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The Real Housewives of New York City Recap: The Caged Birds Sing

Oh, thank Krishna mighty, we have packed up the chuck wagon and left Montana. It’s like the thrill and strum of the city fuels these rage-beasts, the traffic and the heat and the noise and the toxic Cheetos-y smells of the subway and the never-ending, barely audible grinding of gears below the city turning and turning them in a widening gyre. Light a candle at the Tomb of Perneb and pray to the ancient eagle-headed god that we have our women back.

But we need to put the women aside for a moment, because all I really want to talk about is Josh, a smeared copy of Juggs that you found in the woods when you were 13. The funny thing about Kristen and Josh, a cracked frat paddle, is that they essentially have the same exact fight over and over again but I am constantly fascinated by it. It’s like looking into that giant toothy maw that was going to eat Han Solo at the beginning of Return of the Jedi and finding nothing at the bottom but some silent discontent, a spilled sippy cup, and an Updike novel.

I’m going to put this plainly: I don’t think Josh, a battered box of Grecian Formula in the half-off bin at Walgreens, wants a family. Okay, maybe that’s harsh. Maybe he does. But what Josh certainly does not want is anyone telling him what to do, how he should do it, or when he should do it. He wants responsibility in a business sense, but not in a personal sense. I bet working for Josh is sort of like getting out of a taxicab with a careless drunk and never knowing whether or not your hand is going to get crushed in the door, but every day, there you are, with a brand-new broken finger and a bruise on the back of your palm that will never go away. That is what working with Josh, an empty can of Natural Light with a bloated Parliament Light butt rattling around in it, is like, because that is what living with him is like.

Let’s recap what we learned about his behavior at dinner. Josh, a pair of truck nuts that wants to tell you a racist joke, made Kristen move to Los Angeles on a whim and ruined her modeling career. (We currently inhabit a world where Kristen’s modeling career is a real thing. This is the same world Halle Berry occupies in Extant, where there are alien fetuses and robot babies.) Then he decides to rent out their L.A. house and move back to New York, and gives Kristen ten days to arrange the move. He didn’t ask about either of these things; he demanded. He handed down an edict and expects Kristen to just do it, and she does.

Heather drove me a little crazy being like, “That’s how a true entrepreneur thinks.” Sure, she’s right. Fine. But that doesn’t mean a true entrepreneur isn’t a dick who is driving everyone else in his life bonkers. Jonathan, Heather’s saint of a husband and perhaps the nicest person on any Real Housewives show (and possibly the body double for the Teller half of Penn and Teller), is fine with this. He accepts his fate and moves on, doing what Heather needs him to and supporting her. He is happy with this. Kristen, however, is not.

I initially said that Kristen’s problem is that she couldn’t let Josh, a pube on a bar of Irish Spring in a gym shower, know what her needs are. I apologize to Kristen about that mistake. No, her problem is that she lets Josh know what her needs are and he just doesn’t care. He does not care one bit. In fact, he thinks that Kristen is the one with the problem. It’s not that he doesn’t understand her needs; he finds them undeserving of his attention. If it were possible to reach into the television, pull a person out, and gas him to death with his own burrito farts, that is what I would have done to Josh, a sunburn shaped in the outline of a wifebeater, when he finally agreed to go to therapy and then said, “A therapist is the only person who is going to get you to change your story.”

Here is everything that is wrong with that: If he wants her to change her story, then maybe he should change his behavior. If someone tells you every time you leave the house to close the door, if you don’t want that person to tell you to close the door anymore, do you know what the easiest thing to do is? Close the m—er f—ing door!

Secondly, Josh, a leather-braided belt that looks like a penis at the end, keeps asking for Kristen to understand and sympathize with him, but he extends absolutely no sympathy or understanding to her. He says she doesn’t understand his problems because she has never worked in an office. Well, maybe he doesn’t understand her problems because he has never stayed at home all day with two kids. Maybe they both need to change. (They don’t.)

Finally, Kristen keeps doing everything that is asked of her, but the problem is that the target keeps moving. Josh, a shit stain, says he would be home more if she cooked a warm meal. Kristen, dutifully and futilely, cooks him dinner. He gets home and says he doesn’t mind eating out and then complains that dinner isn’t good enough. Everything is condescension, mockery, and harassment. If I were Kristen, I would leave him.

Let’s talk about something fun, shall we?  Let’s talk about Aviva. Just kidding, Aviva isn’t fun. She’s about as fun as dropping a radiator on your foot six times in a row. But I did want to mention her meeting with Sonja T. Morgan of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Morgans. Why? Oh, mostly so I could show you this picture and tell you that whatever happened to Aviva in the Hamptons over Labor Day weekend made her look like a NSFW RealDoll.

Alright, the real reason I wanted to bring up this meeting is because we finally learned exactly what Sonja’s interns do. Well, mostly they learn from her mistakes, as she says. That is genius. That sounds like something you should be able to get an online degree in. It should be a whole university. Morgan College, where you learn from your mistakes. I can see the subway ads now (they can use Sonja’s toaster over photo-shoot photos).

