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The Real Housewives of New York City Recap: The Emancipation of Aviva

Last night’s episode of RHONYC was, hopefully, the first chapter in what shall be known as The Emancipation of Aviva! That’s right, girl — allow me to paraphrase Joe Biden when I inappropriately reference casting off chains of any kind. You show Django how it’s done!

The episode began where last week’s left off — at a party where Ramona lurked behind people’s backs, her head cocked like a deferent parrot a pace behind its pirate’s shoulder. She perched, listening to other people’s conversations about her, interjected with vitriol, then fled. If it were the early sixties, “Doing the Ramona” might be a fun dance craze, like the Madison! First you stick in your head — cup your hand to your ear! Pour yourself some wine, now yell real loud. Are you ready? Now, RUN AWAY! That’s it, you’ve got it! Do the Ramona!

After Ramona had sprinted off into her latest dark party corner, Heather was left to make sense of her madness with Aviva and Mario, who were, respectively, unhelpful, and completely out of touch. “[My wife] is not a crazy person,” said Ramona’s husband with a face so straight it could have been on a CBS procedural instead of a Bravo docu-soap, and Aviva said she didn’t know anything about Ramona’s remarks about Jacques’s silly accent.

Carole tried to play peacemaker while Aviva admonished Heather for daring to call Ramona crazy, preempting her future hypotheses that the sky is blue or that all rape is legitimate. And Sonja and Ramona dodged the whole mess, all the while doing that gross faux-sapphic flirty thing that makes everybody uncomfortable.

Reid, to his credit, was like “Fuck this.” I like Reid. Also, he has a lot of money. Should we write a song about him or did Cara Quici already cover that base?  By the way, not to brag, but Cara Quici is following me on Twitter. She also has a Google alert, so HI CARA QUICI!

Before we were blissfully excused from this party scene, Aviva and Heather had it out about the Miami and London trips. As their red-lipsticked lips flapped, some of what they said actually made sense. Aviva mentioned that Ramona was hurt about not being invited to London, which was a legitimate “diss,” in her words (not mine — who am I, DJ Soft Batch? BTW, please consider calling me that). And Heather told Aviva that she made a point of not inviting her to Miami, which Aviva dismissed as not being a trip with many Housewives in attendance. Still, good point. Hooray, both of you! Or maybe the opposite. I’m not sure if I like both of you yet.

After that scene, we were treated to one of those Real Housewives chestnuts where one or several of our heroines drop into a medi-spa or a derm’s office, and pay technicians to inject their faces and bodies with various fillers, toxins, and serums. These procedures may or not work, and they look painful, but … well, I don’t really have an end to this sentence. I guess they exist, is my point. At the dermatologist’s office, Sonja was in a good mood, showing off her stomach and joking about how her psychic thinks she has something on her forehead that attracts small penises, and she also said some other stuff that was like “Okay, Sonja.” Then, Ramona showed us her hot-pink-undie-bedecked tuchus. If that weren’t bad enough, she soon gyrated it right before the dermatology assistants rubbed grease on its cheeks, administered electric shocks on the part of the rear end that met the top of Ramona’s thighs, and otherwise did things to her body that were upsetting and should have been seen by no one. And this is a bonding activity between female friends? Not to get all Dowager Countess on here, but whatever happened to going to tea? Do women really need to see their friends’ buttocks get all “Claire Danes in Homeland’ed” in order to bond? Oh, and Sonja, if that TRULY made you horny, you might want to reconsider giving George a call. Perhaps you two weird perverts have more in common than you originally thought.

After that scene, Luann affixed her most absorbent headband to her beautiful pumpkin head and headed to a spin class for charity with Aviva, who hosted the event. The proceeds went to Aviva’s foundation, which gives prostheses to kids who are missing limbs and can’t afford to buy artificial legs of their own. It is a worthy cause, and Aviva is clearly passionate about it. I have no idea what spinning has to do with any of it, but I’ve never understood spin classes. Go for a bike ride. Or don’t.

At the event, Luann admitted that she’d had no idea it was an event for charity — she thought she and Aviva were just going exercisin’. Which is not insane — these chickens go on all kinds of oddball expositions together, and charity events don’t usually come along with a spin teacher screaming “This is the soundtrack of your life!” at the top of her lungs while Luann’s single plays. By the way, can you imagine if “Money Can’t Buy You Class” was actually the soundtrack of your entire life? Would it be like playing Van Halen’s “Panama” to Noriega, in order to get him to surrender? What would you do? Where would you turn? Whom would you hold?

