The Real Housewives of New York City
Once again, like Theseus trying to gather up the skein before the Minotaur takes off his head, I have lost the thread of what the Real Argonauts of the Golden Fleece are actually fighting about. What is Jules’s problem with Bethenny? What is Bethenny’s problem with Jules? Why is Luann mad at everyone for screwing her husband before she did? What does Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Dixie Napkin Empire Morgans see in her blind date Rocco? Why is Adam making pizza when he’s a gluten-free vegan who lives off of tempeh curd and blueberries he got on sale at Whole Foods? Is Pizza Box’s shortness a renewable energy source that can burn as bright as a million (Mohegan) suns? These are all things that I’m still wondering about as this episode draws to a close.
I’m not even going to try to figure out the Jules and Bethenny fight. That’s like trying to get glitter out of your sheets a month after Burning Man — impossible, mundane, and a reminder of better days. I’m just going to give Jules mad props for her radical transparency regarding her eating disorder because that had to be hard. The easy thing would be to tell everyone she had an eating disorder, that she’s in recovery, and that everything is fine now. Instead, she tells the women that she still struggles with it all the time and threw her food up just three days ago. Alright, that is intense. I was uncomfortable just watching it, so I can imagine how bad it must have been for everyone in attendance.
The purpose of her revelation, though, is to make people uncomfortable. Eating disorders are not cute or something to hint about when someone seems too skinny. They are horrible, intractable problems that can go on for entire lives, and I give Jules a ton of credit for being the face of that and letting everyone — those women around that table especially — know what the struggle really looks like.
I also give Jules mad props for confronting Bethenny about how mean-spirited her humor can be, which was always the case, but it wasn’t so bad when she was the underdog and making fun of the Countess. Now that she’s the top dog, it seems like her way of maintaining control over the group. But then again, I’m the first one to laugh and I’ve made my fair share of jokes about other people, so who am I to judge?
Everyone we meet teaches us how to treat them. They show us how far we can push them, what level of humor they’re comfortable with, how vulnerable they’ll be in public, whether or not they enjoy a good dick joke. We learn all sorts of things from subtle clues and the reactions we get in context. It’s rare that someone comes out and very explicitly tells you how they want to be treated, but that is what Jules is doing with these women. She is telling them that if they have a problem with her or her weight, to take it up with her to her face. She’s telling them that she doesn’t like being picked on or joked about. She’s telling them that she doesn’t care if she makes them uncomfortable, she’s not going to change. That takes some serious guts. I will say Jules grew three sizes in my heart this day.
What Bethenny is so pissed at her about, I don’t know. I can’t even begin to figure it out. She’s mad because Jules yelled at her? She’s mad because Jules blew up over nothing? She’s mad because Jules misconstrued something about her and took offense? Name one of those things that Bethenny hasn’t done on camera, even in the last season. I’m not saying she has no right to be mad, but giving Jules the silent treatment in the back of the world’s saddest party bus traveling to Mohegan Sun on a Tuesday afternoon (a million exclamation points, three bug-eyed emojis, and a joke about Pokémon Go that I’ll write after I capture the Charizard that has been lurking next to my toilet for three days). Speaking of that bus, Bethenny wants to ignore Jules, but then talks about her to Dorinda while she’s within hearing distance? Come on. She can’t ride on her high horse while behaving like that.
I’m sick of talking about Luann’s premature engagulation, so I’m just going to say congratulations from myself and the entire staff of Radar Online, a webpage you can still use as toilet paper. I hope that one day she can forget that Ramona and Sonja both dated her husband.
Here is a quote that illustrates why Sonja Morgan is once and forever my favorite floozy. When she is talking about Tom, she says, “When he wasn’t with a woman and I wasn’t with a young man, we would touch base. It’s what adults do. Who cares?” That’s her philosophy in a nutshell: I’m an adult, I sleep around, fuck you if you care who I fuck. The best part about that quote, though, is that she puts an emphasis on “young.” Sonja Tremont Morgan wants you to know that not only does she get it on the regular, she gets it with hot dudes who are half her age, because that is how Ms. Morgan is nasty.
