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The Real Housewives of New York City Recap: Life Is a Caburlesque, Old Chum

Oh, the Hamptons, that golden land where too-skinny women in yoga pants eat expensive lunches after their expensive spinning classes and wait for their husbands to drive out in their black sedans and make calls about leveraged capital on the LIE. Aren’t you so glad we got a taste of the very peaceful country? Aren’t you so glad that we went out to the beach so that we could stare at Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant’s saggy cleavage? I know you are.

The reason we were all out in the Hamptons was because Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Schnectady Vaudeville Circuit Morgans was performing a caburlesque show. Yes, this is a portmanteau of Sonja’s creation. When she says it’s a combination of cabaret and burlesque, she doesn’t mean that it is a melding of the downtown arts of singing, storytelling, and artful stripping. No, she means that it is an ode to her two favorite movies, the Liza Minnelli Oscar-winner Cabaret and the Christina Aguilera cinematic masterpiece Burlesque. Sonja is going to perform a striptease to help raise money for a gay youth center because, well, the Real Housewives cannot do enough for the next generation of gays. Well, at least not any more than they currently do in GIF walls in the feyer corners of Tumblr.

I can just imagine what it was like in Sonja’s daily intern staff meeting when she was planning her Hamptons jaunt. “Okay, everyone, listen up. I’m going to the Hamptons this weekend, and three of you get to drive out with me. It’s going to be very fun and relaxing. All you have to do is get the car out of storage, put in a new battery, install the license plate, blow up the tires, pack the car, drive me out to the Hamptons, haul all my luggage, support me at my caburlesque show, serve drinks to all of my friends, tell me how pretty I look, fish one of my fake eyelashes out of the drain when I can’t find it, and maybe go to the store to get me some fresh melon and more condoms in the morning, but only if I run into some hot Argentines at a party for some weird designer’s beach-wrap line. Other than that, you can have a vacation too! Who’s in?” She looks out at the 15 NYU students assembled in her living room and no one raises their hands. “Oh, come on. There will actually be hot water at this house!” They just sit in stunned silence blinking back at her. “Fine. Trevor, Pickles, and Rebecca No. 2. Pack a bag!”

What I love about Sonja, my favorite floozy, is that she doesn’t really give any shits whatsoever. She saw The Great Gatsby, so she thinks that everyone should dress up like it’s the '20s. Who cares if this idea is played out? Sonja is just trying to have fun. And who cares that she is about to get out on stage in her underwear and shake her finely formed ass? Sure, she’s rehearsed a few times, but there is no real script; there is no real choreography. She’s backstage cinching herself into a $16 corset and Googling “top 10 burlesque moves.” That’s how she plans her performance – a quick scan on her iPad right before walking out onstage. “Pfft. Whatever. I’ll wing it,” Sonja says with a flick of her wrist and a determined stomp toward the stage. Sonja has been winging it her entire life, and it hasn’t turned out so bad. Like Carole says, what Sonja lacks in preparation, she makes up for in balls.

Sonja gets out onstage and, well, it was a performance! You’re not going to forget that anytime soon. I will say that she looked very good. She looked fantastic and not at all like a drag queen (which is hard when you personally know every single female impersonator in the entire universe). Her boobs were in the right place, her butt was pert and just the right amount of jiggly. And the feathers, oh, the feathers! I’m not sure exactly what her ad-libbed slow-talking was getting at as she pranced around the stage pointing and gyrating, but our Sonja did it. She got out there with only a few minutes of rehearsal and she put on a show in her underwear. That’s a whole lot more than I did last night. (I ate a sandwich in bed and fell asleep watching internet pornography and listening to the Frozen soundtrack.)

Ugh, now we have to talk about Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant. Who, exactly, is this human belch? Where did this turd-burger of a human being come from? There are only three rules for dealing with Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant: Do not get her wet; do not feed her after midnight; and do not introduce her to any bright lights or, really, society in general.

Amanda Sanders is the girl who shows up at a party and tries really hard to make everyone like her by taking a giant dump on everything. “Ugh, this dry martini is just atrocious!” she scowls. Even HRH the Countess of Cracker Jacks (welcome back, your highness) says, “It’s a martini in plastic cup. What are you expecting?” Then when Sonja comes out onstage, she chats during the entire performance, making gag faces and telling the world that this is what menopause looks like. Please, Amanda. If menopause only had an image as sexy as Sonja strutting around in her undies, then menopause wouldn’t need any image-consulting.

And what is her deal with Harry Dubin, Aviva’s ex and an ad for Grecian formula whom we are regrettably getting to know better and better this season? She says, “Oh, I met Harry and then he doesn’t remember me,” but then at brunch with Aviva and Reid, who only owns pleated khakis, she is rubbing herself all over him. What, exactly, is this woman’s damage, Heather? And what did we do to Andy Cohen in a previous life that we’re made to sit with her?

