O.M.G. I just figured something out. Maybe others saw this a long time ago, but it took me this long to finally get this. But it feels important.
So it begins with the admission of something I should be embarrassed about but I’m not because I’m old enough to not be embarrassed by the embarrassing things I do. At least not as much as I once would have been.
I confessed my fascination with Hoarders a while back. Someday I’ll share my thoughts on Honey Boo Boo. Believe me, I have some. And they’re probably not like yours.
But tonight the subject is Bethenny. The very spelling of the word should immediately reveal who I’m talking about, as I’ve never seen anyone else use that particular arrangement of letters for a name.
I first met her on the Real Housewives of New York City, yes, I watch RHNYC. Also Atlanta. Not Orange County, I can’t tell the women apart. Not New Jersey, too much distorted reality. Not Washington D.C., that’s just too many housewives. And now there’s some in Miami??? Shut the front door!
But I digress.
Apparently Bethenny Frankel had already been introduced to a national audience on the Apprentice, the one with Martha Stewart. She lost, which can only be seen as a win because frankly, I don’t think she and Martha would have been worked out. Can you even imagine?!?
I immediately took a liking to Bethenny. Her observations about the other housewives and their antics were just so spot on. Like the time she commented on the behavior of one of the wives who calls herself a countess: “That wasn’t very countess like. That was discountess.” Every sentence that came out of her mouth was so funny, so insightful, so smart. And honest.
I also liked her because her circumstances were not nearly as elevated as the other cast members, who seemed to have no end of riches and designer bags and, well, excess. Bethenny lived in a little apartment, she was struggling financially and romantically.
In other words, she was relatable. Not normal exactly, but weird in the way normal people are weird. And open about her failures, her struggles, her worries. She kind of just laid it all out for the world to see. The genuine article.
Suddenly tonight I figured out why I liked her the moment I met her. It’s because she’s Rhoda. She’s the goddammed 21st century reality tv version of Rhoda. They even kinda look alike!
I’m referring, of course, to the BFF and sidekick of Mary Richards, from the Mary Tyler Moore show. The second fiddle, unlucky in love, call ’em like she saw ’em, funny and brilliant Rhoda Morgenstern.
We all wanted to be Mary Richards, of course. She was the tall, beautiful, willowy, kind-hearted, spunky sweetheart of America. But she was unattainable. We wanted to be her, but we knew we never could be and, in the end, it didn’t really matter, because we could be Rhoda. We WERE Rhoda. And nobody said it out loud, but Rhoda was really a lot more fascinating and fun than Mary. She’s the one we’d like to hang out with drinking one too many glasses of wine. The one who would make us laugh when our hearts were broken by a man once again. She was the natural. She was just herself. Authentic. We women LOVED Rhoda.
Bethenny has left RHNYC and gone on to have more financial success than probably all the other cast members on the show combined (some of whom seem very very jealous, saying silly snarky things like “oh she just copyrighted the word ‘skinny'”, I mean really, do you not know depraved how you sound when you say that??). Soon she’ll have her very own national talk show.
But she presents herself in the same way she always has. I don’t know her, of course, have never met her or had any contact with her. We live on different planets. But I really don’t think the money has changed who she is, nor do I think it will. She still seems very much herself. She can’t help it. She’s a natural.
This week I heard that she and husband Jason have parted ways. I’m sad her search for love has hit another dead end, and I’m surprised but not shocked. Remember Joe? Rhoda and Joe got a divorce too. When that happened, I wanted to reassure Rhoda, give her a hug and say something comforting.
Rhoda, I mean Bethenny, it’s okay. You can still have a wonderful and happy life. It’s a real challenge for some people, uh, I mean some women, to have a forever love relationship. It’s just really really hard in our culture in these times. Let it go for now. Breathe.
We women still LOVE you, Rhoda, I mean Bethenny. Always will.