The Real Housewives of New York City
Guys, I feel like I’m kind of in a pickle. According to the Eileen Davidson Accord of 2013 (or 2014 or whatever), here at the Real Housewives Institute it is against policy to pass judgment on a new full-time Housewife until she has appeared for five episodes. What’s hard about it this time around is that I feel like I’ve been living with Tinsley Mortimer for the better part of a decade. Bravo is not lying. For a certain set of “Page Six”–reading, socialite-following, media-obsessed New Yorkers, of which I am one, the Tinz has been part of our world forever. While sometimes I feel like the show is trying to inflate the importance of a new Housewives’ past accomplishments, they were very level-headed and accurate in their reporting of this phenom. (For those who want to catch up, here is a great New York magazine story about her first attempted return in 2014 and a Town & Country investigation into her recent arrest and “downfall.”)
So, do we wait to judge Tinz? She is, after all, new to the franchise and it will be hard to determine how she is going to fit into the dynamic and just how she’ll perform at the very narrow task of being a Housewife. Or do we do it now? Does her run on the short-lived CW reality show High Society count as the preamble that we’re going to need to judge her? I think, to err on the side of discretion, we’re going to give her the full five-episode wait (not that it’s going to stop you jackals in the comments), but I will go out on a limb and say that I think she’s going to be a good addition to the cast this season.
It is sort of hilarious that she is a “roommate” of Sonja’s, which is obviously contrived but in the best possible way. I would like a whole series of Sonja just inviting different people to come live in her house for a couple of weeks and then she can call up Connor (promoted from “intern” to “assistant” as if he’s actually getting paid) and say, “I’d like some chocolate at your earliest.” Who talks like that? Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Whitman’s Sampler Morgans, that’s who. And I love her for it.
The best part of Sonja and Tinz living together is when Sonja decided to make a list of deal breakers, which, after some debate, eventually only included “no unemployed, no mama’s boys.” They could do a lot better. Here is my deal-breaker list: no outer-boroughs, no Android phones, no waiters, no one who sends butt-hole close-ups on Grindr, no total bottoms, no total tops, no one who says he’s versatile but is really a bottom, no one who doesn’t like sweets, no one who uses initials as their name, no Ariana Grande haters, no “I don’t own a TV” people, no one who wears jockstraps as real underwear, no CrossFit, no vegans, no one who believes that Lorde is really 17 years old. I think that’s a pretty fair list.
I totally agree with Bethenny, however, that my darling Sonja needs to give up on three things: Tom, the townhouse, and the Berkshires. As for the townhouse, she can find a better, more affordable place to store her 18 jugs of Wesson oil that she keeps in the basement. As for the Berkshires, that is just old news, and she saw how that played out. Did she really wish she were trapped in that haunted house full of screeching banshees and a pretend Santa Clause? At this point, I don’t even know what the fight between Sonja and Dorinda is about. Is it really that she’s just mad she didn’t get invited? Yawn.
Tom, though, is a trickier matter. In fact, I think that Luann is the one that needs to get over Tom. When Sonja sits down to talk to Luann about her fiancé, Luann tells Sonja that she is trapped in the past and needs to get over Tom. Luann thinks that Sonja is jealous because she wants to marry Tom. I have always thought that is completely misguided. Sonja just wanted her feelings appreciated in the matter, which they never were and they still aren’t. Luann was never sensitive about their past, and until she is, I think Sonja has a right to be a little bit mad about it.
I would like to say that her digs in the press that she will “stand by Luann whether she’s with him or not” are a very sweet thing, like Sonja won’t let a man get between her and her good friend. Sadly, that is not the intention. It is meant as an underhanded way to say that she shouldn’t marry him because he’s a cheater. We all know he was making out with that woman at the Regency and the reason that Sonja — and the rest of the women for that matter — are still stuck in the past is because Luann never adequately addressed what is going on with Tom. She just sort of said, “We dealt with it,” and moved on like everyone else would follow her. Until she adequately addresses their very real concerns about her relationship, I don’t think they’ll ever forget it.
They seem to leave it in a good place though, where Sonja finally agrees that if Luann is sure about marrying him then she will be fine with it, too, but she hopes that Tom “flies straight.” I think that’s all you can hope for from a good friend, right? All she really seems to want is for Luann to be happy, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for Luann.
As for the election stuff, I can’t go through the living Facebook wall that is Ramona and Carole’s conversations. I mean, trying to figure it all out is like trying to unravel the mess of politics in the country right now, and that is not a job for someone like me. That is a job for, I don’t know, someone with a keen mind and a background in hard journalism. It’s a job for someone like Carole Radziwill, but the problem is that no one will listen to her because they think she’s shrill and elitist. Every scene is like a little microcosm of America with Ramona as the Trump voter (ugh, I knew it) and Bethenny as one of those “undecided” people and Carole as an informed and intelligent person. I just — I can’t. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. Seriously.
All of this politics is enough to make me want to join the tea party, or at least Sonja’s tea party. No, never mind. That was a bit of a dud, too. First of all, no one bothered to wear colors, like she said on the invitation, except for Bethenny, which she had to crow about every time she turned her sharp bangs around. The Countess showed up in a dusty floral number, which is roughly the same print that my parents had for their couch somewhere in the early ’90s. Then the only people who wore hats were Luann, in an oversize number in the Blossom Collection for Sears, and a friend of Sonja’s named Vanessa Noel who was like, “Oh, thank god, another occasion for me to wear my hat with high heels around the brim!”
The only good part of the party was Patrick Henry, Sonja’s borrowed butler, who was just a snarky sourpuss about the whole party. I’m with Bethenny, he could sit by me any day. He had not even a moment for Ramona. She showed up and couldn’t remember Gigi the neighbor, even though she’d met her a million times, and he just stood there in the kitchen trash talking to her and telling her to get over herself. Seriously, Ramona. Can’t you just pretend for a second you know who this woman is and then figure it out later? It’s called tact.
The best moment, however, was when Patrick Henry was escorting Bethenny to her car and he managed to get in a dig about Luann’s dress from his favorite designer: Salvation Army. He trashed Luann and Ramona a bit more as he walked Bethenny out to her car, sure to tell her how good and healthy she looked. “You look like someone with a forgiving soul,” he whispered in her ear, as Eric, the driver, pulled up in his big, black SUV. “You look like someone who is willing to welcome old people back into her life.”
“Thank you,” Bethenny said, with her characteristic over-embellishment. He closed the door behind her and Eric took off. Patrick Henry turned to the right and saw another big, black SUV coming down the street and veering toward the curb. He stood there, dutifully, with his hands clasped behind his back. The car came to a stop in front of him and the back window behind the driver rolled down. Out popped a hand with one too many rings holding a manila envelope. It was bulging so much in the center it was straining to stay closed, like a pair of Spanx on Thanksgiving Day. Patrick Henry extended his right hand, took the envelope, and quickly placed it into his pocket in a movement so seamless someone walking by wouldn’t have even noticed. The window rolled up again, and before it could even reach the top, Jill Zarin sped away without even saying a word.