Mark Sanford’s Facebook Share

Woe is he

People share all kinds of things on Facebook – pictures of their families, recipes, political commentary and events in their lives.  My personal favorites are videos featuring cute animals doing adorable things.  Famous figures also share on Facebook, so when a politician takes to Facebook, it’s usually no big deal, unless it happens to be a politician whose decision to share something other than their latest missive about their work in Washington comes across our timeline.

Former Governor, now Congressman from South Carolina, Mark Sanford, turned to Facebook to tell us all about his personal struggles and the angst he’s gone through since 2009.  We already know too much about his fall from grace, but now Mark would like us to know that he’s on the road from perdition and towards redemption for his sins.   In his message to readers and constituents, he tells us, in 2,346 words, how he’s making changes in his life; that with the help of God, he’s trying to make himself a better man.  That’s great.  I’m all for new beginnings, but if you read through it all, Mark may still be a work in progress.

He’s broken up with his Argentinian fiancée, Maria Belen Chapur, something she only became aware of when she read the articles about his Facebook post.  That’s right.  She wasn’t even give the courtesy of a personal text or email.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he seems to be blaming his ex-wife, Jenny for the breakup.  You see, Jenny Sanford wants to haul her ex back into court, requesting an order for a psychological evaluation.    She’s claiming that he’s taking drugs and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol; so much so, that she doesn’t want him anywhere near their younger children.   Mark responded to these accusation by writing this:  “In simplest form I don’t understand how I can be elected by a wide array of folks at home to attempt to represent their interests in Washington, but if the Plaintiff’s view was to prevail, be required to take psychiatric and psychological evaluations to be with our youngest son.”   That’s all well and good, but if voters’ choices were a true test of someone’s psychological well-being, half of Congress would be out of office, and folks like Maxine Waters and Ted Cruz would be looking for real jobs.

He’s not taking these accusations lightly.  Oh, no.  Not only does he have God on his side but God went through his Rolodex and gave Mark the number of a good lawyer.   Mark wants peace and harmony, at all costs, and if that means battling it out in court, well, dagnabit, that’s what he’s going to do.  You see, as Mark is quick to point out, Jenny isn’t walking the straight and narrow, either.   While he’s willing to give up the love of his life and any chance at a happy future, Jenny has been dating, too.  (Oh, the horror!)  Mark explains this better than I can:  “Though Jenny herself has certainly not lived up to this clause it is clearly aimed at me given near everyone knows about Belen and in that regard it seems designed to create intrigue where none exists. The younger boys have never spent a night housed under the same roof with Belen and with the exception of one night and a major conversation that lasted well into that night, the same holds true for the older boys. I was primarily motivated to do so by a love for the boys and wanting to go to great lengths to never again put them in an uncomfortable spot. I was also motivated by fear because there was very frequently a consequence in not being allowed to see the boys if I did something my former wife disliked.”   Are you catching the drift here?  Mark is good, and Jenny, well, not so much.   She’s scary…maybe bitter.  Who knows?

There’s a lot more in his post, things about Jesus and Luke and turning the other cheek.  Most of it is self-serving and does very little to prove that he’s got a better grasp on reality than he did five years ago.   On the other had, it was Jenny’s attorneys who first brought her newest complaints to the media’s attention.   Mark didn’t help matters by responding and taking his case to the court of public opinion by way of Facebook, but this is how people act when they’ve come to despise one another.  It’s supposed to be about the welfare of the children, but it doesn’t sound like it, at all.

You can read his entire post here:  https://www.facebook.com/RepSanfordSC/posts/280140345529087

Empress

 

 

 

 

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Update

Hey everybody…. Got my comp for a few, just sayin hey.. received all your texts, luv you all for sending them.. one hell of a sat special when I blow this pop stand.. Lucy has a new mom/home and sister with my sister.. Wish I could actually speak to each of you as I know a few wont see this.. Well spread this message to any who care, love you all.. later for now, Jeff

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The Real Housewives of New York City – The Last Leg

Sonja is propped up on her bed while her interns, Pickles and Tyler, ice her swollen ankle.  This is why they need GPAs above 3.2 – to attend to Madame Morgan who falls off her stilettos after another night of drunken foolishness.   She tells Ramona and Kristen how she chased a cab carrying LuAnn and Harry through the streets of New York, only to fall on her face, then had Tyler and another young lad carry her sorry butt back home.  Every other cabbie in the city must have been busy that night.Kristen Taekman, Sonja Morgan

Josh and Kristen are at home, where, oddly enough, he is holding a meeting with an associate about their plans for a billboard for eBoost.  Kristen wants to be the young, hot model for the campaign, and, of course, lands the job.   During the photo shoot, the photographer tells her to look orgasmic and she explains how she can fake an orgasm.  She can add it to her resumé.

