The Real Housewives of New York City Recap: Business Casualty

The Real Housewives of New York City

Business Classy
Season 14 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

The Real Housewives of New York City

Business Classy
Season 14 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Bravo

Ooof. It was not a good episode for my girl, Sir Jenna the Lyons-Hearted. She was right in the gleaming-hot center of both major conflicts of this episode: about her gift-giving and whether she really flew to Anguilla early just so that she could fly in business class. Sadly, neither of them ends well for my newest favorite Housewife.

But first, I want to focus on two extraordinary visits between our Housewives and their brothers. Brynn meets up with her brother Darius in L.A. for Christmas because it’s halfway between New York and Seoul, where he lives because he is married to a member of Blackpink. (I made that up, but it feels right.) These are the kind of Tennessee Williams conversations about the Housewives that I just love, where we get a peek underneath one of Brynn’s umpteen fur coats to see what really makes that drippy, trippy heart of hers beat.

As they’re talking about Brynn’s inability to have a relationship, Darus says to her, “It was hard for us to come out normal,” and that is so incredibly true but also so incredibly sad. We’ve gone over Brynn’s past before, and we don’t get any new information, but it makes so much more sense why she can’t marry anyone, including a prince named Gideon, whom everyone with eyes is stanning for. Brynn says her problem is that her upbringing was so bad that whenever she thinks about having a family or marrying someone else to start a family, she just thinks, “Family to me is run. Bad bad bad.”

She says that if she found the right person, she would settle down right now and have a baby, but I don’t think that is really true. She says that is what she wants more than anything, and I believe that to be true, but she also must realize that she is not at all equipped for it. Look at the three failed engagements! From the one guy we’ve met, they were all probably great guys, but she is never going to be able to commit. She alludes that she’s been in therapy since she was young, but she’s still not over the boogie man of letting someone else in. Maybe she never will. Maybe she needs a man who is just as commitment-phobic as she is, and they can just keep each other at arm’s length for the rest of their lives, doing the ill-equipped tango until their dying day.

Or maybe she should have a kid on her own, as she proposes. At least that removes the dude from the equation, and once the baby is there she can’t do anything but commit. Or maybe she should elope. Maybe, as she says, it’s thinking about the commitment that’s the worst for her. Maybe once she sees that the commitment is there and she doesn’t feel so often it’s right for her. There are so many maybes here, and I am fascinated by every single one.

The other brother meeting is Jenna with Spencer, the lovely scamp that gave her a very lasting nickname. First of all, I find Spencer very sexy and somewhat gay-coded, and if I saw him at a barbecue, I would totally flirt with him and then feel silly when his wife came over, and then she and I would talk about Selling Sunset for about three hours, and all would be forgiven. Jenna is ostensibly showing Spencer around Rockefeller Center, which she has been working with trying to get them some new cool retail. I haven’t been to 30 Rock in quite some time (mostly due to the restraining order that Andy Cohen has against me), but I don’t think she’s succeeding.

Anyway, their talk starts getting a bit deeper into Jenna’s genetic disorder, incontinentia pigmenti, which fucks up her teeth, skin, and hair. OMG, guys, did you see those pictures of the dental work? The multiple surgeries? The X-rays? The implants? I was so sick to my stomach that I had to put down my Skittles for a whole three minutes before I could finish the bag. Her story about the girl at Knott’s Berry Farm who made fun of her skin made me want to invent a time machine, go back and kill baby Hitler, which would then remove all evil from the planet, including this bitch-ass trick who shouldn’t be allowed to ever wear a denim jacket again for crimes against Jenna Fucking Lyons.

While they are talking, Jenna says something I’ve never heard another Real Housewife ever say, and I thought was quite real and vulnerable. She says that because of her skin and how gorgeous all the other women are, she’s self-conscious about being around them. How many of us have gone on a vacation with our hot friends, and instead of worrying about what to pack, where you’re eating, whether or not your shitty rented Fiat is the color of diluted pee-pee, or how you’re going to pay for the whole thing, you’re instead worried about not being as hot as your friends. You’re worried about the one thing that it is way too late to change: your body.

This is Jenna being real and vulnerable, the thing that all of the other women say they want and aren’t getting. Also, Jenna has never been on a girls’ trip before. Jenna, really, seems to have never done any of the things that are required of a Real Housewife to be good at her job: bond with other women, open up about your love life, travel with a group, and not put yourself first, have petty feuds, and wear Gucci belts. Brynn says that she misses out on the Girls 101 lessons, but it seems like no one in the group is willing to teach her.

