Bravo TV, Psychology, Reality TV, RHOC

#RHOC: How would YOUR Husband Fare on a Show Like This One?

As a lawyer and party planner, new “Housewife” Emily Simpson thought her unique dual careers would provide ample fodder for reality TV…Along with the fact that her sister surrogated her kids following her own fertility struggles. There was also the interesting family she had married into of Persian Mormons.

But what Emily did not expect was for her husband Shane to be attacked so viciously by show fans on social media.

That’s the risk you take when embarking on a project like RHOC: One should expect anything, everything…everyone to be brutally dissected in the public arena. In general today, even people who aren’t famous can be torn apart for writing something divisive, or uttering a phrase without significant forethought. Of course, this only intensifies for individuals starring on reality television shows.

I hate to highlight certain gender stereotypes, but unfortunately some do exist. There are men out there who act as if they’re allergic to arguments women have. I’m married to a man who will take a pass when it comes to my recaps of PTA drama (and yes, there are some men on the PTA…lest you think I’m singling women out too severely) or the cliquish chaos that transpires between parents on the playground. I frequently want to share the deets of a hard day with interpersonal dynamics gone awry…and he’ll suggest I complain about it to my (other) BFF. I hate that and I’ll tell him so in no uncertain terms. I’m not always successful in this regard. It’s as if these accounts are too migraine-inducing for him to endure.

“Ugh can we not talk about those Housewives?!” he’ll ask as I start to divulge a fascinating development regarding Bethenny Frankel. At least he’s consistent: “Ugh, can we NOT talk about reality stars?!” he exclaims, when I bring up anything related to Donald J. Trump.

Emily Simpson’s husband Shane seems to be afflicted with that same malady. Knowing my own husband, and how he would NEVER sign release forms for a reality show, it boggles my mind that Shane somehow agreed to take part in this season of Real Housewives of Orange County.

When Emily hosted a poker party in their home, Shane told her friend Gina Kirschenheiter (the other RHOC newbie) at the end of the night, that she was incredibly loud and needed to leave.

This made no sense to viewers since the party was obviously planned beforehand and slated to be filmed. My guess is that Shane never thoroughly thought things through. Had he done so, he would have either sent the children to sleep elsewhere, where they’d be undisturbed by raucous partiers, or requested that Emily find a special venue for the poker event.

So now, of course, Shane, who is diminutive in stature, is being lambasted publicly as the “little dictator” married to Emily Simpson. Some have questioned whether or not he’s “controlling”. This past episode, we saw him sparring somewhat with Kelly Dodd at Tamra Judge’s party. This was after Kelly confronted Vicki Gunvalson’s boyfriend Steve Lodge (while he was busy chatting with Shane) about statements Steve made to Page Six.

Shane has made it known that he has very little tolerance for “loud women” and drama…..I have to admit to being utterly baffled by this on-camera revelation. Had he never watched the show he’s now on?!

I can tell you that my own husband has walked in on scenes featuring Vicki Gunvalson (RHOC) and Ramona Singer (RHONY), and scurried out of our bedroom faster than a mouse chased by a broomstick. For him, the interactions are stressfully jarring. These are the aunts at bar mitzvahs cornering you about finding a spouse…when you’re only 13. This isn’t something he wants to watch in his leisure time.

It is convenient that we have more than one television in our home so he can find solace in some other program. It doesn’t matter that he has the entire series of MASH memorized and can quote each episode verbatim. If Klinger is on, he’s elated. It’s the same deal with Cheers and Seinfeld.

Try as I may, I’m unable to persuade him to join me for some Vanderpump Rules…or EVEN an episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen when one of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tending bar!

This will bug me at times, though I’ve come to know my mate: I wish we could jointly revel in the hilarity of those harried Housewives, the Ramona eyes, the drunken Dorinda slurs about Lu’s alcohol issues, Bethenny telling Carole to act her age and not her shoe size (or whatever the hell she said – I have PTSD from that), the infamous incident of a prosthetic leg thrown across a dinner table….

I wish that together we could analyze bizarre interactions between ladies whose problems pertain to the one percent. In my fantasies of such spousal interactions, we easily share the same anthropological viewpoints and are able to wax philosophical about Bravo shows….

As one does.

Alas, there are trade-offs in life and in marriages, and I should be thankful that he keeps things tidy (more so than I do), is an excellent cook and baker and most importantly, hands-on dad.

Although my husband isn’t Persian or Mormon, and he’s more likely to come up with an excuse for a trip to Costco rather than confronting my loudest girlfriend from Long Island, there’s no way he’d be able to film a scene that requires listening to recaps of frenzied fighting between filming friends and foes.

