Coming up, Dr. Jenn is coming down pretty hard on Liz as the doc tries to help Jon. Debra is here (happy happy joy joy!), and boy is she looking road weary. Twenty-two years being Teen Duck Lips's mother have certainly taken their toll.
Credits roll, and I've never really described them, but they consist of a friendly beat and the various couples against a black backdrop saying deep things like "When things are good, they're great, when they're bad, they're bad." Teen Duck Lips asks profoundly, "Why do I always end up alone?" Is that a rhetorical question?
It's the night where we last left off, and Sada and Duck Lips are trying to explain to Liz and Jon that they're not trying to be mean for the heck of it, they're trying to help by pointing out that Liz treats Jon poorly and he doesn't stand up for himself.
Duck Lips assures Liz she does not talk about people behind their backs, this is not about trash talking her. While I fully believe they love Liz and Jon like they say they do and just want to help, that is a funny assertion because that's all she ever did on the Real Housewives. That's all anyone does who appears on that franchise. Everyone constantly talks behind someone's back or is confronting someone talking behind their back or belly aching that someone is talking behind their backs, which in so doing is also talking behind someone's back, lol. That and they go to dinner parties in places like Puerto Rico.
"Lesbians, chime in!" Duck Lips says.
"The lesbians are beat, the lesbians are falling asleep," Liz quips. Ha.
There was an unpublished comment to the blog the other week blasting me for referring to Sada and Whitney as just "the lesbians," but I want to point out here that "the lesbians" is what the people in the house actually call them, and Sada and Whitney giggle over it. I get the feeling it's a running joke about casting a token gay couple. If they had any problem whatsoever with it, I have no doubt they would say so. Not everyone takes political correctness so seriously, Whitney and Sada included, and it's certainly refreshing. And to boot, the lesbians have proven themselves to have the healthiest relationship of all of them, so they get the last laugh.
"Next time Jon tells me we need to go to bed, I think I'm just gonna ...." Liz says dryly as she makes the "O.K." sign. See what you get for not listening to Lights Out Man, Liz?
In an interview later Liz says look, what really got her about this is that they're comparing her to Kate. That just gets under her skin and she thinks it's very unfair. Once she calmed down, she realized she appreciated the housemates for being honest with her and for giving reasonable explanations for why they were saying what they were. Well, good for her, that's a start. I just can't get over how funny it is that everyone sees being compared to Kate as the greatest insult you could ever possibly give a person.
How did someone like Kate get to such a sordid point? A hundred and fifty episodes I guess. And wouldn't you be just mortified to be regarded by pop culture as the Wicked Witch of Wernersville? Man alive.
Dr. Jenn admits Liz and Jon are making progress. Fair enough. Dr. Jenn sits down with Jon one on one. As we know these are always great.
Dr. Jenn is concerned Jon is falling back into his same patterns with Kate. Again, calling out what a terrible thing he had with Kate, I love it. I can just picture Kate glued to the television, popcorn bowl in hand, squeezing that popcorn into fists when she hears this. She and Kate Coyne and TLC for years have tried to spin herself as the victim in that whole relationship, and now here's someone, a professional no less, shattering that glass house and finally describing the relationship the opposite way. To boot, Dr. Jenn, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has massive amounts of experience in domestic violence and other dysfunctional relationships when she worked at Peace Over Violence; this is not her first rodeo. Kate must be seething over all this, a licensed therapist, not to mention all the housemates, refusing to accept she was the victim. Ha. While I think Dr. Jenn is way off base when it comes to Teen Duck Lips, overall I think her take on things is right on the money, and I think her analysis of Jon and Kate, and Jon and Liz, is spot on.
Jon explains that Liz loves him, she is the only woman he really felt a connection with after the dating he did, and also he has to think about his eight children. "She's really good with my kids."
Dr. Jenn admits that Liz is filling up things emotionally and sexually for him that he did not have before, but he can't let that overwhelm him from seeing some of the negative things in the relationship. Jon admits it's a fine line. She says Liz needs Jon to tell her certain things she says to him are not acceptable. Jon says he'll give it a whirl.
