There was a time, we are now embarrassed to admit, when we found the sight of this group of skinny, shallow women squabbling with one another funny, or at least entertaining. But during last night's episode of The Real Housewives of New York City, as the battles before us raged with more terrible, stupid, senseless ferocity than ever before, we changed our minds. Watching these hungry, desperate women warily circle each other, pounce, and then attempt to tear each other limb from limb was no longer fun. It was terrible. What are they even fighting about anymore? Do they even know? It doesn't seem like they do, and cast members' wild-eyed ignorance — combined with their heightened aggression and muscle tone this season — is starting to make us suspect that Bravo's producers have been slipping steroids into their Pinot Grigio.
The Real Housewives of New York City is like the 21st-century version of the Gladatorial games, we realized. A spectacle put forth in front of us to feed our own terrible, bloodthirsty urges. And as in ancient Rome, there are no real winners on this show. The only prize is surviving to fight another day, and those days are numbered. But since we have made it our business to declare a winner of every episode, we will solider on. But after this episode, we will also be declaring a Super Loser, who, in our opinion, should be fed straight to the lions.
Let's review how our cast members fared in last night's brain-destroying battle:
Bethenny quite rightly noted all the clues that Jill was planting in gossip items about the pair’s fight. “They’ve given a big plug to Zarin and Saks Fifth Avenue and they’ve given a big plug to Ungaro, Hmmm, I wonder who put this in the paper?” she mused. “You really don’t have to be Angela Lansbury to figure this one out." As usual, her cunning one-liners were amusing, and she had clearly been wronged by Jill and appeared to be feeling genuine pain about the loss of the friendship — otherwise, she wouldn't have risked messing up her makeup by crying on camera. In the end, though, her efforts to settle things with Jill were undermined by the fact that she called their argument “like a death” and that she called from the street, for the benefit of cameras, when if she really wanted to resolve it she maybe would have done it in a non-reality show type of way.
LuAnn is still doing the double-kiss thing in odd situations, and used the term stage instead of “internship,” when talking to Victoria. Barf. But she’s toned down the jewelry and is sweet with Victoria when talking about whether or not she should start dating. She also gets points for getting exactly the right kind of tasteless gift that Jill will love, and for revealing by her expression that she was appalled by both Bethenny and Jill's behavior during their phone fight. However, LuAnn lost the episode when she decided to side with Jill. (Again, are the producers handing out drugs?).
Last night, Ramona demonstrated that she is not merely a husk filled with Pinot Grigio and Styrofoam peanuts by displaying her knowledge of textiles, even though she did it in a bossy and jerky way. And it was almost touching when she talked about being abused, until we remembered she was DOING IT ON A REALITY SHOW, which somewhat mitigated the experience. And Bethenny quite rightly points out that “Diarrhea of the mouth is not a real ailment.” Ramona should take responsibility for being a nasty drunk, though we’re not holding our breath, and when Mario offered her a glass of wine after their jewelry presentation, we lit up like she did. Drunk Ramona does make good TV.
We love that Alex, in her effort to get the girls to celebrate “Brooklyn Fashion Weekend,” could only get them to come down to Cipriani Wall Street. Also, it was funny when she told Kelly and Bethenny, “If you want to take this outside, take it outside,” even though they were already, uh, outside. Alex got points for keeping everyone on track at the meeting, but then she lost points for whatever that weird wink was that went on between Simon and her gay, Derek.
We can't believe we're saying this, but almost every time Kelly opened her mouth last night, like to say, “I think a lot of people are curious what I look like without my clothes on,” or “I’m more of an ‘Oh yeah!’ than an ‘OHMMM’ person” or, “Right now I’m reading the books that my children are reading.” it was like the sun bursting through a cloudy sky. It was cute how she got giddy about her interview with the Playboy journalist, and thought he was "super-smart" for reading the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, even though literally everyone on the subway is reading it. The fact that in her interviews her chest had been tanned to the color of roasted chestnuts and the way she got gloaty about her ex-husband, Gilles Bensimon (“There’s no one bigger than Gilles,” she said. “The next person in my life is going to be someone major like that”), was a little disturbing. But she scored the episode win (her first!) when she displayed a certain amount of emotional intelligence (her first!) regarding the fight between Jill and Bethenny “I thought it was odd that she would put me in that situation," she said, of Jill. "Because it’s not my fight with Bethenny, it’s her fight with Bethenny.” “I made a concerted effort to be really good friends with Jill,” she said. “I just thought it was a bit weird that she wouldn’t trust me with Bethenny.” Us too! Which brings us to
It’s our new game: it’s called Why Jill Zarin is a Disgusting Person! Ooh! Ooh! We’re going to be so good at this one! We’ll start, then you guys go in the comments:
Everything must always be about Jill: At her own poor daughter’s first fashion shoot for Seventeen (Fun fact: Most of Seventeen’s readers are actually adult women!), Jill insists on being the center of attention, bringing her own friends to the set and humiliating her daughter by making her feel ridiculous. Kelly thought that this attention grab worked because it was a distraction, but that was really only because Jill was moving and wearing something shiny at the same time, and Kelly couldn’t look away.
