Or porn? YOU DECIDE. More pictures here, mildly NSFW.
I have no idea why this is what your book is called Bethenny, but I’ll go with it.
The former Real Housewife of New York, currently rocking the second season of her own show, just got a renewal from Bravo, and I just figured out why I like her. Quoth MC: “yes!!! i realize why we like her so much. she truly fits the bill for “smart girls stupid things.”
*Please not that Ms. Frankel is not actually the spokeswoman for Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things, though if she happens upon this site and feels the overwhelming urge to become involved in any capacity, I will not say no. Also, late at night, if you’re stressed and can’t sleep, please watch her video for Bluefly, which is incredibly soothing. While you’re at it, go with your instinct to create a playlist of Bluefly videos; they’re definitely in the same neighborhood as juicystar07 and all that she does that is holy and good.
Lobster is indeed far too expensive for those of us who feel it is our lifeblood.
IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT IF YOU’RE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR TAXES, YOU ASK THE TURBOTAX BOT IN ALL CAPS AND WITH EXCESSIVE PUNCTUATION WHAT IS UP.
In other news, it’s comforting to know that there are probably middle-aged people who are also as clueless as I about how to do their taxes. Or, it’s the reason we should never blame things on our politicians and merely recognize that we’re all idiots if we can’t follow the simple instructions of a computer. Take your pick (quietly please).
Exciting news, trusty and loyal steeds! I’m working on an actual BOOK (“You remember books…primitive versions of the DVD”), entitled The Book of Jezebel. It is, you guessed it, an encyclopedia about the site Jezebel. Lots of cool people are involved, but the head honchos consist of the always impressive feminists Anna Holmes and Kate Harding. Please stay tuned, and help me with my first task:
What are words that start in F that have something to do with anything that you think that someone who reads Jezebel might care about?
Think outside the box; people, places, things, adjectives. I want you for your BRAINstorming, not your body.
And call it a day. I don’t know who is sleeping with Darren Criss on that writing and producing staff, but bravo.
Also did you know that Rashida Jones sang backup on Maroon 5’s debut Songs About Jane, including the tracks “Tangled”, “Secret” and “Not Coming Home.” I haven’t yet purchased It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, but she’s on the track “Kiwi” as well. brb, queuing up a playlist and listening intently.
I spent several weeks transcribing the documentary Bill Cunningham New York this fall before its full release to theaters, and I’m super excited to see that it’s finally getting out there for all everyone’s viewing pleasure (though hopefully not everyone will have to see it as many times in a row as I had to). As the director Richard Press (who I’ve written about before here) explains, “When people ask how long it took to make Bill Cunningham New York I say ten years: eight to convince Bill to be filmed and two to shoot and edit the film. Had it been any different, Bill wouldn’t have been true to who he is or nearly as interesting a subject to film.” It’s a beautiful case study into an extremely genuine, quirky, and talented man who usually has the lens turned on other people, not himself. The filmmakers use choice dialogue, and allow Bill’s work, what Bill is known for and what he shapes his whole life around, speak for itself. It’s absolutely a testament to Press and producer Philip Gefter’s cumulative background in photography (this is the duos first film).
Bill does things old school. He doesn’t rely on digital cameras; everything is done in film. To watch him go through his film is to take a step back in time, and I found myself almost yearning for a wax pencil with which to circle my chosen shots. Barely anyone in this film has anything bad to say about Bill, making this is less of a full-bodied picture of a man, and more of a film desperately trying to find out anything about perhaps the most private individual ever. Annette de la Renta says, “He catches you crossing a street with boots and blue jeans and this, and he’s so happy. And he’s much happier when you’re in this, looking terrible, and ratty, then he is if he saw you in something, incredibly elegant and smart.”
Not everyone loves him or knows him (there is one shot of him attempting to take a photo of a group on young high school black girls, who shout “Don’t take a picture of us! I’ll break that fucking camera over your head”, but the film is a bit of a love letter, especially with commentary from the Queen of the fashion world, Anna Wintour. “I think everyone who knows Bill, and understands who he is and what he represents, will always be thrilled to be photographed by Bill. I mean I have said many times that we all get dressed for Bill,” she notes.