Day 15, and the cinematographers on this show have really captured some spectacular time lapse twilight shots of Los Angeles throughout this series. Photography is a serious hobby of mine, but most of Los Angeles is pretty dull during normal waking hours. However during magic hour, those brief few moments at sunrise and sunset, this place transforms into something other-wordly, almost Hobbit-like, especially during the cooler months. My current avatar is one such hauntingly beautiful sunset, here's another from a few weeks later I love.
It is truly a blessing to live in such a beautiful place. Jon notices there's a bit of smoke in the distance, probably one of the many small brush fires that crop up during fire season when this was filmed. Jon asks if that's a fire. Liz says snottily, No, genius, it's someone smoking a really big cigar. Huh, maybe Wu-tang's out there somewhere and his cigar exploded on him. I hope he gets lost.
Liz pauses a moment, and you can see the wheels turning. She admits she is a real jerk sometimes when she says things like that, and that she's not used to someone calling her out on it. It's making her realize that she needs to work on this. It's rather interesting but concerning that Liz seemed to think comments that nasty and rude were acceptable until someone had the balls to point it out to her. How does someone get that far in life? No one has asked about Liz's childhood or her past yet, oddly enough.
Kelsey comes out in an over-the-top Pepto-Bismo pink exercise outfit and bandana, LOL. "Oh, heyyy!" she announces as she strikes a pose. Aw, I'm glad she's in a better mood. She fetches Liz to go work out. As much as I find Liz frustrating, it says a lot that someone as sweet as Kelsey has taken her under her wing. She must have seen something in her.
Day 16, group therapy, woo hoo! Spoke too soon, today we're going to talk about everyone's childhoods. Now I know I just said that your childhood is important, but I don't really want to hear about everyone's childhoods for the simple fact that I think some of these people are going to lie, and a lie on national television slamming your childhood is different than just telling a lie about it to a few friends. Especially since many people from their childhoods are probably still around and can't really respond.
Oh dear, Duck Lips witnessed domestic violence as a child. I guess that makes you a gossip thirty years later. Look at Teen Duck Lips over there fake crying, haha. Dr. Jenn says Duck Lips needs to let go of that burden and that's crucial to her parenting. This is the first time I've heard Duck Lips mention her sweet daughter Kennedy, although that's not to say she doesn't talk about her all the time in the 14 other hours of conversation a day that get edited out. I wonder how Kennedy is doing, she must be nine or so now, then I catch myself thinking how weird it is to wonder about a child you don't know. But that's what filming reality T.V. children does, you get to know these kids, care about them, and from time to time wonder about their well-being years later.
Wu-Tang's dad left the family when he was six. He had to grow up at a young age. I will not feel sorry for him. I will not! He is not the first child to grow up in a single parent household, it is no excuse for how he treats Kelsey. Wu-Tang says something about how if he had receive the loved that he needed in his relationships he could have given the same back. What the hell? Dr. Jenn calls this some kind of "breakthrough." I call it blaming others including nice women like Kelsey and Latrice for him being a straight up pig. Kelsey seems to sort of be snickering. I hope that's a snicker of disbelief. "Bingo," Dr. Jenn, really? He wins the $5,000 cash prize now? Spare us, please! What is with the coddling and praising him? Did she forget how pissed she was at him just the other day?
Teen Duck Lips, oh God. Teen Duck Lips remembers something back when she was two? It sounds like what Teen Duck Lips is describing is time outs. They made her sit by herself. You know, exactly what all the experts recommend you do when your child is two. But for some reason this was terribly traumatic for poor Teen Duck Lips and scarred her forever. There goes her voice box, it's gone, I can barely understand her now. She mutters something about how somebody hit her. Child abuse hit or just self-defense? Is that a look of skepticism on Dr. Jenn's face or is the collagen just a little extra puffy today? Oh please bring in Debra to rebut!
Dr. Jenn says the theme for Teen Duck Lips is no one was there for her.
No one was there for her??? Now, Debra and Michael are not perfect parents and in fact are pretty dysfunctional at times, but if anything, they are overbearing. They were always there, always home, have few outside interests other than their children and grandchild, and were always checking up on the kids. Teen Duck Lips complained about how smothering they were! They were the complete opposite of not there for their kids. Now maybe they weren't saying what Teen Duck Lips wanted to hear, like sure go have sex, use abortion as a form of birth control, and stay out all night every night once you do have that kid, but that does not mean they were "not there."
