The Real Housewives of New York City
Strap in and get ready for 1,500 words about Ramona Singer pulling a turd out of a toilet with her bare hands and laying it on the toilet seat, because that happened in this episode and it’s all I want to talk about until December 31st when we can finally put this hellscape of a year in its grave where it belongs.
Okay, that might not be entirely correct. I am not sure that it was a turd that was lying on the toilet seat, but I’m pretty sure it was. I rewound that footage about a million times, zoomed in and replayed it. It is my own personal Zapruder film. (Zap-POO-der film, AMIRITE.) If we have to reconstruct this fateful turd, here is what we know — but some of it comes from Ramona Jane Singer, the world’s most unreliable narrator, so I’m not sure how much we know is true.
We first see Ramona trying to plunge the toilet. It is not going well and she apparently has no idea how to use a plunger,. because you know if this were to happen in her apartment she would show up to the super’s office in a tight shirt and get him to fix it. Leah enters the room and Ramona says, “The toilet is clogged and I don’t know how.” Oh, I know how, but Ramona refuses to admit that she takes toy-poodle sized poops from all the Activia she eats. She tells Leah she did a “number one,” but we know this is false.
Leah and Ramona attempt to plunge the toilet again and it does not work. When Ramona flushes it, Leah screams, “Oh, there’s a baby turd!” as she scurries from the room like a dead mouse just fell out of the sky at her feet. Meanwhile, Sonja is in her bathroom in a bubble bath that is so comically full of bubbles her entire head has been engulfed by foam like she’s at a 1994 party in Ibiza.
Dorinda shows up and they try to plunge the toilet again, but now it is dangerously full and ready to overflow. This is when we first see the brown spot on the toilet seat. It seems like Ramona placed either a turd or some browned toilet paper on the seat, but maybe what we didn’t see is that the toilet overflowed and it landed there like some sort of toxic flotsam and/or jetsam. This is when Ramona tells Dorinda that she didn’t flush the Kleenex that are in the toilet, but that she put Kleenex around her hand and tried to pull the tissue out of the toilet to get it to unclog, which is perhaps the stupidest way to unclog a toilet. You’re just going to push the paper and turds further into the tiny pipe that is causing the clog. Ramona seems to know as little about pees and poos and number twos as she does about plumbing. It’s sad, really, but here is a woman who once shat on the floor of a luxury villa in Columbia and then smeared it across the tile with an espadrille, so really what does she know?
Ramona goes to such lengths to unclog the toilet on her own because she doesn’t want to tell Dorinda that she clogged one of her toilets because she doesn’t want to make Dorinda mad. Why doesn’t she want to make Dorinda mad? Because the night before Dorinda literally slammed the door on Luann because she didn’t want to pay Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Berkshires Collapsible Dining Room Chairs Morgans a living wage. Take that in. Ramona is so scared of Dorinda’s rage that she would rather pull a caca doody out of the toilet like she was Bobby Brown helping out Whitney Houston than tell Dorinda the toilet was clogged.
That is because Dorinda is currently a monster made only out of rage and electricity. Someone needs to throw her in a pool and short-circuit her. Someone get Margaret Josephs on the horn. The previous night, the fight about how much Luann pays Sonja to appear as a guest in Countess and Friends came up. Ramona thinks that Luann should be giving Sonja “thousands” to appear in the show. Dorinda agrees. When Luann says no and kicks Sonja out of the show, it becomes a whole kerfuffle. For her part, Sonja can’t even respond, she’s so drunk. As the women are raging about her payscale in the next room like a pair of perimenopause Ari Golds, she’s in the kitchen just chowing down on some Chinese food leftovers.
When Sonja finally joins the group at the table, all she can muster up the will to say is, “Bye, Luann” repeatedly, while she gums some food and prepares to once again careen off a chair on camera. This whole argument hinges on Ramona saying that Sonja did cabaret way before Luann did, as if that entitles her to some sort of monies just for patenting the idea. Luann is quick to remind Ramona that what Sonja did was “caburlesque.” I have not thought of this word for years and just the thought of Sonja’s stream-of-consciousness beat poetry mingled with light stripping was enough to send me turgid, like eating a Viagra flavored ice-cream out of a Cialis-flavored cone.
Here are my thoughts on this fiasco. A performer doing a song or two, or even a short set, at a Countess and Friends gig would in reality make only a few hundred dollars, so I get why Luann is paying that. What Luann explains to Sonja the next day when they make up is that she’s not just taking all the money, she has to pay the band, the producers, the director, everyone who travels with her, blah blah blah. While she’s making good money, there are a lot of mouths to feed on this thing. I get why Sonja gets an off-Broadway actor’s salary for the show. However, unlike traditional cabaret, people are not paying to come see the Countess sing. They are not coming to see off-Broadway actors do their one Sondheim audition song. They’re coming to see a Housewife. That means if they know they will get two Housewives for the price of one, they are more likely to buy tickets and pay a premium for them. That means, in this case, Sonja probably deserves a bit of a raise.
