For this week’s Real Housewives of New York City, I’d like to start by focusing on the positive — if only to prove that there is, in fact, material for a funny and entertaining show without all of the wretched backstabbing and pettiness. This week the ladies finally ventured into the open air of Morocco, and it served the show well. They were cute and excited in the souk, loving the colors and the food. They were hilarious and only marginally offensive on the camels. And they played a sweet game of “things you don’t know about me” while having a little adventure outside of their comfort zones.
But these ladies couldn’t let each nice moment go by without at least a little witchery. “I don’t want to go shopping with Sonja, she looks like a rich American,” Jill says in the souk. See, Jill has opted for a disguise — the poor American, with a fannypack. That way no one will rob her! (And if they do, at least she’ll get some FUPA fondling action.) When the women ululate on the camels, fussy Alex wonders aloud, “Is that disrespectful or is that okay?” Because in a desert, there are always plenty of people around to be offended.
Anyway, onto our game, when we the viewers get to decide who offended us the most, and who, by doing so the least, won this night’s episode.
Okay, first of all, Sonja obviously did not win. Bravo picked an amazing night to have her on Watch What Happens Live! afterward, because you could see her getting sick to her stomach watching clips of herself careening around Morocco like a drunken dromedary. She was a mess after the psychic claimed that Mario was cheating on Ramona, which was probably mostly attributable to Ramona Juice (a.k.a. Pinot Grigio) but, as Jill sagely observes, also maybe because she “knows something Ramona doesn’t.” Sonja’s mostly weeping about her own life and divorce, and by the time she was turning down the camel ride, viewers had mostly written her off. Even the occasional asides like, “Gas, I have gas,” and admission of diarrhea didn’t redeem her performance.
Cindy is still playing the “what are we, CHILDREN?” game way too hard. Also the, “who do you think you ARE?” game. She needs to realize that, yes, you are children, and yes, you do think you are famous, important people. As she clawed away at Sonja, she didn’t realize that the woman has the memory of a goldfish and didn’t even remember what their original fight was about, really. But to her credit, she immediately forgives Sonja when an apology eventually comes over the seat situation (Andy Cohen counted — the word “seat” was shrieked over a dozen times this episode), which was a good call. And when she admitted to selling socks when she was 12, the reaction it got out of Ramona was enough to make us like Cindy all over again.
Jill did sort of okay at the start of the episode, by ending the drunk moment between Ramona and Alex, and by being sort of fun on the camel and properly agog at the tent. But then about halfway through the episode she started being Old Jill again. She carefully wraps Cindy in a blanket and then makes the biggest eye-roll face. And then she gets into the Fight with Ramona, which, somehow, amazingly, she loses. She couldn’t control her temper, which is Housewives Rule of Winning No. 1. And she brought up Bethenny, who isn’t on the show anymore, which broke Rule No. 2: That is, if someone leaves a Bravo show, one must pretend they are dead. If that person turns up, one must treat them as a ghost — a pale, skinny, enormously boobed ghost.
Amazingly, for someone who was so afraid of this trip, Kelly did pretty well again. She rightly tried to translate the psychic word-for-word, which got her out of any sort of interpretive fight with Ramona. She was good with the camels and remarkably did a good job of cooling down the Cindy/Sonja fight. Still, she was sort of a nonentity in the episode.
Alex was also a nonentity, basically, although we will never get the image of her blue sequined Le Petit Prince shorts out of our heads. She did a good job of lightening the tension after Ramona and Sonja’s weird talk about Mario, carrying them away into the night arm in arm.
LuAnn, naturally, tried to be in charge of the translation of Ramona’s dire prediction, because she wants to be the bearer of bad news. When that didn’t work, she tried to be the arbiter of the Seat Fight. “In all fairness, I asked her to save the seat,” she told the camera. “I’m a little surprised she doesn’t have a thicker skin considering she’s the tough businesswoman that she is.” Later, when the camel almost throws her, she’s a relatively good sport about it (even though, come on, she would have fallen seven feet? Into sand?). All in all, she’s doing a decent, but not amazing, job of being in charge of this trip.
Okay, I know some of you are going to wildly disagree, but I’m going to have to hand Ramona the win on this one. Yes, she weirdly did not interpret the psychic’s prediction the way all the other women did — that Mario was cheating on her. (And, to be clear, that’s definitely what the psychic was saying.) And yes, she did say bitchily to Sonja, “I didn’t marry for money, I married for love.” (Sonja, to her credit, doesn’t let this punch land.) And yes, she had that insane “I’m having a heart attack” fight with Jill. But really, in the context of everything, she remained pretty calm. She let the Sonja thing slide once it was over. About the seat situation, she notes: “When you’re traveling with six girls, you have to go with the flow.” She was funny about having diarrhea. And most of all, in the Jill fight, she sort of held herself together and let Jill fly off the handle. “I’m not always the best person in the world, and I put my foot in my mouth all the time, and maybe sometimes I’m in a bad mood, and maybe sometimes I say things that are bitchy,” she says. “But at least I own it.” Sure, if any person in the real world said that it would be nonsense, but in the context of this show, it sort of made sense when said to Jill.