Bethenny Frankel

Real Housewives Of New York Recap: Camp Clueless

Oh Real Housewives Of New York don’t ever change. Do I open ever recap with this sentence? But seriously Real Housewives Of New York spirals through cycles of emotions faster than a Cathy cartoon about dating and PMS, and I don’t want it any other way.

Anytime you take these ladies anywhere – even to the doctor; even to the nail salon; even to Luann de Lesseps‘ yardsale in the Hamptons, they exist in their own self-contained orbit of revolving arguments, makeups, friendships, feuds, hurt feelings, men… Like a drunken comet hurtling towards church here they come, slathered in statement necklaces and macrame, and shedding skin from laser facials, and shedding tears from all the people who have wronged them first leading them hear to a sky-high tolerance for emotional instability and pain. And hell hath no fury like a group of middle-aged women scorned, with nothing else to lose. Amen, sistas. A-MEN, but you don’t need ’em cause you have each other. (And cheesecake on the lanai, of course). 

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The Real Housewives Of New York all give as good as they get. Well, except for Tinsley Mortimer, but let’s be honest she’s essentially like Ramona Singer‘s pet rabbit of this show and therefore subject to different mandates, but something tells me that deep inside, dark in the corners of her shiny blonde bubble of a heart, burps a secret masochist. Lest we remind ourselves that Le Tinz has a mugshot of her own!

It’s always there, this dark seedy underworld of the Real Housewives Of New York’s souls. The bottomless pit of retribution and recriminations and unsolved realizations is the thread that binds these women together as much as high-powered ex-husbands, a tenuous grasp of money, and unformed selves. Even Bethenny Frankel, who managed success without a man, suffers from the curse of a powerful man fucking with her ego, courtesy of a hundred failed romances, and of course, her distant dad. It’s why as much as these women try to destroy each other, they won’t succeed and more importantly they don’t really want to.

This is their sport and part of the game. All of these women came to the gladiator ring missing an arm, a heart, a soul, natural hair color, their own skin, the face they were born with – you name it – so they spar, they bounce back up, and then they help each other to the bench to ice their pointer finger before hopping right back in there to help their former target to the sidelines for a breather, an oxygen facial, and a glass of pinot. They need each other, and they’re bound together by an inexplicable chain. Basically what I’m saying is that if Tinsley isn’t ready to fully jump into the ring, she can play the narrator with her toe in the muck, and it’s OK because the other women have this arena handled.

Luann de Lesseps

So here we are in the round house which is basically a bull-fighting ring and we have Delusion vs. what do we call Bethenny? She’s not delusional, not at all, but she’s something? Incredulous, maybe? Luann is upset that Bethenny came to her cabaret show, waited around 3 hours, then left minutes before the actual performance because she told her baby-sitter she would be back by 11pm. Luann doesn’t get it — last she checked The Countess ruled the worlds, ankle monitors and pearls [or wisdom]…. I just cannot with Luann, here, I mean really??

Bethenny is actually treating this situation with kid gloves, (and later says it’s because as she says she wants Luann to stay sober) because Luann just got SUED by her own kids, yet is critiquing Bethenny’s parenting decisions?! Even worse is Luann acting like Bethenny really hurt herself by missing out on an “incredible” performance. Luann was so in her own bubble she didn’t even realize the other women saw her show – even though she talked to Dorinda Medley afterwards. I guess performing just puts Luann on such an incredible high that who even needs cocktails! Or friends.

Basically if Dorinda wouldn’t have told Luann that Bethenny left, Luann wouldn’t have even noticed, but now that Luann does know Bethenny wasn’t there, it’s the worst slap in the face imaginable! And where is the outrage towards Ramona?! She was off having a menage-a-trois with Harry Dubin and Omar, and missed the whole thing completely.

The real reason they’re for this argument is because Bethenny has been made aware of all the digs Luann is making behind her back, like calling her “Queen B” and saying she didn’t deserve the fancy room in The Berkshires. Luann must’ve learned some ‘I feel’ statements in rehab, because she keeps trying to use — Oh what am I saying, Luann’s entire life is anchored around ‘me, myself, and I.’ She’s not using ‘I feels’ to diffuse, she’s using them because they’re the only thing she knows and cares about!  The one ‘I’ statement Luann can’t make is ‘I’m sorry…” She literally tap danced around the phrase. Maybe Luann can incorporate that into her next act? The Countess is Sorry, NOT sorry for being fabulous, girls!

Bethenny finally retreats to call Paul, her new boyfriend, to complain about being in the weeds – literally considering that Luann’s house is in the woods and she’s probably passing out ticks as welcome gifts. Dorinda just wants to escape the masses, and the sound of Tinsley sniffling into her wine glass in the corner, so she checks on Bethenny and suddenly finds herself mediating between Luthenny Round 2. Even Luann is apparently self-aware enough to realize now is the time to do damage control or no amount of smudging will be able to cure her house from the bad vibes.

