The Keepers, The Cosby Victims: Repressed Memories Versus the Courts

Netflix’s True Crime binge The Keepers has us captivated from episode 2 through its finale in episode 7. I leave out the first episode only because we don’t see the whole terrifying picture initially. We hear in episode 1 that a nun was murdered – suddenly, brutally and seemingly without context – and that’s not something to take lightly at all. However, we’re given an even weightier context in episode 2, the equation of murder plus molestation. Around the same time Sister Cathy Cesnik was abducted (and later found lifeless in the woods), a local girl suffered the same fate.
In episode 2 we learn that the young nun had been a protector of students in a girls’ Catholic school who were being molested and raped by the head priest in charge. We soon discover that the story is more intricate than we ever could have imagined. The nun very likely may have been killed because she was about to report the crimes to the police and had just let the main perpetrator, Father Joseph Maskell, know that she was on to him.The Keepers becomes focused on the acts of molestation that occurred in the school and how it seemed impossible they were not linked to the murders. The documentary arose after a Facebook group of former students (now in their 60s) formed with the objective of solving the crime, supporting each other as fellow victims, and ultimately, bringing justice for their beloved teacher’s murder and to Sister Cathy’s living family members.


We often hear of molesters grooming their victims, but we don’t hear as much about them enlisting other perpetrators to join them in their crimes. In the Keepers, some young students in the 1970s were sought out by these molesters because they seemed easy to take advantage of. Father Maskell is the first who then encourages another priest and a Baltimore police officer to have their turns with the minors. It is horrifying to hear and these minors are now mothers and grandmothers, women trying to remember the terribly shameful abuse that their minds have done everything possible to block out. Some of the victims have NOT repressed the memories and when they finally came forward, thanks to Facebook, their accounts lend credence to the case for Jeane, a woman who struggled with the memories.

Unfortunately, Father Maskell passed away and will not be brought to ultimate justice in this life time, although he was brought to court in the 1990s before the notion of “repressed memory” was discredited. Back then, there was no Facebook to bring forth the women (and a man) who so clearly did remember the abuse. Today, there is strength in number for his victims when it comes to recalling past experiences and feeling validated after suffering psychologically for decades.

“Experts in the field of memory and trauma can provide some answers, but clearly more study and research are needed,” states the American Psychological Association website about repressed memory. “Experienced clinical psychologists state that the phenomenon of a recovered memory is rare (e.g., one experienced practitioner reported having a recovered memory arise only once in 20 years of practice). Although laboratory studies have shown that memory is often inaccurate and can be influenced by outside factors, memory research usually takes place either in a laboratory or some everyday setting. For ethical and humanitarian reasons, memory researchers do not subject people to a traumatic event in order to test their memory of it. Because the issue has not been directly studied, we can not know whether a memory of a traumatic event is encoded and stored differently from a memory of a nontraumatic event.

Some clinicians theorize that children understand and respond to trauma differently from adults. Some furthermore believe that childhood trauma may lead to problems in memory storage and retrieval. These clinicians believe that dissociation is a likely explanation for a memory that was forgotten and later recalled. Dissociation means that a memory is not actually lost, but is for some time unavailable for retrieval. That is, it’s in memory storage, but cannot for some period of time actually be recalled. Some clinicians believe that severe forms of child sexual abuse are especially conducive to negative disturbances of memory such as dissociation or delayed memory. Many clinicians who work with trauma victims believe that this dissociation is a person’s way of sheltering himself or herself from the pain of the memory. Many researchers argue, however, that there is little or no empirical support for such a theory.”

When watching The Keepers, one must keep in mind how taboo sexual abuse was for those who attended high school 47 years ago. One must furthermore imagine why such shameful memories from those times could be mentally shunned by an individual (even subconsciously). Jeane recalls attending confession as a student in the catholic school to disclose how her uncle had molested her. The priest then asked to see her face and she felt the shame as he let her know that’s exactly how she should feel – like a damaged slut, a bad girl for having been molested and deserving of further punishment. She was someone he would go on to molest and he would encourage his small circle of trusted friends (including the other priest and the police officer) to do the same. As mentioned above, some of Father Maskell’s victims went public with their accounts of abuse as adults and in 1992, when reports were first made, people questioned the idea of “repressed memories.” The victims’ testimonies were discredited temporarily as those in the psychiatric community suggested that members of their own profession had planted false memories in patients’ minds.