Here is when we get to the big dilemma. Jenna is worried about her skin condition and says that with a tan, it doesn’t look so bad. She tells Erin about this plan when Erin brings Jenna soup after her dental surgery. (Of course the food that we finally see Erin delivering is soup. Soup is to an actual meal what O’Doul’s is to getting wasted. Yes, she’s sick and can’t eat solid food, but this does not, even for a second, prove that Erin cooks or that she adequately feeds the guests at her party.)

Jenna tells Erin that she’s going to Anguilla — a place I believe only exists for Real Housewives vacations — two days early to get some rest and work on her tan so that she’s not as embarrassed being seen with these women (and, notably, the cameras). She then says, as an aside, that she also gets to fly business instead of coach.

I am of two minds about this. The Jenna lover in me wants to say that she needed time to tan, get relaxed, and get acclimated to the environment because she was already stressed about being on a girls’ trip. The generous part of me says that she looked into going early and saw that she could get a business-class ticket, which was the clincher. It wasn’t the reason she went early, but it sure was a pot-sweetener. Then there is the ungenerous part of me that says just what Sai says, that it is incredibly corny to be like, “I only fly business,” especially when it is only a three-hour flight. Now, if I was making the 20-hour trek to Vietnam like Pavit, there is no way I would even be boarding that plane if my row number was anything higher than six.

There is another dimension to this whole thing that Jenna is missing. As Brynn points out, part of going on a girls’ trip is flying together, traveling together, spending that silly time playing Uno in the Delta lounge, and making fun of people’s terrible outfits. But Jenna doesn’t know that!

When they all arrive, Erin tells all the women that Jenna said she didn’t come with them because she doesn’t fly coach. This is yet another reason why Erin, the girl who definitely bullied you in high school, ssssssuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkssssss. She poses as Jenna’s friend, Jenna tells her this in confidence, and then she throws Jenna under the bus the first opportunity she gets. “She didn’t tell me not to tell anyone,” Erin says. Girl, she is getting herself off on a technicality which, every masturbator knows, is the worst way to get yourself off.

Erin says in confessional, “[Jenna] doesn’t know how to be in a group of girls and to be open and honest. She would do so much better if she could just say, ‘Hey, I’m not flying coach with you bitches.’” Yes, Erin explained everything about Jenna’s skin condition to the ladies, but then she erased it all with how she described Jenna saying she doesn’t fly coach. Also, all of the women want Jenna to fess up to something I don’t think she did. But there’s another thing here about Jenna not knowing how to be in a group of girls. They all want her to be open and honest, but when she is finally vulnerable about how her skin condition makes her feel with Erin, the Wicked Witch of the Westside sees it as only an excuse so that she can get a better plane seat.

This is why I am fascinated watching Jenna interact with this group of women, because they are all playing the same game and she is not. They don’t think that she’s being open enough or honest enough, but now that she’s finally being vulnerable, they weaponize it against her. Do they seriously think she will want to trust them after she revealed her squishy underbelly and Erin pierced her hide with a fork? (In this metaphor, Erin is using a fork because she doesn’t need the fork for eating because she, once again, didn’t serve any food.)

Brynn also wants Jenna to open up, but the way for her to be open is not for them to attack her as soon as she arrives. Sai, always direct, says, “We’re really annoyed you didn’t fly with us. And I heard you didn’t want to fly with us because it was coach.” The smarter move, I think, would have been to pull Jenna aside and say, “I know you haven’t been on a girls’ trip, but that you didn’t travel with us annoyed us because part of the fun of the trip is the fun of getting there together. If you missed out on that cause you won’t fly coach, then that’s whack.” I think Jenna would have understood that and taken it on board. Instead, she walks into a trap, and Jenna only likes traps if they’re boobie traps. (HEY-YO!!! I’m here all week.)

This brings me to Jenna’s gifts. I finally understand what the girls are saying about her showering them with swag all the time. The ungenerous part of me says, “Oh yes, she just wants them all to post so that she can do better with her collabs.” But the generous part of me says something else. It says that Jenna feels insecure around these women and wants to connect, so she’s using all of her collabs and swag to buy their friendship a bit. She wants to impress them because she doesn’t see herself as good enough for the group. The generous part of me says that Jenna doesn’t see these as real gifts, that if Jenna had to buy you a birthday gift, it would probably be very thoughtful and individualized and chic and probably quite expensive. The generous part of me says that Jenna just wants to help out her co-stars’ brands, and if that means hooking up her on-camera friends and making an Instagram about her swag, that’s what it takes. But this franchise wasn’t built on generosity, and now I’m dying to see what ungenerous things Jenna might do in response.

Real Housewives of New York City Recap: Business Casualty