Real Housewives Of New York – when it’s too hot in the city, despite the arctic winter chill, escape to the islands of Turks and Caicos but bring the arctic chill with you! I truly did love this episode – it was old times RHONY – real friends, serious drama that wasn’t fake or fabricated, yet light-hearted frivolity and laughs.
I’ve come to love the friendship of Bethenny Frankel and Luann de Lesseps. I think they deserve their own bestie name: Bethann? Luannethy? I’ve also come to accept Kristen Taekman as being silent, but necessary – her facial expressions are the omnipotent narrator and her outfits are a pleasant diversion from such atrocities as macramé, lucite stripper heels, or neon yellow bikinis purchased from the MTV Spring Break store in 1993.
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At Luann’s fashion show Ramona Singer has just ripped the the fuzz off Kristen’s angora, so Kristen rolled her pretttttty eyes and stalked away, because honestly, why bother? Ramona was pleased with herself for taking down the Velveteen Rabbit, all sad eyes and soft fur, but Dorinda Medley stepped in to tell her she was mean, abrasive, and rude. “Delivery is everything,” Dorinda admonishes. “If you had done that to me…” she warned. Ramona tried to backpedal. Finally Luann hauled the ladies away from gossiping to remind them they were there for HER fashion party, which was happening downstairs.
Sonja Morgan is nowhere to be found. All worry she was lost in the abyss of snow, wandering Fifth Avenue shouting “MR MORGAN” in her big fur hat which stores 3 interns at least, but there she was preening on the red carpet. Sonja sidles up to a handsome man, while Ramona is reduced to conversation with Einstein’s long lost cousin. Karma is a bitch and so is Ramona – who immediately started waving her arms between Sonja and the hottie to form a barricade. What is Ramona afraid of – that Sonja may jump on him and start slobbering?
While Ramona blew her drama wad in the suite going all Pinotornado on Kristen, Tropical Storm Sonja was circling the party, decimating all her wake. Sonja was talking to Kristen, benignly, when Bethenny walked in and Sonja immediately told her about Ramona yelling at Kristen. Kristen pulled her infamous scrunched-up face and Bethenny snapped at her that face might freeze that way and she wouldn’t be so pretty. Actually Bethenny accused Kristen of gunning for her and complained that Kristen should have just talked to her instead of being all cranky behind her back. Kristen reminded Bethenny she tried to talk to her, but Bethenny walked away, which reignites the conversation from AOA.
Bethenny admits she doesn’t remember if she called Kristen stupid, but she does think “Pop of Color” is a bad name for a nail polish line because there is already a beauty line called Pop. Too bad Kristen’s already got the whole thing trademarked!
So Bethenny doesn’t want Kristen to talk to her about her life, or confront her, yet she is frustrated that Kristen has a bone to pick with her and didn’t come to her directly? Kristen needs to just wear white everywhere – then she can lay down in surrender to all the crazy. Eventually Kristen and Bethenny just give up, realizing neither of them particularly cares, and hit the bar. It’s better that way.
Then Kristen happens upon Sonja, just as her Swami Priestess, Robin, of the butchered blunt-cut hair (presumably chopped in the African wild brush by boars which were subsequently released to Sonja’s house in France to cleanse the spirits of the debts) is referring to Luann’s collection as “schleppy” – too schleppy for Sonja. Sonja directs everyone not to repeat that to Luann, then she turns to Kristen and says, “You’ll probably tell her. You’ve got that look on your face.”
Just go home Kristen. And she does, to re-pack for Turks and Caicos. Kristen takes out all the sparkly sandals, string bikinis, and cute rompers to add in: her son’s collection of plastic Ninja Turtle Weapons and fake armor, a cutting board for a shield, and several white sheets to make SOS flags. Good thing she has a lifetime supply of E-Boost – they will come in handy if she is forced to escape though the jungle in a quest for freedom. Obviously this is Blue Lagoon Revisited, waiting to happen.
Carole Radziwill decided the RHONY cameras are not reliable – clearly, as they’re missing all of Sonja’s sloppiest drunken escapades – so she’ll be filming her own documentary using a handheld. Carole’s Time Machine is now taking her back to 1998, ala Reality Bites.