But whether or not Luann knew the class was being held for a good cause, she showed up, and after the intro, so did Heather and Carole, who made sure to do her “I don’t exercise!” thing to the camera, because she looks just like all of us who don’t work out and enjoy pizza — right ladies? And once three of the Housewives had shown up, Aviva expressed her “disappointment” that Ramona and Sonja were MIA at the event, and you could tell she was simmering to a boil. Apparently she’d gotten last minute texts from both of them canceling around the same time, and Aviva — who — if you remember — had already invested at least a dozen of her organic, cancer-free eggs into Ramona’s shitty basket of bats — was beginning to suspect that Ramona sucked, and her friend was a mess.

While Aviva sewed her seeds of discontent, we watched a scene in which Ramona emotionally and verbally abused a sweet and professional cab driver while her dog considered jumping out the window to its sweet death.

And then Carole and Aviva tried on jewelry and discussed Aviva’s psychological inability to do absolutely anything. Carole was kind and understanding and did a good job of listening. She is so on the wrong show. Then, she brought up Russ and her own emotional unavailability, because she’s self-aware, and didn’t make a big deal out of anything, because she is on the wrong show. Also, let’s give this scene a hand for being the first and last time that anyone will ever use the word “Oxytocin” on Bravo. Unless one of Theresa Guidice’s daughters ends up dating a guy who’s dealing Oxycontin, I feel pretty confident that it’s the last we’ll hear of the bonding hormone on this network.

Across town, Luann went swimsuit shopping with Ramona, even though she compared the act to masturbation — as in, you want to do it alone, and it helps when you tear off the hygiene panel they have on the inside of the bottoms.

Ramona tried to pressure Luann to try on a swimsuit in front of her, which was weird. So instead, Luann tried on cover-up dresses to pass the time, and Ramona put different ugly bathing suits on her body and spoke loudly about nothing, and nipples. Then, the two ladies gossiped about Aviva’s anxiety around going to St. Barth’s, and Ramona didn’t like that Aviva couldn’t travel without Reid. Anyway, the two women seemed to get along just fine and they basically agreed to babysit Aviva on the trip, which will not happen. That trip is going to be a goddamn nightmare parade, and I’ve got my jellybeans ready. I cannot wait.

After this scene came an interstitial in which Heather’s and Aviva’s kids got together to go on a carousel, and Aviva’s son said something extremely weird about his penis. Not to make a schticky circumcision joke, but wouldn’t that moment have been better served on the cutting room floor? For, you know, this kid maybe growing up one day and being minimally damaged?

Then, Aviva took Carole to the headquarters of her charity, A Step Ahead, which is a good name for a charity. I mean, it’s no Creaky Joints. Anyway, this scene was sweet, and the kid — Jake — who got a pair of running legs could not have been cuter. Also, with the exception of Carole dropping her ABC News credit yet again, she behaved beautifully and everybody got out of this scene smelling like a rose. And hopefully, we’ll see Jake running in the Olympics one day. Not those ones that they stage for the Summer By Bravo ads! May he never be that close to Caroline Manzo in his long and happy life, Amen.  

Finally, Carole and Sonja came over to Ramona’s house for rich people snacks served by a random man in his 30s or 40s who was never introduced. Before Aviva arrived, Carole gave Ramona and Sonja a heads up that Aviva was pissed at both of them for missing her charity event. And after meeting Jake a scene earlier, I think I speak for the audience by saying that we were too.

Ramona talked about how her face was too red that day to take a spin class, and I was like “Oh, no, was that the butt injection scene we sat through earlier? THAT was why you weren’t there?” And as Sonja explained her dog’s condition — to which I am very sympathetic as a fellow animal lover — Ramona clung to her hand as though they were lovers enduring a natural disaster side by side. Carole, playing the part of the Greek Chorus quite well, said in her confessional that their excuses were unending and feeble-sounding, and advised Sonja not to mention her dog when Aviva arrived.

Then, Aviva showed up and Ramona produced a check for her charity within minutes of her entrance, like she was a magician producing a coin out of thin air. That made Sonja pissed, because she pays her bills with crumb tray remnants and used pasties. Then, Aviva mentioned that Luann had attended, but she didn’t know at first that it was a charity event. “That’s so Luann!” blurted Ramona, without an ounce of self-awareness or contrition.

