When the great spiritual songress of our time, Ms. Katheryn Elizabeth "Katy" Perry (née Hudson) sings about fireworks, they are figurative, people who are so inspiring that their light and hope explodes in the sky for all to see. When the Real Snail Shells of Clam Bake Fire Pit talk about fireworks, they are literal, the Chinese creation that takes off at least one drunken father’s ring finger every Independence Day. They do not have time for figurative language; they are too busy creating displays of attraction and noises of repulsion to really do anything else. And sometimes they mistake the figurative for the literal. Often it is funny.
I’m going to do something really drastic and I’m going to talk about the last fight right up here at the beginning because, well, the events of the episode did not really lead up to this fight necessarily. No, the argument between Carole and Aviva on the beach was really just a continuation of Hashtag Bookgate, which has been going on for weeks now. Oh, Hashtag Bookgate. Much like Kristen, an extended dance remix of Frozen’s “Let It Go,” I don’t want to get involved in this fight anymore. I want nothing to do with it. Let’s turn the Hashtag Page on Hashtag Bookgate and then wipe it from history like we did with Lindsay Lohan’s lesbianism. (Remember when Lindsay Lohan was a lesbian? Neither do I!)
I will say one thing for Aviva: At one point during the argument, she said, “We’re getting nowhere,” and she was right. This is one of those Real Housewives fights that will never be resolved. Carole still has no idea what she did to rankle Aviva at their lunch (neither does the world and, I think, at this point, neither does Aviva), and Aviva will never take responsibility for besmirching Carole’s name all over town. The guidos of Jersey Shore, for all their alcohol and 5-Hour Energy–fueled ridiculousness, came up with this great concept of “neutralizing.” It’s when two people feel like they have each been wronged, so their senses of wrongedness contradict each other, which means both of their grievances are erased from the record and the two can go back to a clean slate. The Housewives need to embrace this (and, while we’re adopting things from Jersey Shore, a couple of these ladies could use some solid GTL too), and it would make everyone’s lives so much easier.
As for Carole and Aviva, they were acting a bit out of character. Carole was louder and more aggressive than I’ve seen her ever. Maybe she was fed up, maybe she was a little drunk, maybe she got a stern talking to from the producers, who knows. But she was not letting Aviva get away with her old tricks. The most wonderfully ruthless shade came when Aviva said, “I’ve read your new book, and it’s wonderful,” and Carole replied, “Did you call Bill [my “ghostwriter”] and congratulate him.” If words could be transformed into things, that would turn itself into about eight dozen RuPaul’s Drag Race GIFs of the “girls” fanning themselves, pursing their lips, and giving side-eye.
Aviva, well, she was crazy. But she’s always crazy. This seemed like a special brand of crazy, where she fought with Carole for like 20 minutes before taking a copy of Carole’s book out of her bag and telling Carole how amazing she is. Does Aviva think this trick is going to work on everyone because it worked on Ramona? Ramona is a woman who only wants to hear herself speak and hear others speak about her. Carole is a real, live, rational-thinking human being that was born of two Earth parents. You need to reason with her, and heaping praise on her after telling everyone in town that she uses a ghostwriter is not going to work. I’ve never seen anyone condescend to someone using praise before, but Aviva has to realize this is not going to work.
Okay, can we all now agree to put Hashtag Bookgate to rest for good.
Speaking of Ramona, boy, was she back to her old tricks last night. First she had a photo shoot with her dog Cocoa, named after the bean, not the French designer. (In the summer, Ramona calls her “Hot Cocoa” and laughs until she snorts.) Ramona says that her daughter Avery is going to miss her at college, so what better thing is there for a dorm-room wall than a calendar of your mother posing with your dog Cocoa (who is not a color that resembles brown, ochre, or burnt sienna)? I have an answer to that, Ramona. Everything. Every single damn thing in the entire world is better for a dorm-room wall than a calendar of that student’s mother and a dog in a cavalcade of outfits from PrettyPupE.com. A giant photo of Miley Cyrus’s tongue, a poster of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, a shitty “Oriental” tapestry from Urban Outfitters that will later be used as a slipcover for the sofa your roommate steals from the study lounge in the basement, a print of that infernal Klimt The Kiss, 17 photobooth strips of you and your best girls throwing gang signs and duck lips, dried vomit from the jungle juice at the Zeta Tao Epison house: Those are all better things to end up on a dorm wall than a calendar of a mother and her dog.
