Ladies and homosexual gentlemen, boys and girl’s girls, Bravoholics of all ages, the day we have long waited for is finally here: the day that we get to see Luann de Lesseps, our Countess Crackerjacks, get arrested for drunkenly threatening a police officer when she showed up in someone else’s hotel room in (West?) Palm Beach. Like a gathering storm tipping the skiffs in the harbor, we all knew it was coming and, boy, are we glad it’s here. Yes, we have seen the footage, but it’s totally different, seeing it on the internet and seeing it on a reality-television program being piped into our very own living rooms. We didn’t get much, of course, and we all know that she just accepted a plea to a lesser charge, but boy is this season, this wonderful time of miracles, giving with both hands.
Speaking of giving with both hands (no, Sonja, I’m not talking about your last Saturday evening), this episode was so jam-packed it could have lasted two entire hours. There are so many different fights, disagreements, cussing-outs, and lame charity events that I don’t know if I’ll be able to cram it all in (no, Sonja, I’m not talking about your last Friday evening either).
We start back in the Berkshires where Carole and Bethenny are still having their fight about everything and nothing. It really took a turn when Carole says Bethenny started talking trash about Adam and calling him an operator, and Luann pipes up with, “He is an operator. He left my niece to get with you and you wouldn’t have met him without me.” Luann has always hated Adam, or at least how Carole and Adam met, and takes every opportunity to diss him. “He’s just a boy from the midwest,” she tells Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Roto Rooter Morgans, under her breath. Um, well, Luann is nothing but a nurse from Connecticut, so what does that even mean?
Then the fight takes another turn when Carole tells the group, apropos of nothing, that Bethenny called Luann a loser. Her reaction to being called a loser is the sort of spit-shined silver gravy boat that we’ve come to expect from this series. “If I’m a loser, then the rest of the world is fucked,” she says, even as the world knows about her upcoming arrest, rehab stint, plea bargain, and not entirely unfortunate mugshot. We shouldn’t be too hard on the Countess. But then, when Bethenny is trying to explain why she is upset with Carole, Luann just shimmies out of the room, rocking her boa from side to side, and saying “Loser” over and over again as if she’s doing Beck karaoke and no one else can hear the song.
The Berkshires are a mess as always, with Bethenny and Carole trying to talk about their differences but not really addressing them at all. Bethenny thinks Carole cares more about her clothes, her hair, selfies, and pretending to be young, while Bethenny cares about, you know, Puerto Rico and whatever that business of hers is called because she never brings it up. Carole thinks Bethenny is mean to her and didn’t tell her what she really thinks of Adam. Meanwhile, downstairs, the women are twerking, bumping and grinding, and doing dog piles on Dorinda’s purple velvet couch. These women are one Boniva away from something really bad happening to one of their limbs.
Lucikly we have Dorinda here to distract us and make it nice. This she accomplishes by smashing herself in the face with a cake while the candles are still lit. Luckily for her, there is some strange man in the background whose presence has not been explained. Is he the caterer? Is he one of the dead guests from last week’s murder mystery party? Is he a cameraman that these women have roped into their strange games? We’ll never know.
Before we get to Bethenny’s Christmas party, we need to take a moment to reflect on Sonja’s visit with her contractor. This is, verbatim, what she tells her contractor, a nice man named Leo who is not being paid nearly enough: “I also forgot to told you I had sex on the sink in the staff room downstairs. Like back in 2008. You know. I had some hedge funds over, and I got up on the sink and it came off the wall, and can you just stick that on? But I did glue the towel holder back on. You know, the towel holder and the sink. You know.”
There is so much to unpack here: the use of “hedge funds,” the fact that she has not repaired her sink from a sex accident for an entire decade, that there is a place designated as a “staff room” and this is not a Pret a Manger location, that she mimes being reamed on the sink while holding on to the towel holder in explanation of how it got ripped off the wall. I love Sonja T. Morgan so much and she will once and forever be my favorite floozy.
