Bravo TV, Podcasts, Real Housewives, Reality TV, Uncategorized

Tony’s Tea Corner: A Platform For Real Housewives To Truly Open Up

Many great minds have weighed in on a cultural phenomenon of our time, The Real Housewives. A chief example of a commentator extraordinaire is the noted historian Brian Moylan of Vulture.com and of (his self-dubbed) Real Housewives Institute. There are many other astute observers and anthropologists who could be considered Moylan’s esteemed colleagues and fellow philosophers. Dave Quinn of People is the one to obtain exclusive interviews with current “Bravolebrities” and then wax philosophical on his @NineDaves Twitter account. Then there are the podcast hosts: The Bitch Sesh ladies Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider, Kate Casey of Reality Life, Juicy Scoop’s Heather McDonald, and (as fans affectionately refer to them) the boys: Ronnie Karam and Ben Mandelker of Watch What Crappens, Grant Rutter of Grant’s Rants, Troy Turner of Taste of Reality and last but certainly not least, there is “Uncle Tony” of Tony’s Tea Corner.

Born Anthony Lario, “Uncle Tony” is a moniker his friends granted him because he is the trusted confidant and the one to give you straight-up advice. That means he is also the perfect person to interview former Housewives, ladies who were once a part of a franchise and can now speak more freely in retrospect about their experiences. While comedian Amy Phillips refers to the “100th Housewife” Peggy Sulahian (a one and done from last season’s Real Housewives of Orange County) as “Peggy ‘No Talk’ Peggy”, Anthony was able to get Peggy to open up for over an hour.

During that time, she really spoke her mind and explained the scenes that left viewers perplexed.

Today, a new episode of Tony’s Tea Corner is out featuring another former RHOC Housewife, Meghan King Edmonds.

I spoke with Anthony Lario last week to get a sense of who he is, what Tony’s Tea Corner is all about, and specifically, why all Housewives historians, pop culture enthusiasts and knowledgeable fans should be tuning in weekly to his podcast:

Anthony Lario(Pictured: Anthony Lario, Photo Credit: Courtney Kehr & Mitch Marsico)

How long have you been hosting “Tony’s Tea Corner”? I initially became familiar with you through Instagram. Then, I heard you several times on the podcast Grant’s Rants before tuning into recent episodes of your podcast.

I started my podcast in August. I have always been a fan of pop culture and Housewives stuff. I feel like these are the topics we take in when trying to relax and unwind. These are water cooler topics and are brought up so often with my friends.

They were the ones who said ‘You should do a podcast’. I’ve always been into theater and art and not commentating as much, but I sat down one day and jotted down all my thoughts.

Thanks to Margaret Josephs from Real Housewives of New Jersey, who I met for lunch, I had some great insight and the next thing I knew, my podcast was among the top 200 for TV and film.

I call it a ‘catharsis’. You get out all your negative energy from the week by talking about these topics in their purest form.

What is your background professionally?

Before I got into podcasting, I was active in social media influencing. My Instagram following rose while I was in college because of comedy I did, and I got into brand partnerships.

In college, I studied communications and PR and since then have become more of an expert in social media. I’m constantly trying to find something that joins the right and left sides of my brain, creativity and being more intellectual and factual. Right now, what I do professionally is talent management.

Which shows are you currently obsessed with? I know you’ve had some interesting guests on including Paul Calafiore, Heather McMahan, Perez Hilton, Peggy Sulahian, Troy Hendrickson, Amber Marchese, Lizzie Rovsek, Kelly Bensimon and Meghan King Edmonds.

Right now, Real Housewives of Orange County is airing and it’s been really easy to recap. I’m obsessed with Gina Kirschenheiter and Emily Simpson as new Housewives and think they’re fantastic new additions to the franchise.

They are a breath of fresh air on the show and are delivering some drama.

I’m also discussing Real Housewives of New Jersey a lot in preparation for the new season because many of my listeners are interested in that. I also sunk my teeth into Real Housewives of New York when I interviewed Kelly Bensimon.

