The first part of this reunion was very strange. The whole first ten minutes seemed like they were totally wasted. We didn’t get as much “behind the scenes” with the women getting ready as we have gotten used to in the last few seasons. Instead, we got like a whole first act full of platitudes and small talk, where Andy asked about everyone’s real estate deals, haircuts, and vegan ex-boyfriends. It took until after the first commercial break before the action really got started and then it was both better and worse than what a typical reunion is.
But before we can talk about what actually happened — well, nothing happens happens, which is why I hate writing about the reunion specials so much — we need to talk about the most important thing about any reunion: what everyone is wearing. I will say, this is the most cohesive I’ve ever seen a group of women look, except for every Atlanta reunion when the women just look like a grab bag of salt water taffy that you pick up in Myrtle Beach for the neighbor boy who saved your mail. The theme was obviously white, black, and gold and everyone very much stuck to the very simple fashion brief.
There was a last-minute couch swap because Ramona has a huge bruise on one side of her face and didn’t want to be filmed from the side with the bruise. Okay, I get it. But are we not going to talk about how or why Ramona has a giant bruise on her face? Is her name Luka? Does she live on the second floor? Anyway, the Ramona couch was definitely the one that was even more consistent with its outfits. Ramona looked like an ideal version of herself, in a long gold sequin dress, very minimal hair and makeup, and just a smattering of cleavage. Do not forget that Ramona is upwards of 60. She is older than Madonna who now looks like an extra from the next Avatar movie.
Also on the couch was Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Bump-It Morgans. She looked like she ordered a Slutty Grecian Goddess costume off of Amazon, took it out of the package, and then stumbled onto the reunion couch. The gold leaf appliqué on the white dress was actually quite nice, and it turns out it’s from her own collection and it can be yours for the low low cost of $179 or four low payments of … oh please, like anyone watching this has an occasion to wear that dress. Bethenny also looked amazing, like a toddler dressed up as a princess, in a low-cut dress that was all tulle skirt covered in silver and gold stars. Her hair and makeup, as they have been ever since she got money, were flawless.
On the opposite couch, Tinsley was basically wearing the X-ray version of Bethenny’s dress. A black gown with a huge skirt and covered in silver and gold circles. It was very Tinz. She was seated next to Dorinda who was wearing Jovani (Jovani!) covered in dipping gold chains. Is she a good dominatrix or a bad dominatrix? Possibly a good one because she was wearing white. However her hair is like a deep-tissue massage, both too long and too short at the same time.
Finally on that couch was Carole, whose fashion is usually very divisive. I know that she has worn some especially, how can I say this delicately, “fashion forward” ensembles this season, but this reunion dress is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Not only is it flattering on her, it’s not something that anyone else could pull off. It’s like a ‘70s disco diva meets Erté art deco goddess. It’s all shimmery blacks and greens in different vertical configurations so she looks like a waterfall made out of the kind of crystals rich ladies buy on Goop. It’s an all-time winner.
The very odd thing about this reunion was that it was basically a verbal dog-pile on Bethenny. The women were freaking out on her about everything from saying Sonja has fake businesses to only making up with Jill Zarin because the cameras were there to film it. They all yelled at her again about Dorinda’s nutcracker. They yelled at her about labeling people as being a “drunk.” The only one who has her back at all is Sonja, who is just sitting next to her muttering like a Tamagotchi that got stuck in the couch cushions and needs to be fed, and whose battery would die at any moment.
What’s weird about everyone attacking one person is that it mirrors the dynamics that we’ve seen on other shows in the franchise, where one of the original members of the cast becomes so toxic that no one wants to deal with her anymore. Usually what happens just afterwards is that the show hits a breaking point.
Bethenny is smarter, savvier, and richer, but she’s basically become the Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr. of New York. Think about the “Brooks years” and the several years of aftermath. All that ever happened on the reunion was that the women would attack Vicki and her relationship (or after she dumped him, how she handled the relationship). Vicki would fire back with her own accusations of the women treating her poorly. It just revolves around and around like a whirlpool made out of the blue fluid you suck out of a port-a-potty. The same thing happened with Danielle Staub in New Jersey, with Phaedra Parks in Atlanta, and, if they’re not careful, will happen to Lisa Vanderpump in Beverly Hills.
With Vicki, the producers obviously decided to keep her but made everyone make up, and this year they’re ostensibly getting along. In New Jersey Danielle was shown the door in order to save the show. Those are the only two options when things get this bad. Since we all know that Carole has been fired after this season, it seems like the producers are keeping Bethenny. I think that decision probably isn’t good for the health of the show in the long run.
What does next season look like? If they’re all this mad at Bethenny when filming starts again, why would any of them want to hang out with her? Why would they invite her to any events after she flat out told Ramona she doesn’t believe that her businesses are real, and told Dorinda that she has a drinking problem (even though she wouldn’t use the actual words).
The conflict between Bethenny and Ramona was especially telling. When Ramona told Bethenny that she was hurt that Bethenny didn’t support her businesses, Bethenny rebutted with the fact that they weren’t real businesses, totally forgetting the fact that Ramona is, whether we like it or not, just as self-made as Bethenny. Though Bethenny thinks she’s better, their business acumen is probably similar. Licensing out the Skinny Girl name to make deli meats is the same thing as Ramona getting someone else to formulate her skin-care line. The only difference is Bethenny’s estimation of herself.
What is really at the cause of this, though, is that these women have been treating each other like shit for a decade. Bethenny reminds us of the Brooklyn Bridge incident all those years ago and Ramona hectoring her in the Berkshires more recently. But Bethenny has been just as awful to Ramona for just as long. This is not about one fight. This is not about one issue. These are two people who fundamentally do not like each other and are incapable of treating other human beings as equals. These are two women who do not at all like each other but are stuck together in a devil’s bargain for as long as both of them are on the show.
What about the accusations that all of the women are leveling against Bethenny of only doing things for the cameras? Those are impossible for us to litigate because we only see her when the cameras are on. Do I believe that Bethenny wanted to make up with Jill for the show? Maybe. I can see why Jill would want to make up for the show way more than Bethenny would. What does Bethenny have to gain by forgiving Jill and making friends with her? It seems like most of the healing happened off-camera. What can we believe? The events that occur off camera are none of our business and aren’t of our concern, honestly. If the women want to come for Bethenny, come for all of her bad behavior that we actually see.
While I will be the last person to defend Bethenny, someone really should have had her back in her fight with Dorinda. Should Bethenny be calling her a drunk? Probably not. But all of those women have been the victim of one of Dorinda’s more angry periods of inebriation and someone other than Bethenny should have spoken out and said, “Um, girl, you might not be an alcoholic, but I don’t like you when you’re wasted and you need to knock it off.” But no one would do that. They’re all busy trying to oust an original and, if history shows us anything, they’re all going to fail.