If you haven’t heard, Real Housewives of New York City star Aviva Drescher is having a bit of an image problem. See, the thing is, no one likes her. After last season’s disastrous vacation* she’s had a hard time rebuilding her friendships with the other women. They just don’t trust her…and #BookGate hasn’t made things any better for her. Unfortunately for Aviva, she has a book to sell – one that probably does not paint her as a mentally unstable, manipulative, petty lunatic. How can she reconcile her psychotic behavior on the show with her desire to relate to other women and, ya know, sell books? Maybe that’s why she hired the image consultant, She Who Shall Not Be Named, AKA Salamander Flanders – but if that was her plan, it’s definitely backfired, am I right? I am so right.
This week, viewers caught the end of the worst Hamptons barbecue Countess LuAnn has ever thrown. Aviva and her sidekick Salamander were at the center of it all, pissing people off and causing a scene. I think Heather said it best, because Heather doesn’t ever bother to mince words.
God, I love Heather. But anyway, Aviva is not doing herself any favors. So maybe that’s why I am looking at her trip back to the barn a little cynically. I think this is damage control, plain and simple.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Aviva experienced an unspeakable trauma, one that I could never begin to understand. I truly feel for her, because an accident like that is a horrible, horrible thing to go through and I will never know the mental and physical hardships she’s endured throughout her life because of it. That is the honest truth. That being said, the whole thing seemed so…staged. Aviva gets an email from Becky, her childhood friend who was there the day she lost her leg. It was in Becky’s family’s barn, 35 years ago, that the accident took place. Aviva tells her husband Reid that Becky wants her to come and visit. “She says there’s not a day that goes by that she doesn’t think of me,” Aviva says, and it’s with so much self-important glee that I can’t feel for her in this moment. I just cannot.
On the trip up, Aviva continues to explain how Becky literally has not lived a moment of her life without thinking of Aviva: “When [Becky] got married, she was thinking, ‘Did Aviva get married?’ When she had her first child, ‘Did Aviva have a child? Can Aviva have a child? How is Aviva doing this?'” Like oh, I’m so sure that Becky has been looking out her window for the past 35 years, wondering if Aviva might be wishing on the same bright star. God, get over yourself. She paints the entire thing like she is giving Becky this gift, the ability to move on from her crippling obsession with Aviva’s well being. Ugh.
I just…I don’t understand. If I were Aviva – a woman, if you remember, who can barely get on a plane or ride in an elevator without having a panic attack – I would be terrified. I would probably start crying if I went back to like…my middle school, let alone the barn where I lost my leg in a gruesome accident. But nope, she’s fine. Cool and calm. She talks to Becky about it and this poor woman is so upset. I feel like she has genuine PTSD from this experience and she’s in tears as Aviva goes through what happened that day. Then she wants to see the barn. She’s in the barn…she wants to see the conveyor belt…she wants to stand in the conveyor belt! And then that crazy b*tch asks Becky to turn the machine on. “Just to hear the sound,” she says. WHAT. Becky is like, WTF LADY, but Aviva is just delivering her lines. “This is such a meek machine to have done such damage,”she says, and I can’t help but wonder if she practiced that in the mirror beforehand.
Again, I feel awful even saying such a thing, but come on. Last season we had about three episodes dedicated to her paralyzing fear over flying to St. Barts. She cried and gripped the arms of her seat, listening to her husband’s calming mix tape. And that was okay. It’s okay to be afraid. And if Aviva has truly made strides to conquer her phobias, well then more power to her. But this journey back to the barn, it felt so disingenuous. Congratulating herself for having a childhood trauma. Exalting herself for giving back to the amputee community like she sacrificed her leg for the greater good. No one thinks you’re grateful for losing your leg, Aviva, and you don’t have to act like you are. It was a tragic thing and it’s alright to think it was tragic. When you lose your leg in a farm accident, you don’t actually need to seek out sympathy. People are already going to feel it. It’s when you continuously remind people how much you’ve lost that people start to feel like you’re putting on a show. With Aviva, it seems like it’s all show, no genuine feeling.
*Short version of the disastrous vacation: Aviva showed up late to St. Barts, expected balloons and streamers and a huge welcome party, whined and cried when she didn’t get it, called Sonja and Ramona white trash, criticized everyone for drinking and having fun, then left in a rage. Buzzkill!