It’s time for the Real Housewives Of New York ladies to sit down and throw down for three straight weeks, and part one of the reunion started off with a bang – and a spooky disclaimer. As expected, Bethenny Frankel and Ramona Singer faced off, and Luann de Lesseps was forced to answer question after brutal question regarding her marriage to Tom D’Agostino, which was likely on its last leg at time of filming. The setting was very Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, and the fashions – well, they ranged from Tinsley Mortimer’s Shirley Temple ruffles to Dorinda Medley’s chic, bejeweled butterflies. Sonja Morgan decided to unleash her girls for battle, and Ramona – well. I’m not sure how to put this. Let’s just say, Mariah Carey’s stylist must be moonlighting for RHONY.
Andy Cohen opens the reunion after we are warned by Bravo that “what you are about to watch was recorded three weeks before Luann filed for divorce from her husband of seven months, Tom.” And now I feel like the Blair Witch is beginning. That was INTENSE. (Should we be scared? I’m gonna go with: Yes.) To add to the Gothic effect, Luann is wearing her wedding (reception) dress. This makes me shudder-cringe for poor Lu.
Opening remarks include Tinsley chirping about how happy she is with Scott, Carole Radziwill updating us on her training for the NYC marathon, and Sonja claiming she may be selling her townhouse
along with 17 bottles of complementary Wesson oil. Ramona updates us on her status with that dude from Love Connection, which is DOA. But she does have a new mystery man in her life.
Since she’s already on a roll, Ramona takes the hot seat first. We see a montage of her aggressive friskiness, horrific treatment of hotel staff, along with everyone’s commentary about Ramona going off the rails since her divorce from Mario. Asked what she thinks of her overall “look” this season, Ramona admits, “I had a bad year.” She owns her behavior – the crude, the crazy, and the facial peels. All of it. She also owns (some of) the procedures she’s had done to maintain her appearance over the past decades, including eyelid lifts, lasers, and breast augmentation. And hey – even the ladies have to hand it to Ramona, she does look fab at 60. (Agreed! Now, about that dress though…)
But does Ramona own her behavior at the Berkshires? Not the part about laying into Bethenny, but rather the trashing of Dorinda’s home? Ramona scoots sideways into an apology, telling Dorinda she’s truly sorry. But it wasn’t vandalism! She asks Dorinda if that’s how she saw it? Dorinda’s like, um, that’s how is WAS. Thus, Ramona still doesn’t get it and should hereby be relegated to sleeping on the porch on future trips. Dorinda just wants Ramona to admit when she’s wrong, and in a brief brush with sanity, Ramona agrees.
Bethenny then jumps all over Ramona’s small moment of introspection to attack her about acting badly towards her assistants earlier that day. She thinks Ramona has no human decency, treats staff poorly, and feels she’s above everyone. Ramona defends that she goes “into a zone” with people sometimes and pins her bad behavior on growing up abused. Bethenny balks, “You’re SIXTY years old!” Then, when Ramona doesn’t bow down, she goes for the jugular, screaming about Ramona’s “t*ts hanging out, hair down to here, chicken in your purse, complaining it’s too cold in here…you’re a horror show!” Ramona just answers flatly, “Well, I am what I am.” Also – chicken in her purse? I need this to be true.
Okay, a brief pause to process this moment. I’m often torn with Bethenny (who I can go hot and cold on, depending on the season – or even the moment). And here’s why: Everything she hates about Ramona seems reflected in what she hates about herself, but would never admit. When Ramona calls Bethenny out on her behavior, it’s never effective because Ramona can’t sharpen her verbal barbs to the deadly point Bethenny can. And Ramona is a sh*t show herself most of the time, so she can also never get out of her own way. But when Bethenny goes in on Ramona (or Luann, last year), it’s a scorched earth, game-of-freaking-thrones battle to the death. And she loses her humanity in the process. Both women seem keenly aware of each other’s faults, but are also mirrors of them. However, instead of bonding over their shared neuroses (like batty a$$ Ramona and Sonja), they can’t get past their anger. It’s frustrating.
Within seconds of railing against Ramona, Bethenny is taken off guard by a question about Jill Zarin (whose ghost haunts the reunion despite her absence for eons!). She doesn’t want to answer whether she and Jill will be friends again. And she tells Andy in no uncertain terms that she doesn’t want to ever, ever, ever hear this question again
or she will refuse to sign his paycheck.
But back to Ramona – has she grieved her divorce? Is she acting out because it’s just now hitting her? Ramona says it’s a loss, and she is disappointed in her “fairy tale” coming to an end. She thought she could control the situation with Mario, and she didn’t want the marriage to fail, but it did. Plus, turning sixty threw her for a loop. Bethenny wonders if fear is underlying her behavior lately? Ramona says maybe. She doesn’t know who she is these days, admitting she wouldn’t even want to be friends with the person she saw on the show. But Ramona is proud of her daughter, happy in her current relationship, and hopeful about the future. Good for her! Ramona gets gold stars all around for bringing some vulnerability to these couches.
