The inclusion of Leah McSweeney into Real Housewives Of New York is creating a cultural divide between generations. Here we have Leah, a millennial on the cusp of also being a Gen Xer. Someone, ahem, my age. Then we have the rest of the ‘girls.’ Still calling themselves “girls” well (WELL) past the acceptable age of being called so. Which is something only middle-aged women of a certain generation do. These girls are actually OKBoomers, and these boomers are treating Leah and Tinsley Mortimer like their willful daughters who don’t recognize good sense.
The problem is, of course, that Tinsley and Leah are grown-ass women, well-past the acceptable age of being called “girls” themselves. Although Tinsley has clung vehemently to the pretensions of her mother’s generation and, on the surface, tries to adhere to the notions of how one behaves. Leah is more like “fuck it all.” She’s Bethenny Frankel-lite, which is why she’s shaping up to be a good replacement.
The trouble with Tinsley, which I think Dorinda Medley cannot articulate in her persistent state of rage-drunkenness, is that Tinsley refuses to admit that things in her life aren’t perfect. Sure, she cried at the circus. Sure, she freaked out in Miami, but mostly Tinsley runs around pretending her life is polished silver when parts of it are a paper plate. That is, I think, a uniquely generational thing. Dale Mercer‘s generation. Also Dorinda’s generation. Which is why you’d think Dorinda would be more accepting of Tinsey’s willful and intentional attempt at subterfuge.
Dorinda’s issue is that she’s trying to do the same thing and failing at it. Dorinda is trying to pretend everything’s great. However, she’s irretrievably broken inside and still mourning Richard even though she feels ridiculous doing so. She’s treated depression and anxiety with over-consumption. She does not handle her feelings like a millennial would, with long-winded, high-gloss social media posts about it being O-kaaaaaaay to admit anxiety and to embrace the need to hide under a weighted blanket drinking hand-crafted matcha lattes with oat milk made from scratch in a $500 blender. Influencer Guru life is calling you, Dorinda!
Dorinda is trying to do her generation stiff upper lip justice when she’s doing herself and her friends injustice with loose lips. She’s “self-defecating,” to say the least. All this is coming to a head (a tail?) over Leah and Tinsley, who are collateral damage in the war their mothers are fighting against their conservative roots butting up against their desires to not be seen as old. Let’s call it a classic American struggle.
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So here we are on Real Housewives Of New York where Sonja Morgan is the catalyst for all things that go boom! It’s part of the whole lifestyle brand she represents. She just can’t figure out how to do so on Instagram with ring lights and hashtags.
Everything breaks loose over rooftop cocktails with Tinsley, Leah, and Sonja. Tinsley is irritated because even though Sonja is supposed to be her friend – someone who actually knows her – she didn’t defend her while Dorinda was calling her a fake-ass hooker living a lie and hiding her assets. Truly it is none of Dorinda’s fucking business what Tinsley does or does not do with Scott Kluth (or how she gets her shoes)!
Tinsley’s whole relationship with Scott, Coupon King, comes at a discount to her own self-esteem and is bought and paid for by her desperation. But that is Tinsley’s business. Just like it is Leah’s business whether or not she has a tramp stamp.
Also, if Sonja is who Tinsley is considering a true friend, she’s got worse problems than defining her relationship with Scott in a way that meets Dorinda’s standards.
When Sonja discovers Leah has tattoos she suddenly gets on a moral high horse about decorum and dignity. She’s specifically incensed over Leah’s tramp stamp of her name which she got as a young adult. Leah is having it removed and laughs about what a ridiculous cliche it is. Sonja, a woman who runs around town screaming about boning younger men and talking about dick and pussy all day long, is scandalized by this?
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Does Sonja not remember the Britney Spears era of which Leah came of age? The ‘not that innocent’ time of fronting as a good girl (i.e. looking sweet and well-scrubbed) while hiding your naughtiness underneath your clothes. Apparently not. Probably because during this era Sonja was well on her way to middle-aged (i.e. mid-thirties).
Sonja even proclaims that she would never sleep with someone who has tattoos, which is a complete lie. As a self-proclaimed free lover, she would sleep with anyone. Even Tinsley has a tattoo! It’s her first husband’s initials on her hipbone. I’m assuming the ladies find this acceptable because he’s a Mortimer, part of America’s upper echelon families so Tinsley was just branding herself for patrician values? Leah, although annoyed, essentially laughs at Sonja’s puritanical notions.
Ramona Singer has decided to unify the group by inviting them to stay in her Hamptons mansion for a weekend. This is a poor woman’s Berkshires, but Blue Stone Manor is under construction so we’ll have to temporarily make do. At least we’re heading into the Hamptons with Dorinda fighting with Tinz, and Leah irritated by Sonja.
Even Luann de Lesseps is going to make the long, arduous trek from South Hampton to Ramona’s house to spend the night. This is because Ramona privately promised Luann the best room. One with her own private bathroom and a separate entrance. Lu, and her male friends, can come and go at their leisure!
Dorinda and Sonja drive up together. Sonja reveals that Leah is a tramp and has this branded across her body to warn everyone of her availability. Dorinda has already decided she doesn’t like Leah because she’s an extension of Tinsley. This is just another strike against her.
