Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH Recap: Runways, Recourse & Regurgitation (Season 8 Finale)

In a season of aspirational living rather than actual events, the tiresomely affluent ladies of Beverly Hills presented us with a finale to regurgitate all the mini “dramas.”

Dorit learned – at her beachwear runway show -that the Beverly Hills Lifestyle feature isn’t coming to fruition. This is recourse for her constant kvetching that the photos stunk. But to learn this news at one’s big event is emblematic of being on high and getting a severe humbling. Add to that Kyle’s attack on Dorit at the same event, Dorit’s Event! as Dorit reminds Kyle. This is the second time Dorit feels slighted in this manner. However, who can blame Kyle for thinking it’s pretty crappy of Dorit to rewrite Herstory by giving Kyle a villainous role in #PantyGate?

On that note, I must say I felt a kinship with Kyle who refuses (consistently — because I noticed it last episode too) to say the grotesque P word. She refers to the garment as underwear. We have something in common. As I suggested, this retired argument should be labeled #GrannyPants at this point (Sigh).

While Dorit has the models prance around looking lovely in her Beverly Beach suits, real people with an actual iota of flesh on bone deem them impractical. This is why Erika remarks from the first row: “These would look great on Lisa Rinna” and under her breath “And only Rinna.”

I’ll pause here to say: Thank God Dorit is on this reality show. Why? Because without RHOBH, Dorit would not have met LVP, a matriarchal figure who perpetually has put Dorit in her place this season. Without LVP, can you imagine how much BIGGER Dorit’s expansive ego would be. There’s still work to be done here…

Now, about LVP’s ego….hmm.

Kyle storms out of the event after feeling that Erika hasn’t backed up her gripes about the “underwear” drama with Dorit. In a testimonial, Teddi remarks that Erika’s silent stoicism is equally irksome to her earlier temperamental outbursts.

Mauricio is seen gabbing with Edwin about implementing a top-notch security system for the new mansion. This was cobbled together by editors who scoured the cutting room floor looking for inconsequential footage they never dreamed would become useful. Fast forward a few months and Kyle and Mauricio’s home is burgled with sentimental items stolen.

Other things that have happened since filming wrapped:

Erika’s book is number 9 on the New York Times bestsellers list even though the Pretty Mess remains pretty buttoned up about her past. That’s the most common review I’ve gotten about the memoir.

Kyle’s American Woman is a show you can watch now, I think. However, if you’re the diehard Clueless fan that I am, you’ll want to preserve memories of Alicia Silverstone in her most iconic days.

Dorit is still truly, madly deeply in love with PK and…of course, vis versa. Neither of them will ever let you forget it. Viewers are wondering if we’d have heard more about Beverly Beach if she’d kept the original name, Navah.

LVP requested that editors sneak in a subliminal message to Pandora in the credits. She’d really like to have some grandchildren. For now, plans to adopt more dogs are on hold…even canines that look like her husband Ken.

Lisa Rinna has been wracking her brain like mad (as we saw during the scene with Jonathan Antin and Lisa’s husband Harry Hamlin), wondering how detrimental her good behavior has been to her future on this franchise.

Teddi has been reassuring Rinna: “Look, Meghan McCain didn’t call YOU boring, you’re good.” Despite that, Teddi was the only accountable, measured voice of reason this season and she’ll be getting another….

Mark my words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#SouthernCharm: Ashley Perkins Speaks, “My Mom Signed an NDA, I Did Not.”

Ashley Perkins Tweet

When I first began composing the article I posted yesterday about Southern Charm, I had not yet heard the allegations against Thomas Ravenel. As first documented by FitNews.com, according to Panama, Florida real estate agent Ashley Perkins, Ravenel settled with her mom two years ago over an assault charge. https://www.fitsnews.com/2018/04/14/southern-charm-fireworks-off-screen-drama-rocks-reality-tv-show/

Interestingly, high power attorney Gloria Allred led the mediation while Ravenel was represented by an attorney from Connecticut.

Lawyers and laymen alike have weighed in with their theories of why Ravenel, who resides in Charleston, South Carolina, would hire a Connecticut based attorney: “This man is a local celebrity who comes from a prominent family and has a bridge named after him,” One attorney opined, “He wants to keep this as quiet as possible around Charleston. Hiring someone from out of state is a smart move as part of that plan…and with the NDA that was signed, the case can’t be discussed anyway.” Except that it was. Although Perkins’ mother is under an NDA, Perkins herself is not.

