Bethenny Ever After – Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

This is the third season for Bethenny’s show on Bravo and rumor has it that it may be her last.  I can understand why she may not want to appear in a Bravo production any longer.  She told us a while ago that the Housewives’ format was a good way to introduce and promote her Skinnygirl products and it obviously paid off.   The line of Margaritas took off, as did an entire Skinnygirl brand of products.  She now has her label on books, clothing, skin care products and other items.

A lot has been written about and discussed regarding Bethenny’s products, her methods for achieving her success, as well as her recent wealth.  Very little of that matters to me, personally.  She built a business in a manner that she found necessary, and I am happy for the success that she and her family now enjoy.  It isn’t an easy thing for anyone, never mind a woman, to start a business from a concept, and actually find a market and investors interested in backing a new product.

She has also received criticism from many regarding her professional and personal life.  There have been debates over everything from the actual price that the folks at Beam paid for her line of drink mixes to whether she lied about a boat ride.  She came under fire for making false claims about the ingredients in her drink mixes.  I don’t have a dog in any of these fights.  Corporations don’t always release the figures in their acquisitions of other companies.  Lying to viewers about events that occur during a Bravo production has become standard operating procedure.  Inflated or exaggerated claims about what is contained in a consumable good happens all the time.   Dannon was ordered by the FDA to pull its ads and pay a $21 million fine for its claims that Activia could prevent everything from the common cold to colon cancer.  Now, Jamie Lee Curtis, perky as ever, says we should just “feel better” after eating three of these yogurts a day.

As for the rumors about any discord or problems in her marriage, well, it’s only been two years.  I think any of us who have passed that mark in marriage can honestly say that the early years are very tough.  The things that we found so endearing and adorable from our respective mates during courtship become downright annoying after a while.  We argue and mutter under our breath until issues are ironed out and we learn how to speak each other’s languages.   I once referred to the early part of being married as like riding a bike with training wheels.  Those training wheels were the only things that kept our knees safe from scrapes and our arms from being broken.  Even after the wheels come off,  we wobble and fall sometimes.  As for Bethenny, add in a new baby and a burgeoning business, and there are bound to be some bumps and bruises.

Watching Bethenny as a member of the cast of the Real Housewives of New York and on her own program has let us see that appearing on reality television is both a blessing and a curse.  While it served her purposes regarding her products, it also opened her business and personal life to a greater level of scrutiny.  She may have gotten more exposure, and therefor more sales, for her product lines, but had she just been Mrs. Hoppy mixing Margaritas in her kitchen, we might not have been as aware or critical.

I know this much, that despite the criticisms and complaints, the first two seasons of Bethenny’s show have made me smile and laugh and, even cry at times.  I can’t say that about many of the reality shows – Bravo’s or others.   I try to watch it from the perspective of a viewer who sees a woman trying her best to make it in the world, flaws and all.

Season Premiere of BEA

Bethenny is promoting Skinnygirl Sangria and Jason is wondering how he ended up traveling around with nine women.  Bethenny  says that she is slowly learning how to do the celebrity thing and wishes that there was a school for it because she is making every mistake, including eating during photo shoots and revealing too much of herself while exiting vehicles.  The party for the Sangria announcement is attended by some of Bethenny’s friends, including Shawn the event planner, Nick, my favorite nerd and food blogger and Hoda Kotb.  It seems that Bethenny encouraged Hoda to date the gentleman she has since fallen in love with.  I now understand Patti Stanger’s problem with Bethenny – she is better than Patti at matchmaking.

Jason and Bethenny are in the midst of trying to find and purchase a larger apartment, but even that is not going as easily as expected.  Money and building permits are at issue, for both of them.  Bethenny talks about the lawsuit that has been discussed everywhere and by everyone.  She tells Jason that she is afraid that it will go on for years, and he tells her that he regrets that she can’t even enjoy her success.  She’s right about the money being a problem and a lawsuit magnet.  Hell, if she had come up with her own coffee brand, some old lady would pour a hot cup of it in her lap while driving.

Understandably,  Bethenny’s staff is much larger than it was a year ago and she refers to her office as a “clown car”.   The larger home is not a luxury, it’s a real necessity.   She put it best when she said, “I’m running an empire and we don’t have a seat for every ass”. Bethenny chats it up with her, mainly female, staff, checking on how their love lives are going while she is getting ready for her daily appointments.   Getting into a limousine, we meet the one male employee, a driver by the name of Dwayne.  Bethenny adds fashion consultant to his resume after he tells her that her pink shoes are hot.

After a photo session for “Health” magazine, Bethenny, Jason and Bryn are together for dinner.  Bethenny is cooking while Jason dons Shrek ears to entertain his daughter.  It was a sweet little family moment and Jason is in love with his girls.  Bryn is walking, talking and beautiful.

Bethenny has a session with her therapist, Dr. Amador, and she is still feeling insecure, about herself, her marriage and her future.  She is going through what sounded an awful lot like anxiety attacks, with bouts of shortness of breath and headaches.  Dr. Amador points out to her that, during this session, she becomes short of breath while talking about Jason, particularly regarding trust and money.   She is still trying to balance her relationship with her in laws.  Dr. Amador asks her to keep track of her sleep patterns as well as writing down when she experiences the shortness of breath.

