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All of This Season’s RHONY Drama Is Behind the Scenes

Photo: Bravo

It is my firm belief that everything about the Real Housewives eventually turns into the Real Housewives, complete with all the fighting, recriminations, and drama that we usually associate with the series. That means this week I find myself in the center of the storm, facing both an open letter from Eboni K. Williams about a recent recap and ongoing comments from the fans about my continued recapping of RHOBH. So I decided to address these issues head on and make this newsletter as meta as the Curb Your Enthusiasm season about a Seinfeld reunion that never really happened. Yes, the star of this here show is Brian James Ignatius Moylan himself, so get ready for a peek into how your recap sausage is made (and what an impressive recap sausage it is!), including my response to Eboni, an interview with my editor about the RHOBH recap situation, and a profile of the newest paid staff member at the Housewives Institute. But before that: THE NEWS!

Editor’s note: Due to space limitations, some portions of this week’s newsletter were cut from the version that went out to subscribers. They have been restored in this full version.

Mention it All

Not all the news, but all the news you actually care about.

RHONY RUNS RIOT: It seems like all hell has broken loose on RHONY, at least if the tabloids are to be believed. A blockbuster story in the Daily Mail (so, grains of salt as big as the Countess’s statement necklaces) says that the shoot for this season’s reunion has been pushed back to September and that filming for season 14 won’t start until early next year, when it usually picks up in September. This might be due to the show’s sagging ratings, which were just above 750,000 viewers for the last episode, the lowest ever for the series. Just anecdotally, it seems like the show is bleeding viewers like one of the victims in a Saw film, for all of the reasons outlined in Kevin Fallon’s excellent essay in the Daily Beast about quitting the show.

Adding to all the chaos are the conflicting rumors about who will or won’t be back next year. Radar Online, the preferred online news source of Vanderpumps everywhere, posted on Monday that Ramona Singer is about to get fired. The source close to the show reports that Ramona is too expensive because she’s been on the show too long, and also, “The basic premise of the show doesn’t work anymore. A bunch of older white women behaving badly was fun a decade ago but not today. The world has changed and if the show wants to survive another decade it must change too and that starts with the cast.”

I know from my research into the Housewives that Bravo is trying to ax some of the longer-running ladies to get salaries down, but I also know that who will or won’t be in the cast for next season isn’t decided until a few weeks after the reunion. If that is pushed back until September, then we’ll be waiting to hear about Ramona’s fate. The day after the Radar piece, someone in Ramona’s camp (was it Coco, the oldest living dog in New York?) countered with an article in the Mail that said a cast shake-up is coming, but “Ramona isn’t going anywhere.” That seems pretty accurate, especially considering she’s on Real Housewives All Stars on Peacock this fall. Do you think she’ll want to work to promote that, if they just gave her the boot after 13 years?

Now, according to the Mail, the casts are at each other’s throats, with Eboni K. Williams trying to center the show on herself, Luann de Lesseps not wanting to film with Eboni, Leah McSweeney pissed that people think she’s leaking stories about Ramona, and Sonja Morgan totally checked out (or hopefully checked in to rehab). All I can say is, if we got even a fraction of this kind of drama in the actual season, the show wouldn’t be in so much trouble.

THINGS WENT SOUTH: It looks like former Southern Charm star Naomie Olindo is back in good old Charleston only weeks after moving to New York City with her boyfriend, the hunky doctor Metul Shah. She had been in the Big Apple for two months when she ended the relationship. According to essential Instagram account Best of Bravo, she found out he was cheating and retreated back to her hometown to lick her wounds. Damn, we all knew a doctor that hot was too good to be true. Her publicist subsequently confirmed that the split was real and that she would be in the town haunted by the ghost of Thomas Ravenel for the foreseeable future. Maybe a reconciliation with her ex, Craig Conover of the Conover Law Firm, is in the cards? Well, probably not, since it looks like he’s shacking up with his Winter House co-star Paige DeSorbo.