Despite the schism between clinicians and practitioners and the difficulty of quantifying empirical evidence, practitioners who attest to the realness of “repressed memories” explain that victims of abuse mentally shut down in the face of trauma and post traumatic stress. Before The Keepers outlined the efforts of the women to trace Sister Cathy’s murder and tie up loose ends of a mystery, comedian Bill Cosby’s victims began to come forward and that drama played out in the public arena. Drugs were administered by both Father Huxtable and Father Maskell to their victims, to cloud the already murky memories of torturous and incomprehensible situations, crimes committed by publicly respected and trusted paternal figures.
Cosby, The Women – a recent New York Magazine cover

Today, people are commonly taught from a young age: No one should touch you in this way. In the post- Spotlight (the recent blockbuster hit about sexual abuse in the Catholic church) era, there is much discussion and an awareness of the sexual abuse history attached to the Catholic Church. Those who teach in religious schools are more seriously vetted. New, strict rules are in place (i.e. more than one teacher in the classroom) and everything is sized up greatly behind a veil of scrutiny. It cannot be easy to be a priest in 2017. Inappropriate behavior is more likely to be reported, but there are still children in the United States who are vulnerable and don’t have proper and adequate support systems. There are still children who do not have the strength to come forward as compared to their peers. Victims of circumstance, these boys and girls may also lack the mental fortitude to remember.

The Keepers is currently available on Netflix.

(This article originally ran on in my Huffington Post archive in July of 2017.)

Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH Recap: Heaven Help Us! (Ep. 814)

In the latest episode of The Real Filler Scenes of Beverly Hills, a psychic steals a storyline straight from The Twilight Zone, claiming to have a direct (telephone) line to heaven. But more on that later. We begin with an unnecessary apology from a very practical, responsible and all-too-reasonable (for this show anyway) Accountability Coach to a woman sporting a Gucci fanny pack, off-kilter blonde wig and narrow heels…all from the comfort of her own home.

Dorit rolls her eyes as soon as she sees Teddi’s calling and gives her a hard time. Teddi is wondering why she can’t get the response “I accept” immediately. She should have known not to bother in the first place, but Teddi has never watched Real Housewives of Beverly Hills before….or so she’s claimed in interviews.

Teddi is stating to Dorit that she’s sorry for giving Lisa Rinna the heads up that Dorit and PK were maligning Rinna months before. In actuality, the crux of this apology is that Teddi feels the heat from all the rehashing so common among the group. She is also trying to show she’s accountable for her actions and can admit when she’s wrong…Unlike a certain someone whose name rhymes with Shmoreet.

The ladies go to lunch later with Rinna’s mom Lois who is a feisty 89 and can order whatever the hell she likes from a menu. Lois had a stroke years ago that seemed to zap the parts of the brain that freak out from stress and anxiety and cause a perfectly sane person to feel depressed. She is as cool as a cucumber and loving life. Rinna has told her mom that she can snap at the ladies to behave if they start to act petty and Lois is up for that challenge. She ends up having to hear all about Dorit’s bathing suit business and Camille happily points out once again (in a testimonial) that Dorit just cannot shut the hell up.

Teddi is relieved that Erika is not there because she’s at some Girl Power event that is a combo of Ted Talks and Coachella. It sounds like a nightmare to me personally because 2 of the other panelists are Tyra Banks and Kimora Lee Simmons. I’m OK with Tyra, but Kimora Lee is one of those “famous” and affluent women who aggravates me in a way that I can’t explain, but Lala Anthony would be the other person that has the same cringe-inducing effect on me and it has something to do with their egos…or how I perceive their egos to be. I frequently mentally banish them both to that category of my mind – I do realize that Lois would never be as petty as I’m being.

Anyway, at this lunch with Lois, Rinna gifts the other ladies with Dusters from her eponymous collection. They all gush over the presents while adoring the senior citizen at the table. They particularly envy her ability to chow down on pancakes as they all push salad around their plates and reach for the Adderall in their respective pocketbooks.

Later on, the Housewives go to Kyle’s house where she is holding a seance with her favorite psychic, Rebecca. Lisa Vanderpump is there as well and she’s mourning the loss of “Pink Dog.” It is a loss that has hit her and her husband Ken quite hard. Ken blames himself and says that he should have seen it coming, while LVP explains that it was completely unexpected and there was no way to know. She shares that another one of her dogs is now struggling and is on a ventilator. I cannot help but think that it may be time for LVP to hire Shannon Beador’s feng shui lady and put nine lemons in a bowl STAT.