Bethenny then meets with her friend, Lisa Lampanelli, who, apparently, is every bit as vulgar in person as she is professionally.  We heard too much information about the size of her husband’s balls, way too much.  Bethenny tells Lisa that she is tired of being the bad guy in her marriage and that Jason is viewed as the perfect husband.  She says it’s not fair to her and it’s not fair to him.  She’s right, there.

During this luncheon, Jason calls to tell her that they now own the apartment of their dreams.  They meet at the building and do their best to throw off the paparazzi.  Once inside, they talk about the renovations they want to make.  Both of them are more than a little stunned by what they have just purchased and what it took to get there.   They then go to celebrate with  champagne.  While in the restaurant, Jason raises the possibility of having more children.  Bethenny says that if it happens, it happens.    The couple enter into negotiations regarding the number of times per week they should have sex without it becoming excessive.  They seem to agree that 3 times per week is vacation sex and that 2 times is probably more appropriate.  It sounded like the cobwebs may disappear.


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18 Responses to Bethenny Ever After – Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

  1. Viewer 5 says:

    Hey Empress,
    I probably shouldn’t reply here b/c I didn’t watch the show… 🙂 I don’t have anything against Bethenny, but I have some bones to pick about her empire. Bethenny is not running an empire. Martha Stewart, with the help of Sharon Patrick (who was an acquaintance of mine in nyc and took M’s company public) is an example of a person who is running an “empire.” A brand (I also used to work in a fancy branding/advertising firm with fashion clients) has to be very, very carefully controlled, for years, before one starts putting one’s name on products. You have to have something you’re good at first; you have to be an expert at an aspect of lifestyle (Bethenny’s is health) and everything you put your name on *must* follow your premise.

    Every time you see a clothing designer come out with glasses or watches or whatever… the manufacturer of that product is carefully vetted by a team of people who do not work in your house; from in house attorneys and people who look over contracts and assistant designers who vet manufacturing techniques/content/packaging for months. It’s a team of five to ten people per product; and then you have to oversee production and samples before anything is approved. An “empire,” in terms of branding, is when *you* are at the center, and your company carefully vets products to put your name on. Not the other way around. Specific products are carefully chosen in months of really, really REALLY boring meetings between lots and lots of people, and then begins in-house vetting of manufacturers specifically for that product.

    To slap your name on a product that a company comes to *you* for, is a really bad business model. She didn’t control (or care?) what the ingredients were in the margarita mix. Trust me… either she or someone on her team knew damn well what was in that stuff. There is no way Jim Beam would risk putting out a product without approval of content. NO WAY. The pages and pages of clauses in those types of contracts would make anyone’s head spin; even attorney’s with experience in other areas of law. That would be on Jim Beam’s side. The vitamin company she partnered with (GNC) has the WORST reputation in that business for cheap content (think: cheap dog food; we all know how that turned out!) Even my mother’s DOCTOR told her not to buy GNC, for Gawd’s sake. I can’t find the ingredients (anywhere – not even on Bethenny’s site) of her body line, but I suspect, given that it’s sold in Walmart, it has parabens in it and other stuff you do NOT want seeping into your body from its largest organ: your skin.

    To me, the above facts (and supposition!) leads me to conclude that Bethenny is slapping her name on anything that comes her way, *or* she has people working for her (similarly to Taylor Armstrong) who are not interested in her longevity, only in the short-term financial benefits of quickly-realized partnerships. This is not going to end well, eventually.

    Apologies for the length of this post; but this is really something (as well as PR) that I have a pretty good handle on. Bethenny has a great personality and I don’t blame her for taking the bull by the horns with her “brand” – but, to me, when you’re touting yourself as a healthy expert (wasn’t she a raw/organic chef?) you should be careful about what you put your name on. 😦

    • V5, Comments such as yours are what make this blogging stuff all the more interesting. There are some subjects where my knowledge is decidedly limited. I, for one, am grateful that you took the time to explain some of the behind the scenes machinations of the business of business, branding and empire building.
      I also think that Bethenny is a bit taken with, and perhaps overwhelmed by, the process and its’ realities. It did all seem to happen in a very hurried fashion, and I think that your remarks regarding B’s somewhat cavalier and/or careless attitude about it all makes perfect sense.

      • Viewer 5 says:

        Teehee! You are, as ever, gracious and kind – as an Empress should be! I adore your blog and your writing. You are always non-judgmental (unlike… moi!) and present facts in a humorous way. Thanks for all you do, etc. Hope the critters are happy today.

        • V5, Thanks, but, trust me, I can be very judgmental. For example, I don’t like Marlo Hampton because she is angry, dangerous and has no apparent redeeming qualities. I also believe that, unless Vicki Gunvalson puts some high test into her love tank, she is going to wake up one day with only a pile of declarations pages from expired insurance policies next to her.
          That said, for the most part I try to write posts that invite others’ POVs, not steer them.
          The critters are very well and happy today – thanks for asking. 🙂

    • PussyGalore says:

      V5…….this is all news to me and I much appreciate you explaining the nuances in a way that even I could understand.

