S5 Episode 19: Carole Talks Reality
So after London and Miami, St. Barth’s and Le Cirque, inviting and not inviting and God knows how many toasts, bottles, planes, subways and cars, it all comes down to a couch. Six women, 18 episodes, 12 really expensive shoes, and an elegant little seating arrangement fanned out around Dr. Andy Freud.
I thought the reunion would be more like the presidential debates -- a few lies and some posturing, a handshake then back home. But there were surprises on the couch. For one thing, it was freezing. It felt like a vault. The room had the ambiance of the opera after the curtain went down and the Phantom had gone home. We were instructed to wear: 1920s evening meets Truman Capote Black & White Ball. This seemed, on the face of it, a contradiction. The famous ball was in 1966, but six of this, half of that. This is the Housewives where contradiction and frack and friction go hand in hand.
It felt, a bit, like a closing argument in Law and Order. Objection! Overruled! Steely Glare! It was great fun, with echoes of all the best potboilers, and a little bit of Clue. Who took Colonel Mustard and a Pirate into the Ballroom?
Where to begin is the question. Let’s start with LuAnn.
Princesses and people are the same to me. No distinction. I didn’t talk behind LuAnn’s -- or anyone’s -- back. In fact, I barely talked to LuAnn in front of her back. One of the few times I did, it was to discuss my feelings about a situation that involved her and a close friend of mine and we walked away from that conversation just fine. She never brought it up again. She didn’t tell me that her feelings were hurt. How painful it must have been to hold that in for the entire four months of filming? In fact, I had no idea that LuAnn felt it was “the most hurtful thing anyone had said” to her until right there on the couch. Do you know why? Because she never said this, ever, in front of me.
It’s so silly all this talk about backs. Everyone is so caught up in backs that no one can see the fronts. What we say in interviews and our blogs is not behind anyone or anything, it’s public. It’s for the whole world to watch or read if they care to. There’s no crying in baseball, and there are no backs in reality TV. It is why it’s such a fun guilty pleasure.
What makes the show more than just watching us lunch and cab around town to parties, are the observations. We watch it, we live it, we share our observations. We are meant to point out the odd, humorous, and curious behaviors of each other in confessional interviews. So we do. When Sonja said, in an interview, she thinks I’m a poor hostess this isn’t talking behind my back. She’s being asked to comment on a situation, she’s being asked her observations.
Is elegance learned or does it come naturally? Who knows. I think LuAnn is purposely dodging the real issue about my friends and the dress so she can make this a conversation that is focused on her.
I don’t ask designers for dresses. It’s an imposition on a designer, so I don’t ask, because I’m not Meryl Streep -- a designer wouldn’t get much attention for going to the trouble. But borrowing happens. I get it. I like to share. I lend my girlfriends clothes and I borrow my girlfriend’s dresses from time to time. In fact, I’m wearing my best friend’s dress on the reunion, I love it! I’m not giving it back.
Here’s the story: I had only met LuAnn twice, I barely knew her when she asked if I could arrange for her to get earrings from Ranjana’s showroom. She got the earrings, enjoyed my friend’s hospitality, then asked to borrow dresses. Naeem did not offer as she says. Naeem is not my “designer friend” he is a friend. He’s one of my closest friends, like family, and I would never want him to be put in an awkward position with a favor request from a stranger because of me. Just as I would no more walk into Jacques office and ask him to send me ten cases of wine -- gratis. This -- to me -- is about manners. It was never about earrings or designers, or even LuAnn; it was always about code of conduct. My code and LuAnn’s code are different. I’m not saying one is better, but they are obviously different. And they clashed from time to time, as you saw.
“There are known knowns, known unknowns and there are unknown unknowns.” Donald Rumsfeld said that, it’s non-sensically brilliant. I think he may have been a Housewife in another country, another life.
We aren’t aware of all the scenes that are being filmed while we’re shooting, so there are a lot of unknown unknowns. During the season, each of us only knows the scenes we are in, we don’t see the big picture.
So if I’m not in a scene -- like on St. Barth’s, when Aviva insulted Ramona and Sonja -- I don’t know how it exactly went down or what was said until I watch the show. I’m watching it cold, just like you. We didn’t get a script of the scenes that were shot or dialogue that was said. It’s reality, and in real life friends meet with each other, have lunch, talk, argue, plan parties, and vacations and not everyone knows what is said to whom, just as in real life we find things out second or third-hand. The filming of the show and the watching of it are two completely different experiences.
Each was a fun wild ride.
We filmed the show last winter and then I watched it, along with all of you, for the first time. It’s interesting to watch. I see the appeal. As anyone who has read my weekly blogs knows, I think most of the drama is humorous and like in real life some take it more seriously than others.
Google must have been a sponsor of this season for all the times they were plugged. There was a lot of googling, including English Common Law. Huh? Ramona still makes me laugh. I was trying to address this, on the couch, the issue of Reid’s comment. It was out of line, there was no question. And rather than give it any attention or weight at all, I ignored it and we moved on. Sometimes silence is the best way to shut down an awkward conversation. I’ve never heard Reid speak like that off or on camera. Aviva knows it was out of character. She apologized and we moved on. We spent most of that dinner talking about Aviva’s organic food. Russ is a vegan and Aviva’s very knowledgeable about healthy diets. I mostly drank.
Thank you all for your generous spirit and kind words and your funny comments and tweets and suggestions and mostly, for just tuning in. I was completely humbled by your response to the show. I truly appreciate it. I’ve spent much of the past couple years alone, with my words, writing my novel, going mad and now I feel like I have thousands of new friends to talk to every day.
This crazy little ride has been a thrill. I’m a lucky girl. Here’s to you.
P.S. Tune in next week, where I am still cold and in the same borrowed dress.