Well this show has certainly come full circle this season, hasn’t it? We started this Real Housewives of New York reunion with Bethenny Frankel using her Botox jaw to rip the surgically tucked skin off these women, and we ended things with a hapless Bethenny Frankel sniffling while everyone sang kumbaya. I am perplexed.
The bulk of the episode, like the bulk of the reunion, and pretty much the majority of the season, centered around the scintillating personal life of Luann de Lesseps. What happens in Luann’s bedroom is a national attraction at this point. People don’t go to NYC to visit the Statue of Liberty any longer, they to study the newest de Lesseps donation – the Penthouse bedroom of the ex Mrs. Countess.
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But first we begin with the dramatic transformation of one Sonja Morgan. Reformed party girl with a penchant for the victory lap down frat row, has transformed into a dignified witty woman of a certain age. No one is complaining: not Andy, not the ladies, not the viewers – NOT even Bethenny!
Sonja insists that anyone who knows her – from Phuket to San Tropez – knows that every holiday season she gives up the intoxifiers for a colonic of homebrewed sobriety to cleanse her overwrought spirit. Booze is not the gift that keeps on giving – especially when its name is Tipsy Girl. Speaking of – Bethenny does semi-regret going off on Sonja over her fledgling alcohol line, like perhaps she was too harsh in her criticism but you know Bethenny was angry and when Bethenny gets angry portions of the Upper East Side come crumbling down!
While Ramona Singer is demurely batting her eyelashes at Sonja, praising her progress and coquettishly suggesting she had something to do with her friend’s TrueRenewal, Sonja is armed with a deadly tale of that one time Ramona signed a contract and primed HERSELF to be the elected Housewives representative of Tipsy Girl. Bethenny’s mouth is open, the poisonous snake that is her tongue is poised to strike, when Ramona insists she backed out of the deal because SHE recognize that Tipsy Girl and Skinnygirl were too similar. Then she gently closes Bethenny’s mouth with a snap, and smiles beatifically at Sonja, hoping her nervous trembles don’t show. Ramona’s excuse for even getting involved in the first place was that she was reeling from her divorce. Ramona would have never suffered from lapse of judgement otherwise!
Well, there is no Tipsy Girl without Sonja’s fury at Dorinda Medley for excluding her from the Berkshires overnight. Sonja gives Bethenny all kinds of passes to do as she will, yet is furious at Dorinda?! Seems a little disingenuously transferring, no?
Dorinda stands by her decision to not invite Sonja due to her then-fragile state and given what went on – Bethenny overdosing on bitchy pills – she feels justified. This is not acceptable to Sonja. She starts stomping out, because she can’t be around people who don’t care about her or care for her. Andy begs her to return, so Sonja flounces back to continue bickering with Dorinda about how Sonja defines the VERB that is friendship. I am so tired of these staged phony walk-offs. These headaches of narcissism aren’t going anywhere until Bravo hires a bulldozer to move them out!
And personally, Dorinda’s reason seems hollow, but it’s Dorinda’s house – if she wants to leave Sonja in NYC to wallow in her American Horror Story: Marriage & Divorce basement of denial, she’s allowed to. Dorinda should just be aware that next time Sonja is yachting with P. Diddy, she won’t be included… cause Sonja is really concerned about Dorinda’s drug use and all! And also because Bethenny doesn’t get along with people who are blonde. Or like sequins. Or date men whose names start with the letter “J”. Oh, and dry cleaning – she hates dry cleaning too!
On a nicer note, Sonja feels really embarrassed and foolish that she insulted the size of Luann’s yacht and called her diamond murky. She promises she sincerely is happy for “my friend Lu” and wants the best for them. Sonja hugs Luann who stonily accepts without really embracing her in return.