Next, everyone goes to Bethenny’s holiday party, and everyone looks absolutely gorgeous, except for Dorinda, who seems to have applied her makeup with a trowel that Sonja’s contractor left lying around. Sonja especially looks fresh and nearly makeup-free in a cute navy dress. Bethenny looks great in a sparkly gold number, and Ramona, announcing her skin-care line, looks as dewy as a red Solo cup left out overnight next to a hot tub in Montauk.
Several fights come out of this little pointless party and I would like to adjudicate them all now. First is the fight between Dorinda and Bethenny. Dorinda has her “holiday decorator” find Bethenny the one FAO Schwartz life-size nutcracker left in America because her daughter was in love with it. When he brings it in, Bethenny freaks out, but apparently Dorinda doesn’t think she got enough thanks. Bethenny does say to her that Dorinda saved Christmas, but apparently she was looking for more? I don’t know. I’m on Bethenny’s side in this one. Dorinda got her due.
The next fight is between Ramona and Bethenny (though it’s stoked by Carole at the Red Cross party the next day). When Ramona unwraps her gift and sees it’s skin-care products, she tells the women she was working on a skin-care line. When she offers the products to Luann later and brings it up again, Bethenny accuses Ramona of turning it into “an infomercial.”
When Bethenny calls Ramona to talk to her about stepping into the fight between Bethenny and Carole, Ramona yells at her and tells her it’s rich that Bethenny accused her of an “infomercial” when we have to listen to Bethenny ramble about every single one of her products on national television. A-fucking-men, sister. I’m going to call this one a draw, though. While Ramona’s right to be upset at the way Bethenny behaved, the way she dismissed her on the phone is a little less than savory.
The final fight is the one between Carole and Bethenny where Bethenny asks the other women if Carole seemed sad after she left. I think I need to call this one a draw as well. Carole did seem off at the party, but what Bethenny doesn’t realize is that it’s because Carole is still smarting from her interaction in the Berkshires. Bethenny is legitimately concerned about her friend, but she’s going about it in all the wrong ways. As Carole says, if she thought she was sad, why not pull her aside and ask her what’s going on or check in about her breakup from Adam? Yes, Bethenny handled the whole thing poorly, but I believe her intentions were really in the right place.
We find out about all of these fights the next day at Luann’s Red Cross event where she enlists all of the women to come and donate blood. The problem is, none of them can donate. First of all, they were all in Mexico a year ago, so they can’t give blood because of Zika. Carole also can’t give blood because she’s under the weight requirement. Sonja can’t have blood drawn because of the various and sundry limitations against people who have anal sex, sex with foreigners, or anal sex with foreigners — all things that we’ve heard Sonja talk about doing on national television.
This event, therefore, becomes about the women standing around in some sad Red Cross donation room and annoying the hell out of the nice men and women who have shown up to actually donate their blood. Sonja, dressed in a magenta sequin cocktail dress, is gabbing on with some women who doesn’t know her and looks like she’d rather be waterboarded in a Perkins’ bathroom than talk to Sonja for one more moment. Ramona and Carole are off in a corner conspiring about their grievances with the other women. Dorinda and Luann stand around drinking the tiny cans of juice and eating the shepherd’s pie that’s supposed to be reserved for those who need to recover from giving blood.
Finally, to cap off the evening, Sonja and Ramona have a loud discussion about their poops right in front of a woman who seems to think that this conversation is somehow detracting from her sacred duty of sacrificing her own bodily fluids for charity. I’m sorry, but if I knew that the Real Housewives were going to be at a blood-donation center, I would show up just to experience all of this inappropriateness and liveliness. Just look at Sonja. She’s prancing around like she’s out for a night of caburlesque at the Carlyle. That’s a whole lot better than this shady, institutional room that they have everyone trapped in.
Somewhere, across town, Jill Zarin has not given blood, she has not gotten out of her Santa footie pajamas, she has not yet even lit the final candle on her menorah, but her heart beats heavily. Will this be the last holiday? The last New Years? The last time together? She doesn’t worry about plans or parties, fights or taking sides. She thinks about the days to come and wringing every bit of joy out of them, like a French press pushing down all of the grounds until you’re left with nothing but pure, powerful, thick liquid.