The Real Housewives of New York City
I wish I could tell you that last night’s episode of Real Screech Harpies of Scylla and Charybdis was about something profound like mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, or Tom and Jerry. It was not. It was mostly about some stylish woman who didn’t want to crawl around in the mud but did anyway. No, not Kristen. Carole. Yes, before we can get to Kristen, a carton of unflavored Greek yogurt on its expiration date, we have to finish dealing with Hashtag BookGate.
As all Real Housewives fights do, it went from last week’s phase one, the accusation stage, and quickly devolved into phase two, the noise-making stage. This is when each of the women screams their points at each other in some sort of bizarre judicial business. It’s sort of like watching your dog bark at a dog on the television because there is the same noise coming from two different sectors but neither can hear the other and neither of them is going to alter the behavior of the other. It’s just Juicy, your fat pug leaning on your flatscreen and some collie on Parenthood or some other stupid show where people just let their dogs bark like there aren’t laws in this country. Don’t they know about the 29th Amendment, the one that I just made up, that outlaws dogs? Apparently not.
But all the women downstairs hear all the telltale signs of a rumble and, at this point, they are all very experienced at the rhythm of these events. They know that shit is going down. Downstairs Heather hears two voices raised and says, “Okay, everyone. Get your bags.” She knows this whole thing is about seven minutes away from full barge-the-hell-out-of-the-party.
Carole tries to run downstairs but Amanda Sanders, image consultant, is there like a herpes flair-up: arriving at the wrong time, inconsequential but annoying, and making everyone look like a real asshole. Carole finally gets downstairs and, instead of leaving, has a powwow with Heather, who was wearing this hideous floral print while sitting in front of Aviva’s retina-searing yellow wallpaper. It was like watching a rainbow sherbet cone melt on the sidewalk in a pool of Red Bull vomit.
Aviva is in the other room telling Kristen, Sonja, and Amanda Sanders, image consultant, that Carole didn’t write her book. Kristen just wants everyone to get along (sister, you are on the wrong show), Sonja just says, “Pfft. Menopause,” and swizzles her vodka soda, but that Amanda Sanders, image consultant, I don’t know what she’s on. She’s got 18 Bs in her bonnet and they all stand for “biatch.” One might stand for “bourgie” and one might stand for “biased,” but none of them stand for “brilliant.”
I never thought of Carole as much of a Real Housewife. She always seemed like a real actual person sort of stuck in these extraordinary circumstances, sort of like one of the people who was on that plane crash in the mountains where they had to eat the other passengers until help came. But when she left, Carole finally let it shine, that thing that makes her brilliant to watch. She unlocked that sacristy door that is on her heart and let the glimmers of evil light shine through Aviva’s ten-room half-townhouse. She walked right over to Reid, Aviva’s enabler-in-chief and said, “Your wife is not a nice person,” and then she walked over to Harry Dubin, with a smile on her face, and said, “I finally understand your divorce.” Her heart shrank two sizes that day, and we all loved her even more for it.
There’s just one last thing about Hashtag BookGate I want to talk about and it has more to do with what everyone was saying at the baby shower that Carole threw her friend at her apartment. Now, maybe it was because it was a baby shower so everyone was hypnotized by Bellinis and diaper genies, but what is this bullshit about “All Carole has is her career and that is why what Aviva said is so hurtful.” No, the reason why it is hurtful and bad is because it was hurtful and bad. It is an awful thing to wrongfully besmirch someone’s character and professional reputation. The fact that Carole may or may not have babies or may or may not be in a relationship is irrelevant.
This idea that Carole doesn’t have anything else because her husband died and she is single and has no children is ludicrous. Carole has a lot. She has a gorgeous apartment in the West Village. She has two books. She has memories of sitting next to Oprah on national television. She has more chic motorcycle jackets than Paula Deen has racist jokes. She has a great smile and wonderful friends and a VP of social media that I would like to lock myself in a closet with and not open the door again until we have swapped outfits (and maybe other things). Carole has plenty. She doesn’t need children or a man, she has herself, and it’s a damn good self at that. No one should be upset by what Aviva said because Carole doesn’t have children, they should be upset because what she said is mean and without merit. Period.
Now it is time for my favorite part of the week: It is time to talk about Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Walla Walla Morgans. Oh, what a floozy. Oh, what a delightful caricature of a Barbie doll walking up into her dining room with her cat-eye sunglasses in one hand and her poodle in the other, staring down disapprovingly at a staff that she doesn’t pay.
