I usually compare the best of the Real Housewives to Tennessee Williams plays, where there are delusional heroines living in the past who pretend that their lives are going swimmingly when really there is brown ice in their refrigerators and someone ripped the sconces off their walls. However, as my very astute boyfriend pointed out, tonight’s episode is more like a modern Balzac. It’s a completely absurd comedy of errors with all of these horrible people attending sad parties and you can’t do anything but look into the glitter-tinted misery of their existence.
The centerpiece of these parties is Luann’s marriage to Tom, a Brooks Brothers mannequin with the soul of a cigar bar. The affair is what most women would consider a normal wedding: a white dress, bridesmaids, someone walking her down the aisle, a whole weekend dedicated to partying and celebrating her union. The thing is, Luann de Lesseps D’Agostino Carrington Colby is not most women. She is a mother of two grown adults who is past 50 and wanted everyone to be excited that she wore a bedazzled tank top that said “Mrs. D’Agostino to Be” even though they all just stared at it blinkingly like a 13-year-old just tried to explain Snapchat filters to them.
That’s the thing about this wedding: It is gorgeous and tasteful, but it was meant for someone 20 years younger than Luann. Yes, we all know she didn’t get to have this kind of wedding the first time around, but that doesn’t mean she needs to have it the second time around. As soon as you have owned property in your own name, no one should be giving you away. Lord knows Luann has been giving it away for years, so she can certainly do it on her wedding night.
Dorinda is just the kind of bridesmaid that this wedding deserves. Being a bridesmaid in your 20s is all about text chains, bachelorette preparations, trying to make out with one of the bride’s hotter cousins, and doing everything in your power to attend to a woman’s “special day.” Being a bridesmaid in your 50s is all about showing up drunk two hours late and forgetting your bridesmaid dress at home. Way to go, Dorinda.
This episode had a bunch of celebrations that reminded me more of the Donner Party than anything else. One was Ramona’s charity event, which was so insignificant we don’t even get a segment on it. We know that a shindig is the equivalent of toilet paper on the bottom of a shoe when we only see it in flashbacks. That means the cameras were there, but it was more of a snooze than taking two Ambiens with a Nyquil chaser while watching an episode of Nova.
But that does not mean there was not a great moment. There was! It is so brief you barely see it, but it happens when Tinsley shows up at the party to greet Ramona with another guest who can only properly be described as the Babadook dressed as a funeral director. He was the scariest, creepiest man that I have ever seen on camera, so much so that I had to rewind the scene three times to make sure I was watching The Real Housewives of New York City and not the video tape from The Ring. I asked my boyfriend, “Why did someone disinter the body of Alice Cooper and prop him up at a Housewives party? He’s not even dead!” I have so many questions. Who is this man and why did Tinsley bring Nosferatu to Ramona’s party? I need to know!
Although it does get its own segment, Bethenny’s party is just as snoozy. It is more like a staff Christmas party where only the Housewives (sans Ramona) are invited. Bethenny paid a lot of money for caviar, individually painted ornaments, and a chef who taught Dorinda how to open an oyster using the magic of anal sex double entendres. But then no one came. It is just a very ornate way to have the girls over.
OH! Lest we forget the ice luge, which is the best part. (Well, actually the best part is seeing Bethenny’s hunky straight assistant Rory, who probably fields a level of inappropriate questions usually reserved for blondes on Fox News.) Bethenny is like, “I just want to have a really nice, chic, sophisticated New York Christmas party. Now what says “nice, chic, and sophisticated” more than a corporate-branded ice luge for you and your six closest friends? Um, just about everything. The sticky film on the floor of a men’s room after a basketball game is nicer, chicer, and more sophisticated. A cruise ship production of Cats is nicer, chicer, and more sophisticated. Every single item in Blac Chyna’s wardrobe is nicer, chicer, and more sophisticated.
That ice luge is like an old woman trying to prove how hip and cool she is by taking her daughter and all of her friends out for dinner and drinks wearing their shortest skirts. Oh, wait, Ramona actually did that. It was bad enough when I thought Emma, Emily, Morgan, Zoe, Chloe, Madison, Sarah, and Bella (the most blandly named coven of witches in all of creation) were Avery’s college friends. No, they are her high-school friends. As Ramona points out, she has known them since they all had braces and couldn’t drive. Ugh, Ramona hanging out with them is grosser than Jonah Hill’s grundle in a heat wave.
