Bringing Back Bethenny

Bethenny recognized me at a book signing in August of 2013.

Bethenny recognized me at a book signing in August of 2013.

“After many years of hesitation, I have decided to return to my roots on The Real Housewives of New York City. I have been through a long and arduous road since my departure, and I’m finally coming out on the other side. It finally feels right to go home again.” - Bethenny Frankel

The above is an excerpt from Bethenny’s October 20th blog post. On her website the original  Skinnygirl confirmed long suspected rumors of a return to the reality series that made her a household name. The announcement crashed her website and it seems that Bethenny and Bravo fans alike are rejoicing. According to  Bethenny will be joining a season 7 cast that features LuAnn De Lesseps (full time  once again), Heather Thomson, Kristen Taekman, and Sonja Morgan.

After a season 6 that suffered a serious ratings drop, it appears Bravo feels Bethenny is RHONY‘s Hail Mary. What I wonder is, is Bravo Bethenny’s HM as well? After her talk show tanked, the self-proclaimed queen of TMI went into a bit of hiding. Aside from an Instagram photo that caused a bit of stir, we really didn’t hear much from her. Now with a new children’s book, Cookie Meets Peanut, on the market, she has started making the rounds again, appearing on shows like Access Hollywood and at book stores to re-connect with her fans  and sign copies of her first foray into kiddie fiction. The fact that it is all timed with this announcement can make one wonder if she needed the air time as a Real Housewife as much as the Real Housewives need her.

It has long been argued that, despite having your dirty laundry aired to the masses and  falling prey to a producer’s ability to edit you any way they wish, being a Real Housewife is worth the cons. It’s been viewed as the ultimate launch to something greater, but lately the track record of that is even less promising than a match made on ABC‘s The Bachelor. The Housewives empire has yet to see a fledgling fly far from the nest. Bethenny made it the furthest. Even though Nene Leakes has supposedly amassed a significant amount of notoriety, she never truly left the show.

Every single one of Andy Cohen‘s chosen women that fled the flock, has either vanished from the vernacular, or come crawling back to, as Bethenny calls it, her “roots”. The trend started with Dina Manzo who was followed by her sister-in-law Jacqueline Laurita. Both women, following their departures, one by choice and one by force, suffered a significant failure to launch once Bravo clipped her wings.

Observe twitter and you will see several of the ghosts of Housewives past treading water, still trying to make it by toting any product and taking bits on any reality show…(Couples Therapy anybody?)…just to stay relevant. The fact that Bethenny, the one who seemed to really find her own way and success sans Bravo TV, is back is a really strong statement.

What is it about being a reality star that makes it so hard to stay and yet so hard to stay away? Is it the fact that these people aren’t so much famous, but more infamous? Is it that they love the camera and the glamour of being on television, yet don’t really have the unique set of skills required to be actors? Or are these people an extremely self-obsessed narcissistic microcosm of society? I am not accusing anybody here, I am just simply trying to understand, and to get the thoughts of you, the fans of these shows. Why do these people need this forum to thrive?

As far as Bethenny’s  return, I think as a viewer it will be great. She is entertaining and I will always be a fan. The larger picture however, the subliminal message about life on and after reality tv…well that’s another story.


Tell us are you excited for Bethenny Frankel’s return to RHONY? Are there any other Housewives you’d like to see “resurrected’? 

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Soccer Mom…The Reality

Since my boys were born I’ve long awaited the moment I could get them involved in sports. My fantasies of early fall mornings with a hot drink warming my cold hands, my feet in riding boots, a warm sweater with a (faux) fur collar a-la Teresa Giudice as I cheered my star athletes from the sidelines. Until now all we’d ever done was toddler gym, a ritual that died quickly. Getting 18 month old twins out by 9am on a Saturday in winter turned out to be a workout on its own. After 6 months we tossed in the towel. However, I knew in my heart that some day my boys would be older, more self sufficient,and ready to really play. Alas the time had come. They are almost 4, it’s fall, and there is a phenomenon called mini soccer.

I signed them up and anxiously awaited the first weekend. I imagined all four of us on the field, my husband coaching the boys to dribble, pass, and kick. Then a few days before, he found out he had to work that Sunday. Ok, so I can teach them to do those things…I think. I re-worked the fantasy to be just me, proud mom of two boys, cheering, sipping my Starbucks, and looking quite fashionable.

I prepped the kids for days. “You’re going to play soccer,” I told them. I reminded them daily so they would get used to, and excited about, the idea. Around this time they got a birthday party invite. I asked them once…ONCE…if they wanted to go. “What’s tomorrow?” I asked twin B on Saturday. “Sophia’s birthday party!” he exclaimed.  “Umm no, that’s at the end of the month. What else did we talk about?” Blank stare.

So maybe I was a wee bit more excited than my offspring but I knew the bug would hit them when we got there. On the very first morning the temperature outside took its first nosedive of the season. I put my kids in shorts, because I thought I was supposed to, and layered shirts and sweatshirts on them. I thought two hours would be more than enough time for us all to eat and be ready to go. Unfortunately a good portion of those two hours were spent chasing around two reluctant little boys while shouting, “But you will love soccer.” Kids’ team 1, mommy 0.

