The Real Housewives of New York City
Martin, Leah’s boxing coach whom Leah doesn’t even see anymore, continues to be the sage of Bravo. Can someone get him his own web series on Peacock, or at least an advice column on BravoTV.com? The seventh Ramone, who looks like one of the creatures from Labyrinth after he got out of rehab, had some of the smartest things ever to say to Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Everlast Boxing Diapers Morgans. Eboni, who Sonja is meeting at the gym because apparently Martin will just train anyone with a credit account at the 30 Rock Commissary, asks Sonja about her father’s visit during their séance in the last episode. Sonja says her parents had a great love story (of course) but were forced apart by their families and also her father not wanting to be intimate or settle down. Okay, so this is less Romeo and Juliet and more Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Got it.
“He was a fucking dick,” Martin says of Sonja’s father. “What your father thought about you has nothing to do with you at all.” If everyone internalized that it would force half of the world’s psychologists and all of the Trump children to find new lines of work. Martin is right, Sonja needs to focus on the person she has become, how her father shaped that, and how letting go of his approval can help her heal. He then says, “You needed that experience to get you ready for this experience now. What are you fighting now?” Oh, quite a bit. Irrelevancy, insolvency, the mildew stench that pervades floors -1 through 2 of her townhouse, a copyright infringement lawsuit from the inventor of sequins, a guy at the T-Mobile store who won’t fix her iPhone for free, and probably early onset osteoarthritis from too many years of performing “caburlesque” shows.
Eboni is dealing with some daddy issues of her own. She isn’t entirely sure who her father is and grew up with her mother and grandmother as her only family. There was a man named Kenneth who she thought could be her father but they had a rough relationship. She’s now trying to repair that by starting a relationship with a woman named Ashley who says that she and Eboni are sisters. They’re going to 23andMe up in this piece to see if it’s true, because Kenneth is dead and these ladies are both way too classy to show up on an episode of Maury.
All of these family problems are going to have to wait, though, because the inevitability of time marches on, which means that Luann has another middling single to record and Ramona has yet another birthday to celebrate with a cast of her friends who look like barrister’s wigs come to life. Luann has the rest of the cast recording a line or two of her new Christmas single, which was recorded just before last holiday but will be released this Yuletide, but is airing on the show in late July, so will we even remember this by the time Santa comes down our chimneys? (Don’t worry, he’s on PrEP.)
Lu is giving all the proceeds from the song to the Fortune Society, which helps women after they leave prison, and everyone is ready to go. Ramona proves to us that she is not only tone deaf when it comes to the remarks she makes in polite conversation, but also even in the simplest of holiday sing-alongs. Sonja has a great time performing but can’t remember the very simple lyrics to the song because Sonja cannot be scripted. Eboni comes by and hopes that no one thinks she is Whitney Houston, which no one does because Eboni’s still alive.
Finally there is Leah, who wants to know if she needs to sign a release or something. She’s concerned that she’s going to be on the hook for some unspecified legal trouble somewhere down the line. It’s unclear whether she’s worried that Luann is going to run off with the money from the song, or if someone is going to sue her for plagiarism for singing a song that is a blatant rip-off of “All I Want for Christmas is Koosh (Balls).” I get her concern. This whole arrangement seems willfully informal, and I would think that is how most of these things would go: Your friend asks you to do something for charity, you do it, and figure it will all be sorted out. Even Eboni, who is a lawyer, says that because it’s for charity she’s not thinking about signing a contract, even though that would be her inclination.
When Leah brings this up at Luann’s house, she counters that it is “none of Leah’s business,” though it is literally Leah’s business because it is literally her literal voice being literally recorded literally literally literally. It’s weird how upset Luann is getting, but I think it’s hard for both of them because Leah doesn’t know exactly what she’s asking for and Luann doesn’t know how to answer, but just feels like Leah plucked the coal out of her stocking and is hurling it at Luann like Bianca del Rio hurls insults at a straight crowd during drag brunch.
This fight pops up again at Ramonja’s joint birthday party. Luann says that Leah showed up and was like “bah, humbug” to her project, which was recorded by two sexy gays in her apartment, so you know it is excessively professional and will make enough money to send Luann almost to space like Jeff Bezos. She says she is mad that Leah didn’t trust her. I don’t know, I think Leah is right not to trust Luann. It’s not that Leah thinks the Countess is going to run off with the money or says it’s going to charity when it’s not, it’s that Luann isn’t savvy enough to have all of her i’s dotted and her Toms, I mean t’s, crossed. She doesn’t want her name associated with something that is going to be half-assed and that may come back to bite her in the half of ass she has left.
Eventually they hug it out. Leah says that she just wants to know how the song will make money, actually, and how it will be going to charity. That makes a lot of sense to me and I wish she could have been that transparent about her requests at Luann’s. She says she was just insisting on a release to protect everyone, and then they share a slice of dick cake and it’s all better.
Oh yes, Leah arranged for a dick cake and a vag cake for Ramonja’s joint birthday party because we all know how much Ramona Singer likes to talk about genitals that aren’t hers or those of her one true love Mario. When Luann and Leah were planning this party I thought, “Oh great, we’re going to have just the Housewives at another COVID-friendly gathering and it’s going to be lame.” Then when Luann showed up her friend Hank was there and I was like, “Oh, they invited one gay and are going to pretend like it’s a party. If I wanted that I could just look at the pictures from my last birthday.”
A bunch of guys actually show up, though. Kurt, the nude model from earlier in the season, is there to once again talk about his enormous member. We also get to see William, Ramona’s sexy finance-bro friend with benefits, a couple of his slicked-haired friends, and Dylan, a “clothed model” that Ramona met at an Oscar party. I love the idea of the ladies having a party and just inviting some single dudes who want to have sex with them, but as Leah says, she just wanted to see some new guys around. I thought Harry Dubin was going to walk in at any second and John Mahdessian would show up to dry clean Luann’s absolutely perfect glittery leopard-print party dress.
There are also strippers, which is an odd choice for a party that’s more than 50 percent heterosexual men. This is like when Stassi forced all of the guys from SUR to go see Chippendales dancers in the first season of Vanderpump Rules. Luann insists that they’re “burlesque dancers,” but there’s nothing highbrow about these hard bodies. They come out looking like senior engineers at Google, wearing matching jeans, white T-shirts, and gray fleece Patagonia vests with some defunct start-up logo on the right chest pocket. When they finally do strip down, they never take off their pants. What kind of party is this? It’s like drinking a decaf Red Bull with nonalcoholic vodka.
At the end of the night, all the fights were resolved, all the women were happy, and Ramona whispered to William to see if he had her address or not. He didn’t, he said, and she said she would text him, taking out her phone and letting her nimble fingers skitter across the keyboard, thinking about him an hour from now, naked and on top of her, thinking of him the next morning, still naked and next to her, and thinking about him the next evening, just where she wanted him: on the other side of town and unable to bother her again until her next birthday.