Bethenny Ever Over

I really wanted to post in detail about the freshly finished final season of Bethenny Ever After, but I find myself uncharacteristically speechless on the matter. Aside from her entertaining barter banter with “Hermano” the beach vendor and an uncomfortably suggestive couple’s massage (both from the Mexico episodes) I found this final season to be flat. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it just was. It existed on my television neither demanding my attention nor convincing  me to change channels.  I waited in hopes of something to happen,but it seemed like that old spark just wasn’t there.
Bethenny and I (with post-pregnancy pudge) in March 2011
Perhaps Bethenny is a little burned out? Or a settled Bethenny no longer needs to be as bold, brash, and boisterous as she used to be? And why should she when she’s got the money, fame, power, and a talk show to boot? Whatever the explanation, I fully support Bethenny’s decision to close the door on BEA. So Bethenny, thank you for letting us into your life and good luck on your talk show.  Miley Cyrus is right, it is all about “The Climb.”

A Rather Funny Story

Ever since I heard that Andy Cohen was a CBS Intern I have been thinking about my own stint there in the mid 90s. Then I found out Dan Rather was a WWHL guest a few nights ago and it brought back a long tucked away memory, of probably one of my best celeb run in stories. (I have had a lot of celeb run ins over the years). 
About 16 years ago I was in college studying communications with a focus on broadcast journalism. I was able to score an internship at CBS with their Sunday Morning program. Twice a week I woke up at 4am, went to the gym and then drove into midtown Manhattan where I parked in the studio’s comped garage and felt like someone of major importance. The Sunday Morning offices were bright and cheery with friendly producers, editors and on air personalities. The only unfriendly folks were the administrative assistants who, having survived CBS’s page program, maintained such serious personas to ensure they continued to climb the network ladder. My tasks were of the fetch kind, but being that I was fetching reels from places like Paula Zahn’s office made it so exciting I didn’t mind. 
My experience there was rewarding and the rules of the office, so long as I was there on time, seemed fairly liberal, except for one golden all important not to be broken rule… Never, ever, ever approach Mr. Dan Rather, for any reason. Mr. Rather was a veritable God in those days and everything in that building halted when he passed. We were told that Mr. Rather’s rigorous schedule allowed no room for any distraction, no matter how minor it seemed to us. So long as we didn’t greet, smile at, even glance at Mr. Rather we interns would be just fine. 
There were two other interns working along side me. One a brunette from New Jersey who I remember looked a lot like Jersey Shore’s Angelina. The other was a perky blonde with an overly outgoing personality. She was thin, confident, and extremely eager to succeed. Her brother worked in the traffic helicopter which gave her some false sense of being a much bigger deal than she actually was. Looking back she was kind of obnoxious, but at the time she was everything I wished I could be. I was a a strict rule follower and she wasn’t afraid to push the envelope. One day on an errand little Miss perky blonde stopped in her tracks. She nodded her head down the hall and whispered to us, “Look it’s Mr. Rather.” Brunette and I looked up, indeed it was him. “Let’s go say hello.” Brunette and I looked at one another in fear. “We were told not to bother him,” I said, as the brunette, obviously even more meek than I, nodded in agreement. “Oh puhlease,” said perky blonde, “What’s the big deal about a hello?  Besides my brother works in the traffic copter. I can say hello.” Brunette and I locked nervous gazes again. “Go ahead, I think we are going to hang back. Good luck.” Brunette and I watched as blondie straightened her skirt, smoothed her hair, and took confident strides towards Mr. Rather, who appeared to be studying some kind of script. “Hello Mister Rather. My name is (obnoxious blonde intern) and I just wanted to say hello.” Mr. Rather peered up from his script with a rather disdainful expression. In his eyes perky blonde must have looked less like a perky blonde and more like a cockroach. Blondie could see she wasn’t welcome and uncomfortably retreated back to the slums of internland where brunette and I stood waiting to see which one of us would say “I told you so” first. 
The rant that ensued from blondie as we traveled up the elevator let us know that she didn’t need any more blows to her ego. Mr. Rather had deflated it enough. We remained quiet. As the elevator door opened we could see cranky administrative assistant on the phone. She was apologizing profusely into the receiver and as she saw us exit the elevator she gave us a look that told us we were in for it. We got called over with a wave of her finger. “That was Mr. Rather’s assistant on the phone. She is very upset, Mr. Rather is very upset. He is a very busy man. Apparently you disturbed him. You were told the rules. If it ever happens again…” And so it was that all three of us were in deep doggy do, whether we were the guilty party or not. Myself being extremely sensitive was devastated. There went my whole career, and I didn’t even have a brother in the traffic copter to swoop down and save me like blondie, of course, reminded us that she did. Thankfully we weren’t fired and with a slap on the wrist the Dan Rather debacle was let go. Until, two days later I was out on an errand alone. I was riding the elevator by myself when suddenly the door opened. In stepped a pair of men’s shoes connected to men’s trousers and as my eyes traveled up, to my horror, I found myself face to face alone in the elevator with Dan Rather. I started to sweat and my eyes tried to look anywhere but at him. So this is how it would end? Fired for being one of the three criminal interns, the one that dare breathe the same elevator air as the busiest man on network news? As my mind went crazy with all the scenarios of what would be my subsequent firing I noticed Mr. Rather looking right at me and… smiling? Yes, he was smiling at me, Mr. I’d Rather not be bothered by a lowly intern was smiling at me. It was a genuine smile and, without any words, Mr. Rather had told me that he knew I was OK. I was innocent, forgiven, and could carry on the rest of my days at CBS without fear, and have a hell of a story to tell my kids one day! Thank you Mr. Rather, thank you CBS, and thank you perky obnoxious blonde, wherever you may be.