I spoke with Perkins earlier today to find out why she came forward at this time. I also wanted to try to determine her credibility. She said that while Southern Charm‘s past season’s were airing, she wasn’t a viewer. She and her mom have since moved away, but they were living in Charleston at that time and associated the Ravenel name with the well-known Ravenel Bridge. They also knew he was involved with a show and that was what made both of them feel safe when he matched with her mother on Tinder, the dating app Perkins had recommended to her mom. While this may sound hard to believe, each was unfamiliar with Southern Charm‘s story-lines at the time because they were immersed in school studies and had little time for TV. Both mother and daughter were busy obtaining degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

“My Mom married young and when my Grandmother died the year before, she wanted to finish school for HER,” Perkins explained. 

Perkins said the rationale for agreeing to a date with Ravenel was: “He’s probably safe if he’s been checked out for television, right?” It gave both of them a sense of comfort to know that he was affiliated with a popular show. According to Perkins, her mom not only bore witness to Thomas Ravenel’s temper, but has photographic evidence of wrist injuries from the night in question.

I asked Perkins why she chose to come forward at this time, after an NDA that restricts her mother from discussing the case and after two years have passed since the incident.

“I saw an advertisement for Southern Charm with Thomas just walking around…It got me angry. How is this that he did something so bad and inflicted harm and he gets to walk around as the star of a show? I kept thinking of #MeToo and the women speaking out and saying they’re not going to take this silently anymore. I’m so angry about what happened. My mother signed an NDA, but I did not.”

Perkins has since been brought up to speed – through show fans and online research  – about the mother of Thomas’s children and how often she has lost custody to Thomas. She expressed that she now feels a sense of obligation towards Kathryn and though she’ll be “nauseous” watching Thomas on screen, she may now have to tune in to see how things play out for Kathryn who she’s rooting for. “How is that she keeps losing custody to him? I hope I can somehow help her because what he did makes me so mad.”

Perkins added that she was contacted by another woman with her own claims about the reality star. While Perkins tried to encourage the woman to come forward about her experience, she expressed that she’s too terrified of how the allegedly litigious and financially powerful Charlestonian might retaliate. “She wants to remain anonymous, but I really hope that she eventually speaks out – and in her name, so that it helps out!”

You can read more of Ashley Perkins’ account and her thoughts on her blog: http://ashleyperkinsofficial.com/addressing-sexual-assault-allegations-thomas-ravenel-attorneys/.

 

 

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#SouthernCharm: Poised for a Feminist Evolution Amidst #MeToo?

My past articles on Bravo television shows have introduced me to fans as well as foes. During my years contributing to Huffington Post (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/sweiss-904) and covering reality TV, I was afforded some perks for a period. However, I was also subjected to lambasting and outright harassment from fans. While this may be hard to believe, there are show enthusiasts who react extremely to matters of reality TV. They go for the jugular and intensely personal when launching an attack on those who craft the columns. So I’ve been hesitant about conducting a deep-dive into Bravo’s Southern Charm and elaborating on what has been brought to my attention from behind the scenes. I also take allegations that have not been 100 percent confirmed with the requisite grain of salt. That said, it’s been apparent to me that a show initially pitched to be centered around Southern Gentlemen (the name listed in the show’s “bible”) has faced growing pains in the #MeToo era.

“He hates me and I know he hates HER too,” one cast member of the franchise, which also now includes Southern Charm New Orleans and Southern Charm Savannah, lamented to me.

It was approximately a year ago and she was making reference to behind-the-scenes angst. I deliberately use the vaguest of terms here because, while I don’t want to discredit the account of another woman, I also was not there. Based on what I was told though, the contentions among select female cast members and their close off-camera confidants was that a particular individual – one calling the shots from behind the cameras – came across as sexist, patting the good ole boys on their backs for their player ways while acting scornful of certain female cast members. The man in question has been described in the most general terms, including: “He has a mean streak,” or the more benign “He can be unpleasant. He can be tough to deal with”, to the overt “He’s an asshole” (the latter expressed to me by one cast member’s close confidant). Because he’s someone in control on set, it’s been tricky avoiding him, although that cast member has related to the confidant that “avoidance” is precisely her tactic of choice.

