The world is upside down right now, so it’s not so unexpected that the everyday things we take for granted on our favorite television shows would be different than what we’re used to. For example, during the second part of the Real Housewives Of New York reunion, viewers saw something they rarely get to witness — Andy Cohen taking sides. Yes, fellow Bravo fans, Andy Cohen defended Bethenny on the Real Housewives Of New York reunion, and it was like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs.
To be fair, Bethenny needed the boost in these episodes. In the first episode of the reunion, it sure seemed from where this viewer sat that Ramona, Dorinda, and Carole made a distinct and definitive move to gang up on Bethenny to “take her down,” or whatever kind of colloquialism we use to watch women fight. Bethenny and Carole’s friendship — and its destructive dissolution — has been a pain point for all of Season 10, and though the season ended on a happy note, the second reunion special showed that things are not happy. Actually, it’s bad. It’s really, really bad.
Now, I enjoy Bethenny’s hustle, work ethic, and quips, and I recognize that she is not perfect or even a great reality TV role model — no one is. We all have our issues. Some people air them on national television and some don't. But sheesh — these women look like they have it for the Skinny Girl.
When the reunion episode hit the segment of Carole and Bethenny's exploding friendship, Carole pulled the tried-and-true argument method of “if I talk over you, I win the argument.” Bethenny couldn’t get a word in edgewise, and Carole even had an actual list prepared of all of her grievances against Bethenny, all the names Bethenny called her over the course of… whenever.
Typically, this is normal Housewives stuff. But it’s different here because Andy Cohen kept qualifying Carole’s statements — when Carole said Bethenny bullied her, Andy said that they bullied each other. When Carole said Bethenny was horrible to her, Andy reminded Carole that Carole said her share of stuff, too, while she was on the show. On camera.
Andy Cohen doesn’t usually take sides — he tends to facilitate the drama, not placate it — but in this case, perhaps his close relationship with both Carole and Bethenny allowed him to feel like he could express his own opinion. And he definitely needed to here, lest Bethenny get steamrolled and really say “sayonara” to the series. Bethenny is no saint, and she said terrible things. But so did Carole, and for Carole to pretend like she hasn’t changed is to pretend like Ramona doesn’t depend on pinot grigio to get through the weekend.
Season 10 of Real Housewives Of New York has been stilted by shrieking and screaming, and it’s increasingly difficult to watch. Now, one could ask — is it because the world is harder and we need more escapist entertainment? (Watching women scream at each other is not escapist, nor is it feminist.) Or is it that viewers have seen the same seven women or so fight for a decade, and we’re tired of it?
For me, it’s both. The world and the news and social media are increasingly ugly. Women are finally telling their stories and screaming into the void about how angry they are about the things that have happened to them. What good does screaming at each other do? It’s not productive. It’s not even entertaining anymore.
Though there’s one more reunion special to go, Real Housewives Of New York has some plans to make come Season 11. Carole is already out the door, so this particular drama is over, but what’s next? Surely, more shrieking and fighting. A gentler, softer, sillier Housewives would do the world better, and it would surely bring back viewers like me who are jaded from the ugliness that the show has become.