Sonja has to make plans for her big “Team Sonja” party and slides down the stairs of her house with Marley in her harms.   Marley had a friend put a little instructional video together on how to make it down a flight of stairs when you’re unable or unwilling to walk.  You can watch it here:  Lazy Dog Slides Down Stairs  When she finally hits the ground floor, she greets LuAnn so that she can straighten things out about Harry’s mysterious disappearance from the Carole’s party, supposedly with LuAnn.  LuAnn swears that she wants nothing to do with Harry Dubin – been there, done that – and that maybe Sonja needs to put a leash on him.   Sonja intends to confront Harry.

Heather and Carole are at Love, Alex, looking at a line of handbags.  They also talk about Heather’s son, Jax, and the level of success he could achieve with surgery on his ears.  A second doctor wasn’t quite as optimistic as the first and Heather doesn’t know which one to believe.  Carole tells her to go with the one she trusts more.  Heather says that Jax  doesn’t think his ears are so bad and she wonders if she should just trust her son’s instincts.

Sonja and Harry have their sit-down and Sonja tells him how upset she was that he left her behind at the party after giving her a friendship ring.   He apologizes and says it was stupid and that he thought she’d meet up with them later.  She reaches into her purse and hands the ring back to him, telling him that this is the end of Harry and Sonja.

Carole’s apartment renovation is complete and her kitchen is no more.  It’s now her office.  When Heather and Kristen arrives the talk is all about Aviva.  I don’t know why, other than they’ve found out that she’s going to the “Team Sonja” party.  Kristen thinks Aviva is an outsider, as she’s really been out of the loop, and has missed just about everything the ladies have done for most of the season.  The three agree that they’re confused about her myriad ailments which seem to appear and disappear just as quickly.  Carole says that she’ll be politely rude because it’s been like a vacation without Aviva around.   It really has.

Bravo treated us to a little filler where Ramona and Carole discussed dating.  Ramona wanted Carole to know that Fabio, from Harlequin novel and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter fame,  chased her for a while.  She also told Carole that she and Marion were like a thunderbolt when they met.  They still have hot sex.  The word on the street is that sometimes it’s with each other.

It’s time for the “Team Sonja” party at Le Cirque.  The guests are there, but the hostess is not.   “Team Sonja” is an eclectic mix of folks – an image guru, a dog groomer, a plastic surgeon, various psychics, Satoko the facialist,  ten lords a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, and Aviva.  Aviva makes an entrance, accompanied by ominous music, which sets off a new round of chatter among the other ladies.  When she does arrive, Sonja is surrounded by a herd of interns.  According to her talking head,  she’s up to her eye teeth in business deals, all of which are in contract stage.  She may be using the interns as collateral.Sonja Morgan

Sonja has written a speech for the event and Ramona is upset that she didn’t take some time to greet her guests first,  Sonja ignores her and starts reading what she’s written.  It a rambling novella, much like her Bravo blogs, all about her aura and her brand and the people who make up her Team.   Some of the ladies, understandably, giggled though it.   When she finally finished her salute to all of those who made Sonja the woman she is today, she made a beeline to Aviva to make sure that she was still riled up over the others.  Sonja calls them emotional vampires and Aviva says that they’re all mad at her.   The entire group finally gets together and Aviva tells them she’s lost an unplanned 10 pounds.   Kristen says that asthma should make you gain weight but she’s still that pretty tool in the shed.