Rebecca The Psychic then tells the ladies she has a direct telephone line to God who she calls “Papa God.” This freaked me out because as I mentioned above, there truly is a Twilight Zone episode where a little boy’s telephone line goes directly to his recently deceased grandma. Teddi is a skeptic just like I am, but Rebecca is able to tap into something with her emotionally when she mentions the loss of a friend during childhood. At that point, the suppressed memory of a friend Teddi lost in sixth grade resurfaces. She’s happy that this was something that Rebecca brought up, even if the “psychic” is a total crock.

long distance call twilight zone

From the “Long Distance Call” episode of The Twilight Zone

Rebecca also connects with Lisa’s dogs and mentions “Pink Dog” – at which point she says she saw LVP tweet about her loss that very morning. Now this was a very revealing moment for me because psychics don’t normally discuss checking things out on social media. And if Rebecca is perusing Twitter, then who is to say she’s not checking, Lexis Nexis, Government Databases…even simply Googling for information?

After the psychic readings, Erika announces that the ladies will all be going to Berlin and she even manages a quasi-apology to Teddi for her earlier outburst as she invites her along. Berlin is an interesting choice for a trip and I can’t help imagining how Siggy Flicker would have reacted had the location been proposed on last season’s RHONJ (Google: History of Berlin and the Jewish people). I don’t think it would have gone over well at all, but the Beverly Hills ladies are excited. I went to Germany once and my luggage got lost and was never returned. I’ll never forget that because it was devastating – That was back in my 20s when I had incredible, expensive clothing and gave more than a damn about fashion. I came home with a brand new German wardrobe since I needed to shop for things to wear to my meetings.

I’m no psychic but my prediction with RHOBH is that there will be more tension up ahead between Erika and Teddi….

Actually, it was Twitter that gave me that indication. Rebecca and I have something in common.



Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH recap: “Do You Really Want To Make Me Cry?” (Ep. 813)

This week’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills began in reverse. We are at dinner and we see Teddi storming out upset and in tears with LVP trailing behind her. Just like a newly inducted sorority member, Teddi is experiencing the rough initiation and inevitable hazing she was wholly unprepared for. As with previous seasons, the unconscious root of the major problem is Queen Bee LVP. The competition to be her prized pet is a fierce one. Her latest “broken bird” is “Teddi Bear”, the object of her much doting focus. So, there is fallout because that much- coveted spot once belonged to Dorit Kemsley.

We rewind to see what led up to this disastrous dinner where Teddi has stormed out upset with Erika and Lisa has run after her.

In the time leading up to this, there have been several mini events. The first of these is Eileen Davidson meeting with Erika and Lisa Rinna. Eileen has been hard at work as a soap opera star and she has also wisely come to the realization that drama and the act of clashing with characters is best left in the scripted realm. With this newfound solace, the former Real Housewife allows herself a generous guffaw when her old cast mates, Erika and Rinna, relate they’re getting along fantastically with Dorit.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help but laugh,” Eileen titters. It’s more amusing than Jesse Van Patten popping out of a hamper or a suitcase to entertain himself as his mother films all day. I will miss those Jesse scenes, but Eileen is doing alright without this extra show. Erika makes the offhanded remark that she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. Eileen says it will be a boot.

Later, Teddi meets Rinna for manicures and pedicures and Rinna relates how nice it is that she just met up with Dorit, how they are getting along terrifically, and how this is something she never would’ve envisioned last year. Teddi the Accountability Coach, who is always concerned about being on time and has made “time” a major storyline, (in a vapid season greatly lacking in storylines) decides to bring up something that transpired 3 long months before.

Now what one should be aware of is that three months in Housewives terms is the equivalent of 3 years. You can be friends with someone in May and totally despise them by August. Things turn on a dime and a woman seriously has to keep up.

Anyway…Teddi says she feels compelled to tell Rinna that Dorit and PK were talking smack about her when she and Edwin dined at their house. Rinna is very measured and reasonable about this in response. She says she knows they’ve said worse things and she’s already aware that PK once called her “schizophrenic” which he reiterated at the dinner.

The reality of the situation is that Teddi knows Rinna will see all that was said when it airs on RHOBH. I believe that was her main motivation in telling Rinna what occurred 3 months prior. Keeping that in mind, I guess I cannot entirely blame her. Initially though, I was questioning why she brought it up and felt she should know better with this clawing crew. Teddi has said in press interviews that she never actually watched the show before she came to be a star on it. If that is to be believed, it’s another plausible explanation.

