The Real Housewives of New York City
Since this is the first episode where the women head to Colombia, we got our standard packing montage where they all throw their one-pieces and ultra-fringed wraps into too many Louis Vuitton suitcases. But not Ramona. No, she is showing up to the pharmacy dragging her right foot behind her in a pantomime of a Victorian prisoner who has a giant ball shackled to her leg. It turns out she was on vacation in Morocco right before this trip and fell down a flight of stairs in a random texting incident.
Everyone agrees that Ramona insisting on being wheeled around for the entire trip is absolutely ludicrous. It is an attention-seeking ploy, much like Vicki Gunvalson’s neck brace after she was in a dune buggy accident. (It turns out reality television is a contact sport.) Regardless, Carole is pushing her across the cobblestones and up the abnormally high curbs so that Ramona doesn’t have to walk on her traumatized joints. Even still, Ramona tries to wear heels because, as she told someone at the pharmacy, “I hate sneakers.” She said it like someone just offered her a stick of fart-flavored chewing gum and she couldn’t get it out of her mouth — or out of her mind — fast enough.
Ramona was in rare form this entire episode. The way she treats staff still absolutely befuddles me. I’m glad that “Miguel,” which may or may not have actually been his name, just left in the middle of unpacking her wardrobe, leaving her to hang all of her clothes by herself. I have been waiting ten seasons for someone to do that. Or what about when she goes into the kitchen pretending to be the staff’s friend, talking about how she “loves to learn new recipes,” but she insists that there be no butter in anything they make for her. Well, then how much does she love trying new things if she doesn’t want to try it the way that God and the chef intended?
The one thing that did thwart Ramona was Tinsley’s convoluted way of assigning the rooms. Everyone got a Tiffany box with a ribbon tied around it. As they toured each room, a woman opened a box. Each box contained a necklace with a Housewife’s initial on it and whoever’s necklace was opened in that room got to sleep there. Tinz had to stretch really far to figure out how to get Tiffany and room selection into the same gag, but she did it and it actually worked. Ramona was placated. Yes, the only reason they have to do any of this is because Ramona insists on having the nicest room. I feel like all the other women wouldn’t care, but now we have to have the Jewelry Olympics just to keep Mx. Singer happy.
Since we’re talking about Tinsley, we have to talk about Scott, who comes on stronger than the perfume on an Alitalia flight to Naples in mid-August. Not only did he send Tinsley’s hair and makeup team to Colombia with her as a Valentine’s Day present, he also sent 365 roses with their initials in the center to their villa for their one-year anniversary. Bethenny is not wrong: It looked like it was a funeral wreath. Tinsley should have put coins on her eyes and lain underneath it.
After all of that, Carole produced a gift for Tinsley that was supposed to accompany the delivery, and it was a Cartier bracelet. God, this guy. It’s too much. It’s like lying down on a Posturepedic mattress, but your body never stops sinking into the foam until you are suffocated and lying in your own space-age grave. Also, all of these gifts are a little bit tacky. Scott, the King of Koupon Kabin, apparently has money, but he will never be Vogue. He will never be refined. He will always be hot dogs and beer to Tinsley’s foie gras and champagne. Know that.
The one who is really going through it, however, is Bethenny. First, at lunch, Bethenny ate the fish soup even though Ramona very easily could have warned her that there was fish in the soup. Turns out Bethenny is deathly allergic to fish. We know this from her first trip to the Berkshires, where Dorinda had to rustle up some food that was not fish so Ms. Frankel wouldn’t die. Bethenny had a horrible reaction and ended up puking in her room and lying on the bathroom floor with her clothes hiked up toward her waist like a dead Sunny Von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune.
At dinner, Carole starts talking about her date with Brian, the “red scarf guy” from the speed-dating event last week. Bethenny says that Brian had been texting her nonstop and trying to get together with her. She also tells us that after the event Ramona crashed his drinks excursion with his friends, but that he’s not interested in her. Now Carole says that not only did they have a three-hour date, but that he’s also not interested in Bethenny.
