The Real Purse Clutchers of Gucci Avenue was so memorable last year because all of the women were single, ready to mingle, down for a tingle, and eating a Pringle. This episode, strangely enough, is all about couples. There are dramatic realizations about romance, couples on the ropes, and one woman, one delusional Countess, ready to tie the knot at a drop of a crown. There are also very public extensions, but that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the theme.
Before we get started, I just wanted to say thank you to Ben Rimalower — vice-president of gift-shop sales here at the Real Housewives Institute and also the writer/director/star of Prostitution Whore: The Teresa Giudice Story at Marie's Crisis every Wednesday and Sunday night — for doing such a great job filling in during my absence.
Okay, let's start with Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Asti Spumante Morgans, who says something in her very own dining room that has only been uttered by members of second-tier frats at state universities across the country: "I'm doing fat tipsy bitches! I'm not doing skinny bitches!" It's usually a line of complaint, but here it is one of explanation: She's trying to differentiate her brand of Tipsy Girl Cough Syrup With Bubbles from Skinny Girl Lime-Flavored Booze Drank.
Sonja has a really good friend in Dorinda, who sits her down and tells her not only what all the women have been saying about her, but also that they were planning a trip to Mexico without her. I'm sorry, but if I were in Sonja's position, I'd much rather know that I was on the outs with everyone than just keep thinking that everything is okay. You can say a lot about Dorinda, but she does have a knack for candor.
The most devastating thing that Dorinda tells Sonja, however, is that Ramona chose sides in the fight and she did not choose Sonja, which is disastrous for Sonja's continued employment on this show. There is a very interesting rift this season — one that seems to be reminiscent of last season — and it's that everyone who is on the outs with Bethenny gets fired. Last year, it was Heather (who resigned, but she definitely dodged a bullet) and Kristen. This year, it seems to be Sonja and Luann.
Speaking of Bethenny's feelings, never in Real Housewives history have I seen a confab like the one Bethenny organized to vote on who they want to invite on the big group trip. First up is a vote on Housewives Bill 261: Sonja Morgan Invitation Termination and Extermination 2016, or SMITE 2016. It needs three votes to pass, but all of the present legislators vote nay with one abstention. Next up is Housewives Bill 262: Should Mexico Include Luann Either, or SMILE. It initially seems to pass the lower house of parliament, but it is suddenly vetoed by Carole Radziwill (D-NY), a member of the upper house. In response, Prime Minister Frankel declares her allegiance with Radziwill and the vote gets tabled, pending another vote by the Alcohol Appropriations Committee.
Even crazier is Luann's drinks with Bethenny, during which she essentially invites herself on the trip and then is like, "Oh, I'm so excited to go. This is going to be amazing. Thanks for inviting me. By the way, I have to leave now, I'm going to see Tommy Tune at the Carlyle with my new fiancé. Could you possibly pick up the check? I left my wallet at home. Sorry you are bleeding profusely out of your lady parts, one day you'll remember how good that used to feel. Ha ha. Love you, mean it. TTFN. Air kiss. Ciao!" Then she strides out of that weird wine bar in her immaculate white Armani suit and calls an Uber so that she can go cuddle with her man over $247 cheesecake in a hotel lobby while the world's tallest homosexual tells anecdotes about Carol Channing.
Now, let's focus on Carole and her child bride, Adam, who I wish went to my gym so that I could stare at him naked in the locker room all the time. Thanks to a foster cat that she didn't get a chance to say good-bye to, Carole has the realization that everything in her life is set up to be temporary. She doesn't have a real mate, a real pet, a real job, or even a real set of kitchen knives to chop radishes in her own apartment. It's like Carole's whole life is a testament to the gig economy.
I love that she and Bethenny had this conversation on Bethenny's immaculate bed with the Pinterest-ready upholstered headboard. It's like it was a Nancy Meyers movie and Bethenny was Meryl Streep and Carole was Diane Keaton and they are figuring out how they to enjoy the second chapter of their lives and, of course, a missing cat is the central allegory to the drama. It was a perfect rom-com moment come to real life. Now the question for Carole is if this little underaged lollipop that she brought home is ready for the real thing or if he's just a diversion toward real permanence. I'll let Carole figure that out on her own, but if she dumps him, please tell us which gym he goes to. You know, for research.
