Obviously, I want to begin this recap by throwing out the suggestion that we all band together by season’s end and form a vigilante group, one whose very specific mission is to free Dorinda from John and then cart her off to intensive inpatient therapy because it appears that she actually loves the fleshy-lipped pig – or we can just say “fuck it” and head en masse to the Bravo studios with torches – but I feel like I have to talk about the psychic first. We’ll return later to my ideas about fundraising possibilities for our group. I’m thinking of holding a bake sale or maybe doing the Housewives equivalent of the Guess-How-Many-Jelly-Beans-Are-in-the-Jar game, only our version will ask people to hypothesize about exactly how many dicks have been inside of any part of Sonja so far this year. (My official guess is thirty-one.) We’ll also get to the discussion about whether or not we should use a straightjacket for Dorinda that has its very own detachable fur vest, but first we really need to tread through the Psychic Scene.
Before we go soaring off into the mystic with a mystic, let’s quickly check in with Sonja. She was not invited to meet the psychic so she’s wiling away her day by getting a facial. This facialist became part of a storyline at one point on this show when she was captured on camera gleefully proclaiming that Luann enjoys banging little French people. Now the facialist is back and she’s fighting like hell to stay relevant. In fact, she will hold up a golden apple in the opening credits of this show if it is the last fucking thing she does. Before I can fire off a threatening letter to Andy Cohen (Dear Andy, I have already put up with Aviva Drescher proclaiming that Truman Capote wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. If you hire the gossipy facialist, I will destroy you. Love, Nell), Sonja’s brand new intern comes out to chat with her stem-celled-mask-covered boss about the RSVPs that are trickling in for Sonja’s next big event. Even the facialist has scored an invite despite the fact that the party is so very exclusive. The official word is that the party is meant to celebrate Sonja’s birthday, but the evening will also be used to launch Sonja’s brand new alcohol line! That’s right: Sonja, who either has a huge drinking problem or becomes a huge problem when she’s drinking, is ready to head a brand new business because her wildly successful fashion line cannot possibly be improved upon. I mean, once the public can purchase a jersey tunic that is shipped from a dilapidated townhouse because it’s not actually sold in any stores, what else is a savvy businesswoman to do? What would Elon Musk do? He probably wouldn’t team up with a guy who looks like the rodent in Charlotte’s Web to sell wine, but maybe it’s Sonja who really knows best. She might not own a Tesla, but she’s been naked in one! (The facialist told me so.) Anyway, the news about Sonja’s alcohol line will eventually be met with shock and derision from the people at the party who have some sense (and Ramona), as well as untainted raw fear when it's revealed that Sonja plans to call her brand Tipsy Girl, a prospect this bizarre amalgamation of a human lady actually believes will cause Bethenny to become dizzy with flattery and excitement.
Speaking of Bethenny, she does make the cut to meet with the psychic over at Carole’s apartment. Dorinda and Jules are already there by the time Bethenny arrives, but we get to see each woman's individual entrance and I appreciate such a thing because that means we get to spend extra time staring at the walls in Carole’s entryway. I don’t know if they’re covered in studded leather or what, but the whole look is chic as hell and I might be okay living in her foyer for the rest of my life so long as she provides me with an expansive closet for my shoes. While I take a moment to seriously contemplate forgoing a traditional closet and instead lining my collection of heels and boots on Carole’s stairs (those stairs look terribly unsafe and it scares me to see the puppy standing on one), the rest of the women share their opinions about psychic experiences. According to Jules, Jewish people don’t cavort with psychics. Now that’s probably true, but I’m such a lackadaisical Jewish girl that I had no idea there was a no-psychic rule written anywhere in the Torah. Maybe the information about shunning psychics is in the same chapter where it’s made clear that getting tattoos is frowned upon so we do not mar God’s original creation, but that theory has always kind of confounded me because we hold champagne-drenched celebrations where foreskin is ripped off and didn’t God create foreskin? In any case, Jules wants to be accepted by her new friends who are on the same payroll she’s on, so she’s there to learn all about her future. She scans the room. Satisfied that there is no shellfish anywhere on the premises, she parks herself on Carole’s tiger-print sofa and that’s when Dorinda shows up. Dorinda loves psychics! She’s so excited to meet this one! There’s a chance she asked for the woman’s autograph, but I’m not positive because I was way too engrossed with watching Bethenny come through the front door looking like she’d rather be getting an gangrene-infected ingrown toenail sliced off without anesthesia than hang out with a psychic. She’s just cynical, our Bethenny! She has a hard time buying things a stranger can suss out using Google or a mental crystal ball.
