Here at the Real Housewives Institute, we have very sophisticated instruments that measure the seismic activity on the Real Housewives franchise, and it seems like the tectonic plates of the Real Mink Stoles of Grandma’s Cedar Closet are shifting. Each week, along with getting little check-ins on all eight (eight!) of the women, we’re going to focus on one Housewife in particular to dig a littler deeper in her individual psychosis. This week we paid the most attention to Sonja Tremont Morgan of the DeVry University Morgans.
When the episode started, I was optimistic for Sonja, my favorite floozy. Bethenny was talking to her about her business and was making real sense. She was telling Sonja what all the Housewives have been telling her for years: Focus on one business, make it work, and then expand. That is what Bethenny, did and she is the goose that lays the golden egg that all of these hens are trying to imitate. Sonja, who usually doesn’t let any of the women’s advice infiltrate her business savvy mind, actually seemed to be listening to Bethenny and altering her answers to try to impress her. Wow, maybe Sonja actually knows what she’s talking about?
But then after the meeting at Sonja’s shady business office, I don’t know what to think. It was confused by all these people there, the CEO and COO of Sonja Morgan Brands. Um, do any of these brands have a product? There are some sketches of some very chic garments on the wall, but that doesn’t a fashion empire make. And why are we worrying about all the different brands when she hasn’t yet sold one piece of clothing?
She invites Bethenny to come check out this operation trying to impress her, but Bethenny has just as many questions as we do and, I must say, her brusqueness in this setting was refreshing. While the same demeanor with the women at dinner came off as abrasive, in the boardroom it’s Bethenny trying to get shit done. “How quickly are you going to get this to market? Where is it going to be sold? How many orders do you have?” These are the practical questions that Bethenny and, really, the rest of us would like to know.
I will give Sonja the benefit of the doubt and say that conceptually she knows what is going on. She has a very clear idea of what her brand is and knows how to design clothes for the type of woman that she wants to sell them to. That’s why she has this team of people around her to help execute her vision and make a lot of people a lot of money. While the office looks stylish and the Sonja Morgan logo looks like something you would see in Marshall’s (I mean that as a compliment), something about this whole operation just seems ... off.
I don’t know why exactly I think this — maybe it was the COO’s fast talking without saying anything of substance, maybe it’s the marketing manager’s healthy doses of grade-A stank face, maybe it's that they were drinking Champagne out of paper cups. But these do not seem like the kind of people who are protecting Sonja’s business interests. Bethenny has a very valid point, that Sonja is a woman who was duped by business partners when producing a film and an investor who wanted to make a toaster oven. She could be taken for a ride yet again. Why does it take Bethenny showing up to ask the right questions of the people she is working with? Sonja clearly needs some supervision when it comes to her financial dealings, and her phalanx of interns just isn’t doing the job. However, if you go to Sonja Morgan New York, the clothes are all for presale and actually pretty classy-looking, so maybe this whole thing is coming together after all.
When planning their Atlantic City trip (and really, the most delusional thing that Sonja has ever said is that there might be cute guys in Atlantic City), Sonja tells Ramona that the other women pick on her about her businesses. That makes sense because she can’t really answer any of their questions and tries to keep them out of it. Bethenny is right again (oh, how I hate to admit it), but Heather should be the one who is at that meeting asking all the hard questions that Sonja doesn’t realize and sussing out whether or not this company is reputable. Countess Crackerjacks lends her services as well. Did you know she has a line of clothing? It’s exclusive to ShopHQ, the Designer Impostors Body Sprays of QVC. I love how even LuAnn laughs at it like, “Ha, I’m not a fashion mogul, I just sell my shit on the tube. Don’t worry, girl.”
Heather and the Countess could have been a little bit more tactful in offering their intervention, but I really do see both of their points. Sonja doesn’t want them there because they only seem to disparage her ideas, and Heather and LuAnn want to be there because they feel like they can help (or at least shit all over Sonja’s dreams while pretending to help). This is one of those situations where everyone is right and everyone is wrong at the same time.
Yes, Sonja’s business seems to be a mess, but at least she knows better than to swallow. She won’t swallow anything: her pride, her partners who don’t have black cards, or slices of humble pie. All she’ll swallow is white wine and the occasional benzo, and that is more of a guzzle than a swallow.
