Princesses: Long Island – Intermenschion

I didn’t watch this episode until Tuesday and now I’m sorry I watched it at all.  Given the title, I expected more drunken antics from the magnificent six, seven if you want to count Mom Babs.  There was drinking and lap dances, which have become a couple of the main themes for this program.  Ashlee went on a shopping trip, calling Daddy Hal to pick up the tab for $5,800 worth of shoes.   Those of us who suffered through this show were witnesses to an attempt at an intervention for Erica’s excessive drinking run by Casey and Chanel, which looked more like Romy and Michelle in a scene from “Clueless” – Bravolebrity Rehab.

None of this really bothered me, just more of the same, and I thought I was going to do a recap in which I could just poke fun at the girls who do nothing.   Then there was a scene where Amanda went off to do a photo shoot for her beverage holders, the Drink Hanky, something she designed because Heaven knows what the world needs is another koozie – in a material and color of your choice.   Amanda, a friend/model and a ridiculous photographer chose a street in Great Neck, Long Island where some construction workers and a statue became props in the photographs.  It was at that point where I stopped the DVR and rewound to make sure that I had really seen things right.

The statue is a memorial to New York Firefighter Jonathan Ielpi who had perished on 9/11.  Amanda and her friend didn’t just pose for picture with the statue.  Oh no, they posed while kissing the carved image of the firefighter and pretending that he was drinking from a bottle of beer covered in one of those stupid hankies.   The moronic trio giggled their way through the pictures, encouraging each other’s outrageous behavior.

After watching the episode, I noticed that Amanda Bertoncini had taken to social media to issue what was supposed to be an apology and an explanation for this blatant and unforgivable act of insensitivity.    This is what she had to say:

“I would like to take this time and apologize to the community of Great Neck and fellow Long Islanders, as well as anyone who was affected by 9/11.   I would especially like to extend my sincere apologies to the family of Jonathan Ielpi… I never meant to hurt/ offend anyone when I was doing my photo shoot for The Drink Hanky. I hope you all can find it in your hearts to forgive me and understand that it was a spontaneous photo shoot without being aware that that statue was of sentimental value.”

Are you buying it?   His family certainly isn’t and they’ve expressed their outrage and dismay in no uncertain terms.  I can understand how offended they must be  and this is why.   It doesn’t matter whether you didn’t mean to hurt or offend anyone, especially the Ielpi family.  Human kindness and common sense should dictate that you just don’t do things like this.  This is a statue of a firefighter and memorials such as this one are off-limits for the type of self-promotion and disrespect that it received.   The fact that it’s dedicated to and bears the likeness of one of New York’s Bravest who died during one of the most horrific events in the history of our country only compounds the hurt inflicted.   She claims that she was unaware of the meaning of the statue and its’ “sentimental value” – an unfortunate choice of words in my opinion.   Can anyone really be that ignorant?   Apparently so.

Now, I’m not going to place the onus for this fiasco entirely on Amanda.  Bravo and their production team had to know that this was no ordinary statue.  We’ve seen Bravo portray their cast members as awful people in staged and equally awful situations, and most of the time we don’t care.  They signed on for the gig, and for whatever ridicule they sow, they also reap the resulting commentary – good and bad.   They can damage their own reputations, look like complete fools and ruin their own families.  It’s part of the cost of the fame they chased.   What Bravo and the cast members don’t get to do is to sully the name or legacy of anyone else for the sake of their programming.  They certainly chose the wrong storyline and the wrong subject matter this time.   I really wonder what’s next – Bravo sends the girls to Washington D.C. and they do lap dances at the Lincoln Memorial?

Bravo offered their own  half-baked apology:

“We are extremely sorry for any distress we caused the family of Jonathan Ielpi.  Bravo has removed the footage from any future airings.”

Hardly enough.  Perhaps, if Bravo and the Hanky Napkin queen really want to begin making amends, they could start by making some donations to the families of fallen firefighters.   Nineteen good and brave men died fighting the wildfires in Arizona this week.  This episode of Princesses looks all the more pathetic in the face of this tragedy.

I thought that I’d add the biography of Jonathan Ielpi so that we could appreciate the work he did, the family who loved him and what all of us lost.  He and his brother firefighters deserve our respect and gratitude, even if Bravo and Ms. Bertoncini can’t grasp that very simple notion.

About Jonathan Ielpi

Jonathan Lee Ielpi, 29, of Great Neck, was a New York City firefighter assigned to Squad 288 in Maspeth, Queens. He phoned his parents to let them know that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. “Jon, please be careful,” his father told him. His body was recovered in the stairwell of the south tower on Dec. 11, 2001.

Jonathan Ielpi’s youngest son, Austin, was just 3 years old when his father was killed.

Through stories he heard about his father over the years, Austin has begun to know the man who gave him life, said Ielpi’s mother, Anne Ielpi of Great Neck. “We’d go through a scrap book and he’d ask what was he like at 5, at 7, and at my age,” she said.