I think that they both handled this really poorly and the worst part about it is that they’re fighting over this dude who, rightly, is Tom Part Two: Asshole’s Revenge. He seems desperate to be with “someone in this group,” which is code for on this show, and will go for it no matter which woman he can rope. Bethenny is right to point this out as suspicious. Like with Tom, Ramona was out of the fight as soon as there started to be competition because a man’s only purpose in her life is to undeniably love her more than anything else in the universe.
This guy is clearly a creep and they should all just be like, “No thanks!” Instead, Bethenny and Carole are questioning each other’s motives. Didn’t it ever occur to them to blame this guy, who clearly should not be “making game” (is that even an expression?) on Carole when he’s also trying to bed Bethenny at the same time. Let’s blame him, ladies.
This is just one more pawn in the ongoing chess game between Bethenny and Carole, where Carole thinks that Bethenny is mean and knows what is best for everyone and Bethenny thinks that Carole is being smug and distant. I’m not going to take Carole’s side here, but when Bethenny said, “You’re acting like you won a prize and he’s just a consolation prize,” that was a bit mean and didn’t take Carole’s feelings into consideration. But that is Bethenny for you. She’s always been this way and she will forever be that way. That’s why she can’t seem to hold onto a friend for longer than three good summers.
Next up, Bethenny fights with Dorinda because Dorinda told Tinsley that Bethenny told her she thinks that the house is junky. Again, everyone is behaving badly all around here. Dorinda, like always, is spreading around the gossip she knows like her tongue is made up of one of those free newspapers you get before you take the subway home from work. Bethenny might want to vent about the state of the house, but do it to someone who doesn’t have a reputation for leaking like an incontinent dog going out for a stroll.
The next day Bethenny has a full-on breakdown and she admits that it is because the restraining order on her ex-husband is lifting in two months, she has the custody battle dragging on, and the dissolution of her friendship with Carole still baffles her. She’s on the verge of tears and can’t seem to adequately express her emotions or get them under control. I feel really badly for Bethenny, because being consumed like that, especially in an unfamiliar environment, can feel like being caught in the riptide and being dragged into Davy Jones’s Locker, or at least one of the more horrible Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.
Still, you see Bethenny shining through in even her worst moments. When Luann tries to come find out what is going on with her, she promptly throws her out of the room and tells her she can’t have more people around. I’m no stranger to panic attacks, and when I need to be alone, I try to explain myself calmly and with deference to those trying to help. Bethenny never defers to anyone. She won’t apologize to Carole or even address what’s really wrong. Maybe she has no clue. Maybe she’s as oblivious as the Countess showing up in a blond wig saying, “Hola chiquitas,” and drawling in a Sofia Vergara accent all night. Maybe she is. But there is clearly something wrong with how she deals with the other women, and maybe it’s time that she turned that inward.
Ramona had plenty of time for self-reflection when she got stuck in the house’s elevator. She went upstairs to get herself a pair of (ugh!) flats and the elevator didn’t quite travel up to the top floor, as they say. Ramona marinated in that glass cube for the better part of five minutes while the women downstairs talked about the size and shape of their breasts and nipples. Ramona hated to miss anything. She hated to not be in control. She hated to be inconvenienced, and this elevator was doing all of those things at once.
The world seemed to expand and contract in rapid succession, like a paper bag being hyperventilated into or the walls after a strong dose of LSD. She thought this might be the end, that she would never see anyone again. She knew that was outrageous in her mind, but in her heart, her sweaty palms, her throbbing ankle, her bulging eyes that couldn’t seem to rest on anything, she couldn’t feel it. She couldn’t feel anything but death and loneliness. That made her think of her friend Jill Zarin, all the way back at home freezing in New York, shuffling around in her pink house slippers wondering who was going to love her now. That is what Ramona imagined and that is what she didn’t want at all. She pushed the buttons frantically and then she felt the floor sink and the door open, like your eyes after surgery or an airplane door where the tropical sunshine lies just on the other side.