    • tuzentswurth says:

      Thanks V5, that was very informative and made perfect sense. I’ve seen celebrities slap their name on things that reflected very badly on them.

  2. windycitywondering1 says:

    So glad Bethenny is back! She puts it out there – the good, the bad and the scary. In the sea of “real housewives” Bethenny brings the lightheartedness, the fears and the dreams that we all have to some degree. Byrn is adorable and it is apparent that the Hoppys are still working hard to make their family their priority. Loved seeing Julie, Shawn and Nick too!

  3. Donna says:

    I didn’t see last nights show but I will give my “take” on Jason. Jason comes from a “perfect” family that worships the deceased son. Bethenny comes from an “imperfect” family that ignores their children. Bethenny desires to be a family. Jason wishes to inflict Bethenny with his “take” of the perfect family without considering her views. He fails to understand that she will never take the back seat. Also his parents live hours away and it is time consuming to visit, they should be happy with phone calls or skype. Jason and his parents should quit trying to change Bethenny and accept her for whom she is.. Sigh I seem disconnected in my thought patterns, my ex in-laws demanded that we spend every holiday and Sunday with them without taking into consideration my family

    • Jason and Bethenny could not be more different in terms of the meaning of family, and, yes, it is going to cause problems forever, if not addressed. The Hoppys probably don’t even realize that they are trying to fill the huge void in their lives – the loss of one of their sons – with their remaining son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. It’s a lot to ask.

      • Designdiva says:

        As a Mother of a deceased son… and having a son that has a child with his GF…I have never ONCE tried to fill that void…. Each of my sons were their own person,,unique in every way…. I see fear in the Hoppy’s….I see loss….I can understand where they are coming from… B cannot feel or see these things because she has not felt what they have… May she never…
        I am not a fan of B… never have been…. I just dont see her and Jason in this together for the long haul….
        The timing of her announcement of the miscarriage is suspect at best….the day of the night of her show airing….Yes, I am sorry for their loss…
        The one thing I saw late last night that bothered me about her… when her and Jason were sharing the fact they had purchased the apt/condo and were having glasses of champagne to toast..Jason told B he loved her…. She never acknowledged him saying that..she just kept on yaking… She DOES NOT hear him when he speaks…. I think that frustrates well it should..

    • tuzentswurth says:

      Ouch Donna, I don’t see the Hoppy’s as a perfect family that worships a deceased son. The loss they endured certainly changes a family and it takes a very strong family unit to survive that kind of stress. The Hoppy’s endured and their family is closer and stronger. They love, cherish and enjoy their grandchild. Bryn will benefit more than be harmed by this love. A new grandchild really saved my gf’s life after the loss of one of her sons. The grandson is now a young teenager and thriving. His close relationship with his gran has not harmed him a bit.

    • PussyGalore says:

      Donna, it sounds like you may be “inflicting” your take on in-laws on the Jason and Bethenny’s situation. When I reached your last sentence I understood the reason for the tone of your comments.

      Losing a child is the worst blow any human being will ever have to endure. It is unlike any other loss and it’s something most people do not recover from. I’ve never had children of my own but I do know this to be a fact and I have great empathy for anyone who has had to endure the loss of a child.

      Jason’s family appear to good people, kind people and fun people. I came from a family much worse than Bethenny’s and I’d have been more than happy to find I’d married into a family like the Hoppy’s. I can’t for the life of me understand why Bethenny is not more open to them.

    • Donna, I think that some of other comments directed at yours were a bit harsh. I hope you don’t feel like you were beat up. I left a comment myself – a sort of reminder to try to walk in someone else’s moccasins before you speak. Thanks for your comments – keep it up. Chris (Empress)


      • Donna says:

        Empress, I understand, they are unaware that my son was murdered on January 18, 2006.

        • tuzentswurth says:

          Donna, I hope my post didn’t sound like I was aggressive as that was not my intent and I would never ‘attack’ a poster on someone’s blog. It was just my reaction to your view of the Hoppy’s and I wanted to convey that I have a different take on them. I agree with PG, most people don’t fully recover from losing a child. If the Hoppy family remains supportive of each other I think it reflects positively on what kind of man Jason is. Bethenny and Jason will have to both ‘give’ a little. They will work it and I don’t want their problems to cause bad feelings among blog commenters. Donna, I am sorry to hear of your tragic loss and you too will have your own view of things that happen on these shows. I think all viewpoints are valid, there is no right or wrong, only opinions. I enjoy reading and sharing differing viewpoints here. Empress, you have a good blog going and a great audience here.

        • Viewer 5 says:

          Oh, Donna. I don’t have the words.

  4. Adgirl says:

    I love me some Bethenny but that episode was hard to watch. I kept wondering if Jason feels like his last name is Skinny Girl.

  5. Adgirl says:

    I’m so sorry for everyone’s loss.

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