While Carole and Adam make all sorts of beautiful vegan chimichangas together, we get a fascinating look into the marriage of Jules and Pizza Box, especially considering the announcement just before the episode that Pizza Box filed for divorce and had been cheating on her. I think this is a blessing in disguise. If you come home from a long night with your ailing father in the hospital and the kids are crying for milk and your man makes you go get the milk, then you should dump his ass. If you have dinner plans at 7 p.m. and your man rolls up 15 minutes late and then wants to take a shower before leaving, you should dump his ass, cut off both of his arms, and feed them to the Disney World gators so that they stop feasting on small children. If you go out to dinner and your man spends all of his time on the phone, flirts with the coat-check girl, goes all Ben Affleck talking about how he wants to hire a hot nanny, and still doesn't care about your feelings, you should dump his ass, cut off both of his arms, feed them to the Disney gators, and then cut off both of his legs and give one to Aviva Drescher and use the other one to make the most amazing human-skin handbag that anyone has ever seen. Given how long Pizza Box's legs are, though, it will actually have to be a change purse. ZING!!!
So, yeah. The dinner with Jules, Dorinda, Pizza Box, and John, a breed of turkeys made out of snot called Booger Ball, is absolutely excruciating. It's like having your pubic hair plucked out, one by one, by a bucktoothed goat that keeps missing and biting your gooch instead. The only person I really felt bad for was Jules. God, guys! I think I like Jules. Is there a cure for this?
Pizza Box and John, a milk jug full of rotting skunk corpses and dill weed, are gross, but I'm starting to think that Tom, Luann's new paramour, is just as bad. We've barely seen him on camera so I can't really judge yet, but he is giving me major red flags all over the place. First of all, she's moving in after three months, which seems a little bit odd, but I'm willing to forgive it because if it was wintertime and I was living in the Hamptons and someone offered to let me move into their big, glamorous Manhattan apartment for free, I might do it even if they snored and liked to fart on me in bed and thought it was very, very funny. (For the record, it is.)
This dude boned like two of her friends, including one while they were supposedly dating and one right before they started dating. Also, he supposedly is texting his ex-girlfriend that he loves her and he's giving her presents. This whole thing is moving just a little too fast. If you say the words "soul mate" and you aren't talking about a flavor of gelato, a Barry's Bootcamp instructor, or Rachel on UnREAL, then you are an absolute garbage person and should be thrown into a dumpster full of broken White Zinfandel bottles.
The other problem: Luann's justifications are total bunk. Sure, it's fine to be friends with your ex, but giving her presents? He went on seven dates with Ramona — that is "dating," whether Luann wants to think so or not. Sonja sleeping with him, well, whatever. If you narrowed your search to eligible straight men in Manhattan over the age of 45 whom Sonja hasn't slept with, the list would be shorter than Pizza Box. ZING!!!
Speaking of Pizza Box, after that exhausting dinner with Jules and Dorinda, he needed to get away for a few nights. He told Jules that he had some business in Baltimore, but he really just packed up their strange conversion van and drove off to his unfinished house in the Hamptons. When he arrived, the headlights cut through the black night, flickering across the bare trees that looked like towering calcifications or strains of shimmering ore in the black of the deepest cave.
He walked up through the garage and toward the kitchen. With all of the construction material scattered everywhere, it was hard to get around and he stepped on a sideways nail that got caught in his shoe. He stopped to pull it out and stared out the window, looking out in the darkness, thinking that the house would never be finished, that it was beyond repair. It was just like his relationship, in flux since it started, forever trying to transform ruins into a castle. He didn't know how to escape. He thought this was the dream house he wanted, with the indoor pool and the sounds of toys skittering across the wood floors, but was that really what he wanted? Did he want this responsibility or did he just want to splash around in that pool, making a mess and knocking over empty Champagne bottles as he went to get another cigar out of the closet that he turned into a giant humidor?
Then the lights snapped on and startled him. He turned around quickly, his heart galloping up into his chest as he feared for what might be behind him. But it was the greatest sight of all: a middle-aged redhead in frilly and lacy shapewear. As if she read his mind, she had a bottle of Champagne and two flutes held in one hand, while she seductively leaned on the door frame with her other arm. "It's about time you got here," Jill Zarin said, as her kitten heels shallowly thumped over the half-finished floor.