You know something is really going down when an episode of The Real White Walkers of Essenden’s Cave ends with a “To Be Continued …” I don’t know if the first time we ever saw one was during the ladies’ visit to Scary Island, but that is certainly the first one that we can remember here at the Real Housewives Institute. They don’t pull the “To Be Continued …”s out for nothing, and the fight that started between Bethenny and Heather at Dorinda’s 50th birthday party and rural cotillion sure was something else.
But before we can even talk about what happened at Dorinda’s house, we have to talk about the house itself. How can we adequately describe Dorinda’s house? Hmmm. Alright. If you gave a blind schizophrenic with ADHD $1 million and three 5-Hour Energies and told him to do whatever he wanted to a house, it would wind up being just a shade more tasteful and cohesive than Dorinda’s, which the ladies dubbed Bluestone Manor. The house sort of looks like a Real World house if you gave it seven buttons of Peyote, the curtains from every Radisson Inn ballroom, and a ticket to Gryffindor for design inspiration.
Seriously, Dornida’s house makes about as much sense as a microwave at a rodeo. What kind of look is she going for? In the living room there are fuchsia velvet couches and a pool table. (Fuchsia velvet, just like bacon-flavored lube, should not exist beyond the theoretical plane.) In the next room, everything is colonial blue with wood paneling, a fireplace, and a moose on the wall. One of the bedrooms features six giant sea-life creatures stuffed and mounted on the walls like it’s the Museum of Natural History. This is the room that Countess Crackerjacks slept in, and she tried to wear one as a statement necklace.
With all of this insanity going on, I thought we would pan out and see that the house looked like the mansion from Clue or Dr. Frank N. Furter’s house in Rocky Horror, but no, it does not. It’s a Tudor. This house is a Tudor in the same way that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was on Showtime — tarted up and a little too promiscuous to be entirely believed.
When everyone got into the house and settled in, there was one minor kerfuffle between Kristen and Dorinda, but that was really it. The shocking thing was that Kirsten said more than two sentences in a row on the show, but while doing so managed to be entirely wrong about bringing up the situation between her and John. I was going to say that she was entirely wrong about it because she was the one that was flirting with John by rubbing up against him, but she shouldn’t be blamed for John not knowing where the line between harmless flirting and creepy groping lies. Kristen shouldn’t be blamed for what he did to her, but she did the right thing and extricated herself from the situation when she got uncomfortable. I think it’s only worth bringing up to Dorinda if it were to happen again or if he didn’t back off when she put a stop to it. Right now, she’s a guest in Dorinda’s house, and she knows John is going to be there, so it’s best that she just be on her guard and keep a respectful distance rather than tell her hostess that her boyfriend is a handsy creep (which, come on, he kinda is).
Later that evening, all the ladies went to dinner at the Red Lion Inn, which is one of those places with fusty wallpaper, uncomfortable chairs, and delicious food that you will only find in the Northeast of the United States of America and the more rural parts of Ireland. The only bad thing that happened there was that Crackerjacks wore a choker like she was dressed as Jodie Foster’s character from Maverick.
At dinner, all the ladies laid into Bethenny, talking about why she is so untrusting and how difficult of a time she’s had fitting in with the group. Everyone at the table was making excuses for her, whether it’s her rough childhood or her unfortunate personal circumstances. Heather, however, is not #TeamBethenny, and I don’t think she ever will be. I think that Heather, who is definitely getting the bitch edit something fierce this season, raised some very valid points at dinner. Bethenny is going through a rough divorce, but Ramona is going through plenty of personal tumult as well. Both Carole and Dorinda have lost spouses. Heather has a child with extreme health conditions. Kristen is saddled with her husband, Josh, the pube you can’t pick out of your mouth after giving a reticent BJ. All of the women have been through something or are going through something. Why does Bethenny get a special dispensation? But for all of her valid points, it all went out the window the minute Heather compared losing her nanny of nine years to whatever legal hell that Bethenny is currently wading through.
The meal otherwise seemed to be very delightful. All the women were getting along and having a good time, and there wasn’t even any drama. The next day went swimmingly as well. Even Crackerjacks and Ramona quickly patched over their current spat without any acrimony or name-calling. It was so pleasant and fun to watch. Hmmm, what was missing? Her name starts with a B and is followed by outrageous product placement and smudged mascara. Oh, that’s right. Bethenny!
The following evening, all the women got ready for dinner and their outfits are as disparate as the décor in Dorinda’s house. Crackerjacks was dressed as the villain at a murder-mystery dinner party, Carole was wearing the best outfit at a goth prom, Heather was wearing a cast off from the Far From Heaven wardrobe department, and Dorinda was wearing 18 Vera Bradley makeup bags sewn together into a shift. (Just kidding, it was Pucci and it was pretty fleeking on fleek.)
Some extra guests arrived. John, Dorinda’s boyfriend, arrived and managed only to paw Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Great Barrington Holiday Stroll Morgans, who showed up in his bedroom in her lingerie and was sort of courting the attention, anyway. Heather’s husband, Jonathan, a silent shibboleth of sanity, arrived and did not say a word. Dorinda’s gay brother and his husband rolled in and made me love her a little bit more, but only if she lets me take them to brunch to hear juicy stories about Dorinda’s prom dates. Next came Peter, Ramona’s business partner in the stupidest bar in midtown, which has the highest per-capita concentration of mechanical bulls in the entire world, so that is really saying something. Finally the greatest travesty of all arrived: Josh’s hat. I don’t know what is worse: Josh, the moldy can of relish sitting alone on a refrigerator shelf, or his hat, the last breath a bunny breathes before it dies a painful death. Probably Josh, the Hacky Sack of people.
