The Real Housewives of New York City
I hate leftovers. There’s that excitement of the actual meal, when you’re shoveling the Five-Star Ziti Al Forno and unlimited breadsticks into your pie hole (pasta hole?) and you don’t know when you’re ever going to get to the end and you know you can’t even fathom it finishing because there’s just too much goodness. So much goodness that you decide you want it to last for days. No, a week. So you pack the tail end of that giant bowl of carbohydrates away in some Tupperware and heat it back up later, thinking it’s going to be the same thing. But it never is. It’s cold in spots the microwave can’t seem to reach and crunchy in others. The taste is pretty much the same, but now it’s just reminding you of the great thing you had a week ago, and it’s not nostalgia, it’s just that this second serving making the first one seem even weaker in comparison.
That’s how I feel about the Kristen and Ramona fight last night. The week before, Ramona threw a glass at Kristen’s face. In case you are just tuning in now or are still too distracted from the Olive Garden porn above, Ramona threw a glass at Kristen’s face. That happened. This week we’re just getting the leftovers. Sigh.
Ramona seems to find it physically impossible to apologize to Kristen (but really, she can’t apologize to anyone), but I do not have that deficiency. I am very sorry to Kristen. I thought she was boring! I called her all sorts of mean things, like the last flat sip at the bottom of a Champagne bottle and stuff like that. I’m sorry, I was wrong. Kristen is a very nice, reasonably sane person except when it comes to Elvis and selecting mates. She is not boring, it just took her awhile to scream back at Ramona and make me sit up and pay attention to her. Sorry, Kirsten, that I called you the one half of a salt bagel that’s sitting on a paper plate after a breakfast meeting. I didn’t really mean that.
Kristen’s biggest problem is that everyone discounts her and, really, no one ever wants her to speak. It’s like she didn’t get some sort of Real Housewives Official Credentials and can’t participate in all the group activities. Ramona has been constantly asking who she is for weeks and claiming that she has no right to speak about anything. Then, when they were screaming on Heather’s lawn, Ramona shouted repeatedly, “Who are you to get me wet? Who are you to get me wet? Who are you to get me wet?” Later, when Sonja is defending Ramona to Kristen, she says, “You shouldn’t even be talking about it.” What Kristen has is some sort of credibility problem, in that no one seems to think that she should really exist.
Just what is Kirsten supposed to say and do? Is she just supposed to stand there and model some off-brand shapewear and whistle through the gap in her front teeth? Someone needs to point out to all of these ladies that she signed the same contract that they did and she has just as much right to say and do anything in front of the camera as anyone else.
The one rookie mistake that Kristen makes is that she lets Ramona dictate the way that the argument is going to go. When Ramona gives the customary Real Housewives apology, “I’m sorry that your feelings were hurt, but I’m not really sorry for what I did,” Kristen tries to hold her pedicured feet to the fire (it’s not really a fire so much as the wine farts Countess Crackerjacks has been letting fly all afternoon), but Ramona is still triumphant. Why? Because Ramona made the fight about whether or not Kristen should have splashed her hair and gotten her wet.
What Kristen has yet to learn is that when a Real Housewife can’t argue based on substance, she fights based on procedure. It’s sort of like the reality-TV version of the filibuster. Ramona knows she was wrong to throw a glass in Kristen’s face, so she claims that the reason she did it was a reaction to Kristen splashing her and ruining her hair. Ramona knows this is bullshit too, but she thinks this is a claim she can win on. Kristen, this being her first time at the Ramodeo, decides to argue with Ramona about whether or not she should care about getting doused in the middle of a lake. Of course she shouldn’t, but Kristen is arguing the wrong point. What she should be saying is, “Well, Ramona, I wouldn’t have splashed you if you weren’t talking shit about me and my husband when I swam up to the boat. Also, you threw a glass at my face! Which is worse?”
The only way to win is to insist on arguing about the substance. That is what a seasoned arguer like Heather Thomas would have done. She does not let these ladies get away with that fiddle-faddle of trying to revert the blame for their bad behavior back to the victim. No, Heather remembers the root cause of all this and goes back to that, repeatedly, not letting the topic stray. By letting Ramona run this debate, Kristen let Ramona make it about Kristen splashing her and her throwing something. What it should have been about was Ramona getting caught talking shit.
But I have to give it up for Ramona, because she crafted her plot to get out of this weekend in the Berkshires to perfection. Like Carole said, her acting wasn’t amazing, but it was convincing. Her acting abilities fall somewhere in between those of two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill and a guy who just found out that he is the father on an episode of Maury. When she packed her bags and called her friend with a private jet to come pick her up like she is some kind of Russian oligarch’s pregnant mistress, it was obvious to everyone she had orchestrated the whole thing.
