Real Housewives Of New York Recap: Past And Present

Bethenny confronts her past in Miami

Last night on Real Housewives Of New York some Housewives celebrated moving forward while other Housewives trudged back through the treacherous waters of their murky pasts. Tru-Renewal vs. Tru-Regression, y’all!

It’s Ramona Singer‘s birthday – you may think that this is just a day where Ramona gets a cake and an extra glass of wine. But oh no – it’s a sacred celebration – a week-long festivus of Turtle Timing which culminates with a fatuous lunch of wine spritzers, steamed veggies, and timid licks of icing from the tip of a knife. The ladies of the UES trek to their mecca, bestowing gifts of wine and Gucci (or hoochie – which is what Sonja Morgan brought), to place at the feet of their goddess Turtlephenia: Ramona of The Pinot, who is bedecked in gold like a shimmering bottle of pinot. 


The chosen ladies – 30 sacred specimens – have spent months anointing themselves with the perfect shade of Ramona Pinot blonde, nipped and tucked sometimes to perfection sometimes to Star Trekkian proportions. Even sometimes turning into a Swami Priestess – one who inhabits the ghosts of a thousand pasts: a fried and dyed approximation of Betty Draper’s hair from 1965, Lisa Loeb’s glasses from 1995, Kelly Bensimon‘s botox from 2005 and Sonja’s insanity from 1985 – back in the days when she partied with John-John on her yacht where Madonna was her cocktail waitress and Princess Diana mixed the drinks at the bar. Anyway the Swami priestess is gonna light candles and show Sonja how find things inside – which sounds like the practices of all Sonja’s evenings callers.

Sonja skips back to the table, triumphantly announcing to Bethenny Frankel that the Swami instructed her to return to writing – and Christ. So Sonja is gonna start writing the Bible of Broke Bitches (on borrowed time). 

Sonja & The Swarmi Priestess

Bethenny has no time for this party – first of all, because she’s a brunette – but namely because she has no time for the fakery or the suffocating schmoozing or that Ramona won’t let Skinnygirl sponsor it. And Bethenny definitely has no time for Heather Thomson‘s “mamas” and “hollas” especially when Heather is a lot more challa than hood. Ramona says Heather is trying to be cool, which irks Bethenny something poignant because she recognizes the desperate to be cool-ness that’s also within herself!

Then Ramona makes a speech about how much she loves her girlfriends for lobbying congress to make Turtle Time a national holiday when one gets paid time off to recover from plastic surgery or adulterous divorces while relaxing on a beach with pinot. And then they all go off, back to their penthouse suites and their duplexes and townhouses – all but poor little homeless Bethenny. She goes off to Dr. Amador (of the Lost at Sea Amadors) to bemoan her horrible talk show and her horrible divorce. 

Nothing has changed at Dr. Amador‘s. I imagine he’s been sitting in that same office, on the same dour brown chair, fidgeting his loafered foot and Dockers-clad leg all these long years, smiling numbly and nodding vacantly, waiting for Bethenny to return. Either his office and his wardrobe hasn’t changed at all, Bravo is showing us archival footage from Bethenny Never Happy, or they had all this crap stored in a warehouse and dredged it up again so Bethenny could reenact 2000-and whatever minus Jillusional

Anyway, Bethenny’s talk show was so constraining because she had to pretend to be interested in others. Divorce is scarring. Her homelessness has given her fleas. And her mother is still causing her nightmares. Plus she’s back on RHONY which is a nightmare in itself. Dr. Amador absently encourages her to confront her past and Bethenny promises she will before pressing rewind on her consciousness and going back in time to 2009. Then she boards a plane to Miami where she plans to reach out to one of the wolf-people who raised her – her step-father John

Meanwhile back in NYC Carole Radziwill tells the intoxicating tale of the time she took testosterone as “an experiment” and discovered a love of boxing. That sounds like a story for Dr. Amador – his door is always open! 

Kristen Taekman gets 'spittled' at the boxing match

Luann de Lesseps, Ramona, Kristen Taekman, and Carole watch a friend of Carole’s, Larry Luis in a boxing match, where they sit front row. Kristen, apparently confusing it with front row NYFW, wears over-the-knee boots and a mini skirt leaving a strip of upper thigh perfectly exposed so when a spit-covered mouth-guard comes flying out of a boxer’s mouth it lands in her lap. Since Kristen’s storyline consists of making faces and squealing, she does just that and dabs at her thigh delicately while complaining that Bethenny is allowed to skip events because she is with her daughter. But Kriiiiisten has to show up and pretend to be enamored with boxing while leaving her kid with the nanny. It’s a cruel world – thank goodness she’s pretty!

Afterwards the boxing leaves the ring for a restaurant where Ramona orders steamed veggies, Kristen sips a mint tea, and Carole and Luann jab at each other over Carole’s relationship with Adam, who is presently in Nicaragua with Luann’s niece, who he currently isn’t dating, but very recently was! Escandele! Will they fall re-inlove over the organic beehives they are harvesting?