The cast member who I personally spoke with accidentally overheard him tearing into the other female Charmer by phone. While her knowledge of his regard for that Charmer could be debated, she acutely felt his disdain for her. Furthermore, she took issue with his desire to portray her in a way that made her truly uncomfortable as a feminist, manipulating the reality of events for the sake of “reality” television.

Again, I will state the following disclaimer here: Perception of one’s regard is not always actuality and I received no response after emailing the man in question for an interview.

Because these sentiments fall under the umbrella of “allegations”, I won’t share a name and no, it is not the bemused looking, deer-in-the-headlights-glazed Whitney Sudler-Smith who is both a cast member and producer. Whitney seems to possess an aloof Southern politeness and has been looking wistful in the most recent episodes, as if he’s uncertain he wants to be privy to the meddling into personal lives that unfolds on camera. A source confirms to me that Whitney feels conflicted about being on the show because at heart, he’s a behind the scenes man. His aspirations lie in production rather than being a TV star. His screen time has decreased visibly from Season 1 to the present.

As I watch Whitney squirm, there’s symbolism there for me regarding the Charleston franchise. Here’s a show that launched with the premise of an “all boys club.” As we see, the plan was always to have supporting characters, the women who fawn over these boys…plus the few who give the guys guff (“Wendies” to the Peter Pans) and say it’s time they grow up. The latter (Cameran Eubanks Wimbley in particular) was always a step in the right direction while the former was problematic. In 4 short years however, a seismic cultural shift took place and here we are amidst the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements of 2018. While feminist writers and the more astute critical observers turned Southern Charm over analytically, grappling with discussion points in 2014, they became more vocal in 2017 when an episode brought the phrase “rape culture” to one progressive recapper’s popular column: http://www.vulture.com/2017/06/southern-charm-recap-season-4-episode-11.html.

Brian Moylan of Vulture questioned the aggressive behavior of Shep Rose towards a new female Charmer named Chelsea. It remains debatable whether the recapper (as well as his readers and select viewers) came down too harshly on Shep. Perhaps, again, editing was mainly to blame. When I brought up the episode in question to a network employee several months ago, his terse and defensive response was: “You got some bad information, Shira.”

The employee’s implication was that Moylan had sized up the situation incorrectly in his analysis.  Furthermore, he seemed to be cautioning me, I should not be weighing in on a recapper’s analysis in my own Huffington Post column (although at that point, it was too late: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/boys-will-be-boys-and-so-we-have-relationshep-bravo_us_5a10d636e4b0e6450602ebb0) and perpetuating myths. Regardless, the editing certainly welcomed opinions and observations. If those sentiments were entirely unwarranted, show editors should be fired rather than writers blamed for their scrutiny of what aired.

This season, I have softened my judgement of Shep without discrediting Moylan’s recap or negating what Chelsea may have expressed. I just feel that now, at the start of Season 5, he is showing a more sensitive, compassionate and considerate side. Perhaps it is remorse, regret…repentance (?) for the debatable debacle of last season. Or maybe he is a more “woke” individual today…That said, the key word for last season’s conundrum is “editing” and the questions are: Can we trust our perception of what went down on camera? How much of what transpired wasn’t included and was anything “left on the cutting room floor”?

In the case above, it also became an issue of potentially not believing a woman’s account of feeling violated. We never want to discredit a woman’s feelings in this regard, so the issue of what was shown versus what wasn’t (potentially) only complicated matters.

This type of thing always opens up the floodgates for heated argument. Bravo and Southern Charm’s production company Haymaker can be angry at me for exploring things and feeling perplexed, but ultimately, they’ve left a lot open to audience and journalistic interpretation. It should be known that I remain riveted to the show. I find the drama compelling. But yes, an integral aspect of what keeps me rooted to Southern Charm is waiting for the women to flip the script.

That brings us again to the current season of the “OG” Southern Charm (Charleston). The overall feel during Season 5 is different right off the bat. Only two episodes have aired and the women have used the phrase “girl power”. They are banding together and supporting one another. Naomie wants JD to know that any poor treatment, disrespect and disregard for his wife’s feelings is completely intolerable. Chelsea underscores Naomie’s sentiment emphatically. Kathryn is finally surrounded by the feminist allies that have eluded her in previous seasons. In the aughts of the franchise, tut-tutting about her single mom status and turbulent romantic life (no thanks to the much older, complicated and controversial playboy Thomas Ravenel, who excels in getting away with shit while making Kathryn – the mother of his babies – out to be the crazy one) was her all-too-familiar backdrop. I always silently rooted for Kathryn, also notably the youngest cast mate. To have your missteps highlighted on a show focused on Southern propriety, while you are essentially coming of age, is no easy feat. The one ray of sunshine for her (and me) has been the constant of Craig, a male cast mate and friend who has remained faithfully in her corner since the beginning.