What is it that you really love about interviewing former Housewives?

I love giving former Real Housewives a platform because you go back and watch those old episodes and what you really take note of…is the evolution of the show from a cast and a production standpoint.

Of course, they’re not contracted with Bravo as heavily, so they can open up more. They do sort of sign their lives away and there are some things they’ll remain quiet about, but they’re allowed to do podcasts without the stipulation of having to going through a PR person.

That is how I got Peggy and I realized something fascinating: These women are on our TV screens baring their entire lives and then afterwards, the only thing we have to go by (to keep up with their lives) is social media. They have no platform through which to speak, yet they can be spoken about on the show.

When Lizzie came on my show, Tamara couldn’t stop comparing her to Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino. These ladies, like Lizzie, aren’t there on the show to defend themselves. So, I like to think of it as my being a sort of Andy Cohen for former Housewives in a way.

Although that’s going to change because I will be having Leeanne Locken on and I plan to have Margaret Josephs on when RHONJ is back.

What have been some surprising discoveries from interviewing these former Housewives?

Peggy Sulahian can really talk, which might be surprising to some people. I loved interviewing Lizzie and she has become a close friend. She is going to hook me up with Gretchen so I really am looking forward to having Gretchen on.

Do you watch my favorite Bravo franchises Below Deck and Below Deck Mediterranean?

I don’t watch Below Deck, but Captain Lee was the captain of my best friend’s yacht before the show was even on the map. So I would see Captain Lee when I was with my friend and the next thing you know, he pops up on TV.

I recommend it because I think it’s one of the best reality shows imaginable. There are numerous crew members who can’t be filmed and the boat is more cramped than you realize with a camera crew trying to film around those who cannot be filmed. They’re intent on only capturing interactions between the featured members. I think it is brilliantly done.  

I think it’s cool to think of how production is sleeping on the boat with them. I want to know how it all works behind the scenes.

It’s very cramped and they have to weave around the people who didn’t sign release forms.

You also discuss pop culture topics on your podcast. Can you discuss how you incorporate that into the format of the show?

What I do is this: At the start of the show, I discuss a general cornucopia of hot topics that pertain to that week. As I’m doing this, I pivot to related topics because that’s how conversations work in real life.

Even when I’m the only one talking, I want it to be like a conversation you would have with coworkers or friends over lunch. I’m not afraid to pivot. If I’m talking about Britney Spears, I might pivot to something that happened ten years ago. I think that’s an important thing for people who do podcasts – make it like conversation you’ll have with your friends every day and let the topics flow naturally.

Then before I play the interview, I’ll start recapping Housewives’ items from the week. Because of my tendency to pivot, I might bring up an iconic moment from 5 years ago and tie it in to something that happened recently and how the guest is still relevant today.

It seems that all of our mutual acquaintances are obsessed with 90 Day Fiance. Do you cover that at all on your show, or are you kind of out of it like I am?

Well… I probably need to cover 90 Day, but like you said… I just don’t know if I’ll be able to get myself into it. I do listen to lots of podcasts that talk about it, but I’ve got to be real. I am not going to force myself to watch something if I’m not interested in it.

I’m also not a huge fan of the Kardashians, but I am familiar with them. So instead of recapping that, I’ll talk about how my biggest pop culture fantasy would be to bring North West onto Dance Moms. That’s the crossover that we need! That’s how I pivot and get around talking about a show I don’t really watch but want to touch on because my listeners do watch.

Do you ever have guest co-hosts?

Yeah. A couple of times, I had on one of my good friends from where I went to school. She is an expert on pop culture, but is knowledgeable about a lot of things I don’t typically cover. So it was great when I had her on as a guest correspondent because it was like we were learning facts from one another.

I also had a contest and the winner came on. I had comedian Heather McMahan as a guest correspondent too and that was a lot of fun.