Those girls are nice to humor Ramona and talk about her weird menopausal problems. They didn’t just leave her to go to Marquee or Tenjune or Bungalow 8 or wherever the kids are going these days to drink Champagne and make mistakes with 23-year-old boys named Chad. That’s honorable. But hey, when you’re 22 and someone offers to pick up the tab, you go no matter where it is. The look on Zoe’s (or was it Chloe’s?) face when Ramona suggests that they have dinner parties once a month is priceless. Ramona wants them to get together with her “girlfriends” and they can just hang out and learn from each other. “Yeah,” says Chloe (or Zoe). “Maybe your friends can bring their sons so we’ll have some reason to actually show up with all of you.” Ouch.
I felt the same level of skeeviness when Tinsley showed up to Luann’s “Sorry I Didn’t Invite You to My Wedding” party with her 23-year-old boy toy, who is younger than everyone else there by two decades. The only other appropriate people in the crowd are Ramona’s daughter Avery and Luann’s flower girl Victoria. Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Gristedes Morgans shows up with her younger man, but he’s actually somewhat age-appropriate. There’s less of an age difference between her and “Frenchie,” as she likes to call him because of the way he kisses, than Tinz and Chad or Carole and Adam.
Of course, Sonja says that this guy Frenchie is just for fun and she is really dating an pumice sculpture named Rocco. She thinks it is perfect that she has a Frenchman and an Italian. It’s like her bedroom is the International House of Something Else That Starts With P. But then she starts to get serious with the French guy. Or maybe not? I mean, he moves in, but neither of them really wants to describe their relationship. “That’s why I love France,” Sonja says. “It’s all about good food and sleeping well and having good sex. It’s not about who is dating who.” This, right here, is why Sonja is my favorite floozy.
Well, that and the whole sequence when she relays to her assistant that she tried to end things with Frenchie because he wants to have kids. She tells Connor, the assistant, that he said they can always adopt, and instead of reacting, Sonja just dramatically fell down dead on the floor. She is just so incredibly wonderful. Don’t you feel like Sonja is always just narrating her own life out loud whether or not people are around to listen to her? I sure do. Anyway, Frenchie seems like a cool dude who could use a better haircut, which is what I said about both Chandler Bing and David Koresh, so who knows what that will get you.
Sonja probably shouldn’t go marrying this guy who moved in so suddenly. That’s what Luann did, sending her relationship into overdrive and tying the knot in front of the whole world. Everyone was gathered around under the fairy lights and the lode star and the zephyrs that shake the trees of Palm Beach in January. They were all there for love, or something close to it. All but one woman who was standing in front of the tent where everyone else was dancing while her husband, wearing a strangely tinted pair of glasses, held his phone at arm’s length taping her.
“Luann, I just want to say … No, Bobby, you have to turn it sideways. No, the other way. No that’s too far. Like that. Perfect. Okay, let me start again. Luann, we’ve been friends for 20 years. We’ve had good times and bad times. We’ve had Ramona and Bethenny … No, I shouldn’t bring up Bethenny. Okay. One more time. Luann, I love you like a sister. Muah … Ugh, I didn’t say anything about Tom or her wedding. Should I keep it simple? I should keep it simple, right? I want them to use the whole thing, right? I need to make it on, Bobby. What should I do? Keep it simple? Okay. Okay. Okay. Last one. Mazel! No, that’s Andy’s thing. But he can’t have it. I’m a Jew too. Its mine. Okay. For sure. Last one this time. Congratulations and mazel tov! That’s perfect. Right, Bobby? Oh, that’s going to do it. That’s going to seal it, Bobby, I’m telling you. This is it,” Jill Zarin said as she took her phone out of his hand and watched the footage over again, the little lantern of light coming from her hand throwing shaky shadows against the leaves of the palm trees overhead, which were rocking slightly in the breeze, as if shaking their heads.