What comes out during the session with the psychic? Well, it appears Jules has already lived many lifetimes and she motivated women in all of them. She is probably wandering around this vast planet right now so she can share her eating disorder journey with those who need some inspiration. I hope Jules does tell her story and I hope women feel better after hearing it, but I have to say that the idea of her bettering the lives of others through verbal communication strikes me as rather unlikely because she has a tremendously difficult time formulating fully-developed sentences. Maybe she can motivate the masses through interpretive dance? As for Bethenny, someone from the other side would like to communicate with her. Did anyone significant maybe die right around this time of year? After a quick Google search, Bethenny is able to confirm that the anniversary of her father’s death is indeed right around now and she sort of shrugs when her father pops in for a second and then she hightails it the fuck out of there by saying she has to go pick up her daughter. I swear, the having-to-get-your-kid excuse is kind of excuse nobody can argue with and that probably means I should get knocked up tomorrow just so I can finally stop faking fevers in order to remove myself from horrifying scenarios like being stuck in the same room as Ramona Singer.
Yes, Ramona shows up while the session is already underway and she bangs her way through the front door and shouts all of her words because not only has she never learned how to apologize, but she also never mastered the art of the Indoor Voice. Carole appears so mortified by Ramona’s deafening demeanor that there’s a chance she considered crawling into that leather wall like a modern version of the woman in the short story The Yellow Wallpaper, but in this case someone crawls into the wall to escape a crazy lady, not because one has become a crazy lady. It’s Dorinda who manages to finally shush Ramona because she wants to listen to what the psychic needs her to hear from the mouth of her deceased husband. Richard wants Dorinda to know that she keeps finding nickels and dimes everywhere because he leaves them for her and he thinks this John guy is good enough “for now.” As far as her future goes, she will marry again – but it will not be to the bloated dry cleaner. “Thank God,” mumbles Ramona – as quietly as a person like Ramona is capable of mumbling – and Dorinda promptly goes apeshit. She is sick of people saying rude things about John Mahdessian! (I am sick of hearing her call him by his full name because the last thing we need is more of him, but I’ll rail about that later.) The guy is a prince! She loves him! How dare people judge how vile he is just because he all but oozes when he walks and she often can’t stand the sight of him either?
She’s a dirty fighter, that Dorinda. This is exactly what she says as a comeback to Ramona: “He doesn't like you either. He thinks you're a bitch.” Then, like a psychotic cherry on top of a bullshit sundae, Dorinda continues with, “I don't pass opinions on your stupid relationships. Shut your mouth.” Just about spent but able to summon one last surge of poisonous fury, she finishes her tirade against her dear friend by bringing up Mario and sniping through a voice made out of spiky razors, "Oh, that's right...he left you for someone else." If I were Ramona, I would have turned to the psychic and asked her to guess just how long into the future it would take until I cold-clocked Dorinda across the face. Then I would have bellowed "Wrong!" as I knocked Dorinda’s teeth out one second later.
Here’s the thing about Dorinda: she goes from seemingly calm to gonzo-fucking-nuts in less than a nanosecond and her rage is the kind of rage that is impossible to temper; you just have to wait until she runs out of bluster and steam. When she slows down to take a breath, Ramona apologizes once again for disparaging a revolting cretin that I’m certain has orangutan heritage and they hug while Dorinda readies herself for the next time she has to defend the man she loves from all the women in her life who are so exceptionally jealous of her colossal levels of happiness.
Speaking of that happiness, we see none of it when Dorinda meets up with the asshole for dinner. I noticed a few episodes ago that John has lost weight since last season, but nothing can change his slushy way of speaking or how’s he’s sweaty as fuck or the way his lips remind me of a blowfish who enjoys molesting goldfish when he tires of humping the plastic mermaid at the very bottom of the murky tank. His closer proximity to semi-svelteness does not change how fully disgusting it is that he keeps leering at his girlfriend and asking her for a kiss while the grossed-out waiter stands patiently before them, trying to ascertain if these people want sparkling or still water. It doesn’t alter the facts as they’re presented to us, including how Dorinda positively hates the way the guy begs her for public displays of affection and how she cannot talk about her day without him jumping in and making the conversation all about himself. Simply put, there is literally nothing about this guy and how he comes across to us that can explain Dorinda’s total devotion to this human cart of mucus. He comes off as gauche, loud, and like he’s got a drug problem – and all that is nothing compared to the way he smacks his disgusting lips when he speaks. Listen, I certainly understand one’s desire to fill a void left by the loss of a loved one, but must that void get filled by a man like John? Why not just pour urine that’s been infected by a raging bladder infection into that void and call it a fucking day?