Austin is now 13 and living with his mother, Yesenia Ielpi Major, and brother, Andrew, now 19, in Putney, Vt. The family moved there in 2002 and his mother later remarried. She and her new husband have a 4-year-old daughter.

Anne Ielpi and her husband, Lee Ielpi, a retired FDNY firefighter and co-founder of the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, used to sit with Austin and talk to him about his father. Now, they chat on the phone.

Jonathan Ielpi loved to fish. He loved to hunt. His dream was to purchase a tract of land so he could go hunting, his mother said. And, most of all, he loved the FDNY.

These days, Ielpi’s parents, his three siblings and their children, continue to go camping, something they did since he was a child. His mother goes to his favorite spot at Mongaup Pond in Sullivan County and watches the bald eagles. She returned to the campground for the first time a few years after 9/11.

“I was down by the beach. I said, ‘If you’re really here with us, you have to show me,’ ” his mother recalled. “A few minutes later an eagle flew down, right in front of me. That’s my way of knowing that he’s here with us.”

Thank you Jonathan.

As for Bravo and Amanda, well, shame on you.


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16 Responses to Princesses: Long Island – Intermenschion

  1. melthehound says:

    I was wondering if you were going to blog this episode. I just watched it this afternoon. These people, and Bravo and the like, never cease to amaze me… You are correct, I believe, in saying people should have known better, had some respect. I’m glad you didn’t place it all on Amanda though she is bearing the brunt of the backlash. What I saw was a group effort to act like asses. Even their ‘model’. The gay BFFL is too much for words in this scene..

    Being someone who doesn’t always think before he speaks, I can understand making mistakes and having to backtrack and apologize and even hoping the apologee is willing to accept the apology.. Not that I think she (as I don’t) set out to hurt anyone.. It happens… Truthfully I could have accepted them simply posing with the statue for a snapshot (as I’m sure others have done) but to make it part of their party for an ‘ad’ campaign is the unforgivable part IMO. Asinine production at Bravo choosing to put it on the air is a whole other issue to me.

    I won’t pretend to know how anyone else feels about it though some in our circle have clearly expressed it and I suspect they’ll be along shortly to read your post. I was thinking of doing something for the 4th but this far surpasses anything I could have come up with.

    • Hey mth, I wasn’t going to do a recap – looks like I really didn’t anyway. I was just going to skip this episode and pretend it didn’t happen. The thing is, I was ranting to my husband about the line that Bravo had crossed by using the statue of the fallen hero in such a cavalier and thoughtless way. First he said that he didn’t realize Bravo had any more lines left to cross and then suggested that a blog post might be a good idea. So, there you have it. 😉

      • melthehound says:

        You gave enough of a recap in the first paragraph. Anything more in that respect would have been repetitive. 😉

  2. not THAT Jill says:

    Empress-Thank you for sharing Jonathan Ilepi’s story to the blog. I wrote on the LynnFam blog that I had the pleasure of meeting his brother-also a member of the FDNY on a trip to Hawaii back in 2002. We were there on a trip for members of the FDNY as guest of the fine state of Hawaii. I talked with him about his brother and he told me how he and his Dad got the call that his brothers body was found and they went to Ground Zero to carry Jonathan out. It was heart breaking.
    Amanda in no possible way did not know the story of Jonathan Ilepi-it’s not possible to be that oblivious-is it? She lives there, she knows about 9/11. She has shown me that she is a self absorbed moron and her half assed apology did little to soften the blow because she felt the need to insert her product in her post. That’s shady and stupid!! I’m equally placing blame on Bravo and the production company that filmed and aired the scene-it was utterly disrespectful. We can chalk it all up to ignorance but I don’t think it’s that simple-it saddens me to think people are that damn stupid!!! As for Amanda and her dumb drink cover-she is getting the backlash I feel she deserves.

    • Jill! First of all, how wonderful that you had the opportunity to meet and speak with his family. It had to be both heartbreaking and inspiring all at once.
      When I watched this episode and saw that statue, I didn’t know that it was a memorial to a victim of 9/11. All I cared about was that it was a statue of a fireman and, therefor it’s significance had to be obvious even to someone as vacuous as Amanda.
      Bravo has sunken to a new low and I have no idea how you can make it right, not just for the Ielpi family, but for all of us who will always be in a state of collective grief and shock.

  3. Boobah says:

    Thank you Empress. While I cannot get through an entire episode of LI Nincompoops, I very much appreciated the info you provided about our fallen hero, Jonathan Lee Ielpi. Such a brave, brave man.

