Where the hell's Hank? Kendra's man still MIA on Kendra On Top
After an explosive season premiere last week, Kendra On Top delivers another emotional episode as Kendra Wilkinson struggles to adapt to life in the wake of her husband's cheating scandal.
The question of relatability
Last week, I caught some flak for saying the season premiere was real and relatable. But I stand by what I said and, for the most part, I feel the same way about this week's episode.
Perhaps it's because, like Kendra, I have two young children. When the episode starts with her trying to gather the inexplicably massive amounts of stuff a baby requires and getting little Alijah to a doctor's appointment, I empathize with her.
When she nearly loses her shit because she can't figure out how to fold the stroller, I think, "Oh, honey, I have so been there."
When Kendra shows up at the doctor's office and is heckled by some random dude asking "Where's Hank?" and then the doctor asks her how things are going, I completely understand how deceptively profound her simple utterance of "You have to go, or you'll stop" is.
Because as mothers — and, beyond that, just as women in general — isn't that our go-to coping mechanism? We keep things afloat. We soldier on. To me, that's what much of Episode 2 is about: Kendra trying not to get bogged down.
She confides to her best friend, Jessica Hall, that part of what terrifies her so much about the situation is that she's never been on her own before. She lived with her mom growing up, moved into the Playboy Mansion at 18 and from there moved in with Hank.
"It's good that Kendra is aware that she's never really been on her own," SheKnows Dating and Relationship Expert Andrea Syrtash weighed in. "It's important for women (and men!) to know themselves outside of a relationship. I always say that you can't be a good we without being a good me."
Moms are the best medicine... hopefully
Perhaps the silver lining here is that Wilkinson and her mother are finally able to put the past aside so that Wilkinson can have her mom by her side during this difficult time.
While it remains to be seen if their relationship will once again turn toxic, the fact that Wilkinson reached out to her mother at this point is positive, according to Syrtash.
"At this point, Kendra needs support. Mending her relationship with her mother is a good thing if this is a relationship she values and misses. Also, it's good for her kids' grandmother to be in their lives. The important thing moving forward is that she and her mother communicate their issues and create a spirit of open dialogue, rather than repeating past unhealthy patterns," Syrtash said.
Here's my thing, though: Wilkinson's mom has never liked Baskett. In fact, she claims he's the cause of the rift between her and Wilkinson. Couldn't that make it hard for Wilkinson to sort through her feelings about her husband?
In a word, yes.
Syrtash warned that Wilkinson's mom could solidify her mistrust of Baskett and further alienate her from him. "She may need to create a clear boundary that she wants to get back on track with her mother but also establish that her mother needs to respect her children's father in front of them," Syrtash said.
"This isn't a good time for 'I told you so' or harsh judgment. Kendra needs support and love."
Just a friendly phone call?
And, well, apparently Baskett needs some support and love, too... but from Wilkinson's bestie?
Wilkinson walks into the kitchen to find Hall on the phone with Baskett. The situation is made all the more awkward by the fact that Wilkinson then (like most women would, I imagine) whispers directives to Hall to guide the conversation.
"It's not uncommon for the 'guilty' party to seek an empathetic ear, or to involve someone who knows and respects him to hear his side," said Syrtash. "It's likely that Hank just wants another person to defend him or support him as he navigates this tricky situation and as he tries to convince his wife of his love for her and the family."
But while I think Hall is an amazing friend to Wilkinson, it kind of bothers me when she tells Wilkinson after the call that Wilkinson "owes it" to Baskett to hear him out.
"The issue is that Kendra is in the middle of emotional turmoil and should deal with it as she sees fit," said Syrtash. "If she needs a break from Hank or needs more time to process, she shouldn't be forced to speak with her husband right away. For the sake of their kids, Kendra should confront him and the situation at some point... but she deserves the space to process it and her feelings first."
The paparazzi have arrived, but still no Hank
The other hitch I had with the episode revolved around the paparazzi.
Wilkinson cites them frequently as a source of stress, but we only see them once. And, even then, it doesn't seem entirely overwhelming. Although I'm not naturally a skeptical person, I questioned how many paparazzi were actually plaguing Wilkinson.
According Kendra On Top's executive producer, Wilkinson's concern is legit. One explanation for why we don't see the paparazzi? Wilkinson lives in a gated community, so no one — barring drones or helicopters that spy on her from overhead — can get within a mile of her home.
That doesn't mean the paparazzi aren't waiting for her, though.
"Depending on what is happening, various numbers (can be 3 or 20) stay outside the gates of her community and that's why her friends typically drive for her," the executive producer said.
"How close can they come? As close as they dare. The paparazzi communicate with one another, and they are all trying to get a better shot than one another. Each competes with the other to get the best shot and the big money."
Maybe next week we'll actually see Baskett and start to get his side of the story.