When they sit down, the ladies confront Aviva over all of her issues.  Kristen says that this is more than asthma and Aviva tells Kristen that she’s been a horrible persons.  Carole says that no one believes Aviva.  Aviva then tells the group that her doctor lied to her.  She has an x-ray with her name on them but says the doctor forged them.  They didn’t look like chest x-rays to me, but I’m afraid to tell Aviva what I think.   She then throws the x-ray at Heather.  One brave soul said that it looked like an x-ray of her breast implants. Kristen Taekman

Aviva isn’t quite through and says that her doctor forces her to take asthma medicine and that they should call him to get the truth.   She takes her argument, and storyline, full circle and begins hollering about Carole and the ghost writer nonsense.   As if she hadn’t made a complete fool of herself by this time, she then shouts that there’s only one thing fake about her and slams her fake leg onto the table.  LuAnn is laughing hysterically.  Kristen wants to vomit.  Aviva, who has lost whatever dignity and sense of pride she might have had left, further insults them and us by picking up the leg and throwing it across the room.  Way to go, Aviva.  That’ll teach ‘em for doubting your sanity.   She then looks around at her audience and asks if they’d be happy if she just crawls home now.  Assuring her that that is exactly what they don’t want, Carole picks the leg up off the floor, hands it back to Aviva and tells her that this isn’t right.  And it isn’t – on any level.   The only thing she didn’t do was mention the Kennedys but maybe she saves that for her Twitter rants. Carole Radziwill

All I could think about was Heather Abbott, the woman with the prosthetic leg from Boston and how she was feeling after this.  Carole says, “It ain’t over til the fat lady sings or the crazy bitch throws her leg down.”  If you care, this is Aviva’s explanation as to why she threw her leg.  http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/the-dish/aviva-explains-why-she-threw-her-leg  Okay, whatever.   The joke is on us.

Next week is part one of the reunion.

Empress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Real Housewives of New York City – There’s Something About Harry

Carole’s about to celebrate her 50th birthday and the theme is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil meets the Garden of Eden.  This might be her way of telling us that she’s dated Kevin Spacey or Clint Eastwood or both.  She’s dated and broken up with so many men that her next writing assignment should be a collaboration with Taylor Swift.  It takes a village to put this party together, so assistants Katie and Eric, along with Heather, are tackling her laundry lists of wants, needs and desires – white lights, chandeliers, shiny red apples, psychics, snake handlers, butterflies, a fog machine, Lady Chablis and the entire dance troupe from Kandi Burruss’s wedding.

Sonja and Harry believe that their relationship has grown to the point where they should raise a puppy together.  It’s a better idea than a baby.

What we’ve got here is …  failure to communicate

Josh Taekman, Kristen Taekman

Kristen and Josh are trying to iron out some of the problem they’re experiencing in their marriage.   The therapist asks them to talk about the good and the bad things as they see them but these two aren’t even speaking the same language.  He wants her to understand that his business is important and she wants him to see that she’s important.  They never discussed having children until she was pregnant, twice.  She doesn’t even think that he loves her.  Communication is everything but Kristen and Josh just can’t figure out how to do that.   If it’s about understanding each of their disparate positions, then maybe they should trade places for a week.

Avery’s packing for college and is having a panic attack because her mother is having a panic attack.  Ramona, the zen master, gives her something breathing exercises to do, hoping that they’ll calm her down.  Breathe in for four, hold for four, breathe out for six hold for two.  It’s better than screaming at her to take a Xanax and calm down.  I tried to follow Ramona’s instructions but ended up hyperventilating, passing out and having to hit rewind when I came to.   As they’re going to the airport, Ramona cries and tells Mario that the house is going to be too quiet.  Avery jumps out of the cab and LaGuardia and barely looks back.

The devil’s in the tarot cards

Sonja’s having dinner with a psychic, Thomas John.  Instead of ordering appetizers,m he does a tarot card reading and tells Sonja that there’s a devil in her life.  The devil has brown hair, but he doesn’t say whether it’s Carole, Heather, LuAnn or a lawyer from Hannibal pictures.  Mr. John may be a psychic in training because he also tells Sonja that her money is only going to grow and her situation with her home will improve.   Sonja believes every word, because she’s Sonja.

