The Real Housewives of New York City
When we start off this episode, everyone is lying. Actually, everyone is lying down: Dorinda and Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Adonis Male Strip Revue Morgans are getting their flanks done at CoolSculpting. You know about CoolSculpting, right? It’s where they literally freeze the fat off of your body. I would like to strap that machine to every single part of my body that is not my penis and go in looking like Jabba the Hutt and coming out looking like Nicole Richie. Can someone set that up for me? Thanks.
Bethenny is lying in bed because she’s five minutes away from death due to her fish allergy. I always thought this allergy was kind of like my “allergy” to mayonnaise, which is what I tell waiters so they really make sure it’s not on my BLT, because I fucking hate mayo. But no, it seems like a real thing, and I will forever stop making fun of Bethenny because of it. Apparently, she was in Boston with her new boyfriend, Paul, and he gave her some miso soup that had some fish stock in it, and if it weren’t for the EpiPen she got in the ambulance she would be dead.
I feel bad for her and all (especially because the only person there to comfort her in person is her housekeeper) but did you see the picture of the boyfriend? He is hot. Bethenny can really pull. I would let him shove anything down my throat that he wants, even if it’s Benadryl to keep me from dying.
The only person who is not lying down is Countess Crackerjacks. She is busy. She is on the move. She is selling statement necklaces and doing cabaret. Speaking of Luann’s merch, the fact that they get all bent out of shape about her faux-religious candles shows that all of these women — much like the stylists who prepared the stars for this year’s Met Gala — have no idea what camp is. She doesn’t really think she’s Jesus; that’s what makes them funny and makes me want to have one on my shelf alongside Vicki Gunvalson’s “Whoop It Up” rhinestone trucker hat and a Real Housewives of New York City mug that I keep all my half-empty poppers bottles in.
What the women are not wrong about is how obnoxious Luann is about her stupid Christmas show. None of the women wanted to go see Luann again, so Ramona arranged a surprise birthday party for Dorinda and Sonja the same night so they’d have a reason to skip. That pisses Luann off. Last episode, all of the women said they would stop by her cabaret and say hi and wish her luck and then go to the other party. It was a compromise. (“Compromises” is also the name of Luann’s favorite rehab facility.)
When everyone shows up, minus Ramona who is checking on her party and Bethenny who is still getting over fish fever, Luann leaves them waiting while she gets ready. Finally, right before they have to leave, all of the women barge into her dressing room to kiss the statement necklace and get out. Luann is supremely bothered by this. She doesn’t want them there at all, because she’s trying to get ready for her big performance and they’re just a nuisance that she has to pay attention to.
Oh, Jesus Christ. She gets her thong sucked up into her asshole because Ramona doesn’t show up, she nearly shits that thong back out because Bethenny doesn’t make it, but then she wants them all to scatter without even a hello? If she didn’t want them there, she shouldn’t have agreed to this compromise in the first place. She’s like, “I had to be on in 10 minutes. That’s showbiz, baby!” Ugh. Know what’s showbiz? Doing the show and then going to the birthday party afterward. Patti LuPone is at Café Americain 20 minutes after the curtain lands. Luann can’t make it uptown in 30 minutes to catch the tail end of the cocktail party and tell them all stories of her supreme cabaret triumph?
The only person who stays at the show is Barbara, who is once again trying to wear her Best Friend of the Year blue ribbon like she wears a floral-print hard hat. As she’s sitting in the audience, her friend asks if Luann is just going to do an entire show in front of a glittering nutcracker with eyes that look like diamonds made from the souls of scared children. Barbara says there will be other acts. “I don’t think she can really hold the show by herself. I mean, she can’t really sing,” Barbara says.
First of all, shouldn’t she know better than to get caught on a hot mic like she did when talking shit about Luann’s marriage to Carole a few seasons back? Second, this is treated like it’s some kind of scandalous admission. Girl, we all know Luann can’t sing. That is one of the truest things in the world, along with everything on the internet being fake and Peeps being the most disgusting candy ever invented. These are truths we hold to be self-evident, and if Luann thinks she is actually a good singer, then that is the silliest trick she has played on herself in a life full of silly tricks.
At the surprise birthday party at Pomona, which I believe is in the space formerly occupied by Beautique, the most shocking thing to Sonja, who knew this party was coming, is that Ramona actually invited Sonja’s friends rather than just all of the entrants in a Barbara Walters Look-Alike contest that Ramona calls her inner circle.
The big fight at this party centers on Tinsley and essentially where her money comes from. Dorinda and Sonja started this earlier in the episode, and they seem to think she’s still with Skott the Koupon King and he’s the one who is funding her lifestyle. When Tinsley says they’re broken up, Dorinda says, “Then you have an arrangement.” Let’s get this straight: Someone like Tinsley Mortimer does not have arrangements. Tinsley has family money. She also has a large divorce settlement from a very rich man and possibly some alimony on top of that. Tinsley also has connections from being a lifelong socialite and friend of rich people. Tinsley makes it work and lives a very grand lifestyle, and for them to question how is pretty gauche. I mean, it’s not like she’s Dorit Kemsley or Marlo Hampton. I want to know how those two are affording $6,000 dresses.
It’s also none of their business. If Tinsley says she and Skott are broken up and she’s spending her own money, why shouldn’t they believe her? Dorinda, seemingly out of the blue, is on some sort of quest to get Tinsley to “be honest” about her life. That is not her job. Also, who says Tinsley isn’t being honest? Why does Dorinda think she knows Tinsley’s situation better than Tinsley herself does?
This spills over to Bethenny’s S’mores and Whores party. Tinsley tries to tell Dorinda not to talk about her and Skott anymore, and Dorinda does not take kindly to that. She says she’ll talk about whatever she likes and would actually respect Tinsley more if she shouted her down. Dorinda wants Tinsley to handle the situation as Dorinda would, by being honest and loudly airing her grievances. Instead, Tinsley is handling the situation like Tinsley. That means she ignores whatever problem there is and just refuses to talk about things. Tinsley is a Wasp. This is how they roll. They push all of their feelings down, and then they go have three more martinis until they’re crying in their expensive beds alone. Please respect her cultural heritage.
The S’mores and Whores party is kind of a bust. Bethenny and Dorinda are the only two who dress to the theme. Neither Sonja nor Ramona is dressed as either a s’more or a whore, or maybe Sonja thinks she’s dressed like a whore but it just looks like everything else she wears. I don’t know. Luann shows up in a hat that looks like the old white lady version of something from What’s Happening, and it makes me want to throw up both a s’more and a whore at the same time.
Everything about this party is kind of off. There’s a nutcracker piñata filled with sex toys, but no one can really break it open so they just have to dismantle it by hand to get to the vibrators. Bethenny arranged for some sexy-Santa male strippers, which is a nice touch, especially because she has them surprise Sonja with a cake. Sonja’s reaction is to open her mouth and flap her gums like she’s trying to keep a Niagra Falls of drool from flooding the entire room.
But the strippers don’t know what to do and just stand there in a weird clearing and and dance shirtless with all the ladies, even though some clearly want more of them than the others. The whole thing culminates when one of the strippers puts Bethenny in a chair, leans over the back of it with his face in her crotch, and lifts her into the air upside down. This is just a bad move. It seems like something that would happen at a Magic Mike show and is supposed to be both sexy and athletic at the same time, but it’s sort of like a roller coaster at a pop-up carnival. You’re not exhilarated by the ride; you’re just so scared for your safety in such a rickety contraption that it spoils all the fun.
Maybe the reason this whole party felt a little wobbly was a conversation Bethenny has with her driver, strangely dressed as Santa, on their way to the party. (Yes, Bethenny confides only in those who work for her.) She tells him that when she was on her way to the hospital with fish fever, she felt her ex-fiancé Dennis trying to pull her to the other side. He was trying to bring her into death, she says. She doesn’t mention the light she saw above the gurney, backlighting Dennis like a bad selfie someone takes against a blazing sunset. She doesn’t mention everyone crowded around him. There was Richard, Dorinda’s ex, a red balloon bobbing just a few feet off the ground. Bambi, Tinsley’s dog, was yapping at their feet. Ramona’s father was there too, cursing someone just out of her view. It took Bethenny a minute to figure out what the old-fashioned sheet ghost was, but then she saw it was an old Morgan tablecloth and knew it was Sonja’s marriage. Five little blobs floated through the air — they were Tinsley’s eggs, finally thawed out and without a host to bring them to the other side.
Everything was in that light, everything from the past, everything old. There were fights in the Berkshires, the happy times with Jason Hoppy, her answering the phone at Zarin fabrics and crying while walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. There she was, trying to be an actress and going out to clubs in Hollywood with Kyle Richards. Bethenny could see it all, all wanting her back, all wanting her to get up out of that ambulance and join them forever, to let them drag her back. But she couldn’t, she says. She decided she needed to stay here. For Bryn, for the other women, most of all for herself, and because she had tickets to Luann’s next cabaret performance. When she decided to stay, she thought the light would flicker them all out, close around them like the door to a spaceship at the end of a Spielberg sci-fi movie. But it didn’t. They followed her just above the ambulance and then back to New York to the S’mores and Whores party. Everywhere. It was that same old awful sunset selfie everywhere she looked. She would just have to try to put a filter on it and make do.