most women have in their pinky. The f-bomb was invented for Gloria.

Not even going there about the matches. Nobody in that entire group has a lighter? Or they couldn’t just buy one? “Stupid is as stupid does.” Yes, tonight’s episode brought a lot of “Forrest Gump” lines to mind. Four cans of bug repellent for one night? Are you bathing in it?

Jeff and Blanca’s grocery trip was weird to watch. I don’t really like hot dogs either. She was right to be concerned that everybody would have something they wanted to eat. Jeff is just a freak show. Eight hamburgers and 32 hot dogs for 10 people? I’m guessing he didn’t do well in math. Considering what a dick he was, Blanca was pretty nice.

I didn’t understand the whole grocery bag thing at the end. Where were the carts? My husband Bill is convinced that somebody in production was messing with them. Once during “Wedding Island” they wanted us to have our setup crew cart 10 tables 100 yards, uphill, rather than throwing them in the truck that was right there for that purpose. My husband said no.

Mark and Mai-Lee started out doing great collecting firewood and working as a team until she looked down the beach and saw Tomas teaching Sofia how to skip rock, a highly sexual activity of course.

Mark tries to keep his new wife distracted and happy but she takes off, ready to kill. Mark’s actually running alongside her trying to get Mai-Lee to calm down, just like his wife was doing with him two weeks ago. Wow, it seems Jim and Elizabeth were right that this exercise would show the campers the worst in themselves through their new spouses.

Tomas and Sofia are just killing time since their job is to cook when Blanca and Jeff get back with the food. Sofia walks away saying “Mai-Lee, you’re crazy.” But Tomas has had enough. If Mai-Lee won’t play ball at boot camp, he’s leaving. And Sofia doesn’t want to have to chase somebody else’s husband. But she does. And she tries to nicely explain to him why his wife gets so upset when he walks away. But he’s too pissed to hear her, and he says some things he can’t take back. I’m wondering how his wife handled watching that tonight

“If you don’t want to listen, then go fuck yourself. When I get there, I don’t care. Like if she drowns, die! I don’t care,” Tomas rants about Mai-Lee. This upsets Sofia who tells him to never say that. “When I get mad I really don’t care,” he insists. Shit, I had no idea the situation was so bad. Maybe I was wrong when I picked them to make it through this.

Meanwhile, Mark is telling Mai-Lee that his behavior at the pool party wasn’t cool. “I should have approached it a different way.” Hey! Somebody is learning something!

Sofia and Shaun have their own little spat when she tells him to cover up when he’s chopping wood bare chested with Gloria. Julian is hilarious, asking them if they wouldn’t mind taking the fight elsewhere so they can make dinner.

That said, I have to give Shaun props for coming back to camp in a good mood after spending hours with Gloria. That lasted til everybody realized they didn’t buy sleeping bags. LOL. Bet they all wish they’d packed their pillows. OMG, can I please come lead the next camping trip exercise on “Marriage Boot Camp?” Please please please? ROFL. Sweet lumpy, rocky dreams kids.

This would have probably been a bigger deal if Tomas and Mai-Lee didn’t get into a massive fight. Tomas tears off his microphone. Big no-no in reality television, but since Mai-Lee is dogging him they’re still getting all the conversation. And the cameras and boom mic keep up to catch the WWE throwdown outside the bathroom. Throwing trash cans? Smacking the wall? I know she’s wayyy too jealous but he’s kinda scary. Although I haven’t seen him ever physically threaten her. Unlike Sofia, she’s not afraid of her husband. She’s afraid of losing him.

The directors decide not to intervene and let the fight play itself out inside the campground bathroom (great background) and Tomas walks out but comes back to talk but keeps his threat to leave if her shit continues. It feels like all the therapy exercises are setting him up to catch hell from her. He did nothing wrong with Sofia.

“Clearly after this blowup, we need to stay,” says Mai-Lee, the original quitter.

“Giving up on boot camp, it could be giving up on her too. So it’s a dumb idea to leave,” Tomas says in interview.

Evaluations were interesting. Gloria wants to keep Shaun as her spouse or a few more days. Shaun and Gloria’s power fight is the reason they’re sleeping on the ground instead of in sleeping bags.

Sofia and Tomas are both co-dependent on their mates. “Co-dependency is being controlled by the other spouse’s emotional state,” Jim explains.

“So if one spouse has a major insecurity, the other spouse is going to feed off of it, make the problem worse, and it can be destructive to their relationship… I got news for you – it does not work… And that’s going to be the cycle for the rest of your lives unless both of you start working on the internal versus trying to manage the external,” Elizabeth counsels them.

Poor Mark spent all day listening to Mai-Lee’s temper tantrums and they told him he should use the same behavior with Gloria.

Jim told Tomas and Mai-Lee that their behavior is hurting the group overall and if it continues, he’s kicking them out of “Marriage Boot Camp.” Damn, that would be embarrassing. But imagine the drama! This was their “only warning.”

Blanca and Jeff had stupid arguments all day. But Tasha and Julian worked together well all day. He enjoyed a day sans negative feedback and he’s in deep shit with Blanca for not saying anything bad about Tasha. Fortunately, Julian wants to keep “watering” his own grass. Jim cautions him not to water “the weed.” Ouch, Blanca. Better think on that one.

Blanca was still bitching at Julian as the episode ended with her knocking over the tent pole and then yelling at him about it. Had to laugh. At least he put up the tents so he knew how to fix it.

Next week’s teaser is intriguing and scary at the same time. I’m not sure I want to listen to this group discuss sex. I definitely don’t want to see Jeff acting out oral sex with a stuffed pickle, nor do I want to see Shaun yelling at Sofia and making her feel bad when she’s trying to hook up with him. I hope it’s less depressing than it looks. And I reserve the right to fast-forward past that pickle. #sorryimnotsorry

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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