Last night’s episode of Real Housewives Of New York left a big question mark over my head. Am I stupid is as stupid does? Because why exactly is Bethenny Frankel so angry at Jules Wainstein? Actually, angry isn’t the world, “spooked” is. And what exactly did Bravo NOT show us that is so pertinent to what caused this explosion? Color me three shades of ‘Bethenny lost 10% of her blood’ pale.
So how ’bout that Luann de Lesseps, huh? Come hell or high water (actually come hell or sleeping with half her friends) Tom is her man. Devotion, the Upper East Side way. After Sonja Morgan regaled everyone with her admission of schtupping Tom, and Luann denounced them all as “bitches” (which if the shoe fits…), she storms out. On her way out the door she’s accosted by Jules and Dorinda Medley.
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A flustered Luann unleashes to Doridna about how ONCE AGAIN she came to one of DORINDA’S PARTIES and no, Dorinda did not make it nice. She made it unbearable and filled it with the type of people who gather here because no one else will have them. It is sweet of Dorinda to do charity, but does it always have to be at Lu’s expense?
No, that’s not exactly what Luann said, but you get the gist! Back inside, at the party that isn’t a party, things continued to disintegrate. It was like hanging a piñata, that just won’t burst, then, finally, someone resigns themselves to taking it down, cutting it open, and scattering all the guts out saying “Go get it!” I love Dorinda but she just outta stop entertaining.
Jules sits back down, the edges of her patchwork denim crop-top (which I am most certain she purchased at Lillith Fair circa 1997) fraying as visibly as her nerves, and she observes Bethenny, wearing her Beetlegeuse costume, while smugly mocking Luann for putting on airs “like the old days.” Bethenny was bleeding “out of every part of her body” (yes, even her baby toe), but all Luann could talk about was her own life. Bethenny triumphantly declares that Luann never let her get a word in edgewise during her fake love spiel – blah, blah, blah, and all Jules could think was “Is this woman seriously this delusional? She cannot possibly be this disconnected from reality to not realize she is actually talking about HERSELF, but naming it Luann.” Jules has had enough therapy to know f–ked up when she sees it! And Bethenny, for all her well… issues, can too. So in this instance like revolted like.
Meanwhile, Ramona Singer takes a sip of pinot, acknowledges that Dorinda was accurate about all the nasty stuff Ramona said behind Luann’s back, and shrugs. That’s just how Ramona defines friendship. Then she texts Luann to make sure she’s OK, and Ramona is sincere – which is the funniest part! Bethenny is aghast. I love pinotpologies. I love that Ramona will be the worst friend and offer the most belligerent insults, but everyone kind of accepts that hard-knocked behavior is her grisly version of love. Bethenny and Ramona are like a two-headed coin, dropped on the sidewalk: They’ll both relay all the mean things, slap on a band-aid labeled, “Honesty” or “Truth Hurts,” and then expect that you’ll forget in about 2 days when you should be ready to rip that band-aid off. Except Ramona is the shiny side of the coin, facing the sun, and kind of gleams with some promise, whereas Bethenny is the gritty side from being face-down on the sidewalk; dark and murky, and you have to scrape all the silt off to even see the face.
To rope back around from the obstreperous coil of this metaphor, that’s the epiphany Jules seemed to have, while fingering her braid and watching Bethenny rant over Luann. So Jules announced, HEY! You’re a really mean person who’s always making jokes, cruelly, at other’s expense. Plus you’re super self-absorbed, and an untrustworthy friend! And Carole, at first I wondered what the hell you see in Bethenny, but then I realized you’re no better – you just wear better shirts! (And I DO covet Carole Radziwill‘s top).
Bethenny is flabbergasted. Carole is bemused, but a bit bowed over. Somehow this descends into presenting evidence of who texted whom, and if Bethenny was saying disparaging things about Jules‘ marriage behind Jules’ back (which she denies), and that Jules’ eating disorder makes Bethenny feel so uncomfortable she can’t be around her, which is Jules’ fault. Also, Jules is possibly stupid. Bethenny is also annoyed that Jules is doing all the talking and not sharing – because it’s ONLY EVER BETHENNY’s TURN TO TALK. Jules keeps looking at Dorinda, non-verbally pleading for help, but Dorinda just raises her arms in WTF surrender – she is so not interested in taking on the two-headed beast Carolenny, but she does, intrepidly, because Dorinda is the Homer of Housewives stories. Also she is the one who encouraged Jules to assert herself to Bethenny and Carole.
