Bethenny Frankel, Ramona Singer.
After all the roil and rage in the first night of this three-part reunion (God, these things are longer than the depositions in the Brandi Glanville/Joanna Krupa stinky-vagina case), I just have one very important question: What the hell was that weird sculpture sitting on the table immediately to Andy Cohen’s left? It looked like some sort of bronze cast of a twink’s butthole blown up to about one thousand times its natural size. Once I saw it, I couldn’t look away. That brown Cyclops was just staring at me the whole time, like if I had fear in my heart, it would zap me with a laser and I’d turn into a power bottom for all eternity. (The jokes on you, Chocolate Starfish of Doom, I already am one!) They do have a weekly gay dance party at the Diamond Horseshoe, but that decoration is just absolutely crappy.
Alright, here is my annual protest about how much I hate writing about the reunions because nothing really happens and the women just shout and argue and no minds are changed or arguments won. It’s just all sound and fury signifying the size of Andy Cohen’s Christmas bonus. I stand by that, but at least this reunion is attended by a room full of professionals who manage to pull off some never-before-seen stunts — not even on a Real Housewives reunion special. We’ve seen beatings, bullhorns, walk-offs, and backstage shouting matches, so that is really saying something.
But first (that was my Julie Chen on Big Brother impersonation), we have to do the most important work of any reunion recap: We must discuss the outfits. Apparently the Pinterest mood board for the reunion was a picture of a black-and-white domino, Miss Piggy stealing the Baseball Diamond in The Great Muppet Caper, and one of those cooked ducks you see hanging by their necks in Chinatown windows. It was like White House Black Market merged with Flesh Peddlers.
Jules: I absolutely love her black-and-rhinestone number that looks like a Donna Summer album cover or something that Halston would have snorted cocaine off of. I think Jules might win for best dressed.
Sonja: The other serious contender for best dressed. She looks restrained and tasteful in a simple column dress — I always like Sonja the best when she’s being conservative. The one thing I can’t tell is if her dress is baby’s butt pink or Alex McCord’s fleshen shackles orange.
Dorinda: I’m glad someone decided to go short. Her white, nude illusion, and glittery dress is the most Dorinda thing I’ve ever seen and I love it.
Countess Luann: A white sequined jumpsuit would be perfect for the occasion — if everyone weren’t sitting down the whole time.
Bethenny: When I first saw Bethenny, with her sleeveless white number and disordered silver chains, I was like, “Oooh, chic as always.” And then I saw a full shot of her sitting on the couch and the dress is floor-length. Ew. It’s like some sort of ugly mullet dress where you think it’s cute until the whole thing is revealed and it makes you think about when your parents made you vacation in West Virginia that one year.
Ramona: I once saw this dress in a Refinery 29 article titled “34 Outfits That Conservative Girls Who Made Chastity Pledges Can Wear to the Prom.”
Carole: It’s good to see that the lampshades Eileen Davidson got rid of when she remodeled found themselves a good home.
My favorite part of the whole reunion was when they watched the clip package of what went down in the Berkshires at Dorinda’s house. You can see the women’s reactions in the corner of the screen and they’re like, “That’s amazing.” “Oh, good work!” “Luann, that was a funny line.” That is why I love the New York cast. These are seasoned pros. Watching them re-watch a classic episode is like NFL players going over game footage or when your office celebrates a record-breaking quarter: They appreciate it for the artistry of the whole thing, just like we do. They’re not looking at it personally; they’re looking at it professionally, and they have decided that they performed well.
Oh, wait, that might be my second favorite part, because what about when Andy was like, “Bethenny, are you accusing Dorinda of doing coke?” and Bethenny took a beat to consider what to say, and whether or not she would make this a thing, and then she decided in the affirmative. “Yes,” she says, affirming what we all know, that Dorinda totally does coke. (Legal disclaimer: I don’t know if Dorinda does cocaine because I have never seen her do it, but I also don’t know if global warming exists because I have never seen that, either.)