In this episode we also see Dorit meet with Erika, and Kyle and Mauricio discuss the possibility of moving to a new house. When Erika and Dorit meet at the Girardi home, we discover that Erika has prepared a tasty spread that the ladies then proceed to pretend to eat. They seem to be clicking and bonding…because now there is a new Housewife to throw under the bus and gossip about, Teddi Mellencamp.

As she explains to Erika, Dorit feels that Teddi has to discuss everything and go around in circles while Teddi says this is exactly what Dorit is doing. They each are not a fan of the other’s talking. Erika points out that Dorit seems competitive for LVP’s love and attention, which Dorit totally cops to. Erika’s eye-roll in her testimonial says it all.

In the meantime, Kyle and Mauricio have been making all of these renovations to their home and you would think that the end result would be to live there…Well, you would be wrong. They’re considering moving into a whole new palace worth over $8M. Their youngest daughter Porscha says she would love to move so she can reorder her room. Think about it: if your room is currently a mess and you want it neat and organized, moving to a new place is an easy way out…

if you’re rich.

Later on, Mauricio takes Kyle to see the house they’re considering buying. He lets her know that they have to move quickly on this because there have been other offers.

We also get to see a meeting that Dorit and PK have with executives in charge of Dorit’s swimwear line. It turns out that Boy George is an investor which has viewers taking to social media to express their bewilderment. I’ve also seen him tweet a lot in defense and support of Dorit. I never thought an 80s music icon would be so connected to this franchise.

Back at La Casa Kemsley, Dorit gets a call from Teddi asking if she’d like to ride with her to where the ladies will be having drinks. Teddi has something she wants to discuss with Dorit. The latter assents and we see her sigh and roll her eyes heavenward. “We have to talk about the conversation about the conversation about the conversation” Dorit groans to the cameras. It’s a statement that sums up the season impeccably thus far.

The ladies all meet up and Camille is there too, now a regular part of this group when they are all together. Camille also seems to be an advocate for Teddi who is about to bear the brunt of her costars’ agitations.

It seems that Erika and Rinna have coordinated their outfits too, unless black sequins are really in fashion and this can be deemed a coincidence. I, for one, never got the memo.

Kyle informs LVP that she and Mauricio bought that $8M house. LVP is happy for her but sad she hasn’t gotten to see it first. Kyle also explains that she’s only there for a bit because she’s off to see Hamilton with Porscha. Teddi will later be wishing she was invited to attend the showing of Hamilton. Rinna then mentions that her mom is coming into town and she would like to take everybody out to lunch with her.

Kyle excuses herself before the shit hits the fan and Camille checks with Dorit to see if she’s still upset about the passive aggressive ball gag gift. No, says Dorit, but if there’s a problem why don’t we nip it in the bud when it happens…rather than weeks to months later?! This brings Dorit to the conversation that she and Teddi just had on their ride over.

The drama then erupts because Teddi wasn’t planning on having this harping session with Dorit in front of the ladies. She had hoped it was limited to the car and then over, but Teddi is so ill prepared for these ladies and this show! We flash back to that car ride and Teddi comes clean about her conversation with Rinna about the conversation that took place at Dorit and PK’s lambasting Rinna. It truly is “conversations about conversations about conversations.” As I said…

This leads to a discussion of how Teddi thinks her hands are clean but that she keeps stirring up trouble by repeating what the other ladies have said. Erika is on Dorit’s side and then Teddi reminds Erika of an earlier conversation (about LVP) where Erika backed Teddi. Erika has forgotten about that conversation and Teddi refers to it as “amnesia.” At this remark, Erika explodes at Teddi, stating that she simply forgot and is not a liar. But we really see Erika’s temper at its apex and how she can overreact. For viewers, this immediately conjures up an image of her reacting to Eileen last season when the subject of her son, the police officer, was brought up. It is time for this group to disband, but Teddi is visibly shaken by Erika’s volatile and extreme outburst. She just wants to get away as fast as humanly possible.

As utterly ludicrous as Dorit can be, we see that she has more compassion than Erika at the end of this dinner as she tries to console Teddi before LVP takes over. Erika tells Dorit to let Teddi go, that she’ll be fine. In her testimonial, Erika calls Teddi a “cry baby” and let’s us know – despite Rinna’s thoughts to the contrary – that she will NOT be apologizing. Don’t count on it.

Next week: Lunch with Lois and the loss of a Vanderpump pup.










Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH recap: The Punishment Fits the Whine (And That Glass isn’t for THAT Wine!), Ep. 812

This week’s episode of “The Real Filler Scenes of Beverly Hills” was actually titled “Gag gift.” However, I decided to opt for something different above. What I wrote is a tribute to Dorit’s complaints about LVP’s treatment of her. Dorit believes in an excess of everything except moderation, as her tagline states, so it’s unsurprising that she ends up overdoing it in her efforts to get back in LVP’s good graces. But first we begin with Camille Grammer. Yes, again. Camille is not technically a “Housewife” this season because she again has been billed as a “friend of.” However, this is the second episode in a row to start with a scene featuring the formerly “most hated Housewife” and now beloved cast member. She might as well get to hold a diamond next to the other ladies.

We learn that Camille hasn’t been feeling too stellar about her body post cancer. She underwent a hysterectomy, has experienced other physical changes due to the treatment and although she looks enviably terrific, she just isn’t feeling it.

So Lisa Rinna takes Camille to a lingerie boutique and the two prance around in provocative and very uncomfortable looking garments only designed to entice before being tossed across the bedroom. Camille ends up spending over $1300, excited to show the loot to her new beau. These women do not have an ounce of cellulite and nothing jiggles. It’s very disconcerting to say the least, but I truly am happy and teary watching Camille who has not only survived cancer, but seems to have survived (or bypassed) the metabolic struggle that strikes women over the age of 44. She looks beautiful and it feels well-deserved.

We go to the restaurant Fig & Olive where Kyle is meeting up with Erika. Kyle has just gotten some positive press for the show she’s developed, Glass Houses, and Erika compliments her on the achievement. She fills Kyle in on her husband Tom’s condition following his car accident. He’s undergoing Physical Therapy and getting out there to do some legal speaking opportunities. They then segue as they always do so well to a completely unrelated subject, LVP’s upcoming birthday. Should they get her a pet flamingo? She could use something of that ilk for her ever-expanding house-zoo it seems.

And just like that, it’s “’Bubba??’…’Yes, Bubba’” time as we make our way over to La Casa Kemsley. The house may or may not actually belong to the couple. There we see that Dorit and PK have inanely stolen Tom Schwartz (of Vanderpump Rules) and Katie Maloney’s sole term of endearment for one another. And it turns out that while Dorit was away, PK decided to play….with her swimsuit business that is. He decided that the Hebrew name “Navah” was a crap one for the line. So it is now called “Beverly Beach.” There’s actually no such place as Beverly Beach, but in PK’s fantasies it’s their romantic getaway destination and therefore a proper (read the word “proper” in an English accent) name for a swimsuit company. PK has also concluded that the line should be more affordable to all and not so exclusive.

Should we expect to see a “Beverly Beach” line for Target? Well, I’m calling it right now. Keep an eye and ear out for an announcement in a few short months.

This was quite the Joe Gorga maneuver on PK’s part. If you watch Real Housewives of New Jersey, then you know that Joe bought a pizzeria without first consulting Melissa and filling her in on all the details…Including the fact that he wanted her to be working there! Well, in this case PK was just supposed to be a substitute and not entirely change his wife’s business, but now….”Name Change” (as the ole Danielle Staub quote famously goes). Dorit rolls her eyes and this is not the way she wanted it to go, but she is rolling with it (she ended up keeping the name PK chose) and prepping herself mentally for LVP’s birthday party. That quickly becomes the topic of this couple’s conversation. Dorit is trying to figure out how she’ll be able to kiss up to the RHOBH matriarch. LVP hasn’t been entirely pleased with Dorit and she can certainly hold a grudge. We see that from the snarky LVP barbs aimed at Dorit that are up ahead.

At Camille’s house, she is getting ready to host the ladies. Fragrances will be sold to benefit the Foundation for Women’s cancer. While the event begins with the noble cause of raising funds for charity, it quickly devolves into cattiness and minor chaos. Dorit expresses her displeasure with Teddi for relaying the events of arguments to Kyle who then passed the details along to LVP. It’s interesting to see how Dorit is now confiding in and venting to her former nemesis Erika Jayne. The two have forged some type of bond, while Erika certainly sleeps with one eye open these days.

Teddi now has to endure all of Dorit’s excessive harping as Lisa, always on the hunt for pretty young things to protectively take under her wing, sticks up for Teddi. Dorit actually straddles LVP on a couch begging for her undying friendship and professing her love to epic proportions. She needs to make everything right RIGHT NOW and LVP sees how terribly juvenile this is. Does Dorit realize she is not a cast member on Vanderpump Rules? All of Dorit’s asinine antics seem like overkill to LVP. She desperately plots her escape from this party, but still has to see Dorit soon at her birthday celebration.

