Welcome back to Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars, boot campers. Everyone remember where we are after last week? Which is mostly that Tanisha and Clive established themselves as the problem campers and no one wants to pitch their tent — OK, their luxury mansion suite — by T &C’s tent because they are very, very, very loud. Or at least Tanisha is.
But it’s a new day and everyone but the problem campers has gathered in the kitchen for breakfast and a discussion of how, in addition to the fighting, you can also hear Tanisha snoring right through the walls.
Clive arrives at the gathering by himself, tells the group about his hearing problem and apologizes for the “little situation” he and his bride had after everyone retired for the evening.
Roger says that, as an alpha male, it’s hard for him to watch Clive get manhandled by Tanisha. Kevin and a bewigged Traci do a laugh-put-loud rendition of Tanisha and Clive throwing down. Roger tells Clive he needs to ask Jim and Elizabeth to intervene.
Speaking of which, it’s time to gather in the boot camp room, where the gang finds a faux newsstand covered in tabloids whose headlines bear a multitude of relationship issues — narcissism, addiction, insecurity, what have you. Each camper must venture up and grab all of the tabloids that pertain to their own relationship. Be honest, admonishes Jim.
Gretchen and Slade go first. They snag The Past, Public Opinion, Communication, Money and Codependency.
They also pick “Children.” Gretchen says her doctor has informed her that — gack! —her eggs are still “plush and plump” and she’s fearful of running out of “plushy, plushy juiciness” before, I guess, it can water a couple, three, four babies. I’ll give you a moment to wipe that image out of your head. A drink might help.
Roger and JWoww — who I still think are one of the most well-adjusted couples I’ve ever encountered in my life — go next and briskly choose The Past, Resentment, and Anger in complete and jovial agreement. Next comes Communication. Then Fighting.
Impersonate Your Fellow Campers time! This time, Slade and Gretchen doing Roger and JWoww. Gretchen drops her voice a couple decibels and harangues Faux Roger who threatens to punch her in the neck. Then they laugh and laugh.
Lastly, Roger plucks “Intimacy” off the rack and, in an aside, the pair has a discussion about whether or not intimacy must always equate with sex. JWoww: no. Roger: yes. Publically, Roger tells the group he’s probably the only one who doesn’t get laid.
Traci and Kevin go next. Trust, Jealousy, Insecurity, The Past, Fighting, Communication, Addiction and Infidelity. In an aside, Kevin again admits he brought infidelity into their marriage and that fostered all the rest of the stuff in their shopping basket.
Trista and Ryan are up next. Trista flat-out admits that their marriage isn’t in any trouble — in fact, they’re actually in a really, really, really happy place. They just want to be really, really, really, REALLY happy. Which would explain why they can’t seem to find a single headline that applies to them.
No worries, says Elizabeth. By the end of boot camp they’ll have problems they never even knew they had.
Since they can’t leave the store empty handed, Trista grabs Public Opinion since that can just mean that she doesn’t want to let people down. In that case, T, grab Codependency, too. They work well together.
Impersonate Your Fellow Campers time! Traci and Kevin, again. Kevin does a nice little pageant wave to signify that Trista and Ryan are like an American version of the Royal Couple. Traci says every time she looks at Trista, she want to bust out a Disney tune. Which, Kevin wants to know. All of them, says Traci. I sort of love Traci and Kevin a lot.
Trista adds Communication and Money to the basket just for sport and Ryan says that’s plenty. Returning to the sofa, Trista realizes she forgot one ingredient to really, really, really, REALLY happy at the store and sends an obedient Ryan back to pick up Insecurity.
Last but not least are Tanisha and Clive. Might as well topple the whole newsstand over into their basket. Or, as Roger points out, put the thing on wheels and let them roll it back to their spot on the sofa.
Tanisha tells Clive to go first. He selects Anger, Trust, Communication, Honesty, Infidelity, Respect, Money and Fighting. Tanisha adds Insecurity, Jealousy, Self Control, The Past, and Selfishness.
When they’re done, Jim and Elizabeth instruct the couples to take some time and talk over the issues in their basket and then prepare to tackle them head on, because that’s what’s coming next.
But first, let’s dine. Over dinner, Tanisha asks the group how they stay faithful past the first two, three years, because she finds it downright impossible. Plus, she isn’t sure that hugging and kissing constitute infidelity. Plus, she bought Clive a private lap dance and got mad when he propositioned the dancer. Clive protests that it was his birthday. Roger admits that internet porn is what has saved his relationship, since Jenni hands out the sex in spare doses.
