For a Skinnygirl, Bethenny Frankel’s media diet is sure reaching unhealthy proportions.
The Real Housewives of New York breakout star, who was also a runner-up on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, had her own Bravo spin-off called Bethenny Ever After, pens a book series, and sells both a wildly successful liquor line and a nutrition line – phew! It’s brisk business trying to keep up with this reality Renaissance woman. And today, Frankel’s newest venture – a talk show called Bethenny – premiered after a six-week test run on six Fox affiliates during the summer of 2012. Ellen Degeneres, a huge fun of the acid-tongued reality star, serves as executive producer of the show.
Frankel opened the show with a mouthy monologue. There were self-help mantras for her audience – “You look so beautiful. You are beautiful inside and out” – and talk of her humble beginnings, living in a one-bedroom apartment (while working as a private chef) and feeling like an ugly duckling compared with the wealthy married ladies on The Real Housewives of New York City (“I wasn’t like the other women”). From the bright set decor to the goofy dancing to Frankel’s flouncy, cupcake liner-esque dress, DeGeneres’s fingerprints were also everywhere. Frankel said her show will cover everything from finance to romance, acknowledging her acrimonious divorce battle with former husband Jason Hoppy – “It’s been a very bittersweet year,” she said.
Though female empowerment came up frequently, Frankel decided to host all-male guests for the premiere – including actor Boris Kodjoe and comedians Chuck Nice and Gary Owen, who served on Bethenny’s inaugural Men’s Panel. Frankel asked them plenty of loaded questions: Does a man want a financially independent woman? How many times a week do you have sex? Do you like women who are into porn? (Ah, there’s the no-holds-barred-Bethenny we know and love.) Naturally, their answers were filled with words like “foreskin,” “sex,” and … “sex.”
After tossing a salad with a topless man – literally; get your mind out of the gutter! – Bethenny welcomed her first solo guest: Nick Cannon, who taught her how to twerk. Frankel’s sense of humor managed to make a cheesy premise palatable: “What’s the one where, like, your ass becomes its own entity?” she asked Cannon at one point. Later, she showed off her newly learned twerking moves as musical guest Flo Rida performed.
In many ways, Bethenny follows traditional daytime talk conventions – but what’s slightly different is the potential for ear-raising dialogue, brutal advice-doling instead of Hallmark-y aphorisms, and apparently, lots of talk about sex.
So what demographic is Bethenny trying to appeal to? The host is in her early forties and a mom, but she doesn’t strike me as a paperback-carrying member of the Fifty Shades of Grey set – nor is she young and hipster enough for the Girls generation. Is there a super-horny-but-I-occasionally-read-Jezebel-and-make-my-daughter-make-me-a-playlist demo?
Did you watch the premiere of Bethenny – or do you plan to check it out in the future? If so, what did you think?