If this season is anything like last season there’s going to be parties and fights, gay husbands and bargain basement royalty, wannabe socialhos and wannabe strait husbands all competing for approval and adulation in the public eye. That would be us, Gasmi. Am I ready to adulate? Hell no, this is the Gasm, adulation is for those other wussy sites.
I don’t know about you folks but for this episode I went with a little bit of coffee in my Baileys, and I’m totally wishing that I still smoked…
We start with the obligatory flashbacks from season 1 highlighting all of the aforesaid promises, and move on to the intro shots. My oh my, it sure does look like all of our ladies took last season’s comments about their split ends to heart. We’re talking some shiny and coiffed hausenfrau.
This season we’re skipping Manhattan and going straight out to the Hamptons, because anybody who’s anybody in NYC wouldn’t dream of hanging out in all that hot sticky smog. My girl Bethenny is hanging out in Jill Zarin’s Hampton home pouring over the New York Post when she spies the headline “Real Housewife Catfights”. Wait for it…wait for it…and there it is, music to my ears; that peculiar, screeching, New York, nails on a blackboard, voice that Bethenny uses to whip out her famous one-liners. Sadly this time her first sally of the year feels a wee bit staged as she screeches, “Holy catfight what did you do now?” JZ comes scurrying into the kitchen with a totally sheepish expression, like she really didn’t want to leave that puddle in the corner, but she just couldn’t hold it any longer. Bethenny gives her an ecstatic ‘the shit’s hit the fan’ look and reads out loud JZ being quoted as saying that not only does she not talk to those two (Alex and Simon Van Kampen), but Simon is a total down and out, skid row, rock bottom, booze hound. Well, okay, I’m paraphrasing that last bit, but JZ did say that Simon drinks too much. This is shocking, why? Of course Simon drinks too much. If I were a “definitely
not gay” man married to Alex, with two cherubic, nightmare on elm street type kiddies, I’d probably drink too much as well. I really don’t think that the Van Kampens should be too upset about JZ’s quotes. I’m sure the viewing audience totally understands.
Speaking of the Van Kampens, there’s Alex shuffling down the block in search of a New York Post cuz a
PA little birdie told her that someone was dissing her man. Girlfriend is looking a little less than glamorous this morning. Hmmmm, maybe Alex is practicing a little financial restraint this season.
Back at the Zarin’s Hampton abode, JZ is frantically explaining that right before she was called by the Post she had seen an article in the New York Mag that quoted Simon as considering himself a good judge of character because he could tell that Jill came from Long Island. Okay, seriously, you don’t need to be a good judge of character to guess Jill’s origins, you just need to be able to recognize the Long Island accent, so I wouldn’t exactly credit Simon with any overwhelming psychic abilities. Even though gay men are supposed to have a higher developed sense of intuition than straight men, but that’s probably just a stereotype. And, oh yeah, I forgot, Simon’s sure he’s not gay. Intuitive abilities aside, calling a Manhattanite a Long Islander is considered a pretty big insult. I can totally see why JZ was upset; not that I’m condoning her mentioning Simon’s tendency to
drink himself into a coma overindulge.
Jill waffles for a few moments between feeling bad and denying that she ever said the part about never speaking to those two. Besides, when Simon falls down three times at a party people are going to notice. It’s not like his drinking is a really big secret and at least she didn’t let the cat out of the bag concerning his secret lust for William Defoe in drag.
While Jill experiences that peculiar ‘oh crap’ sinking stomach feeling that goes with being caught out in dissing someone she really doesn’t like, but tries to pretend like she does, we go to visit Ramona’s Manhattan house.
Ramona’s twitching and foaming in excitement because she and her cerebral chorus of voices have discovered the Post catfight article, and this time nobody can blame her for anything. So what does any parent do when their reality show colleagues behave badly? Ramona immediately calls for her daughter, Avery, to show her the article. Look honey, Jill Zarin was really, really bad, and it’s in the paper, and now everybody’s going to hate her instead of me. I have to say that in this day and age it’s nice to see a parent reading out loud to their child, even if a gossip article in the Post isn’t exactly Mark Twain. Now that she’s over her initial excitement, Ramona takes a moment to explain to us that Jill tends to overreact to things, and that’s bad because when you overreact to things you can say things hurt people if you dont…
While Ramona’s neurons are unscrabbling, Bethenny is busy diagnosing the source of JZ’s problems as diarrhea of the mouth with full tourrettes. LOL. JZ knows that she done wrong and she’s ready to atone for her sins, even if it means making the dreaded apology phone call to the Van Kampens.