It’s definitely a different dynamic doing it with a co-host than doing it by yourself.

Right now, I’m really looking forward to picking LeeAnne Locken’s brain because I thought she and D’Andra Simmons were two peas in a pod. I didn’t foresee the really bad fallout they’ve had.

Whose side are you on in these arguments? I’ll start with the most buzzed about one: Bethenny Frankel versus Carole Radziwill.

This one is interesting to me. I took a personality test in college and it shows you public figures whose personalities are close to your own. Bethenny came up as my personality type. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I find myself in her shoes a lot of times.

I think with this specific argument that we saw on RHONY, I’m team Bethenny. I would, however, like to talk to Carole and see her side of the story. Bethenny kind of brought Carole up to her level and then brought her down…which corresponds somewhat to the storyline in Mean Girls.

OK…Margaret versus Danielle – Reportedly they’re not friends anymore – if you watched Danielle’s Wendy Williams interview, but we’ll have to see how that plays out in Season 9.  

When I was at lunch with Margaret before filming began for Season 9, she and Danielle were super-close, so this is kind of shocking. As I mentioned earlier, I know within 20 minutes if someone is ‘my kind of people’ and with Marge, I knew in 5. I was on her side with the feud with Siggy during Season 8 and I think that with Danielle, I’m going to be on Marge’s side. She’s a good mix of fun and natural. She can be outspoken, but at her core is rationality and logic. She reminds me of myself and the people I surround myself with. As much as Danielle is an iconic reality TV personality, I’m going to have to side with Margaret.

The vibe that I’m getting is that when you reach out for help, Margaret cares and will tell it to you straight and that may include cutting the bullshit out and saying it in a way you don’t want to hear…but I appreciate when someone tells it to me straight. Maybe Danielle didn’t like that. But we’ll see in the season ahead.

What’s your hope for the future of your podcast and things you want to change about the format?

I think that my followers look forward to former Housewives each week, but it might be nice to sprinkle other guests in with them, and to have both a former and a current Housewife on at the same time.

There are always challenges getting people on, but often when they have new ventures to promote, they are more enthusiastic about doing an interview, or if they really want to express their side of the story finally – like with Peggy.

What has been most rewarding for you and most notable about your podcast?

Having on guests like Lizzie, Kelly and Peggy. Each of them, in their own ways, dropped bombs. Peggy revealed on my show that Kelly Dodd allegedly called her ISIS!  And that didn’t make it into the actual cut of the show.

Lizzie didn’t mention Tamara once in her interview, but I mentioned Tamara and then all this press comes out about Lizzie mentioning Tamara. It was crazy!

Then Kelly drops her own bombshell when she casually says “I love Carole. She and I use the same ghost writer!” She kept on talking and I was like ‘back up for a second. You’re telling me Carole did actually use a ghost writer?!’

Amber Marchese is really awesome in real life and I’d love to see her on a screen again soon.

I feel like I got really lucky with Peggy. She hadn’t done press in forever, so this was an exclusive tell-all.

I ran out of time on my call recorder app and had to record it the old fashioned way because she had so much to say and I wasn’t prepared for that!

Who is your dream guest?

This is a tough one. Should it be Real Housewives related? If not, I would say Britney Jean Spears. She does NOT do in-depth interviews anymore, but I would invite her over to have a cup of tea and just chat.

She’s an enigma in its truest form. She’s elusive and I’m a huge fan who wants to see what really is going on. Her PR people keep her from talking about 2007, and sometimes, the best place to reveal things is to podcasts with emerging talent. The interviews are less obtainable (than, say, material in a People article), but if you really want to listen, you can listen.

Lizzie was my most authentic and real guest because she was so genuine. She opened up and it became emotional – we both cried. Now she’s a good friend in real life.

Do you have a more realistic dream “get” than Britney?

Andy Cohen. We have a lot of similarities to each other and we both have similarities to Bethenny. We are strong-minded yet creative. It’s a balancing act between logic and creativity. I’d love to pick his brain and go back to before Bravo. I’d love to discuss his hanging out with Sarah Jessica Parker in NYC.