Since Bethenny has been silent for all of 15 seconds, Andy has to wake the beast with a probing question about her behavior in Miami. Dorinda is officially over Bethenny, and notes that she’s an angry, aggressive sycophant-demanding bitch, who makes her ‘friends’ feel badly about themselves and calls it ‘being honest’. Bethenny’s defense is that opinions are like assholes – everyone has one. “That’s an asshole opinion,” Dorinda retorts. ZIIIIING!
When it comes to Bethenny calling Dorinda the “village idiot,” she refuses to cop to it being a rude, dismissive comment only intended to insult. Instead uses some cobbled (botched) “LITERATURE” metaphor playing off The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Bethenny’s knowledge of which I’m pretty sure came from the Disney movie, just like her knowledge of relationships did. Of course Dorinda does herself no favors when she tries to describe why she’s not the village idiot by acting, well, really idiotic.
Dorinda’s not the village idiot anymore than Bethenny is the honesty police. Dorinda is a kind person who tries to give others the benefit of the doubt, which in Bethenny’s world is pretty much akin to being a drooling fool. (Do any of them realize the Village Idiot refers to someone who seems hapless, but is secretly the most aware?!).
And yes, Bethenny does “browbeat” her friends – and everyone else she comes into contact with, which is why I am relieved to have the safe and hygienic buffer of my TV between us. She may cut my tongue out with the broken edge of Skinnygirl bottle if I dare defy her commands and were Andy not playing roughshod referee I am sure Dorinda’s own tongue would have been at stake!
When Dorinda tries to defend herself, Bethenny calls her “defensive” and “angry”. Um… what?! Who wouldn’t be angry that their so-called friend is calling them an ‘idiot’ for not being privy to gossip no one told her?! When Andy points out that Bethenny is also angry, she’s incredulous and reflexively blames the other women, while sulking that her feelings were hurt too at this reunion.
Bethenny has failed the Turing Test. You can’t go around hurting everyone else’s feelings and not expect that people will get fed up. Isn’t Bethenny supposed to be smart, or something? Dorinda rightfully called her out on mistreating the other women with her name-calling, cruelty, and meanness – especially with regards to how she handled Jules and Luann’s very personal matters. Dorinda is the only one (including Lu!) who openly admits she doesn’t actually enjoy being Bethenny’s friend. Who would?! Look what Carole has become – a quaking sister wife – the second wife who fears First Wife’s dominance, and has to do all the laundry, mow the lawn, and cook on weekends.
Let’s just call this BS argument over semantics a draw, and move on to Jules Wainstein basically telling Carole Radziwill that she’s a really great person away from her master. Carole insists she’s always the same person in every situation.
Yeah, Carole – just admit it you spent all season not just living in Bethenny’s shadow, but sucking up to Bethenny’s shadow, and it overshadowed you! You snooze you loose (friends and respect that is!).
Finally it’s time to discuss the mad hatter of the season: Aka the Luann’s Very Un-Wedding that almost never was courtesy of an intrepid little sleuth named Bethenny.
When pressed about the text situation and hearing Luann explain that she was really hurt by the WAY Bethenny handled it, especially seeing her gossiping with the other women, and telling them like it was a joke, Bethenny stands up and announces she’s not doing this.
I don’t get it – she was bellowing about heat and kitchens and getting out if you can’t take it all season. And… Oh right, Bethenny is in denial that she’s a hypocrite. Furthermore, I am so tired of these phony ‘staged’ walk-offs. Especially coming from Bethenny. Sit your ass down. You spent the ENTIRE season judiciously reveling in your ‘no f–ks’ and your ‘I may be a bitch, but I’m an honest bitch’ but when you know your ass is gonna be held to the fire, you want to run scampering like a spineless jellyfish.
At least all the women seemed remarkably calmed down in their emotional responses – even Bethenny; perhaps realizing that Luann does love Tom and it isn’t just a made-for-TV romance (at least from Luann’s perspective.) As for Tom, well, he’s buffed three Housewives and counting. The dude is like taking Viagra for famewhoring.