The ladies arrive on the island, and Ramona, like the celeb she is, slaps the camera out of Carole’s hand and starts rampaging about the lack of air conditioner. “We’ve got a menopausal group here,” quips Bethenny jovially. The happy times end when there is a competition to get the best bedroom. Ramona and Sonja race around the house demanding accommodations together, plus: a bathtub, a walk-in, a full bar, a man-servant at the foot of their bed… They claim two rooms instantly, then scream at each across the house to each other about which room is better. All the whilst Sonja, in stilettos and tight white pants, is balancing a coconut shell with a straw stuck in it as she darts up and down stairs and around corners. Is this an Olympic sport? It’s obviously played on Gstaad with a smokey eye and an up-do. Sonja is on a team with Princess Caroline of Monaco. Eventually Sonja concedes to Ramona’s choice, but laments not having a bathtub because she and Ramona can’t work a shower or get their hair wet.
After all the exertion, Ramona saunters downstairs in search of pinot and is accosted by Bethenny who is disgusted by her grubby, entitled, immature behavior and tantrums over a bedroom. It is the delivery, lectures Bethenny. Of course, it may be sour grapes (coming soon to Skinnygirl) because Bethenny got stuck sharing a closet and bathroom with Heather Thomson, yet Luann lucked-out with the best room; alone. Luann, as we’ll come to find out, is having an awakening of self and don’t need nobody!
Yes, Ramona is selfish, but alas, it’s a bit rich to hear Bethenny bemoan entitled antics and immature meltdowns. Skinnygirl pot, meet Pinot kettle.
While Ramona reduces her manservant to unpacking all her unmentionables – and her Flowby – Bethenny and Luann sit poolside to gossip over that atrocities of Pinot. It was good ol’ fashioned non-malicious girl talk. When Ramona walked out, in a neon-yellow bikini from the 90s and lucite stripper shoes, she stomped over to Bethenny to issue her famous non-sequitur: the insincere pinot-pology. Bethenny says if Ramona is really sorry, she’ll switch rooms with her but Ramona pretends not to hear as she arranges her pool noodles and paddles around careful not to get her hair wet. Hair which looks like the dried-out innards of a vacuum filter or a Barbie who has been victim to one too many games of ‘salon.’ Then Bethenny and Luann go paddle boarding.
Before Heather hands out “Yummie” gift bags filled with leggings and jeans. Bethenny advises her to get into fitness fashions which is an “untapped market.” It is? Heather seems hurt at being undercut as a business woman by Bethenny – especially because Heather is in the fitness business. As for Bethenny advising on untapped markets; apparently blenders and microwave popcorn aren’t widely available enough? Wasn’t Bethenny just telling Kristen she doesn’t hand out business advice to people she doesn’t know – or maybe this is how Bethenny ‘gets to know people.’
In their room Ramona reminds Sonja about the last time she was in the Caribbean – right before she and Mario renewed their vows. “I’m hurting,” she whispers as Sonja strokes her back. Then Ramona brightly asks Sonja how her daughter is and demands the manservant turn on the shower to the right temperature while Ramona directs him on the correct percentage of hot to cold.
They descend down the stairs looking like two visions of happiness past. Ramona in a crocheted number from Michael Kors’ “expensive line” and Sonja in a slip-dress. Sonja and Carole harass Ramona about needing to try casual sex and get her feet – clad in lucite stripper shoes that we come to find out she stole from Carole (of course) – wet, but Kristen chimes in that maybe Ramona should start with dating. Ramona hugs Kristen, lavishing praise on her and spilling pinot on her perfectly crisp white shirt. Ramona snaps that she isn’t “sexually free” like Sonja and proceeds to tell a story of Sonja getting so wasted during a recent night out she tried to make-out with Luann’s friend’s boyfriend. Naturally the cameras missed that, but cue to a flashback of Lu’s friend recounting the story, confirming it’s veracity.