After dinner, Tanisha and Clive do what they do best and get into a fight that turns physical on Tanisha’s behalf. Since he saves lives for a living, firefighter Ryan comes upstairs to intervene, apologizing for invading their space, but adding that he’d feel bad if anything terrible happened. Jim and Elizabeth trail behind. Ryan ushers Clive out the door, leaving Tanisha to face Jim and Elizabeth alone. Tanisha tells the pair that she got frustrated because she left Clive specific instructions on how to prepare for coming to boot camp and he did none of it, so she had to pick up the slack.
Good enough. Let’s go see how Clive views the situation. Clive says Tanisha doesn’t have to repeat everything over and over and treat him like a baby. Tanisha says his hearing problem is a burden in their relationship, but it hurts her to see him going through it. Elizabeth tries getting them use a tool called “What I heard you say is … .” They do an OK job of it and Elizabeth says she senses some love there. Or not. Tanisha flat out says she is not in love with Clive. Elizabeth thinks that’s just because anger and hurt are masking the love.
Lori thinks that’s because Tanisha never totally loved Clive in the first place, but what do I know?
Tanisha and Clive are excused. Tanisha heads in where the rest of the group has gathered and tries to explain how Clive’s hearing is the root of all their troubles. Gretchen says Tanisha made her cry in the bathroom. Tanisha says she is sorry if she scared Ryan or hurt anyone’s feelings, but it’s her truth. And this is the only place she can think of to come for help.
The pow wow ends when Jim and Elizabeth summon the campers to grab their baskets and head to the backyard, where a super-dramatic inferno called the Ring of Fire is raging. The Carrolls say that’s because pent-up issues are like a fuel to a fire that’s allowed to burn out of control and consume a relationship.
This is one complicated exercise. Each couple has to don fireproof suits stand in the middle of the ring, and one-by-one, Jim will hold up the issue/tabloids in their basket. The ring is divided into two halves, each fueled by their own incinerator and who ever is assigned blame for the issue gets their half of the fire fueled by the tabloid. The size of the flames on each side will determine who is most responsible for the relationship woes. Tanisha looks justifiably concerned.
Again, Slade and Gretchen first.
Public Opinion goes to Gretchen. So does Resentment. Copendency goes both ways. Because, you know, it’s codependency. Next comes Children … and an argument. Jim says Gretchen is pouring her heart out and Slade isn’t saying much. Gretchen says the issue is clearly Slade’s. So is Money. Gretchen is tired of being the sole breadwinner. Slade says he’s actively involved in supporting her moneymaking ventures. Gretchen says he needs to be actively involved in his own moneymaking ventures. Tabloid goes to Slade. He isn’t happy about it. He says when she says that stuff, it makes him want to let her go. Then how are you going to be on TV, Slade? How?
Elizabeth says that the even fire raging around them indicates that there’s plenty of work to do.
Trista and Ryan are next. They admit that they have very little fuel for their fire, but Gretchen says people who think they have that few issues in their relationship are plain old liars.
Insecurity — which I don’t remember either of them choosing — goes to Ryan by his own admission. Hey, how did Quality Time Together sneak in there, too? In any case, even though Ryan has a rigorous and unpredictable job, that one surprisingly goes to Trista who admits that she has trouble putting down her computer. Somehow The Past is suddenly an issue, too. Seems Trista keeps journals filled with her past relationships and she used to read them early on in their marriage. Trista says they have no relevance to their marriage now. Ryan takes the tab. Communication. Trista says they don’t really fight, but she whips up a few manufactured sniffles to say that when they are in a discussion and Ryan walks away, she internalizes it. I don’t think Ryan actually gets angry about anything, but, ever the chivalrous husband, he takes the tab again. Tanisha is happy that they aren’t the perfect couple after all.
Traci and Kevin go next. The both cop to communication issues. They both cop to issues with the past. And infidelity. Traci says she didn’t start until Kevin did, though. Kevin says only your enemies get back at you. Traci says she was reacting to the hurt and wanted him to feel that same pain. They both take the heat.
JWoww and Roger go next. Selfishness goes to Jenni. Compromise — another new one — goes to Jenni, too, because she’s so focused on her career. Intimacy comes up again and goes to Roger, who has a very colorful language toolbox for describing intimacy. Roger says his resentment stems from the early part of their relationship and, though Jenni admits she was pretty tough to take, he takes the tab.