What I love is that Sonja can’t help but be ridiculous. She doesn’t just hire interns; she hires interns with names like Rutu and Soukana, names that smell of mango and that she definitely can’t pronounce when she’s drunk. Can’t she get an intern named Emily like everyone else in New York? Don’t any Chads ever send in their résumés? What about a Paige or an Abby? No, to work in Sonja’s house, they would have to be renamed Paje or Abé. She says that the interns are there to learn, but then she teaches them to never listen to what her guests say on the intercom, to just go let them in. Sometime Sonja is so delightfully clueless.
I am somewhat mystified by what Sonja found so attractive about her blind date Rocco, though. We’ve seen Sonja pull in some grade-A trim (does a guy have trim?) and Rocco doesn’t seem to fit her usual profile. Sonja likes them either really rich or really young and hunky. Rocco doesn’t seem to be either of those, with his rumpled, untucked white shirt spilling forth the result of too many pasta dinners and bottles of champagne in the hot tub for dessert. But then again, the richest people I know are also often the most slovenly, so maybe he’s showing off his wealth by being gross. He just doesn’t seem refined enough for our lovely Sonja, but she mentions that he knows everyone around the world, so if she can smell an invitation to someone else’s yacht, she’s all about it.
The best part about dinner is when Sonja gives everyone their huge napkins and then explained why “JPM” (what those in the family call John Pierpont Morgan) used them, because everyone would get one napkin for the week so there had to be a lot of room to make messes. This is Sonja getting stuck in the past, but in a good way. It’s something classic and colorful to bring out at a dinner party to add some spice. That scary basement full of Wesson oil, old stuffed animals, and buckets that used to be full of tears but now just sport salty rings around the interior? That is getting stuck in the past in a bad way. Also, borrowing your (ex-)brother-in-law’s butler is stuck in the past in a bad way, too.
Speaking of which, I’m glad that Sonja finally got her benediction from St. Bethenny, the patron of vaginal polyps and unholy alliances. It does seem that Bethenny is going around the cast beefing one at a time with all the ladies (except her bestie Carole). When she forgives Sonja, it is sort of like when you really mess something up at work and you have an early meeting scheduled with your boss for the next morning and you go in trying to figure out how you’re going to pack up all your pictures and Happy Meal toys surrounding your terminal, but instead your boss is like, “That was really bad, but you’re just getting a formal warning,” and you sigh so deeply that you wet your underwear a little bit. That was what it was like when Sonja finally got her moment from Bethenny.
And the wheels on the bus turned round and round, and the women hurtled toward Uncasville, Connecticut, the wet tires sizzling the soaked pavement as the highway followed the sea and drew the women closer and closer to where they always intended to end up. The partition was raised and the driver sat tensely away from the women, unsure of what sort of backbiting and Skinny Girl Concoction drinking was happening behind him. He was thinking about his wife, Marlene, and how she went to her dentist’s office every day to clean people’s teeth and loved him unconditionally and never complained about the gross black caverns that she had to spelunk through every day. He thought about his daughters, Ashlee and Madison, so inappropriately named that they now call their youngest Maddy so that people at PTA meetings wouldn’t laugh at them. He didn’t want them to grow up without him. He wanted to see them at prom, graduation, their weddings, all of those dresses and intricate hairdos that he would have to pay for lined up in front of him, like the staccato lines on the road, whizzing underneath the bus’s carriage as it sang forward.
His mind racing, he eventually pulled up to a tollbooth and got into the short line, bringing the bus to a slow, controlled stop. He looked to his left and there was a state-police car next to him. He looked down on the driver and his partner and they made eye contact for a second. He thought about his girls and he thought about those cops and then he heard the click. He turned to the woman next to him and she had cocked back her gun and had it trained on him. “Don’t even think about it,” the redhead said. “You just keep driving. We have to get there before six.” He tensed his hands around the wheel, ten and two just like he was taught, and kept his eyes trained forward. Jill Zarin let her gun down a little bit as the driver switched on the windshield wipers and she stared at the tiny droplets being swept up into tributaries that ran down the glass while wondering if the drizzle would ever turn into rain.