Sonja, embarrassed, accuses Ramona of giving credence to gossip she knows isn’t true and insists it was an innocent mistake. Bethenny intercedes in the argument. Apparently all of the months homeless Bethenny has spent crashing on Dr. Amador‘s couch has given her perspective on the mental health of others. You know what they say: Those who can’t do, teach.
The problem is, Sonja behaves regrettably when she’s drunk, and doesn’t remember – doesn’t want to. Her friends, well Ramona, are worried, but where is the line between enabling and supporting? Sonja doesn’t want to relive her embarrassing drunken moments – why would she? – so she gets defensive and lashes out. Ramona is often the victim of these tirades, it seems. Worse, Sonja seems completely in denial about how much she’s drinking. Sonja dismisses the women’s concerns as them judging her.
Bethenny tries again to reason with Sonja. She frantically demands Sonja “listen to her” as she tries to advise her on dealing with stress. Bethenny made good points about Sonja using alcohol to cope – something Bethenny is also doing – but Sonja is not honest about her circumstances. Sonja will not listen – she’s wearing a Skinnygirl panty guard which prevents her from absorbing the truth. Heather describes talking to Sonja as “circling the drain.”
Instead Sonja argues that she’s battling one of the richest, smartest, and most powerful men in America, but she’s managing to hold on, fighting tooth and nail to keep above water so sometimes she just needs to let loose and no be judged. “Listen to me – I’m a smart girl,” Bethenny insists. Sonja protests, “I wouldn’t have gotten where I am… ” but Bethenny cuts her off with “Where are you?!” Sonja resents being called dumb.
I gotta admit – that was some insight from Sonja; maybe the Swami Priestess is doing some good. Bethenny is as relentless as Sonja is impenetrable – at least of the verbal persuasion. The other ladies are eating dinner, but the yelling is distracting them. Luann reminds them of their manners – Bethenny tried to shut her down, but Luann is quite persistently not backing down until she realizes her own lobster tail is getting cold.
But Ramona is bothered, because hearing Bethenny screaming “shut the f–k up and listen to me’ at Sonja is causing her hair to frizz and pinot to warm. Ramona goes inside to tell the ladies they are disturbing the peace, but Bethenny yells, “Shut the f–king door then!” Swatted away, a flustered Ramona skulks back to the table and Carole notices there is a bug stuck in her crochet. Ramona freaks. It was hilarious.
Back inside, Bethenny just wants Sonja to comprehend. It was interesting – all the things Bethenny was accusing Sonja of being: mired in self-absorption, no self-reflection, unable to listen or take advice, are things Bethenny herself seems guilty of. It is said we often see in others what we don’t like in ourselves. Also interesting, Bethenny is always shrieking that she doesn’t want people to ask her about her life – yet here she is doing it to Sonja. I’m sure Bethenny meant well and wanted to help, but it is ironic, if you will. I do think Bethenny’s desire to help is sincere, but again: delivery is everything. And Sonja is more impractical than lucite stripper heels.
Perhaps Bethenny needs to find a Skinnygirl Solution for her own messes before she swizzle sticks and Skinnygirl mixers in other people’s. Sonja eventually nods and says she understands, then goes upstairs to fix her smokey eye, dreaming of her home in St. Tropez which she was forced to sell. And Bethenny goes to the table where all the women lean-in close and demand the details. Bethenny feels she’s gotten somewhere. When Sonja finally comes to dinner, only Dorinda checks to see if she’s OK.
Then Luann decides it’s time to talk happy things – like sex! Luann has gotten some – two days ago (was it Carson?! I kid), and it was fabulous! But Luann isn’t interested in love; she’s finding herself ‘I am countess, hear me roar’ style; she is living life, enjoying it, finding a full-b0dy and soul connection with a man, but not looking for a commitment. I am loving the liberation of Luann. LOVING. IT. “I’ve always needed a man, but now I’m good,” Luann exalts. Sonja jokes that she can’t wait to meet Luann’s new girlfriend. And everything ends on a good note – too bad it’s about to turn sour.
TELL US – DID BETHENNY GET THROUGH TO SONJA?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]