The Real Housewives of New York City
Have you ever taken a handsome guy home from a bar and he was charming and a good kisser on the sidewalk and you think, This is going to be a fun time. Then you get him inside and take off his shirt and his body is just ripped and you pull down his pants and his eggplant emoji just leaps off the keyboard and you think, This is the best I’ve had in awhile. Then you get skin-on-skin and he just does things to your body that make your muscles melt into a puddle of erotic joy and you think, I never ever want this to end not even for a second. Have you?
That is the same exact feeling that you might have had while watching this episode of The Real Liquor Distributors of Avenue B.
This is one of the best episodes of all time. It went from high point of drama to high point of pathos to high point of unintentional hilarity. You know it’s a great episode when I don’t even have time to mention the fact that Sonja Tremont Morgan of the ShopTipsy.com Morgans shows her ErrBtoB apartment and calls it a “bee-det” or that Countess Crackerjacks wore an interview look with curly hair and a fringy sweater that makes her resemble a Maltese that went to a dog groomer and forgot to take her daily dose of Xanax.
I don’t even have time to talk about all the things we should talk about. There’s Jules interviewing a nanny by asking her to pick out an outfit for a three-year-old and wait in line at sample sales. There is the epic side-eye that Carole gives Ramona when she asks to move her chair at that restaurant and then orders things for the table that only she wants to eat. There is a prolonged discussion about the dryness or wetness of the Countess’s Crackerjack. There is that stupid Alice in Wonderland nonsense that made me want to melt my television in a massive cauldron, then pour the boiling contents of it all on Andy Cohen’s head like he was Daenerys Targaryen’s brother on Game of Thrones. That’s all I can say about those things because we have more pressing matters.
There are only two topics that we have time to talk about: Sonja and Bethenny’s confrontation at the Skinny Girl office, and whatever the hell it is that happens with Rey, a taxidermy mouse with a fake mustache and a booger for top hat, at Dorinda’s party for a designer who came in 14th place in season three of Project Runway.
Before we talk about the scene in “Death of a Saleswoman” when Bethenny finally confronts Sonja about using the Tipsy Girl name for her line of prosecco, a reader recently suggested that I need a “dictionary patch” like on Silicon Valley when I talk about Sonja. That way, instead of going on a whole preamble about how Sonja Morgan is my favorite floozy and I will love her forever, I can just use an acronym to cover the whole sentiment. I’m going with SMIFFEE. It stands for “Sonja Morgan is my favorite floozy for ever and ever.” For example, I can say SMIFFEE but she really needs to stop it with this crazy business stuff because it is really not a cute look for her. SMIFFEE but she needs to turn the heat on in that house because it’s just sad otherwise. SMIFFEE but I am not featuring that stupid hat she wore when shilling for Alice in Wonderland, so I hope she was paid well.
Anyway, Bethenny is pissed off because there is an item on “Page Six” about how Sonja’s brand is called Tipsy Girl and Bethenny’s brand is called Skinny Girl and she’s mad about it. This is the first Bethenny has heard about the whole thing and she thinks that Sonja is crafty enough to have planned the article to get her name in the press. Yes, Sonja loves attention, but does she need “Page Six” to give her that attention? To what end? Carole and Bethenny think she’s that shrewd, but Ramona doesn’t think she could pull off such a plan. SMIFFEE but I agree with Ramona.
When Sonja shows up to Bethenny’s office, she has no idea that she has walked into a pile of shit bigger than a brontosaurus that ate a nuclear submarine for breakfast. She thinks she’s there to have a meeting with her girlfriend and mentor, but the Jaws music is playing in the background.
Bethenny tells Sonja that she has a bedroom and a conference room in the office, but then sits her down in the sofa in the middle of the room to have this altercation. It is sure to be heated, since it is in front of all of these people who work for Bethenny. I don’t even like it when the person at the desk next to me makes a phone call; how can these women send emails while a Real Housewives fight breaks out close enough that they could flick a paper clip at it? That’s bonkers and also humiliating for Sonja.
Nevertheless, Bethenny’s reaction is appropriate. She did try to show Sonja how a business was run and what it is like to have an empire and be a successful businesswoman and SMIFFEE but Sonja turned around and betrayed her. It’s like one of the kids at Willy Wonka’s factory trying to run off with an Everlasting Gobstopper. Don’t try to sell it as your own invention after Willy was nice enough to take you on a tour.
I feel like the way Bethenny spoke to Sonja, though harsh, was an attempt at tough love. Bethenny confronted her about all the fake businesses — the clothing line with the broken website, the perfume line that never materialized, the African soccer team, the toaster oven, the caburlesque — and how these things failed because Sonja was too flighty to see them through or because (and no one will ever say this out loud) they were only fodder for a reality-show story line.
SMIFFEE but this is what someone should have done a long time ago. This is what conducting a business in the real world is like. Someone needs to ask about the distributors she has lined up, ask about the concrete connections that her partners can offer, ask about her strategy to take this thing to market. Sonja has no answers because she doesn’t know or doesn’t care enough to even bother.
Bethenny is right: Sonja can’t play smart and stupid at the same time. She can’t go to Bethenny expecting a pat on the back for having a line of booze, but then also be like, “Oh, I didn’t think up the name, my partner did. I thought it was cute. I didn’t think you would mind.” Please. Sonja may be softer around the edges than a bowl of boiled bok choy, but she is smart enough to know that the similarities are a little bit glaring.
