I am going to open this Real Housewives Of New York recap with a controversial confession: I LOVE Feelin’ Jovani! Stone me with sequins and rhinestones; I don’t care I will wear Jovani anywhere — and it feels so right!
How righteous was it for Andy Cohen to play the track during the reunion. While Luann de Lesseps mouthed the words to her own anthem. The other women avoided her eyes out of sheer second-hand embarrassment. I guess you could say they were feelin’ embarrassed, and it felt so wrong.
Anyway, now the outfits! Bethenny Frankel wore a dress that looks like a Tetris game. Which is appropriate considering how many puzzle pieces there are to Bethenny’s life and it’s near impossible to see how all the wonky angles fit together. Luann looked like she was wearing Jovani to her own funeral. Again, apropos.
Sonja Morgan wore the most Sonja outfit on the planet. Literally. A Sonja Morgan NY dress which cost $105 and looked like it was made out of her own curtains. It probably was considering how Sonja is a woman without any window shades! Sonja also had my favorite accessory: face tape. Andy jokes that it’s what the girls used to do before botox, but you know Sonja actually had a roll of Scotch Tape in the purse she carried with her on stage.
In fact, knowing Sonja she probably bought it in bulk 12 years ago and has been storing it in the basement of the townhouse. Or Sonja Morgan Enterprises invested in a tape company where the sticky stuff was made of dates (the fruit), except Sonja thought the tape was to make dates, as in MEN, stick to you like glue so the whole thing failed. Nevertheless, the townhouse is rented out for $36,000 per month(!) so Sonja should be able to afford real botox. Let’s hope the renters have health insurance that covers black mold damage. Also, mold is probably why Sonja’s tape never sticks.
Ramona Singer and Tinsley Mortimer were wearing about what one would expect. And if Sonja was wearing curtains, than Dorinda Medley was wearing shade. Literally. Her dress was Naeem Kahn, whom Dorinda reminded us was the designer friend of Carole Radziwill‘s whom Luann tried – in vain – to borrow a dress from some years before. It’s also couture, unlike the Jovani Ready To Wear that defines Luann’s cabaret. But seriously it is moments like this (and Ramona almost tripping walking onto the reunion set) that makes Real Housewives Of New York the gold standard.
Now onto the action! Right away Luann starts with the damage control by announcing, almost before Andy finished introducing her, that she was “self-absorbed” this season. Luann explained how difficult it was navigating sobriety while hanging out with a bunch of old-school party broads. Which is why cabaret became her cabernet, obviously! It’s like Luann has the attitude that if she says it herself anything the other women say sticks to her like Sonja Morgan tape. I.e. it bounces right back on them. Luann called herself “humbled” after watching the season and she did appear contrite and less-highfalutin than we’ve ever seen her. Luann actually seemed, at some points, like a child caught doing something they didn’t realize was that dangerous or bad, and trying desperately to explain how it’s not what it seems.
Bethenny has just reached the one-year mark of Dennis Shields‘ death and admits she’s still mourning him, and probably always will to a degree. Finally, we get some answers from Bethenny about their relationship timeline. Apparently, the reason they were always on and off was Dennis’ propensity for sudden, unexplained disappearances which Bethenny calls “not being present” and Ramona quips made him “unreliable.” Knowing what we know now, I hate to assume he was going on a bender of some sort?
Who knows, but in between those breaks, Bethenny got hot and heavy with Russ (the caterer), which made Dennis jealous so he begged her back. And in another one of those ‘off’ periods Bethenny met current man Paul Bernon. She right way felt that ‘spark’ like he might be the one. Bethenny admits, candidly, that had Dennis not died she’d probably still be on the roller coaster relationship with him and likely would have married him because as a woman in her 40’s who’s no longer looking for the traditional marriage with kids, Bethenny assumed that was as good as it gets. Hasn’t Ramona taught B anything about setting relationship goals?
Paul does sound great with one exception: he is too private and reserved for Real Housewives Of New York. He balances Bethenny’s crazy by being moderate though. Which is great! It’s also what Bethenny once said about Jason Hoppy. However, unlike with Jason, Bethenny respects Paul’s choice to keep their publicity shilling limited to her Instagram. It’s good to see she’s learned from her mistakes. Also, Bethenny is in a much more established stage in her career and doesn’t need to put every gory detail of her life up for public consumption. Public opinion being one of the few things Bethenny seems to consume in abundance. Hey, I read that Skinnygirl diet book!
That said it does make Bethenny kind of a hypocrite for being annoyed with Tinsley for not insisting Scott Kluth be filmed this year, as Tinsley admitted continuing to live in New York and film RHONY turned their relationship into “a train to nowhere,” as Bethenny put it. Bethenny claims the differences between Paul not making appearances and Scott are that Tinsley met Scott on TV, and he sent her a Kentucky Derby Wreath of flowers. Then decided to retreat behind his coupon fortress after using Tinsley’s exposure to advertise for Coupon Cabin.
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Just because Scott did the show for a season, doesn’t mean he’s beholden to it – or Tinsley – forever. Especially because Bethenny praises the other women for being respectful enough not to harangue her over Paul making an appearance. So, repay the favor, B. You’re rich – you can afford it!
Back to Dennis. We learned that he helped Luann by paying for a “very, very, very powerful lawyer” to represent her case, and was even able to find out details her own lawyer couldn’t access. Um, why? Was Dennis in the mafia? Also, I so confused about how Lu is apparently so broke??
