The Real Housewives of New York City
Do you feel that melancholy crispness in the air? It means things are winding down; moving on. Last night, on The Real Housewives of New York City, a similar sense of anxious foreboding was afoot. Things were changing and ending, and not just the season.
First, we learned that Aviva’s Horny Goat Weed Father, George, was in town, and he wanted liquid Vitamin D. About 400 dollars worth of it. I have no idea how one spends more than forty dollars in a health food store, but Aviva and George pulled it off, dropping some (however self-referentially) anti-Semitic slurs in the process, not even 48 hours before Yom Kippur. George wins the Mazel of the Never for that smooth move.
Then we moved on to Sonja, a.k.a. Poor Sonja. P.S. had just come back from a meeting with some people who didn’t allow her to film them for a reality show, and, to make matters even worse, none of them were her ex-husband. In the process of her meeting with John Morgan’s divorce lawyers, Sonja learned that she wasn’t going to get any more money from her ex, who hadn’t the decency to meet her face to face. That was lousy and my heart breaks for Sonja. Although I did not realize she had a house in France to sell. Kadooze, woman. Sell that chateau and keep moving forward. But the skies had rained a shower of shit onto Poor Sonja, which was sad and hard to watch. Like the saddest ever sequel to the First Wives Club, starring one sad woman with no musical number in all white at the end. A side note — did Bette Midler play an orthodox Jew in that film? Or am I remembering her wardrobe incorrectly?
During Poor Sonja’s retelling of her ballad to her stylist and one of the 45 bedroom/closet interns she rotates, Ramona called. And here is when Sonja announced once more to her friend that she had turned a corner — if she turns two more, she might be back where she began, assuming she’s not in a corn maze — in terms of her reconciliatory attitude toward her ex. I too turned a corner around this point of the show, but toward Ramona. Ramona was such a good friend in this scene — so kind and available and appropriate — that I questioned anything ill I had thought about her prior to that moment. Which is a disconcerting fact about me. I should have a better long-term memory, particularly as it concerns past transgressions and how they add up to the big picture in terms of a person’s character. But in this moment, watching Sonja gain confidence talking to Ramona, who articulated the cowardice of a man unwilling to meet the mother of his child face to face to secure the kid’s financial future, I really felt like Ramona was one of the good guys. Please feel free to throw rotten fruit and the soggy paper bags they came in the comments below. Or, if you are Ramona, to thank Aviva for making her look un-crazy.
After that scene came another one of friendship and harmony. Heather “Mandy Patinkin — Holla!!!” Thomson met with Aviva and Luann at the Copacabana in midtown, where Heather would be hosting a fund-raiser fashion show for a cause close to her heart, and to her child’s transplanted liver. Good for her and good for this. In the process of planning the event, Heather asked Aviva if she wanted to model. And Aviva was like “OMG Yes!” and Luann was like “Uh, I’m right here and I have modeling experience and both legs.”
After that, Sonja invited Luann over to talk to her about her divorce ugliness and Luann nodded solemnly like an empathetic person who had gone through the exact same thing. Luann said kind things like “This isn’t the end of the story, it’s only a chapter” and otherwise acted the part of the someone Sonja invited over to confirm the worldview that, no matter how good of a wife you may have been, the rich old guy will still leave you on a whim for a younger piece, fucking you with money in the process.
Then came a scene that was at least 45 minutes long, in which Sonja talked about deciding to take down her husband’s portrait, brought somebody in to take down the portrait, and reacted to the portrait being gone long after she did. I have never seen anything dragged out the way this was in the history of the show. Maybe the shot of “No Sampling” at the health-food store, earlier, just to make sure audience members got it REAL LOUD AND CLEAR that George was munching on nuts when he shouldn’t have been. But around this time of the episode, the series had morphed into “The Portrait Show,” and the humor of just how much that one painting did NOT look like Sonja was not enough to sustain it. Come on, Sonja. Take the painting down, give it to the nice Nora Ephron–looking lady in the cardigan, and go for frozen yogurt with your daughter.
Finally came the meat of the episode. Aviva decided to have tea with Ramona after receiving a phone call from her ex-husband, Poopy the Pig. Ramona apparently called Poopy and asked him whether Aviva’s phobias were real, or whether she was just clingy with Reid. Not appropriate, but we didn’t really get to the phone call by the time the fireworks began, which was pretty much right after Ramona sat down.
Ramona entered chattily, talking about how she didn’t like chamomile (which irked Aviva) and didn’t take off her sunglasses right away (which substantiated Aviva’s assumption that she was hungover). During all of this, Aviva just sat there with her hair swept back, twitching. The fur around her collar became sweaty and spiky. Her eye makeup turned into snakes. Her teeth sprouted feet. By the way, I drop a tab and a half of acid before I watch these shows.
