The Real Housewives of New York City
We all know that a Milkshake Duck is something fun the internet finds that then turns out to be awful, and that a Rusty Trombone is a guy who gets jobs both rim and hand at the same time. I would like to introduce you now to the Mermaid Photoshoot. A Mermaid Photoshoot is something that is meant to be a lark but entails so much work it’s not even worth the commensurate enjoyment.
It is so named because of the mermaid photoshoot that happens at Ramona’s Hamptons manse, Hot Flash Manor. Dorinda, now trying to promote a lifestyle of sober reflection, decides that instead of just eating or drinking all the time, a group of middle-aged women should put on a bunch of mermaid tails and coconut bras like they’re going to a Fire Island drag party. But just look at what happens. They all make the mistake of putting on their fishtails upstairs and then have to drag themselves down Ramona’s Dynasty-style curved staircase to get to the pool. Sonja Tremont Morgan, of the Infinity Pool Morgans, even has to drag her ass down every stair like a shih tzu trying to get rid of a dingleberry.
Ramona has just as much trouble and backs all the way down the stairs, while Sonja, Dorinda, and Tinsley are all splashing on the side of the pool like something foul that washed up at one of Lisa Vanderpump’s parties. Yes, Dorinda went to all of this effort to promote some fun, but all the women get is a few lousy pictures for their Instagram stories that probably didn’t come out all that well because it seemed like a rainstorm was going to come at any given moment. At least we can take the consolation that Ramona’s pool is heated. You know that Ramona Singer has a heated pool. I can just hear her saying in my head, “I like swimming but I don’t like, you know, water.”
Speaking of Ramona, this episode brings us even more evidence of her awful flirting. While she, Tinz, and Dorinda are at Topping Rose having dinner, she decides she’s going to go into the bar to see if there are any available men. She ends up flirting with four dudes only to find out that they’re all gayer than an all–Grace Jones Barry’s Bootcamp class. This is the second time in two weeks we’ve seen her try to bark up the wrong metaphorical tree. For a lifelong resident of New York City you would think that her gaydar would be better than this. I think maybe she took the batteries out of her gaydar, put them in a vibrator a friend of hers gave her as a gag gift, used it once, got skeeved out, and threw it down the trash chute of her Upper East Side apartment because it made her feel icky.
We also get to see Ramona flirting with Michael, her super hot tennis pro whose Instagram I could not find but if someone would please send it to me I will give them a free tennis lesson. (Taught by me, not the hot tennis pro.) Before he arrives, she tells the women she met him and he was so cute but she didn’t want to date him so she just hired him to come teach her so she could flirt with him. Ramona is now just hiring athletes to come over to teach her things while she can flirt with the obviousness of a garbage truck running over a 20-piece polka band. Just wait for the winter; Adam Rippon is going to show up to give her skating lessons and come away with a lady hickey.
Poor Michael, he wants no part of Ramona and her shitty backhand, he just wants to play with Tinsley, who it turns out is actually quite an accomplished tennis player. Ramona’s skills are, well, rough. I bet she hasn’t really played since Mario, another tennis pro, got kicked out all of those years ago. I loved when she huffs off making excuses about how she did “Core Fusion” two days in a row and can’t possibly volley anymore, while Tinsley runs around the court like a woman who could still conceivably conceive if her boyfriend asked her to have a baby.
Meanwhile Bethenny takes Barbara K. on a tour of her Hamptons rental property, which she makes $30K a year on by renting it out for only two months. She asks Barbara, who is a contractor in the area, whether she should sell but, come on. She just wanted to manufacture a reason to get the cameras there. The only thing Bethenny loves more than herself is showing off her growing real-estate empire on basic cable. (She loves her daughter more than both of those things for sure, but we’re being catty because this is the Hamptons, after all, and if we aren’t in SoulCycle then we’re being catty.)
