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Recap: WEtv’s ‘Marriage Boot Camp,’ The Team Player Edition

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Recap: WEtv’s “Marriage Boot Camp”, The Team Player Edition

Nobody threw anything or hit anybody (hard) on WEtv’s “Marriage Boot Camp” this week and I was more than a little disappointed. The best part of this whole episode was the teaser for next week when they’re apparently going to mix-and-match the couples with other spouses and that doesn’t go over well with this group of insecure campers.

I will candidly admit that the first exercise of this episode would have been hilarious to watch WITH Jim and Elizabeth, the boot camp directors, from the balcony above the maze. What a hysterically funny mess to observe. They were laughing, and we were laughing with them.

My husband thinks we would have kicked everybody’s ass in that radio and maze contest because we basically do that exercise every weekend at weddings, except there are five or more of us on headsets, and it’s dark out, and everybody has to listen – fast – to instructions and nobody can talk over each other. If we don’t work like a team, the bride could end up walking down the aisle at the wrong time to the wrong song – something I’m certain none of these former “Bridezillas” would have tolerated at their own affairs.

Our verdict: None of the campers would make it a week working for the Weddings in Vieques team. And that’s the key word here: TEAM. If a couple can’t either work together as a team in life, or find a solution to the problem (Julian going out and dragging Blanca back to the center point when she couldn’t do it herself is a great example of problem-solving), you will not last as married couple. If you do, it won’t be a happy relationship. My interns communicate better than some of these couples.

I’m going to predict (we’re mid-season now, right?) what I think is going to happen with all of these couples over the next 12 months before I talk about the deets of the show this week. I’ve seen enough. I’m sure many of us have. Settling back into my armchair psychologist spot here:

– Mai-Lee and Tomas are going to be fine if they start listening to the boot camp directors. Tomas HAS TO pay more attention and give more focus to his wife when he’s home (he’s gone four nights a week as a trucker) because she’s lonely and insecure with him gone. She’s making the sacrifice to be there alone, just as he is sacrificing for his family by being gone for work – but they have to have special priority time for each other when they are together.

Everybody keeps pointing out that Tomas could cheat if he wanted to, but so could Mai-Lee. She’s a pretty girl and she’s in the same city most of the time. Rather than worrying about infidelity that isn’t happening, focus on the love that exists when you’re together. I bet they’ll stay married.

– Blanca and Julian will be fine too, if Blanca can start paying more attention to her husband and less time on herself. That self-absorbed routine might be cute when you’re younger, but as you age and GROW UP then it’s time to care more about your spouse than yourself. I think this couple will make it, but only because Julian adores here and will work with her to make things better. And seeing some of herself on “Marriage Boot Camp” might also help. It’s hard to watch yourself on TV. If she keeps up the bitch routine, he’s going to find a nice girl.

– Sofia and Shaun appear to be making some progress (he’s acknowledged his drinking problem and is working on his rage issues). They’ve hired a publicity team to make sure we all know they are currently still together and that Shaun didn’t really do that much gay porn, but that can’t be a fun experience to go through together. I think the success of their marriage might well hinge on the success of the fitness business they’re building together. And anybody who works with a spouse knows that can go either way. I’m calling this one 50-50, but I wish them well. I like her and he seems genuinely horrified by his own behavior when they discuss it in interview.

– Gloria and Mark need to file for divorce if they haven’t already. Or enter into some serious, hard-core anger management and domestic violence counseling and then re-evaluate whether they should even stay together. As my ex-cop husband said last week, the police don’t have enough time to answer weekly phone calls from their neighbors. Plus there are a bunch of kids involved. I predict divorce, the sooner the better.

– Tasha and Jeff are doomed. She filed for divorce and they were separated before “Marriage Boot Camp” on WEtv gave them one last chance. But everybody who has been watching this with us knows there’s no saving this marriage. Tasha needs more than Jeff can ever give her, and nobody knows what Jeff needs other than some serious PTSD counseling. Probably divorced by now if she’s got a decent attorney.

Okay, let’s back up and talk about what actually went down on the episode Friday night (I’ve been self-indulgent enough).

The first exercise was a really badly-constructed maze (seriously production – was that chain link fence sections covered in trash bags? That’s what it looked like. Wouldn’t a hay bale maze or anything else have been more attractive and eco-friendly? Just asking). I guess they needed something that would go up and down fast, but that looked trashy (pun intended) and the center point could have used a LOT more sprucing up.

So the husbands and wives started on opposite sides of the maze, with a map of the course their spouse should be taking, and a radio. The object of the exercise was to communicate and work together to find the middle using the radios. But it was a joke and a hot mess. The point wasn’t necessarily to finish first, but rather to work together. Almost everybody missed the point.

Shaun and Sofia were fastest but she volunteered they shouldn’t be the winners because they didn’t work together. They were fighting when it started and couldn’t really communicate because she didn’t even want to talk to him. They did the maze fastest, but they didn’t do it together.

“This guy over here, I’m surprised he knows his left from his right” Sofia says. But it seems like she’s the one they’re pointing the finger at now.

“I have been trying to fix all my mistakes here and I don’t really see her changing what she needs to change,” Shaun complains. Director Jim agrees Shaun is progressing and growing and Sofia isn’t going anywhere yet. Hmmm… not sure I agree.

