It’s a sad state of affairs when the Real Housewives of New York City need to be commended for not showing up in blackface this Halloween. Still, there are a few costume faux pas this year. Bethenny shows up dressed like an all-white She-Ra and looking amazing, but never wear an enormous set of wings to a Halloween party. You are not Drew Barrymore in Ever After and all you’re going to do the entire night is take people’s eyes out with your feathers. Save that shit for Burning Man. And both Tinsley and Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Halloween Adventure Morgans show up to a hospital-themed Halloween party dressed as sexy nurses. This shows the sort of disastrous lack of imagination that would lead someone to have a Great Gatsby-themed wedding at the Rainbow Room like Dorit Kemsley did. So, yes, no one was perfect this year, but at least no one managed to be racially offensive.
Though who knows, maybe Ramona was dressed as a character from Song of the South — we’ll never know, because she didn’t show up to the party. Most of the fights this episode are about who showed up and who didn’t, who stayed long enough and who bailed, and who may or may not have been invited. As an episode of Housewives, it’s about as original as showing up to a Halloween party dressed as a sexy nurse.
Luann gets mad at Bethenny because she left before Luann’s performance. Bethenny told Luann she had to leave at 11, but Luann doesn’t take the stage until after 11:30, so Bethenny goes home. All of the other women are upset because Lu never comes downstairs to say hi to them at the party. She’s too busy up in her hotel suite going over the two songs that she has been singing for the better part of a decade while dressed as a football linebacker reimagined for a new Mad Max cartoon on the Disney+ streaming service. (Disney owns everything now, right?)
When she finds out that Bethenny left, Luann is skeptical. Why would Bethenny need to get home to be with her daughter at 11pm on a Tuesday? To watch her sleep? Bethenny claims that it’s to relieve her babysitter, but it’s also a Tuesday night. Bethenny probably has to get up at 6 to get that girl ready for school. Who can be waiting for Lu’s diva ass all night? Also, as Sonja points out, all of these women are divas. Luann can’t even be bothered to come and say, “Thanks for showing up to this really creepy half-full event on a Tuesday night that none of you really want to be at, well, except for John who will show up to literally anything if he gets to wear a costume.”
Luann’s dig at Bethenny comes up at dinner a few nights later and the women set up what seems like it’s going to be the storyline for the rest of the season: Luann is awful and selfish and can’t be bothered with any of them. This is not news. This is sort of like looking at a melting glacier falling into the sea and saying, “Really? Global warming? No one warned me!” Bethenny says that Countess Crackerjacks has issued three digs at her and by the time she gets to five Bethenny is really going to get angry. Then she says, “Well, I’ll be there for the next intervention,” which is a dig of her own. Maybe that cancels out one of Luann’s and now they’re only at two again? Who can keep track. (Bethenny, the accountant of petty slights on her insult abacus, that’s who.)
We finally get to see Dorinda’s new apartment in Sutton Place this episode and, well, it sort of looks like three dentist’s office waiting rooms hovering around one giant marble island in the kitchen. Dorinda surely has a lot of money and pretty good taste, why can’t she find a more fitting apartment than this one? Maybe I should shut up and let her decorate it first. I love Blue Stone Manor. Can’t she just retire there and drag the women up twice a year so that their howls can get sucked up the flue into the crisp autumn air and spoil the crops of the Berkshires for the next three decades?
Continuing the theme of invites, no shows, and snubs, Ramona is holding a last-minute charity function with this women named Bridie who runs a charity called NY Loves Kids which helps children who have been sexually abused. This is a great cause, a noble cause. No one can fight about this cause. Oh, but wait.
Things start to go hinky at the planning committee meeting when Ramona keeps introducing the woman who runs the charity as Birdie rather than Bridie. I get it, because Birdie is almost a real name and Bridie is something you would probably only see in Swarovski crystals on the back of a white hoodie during a bachelorette party in Nashville. Ramona has invited Dorinda and Sonja to serve on the host committee for this particular party along with two of her friends, Andrea, a dedicated Joan Van Ark cosplayer, and Carolyn, her new “young” friend.
Well, we only hear that Carolyn is young because nothing can be heard over her enormous Carmen Sandiego hat. Carolyn says nothing, and every time the camera frames her she’s hiding behind a chapeau that is bigger than a photo a real estate tycoon puts on one of his buildings to taunt his ex-wife. I thought, Oh maybe this is a fluke. But then, at the actual event when Ramona calls up the host committee for a speech, Carolyn is there again in a designer bucket hat that makes her look like Dumb Donald from Fat Albert. We can’t see her face again at all.
It’s the weirdest thing. In 20 years’ time some investigator is going to try to track down Carolyn but they’ll only find her in these pictures where her face is totally covered. Is she an alien? Is she a time traveler? Is she hiding out from the police? Did she crack the DaVinci Code? I have no idea. Why does she need so much secrecy? And if she didn’t want her face or voice on TV, why hide behind a bunch of giant hats? Why not, you know, just not be on camera?
The party seems like a bit of a wash, but I only say that because Harry Dubin, a Stubbs and Wootton slipper with a cigar ash burn on the top of it, shows up, and because all of the silent auction items appear to be items from the Real Housewives’ various and assorted business ventures. Also it’s at Cognac in Midtown. They might have well just thrown the party in the lounge at a Holiday Inn Express.
While at the party, Luann brings up that all of the women are going to her house upstate next week and Ramona reminds them all that it’s a good opportunity to celebrate her birthday. Oh, speaking of which, she’s having a birthday party. Oh, never mind, none of them are invited. We even see footage of Lucia, the friend who is hosting this party, asking if she can invite Sonja and Ramona saying no. Why even bring up this party if none of the women are invited? And why try to keep Sonja out of it? This whole party thing confused me, but there is no understanding Ramona Singer, a creature as unknowable as the faint scent of cheap perfume that a ghost leaves behind after she wafts through your sitting room.
I will always love Ramona for her dedication to the reality television arts and sciences, but her heart doesn’t seem in it this year. She keeps skipping events or leaving early to go meet guys. She’s having a birthday party and not inviting any of the other women. Wasn’t it just a few years ago she had this huge birthday luncheon and the whole cast was there and she said this was some annual event? I get it, she wants a man more badly than Tinsley wants to be free of the curse a gypsy placed on her womb, but she also has to pay attention to her job, and most of her job is just showing up.
The episode ends with Ramona trying to give a speech at her charity fundraiser, which goes over about as well as shouting, “You’re the bomb” at an Ariana Grande concert. Sonja first interjects to tell Ramona that once again she called Bridie Birdie, then Dorinda interjects to tell Ramona that kids are abused by friends and family members, then Dorinda interrupts Bridie to tell her something, and then she and Ramona have a little sidebar fight while Bridie is still talking. It’s just horrible. Could you imagine just being in that room watching it happen? I think that these women have spent too much time filming the reunions and the only way they know how to communicate anymore is just shouting over each other and having their mean little asides as someone else drones on about something that is probably much more important. They’re no longer fit to live among us. They’re another species now.
As all this was going on, a red head was standing at the back of the crowd gathered in Cognac, and she wanted to pipe in too. She wanted to tell all of them that they should listen to her, that she had been silenced too long, that she had something important to say if only anyone would listen to her. But Jill Zarin knew that wouldn’t work. Instead she walked over to the silent auction table, slipped the Countess Collection statement necklace into her spangled purse, and walked out into the windy Manhattan evening wondering how far away the Victoria’s Secret fashion show was and what sort of trouble she might kick up there.