We should probably start by talking about the outfits, right? I’m guessing that dressing for a reunion show has got to be quite the endeavor. You need an outfit you can sit in for nine straight hours as you discuss events that have already transpired and have already been discussed ad nauseum, but it can’t be too binding because you might need to bound off the couch at a moment’s notice to tear a fellow Housewife limb from limb. And whatever you wear, you know that it can’t be something classy and simple because studies have shown that the rest of your coworkers will out-sparkle, out-sequin, and out-plunging-neckline you if you deign to go with basic black. No, you have to go next level with your reunion outfit because the reunion is exactly like the Oscars for a Housewife – except they leave without a gift bag and most of them have absolutely no talent.
The people who are really talented here are the stylists – and Sonja’s Stylist Intern, who is obviously seeking revenge on her mistress. These stylists clearly used a potent combination of cajoling, compliments, and hypnosis to get some of these women to put on some truly unfortunate dresses and then told them how amazing and svelte they looked until their clients preened like a family of peacocks and showed up to wear this shit on camera. Some of them look great, but some of them are wearing things that almost defy comprehension. I’m gonna try to walk you through it.
Let’s start with the ensembles that didn’t cause me to have a spontaneous migraine. Kristen might not be asked back for next season and she does consent to live with a man who insists that a fedora is a sign of virility, but those are really side issues here because Kristen looks fantastic. She’s in a sequined gown with a slit up the front and a neckline that plummets down to her waist but the long sleeves allow her to look elegant instead of exposed. I might not even notice until episode four of next season that she’s not on the show anymore, but I certainly wouldn’t lead a revolt if she shows up now and then to run slowly behind two women fighting at a bar (let’s take a leap here and say that one of the women will be Ramona and that the bar will be Beautique) just so I can see what Kristen is wearing come next spring. I know that I could just visit her blog to find out what she deems the next big color, but I could also climb a mountain. The correlation I’m trying to make here is that I will not be doing either of those things.
Carole, who has recently done some press about not having an eating disorder after starting off the season by declaring she only eats cucumbers and butter, looks thin and pretty in a strapless number that might be navy or it might be black. Since I never want to relive the day when every person I ran into asked me about the color of THAT DRESS that appeared online like a wish granted by a retail-minded angel, I’ll just say that Carole looks pretty.
It pains me to say this, but Ramona looks good too. She’s clad all in silver and she manages not to look like a woman stuffed inside of a muffler and her dress is long and she’s got on some lovely statement earrings and I’m just so relieved that she’s not wearing a dress constructed by a blind seamstress out of the hardest blue satin that money and zero taste could ever buy.
Those women are my MVPs of the fashion portion of the reunion, though I’m imagining that Ramona will blow it during both the interview and talent segments. As for the others, well, let’s just say there are positives and negatives to discuss. Let’s take Heather. Heather is in a satiny green dress that shows off her black bra completely and she is loaded down with necklaces and I’m just confused. The color is rather pretty against her skin, but I can’t really understand why we’re being forced to see so much of that skin. And Bethenny. Well, Bethenny is in black sequined pants and a sleeveless white top and she too has a big necklace plunked around her neck and her hair is shorter – girlfriend is rocking the lob – and it’s not that Bethenny looks bad (and there is the teensiest piece of me that has already wondered which one of my tops I’d wear with those pants), but she looks kind of steely and hard and I think that you’d actually bruise yourself if you moved in for one of her anemic hugs.
I do not like Dorinda’s halter dress and I really don’t know what’s going on with her swoopy hair, but I came out of this season kind of appreciating Dorinda so I’m going to call this one a freshman year mistake, which is incidentally how I described the evening I spent with that guy Mike in his fraternity house basement. As for Sonja, I expected that she’d wear one of her own dresses from her wildly successful international fashion and luxury line, but I’m going to bet that the gold patterned dress she’s wearing was chosen from Rent the Runway and that six of her interns are holding a prayer circle in the green room even as we speak and that they’re chanting words like, “Dear God, please don’t let Sonja sweat in or pee on that dress before we have to send it back on Tuesday.”
I think it’s really sweet when interns are spiritual.
And now it’s time to discuss Luann. Oy vey, Luann. It’s so difficult to know where to start here. Should it be with the deep turquoise color that looks like the ocean after you’ve taken two hits of acid and washed them down with three shots of tequila and then politely asked a friend to shoot you in the stomach with a tranquilizer dart that’s been filled to the brim with the stuff that can knock out an elephant? Or would it be best to instead discuss the cold-shoulder look she’s going for that does nothing except make her look like she can undoubtedly cold-clock you across the face until you look up from the floor where you’re lying in a crumpled heap and stare at Ramona Singer and think you’re looking at a real star? At any rate, the Countess looks terrible and the women as a whole clearly read an email forward that someone who hates every single one of them sent around about how the most powerful and desired of all women are the ones who can wear the most sequins without keeling over.
