I've come to realize that what I'd really like in these reunion shows is for the women — instead of shrieking at each other — to get into the nitty-gritty of what happened in real life versus what happened in the edited, aired version of events. Because in this reunion there were plenty of references to that divide, but no real explanations. (Honestly, if we hear the term "Mean Tweets" one more time ... ) "It only seems like I have a [drinking] problem because of the way it's shown," Ramona says. Don't you want to get into that? And someone else referenced how the Bravo blogs add to an air of nastiness off air. "I'm on a TV show, what can I tell you?" Jill asks, voicing the question of the hour (and a half). Hmmm. What could she tell us? She could tell us that she's not really a catty jerk in real life, for instance. Or that she plays up for the cameras. Or that she tries to play nice for the sake of the audience, which you think a normal person would do, and she just falls short. But we get none of that.
Really, 90 minutes was far too much of this dreck, and by the end I was drowning myself in Pinot Grigio. Why did the brunettes stick up for each other better than the blondes? Would everything have gone differently if the couches had been better mixed? (Did it really matter that Sonja was seated with Alex and Ramona? And couldn't Cindy have been sitting on an ottoman fifteen feet away, off-camera?) By the end, I didn't care. But somebody won, and that was all of us, for this miserable season finally ending.
Alex has clearly been practicing her lines: "Jill has enough dirt on [LuAnn] she could fill a landfill!" she says right off the bat, and you can almost hear the sassy snap afterward. "If I was trying to socialize above myself I would stay the hell away from all of you, because you know what? You're a liability." To Kelly, "You're the one who’s acting with your fake boyfriends and your fake shoes and everything." But as many points as she may have scored with those lines, and with correct observations like when she called the brunettes "professional victims," she really lost this fight. She has a blind spot about Simon, and she lets Kelly get the better of her too often. By the time we were in the last half-hour, we'd watched her get beat up for so long already it became like a Tracy Jordan Oscar vehicle: Hard to Watch.
LuAnn did an okay job again, only splashing around in the hypocrisy pool from time to time. For someone who claims not to want to go after family, for example, she certainly had a lot of rude questions about Avery and Mario. "I'm never really confrontational," she later said, laughably. "I'm not an instigator." If you could bottle Alex's face when she made that remark, you'd make a killing selling eau de incredulity. But she tried, on the whole, to put forth Reasonable LuAnn. She didn't take offense to Sonja's ribbing during her burlesque routine, and she tried to rein in Kelly's overt meanness toward Alex. She even admitted that she sometimes says things she shouldn't say (but of course she followed that immediately with that reality-show mantra "and I’m not apologizing!"). It's sort of a testament to how LuAnn is regarded, in spite of her toughness, that everyone seems to be genuinely happy for her and Jacques. And how about the news that she is going to have dinner with her ex and his girlfriend in Paris with Jacques? Can we please have reality cameras in on that little scene?
Boy, Jill was on a tear again this episode. She started off with a gross imitation of Ramona massaging Mario's feet. Then she screams out "B-I-T-C-H" to Alex, saying, "unlike you I’m considering that small children could be watching this.” God help us all if they are. That was before Andy even hit us with a montage of clips of her being a bully or a jerk. "I think honestly at the core I don't do it to hurt people," she says, defending herself afterward. "YOU KNOW I LIKE WHO I AM! I'M FUNNY, I'M A LITTLE SNARKY! TO KNOW ME IS TO LOVE ME OR TO NOT." Later she sort of calmed down, admitting that "it was horrible" what she said about Alex at that wedding (even though last reunion episode she reiterated that. How is it that we remember things she said a week ago and she can't remember it even though it was all taped on the same day?) She tried to make a valid point about outing alcoholics, but it was rendered moot by her insinuations that Ramona was one, and her insinuations that Mario was cheating on Ramona. It seemed like the message from Bravo was clear: Jill wanted to fix herself this season and failed. But since she and Ramona and LuAnn are the core of the show, why would anything change?
Dear Ramona is too easily caught in hypocrisy. She won’t do the music video, but she’ll give her husband a raunchy massage on national television. She won’t go to a club for Avery’s sweet sixteen, but she’ll have alcohol right when she walks through the door. She acts like a prude, but then goes to a burlesque party. Honestly, what can you say about Ramona, except what she said herself: "What would you do without me?" It's true, Ramona makes the show. She doesn't often win it, but she makes it move along. So there's that, at least.
Sonja was wise to remain silent until about a third of the way into the show, when she called the brunettes out on conflating being drunk and having fun with being an alcoholic. This, obviously, is a wise line for Sonja to draw in the sand. And she was relatively fair in explaining her behavior with the staff in Morocco, some things go missing from luggage — and she explained that pretty reasonably. She even was sweet about Bethenny, her goofball, sarcastic predecessor. "What I was most happy for [Bethenny] is that she got the baby and she got the man," she said. Hopefully next season the ladies will be saying that they're happy Sonja fixed her money problems, and that she maybe even found a man of her own!
Alex has clearly found a way to really get to Kelly. Her first outburst on the show is to respond to Alex’s implication that Kelly is a liability in society. This really brings out the crazy, like, instantaneously. "EXCUSE ME, MISS MCCORD?" she howls. "ARE YOU SMOKING CRACK?" Then she lashes out at her again, "Oh, you remember those [films] but you don’t remember your modeling jobs!" Realizing she's launched her way to Planet Kelly, she reels it in quickly and tries to make only rational points after that. "There are functioning alcoholics," she observes, adding, to Ramona: "You don't unwind, you unravel." That calm lasted for a little while, and then she had to go after Alex again. She starts chanting, "You are not a nice person!" which, frankly, makes us think the same about Kelly.
Which leaves Cindy for the win. She only piped in the last ten minutes, just long enough to admit to having a nanny and defending her mothering skills. This performance won't help her stay on the show next season, but it at least saved her most of her dignity. Kudos.
Bethenny: "I'm really happy for her and I'm proud of her," Jill lies, adding. "I wouldn't count her money and she shouldn't count mine." Um, thanks?
Simon: He generally doesn’t come off well in these. But what was the deal with his preexisting friendship with Jill? That was sort of mysterious.
Bobby: Jill implied that Bobby felt threatened by Simon, which is not a good look.