Sunday, April 16, 2017

Friends in High Places: The Real Housewives of Toronto

The Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode Six

It is official. The Real Housewives of Toronto is not a reality TV show at all. It's one epic infomercial promoting the business concerns of not just the wives and their husbands, but their friends as well. 

They present some of it in the guise of "charity" but that's merely a justification for their greed and a diversion from their true agenda. However, in the battle of good versus evil, what is good often uses what is evil as an unwitting tool of grace, so I'm not so "outraged" that I can't continue trashing this show. 

Luckily, it's not all bad, though. Watching the always amusing Stephen, especially as he struggles with his nemesis, broccoli, has put me into delicious fits of laughter on more than one occasion. He is truly the highlight of the whole shebang. 


As Ann waxes poetic about their life together, Stephen tries his best to pay attention, but all he can think about is this vile smelling cabbage head he's being forced to choke down. He's so close to saying fuck it, spitting out the broccoli and reaching for the bottle. Screw longevity. In Vino Veritas.

If satire wasn't my goal, I'd probably have nicer things to write about him and his wife, as well as the others, but you can't put a spotlight on the folly of mortal man by being "nice". It doesn't work.

Everyone gets bored and goes charging after an innocent person, group or animal to victimize. There is a sadist in all of us that demands appeasement. The important thing is that you learn to master your inner sadist so that the extent of your "cruelty" does not go beyond a barely perceptible smirk at an inappropriate joke. I myself am not quite there yet, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, the folly of the Real Housewives of Toronto is fair game.


If Truth were everywhere to be shown, a Scarlet Letter would blaze forth on many a bosom
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
But first things first. Why is Jana even on a show about married socialites? She is neither of these things. Lala smells a rat. What did she and the "Joga girls" have to do exactly, with what Roger Ailes type executive, in what after-hours, dimly-lit auditioning room with a pole? Don't be so "appalled" by the insinuation. Jana is as much a participant in her "shaming" as she is a victim of it. 

You don't get a free pass to sexually objectify the feminine spirit without criticism just because you're a woman looking to make a name for yourself. Judas. There are too many girls being sexually assaulted, harassed and silenced as a direct result of degrading depictions delivered to us via popular media to keep sitting passively by and watching it happen.

Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence ― Leonardo da Vinci


Jana explains with a lascivious tilt to her voice that she likes her Joga girls to do "tips and tricks" with the golfers so "when they come to our hole, we give them a tip that will help their golf game". 

Lark Productions (their main executive, their "monster maker", has the stench of misogyny I look for) may have screwed Jana over with how they decided to portray her as some sort of "loose woman" (which frankly I highly doubt is accurate. She's too busy making a name for herself! Women don't work that way, MEN DO), but that still doesn't excuse her complicity. When she sits across from Gregg Zaun batting her eyelashes, intimately reaching across the table to fondle him, and suggestively asking if he wants "her girls" to perform stretches and "tricks" (*wink* *wink*) for him and his golfing buddies at the charity tournament they're exploiting, she's well-aware there are cameras on her. 


I like my Joga Girls to give tips and do "tricks". Wink, wink. You scratch Jana Webb's back and she'll definitely "scratch" yours. Wink, wink.

She knows what she's doing and in fact says it outright: 
"It's great to have a chance to support my friends in a way that helps my business as well. We do cross promotion with Joga sponsors". 


It would seem Jana Webb's "mentor" and former Real Housewives of Vancouver actor, Brett Wilson, taught her everything she knows about "cross-promotion". He openly rationalizes exploiting human suffering (euphemistically calling it "charity") for his own profit and that of his "friends" and to feed his already out of control ego, which Jana parrots wholeheartedly. You "scratch" my back, I'll "scratch" yours. Wilson is proud of this exploitation philosophy, too. He in fact never shuts up about it, his mouth constantly agape like an unmuzzled hound that's been kicked in the head too many times, slobbering capitalist propaganda wherever he goes: "I’ve made a lot of money off the relationships that I’ve built. The goal was to USE (aka exploit) our charity budget as our marketing budget and the result was that we ended up building some pretty powerful relationships. I have trouble believing that there is something wrong with USING (aka exploiting) charity" (Source). This babbling fool, supported by legions of other babbling fools, bimbos and buffoons, all consumed by greed, seems to have "trouble" believing a lot of things that are true. His money god has invaded his ability to think clearly and the sycophants who surround him fuel his false sense of being "right". But regardless of his "ideas", money, status or the parrots that flit about him, the truth is that there absolutely IS something wrong with using charity the way he endorses.  Refusing to believe truth and refusing to accept hard realities because those realities don't serve your personal agenda isn't critical thinking, MORON. 

"Cross promotion" is obviously code for some sort of sex act (just for the sake of CLARITY, the reader is about to enter into the arena of SATIRE. Proceed with a GRAIN OF SALT, but still try and grasp the FUCKING POINT). Your guess is as good as mine as to what act specifically, but Gregg seems to know right away as he flashes a smarmy smile and answers, "You girls are always such a big hit". I bet they are Gregg. I.Bet.They.Are.


