To tell or not to tell? To reveal a deeply humiliating personal secret on Real Housewives Of New York or to be forced into having a deeply humiliating personal secret revealed about yourself? These are the quandaries a lady of Bravo faces as Luann de Lesseps was made to reconcile with both the ghosts of her past and the ghost of her future thanks to a so-called benevolent Bethenny Frankel.
Bethenny is beside herself that Luann has the audacity to be so outrageously happy over a man she’s known for two minutes. Which is sort of hilarious considering that Bethenny got knocked up approximately 5 days after meeting Jason Hoppy then shoved him down the aisle 5 months later!
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Bethenny is buzzing, humming, and vibrating with the salacious little secret that could. Since she wants absolutely no one to know what she knows, the first person she tells is Ramona Singer, who whoops with vindicating joy. Ramona begs to see the photos, but Bethenny isn’t stupid – she wants to personally blow the lid off this tale of Luann‘s woe all on her own, and if Ramona sees the photos, she will levitate by the force of her jubilation straight to Luann’s room. And then Bethenny’s tantalizing will all be dashed.
Instead, Ramona, practically awe-struck by this explosion of good luck, bops across the hall to the room she shares with Sonja Morgan. She is so over come she can’t figure out which key unlocks the door. Somehow I think that’s a euphemism for Ramona’s whole life. As she stands in the hallway trying keys, mumbling, ‘nope’ after each reject beep, Bethenny shows Carole Radziwill the photos.
Carole confirms the photo features Tom. I don’t know if she’s a reliable witness because she tells us that all bald men look alike. I don’t know the middle-aged Manhattan dating birdbath so I’ll take her word for it.
A few minutes later Ramona must prematurely reconcile with Luann over manicures. “How was your chat with Bethenny? Did everything go OK?” probes Ramona, her crazy-eyes monolithic search lights. Luann gives away that she was unsettled by Bethenny’s questions about her rapid engagement to Tom and their fidelity. “We’re not getting married for 8 months,” Luann reminds. Even she has seemingly padded the scope of her euphoria with a buffer.
By dinnertime, Ramona has already confessed to Sonja about the Tom-Texts. Since conveniently the rest of the ladies are unfathomably late, due to a coincidental wardrobe malfunction on Carole‘s part, Bethenny has plenty of time to further grill Sonja and Ramona about Tom. For Luann’s protection. Bethenny cackles learning that Sonja slept with Tom right before Thanksgiving – and Luann was moving from Sonja’s house to Tom’s house a couple weeks later. Sonja shakes her head glumly that she lost her lover. Oh so sad that Luann snatched him from her bed, still rolled up the Morgan ancestral sheets.
Bethenny snidely jokes that they should have saved money by shacking up Three’s Company style. Isn’t it nice how Sonja and Bethenny are bonding and reconnecting on the back of Luann’s misfortune? To badly paraphrase Shakespeare, this whole situation is essentially the beast with two backs. Or maybe it’s three – three’s company, too, you know! Just so we’re all keeping abreast of the obtuse triangles and parallel lines that form the polyhedron shape that has become Luann’s engagement. All plot points lead to Tom, as they say, but the question is: Is Tom the right angle?
The rest of the group arrives two hours later because of Carole’s split pants. I was more riveted by The Case of Carole’s Pants than the sudden cone of convenience populated by points B, C, and R. Seeing the group entering the restaurant, Bethenny announces that she can only sit next to Ramona or Sonja because she’ll be a bitch to anyone else. They race to the table, musical chairs-style, to claim seats. Ramona, running fastest, shoved her purse on the chair beside her for Bethenny.
Apparently it doesn’t matter if Bethenny’s bitchiness is safely ensconced in a Ramonja triangle – because she boxed her way right out to start yelling at Carole over being tardy; straight up lecturing her, mother-style, about time management! Since they’re all behaving like high school rejects, why not take it one step further and treat each other like wayward children? Dorinda Medley, the so-called hostess of this consolation prize of the runner-up cast trip, announces that tomorrow they’re all going to Sandbar.