Not much else happens in the Hamptons. Heather, Carole, and Kristen, a single baby sock that somehow gets mixed in with your laundry, take a swimming lesson, and Carole flirts with the hottest Israeli surf instructor I’ve ever seen. Sure, he’s the only Israeli surf instructor I’ve ever seen, but, man, he was finer than a sunset in Tel Aviv. Kristen, a box of restaurant crayons that only seems to have blues and yellows, also threw some designer-clothes party and wore a bathing suit she bought at Stephanie Seymour’s yard sale that was cut so high you could see her Harry Dubin. Blah, not much else.

Well, not much else until the Countess has everyone over to her house, including Harry Dubin, Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant, and Andy Cohen’s personal personal trainer, the impossibly dreamy Will Torres (is he our first-ever straight male recurring Housewives character?). Things start out well with Carole sincerely apologizing to Luann about how she treated her in the past, and the two agree to move past their differences. That seems pretty honest and legit. Aviva does not like it. She does not want anyone, especially Carole, cozying up to Luann. She accuses Carole of playing chess but, honestly, I don’t believe Carole is that mercenary. I think Aviva is projecting because, just as she wined and dined Ramona at the beginning of this season, Aviva is totally the type of person who would make strategic partnerships.

Aviva is out on the lanai telling Sonja Tremont Morgan about how Carole has abused her, a story she told to the Countess earlier. She says that Carole called her a psychopath, a bitch, and a bad mother. Yes, that is all true, but she’s not telling the whole story. She’s not telling anyone what she said about Carole using a ghostwriter and slandering her professional career. It’s sort of like Charles Manson telling someone that people call him a psycho and a killer and a psycho killer and him not telling people that he psychotically killed a bunch of people.

Sonja buys Aviva’s whitewashing of the story story and she says that Carole should just support Aviva. What I love about Sonja is that she is often oblivious to nuance. She doesn’t get why Carole has a problem with Aviva, and I’m glad. That is what I love about Sonja. She just thinks that life should be full of good times and rum punch. If she starts getting too involved in this muck and mire, it will ruin her pure spirit. Just let Sonja tipple back a few more drinks and have an intern drive her home. It will be okay.

However, she tries to settle this feud between Carole and Aviva and sits everyone down to talk about Hashtag Bookgate (they are actually calling it Hashtag Bookgate at this point, which makes me want to crawl under the covers and not come out until the ice caps have finished melting). Heather immediately starts defending Carole, Aviva starts spouting some nonsense, and we are off to the races yet again.

This is the worst kind of Real Housewives fight. At this point, everyone is so intractable in her views, it’s just like two packs of geese honking at each other, fighting over nothing. It’s just noise on top of noise and everything is indecipherable. No one is going to change her mind, no territory is going to be won, it’s just people fighting about fighting. It’s utter senseless garbage.

Finally Luann stands up and thrusts her mighty scepter into the ground, and a rumble of lighting sends a tremor through the earth. “Silence!” she screams. “I am the hostess here, and by the power vested in me by that sacred duty, I demand that you listen to me. Everyone out of the room, except for Carole and Aviva.” Everyone looks up at the Countess for a moment and is quiet, and then they all go back to screaming at each other across a coffee table. She shrugs her shoulders and crumples back into the ottoman she was sitting on.

Then Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant, tries to get into the fight, her drunken googly eyes swirling around in her skull. Heather tries to ask her what her problem is and she tells Heather, “Don’t be an asshole and walk away.” Um, who asked you, Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant? How are you at all relevant to this fight? In all honesty, Heather isn’t really relevant to this fight either, and neither is Sonja, but now they’re all up in it, at least they know everyone whom this fight concerns. Amanda Sanders is just some drunk Image Consultant who wants some famous friends and for Harry Dubin to bang her.

She gets up and leaves the room. Heather follows her, but relents, and Amanda walks into the next room alone. She opens the door the patio and goes outside, throwing herself into a chair on the patio. There is a pack of Pall Malls sitting on the table next to the chair with a lighter on top. “Don’t mind if I do,” Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant, says to no one in particular, taking out a Pall Mall and lighting it. Luann’s housekeeper comes out and sees this strange woman in her eye-searing mauve print dress and isn’t sure what she’s doing. “Excuse me, ma’am,” the housekeeper says. “Can I help you?” Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant takes a long drag off of someone else’s cigarette, the cherry burning bright red like a blister about to burst. She exhales and then starts speaking, so that the smoke is still coming out with the sound. “I’m Amanda Sanders. [Hiccup.] I’m an image consultant.”

Photo: Bravo