Moving on to Dorinda, who gets gold stars for just being awesomely insane this year, Andy asks why she went so hard for Sonja, beginning in the Hamptons with “put an E-Z pass on that vagina!” and ending with CLIP! CLIIIIP! in the Bronx. Dorinda says the Clip just came upon her, as it were, as a means by which to stop Sonja’s “verbal waterboarding” about Tipsy Girl accusations. And she doesn’t regret going off on Sonja in the Hamptons either, considering all of the shady press Sonja was doing on Dorinda. Shady press that, by the way, Sonja still denies. Nobody believes her, of course.
But the women are both pretty much over it now, which is a great object lesson to Housewives everywhere: Slur at each other in public, let subtitles do the ‘splainin for you, then keep it moving. Also, compile secret files on people just in case. #CLIIIIIIPPPPPP
Then, to put the “sober Sonja” fiction to rest, the ladies ALL call her out on drinking the entire damn season – out of sippy sups in Vermont, no less! Tinsley corroborates these claims, but says Sonja never got messy-drunk at home. Okay, then.
A viewer asks about Sonja’s pajama-stealing behavior next, which she sees nothing wrong with! The jammies were in the drawer and not recently licked by dogs, so – what’s the prob? Dorinda has no chance of explaining a problem like Sonja TO Sonja, so she finally accepts Sonja’s profuse, dramatic apology, reminding her to use
John’s dry cleaning services next time before she returns intimate wear.
Now, we must venture into the most cringe worthy territory yet: Luann’s marriage. Oh boy. Luann says married life is “fantastic!” and Tom is a “great guy!” She loves being Mrs. D’Agostino and has no regrets about trading her Countess title for Wife. Agggh! This is more painful than I even imagined. 🙁
After a montage highlighting all of the women’s questions about Tom’s dishonesty, shady behavior, and disparaging comments about being married, Luann defends her husband. In her wedding dress. She says she was thrilled to get married again and wanted to celebrate it big. In a mildly shocking twist, Luann says she indeed DID initially send Sonja a save-the-date card, insinuating she would be invited to the wedding. So, Sonja’s not 100% crazy! She’s hanging out right around the 90th percentile. Luann ultimately disinvited Sonja after she talked sh*t about Tom in the press, however.
Andy asks about that random party guest, Barbara, who claimed Luann would get married for public purposes, then quickly divorced. Prophet that Barbara now is, she is still seen as a hateful b*tch by Luann (and she might well be, too). Ramona reminds Luann that they were all just concerned about her, even though it came across as aggressive interfering.
Concerns are quickly tossed aside for intel, though, when Ramona spills what she says she knew last year about Tom. Here it is: He kissed a girl at the Regency, did it again (with the same woman) in LA, laughed about it and said Luann “deserved it” because he was pissed at her. Then he met a woman from Philadelphia at the Regency and invited her up to his hotel room claiming he had “an open relationship.” But nothing (allegedly) happened. Did we get all of that? Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. And OUCH. Oh, Luann. Good riddance to bad rubbish if even ONE TENTH of this sh*t is true (and in my opinion, it’s probably the tip of the iceberg).
Luann sits in silence for a beat after this info is spilled, then says she doesn’t think it’s true. Andy twists the knife deeper, asking if any of the women have heard things since Lu and Tom’s wedding. The look on everyone’s faces is much like the look a class of first graders gives the teacher when she asks who peed on the wall during snack time. Bethenny finally says yes, they’ve all heard rumors, but are numb to them now. Luann is married, so they’re just letting her figure her life out on her own. Plus, she told Bethenny straight up that even if Beth did know something about Tom cheating, she wouldn’t even want to know. Luann conveniently forgets this statement, but the cameras do not.
Admitting that Tom’s behavior on camera, the ladies’ constant comments, and the ever-building rumor pile have all taken a toll on her marriage, Luann says she does have insecurities. She does not have an “arrangement,” as some might think – she has a marriage. And she wants fidelity and honesty in it. She even says that if she were to find out Tom is a cheater, she’d leave. But when Bethenny says to Luann that she would be sobbing over just one of the many snarky comments Tom made about being married this year – not to mention his off-mic moment with Missy at Sonja’s party – Luann confesses, “Well, why do you think I slept in a hotel last night?” Shocked, the group takes this information in, having no idea (or maybe they do?) that Luann will be filing for divorce three weeks from this very moment.
We’ll have to wait until next week to see how this awkwardness segues into, well…more awkwardness. For now, let’s hope Luann is not watching this horror movie unfold and is instead skiing on the Swiss Alps, screaming “Once a Countess, ALWAYS a Countess!!!!!” at all of the Toms of this world. She deserves it.
TELL US: WAS WATCHING LUANN DEFEND TOM AS BRUTAL FOR YOU AS IT WAS FOR ME? ARE BETHENNY AND RAMONA EVER GOING TO SEE EYE TO EYE?
Photo Credit: Bravo