When Harry met Sonja – and LuAnn

Heather is hard at work, making Carole’s dream of a great party become a reality.   The snake handler is a no-go because health codes prohibit live snakes in restaurants.  Something like that could keep any number of guests from gaining entry, too.  Aviva isn’t invited.  Her invitation is being held until the next party , when the theme will be Midnight in the Garden of Evil and Evil.   Carole shows up early to oversee what Heather already has well in hand.  Finding there’s really nothing to do, she treats herself and some of the others to a manicure.Carole Radziwill

The guests begin to arrive, dressed to the nines, with some wearing masks.  Mario asks LuAnn where Jacques is and LuAnn explains that they’ve parted ways.  The guest of honor makes her entrance and looks beautiful in a long red dress.  LuAnn begins to tell Carole and Kristen all about her heartbreaking breakup with Jacques.  In her talking head, she says that she has no idea what happened.  Pirates happened, LuAnn – some low-rent, Johnny Depp wannbe pirates.   She starts to cry and apologizes to Carole for it but Carole tells her “It’s my party and you can cry if you want to.”

Sonja and Harry are talking about their relationship under LuAnn’s watchful eye.  Harry wants to be with Sonja but she would like to know a little more before she’s convinced as to his intentions.   They kiss and kiss some more.  Harry says that he wants to take it to another level and that he’s serious about his feelings for Sonja.  He then gives her a ring – not an engagement ring, more like a “see, I’m serious, but not serious enough to propose marriage” ring.  He then says that he loves her and care for her.Heather Thomson

Heather gives a toast to Carole which is actually an email Carole had sent her about what she did and did not want in a toast.  There are explicit instructions about not mentioning Aerosmith.   No sooner does the toast end and the festivities begin,  Ramona and Sonja are squirreled in a corner, gossiping about LuAnn and Jacques.  Sonja is upset that LuAnn didn’t tell her about their breakup and that she had to hear it at the party, and confronts LuAnn with her complaints.  She though that LuAnn was a better friend than that, but that was the same problem LuAnn had with Sonja during their picnic in Central Park.  To her credit, LuAnn correctly points out that only Sonja could make their breakup all about her.

Heather and LuAnn sing a couple of songs about Carole which Ramona thinks is stupid.  She thinks that Tony Bennett or P Diddy should have been there to perform given all the celebrities both Carole and Heather know.  It’s safe to assume that if Mario had been the entertainment, Ramona would have been much happier and the celebrity factor would have been a non-factor.

Sonja and Ramona meet up again to talk about Harry and the ring.  Sonja says that she’s scared by his gesture and doesn’t understand what it really means.  She tells Ramona that she took the ring off and put it in her purse.   Harry, however, is now chatting it up with LuAnn.  When Sonja goes in search of Harry, he’s already left, presumably with LuAnn.LuAnn de Lesseps

Aviva made a very brief appearance during this episode.  She was at A Step Ahead with Heather Abbot, a young woman who made the decision to have her leg amputated as a result of the injuries she suffered during the Boston bombing.  Her prosthetic leg is going to be made and given to her at no cost to her.  Where has this Aviva been all season?Aviva Drescher

Next week is the season finale and the episode in which a prosthetic leg is seen lying on the ground.  This is what the Housewives’ franchise has become, with the most anticipated scene of the season involving a leg toss.

Empress

 

 

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The Real Housewives of New York City – Something To Sing About

The Montana trip is now a part of history and the ladies are back in New York City.   Kristen, Josh, Heather and Jonathan are having dinner and the debate about bossiness continues.  Heather and Josh are on the same page about being entrepreneurs but Kristen wants to be acknowledged for her role as wife and mother.  Josh picked up and moved his family back to New York from Los Angeles when he started EBoost and Kristen just wants someone to recognize that being a supportive spouse is what makes things like that possible.   Jonathan says that it’s good that they’re communicating about it.  But they’re really not.

Kristen Taekman

Ramona is at home with Mario and Avery and her friend Shane arrives with a song he’s written.  Mario is going to sing at an open mic night at Birdland because his ego has no bounds.  Unfortunately his musical ability does.  He warbles his way through a smarmy ballad “Effortless”, while Ramona watches in a state of rapture.   Shane thinks Mario should strip during his performance but he’s probably already done that.

Airborne Irritants

Sonja is interviewing a young woman to be her 945th intern.  The woman is a psychology major and Sonja forbids her from analyzing her.  That’s probably wise.  Sonja then rattles off the duties an intern is required to perform, really important things like carrying her purse and picking up her dresses at the dry cleaners.  Mastering these tasks are going to help the young woman earn her degree – no doubt about it.

