Ramona and Tinsley enter the hot seat while Luann explains her relapse.

By Jodi Walker
July 19, 2019 at 01:46 AM EDT
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Remember when Dorinda and Luann hugged it out last episode? OVER! Remember when Bethenny kind of conceded that she was projecting onto Tinsley about keeping her relationship with Scott private? THROUGH! Remember when Sonja spoke only in mumbled asides, but still somehow managed to win the episode? STILL HAPPENING!

Because every good story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and in the world of the Real Housewives Reunions, the middle is almost entirely screaming. This isn’t one of the nastier reunions we’ve ever had, but if that gives you hope that it’ll be any less shrill, you are as mistaken as an elderly Ramona wandering through a gala trying desperately to look through her cataracts to find the correct table without her dentures falling out.

You’ll rarely hear me say this, as she is a monster, but…thank goodness for Ramona. After a part 1 that revolved around death and drinking, truly there is no better way to start out a part 2 of the RHONY Reunions than by exposing Ramona for the scoundrel that she is.

Because the thing about Ramona is: despite all of her many, many flaws, she can just sit there and take it like nobody’s business. She is that dynamic combo of completely shameless and utterly fueled by ego. I can hardly stand watching her most of the time in-season, but Ramona is made for Reunions because nothing fazes this woman. You don’t have to feel bad about her being ganged up on or yelled at because she doesn’t feel bad about it. Ramona will leave this reunion and tell Sonja “good time!” as they ride in a car full of Sonja’s farts to a bar where Ramona will drink vodka out of a wine glass and make out with a “millennium.” Good time!

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THE RAMONA-COASTER

Up first, we’re treated to a montage of Ramona’s most egregious flat-out lies of the season, including that she denied trying to eat Harry Dubin’s face like an anaconda (she was just embarrassed!), that she had no role in Sonja not being invited to her birthday party (she just didn’t want it to be filmed), and that she didn’t purposefully ditch Dorinda at the gala she invited her to (she’s just a lost elderly woman!). Certainly, the most entertaining lie to watch Ramona babble through, her eyes bugging further out of her head the deeper she gets into her denial, is the bold excuse that she sat at the wrong table at the Angel Ball because her mind is going. “Blame it on dementia!” Bethenny cries as everyone freaks out at the new levels of absurdity.

It’s not just that there’s audio footage of the event organizer repeatedly telling Ramona that she’ll be seated with Dorinda at table 62, or that Dorinda says she showed Ramona the actual table list to prove to her she was wrong, it’s that the circumstances of this lie must be dire if a Housewife would basically call herself geriatric to avoid admitting to it. To be fair, Ramona really stuck with this excuse, not even blinking an eye (one of her specialties) when Sonja pointed out that she’s “trying to break into society as you’re reaching your 70s.”

The one thing Ramona is willing to admit to, however, is the comment she made about how Dennis couldn’t be that smart because he was on drugs, for which she apologizes immediately by saying, “I apologize profusely to everybody — to Dennis, to god, to everyone here, to his family — that was just beyond horrible.” Bethenny points out to Ramona that she was taking jabs at her all season long, and she seems to have some specific problem with her. “Because I never know if I’m gonna get my eyes scratched out or a hug,” Ramona says. “You’re very hot and cold with me, and you kind of, like scare me.”

Which I think is…fair? Bethenny has softened a lot over the seasons but there’s something about Ramona that keeps Bethenny’s guard up and I don’t blame Ramona for not knowing what she’s going to get there. I do blame her for…every horrible thing that alleged fear causes her to do and say. When Ramona says that she didn’t realize she was taking jabs at Bethenny and she’ll try to stop, Andy asks if they can really believe she’ll make a change because “we’ve done this, like, 11 times.” The answer, very obviously, is no: Ramona will do exactly what Ramona wants to do until Ramona dies, which according to Ramona, could very well be at next year’s Angel Ball when her ripe age will finally take her into sweet, sweet slumber.