What a surprise, over in the sweltering summer heat of Brooklyn, Alex and Simon have just been discussing the merits of the Post article. Alex is sitting within arms length of Simon, just in case he finally decides to make a bolt for it and shake her and their two cherubic nightmares off, in exchange for a weekend on a men’s nude beach. But before they can reach any consensus other than Jill sucks as a person, JZ calls. Alex picks up the phone, and immediately tries to pass it to Simon. But JZ’s no fool, she knows who makes the decisions in the Van Kampen household, and she says firmly that she’s calling to apologize to Alex. I hate having to apologize to people, but boy do I wish more people would do it. Sadly, it’s become so rare for people to take responsibility when they screw up that the people on the receiving end of the apology just don’t know how to respond graciously. Or maybe in Alex’s naked S&M world apologies just cause her to hit harder. Poor Simon. Besides her S&M pastimes, Alex also indulges in pop psychology and she’s nice enough to explain her analysis of the situation. The root of JZ’s deep-seated nastiness is just common place jealously over Alex and Simon’s undeniably fabulous, if slightly delusional, existence. After all, it’s just so clear that JZ has always wanted to be a social climbing, wannabe, living in Brooklyn, with a pretentious not-gay husband. In JZ’s cushy, fabulous-for-real Hampton house, Bethenny is laughing her ass off and Jill is one thread away from screaming obscenities into the phone, when Alex frostily accepts JZ’s apology with the caveat that she still needs to make nice with Simon.
Oh look, Ramona’s talking again and she’s decided to use the Post article as a fable for Avery; the moral of which centers around what happens when you say bad things behind people’s backs. Especially when you’re speaking to a columnist, because those mean nasty columnists tend to publish things that you might not have meant for all the world to read.
Just because the Van Kampens live in Brooklyn far away from the social mecca that is the upper east side, don’t think that they’re not an integral part of the New York social scene. If you don’t see them somewhere, it’s because they chose not to be there. Last year when they dissed the summer scene in the Hamptons, it wasn’t because they couldn’t afford it, it was because it was below them. And to prove it, this year they’re packing up to go to the Hamptons. After all, they’ve received an invite to the exclusive Social Life Magazine party, so obviously they have to go, if only for the weekend. I’d be more surprised by this change of attitude, if I wasn’t already bowled over by the fact that the inside of their house doesn’t look like it’s a step away from being condemmed. Wow, they actually have real floors. Now that’s moving up in the world. But that’s not all, when Alex asks her son, Francois, to pick out some shoes for her, she asks in English. Perhaps she finally figured out that her “bilingual” offspring only speak one language.
The Van Kampens are always quick to figure out the social intricacies of the events they attend, and they lay out their plan of attack with more care than Napolean. As they discuss the Social Life Magazine bash, they identify a possible breach in the festivities; JZ will most probably be there. Awkward. Despite that slight damper on the festivities, Alex and Simon soldier ahead considering the all important question of Simon’s wardrobe. What to wear? What to wear? Simon is in his usual metrosexual tizzy over the jacket he’s holding up. But thank the Lord for Alex’s kind understanding heart. You can just see the stress lift off Simon’s shoulders when she assures him that if he doesn’t like the jacket when he gets to the Hamptons, he can just go and buy another. After all, that’s the way the Van Kampens roll. No price is too much for them to look right while they’re struggling up that social ladder.
But wardrobes aside, there’s still the children to consider. Francois is pushing his toy truck around on the floor with an impressive gusto and you can almost hear the wood crying out for help. Simon decides to assert himself as a parent and takes a moment to speak to Francois in French, which of course does nothing. Apparently, Simon still hasn’t accepted his children’s lingual limitations. Simon gives a sigh and tries again in English to ask his son to play downstairs. There, see how easy it is when your children actually understand the language you’re speaking? Did I mention that these two wonders are working on publishing a book about parenting in the big city. Luckily it’s not concentrating on the actual parenting part of raising a child, but instead on helpful hints like how to obtain a passport for your baby in the big city.
Back in the Hamptons, Bethenny is in the midst of retelling a completely incoherent story to JZ’s daughter Allie. Something about hiring a masseuse, but ending up with a different masseuse, who just happened to mention that Alex and Simon were renting some rooms in her house for the weekend. Imagine the cosmic ramifications of such an amazing coincidence. How could it happen that this masseuse just happened to be renting to the other people on the same reality show?
Meanwhile, the Van Kampens have managed to stow their kids and Simon’s wardrobe tenderly away in a car for their weekend trip. Like a man who was born to be a chauffeur, Simon is driving, while his wife and two children occupy themselves in the back seat, chiefly by crying. Personally, I was surprised that these two were renting a place for the weekend. Surely, such major social players as themselves would have some friends that they could stay with. But maybe they wanted the privacy of their own house for the weekend. Oops, I forgot they’re renting a couple of rooms, not a house. Well that’s just because they didn’t want to be ostentatious. As Alex says they “certainly didn’t want to rent a McMansion” because how gauche would that be. Nope they wanted an elegant understated place to stay.