As dumb as that was, I’m a little bit worried about Ramonja, guys. There seems to be some sort of rift. First Sonja insults Ramona’s line of rosé, saying that it tastes a little “burned.” This would never keep Sonja from drinking it, mind you, but she did criticize it. (Also, don’t you think that Ramona’s rosé should be named Sha and the label can read Ramona’s Rosé Sha?) But after that, Ramona went and criticized Sonja, saying that she had too many irons in her fire (which, Sonja was confused to find out, does not mean masturbating with more than one Hitachi Magic Wand at a time).
Based on the preview for next week, we’re clearly getting into some story line about Sonja and her bankruptcy and lawsuit and all sorts of unpleasantness. I don’t want to know about this. Somehow, it seems indiscreet to talk about it. Sonja, as she says, is a comedian, always trying to get through life with a swirl of her wine glass and a good joke. Actually, she’s more like a magician, trying to do a dance on your pool table so you don’t realize that, hey, maybe life isn’t all white-wine spritzers and Chanel bags after all. That’s why it seems mean to talk about Sonja’s problems. It’s like having a dear friend with a huge birthmark on his face. You never ask, “Hey, that shit is fucked up and can’t be good for your self-esteem, so why don’t you have it lasered off?” No, he knows its there, you know it’s there, but you both just talk about last week’s Game of Thrones instead because, well, there is no need to discuss the horrible glaring unpleasantness right there.
So when Ramona criticizes Sonja, she finally snaps, “You couldn’t even handle a second in my life, Singer,” storming off. “You know, I have 24 better invites to parties tonight than this one by your bocce pit, you know. People want me to perform my caburlesque in Mykonos and San Tropez. I don’t need to be here. And, yes, my life could have married better. I could have been richer. I could have been prettier. I could have married better. I could have stayed sober the day we went over contracts in my business class in college and saved myself a lawsuit. I could have worn underwear today. I could have done a lot of things, but I didn’t or I don’t or who cares. This is what I am and I’m laughing my way through it, and if you can’t support me and be my friend and twist up a smile and help me pretend like my life isn’t falling the fuck apart, well, then I’m going to take my giant sunhat and I’m going to have someone drive me back to the bus station and go back to Manhattan where there are people that love me, okay?”
Fine, Sonja didn’t say that exactly, but when the ghost of Julia Sugarbaker plays Sonja in my dramatization of The Real Housewives, it will sound just like that. The sweet thing about this fight, though, is that Ramona apologizes, and unlike every other phony-ass Ramona apology we’ve ever seen, she actually seems sincere. She seems like she is actually unhappy that she has upset Sonja. It was nice to see that, something approaching true remorse, wash over Ramona’s face. Surprisingly, it looks just like day three after a chemical peel, but not as shiny. And finally these two partners in crime gave each other nuzzles and Eskimo kisses and all was forgiven-ish.
While we’re talking about Ramona, can we talk about how cruel the editor’s are this season? First we read about Sonja’s “Borrowed House,” then it was Heather’s “Rental,” like these things matter. What, it’s shameful now to rent a summer house? Sorry we can’t all have the gorgeous house that Ramona built with her Tacky Christian Jewelry Millions. (It is a super-nice house, though). But the meanest was when Mario was talking about cheating at golf and said, “You know, the best cheaters never get caught.” Oh no, you better don’t! This is sort of like when someone you know calls your sister a “See Your Next Tuesday.” Yes, you have been calling her that since she stole your My Little Pony on your eighth birthday, but no one else is allowed to say that about her. That’s how I feel about Ramona. Yeah, I can call her a matted fur coat of a person with sawdust for a soul, but don’t you go making cruel jokes about how she’s divorcing Mario for cheating on her. That is not cute.
