Not All Television is a Vast Wasteland

“When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.
But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.  Television and all who participate in it are jointly accountable to the American public for respect for the special needs of children, for community responsibility, for the advancement of education and culture, for the acceptability of the program materials chosen, for decency and decorum in production, and for propriety in advertising. This responsibility cannot be discharged by any given group of programs, but can be discharged only through the highest standards of respect for the American home, applied to every moment of every program presented by television.Program materials should enlarge the horizons of the viewer, provide him with wholesome entertainment, afford helpful stimulation, and remind him of the responsibilities which the citizen has toward his society.” –   Newton Minow, FCC Chairman, May 9,1961

In the days and weeks following the series finale of Breaking Bad, every writer with a keyboard and an internet connection weighed in on the brilliance of the writers and producers of the show.  A few, however, took another tack, proudly announcing that they had never seen it, never would see it, and that those who had were simply seduced by all of the hype.  By writing pieces like that, they  had a huge influx of readers who either agreed with them, adding that they’d never watched Game of Thrones, The Sopranos or anything that hadn’t been written by Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams,  or argued that the writers didn’t know what they’d been missing.  I fall into the second category, because not only do I think they’ve missed out on some great programming but because it’s a new form of snobbery and elitism, based on predetermined notions.

Minow was right, to a certain degree. Television, when it’s trying it’s hardest, produces the type of programming that rivals, if not bests, anything we read or see on Broadway.  And when it’s bad, it’s just garbage.   The exponential growth in networks since Minow’s speech has done nothing to change that.  There are as many channels that air really terrible television shows and, if you took his advice, and watched only one of those channels for an entire day, you just might need rehab.  The good side of that coin is that now that we have more choices, we’re able to see television at it’s finest.   There are programs that fill the need for education and inspire social commentary.  You need look no farther than HBO for bringing viewers things like the recent docudrama “The Normal Heart” to see just how far a network is willing to go to engage viewers in social issues.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, because other networks have provided viewers with scripted drams and comedies that also address the world we live in, and, in doing so, get people talking.  In recent years, aside from Breaking Bad, we’ve enjoyed The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Scandal and so much more.  This is water cooler television – the types of shows which have people gathering around at work or on social media to discuss every last detail of what they saw the night before.  Sometimes, the discussions can get rather heated, with viewers debating whether there is too much violence on today’s television shows.  My answer to that is that the world is violent today and much of what we see is a reflection on how society behaves in general.  There is one thing that these shows do that society can’t is provide a lesson in morality, where the anti-hero gets his just desserts.    In real life,  the bad guys don’t always reap what they sow.

If viewers, and even non-viewers, are willing to look past the violence, they’ll find that there’s more to the stories on television than just a bunch of hooligans wreaking havoc on the world.  These shows are, above all of that, studies of human nature and statements on the human condition.  Protagonists and antagonists alike deal with the fallout and consequences of their acts.  Families suffer or are rewarded for the behaviors of  the main characters of these shows.    This, just like a good book, is what keeps us coming back week after week.  Without these back stories, and the promise of redemption or punishment, the only thing left would be cartoonish figures making big messes.   That takes skill and intelligence and the ability to take a story from beginning to end, just like an author would.   If the writers do it right, we want to see how it all plays out, while wishing it would it never end – just like we do as we approach those last few chapters of a really good book.

While those of us who write anything about reality TV grouse about how certain networks treat us like imbeciles, we always have the choice of turning the channel.  We can find a lot to talk about by doing just that.  In fact, it’s a reward of sorts to save an episode of True Detective or Fargo as a way of turning down the noise of reality TV.   We can talk forever about why the Housewives come back, year after year, knowing full well that they’re going to be edited to look like raving lunatics – something most of them can accomplish on their own.  To balance that out, though, we can always debate whether Shae really loved Tyrion, whether Olivia Pope can put her white hat back on and save the world, or whether Jax Teller will finally do the right thing for his sons and walk away from his Corleone-like family.   But before you turn you nose up at any of them, give them a chance.  Ignore the critics and the naysayers.  Television can be very good – vast, but not always a wasteland.





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The Real Housewives of New York City – Ten Gallon Spats

Carole and Kristen are getting Brazilian waxes together because we haven’t seen that before on any of the other Housewives’ franchises.  Well, at least they’re not screaming and calling their lady parts cute nicknames.  Their conversation is about the rumors that were told about all of the women by Sonja’s facialist, the infamous Satako.   As we leave Carole with her legs in the air, Aviva and Ramona are at a different spa enjoying New York’s version of the Roman baths and sharing their dismay that the others want to go to Montana.  Aviva tells Ramona how she just found out that she has asthma – really, really bad asthma that is going to keep her making the trip.  Her doctor has made it clear that she’ll be better off in big skyscraper city over big sky country.   Aviva wants to go somewhere where she can show her fun side and insists she would never want to be a buzz kill.

Sonja is packing for the trip and finding the right panties for the occasion is essential.  She has panties for the Hamptons, for St. Tropez, for horseback riding and for a yacht off Monaco.   What she really needs  is a jar of Monkey Butt from Tractor Supply – the panties should be her second consideration. Aviva Drescher, Kristen Taekman

Ramona and Kristen are shopping for cowboy boots at a place called Space Cowboy, named after the owner who loves his moment on camera and wants to sell Ramona a pair of sexy chaps.  Aviva walks in dressed for a hoedown and the big asthma debate begins.  Kristen doesn’t believe that Aviva has asthma but Aviva has a letter from her doctor that says she does.  The letter was probably addressed to Bravo so that she could give them another excuse as to why she would be missing a group trip again.  Kristen doesn’t care about the letter; she’s carrying on as if she wants an independent medical exam and all but whips out her own spirometer to test Aviva’s lungs on the spot.  She’s sure that Aviva is making it all up just to get out of going with them.  Aviva doesn’t care for being called a liar and starts pulling all sorts of medications out of her purse and throwing them at Kristen, and then takes a hit off of her rescue inhaler, just to prove her point.  She really should learn how to use those things, they’re rather expensive.  Ramona is surprisingly quiet, noting only that it all may be a weird coincidence.

Kristen is also packing with the help of her kids who think she should carry a gun for her trip to the wild, wild, West.  Josh comes in and Kristen commences to tell him about Aviva’s asthma story.  He chuckles and says that they’ll probably see pictures of Aviva on a chair lift in Aspen, puffing on a cigarette.   Kristen also wants to know if Josh can take care of the kids while she’s gone.  He insists that they’ll be alright but he plans on dropping them off at her parents’ house in Connecticut so that he can hang out in the Hamptons with his friends.  He then tells her that he has to get back to the office, leaving her fuming.