By the time they were dressed, and convinced, to play soccer, I had very little time to get myself ready. Forget looking like Tre did on the field. I looked more like an Amanda Bynes mugshot. My fabulous soccer mom get up wasn’t a fur collared sweater and my Tory Burch riding boots. It was no makeup, messy bun, the same smelly sneakers I run in, and a sweatshirt that said Karma. As in “Mom, you can look like an escaped convict today for forcing us to play soccer…KARMA!”

We got to practice in the nick of time. We would have actually been a couple of minutes early…so not typical…except I was told to go to “parking lot B”. Fine and dandy, if there were signs for parking lot B. We were followed by a procession of toddler carting SUVs, who apparently were also looking for the same parking lot. If they had been at the front maybe we would have all gotten there sooner, but I ended up the default leader of the pack. It was the blonde leading the blind. Fortunately there were signs, one just had to do 40 loops around lots C and D to find them.

The field was very cold and no other kids were wearing shorts. Mother of the year strikes again. The chill in the air was made even more taunting by all the other parents clutching their Starbucks. How in the world they got there before this early morning activity boggles my mind. They must had woken up 4 hours early. Either that or their children are mutants.

Mini soccer is a site to behold. There are four rules; no hands, listen to the coach, have fun, and run in the wrong direction. It was toddler mayhem. Not much athletic promise in the group. Least of all from twin B, who kicks the ball slower than my grandmother would. But then, across the field like lighting was hope. One little boy running while controlling the ball. It was amazing. It was…it was…MY KID! My twin A a bonified natural (he certainly doesn’t get that from my side of the family). My pride, my joy…my hopes for a college scholarship.

Practice ended and I took both my boys out to celebrate. We celebrated triumph, and trying. We celebrated another great first in their new lives…and my not so new one. We celebrated the fact that we all made it out of the house before 10 am. Where did we go to celebrate? Starbucks of course.

Reality Roundup

This Judge got a favorable ruling. Photo Credit: Getty Images

This Judge got a favorable ruling.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

By Lesley Rousso

So as we all know, our fearless Bravo TV leader Andy Cohens interview with Teresa and Joe Giudice finally aired this week. The special Watch What Happens Live was a two parter, divided between Monday night and Thursday nights.  My opinion remains mostly the same. Teresa is dumb as a rock and Joe could mostly give a damn.  The way I see things, Teresa understands none of it and just double talks because she doesn’t know how to answer.  Joe acts as if he did nothing with comments such as, “Yeah I forged some documents (Like, so what).”  In my opionon, Andy asked all the right questions and proved he really can give  good “serious interview”. One almost forgot that Tamra Judge‘s implant was sitting in the background. Almost.

While we’re on the subject of Tamra Judge, the Real Housewives of Orange County star has won the custody case against her ex, Simon Barney. The judge ruled in her favor allowing her to maintain joint custody over two of their three children, Spencer and Sophia. The two will return to court in December to discuss eldest daughter Sidney‘s custody after the teen begins court ordered therapy. According to Radar, Simon claims he’s pleased with the decision and hopes it forces Tamra to become a better mother.

Perhaps the next Housewife couple to debate custody will be in Atlanta. People magazine reports that Real Housewife of Atlanta‘s Phaedra Parks will divorce husband Apollo Nida who was sentenced to eight years in prison last July.  She has retained legal counsel and a source says she will be better off. For now she’s focused on children Ayden,  4 and Dylan, 1.

Radar Online is reporting that Tori Spelling had a sit down with Dean McDermott‘s ex wife Mary Jo Eustace, which was filmed for the new season of True Tori. Tori admits to Mary Jo that Dean was unfaithful and tells her, “you can say I told you so”. Mary Jo calls Dean a “knob” but is forgiving towards Tori. She goes on to say that most people thought she’d be happy he cheated on Tori, but she’s not because it’s really affected the couples’ four children.

Now these last two tidbits have nothing to do with Reality TV but maybe they should.  Amanda Bynes was back at it on twitter the other day in a brilliant display of clearly being off  her meds.  She accused her father of sexual abuse and claimed to be suing several publications. In a tweet yesterday she refuted the claims saying the microchip in her brain made her say those things .  She has since checked into a Los Angeles mental hospital with the help of none other than Britney Spears’ former manager sleazy Sam Lufti. In other mentally ill news, actor Stephen Collins’ estranged wife Faye Grant has released audio tapes of him admitting to molesting a 12 year old girl. Since these tapes surfaced, his agents have dropped him and he’s lost his recurring role on Scandal and one in the upcoming sequel to Ted.  The NYPD is investigating the case after a complaint was filed.

I will finish with a friendly reminder that Top Chef has its season premiere Wednesday night at 10.  16 chefs from around the country will battle against each other in Boston. See you next Sunday…