Aviva Drescher

 

In the middle of the interview, Aviva drops by and Sonja fills her already paranoid head with tales from Montana.  Aviva now knows that the ladies don’t believe the asthma diagnosis and that Ramona was leading the anti-Aviva charge,  so she whips out her Advair inhaler and takes a hit, in case we missed any prior demonstrations.  Sonja is impressed at its size.  She tells Sonja that her lung capacity is less than 50% and that she “can’t f**king breathe”.    That’s what she said and I’ll just leave it at that.  Aviva, just as Sonja hoped, is now angry and starts ranting that maybe they think her fake leg is another way she’s faking things and it isn’t a fake leg but a real leg – or something like that.   It’s hard to follow Aviva’s logic when she gets like this.

Carole is at her apartment which is undergoing renovations.  She’s with her assistant and they’re sending off copies of her novel to “big mouths” who will read it and talk about it to others.  Some of the “big mouths” who were getting the advanced copies were Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Kelly Ripa and Ralph Fiennes. and yes,  her assistant pronounced “Ralph” just as it’s spelled.  Perhaps Sonja should ask her to be an intern.

Those Incredible Love Handles

Sonja Morgan

Ramona, Sonja and Kristen visit Ramona’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Giese to have a little work done on their waistlines.  Ramona wants the doctor to melt away the fat on her abdomen so that she’s in ti-top shape for her two husbands and Sonja thinks her love handles have become too much to handle.   Dr. Giese uses external ultrasound to re-sculpt Ramona’s waistline.   Then it’s Sonja’s turn.  She thinks her love handles have grown into a muffin top but Kristen thinks that if they’re gone, Sonja’s lovers will have nothing to hold onto.  She wants to be “light, tight and right” and tells the other women that those love handles, when they’re just the right size and are used properly, can come in handy when you’re trying to achieve a quick orgasm.    Sonja would be better served working on her toaster oven, instead of giving away all of her other secrets.

Dinner at 6

Kristen is trying to make dinner for her family but doesn’t seem to know her way around her own kitchen.  Josh was supposed to be home by 6PM but it’s already 6:30 and he’s just getting around to calling her to say that he’s on his way home.  Kristen is clearly disappointed by his failure to call or email but he says that he was on a conference call and it ran longer than he’d expected.  They argue, a little too loudly, on the phone.  When he does get home, the argument continues.  He thanks her for making dinner but she isn’t ready to let it go.  She thinks he has no respect for her and her time.  He then suggests they see a mediator to talk about what they don’t seem to be able to resolve on their own.  She’s ecstatic at the thought and bows down, shouting “Hallelujah!”   Josh, however, has already made up his mind that the therapist will tell Kristen that he’s right and she’s the one who has to change.  So much for going into this with an open mind.

Kristen Taekman

LuAnn and Jacques are having their picture taken by a professional photographer.   Who knows where those pictures are now.LuAnn de Lesseps

Sonja and Harry are still trying to rekindle their decades old love affair and are having a picnic in the park.  They were an item when they were much younger but Harry married Aviva, instead.  There’s thirty years of shared history with Harry, Sonja and Ramona, and it would be great if Bravo viewers could hear about it.  With the stories they could tell, they could probably have their own show. Sonja Morgan

Mario the Singer

Everyone is gathered at Birdland for open mic night.  Ramona’s been enjoying more than a few cocktails and is wreaking havoc at every turn.  First she’s in Mario’s ear, making fun of LuAnn for not being able to sing without auto-tune.  Mario shushes her twice, then tells her to be quiet and finally says “I don’t want to talk to you.”  Not to be deterred, Ramona moves on to LuAnn and begins to mock her about her singing.  LuAnn insists that she’s not going on stage but the truth behind this scene played out on Twitter.  LuAnn did, in fact, take the mic that night and sang “Big Spender”.  Given her penchant for French men, or for all men in general, a better choice of song might have been “Lady Marmalade”.   Bravo shows us some edited conversations in which LuAnn calls Ramona a cow and Ramona says that LuAnn is chicken shit.

LuAnn de Lesseps, Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan

While all of this love is in the air, Mario is introduced to the crowd and does his best to impersonate a crooner with  “Effortless”.  It wasn’t effortless at all, even for the audience,  but Ramona and Sonja are mesmerized and they shed a couple of tears at the sound of his love ballad.   LuAnn thinks he’s no Frank Sinatra.  Heather is the next to sing and delivers an energetic and enthusiastic rendition of “Bill Bailey”.   I don’t advise that she give up her day job, but she deserves kudos for being a good sport.