Aviva talks to Reid about her new affliction and whether she should chance a trip to Montana.  He tells her that it would be irresponsible for her to go.  She then takes another puff from the inhaler in case we missed the first demonstration.

The group finally arrives on Montana and find that there’s a wheel chair reserved for Aviva at the airport.    Whether that was Bravo foolishness or Aviva foolishness really doesn’t matter – it was foolishness.  Ramona isn’t impressed with all of the stuffed animals on display and all of them wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into.   They arrive on the resort property and it looks a little desolate.  They enter the lobby and are greeted with Huckleberry base drinks.  A horse-drawn wagon takes them to their cabins.  LuAnn, Heather and Kristen are going to stay at the Antler’s Cabin and the Beaver Cabin will be home for Sonja, Carole and Ramona.  Both cabin are impressive and beautifully appointed.  Ramona opens some wine and the trip begins.Sonja Morgan

The first activity is wrangling cattle and Sonja is having some flashbacks to the last time she rode a horse and was thrown.  Ramona wants to trade in her horse for a different model because hers is grazing and refuses to move.  The horse must have gotten the memo.  She swaps horses with LuAnn who faced down a camel and Ramona suggests that the horse be sent to the glue factory.  Carole completely enjoys the perspective of the world you get from the back of a horse.  They all do pretty well with their tiny cattle drive, but, then again, the cowboys at the ranch were very helpful, not to mention very cute.Ramona Singer

After changing, the ladies are going to downtown Missoula for dinner.  The restaurant is rather interesting, with seating arranged around an indoor rodeo arena.  Ramona begins complaining how she can’t eat anything because of the manure smell and Sonja thinks that dinner is going to be one of the calves she just saw in the arena.  Because there has never been a single Housewives’ dinner that hasn’t been ruined, the conversation turns to the things Sonja’s facialist said, and, more importantly, to the fact that Sonja let her go on and on without shutting her down.  LuAnn is the one most upset and tells Sonja that she should have sent the woman home instead of allowing her to talk about her and the rest of the ladies.  LuAnn doesn’t like the fact that Satako said that she likes to dominate short French men in bed.  Kristen starts to giggle, saying that she found it funny.  Ramona says that if it isn’t true, why should anyone care.   Sonja’s explanation is that this sort of idle gossip has been going on for hundreds of centuries.  Hair stylists do it,  manicurists do it and dog groomers do it.  She doesn’t think it means anything.  LuAnn gets up and says that she’s going to bed.  What is really bothering her is that Sonja doesn’t even care she’s upset.LuAnn de Lesseps, Sonja Morgan

We can only imagine what the ladies have in store for next week.  Perhaps Sonja will wrangle a cowboy, Satako will be offered a spinoff and we’ll find out that Aviva has an enlarged prostate gland.



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The Real Housewives of New York City – Sex, Lies and Facials

The ladies are spending their last night in Saratoga by hitting the local night spots.   Sonja, stuck without a ride back to the Hamptons, has forgotten all about her abandonment issues and is enjoying all that the town has to offer.  She’s kissing men and LuAnn, dancing and playing the air guitar until she finally collapses in a heap on LuAnn’s lap – at which point Bravo blurred out whatever it was she had on display.Heather Thomson, Sonja MorganRamona, who stayed behind, is with Avery while she takes a driving lesson.  Ramona wants to make sure that Avery knows how to navigate her way around at college and her only experience behind the wheel has been in the Hamptons while driving Mario’s BMW.  She’s actually pretty good, even managing to parallel park on the first try.  The second try didn’t go as well, and Avery managed to kiss the bumper of the car behind her.

LuAnn is hosting a charity event for women with cancer, sponsored by Hollywood Life.  All the ladies are in attendance, eventually – Sonja showed up a little late.  There’s going to be a fashion show and the dresses are to be auctioned off.  Kristen is modeling as is LuAnn’s special mystery guest who is wearing a mask.  Okay, we all knew that it was Kelly Bensimon, long before she took off the mask.  Before the show begins, though, another special, and uninvited guest, show up.  It’s Miss USA, Nana Meriweather, and her role in this charade is to give Aviva and her father another opportunity to talk about his sex life.  George may not have been in the episode but his presence was certainly felt.  Aviva is acting shocked when she sees Nana and while Bonnie Fuller, editor in chief of Hollywood Life, is speaking about women with cancer, Aviva decides to text Heather.  As the text is passed around from one housewife to another, we find out that it has to do with George, his rent-a-fiance, Cody/Dana and Nana having a threesome.

The fashion show couldn’t start soon enough.   Carole and Aviva get into a bidding war over the dress Kelly’s wearing with Carole raising her bid just to see if Aviva will keep going.  She does and ends up with a bid of $550, much to Carole’s delight.   While LuAnn is still upset about the text nonsense, Aviva goes into even more detail about her father’s night with the two women.  Her father had told her all about it, how they all met, got together and that Nana left the next morning.  I just have to stop here for a second and ask a question.  Who talks to and about their parents this way, I mean aside from Aviva and George?  It’s as if she’s actually proud that dear old dad is getting it on with all of these women. Or they’re both lying.  Bravo storylines have been built on flimsier, albeit less crude, stuff than this.  Ramona is going to get to the bottom of it and walks right over to Nana and asks her if the story is true.  Nana tells a very different story about meeting them, then leaving a party during the eventing, never to see them again.  This gets stranger by the minute because Aviva had just finished telling the group that her father had sworn on her leg that he was telling the truth.  Either way, Ramona is right – George is a creepy lech.Kristen TaekmanKristen is at Sonja’s house to get a facial but Sonja is missing.  Pickles, one of her interns hasn’t seen her but expects her any minute.  Kristen heads outside where the facialist, Satako, is waiting and Sonja sneaks into the house wearing half a dress, some guy’s t-shirt, a baseball hat and sunglasses.  She explains to Pickles that the gut couldn’t get her dress off so he tore it instead.   As Sonja said in her talking head, her walk of shame is a victory lap.  She must be doing a four-minute mile by now.  She meets up with Kristen and Satako turns into Radar Online.  She knows everything about the sex lives of Sonja and Ramona and is more than happy to share.  She tells Sonja that she knows about the guy around the corner with the long hair, possibly Jamie, the restaurant owner.  She also knows that LuAnn likes short French men so that she can dominate them in bed.  This must be some kind of a reverse Napoleon complex.  Satako also says that Sonja slept with Carole’s ex-boyfriend, Russ, when they happened to bump into each other in LA.  I think they should be tipping this woman better or get her to sign a confidentiality agreement, because no secret is safe with her.