We see time and again with each of the Housewives franchises, that the husbands are obligated to listen and weigh in. To his credit, Joe Gorga of Real Housewives of New Jersey has mastered the art. He will, at the very least, act as if he’s listening and then offer some type of solution to his wife Melissa (she seldom takes his “advice”, but let’s grant Joe an “E” for effort). Jim Marchese of the same franchise overstepped his bounds in bellicose fashion and lasted a mere season.

I realize this is a highly unpopular opinion, but I have to give props to Shane Simpson for simply showing up…thus far. I know several husbands who would have found the largest plants or palm trees to hide behind at Tamra’s party before cameras surrounded them, catching instinctive eye-rolls and frantic – but flailing – signals for rescue.

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Big Brother, Gender Stereotypes, Women in the workplace, Psychology, Reality TV, Women

#BB20: Julie Chen MOONVES, the “player” who stole the show

With Len Moonves recently ousted as CBS Chairman, die-hard Big Brother fans (who often cannot be bothered by distractions while this all-consuming, annual televised challenge plays out) have kept their peripheral vision on host Julie Chen.

Julie had a career before she married Les, but his reign over the network certainly helped her star rise at CBS. Annually, she has hosted Big Brother with its myriad of mental and physical competitions, and she interviews each eliminated contestant in front of an audience for the weekly live portions of the popular, longstanding show.

Julie (who has always gone by “Julie Chen”) is also a cohost of The Talk, where the other cohosts (all women, including Sharon Osbourne who is married to rocker Ozzy) discuss hot topics and news items. The show features a wide variety of guests that join its panel for conversations.

Last night, while BB20’s power player Tyler Crispen made a bold and shrewd last-minute decision to put up one of the strongest players for eviction, Julie had her own “game play” in mind.

The news about her husband’s unwanted sexual advances towards women had been making the rounds since reporter Ronan Farrow exposed the indiscretions. After six women raised new assault and harassment claims – according to The New Yorker – Moonves “negotiated his exit.”

Many fans wondered how her husband’s departure would impact Julie Chen’s fate as Big Brother host. As the players were planning, strategizing and hypothesizing correctly about a double-eviction ahead, Julie was internally fixated on her own game plan during last night’s live show.

She kept her cool throughout the hour, but perhaps betrayed that notably robotic, eerily calm exterior when she referred to the second evicted houseguest as “Brent” rather than Brett.

Astute to every move and guffaw around them because the game requires it, I have to wonder what BB20 contestant Brett Robison thought of that out-of-character slip of tongue…

and how Julie signed off to signify she was standing by her man:

“I’m Julie Chen Moonves, Goodnight.”

It was a subtle statement to CBS by a woman who has never used her married name on air. Fans have taken to social media to comment on Julie Chen’s gameplay, with some in support of a woman “standing by her man” and others disgusted that she isn’t standing up for victims of sexual harassment and assault.

Ironically, what’s been going on inside the house is a mini-metaphor for the drama outside of it. Big Brother fans who constantly watch the live feeds witnessed Sexually inappropriate behavior from houseguest JC Mounduix. Following fan outcry, JC was admonished by producers who questioned other cast mates about whether or not they felt uncomfortable with him in the house.

No one complained about JC (certainly not Tyler who slept right through his own fondling a la Mounduix), so JC was allowed to remain on the show.

Some fans have written me that it is understandable for a wife not to want to believe the worst about her husband. Others have speculated that Julie wants to present a united front until she’s absolutely certain Les did something wrong.

Avid Big Brother viewers have been tweeting about Julie Chen’s potential replacement, while others argue that it would be unfair for her to lose or abdicate a position that has, seemingly, suited her perfectly for years. I feel that no woman deserves to be punished for her partner’s errant ways, but I’m also unfamiliar with the inner workings of CBS and how a company deals with its ex honcho’s spouse…who likely has a massive grudge to bear with the network. If Julie were to separate from Les Moonves, it would be a whole different story. Right now, the future is uncertain.

Do you think Julie Chen…er, Moonves will continue to host Big Brother next season? If not, who do you foresee as her replacement?

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Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Nation, Reality TV

#BachelorInParadise: Jordan Kimball Thought He Found “A Price Above Rubies”

A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far beyond that of rubies.