Luann explains that she loves Bethenny and just really wanted her to see Luann on top, instead of you know on the floor after two bottles of rose, and therein lies the problem: Luann resents that Bethenny doing an intervention implies a permanent get out of jail free card. Oh the irony – because the intervention doesn’t give Luann a get out of jail free card either! Literally, though. And I don’t think Bethenny sees it that way. I think Bethenny feels that AS A FRIEND, Luann should be more understanding of Bethenny’s life!

Luann de Lesseps, Dorinda Medley, & Bethenny Frankel

Finally after much back and forth, Luann is able to say “I’m sorry” to Bethenny and actually tears up. I can’t decide if finally using those words caused an extreme emotional release, or that Luann has trained herself that every time she utters that phrase, she cues tears so people think it’s sincere? Let’s be honest – Luann still thinks she’s in the right here, and as Dorinda points out Luann hasn’t even apologized sincerely for her arrest!

Sonja Morgan won this episode (as she has every episode of this season) with her hilarious pantomiming a mock cabaret to describe The Countess Does Not Sorry.

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Since Bethenny, Dorinda and Tinsley are lucky enough to stay in a hotel, they flee Talking In Circles Castle but run smack-dab into Ramona at the hotel. Out of the frying pan and right into the fire! Ramona has seen a tree and is now having an emotional breakdown, triggered from growing up in Rhineback, the neighboring town. This provides Bethenny and Ramona the opportunity to have what I think is the first honest conversation of their long, nonsensical relationship – I’m not counting that ‘Come To Jesus’ bridge walk they took in season 3.

Ramona Singer & Bethenny Frankel

Ramona shares that her father cut her out of the will. This explains why Ramona places so much emphasis on needing validation and attention from men. Then Bethenny recounts stories of how awful her mother was, like trying to commit suicide in front of Bethenny when she was 7, blaming her own daughter for having to be married for money, and then dragging Bethenny to nightclubs as young as 13 or 14. Dorinda actually starts to cry at the horribleness of all, and I don’t think she was drunk … yet. The silver lining, as Bethenny mentions, is that Ramona and Bethenny are both mothers of daughters and have broken the cycle. Imagine – breaking a cycle in a round house, now that truly is a miracle!

Sonja Morgan Hair

Sonja made the classic mistake of drunk-n-dressing and her hair looks like she just left the townhouse after another electrical malfunction. Or maybe she had found some old products in the basement from 1965 and thought Vintage Aquanet – why not?! Or maybe Sonja just predicted she would need to build her own web in order to catch Ramona in a lie? Sonja is still furious about being excluded from Ramona’s birthday lunch (the birthday backstab?!), but Ramona is still content to lie that she had no control of the guest list and deflect, once again, onto Lucia. I hope Lucia stops being friends with Ramona after this! I’m sure Lucia wold love to be on Real Housewives Of New York (I think I hope), and here is her built-in storyline.

Then it’s time for some real cabaret girls! Luann loves the nightlife. Oh yes she does. Unfortunately the nightlife does not love Luann. Luann drags them to Kingston, which Ramona dismisses as depressing and tacky, even though Luann keeps insisting it’s ‘up and coming’. What exactly is up and coming about a performance that looks like something from the Independent Living facility? The Countess does not do irony, though, and clearly doesn’t get the juxtaposition. With that prospect of an outing in front of them Dorinda, Ramona, and Bethenny decide to skip. “It’s OK to not cabaret,” Dorinda coaches them.

Margarita - Cabaret on Real Housewives Of New York

Seriously – If this is what passes for cabaret, I’ll take watching “Detective Pikachu” for a third time with my kids. Margarita is some 80-year-old cuban woman in Tammy Faye Baker makeup, hunched over a keyboard, caterwauling about money and class that can’t be bought from Luann’s garage sale. Dreadful would be an understatement.

Luann had fun at least, surrounded by sycophantic men who knew every word of her classic hits. Tinsley regrets her decision to cabaret immediately. Even Barbara Kavovit managed to find a hot man to hook-up with him (and construct some business with him?), and exchange numbers. Sonja doesn’t understand. Clearly she thinks Barbara roofied him, or paid him off because, in case you hadn’t heard Barbara is manly and therefore no men would want her.

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The next morning, it’s as if Dorinda and Ramona hadn’t just had a breakthrough bonding moment, because over breakfast at the Round and Round Again Manor, Dorinda loses it after Ramona made a face at her. Are they 8? Did connecting over dysfunctional families turn them into siblings in a new dysfunctional family formed to act out latent family traumas? Rhetorical question obviously!

Sonja Morgan

Dorinda’s anger quickly exposed itself as an argument about Ramona interrupting Dorinda at the charity event when Dorinda was just trying to interrupt Ramona to tell her she was introducing Bridie/Birdie incorrectly. Eventually Ramona just starts laughing at how utterly clueless and impossible she is, and they both decide it’s all Sonja’s fault for telling Dorinda what Ramona said and vice versa. Sonja, who was basically mimicking them both the way a kid does behind their parent’s back, was just like whatever.

So everyone ends as friends, reminiscing about how crazy they all are, and imagining that somewhere Dennis Shields is looking down on them, laughing at their antics.


[Photo Credits: Bravo & Heidi Gutman/Bravo]