Carole meets up with LuAnn to discuss George’s claims of a threesome and LuAnn is convinced that Aviva invited Miss USA just to stir the pot.  Kristen joins them and she tells them everything Satako said about LuAnn and short French guys, as well as Sonja bedding Russ.  LuAnn just laughs and says that there’s nothing small about Jacques.  Carole really doesn’t think that Sonja is Russ’s type.

Aviva is hosting the strangest art party at her apartment.  She’s picking out art for her fake apartment with her interior designer and an art dealer names Kipton Cronkite.  Try saying that name three times fast and tell me that you don’t start thinking about Superman.  As the ladies arrive, they’re shown around the apartment to look at various pieces, including one by LuAnn’s daughter, Victoria.   Kristen really doesn’t like any of them, preferring paintings of Elvis on velvet.  Sonja arrives in a dress that may very well be the remnants of what was torn the other night and Ramona has brought her own bottle of Pinot Grigio.   Aviva is sure that the party will be drama free.Aviva Drescher, Heather Thomson, Kristen Taekman, LuAnn de Lesseps, Sonja Morgan

LuAnn wants to talk to Aviva about the text message and the appearance by Miss USA at the charity event.  Aviva insists she didn’t invite her – in fact, she swears she didn’t.  Then she goes into full-out Aviva mode and tells LuAnn that if she’s calling her a liar, there’s going to be a problem.  While Aviva continues to talk over her, LuAnn says that it’s gross – all of it – the text, the threesome stuff, everything, especially at an event to raise money for women with cancer.  Aviva then says that Victoria’s artwork is about sex, even phallic, which, understandably, upsets LuAnn even more.  It does make you wonder if Aviva only invited Victoria to show her artwork just so that she could use it in her argument.   LuAnn still doesn’t believe that Aviva didn’t invite Nana, no matter how many body parts she swears on.  Aviva tells LuAnn that she didn’t invite the woman and LuAnn is just rude.  If anyone was wondering, my money’s on Nana as the truth teller, unless of course, she’s angling for a spot as the next housewife.

Kristen says that they shouldn’t have any more parties at Aviva’s.  I think we can all agree on that.

Next week the ladies go to Montana to ride horses and rope bulls, without Aviva.



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The Real Housewives of New York City – Win, Place or Sonja

Sonja has invited Aviva and her future step mother, Cody, to the townhouse to try to find out if Cody’s intentions for George are pure, like that matters.   While Cody bedazzles Sonja’s nails with Swarovski crystals,  the other women ask her about George’s sexual proclivities.  Cody tells them that his appetite and talent for sex is rather good and that he “knows” a woman.  She also lets them know that George doesn’t want her to have children until she’s 35 years old and, to make sure they can make that happened even if he’s no longer around, they’re freezing his sperm.  Cody loves George, doesn’t want his money – she runs some very successful nail salons in Florida and has plenty of money of her own –  and Aviva and Sonja believe her.Aviva Drescher, Sonja Morgan

Kristen, LuAnn, Carole, Heather and Sonja are trying on hats for a trip to the Saratoga Race Track.  Aviva and Ramona won’t be going due to some prior arrangements with their respective children – something about camp and Avery going off to college.  LuAnn tries one hat on, which doesn’t really fit her and Sonja points out that LuAnn has a head the size of a pumpkin.  She also says that her own is the size of the pin, but we’ve already figured that out.

Aviva is having an engagement party for her father and Cody at, where else, the Museum of Sex.  All of the ladies are there with their husbands, including Ramona, Mario and Ramona’s “gay husband”.  Mario starts to chase Ramona around with a crop while she runs around the place.  Carole notes that she had to be at this party; “George getting engaged is like a total eclipse of the sun.  You have to look at it even though you know it’s going to hurt your eyes”.   George arrives with Cody and is introduced to Kristen.  Within moments, George has his hands on her ass and her boobs.  She giggles and runs off, because that’s what any of us would do, especially after having gotten warnings in advance about him.  He also offered to lick her nipples.

George then heads straight for Ramona and Mario pretends to punch at him while telling him to “keep your rabid hands off my wife”.   Mario is definitely playing the dutiful husband for the cameras.  Carole stops by for an exchange with George about his favorite topics. too.   While George is otherwise occupied, Ramona, failing to have received the “all clear” from Aviva and Sonja, begins to question Cody about her future husband.  She wants to know if Cody had her engagement ring appraised and then asks her why she’s marrying George.  Cody says that it’s for his intellect and the good sex.  Ramona then wonders about Cody’s deceased parents and how they would feel about the situation.  Cody begins to cry and heads for the ladies’ room with Aviva in tow.  When she rejoins the guests, Cody tells them about Ramona’s inquiries.  Carole tells them that she ordered plastic glasses, just in case Ramona went Ramonacoaster.Kristen Taekman

George also hears about Ramona and that Cody was crying and begins to shout “Where is the bitch?”  Ramona is making her exit, though, realizing that she’s opened her mouth a little too wide again.  George then says “Ramona is a bitch.  You know what happens to bitches?  They get f***ed like dogs.”  He then calls her a coward for leaving.   Aviva manages to get things under control, the men pull themselves away from a display of photographs depicting apes and chimps in the throes of passions and offers a toast to the lovebirds.  She talks about being happy and in love and assures them that he mother is looking down and is happy for them.  She ends her words by joking how Sonja backed into her father’s erection.  It’s just the perfect party with a swell bunch of folks.

LuAnn and Sonja meet in the park for a bike ride and a picnic.  While eating, they discuss their concerns over Ramona.  LuAnn can’t understand how Sonja could value her friendship with Ramona more than she does with her.  LuAnn says that a friendship shouldn’t be labor intensive and that something wrong with Ramona.  She also says that Ramona is more fun when she’s off the Ramonacoaster.  For one brief moment, I admired LuAnn for not spilling the rumors about Ramona and Marion, a favor Ramona has never offered in return.

Ramona Singer

Ramona goes to Aviva’s fake house with flowers to offer an apology for ruining another party.  The apology lingers in the air for about a nanosecond before Ramona starts to voice her concerns about a young, vulnerable woman falling into the hands of a lecherous, predatory old man.  On cue, George enters the scene and he also apologizes for causing a scene at Ramona’s charity event.  He tells her that you can cause bliss or bleak and he caused bleak.  Ramona begins to tell George that, if he loves Cody, he should let her go. He should let the young girl live her life like she should, unencumbered by a much older man.  Ramona says that she would be broken-hearted if Avery found a lecherous man like George.  This angers George and he makes the conversation about race – black versus white.  Ramona responds by comparing him to a pedophile.  This is all going so well, that George just calls Ramona a racist and makes a lewd suggestion for something he’d like to do to her involving his fingers.