As far as Sonja’s interns go, there is Tyler, who reads her emails 24/7 (including, I assume, the steamy ones from her suitors) and texts her the important ones. Then there is another intern who keeps Sonja’s calendar and tells her which engagements to say yes to and which to say no to. This slot currently needs to be filled. (Guys, if I resisted a joke here about filling Sonja’s intern slots, you should too.) Finally, there is Pickles, the only intern who gets to leave the house, who accompanies Sonja to events, get her dresses, return the dresses, and, most important, holds her pocketbook. Now, I don’t know if Sonja said “pocketbook,” but if there is one person on the face of the earth who says “pocketbook,” it is Sonja T. Morgan. Guys, I love her so much it makes me giddy. Especially when she wears men’s dress shirts and looks better in them than I do.

Finally, it is time to talk about what happened at Birdland. To boil it down, Ramona was an ass. On her tombstone, that is what it will say. Here lies Ramona Singer, An Ass. I guess her husband Mario always wanted to be a singer or something, and apparently he has been singing for, and I quote, “small groups in the lounges of the hotels we stayed in in Europe.” This is one of those scenarios where he takes over the piano that is sitting in the lobby and drunkenly slurs out some tunes and people gather around and eventually a concierge has to come over and ask, in lilac-scented English, that they please return to their rooms. It’s not like they were command performances.

The song he is going to sing is called “Effortless,” and it is supposedly about loving Ramona. There are not enough Has in the world for the idea of that song. If you took all the money in all the banks of every Spanish-speaking country in the world there would still not be enough cash to buy enough Has for that statement. Watching Ramona on television for an hour each week is a supreme effort. Living with her and being her partner? That has got to be some pushing-a-boulder-up-a-never-ending-hill type shit. Loving Ramona requires about as much effort as getting Lindsay Lohan sober.

To make it worse, the song was written by Ramona’s big gay whose name I can’t remember, so lets call him Lisp Larrington. Lisp recently graduated from the Caburlesque program at Morgan College (Learn From Our Mistakes), so this is really a big break for both of them. Mario sings it in their living room, and Ramona just about cries, and Avery just sort of shrugs. I love Avery. I would say give her a show of her own, but that would ruin it. I just want a set of Avery emoji for my phone. There are only two. There is a resigned shrug and an exasperated eye-roll. Thanks to her mother, those are the only two reactions that she has. 

The big night comes, and all the ladies are there (and so is Josh Flagg from Million Dollar Listing: L.A. question mark), and Countess Crackerjacks is supposed to sing too, and Heather is going to sing backup for her. Heather arrives and says Crackerjacks backed out. Ramona starts foaming at the mouth immediately. All she wants to do is publicly accuse Crackerjacks of using AutoTune, to which everyone in the world says, “So the m—er f—ing what?” Does anyone care? No. But Ramona keeps shouting it because she doesn’t really want Mario to sing, she just wants to show up LuAnn and show everyone that Mario doesn’t need AutoTune, like that is some sort of victory. Would she let Bravo not Photoshop her promo photos? No, she would not. So why is she all up in Crackerjacks’ grill?

Ramona was just awful in a bland and obvious way. Crackerjacks called her out on it and told her to “shut her face,” and I feel like that is what Ramona has had to hear for about the past six seasons. Will it change anything? No. But it was good to hear. And I don’t care what anyone says, “Money Can’t Buy You Class” is still a jam.

Mario sings, and he sounds like someone singing “The Theme From Ice Castles (Through the Eyes of Love)” in a church basement wearing a chunky cardigan. He sounds fine. The song has lyrics worse than Britney Spears's “Work Bitch,” which is sort of like saying something smells worse than a bum’s crotch. Heather also got up there and sang a jazz standard, and she sounded really good. She sounded like the girl who uses her musical-theater degree to own karaoke night at the Ground Round. Like her dress, she was distractingly brassy, but there are worse things to be. You could be Ramona. Just saying.

Everyone was there that night. Ramona was there egging on Mario, or vice-versa. Heather was there, and so was Jonathan, her silent partner. Sonja was there with Harry’s Dubin, who was so busy stuffing his face with chicken wings that he didn’t realize there was a show going on. Kristen and Josh were there too, like two fists shoved into different pockets.

After the show, Heather was high on the energy of applause, and she and Jonathan walked out onto 44th Street right near Eighth Avenue, and the night was hot and sticky with that breeze that promises to wash it all away but never does. Heather saw Kristen and Josh waiting out front trying to get a cab and went over to talk to them, but Jonathan just put his arm around his wife and deflected them off in another direction.

The cross-town traffic was standing still, and Kristen stood by the curb with her arm outstretched while Josh sent emails on his phone back on the curb. He shoved his phone back in his blazer and then huffed toward his wife. “You’re doing it wrong. How many cabs have you taken in your life?” he shouted. “Josh, I know …” she replied. “Just let me, okay.” He stood in the same spot and put his arm up in the exact same way and nothing happened. Kristen stood there, watching the hot pulse of the brake lights growl like embers, like the cherries on a million giants’ cigars. And she could smell the fumes — from the cars, from the cigars — just these vicious carcinogens beating down on her body from the inside. She didn’t know what to do. She forgot which direction was uptown, so she just stood there, her head limp, like it could fall into the multicolored and viscous puddle filling a deep crack between the sidewalk and the curb. “What are you just standing there for?” Josh shouted at her, still in the street as the traffic refused to move. She didn’t answer. She opened her purse and looked for something that might be able to help. All she found was lip gloss.