Now that the dresses have been discussed, I suppose it’s time to hop brain cells first into a three-part retread of a season that involved dueling brunches, post-adolescent boy-men, trips to villas with people who hate one another, denim decorated with feathers and coasters, condo board triumphs, and a fashion line that popped out of Sonja’s ass and then scurried back in fast. Seriously, if you want to buy an item from Sonja’s line, you should make sure to settle in and get comfortable because the flimsy tunic probably won’t arrive on your doorstep until next June.
We start with Andy doing that smarmy greeting thing he always does, the one that makes me wish I could tear off my skin in shreds and hand wash it in some gentle Woolite before sticking it back on my body. I wish I knew why the “Hi, Carole,” thing irritates me so much, but my self-awareness has been depleted by watching a show where most of the participants act like self-awareness is something that might not really exist, like aliens or the sasquatch or Alex McCord, who I’ve come to believe was just a very long and very terrible dream I once had when I had a fever. But after the greetings blessedly end, it’s time to talk about Bethenny, the show’s clear star, and so we all collectively watch a montage of the Queen’s most frenetic and emotional moments and I’m starting to think that maybe she lobbed her own hair off in a frantic bout of hysteria and that the reason it’s so choppy looking is because she used her teeth instead of a pair of scissors. So what does Bethenny have to say after watching behavior that swung from morose to infuriated in four seconds flat? “It’s harder to be me than to deal with me,” she explains and she’s probably correct, but what that actually means is that being her must seriously suck because dealing with her looks like pure misery. She’s certainly got a sense of humor and she’s usually articulate and yeah, she often says what some of us are thinking, but holy shit, if this is the new and calm version of Bethenny, I can only imagine what she was like when she was wound tighter than that collection of hemorrhoids I believe might be stuffed up Luann’s ass.
Other scintillating Bethenny information includes that she is still not divorced, that the divorce has lasted for longer than the marriage, and that she really can’t talk about anything in that area, nor would she want to. Carole, however, is not under any kind of judicial gag order so she pops in to say how terrible it is to watch Bethenny try to call her daughter on the days she is with her father and that he often won’t pick up the phone so she has to keep calling and all she wants to do is be able to be a mother. The entire thing sounds awful and the rest of the women kind of nod slowly to indicate that they understand that Bethenny is under an enormous amount of pressure and maybe that’s why she told them to go braid one another’s pussy hairs.
As for how the rest of the women reacted to the news that Bethenny was returning to the show, both Sonja and Ramona throw up their hands in glee to indicate how thrilled they were that the mother ship was coming home, but when Luann smiles slightly and says she was happy too, Heather busts in and reminds her that a toast was made after Luann’s estate sale to “taking Bethenny down.”
Does nobody toast to good health anymore?
It appeared that Luann raising a glass of champagne nine months ago to Bethenny’s televised demise might turn into the first real fight of the reunion and I suppose I was okay with that. But the thing about the New York Housewives is this: their fights may be infantile and overblown for no real reason other than the fact that cameras are being aimed at their faces, but this is not a group of dummies. Sure, a couple of them are entirely delusional and fancy themselves legitimately important and conduct themselves like cavewomen on speed, but delusion mixed with rampant rudeness does not equal stupidity. All of these women can think and they all can fight somewhat effectively. It’s not like watching Lynn Curtain, a former member of The Real Housewives of Orange County, as she looks at her hand and tries to figure out what it is or staring open-mouthed as Kim Richards insists that she has never struggled for even one day with addiction. No, the New York group is collectively rather intelligent and maybe that’s why their willingness to engage in hours and hours of needless but vicious combat actually offends me the most.
The toast thing turns out to be a non-issue, one that was just a Housewives version of a Hitchcock MacGuffin, wherein an ultimately irrelevant gimmick is dropped into the plot like it might end up impacting the overall narrative. Luann plotting her dastardly deed to take Bethenny down sounds like it could have been incendiary, but the issue doesn’t go anywhere. Did Luann actually say it? She says she did not, Heather and Carole say that she did, and Bethenny believes Luann probably said it but she doesn’t really care. So instead of getting into some of the possibly interesting things that happened off-camera that we were not privy to and could perhaps help us fill in the bubbles of hatred these women lug around with one another’s names on them, instead we are treated to yet another segment that I like to call All About Bethenny. Yes, we get to revisit how she fought with Heather and hurt the feelings of Kristen and never had any kind of issue with Dorinda. There is literally nothing new or interesting that is brought up so I guess the only thing to react to is that Heather talks a lot and Bethenny gets annoyed when she’s being interrupted by a woman who is inexplicably wearing a choker.