SAD VALLEY RANCH: Since the tabloids are getting all investigative journalists on the Housewives this week, The Sun looks like it used some good old public-records requests to come for Kim Richards. They claim the former RHOBH star owes almost $100,000 in taxes. But at least we found out that she lives “rent free” in a two-bedroom condo in Encino that her sister Kyle bought for her in 2015, the same year she was arrested twice, once for shoplifting at a Target and the other for assaulting a cop at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Maybe this was just to make up for the house that Kim accused Kyle of stealing during their famous limo fight. But considering how Kyle bailed her out, maybe she should at least give her sister her updated phone number?

CHRISTMAS BY ALENE TOO: I’ve always said Bravo should make a Christmas movie starring all of the Real Housewives who have a history of acting, and I’m finally going to get my Christmas wish. Thank you, Santa, or is that just Andy Cohen with a beard and some COVID weight? Kyle Richards is going to star in a Peacock movie called Real Housewives of the North Pole, where she and Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt will play holiday decorators. But will Lisa Rinna play Mrs. Claus? Eileen Davidson as Kyle’s bitchy boss? Adult actor Fredrik Eklund as a high-kicking elf? The possibilities are hotter than cocoa!

WAKANDA FOREV … NO, NEVER MIND: A big Rest in Power to T’Challa Samuels, the African grey parrot and Monique Samuels’s sidekick during season five of RHOP. She announced on Instagram (both hers and T’Challa’s) on July 1 that the bird died in a “freak accident.” What kind of freak accident happens to a bird that lives in your house? Was a ceiling fan involved? Did he drown himself in Monique’s enormous aquarium? Does this have something to do with essential oils? Hey, The Sun, stop messing with Kim Richards’s tax statements and start investigating the news we really need to know.

RICHARDS THE SECOND?: So it looks like Denise Richards might want back on RHOBH. On a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live, Garcelle Beauvais said she’s still in touch with Denise and that “she might want to come back.” Then she added, “Somebody’s gotta go, though,” with the implication that her nemesis Lisa Rinna would have to bow out. Andy Cohen then quipped, “That doesn’t always work when someone says, ‘If you take this one out, well, I’ll come back.’” I mean, how many times must he have heard that song and dance?

Denise seemed to confirm the rumors when replying to a tweet to a fan who says she wants her back. (The tweet was captured by All About the Real Housewives.) She also said, “And for the record, did not demand an ultimatum.” Well, if she’s not asking anyone to go, why the hell are we not bringing her back?

Of course, Brandi Glanville (say her name three times and she shall appear) was all upset about this news. “Funny Denise Richards claims not to have given Bravo an ultimatum with Lisa Rinna,” she wrote on Twitter, tagging all concerned parties. “But she sure did with me! She told Bravo she would not participate in the reunion if I was there. I was cancelled morning of. Bravo paid me double because they felt bad.” Brandi is a lot of things, but she’s not a liar, so I believe all of this to be true.

ERIKA UPDATES: The big news with Erika Jayne’s legal trouble is that a judge ruled on July 8 that clients owed money by her estranged husband Tom Girardi’s law firm, Girardi Keese, can pursue Erika for the money after it was found that the firm transferred $20 million into her businesses. However, a source told “Page Six” that it’s not like Erika has to cough up the money or that the court is saying that she definitely was at fault. “The purpose of this post-judgment discovery device is to determine whether the third party, in fact, has in his or her possession assets of the judgment debtor.” In this case, the judgment debtor is Girardi Keese and Tom Girardi. There is still a whole lot of lawyering to go on in this case, and it looks like Erika has a new set of lawyers to help her out. She filed papers informing the court that her new lawyer is Evan C. Borges, replacing her old attorney, Peter Mastan. You know, the guy who said that their attorney-client relationship was broken and he couldn’t represent her. Yeah, I would have fired that guy, too.

