The Real Housewives of New York City
I’m not sure if Allison DuBois was really vaping at the Dinner Party From Hell on the Real Rose Gold Sunglasses of Kyle by Alene Too or if she was working some kind of magic wand. Ever since that night, there has been a curse placed on all of the Real Housewives. Every time a medium or a psychic shows up, something horrible happens. Remember in Morocco when a psychic told Ramona that Mario was cheating on her? Or when a psychic told the women of Orange County that Brooks was faking cancer? (Well, maybe that wasn’t a bad thing.) That is why I had no idea why Carole Radziwill invited Kim Russo, the Happy Medium, into her home for an afternoon of reading her friends. (This has a very different meaning than it does on RuPaul’s Drag Race, where an afternoon of reading leads to more insults than Naomi Campbell can dream up when her assistant forgets to charge her Swarovski-encrusted iPhone.)
Kim starts with Jules, saying that she’s about to enter a phase in her life where she will be a role model to women. I was honestly touched by what Jules said about being in rehab at age 23 for an eating disorder and how she just wanted someone older to tell her that everything was going to be alright, that she would have a family some day, and that she would be successful enough to be on a reality show where other women cut each other down and embarrass each other on trips. It’s like she’s a living an It Gets Better video. Against my better judgment, I’m starting to like Jules.
Until she goes and does something ridiculous like put two glasses of water in the oven to make tea and I just want to take her out to the King of Prussia Mall and chain her to a Contempo Casuals and forget about her forever. Carole is right: She does have a strange relationship to food, meaning that she puts out way too much of it whenever anyone comes over. Are she and Carole really going to eat ten breadsticks, six macaroons, a handful of nuts and dried fruit, and a dozen gummy Life-Savers? That’s just overkill. She’d probably say it’s just a Jewish thing.
Anyway, the psychic quickly turns her attention to Dorinda and starts asking her about all the Johns in her life, a line of questioning I haven’t heard since the Heidi Fleiss trial. We then find out that Dorinda’s late ex, Richard, is in the room and telling her that he doesn’t think that Dorinda should marry her boyfriend, John, the sound of someone clipping their toenails on the subway. Richard says he’s leaving change around for her. Apparently that reminds Dorinda of something he said before he died: Wherever she sees change, that’s him leaving her a message. This is the first time that I’ve ever heard of someone being nickled-and-dimed back to life, but there has to be a first.
Then the psychic says it doesn’t look like Dorinda will get married again, certainly not to John, Alanis Morissette’s idea of ironic. When Ramona hears this, she says, “Thank God.”
Oh my word, these two women. Their constant flurry is far too much to keep up with it. They get in this huge fight where Dorinda says some pretty awful things to Ramona and then they make up and then they’re crying about how they treat one another. It’s like shaking a snow globe, watching all the stray bits flurry about and slowly settle down before they inevitably dust up again around the torch of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. (The snow globe in this strained metaphor is the one with the New York skyline that Kimmy Schmidt keeps on her toilet.)
The psychic tells Ramona she will marry again and then she cries about finally saying good-bye to her father, Bohdan, who has a name like one of Sonja’s interns. Since everyone else had a good cry, Ramona needed one too. Bethenny doesn’t want one. She’s very nonplussed with everything that happens at Carole’s, except for that amazing cheese plate and her oversized turtleneck that looks like the world’s chicest and most comfortable straightjacket. I want one.
Bethenny doesn’t do much in this episode, other than look down her nose at a psychic and hand out some Skinny Girl protein shakes. I tried one of those and it tastes like if you chewed on a piece of chalk and there was an enormous fart bubble in the middle of the chalk and while you were eating it the giant bubble popped in your mouth so when you were done chewing chalk all you could taste was someone else’s gas.
Oh, what about that dinner between Dorinda and John, a Skinny Girl protein shake that farts in your mouth? First of all, he pulled out those glasses with the lights on them that were the most embarrassing things I have ever seen a person put on his face and I have seen Derrick Barry try to do his own makeup. (Sorry, I’m just really excited for the Drag Race finale on Monday. #TeamKimChi.) Dorinda is right: He definitely got those glasses in Queens.
While Dorinda can be unnecessarily cruel to both Ramona and her boyfriend, I think that she does have a point. The two of them aren’t really considering her feelings in this feud. It’s like they just want to talk trash; they don’t care about the tight spot they’re putting Dorinda in. I don’t know what is going on this season with John, a sex doll made entirely out of used condoms and seaweed, but he’s grosser and slimier and worser than he was last season. It’s like he’s more become aggressive about being himself, and he is a porcupine on PCP stuck in a swamp.
Speaking of Ramona, her fight with Countess Crackerjacks about the “itchy necklace” is an instant Housewives classic, because of the pitch and tenor of the fight and how it goes from zero to 60 and back down to negative five in the span of 30 seconds. This is a professional fight. This is two old hands getting into it without any blood or collateral damage, just to have something to argue about in front of the camera. It’s like when one of your friends who is an interior decorator comes over and organizes your bookshelf just because he’s there and a little bit bored and he knows how to do it without even thinking twice. This fight is nothing personal. It is work. That is why these two women are the best in the Housewives business.
