Archive for July, 2011

satire for the literate – OH REALLY?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I have put this off but when really great material taunts you, year after year, eventually one must give in. And, as this could be the end of the road for The Real Housewives of New York City — in six months these women will be as relevant as The Jonas Brothers — this could be my last chance. And I’m taking it.

Let’s deconstruct the title: The Real Housewives of New York City.

Real – These women are about as real as a piñata. There’s less skin-stretching, filler and stuffing in the Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Mammals. You know those beverages that have to be called “juice drinks” by law because they don’t have enough actual juice in them? Think of them as the human equivalent of “Sunny DeLite.”

Housewives — Back in the 1950s, my mother was a housewife. My dad went to work, and my mom stayed home and raised us. She took us to school, went on school trips, shopped at the butcher, the baker and the fruit market, prepared the meals, sewed, did laundry, helped us with our homework, read to us, watched “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” with us.

These women may be a lot of things, but “housewives” isn’t one of them. So “girls” – which is what you refer to yourselves as even though you haven’t been girls since Central Park was a cow pasture – please find another common noun that describes you more accurately. And really – what’s up with “the girls” thing? Does it make you feel younger to call yourselves “girls”? I wouldn’t feel wealthier if I called myself The Beatles, so I’m not sure how that particular delusion works. Do you think that the power of suggestion will somehow fool us into thinking – “no – they’re not pushing 50. No, they aren’t Spanxed from their ankles to their necks. They’re really quite coquettish.”? Hmm…. (Oh, and Jill – Spanx – Skweezed? Screech at Bobby to call your lawyers…)

Real and Housewives — Perhaps Bravo’s Andy Cohen’s crossed eyes served as an impairment when casting this show.

Had he looked hard or harder or at all, he might have discovered authentic “real” New York City housewives, maybe even women who don’t down Pinot Grigio like it’s “The Last Supper” or wear earrings the size of light fixtures or record “disco” songs when their “vocal stylings” make me miss Madelaine Kahn’s “I’m So Tired,” from Blazing Saddles.

Next, note that part of the compound word “housewife” contains the word “wife.” Is it possible to be a real housewife if you aren’t a wife? That’s like saying you’re a real starfish only you’re a bagel. So, now we see that not only are none of them are housewives — half of them aren’t even wives. Let’s look closer. Closer…

Ramona Singer

Okay, she does have a husband, which technically and legally makes her a “wife.” But she’s a wife who married someone name “Mario,” whom she insists on calling “Mourrio,” and is about three cases of wine away from a stint at Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. The Upper East Side’s Scary Spice.

Vajazzle Brazil-Wax Queen Cindy Something

Did this show really need another woman as in touch with her chronological age as Dane Cook is with his entertainment value? “Housewife” Cindy is actually closer in age to social security recipients than the mommies at “Mommy and Me” classes and seems to be more interested in ridding the city of female body hair than raising those twins who will be sophomores in college when Mom is 75. She has at least one nanny per kid, a very annoying brother and very, very old parents. But a husband? I think you need one of those to qualify as a wife…

AlexandandSimon, a.k.a “Silex

Remember when the expression “They’d go to the opening of an envelope” was used as hyperbole? Well, Alex and Simon actually would. No. Really — manila, #10 envelope, Jiffy Bag, glassine, one of those envelopes with the cash-card you give at a Bar Mitzvah or christening? They’d be there and he’d be wearing something inappropriate, cringe-worthy, and probably made of animal skin and glitter. In their case, it’s clear that neither of them are “real housewives” because I’ve seen their sons, you know – the ones with the ridiculously pretentious names? Johann and Francois? The ones they force to speak French (for god-knows what reason as they live in Brooklyn), one of whom threw a fit and smashed around someone else’s thirty-dollar hamburger at “The 21 Club”, both of whom, I am guessing, wear Speedo mankinis when dragged to St. Barts in the off-season? Maybe when they make a show called SOCIAL CLIMBERS WHO LIVE IN CARROLL GARDENS AND MISTAKE THEIR CHILDREN’S ADHD FOR ‘GIFTED,’ they can have their own show. And wouldn’t that be special?

