The Real Housewives of New York City
I always like to say that the Real Housewives of New York City is not a reality show but a ghost story, because every one of these women is haunted. But after this episode I’m beginning to think that we have actually pierced the veil and the other side is coming through like Dorinda’s ex-husband Richard floating across the living room in a red balloon. First of all, we’ve been saddled all season with Elyse, the librarian in the opening of Ghostbusters before she goes all ectoplasmic.
Then, when the women are raging at dinner in Newport we see several people in the background fleeing for cover, including one society woman who looks like Alicia Florrick’s mother-in-law from The Good Wife. The camera cuts to a coiffed blond man standing at the bar in a black suit with a chunky white sweater tied around his neck. He is simultaneously clutching his non-existent pearls and taking a sip from a martini glass as his pinkie ring reflects a little glint of light at the ladies. This is clearly the ghost of Cole Porter and he is back to pass judgement on what this world has become. “It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de…oh forget it. Get me out of here and let me go back to my grave.” At least Dorinda leaves the dinner to go home and watch Ghost Hunters. Maybe she’ll know how to fight all of these spirits.
At that dinner, Dorinda is the only one who behaved appropriately, which is weird for her, especially when she gets the dreaded [Unintelligible] as the subtitle for whatever she’s trying to say. But instead of jabbing herself in the palm or sticking around to rage at people, Dorinda knows she’s done and returns home to order room service and sleep it off. Luann also wasn’t so bad, because she tried to calm the women down in the middle of a crowded eatery — but she did hang out for an inordinate amount of time with Ramona at the bar.
Ugh, this means we need to talk about Courtland, a blond hunk of entitlement in a pair of khaki shorts who Ramona starts chatting up at the bar. This fits Ramona’s pattern of stranding the women so that she can try to rustle up some more dates. Tinsley says in a confessional that Ramona is trying to prove to the other girls that she still has it. I think it’s really something else. I think that Ramona is a woman who has always defined herself by her ability to get and keep a man. She is a woman who for a long time, consciously or un-, has used her good looks as currency in the world. Now that she’s single and aging, that has been ripped away from her. She is desperate to acquire another man both so that she can feel like she has some station in the world and to prove to herself that she is deserving of love, something she was denied as a child. Either all of this or she’s just an asshole. Probably the latter.
When Ramona finds out that Courtland is engaged, he says to her, “But this guy,” and points to his friend, an earthworm with a keg caught in his throat, “is totally single.” Ramona says in front of them, “Yeah, but you are the cute one.” Good for Ramona, going for the best of the bunch. If you ask me, this should have ended the interlude at the bar. One of the guys is ineligible, the other is a sandsnake from Beetlejuice in Rhode Island for the weekend. What is the appeal of continuing to talk to them?
Regardless, Ramona, Luann, and Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Princess Leia Gourd Wig Morgans stay at the bar chatting these dudes up while the rest of the party has taken their seats. This annoys Tinsley, who is friends with the owner of the restaurant, to no end, and instead of taking Leah’s sage advice to just order dinner without them and let the trio of cougars dine on the fumes of their own desperation, Tinsley has to go up and squeal at them to sit down with her.
All of this is totally unnecessary. The women don’t need to be there talking to these jerkholes. Tinsley doesn’t need to tell a pack of grown women how they should behave in public when they’re not really doing anything wrong. And most of all, Tinsley doesn’t need to be telling Courtland, an embroidered belt with a chip on his shoulder (Chip is the name of the other dude), that he shouldn’t be talking to women at a bar because he has a fiancé.
Courtland gets even more annoyed when Leah and her sister Sarah, an even hipper Zooey Deschanel, go to the bar to flirt with him so that they’ll ignore the other women and they will sit down. This is a conceited, though excellent, plan that almost works until Sarah again brings up the fiancé and they tell him to let the ladies sit down and he says, “Well, that’s your fucking problem,” and storms off. Now, he is a jerk, but I get his frustration. The women don’t see him as an individual. He is just a prop. He is something for all of them to prove something against. He is a hunk of meat. He is an object. Basically they all treat him like men have been treating women for centuries and after 20 minutes of it he snaps and has to retreat to some undocumented corner of the bar.
Because of all this, Ramona starts behaving abominably even for Ramona. At the bar, she literally turns her back to Tinsley and pretends she doesn’t exist so she can keep doing what she’s doing. When Sarah says Ramona hasn’t even tried to talk to her yet, she shrugs and says, “Whatever.” She pulls a similar stunt at the table, when she says that Sarah is “guilty by association” by being with Leah, she literally turns her body away from her and faces Sonja so that she doesn’t have to engage in conversation with someone she deems beneath her. I mean, it’s awful, but it’s also why I bought a ticket to this particular show.