Then it all turns Tennessee Williams when Sonja starts to cry. “I thought the alcohol was a good idea to help me get ahead because it helped you get ahead,” she says. “I didn’t think it would be a big thing, that I would sell it for $1 million or $100 million. I just wanted to sell it at their restaurants.” It’s so sad and humble and delusional that I sort of love it.
Sonja says that the Chapter 11 has put her in financial trouble, but the reason she declared bankruptcy was because of her shady dealings while toying around in the movie business. Now she’s going to toy around in the apparel industry and the spirits industry? Doesn’t Sonja learn? What will have to happen for her to get serious and make a real plan? Hopefully, it’s people like Bethenny holding her accountable for her actions because the courts held her accountable and that didn’t seem to faze her.
The most telling thing that Sonja keeps saying is, “I just need to get back to where I was.” That is such a tragic flaw, trying to get back the life that she lived with her wildly wealthy ex-husband. SMIFFEE but it’s never going to happen. It’s just not. She is never going to make that kind of money. The sooner she realizes and gives up, the happier she’ll be. If not, she needs to sit down and seriously figure out a real plan to get her there, not just swanning about at parties and letting hangers-on take advantage of her status on the show.
The best part of the whole thing is when she gets into the elevator and says, “So I can’t do pocket books because Luann is doing pocket books?” No, Sonja! You can’t! Find your own thing! Pick a thing and make it happen. Wake up from your champagne wishes and caviar dreams, then figure out how to live in the real world instead of being trapped like a mosquito carrying the Zika virus in a big hunk of amber! SMIFFEE but come on.
Okay, the party. It happens immediately after a trip to Sushi Roxx, a restaurant that is so outrageously awful it feels like something that doesn’t exist in a real world. Is it the manifestation of a movie you watched on Skinemax during your teen years? Yes, probably.
Dorinda and John are throwing some sort of dry-cleaning party and Sonja and Countess Crackerjacks arrive, even though they left Sushi Roxx after Ramona. Mx. Singer arrives after them, even though she was not invited. Luann runs into her ex, Rey, a broken tiny drink umbrella sitting in a wet ashtray. He says he is not high, though his words are slurrier than a windshield wiper trying to smoosh away a tub of Crisco. He declares his love for her and behaves like a total ass, asking for a kiss and being scummier than the paper towel dispenser in the men’s room at the Molly Pitcher rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike.
After Luann gets upset and leaves, Ramona decides to start talking to Rey, a fart machine powered by Jaeger bombs and pube shavings, to get some gossip on her. It does not go well. This absolute mess (whose voice is gayer than Lance Bass taking a hit of poppers while tossing a salad) is getting up in everyone’s faces. He’s just absolutely despicable. I couldn’t even stand watching him on television; I don’t know how anyone could stand next to him at a party.
John does the right thing and asks Rey to leave. Ramona, just to be obstinate, says that it’s fine if he stays. How is she going to fall on her sword for Rey, Mr. Burns’s jiggling butt-skin? I get it that she wants to pick a fight with John, but she’s going to do it over this mess of a man, who she doesn’t even know and who she disavows not five minutes later?
John then goes insane on Ramona, putting his hand in her face and they start yelling at each other. This is clearly a case of two people who do not like each other, with an agenda to argue. It is messy and awful and they are both dumpster fires that will haunt your nightmares for eternity.
When the fight moves outside, Ramona tries to defend herself by saying it wasn’t her fault. Please! It was 19 billion percent her fault. If she hadn’t tried to defend Rey, a poop soufflé dusted with rat poison, there would have been no fight.
The only winner here is Dorinda, who schools Ramona on the sidewalk and then gets in a cab and leaves John at the party after he tried to tell her that “Ramona is not a woman, she spews lies.” These two people are so blinded by animosity that they can’t even consider the feelings of the person who brought them together in the first place. Dorinda is right about John: His actions were correct, but his reactions devalued his behavior.
As Dorinda’s cab joined the trails of speeding red lights and her taxi swerved off into the chilly fall night, Rey stumbled down the street, wondering how far everyone would be watching, how far the camera could see him. He could feel the breeze on his ankles and wondered if his legs would hold up. That’s when it happened: His drunken gait straightened out, like Keyser Söze ridding himself of his limp. He rounded the corner and a red-haired woman was standing there with her hands buried deep in her pockets.
“Bravo!” she cried as she pulled her hands out and slowly applauded.
“Thank you, my darling,” he said with an exaggerated bow. “It’s all in a night’s work.”
“Here you go,” she said handing him an envelope. “I put a little extra in there. You really outdid yourself. This was a great scene. A fantastic scene. I couldn’t have done better myself.”
“Oh, I’ve seen your work,” he said. “You could. You certainly could.” He bowed again and she curtsied back to him and they had a little chuckle as he hailed a cab and hopped off into the crush of Manhattan traffic. As the cab rushed uptown, she looked out on Fifth Avenue and saw one of those orange-striped chimneys rising from the middle of the street, spewing its steam up into the air as if it were racing to form a cloud above the city. Jill Zarin put her hands back in her pockets and looked up, wondering if there were a way to chart the chaos of the water molecules as they expanded further and further apart before exploding into the dew that covers everything.