Image Credit: Heidi Gutman/BravoWith this Moby Dick of a Housewives reunion finally behind us, it’s time to reflect a little on a helluva season. So put away the cheap crystal glasses, recycle your empty Pinot Grigio bottles, dig between sofa cushions for runaway Gum Berries. The ladies have all taken their baths and gone down for a little nigh nigh. Finally, some peace and quiet! (Don’t get too comfortable though. Next week we are presented with Danielle’s fake breast and a plastic surgery oops, the likes of which has never before been seen by modern medicine. The nightmare never ends!) But in this brief pocket of calm, I’d like to give out some awards to my New York ladies.
MOST IMPROVED LuAnn, I just want to shake your hand or kiss your ring or buy your silly song in iTunes. The woman, who for three seasons has spent too much time icily pushing her brand of Euro class, was elegant and sharp and funny and dare I say moving during the reunion. While Jill assumed the role of Kelly’s muzzler (“stop! stop!”) and her cheerleader (“well said, Kelly Killoren Bensimon”), LuAnn actually tried to hold the nut bag accountable for her words and actions. Nice try, Countess, but that dog won’t hunt. And I don’t care how many of you have crapped on the Countess in comments throughout the season, who among you wasn’t moved by her words about her divorce. Ramona was right to blush and apologize for her callous insinuation that LuAnn had been stepping out on her husband. Bethenny was right to give LuAnn that genuinely warm smile of congratulations when the Countess talked about her new man Jacques, and express her own regrets for giving LuAnn a hard time during her divorce. I thought LuAnn handled questions about her fidelity during those last floundering years of marriage beautifully: “I don’t owe anybody an explanation about what went on with my marriage. Out of respect for my family and husband I prefer not to answer that question.” (I presume out of some lingering respect for her husband, she also wouldn’t come out point blank and say “Yes Andy, Alex hates the Jews.”) There were tears, and there were some cute Countess giggles. Bethenny’s comparison of Kelly to Humpty Dumpty made LuAnn laugh as hard as it did me.
HOUSEWIFE DIVORCEE OF THE YEAR Sonja, if you are ever in Austin, TX will you look me up? She oddly became the trusted voice of reason on a show full of squallers. If Sonja says the girls weren’t picking on Kelly, who is going to doubt her? When Sonja gently scolds Jill for showing up unannounced to Ramona’s vacation house, how can we doubt her reasoning? “This is not a six-year-old’s birthday party. ‘I’m over the mumps, hello!'” The only time we’ve ever seen Sonja really flustered all season was when Andy and the other bench cackled after she gave Ramona props for deigning to step out of her pedicure bath to go speak to Jill after tossing her. “Why are you all laughing!” Sonja demanded with flushed cheeks. Don’t let them rattle you Sonja. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to this entire franchise. You’re proof that you don’t need to create an exaggerated self or manufacture pseudo drama to make for entertaining TV. Sonja has a good heart and she knows how to laugh at herself, which is something the rest of the Housewives should practice more often. When asked if she would return next season, Sonja replied “If I can have someone relate to me for even a minute and say ‘Wow, she’s such a nightmare, my life is great!’ then that’s fine with me.” God I love this woman.
BEST BRAVO VIEWER QUESTION Cecily nailed Kelly with her shrewd words about Kelly’s litany of contradictions: “She says she doesn’t eat processed food, but she loves Gummi Bears, pancake mix, chicken wings and brownies. She doesn’t drink but loves beer and tequila shots. She hates labels but she calls herself a victim. She calls Bethenny a ho bag but poses nude in Playboy.” What makes Kelly an uninteresting presence on TV is that she lacks any shred of self-awareness. She batted Cecily’s question away with a mean laugh, saying it was funny that Cecily knew so much about her. When anybody calls her out, it’s only because they are jealous or hateful which makes sense because love is up here and hate is down here and the ecosystem needs both to go round and round. Listen, she said, I’m ever-evolving, ever-changing, it’s all good, I like me, breakthrough, this isn’t the New York Times, zip it, don’t judge her, celebrate her. Celebrate you for what? You’re mean, but don’t own it. You refuse accountability, but terrorize others with slanderous accusations and sweeping generalizations. You don’t listen, you never learn, you have no sense of humor about yourself or others. When others talk you announce that you are turning them down to level 2 and go into a trance-like mode feeling for split ends.
HOST WITH THE MOST Kelly tried to explain how she could support PETA while also wearing fur on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but maybe not Fridays.”See,” she told Andy when she reached her swirly-faced conclusion. “When I’m able to speak it’s perfect.” Andy looked at her a little quizzically and gave a chuckle of disbelief. “Okay,” he said. Kelly, that guy thinks you are 25 seconds short of a minute, just like the rest of us.
And finally, my I DON’T KNOW WHETHER TO HUG HER OR HATE HER award: Oh Jill. How do we solve a problem like Jill?There were flashes of the old you last night. You nicely summed up the allure of Housewives itself when calling for an end to talk of Scary Island. “It’s not boring, it’s just disturbing,” she said. Yet you flung piles of mud at Ramona and friends for kicking you off the island—”thanks a lot for even asking me or Bobby if we wanted a drink of water!”—before abruptly flip flopping on yourself and apologizing for the surprise. You were smart enough to know when Kelly was embarrassing herself and would yank her chain back to shut her up. You were mean enough to yell “spread eagle!” at the top of your lungs in a weird attempt to humiliate Alex over some yesterday’s news nudie photos. You gotta get over this Alex vendetta. You gotta stop tacking on apologies at the end of an aggressive rant. You gotta ease up on the spray tanning. I’m glad you got to give Bethenny a little awkward hug there at the end. I do hope you get to meet baby Bryn (though just resist when you feel the need to critique the nursery decor or Twitter a picture of the extravagantly expensive gift you brought for the baby). I think there is hope for you yet Jill. Go away with Bobby for the summer. Stop worrying about your Amazon ranking and your Google alerts and whether or not you’ve been slighted or abused or overlooked. As you said yourself, you have a good life. Go live it.
What did you all think? Is Kelly good TV or tedious TV? Which of these ladies would you kick off Scary Island? Who did you want to hear more from during the Reunion? Who needed to zip it?