The nature walk was part of her whole plan. She had to get everyone back out of the house with some insistence so that she could have her 19th nervous fakedown (that’s a fake breakdown, I just made it up) and make her rendezvous with a Cessna two-seater. (Also, maybe it’s not such a good idea to ask Carole if she wants a ride in a really small plane.) Ramona insists that everyone go on their hike and that Sonja change out of her very sensible breakfast attire of kitten heels, a sheer leopard-print negligee, and hair that looked like it had never been splashed in a lake. Don’t rush Sonja. It took her a long time to figure out exactly how to look like Dawn Davenport on Christmas morning.
Ramona claims that all of her problems in the woods stem from the fact that the woods remind her of her father and that is causing her emotional distress. In fact, the last time she threw a glass was at her father, who was abusive to her. Oh, and look at the woods over here, these remind her of the woods where she grew up with her abusive father and that is causing her emotional distress. Well, first of all, like Instagram pictures of food and FIT students on street-style blogs, all woods look the same. It’s trees and dirt and some bugs and maybe a hornet nest or two. How different can one look from the next? Secondly, actually, I don’t know if there is a second thing other than to say that Ramona is dumb.
Carole and Heather seem legitimately concerned that she is working through some unresolved issues until she springs it on them that she has arranged for a plane to come and get her. She knows where the airport is, she knows when her flight is, she just needs a ride. Carole is a good sport about the whole thing and just chalks it up to Ramona being Ramona and doesn’t tell the girls. (P.S.: If she spent $500 on that air conditioner and then used it for eight hours, she paid $62.50 an hour just to keep the hot flashes at bay.) The Countess, on the other hand, quickly produces a photo of Ramona at Molly Sims’s party in the Hamptons. And, like the detective who walks into an empty bank vault just in time to figure out how the crooks took off with the money, they realize they have been duped, and they vow that they’re going to bring Ramona to justice.
Which brings me to Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Stockbridge Morgans. No one was more pissed that Ramona left than my beloved Sonja T. Why? Because Sonja had been defending her friend the whole weekend. Even when it doesn’t make sense, Sonja has Ramona’s back and tells the other ladies to step off because, like a sturdy underwire, she gives Ramona unconditional support. So to find out that Ramona was playacting so that she could go to a Hamptons party with the third female lead of Las Vegas was a devastating blow for Sonja. She feels like she’s earned a cut of Ramona’s spoils.
Speaking of devastating blows, she had plenty to keep her occupied with Austin the 20-year-old boat captain who took them out on the lake. With Ramona gone and no one to judge her or creating a social dynamic equivalent of irritable bowel syndrome, Sonja could be herself. And who is she? She’s the kind of floozy who flirts with a 20 year-old who lives at home with his parents and pretends like she’s joking but isn’t really and she doesn’t mind so much that he’s ignoring her because maybe, just maybe, she was going to close this deal. She even gets his number at the end of the day. I don’t even blame her, because he was really hot. Oh, hold on one moment. The police are at my door. I’m going to jail right forever. Tell me what happens on the reunion, guys.
That night, when the ladies get back after a dinner out where they plot Ramona’s revenge, Sonja sneaks out and walks across the dewy night lawn toward the woods. Earlier Heather told her if she was having a panic attack that she should hug the tree. Her face was flushed and her heart rate soaring and her chest felt like it was squished under a fat lady who doesn’t know that she’s singing yet. She decided to give it a try. She found a large oak, the backbone of the Berkshires ecosystem, and she gave it a big, real hug, her arms overlapping so that her hands grasped between the wrist and elbow on the opposite arm. She felt funny, not like she was getting sick, but that she was acting strangely. Then she dropped her head against he bark and she felt it. She felt her cells connecting with the cells of the tree. She felt the great knowledge of this long-living organism syphoning into her body like through osmosis, the thing with learning pumping it into a being with none. Then the whispers started, tiny at first, but growing in volume. “Sonja,” they were all burbling. “Sonja,” the say said a million times at once and then, with a focused clarity like every mitochondrion in the tree focused together to relay a message they said, “Examine your life!”
Sonja woke up, as if from a dream. She shook her head and took a minute to realize what the buzzing she could hear and feel was. It was her phone in her bra set to vibrate. “Hello, Austin,” she said, headed back across the wet lawn toward the house. “Yes, of course I’m alone right now.”