Someone was asking earlier if Dr. Jenn has seen Teen Mom. I don't see how she possibly could have. No way.
I know Sada did not want to discuss her family on television, so I get uncomfortable to see her sort of forced into it. Her parents fought a lot and her dad abused her, and I'll leave it at that. I will say though that she said this became "normal" to her. Which is an important point, because just because a child seems happy, healthy and normal does not mean their home life isn't dysfunctional. That is just their life and kids adapt to it.
You were living in a constant state of terror, Dr. Jenn remarks.
Sada points out that her dad when he wasn't out of control was the most loving parent. In a way that's worse, explains Dr. Jenn and Duck Lips, because they're so confusing and unpredictable and leave you guessing.
Whitney likes the idea that other people who were abused might see this episode. "I think abuse in general is something that should be brought out of the closet and discussed. And I think it will be a really important thing. I'm proud of you." I like Whitney.
Time to go relax, see ya everyone!
So Kelsey, Whitney, Duck Lips' fiancé, Jon and Liz don't get to talk about their childhoods? Why, because their childhoods were relatively normal and too boring for primetime? While childhood plays a major role for many people, not everyone with issues had a bad childhood and not everything can always be blamed on your parents.
Wu-Tang is in his usual asshole position reclined on the bed, only this time he has his hand down his pants. Gross! I don't claim to understand it but I know it's true some guys like to sit like that watching T.V., I guess it feels natural or whatever, but in the privacy of their homes please. Can you imagine the pearl clutching if Jon were shown with his hand down his pants like that? Wu-Tang always acts so tired and lazy, it's a wonder he made it in the business and in life in general. Kelsey is glad Wu-Tang was able to open up in group and thinks he can only move forward from here. She is such a sweetheart. She really wants the best for him even if it's not going to be with her, and that takes a lot.
They both want to stick with therapy and finish this out. Well, that's commendable. Kelsey says she needs to get to a place where she can forgive him.
Coming up, Debra! Wow, she looks like she's been run over by a truck. Or had a baby who grew up into Teen Duck Lips.
Dr. Jenn says the trauma Teen Duck Lips endured was all documented on Teen Mom. Well, exactly, and if you watched Teen Mom carefully, Dr. Jenn, it should have been crystal clear to you that, not withstanding Debra's behavior, Teen Duck Lips was a nightmare of a child and most likely mentally ill. She didn't listen, she didn't respect her parents, she was downright histrionic and they were at their wit's end with her. Of course they find the one clip where Debra gives Teen Duck Lips a light smack on her shoulder, without giving you any context for what the conversation was even about. It's not even from Teen Mom, it's from the first show 16 & Pregnant. They don't mention that Debra has said that Teen Duck Lips has hit her, too. They are both a mess and Teen Duck Lips is no victim here.
I have my own clip to show if I may. In this Teen Mom clip, Debra asks completely normal Mom questions after Teen Duck Lips got a boob job, like how her pain level is and if she's eating well. Teen Duck Lips snaps back at her like an ungrateful brat. Debra was also kind enough to take her to the doctor when Debra never wanted her to get the surgery in the first place, and Debra makes supportive comments like that you can barely see the incision marks. Starts at 5:15.
So suck it, Dr. Jenn!
Geez, from the way Teen Duck Lips talked you would think she was estranged from Debra, but when Debra walks in looking like something the cat dragged in, they both look happy to see each other. Debra seems downright proud of her daughter when Dr. Jenn gushes about how far Teen Duck Lips has come in therapy. She beams with pride and compliments the room decor (she's a real estate agent).
You see, I just don't believe Debra is evil. You can't fake stuff like that.
Debra says she just wanted to raise strong children, who know who they are and achieve their dreams. Sounds reasonable enough. She said when Teen Duck Lips got pregnant, Teen Duck Lips wanted an abortion, but Debra said that was against their religion and she couldn't do that.