Andy Cohen may be a harder “get” than Britney Spears. OK, not harder, but as his popularity has risen, he’s definitely become more elusive in my opinion!

A few days after the above discussion, Anthony wrote me to say he had just conducted his latest interviews with Meghan King Edmonds and LeeAnne Locken:

“It’s crazy how you can perceive someone differently while watching them on TV and then speaking to them one on one. While talking to both Meghan King Edmonds and Leeanne Locken on my show, I felt like I found an immediate friend in both of them. They are both pretty notable yet controversial in the Housewives universe, which is always something that obviously is going to be at the forefront of your mind — before speaking to someone. Something that both of them had in common is that they made me forget I was speaking to ‘Housewives.’ It was like talking to old friends.

Listen to Anthony Lario’s interview with Meghan King Edmonds and then peruse the rest of the Tony’s Tea Corner archive. His interview with LeeAnne Locken will be out tomorrow.

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#RHOBH, Psychology, Reality TV

#RHOBH OPINION: Is Denise Richards “Off-Brand”?

If you’re wondering why I capitalized “opinion,” it is because I’ve dealt with many a livid reality tv fan in my day. So if you are one to get more passionate about “Real Housewives” than you do about politics, please note this disclaimer before reading on: Below are simply some thoughts and my mind is subject to change as I watch the upcoming season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Now that that divulgence is out of the way, I’m about to belatedly weigh in on the announcement about actress Denise Richards joining RHOBH.

I will tune in, of course, because I become captivated by drama and even, more simply (or more “accurately” considering last season’s lack of drama), by the glamorous designer duds and luxury looks of the ladies. To skewer an old tagline of RHONY’s Sonja Morgan: I have a taste for luxury, but luxury doesn’t have a taste for me.

I joke with friends that I cannot even begin to consider between-the-brow-Botox due to how wrinkly my wallet is. (It helps to have the excuse of 4 children and four tuitions to fret about. When I didn’t have that excuse – two years ago when they were in public schools, for instance – it was a tad more humbling.) I make no bones about the fact that I’m not rich with a candor that Bethenny Frankel (RHONY) would be forced to admire. In fact, one Twitter user joked that I’m a “wannabe Housewife” (due to the fact that I’ve written about these ladies) and aside from never wanting to expose my embarrassing faults on TV…EVER (!) and deal with the after-effects of that public mortification, I’m content admitting I don’t have the requisite “aspirational” lifestyle to make the cut.

For me, these curious creatures on our TV screens make for a captivating collective anthropological case. While I have my husband rifling through my bag for car keys, stumbling upon CVS receipts and saying “we can’t afford for you to keep buying these face masks!”, the RHOBH are known for their over the top gifts. Take, for example. the five thousand dollar toilet Erika Jayne Girardi gifted her husband Tom.

I love the fact that I had never heard of most of these women before and I’m seeing how insanely affluent and excessive (AKA “extra”) they are. I love the fact that despite how I watched Kim Richards in the movie Watcher in the Woods as a kid, many of you did not. Being Paris Hilton’s aunts, Kim and Kyle Richards made good “Real Housewives” because despite doing the acting thing, they were only somewhat known, but not terribly famous and known by all. They fell somewhere between C and D list.

Considering the cast of RHONY, on the other hand, I like how Sonja Morgan and Ramona Singer were people the vast majority of us had never heard of until they appeared on our screens. It makes me wonder why they weren’t famous prior to the show just for being ridiculously rich and having bonkers, over-the-top personalities.

So now we have Denise, a pick who is the most well known “actress” of all actresses to ever be selected for a Housewives franchise. I should note here that RHOBH is the only one of the Housewives franchises to have somewhat known actresses in the first place.

