It’s taken three episodes to get the entire cast of The Real Housewives of New York together in one room, but there they finally were at the end of Wednesday night’s hour, somehow looking like they were attending a costume party, rather than just your average magazine cover party in a Mediterranean bunker. And after we’ve waited all this time to see them together, and after Luann has finally wound her way through what was apparently a sphinx-filled labyrinth given the amount of time it took her to get to Dorinda, what do we hear?
I must say, it was a little underwhelming as far as endings go, especially considering that the last episode ended with a—never forget—Tyler Perry quote. But as Mr. Perry once said (according to Dorinda’s quick google of “quotes about forgiveness when your friend is being a little biatch” and completely unverified by my own Google search), “When you haven’t forgiven those who’ve hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.”
Indeed, I want to move forward with this season of RHONY; I want to forgive this episode for not giving me a Lu and Dorinda confrontation, and I want to throw a little Konmarie method in the mix by thanking it for all the amazing Sonja Morgan moments. And in the meantime, I will continue to offer one-sided judgment with little to no discretion because I’ve learned from the Bravo best. And what better place to start than finally offering up a completely objective and unimpeachable ranking of season 11’s taglines.
RAMONA: “The only thing I’ll settle for—is more!” Y’know, someone says a variation of this on every single season in every single city, and never, not once has it made sense. You can’t settle for more. That’s not what settling is! Settling is when you accidentally glue on your eyelashes to look like that one winking tongue-out emoji, but you just go with it because there’s no time to change before the clam bake you weren’t invited to.
LUANN: “I plead guilty…to being fabulous.” Luann, you were arrested. Then you slipped your cuffs, verbally assaulted a police officer, and had to go to rehab. I just…don’t know if this is the place to invoke fabulousness. Question mark.
BETHENNY: “When life gives me limes, I make margaritas.” Listen, I get what Bethenny is going for here, and it’s not awful. But it’s also not good; like if I went outside and said, “It’s raining pigs and monkeys!” If Bethenny just twirled around in her red dress and said, “Buy SkinnyGirl lunchmeat!” like she really wants to, I’d have more respect for it.
TINSLEY: “Game…set…now I need a match!” This sounds like a line from Millionaire Matchmaker, and also gives me that deep, deep sadness that only Millionaire Matchmaker ever could. Actually, they should bring back Millionaire Matchmaker just for Tinsley. Won’t some millionaire just match with Tinsley already? She’s very good at tennis!!!
DORINDA: “If you got a problem with me…it’s your problem!” Sure, sure, a classic Housewives tagline. Also a pretty clear indication of a much deeper issue with accountability, but really—that’s what makes it a classic!
SONJA: “People call me over the top, but lately? I prefer being a bottom!” Reader, I screamed. Not since, “There’s nothing gray about these gardens” have I screamed like this. Does Sonja know what she’s saying? Absolutely not. But ohmyandycohen, it’s good. Like when RHOA’s Sheree once suggested that people call her “bad waiter” because she’s always spilling the tea—Sonja’s tagline must be rewarded for sheer audacity. A queen of taglines, truly…
Which is good, because the others were all real duds! Kind of like Barbara K’s clambake which, no offense, looked ever so dreary. And yet, we spent half the episode there once Sonja, Tinsley, and Ramona arrived. Ramona, of course, was not technically invited, but at least she’s a gracious guest. Just kidding, she tells the camera that she’s met Barbara previously, “But she wasn’t really my type of girl because Barbara’s kind of a little masculine and manly—a little rough around the edges, shall we say.”
To go with a coy “shall we say” after you’ve just called someone masculine and manly is bold—but not nearly as bold as Ramona calling someone “rough around the edges.”
Upon arrival, Ramona quickly sets about her task of exposing Luann to Barbara. Well, just after Luann more or less growls at her until she walks away when she refuses to “cut to the chase” the moment she walks into the party. But that’s mostly because she has other plans: once Ramona gets Barbara cornered, she tells her how she’s only hearing Luann’s side of the story, and Luann has been badmouthing Dorinda all summer. Cut to a scene from one of Lu’s cabaret shows where she says Dorinda is probably in the back cutting up her dresses…
Cut to Sonja at that same cabaret show laughing and laughing at the Dorinda joke. But in the present, Sonja is on everyone’s side, and I am loving her picking through clams and muttering in the background throughout the entirety of Ramona and Barbara’s conversation, which goes nowhere. When Ramona tries to say that Luann has also been talking badly about her, Barbara points out that Ramona made up a story about Luann getting kicked out of some man’s party, and Ramona has no rebuttal because she very clearly did make that up.