The filmmakers wisely don’t limit their scope to Bill; his home, and the cast of characters surrounding him paint a picture of a world in fashion and art that is slowly fading, but still represented by some strong personalities. His friend Editta Sherman lived down the hall from him in the Carnegie Hall apartments and was rather famously covered in this New York Times article. In one scene, Editta, a photographer, shows off some of her shots, exclaiming, “See this is uh…you know who she is!” An off-camera voices asks, “Tilda Swinton?” Editta shouts “Yes! Swinton! Isn’t that nice?”
Bill is unique in that he does not consider himself a great photographer, but he does consider himself a great lover of fashion. I would argue that he is a great photographer, in that his compositional skills and ability to see something others would pass by are outstanding. He first started shooting when a friend of his gave him a camera and said, “use it like a pen. Like you take notes,” and it’s clear this mantra has never left him.
Bill’s changing surroundings and his documentation of them are an undercurrent throughout this entire celebration of his work. I would have imagined him to be intensely saddened by his move from his long-time Carnegie Hall apartment (it’s worth watching the film just for the footage of its size and how he utilizes it; it is miniscule, full of filecabinets with his photos, and holds no kitchen). His only comment about moving? “It’ll be an apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom. Who the hell wants a kitchen and a bathroom? Just more rooms to clean….I have more fun going out and photographing.”
Bill is aware of class hierarchy, but he doesn’t dwell on it, because looks are more important, no matter where you are from. At one point he runs into some “kids” who ask where their photo will be printed. When he answers The New York Times, he clarifies that “The Times has a little benefit page. It’s small stuff. Unimportant.” The young man says, “We’ve got to be in it. We’re pretty good looking people.” Bill says, “Yea. That’s what I thought.” His close relationship with Brooke Astor includes footage of him at her birthday party, describing her as “a rarity. She had such a human touch — a correctness about her. But not in a stuffed-shirt way. She immediately made people feel at ease. She believed, not in exclusion, but inclusion. We’re all the same, we all have the same problems, we all have family members that are…whatever the hell it is.” The camera cuts to her son Anthony Marshall, recently sentenced to prison time for embezzling from his mother, saying emotionally, “I’ve loved and admired my mother for more than three-quarters of a century. Let’s all toast to my mother, who was born, not only on the 30th of March, but in 1902, the 30th of March was Easter Day.”
Wealth is never to be taken too seriously, however. At a protest about the lack of clothing actually made in the Garment Industry in New York these days, Bill runs into Michael Kors, and admires his pea coat. “Get ready for the best part of the pea coat. Cashmere and neoprene,” Kors says. Bill laughingly responds, “Oh, too rich for me.” His love of fashion is juxtaposed lovingly with his intense frugality in a way I doubt many could uphold.
This film is not all celebration. I couldn’t escape the feeling of tranquility and melancholy wafting through it, despite the fact that I’m certain Bill wouldn’t have his life any other way, or perhaps he wouldn’t allow himself to even think of having it any other way. I won’t reveal too much about the most touching and personal part of the movie, a stark, one-on-one interview with Bill that covers his sexual orientation, family, feelings about religion, and lack of close relationships. The filmmakers allow long moments of silence speak more than actual conversation does. The one thing Bill will admit about his life is to say that perhaps he is in love with his work, as impossible as that sounds. Better yet, he almost proves no one else could pull it off but him.
The film opens at New York’s Film Forum today for a two week run.
Editors Note: This is a VERY detailed account of the finale. Videos and images featured are by Kate herself, and were not filmed at the time of Francesca’s viewing.
Remember when The Bachelor began this season, and the voiceovers kept calling it the “Most Controversial Season Ever”? Oh I’m sorry, but is knowing which lady is going to be picked for the whole second half of the season “controversial”? Is the choosing of the most “poised,” ladylike, blondest, nicest girl controversial?
There’s a certain amount of boredom you expect watching a two hour show weekly, but as soon as Brad’s mom told Emily she was looking forward to seeing her again and meeting her daughter it all became pretty obvious. Yet Brad decided to give Chantal a last date anyway to see if she could win him over fully. Such a gentleman! If you don’t get this from everything below, all this episode served to do was make me think ill of Brad. I mean, he’s been boring all season, but this episode he just really locks in that image of a 38-year-old man with stunted emotions and a really small adjective vocabulary.
