The Real Housewives of New York City
Dear ladies and gentlemen, members of the Real Housewives Institute, thank you for coming here today on this momentous occasion, the lifting of the Eileen Davidson Accord on one Tinsley Mortimer. This is historic because, for the first time since the implementation of the EDA, we are presented with a new Real Housewife of which I have practically nothing to say. Tinsley seems fine. She seems nice and bubbly and blonde and like she pays a lot of attention to her makeup. She’s like New York City’s third-best macaroon shop: You wouldn’t go out of your way to get there, but if you’re walking by, you’ll stop in and be suitably impressed.
Yes, Tinsley has been able to hold her own against her roommate and gray gardener Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Frigidaire Ice Maker Morgans. Yes, she seems like a lot more fun when she gets a little bit tipsy. Yes, she doesn’t shy away from a fight or expressing her opinion. But all of those things don’t add up to much. The Tinz, as I like to call her, isn’t narcissistic, unreasonable, or unhinged enough that she makes for great television. I like Tinsley, but she’s a spice, not a main ingredient. She’s like cilantro: Some people love it, some people hate it, but either way you wouldn’t want to stuff your mouth with it like it’s a handful of Junior Mints.
So far, the most remarkable thing about her is that she goes out of her way to tell everyone about her arrest. Yeah, that’s a little annoying, but I see what she’s doing. She’s trying to get out in front of it and tell her side of the story before people find out somewhere else and judge her for it. Besides that, it’s not like she’s really an oversharer or sucking the air out of a room like Sonja removing the chrome from a bumper.
Tinsley is in two good scenes this week. The first is when she meets with her friend Anisha, who drives her dog Luigi around in a giant, remote-controlled Pow-Pow-Powerwheels. (Shouldn’t it be Paw-erwheels?) That is crazy and awesome, and it really just makes me wish that Anisha, a clearly unhinged and eccentric person, was a member of the cast. She treats her dog way better than Carole treats her menagerie of creatures called Baby or Sonja treats her dog that keeps shitting all over Tinsley’s rug. What is up with these women that they can’t teach any of their dogs to shit outside?
The other great scene is when Tinsley is in the kitchen with Sonja and Sonja accuses her of turning the ice brown. First of all, of course Sonja has an ice maker that looks like it is full of clumps of yellow snow. I don’t even know how this would physically happen, but if it were to happen to anyone, it would be Sonja. Of course her remedy is not to fix the fridge or the pipes, it’s to buy a bunch of bottles of Voss at the fancy bodega down the street and just freeze those instead. Then, when she needs ice, she just plops a whole frozen bottle of Voss in whatever needs chilling. Makes sense.
Anyway, it’s fun when Sonja and The Tinz throw ice at one another like boarding-school girls having a snowball fight after marrying their boyfriends at city hall because they learned they could do that from an episode of 90210. I would watch a whole show of Tinz and Sonj trying to be roommates and sleeping with young guys and being ridiculous in a townhouse that is more rickety than three ships full of sailors with scurvy. In both of these scenes, Tinz is a good teammate, not a star player. And that’s just fine. That’s totally fine.
That’s because this is a cast full of all stars and they don’t need someone trying to get up in their [please finish this sports metaphor for me because I am already out of my depth]. Look at Ramona Singer, a woman who coos to her dog about how wonderful her birthday party is because she must talk about herself at all times, even if the recipient is not capable of understanding human language. This all goes down in Ramona’s apartment, which, for some reason, looks like the Unabomber was planning a wedding. Why is it all scattered and messy? Did she fire the cleaning lady and not bother to hire another one? Is she having a manic episode that has something to do with pink highlighters, hydrangeas, and pulling out every white article in her apartment and piling it up? Is she Carrie Mathison–ing out on Tom?
Regardless, Ramona is a woman who feels slighted that she wasn’t invited to attend a wedding she didn’t even want to go to in the first place. What sort of complete and staggering insanity is that? Better yet, Luann still won’t invite her even though it will cost her nothing. They’re both just intractable in completely indefensible stances. That is what Tinsley lacks, that is what makes these two greats, and that is why she’s just some girl throwing brown ice at Sonja.
Speaking of Sonja, here is a woman who farts all over the bar and everyone just laughs when she tries to blame it first on Ramona and then on, like, her poodles or something, like she smuggled a farting dog into the bar in her Spanx. Sonja Tremont Morgan is a national treasure and I won’t hear any other opinions on the matter.
Meanwhile, Carole and Dorinda (who has a sister named Melinda and I would like there to be a Disney Channel tween show called Dorinda and Melinda about two girls fighting ghosts) are cute up in the Berkshires having a little memorial for Richard, Dorinda’s dead husband. The real star of the show is Dorinda’s daughter, Hannah, who shows up looking like a gallerist in a movie about New York in the ’80s. Then she reads something completely heartbreaking about her stepfather’s passing that she jotted off while she was contouring her face that morning. Screw asking Tinsley to move into your building, Carole — get your claws into this one early. She’s going places. (Probably an underground club in Bushwick.)
But now we have to talk about Bethenny. I’m sorry, but she’s really getting on my nerves this season. It is all perfectly summed up at her lunch with Sonja where Sonja tells Bethenny about how she meets all these guys and all the other women steal them. “It’s like you’re a curator of cock,” Bethenny says. It’s a pretty funny line, but as soon as she said it, Bethenny literally fell out like she had just done too much ketamine or the 14 pot chocolates she ate in the car on the way over kicked in all at the same time.
Bethenny thinks this joke is unspeakably hilarious and she wants to make sure that Sonja and everyone else knows just how funny she is. That’s the problem with Bethenny these days: Her success has convinced her that her own mythology is real. There are funny people and there are those that are convinced that they’re funny. It’s like having sex with someone who keeps asking you how hot they are.
When Ramona confronts Bethenny at drinks, she is truly annoying, trying to be all, “If you have a friend going through a bad time, do you stay around to help them?” It was one of the weirdest exchanges I’ve ever seen on this show. But Bethenny doesn’t want to show up for this. Bethenny doesn’t want to show up for anything and that is a problem. She says she wants to be done with Ramona for good. Well, I know one way that can happen — quit the damn show. Bethenny can’t be both on this show and too good for it at the same time. I know she’s all excited about her real estate nonsense and her show with Fredrik Eklund, but she needs to earn her salary here first.
Right now, Tinsley is working on just that. She’s trying to find her way into this tight clique and finding it a bit of a strain. She was the last one to leave the bar after drinks and she popped open her Hello Kitty umbrella to shield against the wafts of mist swirling about the Manhattan night. Her curls bobbed as she clomped along the sidewalk with her head down, looking at the cracks of the sidewalk. “Tinsley,” she heard, like a far-off fairy taunting her. She stopped and looked around but couldn’t see anything. “Tinsley,” she heard again, like a bell tinkling as someone enters the dry cleaner’s door.
This time she turned around and there was a woman in a burgundy rain coat and wide-brimmed hat, letting the wet night fall in droplets all over the treated fabric of her body. She seemed to glow under the streetlights, like she had swallowed every firefly in the swamp. “Tinsley, have you made a decision?” Jill Zarin asked as she stood still as a totem pole.
Tinsley was unable to answer, unable to move, like she had suddenly become a mannequin in a store window or was hit with some sort of paralyzing dart. She stood there in the spray, seeing both her past and future at the same time. She didn’t know to walk into the light or turn away, so instead she stood there, letting the moisture on her umbrella merge into bigger and bigger drops, enough that it could become a deluge.