I’ll put my disclaimer right up front – this is not even close to a recap. I haven’t written about BEA in about a month, but I’ve been watching each episode, and it’s been interesting to see how Bethenny and her circle of family and friends interact. Not writing about the show has, at least for me, offered a little more perspective. Just sitting back and watching, without feeling compelled to dissect each and every conversation, argument, gesture and facial expression allowed me to see that there really is a bigger picture. There is a lot more going on the lives of these people, as there is for all of us, and it isn’t all that it appears to be based on any one particular episode.
The people who knew and/or worked with Bethenny Frankel, for the most part, have become her past. We have seen girlfriends that she has enjoyed long term relationships with, but the Bravo version of Bethenny, the one we thought we knew, has moved forward. She is no longer the Real Housewife of New York, the woman who was struggling with money, romance and her cast mates’ pettiness and mean spirited behaviors. She doesn’t have to endure Kelly’s insanity, Ramona’s putdowns or Jill’s erratic style of friendship and ridiculously apparent jealousy. Jill may not be able to let go, but Bethenny isn’t looking back with regret at all.
Bethenny never hid the fact that Bravo was going to be her launching pad for her business ventures. She saw the RH as a platform and ran, as fast as she could, with it. Not that she didn’t leave some folks battered and bruised along the way, and I’m not defending everything she ever said and did while she was a member of that cast. From my perspective, though, I always saw what I believe is the real Bethenny. She never hid her ambition, her angst, her drive, or her need to be somebody and to have someone to love her and for her be loved in return. It looks like she has gotten everything she wanted but the question now is what she will do with it.
All of her hopes, dreams and desires seemed to happen almost simultaneously, at lightning speed. Santa emptied his entire bag right down her chimney, bringing Jason, Bryn and Jim Beam. She got everything on her wishlist and now it’s become both blessing and curse. Now she’s Bethenny Hoppy, mother to Bryn and a multi-millionaire, all in the span of two years. For even a centered person this would be staggering, and for the issue-riddled Bethenny, it has to be overwhelming. Just like a kid at Christmas who got the Barbie and the new Big Wheel and all of the video games in one fell swoop, Bethenny is juggling all of her gifts and she is exhausted.
The last post I wrote about BEA was after Bethenny had learned about the stories her mother was selling to the tabloids about her. She and Jason had already been on the infamous boat ride/therapy session from Hell. During that boat trip, Jason revealed some things about himself that helped to explain some of his wife’s anxiety. The last three weeks, particularly the episodes highlighting the trip to Mexico, have been even more telling. Julie is quitting, to find her own happiness, and Jason and Bethenny are doing scenes right out of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus”.
It’s clear that they don’t trust each other. I don’t mean that they are looking for love from anyone else, or that one is stealing the other’s money. I mean that each of them doesn’t trust what the other is saying. They’re looking for some hidden meaning in their conversations, some secret code that turns everything that is said into an argument. Nothing is taken at face value, therefor everything is misconstrued. They are bringing their own pasts, their own experiences to the table while not allowing room for a shared existence with a joined experience.
Jason says that he is disappointed in his career choice and doesn’t think he has attained what he believes he should have at the age of 40. He tells Bethenny that she reminds him of his perceived failure all the time. I think he, like many couples are wont to do, is projecting his own uncertainty onto the person closest to him. We do tend to take out our anger and frustrations on those we love the most – they’re always available, and, with any luck, they won’t turn their backs on us.
Jason also remarked, at one point, that Bethenny is a better listener than he is. That’s not all that unusual, either. Women do listen more, partly because we over-analyze and partly because our significant others only give us a very small window of opportunity to get our thoughts out there. Over time, Bethenny and Jason will learn how to speak to each other. They’ll know that having the same petty fight, over and over, will destroy them if they don’t stop. They’ll learn that the arguments should stay to the issue at hand, without throwing the entire list of past grievances into each others’ faces. It’s not an easy thing to do and it requires time and patience and respect. Both of them will learn that you don’t have to have a winner and a loser in an argument. Partners, married or otherwise, are just that – a team who share goals and dreams.
They’re very new at this and, right now, they’ve had the kitchen sink thrown at them. They’re also smart, and they love each other and their daughter. We’ve seen them have very tender and sweet, and yes, loving moments. So, for that, I’m not ready to throw in the towel and declare this marriage over – not by a long shot. Both of them need to grow up and grow together. There’s a lot of work ahead, but I think they both have what it takes to make this work and make it last – for ever after. Maybe I’m just a sucker for happy endings.