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Real Housewives of New York City Recap: All About Alex

If Alex McCord wanted to rip the narrative of the show from the hands of Jill Zarin and start writing it on her own, she’s done a very good job these past two episodes. Unfortunately, as Jill learned the hard way last season, when you’re the center of these ladies’ attention, it’s almost never a good thing. “Alex McCord: She grew a pair in St. John and she’s been swingin’ ‘em ever since,” Sonja says near the end of the episode (Spoiler alert: It’s not a compliment). Sonja’s right. Of course, LuAnn puts it a little more delicately: “She finally found her voice, and now she needs to be quiet,” she muses. “No matter how hard she tries to climb up that social ladder, once you get to the top, you have to be comfortable with who you are, and she’s not that person.” Whether or not she’s comfortable in her skin, Alex can’t possibly have been comfortable in those Louis Vuitton shoes — but more on that later.

Before we get to the all-important issue of who won this week’s episode, a little disclaimer: Everyone gets a little bit of a pass because the underlying issue beneath their sparring — marriage equality — is a really worthy cause. It was good that the show devoted nearly a whole episode to it, even tangentially, and also that the very phrase “marriage equality” was repeated so many times. (Did anyone even say “gay marriage”? Advocates prefer “marriage equality” because it takes the emphasis away from the “other” aspect of the issue and puts it on the “equality” aspect.) So thank you, ladies, for marching that rainy day back in the late summer, and for making sure the parade got a second wind on Bravo.

God, thank goodness that’s over. Now for the good stuff: Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who has the hairiest vadge of them all?


Jill caved and showed up for the march, which was the right thing to do (for the cameras) and made an effort to be nice to Alex, which was the polite thing to do (for the cameras), and she even played sweetly with Alex’s still scary children, which was the brave thing to do (for the cameras). No reason to resurrect our list of Reasons Why Jill Zarin Is a Disgusting Person … yet.


In this episode, we learn that when Kelly goes to someone’s home, she always comes bearing gifts. Like “cleansing kits” and “candles” and … deli flowers? Oh, well. It’s the thought that counts. After the fighting erupts before the march, she puts it best in her own studiously confused manner: “So is it Sonja’s day or is it Alex’s day?” she asks. “Because I was marching for marriage equality.” Then, when the trouble won’t cease, she makes one last try: “It’s fun and campy, come on!” Of course, this fails, and she has to spend the rest of the episode looking spectacular, which is always her fallback when the other arrows in her meager quiver of cleverness run out.


We still can’t quite figure out Cindy, who hasn’t really anchored her own plotline quite yet. There’s definitely some sort of weird magnetism between herself and her business partner/best friend/housemate/brother Howie. Can’t wait to see how that pans out.


Okay, let’s talk about Alex. She clearly lost this episode by a long shot. She looked awful at pretty much every moment, not necessarily because of her outfits (although when you go from a virgin bride to a dominatrix in one episode your stylist needs to teach you something about editing). It was her uncontrolled, irate facial expressions that soured every one of her looks. You just know she grinds those teeth of hers into tiny dinosaur nubs every night in her sleep, as she dreams about Jill and Sonja and Ginger. (What, no one else picked up that even Jill’s Chihuahua has it out for her?) Even before the march she is disingenuous — when asked about the friend’s wedding from last week’s episode, she said: “I wanted us all to stay away from each other and not take attention away from the bride.” That’s why she brought reality cameras to it, you see. After behaving wretchedly toward pretty much everyone, wearing the same tiered diamond earrings she always wears, and continuing her streak of chugging Champagne at every opportunity, she capped off a bad episode by losing her fight with Sonja in an astounding fashion. Don’t you ever watch The View, girl? Finish your goddamn sentences when you’re in a fight. If you keep saying “Excuse me!” and letting the other woman talk louder than you, you don’t stand a chance. “I’m standing here on the street with my mouth on the floor,” she says on the phone to Simon, after getting kicked out of Sonja’s house. Oh, honey. In that outfit, you look like that’s not the only thing that will soon be on the floor.


Even though Ramona was pretty classic Ramona in this episode — flighty, confused, shrill — she did manage to keep it together when it counted. She gave Sonja the benefit of the doubt about the Marriage March when Alex told her about it, and even though she didn’t want to sit with “whackadoo” Kelly, she arranged a seat for her at the benefit just in case. Of course, her claim that Kelly is “whackadoo” would have been more compelling if she hadn’t delivered it in a confessional in which her hair looked like it was done by the stylist for the Fry Guys.


Although she bested Alex, Sonja didn’t exactly put on a strong showing, either. It started when she misunderstood the implications of a bunch of gay people saying to her: “You’re so light and funny, and you’re such a gay icon.” That’s not a compliment, girlfriend. That means you’re an alcoholic who looks like a drag queen. (Who are our other icons? Liza? Judy? Whitney Houston?) She deserves a little credit for trying to keep things on a positive note before the march (don’t think we didn’t hear “Turtle Time!”), but that didn’t last long. She could have been more flexible about Simon speaking, and she definitely shouldn’t have pushed Alex’s buttons like that the minute she got to the art party. In her defense about the speaking thing, it was probably her publicist who set it all up. She should have let it go at that and not taken Alex’s bait — even if she knew she could best her in a public spat in her own home.

That said, we totally understood her gripes about the painting. You never want to see how you’re viewed by other people. It’s like when you see a hotel mirror where you can see yourself from the side, or behind — simply put: It’s awful.


So that leaves … LuAnn, who sort of won by default. As usual, she stayed (mostly) above the fray, trying to adjudicate the speaking issue fairly. The whole ice-in-the-Champagne issue irked a bit, but she redeemed herself by immediately and without pretense attempting to put her whole mouth over the flute when it started overflowing at Alex’s house. (Also, by asking Sonja at Le Caprice if she wanted “Pink Champagne or red wine,” as if those are the only two drinks in the world. “Nobody drinks at lunch anymore,” she griped. “It’s so boring.”) So, you win, LuAnn, by a hair. But don’t think we didn’t notice that horrendous necklace from the restaurant. Hey, LuAnn, Rafiki from the Lion King called from Broadway — he wants his collar back!

Ancillary Winners:
Simon: For wearing a rainbow-sequined tuxedo jacket (that he clearly already owned) in perhaps the ONLY possible appropriate situation — standing with his arms around his gay friends at a marriage-equality march.
State Senator Tom Duane: For only being allowed to say one sentence on-camera, and therefore finally appearing coherent.
Le Caprice: But only barely, because it was DEAD empty.
The Tribute in Lights: It only appeared for a second, but it was striking as always.
The editors: For making it seem as though Alex was listening to Sonja talking about her at the table, when she clearly wasn’t. And then for making it seem like they happily greeted one another at Sonja’s party when they clearly hadn’t.
The party planner for Sonja’s party: He picked out that pink shirt special!

Ancillary Losers:
Simon: For every single other part of the episode.
Cindy’s brother Howie: As handsome as he is, he’s too nervous to be on-camera. And why is he wearing a male muumuu?
Artist Brian Farrell: For having his voice crack in his first moment onscreen.
The Poor Actual Party Guests Who Have to Duck Out of the Way of Sonja and Alex: Especially because their faces weren’t blurred — they totally signed the release for that moment of horror!

Photo: Courtesy of Bravo