Maven Huffman and Andrea Lowell, The Surreal Life
Like its past five editions, VH1's sixth round of The Surreal Life
(Sunday at 9 pm/ET) features seven spotlight-hungry celebrity housemates just trying to get along. But this season's major change caused a lot of the drama: the addition of Florence Henderson
as on-call counselor. Instead of soothing the pain of the more troubled participants ([cough
] Tawny Kitaen
]), Henderson pushed people's buttons and polarized the cast. "Mrs. Brady" had her final say
on last week's episode, and now two of her detractors — Andrea Lowell
and Maven Huffman
— speak out about Flo-the-phony. (Unfortunately, Kitaen was on another planet and couldn't be reached for comment.)
TVGuide.com: Andrea, how would you describe your experience on the show?
Andrea Lowell: Mentally exhausting.
TVGuide.com: How so?
Lowell: When there's a camera on you 24 hours a day, you have to kind of, like, be on, and it just seems as though the small reprieves you give yourself to chill out, that's all they use. Then you look back and you're like, "Why did I try so hard to be..."
Lowell: Yeah. I'd never done anything like the show before.
TVGuide.com: Do you feel like you didn't know what you had signed on for?
Lowell: You think you know because you watch TV and you see the reality shows. You're like, "Oh, my god, look at these morons. I'm not going to do that." You go on thinking that you're going to be a certain way and then you get there, and it's like, "Wow, this is difficult."
TVGuide.com: Particularly when you have Florence Henderson constantly calling you out.
Lowell: Oh, that's such an act. Flo is trying to maintain her Carol Brady bulls--- and appeal to her fan base. I mean, she had no problem with C.C. [DeVille], who's been in and out of jail for beating his girlfriends and has drug and alcohol problems, or Steve [Harwell], who's known for his infidelity issues. Tawny put a high heel through her husband's thigh, and Alexis [Arquette] is a transsexual, for Christ's sake! All I did was pose for Playboy. I just don't understand why, out of everyone on the cast, she attacked me.
TVGuide.com: You don't buy that she had genuine concern for you?
Lowell: No. I'm not someone who's being exploited or taken advantage of. For me, Playboy was a goal in life rather than a last resort. A lot of girls just get naked because that's all they can do. I do so many other things — I host television shows, I do all this s--t — yet Florence only labeled me as the one thing. And no matter what I said, no matter how logically I appealed to her, she would not change her opinion.
TVGuide.com: Last week, you were really angry that none of your cast mates stood up for you during Flo's Final Word. Yet during the preview of the finale, you're shown apologizing to her.
Lowell: I really didn't want Florence to see when I told her off, when I was super f---ing drunk. So in the end I did apologize for hurting her feelings. But I didn't apologize for what I said.
TVGuide.com: You weren't the only one upset with Henderson. Tawny hated her, and you two bonded over that. In fact, you seemed to be Tawny's only friend in the house.
Lowell: You could actually tell that by watching? I was worried that people would think she was alone.
TVGuide.com: Honestly, I don't know where Tawny was but I'm guessing wherever it was, she didn't have many visitors. You were the one person who listened to her.
Lowell: Obviously Tawny is on... well, you know.
TVGuide.com: No, I don't know. Can you tell us?
Lowell: I can, but I'm not going to! [Laughs] That's also the power of editing, because Tawny isn't looney-tunes like that.
TVGuide.com: Oh, come on!
Lowell: I swear to god. She's only like that two hours a day! When she's normal Tawny, she's amazing, and I'm really, really pissed that they didn't show her ever being normal. Like, when Tawny was doing her interview with Florence, she and I were conspiring the whole time. But they didn't show us trying to gang up on her. They made it look like it was all Tawny.
TVGuide.com: Have you kept in touch with anyone from the show?
Lowell: Everyone but Florence. The rest of us got along famously.
Although Maven Huffman was more tactful than Lowell, he agreed with her about Henderson's act — if not Kitaen's mental health.
TVGuide.com: Andrea says she's kept in touch with everyone except Florence. How about you?
Maven Huffman: I've talked to everyone except Florence and Tawny.
TVGuide.com: Did Florence rub you the wrong way, too?
Huffman: Not at all. I got along with her great. But I do feel she came in with an agenda. She came on in the role of "Florence Henderson as Carol Brady," and once that was over with she was back to her normal life. So I don't want to bother her.
TVGuide.com: During Flo's Final Word, she implied you might have addiction issues.
Huffman: When she tried to talk to me about my drinking, I told her, "I'm a grown man and I'm able to make my own decisions." I drank every day in the house and wasn't ashamed about it. Poor Andrea took Florence's words a little bit too close to heart. And I can understand why. She's a very intelligent girl and she didn't get portrayed that way.
TVGuide.com: Andrea complained about the way the show was edited. She claimed it made people look bad and that Tawny was only crazy two hours a day.
Huffman: Well, you have to factor in that Tawny was sleeping eight to 12 hours a day, too. That leaves about 10 hours. Tawny declined as the weeks went on. When we first got to the house, she was wonderful. Then, during the 11 days, she was on a steady progression downward. It was really sad. I've met a lot of drug addicts in my life, and most of them are functional. Tawny isn't one of them.
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