The Real Housewives of New York City
Was the final preview clip Bravo ran after this week’s episode of Real Housewives of New York City especially cruel or just particularly desperate? I mean, honestly — after an hour of ho-hum toaster and Boca chat, we RHONYC faithfuls get a preview of the rest of the explosive-seeming season in a “Wait! Guys! Don’t leave!” kind of last gasp? It’s like if somebody forced you to watch the new Ken Burns documentary — which is, by the way, about the dust bowl — and then, just as you were about to dip from your deep REM cycle into a light snore-coma, your weird friend tacked on a preview of next week’s installation, and it was all laser cats and thunder farts. Also—was this the first time a “This season on The Real Housewives … ” sizzle reel was tacked onto the end of an episode mid-season? Are RHONYC’s lower-than-ever ratings having an impact on its promo department’s protocol? And, most important, do I have to watch Aviva fall down those stairs again? I really hope I don’t.
This week’s episode began at a way-too-bright, Upper East Side–looking bistro, where Ramona met the women who went to London who were still willing to deal with her. They told her how, during their time away, Luann, not Heather, got on everybody’s tits. And even though Ramona had swum up to the bread basket with Heather’s blood clouding up around her shark nose, she tittered with Jabberjaw-ish levity when the girls offered chumlike tidbits about Luann instead. Sonja illuminated the “talls before smalls” thing, Carole chimed in on Lulu’s one-upping habits, and the waiter slit his own wrists in the kitchen with a butter knife. Then, Aviva invited everybody in front of her to Miami, sweetening the honey pot by offering to set up Sonja with her sex addict father as part of the deal. And because Sonja is a good sport, but more important because she is a character on a television show, she shrugged and said, “Why not, maybe it will be amusing to the 200 people left watching this show.” Which was nice of her.
Then Sonja took a business meeting with Drew Droege as Chloé Sevigny and two random men. The purpose of the meeting had to do with Sonja’s rebranding herself — a plot thread I thought Bravo had silently agreed with its viewers to abandon. No such luck! We were privy to what felt like a full 25 minutes of font chat and “did or didn’t Heather’s graphic designer Google Sonja before meeting with her” speculation. I will hand it to the producers that, after a certain point, adults sitting around a toaster that came out of a suitcase is really funny, if only because if you talk about anything mundane enough for a long time, it only serves to shine a spotlight on the absurdity of the human condition. But there was no conflict, the scene didn’t deepen our understanding of the two leads, and it wasn’t memorable or particularly funny. In other words, if this scene were in a scripted show, the notes would be to get rid of it. No plot, no conflict, no character depth, no jokes? Good-bye. And yet, sans Alex, Kelly, and Zarin — it stays. God, I miss those Jelly Beans.
Soon after that, we were at a wine-themed event, hosted by Jacques, Luann, and Jacques’s weird, wiry wine-shrew. This was a woman who had bony arms and a valise full of sundry vials of lemon juice, Mop N Glo, pear nectar, and Glow by J.Lo. She waved her mystical essences under people’s noses in between sips of funny juice, and for this she called herself a Master of Wine. Look, whatever. During her creepy display of enthusiasm and expertise, Jacques stood off to the side, like a French Barnum or some shit, while his female contemporary tricked everybody she could wave a vial of Tropicana Pure Premium beneath the nose of to acknowledge out loud that they hated Ramona’s wine. Even Ramona kind of admitted she hated her own wine, and Heather REALLY hated it, before Yummo Tummo did a bump of the Eao De Limon, per wine-y’s instruction. And then, blindfolds were off and everyone went “tee hee hee!” when it was revealed that Bony Whiny was feeding Ramona’s Pinot to her worst enemy and Ramona alike. It was a little like Cartman making that ginger kid eat his parents in that one South Park episode, only these characters had less organic facial features.
Aviva, to her credit, pointed out at the party that it was shitty of Luann — and, for that matter, Jacques and his grape-wench — to trick Ramona. But Ramona, so intoxicated by the ether of her own defensiveness, was too busy arguing with Wine-nocerous about how right she is about the scents from the vials to allow the fact that Luann had conspired to make her look like an A-Hole to fully sink in. So busy was Ramona clawing away the cobwebs of what she expected to bother her that night — some weirdo asking you to wear a blindfold; Heather wearing a dress made out of the skins of at least seven Smurfs — that she neglected to let the giant insect that landed on her shoulder lay eggs in her ear. Until later, when Aviva split apart her own moral compass in order to fashion a shiv out of its directional needle.
After the wine party came a Miami interlude. Aviva and Reid canoodled on their balcony in Florida, waiting for Ramona and Mario to darken their doorway, which was, like every other cranny in the place, adorned with giant photos of the two of them nuzzling their white, happy offspring. Not to go on a racial tangent necessarily (Racial Tangent is, by the way, the name of a sorbet flavor I’ve been unsuccessfully peddling at the Brooklyn Flea), but how the fuck did Lena Dunham get any shit for having a white show when this series exists? Is it me or did that Miami apartment seem whiter — not just in its wall paint choice but from the hue of the Reid offspring — than anything we’ve seen on television since Good Times went off the air? Meh. I’m probably just grasping for something, anything to say about the nothingness. At least Aviva owns a leather blazer.