Speaking of not knowing your left from your right, Blanca didn’t. No, seriously. Was anybody else peeing their pants as the other Bridezillas tried to teach her how to make the L with her thumb and forefinger (something I haven’t seen anybody over the age of eight do EVER)? I was dying. How does she not get hit by a car when she crosses the street alone?

Blanca was lost before she walked into the maze, but she screamed and yelled so much that Julian followed her foul mouth to grab her and drag her back to the center. If he hadn’t gone to get her, she’d still be there wandering in circles, bitching and whining. But they won the exercise because, at the end of the day, they worked together better than anybody else, according to the directors. Except I was a little curious when she came tearing out of the maze ahead of him and turned around to yell.

I was a lot more impressed when Mai-Lee and Tomas came running through the maze holding hands. That said just about everything. Sometimes plans don’t go exactly the way we want, but if you hold onto each other and keep going, you can succeed as a team. I definitely would have given them first place but Blanca and Julian were far more amusing.

Tasha found the center of the maze and threw away Jeff’s map. Not much more to say about that. Can they just let them go home now?

As I said, Blanca and Julian won the contest and the prize was a gourmet meal. “You were the only one who said ‘I made the middle I’m gonna go get her and I’m just gonna drag her back,” Elizabeth explains to Julian.

Unfortunately for Blanca, that whole snotty bitch “serve me” routine during lunch was painful to watch. I didn’t like that at all. And they’d chosen Tasha and Jeff to be their servers, as if those two weren’t already miserable enough.

I don’t know who or what made Blanca think she’s such a princess (did this come from her mommy and daddy?), but as somebody who was raised properly around people who have good manners and breeding, she’s like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Blanca keeps banging on her glass and calling herself “queen” and demanding service. She doesn’t get that she’s supposed to be enjoying this mutual victory luncheon with Julian instead of treating it like an opportunity to shit all over everybody else.

The victory for these two didn’t last long though because the ugly side of Blanca was revealed hard core in the next boot camp exercise where the couples had to switch roles and have an argument, pretending to argue the way their spouse speaks to them.

Julian gets into Blanca’s face screaming and yelling and you can almost see him channeling her as he does it. She was all offended.

“I don’t think I get in his face like that,” Blanca whines.

“No, you smack me,” Julian responds. And then he tells her something very, very important.

“I just get so frustrated that I can’t take it… One day, I’m going to pack up my stuff and I’m going to quietly leave.”

Blanca, he doesn’t want to leave you. He wants to stay. But you have to start listening to him and giving back even half of what he gives to you to make this work. And again, if you really think you’re not like that, make some popcorn and spend tomorrow on a marathon of your “Bridezillas” and “Marriage Boot Camp” episodes and try a little introspection. Saving your marriage is entirely on you.

Mai-Lee and Tomas had trouble with this exercise because Tomas wasn’t really playing the part of his wife. So Gloria steps in to play Mai-Lee (a good but embarrassing experienced for Mai-Lee) and it gets them talking. Elizabeth calls Mai-Lee “a woman desperate for her man’s attention.”

“So desperately lonely that I scream” Mai-Lee agrees. She tells Tomas that she hates how they fight when he’s actually home. “You leave and I spend four days…. Lonely and angry.” She’s communicating Tomas. Now it’s your turn. Looks like you might be opening your mouth next week if the teasers are accurate.

Gloria and Mark looked pretty real. She almost looked human after that… for about three seconds til we all remembered that if they weren’t in boot camp surrounded by cameras they’d be screaming and hitting and attacking each other. They fight with their hands, not their words, too often. Again, bigger issues than a group therapy session on television can tackle.

Shaun and Sofa don’t understand why they have all these fighting drills if they’re supposed to be learning how to get along. It goes back to Jim and Elizabeth’s philosophy of tearing you down to build you up, as explained to Tasha during her evaluation. But even if they don’t “get it,” they’re still entertaining to watch.

They immediately start arguing about his drinking and the one thing I’ve gotta give them credit for is that it actually sounded like them going at each other in reverse. Even if they aren’t “hearing” each other all the time, they are listening.

“I’m embarrassed and disgusted and I feel horrible” Shaun says in interview, agreeing nothing ever gets resolved the way they fight.

Tasha says she’s tired of fighting, and then she lets loose on Jeff. It’s not even the exercise anymore, she’s just screaming and shoving him. She’d hit him harder if she thought it would be okay. She HATES him. Her pent-up rage was sad and scary to watch. I wonder if those divorce papers are waiting at home for signatures. Go ahead and sign them, both of you. Please.

Big reveal from director Elizabeth during the evals when she’s talking to Gloria and Mark. She says she understands where Gloria is coming from in feeling not safe at home.

“I get you Gloria, because I have personally experienced being put in an unsafe environment and becoming a control monster, a mean person, aggressive – you are all of those things…” Elizabeth shares. “But I understand that because if you didn’t grow up safe, and you’re smart, you will create ways to make things work… and now they’re kinda not working so well in your relationship.”

“I am definitely not an angry black woman that she made me out to be,” Gloria rants in interview afterwards. Mark doesn’t agree. “Gloria take the advice. She was correct in everything that she said. Take the advice.” Hey Gloria, just in case you were wondering, the rest of us agree with Elizabeth and Mark too.

As I said in the beginning, the teaser for next week was the most intriguing part of the show. The “Wife Swap” doesn’t go over well with too many campers and we’re going to see some screaming and yelling and trash can throwing, apparently. Let’s just hope nobody feels the need to deck another cameraman. I’ll be watching for it!


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