What is Sandbar exactly? Well, it’s sandbar. Just sandbar. Add a bar, the natural kind, to sand, the earth kind, and it becomes sandbar. Ramona does not like sandbar. She can think of nothing worse than sandbar. With its picnics and its outdoor air and its sandbarry-ness. She’d rather go to Bagatelle, that washed up lunch spot whose heydey was about the year Lunchables were born.
With Sandbar doused in cold water there’s nothing left to do but feast, then some girls hit the club and some girls are forced to escort the ailing Bethenny back to her hotel room. Such is the price you pay to follow the piper, Sonja!
At the bar, Jules Wainstein humps a trombone and cheers that Michael is so not there. Ramona humps something else – the particulars of who or what or where are not known and I’d like to keep it that way (I’m sure we all would). As for Luann, she’s missing Tom while gushing that she doesn’t need to check up on where he is and who he’s doing it with, but she decides to call him anyway – because she loves him. And I believe she does. So does Dorinda, which makes her an idiot, apparently.
Ironically, or coincidentally, or Real Housewives conveniently, at the very same time, Sonja and Bethenny also call Tom, because they’ve decided to get HIS side of the story about the photos before confronting Luann.
The next morning, feasting, once again, on the tale of Tom, Ramona emerges from the sea looking like Ariel after she gained legs. In this newest Tom-Tale, Sonja was to meet his mother at the very same time he was meeting Luann. But according to Luann, Sonja was a mere one-night stand, not a ten year reoccurring fling.
Dorinda is annoyed to be talking about this again. Bethenny notices that Luann keeps alluding to “if” she gets down the aisle – apparently she’s calling it a “runway.” Dorinda is done mining the waters with a lure, hoping to catch another fishy detail, and shrugs that she thinks they’ll get married. Bethenny erupts into callous laughter and calls Dorinda the “village idiot” for not ‘knowing’ Luann.
How rude – especially considering that Dorinda had no idea Tom had slept with half her friend group, and she had no idea that in Bethenny’s purse is the atom bomb of Housewives as we know it in the form of photos featuring one-half Tom, and one-half unknown element of Playboy Bunny. Whatever the case, the combination is toxic, and the possessor of said information, the most dangerous component.
Ramona and Bethenny decide they won’t be sandbarring because they need “rest.” Actually Bethenny just can’t stand to be near Luann for fear she’ll blow her wad too soon. For whatever reason, Sonja is joining them. “Rest” is code word for Bagatelle and when Ramona reappears in heels and macrame, and Bethenny in a flowing skirt, Dorinda knows they’re lying. She’s not impressed.
The rest of the group heads to Sandbar, including Carole who wants to dispel the myth that she and Bethenny are a clique, or a two-headed monster – whatever. Jules observes a Carole without Bethenny is a Carole everyone likes. Sandbar turns out to be a pontoon boat named Bentley joining a collection of these boats, all surrounding a floating hotdog cart. Street-meat by sea?
The highlight of the afternoon was Luann meeting fans of her music on the water, leaping up to dance and cheer to the lyrics of Chic C’est La Vie. The other cute moment was Carole hopping into the food taxi kayak to fetch hotdogs, then eating it herself after deciding none of these bitches actually eat hotdogs.
Meanwhile at Bagatelle, everyone is still talking about you know what and when to tell you know who. YAWN. Also, macrame is never OK, because it never conceals anything – especially not, as Dorinda points out, thongs.
Back on Bentley, Luann confesses to Carole that she was hurt by Bethenny questioning her marriage. Yes Luann did have an open marriage. But not for most of it. Not until it was already going south and it was the Count who wanted it – not Luann – which happened after they moved back to America. Luann is upset that Bethenny’s accusations made her marriage seem cheap and dirty, which isn’t fair because for 12 years they had a beautiful marriage, a real marriage, with two amazing children and Bethenny has been attempting to dismantle the beauty all that with her accusatory speculations and “low-base bullshit.” (to quote the ever-succinct Heather Dubrow – thank you for that!).
With Tom, insists a humbled and raw Luann, it is real. No open-relationship there. Carole straddles the fence in the right way, with loyalty and also compassion, and I’m glad Luann was finally able to get her truth off her chest.