LuAnn has rented a house in Saratoga for the ladies.  Sonja, who seems to think she’s in Louisville, wants some mint juleps.  The ladies put on their dresses and hats and head for the track for the day.  Sonja is in her element, having grown up nearby, and begins to talk about the smell of money, the beauty of the clothes and hats, and almost breaks into a rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home.”  She spots the winning jockey of the 2013 Kentucky Derby, Joel Rosario and calls him over.  He tells the ladies how wonderful it was to win and makes his escape before Sonja asks him for riding lessons.  Carole tells the women that the height of a man and the size of his penis are correlated in inverse proportions.  She knows this only because she’s dated a lot of short guys.Carole Radziwill, Kristen Taekman, LuAnn de Lesseps, Sonja Morgan

Having studied their tip sheets, the ladies are ready to place their bets.  They’ve put their money on horses and are betting trifectas and perfectas.  Sonja, who knows all about the track, is placing two dollar bets on all of the horses in every combination available known to man.  Carole points out that, even if Sonja wins, the money she gets won’t cover her bets.   The ladies win and Sonja doesn’t.  They collect $3,340, making their individual winnings slightly over $800.  While they celebrate, Sonja wanders off to try to pick up talk to some trainer, jockey or owner.  When the time comes for the group to leave, Sonja is nowhere to be found.  Even LuAnn’s texts to her went unanswered. Kristen Taekman, Sonja Morgan

They’re back at the house, having decided that Sonja will find her way there eventually and begin to get dressed to go out on the town.  Sonja barges in, slamming the door and charges right past the others, shouting “They always do this. Bitches.”  Heather follows her to find out what’s wrong and Sonja goes into a rant about how no one cares where she was.  Realizing that Sonja is just drunker than a skunk, she leave her alone and goes back downstairs.  Kristen also attempts to console Sonja over who knows what but her attempt doesn’t work out much better.  Sonja just tells Kristen to go f**k herself.  Kristen apparently doesn’t understand that you can’t reason with someone who’s drunk.  She also gives up and joins the others, while also doing an improv as to how Sonja looks and sounds.  LuAnn wonders aloud whether she should try but Heather tells her that there’s no sense in babying her.   That leaves Sonja to lodge her complaints and make her argument to her own reflection in the mirror.  The two Sonjas then decide that they should pack their bags and head back to the Hamptons.   Given the previews, it looks like Sonja doesn’t have the same friends with airplanes as Ramona does and is stuck in Saratoga Springs for the remainder of the trip.  Carole called her a WMD – woman of mass destruction.  I think there’s more than one.Sonja Morgan


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The Real Housewives of New York City – Requiem For A Poodle

LuAnn and Heather are shopping for swimsuits when Kristen just happens by.  She begins to tell them about her tea date with Ramona with a slightly more exaggerated, more dramatic version of the event.   The three talk some more about Ramona and list the nicknames she’s acquired, including, but certainly not limited to,  “Singer Stinger”, “Ramonacoaster,” pinot polar” and “crazy eyes.”  Heather Thomson, Kristen Taekman

Sonja calls LuAnn to invite her to a memorial service for her long-deceased dog, Milou, while Heather and Kristen,  hearing the conversation, don black hats in honor of the beloved pet.  Sonja is at her house, surrounded by her interns, both past and present, as well as Marley and a cloth covered box containing Milou’s ashes.  We then see a little video montage of Milou’s life before Marley almost spills his predecessor all over the carpet.

Kristen is auditioning for a workout video in front of the co-founders of JCORE.  She isn’t doing very well, proof that being thin doesn’t always mean being fit.  She’s hired anyway, thanks to a little help from her husband, Josh, who knows both of the company’s owners, Jay Cardiello and Bill Pymm.  While she goes through the routine, Josh is offering some color commentary, asking Jay when the exercises will get rid of his wife’s pooch.  If he was concerned about not having dinner on the table before, this probably isn’t going to guarantee it will be there in the future.  Kirsten asks Josh to leave, telling him that it feels just like the Spartan run, where he said he’d support her but then doesn’t really mean it.

Carole is holding interviews for an assistant at Ramona’s office because she doesn’t want any of the candidates to know where she lives yet.  Several of them arrive without resumes and one young man thinks his winning personality is enough to get him the job.  Nice try, kid, but that’s not how it works.  Ramona is in the room, adding her two cents because, well, because she’s Ramona.   She doesn’t like how unprepared the applicants are and doesn’t understand the kinds of questions Carole is asking.

Sonja Morgan

Sonja has invited a spiritual healer, Aleta St. James, to her house to help her with her grieving process and the turmoil in her life.   Aleta beats some sort of screen over Sonja’s prone body and then rings some Tibetan bells, telling Sonja that they will align her chakras.  Golden energy will enter through Sonja’s head and travel through her body, and I don’t know what any of that means.   Aleta had twins at the age of 57, so maybe she’s onto something.   Sonja says that she resents people who have taken advantage of her, including Ramona.  She then cries as Aleta holds the box conditioning Milou’s ashes, and says that she’ll never have the same pure, innocent experiences she had with that dog.  In her talking head, she says that she wasn’t only letting go of Milou, but also her ex-husband and best friend.

Aviva Drescher

Oh, look – Aviva’s back and she’s hosting a dinner at her new apartment just so that she inflict her father and all of his perversions upon us.   He doesn’t miss a beat.  After introducing his much, much, much younger girlfriend, Cody,  to Harry and Sonja, he tells everyone how they met.  It seems that he went to Cody’s salon to have some – and trust me, I’ve been working on this phrase all week – manscaping done and it was love at first sight.  At the first sight of what, I have no idea.  They’ve been together for two and a half years.   Don’t ask me how.   George wants Harry and Sonja to go to St. Tropez with them for a couples’ getaway which was just another excuse for him to expand on his raunchiness.  He explains how much better sex is when you have mirrored ceiling over your bed.  Reid then pipes in and says that he had mirrored ceiling when he was 16.   Maybe buttoned-up Reid does have a freak factor.  After ruining yet another dinner, George says that he has a gift for Cody and hands her a bag.  She pulls a box out and George tells her that it’s an engagement ring.  That’s his proposal.  Really, that was it.  She says yes and puts the ring on her finger, immediately eclipsing the diamond with her heavily bedazzled manicure.  Love is both grand and blind.

In case we hadn’t heard and seen enough from George, Aviva gives him a tour of the apartment where he makes some more comments about mirrors, sexual positions and, oh hell, I’ll just let you use your imaginations because I’m not going to sleep with these visuals burned into my brain.

Sonja, Ramona and Aviva meet up for dinner at a restaurant called Jamie’s.  Sonja wants to clear the air with Ramona, especially about the loss of her boyfriend, Ben.  She tells Ramona to basically butt our of her love-life if they are to remain friends.   With a pinky promise, Ramona swears that she will never interfere again.  Having reconciled, Sonja is now free to flirt with the restaurateur and find out where he lives.  Life goes on for the former Mrs. Morgan.