Now, regardless of how anyone feels about abortion, Debra as Teen Duck Lips's mother probably felt she had a right to tell her she couldn't do that. But in the state of Iowa, Teen Duck Lips was only required to inform her mother the abortion would take place. Debra couldn't stop it. Any Planned Parenthood could have told Teen Duck Lips that. Teen Duck Lips chose not to override her mother, and that was her decision. Did I mention that if you watched the other shows you would know that Farrah tried to hide her pregnancy from the baby's father? And then even after he died, his sister had to get a judge to intervene just so she could see the only living link left to her brother. In many states, you can't cut a father out of the child's life legally. In Iowa a father has a right to petition the court for his full parental rights even if the mother wants to cut him off. In California that's called a Kelsey S. father. This is who we're dealing with here. Why not address that dysfunctional alienating behavior, Dr. Jenn?
Dr. Jenn says Debra is downplaying how monumental this moment was. Well, it was five years ago. Maybe she just wants to move on at this point, Dr. Jenn. Jeepers. Is it really appropriate for a grandmother to discuss how her grandchild's mother wanted to abort this grandchild? What if Sophia sees this someday?
Dr. Jenn says Debra is angry. Debra is like, um, nooo, I'm not angry at all actually, but thanks for your concern.
Dr. Jenn accuses her of hitting Farrah. Well, she slightly tapped her on the shoulder. I think it's important to be accurate here, and fair. There are two sides to every story. Debra said that when that happened, Farrah had been screaming, cussing and carrying on for 25 minutes. While many people these days including myself don't believe in laying a hand on a child in any form, there's a difference between holding a four-year-old down by the hair and beating them for wetting their pants, and lightly slapping your out of control teenager on their shoulder after 25 minutes of her histrionics. Context matters.
Not that that excuses ever hitting a child, but if Debra were in California she would have a point. See Veronica G. ("The court ordered the child abuse report to be withdrawn or Gonzalez given another hearing in which the San Jose family's entire circumstances are considered and the spanking put into context with the parents' growing frustration with a recalcitrant daughter.") Not to mention, I don't see any assertion from Teen Duck Lips this happened at any other time other than this one incident when she was 16. One mistake made in a fit of massive frustration does not a bad parent make.
Recalcitrant Teen Duck Lips says when she gets this way it's because she's aggravated. Well, that's hardly Debra's fault she has such a short temper.
Debra says this all boils down to Teen Duck Lips just won't be quiet when Debra asks her to be quiet. LOL! Shut up shut up shut up shut uuuuup!!!
Debra says Teen Duck Lips has hit her too and even called the police on her. When Teen Duck Lips gets mad she gets honest, and admits yes, she did hit her mother, too. Ha! Got her right where we wanted her! How come Dr. Jenn never says it's an issue that Teen Duck Lips is violent with others, too? It's funny the way she coddles her, but it's also really disturbing too.
Teen Duck Lips is out of control now, claiming everyone in the family is angry and doesn't get along. Well, welcome to the American family, Teen Duck Lips. From Ordinary People to Flowers in the Attic to August: Osage County, we are a country with a long history of dysfunctional families. Oh well, it makes for better films. Now eat your fish!
Dr. Jenn is falling for this all hook line and sinker. She's clearly firmly in Teen Duck Lips's corner. She's been bamboozled by a bamboozler! Dr. Jenn says Debra doesn't grasp how painful this is for Teen Duck Lips. Debra says she does grasp it! Exactly what does Dr. Jenn think she needs to do to prove this I wonder? Dr. Jenn says Teen Duck Lips needs empathy and understanding. Debra says that's why she came here and that Dr. Jenn twists her words. I really feel for Debra's frustration here, even more than I thought I would. I think empathy and understanding are the last thing Teen Duck Lips needs and I think Debra knows that, but no one will listen. Countless people have shown this head case empathy and understanding and it does ... not .... help. I think if anything, Teen Duck Lips needs tough love, not more coddling and poor you crap. Even Duck Lips agrees with that, and she's quite the authority on head cases and on smelling rats. Apparently she also hates ballet flats. Even Jon weighed in, singing la-la-la-la-la-la, Smurf along with me. Yep, pretty much.
Debra is just scoffing at this point and saying her heart is broken over this. Sure it's all fun and games when Jon and Duck Lips make fun but she is her mother, I get it. She bursts into tears. Well I see where Teen Duck Lips gets her odd disappearing voice box issues. So such a thing is genetic.