The truth is that I’d rather stare at a freeze-framed image of Heather wearing only that choker while posing with Aviva’s leg rather than revisit the trip to Atlantic City the women took early in the season that I had successfully blocked from my memory. But oh, how the memories came rushing back! Sonja banishing her dear friends to the sidewalk while she got herself together and musing later to Bethenny about her storied history as a PR maven and how the others haven’t lived the life and that’s why they don’t understand her was perhaps more irritating to watch the second time around because you just kind of know that not one of those experiences really served to change anything or anyone. Watching Sonja deflect concern about her alcohol intake by saying things like other women in the group also have issues with drinking just felt gross. I agree that Sonja does not come off as intentionally malicious, but I also agree that she has come off as a spacey fuck-up and nobody cares less about that than she does so I’m going to stop even discussing the issue now because it’s infuriating, though maybe I’m just saying that because I missed my yearly trip to Gstaad and I’m just bitter.
Actually, fuck that. I’m going in and it’s the drunken comment Sonja makes about how she used to party with John-John Kennedy that’s making me want to pull on some boxing gloves and smash my hand through the television. (I shall refrain from doing such a thing because I don’t actually own boxing gloves and I want to be able to watch Mr. Robot next week because I think I’m finally figuring the twisty shit out.) But when Carole is asked about how she felt hearing Sonja speak of Kennedy and she says that she didn’t really appreciate it and Sonja’s response is to loudly declare that she and John-John were actually friends, my apathy for this woman turned to fury. She is a name-dropping social climber who fancies herself a phenom. She is incapable of understanding how ridiculous she appears. And she nods her head easily when Bethenny comes right out and asks her if she believes all of the bullshit she spews.
I think that this – well, let’s just go ahead and call it a conversation instead of what it really was, which was four women screaming over one another – is really all about is the stepping off point for Luann to challenge Carole and Heather to a duel and not stop until they have all attempted to utterly destroy one another. I don’t read their Bravo blogs or follow them on Twitter, but even I know that there has been a spectacular falling out between these women, and Luann jumping in to imply that Carole has no loyalty to the family of her late husband is basically her attempt to make the first move and get this brawl started so she can be home at a reasonable hour in order to greet her married boyfriend and quickly page though her etiquette book to determine if it’s better to serve the guy eggs a la francaise while wearing a satin nightie or just garters.
Before she can pull those thigh-highs up to a place I don’t even want to think about for longer than a nano-second, she’s carved out some time to discuss the way Carole should be lynched for having a relationship with a guy who used to be her niece’s boyfriend. I do understand that such a coupling has got to be weird, but the reaction Luann has goes beyond dealing with some awkwardness. Her reasoning is that Adam was still seeing his niece when he and Carole were together – a charge Carole denies – and young guys are just there to sleep with, not form lasting bonds with. After all, the young guy she likes to fuck in restaurant bathrooms is only someone she sees periodically, not regularly. At any rate, the real issue is that Luann’s niece felt hurt and Adam was Luann’s employee and so if you’re keeping score, do not ever do any of the following to the Countess or you will find yourself being screamed at by a woman wearing a dress I wouldn’t have even put on my Cabbage Patch Kid as a joke:
1. Feel free to cavort with men a year or two older than your son, but don’t make them a part of your life.
2. Never even think about looking someone in the eyes if he used to look into her niece’s eyes.
3. Refrain from dating anyone who once worked for Luann. This includes chefs, personal trainers, facialists, bartenders, drivers, housekeepers, and – oh Jesus, please – therapists.
The evening ends with Luann fanning herself through a rage-induced hot flash with one of Andy’s notecards that probably has a question written on it from Sherilyn in Fort Lee that asks how some of these women manage to wake up in the morning and face who they have chosen to become in the name of reality show recognition and fleeting fame. Then again, maybe Sherilyn’s question was just about how many of the ladies present slept with Aleister, the house manager in Turks and Caicos. Guess we’ll find out next week, but I’m betting that only Sonja banged the guy while Luann watched – but only because she was on snatch patrol.