Well, girls and boys… it finally happened. After months of build-up, Bravo unleashed the New New York and we finally caught a glimpse of Real Housewives of New York without Jill Zaaaaaaaaarin. For those of you who never thought you’d live to see the day – rejoice – but sadly it seems Pinot Singer has hopped right on up into the bitter, negative, biddy role that Jill so recently vacated. Dangit, Pinot!
Last night we were treated to some delightful new blood, and while Sonja Morgan was in good spirits and ready to move on and make new friends but keep the old, LuAnn de Lesseps, Countess no more and Pinot were still circling each other like round the UES rosie with the same old axe to grind. Sonja said the only thing worse than stale brioche at a party is stale guests… well meet your stale guests. Are people still eating brioche?
Things open with LuAnn and newbie Aviva Drescher pretending they’re long lost friends and doing lunch. Let’s just call it what it is – they’ve met each other a total of two times and Bravo is forcing them to interact as buddies to stack the odds. The only interesting thing that came out of this to-do was the revelation that Aviva’s ex-husband Harry has quite the active social life - so active that he’s dated and most likely boinked LuAnn and Sonja.
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Quel disaster! Well, the ladies have been raving about how much they adore France – and what’s more French than a socially invasive love triangle that everyone pretends doesn’t bother them?
LuAnn decides to “invite” Aviva to Sonja‘s upcoming party where coincidentally all other new Housewives are gathering too, despite none of them knowing Sonja.
Sonja‘s house is still an outdated mess of baroque scariness and too many opulent details. It’s like the wealthy version of Gretchen Rossi‘s digs. And apparently it’s covered in cat hair. Regardless, I still adore Sonja’s horny and devil-may-care charm. It’s refreshingly normalish, you know. And hell, if you come to a party at my house you’ll likely find a cat hair on my sofa too. Full disclosure: I have two cats.
So all the new ladies show up and it’s a bit awkward when Sonja and Aviva finally meet face-to-face. Awkward = When your fresh host may have gotten fresh with your ex hubby while your marriage was stale! It turns out Harry has been one of Sonja’s dearest and nearest friends for simply eons, oh just as long as the hills have been alive with the sound of music – yet she’s never met Avivia. That’s sort of like Teresa Giudice being all super-dupa close with Jamie Laurita yet never having met his partner of 14-years. “Yeah, ok.” (That’s a Teresa quote).
Regardless, Sonja has no interest in getting off on the wrong foot and instead announces, “I don’t stir the pot, I stir the drink.” Aviva describes the situation as having “crinkles,” which I think is perfect. LuAnn is anxiously cozying up to the new ladies, circling them like a shark yet swanning up and swooning over them because she is building her anti-Ramona army.
And then Ramona arrives. Apparently Pinot was originally planning to stay home, but Andy Cohen‘s spies filled her in on LuAnn‘s tactics so she hurried and threw on her best Mature Division figure skating costume and her former soviet bloc 8o’s purple eyeshadow – recalling a time when Crystle Carrington prepared for battle – and out she trooped swinging her battle axe in the form of a bottle of Ramona Pinot. At this point I sort of think of Ramona as a walking bottle of pinot with a blonde wig and some googly eyes.
Meanwhile, Aviva is disclosing her girl crush on Caroline Radziwill. See Carole is a writer of some note and unlike other Bravolebrities and their attempts at literary finess (ahem… Frankel, Bethenny) Carole is regarded as kind of a big deal and Aviva is a die hard fan. Carole was once married to Lee Radziwill‘s son Anthony. Lee Radziwill happens to be the sister of one Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. And while Jackie is widely considered America’s queen, Lee married an actual king so her son was a Prince of Poland (in title only), which makes Carole a princess by default. How’d you like that for some pedigree.
In addition, Carole has chosen to remain childless and does not attempt to hide her disinterest in other’s children. She also finds it difficult to manage the constant fawning she receives as a result of writing a sensational memoir. Despite her hubris, I enjoy Carole so far and I love her clothes. She’s a bit, unyielding, but interesting and seems authentic. So Avivia is gushing all over her book and vomiting out her favorite passages and Carole’s like – ‘Are my tits hanging out?!’
Meanwhile on the other side of the party, Ramona has zeroed in on Heather Thomson and is accosting her – literally. She pulls open Heather’s dress to investigate her underpinnings. Heather is something of a fashion impresario who has worked with several celebrity clothiers – including Beyonce and P. Diddy (are we calling him this now?). She owns her own company called Yummie Tummie which is luxury shape wear that’s not hideous. Take that Skweeze! Ramona wants some Yummie and she’s practically molesting Heather to get some. To fend her off, Heather invites Ramona to her office.