It is at that event  (planned by “she she she” fat-shaming Kevin Lee) where LVP has some serious shenanigans in store for her younger friend – or should we say “frenemy” now?

While Dorit was able to dish it out all last season to Erika during the insufferably lengthy “Pantygate” debacle, she is unable to take it. First Lisa hands her champagne in an atrocious green cup and we know how particular Dorit is about her drinking glasses, but then Camille hands her a gift from the lingerie shop, a ball gag device of some sort (pardon me for my unfamiliarity. It can be argued that I need to spice it up in my own bedroom).

The gift is a clear dig at Dorit for her “strap on” comment about Camille at an earlier dinner.  Camille makes that known to both Dorit and PK. Erika has a good laugh in her testimonial about how Dorit should really be able to take this entirely as a joke because of what she subjected Erika to last season, even gifting Erika a pair panties (I positively loathe the word “panties,” for the record.)

As LVP is opening all her gifts, it’s clear that Teddi’s furry pink bare back pad for horse riding is the favorite. I was actually quite impressed by how clever this pick was! It’s also clear that Teddi – who Lisa refers to as “Teddi Bear”- is the new favorite. Dorit doesn’t seem too thrilled about this in light of Lisa’s ongoing digs sent her way.  Even PK seems a bit jealous when he says to Teddi: “You’re ‘Teddi Bear’ now but can be ‘Teddi Bitch’ in a nanosecond.” In all fairness, that IS how Housewives works and Teddi’s clever and quick response shows that she knows it too. I do believe PK is acting petty on his wife’s behalf.

The birthday lunch is awkward overall and Dorit decides she has had enough celebrating for one evening. It is high time for her to vamoose.

In the final scene, Lisa enters a photo shoot for her jewelry line that will appear in Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine. She assess the model sprawled on a couch and expresses how impressed she is. That’s when we discover that Dorit’s prior shoot with the same magazine was all for naught. Dorit was not pleased with how her pictures turned out and she made a stink, so the editor decided to put the kibosh on the project.

I couldn’t help but feel a smidgen of sympathy (just that minute amount before you rush to judgement) for Dorit here. I’ve had pictures of myself that I wasn’t pleased with. What do you do if you greatly dislike and feel self-conscious about your own photos? For me, it entailed years of begging my mother to take those childhood photos off the walls of my parents’ home. I hope she didn’t view me as a “diva” the way people regard Dorit. But readers, she did remove those atrocious photos and replaced them with more flattering ones.


It will be interesting to see if LVP warms up to Dorit and goes easier on her in next week’s episode, or if she continues to take jabs and the tension and madness escalates. I heard before this season began airing that Erika and Teddi were not getting along at all and it seems from the previews that we’ll be getting insight into that “story-line” as well. My only hope is that the story-lines are a bit more fine tuned so that they seem authentic and not like filler scenes. The only thing we can do is tune in and see…

…which is how Bravo gets you hooked on vapid reality television!

Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHOBH Recap: Thank You, Thuck You (Episode 811)

Bethenny and Kyle.png

Better late than never? Well, this time. I decided that I wanted to write a recap of the last episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in an effort to figure out exactly what is happening. Brian Moylan of affectionately calls the show “Rich Women Doing Things” because in many ways it seems to be a show about nothing except that. But, let’s explore by breaking the latest episode down….

One  of the few great things to come out of Camille Grammer’s relationship with Kelsey (aside from alimony and becoming one of our favorite things about RHOBH after being ignored by her ex in her inaugural season) is daughter Mason. The episode begins with Mason walking the runway in a NYC fashion show and I’m baffled by the fact that Camille is not a “Housewife” this season rather than a “friend of.” We’re getting a lot of Camille and in her incredibly monotone and reserved manner, she is offending no one. In other scenes, we see that she is clearly wary of Dorit and Dorit’s big mouth. In this episode however, she is focused on her modelesque offspring who does a fantastic job making her way down the catwalk in a 20 pound dress. That is talent.

Mason looks a lot like Kelsey, but not in an unfortunate way. She’s much prettier and has an Elle/Dakota Fanning thing going on.

Right before the fashion show, the ladies pile into a van and no one is speaking. The tension is so thick because of the ridiculous arguments the ladies engaged in during last week’s episode. Lisa Rinna is visibly THRILLED that this drama has nothing to do with her for once and it has strictly been between Kyle, Dorit and Lisa Vanderpump. She was tipsy from alcohol the night before and is still unclear what all the arguing was about (as are we!). She’s desperate to get the low down, but struggles to keep herself in check.