Name Changers

Recently an “industry” friend contacted me and asked if I was at the same address. A copy of Bethenny Frankel’s new book, Skinnydipping, had come across her desk and she wanted to send it to me. I hadn’t planned on reading my personal hero’s first venture into fiction. As much as I adore the energetic, endearingly foul mouthed, natural food chef, TV personality, liquor-shapewear-energy bar-anything she can attach her Skinnygirl logo to spark plug that is the current queen of female empowerment, I don’t pretend to buy into everything she does. I was always the first to admit I never watched that silly ice skating show, sans for what parts of it ended up on Bethenny Ever After and now I will not shy away from acknowledging that I just didn’t see Bethenny as a fiction writer. Even though I carry around A Place of Yes like it is a copy of the Holy Bible, a proven author of diet and motivational books does not a novelist make. However, this was a free copy of a hardcover book by a woman I admire so I was excited to receive Skinnydipping and dive in.

How pleasantly surprised I have been by the first 8 chapters. I think the book, from all of the RTs I’ve seen Bethenny’s camp post on Twitter, is being very well received, and like her other books, it’s already made the New York Time’s bestseller list.  Skinnydipping is, thus far, engagingly entertaining, but I wonder, how much of it is fiction? The main character, Faith Brightstone, has not only the same quick wit and sharp tongue as her creator, but if you’ve read A Place of Yes, many of the same experiences. It seems to me that Ms. Brightstone is really Ms. Frankel with initials reversed and name changed. Just like Bethenny, Faith has divorced dysfunctional parents, including a father who makes his living in horse racing just like the late Bobby Frankel. Frank Brightstone, like the man who obviously inspired him, lives in LA and has been estranged from his daughter for many years and again has those same initials, the exact ones of Bethenny and her biological father, only reversed. 
So much of what I read about Bethenny in APoY is regurgitated in SD that I can only picture Bethenny when I read it, and hear her voice. Heck, isn’t that her topless on the cover? It leaves little room for the reader’s imagination. In an online interview with Bethenny was asked about all the parallels between her and Faith. She said that it was a “never told story.” Hmmm interesting way to answer the question. 
Whether a vaguely disguised memoir, or not, I am going to recommend Skinnydipping. Chances are you will enjoy it, especially if you are a Bethenny fan and you will probably be finished with it before I am since it’s very hard to get through a book with a full time job and two very young children. 
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Speaking of changing names, did you catch RHOC’s Heather Dubrow’s awkward adventure at the DMV in last night’s episode? Never have I seen anyone make such a HUGE deal of changing her name. After 12 years of marriage and 4 children, Heather Paige Kent, as it says on her IMDB (one of her greatest worries she explains to a friend during a lunch date) has decided to give her husband the ultimate gift by taking his last name. Sure, why not, they both already have everything that money can buy. A sweet and romantic gesture it was, but the way Heather discussed it ad nauseum like the seas would part and the planets would realign, tainted the entire notion for the viewer. I found her fear about her career name extra annoying since each time she mentioned being an “actress” finally led me to search for her on IMDB. I eventually found her under Heather Paige Kent, but got there via the name Dubrow because really, who honestly knew who she was before she became a Real Housewife? Her venture into the DMV to change her license further illustrated just how out of touch she is with the regular life of the average peon like me. She seemed to expect all the DMV staff to cater to her by laughing at her lame attempts at humor and pandering to her idea that this name change was the biggest deal in the universe. Listen lady, glad your life is so great that this was such an agonizing decision, but most of us have more serious things on our minds these days, like the recession. 
Oh what I wouldn’t do for luxury problems. Slade and Gretchen’s therapy session got my sympathy vote and my attention Mrs. Paig-Kent-Dubrow. Take note. 
**Correction** In the previous post I spelled Jacqueline Laurita’s name as “Jaclyn.” I apologize for the mistake.