Luann quips that she finds the Carole/Adam tryst “weird” and snarls that it’s “Sonja-Young” and thank goodness Carole isn’t on testosterone anymore of she’d have decked the Count right out of the Countess. Instead Carole just slouches in her chair, (earlier she was wearing Ashlee Holmes slouchy Smurf hat), and glowers like a sulky teen. Ramona agrees with Luann that that situation is “weird” but Heather (who appeared?! Holla!) is all Team Carole because Carole is finally happy. Luann says she’ll try to get over it and they momentarily put the boxing gloves down. 

luann de lesseps struggles to accept Carole's relationship

However, back at home, Carole wanders around her kitchen-less apartment pretending to write, pretending to be Carrie Bradshaw, as she distractedly checks her phone for boy drama then checks on the shoes she stores in her Easy-Bake Oven. How does one date a chef without a kitchen? Carole is not one of those writers who can churn out a book – it takes her years to get shit done. In the meantime Carole directly plagiarizes SATC as she describes missing a man’s body weight on top of her, and like magic: Adam calls. Carole hasn’t missed him too much – he’s been instagramming and texting so she knows he is Luann’s niece free. 

With the other ladies distracted, Ramona drags Dorinda Medley to the gym, where Tru-Renewal Ramona wonders if Dorinda’s exercise consists of playing keep-away from John – or even worse: having sexy times with John whose large bulk clearly requires strength to work with. More strength required than it takes to forcibly remove the image of Ramona working out in a thong and no bra?

Ramona decides John isn’t right for Dorinda because he doesn’t even live in NYC, whereas Dorinda has a classy apartment (that we apparently cannot see on RHONY due to co-op board restrictions) and therefore John must be using Dorinda instead of actually loving her. Deductive Reasoning By Bravo. 

Bethenny and Luann find themselves in Miami where Luann is supporting her daughter Victoria at Art Basel and Bethenny is participating in her own version of Roots. Bethenny first gets a drink with a friend where she recounts the gory details of her grisly childhood and even though John, the step-father, beat Bethenny’s mother with a telephone and was in general an awful person, he was still the most parental figure in Bethenny’s life as the feral child of Beverly Hills. 

Bethenny insists for the umpteenth time she’s over it all and explains, as proof that she’s moved on, that she doesn’t go around sharing her story to everyone. *Pause for looooong, loud laughter* Oh Bethenny – that’s Sonja-delusional! Lest you forget, in no short order, your appearance on RHONY, two spinoff series, a talk show, several books promoting your self-help which philosophies you neither employ nor helped self with, and countless interviews in which you have discussed your childhood. In fact, I remember more about Bethenny’s childhood than I do my own! But I was raised by people, not wolves, maybe that’s why. 

Anyway back to semi-pseudo reality where Luann advises Bethenny to open up a bit more to the other women, even though she’s very busy and not very interested, but she should at least give them a chance. Bethenny is resistant, but concedes Luann has a point.

Then Victoria appears in yoga gear worn with heels to presents her self-portrait which features her naked. She’s nearly as nakky in real life as she is in her art, so is this a case of life imitating art or the other way around? Bethenny is shocked Victoria is so grownup. Luann is nonplussed as she helps herself to champagne and makes a toast to her daughter’s success. Then, in the only moment I’ve ever seen Lu drop the facade, she cries in the confessional about what an amazing, talented person Victoria is and how impressed she is that her daughter has become that amazing person despite the horrible divorce. It was very sweet.

Which segues into Bethenny confronting her step-father about the horrible childhood she endured. Bethenny keeps barking that that she isn’t angry and she’s moved on, but she’s the angriest sounding non-angry person I’ve ever heard. I don’t blame her, and I don’t think a toxic childhood is something you ever recover from, but she needs to stop dwelling in the past because its sabotaging her future.

Bethenny Frankel confronts stepfather John

And John – John has lived a life! He’s a horse trainer (like Bethenny’s biological father) – he’s still successful – but John has battled drugs, gambling, Bethenny and her mother, he’s been an abusive prick and a swindling scoundrel who’s f–ked stars and gone on the lam from the mafia. And this dude needs to be the one writing books instead of Bethenny, because he’s also able to succinctly tell Bethenny it’s time to let time heal and move on, to stop saying she’s over it when clearly she’s not and to start actually getting over it. Bethenny fixating on her past as crutch has made her go lame.

John is as blunt as Bethenny, which is an interesting paradox. In a weird way they are very similar: the way they put it all out there, not caring to spare feelings or bother with niceties, the way they aim for the gut to throw you off balance, the way they spar – quick, deliberate, judicious. It was so interesting … it was watching Bethenny battle Bethenny – more poignantly, Bethenny’s demons. 

John told Bethenny her mother never wanted a child. Bethenny told John he made her not trust men or enjoy sex because his abuse of her mother was so conflicting. John accused Bethenny of abandoning him. Bethenny reminded John he was an asshole. But after they decimated each other they hugged on the beach and went to get a drink, and John apologized for everything because he loves Bethenny like a daughter and is so proud of her. And Bethenny told John he really was the only father she ever knew and made plans for Bryn to meet him so her daughter can have some roots on Bethenny’s side. It was odd. So odd… so oddly touching and also eerily familiar to see the predecessor to Bethenny, the one who taught her the games and can still play them so well against her. 

I wonder if Bethenny will ever find that closure? I wonder if she’ll ever reconnect with John? I hope. I truly do. 

Bethenny Frankel feeds a clown

Oh, and also Bethenny fed a clown an ice cream sandwich in the name of performance art. Which was so ironic given Bethenny’s propensity for cramming shit down people’s throats – Skinnygirl stuff that is! And it was the prefect performance art for Skinnygirl – she could vicariously consume empty gluttonous calories though creepy clown without ever straying from the Skinnygirl. But the clown better hope Bethenny doesn’t start shoving skinny girl stuff down his throat next. 


[Photo Credits: Bravo]