As I’ve slowly outed myself as a lover of reality TV – well, some reality TV – one of the things I often hear/read is that it’s all fake, or it’s all scripted, or the producers engineer scenarios. I don’t fully agree with that – most of these people are not good enough actors to convey such real emotions – but I also couldn’t fully disagree. I’ve always wondered how much is real and how much is as fake as Teresa’s tan.
Never thought I’d say this, but thank goodness for Jill Zarin! Good old J-Z was on Watch What Happens Live with Andy the other night, and among many other things, she explained how she engineered her conflict with Bethenney for ratings. Nice work, ding dong! Like so many before her, it seems Jill’s persona as a reality “star” at some point became more real to her than her persona as a “sane person.” I feel a little tiny bit bad for her. Don’t get me wrong: she is bananas. But her breakdown of how the whole conflict with Bethenney played out was actually really interesting.
Here’s my take: Jill and Bethenney were truly friends. Jill thought (wrongly) that it would “really surprise viewers” if she and Bethenney started scrapping. She filled Andy and the producers in on her fab idea. Andy told her no bueno. But Jill proceeded anyway and with the help of the producers, orchestrated situations where she could argue with Bethenney but – oopsie! – she forgot to tell B about her plan. She was a beast to Bethenney that season! I mean, who can forget poor B weeping into her phone as she stood on the sidewalk in her red dress listening to Jill bark, “Bethenney, we ARE done”?? Jill hoped that she could stage a big reconciliation on St. Barth’s (flippin’ St. Barth’s again! Bravo must be getting a deeeep discount on that island). The producers worked with her so that she and Bawb-by would drop in and surprise the other ladies as they were getting pedis. Jill would make her big entrance and she would say “sowwy” and it would all be tied up with a bow. But that’s when ish got real. As I’ve long suspected, producers can engineer situations so that key players are in the same spot at the same time, but ultimately they can’t control the actual people. Yes, some are probably more open to “suggestions” than others, but for the most part, the feelings are real. Jill learned the hard way when she was cut from the herd just like a weak wildebeest.
The short video below gives you a taste of Jill’s still-bitter feelings toward both Bravo and Andy. In the same way that Alex McCord’s video comments about the current season of The Real Housewives of New York are entertaining, Jill’s (slightly nutty) take on how it all really goes down in reality TV makes for good, um, reality TV.