The Real Housewives of New York City
Bethenny Frankel’s cultural tourism to the Bronx is exactly like her presence on this entire season of the show: unnecessary, mean-spirited, and about as tone deaf as William Hung trying to sing the National Anthem with a case of tinnitus. She goes to the restaurant and says, “We need to get these people out of New York City.” Um, Bethenny, the Bronx is in New York City. She’s trying to play like she’s so cool that she goes to all of the outer boroughs, but meanwhile, she describes only Manhattan as New York City. That seems to be the ill that she’s trying to correct. It’s like her “let them eat cake” moment except she’s letting them eat brick-oven pizza, which, I’m sorry, you can find plenty of that on the isle of Manhattan. Just go to Eataly and leave everyone else alone.
Then Bethenny starts picking on the outfits that everyone wears. She accuses Carole of dressing for a safari, but what was this excursion except a safari to gawk and gape at the authentic white people that the Bronx is so well known for? She also makes fun of Tinsley for dressing like she’s going to lunch, but as Tinz points out, the ladies are going out to lunch and this is how she dresses for such an occasion. Don’t harsh Tinz for just being herself, out-of-date curled hair and all. Meanwhile, just look at what Bethenny is wearing. It’s some faux-fur green-and-black vest thing that surely cost upwards of $500. And it isn’t even that cute. She looks like the only woman ever admitted to the Night’s Watch. She is the sword in the darkness, the watcher on the walls, the bitch who screams at everyone at her own luncheon.
As far as screaming goes, Dorinda and Sonja Tremont Morgan of the A Train Derailment Morgans had that covered. For some reason, Sonja brings up Tipsy Girl again and this time she levels the accusation that Dorinda had agreed to do Tipsy Girl before she did. Apparently, Dorinda’s boyfriend, John, told Sonja that Dorinda agreed to go into business with Peter, a Wall Street bull sculpture made out of boogers. Sonja has the text to prove it, which she shows the girls. Dorinda, still hung-over and possibly drunk from the night before, decides that the classiest thing to do is to start shouting about Sonja’s bankruptcy, making fun of her former profession, and pointing to her own lady bits in the middle of a restaurant filled with people who are just trying to eat some damn pizza in peace.
Everyone tells Sonja that she needs to apologize to Dorinda, but I don’t think she has anything to really apologize for. If she has the text to prove that John really told Sonja that, then Dorinda and everyone else’s problem is with John, not with Sonja. However, someone needs to tell Sonja to stop bringing up old shit. Like the upcoming season of Roseanne, there is no reason the specter of Tipsy Girl should ever be raised from the grave again. It will not be entertaining and it will just make us angry.
Sonja does the same thing later at lunch with Ramona and Luann, when she tries to say that she doesn’t know Dorinda as well as she knows the other ladies, but winds up saying, “It’s not like you know her so well that you slept with the same guy.” All right, I believe Sonja’s explanation that she is trying and failing to be funny — in her defense, most of these women are about as funny as Carrot Top after a colonoscopy — but why you gotta bring up old shit? Just let it lie.
I do think that Dorinda and Luann completely overreacted in both of these instances. Dorinda tried to shame Sonja into an apology by calling her a whore and an ass wipe, something that hasn’t been an effective insult since we all stopped riding school buses. Yes, this is really all about Sonja being mad that she didn’t get invited to the Berkshires (why you gotta bring up old shit?) and Dorinda being angry that Sonja talked about her in the press. But it turned into a silly brawl with some petty crassness on Dorinda’s part that I did not find appealing. She made a scene in a place where these women were already sticking out and that just makes me squirm in my shorts.
I bet the people in that restaurant told Carole she looked like “Ivania Trump” as a way to get revenge on them disrupting their meal. It’s like they almost knew how insulted Carole would be, so they decided to play into the part of out-of-touch, ill-informed Bronx residents that the women already thought they were. It was the most brilliant read I have seen delivered by someone who is not Mariah Carey or Aretha Franklin.
The Countess also overreacts to Sonja bringing up her former relationship with Tom. No matter how many apologies she demands, no matter how many iceberg wedges she walks out on, Tom and Sonja will always have a sexual history. It’s better for her to acknowledge it, laugh about it, and move on rather than insist that she won or that Sonja never bring it up. I mean, everyone just needs to chill the hell out.