Sonja Morgan

First, isn’t “Sonia” spelled “S-o-n-i-a”? What’s up with the “j”? Is that because she thinks it looks fancier? It doesn’t. It just looks more Scandinavian-er Sonja is also not a wife, but a woman in her forties who thinks she is in her 20s, divorced from the 80-year-old heir to the J.P. Morgan banking fortune. Anna Nicole Smith with better table manners and no Howard K. Stern. Stop showing me your thighs and your ass, Sonja. Stop dressing up in Marie Antoinette shit and Caberet burlesque shit because real housewives don’t have the time for that shit. But I would like to see you weep again about the possibility of your losing your $14 million dollar townhouse because 1) it really wasn’t ever yours and 2) I want to feel financially superior to you. I already feel morally and ethically superior – just wanted to go three for three.

Bethenny Frankel
Even though you “spun off” into the egocentric center of an unwatchable show, (except when you berate your house-husband and his small-town parents), The Real Housewives of New York City catapulted you into the reality star you’ve become. Actually, you began on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” which you’d hoped, everyone had forgotten. You were a caterer living with a long-haired dog, hawking Skinny Girl Margaritas, but you were not a housewife. You still really aren’t, but your husband is, so I guess that’s something.

Kelly Bensimon

Ah, Kelly – you’re kooky but that’s the worst I can say about you. You’ve grown on me. You’re the most genuine, most sincere, most attractive one on this train-wreck of a series. I like Kelly and she’s a real mom but not a real housewife. So, when they do “The Real Housemoms of New York City,” she’s a natural.

Countess” Luanne de Lesseps

First, aren’t the words “Luanne” and “Countess” mutually exclusive? “Luanne” is a name as in, “Luanne, go check the still to see if the moonshine’s ready,” or “Luanne – Go see who moved into the double-wide next door,” or “Luanne – there’s company– go and fetch us some vittles.” At best, she’s n she’s an ex-wife of an old coot of a “Count” less attractive than The Count on “Sesame Street.” She now dates a Frenchman named Jacques, who, she’s revealed, her –ex would never approve of because, “well…you know…Jacques is…well – he’s a Jew.”

Also, Luanne, darling, please note that we are not living in pre-Revolution France and therefore we are not only unimpressed with your title, we snicker at it. We know that even you think it’s important, we know it’s a made-up title that you got by merely marrying someone. It doesn’t really count, “Countess.” And after “The Count” divorced you, his next wife he takes also gets to be called “Countess,” and so on and so forth. And eventually, after so many Countesses, the title has about the same value as the Rolexes they sell on Canal Street. And stop singing. You can’t sing. Even if all of your rich sycophant friends say that you can. Marlena Deitrich, dead, has a better voice. Word.

Jill Zarin

Oy. What can I say about her that hasn’t already been said by her? Okay – at least I can say it more softly and without the cackle. Who thought I’d ever miss Whitney Houston shouting “Bobby!” It seems that every ethnic group and minority has some of its own that make the majority of the group cringe. As part of your ethnic group, Jill Zarin and, on behalf of all twelve tribes, I implore you – STFU.

So there you have it. Not real. Not housewives. And…

Q: If all of the Upper West Side moves to Park Slope and Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, and they open up cheese shops and hipster boutiques and Fairway Markets and Whole Foods, when does Brooklyn become Manhattan?

A: It doesn’t.

Not New York City. Thanks, Alex and Simon. Maybe next season you’ll social-climb your way out of bridge-and-tunnel status. Now, there’s a story arc…


Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Dear Time-Warner Service Rep:

This wasn’t what I wanted to write about this week, but following our anything but brief encounter last Sunday night, I’m afraid you are, how shall we say, my “muse”?

It was a hectic week and I needed to relax and decided to kick back and order “The King’s Speech” on Movies-On-Demand.

Not something I do too often. $4.99. I’m sure I spend more than that a day on coffee and Diet Pepsi and newspapers, but the $4.99 for Pay-Per-View, the commitment to push the little yellow triangle on the remote that says, “Accept,” has always been a problem for me.

So? I have issues. So do you. You don’t have to write about them – maybe you can’t leave your house without orange-flavored Tic-Tacs or you have to hum Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” before you unlock your front door; maybe you have to put on a sock and a shoe and not a sock and a sock, then a shoe and a shoe – trust me – the fact that I know my issues gives me a decided advantage.

But I’d seen “The King’s Speech,” and was hankering to see it again. Cell phone off. Dog sleeping. Comfy position. Can of Diet Pepsi Cherry by my side. And, after minimum hyperventilation, I hit that little yellow “Accept” triangle.