Now his ex Naomie and their friend Chelsea are exuding supportive sentiments. In an era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, I can’t help but wonder if this wave will rise higher and higher until we achieve a feminist crescendo. I wonder if a certain member of production who was so enamored by Whitney’s original pitch for Southern Gentlemen, is now realizing how we (the viewers) need to hear more from the women. I wonder if he senses how much we desire Kathryn to have a voice and feel emboldened in a way she hasn’t in the past. I wonder if he knows how much we’d like the “boys’ club” to get a rude awakening to the changes being made around here. Here being this nation in the modern day.

There is the juxtaposition of the prim and proper, good ole fashioned, traditional South (with its plantations that some cast members have no shame referencing and alleged Nigerobilia in a parlor room) with the current American political climate. Both republicans and democrats alike account for #MeToo and more generally, the landscape of modern feminism. Regardless of party affiliation, it is impossible to ignore how the U.S. is changing in this way. For years, it’s been a curious fact to me that a cable station watched predominantly by women and gay men hosts Southern Charm. Today, I’d like to think that the Hospitality so notable in that geographical tip of our nation, compels producers to honor Bravo’s demographic.

This will sound trite, but it’s also true: We’ll have to stay tuned and see.

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH Recap: Latex, Lube & Lateness (Ep. 817)

IT’S EXPENSIVE TO BE ME….AND THERE’S TAX

Having interviewed Erika Jayne Girardi in the past, I can say I found her to be lovely, sweet, kind and gracious. A large contingent of viewers of the current season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, on the other hand, are having major issues with the Erika on our screens.

After blowing up temperamentally at Teddi for the newbie’s “pretend amnesia” comment, many Housewives’ fans expressed their utter disgust and disgruntlement with the “Pretty Mess.” Tonight, Erika will revisit this blowup with Teddi and explain that she was impassioned to argue after being called a “liar.” But her other diva-like behaviors, particularly lateness, may not endear her to the critics who have decided she exhibits the traits of an entitled prima donna.

Here’s the rundown of what transpired this episode:

WE BEGIN WITH SEX NOISES

Alas, no one is having sex at this juncture, but those shady editors honed in on the sounds uttered by Dorit and Rinna as they received their foot massages in the Waldorf Astoria spa in Berlin. This new bramance (I know no one is using this term, but it is like a bromance but between two ladies) between Dorit and Rinna is being celebrated via a  day of pampering. While being catered to, the duo discusses the lack of drama-drama that recently went down between Dorit, Kyle and LVP.

Rinna plays psychotherapist this episode and waxes philosophical about how it goes deeper than what meets the eye. They then discuss respective husbands: Harry Hamlin is a wilderness man whereas PK can’t seem to go to the bathroom without Dorit holding his hand.

CONTINUE TORTURING THE ACCOUNTABILITY COACH

Time for round 2 of a game the ladies seem to like playing called “Torture the Accountability Coach.” Teddi is kept waiting, along with Kyle, for Ms. Erika Jayne’s arrival. The two whittle away forty minutes in the hotel lobby and Kyle even applies a whole coat of nail polish and lets it dry….Seems Erika is a no-show and the 3 ladies are supposed to be at the zoo. At some point, they decide it’s probably best to meet Erika at the zoo where the guide who has been selected for them is ready to start his day. Teddi and Kyle are expecting some grand look from Erika because why else would she be taking half a century to arrive. But then she shows up looking casual and coughing and explains that she’s sick.

Alas, the “casual look” definitely took some time to arrange by her glam squad because upon close inspection, we see she has appliques in her hair and several coats of makeup. Erika will later say that these “lewks” are a great part of the fun of these trips, but they really seem like a lot of hassle to me for not being able to run or turn your head.

The trio has a great time together – while Teddi bears in mind that an inevitable conversation with Erika is on the horizon – and they all become enamored with the endangered panda they see and pose for photos right outside his glass cage.

LOOK MA, NO PANTS!