At a certain point – though not at the point where John throws on glasses that have built-in lights, which is precisely when I would have gone fleeing from the place – Dorinda gets up and leaves. She’s sick of John not listening to her complain about how much everybody hates him so she just walks out the door and leaves the guy sitting there with cameras pointed at his face. It’s odd, isn’t it, that somehow she still cannot comprehend that maybe it makes a ton of sense that the people around her who are blessed with vision and hearing think the man is a vile fool? Truth: very rarely is the rest of the world completely wrong and you are the only one who is right. I wish the psychic had told Dorinda that.
(Brief aside: I actually had a reading with a psychic recently and it’s not a small part of me that is totally embarrassed to tell you that. The woman blew my fucking mind by asking who in my life has a back problem just days before my stepfather required emergency back surgery and by telling me that when I think I sort of see my father’s face when I close my eyes at night, it’s actually him that I’m seeing. I did go ahead and ask for clarification when she told me that one day I would have a baby girl, though. Any chance you’re talking about a baby female Maltipoo? I asked her this question and listened to her laugh and laugh for a few minutes before she told me that I would personally be birthing the girl she saw in her vision – and that it would be human, not canine.)
Moving away from psychics and despicable rebound men who will make you want to hand over your clitoris and embrace a lifetime of celibacy, Bethenny spends a rainy afternoon doing a meet and greet with her fans. These people wait in the teeming rain for a chance to meet their idol and then walk away with a granola bar that is guaranteed not to make you fat. Despite the miserable weather, a bunch of people show up and Bethenny is gracious to everybody. She even offers to take selfies by sticking her head out of the food truck where she’s working. After the crowd dissipates, Bethenny makes sure to thank her team that is made up of a group of young women who appear completely bored by everything their boss is saying. Then again, maybe they’ve just eaten too many Skinnygirl granola bars today and their insides are screaming bloody murder.
The walking and talking prototypes of the Skinnygirl moniker, Carole and Jules, get together at Jules’ place because the producers told them that they have to hang out for an afternoon. Once Jules figures out the staggering intricacies of making a cup of tea, the time they spend together seems to pass easily. Jules tells Carole all about the struggle she overcame with what I’m guessing was anorexia because she mentions some terrifying number as her former weight and it actually makes me smile for real when she says that she once didn’t believe she could ever get pregnant and she was able to overcome her disease to such an extent that she conceived and carried two healthy children to term. She should celebrate such an accomplishment, but perhaps she should make sure her disorder is actually a thing of the past before she embarks on a speaking tour with legs as thin as anemic pipe cleaners. As Carole puts it after gazing at the massive spread of snacks Jules has set up, “"She definitely has a relationship with food." The manner with which Carole speaks is the main reason why I like Carole. Sure, I like to gaze dreamily at her vegan boyfriend (and her entryway walls), but the truth is that I respect her in the way I often cannot respect many of the other Housewives. Carole is different. She’s articulate and thoughtful and perhaps the very opposite of reactionary. There's a wisdom there and it radiates from her in the quiet moments and I trust her opinions, though it’s very likely that part of that trust is due to the fact that her opinions tend to mirror my own. Sitting beside her on the couch with untouched breadsticks popping up out of decorative glasses on the table before them, Carole encourages Jules to harness her experiences so she "can emancipate" herself "and empower other women."
Carole might be a very good friend for Jules to have.
I suppose it’s possible that Jules later ingested a little schmear at Sonja’s party, but I really wasn’t paying attention. See, there were far more essential things pulling my focus. First of all, exactly how little is Jules’ husband? It’s hard to tell because she’s probably close to the height that make one a bonafide giant so perhaps he only looks short in comparison, but the guy is tiny, yes? Like, he’s so wee that I kind of want to bounce him on my knee. He might be short, but that doesn’t make Michael the worst guy in the whole wide world. No, that distinction is all John’s and he arrives at Sonja’s party alongside Dorinda, who has forgiven him for causing her to feel such a fiery nausea that she walked out on him a few nights prior. I’m thinking that we might not be watching two people in the throes of the healthiest relationship right now, but again, all of that is so hard to pay attention to when I’m busy laughing my ass off at the way the friend of Jules’ husband all but points at his nose and tells John, “You look all wired up.” Yes, I think we can take a not-so-huge leap and guess how John lost all that weight. (Psst: Adderall works, too, John. And while it'll eventually suck out your soul like it was made in a lab by emotional vampires, it will not cause you to sniffle.)