After Ramona molests Heather, LuAnn takes her turn. Strangely Heather blurts out that her father has just passed away, which was … sad but odd to reveal at a cocktail party. LuAnn deduces that such a faux pas is not in her wheelhouse of elegance and class, so she asks if Heather speaks French and then moves on. And by move on, I mean she commandeers Ramona and demands an apology, dahling for Ramona’s comments about her negligent parenting.
Ramona refuses and basically warns LuAnn to watch it. She got this close to throwing a drink in LuLu’s face – which you know is bound to happen one of these days. Then she skulks off to complain to Mario. LuAnn accosts the other ladies to complain about Ramona and Sonja is gleefully dry humping the bartender in the powder room and couldn’t be bothered with the antics of her more stale guests.
You know what, who cares if LuAnn sucks at parenting – Ramona needs to keep her trap filled with pinot and avoid making rude comments about people’s children. Who does she think she is; Caroline Manzo?
The next day Ramona pays a visit to Heather at Yummie Tummie HQ and it’s completely awkward and inauthentic. Ramona seems intimidated by Heather’s success. They have one of those competitive conversations where no one is really sure where they stand with the other person so each person just randomly introduces various topics to see what sticks. I think Congress does a lot of this as well…
Ramona pulls out her Learning Annex magazine cover to demonstrate to Heather what an important and vital business person she is and Heather all but bursts out laughing. Heather mentions that these are the freebie mags that are often stacked next to the trash can and if Ramona is measuring her career on this, well, then she be drinkin too much Pinot!
Heather reveals her son had a kidney transplant at six months and Ramona‘s retort is, “You can’t live without one of those!” Then she says she thought Avery was stillborn. So, that was uplifting. It’s clear neither woman likes each other and they don’t mesh. They have similar communication styles, although Heather’s is far more refined and they just talk over each other with a lot of spurts and stops. Exhausting.
Carole heads over to Glamour magazine where she does a column. She is given the totally amazing assignment of interviewing the Kardashians. Carole pretends to be excited, but we all know if this weren’t being filmed she’d rip the editor a new one and tell her to shove it. Carole tells us she worked for an award winning news station and never imagined she’d be forced to interview sex tape vixens. To remind said Glamour idiots exactly who she is, she drops that her new book is almost finished and yeah, they’re not getting an advanced copy. So about those Kardashians…
Aviva and Sonja go get pedicures together and they seem to be bonding, despite their rather odd connection – no not Housewives, but sex partners. Aviva reveals that she wears a prosthetic leg because she lost her foot in a farming accident at aged six. She has a “heels” leg and a “flats” leg. She gets the toe nails polished on the prosthetics and brings both when she gets pedicures so she has a matched set no matter what she’s wearing. Makes sense to me!
Sonja seemed a bit confused about how to react, but was gracious and genuinely curious. Also, Aviva is candid and low-key about it. So far I find Aviva adorable and refreshing. I loved how unabashed she was about her legs and that she asked if she had to pay for three feet.
The ladies hit up the Hamptons where Heather has a business meeting, LuAnn is hosting an art show for Victoria, and Ramona is having a dinner party to advertise her rudeness. Sonja is staying with Ramona. Sonja, Heather, and Ramona go out for a drink and Heather is surprised Ramona came along given that they pretty much do not like each other already.
Ramona seems petty and a bit jealous that Heather was connecting with Sonja on business matters. Then Heather brings up her father’s death, which Ramona doesn’t want to talk about. Heather really knows how to keep a conversation light, doesn’t she? Somehow Ramona begins to talk about her own father’s death or something which is odd to Heather. And then they butt heads over discussing LuAnn. Ramona doesn’t want to talk about that either and Heather seems to be trying to connect with Ramona by offering advice.
Ramona has a dinner party and Sonja is making meatballs in exchange for room and board. Ramona is trying to set Sonja up with one of Mario‘s tennis buddies, but she rules him out as too young, too poor, and not distinguished enough – well until wine comes into the picture. Aviva and Reid show up and they bring pies from some place Ramona loves. She gushes all over the pies for like five minutes while Reid and Aviva are standing in the open doorway like help us. Ramona’s sense of social couth remains dreadfully unchanged.