Well, actually, she does have a rebuttal. It’s: “All we were trying to say is, the first thing when you have an addiction problem is to admit it.” Oh good, I was afraid Ramona would go all season without handing out some of her patented addiction advice! She says that Luann wasn’t admitting to her problem, and when you’re an addict, “You say I’m a shopaholic, I’m an alcoholic.” Throughout Ramona’s running list of addictions, Sonja keeps raising her hand like she’s copping to them all and then diving right back into the clams. She later adds that she doesn’t buy for one second that Ramona told a story at the Reunion about Luann getting kicked out of the party because she was worried about her.
Over at the other table, Bethenny says she’s going to try going on a date even though it might be a disaster, and Tinsley says she has dark pubes. I refuse to give you context for the latter.
When the alarm that the blondes set before entering the party goes off, they start collecting their things to leave, which includes the to-go plate for Dorinda that Barbara suggested…that somehow turns into four to-go lobsters being stuffed into a grocery bag. This causes Luann to go full mob boss, barking to all her lackeys, “No food, they get no food.” Luckily, no amount of intimidation can dissuade Sonja Morgan: “I’m not leaving the lobsters. That’s who I am, that’s just who I am.”
And who I am is a woman who loves to see other women tipsily stuff fancy food into their faces around a kitchen island. So seeing Sonja, Ramona, and Tinsley get back and immediately start going to town on caviar and stolen lobster while telling Dorinda about their 45 minutes at the clam bake was just the best. They probably ate more money in 10 minutes than I made all day, and I don’t care—I love how the New York women actually eat on camera!
I don’t love the freedom with which some of them—honestly, most of them—offer their judgments on addiction. It’s a very weird trope of this season! And the judgments are being made on both sides, as we see a flash of a headline where Luann told the press that Dorinda “can’t cop to” a drinking problem while Dorinda talks about how she’s totally over her beef with Luann (while, coincidentally, still seeming rather furious about it). But the worst offender is, of course, Ramona. When Sonja mentions that she was trying to get Dennis to help with Luann’s legal problems when he was alive, Ramona scoffs, “How smart could Dennis be, I mean, he was on drugs, come on.” Nasty, just nasty.
In her testimonial, Sonja uses a very serious voice we rarely hear from her, saying, “How unsophisticated are you? Such a lame statement and unfeeling toward our friend Bethenny who just lost her friend.”
And just as I’m thinking “more Sonja please”—we get it! Back in the city finally, all of the women gather in one place for a party in honor of Sonja’s Paper Magazine spread. If you are shocked by the legitimacy of this magazine and the artistry of the photos on display, you are not alone. In fact, if you were not shocked, you would be alone—even Sonja is shocked. It sounds like Paper Mag emailed her, she wandered onto a photo set, and then wandered out with this fantastic spread that made me wonder if maybe it’s time for Lady Gaga to take on the role of a lifetime: a Sonja Tremont Morgan biopic.
Bethenny arrives first, giving a million backhanded compliments in her testimonial, but only front-handed compliments to Sonja’s face. She’s just returned from doing her truly admirable philanthropic work in North Carolina after Hurricane Florence, which makes it easy to forget that Bethenny can be a real monster if she wants to be. Never one to let you forget, however, is Luann who is just so full of herself right now: “Not even nine months ago I was in jail, and now I’m a cabaret star!” This is a woman who will never be humbled. This is also a woman who inexplicably shows up to Sonja’s party in a Panama hat.
But Dorinda is actually keeping her monster at bay at the party, perhaps because she had lunch with Barbara and they were able to somewhat squash their beef. Barbara is still protective of Luann and her sobriety, but Dorinda tells her this is just a problem she can’t solve. And she seems to be riding that same chill wavelength when she has a really nice conversation with Bethenny about Dennis at the party, which Bethenny rightly points out sounds like an entirely different human than who she heard chewing Barbara out on speaker phone last week. Bethenny tells Dorinda how her relief work is helping her work through the pain of Dennis’ death, and Dorinda tells her she’s a survivor and a warrior. It’s really nice…
And then they start plotting how to get Luann to come over because Dorinda is ready to talk. There’s a huge build up where Dorinda tells Barbara to mind her own business and everyone just thinks Bethenny is saying this when she tries to wave Luann over, but eventually, Luann traverses the not particularly large room, arrives in front of Dorinda, and…
We’ll simply have to wait until next week to see the meeting of these two egos. For now, please tell me if anyone else heard Sonja mention that her psychic Roberta had recently fallen in a pothole—and what, pray tell, do you make of that? Also, has Bethenny been working on that Ramona impression in acting class because it was…incredibly accurate? Lastly, that move where Ramona told Sonja to let her finish, so Sonja just put an entire lime in her mouth really gave new meaning to the nickname “Sonja-rita,” no? Discuss!
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