While last week’s episode put some of the problems in Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett’s marriage into perspective, the struggle is still very real for this reality TV couple. Can they survive Wilkinson taking another out-of-town gig?
New York state of mind
At the start of this week’s episode, Wilkinson gets word that she has been asked to participate in Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition. Despite the fact she’ll have to spend her 30th birthday away from Baskett and the kids, hardworking (and/or hard-partying?) Wilkinson can’t pass up the opportunity.
More: Kendra on Top insider reveals details about Kendra’s digital adultery
However, she needs to replace her assistant Whitney, who just quit. She phones her former right-hand man, Eddie Bochniak, and I wasn’t the only one excited about this development.
“We were thrilled to bring Eddie back into Kendra’s show,” says Kendra on Top‘s executive producer (EP). “He was always a great assistant/friend for Kendra during the years Hank was away playing football. When her assistant Whitney got engaged and had to leave both Kendra and our series in order to get married, Kendra turned to Eddie to fill in for a few days, and he was thrilled to do it. They have since rekindled their friendship and viewers will be seeing more of him in future episodes.”
But first, Wilkinson has to get through the car ride to the airport with Baskett. Talk about tense! It was enough to give me secondhand discomfort. When Baskett makes a remark to the effect that he’s bummed he’ll miss her birthday, Wilkinson snaps, “Like we don’t spend enough time together, Hank.” Ouchie.
At the airport, she (sorta) hugs him bye and hops on the plane. At this point, I have to wonder: Can they really heal as a couple if Wilkinson is so disengaged?
SheKnows Dating and Relationship Expert Laurel House offers some insight, saying, “Kendra is absolutely going to go through pain, sadness, distance, insecurity, and anger due to Hank’s very public humiliation. She will have ups and downs. And she needs to heal, which will take time to move out from under, through, and get over it.”
However, cautions House, Wilkinson has to find a way to move forward. “Kendra doesn’t seem to be doing the work to allow the healing process to begin. She is stuck in anger, sadness, and distance,” says House. “Instead of pushing him away and being avoidant by constantly running off without Hank, she needs to come towards him. For the sake of their relationship, it would be wise for Kendra and Hank to take a healing, trust-building retreat together, away from the cameras, where they can truly work on fixing their fractured foundation.”
The next morning, Bochniak surprises her with popcorn for breakfast, reminding Wilkinson how well he knows her and inspiring me to add a new meal to my morning repertoire. As they are preparing for their day, presumably while eating popcorn, Wilkinson gets a message from her aunt Chris — the estranged sister of the reality star’s dad, Eric, with whom she’s recently reconnected. Chris wants to grab a bite and catch up with Wilkinson.
Wilkinson’s next NYC stop, however, is the set of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition. Also in attendance? None other than Jersey Shore‘s Jenni “JWoww” Farley. Wilkinson, for one, suspects they are kindred spirits. “We did Marriage Boot Camp. We both have cut-out sleeves. We have so much in common!” she gushes.
Over lunch with Borchniak later, Wilkinson gets a message from some troll who wants to know if Baskett is gay, a claim Wilkinson tells Borchniak would really bother Baskett. So, I have two thoughts here: No. 1, maybe it’s a good sign Wilkinson is showing concern for Baskett’s feelings! And, No. 2, of all the things said about Baskett in the last year, that‘s what he’d be worried about?!
“The anonymous nature of people posting on social media invites the most vile types of criticism and ugly name calling. Although it has certainly died down, there are many who will never believe Hank’s side of the story or understand why Kendra does,” explains the EP.
“Of course, this is upsetting to Kendra and Hank,” he continues, “and even though they have lived a large part of their lives in the public eye, they have never gotten used to (or immune from) really personal attacks.” Which, real talk, is obviously understandable.
That convo quickly mellows out, though, with the first episode ending in Borchniak informing Wilkinson she has philemaphobia, or a fear of kissing. House isn’t buying it, though.
“Kendra loves physical attention from men other than Hank,” points out SK’s resident dating and relationship expert. “She acts like she is sickened by him. By saying that she doesn’t understand why couples need physical contact to validate their relationships, she is attempting to justify her dislike of being affectionate with Hank. She is also marginalizing Hank’s needs.”
Works in progress
The next episode takes us back to Baskett in Calabasas. In a sweet gesture, he and the couple’s mutual pal Kyle Hall are perusing custom cars — Baskett is getting Wilkinson a sexy new ride for her birthday. “I hope when Kendra gets this car, it’s gonna make her feel young, hot, and sexy again. That’s all she’s been talking about, and at the end of the day, that’s all I want — for her to be happy.”
He seemed very genuine too, which was nice. Perhaps ol’ Hank is growing on this here girl.
“Hank wouldn’t be Hank if he didn’t think of Kendra and her needs first before thinking of himself. He has always been the stand-up guy and there’s never been any question that he loves his wife and family,” says the EP, bolstering my newfound appreciation of Baskett. “It’s also fair to say that he’s been doing a lot of his own therapy to help him through a period of transition that has taken him from the NFL to his current career as an executive in the video gaming industry.”
Back in New York, Wilkinson is sitting down to dinner with her aunt Chris. But after they laugh about the “party gene” passed along in their family, talk segues to a more serious topic when Chris asks about Wilkinson’s mom.
“I feel like I’m being raped every minute with my mom… she is the most sadistic abuser,” Wilkinson shockingly asserts. “I was really mentally f***ed.” Oy vey! That’ll takes a few minutes to process. In the meantime, we asked Kendra on Top‘s EP to exclusively weigh in on the volatile relationship between Wilkinson and her mom, Patti.
“The problems between Kendra and her mother have probably been brewing since childhood. In my opinion, each one doesn’t think the other loves them enough (or at all). Patti believes strongly that Kendra’s reality star status has changed her and made her selfish. Kendra, on the other hand, thinks her mother loved ‘living through her’ when Kendra was at the Playboy Mansion and never accepted Kendra’s marriage to Hank, etc. Those of us who do the show would love to see Kendra and her mom patch things up, and we hope they will in the near future.”
Very interesting, indeed.
In response to Wilkinson’s words, Chris shares her own troubled family narrative, urging her niece to “keep a spot in your heart for reconciliation.”
Wilkinson caps off the eventful night with a birthday trip to a local gay club with Borchniak, where her fans are out in full force. Feeling confident and, well, likely a bit horny from all the hot bods, Wilkinson is empowered. The episode closes on her and Borchniak heading to another bar, with Wilkinson proclaiming that Baskett doesn’t need to know about everything she’s doing.