Heather shows up and strangely wants to drink scotch and tequila shots. She announces tequila is an upper alcohol, which bothers Ramona because she wants to be the center of attention and Heather keeps trying to upstage her with her know-it-all-ness. Heather has a conversation with Mario about the Berkshires and Ramona sidles over to butt in. Somehow, Mario and Ramona start telling Heather she talks too much, interrupts, and no one can get a word in edgewise. Heather is floored, but handles it well enough by commenting that she feels likewise about Ramona.
This clearly is not what Ramona wanted to hear. No, she wanted Heather to agree with her, ask how to curtail her interrupting, and agree to come to a Learning Annex class on having it all. They go back and forth, round and round, about who doesn’t let whom speak and why both of them interrupt and obfuscate. Finally, Aviva just charges over and changes the subject so Ramona leaves. That was an odd exchange. Heather is confused and feels she was “double teamed” by Mario and Ramona, neither of whom she even knows.
Over dinner, everyone wonders how Aviva met Reid and it comes out that she was on her knees at Bed, Bath, and Beyond following her divorce. With everyone making jokes about Aviva being “on her knees” and Ramona trying to steal the show with some raunchy segue, Sonja starts recanting a story about her husband.
Ramona jumps in that it’s Sonja‘s ex-husband and she should stop referring to him otherwise. I agree, Sonja seems like she’s not over her ex, but really Ramona straight up embarrassed her at dinner – and ruined the mood. Ramona claims she wanted to remind Sonja that an eligible gentleman was seated next to her and she shouldn’t be claiming to have a hubby. Sonja was clearly hurt and it was awkward.
The next day, LuAnn hosts an art show for Victoria. Aviva and Heather arrive, but Sonja remains at Ramona‘s which bothers LuAnn who doesn’t mind telling the newbies how much Ramona manipulates Sonja. Talk turns to Ramona’s dinner party and the odd situation with Heather and Ramona’s comments to Sonja. LuAnn is relishing in all the Ramona-hate.
I think it’s fair to say, Ramona does not handle change well. She turns on all the new girls – even from prior seasons, save for Sonja who is actually her friend and remains loyal to Ramona against all odds. Ramona is bad for Sonja’s image and it seems sticking together will ruin her relationships with the new Housewives – who have much higher social clout it seems. Hello future rich hubbs!
The next week the newbies have lunch with LuAnn. The new ladies get along; they seem to like each other – and seem interested in building authentic connections. LuAnn barges up to the table, orders a decaf cap, plops down and begins the story of how Ramona threatened her over the phone with blackmail if LuAnn continued pursuing an apology. Allegedly, Ramona is stalking Lulu in the Hamptons and had knowledge of a teenaged girl passing out drunk at Noelle‘s birthday party. LuAnn claims she did not provide alcohol – which I believe – and I also think these things happen.
I also believe that while Ramona was shooting her mouth off, she certainly was not blackmailing or overtly threatening. She was probably a few pinots to the wind and roaring nonsensically. LuAnn, of course, could not wait to report back to the new girls to further besmirch Ramona’s reputation. She delivers her news, races off without touching her drink and has rambled the entire story before Heather even arrived; leaving a shocked and confused Aviva and Carole to process the crazy. Carole compares it to a drive-by shooting, but all the ladies acknowledge if this is true it’s pretty deplorable as children are off-limits.
At this moment, the three new ladies seem to realize what they’re in for. You can see the wheels turning in their heads, as they wonder if this was all a horrible mistake. They begin to recognize they’re pawns in the Bravo machine and what precious reputations they have established over the years will quickly wane if they don’t take drastic actions to change the tone of this show. Carole tucks her palms into her $2,000 sleeves, Aviva licks her lips, and Heather‘s eyes dart back and forth. There is a hush amongst the group. Aviva tentatively announces that they must promise never to become mean girls. Right?
I predict Carole will have limited interaction with the ladies and probably will be a one-seasoner. I predict Aviva will try to change things by being the bigger person and be disappointed to recognize that won’t work given the content – and Ramona. And I predict Heather will try to confront things head-on, causing arguments everywhere; thus isolating both the oldies and the newbies. We’re in for a wild ride! Hold onto your Pinot and your Yummie Tummies.
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SEASON AND THE NEW GIRLS? IS THIS A NEW NEW YORK OR THE SAME OLD SCHTICK? SHOCKED THAT RAMONA AND LUANN HAVE CHANGED SO LITTLE?