Luann has a justifiable reason to be angry for how Bethenny handled the information. First by discussing it on TV multiple occasions without ever mentioning it to Luann first, and also sharing with Ramona, Carole and Sonja – three women who either don’t like Luann, or have a dog in the fight over the shadiness of Tom. Luann rightfully believes she should have been told first and questions Bethenny’s motives.
She also, sadly, has decided to forgive Tom since it was, in Luann’s mind, an honest slip-up. Clueless With The Countess! Or rather Luann loves flashing murky yellow diamonds at everyone with eyes and is willing to turn a blind eye or several.
Bethenny claims she asked Luann all those monogamy questions because she hoped – and actually believed, as they all did – that her relationship and engagement were a sham. Basically a storyline, it seems, and there was some sort of arrangement between Luann and Tom. This is sort of disgustingly illuminating. When Bethenny realized Luann actually DOES see this as a real relationship, Bethenny decided she had to have a guilt-induced meltdown because it was real to her now too? Because everything is about Bethenny. But did Bethenny then change her approach in treating the matter? Nope!
Luann is, again, forced to explain her ‘open marriage’ and she clarifies Alex wanted it, she never did, but once they were separated – fair game. Bethenny keeps shouting over Luann, “SO YOU WERE LEGALLY MARRIED. LEGALLY MARRIED.” No one pays her any mind except Carole, who tries to make some snippy question until even Ramona is like SHUT UP.
And no, Bethenny being legally separated BEFORE you start dating others, is not the same thing as what you did no matter how many ways you want to insist that your lily white ass is clean in the Dennis Shields marriage situation. Since Bethenny likes literature so much here’s a quote from Shakespeare, “The lady doth protests too much…” You reap what you sow.
Back to Luann and Tom – the wedding is still on! Luann swears that if any of the girls know something, they better tell her. There’s this odd moment where it seems like Ramona is about to reveal some salacious detail with Bethenny and Andy practically salivating, but Ramona just quietly and eerily comments that no, she hasn’t heard anything and points out how happy and glowing Luann is. It was a very strange moment – like the women finally realized Luann is a real person, not some mechanical bull they can just torture endlessly while expecting it to continue spinning round and round on the same axis trying to throw them off.
Tom is still “great friends’ with everyone he used to date… which probably means they’re his friends with benefits for the last decade. And ex 1 gets holiday weekends that start with Y. And ex two shares his bed, intermittently, when he’s on the lower east side or the upper. And sometimes in the Hamptons. And ex three shares his bed when he’s visiting The Regency, The Carlisle, or Miami – but they’re all invited to the wedding to sit at the same table with Ramona and Sonja. I hope they have one of those boxes where everyone shares stories about the bride or groom. Won’t that be fun!
Yeah, Luann may love Tom’s sense of humor and his energy, and all of that. And she does, creepily enough, seem genuinely happy and in love, which is really and honestly the problem. Listening to Luann wax rhapsodic about the virtues of Tom (who is seldom virtuous), I think even Bethenny realized she wasn’t the only legitimately crazy person on that stage. As Carole mentioned, love looks different for everyone. Luckily for Ramona and Sonja, Luann wishes they find all the happiness she has with Tom.
At least Bethenny finally acknowledges she shouldn’t care what Luann does in her personal life, and at the end she sort of half-heartedly apologizes for calling Luann “all those names.”
Finally the ladies go around the circle saying one thing they regret, and something nice about the other women. Even Bethenny and Luann tepidly end on a nice note about possibly forgiving each other. Even Carole admitted she should have just sat Luann down and hashed things out over Adam instead of playing this endless game of cat and mouse apology. Yes, senior year summer camp came to Real Housewives Of New York, and everyone ended with a friendship circle and a promise to all Keep In Touch!
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK REUNION? DO YOU THINK LUANN AND BETHENNY CAN MOVE FORWARD? IS SONJA OVERREACTING TO DORINDA? WHO SHOULD STAY AND GO NEXT SEASON?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]