The look on Gregg's face when he hears about Jana's latest Joga girl "trick and tip". It involves cupping and lifting the scrotum of a golfer lucky enough to land on a Joga Girl "hole". "Balls up, boys," Jana quips, licking her lips like she's getting ready for a meal and not just downing more booze. So much for the Muskoka excuse.
Jana's perma Jim Carrey grin widens even more, defying all measures of probability in the process, as she reassures Gregg that her "Joga girls are all ramped, booked and ready to go" if you catch her drift. What risky business is this, anyway? Is she trying to be the Canadian sport and fitness world's answer to Heidi Fleiss?


"I really want to be more apart of it....anyway we can do that," Jana directs the golf tournament conversation into murkier waters as Gregg eagerly follows along. "Do you still want us to do the 'stretch' in the morning with all the golfers?" she asks all coy now. Gregg's definitely "into it".

Jana, the Heidi Fleiss protege, might be wise to what's going on here and gaming the show for her own ends, but slow-witted Joan is another story. 


Joan is AMAZED by weirdo looking John and his in-the-box design idea: "He's one of these out of the box thinkers", she coos. What brings on this adulation? His suggestion is to separate sectional pieces of a couch and shove "a cool little custom" walnut table between the pieces. What am I missing? How is this an out-of the-box idea that makes Johnathan so good at what he does?? What is wrong with Joan's brain? Pretty soon this really is going to feel cruel and I won't be able to say another word about her questionable intelligence, limited insight and poor judgment.

She's so busy mentally taxing herself with home decor and being "amazed" with her weird ass looking friend and his remedial school design suggestions that it completely goes over her head that she is the butt of a joke. Jana (wise only to things that she can exploit) and Grego are simply aghast when they are informed of this. 


"IT'S MUSKOKA!!!" Jana and Grego scream in unison, their faces contorting and twisting to reveal their true hideous form, "WE DO WHAT WE DO IN MUSKOKA !!" What does that mean now? There are so many innuendos when Heidi Fleiss Jana Webb is around.

Apparently they too didn't grasp the intent behind Kara's gag gift to Joan until Roxy, embittered after, in Jana's words, she was "embarrassed and humiliated" that none of Michael's elaborate gowns were big enough to fit her, spills the beans out of pure spite.


Another one whose hidden witch comes screeching out the second she is challenged.

When Roxy initially broaches the subject of how dumb Joan is to not pick up on the intent behind Kara's "gift", she at first seems to imply Kara was badmouthing the entire group and IMMEDIATELY Jana and Grego defensively launch into attack mode before they've even heard any details. 



Now that they understand Kara was only referring to Joan, they are still defensive on their drinking buddy's behalf, but nowhere near as enraged as when they initially thought THEY were the ones being insulted. These women REALLY do not like it when someone hurts their feelings. Nice to see that grin wiped off Jana's face. Reality's a bitch, Jana.

They calm down significantly, though, when Roxy, relishing in having recruited more rage and indignation to her side, reluctantly concedes that actually the only woman Kara's been saying "horrible things" about is Joan. 

In reality, the only "horrible" thing Kara has said is, "Having fun is not an excuse for behaving badly". This comment was mainly in regards to how sloppy drunk Joan got at an earlier dinner Kara meticulously went to the trouble of putting together for the women. 

When people get that drunk to the point they can't even speak, it ruins everything from dinners to other kinds of social gatherings, to childhoods, marriages and beyond. Kara was therefore completely justified in being pissed off and her approach for dealing with it was not "vindictive", as the editing might have you believe, but was inspired.

Using humor to make a statement about hard to hear truths is one of the kindest ways to open someone's eyes to the reality of self-destructive beliefs and behaviors to which they are otherwise blind. 

There is an understandable reason for this blindness – if we had to face the harsh reality of every single one of our personal failings, it would be downright debilitating (for everyone excluding those without a conscience). You'd never get out of bed, you'd lie there a tortured insomniac berating yourself with the same counterproductive thoughts over and over until eventually suicide seems like your only escape. 

That said, living in utter denial of the most dysfunctional of one's behaviors can have the same deleterious effect on a life. So when a person comes along and highlights a flaw for you, whether friend, who does it as gently as possible with humor and empathy, or foe, who does it with snark and ill-intent, it's to your benefit to take what may feel like a sting at first, not as an injustice or insult, but as a "blessing in disguise". As an old Jesuit once said: "A wise person gets more use from her enemies than a fool from her friends".


I drink to make other people more interesting ~ Ernest Hemingway

Besides, gargantuan wine glasses that fit an entire bottle of vino are hilarious. I too have embarrassed myself MANY times over the years after imbibing a "little" too much. This is why, regardless of how it may be coming across, I find this whole drunken fiasco not only hysterical, but also why I feel  – deeply feel – Joan's humiliation. You are not alone, Joan. Alcohol and the internet: The great equalizers of our time.

