Here at the Real Housewives Institute, we hate to make definite statements. Just when we think someone is the “worst of all time” or an outfit is “perhaps the best ever,” the women find a way to surprise us, both good and bad. That said, I think that we can come out and state that this hour of The Real Snow Globes of Christmas Cookie, New Mexico is the most boring hour of reality television ever recorded — and that includes that Eaten Alive special where a guy pretended to be eaten alive but then didn’t really at all.
The only thing more boring than going to a murder-mystery dinner party is watching a murder-mystery dinner party. It’s like hearing about someone else’s dream or someone else’s hangover. I would say it’s like experiencing a second-hand orgasm, but that would mean feeling at least one paroxysm of pleasure and this murder mystery did not even elicit that.
The whole thing is so stupid. First, we learned all about the different women’s fake names and their character traits, which I thought might pay off at some point, but it did not. The only two people who even bother to come dressed in character are Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Texas Instrument Morgans, who shows up in a pair of librarian glasses and a calculator to play an accountant, and Countess Crackerjacks, who busts out a French accent to play the feather duster from Beauty and the Beast. But you know she didn’t have to dig deep for that accent. The Countess’s continental accents are always just seething under the surface, like the tingle of a canker sore that’s going to ruin a third date.
We are introduced to Freddie Feathersbee, a supposedly rich dude who may or may not be murdered by the end of the night, and his assistant, Mr. I Can’t Even Be Bothered, who is not as cute but just as young. There was a zillion percent chance that Sonja would flirt with either or both of them, but she didn’t even go out of her way to make it awkward, which is a total loss. They both end up dead, and then Dorinda just goes, “Yeah. I did it. Whatever.” There is no reason. There is no evidence. There is no sleuthing or question asking or Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick-ing or flames on the side of my face-ing. After all of that buildup, it just ends like a Viagra that never quite kicked in.
There are two other things that make this one of the worst parties of all time. The first is that it is 1920s themed. The only good thing to come out of that idea was the vintage footage of Luann falling in the bushes, which is the meanest trick the editors ever played and I hope they all get a raise and free bahn mi sandwiches in the cafeteria for a month. But still, this theme needs to be retired forever because every single lame Housewives party has a flapper theme. We can also throw in white parties (yes, even Kyle’s), boat trips, and psychic visits on the banned list. The worst thing about any of this, as Bethenny and Carole can attest, is that when you fight the footage of the altercation, which is played forever, it includes you in some lame costume. Just ask Victoria Denise Gunvalson.
The other bad thing is that it happens at Dorinda’s house in the Berkshires, or the Berserkshires as she will call it for branding opportunities. This is the fourth year the women have gone up to visit and every year all hell breaks loose while they’re on the trip. It never disappoints. Why do you even need to bother with this lame activity? Just stick them all in a room with enough booze and Bethenny will shout at everyone, Ramona will rip sconces off the walls, and Dorinda will throw everyone out of the house only to have them return 12 months later to do it all again. The only mystery should be why grown women would behave this way, not why some actor who goes to Bard choked on a fritter in the living room.
Just look at what happens with Bethenny and Carole. All it takes is Dorinda to have a little too much wine and ask the two of them if they are having tension and it erupts into an intense, odd, and somewhat jarring altercation. Carole tells Bethenny that she didn’t think they had a problem but she’s hearing otherwise from Dorinda, who she had dinner with the night before. Carole thinks that Bethenny is either mad that her boyfriend (there are huge air quotes and an eye roll around that) Adam didn’t go work with her charity, or that she thinks Carole should have given more money to her charity.
Bethenny, who never misses an opportunity to be unlikeable, turns what could have been an easy conversation into a bit of a disaster. She could have simply explained what she said to Dorinda and expressed her feelings about it, like Bethenny always will, and it would have passed. Instead, Bethenny decides to play a game of semantics with Carole. She then yells at Carole for not having her facts straight about what happened between her and Adam. She looks like a thick-headed jerk and she really didn’t have to.
Carole is right when she says, “You can’t parse people’s words like that.” Whether Bethenny called, emailed, or Facebook Messengered Adam, the heart of this argument is that Bethenny was talking about it to Dorinda instead of bringing it up with Carole. It also seems like Carole is sick of being Bethenny’s stooge and now that she’s on the receiving end of her ire, she isn’t really liking it. Then, Bethenny says, repeatedly, “You’re freaking me out right now,” but all Carole is trying to do is have an adult conversation with her. Listening to this was so incredibly frustrating, sort of like trying to take off a wet T-shirt.
If we didn’t have that stupid murder mystery, the episode could have focused more of the good stuff. Honestly, I could have watched Ramona fondle snow globes for another 25 minutes. Or listen to her try to figure out Bethenny’s “Chilling with my Snowmies” sweater and try to link to a vagina somehow. I could have sat and listened to Sonja’s treatise about how if you sleep with two different guys within a 24-hour period, their sperm have a war inside your vagina because they are allergic to each other, but then after their squabble they get together and slut shame the woman from within her own body. I would take that as a class for college credit. I would pay to hear her discuss the science of this. We didn’t need the murder, we didn’t need the mystery. We just need a warm cup of cocoa on the kitchen counter, like the one a redhead was pouring for herself back in New York. She knew what weekend it was. She knew where the women were. She just didn’t care. Jill Zarin just pulled out a second packet of Swiss Miss (with the dehydrated marshmallows) and made a second mug for someone special, someone whose smile could melt the snow and fluff up the marshmallows in her hot chocolate, even without the boiling water.