Sonja is putting the final touches on Milou’s memorial service and is trying to dictate her speech  into her phone.  The phone doesn’t understand what she’s saying and keeps asking her what wants.   Sonja and her phone get into an argument and are no longer on  speaking terms.    The group gathers by the river for the service and everyone is dressed in black, with some of the ladies wearing the hats they tried one earlier.  There’s champagne and a large portrait of Milou with a tennis ball in his mouth.  There’s even a program so that the mourners can keep track of the event.  Sonja delivers her eulogy, talking about how much her dog meant to her.  She says that he was the best thing to come into her life before her daughter.  Heather, in her talking head, understands that this has as much to do with Milou’s death as it does for everything in Sonja’s life. She’s not just moving on from her fur friend, but from her ex-husband and all of the things that have happened in her recent past.   Sonja’s friend, the Reverend Robin Cofer, says a prayer  and as the others wave good-bye. Sonja begins to toss Milou’s ashes into the river.  Carole whispers to Aviva that Milou was gay, something she says she  found out by reading  Aviva says that this might inspire other dogs to come out as well.  The ashes don’t go exactly where they’re supposed to and a bit of Milou lands on the sidewalk.  No surprise there.  Milou was a New York City dog and New York City dogs often leave a little something of themselves behind on the sidewalk.

Adieu, Milou.


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Weekend Special – FREEDOM

Hello Friends of Lucy.. To the left you see the second day of her freedom. Freedom from what you ask? Her leash in the back yard. It’s one of those 26 foot retractable types that until a couple days ago, I’ve required she be attached to in order to go outside. Kind of like chaining her but she’s had the full run of the back yard for the most part since day one. It isn’t a huge yard. It’s not very well kept either as you may have noticed in some pictures.

This isn’t the first time she’s run loose either. When I got her, I was told that the people who surrendered her found her stray on the street. I don’t know if I believe that. I would never do it but I’m convinced she was abused while tied on her leash. You see, If we are going to go outside, it’s either the front or back door. Out the back door she is okay with going out there and comes back in without much problem. Out the front door however it’s a wrestling match to get her back in the house. I don’t know why the difference but it’s different. Anyway, the longer she’s been here, the more convinced I am she was beaten, either at the end of or with a leash. She may never be completely trusting of one but up until now, she hasn’t had any choice if she wanted to go out.

Every morning, rain or shine, whether I want to or not, I wake up with one purpose. To take her outside. Someone tell me again about who the boss of the house is.. I’d like to know. Here, clearly, she is. She’s patient but she still has to go outside. Her path is first to the fence to evict the rabbits who have set up shop there. She can’t get to them but she’ll nearly dislocate my shoulder trying. Once she gives up on that, it’s to the back yard behind the garage to take care of her business. Then if I feel like it we go to the back yard so she can get some exercise. That includes sniffing every square inch of ground and a lot of grazing followed by a good puke. Better outside than in here. After that, it’s back inside where she is fed for the day.. That brings us to the first bout of the crazies.. Minus the pictures and theme song at the end, this is the typical routine when she first comes in. She goes right for that squeaking toy, and spends about 5 minutes tearing around the house with it. She does the same thing when I try to talk on the phone, or watch a movie, though sometimes she’ll watch the movie with me.

I have always felt bad having her on that leash in the back yard. From where I sit, she can actually get to the house but, she also gets the leash wrapped around her hind legs. Normally, she’ll free herself from being tangled up unless, she sees a squirrel, a rabbit, a bee, a butterfly, a blowing leaf, whatever. She will take off like a bat out of hell and forgets she’s confined until the violent jerk at the end of her leash. As I said, she gets it wrapped around one of or both of her hind legs and the other day, I was convinced she had hurt herself at the end of the leash. That prompted beginning to test her resulting in this..

For reference, the corner of the house to the back corner of the garage, is the limit of that leash, and she will do the same running on the leash. She’s learned her for now, limit. The final big test was, will she come back in the house of her own free will (with a little coaxing). 2 for 2, yes she does. I’m not ready to claim victory yet but it’s a great start.

Hope you enjoyed this quick update and we both wish you a happy Memorial day.

Posted in Mel The Hound's Weekend Special, Uncategorized | 25 Comments

The Real Housewives of New York City – The Ramona Trap

The ladies who didn’t go to the Hamptons on a friend’s plane are waking up with hangovers.  A yoga instructor shows up and the group tries to hold the poses, but their night of drinking, along with Sonja’s bout of flatulence make it impossible to do much more than rest in the child’s pose.  It’s time to leave.

Back in the city, Carole is getting her hair and makeup done for a photo shoot for an article that will feature her in Bella magazine.  LuAnn calls and Carole invites her to the salon so that she can pick up some etiquette tips for a piece she’s doing for Town and Country magazine, called “Manners and Misdemeanors”.   LuAnn arrives and offers some pointers on gift giving.  Hostess gifts should be labor free, meaning no flowers that require finding a vase.  Wine and candles are always welcome.  When it comes to guys you’re dating, a book, a massage or some cologne are good ideas, depending on whether you’ve had sex or not.  The article appeared in the October issue and, if you’re interested, you can read it here – Gift Return Etiquette – Town & Country Magazine

Ramona Singer

The first order of business for the group is to have the intervention they planned for Ramona and they meet at a restaurant with plans on how to keep her from running away.  LuAnn will play the role of linebacker or defensive end or some other football position and throw Ramona to the ground if she makes any moves towards the door.  After she tackles Ramona, the other ladies will tie her hands and feet making it impossible for her to reach her cell phone and call for a friend to rescue her.   With their scheme in order, Ramona arrives and LuAnn and Heather head to the ladies’ room so that Ramona has to slide into the booth.  When they return, having accomplished the first part of the caper, they sit down and the confrontation begins.  In turn, the ladies tell Ramona how they felt about her hightailing it out of the Berkshires without any notice and lying to them about the reason.  She says that she really did feel uncomfortable in the woods and had to leave before she suffered a breakdown from which she might never return.  In her talking head, Sonja commented on the fact that Ramona’s PTSD could conveniently come and go in the blink of an eye.  Ramona finally agreed that she needed to work on some of her anger issues, but said, in her talking head, that she would have told them anything they wanted to hear just to get out of there and away from their incessant scolding.

