We have never really understood yachts. What is the point of being on a boat that is so luxuriously appointed and expensively engineered that passengers forget they are even on the water? But last night, when the Real Housewives set sail for Ramona's Renewal Weekend, the ride was anything but smooth.
By the time Ramona was into her third Pinot Grigio, we had a queasy, swimmy feeling; by the time the girls went over to the Hooters boat, we were swaying with unfocused rage, and by the time Ramona, Bethenny, and Alex were whooping it up at the Turtle Bar, we were leaning over the starboard side of our sofas, pleading to God to help us vomit up the poison that we have put into our own bodies and minds by watching The Real Housewives of New York City or else to let us just die.
But we are resilient beings, and with the help of some Dramamine and a little hair o' the dog, we managed to recover ourselves to determine who "won" last night's episode.
While LuAnn might not have won herself any actual points this time around, she certainly earned some pity points. "I used to stand in front of the mirror in my bedroom with my microphone, which was the hairbrush," she says, and we as viewers realize that this whole song train wreck was her idea, and not the brainchild of some brilliant Bravo producer. She was working on it for months! And when it comes time to record, she's into it. "I’m feeling James Brown!" she says. "I’m going to take off my jacket!" Sadly for LuAnn, she is mistaken in her assumption that she (and Itzhak Perlman!) is a singer. But nothing could make us more sad for her than her wretched date with Courte, a man who mistakenly believes not only that the flattened-collar-over-the-lapel look was once trendy, but that it is trendy now. "He’s an intellectual, and that's fun!" says LuAnn, but when it comes to kissing, it doesn't look like she's having much "fun." In fact, it looks like she's undergoing the worst thing that has ever happened to her in her life. It was not lost on us that, after her first fruity martini, she switched to the hard, clear stuff for the second.
Alex used to be like an outsider who hung out with her weird Goth friend (Simon) and refused to join any cliques. She's now fully in the fold of this group, and she's enjoying it. Of the gang, she seemed to take the most advantage of the relaxing surroundings in St. John ("This is the first time since I've been a mother that I've been away without the children and Simon where it wasn’t a business trip," she notes.) Yes, she had a weird laugh and yes, she is not the best dancer, but she let loose and had fun. Since she wasn't a major presence in the episode, she didn't leave a lasting impression, but unfortunately for her, that denim-vest-and-shorts number certainly did. You have to be really detail-oriented to transition from a dork to a popular girl.
Bethenny's back! After some peremptory choking up about her dad (during which she says "After he died, I like, never cried again"), she goes right back to making boob jokes and tearing Kelly apart. We missed this Bethenny! When Kelly said "I take lemons and make lemonade" in entirely the wrong context, Bethenny said: “It was a gift from Jesus to make me laugh." And it was! "I was like, did you go to Colombia the country?” Bethenny cracks. Perhaps enjoying her soberness for the first time, Bethenny realizes that it gives her an advantage. "There’s buzzed, which is always Ramona, and then there’s drunk. She must have had 46 Pinot Grigios since lunch," Bethenny observes. "Ramona's having fun, though. She's renewing her buzz, she's renewing her vows." She's still having trouble knowing when it's best to keep that mouth shut, though: "You are the most unintelligent human being I've ever had the pleasure of being around," she told Kelly, which only served to make Kelly seem justified in her paranoia.
Then there's the drunk girls. We have poor Sonja, who was driven to extreme drunkenness by all of the other women and their problems. She started hitting the sauce during the unbearable Jill conversation, mostly, she says, out of boredom. "I wasn’t interested in the negative Jill talk at all," she told cameras later. "I was just waiting for my pedicure." Then she called for another bottle of wine when Bethenny started talking about her dad. (Did you see her face when Bethenny brought it up? It was like she could hear the cymbals crashing.) When she attempted to bring up a nonthreatening subject potentially one the girls could even bond over — her self-esteem after the divorce — she was totally steamrolled by Kelly's weird fight-picking with Bethenny. The good news is that she probably didn't remember any of it the next day. By the end of the night, she's slurring, "I would like to see Hooters girls," and jumping on top of Kelly in bed.
Now we know why in all the previous episodes Kelly has been avoiding drama like the plague: because when she gets caught up in it, she is revealed to be completely and utterly sponge-brained. It's one thing to not know what "eating crow" means or to say you don't eat high-fructose corn syrup and then ask for gummy bears. It's entirely another to lash out at the other woman with your cruel moron-isms. "You're all making lemonade out of lemons," she screams at one point, then insists that she was using the phrase correctly because they were "making a big thing out of a small thing." "I'll be in my la-la land with cartwheels with nice people being kind!" she shrieks, before retreating from the table, only to come back later for snacks. "You guys are sick. It’s like you’re demented!" Later she says to Sonja (who had said nothing about the subject), "It's not my style to have unprotected sex!” adding: "If you had it like this, you wouldn’t be giving it away." Ouch! "Honestly, this whole feelings thing? It’s like, 1979," she rants. (To be fair, we guess she would know: She was 11 in 1979.) Then she turns on Bethenny, sort of wisely observing that she "tries to make people feel bad so that she can feel better, which is not a good quality" and then following up not as wisely with: "No one cares about you Bethenny, no one cares!" And "You're not a chef, you're a cook!" and "I'm not a hobag like Bethenny!" Poor Kelly, who says she does not drink, is drunk, and does not realize that sober Bethenny will not be wounded by this. Also, she seems to have forgotten that she is only famous because she bedded an internationally renowned photographer twice her age, which isn't necessarily hobaggy, but is nothing to be a snob about. Kelly loses this one, big time.
On the other hand, Ramona is a big winner. Before she got drunk, she was going strong, looking great in her bikini for her age, and dishing out wisdom: "Jill, I know why she didn’t come, it’s not about her," she said. "If it's not about her, she doesn't want to participate." Like a good drunk, she calls LuAnn and Jill "the buzzkills." The more buzzed she gets, the more ridiculous: "WHERE ARE THE FISH!?" she howls from the sea. "IF I GOT MY HAIR WET, I WANT TO SEE SOMETHING!" Later, when she's on the Hooters yacht in search of Pinot Grigio, she's slurring. "You know Hooters means like, hot, and I’m still like hot for him," she says of Mario. When she couldn't spit out "harbored resentment" we loved her, and when she threatened to "shushter down" Kelly, we gave her the win.
For the first time in ages, Jill Zarin was a negligible presence in this episode. But from the previews for next week's episode, which show her saying, "Kelly has been calling me from the yacht," we suspect she was still secretly wielding her malevolent powers from afar. When Kelly went crazy, it was as though, like the Son of Sam, she was being controlled by an inner voice. Was that voice Jill Zarin, possibly communicating through an earpiece? Only time (one week) will tell.
Hooter Patrol IV: Though let's hope Hooter Patrols I–III have younger babes on them.
Chris Young: For having to explain how great his own studio is. And for insisting upon calling LuAnn "the countess." “She reminds me of Madonna, Fergie,” he says. Oh, man.
Coerte: Giving your own book as a present? And having the frosted tips? And doing that tongue-sticking-out thing while he laughs?