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The fourth season of the Real Housewives of New York City premiered last night without the show’s break out star Bethenny Frankel, bringing us to the question – Was Bethenny missed? Well, an answer to that below but one thing was clear from watching the premiere, which is that some of the ladies clearly had an agenda set for this season.

Judging from the premiere, it appears that Jill Zarin will spend the entire season trying to convince us she is a changed woman except she is still the same and nastier than ever, while Kelly Bensimon badly wants us to believe she is sane – a hard task to prove when you’re bat sh*t insane. With that said, let’s get right to the recap!

The show begins with most of the housewives having new taglines in their opening credits. “Good or bad, I know who I am and I own it,” declares Jill. Um no you don’t. “I’ve always had opinions. Now people know it,” states Alex having discovered last season that voicing said opinions gets you more face time on TV. “I’m living the American dream one mistake at a time,” says Kelly. I don’t speak crazy so I won’t even attempt to decode what that means.

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The season kicks off with Ramona hosting a party to advertise her pinot line celebrate the end of summer. Jill, who just wants to put the past behind her, arrives to a warm reception from Simon, but icy stares from Alex. In her interview, Jill, who has a strong need to be liked, really wants us to know she is a changed woman. “Have I grown and learned from the experience I went through last year? Yes I did,” says Jill. And by changed, she means hiring a countless number of image consultants to tell her how to act in front of the cameras.

As Jill dons her fake smile and showers the others with fake compliments, Alex is disturbed that Jill refuses to acknowledge any of her wrong doings from the previous year. While Alex might be coming off as over dramatic, in her defense, Jill did continue to slam her in the press even after the show ended last season.

And just as I suspected, Jill goes on to prove to me that her new found friendship with Kelly Kirazy Bensimon is nothing but a stunt to improve her public image. “I’m not a phony friend and I know Kelly went through a really rough time last year. I stuck by her because that’s what real friends do,” says Jill. Oh that loyal Jill, always sticking by her friends except you know, when their fathers die or when they get their own spinoffs by Bravo. I almost feel bad for Kelly, who is nothing but a project to Jill at this point.

The topic turns to Ramona’s end of the summer party as Jill wants to know why Kelly did not attend. As the 42-year-old Kelly twirls her hair, she reveals she was not in attendance because she did not appreciate Ramona echoing the sentiment of millions of others by calling her crazy. “I’m not crazy. Am I put in precarious circumstances a lot with these women? Yeah. Do I navigate those situations well? Nope,” says Kelly sounding like she took her meds that particular day. But fret not as judging by the preview clips that show her making snow angels in the sand, there will be days she refuses to take those meds.

The topic turns to Bethenny and Jill states she no longer wants to fight. The fight with Bethenny apparently took years off Jill’s life and she doesn’t want to go through the same with Alex. That poor Jill. Kelly encourages Jill’s victim plight when she tells her “you got dumped.” Ramona sees things differently as she feels Jill “did this to herself” all thanks to her incurable disease of the Jillousy. And if this is what this new found friendship with Kelly and Jill is going to entail – you know, Jill assuring Kelly she is not crazy and Kelly in return assuring Jill she is not an awful human being – then somebody please shoot me already because it is going to be a looong season! Where’s Bethenny’s commentary when you need it? Here’s to hoping either Alex or Ramona will be able to call them out on their BS.

On the other side of town, we get some quality time with the Van Kempen-McCords. “Simon just left the hotel to start a social media company,” says Alex which is code for Simon is out of a job. “So right now, we’re both working from home,” adds Alex aka we’re both out of a job. It seems the two have put together a cozy little home office in their basement as Alex admits it’s a tad tricky working home with Simon. Next, Alex receives a completely random and unplanned phone call from her modeling agency as we discover she is now a model. Simon is vindicated that his wife is beautiful while Kelly states, “being a model is defined by being photogenic. It does not mean you’re pretty.” Meow! Cat-ty! Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ll gladly take this bitchy Kelly over the crazy version!

New housewife on the block Cindy invites Ramona, who brings along Sonja, to an art show. We quickly get a proper introduction to Cindy, the poster girl for being independent and not needing a man to have it all. Cindy wastes no time in plugging her business Completely Bare which specializes in hair removal or is it vayjayjay bedazzling? Not sure, but Cindy does have her plate full with her business and her adorable twin girls courtesy of IVF and I’m guessing a hot sperm donor. Cindy repeatedly assures us she is happy and doesn’t need man so I’m expecting a total breakdown about being lonely, manless, & having too much on her plate within the next couple of episodes.

The other ladies arrive to do some feet painting, and following that, the renewed one falls into her old habits when she immediately starts interrogating Cindy about her twins. “Would it be too personal if I asked a couple of questions?” states Jill to Cindy, before going on to bombard her with a series of personal questions in hopes of figuring out who Cindy’s babies’ daddy is. Jill admits Cindy was a bit uncomfortable with her line of questioning but assures us it’s completely normal to ask someone about their baby’s daddy during a first meeting. Whew! That’s good to know.

