Contrary to popular belief, video has not killed the radio star and on last night's episode of Big Apple Diaries we saw that videos have in fact killed all the senses instead, mostly the sense of hearing. Oh, and there was a war over breakfast.
As with everything in the music industry in the '80s, last night started with that free man in Paris, Hitz St. Cloud. He got together a team of film makers to help Countess Crackerjacks stoke the star-making machinery behind the popular song. He got some weird stylist guy who...well, you remember how Scooby Doo had that cousin who lived in the Okefenokee Swamp and looked just like him but all country and had a red hat? This guy was Clinton Kelly's Okefenokee cousin. He was there and so was Chris Lynch, the director of the video for "Chick Say Le V," the Crackerjackiest new single since "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Chris was fresh out of rehab and, after a few successful short films that made the festival circuit, was looking for a fresh start. He knew that his role models, like McG, started making music videos before movies, so he thought this was his big break to show everyone in Hollywood what he could do and finally make his father, David, very proud. However, no one liked his ideas of having a backwards talking midget and LuAnn's severed ear and a Hummer Limo in the video. Apparently none of these things are classy, especially Hummers (but when Crackersmacks says that hummers aren't classy, she has no idea they're talking about the car). After a while, he just shut up and said, "It's great. It's great. Everything is great and amazing and greatly amazing. If you'll excuse me I need to go to the bathroom."
Crackerjacks, relying on all the info she acquired during her years working for Sandtits Travel in Truth or Consequences, decided that once again she would use her connections in the travel world to get herself a free trip. Everyone had really enjoyed the Morocco boondoggle, so maybe she could get Atlantic City to pay them all to come to film her music video there. The Greater Atlantic City Tourism Board and Buffet Awareness Society loved the idea, but only if Crackerjacks could get all of the real Housemonsters to come with her and have a very glamorous free weekend.
The only problem is, most of the ladies don't want to go. Ramona says that she thinks the video has the "wrong message to give to her daughter," which is total bullshit. That's what people who want to seem superior say to get out of something they don't want to do. And if her daughter, who is just about the coolest 16 year-old in all of Manhattan, was deciding what Ramona should and shouldn't do, she would be trapped in her room, wearing a burqa, and only speaking to say, "Yes, Avery, have some more money to go shopping and to the movies with your friends." So, it would be just like Morocco all over again.
Ramona has a Conflict Resolution Lunch with Crackerjacks to tell her that she's not going to do her video and insinuate in a million ways that Crackerjacks is a bad mother who only sees her kids on the weekend. I don't know if that's true, and it might be, but I do know one thing: you can never criticize anyone's parenting skills. That is just taboo, and it's not going to help. I have never met a mother who didn't think she was a great mother. Even Casey Anthony (who I just found out is not a basketball player, as I previously thought) would kill you if you alleged she didn't know how to care for her child. So Ramona is all, "My daughter is classy because I spend time with her," and Crackerjacks asks if Ramona thinks she doesn't spend time with her daughter, and Ramona says, "Infer from that what you want."
Oh please, Ramona, if you want to say that Crackerjacks basically had both of her children in the ladies' room at her prom and then threw them in the dumpster out back and only checks on them once a week to make sure that they're rotting nicely, then just have the balls to say it. Don't be all, "I talk to my daughter everyday and she really appreciates that." That's awful and cowardly. Also, as Crackerjacks points out, there is the evil specter of "Turtle Time" that still haunts her. What has Ramona not done on this show that she would be forced to do in a music video that would make her a bad role model? The emotion I hate the most in ingenuity. No, that's not right. Ingenuineness? Is that a thing? Disgenuity? Ugh, you know what I mean.
At this point, Crackerjacks knows just what Ramona means and is pissed. She has twisted her lips into a stiff rictus and is putting on her best manners so that, in retrospect, she can be unimpeachable in the way she handled the situation. She even tries to drink tea with her mouth puckered like Marmaduke's butthole. Sip, slurp, pinky out. "The Angry Countess Drinking Tea" is a work of art that needs to be hanging in the Real Housewives Institute and Museum forever. And just when Crackerjacks is fed up with Ramona's innuendos, Ramona is like "Oh, it must have been hard when you got cheated on all the time." That's when Crackerjacks decides to cut her losses and tell Ramona, "Oh, I have to go film this thing, so I'm not discussing this and I'm leaving." Both of these women are like the Ghandi's of passive aggressive resistance. They're like civil rights fighters going limp in the arms of the police and trying to injure them by being dragged across the asphalt. You're both Real Housewives. Where is the fight?!