Bethenny decides Jules is clearly having an episode, because no one who says anything about Bethenny could be in their right mind. Also, Bethenny’s humor is “funny” and Jules’ self-deprecation opens the door for others, so, again, her fault!
Strangely, Carole and Dorinda began talking about Jules and her “eating problems” as if Jules wasn’t sitting right there at the table. Like discussing a child! Carole complains to Dorinda that it’s uncomfortable to be around Jules while she eats. WHAT?! Also, how did Jules eating disorder become all about Bethenny? Never mind – rhetorical question.
Finally, Jules confesses she still struggles with her ED. She threw up this week actually. “That’s my life!” she yells. She expects her friends to be forthcoming and compassionate, but Carole and Bethenny don’t want any part of Jule’s life, because Bethenny is so not a bleeding heart, she’s a bleeding vagina.
There’s no empathy to see here, folks!
All the while, Sonja is at the end of the table, watching and wondering. She shrugs blithely and starts gathering all the uneaten food into takeaway containers and sneakily orders dessert, then she skips off on her merry way to the town home where she stores it all in the basement for a dreary day.
Ramona really doesn’t care who’s counting whose calories, and whose acquaintanceship a painful childhood trauma makes. Instead she decides the perfect cure is a girls trip to Mohegan Sun. The cherry on top: Luann can’t attend!
Sonja plans a dinner party and trots out all the relics from days gone by, like her EX brother-in-law’s – butler. Jules is setting Sonja up on a blind date, so Sonja arranges an intimate couples evening. She put a few filets of fish in the toaster oven, she got out the good china (that’s not a double-entendre), and she invited … JOHN?! Actually Sonja invited Dorinda, escorted by her full-figured life partner wearing a dashing velvet tuxedo jacket and an oily smirk. She obviously invited Jules, who was barely visible behind the overblown girth of Michael’s betrayal (he had been late coming home, again, yet still insisted on showering, again), but the mystery man turned out to only be Rocco. Like a Scooby-Doo caper when they pull off the ghoul’s mask and reveal it’s only the inn keeper!
Yes, it was only Rocco – been there done that. Visibly disappointed, her grand entrance and all the promise deflating as Sonja realized no stone left unturned in Manhattan these days. Sonja has resigned herself to an uphill climb in heels; pushing a giant LV heirloom steamer trunk stuffed full of yesteryear up the proverbial mountain.
This party dripped with treacliness – and that wasn’t the appetizer! There was Sonja, trying to prove she’s changed by going backwards in time. She set the table with her monogrammed wedding china alongside some 200-year-old Morgan linens which were big enough to tuck Jules into bed with, and came attached to a fetching story. As if a new suitor would want to wipe his lips on the ancestral cloth of Sonja’s ex-husband. Rocco had the gracious manners to appear charmed, and like a Victorian novel, mentioned that he’d always associate Sonja with the ancient Morgan spittle that had collected here. Sonja’s face softened with gratefulness as she fingered the everlasting cloth. That is a wonderful story, and a delightful bit of Morgan heritage – for Sonja’s DAUGHTER to share when she throws dinner parties. Sonja is morphing into Miss. Havisham.
Before Sonja’s dinner, other debacles occurred. Ramona and Luann went for a walk, which actually turned into a Jersey Shore-esque screaming sidewalk argument about Tom’s life BL (Before Lu), and how love conquers all – even the ancestral juices of ex-flings, who happened to be your very close frienemy. Luann is incensed that Ramona played her, essentially, by pretended to be her friend while behind-her-back she was judiciously ripping her apart, feasting on the salacious details, and cheerily announcing that after all that richness, who needs dessert?! It was the gossip version of binge eating, and no matter how much Carole protests that everyone talks about their friends, and that’s just the friendly way to be, Luann ain’t buying it anymore than Jules!
