"I may not be the smartest tool in the shed, but I’m pretty."
Our introductory blurbs at the top of each episode range from the brash ("Sometimes Sonja has to go commando.") to the ridiculous (Carole's "check out my great ass") to Kristen's sad sing-songy, self-loathing battle cry, quoted above.
When I first heard it, I thought "Oh no, Kristen, don't! You're not a dumb blonde; you're a smart, accomplished woman." I thought she might be buying this grotesque characterization from her Neanderthal husband and making it the feature of her personality. The evidence was to the contrary. She was a successful model, still kept herself in great shape, and was raising her children practically single handedly while husband Josh devoted himself to business.
Now I'm not so sure.
The Real Housewives of New York City is not unlike high school. At the beginning of the season you had the returning "mean girls" -- ringleader Carole, Heather (there is always a "Heather" in the "mean girls"), and occasional cameos from LuAnn slithering onto the scene. They flex their nasty muscles by aggressively preying on the outliers Ramona, Sonja, and me. They pounced on Kristen from the first day of class and recruited her for their clique. A pack of rabid Scientologists couldn’t have done it better.
Kristen's pretty head was turned by the flattery and the sense of belonging to the cool girls. Funny thing is, I don't blame her. It's seductive getting all that attention from the self-appointed smart set. Kristen took to it all too well. Her bonding with Carole and Heather led inevitably to her attacking Sonja and Ramona and Aviva.
My first experience was in what I like to call STFUgate. Kristen had called for a playdate for our kids at a pottery painting shop. We'd barely put their little hands to work scribbling on mugs when Kristen laced into me for. . . I can't even remember now. I felt I'd been led into a trap so Kristen would have the opportunity to show her aggressive mean girl side to her sponsors and our viewers. STFU, I explained to her (out of earshot of our budding artists). In response, I got the famous Kristen wide-eyed, gaping mouth look (like Edvard Munch’s "The Scream," but pretty!).