The Real Housewives of New York City
Everything about this episode is a little sad, from Ramona and Sonja dancing by themselves at the bottle-service club at Mohegan Sun to Bethenny’s confrontation with her executive assistant to the engagement party that Dorinda and Ramona throw for Luann. God, everything about this is just so, so, so sad. It is sadder than a yoga class full of Syrian refugees. It is sadder than accidentally punching a Make a Wish Foundation kid in the jaw at Disneyland. It is sadder than the Trump brothers’ haircuts.
Let’s start with the trip to Mohegan Sun, where the women are ushered into their suite by the “vice-president of new markets.” What exactly is that job? Are Real Housewives a new market? Are women a new market? Are people with nothing better to do on a Wednesday afternoon than film a reality show in a Connecticut casino when Air Supply isn’t even playing a new market? What constitutes a new market and how does this dude take charge of them? Apparently by offering up the world’s saddest crudité and hummus platter on a table that is way too large for such a meager spread.
The one good thing that happens there is that Ramona Singer finally unearths the only method for doling out rooms on a Real Housewives trip: random draw. Each woman just picks a room key so that nobody squabbles about which room she gets. This is wise, but imagine if anyone other than Ramona had come up with this idea. She either would have refused to participate or she would have somehow managed to strike a bargain with whomever got the nicest room and trade with them. If there is anything more inevitable in life than death, taxes, and another season of The Simpsons, it is that Ramona Singer will get the nicest room.
Oh wait, one other good thing happens on this trip. We learn that Dorinda Medley is a former Step Aerobics instructor, and that is everything in the world that makes me happy. I immediately imagined her in a printed leotard and a headband, looking like Jamie Lee Curtis in Perfect and shouting at a room full of people at a Lucille Roberts on the Upper East Side, and I wanted to be in that class so bad. I bet Dorinda could still teach a killer class, and I would like to be a part of that, please. Dorinda, if you’re open to personal-training sessions, I would like to sign up right now.
Anyway, the sad party at Mohegan doesn’t last long. Pretty soon, everyone is back in the city where Jules and her daughter, Rio, are learning how to not pee in the sand (presumably after dancing). Yes, Jules hired a $2,000 potty-training expert to teach her daughter how to use indoor plumbing. She incurred this rather unnecessary expense because when she taught her son, Pizza Box Jr., how to use the potty, he ended up peeing and pooping all over the house. Maybe the problem isn’t Jules’s teaching skills, but the fact that Pizza Box Jr. believes that people pee out of their “assholes.” Maybe what the Box household needs is not a potty-training consultant, but an anatomy teacher.
The best part of the whole scene, though, is when Jules asks Mary Ploppins which way a woman should wipe after peeing. Jules does that thing where she pretends to know, then waits for the expert to tell her the real answer because she’s obviously been wiping the wrong direction her entire life. Well, that was $2,000 well spent.
The only other thing that happens in this graham-cracker-and-queef sandwich of an episode is that Ramona decides that she needs to throw Luann an engagement party. Why would someone ever think to throw someone else an engagement party, especially when that person is marrying a guy whom the party thrower previously dated? Everything about this whole scenario is insane.
First of all, Ramona knows that Luann and Tom are off on a ski trip after getting engaged. When Luann doesn’t return her texts, she scrolls past three screens worth of pictures Tom had previously sent her — where he held a member of his anatomy next to a TV remote, a Red Bull can, and a plate of cheese fries — to send him a new text message. It reads something like, “I really need to talk to Luann about the engagement party that she doesn’t want that I am going to throw her next week, please have her text me.” Then she admits to Sonja that if she were on vacation, in love with a man, and skiing, she wouldn’t text anyone back either. So why does she expect the Countess to immediately return her texts? This is the largest gap in logic since, I don’t know, George Clooney turned down a role in Thelma and Louise.
Then, we all find out that Luann doesn’t even want Ramona hosting the party because she’s still mad at Ramona because Ramona keeps talking about how she was dating Tom and how he’s not really in love with Luann. That means that Dorinda has to throw the party and goes behind Ramona’s back to arrange the whole thing.
With all the attention that is being paid to this party and the urgency that Ramona needed her texts returned, it would seem like it would be some sort of black-tie affair catered by Jean-Georges and attended by all the glitterati of the New York social scene like Cindy Adams, the Rent Is Too Damn High guy, Ann Cutbill Lenane also known as Annie Gets It Done, and the ghost of Bill Cunningham (#TooSoon?). Instead, the only people at the party are the cast of the show, minus Bethenny, who is teaching her daughter how to ski and bleeding out of her vagina somewhere. That means three out of the six attendees have had sex with Tom, or at least gone out on more than one date with him. That is like the Red Wedding of engagement parties.
At least Luann’s ring is pretty, if you like those enormous colored diamonds that everyone notices whenever you move your hand around. Yeah, sure, then it’s fine. Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Pandora Bracelet Morgans had something to say about Luann’s ring and about how her engagement ring was also big and the diamond was white, but she was so upset by Luann’s ring that she was completely incomprehensible. Pretty soon, she was in the corner rocking in the fetal position and singing, “Every kiss begins with Kay,” over and over again.
But there was someone who wasn’t at the engagement party. Someone who woke up in the tobacco fields of Uncasville, Connecticut, with the tower of Mohegan Sun towering over the fallow fields where the loam had turned hard and gritty with the winter, and the skeletons of shriveled plants fought a losing battle with the frost. She woke up freezing, wearing a midnight-blue gown that she had worn the night before and with little memory of how she got there. She was sitting at the bar watching the Real Housewives and drinking a Diet Coke and then, suddenly, she felt awful, like she was dangling by her legs from a Ferris Wheel that wouldn’t stop spinning.
She took off her strappy shoes and stood up, hearing the dull hum of the highway not far away. She hiked up the skirt of her gown and stumbled through the field toward the noise, hoping she could flag down a car or at least call her driver. After some minutes, she made it to the guardrail and wondered if she could hitchhike from that side or if she would have to climb over onto the shoulder. She decided to climb over and struggled getting one leg on top of that frosty, unending lip of steel. Just then, a black Navigator pulled up next to her, and the window rolled down.
“Bryn, mommy has to take care of some business, then we’re going to fly to go skiing,” Bethenny said, adjusting her daughter’s seat belt in the backseat.
“Bethenny!” the disheveled woman screamed.
“Can it,” Bethenny replied after turning to the open window. “It’s not going to work, Jill. Give it up. This is your only warning.”
“Can you at least give me a … ” Before Jill Zarin could even finish her statement, Bethenny had rolled up her window and pulled away. “… a ride.” Jill thought about what she could do. How could her plan have gone so horribly awry? She had been planning this for months, but she wasn’t planning well enough. She was going to need some new tactics, some new help. First, she needed to get out of there. She sat down on the guardrail for a minute and the cold was so intense it felt like heat scorching through the paillettes of her dress. She watched the cars careen by so fast that they felt like bullets passing her, each one expelling a bit of force when it went by. She would get one. She would get in one of those cars and harness that power, directing it in one direction, like how a magnifying glass can take one ray of sunlight and burn down an entire forest.