The waves of tension rocking the boat on last week’s yacht party crested and crashed on last night’s episode of Real Housewives of New York City. Over speakerphone with LuAnn in the room, Jill yelled at Ramona for not making Mario just apologize for the “Countless” comment already, Ramona responded that LuAnn’s demands were “rude,” basically called her a whore, and then bestowed upon her the ultimate Real Housewives insult: calling her “totally classless.” No one backed down, leading to a standoff and separate Labor Day parties. But it was not all three-way attacks and behind-the-back sniping. There were a few moments in which the Housewives expressed appreciation for each other’s unique personalities. Like when Jill noted that “LuAnn is, from A to Z, a phenomenal host,” LuAnn complimented Rosie for “keeping the weight off,” and Bethenny said, with approval, “Ramona likes to dance until her cooch falls off.”
But niceties do not a Real Housewives winner make. Join us as we review which of our toned and terrible castmates managed to come off the best on this week’s episode.
How can one person be a nonentity in an episode where she announces she’s going to pose for a spread in Playboy? By having the first sound out of her mouth be, “Hiieeeeeeeee,” thereby forcing viewers to tune her out for the next 30 minutes. Other than a slightly dizzying moment where she described herself as “so incredibly true and incredibly genuine,” Kelly acted virtually normal in this episode, which frankly doesn’t score her any points. And the fact that everybody, even the kids, kept using the word “spread” when talking about her posing naked kind of grossed us out, losing her points. Sorry, Kel. Next week, when you tell your daughters about your “spread,” we’re pretty sure you’ll win.
Even though, among the Housewives, Bethenny seems to find herself thrashing around in the middle of a deep pit of social quicksand (when everybody knows you’re supposed to stay still), her personal life appears to be moving along rather sweetly. At Philippe, she and Jason have a nice conversation about moving in together, which is made all the more endearing because Bethenny can’t seem to accept that it’s actually real until the very end, which makes her cry. And really, in spite of their harshness toward her, all of the other Housewives seem to really want her and Jill to reunite in a way that is almost tender. Unfortunately, Bethenny can’t respond to these mixed messages and continues to thrash about like a shark in a net, biting whatever comes near her and slicing into the fingers of anyone who makes the mistake of rubbing her smooth-looking skin the wrong way. “She, like, lost her husband and grew a penis!” she snarls, about LuAnn. “If you tell Ramona she’s crazy she acts really crazy!” she cracks. “Ramona becomes like All About Eve meets Cruella de Vil when she’s throwing a party!”
Once again, Alex — and even Simon! — made great strides in distancing themselves from the insanity and inanity of their co-stars, coming off as classy (yeah, we’re saying that word now) and even down-to-earth at a Labor Day party hosted by a shrieking harpy and his wife, Ramona. When Mario turned up at Savannah wearing the same outfit as Simon, we actually felt bad for Simon, who looked completely crestfallen, and a little bit like he didn’t even know who he was anymore. Simon additionally won us over by immediately telling Ramona, “You know who you remind me of? An older Cameron Diaz.” His delivery was so natural that even though this would get a laugh in any other company, Ramona didn’t even pick up on the fact that he was making fun of her until later in the meal. Still, despite the fact that Alex’s hair looked good in every scene she was in, and Simon managed not to do anything weird, their failure to stand up to Ramona and escape the party cost them the win. What they did would have been the right thing in any normal situation, but Jill and LuAnn are guaranteed to make their lives a living hell for the rest of the season.
As Ramona herself will tell you, again and again, she’s really coming into her own these days. We have to admit, she looks good, her signature jewelry line (which she’s constantly flashing) isn’t too offensive, and somehow, wherever she is, she gets people to fill her glass of Chardonnay all the way to the brim — even at fancy restaurants. She did an amazing job of slamming Bethenny while the chef was yapping away right beside her. (“She talks so fast,” she says to Bethenny’s own boyfriend. “I forgot how fast she talks!”) But then she comes out with bons mots like this: “It was my Samson and Delilah — my long gorgeous blonde hair.” And this: “I was verbally raped by them, does that make sense?” No, Ramona, no it doesn’t . What ultimately cost her the most points, though, was when she went off on LuAnn and accused her of being an adulterer. “She’s been a slut the whole time she was married,” she told Jill, knowing she was on speakerphone, knowing that Jill had called from LuAnn’s own phone. Even you, Ramona. Even you.
There’s something fishy going on with Jill’s marriage. Bobby is AWOL while Jill and Allie stay at LuAnn’s house, for the most part, and when he does show up and waxes on about his days as the King of Barbecue, Jill talks over him. Then in the car while Allie is learning to drive (a completely adorable scene), there’s a weird moment where Jill eyes a piece of real estate and says, “Could you imagine if I lived down the street from LuAnn.” Notably, it’s not “we.” Also, Jill needs to learn never to get as enraged as she did on the phone when she’s not wearing makeup. She doesn’t need to be wearing all that smoky kohl all the time, but it helps when you’re putting on your own best Cruella de Vil act.
A lot of things are changing for the worse in LuAnn’s life. Her husband ran away with an African princess, her daughter fell off a roof, her maid quit (and had quite the makeover, again), Kelly is taking over her reputation as the model in the group, and her gigantic turquoise jewelry seems to be trying to actively harm her. But we’ve gotta say, LuAnn seems to be handling it all pretty well. Of all the ladies, she looks the most gorgeous with no makeup on, she has a pretty normal, nice relationship with her former maid, Rosie (though she did tell her she wanted Rosie to teach “the new girl” how to cook, which has got to be some sort of maid faux pas), and she seems to be handling the divorce with aplomb. Sure, she’s still tossing out some gems of idiocy — “I was pleased that Jill backed me up,” she says, after Jill defended her to Ramona, which is what everyone does on this show when they are right in front of someone. The real test is what goes on behind LuAnn’s back. But when she whipped out the hilarious Playgirl cover where she was fondling a greasy eighties Burt Reynolds wannabe, she secured the win.
Pink Elephant, Savannah, Philippe, and Lily Pond: Even though they must only go to these restaurants at weird early hours because they always appear empty, even when Mario and Ramona are dancing on banquettes and Bethenny and Jason are making out on the dance floor.
Patrón: What, are they official sponsors of Ramona?
Rosie: Looking good, girl!
Jason: He seems really nice and genuine. It’s weird.
Avery: She finally learned how to tune out her mother!
Allie: For enduring her parent’s driving lesson with grace.
Victoria: For correctly assessing that Kelly’s Playboy spread is going to be “funny as hell.”
Kelly’s own kids: Who will find out about her Playboy “spread” after everyone else.
Andy Cohen: For gaying out so hard during the commercial break over having Jill and Nene in his little playpen at the same time.
Jennifer, Ramona’s friend: For inciting Bethenny to say, “Who are you? Are you the caterer? Why are you talking to me for?”