And, for a little more than 40 minutes, I was back there in the 1930s Britain– the clothes, the music, the acrid smell of war in the air, (to everyone, apparently, except heir apparent and the Royal Nazi Dunce of Windsor). And then suddenly – freeze-frame. Colin Firth, and Helena Bonham Carter in a beautiful satin understated robe that was clearly not chosen by Helena Bonham Carter.

No matter which button I hit on my remote, the frame remained frozen.

Mollie, you’re thinking – big deal. You saw the film. And even if you didn’t, big deal. All you had to do was call us and we’d have taken care of it. Wait. I haven’t stopped laughing yet. Okay. Just one more “Ha!” and I’ll respond. I did. I called you, Time-Warner. And though, finally, after approximately an hour and 38 minutes, two reps who hung up – (I’m sorry – accidentally disconnected my call), and several other inconveniences the problem was solved, I wanted to finish watching the film that night like I wanted to stick push-pins in my eyes. You “hoped you’d solved my problem,” Time-Warner. But I’m not completely satisfied…

*When I call you from my home phone and my name and number come up on your screen and you ask me my name and phone number, isn’t that just a tad kooky? And then, when I tell you my full name and number and you ask, “And who am I speaking to?” Is that a trick question? Are you writing a dossier? Isn’t that kookier than Ramona Singer’s eyes?

*After we finish the above nonsense, you know I’m me and I know I’m me, I have to verify my address, which – surprise – I know! – but this is not enough. Now you need my 16-digit account number, which you think I’ve memorized like a geometry theorem. It’s my paid bill stub, which is stuffed in a “Paid Bills” shoebox that’s about as organized as an orgy. Clearly we are not on the same page – I think I’m calling because my cable is out and YOU think I’m calling to get Pentagon clearance. So then you go for the cherry on the icing on the cake – “What is your PIN number?” Do you think that I think I have a Time-Warner Cable PIN number? Even if I believe you, do you think I know that PIN number?

Oh wait – I just remembered it – 3825 – 968! You do the math…

*Do you think I went to Time-Warner Cable School? Do you see a tool-belt around my waist? Then why do you think I want to start working when I call you? I call you because my cable isn’t working, not because I want to learn a trade. And yet before you will agree to send a service rep out, you have me unplugging my cable box, locating a coin or screwdriver to take the back off of some box, reading serial numbers smaller than rice grains to you, checking all every outlet in my house, counting lights on modems – sheesh! Look — I already worked this week. I know I did because I got my paycheck and was tired on Friday. You do it. “Well, ma’am, if the service man comes out and finds that the problem could have been solved on the phone, there will be a service charge.” Oh really? I think that for almost $150 (plus inexplicable-and-probably-made-up taxes and tariffs), for phone, broadband and cable, you can send one of those ass-crack-showing repair guys over. Leave the cable box; take the staple gun.

* When I become sufficiently outraged and ask for your supervisor, don’t tell me, “I don’t have a supervisor.” Unless your last name is Time-Warner trust me – you have a supervisor. Why not be truthful and say, “I only gave you my first name, made up my extension and badge number, so I could tell you to kiss my ass and you’ll never be able to track me down and report me. Of course I have a supervisor but I’d sooner date Seth Rogan than connect you to her. Click.” I’d still want to pull your eyelids over your knees. But at least I’d respect you.

* Finally, it’s really nice that you offered to let me re-order “The King’s Speech” for free, which only means I’ll have to sit through the first part again, but it’s the thought that counts. And you gave me a free month of HBO, which I cancelled a few years ago because I didn’t think it was worth fifteen bucks a month to watch “Bridge to Tarabethia,” “Superbad,” or “Good Luck, Chuck” even once, let alone every time I put HBO on. For a micro-second, Time-Warner, I felt like I just won something, even if the mere sight of Bill Maher makes me dry-heave.

Who cares — woohoo – I got HBO for free! For a whole month! So, thanks a heap for “Jennifer’s Body,” “Bad Boys II,” and “Rollerball.” I’d almost forgotten why I’d cancelled HBO. Just so that I don’t forget again, I wrote “The Best of Katie Morgan” and “Pornacopia II” on my fridge.

And now…

Please hold. Someone will be with you in just a moment…. Mwahahaaaa.