Bethenny Frankel is known as the voice of Housewives reason. While the other women flit about in their reality-TV worlds of unreality, Bethenny brings the action back down to earth, delivering punchy one-liners at the expense of their absurd antics. She took a few minutes out of her busy day — she has newborn baby and is promoting her new spinoff show for Bravo, Bethenny’s Getting Married? — to talk to us about the past season, her feelings about Jill, and the true story behind Kelly in “Poison Island.”
Happy end of season! What did you think of the finale?
It was definitely an interesting episode. People were commenting and tweeting to me about what I said to Ramona and Alex, saying it was really nice. And I did really mean it. And I do speak to them now, and they’re part of these big things in my life. I don’t know if everybody got what they wanted; a lot of people have asked me about the situation with Jill and revisited the Kelly situation. It was a crazy season.
You, in particular, had quite a tumultuous time.
My father was dying; I had a blot clot and was on bed rest; I found out I was pregnant; I got engaged — there was a lot on my plate. What you saw last night was the tail end of the Jill thing, and I was already kind of beaten up and resigned. Like a divorce, as I said — when someone sees their ex and they’re just civil to them, but there’s not much left to say. I wasn’t heated about it; I was just numb.
It looked like neither of you ate during that lunch.
I ate, she didn’t. It was awkward.
It must have been satisfying to watch the season, and have people agree with everything you’ve been saying all along.
That’s been happening since the first season. I think it was Andy Cohen who said I was the Greek chorus. I feel like I have a lot in common with the audience, and we’re always in it together. In the other week’s episode with Kelly, that’s why I said that thing about how I feel like I’m watching a movie, and I don’t know if anyone else is watching the same movie with me. You guys are there with me, just months after.
What was that trip really like?
It was much worse in real life, what you saw was very toned down. I don’t think the viewer could have handled what really happened. It was just much more intense, and I don’t want to overuse the word crazy, but it was much more scary. I was worried for our safety and hers.
She wasn’t really going to hurt anyone …
No, I don’t know. She was very irrational. I’m not being dramatic, I don’t know. I have no idea what she’s capable of. It’s hard to comment on someone who’s not living in the same reality that I am. It was just crazy.
Even Sonja was taken aback.
She’s new to the whole thing, and she’s very much not trying to ruffle anyone’s feathers. Sonja’s great; I really like her. She’s like Chrissy from Three’s Company. And she was being compassionate and we all were trying to be. But in the end we were hitting a brick wall, and it just wasn’t normal.
Are there things you did this season that you regret?
I regretted the moment I called Luann a snake. I meant what I said, unfortunately, but I regretted how I handled it. At that point, I felt she was always making digs and being duplicitous. I don’t feel that way anymore, so it’s hard to comment now about it.
Jason seems great. How did he feel about being on the show?
He hates doing the Housewives. He thinks that it’s nonsense. He doesn’t want the collective of these women in our lives, and with our child, and the things we argue about, and the drama — it’s just not him. In my new show, he’s fully a big part of it, which he’s happy to do and to support me in, but with the Housewives, he’s peripheral. He frankly found it a little embarrassing, which I can understand. He’d never seen people behave this way; he’d never seen people speak to each other this way. He comes from a small town in Pennsylvania.
That kind of sounds like how Kelly always says she’s from the Midwest …
I know, like no one’s ever had a one-night stand in the Midwest. It must have a very low teen-pregnancy rate out there.
What do you really think was going on with Jill this season?
Jill really wanted to come out on top of this, and she wanted to make me look bad and to have people hate me. And I think the viewers are smarter than people think, and they really pick up the nuances, and they get the gist of the entire thing. Because for her to start out the season saying to me, “My husband had cancer and you didn’t care,” it made me wary. I didn’t know he was even sick, I just knew he was going in for a procedure. She could have called me and said, “You know, I’m going through something.” So the fact that the first time I heard about that was on-camera, I immediately knew, Oh, this is what the season’s going to be about.
It was sweet to see you become better friends with Ramona and Alex.
Both of them are really coming into their own. I think everyone’s just digesting Ramona’s craziness. I said this before: Ramona’s the best kind of crazy. I think she’s the star of the show, I really do. I think she’s the only one they couldn’t do the show without. And Alex never opened her mouth before this season.
So what’s Bethennys’ Getting Married? going to be like?
It’s just a complete departure. It’s hilarious; it’s emotional; it’s dramatic without having to be mean or have huge arguments. It’s like a reality sitcom. It’s totally me and it shows the intricacies of my life. It’s way more micro.
Commenter ladygoodman asks: Do you have plans to come back next season?
It’s not 100 percent, but the way I feel right now, with having a new baby and a new family, I just don’t think that it’s what I want to do right now. I feel like the show’s peaking — it’s at full tilt, and I just feel like I should leave the party when it’s at its best.
NELLE777 asks: Oh, please say how you really feel about Kelly’s PSA about bullying.
I really feel sorry for her. I can’t even comment; it’s just so absurd. She just needs to grow up. She acts like she’s 16 years old. It’s jaw-dropping.
Brawndo wants to know: Was Kelly leaving Poison Island her idea or was she asked to leave by the producers?
She had to leave, it wasn’t really a request. No one handcuffed her, but it was like, okay, here’s your flight, we’re going home. And she was escorted home by a producer, flying in First Class, which shows you just how serious it was, because Bravo’s not flying producers first class.
Satchelsofgold1979 asks: Do you think Jill’s desire to make amends had anything to do with you getting your own show?
I think it had to do with remorse about how she was portrayed. I think it had to do with the fact that I was pregnant, you know. I don’t know what her motives are; I have no idea. It’s so beyond me.