How does one simply move on from an episode like last week’s Real Housewives of New York City wherein Bethenny had a Pop-Tart-fueled anxiety attack, shoved a reflective martini glass in a recovering alcoholic’s face and exhorted her to take a long, hard look? From Bethenny’s “I had a lawyer come on a Sunday” and “It’s cabaret, you’re a SICKO”…to Luann’s chilling “Look at yooou”… to the actual shift you could feel in the earth’s tectonic plates the moment Luann mocked Tinsley’s slurred word…
It was one for the history books. And not just of Real Housewives history books, but like, actual text books, as it should certainly be taught in every film class from here until eternity. And personally, I don’t think an Emmy is out of the question here. I mean, if Shark Tank and The Voice have six between them, I think it’s safe to at least put Bethenny risking asphyxiation in order to let us know that Luann ran through a field in a negligee pre-intervention and left rehab two weeks early into contention. Especially after Luann’s only minor correction to that diatribe is that she left rehab one week early and she had to because she needed to do her cabaret show.
Any one of the things that took place in the last five minutes of last week’s episode would shatter me into a million pieces: being screamed at in public like Luann was; screaming at someone in public like Bethenny did; just slurring a word like Tinsley did would be enough to make me call in some PTO the next day. The Real Housewives of New York, however? They were in neon spandex leotards doing the Charleston in a fluorescently-lit studio, thick as Pop-Tart-thieves within the week. I don’t think I’ve ever been sad to hear the finale of a Housewives season announced at the end of an episode before, but the New York women have given it their all this season, and they’re sure as hell not going to stop on the way out.
Everyone was more themselves than they’ve ever been in tonight’s episode: Bethenny transitioned from an anxiety attack into telling Luann she wanted nothing but the best for her in 10 minutes flat. Tinsley called 911 to resuscitate a 12-year-old dog with terminal cancer. Sonja changed into a full spandex unitard in front of, conservatively, 150 strangers. Dorinda straight-up said she’s staying in a relationship with John because she’s become accustomed to a certain way of life, and that way of life is dry-cleaned thongs. Luann closed her eyes and put her hand in the air Christina Aguilera-style to speak the words “feeling Jovaniiii” into a microphone. Not wanting to attend Luann’s Christmas cabaret, Ramona simply planned another party in the middle of it. And even good ol’ Barbara K unabashedly covered an entire white bedroom in spray tan, and I’ve never loved her more.
I love all of them, even Luann, who I despise. Let’s return to the scene of the crime:
We open in media res, with Bethenny panting at the Pop-Tart restaurant, “I don’t know what’s going on, I want to go home.” She’s having a full-blown panic attack, and for some reason, everyone is trying to convince her she doesn’t need to go home, she needs to stay here for what I’m confident will be some sort of Dippin’ Dots situation served in an old-timey popcorn machine.
Dorinda and Barbara take Bethenny inexplicably to the valet stand to catch her breath while Ramona explains to us, “Bethenny actually had an a-ha moment when she realized maybe if she gave Dennis what she tried to give Luann, Dennis would still be alive—and Luann was just like, Pftt.” Now, I don’t know if this is just standard Ramona-making things up or if she actually managed to intuit that during Bethenny’s breakdown, but this is quite an astute point. To her credit, Luann doesn’t say anything rude about Bethenny when she leaves the table after her outburst, but she does manage to take the criticism the women are still trying to relay about only ever thinking about herself into…still only thinking about herself by saying that she’s the only one who has to follow all these rules.
Eventually, Luann leaves because Bethenny won’t talk to her, but she says she knows if she goes out, she’s going to drink. So after standing by the valet stand—officially a National Historic Landmark at this point—for a while, she decides to go back to the dinner table because “I’m not gonna let them break me.” Luann! They’re not trying to make you drink, they’re trying to make you understand that every single thing can’t always be about you.
And for an ever so brief moment, Bethenny having a full mental breakdown in front of a restaurant full of people actually seems to do something to Luann because she says, “I don’t know what to say, I feel terrible.” Sonja jumps up and hugs her because Luann managing to feel bad about something is like The Joker starting a scholarship fund for underprivileged youths. And then we get to hear Luann try to choke out an apology, which always makes me feel like I got my cardio for the day. “Well, I’m sorry Barbara that I’ve been wrapped up in myself,” she says, off to a good start: “Y’know, I’ve been dealing with what I have to deal with, which is a lot.” Okay not a strong landing, but let’s see what’s next…
“Bethenny, obviously the death of Dennis was a major thing … and I’m sorry if—well, I didn’t want to keep bringing it up, and you had kind of moved on, and I just didn’t want to keep bringing it up.” I’m positive I heard “sorry” in that sentence, but finding the actual apology was like trying to find the RHONY recording on my DVR on Wednesday night, if y’know what I’m saying.
