Luann is still in the hot seat, and she's still sure there's no reason for her to be there.
Bethenny Frankel
Credit: Bravo

The New York women are made of armored steel. They are bags of rocks, dipped in molten lava, plated in steel, wearing marble gowns and steel Louboutins. What I mean is that they can be mean as snakes but their patience with each other is seemingly unceasing.

Just as I was reflecting that there has not been a single episode of this three-part reunion without a segment on how insufferable Luann has been this season, what with her need to be worshipped for anything positive she does, her inability to take accountability for anything negative she does, and her general narcissism that could be right at home in the Oval Office (for the record: she would take this as a compliment). Every single time, the women yell at her, she doesn’t budge, then she finally does and sort of cops an apology, and then she says something two scenes later that proves she learned nothing, she meant no such apology, and she just got cast in Chicago on Broadway. Oh, has she not mentioned she was cast in Chicago on Broadway???

So, right as I’m thinking that, right as I’m wondering how they could possibly bring Luann back next season when all the women find her so impossible, right when I’ve literally just written in my notes, “Goodness, you just can’t get anywhere with Luann” (I seem to take notes like a schoolmarm), Andy asks the other women if they accept where Luann is coming from and believe that she can change…

And these other five, hardened New York women, with Hudson River water flowing through their veins, bark back that, of course, they accept her, and not only that, they want to help her get through the finish line. They don’t want her to expect them at every cabaret show, but they want to support her, not necessarily because they like her, but because that’s just who they are. It is…wild. They are, in this very particular way, far bigger women than I, and it was a nice if odd way to end the reunion. (Stay tuned for the actually insane way this reunion ends!).

But in the same way these women can’t help but stand by Luann, I have a soft spot for my girl Barbara K. I was thrilled to see her walk out on that stage with her tangled extensions and her Rent the Runway Badgley Mischka (we’ve all worn it, girl, no shade!) and her all-over bronzer that made her sort of glow like a spilled gasoline…

Do I understand that she absolutely is not cut out to be a New York Housewife? Of course. But the reason I like Babs is that she understands that too. She gave it a shot, she was presumably filmed in a way where she could have become part of the central cast, and I believe in my heart that she and Bravo mutually decided not to pursue this relationship any further via a very mature and communicative text exchange.

Because Barbara is something a New York Housewife absolutely cannot be: she is humble. When Bethenny is rattling off all the things you have to be to make a good New York Housewife — “the show is about revealing yourself, good or bad, being vulnerable, telling what you really think inside, exposing yourself, taking some chances — Barbara just smiles a sad little smile and says, “And that’s why I make a good ‘Friend.'”

That is why you make a good friend, Barb! And you know what a good friend is allowed to do? Talk a little s–t about their more high maintenance friends every once in a while, especially if they’re right. At the end of this season, Barbara got caught on a hot mic telling another friend at Luann’s cabaret show that she has other acts in the show because she doesn’t have that great of a voice.

And of course, Luann does not have that great of a voice. And when everyone comes to Barbara’s defense, asking Luann if she really thinks she has a good voice (while also saying repeatedly that she’s a great performer, her show is not about her voice), Luann says that she’s never acted like she’s a great vocalist. And then she proceeds to act like she’s a great vocalist, and it’s a fireable friend offense for Barbara to have suggested a true thing about her after Barbara has endlessly stood by her side through the hardest time in her life. After enough people have told Luann that she’s incorrect, Luann forgives Barabara

Then it’s basically just a Barbara love fest, with everyone taking turns hugging her and either saying they love her or apologizing for treating her badly. Andy says he’s never seen anything like Luann literally kissing Bethenny’s ass on a reunion show, but this kind of universal outpouring of love is what we’ve really never seen.

As for Luann, who takes up the bulk of Part 3, I’ll just run down the greatest hits: She asks Andy what time it is while Bethenny and Ramona are talking about their shared experiences with domestic abuse. When Sarah from California asks Luann why she takes herself so seriously, informing her that the entire appeal of her cabaret is that it’s a spectacle and she’s not exactly the next Liza Minnelli (Sarah from California, I love you), Luann responds: “Well there’s always going to be haters.” And finally, trying to prove that Luann doesn’t take an interest in their lives, but demands constant interest in her own, Dorinda asks if Luann knows where Sonja’s daughter is going to college in the fall. “She hasn’t told me, we haven’t seen each other,” Luann responds, and all of the other women erupt off their couches with cries of “YOU SHOULD HAVE ASKED!”

“This is the support that I get,” Luann scoffs in response. Why should she be supported right now?! This is not a time for support! But for Luann, the support must be constant. In a normal friendship, you support your friends when they need support. You don’t just…endlessly lift them up. You know what that’s called? A pedestal.

The other women have refused to give Luann that all season, and she’s refused to stop asking for it. I am here to tell you that absolutely nothing will change moving forward. And yet, they’ll stick with ol’ Lu. And Luann says it feels good to have them declare that they want to support her, and she could’ve been a better friend this season, and she’s sorry if it seemed like she was ungrateful. It means almost nothing coming out of her mouth, but you really can’t help but be thankful for Luann when she ends the season with — I kid you not — a toast in the form of the Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Prayer. Only on The Real Housewives of New York City. See you next season.

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