The Real Housewives of New York City
My favorite part of any Real Housewives finale is in the final seconds, where we get to see the descriptions of what the women have been up to since the show wrapped. It’s sort of like the “happily ever afters” of a rom-com about how the couple got married, the business flourished, and Meg Ryan finally got her plastic surgeon to undo whatever it is he did to mess up her lips and derail her movie career for the better part of two decades.
What I love about these is that they’re just as mean to the women as the rest of the show, and they can really be translated into plain speak to ascertain what the producers really think.
- Dorinda still won’t force her bratty daughter to talk to her fiancé.
- Carole is still fucking Adam, and it is really pissing off the Countess.
- Kristen won’t be asked back next season. It has nothing to do with her husband, Josh, the apps on your iPhone that Apple won’t let you delete and you shove them all in some folder that says “Bullshit” so you never have to look at stupid Newsrack ever again.
- The Countess is currently performing her new single anywhere gays and Auto-Tune are available.
- Heather (allegedly) quit the show. Who cares? Holla!
- Ramona still wants Mario back and hasn’t changed one single bit.
- Bethenny and Carole are friends now, so will you please, please, pretty please watch next season so we don’t have to cancel this pile.
But before we can even get to the ending there is naturally the big final party, in this case Ramona’s New Directions party, which was actually named for a new dating app for post-menopausal women to get laid. (The original title, Dry Spell, was eventually vetoed.) Oh wait, before that we have some real-estate business to take care of.
We got a tour of Bethenny’s house, and I want to be her assistant so that at the end of the day I can crawl into the cabinet below the sink and live there for the rest of my life like some kind of evil spirit or the monster in Leprechaun 8: Shamrockin’ in the Free World. The furniture is tasteful, if a little bland, and Restoration Hardware (that’s what all those boxes were). What was up with those tiny windows in the master bedroom that are only at the top of the ceiling? Does Bethenny live in an attic? Is that her deep, dark secret? This liquor and fat-free-salad-dressing mogul lives in the best neighborhood in Manhattan, but she could only afford a sub-street-level two-bedroom? Carole loved it, I loved it, and Andy Cohen asked if he could house-sit next time she’s away so she could throw a Dads and Lads sex party in it. The best part of the house is that apparently Bethenny forces her assistants to wear Skinny Girl Red whenever they are working so they all look like that loose-moraled woman on the label who wants to get boozy and thin at the same time.
The other real-estate quandary is that John, Dorinda’s boyfriend, wanted them to move in together. Dorinda is not too enthused about this plan, and it seems mostly because her daughter Hannah, who is 21 years of age and should not be living with her mother any longer, might get upset about it. I understand Dorinda’s point — her daughter’s stepfather just died a few years ago and she wants to take things slowly between John and her daughter. However, she thinks they’re going to develop some sort of relationship naturally when she always keeps them apart. That is absolutely insane. It’s like waiting for the peanut butter and the jelly to climb out of their respective jars and magically smush themselves together on two pieces of nine-grain bread. Integration never happens of its own accord. Look at Boston, where they had to ship people of color into white neighborhoods while jerky racists threw bottles at the buses. This is how it is going to be with John and Hannah. If she wants her relationship with her boyfriend to continue, she is going to have to broker some sort of peace between the two of them. How about Dorinda moves in with John and gives Hannah the apartment she lives in? I have a feeling that would go a long way in making her daughter more accepting of the situation.
That said, I think it’s time Dorinda and I had a new beginning, because I initially thought she was really boring, but throughout the season she did turn into someone I actually enjoy watching on television. Yes, she’s kind of rough, but she is fun and not afraid to tell the other ladies when they are going out of bounds, which is more often than Martha Stewart Googles the lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama,” which is shockingly often. I do think Dorinda has a certain level of drunkenness where she is real fun and I bet it is exactly two and a half dirty martinis. That level of drunkenness is when fun Dorinda shouts at Carole to “drink the motherfucking margarita” and gets the party started. Once she gets to three dirty martinis is when she is crying in a corner and yelling at everyone because they didn’t tell her that her jewelry is shiny enough and they’re not real friends because real friends shine each other’s jewelry and she thought they were real friends, but they’re not. They’re sham friends, and how dare you talk to her like that after she invited you into her house, her very special house where her father installed the phone lines and only invites her real friends.
At Ramona’s Nude Beginnings party there were three fights, and I’m going to discuss them from stupidest to un-stupidest. Let us then start with Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Times-Picayune Morgans and her feud with Kristen. Kristen showed up at the party looking all sorts of ‘90s-retro fleek in a collared dress that looks like something Lady Miss Kier would have worn to the MTV Video Music Awards (that is the highest compliment I could think to give a person). However, she was accompanied by the fedora-clad turd Josh, a turd that wears a fedora. (Did you notice that in the one scene he had all year, he managed to be an absolute smarmy jerk insulting his wife, even though it sort of was all in good fun?) Sonja was mad because Kristen gave a quote to the New York Post about how she wished Sonja would come out with that toaster oven already because she loves a toaster oven. Sonja got all bent out of shape because she thought it was a dig and was upset that Kristen was promoting the toaster oven and not promoting her international domestic ready-to-wear line of clothing and jewelry.
Kristen’s defense was that the reporter asked her about the toaster oven, and she responded. We even saw him ask the question on tape, and her response to that question was a nice, wonderful, real response to a question posed by a journalist on the red carpet at Sonja’s fashion show. Now, Sonja got the press there because these women and other celebrities were going to attend. She can’t get mad when they actually talk to the press. If you want the press, you have to deal with the answers, and if Kristen is going to use that time to promote Poop of Color (that was a typo, but I’m leaving it) then that is the fleeking price the piper demands.
Sonja somehow thinks she is vindicated because nowhere in the article did the reporter mention that he asked Kristen about the toaster oven. Since when do reporters do that? This guy was on the carpet looking for something a little juicy and controversial that he could spin into making the ladies look like they were fighting. Why? Because a bunch of people saying, “I love and support my friend and her global international fashion brand lifestyle luxury conglomerate of clothes,” is boring, and no one wants to read that story. Kristen’s intentions were good, and the reporter was doing his job. Sonja knows what it is like to get twisted up by the press, and she should be quicker to forgive Kristen.
What I really don’t understand is the medical condition Kristen has that allows people to just completely ignore her. She walks over to talk to Sonja and it’s as if she is secreting some sort of invisibility pheromone that makes Sonja turn to the man next to her and say, “I don’t want to talk to this woman, I want to talk to you.” Bethenny did the same thing to her when Kristen tried to confront her. What sort of combination of musk and desperation must Kristen put off to make people just turn away from her? She’s like one of those vampires who can’t see their reflection, but people just can’t see her. She’s like the Lady Edith of the Housewives world — no matter how much she matures or how well she dresses, she’s still going to be a sad, forgotten appendage to the family that no one really remembers until she throws a gravy boat at the second footman and it crashes against the wall. No one cares about her, yet they still somehow manage to find her when they are upset with her. How can such a nonentity cause so much drama? It’s like Casper the Friendly Ghost crashing a plane. Anyway, she won’t be asked back next season, so who really cares?
That fight was entirely stupid, but the fight between Ramona and Bethenny was a little bit more un-stupid. Well, it wasn’t a fight. It was really Bethenny calling out Ramona for being a never-ending black hole of need and attention, and Ramona not really caring that much that she is. This whole New Beginnings party was really odd because Ramona, a Hungry Hungry Hippo in a bandage dress, kept saying she used to live her life for everyone else, but now “it’s about me.” I cannot think of one incident when Ramona has not made something all about her. She could go to her best friend’s husband’s funeral and still ask the widow what she thought about the dress Ramona wore or give that woman one of her Jesus and Mary chains and then tell everyone how giving and noble she was for helping this woman find her path through Christ.
The altercation began when Ramona apologized for their discussion at Sonja’s fashion show. “What are you apologizing for, exactly?” Bethenny asked. I’m so glad she did, because Ramona had no idea, and she didn’t really care. Like any good Catholic who goes to church on Ash Wednesday and doesn’t get ashes on her forehead, she just needs that cleansing absolution of confession. She needs to ask for forgiveness so she can feel whole, even if there is no contrition on her part or even any real desire to grasp why what she did was wrong. Holy Father, it has been seven seconds since my last apology, and I’m very, very sorry for everything I’ve done whatever it was.
