It is official. The Skinnygirl cocktail mogul and former Real Housewives of New York cast member is returning to her roots. In a post today on the Bravo website, it was announced that Bethenny Frankel would be returning as a cast member for season 7 of Bravo’s reality show the Real Housewives of New York. As fans of the show know, Frankel has had an eventful few years since leaving the show that made her famous, including marrying, mothering, hosting her own talk show and constant speculation regarding the real reason for her divorce.
Since leaving Real Housewives of New York after season three, Frankel went on to star in two spin-off shows on the network. Bethenny Getting Married followed the former chef and Skinnygirl creator as she planned her wedding to sales executive Jason Hoppy and managed her up and coming cocktail business, all while pregnant with their first child. In Bethenny Ever After, viewers were treated to Frankel’s life as a new wife and mother to daughter Bryn and watched her navigate the sale of her wildly successful company to Jim Beam for a reported $110 million.
At the end of Bethenny Ever After, it was made known that Bethenny would be hosting her own talk show. As the reality show came to a close in the spring of 2012, fans no longer had an inside peek into the life of Bethenny, Jason and Bryn. Just months later, in December of 2012, Bethenny and Jason announced their separation. Then, only months after that, in the fall of 2013, Frankel’s syndicated daytime talk show Bethenny aired.
Bethenny was a talk show aimed at Frankel’s fan base of women, discussing topics from pop culture to business to fitness and food as well as relationships. However, one thing everyone who has followed Frankel from the beginning knows: she is ambitious. She likely went into the production of Bethenny with one thing in mind: to be number 1. There is nothing wrong with that, in theory. Her ambition has been admirable. But, another thing everyone who has followed Frankel from the beginning knows: she can self-sabotage.
As viewers of her shows saw, when faced with a lovely, accepting pair of in-laws, instead of embracing them and letting them embrace her, she complained about how much time they wanted to spend with her daughter. When faced with a beautiful, 40th birthday party thrown lovingly by her husband, instead of embracing it and showing gratitude, she complained that she did not want a party and hid in the bathroom, crying.
So, when you combine Frankel’s ambition with her inclination to self-sabotage the good things in her life, one can see how the break up with Hoppy likely happened. In an effort to make her new talk show the best and most highly rated on the air, she would have to be relatable to her female audience. “How could someone who is happily married with a healthy child, plenty of money and a dream job relatable?” is what likely went through Frankel’s head. Then, the self-sabotage kicked in and she – perhaps even subconsciously – let her marriage disintegrate.
However, the plan – again, perhaps not even an affirmatively conscious plan on Frankel’s part – backfired. What fans of Bethenny Frankel loved about her, besides her honesty and wit, was seeing her happy. Fans loved seeing her honesty and wit play out in her new domestic bliss with Hoppy and Bryn. Fans of her talk show would have loved to hear her make references to her home life with Jason. Instead, viewers of her talk show got a watered-down, just another single mother Bethenny, not because she was being held back in what she could say on daytime television, as she claims, but because it was not the Bethenny everyone had grown to love – happy, funny Bethenny Frankel. The show was canceled earlier this year.
Maybe now that she is returning to her Bravo roots, Frankel herself will get back to who she is. Perhaps, she will get another chance at her happy ever after.
Opinion by Jennifer Fernicola Ronay
Photo by Boss Tweed – Flickr License