We had Eileen Davidson, familiar to soap opera aficionados, but not to countless others who don’t watch soaps (moi). Then many of us had to adjust a bit when we were introduced to Lisa Rinna in her Bravo role. Wait, we thought, this is weird because we know her from Melrose Place and from her flop reality show alongside A-list actor- hubby Harry Hamlin. This “adjustment” wasn’t too huge ultimately because Rinna’s acting roles were few and far between, and she quickly established herself as the “hustler” hilariously down to do anything…with a financial incentive. Famously, that includes a Depends commercial that is in her reel.

Rinna’s reception has always been a mixed baggie…akin to that one with pills she carries. Overall though, she “owned it” baby, being candid about the things that would embarrass most, and having no qualms asking a castmate if she’d done coke in her bathroom.

Love her or hate her, Rinna earned the right to hold her diamond in the opening credits of RHOBH.

Now…we have to get our minds around an even more complicated choice for a Real Housewife, a former movie star (or do we call her a current one?). Denise Richards seems too famous to be a “Real Housewife” when we’re so accustomed to meeting new ladies. Consider how Dorit was a whole lot of brand new to get used to. But perhaps therein lies the problem: Dorit is the puzzle piece in a jigsaw challenge that viewers have been unable to jostle in. It is hard to take her business, her lifestyle and her storylines (or lack thereof) seriously for many. I’m of the mindset that Dorit makes great TV because she’s physically gorgeous and an absolute mental trip. I find her to be obnoxious and my annoyance with her fuels my desire to yell at her from the safe side of the TV screen. It works for me, but it’s not working for countless others who have deemed her “phony”, “showy”, “lacking substance” and “boring”.

Denise Richards, on the other hand, has not only been in the public eye for her dramatic struggles and moves, but also had a past reality show. She dealt with the death of her mother and helping her father with his own grief. She is known for having married and divorced Charlie Sheen, had an on-again and off-again dysfunctional deal with him subsequently, battled custody with him, and rode his manic roller coaster of drug addiction debacles.

She famously became romantically entangled with the rocker ex (Richie Sambora) of her former friend Heather Locklear, who has recently made news herself for arrests and her own serious substance issues.

The best thing about reality television is that stars now know it’s the arena for candid confessionals. Denise Richards will have to “bring it”, so that’s the major plus of her being newly anointed a Housewife. Also, because she “brought it” on reality tv in the past, I doubt she will hold back on RHOBH.

So while there’s a ton to tune in for, I have to wonder if there’s a better venue for Denise (a follow-up E! reality show perhaps) to answer all the questions fans have about her past, present and future. The Real Housewives seems off-brand for her, but then again, she’s not doing a lot of movie acting these days. Is a Bravo show the next logical step for Hollywood ladies of a certain cohort when the roles have run out? Perhaps it is, and perhaps what I’ve previously considered “off brand” no longer is.

A franchise that once fascinated us with folks who flaunted their fabulosity while we thought “…and you are…?” is adding the marque of familiarity. It is like a new line of $3M Pagani cars that Dorit and Erika must test drive.

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Reality TV

#RealityTV: Remember, You’re Tweeting About A TV SHOW, Fans!

Robin Thicke is not the only one to identify where there are “blurred lines”…

When blind items hit the Internet, readers scramble to figure out all possible allusions. Paragraphs that are so murky can be hard to solve…unless a reader is entirely familiar with the situations – and in terms of what I frequently cover, the reality show. Lately, there have been a slew of blind items clearly pertaining to popular reality shows.

It is one thing to see oblique references on the Internet, but what about when targeted information about an individual is blasted out on social media platforms? In recent times, we’ve seen it is an effective strategy for shaming those who are in the wrong, and getting that “news” out to the masses. In this post Harvey Weinstein scandal world, the Internet has been an asset to enforcing the message that a certain type of conduct is intolerable. But what about when the Internet is used by the Harvey Weinsteins to smear victims?

Perpetrators of bad behavior are notorious for ensuring that they have a platform to spin stories negatively – in order to feed the press info that shifts focus away from their own atrocities.“The Internet is a void that everyone is screaming into,” my own father reasons, “Who in the world is listening?”