So that YOU don’t have to watch it, if you haven’t already, the finale recap:
Two women…one man…and the decision of a lifetime
Of course, we start with a season recap, and his special and unique relationship with each remaining girl: which basically means they show Chantal slapping Brad and Brad saying “Emily’s one in a million.” Again. I mean really, who’s he gonna pick?
Also, Brad talks about his “electric connection” with Chantal, which always reminds me of Jake Pavelka telling Tenley they had physical chemistry but not sexual chemistry. WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE MEN. Why are the only compliments they can think of concerning “electricity” or the girls’ ability to make them feel happy?
First off, we meet Brad’s fam: His mom, two brothers (one of them a twin!) and the brothers’ wives. He cries. A lot. I mean how long has it been since he’s seen them? They all live in Austin. Oh the isolation of having 25 women and Chris Harrison around you…
Brad’s fam tells us more things Brad’s already told us repeatedly throughout the season: “He’s a completely different person than he was 3 years ago.” “This is the real Brad [when he’s crying].”
“Are you considering proposing?” “100%.” Oh good because that’s the PREMISE OF THE WHOLE SHOW.
I always have issues with the finale episode because I don’t understand why the decision waits til the last second. Like, how can he or the woman he chooses immediately begin an “engaged” relationship when he, days before, was still maybe in love with someone else? …And in this case it is CLEAR he’s in love with Emily but they are still forcing the decision to the end. Wouldn’t it be more “controversial” for him to say goodbye to Chantal early because he already figured it out?
Chantal Meets the Family
Chantal arrives to meet the fam. Chantal, what are you wearing. A smock? Also, his brothers’ wives are named Prima and Dylan. l love the South.
WHAT. Chantal: “The first time I saw Brad, it was like my parents said they had that feeling, I had that feeling where I just knew.” NO, REMEMBER HOW YOU SLAPPED HIM. YOU DID NOT JUST KNOW.
Props to her though, she seems pretty real with the family. She’s very likable. Also, the brother called her “incredibly attractive.” Is that appropriate?
Family, stop telling us that “Brad went through hell last time he did this.” OH , DID HE? Did he? After dumping two women at once? Yeah that must’ve sucked for HIM.
Brad’s twin brother is a hottie. Less facial hair. Brad’s mom asks Chantal: “I have to ask, how did you fall in love so quick?” GREAT QUESTION. I have so very much to say on this subject (short answer: feeling “in love” versus actually LOVING someone, am I right?). Chantal, your hair and makeup look soo good, but why are you wearing a smock. Ok, telling the mom “You’re so fabulous.” Winning move.
“If everything works out, I will marry her.” No, it’s not “if everything works out.” I’m pretty sure YOU are the agent here, Brad Womack.
Emily Meets the Family
Oh man. Emily time. Brad apparently tells his fam nothing about her, except that “Emily is a remarkable woman.” And he literally jumps off the couch when she arrives. “I’m so happy to see you.” He’s jumping up and down. She brought flowers. Good move. Can we just talk about how she looks like she belongs aside the other wives in the family?
Brother Wes notes she’s a little more reserved. Yet, as soon as they find out her story they call her “poised” instead of reserved. Men are dumb.
Brad, I have a very important question for you. Why didn’t you tell your family the story about Emily’s DAUGHTER and former fiance before this meal? Awkward, awkward times ensue when brother Wes becomes very worried about little Ricki having to move to Austin. “Would Ricki’s father be ok with this?” leads to Emily having to tell the WHOLE story again to the family she just met. I just think it’s kind of awful for them (even if it was the producers who wanted the story to be told again on camera and not Brad) to make Emily do that again.
Serious convo between Brad and his bros about the child. Is Brad looking deep enough inside himself to see what he wants? “Do you get the warm fuzzy feeling?” “Buddy, I get the warmest feeling that I can’t describe.” “This woman and her daughter…she is truly one of the most genuinely sweet women I’ve ever met in my entire life. I like that she’s a lady…she makes me want to be a better guy.” OK EFFING PROPOSE TO HER I’M SO TIRED OF THIS CRAP.