So, Ramona is out of the shoot and she takes Sonja to the gym to convince her not to do it too. While Sonja thinks that a music video will be a hoot and a scream and a chance to have sex in a free hotel room with the man of her choice, Ramona somehow convinces her that it will poison her daughter's mind and turn her into a prostitute on Tenth Avenue. Then, as they're leaving the gym, Sonja's endorphins are flowing so freely that she walks over to a stair climber across the gym and starts flirting with former New York Mayor Ed Koch. That's a tree and you're the wrong bark, honey.
Jill hears that Sonja doesn't want to do the video and invites her to her doctor's visit, because Jill Zarin likes nothing more than sharing medical visits with her friends. That's an odd little hobby, isn't it? Well, when she gets there, she tells Sonja that she's having "tests done on her memory." A doctor is fitting her head with this red cap with wires all coming out of it and electrodes simmering and electricity going in every direction. "Do you really think this will work?" Jill asks the doctor. "It should. Just make your argument and think the thoughts you want your target to think, and it should work."
Sonja shows up and Jill says, "Sonja, you really want to go on this video shoot."
"Well, I was thinking about it and I don't really have that much free time, and..."
"No, Sonja, you really want to go on this video shoot."
"It's just that I like to be at home when my daughter gets home from school and..."
"No, Sonja, you really want to go on this video shoot."
"I really wish I could, but another trip away might be too much and..."
"GO ON THE FUCKING SHOOT ALREADY! Ugh, why isn't this thing working? Doctor!"
Alex doesn't want to go on the shoot either, because she says she doesn't appreciate the tone of the song and she's sick of Crackerjacks telling everyone how to live their lives and teaching the peons how to behave. She also hates the word "class" and would rather use the word "cunt" than "class," which is rather awkward when talking about school with her children. Her argument is as much of a crock of shit as Sonja and Ramona's excuses, but at least it's a cogent and creative crock of shit. Alex knows better than to use the canard of her duties as a parent, so she goes for conscientious objection on ideological terms. Always the philosopher, that Alex. The best part of this scene was that we learned a little bit about Alex's history, about high school in Kansas and her father's oil fortune. I could just picture Alex, a young filly, standing out on the windy plane with her face squelched up tightly and her hair blowing in the wind, her arms crossed for warmth or protection and probably both. It's like she was the outcast daughter from an episode of Dallas and it made me love Alex a little bit.
OK, it is now time to discuss my favorite Real Housewives topic: Sonja Morgan. We cut to her, waking up in her bed on a sunny winter morning in the Upper East Side next to Michael, the Butler. The two have just arisen from a brief nap after their morning buttling and Sonja is looking a little flushed and dewy with sweat. Michael puts on his boxers and goes to get her a glass of water when he comes running back, his arms trying to shield his naked torso and he's crouched down with one leg perched in the air. "Cindy is here for breakfast!" he says with surprise. "Perfect!" Sonja says, putting on her PJs and going for the kitchen. "Bring her upstairs."
Zombie Cindy comes upstairs and, well, she basically put Sonja's head on the counter, rapped it against the edge three time like a bottle of cocktail onions she couldn't get open, and then ate her brains. She just attacked her. It was the most vicious thing I've ever seen. Well, that's not exactly what happened. Sonja explains that she went all over town getting a special meal together for Cindy and even made her "Toaster Oven Eggs," (really, @SoniatMorgan, you're still trying to make that happen?). It was all very sweet. Cindy sits down for breakfast like everything is hunky dory then suddenly, her zombie acolyte shows up with the Brains Phone. There is very important Zombie Business to do on the phone. They're trying to sell their stockpile of ancient Vajewels so that they can afford to take over the world. You know, some light business.
Cindy takes the phone and starts having a conference call at breakfast. What? This is just about the rudest thing I have ever seen and last week I had dinner, drinks, and saw a play with some homosexual in a skank tank (for those of you who don't frequent Hell's Kitchen, a skank tank is a T-shirt with the sleeves and sides cut out) who would not put down the Grindr for five seconds to talk to anyone around him. What Cindy did was even worse, because she wasn't even going to get laid. God, there is nothing more boring than listening to someone else's conference call other than hearing about someone else's dreams or someone else's hangovers. We don't care! Just shut the fuck up and eat breakfast.