 

Empress

 

 

 

 

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The Real Housewives of New York City – Bury The Hatchet

Missoula, Montana – Week 3

Carole Radziwill, Kristen Taekman

Kristen is pouting and crying because Heather didn’t want to play with her.  Sonja and Ramona think that Kristen is a bad hostess.  Ramona has taken things into her hands, or the hands of the staff at Pawsup Ranch, and is putting out the trays of cheese, fruit and crackers along with cold wine, beer and champagne that she ordered.  She wanted to leave Montana but didn’t think the ladies would like her flying off in her friend’s private plane again.   This episode was made so much more fun just watching LuAnn and Ramona swigging Coronas straight from the bottle.  Ramona either had too much to drink or really just tripped on a boot but she missed the ottoman she tried to sit on.  Carole follows Kristen into the bathroom where the pity party is being held and Kristen is carrying on about how none of the ladies are showing any signs of gratitude for the wonderful trip she put together.   Carole tells her not to let the other get to her – they huff and puff and try to blow you down but they forget all about it the next day.   Kristen, in her talking head, wants the rest of the trip to be relaxing and drama-free.  Too bad she didn’t heed her own words.

Here we go a’glamping

Ramona Singer

Kisten has arranged for a night of glamping but Sonja’s still in bed.  Ramona goes into her room to wake her, something that the presence of a camera crew failed to do.  Sonja starts packing and she thinks that one night in a tent is the equivalent of a week on a yacht off Monaco.  Her bag is big enough to hold every pair of panties she owns – not wears, just owns.  Her enthusiasm seems to build when she spots Adam and Eric, the two ranch hands at the glamp site.   The ladies haven’t even chosen their tents when Kristen and Heather start a heated debate over the proper use of “bitch” – when and how it applies given the situation.  This leads to another argument over Heather being bossy – Kristen thinks Heather is a bossy, control-freak and Heather thinks Kristen is projecting.    Ramona is busily picking the tent with the King size bed and overseeing Adam and Eric.  Now that she’s made herself the hostess, there’s no stopping her.   When Kristen breaks away from her fight with Heather, she’s met by Ramona who lectures her about the fine art of hostessing.   LuAnn thinks Ramona is acting like a diva brat and I’m finding myself agreeing with LuAnn, again.  Who knew?

The group is sitting sdwn for dinner and Heather wanders in, obviously drunk.   While Sonja and LuAnn bicker over candle wax, Kristen starts in again about Heather’s bossiness.  Heather climbs up on her chair and announces “My name is Heather and I’m a bossy bitch”.  So starts the meeting of Bossaholics Anonymous.  Kristen won’t let it go, ignoring the fact that Heather is three sheets to the wind, because she’s determined to make her point.  The problem is, while rattling off all of the things Heather is bossy about, Kristen says that she also bosses and controls her husband, Jonathan.  Oh, Kristen – no, no, no, no no.  You don’t bring up anybody’s marriage or husband unless they mention it first – and ask for your opinion.  Heather is understandably angry now and Carole tells Kristen that it’s insulting to talk about someone’s marriage.  Kristen loses it and starts ranting about how unappreciative the whole group is.  She’s sick of hearing about the lack of butlers and points out Adam and Eric who are desperately trying to become a part of the landscape.

Husbands for Dummies, by Ramona Singer

Kristen Taekman, Ramona Singer

Kristen leaves the table and Ramona follows her.  This is where Ramona makes a fool of herself.  You see, Ramona thinks that Heather’s husband is “vanilla”, that Jonathan hides in Heather’s shadow, all hunched over,  meek and afraid of his wife.  On the other hand, there’s Mario, who walks into a room like he owns it.   Yes, we’re all painfully aware of how Mario struts his stuff.  Kristen feels better having bonded with Ramona, even if it was at the expense of Heather and her husband.  Perhaps Ramona should write a book about marriage and husbands.

The next morning, Carole and Heather, who’s hungover, talk about what Kristen said.   Heather wants an apology and says that she has a hard exterior but she’s soft inside, like an M&M.  Carole is the opposite, like an Almond Joy.  I like them both.  Kristen calls Josh to tell him about the Heather brouhaha.  Her hopes that her husband will take her side are dashed, though.  He tells his wife that Heather is a strong, successful, businesswoman and that being bossy and in control aren’t necessarily character flaws.