But Bethenny didn’t really need an apology, she needed a public catharsis, apparently. Because shortly after screaming at Luann that she’s a sicko, Bethenny now tells her that she’s not mad at her, and she wants all good things for her, and this was about much more than her: “I took on a little more than I could chew, and I’m not complaining, I’m just digesting it slowly, so today I vomited it all out.” Later, Dorinda sits Bethenny down and asks her to say that Dennis’ death was a very bad thing, because she’s never really admitted that, and has basically been trying to get past it from the moment it happened. I’m sure that was a very healing moment for her, but watching these women’s faces crumple when they logistically, physically are incapable of crumpling is personally very difficult for me.
So, thank goodness it’s time to leave the overbearing skies of Miami, and get back to happy-go-lucky New York City…
Where we are immediately trapped in a tiny room with Luann “singing.” Luann notes that “feeling Jovani” will be her fourth dance single, but truly, this is the furthest from a song she’s ever been, just shamelessly speaking the words into the microphone, while instructing the room full of music professionals to applaud her for rhyming “don’t lose your mind” and “we’ll be fine” off the cuff. Luann says she chose to “write” “Feeling Jovani” because when she tells people the name of the song, “They’re like, ‘Nooooo!'” Which she somehow interprets to mean “they love it.” Her mind!
However, her high cannot last when she goes over to Ramona’s apartment. Luann begins talking about her Christmas cabaret show, and all the reserve seats she’ll have for her castmates, noted lovers of cabaret, and Ramona grimaces, “Don’t be upset with me.” She then proceeds to tell Luann not only that they don’t want to attend her cabaret, but that Ramona has planned a surprise party for Sonja and Dorinda at the exact same time. “We love you, but we really don’t want to come to the show, we want to hang out and have fun,” Ramona says with absolutely no qualms. I mean, they absolutely should not go to that show, but can you imagine how comfortable you would have to be with displeasing people to say something like that to a friend?
“I mean, it’s like your parents not wanting to come to your school play,” Luann says, when really, it’s like your parents not wanting to come to every performance of a two-week run of those plays the SNL kids put on.
And speaking of all-star performances! Listen, losing a dog is so hard, and I do not begrudge Tinsley her mourning process. But it’s difficult to mourn with Tinsley when the mind is riddled with so many questions! Just listen to her explanation of his death (imagine a sort of slobbery weeping voice here): “I picked him up, and his little head flopped over, and I was like, NOOOO. I called 911 and then the fire trucks came, and then [unintelligible].”
As you can imagine, Ramona’s eyes have bugged to nearly runway-levels, and that’s before she hears that Tinsley’s sister and mom are doing a viewing of Bambi tomorrow which involves the dog being unfrozen before his cremation. “How do you defrost a dog,” Ramona aks in her testimonial. And straight to Tinsley’s face: “Do you just leave it at room temperature, or you put it in the microwave?” Her mind!
Finally, it’s time for aerobics. You heard me! Dorinda was apparently a prolific aerobics teacher in the ’80s and after taking a Jazzercise class with her former main competition, a man named Jon, she decided to team up with him for a charity ’80s aerobics class. And I’m just saying, rival 80s aerobics instructors isn’t not a show I would watch on The CW.
All the ladies come out in full regalia, and wow, it’s like they’ve just been waiting for this. Everyone seems so at home in their leotards and leg warmers, and it’s actually kind of nice, considering the last time they were all together, Bethenny nearly created a black hole vortex that threatened to suck Miami and every single liquid nitrogen cocktail it contains into oblivion. Dorinda still manages to get mad at the way Luann has forgiven Bethenny so quickly after screaming at her when she held a grudge against her for their Cartagena run-in for 10 months. But honestly, I’m with Luann and Bethenny on this one—it’s just a different situation.
And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Bethenny is with Luann on the issue of Ramona rudely planning a surprise party in the middle of her cabaret. In fact, everyone thinks Ramona is being mean, so they decide they’ll visit Luann before her cabaret to make a toast to her success while absolutely not wanting to see it, and then they’ll go get drunk. They’ll never change, and we would never ask them to.
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