I tried as hard as I could to fight the power of Bravo and Andy Cohen’s “laugh at the entitled” Real Housewives tractor beam, but it’s too strong to resist. We are adding Housewives to the GRTFL. The Real Housewives formula is simple: Six wealthy-but-not-so-wealthy-they-won’t-appear-on-reality-TV women + city + events for them to argue at = television show. The Real Housewives franchise is the ultimate “I only watch because my wife/girlfriend/sister/girl-I-am-stuck-in-the-friend-zone-with-watches-but-secretly-I-can’t-wait-for-the-next-episode" program. I'm not going to sit here and try to sell you on some academic bullshit about how this show’s popularity is fueled by us middle-class folk basking in schadenfreude. I am simply going to confess that I watch it, enjoy it, and am more excited than I should be to write about it every week. There is something groovy about watching women who are paid to act like themselves on camera do their best to display anything but their true selves on camera. Shit, meet show.
Real Housewives Show-Specific Rules:
Mentioning ownership of second home(s): 5 points Expressing discomfort with existence of people from outer boroughs: 10 points Having rumored financial problems: 15 points Disrespecting husband/boyfriend to their face in front of friends: 10 points Making an awkward joke about Aviva’s prosthetic leg: 10 points Using Aviva’s prosthetic leg as a weapon: 100 points Refusing verbal offer of alcoholic drink: -10 points
And had a draft:
Bill: “Which one has a fake leg? I want the one with the fake leg.” (Aviva)
While the women of the Housewives did bring us our first “verbal refusal of alcoholic beverage” and “mentioning ownership of a second home” points and will undoubtedly soon bring us the first “making an awkward joke about Aviva’s prosthetic leg” points, they didn’t come close to matching the performance of The Bachelorette’s “luxury brand manager” Kalon.
Kalon (The Bachelorette, Jacoby), 110 points: This guy really sucks. This guy sucks so much that if he were your son you might not go to his soccer games. In case you missed the last couple GRTFLs (weird), Kalon is the one who showed up in a helicopter, is a croquet mallet model and fabricated this whole “rich kid” persona. While terrible, Kalon did raise a question that is very important to our species this week on The Bachelorette: WHY ARE WOMEN SO ATTRACTIVE WHEN THEY ARE ANGRY?
Seriously, I never looked twice at this season’s Emily The Mom until she got super-pissed at Kalon and said, “I want to go out there and rip his limbs off and beat him with them” before kicking him off the show (100 points). I watched the episode on Monday, and after considering every possible angle (Darwin, Freud, Hefner) I came to the following conclusion: I have absolutely no idea why angry women are attractive, but I am certain that they are.
Kalon did plenty to fuel the anger flame of Emily The Mom and his fellow bros (2 x 5 for verbal fight = 10 points) this week. So much so that the GRTFL top five this go-round are the five rudest things that Kalon said this week, listed from “He must just be young” to “What exactly are the death penalty laws again?”:
1. The Scene: Kalon is working with a theater coach when Emily checks in.
Kalon: We need to get back to rehearsals …
Emily: I know I am sorry I am interr —
Kalon: Run along.
Quick Bit of Actual Human Perspective: If you ever say “run along” to a human being and you aren’t a British school teacher, you're an asshole.
2. The Scene: Kalon is being confronted by Doug about his “baggage” comments.
Doug: Kalon, last night Ricki [Emily The Mom’s daughter] was referred to as baggage?
Kalon: Yeah, not going to apologize for it. Certainly maybe wish I never said it, but I'm not going to retract it. Baggage, again, can have negative connotations when it's bought up like that. All it is is a responsibility, it is a huge responsibility.
Quick Bit of Actual Human Perspective: Kalon, parents who refer to their kids as solely a “responsibility” are either grossly misguided or Antonio Cromartie.
3. The Scene: Jeff With One F is upset because he didn’t get a one-on-one date.
Kalon: Yeah, but you have to realize that if you become a part of her life, pretty much any date that you go on with her is going to be a group date. It is going to be you, her, and Ricki.
Quick Bit of Actual Human Perspective: Man, woman, and child are typically to as a “family,” not a “group date.”
4. The Scene: Kalon is considering potentially spending time with Emily when she comes home.
Kalon: Yeah, I’ll get a chance to talk to an exhausted, sick mother who has a child waiting for her.
Quick Bit of Actual Human Perspective: Talking to an exhausted, sick mother is what most husbands blissfully refer to as an “evening.”
5. The Scene: Emily The Mom is confronting Kalon about his “baggage” comment.
Emily The Mom: Do you have anything to say for yourself?