Dorinda is not ready to be as rational about this discussion. She instead tells Luann that she’s such a drunken mess she got a mugshot for it. She is so cruel to Luann that she trudges upstairs in her new fuzzy pink top to pack her bags while “crying.” I say this with scare quotes because, in all of these years, I don’t think we’ve seen Luann cry even once. Also, as she’s packing, we don’t really see enough of her face to tell if there are tears. The Botox doesn’t let her make a real crying face, but I don’t see any moisture either. Is Luann just dehydrated from the amount of rosé she drank? Oh, yeah. Luann’s just drinking again. That’s how it’s going to go and no one is going to mention it, like she didn’t just get her Lindsay Lohan brand SCRAM bracelet taken off.
As Luann is walking out the door with her giant Jovani tote, Dorinda screams, “Feelin’ Jovani. Thank god I got that for you and you never said thank you. You had nothing and I got that for you and not a word.” Luann is trying to leave her house in “tears” and Dorinda is kicking her when she is down. “You’re wearing that shit and it suits you,” she says slamming the door and just making it worse.
As the Countess is waiting for her Uber outside, Leah comes out in a luxurious fur that I want to steal from her and a pleated beige skirt and says that they’ll go to a bar and talk. She drags Ramona along with her, and that is where the night cuts out. We don’t see them all going to the Red Lion Inn for hours to listen to a jazz band that did not want the Countess to sing. We do not see Leah flirt with the scruffy bartender. We do not see Ramona asking every man over 50 their net worth because that, apparently, is the only prerequisite for dating her, and it something she can’t find on online dating sites.
In the morning, Dorinda wakes up and pretends like nothing happened. Here’s the thing about her rages: As Ramona points out, they have gotten longer and louder and much more unpredictable. The women have tried to talk her down from them, like Ramona did when she told her she was getting aggressive with Luann. Dorinda just won’t listen, especially in the heat of the moment. Dorinda also won’t ever admit to being wrong, so if they try to talk to her about it sober she would just double down. It’s like when she said in her confessional that she didn’t regret being that aggressive with Ramona at the Halloween dinner. So what recourse are the women left with? The only thing they can do is stop hanging out with her, which is not in any of their contracts.
The next night Dorinda has her friend Colin Cowie design a dinner party for her guests and some friends from the neighborhood. You all know Colin. He’s the guy who planned Kim Zolciak-Biermann’s extravagant backyard wedding on Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding (which he may or may not have been paid for). Dorinda invited her best hot gays Sam and Lyle, who I would let sleep in my fish room any day of the week.
Also in attendance is Heather Thompson Holla, former Real Housewife and fellow Berkshires resident. She doesn’t do much but smile and try to catch Ramona making fun of Luann’s lack of a singing voice, but it’s comforting just to have her presence there among the usual chaos of the Berkshires. After dinner, things get as chaotic as a Britney Spears reality show, especially when my favorite floozy Sonja starts hitting on “bisexual” Colin Cowie. Yeah, he’s bisexual. If you buy him something, he’ll be sexual. That’s probably not true, but this guy seems gayer than three dudes blowing four dudes reenacting the “Rain on Me” music video.
Leah invited the bartender James to stop by and, boy, do I feel sorry for this guy. First of all, he’s totally Leah’s type. He’s tall, scruffy, handsome but in kind of a nerdy way. I would make out with him for an hour and I’m not nearly as “desperate for dick” as Leah professes. But this poor guy is wearing a LiveStrong yellow bracelet, like the last 20 years never happened in the Berkshires. He is also into “casual living” which Leah says “means he has no money” which is probably stunningly accurate. Then Dorinda corners him on the couch and tells him all about how she used to work at the Red Lion Inn and all about her family tree and where they were all baptized and what kind of stone the house was made out of and the one time she won $17 dollars on a scratch ticket at a Cumberland Farms in Lenox and that is what changed her whole life around. We see Leah lead him off into another room, but, again, that is when the crew goes to sleep. How do we know what happened? Did Leah bone the bartender or not? Leah better have boned that bartender. Right, Leah? Right?
When James left the next morning, he got into a black Ford Escalade with a redhead in the backseat. He took off his yellow bracelet and gave it to her. “I think I recorded everything,” he told her. He collected an envelope full of bills and got out of the car. Jill Zarin just sat in the backseat and grinned. She had everything set in motion for her master plan to finally work. All she needed was for the world to stay exactly the same as it was then until March. But how much can things change in four months? Not much really. The trees won’t turn, the snow won’t melt, the tides won’t run backwards. It was all finally going to work for Jill. Finally. Finally, this time. Finally.