“What is happening here?” asks Teddi as she wonders why she never personally got the memo to go pantless or in costume around the city. That’s because Lisa Rinna, a woman in her 50s is now wearing a black pleather trench coat with only a blazer over a teddy underneath. LVP has left Berlin because she will be receiving an award for her Yulin documentary, and the other ladies are waiting for Erika…yet again. They are all scheduled to go on a boat ride. Kyle dials her number and the call goes straight to voicemail. Rinna hopes it’s the “lewk” that is causing the lateness, imagining the glam squad dolling her up.

In LVP’s absence, Kyle sums up the recent drama and we’re fooled momentarily into thinking she wants to bury it all. “I’m going to consider it cleared,” she says to Dorit. Finally, I think to myself, that’s very mature of her….But just wait until later in the episode.

Once the ladies arrive at the boat, they ask the employees there to hold the ride for Erika.

ERIKABOT ARRIVES

When the host of this trip finally arrives, she arrives as Erikabot. She can barely move because she is in a long sleeved red latex top. She – or rather, her glam squad –  applied baby powder underneath in order to get the lube over it. In this case, I assume the lube is the latex, but I am honestly confused. I sit here wearing an H&M t-shirt and a pair of grey scrub pants. High fashion is not my forte in 2018, though I did have my hey day where I cared way too much about what I wore and had some “lewks” of my own. I can put you in touch with people who lived near me on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the late 90s if you want to verify that.

Back to Erika: Her hair is pulled tight in a high pony with faux bangs and at least 4 coats of makeup are shellacked onto her visage. “My nipples are hard as rocks!” she announces as she goes on to offensively talk about how “my gays” held her and nipped and tucked her so she could get into this ridiculous outfit in order to not be able to move. Then Rinna reveals the teddy underneath the blazer that is substituting for a dress. The ladies are having so much fun, as Rinna digs in her testimonial, because is it any wonder? LVP with the stick up her ass is NOT there.

STREET WALKERS

The ladies are driven to some random street and Erikabot leads them down an alleyway that looks sketchy. She’s getting a kick out of Rinna freaking out a bit. She lets them know that she’s leading them to “the new hot spot.” It turns out they’re going to an exclusive invitation-only restaurant that should be a lot swankier than it looks after that sort of hype.

Once seated, Kyle is eager to touch Erika. “I’m not into women” she explains in her testimonials, but something about that latex is turning her on.

DORIT AND THE DETAILS

Dorit says she can’t have the candles be unlit on the table. It’s clear that Dorit is particularly persnickety about the details that low maintenance Teddi would never notice in a million years. Erika decides this dinner is the time to bring up that “pretend amnesia” comment to Teddi. Once again, the critics won’t be happy with Erika’s defense of not wanting to be called a liar. She admits she has a temper and adds in her testimonial that she can be an asshole. At least, here’s a character with an iota of self-awareness, a rarity on reality TV.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Dorit back Teddi up and tell Erika that she can be intimidating, she has a major presence and Erika says that the last thing she wants to be to anyone is scary. Teddi says she almost didn’t go on the trip because of Erika’s outburst and Erika responds that she is glad Teddi went, she had fun with her at the zoo. They seem to put this whole thing to bed (at least for now).

Dorit says she’s eager to get back because she has a fashion show for her beachwear and we soon learn there will be more details for her to sweat.

BACK IN BEVERLY HILLS

Once back in Beverly Hills, PK is giving Dorit an ulcer with his lackadaisical attitude (as opposed to her Type A demeanor) about her upcoming fashion show. She is also freaked out to discover that the runway has been shortened by the coordinator in charge. What started off as “butterflies” in her stomach has now turned into full blown labor cramps sans pregnancy.

Teddi’s family goes out to eat and Teddi decides that the idea of getting a horse should be put on hold. Edwin seizes this opportunity to inquire about getting a Lamborghini.

IF IT AIN’T BROKE, WHY FIX IT? BECAUSE YOU’RE RICH

We go to Kyle who is essentially asking herself “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Kyle is moving to a new home but she loves her current home, so why is she moving? We see a flashback of memorable scenes in that home. The answer to “why fix it?” is: Because she’s rich. This is what rich people do, upgrade.

In the final scene, Kyle is visiting LVP who is fresh off receiving a reward for the Yulin documentary. It is in this scene where we learn that Kyle is not over the arguments with Dorit, particularly that part where Dorit was claiming Kyle’s responsible for panty-gate. I had just finished commending Kyle on dropping that one and not getting into it. I was entirely busy being way too impressed, but here we go again…Kyle’s not over it which means it will be brought up, despite Kyle stating earlier “I’m going to consider it cleared.”

