Fall Fashion Week is a time for clothes and loveliness. But it’s also a time for sharp elbows, for chaos and stress, and for women who have a certain insane gleam in their eyes: The kind of gleam that only comes from either not having eaten for the first seventeen years of their lives, or from starring on a Bravo reality-television show. The women of The Real Housewives of New York City have certainly been eating — even the ones who are going to pose naked for Playboy have been scarfing chicken wings and beer — and they’re using all that extra energy to keep stoking the fires of fights that are months old, which nobody can remember who started. Bethenny and Jill almost have it out. Jill manages to dredge up the only nasty thing she can think of to say to Alex that will actually piss her off. And Kelly makes Jill get up on a giant plastic horse, which must be revenge for something.
So who won in this rotating cast of skirmishes? Our very superficial judgments, below:
First of all, we can tell you, the winner was not Ramona. She barely appeared on this episode, and when she did, she was stumbling around having just walked through a sequined spiderweb. Most of it landed on her dress, but we’re pretty sure some got lodged in her slightly watery, completely terrifying, always-open eyeballs. Sorry, Ramona.
For the most part, we liked Kelly in this episode. She looked hot in her Playboy shoot, and we were shocked to find that her apartment was not only sort of normal (huge space and giant plastic horse aside), but it was also filled with books. And insanely expensive Hermès bags. But two things made us worry about her: First, the way her children clearly seem to be in charge of raising her, rather than the other way around. “Okay, so being a good parent means that you do fun things and you’re pretty?” she asks them at one point, revealing absolutely everything about her parenting style in one go. When one of the kids alleged that Kelly wanted to do Playboy to “entertain people with your weirdness,” that explained even more. When Kelly said that she would totally be okay with her pre-teen daughters posing for Playboy, well, let’s just say that was a dark moment for humanity. But not as dark as the second thing that made us worry about her, which was this series of sentences, which came out of her mouth: “PETA isn’t saying, ‘Don’t wear fur.’ PETA is saying, ‘Don’t abuse animals.’ And I’m not abusing animals. I’m just wearing fur … Do I wear fur? Yes. Do I support the abuse of animals? No.” Aw, that’s sweet. Why don’t you tell PETA, Kelly, how those nice designers get the fur off of living animals without hurting them?
Okay, let’s just say it. Jill is devolving into a complete psychopath. She would have scored points for the beginning of the episode with her cute top and her boyfriend jeans if we actually believed it was a casual outfit (We didn’t. She was wearing enough eye makeup to cloud even Ramona’s vision), and the fact that she was very sweet about her husband’s health. But then every single other moment on the show she was a howling harridan, verbally clawing at everyone around her until at last, blissfully, she connected with some flesh to tear at. Here are our questions for Jill: How did Alex’s gay (who was admittedly quite peculiar) “scare the crap out of” you, rather than the gays you run with? Do you not remember what your own gay did to your own apartment? That’s the stuff of nightmares. Also, Jill, why must you lie directly to the face of everyone? “I’m thrilled. I think it’s great,” she told Kelly about her Playboy shoot, going on to rag on her about it later in a confessional. This is a television show, Jill. You’re not safely bitching behind people’s backs when you’re talking into a camera. But what really lost the episode for Jill was when she consulted a psychic — about her friendship with Bethenny. We’re getting a vision ourselves! It’s of Bethenny, with her own TV show, laughing her ass off that these bitches spent all their own time just making her seem more interesting.
Speaking of Bethenny, her Learning Annex class actually taught us some things. For example, that she probably drank her way through college. And that she automatically assumes every man is gay or wants to sleep with her. Bethenny, we love you, babe, but your entire person is not your boobs. “Jason has a cheesy streak,” she says. “Which I kinda like, because I’ve got a lotta roller rink in me.” Whatever that means (seriously, what does that mean? Is it dirty?), we’re grateful for Jason this season, because without him Bethenny would be alone on-camera at all times, spinning around and spewing profanity and wiggling whatever parts of her body can easily move at the moment. Even her dog is getting a little camera shy. Still, we’re definitely on Team Bethenny in the case of “Zarin v. Frankel,” because she’s right: Why is Jill talking to everybody but Bethenny about her problems with Bethenny? Ultimately, though, it was her Jessica McClintock knockoff prom dress at the Jill Stuart show that ultimately cost her the win.
LuAnn does not look at the road enough when she is driving. And that’s basically a metaphor for her life. To avoid the drama in her own life, this season she’s doing her best to get involved with everyone else’s. Last episode it was Ramona and Jill’s. This episode it’s Bethenny and Jill’s. It’s a good strategy, for now, but it’s not one that gets you the win. (Neither, might we add, is being shown on-camera acting friendly with Dina Lohan.)
At last, Alex won an episode this season! Yes, she was still dressing a little off-kilter, and she was trailed by that bizarre “gay during the day” organism. But she handled Jill’s best efforts to tear her down in person gracefully (later noting that she has a chapter in her parenting book about not listening “to well-meaning morons”). “I think at the moment I’m the one who is friends with everyone,” she says, relishing this new and unprecedented fact — but not too much. Even she knows that accomplishment is like winning a asphyxiation competition. It was the scene where she was cooking dinner for her kids (not something we think we’ve ever actually watched anyone else on this show do) that scored her the win. Not just because little boys making pizza dough while sitting on a countertop is completely adorable, but also because the evening demonstrated that her children are, in fact, pretty well-behaved. Also, she made a very wise point: “Jill likes LuAnn because she can control LuAnn,” she said. “She likes the underdog, and since LuAnn got divorced, she’s the underdog!” We’ll try to forget that it was Ramona who first made this point about Jill.
Victoria: She’s sort of thoughtful about Kelly being in Playboy, and knows her mom will freak out to know that her friends think she is pretty. We’re deliberately ignoring that thing that was in her hair, as it was clearly LuAnn’s fault.
Kelly’s kids: One of whom taught us the phrase, “Talk to the booty because the hand’s off duty.” “IS THAT WHAT FOURTH GRADERS SAY?” Kelly shrieks, clearly preparing to use that line on Bethenny as soon as possible.
Jason: For being nice, and for noticing right away that the minute the camera goes away Bethenny slumps down and loses her energy.
Jason’s Awesome Carnival-Sideshow Friends: Just because.
That Bulldog Wearing the Red Booties: Again, just because.
Emanuel Ungaro: Just as the fashion house is trying to get the world to forget its fling with Lindsay Lohan, this happens.