She is a a lying creep: She so obviously lied about talking to Perez Hilton and pretended to not know about the gossip items she planted. Then she lied by saying, “Honestly I wish you the best, and I always have, and always will.” That was a whopper — a bald-faced, over-eye-shadowed, yappy, tummy-tucked, pretend-marriaged lie. Then she lied by saying she had to put Bethenny on speaker because she was “doing ten things” (which, to be fair, Bethenny should have seen right through) and she lied by omission by not telling her LuAnn was there. Yes, Jill, that is a lie. If we said in a nice tone to you that we think of you often, it would be a lie, too, because we’d be omitting the fact that when we think about you, it gives us a rash.
She is a Teflon frenemy: In Jill’s world, nothing sticks to her. She never talked shit about people she talked shit about, she never lied, she never did anything wrong. In fact, she makes up arbitrary rules of what people should have done in the past so that she can accuse them of misbehavior in the present. To us it sounds like Bethenny behaved perfectly well with Bobby’s illness, the severity of which she did not know (thyroid cancer, while obviously traumatic like cancer of any kind, is one of the most treatable cancers humans can get). But Jill is making up reasons to be mad, because that makes good television, and by now we realize that Bravo has made a special deal with the devil for a VIP room for its stars in the afterlife so Jill knows she can pull this crap and will still get bottle service in Hades.
She’s a hypocrite: Bethenny was right, we checked Patrick McMullan. Jill was out partying and posing for pictures nearly every weekend last summer while her husband, who supposedly required constant care and feeding, was undergoing and recuperating from surgery.
She’s an underminer: The minute Kelly starts talking about this new guy she likes, Jill looks for flaws. Then later, in a confessional, she says Kelly is the one that’s too picky. Hey Jill: Guess what? Kelly is pretty. Handsome guys will hit on her. That has nothing to do with you and whether or not you’re going to stay famous enough to get a handful of free blowouts.
She’s a bully: Jill won’t even let Kelly be friends with Bethenny. “I thought you really cared,” she said, in an ominously threatening missive. Poor girl underestimated Kelly, thinking she was too much of an airhead to see right through her. She’d have known better than to try that on LuAnn or Alex. (Sorry Ramones.)
She’s a coward: It’s been months. Stop hiding from Bethenny. The only reason you could possibly have for not wanting to have this out with her in person, without the comfort of a “disconnect” button, is that you’re afraid Bethenny would out-argue and out-funny you. Which is what this is all about, anyway, this battle.
She’s got the same style of arguing as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church: You know, that stupid, specious style of bitchery where you replace arguments and thought with childish faces and meaningless questions ( “What does disproportionate mean?” and “I don’t think it’s really important why it’s so enormous,” for example). This makes your opponents so mad that they actually end up assaulting you, which makes you win the argument by default, and then you can actually sue the person who assaulted you for a lot of money over free speech. Awesome,
Fred Jill! See you at the next Iraq vet’s funeral!
She can only be near sycophants: LuAnn is off the hook for this. She’s recovering from a divorce and needs to concentrate on someone other than herself for a while.
She revels in making other people feel terrible: This is maybe the worst quality that exists in human beings. It is shared by people who mistreat waitstaff and say xenophobic things about cab drivers as though they can’t hear, even though everybody is in the same car.
Ally Zarin: Looking good, girl! One day you won’t live with your mom, and everything will be better!
Café Select: That place rules.
Mike from Playboy: Even though when Kelly says, “You’re the most handsome journalist I've ever met in my life,” he can only come up with, “No, come on, there’s lots of handsome journalists.” He was cute.
Victoria: Who has clearly learned how to use this show for her own advancement.
Derek: Even though Ramona slams him for “wearing bracelets like a girl,” we love how hard he's trying to make the Ducky-from–Pretty in Pink look come back.
Brooklyn Fashion Weekend: Is this even a thing? We have never, ever heard of it. In any case, it should never have allowed itself to be featured on a show that made it sound as exciting as Boise Fashion Fortnight. Also, those clothes! We’re blind!