The Real Housewives of New York Season 9 Premiere Recap: Still About Tom

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Bethenny Frankel, Carole Radziwill, Sonja Morgan, Dorinda Medley. Photo: Greg Endries/Bravo
The Real Housewives of New York City

The Real Housewives of New York City

Talk of the Town Season 9 Episode 1
Editor's Rating 3 stars

As we zip past the skyscrapers and zoom through the concrete valleys of Manhattan, we once again end up on the Upper East Side, right outside of Ramona Singer’s apartment. Welcome back to the Big Apple everyone, where we have nearly a decade of shouting and acrimony to build on. According to lore, it takes ten years to officially become a New Yorker, and maybe that is why we’re all so adroit shuffling between Dorinda and Luann meeting in Central Park, Carole and Adam cuddling in the West Village, and Bethenny shedding the stones in her tiara of real-estate holdings all the way in Tribeca.

Of course we briefly check in with everyone and get small snippets of what is going on in their realms. Ramona is still crazy, answering the door for her contractor while wearing a mud mask. Carole is still together with her hot young boyfriend, Adam, who is still hot and young but possibly a little bit blonder. Luann is still in love with Tom, against all odds. Dorinda is still not taking anyone’s shit, and every real New Yorker knows that a bottle of Poland Spring costs $1 at every hot-dog stand and that he was trying to charge her double is highway robbery, and I would have just given him two bucks and walked away. Bethenny is still really busy and can’t take her face out of her phone. And Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Buffalo Exchange Morgans, well, Sonja is still washing her sex toys in the dishwasher. That’s our Sonja. Never change.

My favorite floozy Sonja didn’t have that much to do this episode. Yes, she rehearsed for her Off Broadway show Sex Tips From a Straight Woman for a Gay Man. I was actually invited to attend this, and as the President and Founder of the Real Housewives Institute, I dutifully attended. Much to my shock and delight, Sonja was actually really darn good, playing a bookish professor who slowly learns how to give HJs and BJs and all the other Js and slowly loosens up enough to bed down with the hunk that was under her nose the whole time.

The problem with the play was not Sonja — it was the crowd. Filled mostly with bachelorette parties out for a night in NYC, they were rowdy and awful. They were actually heckling the show so much that someone from the theater had to come out and ask them, multiple times, to calm down. That is not the sort of environment anyone should be working in, but I have a feeling that other women shouting at her while she’s trying to earn a living is something that Sonja should be familiar with by now.

Anyway, Sonja was looking absolutely amazing when Bethenny came to pick up her Dress for Success donations. Sitting on the floor of her daughter’s empty bedroom, Sonja has never looked younger, fresher, or prettier. Still, I’m with Bethenny — the things that she was donating for women to wear on job interviews were probably only fitting if they were interviewing to be a receptionist at a dildo factory or absolutely every position at Fox News.

Bethenny was not only picking up clothes, but also off-loading her old apartment where Jason Hoppy squatted for four years while he dragged out their divorce. In a devilish bit of brand synergy, it was sold by Fredrik Eklund, one of the stars of Million Dollar Listing New York and the only Bravolebrity that I have made out with. (It was a long time ago at the Cock. Please forgive us both.) The short version of the story is that the apartment looks beautiful now that they’ve staged it, and Bethenny is now $7 million richer. The only time I have ever wanted to be Bethenny Frankel was when we were taking a tour of that apartment and I quickly ran to my kitchen to see if I could make a $100 million alcoholic beverage out of two old bananas, three Luna bars, and half a bottle of Skyy left over from a Britney Spears Lifetime movie viewing party I had at my apartment.

Carole, who has turned into a crazy cat lady even though she has a boyfriend, came to visit Bethenny because Bethenny refuses to go to Carole’s apartment until she reupholsters her threadbare leopard couch that her mother-in-law Lee Radziwill gave her. If you’ve been following Twitter at all, you know that Carole was obsessed with the election and was an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter.