We can’t talk about that anymore because it is now time to talk about Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Boone’s Farm Morgans. I’m just going to lead with the fact that I love Sonja and that she is and forever will be my favorite floozy. What I love about Sonja is that she is one of the most accepting and fun of all of the Housewives. She doesn’t turn her nose up at anyone. She’ll party with Dorinda’s boyfriend, John, a cup of ramen noodles filled with Justin Timberlake’s hair; she’ll party with Aviva’s awful father, George; and she treats them all equally well. Sonja will hang out with just about anyone and not think that they are gross, awful, or below her. Sonja should be commended for that.
However, everything else about Sonja gives me red flags. It’s like she’s the Titanic and she is about ten meters away from that iceberg. This Tipsy Girl Prosecco line is a bad, bad, bad, bad, very bad idea. She keeps saying she wants Bethenny at her birthday party/booze launch because she wants to see her finish one of her projects. I’m not sure that’s true. I think she was seeking Bethenny’s approval because she knew there would be some drama and wanted to make sure she steered clear of that particular whirlpool. I mean, Tipsy Girl is really close to Skinny Girl and they both started with booze. It’s not like Tipsy Girl is a line of glassware or something.
Now, I’m going to forget that Sonja repeatedly said that Bethenny hadn’t RSVPed to the party so she thought that meant she was coming. (That’s like getting your period and then being sure that you’re pregnant.) Yeah, she knew that naming her line of booze Tipsy Girl would not fly. I can already see how she’s going to try to weasel out of it — she’ll say that her business partner, Paul, trademarked the name and already had it and that decision had been made — but come on, she had to know that she was drafting off of Bethenny’s success. Based on the preview of the next episode, Bethenny is really going to let her have it. I think that is appropriate.
What is up with Sonja’s business partner, Peter, anyway? Not only is she stealing Skinny Girl from Bethenny, she’s stealing this guy from the AoA bar that Ramona worked on last season. He’s like the Slade Smiley of New York City. Thanks to the pirate from St. Barts, we know that Sonja isn’t afraid of sloppy seconds, but stealing everything from her castmates will get old really quick. Next thing you know, she’ll write a book about losing her husband and her best friend when the yacht she never had crashed into her nonexistent private island.
While Sonja was launching her line of sparkling rosé, her business partner, Peter, had to slink away to another room of the large, empty event space. A red-haired women was waiting for him and she stared through plate-glass windows at the light burble in the slow undulations of the Hudson River as boats kissed the late-fall waters. “Is it signed?” he asked as he approached. She turned around and was holding a glass of Tipsy Girl in one hand — the bubbles collected at the bottom of the flute — and a manila envelope in the other. She handed it over and the movement was smooth, as if it were a pose, a calculation rather than something organic. Spin, drink, envelope, hand it over. Cut and print. That’s a wrap.
“I knew trademarking that name would come in handy some day,” she told him. “I even squatted on the URL too, if you want the website. As soon as Skinny Girl came out, I knew Tipsy Girl could be a hit. It just needed the right backer.”
“Are you sure you don’t want any money for it?” Peter asked.
“Gosh, no!” she said, holding her free hand up to her bosom. “I’ve profited enough already. Well, not quite, but I have a feeling I’m going to.”
“Well, I should get back to the party. Would you … “
“No, no,” she said, waving him off with a hand that seemed like it should be wearing an opera glove. “I think if I made an appearance here it would be too, how can I say, noticed. Let’s keep this little plan between us for now.”
“Sure, sure,” he said, heading off. “And thanks again.”
She turned around and folded one arm over the other, looking at the moon as it rippled in those waters. Think about all the products that washed up on these shores, sailed under this moon. Think about the beaver pelts and the Triangle Shirtwaists. Think about the enslaved people who came in and the cobblestones that came out, weighing the boats into the briny water. It never stopped: the sugar cane, the looms, the immigrants (that human cargo), the cars, the Ikea furniture, the tourists (that other human cargo). So many products. So few success stories.
Sonja’s drink probably wouldn’t be one of them, and she didn’t want that. It’s not that she wished failure for any of the women. It’s not them she hated. Well, except for Bethenny. But there’s something to be said in the trying. There is something about seeding your dream, even if it is a small flower trying to bask in someone else’s sunshine. Those were the hardest, though. She thought about all the boxes of Skweez Couture collecting dust in the basement. It’s not the dream that died, she thought as a party boat tottered toward its destination, spilling off participants, it’s just that everyone hasn’t woken up to it yet. Then Jill Zarin put her glass of the pinkish-orange fizz down on the floor and lightly kicked it over as she pulled on her jacket and walked away from the water.