I, like a bunch of other people, watched the much-talked about showdown between Omarosa & Bethenny on Wednesday, a TV event in which two women who obviously don’t like each other sat on the same couch, squabbling about how equally unimpressed they are with each other.In so many words, Omarosa told Bethenny that the only reason she’s been so successful—the spin-off, the book deals, the skinny girl vodka brand, and now he talk show— is because she’s white. Paraphrasing a speech that in Black households is as common as Vaseline, Omarosa explained to Bethenny,
It’s different for you and I. I’m an African-American woman and you get to walk around and be mediocre and still get rewarded with things. We have to be exceptional to get anything in this business.
The predominately white audience booed. The Black people, who all watched the segment when it began making the rounds on YouTube, practically high-fived their computer screens, which was about the same reaction they had watching the Season 3 opener of “Scandal” when Papa Pope said almost the exact same thing to Olivia, with the use of the word “mediocre” and all.
Omarosa went on to insist she had an “accomplished career.” Bethenny, who was being showed up on her own stage, finally gathered her wits to ask, “What is it?”, which was her one zinger for the segment.
After shading the entire **** out of Bethenny on her show, Omarosa, now a pastor, extended her version of an olive branch, insisting that she and Bethenny had a chance to “turn things around”. Bethenny, predictably shot her down with “ No, we don’t.”
In case you’re wondering like I was where all this hostility between the two came from, in 2010, Bethenny appeared on The View. Hostess Sherri Sheppherd compared Bethenny to Omarosa, noting that Bethenny, who was revving up for Bravo’s "Bethenny Getting Married?” was using reality TV to get famous, much like Omarosa.
“She used [reality tv] to be infamous,” Bethenny said of Omarosa, then insisted, she, Bethenny, and View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck ("Survivor") were using reality TV to have a “real career”, then implication being that Manigault-Stallworth didn’t have one. (That’s how we got to Omarosa’s jab on Wednesday, “you made cupcakes. I worked in the white house. Get a grip”)
Omarosa got wind of Bethenny’s remarks in the press and predictably, went “Omarosa” on her, tellingPerez Hilton:
Today [Bethenny] tried to act like her show was superior to my new show and her book was superior to my book or her career was superior. I was surprised that she went there with me!! She got her start or The Apprentice just like me. She is on a NBC show just like I was. She is making a living in the world of reality just like me.
I have never once said a bad word about [Bethenny] or all of the rumors swirling around about [Bethenny’s husband] Jason and his sexuality. Everyone knows he's gay but we never said anything because she was happy. When she got a tummy tuck with her c-section after the baby and pretended that she just lost the baby weight naturally, none of us said anything because she was happy.
I found Wednesday segment mildly amusing in the way that unscripted TV, especially when two vets of the genre square off, tends to be when two people bicker about old beef vigorously enough to convince the audience that the conflict is of any actual importance.
Who was right is as irrelevant as what the argument was actually over. The bottomline is Omarosa’s brand, which she notably had trouble identifying when asked, is “Angry Black Woman” (in case she was wondering), and fulfilling that stereotype— whether valid or not— for mainstream America brings ratings, which is why Omarosa’s had the decade long career that she touted on "Bethenny." That Omarosa was already pissed at Bethenny meant she was bringing additional icing for a cake already slathered in it.
Bethenny is tanking in the ratings, falling fourth behind talk shows with Steve Harvey Wendy Williams and newcomer Queen Latifah (and that’s why Omarosa’s “I want to see you sitting here, doing this show Bethenny, a year from now” stung extra hard.) A Black audience, which Bethenny’s competition brings naturally, would be a nice ratings boost.
Omarosa had the potential to hit two clichéd birds with one stone— and she did. Not never have I watched “Bethenny” and not never have I heard as many people or all colors talking about Bethenny as I have in the last few days.
Mission accomplished and production genius.
In case you missed it:
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