SHE’S A REAL PILL: Speaking of needing good lawyers, it looks like Shannon Beador is going to be putting nine attorneys’ fees in a bowl for a new lawsuit. She’s suing Facebook and Instagram. Who does she think she is? Donald Trump? Shannon claims that at least 15 different accounts on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, are using her image and name to sell diet pills and she has nothing to do with any of these businesses. Shannon lost her weight the old-fashioned way, by eating cream cheese and salmon as the Catholic Jesus intended.

KELLY FIGHTS BACK: Those RHOC ladies are quite litigious! Kelly Dodd got a letter from newly reinstated orange-holder Heather Dubrow’s attorney asking Kelly to apologize for saying that Dubrow’s son gave her COVID. She issued her statement on her Instagram Story. It has been captured several places and is worth a listen because it is a master stroke. Kelly explains that she did say Heather’s son gave her COVID, but she meant it as a joke. She then goes on to offer a “sincere apology” that is so drenched in sarcasm you could drown in it. She explains she was at a New Year’s Eve party with Heather’s son and caught COVID that night, but she has no idea where she really got it from. The mocking tone throughout is amazing, and proves that, though I may not agree with her politically, Kelly is one of the all-time greats. I’m just left with one question: Why is one of Heather Dubrow’s kids partying with a bunch of adults?

A STERN TALKING-TO: We all know that Andy Cohen has his channel on Sirius/XM radio called Radio Andy. (Though it is Bravo-centric, the deal is through Andy, not the channel.) But did you know he’s known at Sirius as “Ambitious Andy”? He’s so ambitious, he’s trying to take over Howard Stern’s slot this summer when the network’s premier star is on his summer vacation. A source tells Radar that Andy’s ratings are a disappointment, and he hopes that since Howard’s show is in reruns from now until September, he could do live episodes on Howard’s channel and bring some of his fans over to Radio Andy. The source says that if one percent of Howard’s audience were to tune into Radio Andy, it would double his ratings. That says that either Howard’s is huge or that Andy’s is really tiny. But, hey, we all know size doesn’t matter.

CAPTAIN LEE, FUTURE EGOT: Congrats to Below Deck for its first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. I would think that the superior Below Deck: Mediterranean might have been nominated instead, but it turns out the Academy is stacked with Kiko fans.

PUTTING THE MAN IN UMANSKY: Former RHOBH and professional bore Teddi Mellencamp threw herself a lavish 40th birthday party in Mexico a couple of weeks back and invited former co-stars Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna. As part of the bash, she had everyone wear one-piece bathing suits that said “Teddi 1981.” If you peep the picture on her Instagram, you can see two dudes also sporting the Borat-like suit: Teddi’s husband Edwin, and Kyle’s husband Mauricio Umansky. This lovable dreamboat looks even better in a one-piece than Emily Simpson and, I don’t know, somehow he even makes a goof like this incredibly sexy.

NO MORE PUMPTINIS: Congratulations to DJ James Kennedy, a.k.a. the White Kanye, on two years of sobriety. No jokes here. That’s sincere.

On Race, Boredom, and the Future of RHONY

Photo: Bravo

After Vulture published my recap of RHONY’s eighth episode, which centered on Eboni K. Williams’s dinner party in Harlem and her confrontation with Ramona Singer about the election, Eboni took the time to write me an open letter criticizing the recap. It is well worth a read, and in the spirit of her thorough and thoughtful examination of my writing, I wanted to give it the thorough and thoughtful consideration it deserves by responding to it in a medium where I have more than the 140 — sorry 280, I’m old — characters that these things sometimes get.

I’ll say that Eboni’s initial statement is absolutely correct. Many fans, myself included, have said that she is making the show about race, but that is entirely incorrect. “In fact, The Real Housewives of New York has always prominently featured race all seasons, every episode.
That race happened to be white,” she writes. “And so my insistence to move the central focus away from whiteness and to have the audacity to center Blackness, feels boring or uncomfortable and even unwatchable for some?”