It’s clear he doesn’t believe that many people are really taking inane reports they read as truths. The problem is that people very easily believe what they read in a blog established to malign someone without merit.

We laugh at individuals who fall for National Enquirer headlines while on line at the grocery store, but we also easily witness how a false story takes off with alarming speed. And my father did not grow up with the Internet, nor does he rely on it for his work, unlike another man his age who sits in the oval office and has taken to Twitter in erratic fashion.

Covering reality television, I recently saw how viewers – more accurately, fans – escalate from discussing who their favorite characters are and trading barbs about what’s seen on TV…to hurling outlandish and abusive personalized attacks at one another.

“I said that I found Kenya Moore of Real Housewives of Atlanta to be frightening,” my friend David relates, “and suddenly I see tweets about me, including a poll, weighing in on how racist I am. I reiterate: The poll was about ME. Racist?! Because I happen to find a reality character frightening due to her intense behavior on a reality show?! How in the world did people make the stretch to ‘racist.’? I was trolled for months by these same multiple accounts. When I reported it to Twitter, an email came back saying that Twitter didn’t find the tweets abusive. I felt completely let down by the social media platform.”

A woman who chose to identify herself for this piece as “Carly” explained her similar vexations with Twitter: “I’m being taunted mercilessly by the same series of accounts because I dared to comment on a Real Housewives franchise. What ensued were below the belt tweets that included personal information about me. These sick individuals had apparently visited my other social media pages to check details. As a single mom with a very young child, I was terrified and immediately set all my accounts to ‘private’. Everyone thought I was overreacting when I contacted a lawyer and asked family members to stay at my house with my child and I for a few days. It’s insane that conversations via social media can lead to this much panic. I am still considering closing my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts for good.”Family members have also advised me in the past to “get off social media” when I privately shared anecdotes of that nether world (I now mainly avoid doing so). I think that due to the type of work I’ve conducted over the years, predominantly in the area of marketing, I have to be on these platforms generally for outreach.

In a non-professional capacity, I love to promote the good work of my friends. Facebook and Twitter are ideal for sharing a podcast link or one to an article. It does frighten me to see how fans blur the lines between reality and reality TV on Twitter though. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed in my life. It’s also quite the phenomenon that Real Housewives franchises specifically are the ones to garner this much negative attention and breed such a level of hostility between fans who simply want to opine on a silly TV show.

Why do you think the Real Housewives inspire such a reaction in the Twitterverse?

Would you steer clear of social media if you were personally attacked?

If not, what measures would you take to protect yourself?

I would love to hear from you readers and get your individual takes. For now, try to remember that television viewing is typically described as “leisure time.” It is an experience you are supposed to enjoy and do while you’re relaxing. Perhaps it is best to limit yourself to one screen and ensure that you screen out the rest!

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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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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: 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

#RHOBH Recap: Heaven Help Us! (Ep. 814)

In the latest episode of The Real Filler Scenes of Beverly Hills, a psychic steals a storyline straight from The Twilight Zone, claiming to have a direct (telephone) line to heaven. But more on that later. We begin with an unnecessary apology from a very practical, responsible and all-too-reasonable (for this show anyway) Accountability Coach to a woman sporting a Gucci fanny pack, off-kilter blonde wig and narrow heels…all from the comfort of her own home.

Dorit rolls her eyes as soon as she sees Teddi’s calling and gives her a hard time. Teddi is wondering why she can’t get the response “I accept” immediately. She should have known not to bother in the first place, but Teddi has never watched Real Housewives of Beverly Hills before….or so she’s claimed in interviews.

Teddi is stating to Dorit that she’s sorry for giving Lisa Rinna the heads up that Dorit and PK were maligning Rinna months before. In actuality, the crux of this apology is that Teddi feels the heat from all the rehashing so common among the group. She is also trying to show she’s accountable for her actions and can admit when she’s wrong…Unlike a certain someone whose name rhymes with Shmoreet.

The ladies go to lunch later with Rinna’s mom Lois who is a feisty 89 and can order whatever the hell she likes from a menu. Lois had a stroke years ago that seemed to zap the parts of the brain that freak out from stress and anxiety and cause a perfectly sane person to feel depressed. She is as cool as a cucumber and loving life. Rinna has told her mom that she can snap at the ladies to behave if they start to act petty and Lois is up for that challenge. She ends up having to hear all about Dorit’s bathing suit business and Camille happily points out once again (in a testimonial) that Dorit just cannot shut the hell up.

Teddi is relieved that Erika is not there because she’s at some Girl Power event that is a combo of Ted Talks and Coachella. It sounds like a nightmare to me personally because 2 of the other panelists are Tyra Banks and Kimora Lee Simmons. I’m OK with Tyra, but Kimora Lee is one of those “famous” and affluent women who aggravates me in a way that I can’t explain, but Lala Anthony would be the other person that has the same cringe-inducing effect on me and it has something to do with their egos…or how I perceive their egos to be. I frequently mentally banish them both to that category of my mind – I do realize that Lois would never be as petty as I’m being.

Anyway, at this lunch with Lois, Rinna gifts the other ladies with Dusters from her eponymous collection. They all gush over the presents while adoring the senior citizen at the table. They particularly envy her ability to chow down on pancakes as they all push salad around their plates and reach for the Adderall in their respective pocketbooks.

Later on, the Housewives go to Kyle’s house where she is holding a seance with her favorite psychic, Rebecca. Lisa Vanderpump is there as well and she’s mourning the loss of “Pink Dog.” It is a loss that has hit her and her husband Ken quite hard. Ken blames himself and says that he should have seen it coming, while LVP explains that it was completely unexpected and there was no way to know. She shares that another one of her dogs is now struggling and is on a ventilator. I cannot help but think that it may be time for LVP to hire Shannon Beador’s feng shui lady and put nine lemons in a bowl STAT.

Rebecca The Psychic then tells the ladies she has a direct telephone line to God who she calls “Papa God.” This freaked me out because as I mentioned above, there truly is a Twilight Zone episode where a little boy’s telephone line goes directly to his recently deceased grandma. Teddi is a skeptic just like I am, but Rebecca is able to tap into something with her emotionally when she mentions the loss of a friend during childhood. At that point, the suppressed memory of a friend Teddi lost in sixth grade resurfaces. She’s happy that this was something that Rebecca brought up, even if the “psychic” is a total crock.

long distance call twilight zone

From the “Long Distance Call” episode of The Twilight Zone

Rebecca also connects with Lisa’s dogs and mentions “Pink Dog” – at which point she says she saw LVP tweet about her loss that very morning. Now this was a very revealing moment for me because psychics don’t normally discuss checking things out on social media. And if Rebecca is perusing Twitter, then who is to say she’s not checking Ancestry.com, Lexis Nexis, Government Databases…even simply Googling for information?

After the psychic readings, Erika announces that the ladies will all be going to Berlin and she even manages a quasi-apology to Teddi for her earlier outburst as she invites her along. Berlin is an interesting choice for a trip and I can’t help imagining how Siggy Flicker would have reacted had the location been proposed on last season’s RHONJ (Google: History of Berlin and the Jewish people). I don’t think it would have gone over well at all, but the Beverly Hills ladies are excited. I went to Germany once and my luggage got lost and was never returned. I’ll never forget that because it was devastating – That was back in my 20s when I had incredible, expensive clothing and gave more than a damn about fashion. I came home with a brand new German wardrobe since I needed to shop for things to wear to my meetings.

I’m no psychic but my prediction with RHOBH is that there will be more tension up ahead between Erika and Teddi….

Actually, it was Twitter that gave me that indication. Rebecca and I have something in common.

 

 

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