The bolded portion of the above quote probably sounds familiar if you watched this past season of that cheesy, guilty-pleasure reality show Bachelor in Paradise. Ironically, you might also know this passage from Proverbs 31. If you’re a learned Jewish individual, you know it as Eishes Chayil (“Woman of Valor”), the song a man sings to his wife praising her many virtues each Friday night before Shabbat dinner. I made a mental note when Jenna first showed Jordan that tattoo with these words: Is Jenna a woman of valor? My mind was open and I was on this journey (AKA glued to the tube for four ludicrous hours each week) to find out.

When the season premiered, I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of Jordan Kimball, the image-obsessed male model who didn’t seem like he could possibly let a woman get in a word edgewise. We first saw him strut his stuff, discuss his multiple modelesque expressions, and don a golden speedo during Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette.

However, along with many other viewers this season of Bachelor in Paradise, I discovered that Jordan Kimball was multidimensional: He possessed the ability to make fun of his self and even was able to listen. Despite some meltdowns and mini tantrums, he seemed like a doting friend and boyfriend. The cad and “villain” of Becca’s season slowly started to win us over, little by little, as he persistently courted Jenna Cooper.

Some of his methods – warring with others guys vyying for Jenna’s affections (David, Benoit) – were questionable, if not downright and dirty. However, Jordan was certain about this bleached bottle-blond who was a bit of a broken bird, and who reminded me (just a tad) of Marilyn Monroe.

To Jordan, there was something about Jenna, beyond the pretty face with false lashes and bright red lipstick and her enviable bikini bod. She seemed vulnerable, emotional, grappling with trust issues and confidence about good things happening to her. She claimed to be looking for love and by our initial estimations, she seemed worthy of finding her Prince Charming.

Described as “kooky” and somewhat of an oddball, Jordan seemed captivated and under her spell…so much so that within a few short weeks, he was talking babies and teasing her about awful name choices for their future offspring.

Last night, Jordan went on Reality Steve‘s podcast to discuss what the host had uncovered: Texts from Jenna to another paramour indicating that the relationship between Jenna and Jordan was fake, that she was “better than him” and was using Jordan for some sort of a business opportunity.

While admitting he was still shell-shocked, Jordan made it clear to Steve that he was not in denial and can fully acknowledge that Jenna was the one to write those texts. “I’m not basing this off of three texts. There’s more to it,” Jordan told Steve, who admitted Jenna never contacted him to say the texts were fake or fabricated in some way. Jordan has plans to visit Jenna and hear what she has to say, but for now he is stepping away from their relationship and all plans are indefinitely on hold. That includes the previously discussed June 2019 wedding (where Bachelor host Chris Harrison was to officiate!).

Jenna, for her part, took to Instagram in the eleventh hour and after significant pause, to say she’d prove those texts were phony and somebody had set her up.

After listening to the Reality Steve interview , what are your thoughts on the fate of Jenna and Jordan’s relationship?

Jordan thought he had found his woman of valor. Another passage in that same aforementioned ancient proverb states: “She is good to him, never bad, all the days of her life.”

I’m not surprised that this relationship turned sour because of something very pivotal that Jordan said in the interview. What viewers have to understand – he explained to Steve – is that he knew Jenna a very short time.

That is the reality behind the reality TV show. In a few short weeks time, we often have few words to go by to trust a person outside of a contained and controlled setting. Don’t be fooled by the promise scrawled in a back tattoo..and the power of lust.

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Bravo TV, public figures, Reality TV

#FlippingOut: Jenni Pulos is Staying Mum, Not Taking the “Radziwillian Route”

Last Friday, Jeff Lewis took to his eponymous SiriusXM radio show Jeff Lewis Live to address the People report about a rift between him and his Flipping Out costar and longtime pal Jenni Pulos. It turns out, the former besties haven’t had a simple “falling out”: This was a breakup and it looks like there will be no reconciliation any time soon…if ever.

Why? Because Pulos – according to Lewis – reported him for verbal abuse and harassment to the production company and network (Bravo, of course) behind Flipping Out.

In a follow up article in People, reporter Dave Quinn writes:

Lewis, 48, addressed PEOPLE’s report that he and Pulos had gone their separate ways Friday on an emotional episode of his SiriusXM radio show Jeff Lewis Live. “It’s true,” the house flipper and designer said. “Jenni and I did have a fight which then resulted in a rift. … I haven’t spoken to her in three months.”

Quinn later adds:

According to Lewis, there’s more to their fallout. He said that Pulos allegedly reported him to Bravo and the show’s production company, Authentic Entertainment, for “abuse and victimization.”