After reading Eboni’s letter, I realized that I made a fatal mistake, which is to conflate my boredom with that particular episode and this season in general (which many fans consider to be as snoozy as a bottle of Sominex during an art-history lecture) with Eboni’s presence on the show. While the women in attendance might have found Eboni’s talk about figures of the Harlem Renaissance a little dry, I think both they and we as an audience should have cut her more slack. This was the first time that Eboni really tried to educate the women on her own terms. Before she was reacting to comments that Ramona made about “the help” or Luann’s comments about her being “angry.” In both of these instances, she was totally justified in challenging the way they spoke, and I appreciated her for it. Finally someone was standing up to the OG of the franchise on how she treats others around her.

Her dinner party was a different thing, and I think that I wasn’t generous enough with my time. Eboni wrote of the night, “I’m having an absolute blast during my Harlem Night party,” which made me realize that there are plenty of things that the Housewives love doing that we have had to sit through and didn’t even question it. Think about all of Luann’s mediocre cabaret shows we’ve been dragged to, or the number of Ramona’s business launch parties we’ve spent scrolling through Instagram. We have watched these women do some truly tedious things — remember when Sonja tried to make her facialist a thing? — and rarely complained. I think Eboni deserves the same leeway, especially because she’s having fun. Just because the women are telling us that learning is hard and boring doesn’t mean we need to believe them.

In my recap I wrote that maybe the reason we didn’t care so much is that Eboni wasn’t showing us who she is, and, in hindsight, I also think that is unfair. As she points out, she talked to us about her dying grandmother, her relationship falling apart, and her quest to find her father for the first time. I forgot that this reality show, like all others, is a mitigated medium. Eboni’s grandmother’s illness didn’t seem as big because Leah McSweeney’s ailing grandmother took up so much more screen time. Though we heard about her search for her father, we hadn’t seen it yet, which may have something to do with COVID making it difficult, or may have something to do with producers deciding to focus on and tell other stories. Eboni has opened her life up to us, and the fact that it’s not been fully conveyed by the show is not something that should be laid at her feet.

What I have seen of Eboni I enjoy. I love that she’s straightforward and could defeat any opponent in a verbal sparring match. I love that even during the most heated moments she can remain calm and keep the discussion on track. I love that she challenges long-standing cast members whose monstrosity we have become so inured to we don’t even notice it anymore. I love that she is the voice of reason and that her voice is steady and powerful.

What I don’t love is this season, because, through no fault of Eboni’s, it is boring. As a reviewer and recapper of the episode, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that it was slower than a 100-year-old sea turtle after overdosing on THC gummies. However, I did Eboni a disservice by discussing this during an episode that centered on her. The reason that this season is boring has nothing to do with Eboni. I think it’s a combination of the cast being too small — five women isn’t nearly enough, as we learned with this similarly boring season of RHOA — and that, of those five women, three of them have been on the show for more than a decade, and the dynamic between them is too settled. Gone are the days of Luann and Ramona feuding or Sonja standing up for herself. As much as Eboni and Leah are trying to get Ms. Morgan to speak up for herself, she falls into an old pattern with her cohorts.

COVID is also a bit to blame. The women can’t go to parties, fundraisers, or on the extravagant trips that we expect. They’re mostly hanging out in their homes and kept from interacting with a wide variety of people. I wouldn’t even mind a Harry Dubin cameo at this point, I’m so starved for outside voices.

The one issue I will take with Eboni’s letter is that she says we want “tiki torches” and “grown, middle-aged women falling in bushes,” and points out that Leah and Luann are now sober, which might be why things seem dry. Pun fully intended. I don’t think that is what I need. In fact, the drunken antics of Dorinda last season and Sonja this current season are part of what makes the show hard to watch. Some of the show’s best moments — Bethenny and Jill’s fight on the phone, Bethenny and Ramona on the Brooklyn Bridge, “It’s about Tom,” — all happened when the women were (presumably) sober. Jill Zarin is not a drinker at all and always delivered. Same with Margaret Josephs on RHONJ.

