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The lessons of life are hard learned, and Sonja Morgan – executress of the Hard-Knocks School of Life – knows this better than anyone. Sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow and it hurts going down. Sometimes reality is as jagged as the edges of a broken wine bottle.

As Sonja presided over her interns from her UES townhome, all of them looking up at her with searching eyes so full of hope and promise, Sonja shook her head and smiled a misty smile; if only they knew that someday their ambitions would be stuffed in Neimans bag and returned. That they would be deemed unmatchable and undesirable. That the lessons learned in fifth grade would come back to haunt them. That sometimes extending the olive branch only means something if there are olives on the vine.

Real Housewives of New York started out on a beautiful day in Central Park. Heather Thomson and Aviva Drescher are getting together to talk shop. Aviva has something very pressing to impart. She is determined to keep the peace – but more than anything she is determined to be liked by everyone. So, she pushes the childhood insecurities out of her mind and soldiers on.

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Heather must know that Ramona Singer, whose devil is in the pinot, is furious. She is blazing, spinning, twisting, turtle timing – eyes googly and blazing – because she has been excluded from THE trip to London. Aviva feels the sting of childhood trauma, of gym class exclusion, prickling her. She knows Ramona is hurt and she is here to salve that wound.

Unfortunately, Heather doesn’t care - Ramona was excluded on purpose! She must protect both her business and her image. Plus, it’s as simple as she doesn’t like Pinot. She’s more of a red wine kind of a girl. Aviva warns her about Ramona’s fury, that it will come in a wrath, but Heather has felt that wrath and is not scared. Remember, Pinot apologized to her and was kind, but then siphoned away at that kindness with digs and pettiness. “And then she kinda stabbed me with the olive branch,” Heather exclaimed!

Aviva wants to be with the cool girls, on the trip to London; buying up a storm at Harrod’s, but alas her fear of both exclusion and entrapment has prevented her once again. She channels her frustrations through Ramona, but Heather is lost on her appeals. ‘Bring it on,’ Heather challenges, ‘Let ol’ Pinot try her schtick on me… she’s old news. And her style is so outdated!’

Heather concedes to invite Ramona on a shopping extravaganza with the other girls, although she’s not happy about it!

Across town another desperate woman tries her luck. LuAnn de Lesseps, aging Countess No More wishes for another baby – she has a new man (not a count) who counts so much more. She wishes to cement their relationship not with a wedding ring, but with a child.

Sadly, there is an obstacle in her path. L’ex-comtesse is a wee bit wrinkled in the forehead to be harvesting life in her own egg crate. Le sigh… Alas, her eggs need prodded and poached and jiggled and scrambled and benedicted and covered with hollandaise, but after two long years – no baby has sprung forth. Oh, she is trying she wants us to know – very often and uhhh… with very satisfactory recipes (Le yuck!).

L’ex-comtesse is seeking acupuncture as her last resort before the special egg swapping doctors intervene. On the table, getting pricked with needles as fine as a strand of hair, she feels a change. Unfortunately I fear our poor countess has felt “The Change” instead of a change. Ahem… menopause.

In a happier office, Heather shares the story of her son Jax‘s health. Jax was born with a rare kidney disease that necessitated a transplant and has caused him many health problems. Jax is adorable and what a brave little boy. He has reached the seven-year milestone for transplant children, and is doing better every day. Heather reminds us of the power donating organs can have. Very moving.

Unfortunately we cannot end on this happy note, for fair Aviva will not give up her quest to convince the ladies of Pinot’s worth. She meets Mistress Sonja (who is guzzling a fine Italian Chardonnay) on a mission. Sonja of the spicy parties and toaster oven flare announces her bow blouse binge. I hope Sonja is no longer on a wearing clothes with the sales tags on them binge!

Aviva, anxious to make friends, to seem important and cool; introduces the plight of  Pinot, once again. ‘But Sonja,’ she simpers, hoping Pinot’s good friend will truly understand, ‘Pinot has been left out of the party!’ ‘Well,’ Sonja says crisply, ‘There’s simply nothing that can be done! Not everyone gets an invite – we learned this in grade school – I can’t make people develop a taste for pinot. It’s acquired; you either like it or you don’t.’ Clearly this episode is all about comparing Ramona’s behavior to that of a child’s – apt, don’t you think? Ramona gives off a whiff of Lord of The Flies.

