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Breaking the Mold
Overview What's the Story? | Science Behind the Scenes | Meet the Cast

What's the Story?

Why are hundreds of people from across the country suffering from the same mysterious symptoms? And why is Kee Malesky, a 16-year-old from Middletown, Massachusetts, so sad? Both mysteries unfold in the latest EnviroMysteries episode, "Breaking the Mold." Click here to view a clip to download Real Player

When Kee was seven, she spent most of her time at the local library. She loved the smell of books and all of the wisdom inside them. Kee and clueless MomShe even won first prize in a nationwide contest for a paper she wrote on research techniques and methodologies. Around the same time, Kee's brother Mo started playing hockey and instantly became known for his skills on the ice. Kee's mother, a devoted hockey mom, barely notices that her daughter stops going to the library. Instead, Kee sits on the sidelines at hockey games, talks to her pet turtle, and searches for her true self in the pages of teen magazines.

Shelly and ChampagneThen Kee meets Shelly. Though she is well connected in business and Hollywood circles, Shelly has few friends besides her nine-year-old assistant Champagne. When her newsletter about under-appreciated celebrities called "The Shelly Sheet" starts to fizzle, Shelly turns her time and energy towards Kee. Her goal is to turn Kee into a huge star, using whatever stunts necessary. Shelly decides that a spot on Realville, the seventh most popular reality television show on TV, is just the thing Kee needs to make her mark and capture her family's attention.

But soon after she moves into the house, reality sets in. Kee complains of a sore throat and shortness of breath. Kee is having asthma attackShe doesn't understand why the American public enjoys watching a bunch of people sit around and argue all day. Kee is especially wary of her housemate, Dara, who takes unbelievably long showers, splashes water everywhere, and even uses Kee's towels. In a frightening confrontation with Dara in a dripping wet bathroom, Kee has an asthma attack that sends her to the hospital. Kee has a history of asthma and the doctors believe the attack is stress induced. Kee is not so sure.

At home, on bed rest from the asthma attack, Kee restlessly flips through magazines and watches television while her mother feebly offers her chicken soup (Kee is a vegetarian) aKee researching on moldnd fumbles around for her foam finger to take to Mo's hockey tournament. Then a do-it-yourself home show called "This House is Old" catches Kee's attention. The host, Bob Cacciatore, is out to fix a "sick house" that is overrun with a strange black mold. Kee immediately begins researching the possibility that mold in the Realville house made her sick. Absorbed by stacks of books, Web pages, and building blueprints, Kee's health and spirits greatly improve. But she still needs more proof to substantiate her mold theory.

Tearing down wallsIronically, her archenemy Dara provides the final piece of evidence Kee needs to solve the mystery. Kee proves that the Realville house has mold (perhaps Stachybotrys mold) growing behind the bathroom walls, the housemates are forced to evacuate, and the show is cancelled.

Kee doing library researchIn the end, Kee realizes that library research is her true calling and decides to volunteer at the local library in her spare time. Mo wins All State for the fourth year in a row, and Kee enthusiastically cheers him on. Her mother is filled with pride for both of her children and even remembers to serve vegetarian hot dogs at a celebration dinner. Everyone lives happily, and mold free, after all.



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BREAKING THE MOLD | Water + ? = Trouble