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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Love Loving Them

Last night was Night Two of Reality Television Week. Or what some call Every Week; This Week; or What Is A Week?  I Measure My Life in Jersey Shore Marathons.

I watched Giuliana and Bill.  It airs on the Style Network.  I tried not to think about that too much as I watched.

The "Giuliana" in question is Giuliana (DePandi) Rancic.  She is the host of E! News, one of the "judges" on Fashion Police, and a microphone-shover on red carpets everywhere.  I think she also wrote a dissertation titled Hemingway: How to Take a Floor Length Evening Gown and Make It A Cocktail Dress, and she is credited everywhere with jump-starting the name-mashing craze when she started calling Angelina and Billy Bob "Bang."

She wears lots of make-up.  Her super-hero name would be Sideways, because when she stands sideways you can't see her.  She is one of the few people in the country who would benefit from more time in Paula Deen's kitchen.  Preferably right near the deep fryer.  When she talks about all the delicious pasta her mother makes for her, you wonder how awfully long her tape worm is.

The "Bill" in question is Bill (no maiden name, he's a dude) Rancic.  This is the guy who won the first round of The Apprentice in 1974.  He has been not working for Donald Trump ever since.  Now he spends most of his time in Holiday Inns giving lectures about entrepreneurship to Baby Boomers who are more focused on why their scrambled eggs look blue than what Bill likes to call "thinking outside the box."

He wears lots of hair gel.  Every day he is photographed leaving somewhere or going into somewhere, and every day he looks like he's just dug deeper into Dapper Dandy's Dress-up Chest.  He is one gold chain away from a pocket watch.  I think I just saw him walk by my window swinging a cane and whistling "Singing in the Rain."

If you clicked on the link above, you'll see the Giuliana and the Bill entwined in a red silk sheet, pretend-nakey underneath, with the ever-creative slew of red roses thrown around them.  The theme song to the show is shorter than a Mel Gibson fan list, and includes nothing more than some gal warbling "I Love Loving You."

Now I know what you're thinking.  This girl wants us to think she hates these two poor people who only ever wanted to dominate the channels people DIY craft on.  She is spewing vitriol to mask her jealousy of a woman who can carbo-load and still have knees bigger than her thighs. 

You would be wrong.

Despite myself, I can't help loving GandB (#Twitter).  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my reality-television hour.  I laughed.  I cried.  I threw out my mommy jeans.

For all the schmaltz and "amazeballs" and gossip masquerading as "entertainment news," these two come across as very real on television.  And their show actually seems to portray something in the neighborhood of reality.  She is at once the girl you wish you could be (or at least have her closet) and the girlfriend you wish you had, and he comes across as a good guy who just happens to speak in cliches and truisms. 

Last night's episode was a whopper.  It began with Giuliana undergoing -- and documenting -- her double mastectomy, and ended with the couple finding out that their gestational carrier was pregnant with an embryo that was all Rancic.  You swung with them from that low to that high over the course of sixty minutes -- which was only a bit shorter than the 2.5 weeks they had in real life to ying-yang from a brush with mortality to an embrace of new life.

The double mastectomy was in response to the breast cancer doctors discovered during a screening related to Giuliana's treatments for infertility.  GandB filmed the scenes related to the surgery, from the drive to the hospital to the drive back home days later, with a handheld camera.  That added to the intimacy of the moments they captured, from Giuliana's parents' tearful admission that they were nervous for their daughter, to Bill's attempts at putting on a brave face for his wife, to the "drainage bags" Giuliana had to "wear" under her pajamas when she finally left the hospital. 

Giuliana talked repeatedly about her choice to find the positive, her love for her family, and her guilt at "putting them through this."  She showed sincere pluck and light-heartedness in her recovery, making fun of Bill with her mother and using a hosting gig for New Year's Eve Times Square as motivation for recuperating quickly (the surgery was just 18 or so days before NYE.)  She wasn't show-offy or martyr-like when she announced the goal of honoring the couple's commitment to host the event; she was nose-to-the-grindstone admirable.  And funny.  And awesome.

And successful.  GandB made it to New York and participated in a round of press for the NYE show.  During some lame interview with a dittering blond who asked how they were going to kiss at midnight, GandB received a call from the fertility clinic they'd been working with to freeze embryos and have those embryos implanted in a gestational carrier.  Having kept the procedure a secret, they nonchalantly escaped to their hotel room to take the call.

The moment they found out the carrier was pregnant gives me goosebumps even as I type this.  Giuliana burst into mascara-ravaging tears that not even a hotel napkin could staunch, and Bill was barely able to contain himself.  They both said "thank you" an average of 6 times a second, and repeated how happy they were and how much they appreciated what the carrier (who was also on the phone) was doing for them.

As anyone who has heard about the Rancics knows, this pregnancy was a long time coming.  They have been very up front about their struggle to have a baby, and have seemingly made the subject more kosher to talk about.  I always admired them for acknowledging the disappointments of no-pregnancy and a miscarriage, and for, again, their choice to focus on the positives and never lose hope (lines I think they got right out of one of Bill's speeches, but in this context, they reverberate).  Their willingness to expose themselves on this very sensitive subject, and the very genuine way they dealt with it, earned them legions of fans.  Now every single one of those fans is cheering the news of their baby on Facebook and Twitter.  I also heard A.C. Moore is out of yarn due to all the baby-blanket-knitting.

I think my favorite part about GandB is that they honestly seem down-to-earth.  They have a swanky pad and their own restaurant and their own show and several jobs apiece that have them criss-crossing the country, but they never brag or act like they're saving the world one designer frock at a time.  Their schedules are jam-packed but they never complain or act like they're only doing it to "keep the fans happy."  In other words, they're the exact opposite of Bethenny Frankel.  (I'll get to you and your "en" that should be an "a" some other day, Skinnygirl.)  What is more, they actually seem to love each other, and the curse of reality t.v. couples may not strike them divorced.  I don't think they're our Nick and Jessica.  Our Jon and Kate.  Our Ashton and Demi.

So I can honestly, proudly say I have never been happier for someone I don't know at all.  I am happy for Giuliana that her surgery is behind her, and I hope her cancer is too.  I am thrilled for GandB that someone with her strong cheekbones and his perfect hairline will make their crowd a three this summer.  They are taking a different route to get there, but it doesn't matter.  It is going to be one hell of a Birth Day.


  1. Abby, your stuff keeps getting better and better. And it started out really good -- so the trajectory is impressive. A great, great read. Thanks.

  2. loved this! hilarious.

  3. I agree with Dan, Abby! Another great one!