Whatever that was, it clearly didn’t last. Panty-gate has gotten so old it needs to be renamed “Granny Underpants-Gate.”

NEXT TIME ON RHOBH:

Kyle hosts a showing of American Women in her new house.

Camille shows off her engagement Sparkler.

Dorit has her fashion show and finally learns there will be no Beverly Hills Lifestyle spread.

Kyle gets mad.

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH Recap: Holy Schnitzel…& Popcorn! (Ep. 816)

The Berlin trip continues on the latest episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and there are some highlights:

HORSES AND HO’S

Lisa Rinna losing control of her horse and calling out “ho, ho, ho” makes for an entertaining scene akin to Lu losing control of her camel on RHONY. Then there is Kyle’s panic attack following an allergic reaction to the horses. So many viewers are asking why she went horse back riding if she knows she is allergic, but who wants to be the odd woman out when filming a show? I would make the same mistake.

BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL

What was particularly noteworthy about the latter is that the crew and cameramen had to get involved and help Kyle, so we got to see the whole entourage. Of course, there was one guy who filmed all of this happening so let’s discount him or her.  It was one of those moments that Bravo and Evolution Media was so kind to share, reminding us that the crew does actually care for the cast members…That said, they still do have to capture it on camera.

ACKNOWLEDGING TEDDI JO

Only Teddi was in her element around these animals and Erika complimented her, much to Teddi’s surprise. This peace between the two will not last long as previews for next week indicate.

THE FIGHT ABOUT A FIGHT ABOUT A FIGHT

Of course, the mindless bickering continues in this episode. Dorit brings up her aggravation with Kyle in New York…again. We see Erika dressed like a 1940s movie star for this dinner and she has invited all the ladies to her presidential suite to eat. She thinks this will be a nice meal, but after the other ladies eschew the veal (because who could eat a baby animal. Wearing fur and eating steak is one thing, but veal???!Erika is not having any of this bullshit and is eating the veal), she’s busy exchanging glances with Kyle. Ms. Richards is just recovering from her allergic reaction to the horses + panic attack and is amazed that Dorit has launched another attack on her, especially given the timing.

LIVING FOR LISA RINNA

Pan to Lisa Rinna in a testimonial who is so relieved the drama isn’t about her this season. Rinna is the best thing about the show this tedious season and she’s been so hilarious that I can state with certainty she’s the only reason I keep watching. She’s actually munching on popcorn in her testimonial, the observer to this ridiculous nonsense.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL

The next day, the ladies tour a Holocaust memorial which impressed me because I kept associating Berlin with this tragic time in history. Kyle talks about Mauricio’s Holocaust descendants and Dorit tells a touching story about her grandfather being reunited with the mother he was separated from during the war.

They tour some more and touch on the famous Berlin Wall. Of course, after all this heavy stuff we need a scene of the Housewives partying with the locals, dancing the German Hora, drinking lots of beer and allegedly downing carbs (according to Kyle) that will surely lead to fasting and juicing the next day. At least for Teddi who is accountable.

I look forward to how Rinna handles the drama between Teddi and Erika next week…if those previews are accurate.

 

 

 

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH: God Gives Dorit What She Can Handle (& Us? A Lack of Storylines), Ep 815

Are you there, God? It’s me Shira. And no, that wasn’t a dig at YOU my Lord, but addressed to the god/s at NCB Universal who left the most salacious storylines of this season on the cutting room floor. (To give them the benefit of the doubt, let’s go with that.)

The good news about this latest episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, titled “Dames, Dogs and Danke,” is that after we see Porsha Umansky packing while wearing her “The Agency” T, Kyle chiding her for keeping those green Christmas pants with red bulbs sewn in, and Dorit sashaying into a showroom for her beachwear line sporting ANOTHER fanny pack, the ladies change it up and are in Berlin.

One interesting thing before we get to Germany (that blasted country where my luggage got lost once when I went on biz and I can never forgive them. Considering that I’m Jewish, I think I’m being very generous giving that as my reason for disliking the land. Oh yes, I went there!): Dorit makes a comment about how God only gives you what you can handle (a very Jewish expression, by the way) because – get this – she’s soooooooo busy and HOWDOESSHEEVERGETITALLDONE?!!!! This is a familiar refrain to women worldwide, but it seems that Dorit gets it all done with a ton of nannies and other types of help. I also never got the sense that this work on Beverly Beach is full time, but correct me if I’m wrong here.

