'Real' Husband

'Real' Husband

Simon van Kempen shares his thoughts on this week's episode!

Well look who’s butting his head in here! I know many of you may well be aghast at me now blogging on BravoTV.com, but just like I held a gun to the heads of the show’s producers to continually film me and foisted my self on to Andy Cohen for the Season 1 Reunion Special, I have now managed to blackmail the people at Bravo Digital to post my weekly episode recap blog here! For all of you who want to know my secrets on how a Real Husband gets to manipulate all the executives at Bravo send me a cashiers check for $10,000 and I‘ll send you the details!

Thankfully in the previous episode’s recap the producers spare us all a final flash of my torso and then it’s straight into the end of summer and this time Bethenny’s staying with Ramona as she’s gearing up for the Social Life Magazine Labor Day party celebrating Bethenny’s cover.

Evidently it is “Be bitchy to LuAnn day” and Ramona and Bethenny both pile on as they walk their dogs. I’m not saying that LuAnn hasn’t brought some of this on herself, but I do think some of the playing up of her ‘Countess’ title this season has been done with tongue firmly planted in cheek (like the pizza ordering), but when these scenes are shown one after the other, the humor is lost and she ends up coming off in a not very complimentary light.

I am firmly in the camp that Ramona’s two flare-ups with LuAnn (boarding school & the Count’s age) were both out of order and while LuAnn handled the first one well, she should have just shut the 2nd one down, at least while they were at Hope Lodge. As for the retouching incident she had with Bethenny, it may have been a little insensitive but as I wasn’t there I don’t know how or in what order it was said and therefore, like you, have only seen the footage that made it to air. Certainly Bethenny was way too touchy on the issue and to me that says a lot about her own insecurities.

Finally it’s time for a good scene for LuAnn, and we see her helping Victoria pack for boarding school. At last you see some great mother & daughter time between LuAnn & Victoria. You see she is really going to miss her.

Cue strings and the Brooklyn Bridge and we’re off to Brooklyn to see us return from St. Barths. As you see me mention in an interview, we checked out a little too much while we were on vacation (particularly the 2nd week) and so we had no one to blame but ourselves to find things hadn’t progressed as much as we’d hoped. What we had wanted to return to was a lot of the demolition done and the new wall in front of the boys’ bedrooms completed so we could have a barrier separating our sleeping area from the construction zone.

During the construction phase we planned to use the cellar as our living area and then sleep in the boys’ bedrooms. The upstairs floor was completely cordoned off from the boys and we needed that wall built to cordon off their bedrooms too. As this hadn’t been done we turned around and got back into the car and checked into my hotel in Manhattan until it was. Francois was back at school the next day and so the week of reverse commutes until we moved back home was fun!

For more information regarding the renovation pop over to http://McCordvanKempen.com

LuAnn is back in Manhattan too and she gets another nice family scene as this time Noel’s off to school for a new school year. Orange juice and croissants for breakfast isn’t bad but dunking said croissants in the OJ? Mmmmmm – nope, not for me.

Continuing the redecoration theme, Jill arrives back at her condo to discover things have happened that she hasn’t OK’d. She walks into an empty apartment and you’ve got to love it that for once Jill is speechless. Brad & Jill continue to clash heads and there’s definitely a little power struggle afoot.

Next it’s the launch of a new CD “The Ivy Ceiling” by Lokah co-produced by Sting and Russell Simmons at Bruno Jamais’s club on the UES. You hear me say that “when the PR company put the party together, they like to reach out to recognizable figures…..” and although I am clearly continuing to say something (the sentence hasn’t been concluded), I am cut off mid-sentence allowing the viewer to think that I regard myself as one of said figures. I don’t. Next Alex & I are seen being introduced to Bruno Jamais, the restaurant/club’s owner and I’m introduced to him as the ‘owner’ of Hotel Chandler. I remember at the time hoping that as it was so noisy that the microphones might have missed that line but alas it was subtitled for all to see. While I corrected that error later when speaking to Bruno, it’s now been broadcast across the land. I’ve worked with the owners of Hotel Chandler for going on 10 years first in a consultancy capacity and then in 2001 as the hotel’s General Manager. We opened the hotel just a week prior to September 11th, 2001 and I am proud to say that my staff and I have over the last 7 1/2 years built a successful small business which provides jobs for 60 families throughout the city. The hotel also now ranks in the top 30 hotels in NYC based on TripAdvisor reviews.