It’s clear that something needs to be done to save a flailing franchise, but none of those things should be getting rid of Eboni or making her change. She asks me, sincerely, “What would you have me do?” That’s an excellent question. While I might have made the dinner party a bit more of a game, there is actually nothing I would have Eboni do differently. I want her to stay just as great and true to herself as she rightfully insists on being. What I want is for the show around her to be worthy of her greatness.

Look at RHOBH, which is in the middle of its best season in years. They’ve had some remarkable discussions about race — particularly Garcelle telling Kyle how her comments about not paying at a charity event hit her differently, and Crystal educating Sutton why saying “I don’t see color” is offensive — but it’s in the middle of so much other stuff, so it hasn’t seemed as obtrusive. Over on RHONY, Eboni is the only real change to the cast dynamic and the source of the only real conflict, so it’s tempting to think, “Ugh, it’s only about race now.” This isn’t Eboni’s fault, though, it’s the fault of her castmates who aren’t bringing it, the producers who aren’t getting them to bring it, and stupid fucking COVID for all of this.

For conflating a boring season with Eboni herself, I would like to sincerely apologize, and I am glad that she has made me think about how I critique these shows in a way that I haven’t in a long time. That is why I didn’t really love some of the discourse surrounding Eboni’s open letter and my recap. Some people on social media said I wrote a “hit piece” about Eboni. Someone also said, “I am living for this feud between Eboni and Brian.” Never did I intend for it to be a “hit piece.” I mention many times in that recap, and in the recaps all season, that I like Eboni and what she brings to the show. Just because we’re having a dialogue about a difficult subject doesn’t mean we’re feuding. She even said in her letter that she appreciates my “feedback and perspective.” If we can’t discuss these things without understanding and nuance, without the easy swipes and broadsides that are so easy and anonymous on social media, then there is no hope of moving forward for any of us. I often think about what Leva Bonaparte said on Southern Charm, that she doesn’t believe in cancellation because it leaves no room for growth. I would just like everyone to think about that before they post, and maybe take the time to be as thoughtful and nuanced in their criticism as Eboni.

Eboni writes, “To honor this audience, I show up as my most full, authentic self who insists upon bringing all of who I am to everything I do, including being a Real Housewife of New York,” and I am honestly grateful for that. In taking the time to write her letter, Eboni continues to be the great and classy Housewife that I always knew she was. Now let’s hope everyone around her can do their jobs as well as she does, so that she gets the show she truly deserves.

The Making of a Pretty Mess

Photo: Bravo

Since this week we’re making it all about me, I thought I would also address the issues that some readers and commenters have with the fact that I’m recapping this season of RHOBH after writing Erika Jayne’s memoir, Pretty Mess. I figured it would be best to go right to the source, Vulture’s recaps editor Genevieve Koski, and ask her what she thought of the situation, why she agreed to let me continue doing the recaps, and just what she loves about me. Below is a conversation we had over email, because Genevieve lives in Michigan and, for legal reasons too complicated for me to get into, I am still not allowed to place telephone calls into the state of Michigan.

What discussion was there before this season about whether or not I would do the recaps for RHOBH
It was less a discussion of whether you’d do the recaps than precisely how we’d navigate the Erika of it all this time around. I think everyone reading this is aware that you’re something of an institution when it comes to Vulture’s Housewives recaps, and you’ve been recapping RHOBH in particular for the last six seasons/years (yes, you’re old). So it didn’t make sense to me to interrupt that run over a perceived conflict of interest that you have disclosed repeatedly over the previous three seasons of this show.