Realizing she is also filming a reality TV show, there may in fact be an overwhelming load to juggle.  Including PK. He shares an endearing scene with Dorit at the screening of Lisa Vanderpump’s touching film about her work saving Yulin dogs and bringing awareness to that cause. It’s pretty scandalous (all things considered when you assess the current season of RHOBH overall) that Dorit mixes sour gummies in with popcorn! It’s rather preposterous actually. She and PK share some banter over this and we’re supposed to believe that stick skinny Dorit normally pigs out in this manner at the movie theater….Just as Rinna indulged in Erika’s cookies while she and Dorit were visiting and admiring Erika Jayne’s avatar for the Kardashian game.

Also notable: Prior to the tear inducing film screening, Dorit calls LVP while she’s getting her makeup done. Their conversation goes something like this:

Dorit: I’m so sorry about the death of your other dog Pikachu so soon after Pink Dog’s demise.

LVP: Thank you, Dorit, but I really cannot talk about it now or I’ll be too emotional at the event tonight.

Dorit: But it’s just so devastating after the loss of your last dog. It’s so soon. I know you don’t want to talk about it, but it’s just so horrible.

LVP: Thank you Dorit, but I REALLY don’t want to talk about it now.

Dorit: Oh, but it’s so absolutely tragically awful. You must be having such a hard time and you know that the other ladies are going to bring it up tonight. I’m so sorry Lisa for the loss of Pikachu. You just have no idea how sorry I am.

LVP (gritting her teeth): Do you EVER shut up, Dorit? I told you I don’t want to discuss it.

(Rinse and repeat.)

Makeup Artist: Rolls his eyes and smirks

Well, let’s skip ahead to Berlin where an entire hotel staff greets the women including the hotel chain’s PR and Marketing head. They’ve been briefed by production and Bravo that this is a very important show that will give them incredible representation, especially since so many people travel to Berlin (…not the Jews).

Erika is given the Presidential Suite because this is her trip…and well, because she’s Erika Jayne. The ladies are all given luxurious suites but they pale in comparison to the divine queen EJ’s. However, my entire house in New Jersey pales in comparison to these suites so I am one to talk.

Dorit got really sick on the airplane ride over, but when the German doctor visits, he is able to give her the quickest explanation for her baffling ailments and he looks at her as if to say “Stupid American!” She mixed Zithromax with Tamaflu, which one must not mix together….and had a Bloody Mary on top of that, according to LVP.

When the Housewives go out to dinner, sans the resting and recuperating Dorit, Erika is late because she’s discussing “lewks” with Mikey and dons a jacket that could be Chanel but is, no doubt, more expensive. Then she calls the hotel to arrange for a dinner the following night. It will be in her lavish suite with the group. While Dorit and Teddi have been able to put their differences aside and embrace following another apology for the apology for the earlier apology…LVP gets out of hand. First she tells Rinna that she’s been too subdued lately. I interpreted this as a warning from LVP to Rinna: “You’re not bringing enough of your characteristic shit- stirring to remain relevant on this show!” or, as Rinna sees it “You’re not doing my dirty work anymore!” In either case, it’s enough to be perceived as the show matriarch chiding a cast member of lesser standing. Rinna, do NOT fall for it. We are all enjoying you this season! And not that much else….

For me, Rinna has been a breath of fresh comedy this season. She is like an outside observer finally assessing the craziness of these batty ladies on our TV screens and hers.

LVP then gets mad at Kyle for forgetting who her grandmother Nanny Kay is. “How can you not remember Nanny Kay? I mention her all the bloody time!” exclaims LVP as we see a flashback scene of her discussing her gradnmother. “I thought you were referencing a character in a musical,” says Kyle. “No, that’s Mary Poppins!” LVP says exasperatedly. (I am completely paraphrasing this entire conversation obviously.) Kyle is caught completely off guard, but that’s what she gets for not keeping up. With LVP, it is best for everyone else to look at this situation like they are competing on Big Brother. It is essential to commit everything to memory or you’ll be accused of treason and disloyalty.

As Erika notes, the implication from LVP is: What sort of a friend are you who doesn’t LISTEN to me when I’m talking?!