Fans of Flipping Out can fully acknowledge that what makes Jeff Lewis fun to watch is how he balances work with his unpredictable temperament,and how, as hilarious and entertaining as he is to observe on TV, he probably “isn’t the easiest person to work with in real life.” Many would label that as an Understatement.

In past seasons, Pulos seemed to be the one to roll with the punches and cheer while riding the roller coaster of Lewis’s erratic moods. Her brand of humor struck many as ideally suited to his obsessive compulsions, idiosyncrasies and meltdowns…So now fans are wondering how things got this bad between them.

From the account Lewis provided on his Radio Andy show, one can surmise that Pulos was unhappy for quite some time, but did not effectively communicate her issues directly to Lewis. In turn, this resulted in Lewis feeling completely blindsided by the ensuing complaints.

Last year, I interviewed Lewis and Pulos within the same week. It was prior to the 2017 season premiere of Flipping Out. I found each of them to be quick-witted, charming, charismatic and surprisingly down to earth in our conversations. Since Lewis has now had the chance to share his side of the story about their breakup, I recently reached out to Pulos to see if she would share hers.

As I write this, I’ve received no response (and candidly, as well as humbly, given the extinction of Huffington Post’s Contributor Platform which afforded me the opportunity to interview her last year, I don’t expect to hear back). Another reason we should not expect to hear from her side right now: LAWYERS. This whole shebang is a developing story, but what makes it most interesting is that we’ll see the demise of the Jeff-Jenni friendship play out this season of Flipping Out — which has just begun airing.

Pulos has been active on social media posting about events like the recent deaths of John McCain and Burt Reynolds, as well as happy occasions, including time spent with children and extended family. There have been no instagram posts pertaining to Flipping Out in recent days, nor is Pulos going the Radziwillian Route of bashing her former cast mate on Twitter.

Interestingly, Pulos issued a benign promotional tweet for Flipping Out three days before Lewis revealed this bombshell: Pulos hasn’t been an employee of Jeff Lewis Designs in ages (Rather, she’s an employee of Bravo).

Lewis shared with listeners that it had bothered him for quite some time that this was the one insincere and not true-to-life aspect of their “reality show.”

Despite nasty missives hurled her way, Pulos has been staying mum, resisting the urge to reply to mean tweets from Lewis stans.

In time and as things calm down, we may hear her side of the story.

For now, silence is the smarter option. It is also likely to be the route advised by a legal team. Regardless, Pulos must sense that she’s taking the high road by resisting any urge to address reports.

We recently witnessed how Carole Radziwill struggled to get a word in edgewise next to her adversary Bethenny Frankel on the Real Housewives of New York reunion. If you check out Radziwill’s Twitter timeline, it seems she is carrying on an argument with Frankel post-show that Frankel has backed away from. After years of working with Jeff Lewis, Jenni Pulos knows that his powerful voice will drown hers out in a similar fashion to Frankel’s over Radziwill’s.

Independent of any legal protocol, Pulos appears more dignified by remaining mum, admirably swallowing her pride and letting Jeff Lewis have his say….for now.

(Photo Source: Us Weekly)

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Bachelor Nation, Bravo TV, public figures, Reality TV

#BachelorNation and #BravoTV Stars: Kim Biermann Said WHAT?!

I had this same reaction when Kathryn Dennis said something similar:

I’m familiar with #BachelorNation, the culture surrounding ABC’s The Bachelor franchise and many of its antiquated notions with regard to casting.

Weeks ago, Kathryn Dennis claimed to have been courted by production to be an upcoming Bachelorette (People Magazine article), and now, Kim Zolciak Biermann is saying she too was once considered for the title roll.

The Bachelorette may have finally welcomed its first black lead with Rachel Lindsay during its thirteenth season to help reject rumors related to racism, but CLASSISM still marks the franchise. I don’t envision that changing anytime soon.

Lindsay was an accomplished attorney with a stellar reputation overall. Single mom Emily Maynard (Season 8’s Bachelorette) was a gorgeous widow who had tragically lost her young husband. However, a trash talking, cussing, chain-smoking single mom (Biermann) wouldn’t have fit the franchise’s “brand”, particularly at the time she claims to have been approached. That brand is about having a wholesome as apple pie image (or one as close to it as possible for a show that concludes with a “Fantasy Suite” catering to the final three contenders and lead).

Dennis’s turbulent, televised and highly publicized history with the scandalous Thomas Ravenel could not feasibly have garnered such an invitation by ABC. Simply put, they are just not that open minded. It boils down to viewership demographics and ratings.

I have to wonder about WHO was actually talking to these women and scamming them into believing these were valid offers.

