The Real Housewives of New York City Recap: I’m With or Without Her

Sonja Morgan, Tinsley Mortimer, Carole Radziwill. Photo: Heidi Gutman/Bravo
The Real Housewives of New York City

The Real Housewives of New York City

The Politics of Friendship Season 9 Episode 5
Editor's Rating 2 stars

Well, the election episode is finally here. There has been an undercurrent of politics all season, something that is foreign to the Real Housewives universe but something that is oh-so-common in Trump’s America. We can’t do anything these days — including Pepsi commercials — without it becoming hopelessly politicized. It was even worse in the days immediately after the election, when every dinner party would descend into partisan bickering and every brunch was just a pregame for a protest.

You would be forgiven for not wanting to revisit those days, but here are the Real Housewives to drag us back. Now, I don’t watch the Housewives because I agree with their political beliefs. (Though I’m sure Victoria D. Gunvalson, Esq. has some very potent thoughts on Rand and Rousseau if we only bothered to ask.) I watch the Housewives to distract from the horrors of modern America and maybe make myself feel a little bit better about my life because I never contracted anything below the belt from Harry Dubin. That is the purpose that the Real Housewives serve. I like my reality television stars where they belong: on the television, not in the White House.

So, yes, ever since I first saw the trailer for this season, which prominently featured Carole Radziwill mourning Hillary Clinton’s defeat, I knew we were in for a rough ride. But know what? It wasn’t actually that bad. I think it’s because I felt exactly like Carole did the whole episode. I did my part for the Clinton campaign, attending rallies and fundraisers and putting all of my waking hours before November rolling my eyes at the idiotic things that Trump would say. Sadly, my mother, while amazing, is not nearly as awesome as Carole’s mother, Helen. Carole is right: They have this incredible bickering dynamic where they are both utterly exasperated with each other, but clearly their love and respect runs deep. I would love a version of Tabatha Takes Over featuring Carole and her mom where they go to small towns and fight their way through improving small businesses.

Unfortunately, they didn’t work nearly hard enough in Pennsylvania, which ended up just as red as every single dress Ramona has to wear on a first date (and, let’s be honest, Ramona Singer herself). Carole’s election party was just excruciating, but it was a similar scene to anyone who lives in a blue enclave. We were all so sure, nervous but sure, that the thing was going to go our way. We girded ourselves for what would surely be, as one of Bethenny’s left-leaning friends described it, one of the most important nights of our lives. That was the trouble, because it was never going to happen.

Yes, it’s awful to see it all again, but we’re out on the other side now. We all woke up with a hangover the next day — well, maybe not Andrea, Carole’s lesbian Trump supporter friend whom I would like to find and kick in the shins about 19 million times — just completely unsure of what the world was going to look like with an unprepared orangutan in the White House. I mean, Donald Trump makes Dorit’s husband PK, a Two Girls One Cup tattoo someone got because they lost a bet, look like a white knight. Now this guy is in charge of our country? Of course Carole was crying. I was crying too. I didn’t get out of bed for an entire day. Carole should have invited me over for day drinking, but I was too zonked out on Klonopin to do anything that required walking more than three blocks or changing out of my pajama bottoms.

But we’ve gotten so far. After the ignominy of the inauguration (ugh, we’re going to have to suffer through that spectacle again, aren’t we?) and 100 days of the Trump administration, the world has not ended. Our rights have not (yet) been taken away. The progressives in the government have risen to the occasion to resist and the administration has proven to be so ineffective it has not (yet) done much of anything Trump promised. And the people, in their pussy hats and with their witty signs, have taken to the streets on multiple occasions, fueled with an exuberance for justice I have never felt in my lifetime.

Yeah, it was awful living through Election Night again. Mostly, like Adam and Carole said, it’s because we thought it would all be over after Hillary won. We were ready to take a rest and let things get back to normal. But they never have. We’re still dealing with it every day, but we’re proving much more adept at dealing with it than we ever imagined. If anything, this episode only proved to me that progress can be impeded but it can never be stopped. All of us who were energized for Clinton are even more energized now, and we won’t be so easy to beat next time.