Ramona gets another chance to talk about Alex & me as being phony and unreal and walks away almost as we walk into the room. We were chatting with LuAnn about her book and mentioned we’d started writing one while we’d been on vacation about parenting and toddlers in NYC. Cut to an interview with LuAnn discussing the imponderable that we’re writing a book on ‘child behavior’ and then footage of a screaming Francois at last year’s 21 Club dinner. Our book is neither about child behavior nor a ‘how to’ parenting guide, but merely an anecdotal look at Alex & my experience of bringing up two young toddlers in an urban environment. We’ve discussed this, a lot recently, with many different parenting publications and you can find more information at the following links:





Look out for our book The Urban Parent: Tales From a Real House in New York City in the very near future.

There might be some humor to be found by some of you that Alex & I are writing a book involving what we’ve discovered as parents but one thing that has come through, both in the 1st and 2nd season, is the love we have for our children and the fact that we are very much involved in their young lives. We went into the writing of our book knowing full well how certain instances of our children’s behavior was highlighted in Season 1 and determined to shrug that off as the anomaly it was. Unlike last season we refused to put them in any situation not conducive to their age and so far you’ve yet to see any real misbehavior from them this season. LuAnn went into the filming of Season 2 knowing full well that she was working on her book Class with the Countess and unfortunately for her she’s said things over and over again that when edited tightly together produce a none too flattering portrait of her own skills in etiquette and grace. Perhaps she should look to herself before deridingly laughing at our book!

Back at the Lokah party, we find that Ramona ran off to locate Kelly and after about 30 seconds of small talk we discover that she & Mario are planning to have dinner that night with Jill & Bobby. In answer to a question from Kelly Ramona states that they’re not really good friends with J&B. Either Jill must have heard this exchange or Ramona decided not to have dinner with people who aren’t classified as good friends as that night Alex & I had dinner with Jill & Bobby (who, I am delighted to say, have become good friends).

Jill & Bobby arrive, Alex & I continue to sweat as the A/C couldn’t handle the combination of the outside temperature and the masses of people and then we get a quick continuation of the tennis partner battle between Mario & Jill. One thing to note from these scenes is that Bethenny was the only missing ‘wife’ and from memory she was in LA and couldn’t make it.

Finally 5 episodes in we get to see Kelly in her home environment with her two dogs and two daughters as she invites LuAnn over for a cooking lesson. Yes, we know she likes incredible talented people but she needs to stop saying it every episode she’s in. (Oh & btw on her girls’ names – I see nothing wrong with them myself and in NYC there’s every name from every country under the sun, so no name is strange). And lastly, LuAnn didn’t speak with a mouthful of food – again - did she?

Avery & Ramona go shoe shopping with dog in tow, and giving Ramona her due Avery does seem a very well adjusted young teenager. Ramona has to be somewhat responsible for that and although she’s hardly my #1 fan, I’m the first to give credit when it’s due and in this case it is.

Bethenny & LuAnn have yet another lunch to get over their little tiff and this time LuAnn describes our book as one on childrearing and chuckles a little like a certain Sesame Street character. ;-) Then she proceeds to give Bethenny her best dating advice which seems to involve leaning over and giving your beau-to-be a good shot of one’s cleavage.

At last Bethenny gets to put some of the gallons of advice she’s received from all the Housewives over this and previous episodes and has a date with a chef in his kitchen. Note to Bethenny; not that you asked my advice but you cook professionally, he’s a chef and my thoughts would be that the competition would be too intense not to mention the hours suck! She seemed to have an enjoyable evening and as she said later he’s probably not boyfriend material.

Alex joins Bethenny at a Health Expo in Central Park and as they discuss that the weather is not conducive to having good hair – humidity’s a killer! Here’s a chance for Alex to give Bethenny her two cents worth on the relationship front which basically involves her telling our story but stating what worked for her (and us) isn’t necessarily what’ll work for Bethenny. As she recites our story, her interviews are intercut and it’s hard to watch this scene without a tear in my eye as she recounts the intensity of our love almost 10 years strong.

Back to Brooklyn and Jill’s popping over for a bagel, lox & cream cheese brunch. She talks about how she’s living in a construction zone but there’s a big difference between our remodeling which involves large structural changes and hers which is mostly cosmetic. The upstairs floor which will eventually house our living, dining and kitchen areas is completely zoned off from the two areas in which we’re living so when she says it’s dangerous for the boys – it’s not. That was the 1st time they’d been up there in a couple of weeks.

Jill, as only she would, wanted to see our sleeping quarters and found we were living in squalor – her words! Actually it was François’ bedroom packed to the gills with clothes racks. Sure it’s not huge, and even smaller with all our clothes, but we were in there only a few hours each night and it worked just fine for us. I wonder if Jill lets the cameras into her bedroom during her work. What you didn’t see was the brunch we had with Jill in our living area – the cellar downstairs, but hopefully this might pop up in future episodes. Lastly Jill joins the chorus of those who think there’s no way we’ll get the work done in time. All I can say is you’ll just have to ‘watch what happens’!

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