Now it’s time to talk about Kristen, a half-singed oven mitt you just can’t throw out. No one wants Kristen around and no one certainly wants Kristen in their business. First she and Aviva take their kids to some sort of fun with soap store (even if you made buttplugs out of soap there still would be nothing fun about it) and Aviva literally asks her, “Who are you? You talk now?” This is the only time that Aviva was the actual voice of the viewer or at least the voice of my boyfriend who said the exact same thing to the television screen at the same as Aviva did. Jinx, you owe him a bottle of Rosé Sha. The fight with Aviva was odd though. Kristen says, “I don’t want to be involved,” and Aviva says, “Don’t say you don’t want to be involved and then be involved.” Um, Aviva, saying you don’t want to be involved is not involving yourself, it’s anti-involving oneself. When you say that you are not going to touch a turd, it does not mean you are touching it, you are acknowledging there is a turd and you are telling whoever laid it that they are disgusting and need to pick it up.
I think the fight between Ramona and Kristen, the burned out D in the sign at Mc onald’s on Route 9, was much better though. Kristen wants to talk to Ramona about why Ramona ditched Heather’s anniversary party and Ramona just says, “It’s not your place to talk about that.” First of all, does Ramona know how this show works? Of course it is Kristen’s place to talk about it. It is in these women’s job descriptions to talk shit about each other and get all up in each other’s fights. Saying this is not Kristen’s place to talk about it is sort of like telling the bank teller that it’s not his place to take your money. Of course it is. It is his job.
Secondly, Ramona says it’s not Kristen’s place to discuss it or fight Heather’s fight for her, but does that mean it’s not Ramona’s place to get involved in the fight between Heather and Aviva? And isn’t ditching Heather’s party in protest sort of like fighting Aviva’s fight? Ramona makes no sense. She can’t agree what the rules of the game are so she just keeps changing them. There’s one thing everyone can agree on though, and it’s that none of them want anything to do with Kristen, a foam assault rifle left on the ground after an NRA rally.
Alright, I saved this bit about Heather for last because, well, I just don’t want to talk about her kid Jax and his surgery. No, no, it’s not that I don’t want her child who has more ailments than Sonja has interns to get better. It’s not that. It’s just, well, this is just way too real for the Real Housewives. I mean, if I wanted to watch something that would evoke real emotion in me I’d stream a season or two of Six Feet Under on Netflix. No, I just want to huff and snipe and feel morally superior to a host of women whose problems amount to little more than having to hide their platform shoes in the grass on the sand dunes.
Heather is dealing with some real shit and I love Heather and, well, I want it to all work out. When she takes Jax to the doctor and he does his hearing test and it is clear that he is failing and trying his best to pass – maybe even making up answers in the attempt to pass – I almost had something like an emotion. Then I saw Heather’s face, a small sort of quiver around the eyes as the realization of what was happening hit her mixed with the determination not to show any sort of movement so that she wouldn’t scare her son and, well, I got a strange moisture around my eyes and a tightness in the back of my throat and that is not something I am used to getting when I watch reality television. That is a sensation that is reserved for looking at myself in the mirror naked and for when people tell me that they still watch Glee. Then when she says, “If I can fix one thing, I want to do it,” well, I just lost it. My heart grew three sizes that day and I had to put on an old episode of Dance Moms to regain my composure.
Of course it ends up being good news, when the doctor calls and tells Heather that her son can have a surgery to fix his hearing loss, she’s ecstatic. “I need a hug,” she tells her husband. And he hugs her and they kiss as her son plays in the sand, not even aware that his life is about to change and improve. She looks over at him, dragging up his too-loose board shorts around his skinny waist and she lets it overtake her. All these years, all those nights sitting by his bed, the days pacing in the hospital waiting for a liver to come through, holding his hand and telling him to be brave while the doctor pokes him in his tiny arm, she never cried. Not once. Our Heather held strong for her son and tried to give everything to this boy that fate gave so little. Finally, when she found out there was something she could do, something she could reverse, she let the tears fall from behind her sunglasses. “You okay?” Jonathan asked putting his hand on her warm shoulder. “Yeah, I’m good,” she said, with a little chuckle as she smudged the wetness on her cheeks. “I’m good.”