All of my least favorite things about The Real Howler Monkeys of the Central Park Zoo reunion special were present in this episode. We had to hear about things that happened on Twitter between Carole and LuAnn. We had to hear about something that happened off-camera that we weren’t privy to. We had to hear Bethenny make allegations about things that Ramona does but that she wouldn’t bring up on the show. We had several sets of, “No, I never said that,” back and forth on the couch, when of course they always said it. Don’t these women ever realize that these things are taped and preserved for future researchers at the Real Housewives Institute? Why ever say you didn’t say that?
That’s why I find these things so frustrating, because there is no end, no resolution, no dynamism, just a bunch of grown women separated by a DMZ littered with silver tuffets and a homosexual who refuses to wear socks with his suits. That said, I kind of enjoyed this one. I think maybe it’s because the Bethenny that we loved is finally back. It took all of these episodes, but she has transitioned from the touchy, arrogant, fragile person at the beginning of the season who couldn’t have a conversation without yelling to being the frank, funny voice of reason that she always has been. She even brought up Jill Zarin, and it wasn’t acrimonious. (Fun fact: If she says her name two more times, she’ll reappear like magic as if she’s Beetlejuice, the Candyman, or a real nasty UTI.)
If I had to say one person won this part of the reunion, it would be Bethenny. First of all, the hair. Oh, the hair. Did she get it blessed by St. Connie of Britton or something? Because it is marvelous and spectacular. It’s like she finally decided to use some of those millions she earned to get herself a hipper style. (And speaking of hair, did you see that wet mop that was resting on her head in the season-one flashback?) The outfit was pretty on fleek, too. Not as fleeking fleek as Kristen’s deep cleavage and sequin number, which is perhaps the best dress I have ever seen that was not part of Death Becomes Her. But, yeah, fleek. (If we’re rating dresses from fleek to freak, it would have to go: Kristen, Bethenny, Carole, Sonja, Ramona, Dorinda, and Heather’s Yummerz Tummers Boob Band green number, and LuAnn’s sparkly Jersey diner seat-cover at the very bottom.)
What was I talking about? Oh, Bethenny. Yeah, she might as well have been the second host of the show, because she said way more than Andy. The only person who worked harder was Andy’s assistant, who had to come up with all of those fake names and places that he tags onto the mean questions he doesn’t want the ladies to think he didn’t come up with. I think this intern has like a random name and place generator set up on his computer. “Okay, this question will be from … Jane … from … Albuquerque. And this one will be from … Leonard … from … Sheboygan.”
Bethenny was at her best when dealing with Ramona. First it was about the dress (or dresses; honestly, I couldn’t quite follow this story) that Ramona stole from Bethenny’s talk show. Ramona tried to give it her spin, and then Bethenny pointed her finger at her and told us the real story. When Ramona realized she was caught out, she just kind of smirked and looked at the floor and said, “Well, the show is canceled,” which wasn’t really a dig, just an absolution of taking a dress from an entity that no longer exists. Trying to find Ramona’s moral center is sort of like trying to find the chocolate fountain on a Disney cruise — you know it’s there, it’s just always moving around. Then, at the end of it, Bethenny said, “But I still love you, you fucking thief,” which was real and honest and funny, and it made me want to run my fingers through her hair and praise Chaz Dean’s Wen infomercials.
This brings us to the question of whether or not Ramona has changed, and the answer, without even taking a pause, is no. Of course Ramona has not changed. Is a tornado any different if it rips up a trailer park or destroys a football field? No, it’s still the same freaking tornado. It still does damage, it’s just a question of exactly how much carnage there is going to be when it finally touches down. So, yes, I think Ramona is creating less bloodshed than she has in the past. Like the other ladies said, she can still be cruel, insincere, and generally oblivious in a negligent kind of way. It’s just that it takes her a little bit longer to anger now than it did before. Maybe she’s just getting older. Maybe her cruelty metabolism has slowed a little bit with age.
She has changed a little bit in how much she’ll divulge. I was pretty mean to Ramona at the end of last season, when she refused to talk about her divorce on the reunion special and was a total jerk to Andy about it. This year, she spilled it all and has cast Mario aside like a bodybuilder gets rid of his chest hair. Yeah, Ramona is a little bit different in what she’ll address and her outlook on the world, but just because you give a monster a bath so it doesn’t stink anymore doesn’t mean that it’s not a monster.
As for Mario, no one is sad to see him go except for everyone who ever had a sex fantasy about a kind of jerky tennis pro, which is just about everyone who has ever been a member of a country club (myself included). The Countess didn’t like him because once when she was “at Polo” (eye-roll), some paparazzi (eye-roll) were shouting, “Countess, Countess look over here” (eye-roll), and Mario said under his breath, “Don’t you mean Countless.” That made her very mad.
My question is, why? What exactly is that supposed to mean? She has so much money, she can’t count it? She’s so fat that she has countless fat cells? Why was she offended when he called her “Countless”? That was like this kid I went to grammar school with who would get in fights with people and call them a “periodical,” as if being likened to a magazine was somehow supposed to cause their emotional collapse. But that might be a huge insult for people like Mario and Ramona, who seem to speak their own language of gibberish. I mean, Ramona had a “carthotic” experience writing her book, and likes to use her favorite Yiddish expression “minutia” to talk about her life. It’s as if these two have the same grasp on the English language as Snooki after six picklebacks and a clobber to the head. (Let’s welcome that reference back from 2009, where it has been sunning itself for the past six years.)
Other than Bethenny and Ramona, the couches could have stopped right there next to them for all anyone else did. Carole and Crackerjacks argued some more about Adam. The only takeaway was that Carole said she would have backed off if LuAnn said something to her at the start of it, but LuAnn said, “Well, it escalated.” I don’t see how it got any worse? Whatever with this noise. As Ben Rimalower, vice-president of urinal-cake acquisitions for the Real Housewives Institute, said last week, it’s all just awful, stupid slut-shaming, and I can’t with any of this.
Also, Heather and Dorinda fought about I’m not entirely sure what. Something about peeing in Dorinda’s pool, maybe? Something about not using hashtags correctly? I’m befuddled and perplexed, and I can’t really care about it that much.
Meanwhile, Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Bellevue Avenue Morgans just sat there on the end of her couch piping up with a random interjection when the occasion called for it. “Put that in your pipe and smoke it,” she bellowed. “Don’t take away the house in the Hamptons!” she shouted. “She’s the repeater, not me,” she hiccuped, like a pirate’s parrot with Tourette’s or a gargoyle with its face stretched too tight. Thank St. Camille for Sonja. Without her, I don’t know how I’d get through this again.