Debra feels she cannot read Teen Duck Lips's mind or heart. That's because she is trying to read the heart of a sociopath, and there is nothing but a blank page to read there. Debra says she's at her wit's end not knowing what to do, does my child need more hugs, does she need me to talk to her more? I don't get it. Neither do we, Debra.
Wow. What Debra should read is We Need to Talk about Kevin. Because for as much as Debra is a nut herself, it is never easy raising a mentally disturbed child and the things she is saying here are indicative of a mother who has poured her heart and soul into raising a mentally disturbed child and is, as is inevitable, coming up empty, and not only that but is now being attacked for doing the best she could. That's rough.
Dr. Jenn says she needs to gain a deeper understanding of her daughter, that's all. I don't agree. I think Debra has tried her hardest to understand the fruit of her loins. The fact that no one else in the house can make heads or tails of Teen Duck Lips either simply proves Debra's point. Entertaining as she is, in all seriousness, there is something fundamentally wrong inside Teen Duck Lips's head. Everyone in the house saw it and doesn't even want to be around her vortex. Are they all wrong too? Most likely Teen Duck Lips is a true sociopath, and I'm certainly not the first say so, and I don't think any mother could have handled her much better.
Dr. Jenn says Teen Duck Lips needs to mourn that her mother will never be what she wants. Ouch. But, that's probably true. No mere mortal will ever be the mother that Teen Duck Lips wants, and it's high time she get over that. If we want to psychoanalyze things, I believe Teen Duck Lips has expectations for people in her life that no one could possibly fulfill. A perfect mother who understands her inside and out, a perfect love and boyfriend that promptly turns into a fairy tale marriage, a perfect set of friends who always love her and include her and treat her like a queen, and so on. She creates unreasonable expectations for everyone around her that no one could possibly live up to, and when they fail, as they can only do, she lashes out at them and blames them. She of course does not expect the same sort of perfection from herself--being a good daughter, girlfriend, mother, friend. It's really sick quite frankly and I'm shocked someone as experienced as Dr. Jenn doesn't see what's really going on here. I can only assume this must be some sort of Stockholm Syndrome.
As much as Dr. Jenn thinks Teen Duck Lips is the victim here I am just as firmly sympathetic to Debra in this mess. I wish she could stay in the house so Dr. Jenn could see that the housemates would probably like her.
Commercials. Hm, Hershey's spreads. Kinda looks like Nutella, but I bet it's not the same. Nothing is the same.
Dr. Jenn pulls Sada aside and praises her for really progressing in therapy. She encourages Sada to bring her dad out here to the house and Sada agrees. Sada says she is nervous about that and doesn't want to air their dirty laundry, but she trusts Dr. Jenn. As wrong as Dr. Jenn is about Teen Duck Lips, I think she is correct that Sada needs to talk to her father in person. Sada calls him and he agrees to come out.
Another fantastic song, Ohio's own Joshua Radin singing Like They Used To.
The soundtrack and time lapse photography are impressive for a little cable show like this. But shows like this are often how the real greats get started.
Sada is upset because Whitney went to go play pool instead of going with Sada to take a bath. Well, but Sada told her not to come with her. God, I hate when women do that, and so many of us are guilty of it. Oh no it's fine you don't have to do that, but I'm going to be mad at you when you don't. How did we become so damn passive aggressive? Whitney doesn't really understand what she did. Neither do I.
Whitney calls her out on sending mixed signals. Sada says anyone would have known she really needed Whitney to be with her right then. Again, but she told Whitney not to come with her! I don't know, some people actually want some space when something monumental happens, so I can't agree with that at all. Whitney said they've been trying to work on Sada better communicating her needs, right?
Sada says she feels she did communicate her needs. By telling Whitney not to come with her? This is so frustrating. Hoodies really are making a comeback at least judging by this show.
Coming up, Sada's dad shows up and he seems earnest enough. Oh cool, I recognize this guy form Teen Duck Lips's past, and although I can't really place him, whether he was just a friend or boyfriend or what, I do remember he was awesome and frequently called her out. And finally the episode where they destroy a house in a therapeutic exercise and Jon wasted his whole life, which he defines as ten years. Now eat your fish!