And then, on top of it, Cindy shushes Sonja. She shushed her. She shushed Sonja Tremont Morgan in her own damn house. Well, I never! Sonja, ever my hero, drew the line and finally told Cindy to stop being rude to her and talking on the phone. Sonja is right, she's busy too, and though she's busy with flirting with old men, figuring out how to prevent wardrobe malfunctions, and going to Cougar Pilates at the Upper East Side Home for Retired Housewives, she's still busy. Just cause her busy isn't making her any money doesn't mean her busy is less valid than your busy. Well, maybe a little, but that shit is still rude. To make matters worse, Cindy doesn't even know she's being rude and gets all defensive at Sonja when Sonja says she's rude. I'm sorry, Cindy, but you have absolutely no defense. If you're too damn busy for breakfast on a Tuesday morning, maybe you should attend to your business instead of trying to be on a reality television program.
Now it is time to talk about Crackerjack's music video for "Say Chic, You Freaks." Hitz St. Cloud shows up and he hasn't been this jazzed since the release of the last Pure Prairie League CD. He's just happy to be included, happy to be back in the middle of the magic, pulling the strings in his little Emerald City like the bulbous bald head of Oz that he is. He felt unfettered and alive, like people would start calling him up for favors, like he'd have someone's future to decide. Jill is there too, but none of the other girls, because they all ditched. Well, Kelly shows up a day late, because she watched My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic followed by Jem on The Hub and she suddenly didn't know what year it was and fell into a dangerous fugue state where all she could do was eat Strawberry Shortcake cereal and rub Shrinkie Dinks on her naked body. Cindy said she couldn't come because she needed to "be with her daughters" and by that she meant "order around the nannies." Whatever, screw Cindy. Someone just cast her as an extra on The Walking Dead and shoot her with a shotgun.
The filming of the music video isn't nearly as exciting as actually watching it. It was basically Crackerjacks and Jill getting their hair and makeup done in a giant commercial for the Bored-gotta hotel in Atlantic City. There was one part in the video when they're walking down the boardwalk and they step over the corpse of a murdered prostitute (who got into the business after Crackerjack's last video told her that money could buy her ass), but they cut that part out. Sadly. Jill had a wig made to go over her mind control cap, so the whole time she was squinting strangely and ordering around the director (who looked a little twitchy, either because he hadn't had a fix or had one too many). However, the mind control cap didn't work. Sadly, Jill's mind control never works.
While they're in high school making a music video, Alex was in Brooklyn having a party for art. There was some stupid thing about Mario making fun of Brooklyn, but that's just what we do in New Squark City. Manhattanites tease Brooklynites about living in the sticks and Brooklynites tease Manhattanites about having sticks up their asses. It's just some ball breaking, just like siblings at the dinner table or ex-spouses at their daughter's graduation party. Then they went to a dance class so Avery could show them all how to do the Dougie. There is a perverse joy in watching old, wealthy white women try to dance. It's tragic and wonderful and comic and doomed, just like this whole Housewives endeavor. It's just old white ladies trying to do the Dougie and failing miserably.
Meanwhile, Crackerjacks is doing the Dougie at the Whoresgotta and trying to make it into a music video. Everyone is there, Jill with her mind-altering encouragement, Kelly looking good on film which is what she was born to do, Bobby Zarin with his cucumber-flavored grin, and Hitz, with his head in the St. Clouds hoping that someone will see this on MTV and come calling. He doesn't know about Twitter or YouTube or iTunes or any of it. He's just imagining gold records hanging on the wall and a shelf full of American Music Awards, their Lucite splendor just like the legs on the coke, er, coffee table he had back in L.A. when Dexy first hit it big and they had everything they had ever hoped, everything this music biz promised.
As he looks up, Crackerjacks is pulling him toward the table, the curls in her hair starting to droop and a sullenness about her eyes. He figures she's just tired from a few days of shooting, nothing big. Nothing some eye gel can't fix. She tells him that they need some filler for the big gambling scene. He's not sure he wants to go on camera. He's not that comfortable with the spotlight on him, reflecting off his forehead and getting in his eyes. He's much better assisting, he says. but she giggles and grabs his wrist and hauls him over to the table. Just laugh and have fun, she says. Pretend like you're gambling. Oh, it's all a big gamble for Hitz, another single, another video, another hunk of money on what you think is a sure thing until the dice land on snake eyes and the whole thing is crapped out before it even gets started. There have been too many of those recently, too many of those, an eternity of those. "Come on Hitz, throw your chips in the air," Crackerjacks says, her rasp getting horse. And he just, he finally just lets it go, let's all those green pieces of plastic fly at the table, getting lost in the felt and scattering all over the neat lines dissecting the table in mysterious ways. And he just leaves them there, finally feeling like he's done something right.
[This recap is a work of satire and some fictional attributes have been ascribed to real live people. If you can't figure that out, I feel a little bit sorry for you.]