In the interim, I am all for a Bravo show encouraging men to step up to the plate and vie for Kathryn Dennis’s affections. After all, Bravo gave her a platform and allowed fans to witness her maturations from season to season on Southern Charm.

Because of how Biermann was received on Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA), as well as unresolved havoc following the show’s reunion, I cannot imagine Bravo and its viewers would be on board for something similar with her as the lead.

Tamara Tattles brings us more information here about Zolciak Biermann’s recent remarks.

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Dating, Reality TV, The Bachelor

#BachelorNation: A Perplexing Pick for ABC’s The Bachelor

**Be forewarned there are spoilers ahead. If you do not wish to know who was selected as the next Bachelor on ABC’s eponymous program, save this post for another day.

When E! leaked deets about the upcoming season of The Bachelor a few weeks ago, ABC’s choices for the title role were: Joe Amabile, Colton Underwood, Jason Tartick, and Blake Horstmann.

If Reality Steve is as right as he is usually proven to be, we’re getting Colton, AKA “the 26 year old virgin.” He was rejected by Becca Kufrin on last season’s The Bachelorette.

“Bachelor Nation” has not been reacting well to this news. Colton seems (to many) young and unready for marriage. During Becca’s season, Tia Booth admitted to still having feelings for him as the two had briefly dated before he came on the show to vie for Becca’s affection and final rose.

Subsequently, Colton and Tia reconnected on Bachelor In Paradise and it took an abundance of tears and turmoil before he made her his “girlfriend” (for about a week).

Previews for tonight’s episode indicate that this “relationship” goes to hell in a hand-basket as Colton is plagued by doubts about Tia being “the one”.

So now, this confused and (perhaps) commitment-phobic young man has agreed to choose a wife on national television, with producers present to egg him on and encourage…er, enforce… overtures? (Read the book Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman to get more insight into the process.)

Colton is a perplexing production pick when banker Jason Tartick, from Becca’s season seemed to be the ideal candidate. Wealthy, established, handsome, considerate and from an admirably loving family, Jason was a contender who didn’t even make it to the final two to amass his impressive social media following.

He seemed mature, “ready to settle down” and – well, let’s face it because we’re comparing him to a virgin – more equipped to handle the requisite Fantasy Suite at the end of the journey.

Then again, I hail from a religious community where many a young virgin with limited relationship experience has jumped right in to marriage, grabbed a life vest, realized they were fine without it and made it.

Who is to say Colton won’t find his ideal life partner through the magical matchmaking process of selective casting?

With this franchise and the few solid relationships that have resulted from it, you just never know.

Share your thoughts on Colton as the next Bachelor in the comments.

(Photo Source: Entertainment Tonight)

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#SouthernCharmSav: That Pesky Editing Process, An Abundance of Frankenbites

For the three other people watching Bravo’s Southern Charm Savannah with me this season: You are probably confused. There are scenes with an abundance of Frankenbites. This is evidence that longer conversations were cut down, and in the process, juicier portions were left on the cutting room floor. It also means, in this case, that there’s an absence of information to “fill in the blanks” and clear up confusion.

In one discussion between Brandon Branch, Hagood Coxe and Ashley Borders (who was demoted from regular cast member last season to “Friend Of” now) a conversation shifts from unexplained mixed reaction to Caitlyn Jenner to how Hagood might eventually take over her father’s farm. We are presented with two thick slices of bread that join a hoagie together…but no hoagie. What happened to that hoagie?

In another chat between Brandon and Catherine Cooper, there is a quick focus on how Catherine’s longtime boyfriend Lyle Mackenzie repeatedly puts her down. Again, it appears evident that ensuing examples brought forth by Brandon were omitted by editing. We’ve seen how brutally honest Mr. Branch is and I cannot envision him at a loss for elaboration!

My hunch is that cast mates wanted particularly tough tidbits off of reality TV and producers complied with their wishes. A theme that hovered over Season One was how these Savannians are concerned about public perception and being judged by their peers and elders. Unfortunately, this type of shoddy editing does a disservice to people like Catherine Cooper, who seems like an uncaring girlfriend to Lyle…while I suspect there’s more to that story that would garner sympathy for her. I also believe that Hagood Coxe felt a need to escape from a more intense conversation focused on her personal life – rather than the murky one we saw on television.

To quote a popular commercial from my childhood: “Where’s the beef?”

Southern Charm Savannah has the potential to be a much better show, but in its second season with producers missing the mark – and continually keeping us in the dark – there seems to be little incentive for a Season Three.

(Photo Source: TamaraTattles.com and Bravo TV)

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