Ramona is busy as ever with her new pinot line and true renewal products hence her need for another personal assistant. The Ramonacoaster proceeds to conduct some unprofessional interviews with some poor unsuspecting young ladies. After insulting the young ladies’ names, fashion sense and skin, Ramona is left with no one and continues her search for new help.

Next, Sonja and Countess Lulu decide to do a double date with their beaus as Sonja wonders how it is possible she had yet to sleep with meet LuAnn’s boyfriend Jacques in the little city of NYC. The dinner’s going well as Sonja explains how she met her beau Brian while LuAnn does some shameless flirting with him in front of her man. For some reason, Bravo feels Jacques needs subtitles though I can make out his words just fine as he states he loves LuAnn. Sonja explains that while Brian is aesthetically appealing, she is a little wary about moving too fast with him, being newly divorced and all. But hasn’t Sonja been divorced for years?

It’s the day of the Hamptons wedding and everything is drama with these ladies as Jill over-dramatizes explains her “heart dropped” upon seeing Alex with Ramona. Alex brings up the equality march as she wonders why Jill, who is also on the committee, will not be attending. It’s obvious Jill is peeved with Alex but can only muster up a strained smile. Can you blame her? Mama’s got a tainted reputation to redeem and Alex is not getting in the way of that with her drama! “I said I couldn’t change and I have changed. And no matter what anyone does, I will always be nice and kind,” says Jill, who oddly enough told Bethenny on last season’s finale that she couldn’t change who she was. Evidently, all it takes is a few months of doing nothing to change your core as a being.

Things take a turn for the sorta interesting at the wedding when Ramona proceeds to badmouth Cindy’s brother Howie, who is unfortunately behind her at the moment and able to hear what she’s saying along with his wife who sorta looks like Cindy. Following that little hiccup, Ramona and Alex are off talking while Jill is seated far away talking to her group of friends. And boy o boy, we are about to get a taste of the new renewed Jill. Buckle up folks! “And that f*cking bitch Alex McCord has the nerve to come up to me at the church and say ‘Oh I thought you were coming tomorrow because you’re on the committee.’ Look at her. She’s a bitch. She’s socializing at a party that is so above her,” laments Jill. Wowzers!

Alex and Ramona join Jill at her table and Alex decides to confront Jill on knowing she would be attending the wedding and then pretending not to know or something along those lines. It seems Alex has retired from her duties as the messenger last season onto a new job. “I’m not going to let Jill weasel out of anything. She said she’s the queen of accountability but she’s really the queen of BS,” states Alex as the episode comes to an end.

Pretty hateful words coming from Jill who would later state on WWHL that Bravo edited an off camera convo she had with one of the producers into the show. Basically admitting she did indeed say those words off camera but didn’t think it would be shown on television. A changed Jill indeed. Just when you thought she couldn’t get any worse, she appears to be worst than last season. I predict by the time this season is over, the audience will hate Jill, you know, even more than they did last year. See at least last year, she was being herself. This time around, she is not only nasty, but also a phony. A double negative. Plus trying to redeem her image by being overly nice to Kelly and defending Kelly’s crazy behavior is a very bad move. It only makes her appear more phony as anyone with half a functioning brain cell can clearly see Kelly’s jelly bean jar doesn’t fill all the way to the top.

The Bethenny Factor - While the premiere was good without Bethenny, I couldn’t help but miss Bethenny on the show. I definitely felt her absence. No matter how great the show is, I know it can be better with Bethenny. I strongly believe Bravo’s decision to give Bethenny her own show thus her exit from the housewives was a very poor one. For starters, the ratings for Bethenny’s show continue to decline (only 1.3 million viewers tuned in to the recent highly promoted “breakdown” episode). Plus, each housewives series has one polarizing figure that is key to the show’s success. Imagine the RHOBH without Kyle, the RHOA without Nene, or the RHONJ without Teresa. Love or hate these characters, they make the show the same way Bethenny made this show. Will I be tuning in to watch the NYC ladies? Sure, but as a fan, I will always have it in the back of my mind that whatever they put in front of me could be 10x better with Bethenny back in the picture. And quite frankly, I’m not a fan of Bethenny’s spin-off show. I believe she fares better with an ensemble cast.

Watch What Happens Live – The guests were Ramona Singer and Jill Zarin, who became a trending topic on twitter thanks to her Lady Gaga inspired hair and outfit. The best part of the show was Andy playing a montage of Jill tonight to show that she is still the same ol Jill. When it comes to her nasty comments about Alex, once again Jill’s defense was that it was taken from an off camera convo aka she was simply pretending to be a nicer Jill only on camera. Jill still feels she got a bad rep last season, and the second best part of the show came when Andy read the results of the poll question asking whose side viewers are on. Ramona won in a landslide with 78% of the votes and the look on Jill’s face was simply priceless. Even more pathetic was the fact that Jill sent out a tweet asking her followers to vote for her during the live show.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE RECAP, PREMIERE & WWHL? DID YOU MISS BETHENNY ON THE SHOW?

 

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