There has been criticism in the comments section of me writing the RHOBH recaps ever since I wrote Erika’s book. Do you think the criticism has been more fair or more valid this season?  
I don’t know about fair — everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and I’m not here to tell people theirs aren’t valid — but the criticism has been interesting to consider in terms of reader expectations for recaps. One thing I’ve learned over my three-ish years of editing them is that there is no set standard for recaps as a form; the approach can vary wildly from show to show, from genre to genre, and from writer to writer. And I love that! I’m of the opinion that the best recaps are the ones that are a specific and singular reflection of both the show and the recapper, and your Housewives tenure epitomizes that combination; these recaps are not meant to be a bloodless recitation of the chronological events of the episode, they’re specifically Brian Moylan’s thoughts, as inspired by the episode, not to mention years and years and years and years (yes, you’re old) of Housewives expertise. Yes, you have a friendly connection to one of the personalities on this show, and that will naturally affect how you process her story line, and some readers will disagree with your read on events — but recaps are always just one person’s individual read on events, influenced by any multitude of individual factors. Are those individual factors a little messier than usual in this particular case? Certainly, but what seasoned Housewives fan can’t handle a little mess?

Do you think there is or should be objectivity in reality-TV-show recapping? 
Absolutely not. In your role as a recapper, you are not expected to report on or explain Erika’s legal troubles as they occur offscreen — we have other writers who can do that — you’re expected to provide analysis (and jokes! Always jokes!) and promote discussion about what happened on an individual episode of television. The recaps section is a fan-first space, which isn’t to say there’s no room for criticism there (we’ve run plenty of recaps that prove otherwise), but rather that they are operating from the default position of “I am invested in this show and I want to discuss its successes and failures with like-minded individuals.” Witness how quickly anyone who dares to leave a “why would anyone watch this trash” comment on a Housewives recap gets downvoted into oblivion; TV recaps are like a clubhouse, and the only membership requirement is a baseline respect for the show’s existence and the notion that it’s worthy of serious, or at least semi-serious, discussion. That discussion can and should include disagreement, which is why I ultimately don’t mind the debate over your RHOBH recaps this season; it’s a fascinating meta-layer in the ongoing conversation between the franchise and its fans. For all your behind-the-scenes knowledge and personal interactions with various Housewives over the years in other contexts, when you’re writing a recap, you’re doing so from the stance of a fan, not an investigative reporter or a television critic — or even an erstwhile ghostwriter for a reality-TV personality.

The Housewives recaps get more comments than a lot of the other recaps do. Why do you think that is? 
Besides how much everyone loves you unconditionally and wants to talk about it? Probably because of that aforementioned messiness. Somewhat contrary to everything I just said in the previous response — see? messy! — being a Housewives fan is, let’s say, complicated, and being a fan with zero reservations about the franchise and its cast is basically impossible. I think Housewives recaps provide a space for commenters to work through the many contradictions inherent in supporting a franchise that’s frequently defined by gross displays of wealth and privilege, questionable political and social opinions, substance and emotional abuse, and bad behavior that sometimes tips into illegality. I don’t expect you as recapper to be the Last Word on any of that. I view you more as a master of ceremonies overseeing a vibrant commenter community working through those contradictions together; the comments are an extension of the recaps themselves.

How have you “kept me honest” as my editor so far throughout the season? 
Here is where I must confess my dirty secret, which is that I have not personally kept up with any Housewives series in years; I tuned out long before Erika even joined the cast. (This is the case with a lot of shows we recap, even most — I am but one humble TV editor and there are literally infinity TV shows to keep track of, personal viewing sacrifices must be made.) This means I am not watching these episodes to cross-check the details of your recap, that is both logistically impossible and contrary to everything I said above, re: the primacy of the recapper’s individual opinion. We’ve had a couple of check-in conversations about this season and Erika in particular — mainly confirming that you’re tracking her story line and continuing to be up front about your connection to her — but big-picture-wise, I’ve placed my trust in you and your personal integrity to chart the best course here. I know that you know I am Aware Of The Situation, as are our commenters, and I’m confident that you are both savvy and responsible enough not to write anything that would jeopardize our trust.

Do you have any personal feelings about the Erika Jayne situation that you would like to share?
Without getting too speculative about a situation of which I have only superficial knowledge, I’ll just say that there appear to be layers of culpability and manipulation at play, and that it’s possible for someone to take advantage of others while also being taken advantage of themselves. The temptation to slot people into simple roles of “villain” or “victim” is strong, especially in TV storytelling, and I hope both the show and its viewers (not to mention Erika herself) are able to parse that nuance. If Cruella can do it, why not RHOBH?

How do you think the RHOBH recaps have been this year? 
If I had to describe them in three words, I’d say “complex,” “refined,” and “full-bodied.”

What are your three favorite things about Brian Moylan? (Do not feel like you need to limit your response to only three things, but three is a good minimum.) 
If I had to describe him in three words, I’d say “complex,” “refined,” and “full-bodied.”

Housewives Institute Staff Meet-and-Greet

Photo: Screenshot via Twitter

Though it may seem like it from the outside, the Housewives Institute is not a one-man operation. There are countless dozens of other employees and volunteers that make up this incredibly imaginary institution. Our newest hire is Shamira Ibrahim, who is tackling this season of RHOP. I thought it would be a good idea to get to know a little bit more about the hilarious and adept writer tasked with dissecting our favorite ladies from Maryland.

Name: Shamira Ibrahim

Hometown: Harlem, New York

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Mango Sorbet (if it’s not cheese-related, I avoid dairy)

Favorite Real Housewives City
Despite the lull of the current season, New York City will always reign supreme. Where else will you see rich 50-plus women from the Upper East Side black out from alcohol, sneak in one-night stands, and scream at each other at the top of their lungs, only to get breakfast the next day like nothing happened? The SATC reboot can only pray to capture that kind of magic.

Favorite Real Housewife, past, present, or future
Camille Grammer, Sonja Morgan, and Luann de Lesseps are my top for entirely different reasons. Camille because her commitment to chaos is just a delight. Sonja because it’s truly fascinating to watch her vacillate back and forth between Grey Gardens and Some Like It Hot in real time. (Who else could talk about allegedly partying with “John-John” and sniff her panties in the same breath?) And Luann’s story is just one of the most unreal falls from grace and recovery in reality history: from demanding to have doors opened for her and being called Countess to an arrest video that is indelibly etched in Bravo history.

What is your Housewives tagline?
Who’s that peeking in my window? Nobody, ’cause I live in a penthouse.

If you were forced to be cast on a Bravo show, which one would you want to be on?
I definitely would love to be cussed out by Patti Stanger on Millionaire Matchmaker, but out of what’s currently on? I would love to be a friend of the show on Married to Medicine. Get in, agitate Dr. Heavenly enough that drama starts, and slip right on out.

You are doing Plead the Fifth with Andy Cohen. What are the three hardest questions he could ask you?

What is the most ridiculous order you’ve ever put in on Uber Eats? (Things get really dark in my order history after midnight.)

Which celebrity’s DMs would you shamelessly slide into? (The answer is, of course Serge Ibaka and Yahya Abdul-Mateen.)

Name an album or song that you enjoy as a guilty pleasure. (Dumblonde’s debut album.)

Which Housewife do you think had or is having the best freshman season: Crystal Kung Minkoff, Tiffany Moon, Drew Sidora, or Eboni K. Williams?
Crystal, definitely. Establishing herself as a polarizing cast member who doesn’t back down from her (justified) positions is a great way to get traction. She’s a bit of a mean girl but the best Bravo stars have a bit of a bitchy mean streak in them! “Are you that girl” is already formally in Bravo GIF lore.

How many years do you think Jen Shah will spend in jail?
It depends on whether she takes the Felicity Huffman or Lori Loughlin approach. Is she going to start singing early, or when the deck is so stacked that she has no option but to plead out? The former, I think, will get her one-to-two years, the latter three-to-five in Club Fed.

#TeamMonique, #TeamCandiace, or #TeamYouAreAllWrong?
#TeamMonique, with the caveat that sometimes you just have to know who will respond to your escalation with a lawsuit.

