Andy Cohen is a polarizing guy. Is he a mega titan of industry who has tapped into the zeitgeist and made millions in a certain kind of ‘reality’ entertainment, or is he a sleaze bag who has set the women’s movement back years? Can he be both? I loathe every hateful stereotype of women who snipe and connive against each other and the hideous reaching unhappiness that is portrayed in most Bravo shows. And – to be entirely honest – I watch some of them. But only New York and Beverly Hills, I say, as though this makes any difference. As though this does not make me part of the problem, I think. I had mostly given them up after noticing a couple of years ago after watching two Housewives shows in a row in a sad act of not caring enough to turn the fucking channel, that I felt emotionally terrible. I was angry and aggressive and so pessimistic that I had to read some Jane Austen until I felt like myself again.
Then Casey Wilson, an actor I adore, and her friend actor/writer Danielle Schneider started a new podcast called Bitch Sesh, which is a Real Housewives breakdown show. I listened once for fun and it was hilarious, and then got addicted, and then started watching some of the Bravo shows they reference just to enjoy the podcast more. So is hate-watching any better than just watching? No, probably not, but in my own corner of the universe it felt something like justification – a tongue in cheek, holier than thou superior way to do what I really wanted to do on some base level… watch terrible television while drinking wine and thanking god I am not like any of these women. I know, I can barely stand myself, you don’t need to pile on.
Anywho… back to the subject at hand: Andy Cohen. Andy, as some of you who also hate yourselves know, is the executive producer and creator or The Real Housewives franchise and the host of his own show, Watch What Happens: Live. Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries, is his second book – the first being… you guessed it genius, The Andy Cohen Diaries. And I read the whole thing. Or more accurately, I listened to the whole thing. It is an account of about a year and half of his life from excerpts of his diary and we get to hear more or less all of it. One thing I can tell you without any equivocation is that he is a hustler. He works 24/7 on his brand and his future, and anything else you might criticize him for, he has certainly not been handed success.
Some of the things I enjoyed about the book were his relationship with his family, his friendship with Anderson Cooper, and the parts of the book where he is actually vulnerable about not being successful. There are many instances where he wonders if he has come across as a “douche” and I’m sad to say that he is not entirely wrong to worry about that. He isn’t so much a douche, but sometimes he seems just so incredibly privileged. He has hit an admirable level of success without seeming to care very much about how to give back. Is this a requirement of success? Probably not, but it would make him seem more endearing to me. In the book he treats any charity obligations as a chore, and it is kind of a turn off.
For a guy with a lot of blessings, he does a lot of complaining, which is probably very ‘on brand’ considering the entire Housewives milieu. This book will be fun for Bravo fanatics or big Andy fans, less so for anyone else.
Grade – C