Oh, but wait. There is one special guest yet to arrive. It’s Bethenny, a surprise visitor arriving with an armful of flowers expecting that everyone in the house would be excited to see her. Jill Zarin, who was creeping in the bushes at the house across the street watching everything with her binoculars, was pissed. “That was my trick!” she screamed to no one in particular. “I did that and she couldn’t even look up from her pedicure to greet me, and now she is pulling a Jill Zarin in the Berkshires? Oh, wait until Bobby hears about this!”
It actually was pretty cool of Bethenny to bring her daughter the Berkshires and attend the party after Brin was in bed in a nearby hotel. She got quality time with her daughter and her co-workers. This was really the best of both worlds. She made an effort, and that’s’ all the ladies really wanted to see.
However, everything that happened at dinner after that was totally nuts. I didn’t entirely understand any of it. For that I blame the dining-room chairs, upholstered in an ivy-print fabric, which fit in the room like a rutabaga in the New York Stock Exchange. Man, they were horrible, and all I could do was think about their odiousness, and I could not concentrate.
First, Heather Thompson, our lady of a million stank faces, brought up the fact that Carole Googled Ramona’s date Peter and found out that he also dated the woman that Mario cheated on Ramona with. This is the basic internet sleuthing that Ramona could have done in about 3.5 seconds, or at least emailed Sonja to ask her social media intern to do and deliver her findings in a manila folder and place them on her desk. Second, why is Heather bringing this up at the dinner table? This is not a group discussion. This is something you whisper about in the corner to the Dowager Countess while you sip brandy and cast sidelong looks at Lady Edith, who is moping on the chaise in the corner because no one will play whist with her.
The real humdinger, however, was the argument that Heather and Bethenny got into, and, honestly, I don’t entirely understand it. Bethenny said she was allergic to fish, and Heather was trying to get her to eat some meatballs. Bethenny didn’t like the interference, and then Heather was mad that Bethenny was harsh with her. I think that’s how it went, right? I don’t know. Next thing you know, Bethenny is yelling about how she can’t get into it or she’ll start sobbing, and she needs to keep the wall up, but I don’t see how Heather trying to get her some additional meatballs for dinner is asking her to get into the personal details of her life. The two of them were overreacting, and the results were grosser and gloppier than a morning green juice.
Here is what I can tell you: Heather and Bethenny aren’t going to mesh. Know what, that’s okay. In life there are just some people who are operating on a wavelength either too identical or too opposite, and those two people just aren’t meant to be friends. Heather and Bethenny are such a pair, and they should do the smart thing and stay away from each other and act civil at parties, but then not engage in any one-on-one conversation.
The real problem is that Heather is trying really hard to get Bethenny to like her, and Bethenny is just not having any of it. To Heather’s credit, Bethenny is being especially harsh to her for no real good reason. Bethenny has always been abrasive, but given her current vulnerability, it is even worse, and it is coming out at strange times and in odd directions. “I just want the wall up,” Bethenny says, very tellingly, but Heather is not listening. She walks around the table and tries to take Bethenny into the next room to talk about it, but that is sort of like trying to bake a pie with a flashlight. The last thing Bethenny wants to do is talk about it, but Heather can’t understand that. Heather is playing Reality Show, where two people fight around a table and then they go to a second location (pro tip: Never let a Housewife take you to a second location) and fight about it one-on-one. But the last thing that Bethenny wants to do right now is play Reality Show. She just wants to have drinks and cackle inappropriately with Sonja. Gosh, Heather, just let her. Just let her be superficial and stupid. But, in Heather’s defense, if Bethenny doesn’t want to play reality show and put her life on camera for everyone to see, then what the hell is she doing on a reality show?
By this point in the argument, Jill Zarin had crossed the street and was crouching under the dining-room window trying to listen to everything that was being said inside. She had on a set of large headphones and had a transparent plastic half-globe with a microphone in the middle pointed toward the room. She could even hear the crackle of the logs in the fireplace. Her toes were starting to get numb as her Uggs absorbed the moisture of the snow. I’ll have to make sure I don’t leave any tracks, she thought during a lull in the conversation, when the fighting had ended and everyone was picking at their fish hoping that a topic of conversation would fall from the chandelier.
Just then, her phone started silently ringing on the inside pocket of her puffy North Face parka. She removed her glove, reached in with one hand, pulled out the phone, and swiped her thumb across the bottom of the screen. “Not now, Alex. I’m kind of in the middle of something,” she whispered into the receiver.
“I thought you would want to know that it’s done,” Alex said, and hung up the phone.
Jill stood up quickly, remembering that she was a little bit taller than the bottom of the windowsill, and squatted back down again. “Siri, call Bobby.” The phone beeped twice and then started ringing. “Bobby, bring the car around. Something huge is about to happen.” She didn’t wait for a reply but hung up and put the phone back in her pocket. She could see the headlights come around the corner about 200 yards away. Past the glimmering slope of snow-covered lawn, past a row of trees sketching sharp lines into the sky, she could see the car idling, waiting for her, belching a steady stream of steam up into the cloudless sky. She remained crouched as she walked toward it, her steps quick but careful, the crunching snow making a noise that sounds the same as the tremors just before an earthquake.