Apologizing comes so easy to Ramona because she doesn’t allow herself to mean it. To her, saying you’re sorry is just another disposable bleep of lip-flapping. People use the term “steamroll” a lot to refer to what happens when people overlap others’ sentiments, but Ramona’s conversational style is so much like that actual piece of machinery — gigantic, dangerous, unstoppable, pre-determined to crush everything in its path — that she can not differentiate shifts in mood, changes in tone, or everything else that normal people feel in order to connect.  It would be sad if she seemed kinder.

On the other end of the emotional spectrum disorder is Sonja, who is so emotional and random, she can evoke tears at will, with no notice. So, when Aviva finally confronted the two and said she was disappointed that they didn’t make it to her event, Ramona hit the gas and, instead of apologizing right away, actually reprimanded Aviva for saying she was merely disappointed — not, in fact “pissed.” Then, Ramona matter of factly said that her face was so red that day it would have “scared the kids.” So naturally, she couldn’t have gone.

That insanity was Sonja’s cue to start HER insanity, like she was some reverse Susan Powter. Tears clumped her lashes, and Sonja went on about how one of her interns gave her dog the wrong pill, and now the dog is losing bladder control, and usually the dog is embarrassed about that because he’s proud, and now the dog has to sleep in bed with her wearing a diaper, and how sexy could that really be? Not very sexy.

After that insane monologue, Carole transitioned from the role of Greek Chorus into old timey narrator, straddled an apple box and chewed on a corn cob pipe. She addressed the camera. “Now, y’see here’s where Aviva done begun to blow her stack!” she intoned, Hal Holbrookily. And sure enough, Aviva got madder and madder not only at Ramona and Sonja’s excuses for being absent — but at their bullshit apologies, and, in Sonja’s case, her batshit explanation. I’m sorry, dogs are a lot of things — but proud? They wear costumes like these with no resistance, and gleefully snack on their own feces whenever permitted! Sonia Sotomayor is PROUD.

Then Aviva said something that betrayed so much common sense that it would have ben hard for a normal person to argue with it. She said that, in retrospect, Ramona should have scheduled her dermatology appointment at another time. But Ramona COULDN’T HELP but bicker, even after admitting Aviva was right! She said “Do you know how hard it is to get a derm appointment in New York?” like it was her calf reflexively kicking up after her knee got banged with a triangular hammer, then quickly added on “I’m sorry,” because who cares what words mean anyway.  And then, Aviva said that Sonja should have had somebody else take her dog to the vet, and Sonja sort of lost her shit. Sonja said there was no way somebody else could have taken her dog to the vet because she could have had to put him down, and I completely understand her point of view in regards to that heartbreaking situation. THAT SAID — there’s a reasonable way to explain that in a contrite fashion, to an upset person. Sonja did not do that.

“Now this is out of control!” Sonja screamed, making it out of control. Then she and Aviva began talking over each over, then screaming over each other, and then came the pull-quote of the season, or at least my new ringtone, from Aviva. Shall we all say it together?

“It wasn’t about me or my charity! It was about the children! Who are MISSING! LEGS!”

Sonja countered this devastating sentence by saying it wasn’t about her, but it was about her dog. And by then, we were all just tired and angry. So after Aviva deferred Ramona’s feeble toast attempt with a hearty “Opinions are like assholes — everybody has one” glass-clink, Sonja began to cry again and Ramona tended to her like she was a repentant abusive boyfriend. Ramona and Sonja just kept saying over and over that Aviva didn’t have a dog, so how could she possibly understand, and Carole stepped in coolly and calmly to say Aviva seems very strong and maybe that’s why Ramona and Carole forgot that she was … an amputee? Was that Carole’s point? Please help me out here. I know it seemed intelligent at the time but now I can’t seem to paraphrase it.

Aviva ended the row with a futile attempt to teach her guests that apologies mean something. She told Ramona and Sonja that they had better not disrespect another event of hers in the near future. And nobody heard her, but at least there was champagne, and then this — “She’s clearly not a dog person.”

Next week looks exciting, right? Scary Island with different characters, maybe? What will provoke the “white trash” comment? Who is this Johnny Depp lookalike? And does anybody truly give a shit whether or not Reid shows up? Reid is nice!

What did you think? What did I miss?

Photo: Bravo