Kristen is at home, awaiting the therapist for Kingsley who had yet to walk.  Josh is there and he admits that he’d rather be at a business meeting.   Things between them continue to go downhill, even after the therapist arrives.  Josh keeps checking his cell and answering emails, while Kristen glares at him.  She asks him to get more engaged with Kingsley’s therapy but he says that he can multitask.   When he steps away to take another call, Kristen follows him, and they bicker some more.  She’s upset that he’s never home, never surprises her with flowers and he tells her that he would come home earlier if dinner was on the table once in a while.   He has a business to run and she wants the same romance they enjoyed before the kids and the business existed.  They aren’t all that different from any other relatively newly married couple with the same demands and complaints.   Husbands and/or wives with careers often spend too much time at work, leaving their partners at home to tend to the children and the house.  They both just need to realize that.  And yes, the occasional bouquet and dinner at 7 help.  Cheap shots don’t.

Ramona Singer

Ramona is working out in her bedroom when her husband, Mario, walks in.  She tells him all about the treatment she received at the hands of the other ladies and he just nods and listens – or not.  He agrees with everything she says – the ladies don’t understand, Ramona doesn’t need therapy and the woods are a bad place because of poison ivy.   Sometimes, when a husband says “yes dear”, it’s for all the wrong reasons.  She hugs him and they have some wine.  Their marriage, according to Ramona, is a success.  Marriage and success, like everything else, is all relative.

LuAnn and Jacques have set Carole up on a date with an actor, Nick Gregory and they all meet for drinks and dinner.  Carole says that she’s met Nick before and Googled him prior to their date but got his name wrong.   Jacques asks the waiter for a pen and paper so that he can rate Carole on her dating skills.  They’re pretty bad, especially for a woman who wrote a book on the subject, as LuAnn pints out.  Somehow the conversation turned to the subject of orgasms – not what one would expect for a first date, but what do I know.  I haven’t dated since the Renaissance.  LuAnn says that, with a little practice, Carole’s dating may improve, as it can’t get much worse.Ramona Singer

Ramona and Kristen have a date for tea and to talk about the glass throwing incident.  When Kristen arrives, Ramona gets up to hand her a bouquets of yellow roses – see, Josh, that’s how it works.   By the way, yellow roses signify friendship and the start of a new beginning.  I wonder if Ramona knew that when she picked them out.   She then apologizes to Kristen, telling her that what she did was awful, embarrassing and out of character for her.  Kristen isn’t having it, though, and tells Ramona that no one has ever thrown anything in her face before.  She asks Ramona if she had too much to drink or maybe needs some anger management therapy.   Ramona says that she doesn’t have any issues and begins to look at her watch.  She tells Kristen that she won’t be staying long enough to order anything and is going to meet Avery.  When Kristen tells her that she always has somewhere to go, Ramona responds in a way which makes Kristen sound like a bad mother.  Okay, that probably wasn’t necessary – or nice.  Kristen, finally, acknowledges that Ramona appears remorseful.  She also says that if Ramona wasn’t, she’d be a monster.  Ramona says that she’s been called a lot of things but never a monster and Kristen says that there’s a first time for everything.  I can’t tell if this is resolved or not.  I hope so, because it’s gone on too long already.

Aviva is off her suspension and will be back next week – and she’s bringing her dad.  Great.



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The Real Housewives of New York City – Bon Voyage, Ramona

Kristen’s lip is gushing blood – not really, but she’s carrying on like it is.   Sonja and Ramona have made off in their getaway car and headed straight for Heather’s house to blow dry their soaking wet hair.  If they’ve learned anything from their stints as Bravo Housewives, it’s that you should always look good in case there’s a mugshot in your future.  Ramona told Sonja that it wasn’t her intention to hurt Kristen.  She just reacted to being splashed and grabbed the first glass, oar and set of nunchucks she had handy.  Ramona wanted Sonja to believe that what happened on the lake was due to her terrible childhood and that throwing things at people made her just like her father.   Sonja breaks down and starts wailing that Ramona shouldn’t say things like that.  Ramona could never be like her abusive father.   Sonja tended to see it as a case of Kristen poking the sleeping lion who had no choice but to bare her claws.  She did have a choice, of course, and Ramona, on any level, would never be mistaken for a sleeping lion, or a sleeping anything for that matter,  but Sonja seemed to think it was an appropriate analogy.

Heather is doing her best to turn this weekend getaway around and avoid another event that becomes all about Ramona.  Good luck with that.  Ramona, having fixed her hair, explains to Heather that she doesn’t understand why Kristen is making such a big deal out of her cut lip.  After all, Ramona split her lip when she was firing a shotgun.  It’s the same thing, right?

Kristen and Carole are outside on some lawn chairs and Kristen is complaining about a headache she has from the glass tossing incident.  Carole tells her that she shouldn’t mess with Ramona’s blow dry, which is probably sound advice if you don’t want things flung at you.  Heaven knows that Ramona doesn’t have any self-control.  Ramona wanders outside and offers an apology to Kristen, which sounded more like an excuse and which Kristen took as one.   Her lack of acceptance for the half-hearted mea culpa leads to another fight between the two of them, with Ramona screaming that Kristen shouldn’t have gotten Ramona’s hair wet.  She also brings up her father in the middle of the argument, which doesn’t go over well with Kristen.  Heather watches and laughs about the whole thing, pointing out the obvious absurdity of a war over wet hair.   We’re watching and wondering whether this whole thing is really about hair or about someone who couldn’t wait for a weekend without his wife.  Kristen just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Heather calls a temporary truce for the rest of the evening and the group is joined by an Elvis impersonator, to the delight of Kristen.Kristen TaekmanThe next morning, Ramona is still in her room while the others have breakfast.  She’s packing her bag, but tells Carole that she’s just sorting her clothes so that they don’t get mixed up with Sonja’s.  When Carole walks away, Ramona calls her friend, Adam, and asks him to fly his plane to the Great Barrington airport and rescue her from the madness she helped create.    She then joins the others and they take off for a hike in the woods.  Most of the ladies are busy hugging trees to feel their energy but Ramona pulls Carole aside and begins to act out the play she’s written just for the occasion.Carole Radziwill, Ramona SingerShe begins to tell Carole a story about an abusive father who moved his family out to the country so that he could torment his family without any interference from nosy neighbors.  She then stops at a clearing and says that it looks just like her childhood backyard.  This causes her to start demonstrating, for Carole’s benefit, how Ramona had to play with imaginary friends who made mud-pies with her.   It’s such bad acting with such a terribly scripted plot, that Carole now realizes Ramona has planned this escape from witch mountain from the moment she agreed to go to the Berkshires.   She blurts out that she has to go and asks Carole to drive her to the airport.  When they meet up with Heather, Ramona continues the charade, garnering sympathy from the as yet unsuspecting Heather.   Carole and Ramona walk to the house while Sonja begins to berate Kristen for not having any empathy for Ramona’s troubled childhood.   She also tells Kristen that she, Sonja, understands Ramona’s pain because she saw her mother being battered with her head in a toilet.   She tells Kristen that she provoked Ramona and Ramona just reacted.  Heather says that provoking is the wrong adjective and LuAnn, in her talking head, informs all of us that provoking is a verb, not an adjective.  Duly noted.

