We gave it a B+
Let’s pour out a Skinnygirl? cosmo for the New York Housewives who are no longer with us: While Sonja, LuAnn, and Ramona have returned for season 5, Jill, Alex, Kelly, and Cindy have all left the Bravo bubble. With three new cast members, the show — once all about aspirational glitz — has now shifted to become a veritable Summer Olympics of Suffering, and it’s all the more fascinating to watch these ladies compete. There’s journalist Carole Radziwill, who wrote a best-seller about losing her husband to cancer, while Fran Drescher’s cousin Aviva had her leg amputated after a childhood accident. Both women handle their losses with dignity. (What a concept for this show!) Of course, the Kelly Bensimon Award for Drama must go to someone, and this season it belongs to shapewear titan Heather Thomson, who casually tells everyone that (a) her father just died, (b) her son suffers from a rare liver disease, and (c) her best friend underwent a pancreas and kidney transplant before going blind.
If this is what passes for casual dinner-party chitchat, it’s no wonder the Skinnygirls skip dessert. When Heather reveals that her baby needed a liver transplant, Ramona replies that her own daughter was technically born dead. (“I felt like she was one-upping me!” Heather pouts.) That said, it’s refreshing to hear the Housewives fight over something more pressing than who got the most coat hangers in Morocco. Some of these women have real problems, so it’s easier to care about them — even while laughing at them. After hearing about Heather’s son, Ramona gasps, ”You can’t live without a liver!” Oscar Wilde couldn’t have said it better himself. B+