I love Carole, and I appreciate her stance on political issues, but to hear her talking about what a “buffoon” our current president is and hear her say, “Hillary is going to win by a landslide” when that didn’t come to pass is dramatic irony at its worst. I don’t think I can relive that. There is nothing that we can do to change it and we’ve come so far since that moment that wallowing in the collective mourning of our favorite apolitical reality-television show is just going to be like sitting in a Jacuzzi filled with razor blades and rubbing alcohol. I’d much rather just watch Bethenny’s puppies, Biggie and Smalls, fight over who gets to play with the stuffed Trump dog toy.

Yes, if we keep having to go through this, it’s going to be a very long season, a very long season indeed. I feel the same way about Tom. This whole season is going to be about Luann getting married to Tom, her wedding to Tom, and the women not really liking Tom and telling Luann that he’s cheating on her. I already don’t have the energy for this, especially because we’re never even going to see the wedding because Luann sold the exclusive to People magazine.

But since we have to talk about it, here we are. What’s weird about Luann’s relationship with Tom is that she seems to want it both ways. There are so many rumors of him cheating on her and her hitting on other guys that it seems like they have an open relationship, which is fine. They are grown-ups, and if they have a non-monogamous relationship, who are we to tell them how to live their lives? Even the way she talks about it makes it sound like they have some kind of arrangement. “I’m happy with what I have and I’m strong as a woman. We’re secure in our relationship, and I’m not going to listen to this,” she tells Ramona.

Ramona’s problem seems to be that she wouldn’t stand for an open relationship, and that Luann is in one seems gross to her. Ramona believes it’s wrong, so when she hears things about Tom making out with his ex-girlfriends, she thinks that Luann is set up to get hurt. Normally I would chalk this up to gross Christian morality, which only allows for one proper way to run a relationship. Also, when Ramona goes to Luann and says, “People come to me, but I’m not going to say anything because you don’t want to know. Or do you want to know?” it is so smug and leading it makes me want to pop her eyeballs right out of their sockets like a pair of ping-pong balls being fired off at a Phuket sex show.

But that’s not what Ramona is really saying. She’s saying she wants Luann to be honest with her, and Luann says that she and Tom do not have an open relationship. So which one of them is lying? Is Ramona lying about all of the people talking about their cheating or is Luann lying about their open relationship? Both cannot be true and, like Ramona, I don’t really care either way, I just want Luann to be honest about it.

Holy shit. Guys. Do you realize what happened? I just agreed with Ramona Joan Singer (I made up that middle name). She is actually sane and reasonable enough, with all of her middle-of-the-night Nancy Drew sleuthing, that she roped me into her corner. If this keeps up, this isn’t going to be a long season, it’s going to be the longest season.

I was so confused by agreeing with Ramona, I almost didn’t see her sitting at the bar in the same restaurant as Ramona and Luann. Under a great big hat in a surprisingly tasteful black skirt suit with a crème blouse underneath, she sipped her Diet Coke through a straw coated with dusty rose lipstick on the business end. She listened to every word with her back to them. She heard that Ramona took the bait. Ramona believed Tom’s ex that she dug up and paid $10,000 to tell Ramona that Tom was cheating in the hopes that it would get back to Luann. Now she needed more. She had to fuel the fire, stoking their argument like a cold poker that sizzles as it jabs at the burning logs under the flue.

As Ramona and Luann filed out after their lunch, she picked up her cell phone and dialed Tom’s ex. “Looks like you’ll get your bonus after all,” she said into the receiver. “Ramona told her all about it.” There was a brief silence as she listened and then she said, “Don’t you worry, we’re just getting started.” Then she put her cell phone flat on the bar as she slurped the last drops of Diet Coke out of the bottom of the glass. They tried to hide under the ice, but they weren’t stealthy enough for the expert suction that was being applied. Yes, this lady sucks. Jill Zarin really sucks.

Real Housewives of New York Premiere Recap: Still About Tom