Your regular recapper Brian Moylan has left town again — this time across the pond to jolly old England, land of the gentlemen’s clubs, all-boys’ schools, and tea parties. I’ll be your substitute for the next two episodes. All this popping in and out for you guys can get so discombobulating!
This week’s Real Housewives of New York is dramatic, but I spent much of the episode trying to figure out if this weekend at Dorinda’s house in the Berkshires was the precursor getaway to the season’s big trip or whether this was the whole, cheesy enchilada. It was disorienting, and I was stone-cold sober. I did come up with a fun idea for a Real Housewives drinking game, though: You drink every time one of the Housewives drinks. You’ll get drunk whether you do it per sip, per glass, or per bottle. You could probably even get a decent buzz if you drank every time one of the girls launches a signature liquor (or wine) line.
Speaking of which, you may recall last week’s cliffhanger of Luann allegedly implying that she helped Bethenny come up with the (multi-kajillion-dollar) Skinnygirl concept. This is an excellent teachable moment about the difference between imply and infer. Luann would have us believe that Bethenny mistakenly inferred she said that. Anyone with a memory (or a DVR) can see Luann clearly said it. As expected, this episode begins (and mostly remains) with a focus on the Bethenny-Luann conflict, or as Bethenny calls it, “The Delusional Skinnygirl Rant Hosted by Luann Flashback to 2007.”
Bethenny is not wrong. Luann’s sense of reality is out of whack. Not with the actual facts on the ground in 2007, but with her role in the dynamic of this … hmmm, what did Brian call a group of Housewives? A gaggle? A pride? Luann’s torn, actually. I think part of her has the right idea. She even goes so far as to make my meta-dreams come true, nearly shattering my TV screen with her proclamation, “I’m the Samantha.” #SATC
All I can say is, “Yass, queen — er, Countess. Be the Samantha. Own it.” Think about it. It really is her. You may be tempted to nominate Sonja, but she’s too ditzy — IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE, but ditzy nonetheless. The only thing standing between Lu and Sam is a whole lot of ugly slut-shaming, and I’m tired of it. I expect it from dodos like Ramona and Dorinda, plus Carol’s got to use what she’s got in her own personal battle against Her Regal Classiness, but Bethenny is really too cool for this nonsense. Lord knows Luann gives her enough material with the bit about her hairstyle. The only thing worse than copying someone’s hair is mentioning their mother IN ANY CONTEXT WHATSOVER (see Dorinda’s hissy fit when Luann merely refers to her mother as the person who baked her cake). To be fair, La Frankel’s locks are looking rather de La de Lesseps.
Anyway, Luann isn’t ready to own it yet, so she’s stuck in this middle ground, a poor vantage point from which to fight Frankel-stein. It’s a losing battle, of course, no matter what she does. None of these women can hold a candle to Bethenny’s quick wit or intelligence. And the Countess is further disadvantaged by her vulnerability in desperately wanting to be friends with Bethenny. On top of that, everybody wants to be on #TeamBethenny — even Dorinda, even when she’s mad at her! — so Luann spends this gloomy weekend in the doghouse. She’s already on Carol’s permanent shit list, no matter how many half-assed apology texts she sends.
Meanwhile, Ramona, possibly the slowest Housewife of them all, has learned to accept her position in the pecking order and work with it. She can’t quite predict why or when Queen Bethenny will get annoyed with her, but she’s learned to laugh it off and always concede that Bethenny is right. Bethenny, in turn, has accepted her as a sort of lame dog that needs an occasional lift to get up from the ground.
Bethenny generously claims that Ramona is so happy the Luann fight isn’t with her, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, Ramona brings up that situation over the guy Tom, or something that isn’t John (wait, is it John?!), who Luann allegedly stole out from under Ramona’s surgically enhanced nose. This is a nonstory, but it’s Ramona’s way to participate in the slut-shaming and alienation of the Countess. Luann can’t decide if she wants to laugh it off like, “Get over it, Ramona!” (my vote) or get all defensive that they’re calling her the dirty W-word (rhymes with bore). For a moment, she’s playful, arguing that what happens “B.L.” (Before Luann) is irrelevant, but as it turns into a group crucifixion of the Countess, she gets huffy and keeps threatening to leave.
Luann doesn’t leave, at least not farther than the front porch to smoke some cigs with Jules. Jules is on the phone with her father, or talking about her father, or pretending to have a father who’s about to go in for surgery, so we’re supposed to stop caring about LuannGate 2016 and start caring about Jules’s family. I would generously call this the episode’s B-story, except for Sonja’s field trip to the vaginal-rejuvenation clinic back in the city, which, I mean, I feel you have to give to her. Did the mean girls disinvite you from their slumber/slaughter party? Worried the fans at home will forget you? We at the Snatch Pump can build up your TVQ and your VJJ! No one could ever accuse Sonja of not trying hard enough. And God bless her if she doesn’t flinch while they do whatever the heck it is they do down there under that blanket, which she describes as “like being hit by lightning.” I won’t give away all the double entendres Sonja cracks (pun intended), but let’s just say it’s an all-time low. Even for this series.
Rarely have I seen a Real Housewives cast so shamelessly playing the show for the fictional soap opera it is. I swear on Teresa Giudice’s children that I saw Luann actually crack a smile during one of her angry tirades. It’s all a big game, and the winner will always be Bethenny. The ladies will fight to the death for second place. Who will come out on top? No one knows for sure, except it won’t be Jules.