‘So, didn’t you hear? I have a toaster oven business,’ Sonja continues. ‘I’m going into catering. Yes, that boarding school for wayward royals didn’t work out and you know, a girls gotta eat and buy designer panties!’

‘Oh!’ Aviva gasps, recognizing that she can redeem herself in Sonja’s eyes by giving her some money. ‘Sonja,’ she deploys, ‘I’m having a five-year married party, you know cause I’ve never had a party, EVER and now I’m on TV so I should. Plus it’s in my contract. Would you like to make canapes in your diamond studded toaster oven? Use the truffle oil – I’ll pay extra. Let’s plan it for the day after you return from London!’

Sonja reluctantly agrees. ‘This,’ she thinks, ‘Is a recipe for disaster!’

Back at her humble abode, a fifth story townhome located next to a parking garage, Mistress Sonja holds court in her pajamas. ‘Good morning, my interns,’  she announces; surveying her indentured servants as she uncoils from her bed, emerging forth for her vitamins and a spot of tea.

‘Open this mail – has AmEx begged me back yet? Oh, they have! Look they’re offering moi money. $1.53 cents! Rush this to the bank, dear.’

‘Oh let’s see what else, what can you plebeians learn from me? Oh – about the water filtration and the toaster oven temperatures in Paris… Oh, and my poodle has spotted on the persian again. Who’s taking it to be cleaned? No, the dog’s anal glands – not the rug; that’s too expensive – just spray some Febreeze!’

‘A little Sonja spices up everything, and don’t you forget it. Where are my mandatory 200 emails for today?’ Poor Sonja, once a grande dame of American society; presiding over five homes and a yacht with 75 servants and a toaster oven in every room. Now she’s confined to a measly five floors with water damage! She entertained Churchills and Vanderbilts and Sugarcubes and Churchbilts and Chases.

But alas, now she’s borrowing LuAnn‘s vacation home! And paying legal bills by the bucketfull and pretending these interns mean something; even if they are cute and this was an adorable scene. It makes her sadly reminisce for the good old days when she meant something and her toaster oven inspired fear in those she met. Now she’s stuck making mac n cheese balls for stupid Aviva and talking about Pinot Singer‘s drunken antics on a low-rent TV show while her husband – oh, excuse me EX-husband, gallivants with 25-year-old “models” Oh well…

‘Miss Sonja,’ one intern whispers, tentatively stepping forward, ‘eHarmony contacted us. It seems, well… it seems you’re unmatched forever.’ Sonja fixes her steely eyes upon Heather Hopesalot, stands a little taller, and says with determination, ‘Honey, you got that right.’ And off she sauntered to spike her morning tea. She’ll take pimms with that cuppa.

Incidental cool girl Carole Radziwill is on a date. And she just hopes he’s not a republican. That would be an awful deal breaker and this man is very cute. Carole doesn’t so much care about the men; oh they come in droves – a date is just something to pass the time and a free meal. She’s an oldschool heartbreaker who tucks back the Tom Collins and prefers her sounds on vinyl.

Well, here comes a toddler in a suit – that must be her date. He was one of Sonja‘s rejects. A former intern of something. (I swore I saw that guy on Project Runway.) Anyway, I can’t understand a thing he said, other than “pussy” which Bravo made sure to have Carole repeat. Carole can’t understand him either, and it doesn’t matter – she’s only using these losers for research for her next book.

Carole is a widow, and she once worked for ABC, but now she is an author. And her contract stipulates she must repeat this every episode so her cred is cemented. She must also announce that she lives downtown every episode. That’ll teach her to sign things without reading.

Speaking of downtown, she’s meeting Pinot for lunch. Carole is in some jacket her toddler date left at her house after t-ball practice and Ramona arrives in full-on Cruella de Vil mode. Throwing her fur over her shoulder, Ramona growls at the waiter that she needs a drink – and fast – if you think she’s twitchy now…

Carole looks alarmed. She gulps and slinks back into her chair. She sends SOS eyes around the restaurant in a desperate bid for help. Why, oh why, did she make plans to meet Ramona before the others? Now she’s stranded, alone, and no one knows her whereabouts.