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Tinsley lost her voice trying to speak Chinese so her dogs can communicate with her and also, probably, squealing on the phone with Scott, which is what passes for phone sex when you’re a perpetually stunted adolescent still rebelling against country club values. With what little squeak remains, Tinsley cautions Leah that Sonja can’t be trusted.
Ramona has spent all day arranging crackers on plates for her guests. The house looks great. Tinsley and Leah are the last to arrive. All was wonderful and charming until then. Ramona assigns everyone their rooms and Luann’s accommodation, far from being a palatial private casita, is actually THE FINISHED BASEMENT! This might actually be worse than the fish room!
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First, it’s freezing. Second, it’s filled with TV’s from the early 2000s (none of which even turn on). There’s a giant Costco sectional smack-dab in the middle of the stiff basement carpet. The bathroom is a dark, dank thing with no window and a tiny one-person sink. Totally dreary and depressing.
However, there’s a positive here: we got to witness some of Luann’s post-rehab growth. Instead of throwing a HUGE fit about how a countess can’t be caged, Luann only displayed mild annoyance and a few complaints about how Ramona really shouldn’t have the air conditioner set to ‘hot flash’ if she’s going to force guests to sleep in a coffin. Well, it’s sure better than having to sleep in Sonja’s basement! The bed would be a pallet of toilet paper. The bathroom would consist of a chamber pot bearing the Morgan Family Crest and a hose.
Ramona also showed some growth when she attempted to genuinely connect with Leah. This is because Leah bribed her with $200 candles. Leah has more in common with these ladies than initially meets the eye. Like Luann, she is sober and has been arrested for assaulting a cop. Like Ramona, she’s in fashion and was independent from an early age, thus garnering the gumption and self-perseverance to start her own business. Ramona now feels it’s her personal duty to take Leah under her wing and mentor her by advising her abasing a mesh bucket hat. I agree with her there. The bucket hat is a trend that should’ve died in the 90’s and been buried in Ramona’s basement.
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While Leah has been busy ingratiating herself to Ramona, Dorinda confesses to Sonja that she’s really not feeling herself these days. She’s angry all the time and feels permanently exhausted. Renovating to Blue Stone Manor after the flood has left her feeling overwhelmed and also drained of money. She wishes she had a real man’s support, but she refuses to let go of John Mahdessian (or let John in). Other than running a business, John has never grown up. Dorinda knows she’s got a hair-trigger temper and is lashing out at everyone. It appears that Dorinda is giving Sonja the apology that should go to Tinsley. Dorinda is projecting on to Tinsley, pure and simple. It’s because she thinks Tinsley will take it.
By the time Leah makes her way to the lunch table, Dorinda is over feeling remorseful. When Sonja starts in on the tramp stamp nonsense, Dorinda makes a jab about how if someone forgets Leah’s name she can bend over to remind them. Ramona is now scandalized by the notion of a tramp stamp. Her best friend Avery Singer would never get such a thing! Men like a pristine unblemished surface!
So after insulting Leah, the rest of the women go off to nap before dinner. Ramona guilts Leah and Tinsley into cleaning up after lunch.
While everyone is getting ready, Leah tells Tinsley that she’s annoyed with the way Dorinda spoke to her. Then Leah does the right thing by confronting Sonja for stirring the pot. Sonja is doing this so the heat is off of herself. But, now, Sonja claims Dorinda is in a bad place right now and needs her support.
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Tinsley whispers a warning to Leah that everything she says to Sonja is going straight back to Dorinda. True to form, Sonja literally runs down the hall to tattle. Dorinda immediately blows up that she couldn’t pick Leah out of a lineup, which is where all people with tattoos end up.
As they’re preparing to walk out the door, Dorinda gets right in Leah’s face to ask if she’s able to speak for herself, or if she needs the Sexy Sonja Messenger Service to fight her battles? Maybe Sonja is Leah’s intern!? Dorinda insists she was making a joke about the tattoo and Leah is too sensitive. Far from getting ruffled, Leah shuts Dorinda down by being calm and suggesting that she get to know her before making jokes at her expense.
I don’t know what tranquilizer gun Leah has in her eyeballs, but it worked and everyone went to dinner in peace. What a nice dinner it was. Luann made a toast thanking all the ladies for their support during her selfish year of living soberly. In retrospect, she realizes she was dumping onto them and used a very nice metaphor comparing everything to a volcano. I’m sure it came out of an AA manual, but hey whatever works!
Dorinda is very appreciative. Ramona shows her acknowledgment by taking a break from relentlessly scanning the dining room for eligible bachelors and tuning to look at their table. The second the food is on plates and Luann stops speaking, Ramona hops up to ‘do a lap’. Here comes Ramona Exotic!
Seriously, though, I imagine Ramona’s man mood board filled with images of Fabio and Kenny G. Their heads plastered onto safari pictures of Doc Antle‘s body riding a tiger; the entire thing spritzed with Gloria Vanderbilt Swan perfume. Obviously, Ramona has her assistant buying the last available bottles on eBay to hoard them in the Hamptons closets. It’s vintage self-esteem and it’s glorious!
TELL US – ARE DORINDA AND SONJA UNFAIRLY JUDGING LEAH? DO YOU BUY LUANN’S APOLOGY?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]