Kalon: Yeah, um, unfortunately that came up in a negative connotation. It’s not baggage, it is part of your life and it is going to be a big responsibility for you and whoever you end up with.
Emily The Mom: It’s a huge blessing. That is my heart and soul and for anyone to say that is baggage —
Kalon: Well that’s certainly —
Emily The Mom: Let me talk. I'd love to hear you talk, but not until I’m done. I got that one from you. [Note: That's an AMAZING callback from Emily The Mom there — he said that to her two episodes ago.] Anyone who says that she is baggage does not deserve to be on any date with me. Had you asked me about Ricki, you would see that she is the furthest thing from baggage and anyone with the tiniest heart could see that. It makes me sad for you. So is there anything you can say to say, “No I didn’t say that?”
Kalon: No, not at all.
Emily The Mom: THEN GET THE FUCK OUT!
Quick Bit of Actual Human Perspective: Again, Emily The Mom has been in a bikini, a cocktail dress, a private plane, and pajamas, but has never been sexier than when she was cussin’ at Kalon. I am back in on Emily The Mom.
Heather (Real Housewives of New York City, Lisanti), 20 points: Heather was a solid pick at the no. 2 spot by Lisanti. In just two episodes she notched points for mentioning her second home (the Berkshires — the Hamptons are so aughts), a cry, and plugging her “shape wear” line (5 + 5 + 10 = 20 points). But her greatest contribution so far has been her excellence in the field of inappropriate tragedy discussion. Heather is the Marie Curie of inappropriate tragedy discussion. Look, there's nothing wrong with grieving about life’s ills, but there is something wrong with sharing tragedy with a stranger you just met at a cocktail party. Three recent examples for the Nobel Committee:
Heather: What did your dad look like? Did he have dark hair?
LuAnn: Well he was very —
Heather: My dad just died on Friday.
Heather (out of nowhere): One of my best friends, I wonder if you have met her? She's in the wine business. She is blind. She lost her sight to diabetes. She had a pancreas transplant and a kidney transplant.
Heather (equally out of nowhere): My little one had a liver transplant. Yeah, I was saying, well it was just a rare liver disease ...
Oh no, now I feel terrible about this whole section ... wait ... yep ... I’m over it. Let’s move on.
Ryan (The Bachelorette, House), 20 points: Ryan’s game is that overconfident-and-kind-of-a-dick-but-you-will-still-like-it game, and it has been working thus far, landing him a couple make-outs (10 points) and some alone time where he offered Emily The Mom a necklace (10 points). But there's a super-slimy underside to his whole persona. When he says things like, “In my experience when a girl tells you you are trouble ... and smile-smiles when she says it ... she’s trying to get in trouble,” he seems less like a bad boy about to entice a shy lady into the night of her life and more like a frattool about throw up on his date. If you don’t watch this show, trust me, you hate Ryan.
LuAnn (Real Housewives of New York City, Jacoby), 20 points: LuAnn is obsessed with her status as a “countess.” Seriously, you, person who is reading this right now, tell me what a countess is. (“Married to a count” doesn’t count — pun very much intended.) Anyway, all the hussies on this show are all “look at how wealthy I am, look at how fabulous I am, look at anything but how empty I am”–type ladies, but LuAnn takes the delusional cake. When not mentioning her home in the Hamptons (10 points) she's busy dropping what happened when she hosted a party for her son’s birthday at her home in the Hamptons. And what was that? Well, during one of her two fights with LuAnn this season (10 points), Ramona mentioned that one of the kids passed out drunk:
LuAnn: You called me you during the weekend of Victoria’s art party and you threatened me.
Ramona: I didn’t threaten you.
LuAnn: You threatened to tell people about Noel’s birthday party.
Ramona: I did not threaten you.
LuAnn: The children heard the whole thing. You said, "I will go there I will tell everyone about your son’s birthday party." You did.
Ramona: How could I threaten you? Everyone knows who you are, everyone knows you are never home with your children, you are out and about, everyone knows —
LuAnn: How dare you!
Ramona: Everyone knows —
LuAnn: How dare you, Ramona?
Ramona: You fall off tables!
It was when she reacted calmly to that pretty awful attack on her motherhood that I realized that I didn’t like her. Emily The Mom would have ripped her limbs off and beaten her with them. Am I nurturing a crush on Emily The Mom? It can’t be ...