Of course immediately upon returning to the hotel Carole informs Bethenny that Luann has a bone to pick with her. Bethenny decides to distract everyone by inviting some artist along to their last supper. Now, this man has never met nor heard of Bethenny in his life. And vice-versa. Furthermore, the women were basically forced to abandon a real and decent cast trip over Bethenny’s health issues, then she didn’t even attend ANY of the events in Miami! She just made her own agenda, which was not only rude to Dorinda, but it speaks volumes about the lack of respect she has for her cast mates.
Dorinda’s feelings are hurt by Ramona’s ditch and deceit. Bethenny mocks Sonja for wearing a tiara, snarking about her “costume,” while Bethenny herself is wearing a Miami Vice blazer over a sparkly crop top the color of a gym sweatshirt, and gets picked up in a clown car by Romero, the Art King of Miami, who is a hybrid of Bob Ross and Richard Simmons.
At dinner, Dorinda cares for naught about making a good impression to the “goofy” guy Bethenny dragged along in his pajamas, and with a little prodding from Jules confronts Ramona about Bagatelle lie. “I was relaxing… at Bagatelle,” concedes Ramona, without apology. Dorinda tells Ramona she hurt her feelings, but while Bethenny yells at Dorinda for yelling at Ramona, which Dorinda was NOT yelling, Ramona takes advance of the opportunity to scuttle over with a pinot-pology hug. Dorinda accepts, because with Ramona – whaddya gonna do?
Then it’s the last day and the final order of business is the conclusion of the long, dragged-out, protracted confrontation Bethenny has been scratching at all weekend. Bethenny breaks this earth-shattering news to Luann while wearing a thong bikini and surrounded by carefully staged Skinnygirl, and a perfectly oriented coffee table book bearing Romero’s name.
First Luann explains in a calm, and I think earnest way, that Bethenny dismissing her marriage and calling her a home-wrecking whore of a cheater invalidates everything about Luann and Alex’s love – especially since Bethenny didn’t even know Luann or Alex well enough to know the truth. Since Bethenny has even more humiliating statements in her arsenal, she simply agrees with Luann’s assessment.
Also, Bethenny is more stressed about how Luann’s tragedy is affecting herself, as the bearer of bad news. Bethenny whines that she’s shaking and feels sick, then finally vomits out that she has upsetting information about Tom. “Don’t do this to me,” whispers Luann. Bethenny insists it’s not HER doing this to Luann, but Luann just flees the room in tears, leaving Bethenny with her head between her knees.
Luann begs the cameras to stop filming as she fumbles to get into her room. Apparently Tom, for all his womanizing, makes it impossible for women to get into hotel rooms!
Here’s the thing: Yes, Luann did need to know the information about Tom. Yes, Bethenny had an obligation to tell her. But the callous and unsympathetic way Bethenny approached delivering the bad news is what Bethenny did to Luann.
After first denigrating Luann’s marriage to Alex and “cheapening it” as Luann so aptly said, Bethenny spent the entire weekend regaling the other women the embarrassing information about Tom, because she didn’t want to ruin a “good trip” by telling Luann. Yes, Bethenny actually considered that a “fun” trip. Of course she did – she had something to look forward to all along!
Bethenny also made sure to show Carole the pictures on camera, and to tell everyone on camera – that way even if Luann refused to hear the information, or speak to Bethenny, it would most certainly make it onto the show and there would be witnesses to “verify” the photos contained Tom.
And that is what Bethenny did to Luann. It wasn’t that she revealed the information – which Luann had a right to know – it’s that she revealed it publicly, and made it a reality show storyline instead of caring about Luann’s real life. If Bethenny cared about sparing Luann, she would have spoken to her privately, without the cameras, without first telling the other women ON CAMERA, and then she would have deferred to Luann about how she wanted to handle it. Instead Bethenny made Luann’s personal tragedy all about herself and how it would make good TV. And that is wrong, cruel, and gross. #GirlCode
TELL US – DID BETHENNY ‘DO’ ANYTHING TO LUANN? SHOULD BETHENNY HAVE TOLD LUANN BEFORE TELLING THE OTHER WOMEN? WAS RAMONA HURTFUL TO DORINDA?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]