Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm Up Here, You're Down There

Anyone who knows me knows I have a serious love for the Bravo "Real Housewives" franchise. I've watched them from the beginning, starting with Orange County, and was actually excited when they announced the New York housewives, because I knew there would be special craziness that only New Yorkers could bring. Plus, they announced that the housewives were going to be socialites, which, after finding out who they were, was the funniest thing about the show.
Anyhow, I won't even try to apologize for the time I spend watching these reality-tv-sized trainwrecks. Although, I will say that one of the New Jersey housewives, Danielle, should have her children taken away from her because they actually seem frightened of her and I think she's doing some serious psychological damage to them. It's kind of horrifying to see reality-tv-roadkill when it's children. At least they'll have the comfort, later, that everybody will know their future drug addictions/lives as prostitutes/borderline personality disorders actually are their mother's fault. They won't have to spend years trying to figure out who's to blame.
The spin-offs from the franchise are just as funny. Jimmy Fallon did a "Real Housewives of Late Night," series on his show, with all the female characters in drag. You can probably still watch them at the site.
Andy Cohen, head of programming at Bravo, does a live half hour show every week after the current Housewives, called "Watch What Happens." Right now it's on Monday nights at 11:00. He usually has one of the housewives on, and the shows veer from brilliant to sycophantic, but it reminds me of the glory days of public access TV in Manhattan -- the 80s -- when there were a handful of shows with the weirdest mix of celebrity-hangers-on and just plain nut cases.
(My favorite was "Change Yourself, Not the World," hosted by a Hungarian hairdresser with a Phil Spector Afro hairdo and a younger guy who seemed border-line mentally challenged whose main claim to fame was that he knew Joe Franklin (who was a late night talk show mainstay in New York whose guests were always entertainers who were on their way down if not already having hit bottom but who were always introduced as if they'd just walked the red carpet). Every week he'd display a new set of Polaroid photographs of celebrities he'd managed to get his picture taken with. If Joe Franklin had C-list stars, CYNTW had D to F-list.)
This past spring, Andy had a regular caller during the live question and answer segment of the show, Ben Weiner, who was a 13-year old Upper Westside kid who loved the Housewives. One night he called in to let everyone know he wouldn't be calling in for the next month or two because he was going to camp.
So, this is just a long introduction to today's TV clip, which is Andy Cohen and Steven Colbert doing a dramatic reading of one of the most famous Housewives bitch fights of all -- the "I'm up here, you're down there," encounter between Bethenny Frankel and Kelly Bensimon. Andy and Steven don't joke around. It's a great reading, with all the drama and irony and crazytimeness made even more evident.
Enjoy! Mazel!


Pam J. said...

I loved his reading too and I've never even seen one second of a Real Anything show (nope, wait, Doug watches Pawn Stars so I have indeed watched a few minutes of Real Something). Stephen Colbert is awesomely talented. And he's often way, way far ahead of the traditional news folk. He interviewed Julian Assange (of Wikileaks fame) months before Wikileaks became front-page news. I feel no shame whatsoever from getting my TV news from Stephen and Jon (Stewart).

cyradaria said...

Either the Post or NYT slammed the series yesterday. Said there is evidence it is now produced by people who hate women. I can't watch much of it and confess I found the Calfornia gals to be complex, interesting, and simply what they are. The rest, I'm not so sure of. A lot of screaming. And I worry about the global effect the series is having: people thinking American women are like this. Most of us arent.