Ramona (Real Housewives of New York City, House), 15 points: Imagine Miley Cyrus 30 years from now after snorting two-dozen crushed up Adderalls and drinking three gallons of pinot grigio. That is Ramona from Real Housewives of New York City. I challenge you to find me a single screen grab of her on this show without a “that’s too much liquid for a wine glass” glass of pinot grigio in her hand. This chick brings her own pinot grigio to other people’s houses when they host parties, and she's been pulling that move for five seasons now.
But despite that constant flow of pinot, she blamed her insanity and passion for arguing on her upbringing (5 + 10 = 15 points). And after proudly showing off her cover-girl status in the press, she inspired the usually calm Carole to comment, “If I was on the cover of The Learning Annex — you know that free magazine that is next to the trash can on every street corner — I think I would be questioning the direction of my career rather than bragging about it.”
Carole may be right, but to anyone who lives outside New York, something called The Learning Annex sounds like a room where Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen J. Dubner argue about game theory. It is not. But for the record, I cannot think of anyone more entertaining than Ramona to moderate that fictional discussion.
Sean (The Bachelorette, Connor), 10 points: Sean landed a couple snogs from Emily The Mom (10 points), but only after she dropped this one on him:
Emily: I don’t mean to rush things, but I want to have a lot of kids.
Sean: So you are saying, like, ASAP?
Emily: Like, yesterday.
If someone said this to you on the second date would you:
A. Slowly walk out the door
B. Fake a seizure
C. Start break-dancing
D. Start seizure-break-dancing slowly out the door
(The correct answer is D.)
Arie (The Bachelorette, Simmons), 5 points: In case you don’t know, Emily The Mom was carrying the baby of a race car driver when said race car driver died in a plane crash. Sad face. Naturally, The Bachelorete producers cast another race car driver this season and Emily is super into him and makes out with him any chance she gets (5 points). But wait! Unfounded Internet rumor has it that the very producer who cast Arie on the show used to date him. What? You don’t give a shit? Fine. me neither. Let's move on.
Doug (The Bachelorette, Connor), 5 points: Doug confronted Kalon about the whole “baggage” thing this week (5 points), which led to the best “Wow, I didn’t find her attractive but now I do only because she is mad and she is hot when she is mad” Emily The Mom quote of the show.
Emily The Mom (in interview): I want to go West Virginia hood-rat backwoods on his ass.
Look, I am more than willing to look past the fact that “West Virginia hood-rat backwoods” is a double oxymoron and you should be, too. This chick is cute when she is mad.
Jeff With One F (The Bachelorette, Lisanti), 5 points: The following quotes are from Emily — who later made out with Jeff With One F (5 points) on a dare — presented 100 percent without calling into question Jeff With One F’s sexual orientation. 100 percent:
1. “Jef is really hard to read. Maybe the hardest guy that I have met to read.”
2. “I don’t know what he is thinking. I know that I am really into to him. I feel like there is a lot of physical attraction between us, but I don’t know on his side. So going into tonight I need Jef to show me more than tell me that he is into me.”
Carole (Real Housewives of New York City, Connor), 0 points (10 for plugging career – 10 for refusing alcohol = 0): To me, Carole ranks highest on the “I could have a few beers with her” scale of all the crazypantses on this show. Mater of a fact, I am going to run back the GRTFL top five with her just to finish the way that I started. This GRTFL top five is the top five reasons that I think Carole is chill, listed from “oh yeah, she does seem cool” to “I bet she's done lines off of Madonna’s nipple”:
1. She is a New York Times best-selling author.
2. She said, “I don’t know, I usually stay below 14th street.”
3. She is down with the Kennedys.
4. She said, “I don’t hate kids, I hate when groups of mothers get together and that's all they talk about.”
5. She dates a bro who tours with Aerosmith and had this to say about their relationship:
Carole: I have a cool, very casual relationship with a musician, his name is Russ, he is with Aerosmith, he is on tour for years with them. We have been together for probably a year but I really don’t keep track of those things.
Aviva: How does that work?
Carole: I wouldn’t say we have the most conventional relationship.
Aviva: So when he is gone for two months are guys allowed to see other people?
Carole: We're grown-ups, he is allowed to do whatever he wants, I am allowed to do whatever I want.
Aviva: And then you return and you just, you have the love again?
Carole: Yeah. It has always been that way.
Aviva: You don’t get upset about what he is doing while you're away?
So yeah, there is a woman on the Real Housewives of New York City who is a best-selling author, was besties with the Kennedys, never goes above 14th, hates kids, and has an open relationship with a rock star. That alone is reason enough to keep this terrible show in the GRTFL for the rest of the summer.