I Have Questions: Team Bethenny Or Carole? Best Summer Show? Did 'The Affair' Ruin Alison's End?
It’s an occupational hazard to have A LOT of opinions as an entertainment blogger. You could mention a celebrity or a scandal, and it’s almost 100% probable that this Small Screen Girl has a clear, instantaneous and long-winded opinion about them (Beyonce: Sell-your-soul-to-the-devil ICONIC. James Gunn: There’s far more behind his jokes about child rape, and he should never work in Hollywood again. His defenders are morons.). But sometimes, even I need to sort things out. Here are some burning questions I have about television...
Team Carole or Team Bethenny?
I’ve spent an admittedly pathetic amount of time thinking about The Real Housewives of New York City’s latest feud between tragedy-magnet, Bethenny Frankel, and eternal cool girl, Carole Radziwill. This argument is a catty, petty tangle of accusations soaked in Bethenny’s tears and Carole’s indifference. Even after 157 attempts at a reconciliation this season, I’m not even sure how this rift became so cavernous.
Is it because Bethenny asked Carole’s “boytoy” Adam to photograph her charity work in Puerto Rico sans pay and he declined, she called him an opportunist? Is it because Carole is “America’s houseguest” and likes to take free trips with anyone she can? Is it because when Bethenny isn’t crying about her eroded friendship with Carole she's childishly insulting her? Is it because Bethenny is struggling with her overwhelming business and dramatic personal life while Carole’s gallivanting around with new BFF Tinsley and her unfrozen eggs? YES!
After this friendship has been abused more than the poor toilets that Cartagena house, I'm Team Sonja's Diapers. If you had to put a gun to my head or force me onto the boat from hell, I'd have to pick Team Carole, and not because I don’t feel Bethenny’s pain (especially now). However, Ms B Strong has this intense, maniac energy that can be incredibly off-putting, and it’s demanding that Carole to forgive Bethenny on Bethenny’s timetable. She’s sending Carole dozens of nostalgic pictures and texts, even though she has no real interest in hearing Carole's cogent arguments. She’s sobbing over their relationship and over-analyzing every movement Carole makes.
On the flipside, Carole shuts down to Bethenny’s tea-soaked attempts at reconciliation and exhaustive declarations of love. But every time they reach an agreement or at least a ceasefire, Bethenny lobs another emotional grenade that inflicts even more damage (Bethenny after buying an entire store sneers at Carole and Tinsley for having the audacity to talk about fashion. Or one of the most deliciously cringe-worthy moment of the season is when Bethenny was going on and on about Carole, never noticing that she was sitting RIGHT THERE).
I truly believe that still waters run deep, and while Carole appears to be chill and falling further into the Housewives rabbithole, it’s a cover for far deeper and darker emotions. She’s having issues with her on-again-off again boyfriend, Adam. She seems to be stuck in her writing career and her apartment with 19 animals named Baby. As much as I want to see these two bury the hatchets (and you know Bethenny’s is SkinnyGirl red) and try to make at a real reconciliation when the cameras are down which they were at least trying to do in the finale, with Carole running a marathon off into the sky, and Bethenny likening their ruined relationship to "burnt marinara" I don’t see that happening. Let’s just see who bests who at the upcoming reunion. If Bethenny let's Carole get a word in edgewise, she just might best her.
What did I think of Alison’s demise on The Affair?
I've been hate-watching Showtime's The Affair since its inception because I love stars Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson. Of course I was both entertained and saddened by this season's 8th episode that detailed Cole and Noah uniting with Anton to track down a missing Alison. The road trip hilarity--that included the two enemies posing as a married couple--thankfully balanced out the devastating suckerpunch of the news that Ruth Wilson's Alison had allegedly attempted suicide.
While tragic, I found some peace in the fact that it was Alison's choice to "sink back into the ocean" as the title credits have foreshadowed for four years. Since the beginning, Alison has been a woman imbued with pain: the product of a rape, she's endured an absentee mother; an estranged father who only got in touch with her because he needed a kidney; the death of her young son, and countless men who treat her like a "receptacle," not a person. So if Allison took her power back, even in the most horrific way, I could respect it.
The next episode, "Secondary Drowning," nuked that semblance of peace by showing that once again, Allison was merely an object to be used by a man. Instead of a thing to be ogled and objectified, she was used as a punching bag and then drowned by Ben once she took Helen's advice and confronted him about the fact that he was married. The second perspective revealed that an agitated, drunk Ben killed her (The first part is far too soft and emotional--a woman's rose-colored daydream instead of the grim, rough-edged reality. I mean he fixed the sink AFTER she broke up with him!)
Though I don't think that Alison willingly leave her daughter Joanie, the truth about her demise is needlessly manipulative and unnecessary. It also only heightens my hatred for the reptilian Noah (Dominic West), especially in the light of Vik's diagnosis. Why is everyone dying except him--the man who started this entire mess? Until karma finds his ass, I will still be seething as I watch Joshua Jackson wallow in rugged grief and guilt and sinks back into his own ocean of tears and booze.
What’s my favorite summer show?
This is a tough one. Thankfully every year there are more and more shows to devour during the warmer months. And honestly, I'd rather do that than be outside in the humidity. Freeform's The Bold Type is a heavy contender. It's a millennial-centric drama about three women rising (that I've dubbed The Glam Three) through the ranks at a fashion magazine. It bravely, and sometimes preachily, tackles everything from inter-office romances to fertility to healthcare with an effortless wit that we desperately need in this turbulent times, but it also provides a healthy dose of wish fulfillment. As a teenager, I imagined my life would be an episode of The Bold Type when I was in my mid-twenties (instead it was more like The Big Bang Theory if they cast black people for more than race jokes). I also cannot say enough about the poise, sophistication and beauty of this young cast. Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee and Meghan Fahy are definitely stars on the rise.
I'd also hoped that HBO's adaptation of Sharp Objects would be the bleak mystery I drank in like a sipping whiskey, especially after I devoured the book on a recent flight. However, the series is missing something--maybe processing the material. Author Gillian Flynn is heavily involved with the show, and yet it doesn't capture the true violence and darkness of the macabre tale of the novel. Predictably, Amy Adams is admirably committed to bring out even the ugliest qualities of Camille Preaker, and she does so, masterfully. However, Dan Messina feels miscast as a the charismatic Kansas detective, and all of the actors are about a decade older than their fictional counterparts. While I'm eager to see how the end of the series plays out, the adaption, thought great, is lacking the umph of the novel.
Now the series that won out the summer (despite season 3 of OWN's Queen Sugar. It wins everything all the time) for this blogger was one few people saw coming: HBO's Succession. The dark dramedy about a family vying over the reigns of a multimedia conglomerate is brilliant, biting and nail-bitingly tense, and a wonderful indictment of white generational wealth.
If you think your family is cruel to each other, check out how the Roy's spend a wedding reception. Hint: there's way more carnage than just the cake. You'll ache for Kendall (the sublime and heartbreaking Jeremy Strong) to succeed; guffaw at Kieran Kulkin's wildcard little brother; yearn for Shiv to truly harness her power as the only Roy daughter; and waffle between hating and sympathizing with Brian Cox's Logan Roy, who is battling against a changing world and an aging body to hold onto the empire he created. Succession is every bit the addictive slow-burn I was excepting Sharp Objects to be, and more.
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Small Screen Girl
I am an unabashed pop culture and TV-aholic with no plans to ever seek treatment. Explore this blog and see just how deep my obsession goes.