Sadly, the boys room is not up to Alex’s parenting standards since it comes with it’s very own TV. You know that’s the best thing about those really cheap pay by the hour hotels; you have to pay extra to access the TVs. It’s really a much better choice for progressive parents like Alex and Simon. Luckily the master bedroom seems to meet with their approval. I’m sure they’re totally excited about the bidet tucked away in the corner. It could provide such an awesome prop for more of Alex’s tasteful understated photos.
Their enterprising landlady/masseuse, who not only managed to secure a gig massaging Jill, but also managed to garner a small infommercial for her rental property, is all ready for a little camera time of her own. She takes the Van Kampens on a short tour of the property, chiefly focusing on what seems to be its major selling point; the luxurious and oddly discrepant pool tucked away in the backyard. Then, after saying ta-ta to the cameras and her weekend renters she sashays away, swinging her hips like a modern day Mae West. Luvs it.
While the Van Kampens settle into their understated weekend digs, JZ is paying a visit to The Countess. The Countess is looking unusually casual when she opens the door. Her hair is all wet and slicked back, and it actually looks kind of nice, like maybe The Countess should consider it as a new style. But there’s no time to talk about her hair, her ladyship wants to know the catfight deets, and she wants to know them now. She listens to JZ’s story sympathetically, and then majestically agrees that the worst thing ever “is people that think that they’re better than other people.” Well, well, who would have thunk that The Countess would have that response. I wonder if this means that she’s dropping that whole ‘don’t address me by my first name if you’re a chauffeur thing’? Anyhoo, JZ has come to the end of the Post saga, and is explaining the awkwardness of the Van Kampens probable presence at Social Life party. Regal as always, The Countess gives Jill sage words of advice when she advises her to just be nice and polite, but above all else smile, because if you’re smiling you can be as condescending as you want and people will just think you’re gracious.
The Social Life Party turns out to be one of those ‘come one come all and bring your drunk uncle’ kind of affairs. While this shindig in no way qualifies as exclusive, Simon’s probably feeling right at home. At this party nobody’s going to notice if he falls face first into the pool. I’m thinking that they must have found their invites on the sidewalk along with the thousands of others that were being thrown around the city. The house is mobbed and mobbed is not what JZ and her entourage like. Brad, Jill’s gay husband, as opposed to Bobby, her married husband, is in a tizzy over all of the silicone that keeps bumping into him. On one hand, if one more woman at the party has plastic surgery, Brad’s going to scream. On the other hand, the party itself is so “pedestrian” that he’s going to scream anyway. But it probably wouldn’t matter, with that many people packed into the house, he wouldn’t be heard anyway.
Alex and Simon are standing in their usual positions on the fringes of all the social activity. Eventually Jill and her entourage catch sight of them and with Bethenny’s encouragement JZ downs another drink, squares her shoulders and marches up to make nice. You go girl. But Simon and Alex are doing their sophisticated best to make the quarrel last. Bethenny goes into another incoherent ramble about cold shoulders, not needing it, and dogs? WTF? Girlfriend’s talking a little fast this episode, kind of jumping the fence from witty to whacked.
The Countess finds her way through the fray to where the cameras are filming the other hausenfrau and JZ and Bethenny rush up to relate their latest encounter. The Countess expresses her approval of JZ’s behavior while demonstrating her own inherent graciousness by informing the hapless waitress offering her a beer that “The Countess does not drink beer in a bottle.” Good Lord is her majesty now going to start utilizing the royal “we”, because “we” would just find it all too amusing.
JZ is a determined woman and she’s not going to let a little thing like the Van Kampen’s idiocy get in the way of making up. You’ve got to give her credit. Considering the cumulative chunk of nasty statements that Alex and Simon let fly in interviews at the end of last season, I’d have written them off long ago. On the other hand, Simon pretty much melts this time around and throws his arms around Jill slurring his acceptance of her apology. Ah well, timing is everything and sometimes it just takes one more drink to let bygones be bygones. JZ’s no fool, and promptly suggests that she and Simon make up with some tequila shots, because this is promising to be one boring ass party and it’s always fun to watch Alex fish Simon out of the pool.
While the majority of the hausenfrau are partying it up in the Hamptons, Ramona is living a more secluded life back in the city, which is making me wonder if she’s been somewhat ostracized by the other ladies. Tonight she and her understanding, albeit creepy in a totally serial killer kind of way, husband, Mario, are going out for a romantic night out on the town. Over dinner, Ramona tells her husband that Simon and Jill have made up, which prompts Mario to instantly start speculating on how Simon manages his probable sexual proclivities when he’s in a heterosexual marriage. Apparently, Simon forgot to send Mario the email about his not being gay. But Marios a classy guy and he’s totally ready to forget the subject, and anything else they were discussing, the minute any random female drifts too close to their table.