Once they’re all sitting down at the table, chaos breaks loose. Dorinda leaves, Luann attempts to be a calming presence, Ramona pulls out the dried corn cob that Sonja stashed in her purse three episodes ago at the corn maze and mimes choking herself with it. Everyone is screaming about something that no one can discern, but I think it mostly has to do with Ramona not liking how Leah behaved the night before. It’s just all so much. It’s like 10 million macaws being sucked into a million jet engines.
Finally, they decide to go and on the way out, Leah picks up a ravioli and throws it at Ramona. Outside she says, “I threw a ravioli at her and I don’t care. Sometimes you just need to throw a ravioli.” That is both a specific and universal statement and while I have never felt the urge to chuck pasta, it is a sentiment I can get behind. And a ravioli is especially devious. Throwing a piece of angel hair or penne is one thing. Neither have heft and wouldn’t fly well, and even if they connected would just kind of bounce off Ramona, leaving a slight stain. Instead, Leah throws a big, solid ravioli. It is truly the water balloon of pasta and it lands on Ramona with a thud, spattering its ricotta shrapnel all over both her and Sonja. I mean, this is awful and uncalled for, but also, a round of applause for Leah, our new MVP.
Outside things get even crazier as Leah and Tinsley start making out with tongue for some reason. I think this has to do with Tinsley’s earlier admission that she once made out with her sister “as a joke.” Um. So. Uh. Okay. Yeah. I think… No wait. I have to say that… [Justin Trudeau length pause.] Nope. I’m not doing it. I can’t take the bait on this one. I will leave this to the professionals.
The next day, Leah and Sarah, Luann and Dorinda, and Sonja, Ramona, and Elyse, a dented can of chickpeas in the back of your cupboard, are in their individual rooms talking about the ravioli incident. Luann says, “It’s one thing to be upset, it’s another thing to be aggressive. She threw a ravioli!” Dorinda answers, “Well, I wish I had stayed for that!” Meanwhile Ramona says, “If you want to hang out with us, there is a certain demeanor.” Okay, she and Sonja are totally out of line here. They want to pretend like they are prim and proper society ladies when they have literally terrorized the world with their outdoor peeing and poop smears on public floors. For them to pretend like they are above Leah is ludicrous.
But also, I don’t take any of Leah’s defenses of her behavior seriously either. She says, repeatedly, “I am who I am and I can’t change that.” No one is asking her to change the essence of her being, they’re asking her to change her behavior. Maybe that means not drinking around the women. Maybe that means promising not to throw things at people or try to tear down the decorations. Maybe that means taking a back seat in altercations and waiting to adjudicate them later. This by no means changes the Leah that we know and love. She just doesn’t want any rules at all imposed on her. She wants to act how she wants to act when she wants to act that way. This is the same defense used by fellow reality psychopaths like Jax Taylor. “Well, that’s just how I am.” Yeah, well you can both be better.
Which leads me to her second defense, which she spells out at lunch with her parents. She says she didn’t do anything these women haven’t done before. Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they act appropriately either. Saying, “Yeah, well, I stole less than all of these other people,” won’t get you out of prison. It just means you’re in the same cell as the rest of these criminals.
This all gets squashed at the ladies’ tea party. Leah decides to take the high road and apologize because she knows if she doesn’t, they’ll reach an impasse. Ramona decides to forgive her immediately and move on, saying that she has a soft spot for Leah and really likes her. It is a nice sweet moment, which means it evaporates like the morning dew in Palm Springs.
Dorinda pulls aside Tinsley, who is wearing a gorgeous balloon-sleeved pink floral dress, and tells her that she knows that she was in Niagara Falls that weekend with Skott, the Koupon King, her on-again-off-again boyfriend who is now her fiancé. Dorinda says she got a picture of the encounter from a friend and I think that friend is MaryB6819 and she DMed this picture to Dorinda on Instagram. Dorinda then tells Tinsley that if she doesn’t tell the women that she was with Skott then she is going to tell them.
This is some extortion bullshit and I do not like it one bit. Dorinda should have behaved like a human, told all of the women behind Tinsley’s back, and then waited for her to share the information with the group and acted surprised when Tinz told them she was seeing Skott again. Instead Dorinda has this hard-on for Tinsley sharing every bit of her life with the camera and it seems a little bit crazy. Let us not forget, this is a woman whose friends found out about her breakup on Page Six, not by her talking about it on camera. She didn’t even tell them they were struggling!
As they walk back to the table Dorinda says, “Tinsley has something to tell us,” essentially forcing her hand, and Tinsley tells the women that she and Skott had a little rendezvous in Toronto and Niagara Falls. She didn’t want to tell them because she said that they always break up and she didn’t want to jinx it or talk about it and have it fall apart again. The whole time she was talking, she seemed a little misty and shell-shocked and I did not like it at all. Who is Dorinda to be the arbiter of what and how much people share about their lives publicly? Anyway, we all know how this ends, but this was Dorinda behaving badly while stone cold sober, which is just another indictment against her during a bad season.