‘Well,’ Ramona sighs, settling into her seat – ‘Pass me that menu. So, I can’t stand Heather and she’s bitch for not inviting me to London. Who wouldn’t want to spend their vacation with me? I won an award for business… remember you were there? I talked through everyone else’s speech and complained that they hate men. It was a big deal. I am a big deal. I was on Learning Annex Magazine. And I’m on this show. And I do jewelry and pinot – and I’m a wonderful person. Tell Heather to invite me to London.’

Carole, fettered by trying to appease the situation is fearing for her life. She thinks of how she would distract a five-year-old in the throes of a tantrum. “I’m a princess,” she blurts out!  ’Oh,’ Ramona gushes, ‘You are? And that title trumps countess, doesn’t it? So you out-rank LuAnn! I’ll just store this in my pinot bottle for future use. Now, back to complaining about Heather.’

Poor Carole… she tried. And failed. She attempted to reason with Ramona, failing to recognize that Ramona’s logic got lost in a pinot bottle many years ago.

Meanwhile at Curve, Heather is attempting to coerce her new friends into buying clothes from her real friend’s boutique. Aviva has accompanied her and is reluctant to try on sandals. ‘You know,’ Heather announces, ‘Aviva has a fake leg. Can you tell?’ Aviva is embarrassed but tries to play it off. Boy, Heather just had real foot in mouth moment, didn’t she?!

Distracting from the awkward, Ramona and Carole show up. “SAVE ME” Carole mouths, gesturing to Ramona. Heather quickly leaps into action – ‘Ramona! How are you? Let’s hug. You know, I’ve been thinking about you… you could really use a make-over. I was gonna put you on What Not To Wear for a satin cocktail dress detox, but then I thought you can spend your money at my friend’s shop and the whole world won’t know that I think you dress like an aging drag queen lost in the Dynasty years. Oh, are we filming? Oops! So anyway, you need a make-over!’

That distracted Ramona, alright! Ramona is floored. And decides she hates everything; it’s all ugly and horrible. She becomes ruthlessly rude – discarding garments as if they have fleas. She is a fashion authority! YEAH RIGHT. 

Ramona and Heather sit down for a chat, to once and for all lay this London thing to rest. Aviva comes over to assess the damage just as Ramona decides Aviva is to blame for all of this. She was talking about everyone and putting herself in the middle.

Aviva is an amateur, unfamiliar with the ways of the Housewife. Ramona drops that Aviva told her that Heather‘s feelings were hurt and that’s why she was uninvited. And Aviva just got her first taste of Pinot. Heather doesn’t take the bait. ‘No, I wasn’t hurt,’ she reassures. ‘I just don’t like you. Oh, and Aviva, I’m not mad. Just come talk to me next time.’

It’s all tit for tat and going nowhere with Ramona still insisting she should be invited. Heather sighs the longest sigh ever sighed and repeats herself again. Heather is not sorry, and she will not beg forgiveness, and Pinot is not coming on this trip.

Ramona gulps, the truth does not slide down her throat as smoothly as a cool glass of pinot does. No, it’s dry and cakey like the next morning’s aspirin.

Sensing that she is losing on all fronts, Ramona calls a time out. Which is perfect timing for Carole to return from an important phone call. ‘Friends, gather round. I have an important announcement. My novel is being optioned for a sitcom. Take that Bethenny Frankel!’ Everyone is cheering and hugging and in bounces the pinot dragon, jumping as if she were on a trampoline. ‘Guess what happened to me?!’ Ramona crows ‘My pinot is going to be sold in Target! TARGET! ME IN TARGET! I have arrived.’

The silence was palpable. A pause occurred and then everyone cheered for Ramona too. But the damage was done.

In her mind, Heather bursts out laughing. Yeah, this bitch is so not coming to London.

THOUGHTS ON THE EPISODE? SHOULD HEATHER FEEL SORRY FOR EXCLUDING RAMONA? DO WE CARE?

 

 

 

 

 

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