The Real Housewives of New York City
Let us never say that Carole Radziwill doesn’t ask the difficult questions in life, like when she asks a waitress which style she can have her eggs after ordering “eggs any style.” Who doesn’t know how they like their eggs? It’s a whole subplot in Runaway Bride starring Julie Roberts and Rick Gere. Then, Carole orders three eggs hard-boiled, but that is too many hard-boiled eggs. No wait. Maybe one hard-boiled and two scrambled? But, like not together. No, separate, very separate. So separate that the waitress will comment on their separateness when she delivers those eggs, in multiple styles, to Carole Radziwill’s table.
The only thing more complicated than her egg order is her relationship with Adam, the vegan chef who has stolen all of our hearts and almost convinced us that tempeh is not made out of Satan’s toenail clippings. She says that she and Adam had an “unspoken, spoken” relationship but that he told her he went out on a date with another girl and really likes her. That is trouble.
It’s nice that he’s honest, but it seems like this should be the very end of their relationship. I don’t think that people need to be married or living together or have any of the trappings of heteronormativity for their relationship to be valid, but if he’s dating other people and she’s not they’re clearly on different pages and that, well, it’s more dangerous than inviting Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Douglas Elliman Morgans to one of those new-fangled axe-throwing bars.
Speaking of STAM (what does the A stand for again?) she has decided that she is going to rent out her townhouse for $32,000 a month, which actually seems like a reasonable amount of money for a townhouse with a garden on the Upper East Side. Sure, some of that will have to go to taxes and the realtor who is arranging the rental, but that alone is a nice annual income for Mx. Morgan. The problem is that her gardens are a little bit grayer than she would like to let on. When she shows the realtor around, we see that the fixtures are rusting, the carpet is coming up from the floor, the paint is coming off the walls, and the elevator looks absolutely haunted. And that’s not even to talk about the toilet that sucks in Blackberries or the yellow ice in the freezer. She’s going to have to put a lot of work into that house just to get it listed.
She cleans up the house by picking up dog poop with her bare hands and puts it on a stool (HA!) for her housekeeper to clean up later. That’s because a photographer is coming to take pictures of the house. She has to hide all of her vitamins, prescriptions, vibrators, dead interns, unused Bergdorf gift cards, jugs of Wesson oil, bidet-washed undergarments, a borrowed butler, slutty French-maid costumes, and the urn that once contained the ashes of her beloved dead dog that blew back in her face during a doggie funeral. It was quite a day for Sonja.
When the hunky photographer arrives, Sonja tries to flirt with him and he says that he is married. She backs off for a bit, but then learns he is married to a man. Then Sonja proceeds to give this guy a #MeToo story of his very own. She tells him flat out that she’s sexually attracted to him and would like to make out with his husband while he watched. This isn’t nearly as bad as anything Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, or Matt Lauer did, but Sonja, the guy said in like 17 different ways that he wasn’t interested, dial back the, “Oh, he’s gay he doesn’t care!” about 13 billion notches.
Now, finally, we have to talk about Bethenny and the very real, very good work that she is doing in the wake of the hurricane that decimated Puerto Rico. Like she tells us, she didn’t ask anyone for permission and went rogue with the first plane down there 13 days after the hurricane hit. Since then, according to her partner, they have shipped more than 10 million tons of goods down there to help people out on the ground. Bethenny is, by far, the one who has made the most hay out of her appearance on this show and it touches a very real spot in my heart to see that she is also the one who has really given the most back.
She asks Dorinda to join her to go down to the island and hand out $125,000 in cash cards so that people can get the things they need, pump money back into the economy, and not feel like they’re waiting in line for essential goods like rice, beans, water, and rolls of paper towels that Donald Trump chucked at them like a missed free throw. Before they head down for humanitarian work, Bethenny shows Dorinda the operation she’s assembled in Miami to get relief to the people of Puerto Rico.
Initially it all goes great. Not only am I impressed with what Bethenny has accomplished, I don’t even mind this bit of product placement, because the product she is placing is helping people who are in a crisis. I would rather watch months of this than see one more Skinny Girl logo on television ever again.
Eventually, however, it all goes haywire when Dorinda and Bethenny meet the rest of her team for dinner, ostensibly to talk about the problems in Puerto Rico. Dorinda shows up and her words already sound like a broken windshield wiper screeching in a rainstorm. She has absolutely no control over her faculties and it is 7 p.m. And it’s not like this is the end of the day at a tequila factory. She has been doing nothing but charity work all day and had to get nice and liquored up before dinner.
At first her drunkenness is a bit sweet while she gushes about Bethenny to everyone at the table, who she’s just met. It takes a turn very quickly when she challenges Bethenny’s partner Michael, who was doing work in Haiti before, saying that Haiti is still just as bad as it was right after the earthquake that happened almost eight years ago. She gets confrontational, but it’s hard for anyone to talk to her because what she’s saying makes about as much sense as Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me after you’ve eaten three gummy edibles.
We’ve seen Dorinda act like this before and get mean to Sonja, Luann, Bethenny, and others, but it’s never been more embarrassing than this, when she’s shown this drunk side of herself to a bunch of charity workers who maybe didn’t even want her (or the cameras) there in the first place. When Bethenny tells her, very calmly, not to come to Puerto Rico the next day if she’s going to behave like that, Dorinda gets up and storms out.
Bethenny is left to tell them all that her friend is very nice but that she drinks too much. She reassures them she’ll be up in the morning, dressed and ready to go the next day. Bethenny is right. Dorinda is there, she’s ready, and she apologizes for drinking and having a “bad night.”
I don’t know quite what charity work is doing to Bethenny, but it is making her quieter, kinder, and definitely more giving toward her friends. We very easily could have seen the “Go to bed!” Bethenny of Scary Island, but instead she calmly confronts Dorinda about her life choices on their private plane ride. Bethenny lets Dorinda know she scares her, that she is talking about her life with Richard a lot more, and that she wants to have a closer relationship with her.
Dorinda is initially full of excuses, but finally admits that she has been having a hard time because her life isn’t what she thought it was going to be. She’s questioning everything, including her friendships and her relationship with John, an animated scrubbing bubble stuck in a hair clog. It’s a sweet and tender moment, of two women grappling with things larger than themselves that are altering them at their core, almost at their DNA. It’s a situation where they are facing something insurmountable and have to conquer the things within themselves they thought were far too big to confront.
And somewhere, back in New York where she once thought she was so safe, Jill Zarin is on her way to the hospital and doesn’t know if she has the strength to make the journey.