EJ’s expression also says it all, followed by a characteristic eye roll.

Tune in next week for more Berlin.

 

 

 

 

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOP: Monique Samuels Launches ‘Not For Lazy Moms’ Parenting Site

Monique Samuels stars on Real Housewives of Potomac which is returning to Bravo this month. Despite her lavish lifestyle (and multiple luxurious homes), she says that her Jersey-based extended family has kept her rooted and down to earth. Monique’s dad made sure she wasn’t out driving until she learned to change a tire and check under the hood of a car and life was not always as glamorous for Monique as it is today. She values a good work ethic, managing her husband’s real estate investment company. First and foremost, she is a mom to two young kids and that is her primary focus. Being married to Chris Samuels, a six-time Pro Bowl left tackle who played for the Washington Redskins, hasn’t caused her to lose sight of the importance of hands-on parenting. Currently nanny-less while her kids are in school programs, she has always felt that it’s important to not have anyone else raising her children. When things were busier and the kids were not yet in pre-school, she had help, but describes the arrangement as follows: “We collaborated. When she (the nanny) was doing laundry, I would do things with the kids. You work together so the kids definitely get quality time with their mom!”

Real Mr. Housewife
Chris and Monique Samuels

When Monique’s son was fussy due to allergies, it made her search for some natural remedies in addition to running to her pediatrician. “I’m not a naturopath,” she explains, “But I do like to find what will keep me from reaching for Motrin, if that’s possible. I like to find the essential oils that can give some relief.I’m very big on essential oils.” Monique just launched the parenting lifestyle website Not For Lazy Moms at the insistence of friends who appreciated her insight and advice.

Bravo TV

“My friends would ask me about some natural remedies and I would be researching and making these suggestions and they said ‘You really need to start a website where you share this with others.” I urge people first to go to the pediatrician! But it doesn’t hurt to do your research and complement that with natural remedies so you can potentially lessen the number of sick visits.” Not For Lazy Moms began as a Facebook group. Monique would also record videos and the NFLM site went live on October 30th.

Although brand new, some early 5 star reviews are in because Monique initially brought this concept to the Not For Lazy Moms Facebook group she created:

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Not For Lazy Moms is not only about health and wellness though. It also encompasses other areas of parenting and encourages moms – “not Perfect Patties” as Monique says – to be candid about struggles and ways to overcome them.

Regarding the title of the site, “What mom is lazy?! I don’t think ANY mom is lazy,” stresses Monique, “I want to be clear that the name is pure snark. Wracking our brains to figure out what’s good for our kids, what’s beneficial for our marriages and how to spice things up as couples…Those are all things we deal with. That was my impetus for starting Not For Lazy Moms. I’ve learned how to get my kids to get to bed by 8 pm so my husband and I can enjoy some time to ourselves after. It’s not always about going out, some times it’s just enjoying some wine or a cigar – on occasion and having ‘date night’ at home.”

thepicta.com

“I know this is not easy for parents in general. You should come in and smell our home! We use essential oils and We have a diffuser going…I rub some essential oils on my kids feet before going into bed. My husband and I do the same. We all have to work hard to figure out the routines and learn what’s effective so we can be in bed peacefully by a certain time and having things running smoothly in our lives. I really want this website to be a place to hear from other mothers, for moms to exchange ideas and discuss what works, for moms to ask questions and get answers. My friend Valerie is actually a matchmaker who contributes to the site and will give parents great ideas on keeping the spark, something parents of really young kids and babies can forget to prioritize or struggle with.”

Not For Lazy Moms Facebook Group

 

Monique has been very busy lately recording televised morning segments that provide tips to moms. She is also working on developing a podcast (that will also likely be titled Not For Lazy Moms). When I ask her if other cast members from Real Housewives Of Potomac will be involved with the website, she says that anything is possible further down the line. However, this is not about Bravo. It’s about helping moms connect with other relatable, everyday moms.

 

“Whether you want a recipe for homemade play dough that you can make with your kids, or date night ideas for you and your significant other, I want this to be a place where moms go for excellent ideas! We are also interested in having other moms be contributors. There is a tab on the site for that. I love interacting with people and sharing some of my thoughts and the things I’ve learned from real life, hands-on experience.”

You can check out Monique’s website at: www.NotForLazyMoms.com or follow her on Twitter @https://twitter.com/iammrssamuels.

(This article previously ran in my Huffington Post Contributor archive)

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