I am obsessed with Sonja Morgan’s interns. They need their own show, full stop. Let’s call it Morgan’s Minions or Someone’s in the Kitchen With Sonja or Internal Struggles. That has got to be better than Southern Charm. We learned so much about the interns from Sonja’s little training with Adrienne, the new intern, and Tyler, Sonja’s “gay husband” (P.S. There are only three women in the world allowed to use this phrase: Liza Minnelli, Arianna Huffington, and Diane von Furstenburg). Sonja says that Tyler has been with her forever, which essentially means that she has this young homosexual hostage and makes him cut the tags out of her new frocks and keeps him from getting a real job somewhere in his chosen field. Sonja, set the poor man free.
But the interns do everything around Sonja’s house. They do her social media, press requests, hair and makeup maintenance, power-clean the sofa, pick up the dog poop, answer the door, find the caps of all the Jean Nate bottles that are sitting on the vanity in the bathroom because they always seem to just roll away into some unknown crevasse. It’s hard work and they don’t get paid. Well, they get paid in learning. What they can’t learn from all of Sonja’s mistakes (a litany longer than a Martin Scorsese director’s cut), they learn in adages from Ivana Trump. “Let me tell you what Ivana just told me at lunch,” Sonja offers, as a form of payment for her indentured servants. “She said, ‘Women are like tea. Give them a saucer … ’ No, that wasn’t it. She said, ‘When life gives you lemons, ask for some hot water … ’ No, no. That doesn’t sound right. She said, ‘How about some tea for a woman cause she likes to be put in hot water.’ Oh, it was something like that. Write that down. You’re going to have to claim that on your W-2.”
Life as one of Sonja’s interns (who apparently live in the house for free, which is their payment) is, as Tyler describes it, “ a series of unpleasant business.” And they have to move out when she travels because things get broken, toilets get clogged, pipes burst, puppies drown, villages light on fire, tsunamis wash over deserted islands, the lines at Shake Shack get even longer, and you can’t fit into last summer’s jeans when you put them on for the first time in April. It’s rough, man. It’s really hard. I’m surprised that next season Ryan Murphy isn’t going to treat us to American Horror Story: Sonja.
Ramona’s daughter Avery, who looks like Ramona did at 17 if she had never watched even one episode of General Hospital, went to the prom. We’re all really fucking old.
Now we have to talk about Kristen, that one match that will not strike. She went on a mud run with her husband and it made her cry. Seriously. Last week, after watching the preview with my boyfriend, I said, “You know, if we did a mud run together and you left me behind, we’d be in a fight, right?” He did not know that, which precipitated a fight. But there is no way I would be at a stupid Spartan Race anyway. It’s basically my two least favorite things — exercise and camping — combined. There were a lot of hot shirtless guys there (including Andy Cohen’s personal personal trainer Will Torres, who should never wear anything above his waist and is the one person who could probably motivate me to exercise) and there were still not enough hot shirtless guys for me to want to do this.
But of course Kristen’s husband Josh, a LiveStrong bracelet that was brought to life to run the front desk at a hedge fund, wants to do one. Of course he does. He probably said that he would “crush” it. That is probably the exact word he used. Now, given my fight with my boyfriend, you would think I have sympathy for Kristen when she got left behind, but I don’t. I think it’s because she is irrationally upset by this mud run. Like, why did it make her cry? It seems so stupid that she needed someone to hold her hand through the course. She was entirely physically capable. Can’t she believe in herself for just one second? I don’t want to sound like a Successories poster or her husband Josh, but she finished the race, what’s the problem? Sure, he failed to stay with her like she asked, but neither of them seemed to be clear about their needs going into this.
I think what I hated the most is that these two have a complete lack of communication. This fight was so ridiculous and it just seems like their goals were completely at odds and they couldn’t reconcile each other’s realities.
Heather and Jonathan (who I think might be my favorite Real Househusband these days) are just the opposite. They know each other so well and are so confident in their relationship that Heather lets him run ahead. She knows she can finish the race and she doesn’t need his approval or guidance to get her there. They are both independent, coasting through the muck like Swamp Thing trying to break off a piece of a bikini beauty. And then he’s there at the end, cheering her on. They’re not there to do it together, as some sort of couple’s unity. They’re there to support each other’s individual achievements. That’s what a real power couple does. And when Heather came close to that finish line, she wasn’t looking at the 23-year-old CrossFit junkies holding giant padded Q-Tips trying to pummel her before she got to her destination. No. She was looking out for Jonathan, there on the other side with a medal around his neck beaming for her. She was just waiting to see his smile. And she ran across that finish line and right into his arms where they kissed a kiss so long that it should be its own passage in The Princess Bride, a kiss so long that it should make them embarrassed, but it doesn’t. It’s their victory. It’s their reward. It’s their everything.