They do this by going to Vermont to stay in a log cabin that Bethenny rented that has “only six bedrooms,” which is not nearly enough for Ramona Singer, who barely got herself invited to this trip in the first place. I find it amusing that Dorinda getting shagged so royally that she left her luggage somewhere on the side of the road is the kind of thing she can just laugh about while she tries to send an Uber to recover them. That is the Dorinda I love. That is the Dorinda I want to have mimosas with as we make fun of all the fuddy-duddies on the Upper West Side and pretend like we both have real jobs to go to.
The whole business with the rooms just makes me want to gouge my eyes out, put them into a blender, and make a protein shake for Chris Pratt the next time he need to bulk up for a role. (This is also the only way that I can ever get inside of Chris Pratt.) Who are Ramona and Sonja to think that they deserve the biggest room because they combined their powers? It’s like they’re Jayna and Zan from Super Friends and they fist bump and one turns into a kangaroo swilling Pinot and the other turns into a mound of brownish-yellow ice that tries to pass itself off as mountain water. And Luann expecting a suite because she just got married or something? What the hell was that? If she wanted them to respect her wedding, maybe she should have invited some of these ladies? If I were Bethenny, I would have assigned everyone rooms and they take what they get. Someone has to stay in the shitty room, so why should it be the person who paid for this whole damn trip? (And by that, I mean the producers of the show.)
The only thing left to talk about is Tinsley. Ugh, guys, I don’t know what to say. I think that she’s a good addition to the cast and could be a fun reality-television personality, but I don’t understand her at all. What exactly is Tinsley’s problem? That isn’t a rhetorical question. I want someone to tell me because trying to decipher what she’s talking about is like trying to read street signs in Tokyo or understand the infield fly rule.
From what I can tell, she suffered an abusive relationship and she thinks that, because of it, everyone is making fun of her. So she tries to correct this by (dot, dot, dot) going on a reality show and televising her therapy sessions? That seems like a bad idea. Also, I don’t understand the deal with her living situation. Like Bethenny said, either shut up about the rules at Sonja’s house and move out or deal with them and stay. What is keeping her from moving out, anyway? She has now seen three rather desirable apartments within her price range. Pick one! It isn’t that hard. Why won’t she just pull the trigger and get out there? It’s just a lease. Like Chinese finger traps, they’re easy enough to get out of with a little bit of wiggling and the right amount of pressure.
Maybe she’s just paralyzed. Maybe she’s thinking that she has to live her old life in the same neighborhood and keep dating the same guys, but she knows what that is going to get her. She wants to change, she wants to get past it and move one, but she doesn’t know how. Is that her problem?
Instead, she just takes Tylenol PM with copious amounts of red wine so that she can sleep at night. She closes her eyes in that little girl’s room filled with stuffed animals, and it all comes back to her in hazy swirls. Her tears as she stands on the lawn of her ex-boyfriend’s Palm Beach house, the cold rasp of the handcuffs as they fasten around her bony wrists, the lash-free mugshot, the bruises he left when he would grab her too tight, and the insults that would come crashing from his mouth, like a martini glass brushed off a grand piano.
She would have these dreams where she is walking down a corridor like something in a Federalist hotel, like the Willard in D.C. There would be a light-blue carpet and buff wallpaper with strips and maybe some eagles. Every few paces there would be a sideboard on either side of the hallway — lacquered mahogany with brass lamps on top. It was the same in a repeated pattern, a hallway that would get longer and longer as she progressed. She would turn around and there would be darkness and she would turn to the side and there would be a mirror. She’d be staring at herself in a ball gown and a black bag over her head, like she had been taken hostage. She would stand there powerless, trying to move the granite blocks of her arms to remove the hood, the struggle and tingle all over her body as she would clutch the hood from her head in one fell swoop. But she wouldn’t even recognize her face, older and ringed with red hair. It was Tinsley’s dream, but Jill Zarin would stare back at her. It was at that moment that Tinsley would awake in that unfamiliar room with all of the glass eyes surrounding her and staring back, like fireflies that had been snuffed out while still in motion.