Ramona accuses Luann of usurping Tom from another, while he was on a date. Luann finally concedes it’s true, but haughtily declares that Tom willingly left!
Ramona makes a fair point – even if she goes about delivering it with the type of tact Ramona is notorious for. Ramona is worried Lu is rushing into things and ignoring red flags in her haste to get down the mountain with the best time. This ain’t the Olympics – it’s til death do one part! Except Luann and Ramona are different girls. Ramona is cautious only in matters of love, whereas Luann is obsessed with propriety in all areas except for heart’s desire. Eventually, they call it a draw, and walk off arm-in-arm. They’ve been at each other’s throats so long, they’re practically sisters.
Then Dorinda visits Carole’s where Adam is preparing dinner. Carole is wearing the sweater-equivalent of a cat-scratcher paired with jeans that look like the cat got to them. Then Bethenny arrives and she’s still raw from Jules‘ outburst. Dorinda tries to stay neutral, but Carole and Bethenny are a bit relentless.
Carole, ever-eager to defend Bethenny at the expense of herself, feels Jules wanted to direct her ire to Carole. Bethenny blames Jules for “taking on such an aggressive personality” (meaning herself), and then Bethenny decides Jules is “paranoid” after she confided some deep, dark, very revealing things about her marriage, and now regrets it. Dorinda is surprised, and also disappointed – she warned Jules about opening up too much to these girls. Then Adam loafs in to deliver some heart-shaped pizzas. Irony by Bravo!
Bethenny decides she’s no longer investing in Jules anymore, because for the sake of HER psyche, she can’t. Jules makes her uncomfortable.
So everyone just boards an unhappy party bus for Mohegan Sun, where they’re forced to hold their awkward and not car-friendly Skinnygirl goblets at a certain angle for which to best display the logo. Jules did not oblige (silent revolt; rebel with a cause – love you girl!).
No one is in the mood for partying because Luann’s engagement came to fruition. Now they’re all forced to bitterly act delighted. Bethenny seems pissed she didn’t get a personalized text from Luann. She read about it in the press and mocks Luann for releasing it (as if Bethenny ‘gag order’ Frankel has any room to talk! #HYPOCRITE). Sonja and Dorinda did get a text. Dorinda is genuinely happy for Lu. Carole decides she’s happy for Luann too, so she texts congratulations, and Luann responded nicely back. I like this side of Carole. Except then she sat her ass next to Bethenny and started mother-smothering her about drinking her fluids and getting her rest.
Only Sonja is in good spirits, but that’s because she just had dental surgery with laughing gas. Ramona is relieved that Sonja is being Sonja again, and bringing just the right amount of party. Ramona might as well accept it – she needs Sonja, and Sonja needs her too.
Bethenny and Jules are palpably ignoring each other in that way that they both want the other – and everyone else in the room – to feel their anger. After a SG or two, Bethenny, sitting mere feet from Jules, confides to Dorinda that Jules’ statement about her humor always being at other’s expense hit a nerve. Bethenny wants to keep rehashing this but Dorinda starts talking loudly. I like this strategy – either everyone is in on this convo, or Dorinda is not having it.
Sonja, recognizing that Bethenny’s defenses are down, decides this is the moment to discuss the Tipsy Girl debacle. After all, Bethenny is tipsy, but Sonja is not! She’s just got gas. Bethenny apologizes for being so mean and reactionary; acknowledging Sonja’s good heart. Sonja admits their argument forced her to really take stock of her life and recognize that changes must be made. She had to stop burying her head in the sand to look for the past while ignoring that she is making a typhoon of her present. They both nod, and a lot of things go unsaid, because sometimes words are just chaos. Stupid is as stupid does, yes that’s true, but friend is as friend does, too.
Life is a great gray area, and it’s time for both Sonja and Bethenny to stop bleaching the ancient stains off their damask and pretending there’s no mess.
TELL US – IS JULES RIGHT ABOUT BETHENNY? DOES BETHENNY HAVE A GOOD REASON TO IGNORE JULES? IS LUANN RUSHING INTO MARRIAGE?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]