The Real Housewives of New York City returns tonight (Bravo, 9 p.m.), and I cannot wait. Last season ended with some of the best television last year, as Bethenny confronted LuAnn with evidence that Tom, LuAnn’s fiance, cheated on her.
That moment was the pinnacle of reality television drama:
“Please don’t let it be about Tom.”
“It’s about Tom.”
But that wasn’t the best part. RHONY’s finale got better than that.
I don’t want to discount very real pain—and part of why those last two episodes were such great television was that LuAnn was truly affected, at least at first, and even said “Don’t do this to me—not on camera.”
The part that made this vintage RHONY and one of the best moments in reality television history was its layers of reality and performance. It’s what happens next: Bethenny wraps herself in sheets and cries, and is consoled by other cast members, who act as if she’s the one who’s just had her life shattered, even though she did the shattering.
In the middle of that performance, Bethenny says, and here come the two sentences: “I need to start drinking alcohol. Give me one of those bottles!”
The bottle, of course, is a Skinny Girl brand product, which Bethenny holds so the label is facing the camera.
In the middle of a meltdown in which she makes another woman’s cheating partner about herself, Bethenny actually pauses to sell her product.
That is everything in one: reality and commerce, raw vulnerability and performance for the cameras. I cannot wait to see what season nine brings (besides all of these moments).
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