Not that the privileged in all their grandiosity are happy to hear from the peasants, mind you. EVEN the privileged who were once peasants themselves! Oh how quickly they forget. It's why worldwide peace is impossible (sorry to break it to you Rhonda Byrne converts). The drive for power always corrupts, bringing the evil oppressors to the top, eventually collapsing the entire dominance hierarchy into savagery and chaos.




Many of these privileged people, especially the ones who have cashed in on a "branded" public persona, seem to believe with religious conviction that whatever they do or say, no matter how depraved or ignorant, should go by without comment. They only want praise, only respond if their ego is stroked, and if you do anything other than compliment them, they either disregard you altogether as nothing but an annoying mosquito not worthy of their attention, spout some pompous nonsense about "keyboard warrior" cowardice or send their minions after you.



In addition to being in a position where they are touted as somehow better than the rest of us and are perfectly justified in dismissing even valid criticism, the privileged, like those we see shamelessly posing on The Real Housewives of Toronto, further insulate themselves from public opinion by clustering together like a coven of witches and goblins with all their financing hosts. They rig the game so that a few are always on top and stay there. 


"Cheers to us and only us!!!" Look at Joan's face. She's SO READY for another drink!

They ensure their dominance by feeding and toasting only themselves, making alliances, and striking deals with each other at the exclusion of everyone else. We see this happening in every single episode of The Real Housewives of Toronto whether it's Jana "cross-promoting" her business with that of her friend's golf tournament, or Grego taking the opportunity to display her husband's wine label like she's a cheap, poorly rehearsed infomercial spokesperson.


Grego: "This is a private label from the Spoke Club". She enunciates Spoke Club very carefully so no one misses that the wine comes from THE SPOKE CLUB.

Kara also takes the opportunity to endorse a fashion designer she's chummy with, as well as sell tickets to the other women for a charity gala dear to her heart. This perplexes Ann who cannot fathom why anyone would take money from people they don't like. It boggles her surgically mutilated head why a person would do something that doesn't serve her own vanity and her own vanity alone. 


The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

But it's for charity, so who gives a shit where the money comes from? (I mean, unless it's coming from a known child molester and sex trafficker such as, oh I don't know, Jeffrey Epstein, but that's another issue). You're never going to abolish the ills of this world by snubbing them. When you find yourself living a rigged game, where the rules are set by a select few who tweak the guidelines on a whim, giving themselves advantages denied others, the only hope you have of doing any good at all is strategy, stealth and infiltration. There is no point in lamenting the unfairness of it. Wallowing in pity changes nothing. Besides, if a business venture can take advantage of charity to make itself look good for marketing purposes, then charity has every right to return the "punch" so to speak.  In other words, never feel conflicted about taking their money, Kara. 




As a believer, you're called to help those in need, and whose heathen souls are more in need than the self-glorifying rich? By giving your friends and foes an opportunity to be charitable, you're hitting two birds with one stone: You not only answer the call with regards to the poor and suffering, like a candle flickering in the abyss, you also inch the lost a fraction closer to the light, whether they realize it or not. Putting others before self replenishes the soul and helps heal the earth.

On that note, I think I've rambled on long enough. Roxy's eyelashes, Stephen's broccoli troubles, men who wear jewelry, Joga girls and Jana's childish feeling of being offended because she couldn't afford a dress will have to wait another day. 

(But seriously, how is Jana's relative impoverishment Kara's fault? And who the hell does Jana think she is anyway to put on airs like that?? It's like what I said earlier, how quickly peasant farm girls forget. How quickly nerdy Saskatchewan boys who were bullied in elementary school and whose mothers were social workers also forget. Someone needs a refresher lesson or two in humility). 

Also, fuck you, Brett Wilson (rape apologist), picking on poor Gracie like that, you obnoxious, babbling galoot. Don't go around doing publicity stunts deceptively indicating you're against bullying and for mental health awareness when you don't put any of it into practice.


Big mouth, Brett Wilson, claims to be an anti-bully "advocate" but in practice is in fact a BULLY as well as a HYPOCRITE.
This asshole loves to claim the high ground, yet uses his platform to demean (in the case of Gracie, but she's not the only one) a single mother who has none of his power, smear her reputation by implying she's "crazy" and then send his all too happy to comply minions to harass her - all of which is actually the VERY DEFINITION of bullying, and not to mention perpetuates the stigmatization of mental illness, another issue he claims to be concerned about, but clearly he's full of shit. When a privileged white male so full of himself that he's blinded to his own cruelty contributes to stigmatizing mental illness by ridiculing the mental stability of a woman who may very well be unstable, it makes said male not only a bully but a hypocrite as well. Fuck him, again. It cannot be said enough.

Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 6: Infomercials and Friends in High Places
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 7: Social Suicide: Game of Thrones to the Rescue
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 8: Curious incuriosity
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 9: Denials, Dragons and Dummies
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 10, Season Finale: Final Absurdities

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