I’m tasked with the strange duty of describing a woman’s serious unraveling. At a certain point last night, right around the time the women themselves realized that whoa, hold up, hold up, something really is wrong here, and not just reality TV wrong, I got tremendously sad. Kelly is not just mean, or off, or a little Aspergers-y. I think it was after she called Alex a vampire, and cried that Bethenny had tried to kill her multiple times, and ran down the hall in search of lollipops and gum bearies that my stomach knotted up and I wanted the crazy lady to just GO TO BED! GO TO BED PLEASE! because you are really scaring me.
The episode started off on edge. It was the morning after Turtle Time and Ramona seemed to still be riding the Pinot pony. What is it about St. John’s that brings out the absolute adorable best in this woman? Unlike Kelly, who cannot resist any opportunity to strike for Bethenny’s jugular. She’s still strangely insisting that Bethenny is a mere cook, not that she cares, but since when does catering a party make someone a chef, and oh my God, could she care less. Bethenny, looking all of 15 in her braids, yells for her to cut the bulls—, which causes Kelly to throw her hands up in righteous innocence, insisting that Bethenny lives in a horror film while she dances and skips with sparrows and blue birds in a Disney movie. Bethenny retreats to her laptop on the sofa, her eyes brimming over with tears. Kelly keeps insisting, on the phone to Jill, in her private interviews, in a desperate wail to Sonja, that she is the vulnerable party here and that Bethenny is out to stab her to death with her knife mouth. The idea that Bethenny herself is being wounded by all these confrontations has never crossed her fragmented mind.
At the villa—I want to go to there—Bethenny deposits stuffed and monogrammed Skinny Girl totes at each girl’s doorstep. Oh for heaven’s sake, maybe it’s showy product placement but so what as long as there’s free cookies in there. But Kelly does not take kindly to the gesture. Gift bags are creepy. She calls Jill and starts rambling on about how Bethenny wants to kill her and is like “eee! eee! eee!” and she’s all “aah! aah! aah!” Jill pretends—I’m sorry Jill, I root for you to be likable again, but I am not buying your sudden allegiance to Kelly—to be concerned about Kelly but really one can almost feel her gnashing her teeth that she is missing out on all the drama.
The next day Kelly wants to take all the girls’ pictures on the beach. A few episodes back she held a camera for the first time and she is hooked. Bethenny balks at the shoot, preferring to stay behind instead and leave little “Next time could you pick up after the Crazy?” and “Could you please half the Kookadoodle?” notes in Kelly’s complaint box. Sonja loves the afternoon because nobody is fighting and she gets to snarl in her cheetah bikini. Ramona loves it because she gets to reenact her Cosmo shoot. The two women are very impressed by Kelly’s demeanor behind the camera. “Plus she has those super glasses on so she can see really well!” says Sonja. Oh Sonja, I love you, love you, love you. But more on that later. Meanwhile, Alex seems to have a tougher time following her photographer’s instructions. Kelly wants her to remember her Johan face. Alex wants to run and hide. Instead, she appears to be led by an invisible string attached to her jutting chin deeper and deeper into Kelly’s orbit.
For dinner that evening Kelly put on a lovely purple dress and turned into Augusten Burroughs’ crazy mother. Ain’t nobody gonna tell this woman to go into the other room if she wants to talk loudly on her cellphone. “When I’m talking to my child don’t even come near me because I will claw your eyes out,” she warns. Um, how about a lovely martini? Don’t like martinis! How about this wonderful steak Bethenny made for us? Crinkle face. Sonja, blah blah blah about your stupid past. 1979. Ramona, zip it. Alex, nice pancake makeup, you vampire. White noise! White noise! Oh what Ramona, you going to tongue her now? You made Bethenny cry. YOU MADE BETHENNY CRY! Whatever, I don’t even care. With tongue! Al Sharpton, Al Sharpton! Gwyneth! (“Who’s Gwyneth?” Line of the evening, Bethenny!) I am a woman and I have prerogative. Zip it. Creepy! Gum bearies!
I hope Sonja ended this long night with a large goblet of wine, a refreshing face mask and a nice Hooters girl to cuddle up to in bed because this woman worked overtime trying to coax Kelly down from the ledge. She is hands down the most naturally kind woman ever to grace the franchise. I wanted to weep for her every time the other women left her to deal with Kelly’s race off the rails. “Please don’t abandon me!” she cried to Alex. When Bethenny, Ramona, and Alex, still giggling over what they naively thought of Kelly-nonsense rather than serious Kelly-psychosis, Sonja pleaded for some help. “I have to sit here and support this?” she asked after the women’s retreating backs. “You guys are leaving me to do this?”
Sonja made a valiant effort to clear the crazy from Kelly’s eyes. You’re being paranoid, she warned, you’re in attack mode, you have no proof of these accusations, dear. “Do you get it?” she said very slowly. “She doesn’t really think I’m a hooker.” Oh Sonja, you tried so hard and you are so very good. “I’m feeling sorry for Kelly right now because something is happening here,” she told the women, as Kelly smiled obliviously next to her. “She feels sorry for you because she thinks you’re crazy,” Bethenny told her. “She’s awesome,” said Kelly. “She thinks something’s wrong with you,” insisted Bethenny. “I do,” Sonja agreed just as Kelly snapped “No she doesn’t.”
Finally Sonja brought down the hammer. Enough was enough. “The four of us are actually sane and she’s crazy and now we’re picking on her,” she said. Reasonable Alex snapped to and immediately agreed that they all needed to knock it off and stop engaging. Bethenny gave Kelly a nice, conciliatory speech about not wanting the woman to feel attacked and one finally got the reassuring sense that Kelly wasn’t going to hurt herself or one of the other women as the Bravo cameras rolled.
Time for a toast? “Good things for everyone!” Oh Ramona, you doll face.
Next week: “Hiiiiiiiiiiii-yuh!” Jill shows up in St. John’s, with poor Bobby in tow. Alex cries that there’s been enough drama.
Hit me PopWatchers. Did this episode leave a deeply weird taste in your mouth? Does any part of you believe for a second that Bethenny would have trashed Kelly or her girls in the press? Is everyone else as in love with Sonja as I? Who wishes Jill would have just decided to stay home and practiced her little ice dance routine? What about Rachel???