    As a Long Islander, I know of some heartbreaking stories that have touched me personally. Luckily two people I know actually survived the 9/11 attacks. God bless them that they did, but to this day they continue to struggle with the aftermath. One friend developed a serious lung condition as a result of being exposed to the dust/debris. He moved out of the country, along with his sickness which will eventually take his life prematurely, he just didn’t feel safe here any longer. My other friend eases his pain by way of self medicating via the bottle.

    Neither of these men can speak of the horrors they witnessed anymore, although they have shared some horrible details that even I cannot bring myself to repeat. My friend with the lung illness, lost his entire fellow NY Firefighter squad. The other is also a lone survivor of his company which was located in tower 2. What he witnessed as he made his way down the several dozen stories on the staircase continues to haunt him. Honestly, it haunts me too. Things no one should ever witness.

    Things like this change a person to their core.

    While I did not watch the episode, from what I gathered, Bravo and those young ladies should be ashamed of themselves.

    It seems timely that as we celebrate our nations freedom, we remember that very freedom rings because of ALL the heroic men and woman responding, fighting, and repairing the damage in all the wars and vicious attacks. Bless them all.

    I think I may have veered off topic a little here. But thanks for letting me share this. Happy belated Independence Day.

    PS – I live on LI. I don’t know anyone like these woman. I am much father east than their location, so maybe that has something to do with it. But the friends I do have from that general area (which my area affectionately calls “up Island”), do not behave, sound like, or have such a piss poor work ethic. Again though, I am a generation older than these ninnies, so who knows?


    • Hey Boobah, Long Island Nincompoops is right. As I said, they’re free to be their own special brand of nitwits, but Bravo and Amanda took their nonsense to a whole new level with that scene.
      I don’t think it’s a matter of generation – I’m at least twice their ages, too – it’s a matter of being respectful and conducting yourself as a productive and caring member of our society. Then again, people who live their lives that way don’t become Bravolebrities, do they?

      • melthehound says:

        Then again, people who live their lives that way don’t become Bravolebrities, do they?

        No, they don’t. I would put Every Single One of them in that same heap too. From the east coast to the west coast. None of them get a pass.

  4. Valerie Levin says:

    Brilliant write up…. you focused on a small but ignored truth when you cited a scene was like some from Romy and Michelle. THE WHOLE SHOW IS JUST COPYING FROM TV AND MOVIES. Most of what they are doing is copying from Seinfeld. Additionally, all reality shows have a “bible” in which scene are plotted out. The Ielpi incident was not the brain child of Amanda, it was the calculated effort of the writers to do something bombastic and buzz-worthy to hopefully bump up ratings for this Sundays episode. As for specific copying, it was lifted from Season 5 episode 19 of Seinfeld, The Ring (part 2) where Seinfeld and his girlfriend are caught KISSING at showing of Schindlers List (juxtapose the Holocaust against 9/11) and voila! everyone is offended. The entire show itself is nothing but an attempt to do a real life version of “The Producers”. I am sure that True Entertainment Productions decided they were just going to make the worst show ever and finance it in such a way that they would make money if it failed. Make sure your friends are watching something else this Sunday because even if Bravo and True Entertainment profit from this BECAUSE of low ratings, we have to get this train wreck to stop airing.

    • Valerie, Thank you for your comment. The first post I wrote when I started this blog 18 months ago was a criticism of the type of programming Bravo has engaged in. Over the years, the drama has gone from bad to worse, with people hurting each other in all kinds of ways, mostly with words but sometimes escalating their actions to physical violence. Just on the HWs’ franchises, there’ve been at least a half dozen assaults any of which could have resulted in arrests.
      As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bravo execs and their cast members have managed to portray themselves in terrible ways, and shown groups of people in opprobrious terms. It doesn’t matter – race, gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or religious belief – if it’s on Bravo, it’s going to be insulting and a set up for mockery.
      I agree that most of reality TV is nothing real at all but just a bunch of poorly written and even more poorly acted black comedy, pretending to be drama and a slice of the cast members “real” lives.
      By the way, ratings for this particular trainwreck have been falling with each passing episode. It premiered at 1.24million viewers and now hovers somewhere around 700,000. Hopefully it’ll die a quick death.

      • melthehound says:

        It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be around another season… How am I going to get my fix of whiny over privileged daddy’s girls when they cancel it? Oh.. That’s right, this is Bravo.. They’ll come up with something. /sarcasm off/ 😉

  5. This is why I no longer watch Bravo anymore. I thought I could watch RHONJ just because I happen to live in NJ, but no…’s unwatchable too. Although I do enjoy Mel’s recaps!! 😆

    Can’t wait for Sons of Anarchy to come back. Meanwhile, I’ve found a few good shows. Longmire is excellent, good cast & writing. Another one that has me intrigued is Under the Dome.

    Mad Men got pretty disgusting this season. The final episode did make up for it a little, alas a little late though.

    I’m waiting to see what Lisa Marie has to say about the latest trial. I’ve found all of you & your comments to be very enjoyable, thanks for this site Empress.

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