TRUST FUND TINSLEY

Listen — I don’t find Tinsley particularly fun or interesting, but there is something about putting this baby seal of a person into this tank of sharks that makes me want to protect her. I think it’s that Tinsley so rarely makes attacks against the other women, but they still feel quite entitled to say whatever the hell they want to her about the way she looks, where she gets her money, what she does with men, and so on.

I don’t think it’s so much jealousy, as the tendency of an older person to want a younger person to earn their stripes. But that messaging coming from Sonja and Dorinda who aren’t exactly self-made women themselves is a little rich. Toward the end of the season, Dorinda and Sonja could not stop talking about how fishy it was that Tinsley’s financial status seemed to raise when she was dating Scott, but once they stopped dating, her finances stayed the same. Naturally, they assumed that meant Tinsley had some sort of “arrangement” with Scott.

An arrangement wherein…they weren’t dating, they weren’t living in the same city, they weren’t sleeping together or being seen together, but he was…paying for her lifestyle? The accusation never made a ton of sense, and very clearly, they just want to know where Tinsley is getting her money, which they phrase in the reunion as wanting Tinsley to be transparent. “We saw a significant change, we saw a significant change,” Dorinda keeps yelling while Tinsley attempts to explain that she doesn’t have to get money from Scott because she has a wealthy family. Bethenny is telling her she doesn’t live in New York anymore, and Sonja is telling her she used to only shop at small boutiques when she lived with her, and Dorinda is listing the exact date she moved out of her hotel penthouse, until finally Tinsley just snaps and tells them that the monthly allotment from her trust fund was lessened after she was arrested, and once she proved that she could be responsible again, it went back up again; that’s why there was an increase in her spending.

“Now that makes sense,” Sonja says bobbing her head like making sense of Tinsley’s financial income was something that needed to be done here. “Thank you for being a good girlfriend now.” Y’all — I hollered. If any one of my girlfriends demanded to know the intimate details of my finances, I meaaaaan…

But before I go softening too much on Tinsley, we’re once more treated to the fact that Tinsley called 9-1-1 for her elderly dog that was already dying of cancer and had a fire truck come to try and resuscitate him. I still have sympathy for the dog actually dying, of course, unlike Bethenny it seems, who is trying to win a Tony with her performance of holding back laughter at Tinsley’s dramatics over freezing and unfreezing Bambi…even though I seem to recall a pretty dramatic string of Instagram stories when Bethenny went through her own dog death. Because dog deaths are hard! (But, ahem, not so hard that we call 9-1-1 instead of the emergency vet.)

Tinsley does finally come out as the winner of her segment though when we see a clip that never aired of Ramona screaming at Tinsley that she wears too much makeup, and then following up at the reunion by saying, “People shouldn’t have to sleep in makeup,” to which Tinsley replies: “I mean you sleep with your boobs, I sleep with my lashes.”

They grow up so fast!

THE LIFE OF LUANN

Finally, it is time to discuss the fact that between season 11 wrapping and the reunion, Luann broke her probation by failing one of her breathalyzers. As she explains it, she had two mimosas at Easter brunch even though that would clearly make her fail her breathalyzer because “your mind plays funny games on you.” She says that there’s no margin for error during her probation which is a stressful way to live. That’s what she thinks the other women don’t understand: “I really have been trying to keep myself together and it gives me very little to give you and share because I’m just really working hard to get through the last three months of this ordeal.”

That’s as well as I’ve heard her explain that yet, mostly because she didn’t use the word “cabaret” once. But when she says the other women haven’t been supportive of her sobriety, that’s one step too far and everyone starts freaking out. Bethenny says that Luann doesn’t take her sobriety seriously. There’s some argument about the cabaret not being a good environment for her, and how long she stayed at rehab, and then suddenly, Ramona is busting out of her end of the couch saying she’s going to give Luann some tough love: “I think you’re still drinking on the side, what do you think about that?”

Only part 3 will tell.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

Ramona, LuAnn, Sonja, Carole, Heather, Kristen, and Dorinda—and oh, yes, Bethenny—are in a New York state of mind.
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seasons
  • 9
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  • 03/04/08
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