All of the women’s reactions are priceless. They just sit there like, well, a bunch of people who just got caught doing cocaine, sweating and burbling and trying to figure out how to get out of it. Bethenny and Luann suddenly decide they don’t want to talk about it anymore, but Dorinda wants to get into it. She wants prove she didn’t do it and all of the women are like, “We better drop this because we know the truth and we’d rather not put it out there on television.”
Then there is the moment when Sonja Tremont Morgan of the O’Doul’s Beer Morgans totally seals her MVP in this section of the reunion: She seconds Bethenny’s assertion and is like, “But you do use cocaine, Dorinda!” And later, when they are talking about how Ramona dates losers, Sonja says, “But you do date losers, Ramona.” Sonja is not here to play around this year, folks. She is telling her truth. Sober Sonja is a danger to these women and I have a feeling they’re going to put extra booze in her kombucha so she stops spilling all of their secrets and goes back to drooling on herself while gumming on about Gstaad. Then, when Sonja blurts out that she had already trademarked “Slutty Girl” for a brand of cocktails, it is just absolutely perfect. Sonja says maybe three things the entire hour and every one of them is a gem. Sonja T. Morgan is a wish that your heart makes, and it comes true every single time.
Before we end this excruciating exercise with a discussion about slut-shaming and hypocrisy, I would like to visit one thing that Ramona Singer says that sort of explains the entire Real Housewives franchise. While discussing Rey, the obviously sauced ex-beau of Luann’s who appeared at Dorinda’s party, Ramona says, “A lot of people are out of their mind. Is that a reason not to talk to them?” Yes, Ramona. Yes, it is.
But that is why she is a Real Housewife, because she’s willing to engage with these people for our entertainment. It’s also why many of us watch this show, so that we can have conversations with insane people without actually standing in the same room as them. We all think that we want to be Andy Cohen, sitting there amid the verbal carnage of a bunch of middle-aged divorcees, and then someone gets on the speakerphone and dials the daughter of the man she is dating who may or may not be married. Even Ramona Singer didn’t want to be there for that pathetic display!
That brings us to the fight between Luann and Bethenny and, really, it is one of the saddest things that I have seen in a long time. There are no teams to be had in this one. There is no side to support. Everyone is wrong. It’s sort of like the current election, or some sort of zen koan where the only answer is to throw yourself off of a cliff into the waiting mouth of a giant buzzard.
As Bethenny says, no one believes that she is dating a married man. She explains that the man she is dating is still technically married (as was Bethenny when they got together), but he and his wife are in divorce proceedings so everything is on the up and up. Luann says this isn’t true, that their relationship was going on while the guy was still married to his wife. Her proof? “Lots of people are saying … ” Yeah, that’s the same strategy used by a certain orange-skinned rage monster that has taken our nation’s news media hostage. (And for once, I don’t mean Ryan Seacrest.) That is no defense. The fight is just Bethenny and Luann screaming “Nuh uh!” “Yeah huh!” back and forth for 15 minutes.
What is more troubling, however, is Bethenny’s slut-shaming. It becomes clear that Bethenny doesn’t even know what the term means (it’s shaming someone for being a slut, it’s kind of right there in the title like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes) and doesn’t see or care why it’s bad. She has no remorse for doing it in the Berkshires and she continues to level the charge that the Countess slept with everyone in Manhattan as if it is a bad thing. It is not. Who cares how many people Luann has slept with? She’s not trying to keep it a secret, and, from one power bottom to another, I totally respect her for that.
But no, Bethenny is screaming at her for sleeping with a married man and sleeping with every man and then Luann is yelling at her for being a hypocrite and Jezebel is yelling at both of them for being slut-shamers and then Reddit is yelling at them for violating men’s rights and then 4chan is yelling at them for not looking at enough kiddie porn and we’re all just yelling. Yelling and yelling and yelling and we’re all wrong and it’s all stupid and I just want it to stop. Or I can’t wait for it to continue next week. Whatever. Same thing.