Sonja shows up for her own party looking quite lovely. Unfortunately, the final product was somewhat compromised after we were asked to watch extensive footage of her shoving Q-tips deep into her nostrils so she could stop her nose from running while her makeup was applied. I fear those images might very well haunt me until my dying day. In rather devastating news, it appears the makeup artist does not quite have the same pull as the facialist because the makeup chick is informed that not everybody could be invited to Sonja’s party and that’s why she didn’t make the cut. Still, the banished woman contours Sonja’s face like the pro she is and sets her loose so she can sidle up beside John and agree to kiss his cheek at the exact same time that Dorinda does, turning him into the expired olive loaf inside of a desperation sandwich. Then our hostess greets Luann. The Countess arrives with some guy she will not be engaged to by season’s end. Luann is very pleased to have some young testosterone dangling off of her arm and it doesn’t even bother her that her own voice is far deeper than his, though perhaps his will lower once he’s finished with puberty. What Luann is not at all pleased at is the way Ramona has been heard yammering away about all of the many ways Luann is a terrible influence on Sonja.
"We're supposed to take Sonja away from drinking, take her away from being with random men. Luann adds to the influence of both," Ramona patiently explains during an interview and I have to say that I’m sort of appreciating this emancipated version of Ramona Singer. She’s like a fifties sock-hop girl released into the jungles of Manhattan. She preaches morality while stuffing herself with alcohol. She calls Saturday “Date Night.” She is Peggy fucking Sue coming off a bender and a nasty divorce and I for one might have fallen in love with Ramona 2.0 and her new face and the way she practices apologies in darkened alcoves and how she hikes up her dress for absolutely no reason at all as Luann rails against her for being such a total bitch.
“You’ve turned her townhouse into a brothel,” Ramona laughs to Luann. Then she switches tactics from all but calling Luann a whore and instead focuses on how she’s always inebriated. Wait just a motherfucking second, the Countess probably wants to scream at the lady who managed to make the words “Turtle Time” actually mean something in our society, but Luann just snorts when Ramona claims she doesn’t drink all that much and then proves she doesn't have a bottle crammed up her puss by yanking up her dress and flashing the crowd. Meanwhile, in the background we can see Jules laughing at the fight these two women are waging in public. There’s a chance I might end up liking Jules.
I’m guessing that the brief Luann/Ramona tussle is nothing compared to what’s coming between the Skinnygirl and the Tipsy Girl. Yes, the big moment has come for Sonja to announce her new business venture to a crowd she believes will be thrilled for her, but first she needs the room to quiet down so her guests will be able to hear every important word she says. John is recruited to get everyone's attention and Sonja first thanks her friends for being there and for all the times they were guests on the yacht she pretends she once owned. She also expresses her sheer gratitude for the fact that they used to join her on the private island that only exists in her own mind, the one you get to by flying in Wonder Woman's invisible jet. Admitting that she’s since experienced more meager times, she wants them to hear her exciting news: Tipsy Girl is up and running! It's real! There are bottles of it everywhere!
“I've taken Bethenny's advice,” Sonja tells us about not letting anyone know about this new bullshit brand of wine until it became a terrifying reality. Um, can Bethenny sue Sonja for slander simply for using her name in a sentence? Then we're gifted with a spectacular mini montage that showcases all of Sonja’s other great business endeavors – you know, the ones the Saudi Royal family so ardently supported? After hearing how close Sonja’s brand name is to Bethenny’s, both Jules and Ramona realize that Bethenny is probably going to be furious, but Dorinda doesn’t think she’ll react badly at all.
“I can't imagine this is going to matter to Bethenny,” says Dorinda, who is obviously as faulty in making assumptions as she is in picking out a mate who doesn’t cause my gag-reflex to slip into overdrive. Seriously, I now know exactly what bile tastes like.
Next week, Bethenny will inform Sonja that calling her line Tipsy Girl makes it a cheater brand and John will shove his pudgy hand directly into Ramona’s face. That's it: let's just bring the torches to the guy's house. Who here knows how to get to Queens?
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle.