Bethenny Frankel Returns to Real Housewives


bethenny frankel


I have never watched any of the Real Housewives franchises. Okay, I’m totally lying. I’ve watched most of the franchises and when I read the “news” that Bethenny Frankel may be returning to The Real Housewives of New York, the show that launched her career, all I could think is WHY, WHY, WHY? (I thought she was a smart one!)

It’s been four years since Bethenny Frankel left the show, got married, had a baby girl, got divorced, while continuing to market her low-calorie alcoholic cocktail line, Skinnygirl. She also had a self-titled daytime talk show, Bethenny, which was cancelled earlier this year.

I’m sure the producers of the RHONY think she can draw in more viewers, by spicing up drama with old frienemies, like Jill Zarin (who they may also bring back. Fingers crossed!)

The truth is, while watching these shows is definitely a guilty pleasure (don’t tell anyone!) I have a number of problems with the Real Housewives franchise, the biggest one being that I think it’s bad for my emotional state…and anyone who is around me, after watching an episode.

“You have to stop watching,” my fiancé will tell me, and not because he can’t stand it (because there he is, watching alongside me, albeit moaning).

It is true that somehow the Real Housewives turn me into a scrapper (at least in my head). After watching an episode, I not only feel like taking a shower, but I do feel like arguing with someone…anyone…about anything! That’s what watching a couple hours of middle-age women fighting and bickering over the lamest of things can do to a viewer (or at least me).

In fact, the bickering over the smallest things, which all the Real Housewives do, has definitely made me, um, feel stupid for watching grown women argue, but it makes me want to argue too. But with whom? In real life, I can’t think of one friend I want to argue with, even if they have pissed me off about something. In real life, we let things drop, not argue for 15 episodes (or fifteen hours).

But my biggest question is WHY? Why would anyone, knowing what the Real Housewives franchise has turned into, actually want to be on these shows?
First, if you have any skeletons in your closet (and, hey, who doesn’t?) it will come out and bite you in the ass. (Yes, Vicki Gunvalson, of The Real Housewives of the O.C. now we KNOW you cheated on your husband and he cheated on you. We know you had to pay spousal support.)

You have to be a moron for thinking that you can keep anything secret, because one of your so-called “friends” on the show, will definitely out you, or start a rumor, if only to stir up drama to stay on the show. I can’t fathom why these ladies keep coming back for more, even as their lives completely fall apart. (Hey Tamara Judge! You’re in a custody battle over your children. Why not concentrate on that, instead of promoting your new gym? Hey Heather Dubrow! After seeing how the other ladies talked behind your back, why would you WANT to be friends with them?)

No one would care, or even know, that Teresa and Joe Giudice’s legal issues were an issue, if they hadn’t become so famous on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. (Now they’re BOTH off to prison.)

Likewise, how many marriages have broken up on the shows? The problem is, these women have caught the Fame Bug, big time.

But reality television fame is different from actual fame. (I can’t even remember the names of that couple that lived in Brooklyn, who were on the Real Housewives of New York for a couple seasons. Reality fame is fleeting.)

We aren’t necessarily fans (even if we watch). What we’re doing is laughing along the way, and checking out how much work they’ve had done on their faces, and asking ourselves, “Why are we watching this? Don’t I have anything more important to do, like stare at my split ends?”

When the “cast” members are “fired,” you can tell they feel as if their lives are over, as they try to convince us that they WANTED to leave. (Yeah, right!)

Very few of the Real Housewives cast members, save for Bettheny Frankel, NeNe Leakes (of The Real Housewives of Atlanta) and Teresa Guido (Her cookbooks are New York Times Bestsellers) have turned their appearances on these shows into something more.

On the other hand, I suppose it’s an easy way to make money, if you don’t mind everyone knowing your dirty laundry, and you don’t mind being judged for your stupidity. And the women do get paid…a lot. But at what price? Losing friendships? Losing spouses? Losing the respect of your children and family? Losing the respect of the public?

Honestly, the Real Housewives has become a platform for shelling out the cast member’s businesses. Oh, you wrote a book? Oh, you make underwear? Oh, you’re opening a gym? Oh, you are now a singer too?

If Bethenny Frankel does accept an offer to go back on the Real Housewives, I am guessing it’s for three reasons only. One, she will continue to have a platform to shell her cocktail line. Two, they will be paying her a shitload. And last, she doesn’t want to give up FAME, at whatever cost.

It’s pretty damn obvious that all the Real Housewives try and come up with a dramatic story line so they won’t be “fired,” for not being interesting.

Fame is not what it used to be, where people actually worked hard, instead of meeting at a restaurant and arguing with each other, while saying, “Let’s move forward,” and then fighting again at the next dinner. Geez, anyone could do that!
I’m not even really enjoying my guilty pleasure anymore (watching the shows) because it’s become so tiring and nothing gets resolved and I’ve wasted hours of my life, when I could have learned a new language.

Grown women bickering on a vacation doesn’t hold much appeal for me anymore. But, then again, who am I to complain? I’ll probably still watch. But don’t think for a minute I consider these people “famous,” or “talented.”

Thanks to all these reality shows, I do wonder if a great number of people ask themselves if they would go on a reality television show. The money would be the only draw.

However, I have way too many skeletons in my closet. So, no matter how much money I could make, it just isn’t worth it. But that’s just me. Would you go on a reality television show? Why, why, why?


About Author

Rebecca is one of Canada’s most well known journalists and writers. She is the bestselling author of nine books, including a trilogy of mommy memoirs: Knocked Up!Wiped and Toddlers Gone Wild. Her most recent books are How To Raise A Boyfriend, (which has been optioned for television), The Lucky Sperm Club and The Mommy Mob. Rebecca writes for numerous publications and lives in Toronto with her 10 year-old daughter Rowan, two year-old son Holt and is a Bonus Mom of two teenagers. She loves watermelon and documentaries.

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