Carole drives Ramona to the airport and Adam is waiting for her with his plane, and as it takes off, Carole stands on the hood of the car and waves at them.  Back at the house, Carole tells the others about the awaiting plane and Ramona’s suspicious behavior with the earlier packed bag.   They then head out for a day on a pontoon boat where Sonja makes a fool out of herself by trying to seduce the 20-year-old captain.   She stays on board as the other ladies swim, because she doesn’t want to ruin her hair.  How sick are we of Ramona’s and Sonja’s hair?   Left alone with the young man, Sonja begins to grill him about his dating lie and asks him if he’s on Christian Mingle.  She tells him that she tried it but was deemed unmatchable.  I bet.   When they make it back to shore, Sonja asks him for his phone number.  I hope he gave her the number of the local police.  It was what I used to give guys who I wanted to get rid of.

While at the house, Kristen calls Josh to tell him about her lip and Ramona’s behavior.  He’s shocked that a grown woman acted that way and then puts Kash on the phone to talk to Mommy.  Kash says he that got new shoes and hangs up.  That was the best and most honest conversation of the entire episode.

To celebrate their last night in the Berkshires, the ladies go to downtown Great Barrington for dinner.  The missing Ramona becomes the topic of conversation after LuAnn gets a text message informing her that Ramona is at  model Molly Sims’ party in the Hamptons.  Sonja tried to defend her friend, but LuAnn just says “She lied to you.”  Sonja is pouting and stewing about her friend’s betrayal of trust.  She doesn’t understand how Ramona could leave without even saying good-bye, unless she knew about the plan all along.  I’m not so sure that the gripe sisters have many secrets between them.   LuAnn also gets a picture on her phone which shows Ramona at the party and now the group decides that Ramona needs an intervention for her erratic behavior.   The ladies toasted that but I think what they really were toasting was a chance to call out Ramona for her lies and manipulations, especially LuAnn, who has years of history to reconcile.  She looked downright giddy at the thought of confronting Ramona.Sonja Morgan

Ramona was Andy’s’ guest on WWHL.  I was going to watch it to see how she was going to spin her latest antics but decided that there was little she could say that would make much difference.  She hurt Kristen and there’s no reasonable or convincing way she can spin that.  She also used her childhood and the abuse by her father to get out of the Berkshires and back to her fabulous Hamptons’ party life.  Or she just wanted to find out how Mario was spending the weekend.  Instead of playing out her planned ruse, she could have told the group what her real concerns were and all of them would have understood, and, more than likely, would have offered their comfort and support.   Either way, at least for me, her credibility is shot and my sympathy for her marital plight has grown thin.  Well, at least Heather got a new AC unit out of the whole thing.

Aviva is in week two of her three week Bravo timeout and there’s still no sign of Amanda.  Can’t complain about that.



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An Atlanta Shakeup – Nene versus BravoAndy

The news out in the Housewives’ blogosphere* is that Nene Leakes has been fired, or at the very least, demoted to a mere friend of the Housewives.  Either way, it means that, if she returns, she won’t be holding the coveted Georgia peach.   Along with the news are a number of theories as to why she won’t be a regular, full time Housewife, including the notion that her disrespect for her boss, Andy Cohen, during the last reunion was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Over the past couple of seasons, it’s become apparent that Nene was taking herself and her fame more seriously than it warranted.  She, from what we could see, perceived herself as the Queen of the Atlanta franchise and was not about to relinquish her title to anyone.   Her comments and attitude during this year’s reunion gave us all a glimpse into her own contempt, not only for her castmates but for Andy as well.  Her remarks about the producers and behind the scenes manipulations, something we’ve long suspected as truth, did not sit well with Bravo or Andy and may very well be what caused the decision to “put her in her place”.

This morning, I read an interesting piece on Facebook, written by disgrazia4, which offers a very different and interesting perspective on not only Nene’s and Andy’s issues, but on the entire way Bravo treats their Housewives.    With her generous permission to do so, I’ve brought that post here, so you could read it and decide for yourselves as to who’s fooling whom and who really deserves their comeuppance.



A Few Thoughts On Nene, BravoAndy And Feeling Some Type Of Way

I have been reading all the recaps and opinions, and you know how there is often something out there that completely gets what you were feeling? Well that often happens to me but even with all this brouhaha I have reading about Nene Leakes of RHOA this season, nothing I’ve read has covered what I am feeling towards her. You see, I think Nene has been trying to convey some kind of message to us and she has been trying to get it through the edits that cut her show up and in her WWHL interview with BravoAndy and at the reunion. I think Nene is no longer enamored of BravoAndy and is pretty much done. She seems barely able to hide her thinly veiled disgust for Andy and the show. She seems to have been screaming her reasons to us, the viewers. I feel like I’m like the only one who has heard her. I came across a Celeb Dirty Laundry rumor talking about Nene getting fired because BravoAndy is not happy with her attitude or the things she said to him recently. I don’t know if this rumor is true but if Andy’s crooked smile has fallen I’m okay with that as he has wiped the smile off my face and giggle in my heart plenty of times!!

This is the Celeb Dirty Laundry link that discusses the rumor about Nene getting fired:

BravoAndy is getting what he gives IMO. He has been degrading these women for a long time. I think Nene has spent her time on the reunion and on her one on one Watch What Happens NOT Live (which was NOT live BTW!), trying to convey to us viewers, exactly what it is like for her and for all the ladies to be contextually manipulated without any say or protections.

What is Real at the end of the day for these ladies? When their actions and motives are manipulated and they must defend scenes and timelines that didn’t go down the way the show edits them, it must be exhausting and maddening. When does the Reel become Real? I’m surprised these people don’t pop off or go mad more often. Oh wait. That is what Nene is doing. Even the actor who plays an evil character on a soap gets time off to be who they really are. They can appear on talk shows to discuss what their character does apart from themselves. Not so with the Real Housewife. She NEVER gets a break from the edit. There is never time off. She must always be “on.”

I think that more than Marlo or Kenya, Nene is angry at BravoAndy because while he knows the Real nature of the what is going on, he plays the game and expects the same from them. Sure, they signed up for it. But can anyone really know what that is like until they are in it, defending actions and behaviors that didn’t quite go down the way they are shown and all the while everyone knows this, even many of the viewers but the hapless charade must continue and not only continue but be evermore amped up with each season. I don’t think these ladies get paid enough for the mental gymnastics they have to go through. Unless they are mad perhaps but then wouldn’t that be unethical? LMAO, I must have lost my mind for a minute and forgot we were talking about Bravo.