Rodeos and porta-potties

The women are off to the rodeo and they look more like Rodeo Drive – tourists… Sonja is in all her glory, eying each cowboy as if they’re her next victim.  While some of the women watch the calf roping and bucking broncos, LuAnn decides to find the restrooms, only there aren’t any, at least not what she was expecting them to be.  Bravo has filmed something that will live in infamy – the Countess using a porta-potty and asking for toilet paper.  Priceless, really.  Kristen thinks that LuAnn should write a new book about the experience and how to do it with elegance.  Kristen and Carole are talking about Heather, and Heather and Sonja are talking about Kristen.

Hatchets, targets and apologies

Kristen has arranged a dinner for the ladies’ last night at the ranch.   Before they can get into the wagon, Ramona and Sonja do their very best to insult more of the staff and embarrass themselves by discussing underwear.  Sonja isn’t wearing any.  No surprise there, so why doe she own so many pairs?  Ramona is wearing a thong and lifts her skirt to prove it.   When they arrive at the roundup wagon the women are greeted by Tom Black, a seven-foot cowboy and former professional basketball player.  Kristen came up the brilliant idea that, before they have dinner,  the women should learn how to throw hatchets and Tom is going to be their teacher.  It shouldn’t be a tough lesson for any of them, given their skill at throwing daggers.  It’s all in the wrist.  While the ladies toss hatchets, Sonja is doing her best come hither routine with Adam, Eric and the two chefs.

Sonja Morgan

Dinner is served and Ramona wants to negotiate a peace accord between Heather and Kristen.   That seems a wee bit disingenuous seeing as how Ramona all but called Heather’s husband a wuss the night before.   Heather doesn’t know that, yet and agrees to take a walk down by the river with Kristen.  Kristen makes all sorts of excuses for what she said – “I had a really, really bad day”,  “I missed the season finale of Game of Thrones”,  “The ladies were mean to me”, “The price of a barrel of oil is ridiculous”, “I’m having another really, really bad day”.  Heather asks her how she thinks Jonathan would feel if a group of women said that he was being controlled and Kristen says that he’d probably agree.  Kristen doesn’t know that she’s digging a bigger hole.  Heather just wants an apology in the form of two words – “I’m sorry”.  Kristen says that she just did apologize.  Heather sighs and says “Okay.  Okay. Okay. Okay.  Apology accepted.”   She then tells Kristen that she can flip out on her anytime she wants as long as she says she’s sorry.  See Kristen, that wasn’t so hard after all.  Bossy, controlling women can have very soft centers.

Heather Thomson, Kristen Taekman

Bravo went geo-caching and found Aviva, so she’ll be back next week.   Get your doctor’s notes ready.

Empress

 

 

 

 

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Tyrant

The FX network is willing to take chances and they’ve taken a big one with their latest series, “Tyrant”.  This is the channel that has brought us “Sons of Anarchy”, “The Americans”, “American Horror Story” and “Fargo”, each unique and definitely out of the box.  All of them have managed to get people talking and “Tyrant” has certainly done that.

Before the pilot even aired, “Tyrant” had its share of critics and not all of the criticism was limited to its contributions to television and pop culture.  Arab websites called it anti-Arab television produced by hateful Israeli writers and executives.  They were particularly angry with the Israeli-born writer, Gideon Raff, best known for his work on “24” and “Homeland”.  Their major complaint was that Muslims would be portrayed as nothing but terrorists, setting off another round of fear-mongering by American viewers.  These sites took exception to the portrayal of the show’s characters as stereotypes.  Their fears are not completely unfounded, but FX is not producing a documentary with “Tyrant”.

Many of the same criticisms that”Tyrant” is facing were made by Italian-Americans when “The Sopranos” first aired on HBO.   The story of a Mob boss who owned a trash hauling business raised concerns that this culture would be portrayed as nothing more than a violent, even murderous, bunch of “goombas”.   David Chase chose his characters and plot lines because he knew these people – and he wasn’t making a television show about the contributions  Enrico Fermi made to quantum physics.  Chase wrote about men with monikers like Pauly “Walnuts”, “Big Pussy” and Johnny “Sack”.  Even the last names of the FBI agents ended in a vowel.   The viewers loved it and it’s considered one of the best television shows in the history of the small screen.