…That is, until she joins Kyle while the latter is getting faux bobbed by Julius Michael and face primed by Priscilla Distasio. The hairdresser and the makeup artist are a duo that are frequently requested by Bravolebrities before Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. This is a little like Breaking the 4th Beauty Parlor Wall. They have both worked on Rinna, LVP and Kyle Richards in the past.  They can also be credited with many of the Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives of New Jersey looks. And yes, you have in fact seen Priscilla on RHONJ as Teresa’s makeup artist teasing Milania about her hyperactivity level. It’s nice to see this team getting some well-deserved PR by appearing in this episode (as well as the last one) of RHOBH. Rinna leans over to eat up all the gossip Kyle has to share. She’s just missing a box of popcorn in hand.

Next we see Dorit trying to smooth things over with LVP while she sports a red leather mini to showcase significant thigh gap and a blood sucker shirt to signify she’s a victim of some sort. It’s clear to me that these ladies don’t eat and they exercise at least twice per day. It’s unrealistic to be that skinny over the age of 40…..if you actually ingest calories.  Dorit tries to get back in LVP’s good graces, but then the older woman drops a bombshell: Her friendship with Dorit is important because she prides her relationship with PK over it all. Really? PK?! Well, yes. Apparently they go way back and have a circle of British chums in common.

Speaking of British, the most interesting thing about this episode was that when Bethenny Frankel is at an event held at Kyle’s NYC store, Kyle by Alene Too, she acts as if she thinks Dorit is British rather than from Connecticut. Should we believe that Bethenny has such limited knowledge and doesn’t actually watch RHOBH? Fast forward to a WWHL episode and Bethenny concedes she doesn’t watch the show, but had met Dorit with her husband PK and 80s icon Boy George and assumed the entire party was English. But Back at Kyle by Alene Too, Lisa Vanderpump thinks Bethenny is full of shit. The latter butts into the ridiculous arguments the ladies are having and points out LVP’s inability to apologize. LVP is so focused on the fact that she can stand up for herself against RHONY Queen Bee Bethenny that she is not issuing any apologies. She leaves the boutique with her pride intact and a faux fur red coat that Dorit feels would suit her better since it matches her bright red lipstick.

While Bethenny’s strategy for talking sense into LVP has been largely ineffective, the reasonable (too much so for a castmate of this show) Accountability Coach Teddi visits Lisa at her home once the ladies are back in Beverly Hills. Somehow, Teddi is able to get through to LVP about the fact that Dorit spews a lot of nonsense and gets off the hook while Kyle becomes the casualty in the process. LVP agrees to sit down with Kyle and finally listen to her and provide her with some acknowledgement.

Kyle and Lisa then meet for dinner. When faced with the question of whether Lisa favors Dorit and therefore gives her a pass, Lisa explains that she’s harder on Kyle because they’ve known each other longer and have more history together. It really seems as if LVP is scrambling to figure out the social dynamics and how to express her loyalties. She also reiterates that she has too much invested and “at stake” with her longterm relationship with PK. I’ve decided that this season is most definitely titled “The Real Filler Scenes of Beverly Hills” because it seems like they’re arguing about a whole lot of nothing. At least, nothing that LVP wants to be arguing about. She is as baffled as we are. Nevertheless, she gives Kyle the most contrite apology she can possibly muster.

Next Episode: Rinna and Camille prance around in lingerie with nary a tad of cellulite, but don’t expect them to share diet tips. Dorit straddles LVP in an effort to have a conversation. Camille throws Dorit shade…and finally, LVP does the same causing Dorit to storm out of a dinner party.






Grant’s Rants: Reality TV Perspectives Include his Hilarious Granny’s

grants rants logo

When Margaret Josephs of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ) mentioned she was listening to Grant’s Rants, my curiosity was piqued. I’m always down for a Bravo show recap and I thought “Grant’s Rants” (full title: Grant’s Rants Hollywood Talk) sounded like an interesting name for a podcast. I started out listening for the host Grant Rutter’s thoughts on the reality TV shows I was watching and quickly found his Rhode Island accent intriguing, along with his shrewd commentary on things that don’t necessarily strike the eye of the viewer.