BravoAndy likes to say that the Real Housewives shows are like a Real Life Soap Opera. Perhaps this is so, but even Erica Caine gets a chance to show her Susan Lucci side to the World and she was paid much better and had the protection of a union. These franchises cost little more than infomercials to produce and garner much profit for the networks, little of which goes to the RHW’s themselves. These shows get World wide viewing and the profits that go along with it. The ladies reap not one red cent from the repeats. But they get to be reminded of any stupid or embarrassing thing they’ve done forever and ever ad infinitum. I think Nene got her million dollar salary because she aware of this. But even so, she remains dissatisfied. At least that is the sense I get from her. It isn’t that hard to imagine. At some point we all have to be free to be ourselves and stop with the pretense. And, say what you will about RHW’s, pretense is a huge part of the shows.

Nene sure did throw some shade at BravoAndy recently this season, didn’t she??!! At the one on one WWHL (which was not live…just as Jill’s wasn’t), Nene pointed out for all of us BravoAndy’s ‪#‎ShadyLaugh‬.  I loved it and thought it was the best part of the interview. I sent it out into the twitterverse! It was when he was asking her who should no longer be on the show. Nene cleverly turned the question back on him saying that whenever she answers that type of question it always gets her in trouble. And, remember when she seemed so surprised that BravoAndy was in charge of hiring/firing? Do you really believe Nene didn’t know BravoAndy is the one in charge of hiring and firing the ladies? I think Nene was making sure All the viewers watching knew this with her “surprise” and reiteration of this point. BravoAndy himself couldn’t believe she didn’t know this but I think Nene was acting the coy one here. I believe she was perfectly aware of what Andy is in charge of and seems to no longer care for any of it.

Finally, at the reunion Nene used the word Queen and the discussion (and tacit suggestion that she used the word pejoratively) turned to what Nene meant by using that word. Kenya led this questioning as she was trying to set Nene up to fall down the Bravo homophobic rabbit hole. You all remember that hole. Joe Guidice got stuck in it big time and Teresa and Patty have slipped into it several times as well. Whether through ignorance of hate, speaking in error about gay folks on Bravo is a Big no no that will send the person down for a long time if not forever. It’s a big slippery hole and once a Bravo cast member falls into it, it’s a mess.

I believe Nene is aware of this too and was well aware of what Kenya was attempting. First Nene defended her use of the word Queen citing Bravo’s very own show called, Fashion Queens. Pursued further, Nene shut it all down when she turned to BravoAndy and asked, in what I think was the best line of that whole RHOA reunion, “…would you like me to pull down your pants and kiss your ass?” I have a feeling that Nene is feeling some type of way towards Andy, Bravo, and Reality TV in general. I feel her as I may be feeling the same type of way myself.

Nene is no angel and she has fallen on her own Sword of Pride, perhaps fatally, perhaps not. She should have taken on Kandi’s play and anything that would keep her name out there IMO. But I believe she is angry and if this is why, I agree with her completely. BravoAndy has been pimping these ladies out for a while now. Nene no longer seems content with it.


* Tamara Tattles – Nene Leakes And Porsha Williams Will Not Hold a Peach Next Season

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24 – Live Another Day

Jack’s back.  It’s been four years since he went into hiding and he’s turned up in London, just in time to thwart an attack on another American president.   The difference is that now he’s been labeled a traitor, a psychopath and a terrorist by the same country which he fought so hard to save for over 10 years.  That’s always been the problem for Jack Bauer.   While America used him on so many occasions to do what they were unwilling or unable to do, Jack put his life, his family’s lives and his reputation on the line.  Each and every time, he completed his mission, but he was never really given the proper credit he deserved.  Quite the opposite, actually.  More often than not, Jack was used as a scapegoat and his tactics were considered not only illegal but immoral, violating every tenet that the government would have us believe makes this country the good and powerful nation it is.   What he did was show us the underbelly of this ideal, baring the true nature of the business side of the war on terrorism. and, we, the viewers cheered him on through every mission.  We got it, even when “they” didn’t.

When 24 first debuted in 2001, it was after a delay of a few weeks due to the events of 9/11.  What we got to see was that the producers were eerily prophetic by portraying a man and a government at war with terrorists.  Before we learned words like enemy combatants and enhanced interrogations, Jack Bauer was already aware of them and practicing some of those techniques.   While they were often cringe-worthy, we soon came to believe and accept that they were necessary if we were to restore and maintain the types of freedoms we held dear.    We learned that there were real life Jack Bauers – men and women who did the things we couldn’t do and weren’t willing to admit were done.  That was what the war on terrorism was about and how it was conducted.

With this new, albeit abbreviated, season of 24,  Jack is even harder and meaner than before.   Those who once called on him to protect and serve have turned their backs on him and declared him an enemy of the people he gave so much to save.  For that, his anger is understandable.   His focus hasn’t changed, though.  Despite his personal feelings,  he still wants to do what he believes is right, and saving a president, even one who wants him dead, is what he’s set out to do.

His first order of business, however, was to save his dear friend and former co-worker, Chloe, who’s been captured.  Having done that, we found out that Chloe, looking a lot like the girl with the dragon tattoo,  has also gone underground, becoming an Edward Snowden-like figure, releasing sensitive information she considers harmful in order to help the world at large.   Chloe has and will always have Jack’s back.  No doubt about it.

To further muddy the waters, a former love interest of Jack’s is back in the picture – Audrey Raines, whose father, James Heller is now the President.  Audrey, however, is now married to the Chief of Staff,  Mark Boudreau, a weaselly looking fellow.  This is sure to cause both Jack and Audrey some real angst as the season goes on.   On the bright side, however,  Jack will have some help from Agent Kate Morgan, who, due to her husband’s alleged treason and subsequent suicide, is being demoted and sent stateside.  So far, aside, from Chloe, she’s the only one who knows how smart Jack Bauer really is.   Even the new CTU/CIA station head should wake up and  realize just how much he may need Kate if he’s going to outwit and outplay Jack.

If you’ve never seen 24 before, don’t let that stop you from watching this television event.   The storyline is fast paced, but it doesn’t require that you know each and every detail of the past seasons.    It’s written to stand on its’ own and can be enjoyed just that way.   I do suggest, and highly recommend, that once you’ve watched Live Another Day, you watch all of the eight seasons that came before.   If you do, watch them with an eye for the events of the times they took place in and keep in mind what the war on terrorism has turned into.    You’ll become a fan of Jack’s in spite of what he does, and because of what he does.

(All earlier seasons are available on Amazon)


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