The premise of “Tyrant”  surrounds the al-Fayeed family from the fictitious country of Abuddin, and the head of this family is the dictator who has run the country with a brutal hand.  There are two sons, Jamal, who has been at his father’s side his whole life, and Bassam – Barry – a pediatrician who has moved to American to make a life as far removed from his childhood as possible.  While the country make be fake and the family a figment of the writer’s imaginations, comparison to real nations and real dictatorships are unavoidable.  In this setting, with these characters, it would be naive to think that terrorism wouldn’t be part and parcel to the storyline.

Terrorism as subject matter for television isn’t something new.  Weeks after the attacks on 9/11, “24” premiered.  Jack Bauer’s sole purpose was to hunt down those who would do harm on American soil and deal with them by some rather unconventional, if not unlawful, means.  “Sleeper Cell” dealt with the issue from the perspective of an FBI agent who had infiltrated a terrorist cell, while coping with his own inner struggle as a Muslim.   “Homeland”, while making it a part of its storyline, also showed us what happens to American soldiers and POWs  in the person of Nicholas Brody.  His years in captivity and torture at the hands of the enemy led to a change of heart when he was taken in by one of the leaders to teach English to his young son.  Brody became sympathetic to those he once fought against when an American predator drone killed a schoolyard full of children, including the young charge he’d come to love.  Even after he was released and brought back home, Brody would steal out to his garage to pray to Allah.

“Tyrant”, however, offers a different side of things, from the perspective of those who were born into and grew up in a culture of  dictators and never-ending wars.  To do it right, the writers and producers are going to have to give viewers something and someone to care about.  An anti-hero, which Barry is meant to be, has to have more than one dimension.  An anti-hero, while flawed, has to have an element of “hero”, too.   Barry al-Fayeed is flawed and part of his flaws are in his DNA.  He’s torn between the family he grew up with and the family he created in the second half of his life in America.  What he does with the two halves of his life should be what brings viewers back to watch each week.   We’ll need to see something redeeming in his character – something with which we can feel empathy and sympathy.  For any TV producer, that task can be daunting, and even more so for the producers of “Tyrant”.

Raff, and co-producer Howard Gordon are attempting to humanize Barry with a sub-plot both have used before – teenage children.  Jack Bauer had to take time from saving the world to deal with his daughter, Kim.  Nick Brody’s conflicts and personal suffering were made even worse by watching his daughter, Dana, cope with the possibility that her father might be a traitor.  In “Tyrant”, Barry has two teenagers – a daughter full of angst and anger, and a son, Sammy, who is trying to come to terms with his homosexuality.  As Abuddin is not a real place, the level of tolerance for the LGBT community is undefined, but it’s certain to play an important part of his story.  Add to that a wife who can’t get answers from her closed-off husband and the writers have their hands full.  The only thing that should make Barry’s job a little easier when it comes to showing a character who’s a little kinder  and gentler  is that he stands in stark contrast to his brother, Jamal, who, in the first episode alone raped two women – one of whom being his future daughter in law.

Critics of the show have pointed out what they consider flaws in language and casting.  The characters speak only English, even when they’re in small groups of their own fellow countrymen.  This is a departure from the norm for FX which often has characters speak in their native languages and providing sub-titles on the screen – they do it all the time on “The Bridge.”   Heaven knows why the language issue is treated differently in this instance as other programs have had characters speak Arabic, Farsi or Pashto.  The other complaint comes from the fact that the cast is made up of very few Middle Easterners – Barry is played by British actor, Adam Rayner.   The very nature of the subject matter may answer that question.  When the actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (“House of Sand and Fog”), a native of Tehran, appeared in “24” as a member of a terrorist cell she experienced an enormous amount of backlash from her fellow Iranians.  She had voiced her own reluctance to take the role at first, citing her fear that it would further promote the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists.  She agreed to take the part only after she found that the character was portrayed as a strong and intelligent woman.  When the season ended, she told interviewers she would never take a role like that one again, worrying that she’d be pigeon-holed.

From watching the first episode, “Tyrant” seems to have the potential to provide entertaining television.  Whether it opens up any real and worthy discussions has yet to be determined.  With any hope, the worries about stereotypes will be unfounded.

Empress

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