Luann did, in fact, call Dennis for a $6million dollar loan. Or rather she called Bethenny to ask Dennis on her behalf. And Luann admits that manic low-point was basically the lowest of her low. Which is why The Countess had to flee the Hamptons for more SERENITY NOW! Also because the paparazzi were hounding Luann by driving boats in front her house. Bethenny denies this, but Luann has proof! (eye roll).
Like that one time Luann was wearing a yellow dress, you know the one girls, the one that practically resembles a nightgown! And the paparazzi confused Luann for an actual celebrity, possibly Billy Joel since they both SING, and nabbed shots of her getting the mail! How dare they invade the privacy of royalty as if Luann is Princess Diana. She is not the people’s princess! She was first countess and is now queen of the cabaret! A) Luann so paid those so-called paps; B) Madonna so does not live – on the wrong side of the Hamptons highway – next-door to Bethenny.
That’s a rental investment property (and Bethenny has probably sent Madonna a Skinnygirl gift basket every day for 2 years straight, anyway, and Madonna uses that piss to water her garden and pay her maids); and C) Andy did not agree with Bethenny that the paparazzi are never in the Hamptons; and D) Bethenny is the queen of paying paps to film her minutia. Like that shot, we got with Bethenny and Russ walking on a beach – just after Bethenny insisted the paparazzi had never tried to get photos of her in the Hamptons. But so what if Luann wants more privacy to conduct her statement necklace creating? At least the neighbors won’t have to listen to her sing.
Also per Ramona, Luann in her round house, is ahead of the real estate curve by moving to Kingston, and Bethenny should appreciate that hustle. Or maybe Luann should move next door to Madonna so they could collaborate, pioneering artist to pioneering artist.
Speaking of hustle, Bethenny is making some adjustments at Skinnygirl instead of selling off the company before it reaches what she terms “its full potential.” To do that she has let some “very high salaried people go” and is outsourcing these services instead because she doesn’t like managing that much overhead. Hmmmm…
And now it’s time for the juicy portion of the evening: Luann and Dorinda rehashing their floundering friendship (see what I did there – Fish Room™ reference!). If I were Dorinda I would redecorate by putting giant big game heads all over the walls. Elephant tusks at dawn, girls? Or actual fish tanks.
Anyhoodle. Dorinda truly believes Luann would be the Countess with no clothes without her. Dorinda was there for Luann in her time of need and even carried a prayer card around in her pocket for years. Is that the same prayer card that’s now in the Countess candles?! According to Dorinda since Luann has gotten sober and found cabaret she’s lost all substance and is a hollow version of her former self. A knockoff statement necklace if you will. Luann denies all of this in the same whiny tone a teenager wields when their feelings are hurt, and claims she needs cabaret right now in her life because it keeps her focused.
I am of two minds about this. As someone close to someone who’s battled addiction sobriety is like reshaping your personality by learning to live without the buffers of alcohol. like Luann explained at some points she went into self-protection mode trying to cope. Later Dorinda admits that in the Berkshires Luann seemed nervous, and timid – I quite agree. She was literally hiding in the kitchen trying to avoid the other women, and Dorinda was proud of her for even coming. For her part, Luann admits that her behavior on that trip was appallingly self-righteous.
Before these two reach a place of yes, they are in a place of not well, bitch! Especially Dorinda who is STILL mad that Luann snubbed John at last year’s opening cabaret. Dorinda bursts into tears about Luann taking another person she loves from her, and then Luann, whips out her glasses – which look fantastic – and announces that she has text messages to prove that John was invited. Journalism!
While Luann is figuring out how to work an iPhone, Dorinda still refuses to admit that she heckled Jovani – even though both Tinsley and Bethenny tell her that she did. The entire time Sonja was just laughing and laughing, giggling about how foolish it all was. Or maybe Sonja had gotten away with secretly yanking off her face tape and was feeling joyous.
Finally, Luan locates some text messages which neither prove, nor disprove her case. They do show that she said John “is always welcome” but told Dorinda on the day of THE CABARET she can’t deal with fan requests and he needs to go through her people to secure a ticket. Also Luann was getting a mammogram while all this texting was happening, so how’s that for multitasking. Cabaret stars – they’re just like us!
Dorinda had responded positively saying she was excited for the show, etc and Luann made a comment about wanting it to be a girl’s night, which Dorinda was OK with since no one was bringing dates. Not even Ramona! So what I’m thinking is that Luann’s people dropped the ball, Luann wasn’t sympathetic enough, and then Dorinda had one too many drinks trying to survive the Countess’s singing.
But then Luann stands up, gives Dorinda a hug, apologizes, and they both agree to move forward because they truly miss their 13-year-old friendship and want to laugh together again. I want this too, people!!! Make it nice! Especially because Dorinda is, finally, so sick of talking about Jovani. She really did consult a lawyer when she thought Luann was going to make her the brunt of a cabaret act, which Luann insists was just her trying to ‘flip the script’ and use humor to fix things.
Part one ends with Andy unveiling “Feelin’ Jovani” and even Dorinda can’t hate on this catchy anthem to foolishness and pipe dreams. They should just collaborate. Dorinda can do an aerobics routine to Feelin’ Jovani. Or Luann should do a new song just for Dorinda’s mad abs routine. They can call it “I Made It Tight”
TELL US – ARE YOU HAPPY DORINDA AND LUANN ARE FRIENDS AGAIN? ARE YOU FEELIN’ JOVANI?
[Photo Credits: Bravo & Heidi Gutman/Bravo]