Then I came upon an episode with Granny June. Grant’s Granny reminds me of my own Nana, who, sadly, passed away before The Real Housewives franchise began, but who would have had some incredibly humorous takes. She is unabashed about sharing her blunt observations on grown women wearing pigtails or making a ridiculous ritual of multiple air kisses. Although I had a particular affinity for the episodes featuring this spitfire grandmother, comedians and pop culture enthusiasts have also lent their expertise. In addition, Margaret Josephs (the “Housewife” to recommend the podcast to me) and Danielle Staub of RHONJ were recent guests who provided tantalizing inside scoop and answered questions many had wondered about.

grant and granny june

Grant and Granny June

marge and danielle on grants rants

Here’s what Grant had to say about his podcast:

How It All Began

Grant’s Rants started in August of 2015. I was encouraged by the following I had generated when I was at AfterBuzzTV. In the beginning, I was surprised by people following me on Twitter, and positive comments I got online. I was used to people being destroyed in the comments, but many respected my opinionated views. I figured, there must be something to this podcasting thing. In my opinion, the YouTube space was over-saturated and Periscope was the big thing at the time. The work I saw coming off of Periscope was on the low end. I produced YouTube videos back in the early days and studied TV in school. Podcasts were the perfect platform to roll out a show and test for audience. I’m a long time podcast listener: I remember downloading podcasts off of my desktop computer and adding them to the my black iPod video! Podcasts like Daytime Confidential showed me that you can be a fan and have a perspective, and with a little insight you can legitimize yourself, but you have to be a fan first and always keep it real.

TV Talk Shows are an incredibly over produced medium, hosts read prepared note cards and are delivered every word or joke via prompter. When podcasting, you have to keep it real and be honest, and that’s why I think so many folks who want information or a genuine laugh find podcasts.

What Grant’s Rants is About

Grants Rants is a pop culture commentary experience, featuring a different guest co-host each week to chart the waters of that week’s latest news. It’s slanted towards reality TV but away from the Kardashians. I have one rule for the show, no Kardashian hot topics. You can get that information everywhere, we are here to cover what else is happening. Every co-host is connected to media or entertainment. This provides for an interesting commentary in the second half of the episode where we spotlight their career and the road to get there. I think people’s stories can be interesting. The thing about working in Hollywood is you can be working on a film set one year and the next you’re moving to Seattle to work in banking – the business takes many twists and turns and it’s interesting to see what keeps people hanging on and how dreams morph into career offshoots.

Guests and a Variety of Perspectives

My favorite guests are those who are on the same wavelength as me. Those people that just “get it”. Observant people are the best. I love to people watch. Grants Rants is all about commentary. It’s an escape from the headlines. I like to think if you look at a cover of US Weekly, Kim Kardashian will be on the cover announcing another pregnancy or something (who cares?), and we’ll talk about all the other stories surrounding that image – a Real Housewife divorce, Paris Hilton’s engagement, Britney’s tour, Scientology, etc. Guests who are game to talk about whatever and come to the table with an opinion are my kind of people. In the most recent episode, (#84) Comedian, Heather McMahan was my co-host. In addition to her being hilarious, she’s an old friend who just “gets it”. We have a certain chemistry that just bounces off of one another that is vital to a good show.

Granny June, my grandmother and my most guested guest is a favorite of listeners. She’s very plugged in to pop culture, reality TV and gossip. She also brings opinions to the table – she can’t stand Mama June and Honey Boo Boo, has no time for Roseanne Barr and can’t quit watching Dr. Phil. What’s great about having Granny on the podcast is that we are clearly very different demographics [I’m 28, she’s 88] but we both see what’s happening in entertainment and have our opinions. It also helps that she’s not afraid to give advice and yell certain Housewives on the show. One of my favorite bits of advice was Granny June telling Kyle Richards to sit down and stop having so many parties!

That’s the type of life advice you’ll get coming out of Grants Rants. The show has become an escape for many listeners, and something I plan to explore more in 2018 and the road the 100th episode this summer!

You can start listening to Grant’s Rants now by visiting:






Bravo TV, Reality TV

#PumpRules Tom Sandoval on Supporting Ariana Madix (

Kate Casey, the host of Reality Life with Kate Casey podcast, sat down at a Hollywood bar to interview Tom Sandoval of Vanderpump Rules. In addition to discussing his acting and modeling past, the Saint Louis native disclosed how meeting cast mate Jax Taylor led him to the Vanderpump Rules family and how he never expected the show to be as big as it is. “I was trying to be a series regular on a show and I hadn’t really watched a lot of reality TV,” he conceded, “I didn’t want it to ruin my career before it took off. I was around the last person to sign the contract.”

To read more of this interview and Tom’s thoughts on Ariana’s insecurities this season, see my article at: