Hello. I am Dame Brian Moylan, president and founder of the Real Housewives Institute. Welcome to the grand reopening of the New York City wing of our esteemed museum. If you get lost at any time on this tour, please refer to the maps you were given at the front desk. You will most often find that I am up here and you are down there, as Kelly Killoren Bensimon used to say.
As the first episode of the season so often has it, we catch up where we left off with everyone from last season. Where are they? Well, Sonja is still in her house, which she now owns free of bankruptcy. She is painting her own café table and chairs on her roof with her new intern, Juliona. Her name is actually Julia and she is from Wilkes-Barre, but Sonja saw her name on her intern application and it reminded her of a Venetian hostess she once met on a yacht on Capri and said, “I’m just going to call you Juliona. How do you feel about bergamot?”
Of course, Sonja’s only scene this evening has her placing her fingers into Countess Crackerjack’s mouth and feeling her extra teeth bones, which are apparently a vestige of her Eskimo heritage. In no part of this recap will I mention the urban myth that Eskimos used to like to swap spouses, nor will I mention how fitting this would be for Luann considering certain rumors about her.
Anyway, it turns out that Luann (she excised the capital A in her name in 2015) gave up her place in the city and is living in the Hamptons full-time. This means she can crash in Sonja’s daughter’s room in the townhouse next to the parking garage any time she wants, since Sonja’s daughter is off learning how to get invitations to other people’s yachts. Well, she’s at boarding school. You know what I mean. Wouldn’t it be weird to wake up and find that you’re in a yellow room filled with someone else’s photographs of school functions? I think it would be — even if it does have a terrace.
Downtown Carole Radziwill has firmly snuggled her muzzle into the furry crevices of Chef Adam, the tastiest bacon-wrapped date found at any of the tapas places in the whole world. They’ve been together for a whole year now, mostly because the Countess was a jerk about their relationship. They’re serious out of spite, which is actually a great thing for a relationship. I haven’t eaten at the restaurant underneath my apartment for six years because one time a deliveryman gave me a stink eye when I parked my bike next to his. Spite lasts much longer than lust, that’s for damn sure.
We dispense with those three quickly because we really need to focus on Ramona, Bethenny, and Dorinda. The first two are the producers’ favorites; I think Dorinda is going to have a big year. It feels like she’s going to go off the reservation, find Luann’s Eskimo ancestors, bring them back to the reservation, show the Countess they don’t have extra mouth bones, and then leave the reservation again.
Ramona is single and ready to mingle, as she says, and she has a lovely night out at the bar with the bartendress Radicchio and a pretty cute middle-aged dude who buys her Champagne. Ramona is putting those new breasts to good use, but I feel like she’s one of those girls who winks at you during the sock hop but then won’t even let you do over-the-sweater stuff in your Studebaker. Ramona is like a 20-year-old. She’s going out to clubs, on the hunt for men, and listening to reggae, which she calls re-gay (which is what the gossipy queens in Sag Harbor say about the twink Andy Cohen was sleeping with this summer: “He re-re-re-gay!”).
It was a little jarring to see her at the bar with her daughter, Avery, who has rebelled against her mother’s ridiculousness and narcissism by turning out to be an actual human being who seems pretty and smart and somewhat well-adjusted. The glares that she and her friend give to Ramona could have lit all the torches that the mob carried along with their pitchforks to oust Frankenstein from the mill.
Because Kristen Taekman’s husband, Josh, the face Sean Penn makes while taking a dump at a Mexican narco-trafficker’s house, was embroiled in the Ashley Madison leak, they will not be on this season. That also means that Bethenny beat Kristen over the head and stole all of her fleek, because Bethenny is fleeking the fleek out this season. Every single thing she was wearing is absolutely divine, from the editor’s cape she wore over her perfectly fitted white T-shirt to brunch to that asymmetrically patterned blouse she wore out to lunch with Ramona. And the hair! Oh my God, the hair. It looks so good. Why didn’t she do this years ago?
Now we need to pause to clutch our collective pearls and think about Bethenny’s closet. Yes, Lisa Vanderpump’s is roughly three times the size, but if you compare the cost of New York City real estate per square foot to that of Beverly Hills, it is worth about ten times more than Lisa’s. That closet is a thing to behold. A closet that big and amazing is the ultimate luxury in New York. Well, that and a washer-dryer. If you have a washer-dryer and a giant closet, you are made of freakin’ money and I will marry you and promise not to kill you as soon as you put me in the will. I could live in that closet. (Actually, I do. It is about the size of my entire apartment.)
Bethenny also seems to be in better spirits than when she was falling apart last season. Last year, she seemed to come in thinking that it was the show that she left, but it was not and she ended up rubbing everyone the wrong way. Now that she knows how it works, she’s back to her old charming and comedic self. When she told Jules that she should go as Princess Leia and her husband should go as R2-D2, it was hilarious because he is shorter than Josh Hutcherson standing neck-deep in quicksand. That right there is the reason America fell in love with Bethenny. I hope that’s the broad we get for the rest of the season.
I also have a bit of a crush on Jon, the man Bethenny is casually dating whom she brings to lunch with Dorinda and Jules, the new girl. Jon looks handsome and familiar; I think it’s because he looks like a straight version of Lance Bass. Dorinda thinks that he looks like Jason, Bethenny’s ex, but Jason looks like a gay version of Justin Timberlake. It’s in the same ’N Sync family, but different.
Dorinda brings John to lunch and, ugh, I just can’t with this talking barrel of cheese puffs that you buy at Costco and eat in the cart while you finish shopping. He’s gross, makes your stomach hurt, and leaves a gross film on your fingers even after you wipe them off. That annoying joke where he keeps flicking Dorinda in the face is annoying. He could be at a black-tie gala and every look he gives would be like his last five seconds at a peep-show booth in Times Square, trying to take as much filth in through his puffy eye slits as possible. Like everyone else, I have no clue why Dorinda is with him. She is going to have trouble this season because of him.
Now we have to talk about Jules, the new girl. Due to the Eileen Davidson Accord of 2014 that we signed here at the Real Housewives Institute, we have to wait at least five episodes before trash-talking a new girl because we might end up actually liking her in the end. I will not say anything negative about Jules, but I will just share two things with you. The first is that I was at the launch of the Real Housewives Bus Tour (which is amazing) and Jules was there and I saw her take the yolk part out of a deviled egg, stuff it in a napkin, and then throw it away, which is a crime that should be punishable by having to have dinner with John and Josh every night for a month. Second, she thinks that raising two children with a full-time nanny and a housekeeper is the hardest job on Earth. Yes, she might make a huge salary for being a mother, as she says, but then she would spend it all on outsourcing her work to other people. But yes, we have to give Jules a chance, right? Ugh. Fine.
Jules and her husband, Taco Stand (I don’t know why I want to call him that, I just do), have a house in Water Mill in the Hamptons. There is lots of talk about what went on in the Hamptons this summer, especially one night when Dorinda and John came to visit Bethenny and things got really boozy and shouty and cry-y. It was one of those nights that only Blanche DuBois could really appreciate, where the heat in the air hangs heavy with the floral scent of blossoms regurgitating themselves into the steamy air.
Just think of what that fight would have looked like from the backyard, with the hum of the pool filter and the soft swish of the water as it reflects the moonlight in satin ripples. Think of those three silhouettes in the window as John holds Dorinda back, sobbing and shouting something at Bethenny while she holds her hands up and stutters in defense. Think of how that must have looked if you were standing in the shadows of a giant rhododendron holding a pair of binoculars looking for any indication of life stirring within. Think of how that must have looked if you were Jill Zarin, standing there in the yard with thoughts of revenge echoing through your brain and the sounds of cicadas, somewhere far off, violining in your ears.