I’m making jokes about all of this silly stuff because I really want to avoid the meat of the episode, which is the invitation list for Barbara K.’s stupid clambake. I would rather spend the rest of this column talking about how Sonja mixes up MOFO and FOMO than I would like to talk about how rude it is for Luann and Bethenny to expect Sonja to stay at Ramona’s house all weekend but only go to social events with them and leave the rest of her friends at home.
The bifurcation of the group while in the same small beach community after Labor Day is completely ridiculous. As Dorinda pointed out, Luann, Bethenny, Barbara K. (aka The Brunettes), and Sonja were having dinner directly across the street from Dorinda, Ramona, and Tinsley (a.k.a. The Blondes). Why weren’t they having dinner all together? Is it because the producers knew they’d get more footage this way? Is it because this season has absolutely nothing? I mean, we’re already two episodes in and we haven’t even gotten to this fucking clambake already. It’s going to take us three episodes before anyone even eats a saltwater crustacean and I just want to make out with Ramona’s Athletic Squad and then die in a ditch in Sag Harbor. Stop stretching it out already.
The big fight seems to be between Dorinda and Luann; however there is also a skirmish building between Luann and Ramona because Luann says that Ramona made up some stories about her. I think that they’re all wrong and all behaving like a bunch of schoolchildren fighting after the last pack of sour apple Now and Laters.
I will say that I do have more sympathy for Luann. Sobriety is not easy and I think it is right for people like Barbara and Bethenny to worry about Luann’s sobriety. Does that mean they should be rude to other people? No, but I get the impulse. What I find really distasteful is Ramona and Dorinda sitting around judging how Luann handles her sobriety. They think she didn’t go to rehab long enough, they think she shouldn’t be doing cabaret shows, they think she just needs to get over all of her triggers.
Sadly, addiction isn’t cured like a bout of eczema, where it’s the same for every person. Recovery is individual and takes all sorts of different forms. Some people go to meetings every day, some never go to meetings. Some people needs to go to rehab eight times, some need to go for only 14 days. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. All that matters is that she’s doing it and I feel like even enemies of hers should support the hard work she’s doing. The two of them sitting around being Statler and Waldorf about Luann’s sobriety is not a good look, sort of like picking on someone who has cancer. (I’ve told Giuliana Rancic a million times that I’m sorry and I didn’t know.)
That said, Luann should know better than to be thinking that she is going to be the one to give Dorinda an intervention. Last year, when Luann warned Dorinda at dinner that she was getting out of hand, I felt like Dorinda was projecting onto Luann that she wanted to get everyone sober. Now she literally tells Barbara they need to intervene with Dorinda. The only thing worse than someone who is critical of sobriety is an AA proselytizer. Let’s just let everyone do their own work and butt out of it, shall we?
Instead what we’re getting is a procedural battle, like something that would happen on the floor of Congress. Luann thinks that Dorinda should call her and apologize before they can see each other. Dorinda thinks that Luann is the one that should apologize. When Dorinda hears about this, she calls up Barbara K. and shouts about how she’s not mad at all and didn’t want to be invited to the stupid clambake in the first place. Yeah, shouting into the phone sure is a way to prove she’s not upset.
Everyone just looks like a fool and the only thing I want to support is Sonja’s brand new extra-long ponytail, which I hope will jump off her head and devour the silver lamé muumuu Bethenny bought from the Mahogany costume sale and wore to Barbara’s house while everyone else was wearing denim and sweaters. This is the worst kind of Housewives fight, one with less substance than a children’s-theater retelling of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, except they’re all both the pigs and the wolf at the same time.
As all of Barbara’s guests arrived at the clambake on the worst September weekend that Long Island had ever experienced, as the fake gingham tablecloths billowed under ears of corn on the cob snapped in half, a blonde woman thought about entering. She thought she could so easily just pick up a lobster claw, suck the meat right out of it, throw its brittle carcass in the pool, and then cuss out all of her old friends. But for what? For this? For this air biscuit of a fight laid by a troll with indigestion? Aviva Drescher decided that the time was not now. Something better had to be coming along … and soon.