I can’t really transpose the gunfire dialogue that commenced between these two blonde titans over teapots, but I will say that they got RIGHT TO it RIGHT AWAY. Aviva’s points had to do with how disgusting, vile, and horrible Ramona is and was, citing her behavior on vacation and her phone call to her ex as examples. And Ramona was like “I like my life, fuck you,” basically. Aviva hadn’t lost a tic of rage since the island, and even in her attempt to express concern toward Sonja, her intentions seemed lost to vitriol and judgment. I’ve never seen anyone on this show — nay, this franchise — as judgmental as Aviva. It’s sort of astonishing, right? I’m not saying there’s not a grain of truth to her accusations — Ramona likes to drink, Sonja is kind of a mess — but to come out with hate in her eyes like that and blame everyone around her for not knowing true pain because they have two legs? And saying how gross it was that grown women were coming home from bars at 2 a.m. on vacation? I don’t give a shit if Ramona and Sonja WERE spooning naked in their bed on that trip. How does that affect Aviva? The only thing that really bothered her was that the ladies didn’t give her and Reid the “you’re our millionth customer” confetti shower when she got off the plane in her salmon blazer.
There were other morsels from this showdown — Aviva spelled the word “metaphor” and Ramona predicted an onset of diarrhea — but it really just came down to the fact that Ramona is who she is — imperfect and tactless, but not jealous, two-timing, or disloyal — and Aviva wanted special treatment from a person she believes is below her. I hope they tipped the waiters 700 percent.
I’m going to skip past the scene in which Carole asked Mario for help with a trophy for her ping-pong tournament. Is everybody cool with that? Great.
And then came the big episode finale. Ramona was hosting a fashion show fund-raiser for abuse victims, because charity events aren’t charity events unless women are somehow still being objectified as clothes hangers. Hey! You guys like my feminism? I’ve got a whole silo of it in my lady shed! *points to groin*
Everything was going great. Somebody who looked like Nora Dunn AND Liza Minnelli had showed up, Ramona was wearing a dress made out of Jordan Almonds, and Ramona was casually outing her co-hostess as a victim of abuse. It was a perfect Manhattan afternoon in a high-rise apartment! And then George showed up. WHAT? WHY? WHO? HIM? I know. Aviva, in a feat (Ha! Feet. Sorry. Bye.) of colossal ignorance and dummy-ness, sent her dad to Ramona’s event with a check for Ramona’s charity after Ramona invited Aviva, which was a little weird in the first place.
And George being George, he showed up nude with an erection. HE DID NOT! He showed up in a suit with a check. Great! But instead of just giving Ramona the check, wishing her well, and disappearing, he told her that she should apologize to his daughter. Yikes. Ugh. No! George! Haven’t you seen the last four episodes? How frustrating it is to know that castmembers cannot say to one another “if you need a bigger picture of what went down between me and your daughter, look at the footage.” But the fourth wall is indestructible in this reality and so the players charge ahead, speaking in vagaries.
George told Ramona that he understood that Ramona started something and Aviva reacted. He’d heard that Ramona was making fun of his daughter’s anxiety disorder, and Ramona said that she hadn’t. I guess the phone call to Poopy was in dispute. Ramona said to George, “I like you — don’t get in the middle of this,” but George persisted. He was in over his head. He insisted that Ramona apologize until Sonja butted in and said “White Trash don’t apologize,” which was a hot bitch move. Then Ramona was like, “we’re done with this conversation” and George touched her arm to say “no we’re not” and Ramona freaked out a little bit. George has a history with inappropriately touching women, first of all. Second of all, Sonja’s point about George grabbing a woman at an event for abuse was … a little overstated, but not as far as Ramona’s reaction was concerned. She was having none of it.
Carole and Heather acted rationally and helpfully in the process. Carole talked to George and eventually isolated him and escorted him out after Ramona asked security to remove him. And George, bless him, didn’t let the indignity of his removal from the event get in the way of asking Carole to dinner in the process. Carole, acting appropriately and otherwise not at all like a Real Housewife, said “Let’s talk about it another time” with a smile, and made sure to walk him out so he had the most dignity possible considering the circumstance. And once he was out of the party, George called Ramona a Trailer Turd. Marvelous. I understand that’s the last line of the new season of Downton Abbey as well. Wait until you hear those “T’s” pop from Shirley McLaine’s crooked Lancôme lip-liner of a mouth hole. You will plotz!
Until next week’s finale, my friends. Please, as always, comment below with your favorite moments from last night’s show, as well as with any juicy morsels I missed.