What do you think is the “freak accident” that killed T’Challa Samuels?
I am willing to bet he ended on the wrong side of an essential-oil debacle. T’Challa was probably living his best life and landed face first in peppermint oil, poor thing. I will still check out Mila Eve products for my diffuser though!

Recap Highlights

Real Housewives of New York City, Season 13, Episode 9: The worst of all, though, are the masks the women wear when they finally get to Salem. I’m not even sure what this is. It looks like a macaroni necklace that a 6-year-old made at camp, but instead of dried penne, they used plastic sheeting, cotton balls, and twine. Yeah, I get it, we want to see the women’s faces, but also, um, can’t we just wear regular masks? There are plain ones, cute ones, funny ones, campy ones, ones with dicks printed on them. I would rather see that than a clear one that makes Ramona Singer look like she’s trapped inside a submarine.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 11, Episode 8: Let us also speak of Kathy Hilton’s Scooby-Doo bag of tricks that has carpet samples, flats for a pedicure, drying mist, a potion that cures L.A. traffic, a luxury Port-a-John should she need to use the facilities while at The Ivy, one of Kim Richards’s children’s diplomas, a recipe for coq au vin that she got from Valerie Bertinelli last time she was over her house for dinner, and the last known whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige. She goes over to Kyle’s to talk about Kim because the three sisters can’t all get along at the same time. If they did, it would be like Mercury going into retrograde during Scorpio season and the sun would leak out of the sky and the horizon would look exactly like Dorit’s oversize tie-dye jumpsuit.

Real Housewives of Potomac, Season 6, Episode 1: Mia enters the scene as an interesting counterbalance to the rest of the cast: She is as fair as the green-eyed bandits, a successful entrepreneur, married to an older man with a wider age difference than Ashley and Karen’s partnerships, and open about the nips and tucks the rest of the cast (except for Karen) likes to pretend they don’t take. She is about as accurate in telling her age as Phaedra was in disclosing the timeline of her first pregnancy, but what’s a little white lie between co-workers? We’ve been pretending that Robyn offers value to the series for at least two seasons, after all.

Real Housewives of New York City, Season 13, Episode 10: Eboni has something else to talk about at dinner, but before she can even open up about it, Leah and her amazing hoop earrings that look like strands of anal beads trying to eat their own tails start sobbing at the table. It was almost painful to watch, not only because Leah’s sadness was stealing Eboni’s moment, but also the strain on Leah’s face as she tried to sob through the Botox was all I could think about. I swear this is what causes hemorrhoids.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 11, Episode 9: But mostly, this week, the rich women got COVID. Kyle, Dorit, and Kathy Hilton all came down with the coronavirus, and so the entire cast (and I assume crew) had to self-isolate for 14 days until they could all be cleared. This also meant that Kyle’s family hightailed it to the desert, and Dorit had to stay away from her kids and was probably glad to escape the greasy spring-roll fingers of her husband PK, a Kangol hat someone fished out of a porta-potty. I’m sure Kathy took up residence in an entire Hilton while the rest of her family just carried on like nothing happened. The rich get COVID different, and other than the symptoms, it seems like a bit of a holiday.

Fashion Highlight of the Week

Graphic: Bravo

What stylist gay told Candiance that anything about this look — the nude illusion, the puffy velvet sleeves, the mismatched nail-polish color, the red eye shadow with a line of Wite-Out through the center — was okay?

Dean’s List for Best Vulture Comment of the Week

Highlighting the best comment of the week for our lovely Institute members. This one is from this week’s RHOBH recap:

TheGhostOfAleneToo: Who would have thought that the 2nd most overwrought performance this week would be Kyle’s Little House on the Prairie episode from six faces ago?

I SaidWhat I Said

“She’s obsessed with my coochie because we all know the ding-dong at her house is broken.” — Gizelle “Word on The Street Is You Got a Hot Box” Bryant about Karen Huger

All of This Season’s RHONY Drama Is Behind the Scenes