Mom interviews Emily, who says: “I am so grateful to have met your son. He has been such a blessing to me….and any girl would be lucky to have him.” She certainly knows how to win a mom over. The mom recaps for the cameras: “She said he was her angel…*tears*….her angel.” At the goodbyes, mom says: “I look forward to seeing you again…and meeting Ricki.” THIS WHOLE SHOW IS A SHAM WHY DO I EVEN HAVE TO WATCH THE SECOND HOUR.
The Family Weighs In
Brad needs his fam’s advice. And here are their helpful comments. Thanks for the thought, Womack family:
- “With Chantal, I could see you guys traveling, and sowing oats before you settle down.” Sowing oats? As a couple?
- “Fun-loving on one hand, family on the other hand.” Yes, let’s break this decision down to a simple dichotomy!
- “Chantal seems like a great person, but Emily’s a mom, and we could connect with her on that level. “Chantal wouldn’t get it…she would be the person we’d call for wine and sushi…it would just be a different experience.” OK YOU ARE HIS BROTHERS’ WIVES. STFU.
- “Emily’s just extremely poised.” “She’s just very social and sweet.” “She’s beyond great.” “I think Emily is kind of the whole package.” “If my mom could choose a future for me no doubt she would choose someone just like Emily.”
This is just insulting as possible to Chantal. If it is really that clear to EVERYONE that he belongs with Emily, he needs to break up with the other lady and not lead her on with another romantic date where he says more super vague and romantic phrases that begin and/or end with “never in my life…” “I can honestly say…”…“happy” and “perfect.”
Brad prefaces the date with: “My family thought Emily was the one, but I’m spending today with Chantal, and I’m hoping she can show SHE’S the one.” Speechless.
He makes her face another “fear” by swimming with sharks (I think he would find that most people fear that). But she does it for him, saying “What a great way to test out the water before we get married.” Because swimming with sharks–that’s totally relevant to real life.
She does it, prompting Brad to say: “Everything I’ve asked her to do, she’s excelled at it.” YES, but have you asked Emily to do stuff like that? Um, no. The scariest thing you did was make her ride on an elephant. Why does Chantal have to be put to these tests, and Emily doesn’t? And Chantal sums it up perfectly: “After all this, you better put a fucking ring on my finger.” HAHA. And…he’s not going to. Oh reader, does your dislike for him increase at this juncture, because mine does. TENFOLD.
“So many things have been answered with Chantal and I.” First of all, I wish that you, at 38, knew the difference between a subject and an object. “What a perfect date…what a perfect girl…what a perfect experience.” Second of all, do you know what “perfect” means? If you’re more in love with another girl and enjoy your time with her more, than a date with this girl is not “perfect.” You are being MISLEADING. Which is hurtful. Your trite words are HURTFUL. And just sooo boring.
Back in Chantal’s room
Brad says, “It feels like I’ve known you five years.” Chantal says: “You now what I’m going to say before I even have my little reaction.” Brad says: “I’m always myself with you.” All he ever says about Chantal is how he loves that she’s up front with him and loves that he can be himself with her. Can he not think of other complimentary phrases?
Then: the gift. She made him a map of all the places they’ve been. South Africa has the label: “Our first of hopefully many more overnights.” Oh Chantal.
And then he reads her very personal note out loud. And responds: “That’s very sweet.” So much feeling, Brad. “I love the fact you’re so vocal with your feelings.” He calls her “baby” multiple times during this scene. Stop calling her your baby when you know you’re not going to pick her. Shameful.
Is he going to jump up and down again?
He freaking loves helicopters. It’s another helicopter date. “I’m so happy…to get to be with someone I absolutely love to be with.” Can you freaking stop this date and propose to her.
“Alright, babe.” You just can’t be calling two women babe. You just can’t. “Whenever I look at Em, I see everything I ever wanted in my life.” This is a sham.