Time for Tanisha and Clive. Ryan says he hopes the L.A. fire department is been made aware. Infidelity is first. Tanisha says he started it. Clive says she can’t be faithful. Tanisha takes the tab without much of a fight. Fighting goes to both, even though I doubt Clive would ever start a row with his brawling bride. Trust comes up next, but Tanisha is distracted by the gastrointestinal issues that fear of fire is inspiring in her. Also, her weave is overheated. Jim tells them they still have 23 issues to go.
Selfishness. Tanisha. The Past. Tanisha. Self Control, Tanisha. Everything, Tanisha. And she’s fine with that as long as she can get the hell out of the fire. As her meltdown reaches maximum BTUs, along with the inferno on her half of the ring, Clive reaches over and guides her into his only mildly toasty half of the ring. Tanisha is stunned. The other campers cheer. Clive says he was just doing his husbandly duty.
Elizabeth says the fire might be all Tanisha’s doing, but it ultimately burns them both. And trying to assign blame and leave it up to one person to do all of the damage control will only exacerbate the problems.
“Are you going to fight for this? Are you going to fight for your marriage?!” Elizabeth demands. A wide-eyed Tanisha says she certainly is willing. Clive agrees.
Elizabeth reiterates that blame is irrelevant in repairing marital damage and then Jim tells the campers to go inside, cool down and prepare for evaluations. Everyone grabs a drink and some munchies and talks about what went on outside.
Slade says that everyone agrees he got his heinie handed to him. Ryan tells Gretchen Slade’s right about the kid issue, but Gretchen says she really feels like it’s her man who’s holding up the process.
In the kitchen, Kevin tells Traci he loves her and Traci says that the pain of the betrayal is still fresh.
Tanisha tells Clive that if he would always step in and save her when he sees she’s in distress, they would not be here. They would be home where Tanisha would be bleeping the living bleep outta Clive.
Gretchen says she’s starting to trust very little of what Slade says because she thinks he only says what she wants to hear. Especially in front of other people. “Whatever. I’m just going to go,” Gretchen pouts. “But I don’t want you to go,” Slade warbles. Yep. I’m beginning to see Gretchen’s point.
Elizabeth says that when they were on TV, the ratings told them how well they were faring. Here at boot camp, we do things a little different.
Gretchen and Slade are evaluated first. Gretchen says hearing Tanisha and Clive dredged up old issues from her past and gave her major anxiety. Tanisha doesn’t like that one bit. She came here for help from the professionals, not take potshots from the peanut gallery. Jim says that getting feedback from your peers can be useful all the same.
Elizabeth says that Gretchen has been very clear about what she wants from her relationship — children and financial security. But a man who has had a vasectomy is saying to the world, I don’t want to have any more children. Or at least to the people with whom he is sleeping. Gretchen says she never thought of it that way. Well, OK!
Jim tells Slade he comes across as fake, which Slade finds interesting. He doesn’t think any of his fellow campers would say that.
Jim says Trista and Ryan are not growing emotionally together, because Trista is too afraid that discord will lead to divorce, as it did with her parents.
Traci and Kevin are told that their unresolved bitterness and resentment over infidelity have them stuck in cycle of getting back at each other.
Jenni and Roger need to let go of old resentments. Roger says not everything is still in the past. Jenni says Roger can’t handle the truth.
Jim wants to know what Tanisha thinks she has accomplished so far. T says she saw her man in a different light tonight and that makes her want him right this minute. The helper girl whose name I can’t recall off hand says anger is often triggered by hurt and she needs to recognize what sets her off before it has a change to spiral out of control. But, says Jim, given how well they handled the ring of fire, he believes they can learn to handle other issues as well. The couple looks genuinely pleased for the affirmation.
Then Elizabeth and Jim tell them camp is only going to get tougher. They’re going to want to quit. But they have to dig deep and soldier on.
Roger and Jenni throw a towel over the camera in their boudoir. Gretchen continues to harp on how Tanisha is freaking her out. Tanisha continues to harp on how White Oprah needs to zip it.
Next week on Marriage Boot Camp: hot-button issues and a trip to the morgue.
New episodes of Marriage Boot Camp air Friday nights at 9/8CT on WE tv.
Image/video: WE tv