Secrets and Wives Finale Recap: Burning Down the House


Well, it’s finale time for the very short season of Bravo’s grown up version of Long Island Princesses: Secrets and Wives. I laughed, I cringed, I nearly called the cops on Jonathan Doneson on behalf of women everywhere. And now, I submit one final recap of the show that everyone loves to hate, knowing there are a few hardy souls out there still watching with me! Here we go.

It’s the day after Sandy and Cori Goldfarb’s 20th wedding anniversary party, and both of them are hungover. They discuss Jonathan’s behavior at the party, which was mildly acceptable for the first time this season. Sandy’s behavior, however, was not. At least in Cori’s eyes. She brings up her irritation with Sandy not making a “loving speech” to her at the party due to his drunken state. Sandy argues that nobody else needs to know their “intimate details,” but Cori argues that it was a moment he could’ve shown appreciation for the wife and mother she’s been, but he didn’t.


Over at Liza Sandler’s house, her best party planner friends, Pat and Glenn, drop by to help her brainstorm ideas for her “big sendoff.” Per Liza’s divorce agreement, she needs to sell her house just after her youngest daughter leaves for college, which has recently happened. Boxes are everywhere, but the gilded mirrors and granny pillows remain. Liza wants to “go out with a bang,” swinging from the chandelier (that was never installed because her marriage hit the rocks before the darn thing ever made it out of the box!).

Meanwhile, Jonathan is at his office wondering where Amy Miller’s ne’er do well son, Max, is. After Max shows up 8 hours late, Jonathan reads him the riot act about his irresponsible behavior. Jonathan’s business associate gives it to Max straight, telling him, “Just because you live in a nice house and drive a Mercedes doesn’t mean you’re not a bum.” Then Jonathan rightfully kicks Max out after Max claims the job isn’t right for him. Susan Doneson interviews that every North Shore kid has a sense of entitlement, and Max is no exception.  

Gail Greenberg is stalking her hubby Dr. G at his office again, this time to actually force his large-breasted receptionists to try on the hideous blazers she designed to de-sexify them. She then corners Dr. G to ask him about the fact that she still doesn’t have an office at his new building, which is currently under construction. He evades the question for the 101th time in a row, leaving Gail to wonder if she can take out her silent rage on some hideous pleated skirts next.

At Susan’s house, Jonathan is setting off fire alarms with his attempt at cooking while updating Susan on Max quitting his job. Susan surmises that Amy’s boyfriend, Arthur, is jealous of Max because Max is so needy and takes up most of Amy’s time. Max gives his version of events to Amy back at his house, which goes something like this: “He threw me out, Mommy!” “Aww, Max, are you upset?” “I’m a little depressed.” “There, there…let me go get your binky.” Honestly, Amy seems like a sweet person, but her handling of this man-boy she’s attempting to raise, at the tender age of 20-years old, is simply pathetic. 


At Truth and Beauty, Cori and Sandy sit down for a heart to heart with their business manager, Alexis. Their business needs to break even in the next six months, but their marketing efforts so far are not giving them the growth they need to stay solvent. Sandy sees better times ahead, but Cori admits her biggest fear is that she’s going to lose everything, including her home. After Alexis leaves, Cori asks Sandy, “At the end of the day, do you believe in me?” He tells her she’s stepped up and he’s proud of her, which makes her break down in tears. They hug it out, hoping for better times ahead – in their business and their marriage. 

Dr. G is taking Gail on a secret mission, blindfold included, to see his new office building. After leading Gail – and Gail’s 3-inch wedges – into the building…Surprise! He reveals the new office he’s decorated in hot pink and zebra and everything Long Island Tacky, just for her. So, it’s perfect! 

Andi Black is out to dinner with her boyfriend Adam, who Andi says she “can’t imagine her life without.” Where’s he been all season, yo? Andi admits that the other THREE times she walked down the aisle, she “kinda” knew things weren’t right. So, is she a reliable source of reporting on her own happiness, then? Nah. But we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt! Andi is moving in with Adam soon, and out of Liza’s bed apparently. Which will be yet another tough adjustment, Liza says.  


As Liza prepares for the next chapter in her life, she sits down with her daughter, Carly, to reassure her that she’ll be fine on her own. Carly asked Liza’s friends Pat and Glenn to “take care of my mom” when she leaves for school, but Liza says she’s feeling good about the future. She’s tired of always taking the blame for her failed relationship, and doesn’t want to badmouth Carly’s father, but she felt neglected in the marriage as he built his business. So she had an affair with a “charming, charismatic man” (Donnie Deutsch?), which ended everything. Liza says that she and her ex always put the kids first, though, and she’s proud of how they’ve handled the transition. “My whole life, I’ve been with a man. Finally in my late 40s, I found out who Liza is.” Aww, man! I’m rooting for Liza, despite her crazy antics (which we’re about to see plenty of in a few minutes!). 

It’s the day of Liza’s party and as the movers are boxing up the house, Andi comforts Liza. She’s not sure where she’s going next, but the house is on the market so the plan is finally in motion. While Gail’s makeup artist glues two sets of drag queen eyelashes on her, across town Amy reveals that she’s bringing the controversial Arthur along to Liza’s. Cori is getting ready with round brushes stuck in her hair “for volume” (YESSS! She’s kicking ’80s style with that move! Do ya’ll remember that!?), after which she’ll head to Liza’s stag tonight. Over at Susan’s, she advises Jonathan on his attire for the evening, which tonight does not include a muzzle. 

Holy hot rollers, Batman! The big hair is out tonight at Liza’s! Including Liza’s mom, Roberta, whose hair looks like it could withstand a Sharknado. Cori and Andi discuss the chandelier that never was, staring wistfully at the hanging light socket that mocks Liza’s broken marriage. Andi steps up to make a toast to Liza, but before things can get too classy, shirtless dudes appear in the corner of some shots. I see strippers in the immediate future…and here they are! Liza, all done up in some sort of purple puff pastry getup and strewn across a table of now inedible desserts, is rolled into full view of her guests by Pat, Glenn, and aforementioned shirtless dudes. 

Arthur has flown the coop, so Amy goes to find him, but  not before snagging a lobster roll. #goodwoman She finds Arthur outside “doing work,” and he refuses to come back into the party. Apparently, Amy and Arthur has an argument on the way to the party about Max, but now Arthur is so heated he’s ready to leave the shindig without Amy. He snarks, “This is bullsh*t,” ignoring Amy’s pleas as he smirks and abruptly exits. So, this is the toxic behavior that the ladies have been referring to all season, huh? We haven’t seen this since the first episode. Andi swoops in to, yet again, encourage Amy to get her ish together and leave Arthur, once and for all.


As a final touch of ridiculousness, the shirtless rent-a-strippers present Liza and mama Roberta with cakes, Roberta’s aptly in homage to her hair…which, let’s face it, kind of deserves its own cake. Let the inappropriate mom/daughter stripping begin! 

In a final act of…Rebellion? Transition? Reality TV Drama for Drama’s sake? Liza gathers her friends to throw the dusty old chandelier of broken dreams right off her balcony. She says, “Who knows what the future holds for me? Only time will tell.” Yes, and time will tell if this Bravo experiment was simply a mess, or messy enough to renew for Season 2. For my part, I enjoyed seeing these women treat each other like real friends through it all without the screeching and cross-promoting and professional makeovers we’ve become so used to on the Housewives franchise. #keepdoingyouladies!  


Photo Credit: Bravo