They sit in a windy spot and she asks him if he’s really sat and thought about what it means to be a father. He doesn’t seem to respond, and has a blank look on his face, so she asks what he’s thinking about. “Oh, nothing. Just…in two days…” They begin talking about the decision he has to make. Ok what about those questions she just asked?
Back in Emily’s Room
He’s so nervous during their evening date. He keeps shifting and sighing. He finally tries to respond to her questions from earlier, “I want you to give me the chance to be an actual father.” She tells him it isn’t all fun, and wants to make sure he’ll be there for the hard parts too. This is a legitimate worry! But he has a romcom worthy answer for what he thinks being a father is, and then begins to get annoyed when she has more questions.
“Are you mad?” “I’m getting there.” EXCUSE ME, what? Because she’s asking questions about taking care of her daughter, making sure you understand all of the commitment? Because she wants answers that are not vague and flowery? We only see him saying “Give me the chance, I want to do it.” That doesn’t actually mean anything. “I’m telling you I’m in it, but I feel like I’m being questioned. I’m telling you I care enough about your family to be there.” He is MOODY. “I can barely breathe it’s so hot in this room.”
And then he turns the tables in a show of how not to be in an adult relationship: “…Are YOU ready to let someone in?” “I hope YOU’RE ready for this, I’m telling you I am.”
EMILY says, “I really just messed it up big time.” No you did not. He is emotionally stunted. He tells the camera, “I was shot out of the water…I was slapped in the face. Makes me profoundly hurt and upset.” Ok did they edit it to make him look ridiculous or is he actually that selfish?
The next morning: introspective time with lots of shots of the girls looking far off and talking about how much they love Brad. He talks about his exhaustion, because he’s dealing with “so many very real new emotions – this is new to me.” Oh you child. “They are so different – but both women make me so happy.” Well great, which one will YOU make happy? Believe it or not, it’s not just about your freakin’ happiness. All of the sudden, he has made a decision. Thanks to the hills and farmlands of South Africa for inspiring him.
Neil Lane Promotion
Brad KNOWS when he sees the ring. “Neil, this is it. This is it. This ring is breathtaking.” THAT LOOKS LIKE COSTUME JEWELRY/SOMETHING A REAL HOUSEWIFE WOULD WEAR. Stop it Brad.
Then, Brad actually lets the following words come out of his mouth as he describes his love: “There’s something about her aura.” Neil Lane is such a great sounding board: “That sounds like love.” “It feels so right. I’ve wanted this feeling for 38 years…for my whole life.” “I can honestly say I have never been so happy in my entire life.” Neil Lane is smiling like he wishes his business hadn’t come to this.
Back to Brad’s voiceovers: “I just know that this feeling is right…and its the best gut feeling I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t know how to describe how I’m going to feel telling one of these women goodbye.” He doesn’t know how to describe how he’s GOING TO FEEL? Shouldn’t he already stop thinking about the one he’s not going to pick?
“I’m so confident in the fact that I love this woman with all of my heart.” He literally says this twice.
Moment of Truth
CUE BACHELOR MUSIC! WHICH WOMAN WILL GET OUT OF THE FIRST LIMO??
It’s Chantal. Smallest surprise ever in the history of the show. Is it not horrible of the editors to play the voiceover of her professing her love when all the viewers know it’s not her?
Brad shows us how not to break up with someone who’s in love with you and thinks you’re about to propose:
“Where do I begin. The very first time I laid eyes on you…I felt a connection.”
THIS IS NOT HOW YOU BREAK UP WITH SOMEONE.
“You’re someone I really have looked for for a very long time…[dramatic pause] and here’s where it gets tough. I don’t know how to say it except to say I have stronger feelings for someone else.” Oh no Chantal’s face! This is awful. Stop drying her tears and hugging her– it just adds insult to injury!
“Every single thing we had, always will have, was very very real. Wait what? Always will have? Ahem, no you are about to PROPOSE to someone else. “Anything you want to say to me?” “No.” I would have given anything to see her slap him again.
The worst part about this, and what really made me frustrated with this show, is Chantal’s comment in the limo: “I just feel really stupid…how can I be convinced he was the one when he didn’t even love me.” Why does she have to leave feeling stupid? She was always clear about her feelings, and also told him multiple times to send her home if he knew she wasn’t the one. Instead he led her on and wasn’t honest with her. I HATE that she feels stupid because of his actions.
