Guys, this is only the first episode. We got drunk Dorinda, unruly Bethenny, Tinsley’s dog peeing on a hotel floor and no one even wiping it up, and Luann in actual, literal blackface. We haven’t even gotten to the arrests, the fights, rehab, or the boat that was simultaneously sinking and on fire. One day, you will fondly recall to your children and your children’s children about the joys of being alive right now in the year of our Lord 2018 because this is going to be a mother f-ing season.
First, of course, we have to check in with all of the women and what they are up to. Bethenny has been helping out people in Puerto Rico after the island was ravaged by a hurricane and I have absolutely nothing snarky to say about that at all. She is really doing God’s work and taking the goods that people donate directly to those in need. It is the best thing that Bethenny has done with her wealth since she hired a stylist. Also, Tinsley donated $10,000 to the cause. Ramona only donated $3,000. Tinsley has got some scratch, y’all.
Speaking of Tinsley, she’s living in a hotel and she’s broken up with Scott, that guy behind the Coupon Farm or the Discount Deli or whatever the hell app she and Carole were hawking in their stilted commercials last season. I guess the contract on that relationship is finally up.
Carole is still “broken up” with Adam, which means that every day he comes over and brings her coffee and sometimes they sleep together. They have a very modern arrangement and I am all for that. If they’re both getting what they need outside of a constrained monogamous construct, then more power to them.
What I am concerned about is Carole’s workout habit. She said that when she turned 54, she decided she wanted to start exercising and started to train for the New York Marathon. That’s great. That’s not what concerns me. What gives me pause is that she’s been going to the Dog Pound to train with some guy named Viktor who is the world’s oldest living personal trainer. Viktor is not only making Carole do half-assed jumping jacks and TRX inside of the gym, he has her pounding battle ropes, jumping on BOSU balls, and doing sprints right down the sidewalks of Manhattan. I’m sorry, but exercising with equipment is an inside activity. People running outside of parks and designated areas annoys the hell out of me. Why the heck is Carole, a novice at exercise, going all Kelly Killoren Bensimon on us and jogging through traffic like that is something people do?
Dorinda is mostly worrying about her Halloween costume, and Ramona, well, she’s hanging around her house drinking out of a mug that reads “Calm Down and Take a Xanax,” referencing one of her eternal catchphrases in a drop of meta humor that manages to not be funny and completely tasteless all at the same time.
Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Lexapro Morgans decided that after “all of the tragedy and loss” of the last several years, she was going to take the summer and just enjoy herself in Europe and not talk to anyone. She also decided to take an antidepressant for a first time, but she found that “I was just going wamp, wamp, wamp [insert stuffing your face motion here] with the croissants.” That is the most Sonja Morgan thing that anyone has ever said, until she tells us that she stopped taking the medication so she could get thin again. That is some serious Housewives behavior, to rather be thin and miserable than happy and just a little bit pudgy.
Finally, there’s Lu. Oh, Lu. Lu got divorced and everyone at Bravo is still pissed that they didn’t get an exclusive to her wedding and that she decided to divorce Tom right after the reunion so that they couldn’t film it. How do we know? Because we get not one but two montages of how awful their relationship was, and all of the women reiterate, once more with feeling, what an awful guy he was and how everyone saw this coming but Lu. It is sort of like the In Memoriam montage at the Oscars, but if everyone got to slag off at dead film executives.
Countess Crackerjacks’ biggest complaint is that Carole never once called or texted her when the news broke she was getting a divorce. Why should she? Luann has been nothing but mean to her since she and Adam started dating and said all sorts of vicious things about her. Why should Carole repay that with kindness? The Countess keeps bringing it up to anyone who will listen, and then at Dorinda’s Halloween party, she says, “I wish this thing with Carole would just go away.” Um, it can. It can if she just lets it because she made the whole thing up anyway.
Speaking of Dorinda’s party, it is quite a mess. Dorinda has some sort of miscommunication about her Lady Gaga dress and needs the help of someone from SNL’s costume department to fix it for her. But the meanest thing we see is Dorinda trying to shimmy into that costume while it bursts at the seams and the clicking plastic balls almost entirely fall off.
At the party, she gets mad at Sonja because she is standing by the bar dressed as Lucille Ball with her date Rocco, named by New York Magazine as the man having the bluest balls in all of Manhattan. Dorinda gets upset because Sonja should have greeted the hostess and then come to talk to all of the women. She is not wrong and Sonja was being rude. However, Dorinda didn’t need to slur it to everyone within earshot, probably delivering buckets of spittle along with her message.
Everyone’s costumes are great (even if Ramona might have stolen hers from Lip Sync Battle and already worn it to another Halloween party three days earlier). Well, except for Luann, who shows up as Diana Ross with a deep spray tan and a comically large Afro wig. Did no one tell her this was a bad idea? Did she not have one friend who said, “You absolutely shouldn’t dress like a black person.” Of course Diana had big hair and sported an Afro, but this did not look like Diana Ross at all. This wig looks like something a frat guy would wear to dress up like one of the Harlem Globetrotters. It’s a parody of an Afro. The packaging for it probably reads “Insensitive ‘Urban’ Wig.”
But the worst at the Halloween party is Bethenny. I’m not talking about her Boob-Popping Barbie look, I’m talking about her behavior. Now, it’s clear that Dorinda wasn’t the only one who was drunker than a recent parolee at bottomless brunch. Bethenny got wasted too and she and Ramona get into a fight about if her house on Montauk Highway in the Hamptons is “south of the highway” or not. I mean, come on. This is the stupidest, whitest fight since the Spanish American War or at least the West Palm Beach versus Palm Beach kerfuffle of last season. (Also, I’m with Ramona on this. If your shit is on a highway, it cannot be south of that highway.)
Bethenny takes her cruelty to another level, though. When Ramona says, “I know about real estate,” Bethenny replies, “You have an apartment and a house in the Hamptons. I have five properties.” I mean, come on. Owning more houses does not mean you know more about real estate. I bet the real-estate reporter at The Wall Street Journal knows more about real estate than either of these women and that reporter still lives at home with her parents in Hoboken. Then Bethenny says, “When you start being successful at something, call me.”
Bethenny has been unlikable for a few seasons now and I think that issue is perfectly encapsulated here. She is no longer aware of how she comes off on camera. If she were to give it to Ramona back in the day when she had nothing and Ramona was making her cry on the Brooklyn Bridge, that’d be one thing. But now, she’s the alpha dog of the group and she’s wielding her success like it’s some kind of weapon and she is going to bludgeon everyone else.
Finally, there was one guest at the party who no one could see. It’s because she was dressed up like a tree and everyone just thought she was one of the plants meant to be in the background. At one point, some drunk gay actually tried to lean on her, but she kept her pose, stiff and strong, so that no one would discover her camouflage.
She got right up to the couch where all of the women were holding court and pulled out a metal vial. She unscrewed the top and took something sharp out of it, which she jabbed into Dorinda’s neck when she wasn’t looking. Dorinda swatted at her neck like there was a swarm of mosquitos, but between the booze and the distraction of the tissues sticking out of Sonja’s Lucy Ricardo wig, she never noticed. Later, as Dorinda shimmied to the elevator to leave, with her wig on the floor and most of the plastic bubbles of her costume burst, you could see a faint red blinking coming from the tracker under her skin. In that moment, Jill Zarin thought about smiling, but she let the happiness seep from her head like so much water vapor as she maintained her mercenary stillness.