Ugh, sorry about that, everyone. I know you care about my political views just about as much as I want fashion tips from whoever keeps making Luann’s Chewbacca pelts that she wears to every single party, but I had to get that out there. That’s it for the season. I promise. Now we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled Ramona Singer bashing.

What the hell did Dr. Giese do to Ramona’s face? First of all, isn’t it a little bit sad that Ramona’s plastic surgeon slash dermatologist turned up onscreen and I immediately recognized her and knew her name? Have we really been with these women long enough that I can recognize their beauty doctors? That said, if I ever need some work, I’m going to Dr. Giese because Ramona looks absolutely amazing at 60. I tend to not agree with anything she has to say, but when she said she looks in the mirror and sees someone 15 years younger, she is about right. Maybe Ramona had all of her organs transplanted with the organs of her assistants over the years and there is a heap of young women’s bones behind her Hamptons house. Watch out, Miriam: Ramona needs a new pancreas and you seem just about the perfect size.

Though Ramona looks great, I would never get that insane laser treatment that Dr. Giese gives her. It was just searing little waffle marks all over her face. The injection into her bottom lip was bad enough, but to look like the bin of discarded irregular Eggos at the Kellogg’s factory is just not something I want to do. Then, after charring all of Ramona’s skin, Dr. Giese just stripped off the top layer like it was a piece of wet toilet paper stuck to the inner rim of the bowl. Ew. It was so gross. It was grosser than PK’s underwear after a long day of jogging and vodka and Red Bull farts.

On the bright side, Ramona’s birthday party actually seemed quite lovely. It is so Ramona Singer to be so oblivious of other people that you would almost inadvertently skip your own surprise party. (It’s also so Ramona to just ignore Carole and keep talking about herself when Carole ruined the surprise.) Dorinda did a very good job planning it, but I’m not quite sure why all the waiters were wearing Eyes Wide Shut masks and carrying around Beetlejuice umbrellas. It was the weirdest theme party I have ever seen and I once went to a “Drowned Women of the Titanic” Halloween soiree.

However, Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Diebold Voting Machine Morgans was the MVP of the party. (For a change, that did not mean the most vodka-ed person.) As soon as Ramona showed up, Sonja shouted, “Oh, here come the fake tears!” which is 100 percent accurate reporting. Give this woman a Pulitzer and a prime-time hour on Fox News. Later, out on the terrace, Ramona tried to get all angry that Bethenny didn’t show up at the party. Sonja was totally speaking truth to Ramona, telling her that bringing up Bethenny’s daughter to talk about her sexy movie was a dick move. “She’s 6, she’s not affected by the press,” Sonja said to her, clear-headed and rational, which is a shockingly good look for her. Though Sonja eventually gave up, knowing she would make no headway, that was the most fight we’ve seen out of her in a long time.

Anyway, Ramona Singer is a woman who is so narcissistic she expands her birthday by a factor of 30 and doesn’t celebrate a day but an entire month. No one was surprised when she took a two-minute pause to make a long wish. As the wax trickled down in pools into the buttercream frosting, the room held silent, like someone struggling in the undertow holding her breath and searching for the surface. Carole took those minutes and reflected on what had happened with the election and how she was going to resist. She decided she was going to the recently announced Women’s March and was even considering running for an office with more prestige and power than her condo board presidency.

As she stood there with all the other expectant guests, a red-haired woman wearing one of the masks snuck up behind Carole and put her red-stained mouth right up to Carole’s ear. “I voted Trump,” she said. “I’m going to the inauguration.” Carole felt chills down her spine, as if she had been assaulted right there in public while everyone stood still waiting for Ramona Singer to wish for a man to ask her out who didn’t look like a navy blue cable knit cardigan that grew legs. Carole turned around to see just who this woman was, to respond in some way she hadn’t even dreamed up yet, but she was gone. Jill Zarin disappeared into the crowd like the fog when you breathe on a freezing window.

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