It’s not that I think she’s perfect. I doubt she or anyone else does. I recognize she was fruit loops kooky – and not in the best way possible. But now with the passage of time, I can see that she brought a brand of drama to television that I didn’t really appreciate until the last week or two, when I’ve occasionally gotten sucked into the endless marathons from the first four seasons.
I understand from the rumor mill that Kelly isn’t happy that the team at Bravo has re-run seasons 3′s Housewives Overboard and Sun, Sand and Psychosis. I get why. If I were in her flip flops during those scenes, I’d be horribly embarrassed, too. But I have to admit they’re two of my favorite episodes from any cast, in any season. You remember them, I’m sure.
During both the ladies are in St. John’s for Ramona’s renewal bachelorette party and Kelly is in her self-described “lala land with cartwheels.” What I didn’t get back when I originally saw these episodes is that neither she nor a pregnant, emotional Bethenny was capable of restraining themselves from picking on every word out of the other’s mouth.
As much as I think I’m good at keeping out of a gang-up on someone, I wonder if in Kelly’s case I failed. I mention this because I remember seeing these St. John’s episodes and not really getting how much Bethenny participated in that petty squabble by picking on crazy Kelly.
It’s not that I don’t understand how annoying and illogical Kelly can be; believe me, I do. But with the distance of two years, I can now see better that Bethenny rarely gave her a break about anything. Bethenny pounced on Kelly’s contention that she doesn’t eat processed foods, despite the fact that we all know she loves Gummi Bears. Bethenny jumped at the chance to make fun of Kelly’s mistaken belief that the cliché, “making lemonade out of lemons” is used to describe negative behavior. Except for in LaLa land, it never is. I get that.
I now think it is silly that Bethenny had to make that point, rather than drop it. Still I get it: Bethenny got caught up in the moment and couldn’t resist calling attention to Kelly’s questionable intelligence, probably because she was questioning at the time whether Kelly had simply traveled to Colombia, the country, rather than graduated from Columbia, the University.
The following morning, after Kelly became so nutty that most of the cast jumped ship and boarded the Hooter’s yacht to find some peace, Bethenny was at it again. Rather than just laugh, as she did when she heard Kelly call her a “hoe bag” the night before, Bethenny reopened that discussion at breakfast and then, in her video diary, said she wanted to have a peaceful day but was instead awakened to a rottweiler. Of course Bravo may have edited that scene to manipulate what we saw, but from my vantage point now, after not having seen these episodes for at least a year, I don’t think Bethenny was exactly innocent during that trip. I say that because from what we saw on camera, Bethenny is the person who brought up Kelly’s meltdown that morning, not Rottweiler Kelly.
With more forgiving eyes, I now believe both women were threatened by each other. Bethenny started to go after Kelly because the former model didn’t acknowledge her presence enough. In hindsight, I can now see that Bethenny needs attention – lots of attention. Way before things went sour between the two of them, Bethenny spent time in the Hamptons and told Jill Zarin that Kelly was the “real deal” socialite.
Bethenny was right. I’ve spent the better part of 20 years reading and placing happy, complimentary stories on Page Six of the New York Post. Negative publicity is not and never was my thing. And there was a time in my life when every morning the very first thing I did, before even having a cup of coffee, was to read that gossip column. Kelly was always favorably covered there. I am sure Bethenny read those glowing blurbs, too.
I think Bethenny was triggered by not being recognized and welcomed into Kelly’s circle, or at least into her awareness. So she confronted Kelly and the rest is Housewives history with Kelly’s infamous “I’m up here; you’re down there” insult.
Still you have to admit that Kelly was an expert in how to spark up a strange kind of “must-see TV” drama every time she went on vacation with her cast mates. When she wasn’t fueling rumors that she was using methamphetamines with the peculiar cat urine aroma that Sonja Morgan detected in St. John’s, the following season, she was nearly nude and jogging through Morocco, a conservative Muslim country, and going toe-to-toe with Alex McCord about how inauthentically she entered the make-shift henna salon to confront LuAnn de Lesseps in her “Herman Munster boots.”
Thanks to Kelly both of those trips were Reality TV gold. But like many Housewives before and undoubtedly many after her, Kelly didn’t play her cards right. Still I don’t blame her. Out of loyalty to Jill Zarin, she went at Bethenny, oblivious to the Skinny Girl mogul’s ability to make all of her foes look like ugly mean girls. Kelly was successful in making normally articulate Alex look tongue-tied in Morocco. But in the end, Bravo unmercifully discarded both women with Jill and Cindy Barshop.
At the risk of sounding cruel, I won’t miss Cindy, who was not nearly as bad as bloggers made her out to be. Her Reality TV crime was that she is boring. So am I. I don’t fault her for that. But I recognize that neither of us belongs on television.
I won’t miss Jill either. She was always too petty for me. She held vendettas from season one onward. To paraphrase Bethenny, she mistakenly believed she was on Survivor and that she was Richard Hatch whose duty it was to cast someone off the island. Sadly for her, Andy Cohen’s tribe has spoken and she’s now gone forever.
I will miss Alex. After falling prey to those cruel Bravo editors who successfully made us think she and Simon were shameless social climbers, once I saw them in the baby pool in their Brooklyn backyard, I came to really like her. Truth be told, she is probably the only Bravo housewife I’d ever want as a real life friend.
But more than anyone else, I will miss Kelly deeply. I guess that with time, I now recognize any day of the week, I would welcome one-quarter of a Kelly to four LuAnn de Lesseps. Too bad I didn’t recognize that earlier.
All photos are courtesy of BravoTV.com, unless otherwise indicated.
About the Author (Author Profile)
I am a New York City publicist who specializes in promoting luxury products and experiences and occasionally moonlight as a journalist.
Relatively new to the world of blogging, I have watched and enjoyed Bravo’s Housewives shows since the first season of the Real Housewives of Orange County. I created this blog over the 4th of July holiday of 2011 because I enjoy writing and love to figure out how to blend images and words to create something that is both visually compelling and interesting to read.