And has a cute and amusing dad! Huzzah for Mr. Aviva! He’s fun, isn’t he? Doesn’t he have nice large teeth and crocodile cowboy boots and a funny white suit and a crazy tan? I like him. He’s fun! He wants a sophisticated New York woman to shtup, and, during a cute scene in the Dreschers’ apartment, he playfully needled Reid’s mom (Fran Drescher’s sister? Please respond below) about the 45-year-old African-American (!) stud he pictured her dating. The Dreschers seemed to have a good time sipping their carrot ginger soups, and, while Aviva’s dad is not — repeat, IS NOT — enough to save this series, he is a fun sprinkling of cilantro on an otherwise bland ceviche. And telling his daughter he’d fuck her if he wasn’t her dad before he told Sister Drescher that she probably had a good vibrator was seriously meshuggana fun. We left that scene with the obligatory foreshadowing that Sonja would soon be going crazy-to-crazy with him, so we have that to look forward to.
And then, Ramona and Mario arrived, maniacally, in Aviva and Reid’s home, Ramona’s frantic energy causing Aviva’s Buddha statue to spontaneously launch itself into the ocean from the gust of chaos that accompanied her entrance. And Ramona commented on the photos and the height of their apartment in the same way she interrupted Winey earlier, as though it were a contest to weigh in on the observable elements of everyday life. “I smell the lemon! I see the pinot! I hear the ocean!” Do you know that part of the song “Nothing” from A Chorus Line when Morales is making fun of eager drama students singing “I feel the snow! I feel the cold! I feel the air!” Ramona is all of those cheesy beavers in one angry, insecure package. Somebody should have acknowledged her when she was a little girl.
Meanwhile, back in New York, Heather and Luann kept each other uneasy company at the Can-Can Shoprite Brow-bar and Boom Boom Burlesque Reacharound Café so Heather could get her eyebrows shaped into thinner, more upsetting apostrophes, then pressure Luann to do the same. And I must admit, I did like this scene. It was my favorite from the episode—and not only because you got to see Luann go, “Ow!” in between thoughts/ brow hair-yanks from a technician I’m going to describe as a “thin Kathy Najimy.” But also because it lent itself to one of my favorite ever Luann notable quoteables. After Heather led Lulu through one of her trademark, slang-laden smoke-and-mirror routines, suggesting that since Sonja is offended when Luann charges in front of her to enter a room, she should probably just make a point to be really passive aggressive about it and say “After You, Ms. Morgan,” Luann tried to raise one of her raw hamburger meaty skin-brows and said “I’ll have to see.” And I laughed and laughed.
Luann trying to be playful and fun toward Heather is such a bizarre display of odd bedfellow-ship, and Heather trying to be effectively pedantic around one of the most stubborn and consistent, not to mention socially tone-deaf humans that has ever worn a chunky necklace, is like watching an oboe tune itself next to a broken Moog. But it was interesting watching Heather’s “Fix You” attempt if only because her stab at advice to Luann was blended artfully into standard shit-talking about the other ladies. It’s no wonder her criticisms of Luann went “over her brows” — it wasn’t veiled, it was hidden behind a canvas tarp of hearsay. And to the Countess’s credit, if a friend took you a-groomin’, then began to lay some sweet ‘nugs of hot gossip, do you really think you’d be able to read in between the lines and be self-reflective about your own failings in the process? What if you were getting hairs ripped out of your eye and head area, at the same time?
I know, I know—I give Luann a free pass because the bitch makes me laugh and can strut her tush in a pair of mid-rise jeans. But Heather really is so phony. “You’re so fun!” was how she dovetailed their brow date, telling the camera afterwards that Luann just doesn’t get it. Yeah, and Sonja’s fluffy, and Ramona’s crazy, and what else have you got, new girl? You gonna point out that Cool Carole is cool?
Speaking of Cool Carole, Princess Radzy was hanging out in Miami with her jewelry designer pal Ranjana Khan, sipping cappy’s and chatting about her TV show. Then, Ranjana mentioned that Luann, since meeting her at the jewelry event a couple of episodes ago, had been hitting her up for free merch — jewelry and gowns, too. And that offended Carole, who got hot under her Peter Pan collar about Luann’s nerve. Carole called her a “Friend Jumper,” and she seemed right. She also seemed to be writing a new chapter in her head about friend jumpers, having just coined that phrase on the spot.
And finally, Aviva and Reid took Ramona and Mario to a steak place in Miami for a dinner of anally retentive salad and cilantro-infused ceviche, both of which caused bizarre reactions in Ramona. And Aviva ordered a gigantic hot dog that caused titters from all when it arrived, because it looked like a huge schlong. Also, Mario helpfully pointed out that it was 25 dollars, which was classy, before he went into his one-man “I’m-a French-a!” show, which basically mocked Jacques’s accent. And this was off Aviva’s suggestion that maybe Luann was an asshole to Ramona at that wine event. And with the lubrication of Pinot, Aviva’s suggestion of Luann’s wrongdoing was coaxed deeper and deeper into Ramona’s psyche. Soon, Ramona was a mess and Mario wasn’t helping. Mario isn’t very helpful, I’m going to say, in general. He’s a guy on a cruise who’s learned to ride chaotic waters like he’s coasting fun waves. Not crazy about that guy.
And while Ramona’s balsa wood defenses of “I’m trying to accept Luann for who she is” and “She doesn’t realize that I know my stuff!” splintered into dust, Aviva claimed in her testimonial that she wasn’t, at the time, trying to add fuel to the fire. But she did. And then her giant cock-furter arrived and we all forgot everything.
What did I miss? What did I get wrong? What were your favorite moments from this week’s episode? Please let me know in the comments below, and thank you for keeping me company this season. If it weren’t for us, well, nobody would know what the Singer Stinger is. And do we really want to live in that world?