Ramona checks in with her cerebral chorus and then patiently explains that men can be married and still have a separate life with gay lovers. It’s amazing how helpful it can be to have all those different points of view expressing their opinions in her head. But before Ramona can fully expand on the subject, their waitress brings out their drinks and presents Ramona with a cosmo in a cosmo. Then takes one horrified look at all the cameras and promptly spills it on her. LMAO. That’s so totally something that I would have done. Major points for Ramona and Mario for taking the spillage so nicely, because you know The Countess would have had the waitress beheaded on the spot. Oh crap, forget those points, Mario is licking the drink off his wife’s arm and, well, gross!!!
This season a new hausefrau is being added to the mix, Kelly Killoren Bensimon. And this woman sounds hot. She’s a former model, wealthy, still in fashion, attractive, and she’s been published.
Today she’s taking a break from her busy schedule to have a drink with The Countess. Well at least The Countess is having a drink, Kelly doesn’t drink in the afternoon and is having cappuccino. Right there, you know Simon’s going to have a problem with her. For her part The Countess is sticking with her champagne diet because God forbid somebody else brings the wretched woman a beer. It’s early days yet, so I don’t want to make any premature calls, but it does seem like Kelly is just a little beyond what The Countess aspires to be. The Countess modelled for catalogues (think JC Penney’s) Kelly modelled for top designers. The Countess is writing a book on manners, but it’s taking a while because she has to do so much research. Kelly’s already published a book. The Countess’s children compete in the equestrian world, while the Countess watches. Kelly actually competes. OMFG what if Kelly actually turns out to be a nice normal person and not some crazy whack job psycho? Oops, no worries there. Kelly has one obsessed man loving streak. Gay men, straight men, bisexual men, working men…you name it, girlfriend is surrounded by every shape, color and size in Manhattan and she’s loving it.
Now it’s time to bring Kelly into the fold and introduce her to the other hausenfrau and to do this The Countess invites her to a fundraiser JZ’s throwing. Kelly kind of hesitates, but then remembers that there’s hundreds of men still to meet and what better way than to really put herself out there. You go girl. Don’t hesitate to answer that call from the Orange County jail.
On the day of the benefit JZ and Bethenny are taking a break and lounging in the pool discussing the new hausenfrau. Bethenny kind of grudgingly approves of her. Sort of like she wished she had some real dirt, but beyond designating Kelly’s social circle as arts fartsy fabulosity she can’t really think of anything. You know, it kind of feels like Bravo finally got a hold of a real social diva and now nobody knows what the hell to do with her. Don’t worry Bravo, I have faith that no matter how together Kelley is, by the time your cameras are through with her, she’ll be the babbling nutcase your ratings need.
JZ’s fundraiser is actually a real put together fund raiser for orphans. I’m just pointing it out, since it’s been a while since the housewife franchise had an actual legit charity event. JZ and Bethenny are turned out in style along with the guests/artists/WTF?
The Countess arrives with her husband, Count No-neck, and JZ’s not feeling the love. Apparently, The Countess kind of blew off that little promise to drop her kids off to help stuff gift bags, and now JZs a bit short. But you know those royals, they’re totally above little things like keeping their promises because that’s their God given right. Forget that crap about all people being equal.
Ramona shows up and immediately latches on to The Countess, which is the best combination ever. It’s can be so hard to maintain that fake graciousness.
Our new hausenfrau, Kelly arrives and I have to say that she seems really nice, but that dress isn’t doing her any favors. Still when Ramona heads toward her like she was shot out of a cannon, and starts talking really fast for a really long time, Kelly seems sincerely gracious. Ramona goes from children (which she informs us is a safe topic for meeting someone new) to her daughter’s feet (which is slightly weird) to shoes (safe again). I’m so proud of Ramona, our resident crazy just negotiated her first on camera conversation without sounding over the top, psycho-babbling crazy.
Alex and Simon descend on this totally festive event with all the attitude of granting JZ a huge favor. Ramona’s cerebral voices immediately start screaming in panic, and Ramona scuttles off to escape in her car, pausing only to explain that Simon and Alex give off negative energy.
We end this week with The Countess taking a selfless moment to point out the smears of gold lipstick on the resident drag queen’s teeth. After all, you need to look your best in the presence of royalty.
Well, Gasmi, that’s it for our first episode. What do you folks think about the new hausenfrau? I can’t quite get a fix on her.
I hope you’re all well, happy, and if you’re lucky enjoying early spring weather. Sadly, they’re predicting up to two feet of snow here tonight. Sigh!!