Monday, September 16, 2013

Bethenny's Still Talking

I really wanted to love Bethenny Frankel's new talk show. I assumed I would. I was a big fan of hers on RHONY. Then I liked her on Bethenny's Getting Married and Bethenny Ever After. I like her quick wit, sharp tongue, and her quirky personality. But I hate the show. Well, maybe I shouldn't say "hate". I strongly dislike most of it.

Let me preface the following "review" with a short anecdote. I got a little turned off by her when I went to a book signing where people were lined up for hours only for her to not let anyone take pics with her. I tweeted her about it and she blamed it on the store. I went to the store and asked them about it. They showed me the paperwork from her people with her "rules". One of which was no posed pics. I called her out on twitter and she didn't answer. Thing is, if she did know that was in her agreement, then she was lying to me (and other fans) and if she didn't know, why doesn't she know what's in her own agreements?? That sounds ridiculous.

I wanted to check out the show anyway. I still like her general personality. I'd watched it on it's summer trial run a little here and there and found it just really juvenile. I can't figure out who the target audience is to whom she's trying to relate. It seems like most of the audience is in their early 20's. Bethenny is in her 40's. I get that she appeals to the more Sex and the City type girl who is looking for that big sister kind of direction. But it's almost like she's playing a part. It's way too "young" for her.

I don't know why she's entertaining questions from people like - Can a penis break? Ellen is the one behind the show and I think she's trying to make it a copy of her show, which obviously  works for her but Bethenny is not Ellen. She WAS edgier, dirtier, etc. And that is what she should be- being herself. It's like she whitewashed and sanitized herself and is trying to be too young. She also made a 100 million dollar deal with her company-- she's no dummy. Last week on her show she was talking about questions you're too embarrassed to ask- a girl said she didn't know what century it is and Bethenny was like I don't know either! And she claimed she doesn't know what APR in terms of credit cards mean. What? The HELL you don't! I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be a "women empowerment" kind of show and it's turning out to be more, "It's so cute when you're dumb".

Does anyone really care what Ryan Serchant (Million Dollar Listing NY) thinks about "work spouses" or whether some comedian thinks Khloe Kardashian should stay with or divorce Lamar Odom? I fast-forwarded though every panel discussion she had and also the audience questions. One of the days I watched, Bethenny was asking people if anyone gives their significant other a "hall pass" or a "free pass" meaning they can have sex outside of their relationship with someone else. It just was so...Tyra. I was on Tyra's show. Which was a hot mess, by the way. What was supposed to be a show for and about being new moms, turned out to be a show about being a new mom and being sexual. That is NOT what I signed up for. I don't think it's a big revelation that different kinds of people enjoy different kinds of sexual relationships. Finding out some random couple in the audience has decided at the ten year mark of marriage, they're going to have a threesome isn't of any interest to me whatsoever. Some other woman on another episode asked how she can climb the corporate ladder without be labeled a bitch. I think there are self-help books for that kind of question. I think Bethenny wrote one! It's all just stuff that seems like it should just be common sense too.

The thing is, there ARE real Bethenny moments where the girl you fell in love with on RHONY, Bethenny Getting Married & Bethenny Ever After shows through. She did bra segment, which was informative, although pretty sure already done by Oprah, where she had one of those moments. There was a seventy-two year old woman who came up to talk about her bra but to also sort of be a surrogate mother to Bethenny. The woman told her she was proud of her, that she had no real go-to parent figure and still made it and that she would love to be Bethenny's go-to person. Bethenny started to cry and of course, so did I. It's those moments where she is vulnerable and emotional, where you see she is still all full of baggage and struggling, where she becomes endearing again.

The best word to describe Bethenny's show like you said is forced. Forced silliness. Forced You go girl! Rah rah girl power! If her target audience is 20-something's fine but I would've liked to see her do a more serious kind of thing where almost like Howard Stern, she does interviews asking questions no one else has the balls to ask. She's acerbic, quick, and she probably could ask questions other people couldn't get away with asking. Or tackling serious subjects like everything you deal with when you get divorced. Stuff she knows now that she wished she knew then, pre-nups, explaining how easy it is to speak for someone when you're in love and getting married and how you may feel this person is a total stranger once you're getting separated or divorced.  Ricki Lake was 24 when she first hosted her show. Bethenny is double that. Bethenny shouldn't want to be compared to Ricki and her show. And it seems like she's one episode away from "Go Bethenny! Go Bethenny!". She has bachelorette parties coming to the show!

I just wish she'd act like she's over forty years old versus acting twenty-five. Yes, we're all only as old as we feel but this is just too contrived and saccharin. I was really irritated with the "Questions you're too afraid to ask segment" because I feel like it's beneath her. They're ridiculous questions. I get that Ellen is her mentor and now I'm even over Ellen. I don't watch Ellen anymore. I don't need to see adults playing musical chairs and hear sanitized interviews when I can hear the real, nitty-gritty interview on Stern instead. But Ellen has a proven track record of talk show success. People like her being silly. Maybe 20-somethings like Bethenny being silly. But this almost-40 year old can do without it. I'll stick with Wendy (Williams). Wendy dishes and doesn't need to play silly games to show she's fun and lighthearted. Somehow Wendy makes it like you're in her living room with your feet up on the couch and a cup of coffee, but without forcing intimacy with silliness.

I would love for her to do well and her talk show stay on the air. I think she has a lot of potential to have a awesome show because she's likable. She lets her vulnerability show. She has no problem showing it all- warts, no make-up, whatever. That's rare. But that's also why this new persona she's picked is so unnerving and annoying. She can't be coming from "A place of YES" at all times.

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