Brad: “I want to stutter and stammer…on this little speech I’ve prepared.” You’re welcome, readers, I have recorded the speech for you:
I have come so far to get to where I’m standing today, and I’ve made so many mistakes and been through so many ups and downs…I’ve always believed that when the time was right i would find the woman I’ve been looking for for my entire life [I love this. It’s like he’s been on a scavenger hunt and finally found the treasure! After 38 years!]. I knew it would take opening up in ways I wasn’t used to and I knew it would take me taking a leap of faith if I felt even the slightest bit of love. All it took was coming here and finding you. You’re the one Em. You’re it. You’re my once in a lifetime, so what I’m asking is this, please give me your forever [hmm? That honestly sounds like a euphemism]. Please let me be your best friend, let me protect you and your beautiful daughter, I love you Emily, I truly love you.
That speech would be super cute if he had not described Chantal as the “perfect girl” days before. Brad, words lose meaning when you use the same ones over and over again.
And the Seal song has been replaced, most painfully, by Train’s “Marry Me” playing behind the montage of Emily and Brad throughout the season.
In the end…
I have to say, I really did like both girls, and it seems like Brad and Emily really are well suited to each other. I just want to know if Brad decided for himself to lead Chantal on that long or if producers made him do it for the entertainment factor. There are flaws in the concept of this show, which I covered to a certain extent in my post about Shawntel Newton at the beginning of the season, but when it gets to the point where we’re really watching someone in love with someone else (and it really seemed like Brad was in love with Emily at the end), it just feels wrong to see him lead the other girl on for so long.
Do we put ourselves through two hours a week of this show because we want to see what happens to the people who sign up for it and get a little glimpse of the few crazies who get cut out early? Or do we really want to watch the evolution of a couple’s love? Because if it is the latter, I wish that The Bachelor would show those conversations where the contestants actually reveal themselves to each other, and not the moments where they are just saying how strongly they feel without actually revealing what could possibly bring up that strength of feeling (read Kate’s PopMatters post for more on this subject). Brad mentions in the finale that the women know everything there is to know about him – when did those conversations happen? Yes, that is personal information, but Brad did agree to put himself on The Bachelor and be filmed–and I would much prefer to see a genuine match come about in personal conversations and realistic dates rather than helicopter-fairy-tale-dates where we see kisses and talk about chemistry but not much else. Give us some SUBSTANCE. Tell us what you like about Emily besides her niceness. Give us more background than “she has a daughter and went through a major loss” and “my dad was never around and I used to be emotionally closed off.”
That’s why I liked Shawntel N – and why I wanted her to be with Brad. During her Las Vegas date, she talked to Brad about her job. It seemed like a conversation we have out here, outside of the TV. I loved Shawntel for being real with Brad throughout – that was not their only serious, personal conversation (of course, my real reasons for wanting her to be the chosen one may just be that I want there to be a season wherein men are vying to come live in Chico, CA with her). That’s the kind of stuff we want to see – that’s the kind of stuff that makes people actually fall in love with each other. When there’s real pain involved — and Chantal really looked genuinely hurt, it was hard to watch — we’d like to see the real that could cause that kind of feeling. Or maybe we just watch it for the few crazies.
SATURDAY: St. Patrick’s Day Is Only Good For Green Liquids
Preferably ones that are not alcoholic and projectile vomited all over the ground.
SUNDAY: Daylight Savings Starts, So We’re No Longer Falling Back But It Feels Horrible
This year, I found that the trick with the worse day of the year is to just get up even earlier than usual and get brunch. The brunch staves off the feeling of horror that it was already noon, with a nice cushion of delicious food. The debate still RAGES on over whether this holiday is a hoax or a help (emotionally, energy-wise, etc.) but no matter what we do it so perhaps it’s time to just move on. I will say, however, that it was very poorly publicized this year; I was barely aware of the impending doom! I was told Saturday, in passing! US Gov, this is your doing — get on your shit.
BONUS: Remember when this fountain was orange? Now it’s green.