Bravo reunions always highlight viewer questions, and the recent Real Housewives of New York sit-down dodged a doozy. Fan questions are woven into Andy Cohen’s interview flow, a strategy designed to give the viewer a post-season voice. A common Cohen move is to ask a key viewer question, but sometimes zeroing in on a response is skirted, or lost in cast jabber. A gem made it’s way into Cohen’s hand last week — a question to Bethenny Frankel that viewers have been asking all season.
“Why do you feel that screaming vulgarities, then expressing contrition, gives you permission to treat the majority of your co-stars with complete disrespect?”
Cohen danced around the fantastic question, and redirected the dialogue into Bethenny’s blackout rage against the Countess, in the Berkshires. Louisa from Portland’s question was excellent, and obviously encompassed much more. Luann snapped back with a similar complaint, and Andy once again, let it slide.
“What do you mean you’re not here to ruin lives?” Luann asked Bethenny. “You get into it with Jules. You get into it with Dorinda, you get into Sonja and make her cry, then you get into me. What do you mean you’re not here to ‘get into it?’ I mean you’re always into it!”
Viewers know exactly what Louisa and Luann are talking about. Anyone in need of a toned down memory refresher — relive a few of Bethenny’s greatest Season 8 hits.
Bethenny came out of the gate blasting Dorinda’s relationship with her boyfriend, John. Bethenny publicly accused the couple of partying to unconsciousness, and doing drugs. She encouraged Ramona to expose humiliating sexual anecdotes, and made condescending, snide remarks about their relationship in her talking heads. She insinuated that Dorinda “selling” John meant that there were secrets to hide. Bethenny destroyed Dorinda’s carefully planned girls trip to her beloved home in the Berkshires, polluting the hard-planned weekend with hysterical drama, and attention hogging antics.
The scene with Sonja sitting in the Skinnygirl headquarters is one episode that will be hard to forget. Bethenny invited her lil’ fish competitor to her turf, sat her down in the middle of a circle of uncomfortable Skinnygirl employees, and verbally lambasted her to tears. Sonja’s move to join in the Tipsy Girl brand put her at the top of Bethenny’s hit list, and froze her out of cast gatherings for half the season.
“You [Bethenny] make fun of other people, because you don’t care about other people’s feelings,” Jules said, during a particularly rough rookie season. “You hurt people’s feelings.”
Bethenny began her relationship with the rookie by acting like a bratty, rude teenager, after being kindly invited to brunch at Jules’ Hamptons home. Bethenny and Jules recovered, after a genuinely supportive meeting, during which Jules openly shared about her eating disorder. However when the mental illness reared it’s head, Bethenny turned nasty. Bethenny wasn’t “comfortable,” so it was open season to openly snark about Jules’ eating disorder, and distance herself from yet another cast member. So much for empathetic concern for a woman in recovery. Jules was labeled stupid, and even through her voiced objections, the jabs continued.
“Bethenny is truly like a sniper,” Dorinda quipped during the Berkshires trip. “When she puts that red eye on your forehead, you’re done. I think the red eye was on Sonja, but now I put poor Luann in the direct line of fire.”
Luann refused to play by Bethenny’s playbook, and she was made to pay the price. Viewers know the story — but Luann was pounded into the reality dirt by Bethenny relentlessly, and was called every nasty name in the book. Bethenny attacked during the episodes, in her talking head confessionals, on her radio show, on social media, and everywhere in between. Slut, liar, snake, whore, narcissist, disgusting…the list of insults has been endless. The difference with Luann, is that she didn’t back down to the cast bully.
“You’re trying to rip everybody a new one?” Luann asked. “I thought it was John, if it’s not John it’s Sonja, if it’s not Sonja, it’s me.”
The common thread throughout the season was Bethenny’s demand for approval, and any given cast dissident’s refusal to mold her behavior to Bethenny’s hypocritical standards. When Bethenny’s opinion is not revered or acted upon — watch out.
“If she [Bethenny] starts screaming at you, don’t even talk about anything,” Ramona advised Sonja, during a butt-kissing strategy session. “Just go ‘I’m sorry’ ‘forgive me’ …..’sorry’ ‘forgive me.’”
A big thanks to Andy Cohen for shining the reunion spotlight on the question of the season — but someone needs to answer it.