Kristen also has her own entrepreneurial enterprise. She started a fashion blog! Well, it’s not really entrepreneurial, since it’s not making any money and it’s a blog, which is not a Tumblr or Instagram or Snapchat or Periscope. She might as well etch pictures of her looks into some stone tables and then hold them in the town square and show people who walk by her prehistoric media. But that’s alright because Kristen looks good.
Kristen really hasn’t done one single thing this entire season; however, she showed up at Dorinda’s cocktail party looking on fleek, as the kids say. Her lipstick was fleeking, her hair was oozing fleek sauce, her outfit was a fleek paired with a fleek, and her shoes fleek fleek fleeked as she walked. Oh, and her earrings. F to the L-E-E-K, son! Kristen shows up looking every bit like, well, a woman who has a rich husband and a pretty good fashion blog, and her husband, Josh, shows up looking like an extra from the Entourage movie. He was wearing a fedora inside in the winter. He might as well have just let his balls hang out of his open fly and shake them at everyone. Josh, a pubic hair on the pump of body wash in the gym shower, might be smart enough not to say anything on camera, but all he has to do is show up for me to hate him.
Dorinda’s cocktail party really was a nightmare, like trying to throw a 5-year-old’s birthday in a Red Box DVD machine. First of all, Dorinda, the second verse of a Sheryl Crowe song, had the world’s worst hair. She looked like the before picture from a Flowbee infomercial. Second, her boyfriend, a glob of Silly Putty that someone used to copy a picture of Dagwood from the funny pages and then stretched it all out, is just the worst kind of gross cad, rubbing up on all the women in front of his girlfriend. Then Ramona and Sonja had a fight that was so stupid, it had to repeat the third grade twice.
The fight that was interesting was that Carole finally told Crackerjacks that she is sautéing the sausage with Adam, her personal chef and her niece’s ex-boyfriend. Well, that ex might not be terribly defined. Carole says that they broke up a long time ago, but Crackerjacks makes it seem like Adam is still searching for her niece’s free prize. They’re going to go to Nicaragua to grow vegan melons or some shit. That does not sound like water under the bridge. That sounds like a puddle under a bridge that is starting to stagnate and stink because it is mostly full of troll piss and a Popeye’s wrapper that someone threw out of their car window on the interstate.
This is another one of those scenarios where I can see both sides. As Carole says, they’re all adults and they are navigating this tricky space well, and no one seems to be getting hurt. Well, except for LuAnn’s niece, who seems like she and Adam aren’t quite on the same page about what is going to happen at the organic truffle farm or wherever the hell they’re going to get lice and really great Instagram pictures with #nofilter. But I also see LuAnn’s point that this puts her in a really delicate position and that Carole should respect that as well. Hmm, what to do? What to do? Well, obviously Adam is the thing to do because he is very sexy and about to leave the country to go cultivate macrobiotic quinoa.
Eventually the party ended, as they all have to. Everyone filtered out into the cold, hopping into their awaiting cars and speeding off in their own directions. Dominik, Sonja’s 24-year-old date, put her in a cab and started to walk to the subway station when a black SUV pulled up along side him. The window rolled down with its lazy hum. “Get in,” a woman’s voice commanded from inside. He opened the door and sat down next to her as the driver pulled away from the curb and onto the busy avenue. “Any updates?” she asked Dominik, staring ahead through her large sunglasses.
“I can’t do it anymore,” he told her sounding a bit frustrated. “They treat me like a piece of meat. They talk about how every woman should have someone like me, young and attractive to have sex with, and they don’t even bother to ask me questions. They talk about me as I’m sitting right there, like I can’t hear. It’s like I’m a paperweight to these women. Or maybe a fichus. A fichus. You’re going to have to get someone else to do this.”
“Listen,” Jill Zarin told him taking off her sunglasses and looking at him. “You’re already in with Sonja, and she trusts you. And it’s better for both of us that they don’t think you can hear or are intelligent enough to understand language. You’re in the perfect position. Just a few more weeks and it will all fall into place and you won’t be needed anymore.”
“And you’ll destroy those pictures?”
“I’ll destroy the pictures.” She placed her hand on the headrest of her driver’s seat and he pulled over to the curb and put on his hazard lights. “Let me know when it’s finished,” she said. Dominik sheepishly got out of the car and grabbed his coat around his throat to keep out the cold. The driver pulled away and Jill put her sunglasses back on, sinking deeper into her seat. She didn’t know when she would get home, but she knew the exact route the driver was going to take to get there.