This whole argument really can be summed up in one image. Bethenny tells Ramona that she’s like a 4-year-old, and Ramona says, “You’re right!” and puts her hand up for a high five and then looks away, blinking like a bug zapper caught in a storm, waiting for Bethenny to congratulate her for getting it. Her eyes open and close, like two quarters spinning around on the table before slowly coming to a stop, making a big clang as they land. She doesn’t get it. It’s not a compliment when Bethenny says she did something rude, but she can’t be blamed for being rude because she is just completely oblivious to how she comes across to other people. Like a computer virus that replicates its own mistakes, Ramona is Ramona, always and tautologically forever.
The only person who really had some true insight into this was Heather, who swooped in and gave them a Matthew McConaughey acceptance speech of advice and told them that they could choose something different. I hate to say it, but Heather is right. This isn’t the only way. This regurgitating whirlpool of recriminations and apologies is a choice, and they could all end it if they want to. She tells them that they don’t have to be miserable and afraid of people, that they can open up and let love in. Sure, Bethenny and Ramona dismiss this as “drive-by therapy,” but Heather is threatening the philosophical bedrock of their identities. Shadows fear the light, deserts fear the rain, and these women fear Heather and her shapewear full of fortune-cookie wisdom because if they think about what she has to say for even one second, these screech wraiths would shrivel up and float away like so much dust in the wind.
Now on to the most un-stupid fight, which was the escalating war between Countess Crackerjacks and Princess Carole. They sat down to once again rehash the incident in the Turkey Cakeholes when Carole and Heather barged into CJ’s room because there was a naked guy sleeping in the adjoining room. (Isn’t it remarkable that this drama was really between Ramona and Heather, and they both seem to have escaped it unscathed?) But the real problem is the children, don’t you know? LuAnn was worried that her son might see her with a man on television. Oh please, like it is somehow Carole’s duty to help LuAnn protect the “innocence” of her son Noel, who lives in a shack behind her house in Sag Harbor? No, it is not.
The real problem, of course, is Adam, that top-knotted slab of seitan molded into the shape of a man. Crackerjacks is pissed that Carole broke the “girl code” and picked Adam up in her kitchen. Now, I think this is entirely Crackerjacks’ fault. She clearly saw what was going on when Carole spent the entire party (way back at the beginning of the season) in the kitchen with Adam. After the party she could have said, “Hey, that guy just broke up with my niece and would you mind maybe not dating him?” Or she even could have done that at the party and called him off-limits. But she did not, and now here we are.
Crackerjacks said she felt “hoodwinked” that Carole brought her boyfriend to a party that was going to be full of all the Housewives and their significant others. How is that hoodwinking? If anything, it’s tiddledywinking, because Carole skipped right over Crackerjacks and didn’t need her permission or approval to keep dating Adam. She jumped right over her and landed on target — in the lap of a hipster so hot even Lana Del Rey would chip her manicure for him.
Carole is a little bit too defensive about the age gap between her and Adam. When Bethenny was joking about it and saying he was still on formula, that is the kind of fun between friends you have to laugh at. Carole, for whatever reason, has a hard time doing that, possibly because of all the legitimate digs about his age she’s had to suffer from the other women.
What was even worse was when Carole said they’ve all slept with 29-year-olds, and Crackerjacks said, “But you don’t bring them home to the children.” Carole replied she’s not bringing Adam home to the children, and the Countess cackled, “Well, that’s because you don’t have any!” That, if anything, is breaking the girl code. Not only did she insult Carole and the man she was dating, but her decision not to have children, which, as Taylor Swift will tell you, is entirely un-feminist. That laugh afterward was the ululating punctuation of the whole affair, a half-dozen stabs of vocalization that pierced right through the heart of any kindness Carole could possibly have for her in the future.
After the world’s worst and most interrupted toast, the women all got in the elevator to leave the party together, happy that another year of backbiting and recriminations was at a close. They all packed in, and as the yellow L button on the elevator lit up and the doors closed, a slight hissing started as the cabin started to fill up with mist. “What is that smell?” Kristen asked, putting her hand up to her nose, but before anyone could answer, they were all slumped together on the floor of the elevator in a deep sleep. There was one woman still standing in the corner, her red hair offset by a gas mask. The door opened and two large men in black suits with earpieces were waiting in the lobby. Jill Zarin took off her gas mask. “Take them to the car,” she said, stepping over their bodies in her heels and clacking her way to the revolving door at the other end of the hotel’s lobby.
When the women woke up they were in a cold cement room with no windows and a solid plate of Plexiglas facing out into a well-lit, brutalist room. They could barely see the cells next to theirs, filled with other groups of women, six to eight of them, wearing similarly fashionable regalia. It was all the other casts, the Real Housewives of Orange County, Beverly Hills, Atlanta, New Jersey (minus Teresa Giudice).
“Hello,” Heather shouted, pounding on the glass. “You have to let us out of here. We haven’t done anything.” There was no answer, and her shouts seemed to reverberate back at the women. Suddenly a door across from them opened, and the two suited men from before carried in a third man who was bruised about the face. They led him to something in the center of the room that looked like a dentist chair but was flatter with separate padded appendages for his arms and legs. The forced him into it and strapped his limbs to it, making him completely immobile. “It’s done,” one of the men said into the radio in his blazer cuff.
A large elevator door opened and there were about two dozen women in evening gowns standing in it. They slowly filtered in and surrounded the chair. “Get up, Andy,” Jill Zarin shouted at the strapped-down man. He didn’t move. “Andy!” she shouted, slapping him. He opened his eyes and tried to get up, bucking against the restraints.
“Jill?” Andy said, as if the question were an accusation. “What is this?”
“We’re here to make you pay for what you did, Andy.”
“I don’t— I don’t understand. Why is Danielle here?” Andy of course meant Danielle Staub, who was standing behind Jill in the cluster of women, her face twisted up like a corkscrew. They were all there. DeShawn Snow and Sheree Whitfield crossed their arms and glowered. Kelly Bensimon was looking around the room like a hummingbird was trapped in her skull, and Alex McCord’s face held that erased expression, like Wednesday Addams about to set an entire summer camp on fire. Gretchen Rossi’s lips were pinker and glossier than ever, and Alexis Bellino held on to the giant sparkling cross that had been previously warmed by the greatest gifts her lord and savior ever gave her. Lynne Curtin jumped up and down like a Labradoodle that wanted someone to buy one of her cuffs.
“You don’t get it, Andy?” Jill said, getting closer to him. “We’re getting back on the shows. We got them all, every last Housewife. Well, except Teresa. Even breaking someone out of federal prison is beyond my means. But we’re going to kill them all, Andy. We’re going to kill them all, and you’re going to put us back in their places or else this entire franchise will crumble.”
“This isn’t going to work. I hate to say it because you are all so amazing, but you’re only going to end up in jail.”
“You’re bringing us back, Andy,” Jill said, wheeling over a huge metal contraption that looked like a robot from an automotive assembly line. “Don’t make me turn on this laser and slice you in half. Bring us back or you all die.”
“Jill, we just can’t bring you back. We can’t bring you all back.”
“Why not? You brought Bethenny back.”
“That’s different. She wasn’t fired — she left.”
“So that’s it,” Jill said, getting closer to Andy, who was starting to sweat through his white Oxford shirt. “You just don’t want us anymore. You use us for all we’re worth and then you throw us out into the street. We did everything you wanted — engagements, vow renewals, cancer treatments, pregnancy scares no one believed. We even put our kids on these shows. But you want more.”
“No, Jill. We don’t want more. We want less.”
“Andy, you ruined our lives,” Jill said, screaming now. “You ruined my fucking life. I humiliated myself for you. I humiliated myself for attention and swag bags and people wanting to take pictures with me on Lexington Avenue. I put on a figure-skating outfit and I fell down on the ice in front of cameras to give you something to sell laundry detergent and tampons. We all did horrible things. We scrambled to stay on these shows, yelling at our friends and crying off our mascara and reading tweets written by people who hate us and think that we’re ugly. They hate us, Andy. We did what we were told, and they hate us for it. We did all that for you, and you took it away. The only thing worse than being laughed at is no one inviting you to their fashion launch parties anymore. We will not be ignored. We’re not letting you take this away from us again.”
Jill swiveled the laser closer to Andy and grabbed the control box that was attached with a thick black wire.
“No, no, no, no,” he screamed. “Jill, what if we gave you that special you always wanted. What if we make Jill Finds a Hobby?”
“Sorry, Andy,” she said. “I think I already found it.” She pushed the giant red button at the top of the control box, and the laser crackled to life, hissing with a high-pitched whine that sounded like the start of something new beginning all over again.