The Week in 'Wives: RHOP gets pampered and RHONY gets festive
The best, worst, and wildest moments from this week on ‘The Real Housewives.’
After last week's bizarre tale of Tom Girardi's car accident and many mistresses, the RHOBH ladies took a well-deserved break this Wednesday, leaving us with just a double shot of Bravo drama. First, on The Real Housewives of Potomac, we got to know new girl Mia a bit better, not that allegedly "Zen" Wendy wants anything to do with her. Next, our Real Housewives of New York City got ready for the holidays with a contentious cabaret recording session and a chaotic birthday party (even more chaotic than Ramona's past birthday parties, that is). Here are the best, worst, and wildest moments from this week in 'wives!
HIGH POINT: Christmas in July, RHONY
I love this kind of Housewives sequence, wherein all the ladies react to the same prompt or perform the same task, providing an efficient sketch of each of their personalities. This time, the Countess of Cabaret is recording an original holiday song, in which each of her castmates will deliver the line, "But what do I want for Christmas? Just you!" Look out, Mariah! Billy Stritch fearlessly guides Ramona, Sonja, Eboni, and Leah through their musical moments, to varying degrees of hilarity. Ramona, flustered from the second she walks in, approaches the assignment with characteristic intensity: After a note from Billy, she overcorrects to the point where I was reminded of her unforgettable season 3 runway walk and Luann shrugs it off, "autotune plays an important part in every song." Sonja is flirty and a little naughty, making up her own words; Eboni careful and correct, her performance sweet. Then Leah creates drama by simply existing (for what it's worth, I think her question is entirely reasonable). But after a brief vocal warm-up, she registers her contribution too, a charming fourth version of "But what do I want for Christmas? Just you!" The truth is none of them are fabulous singers, but I guess that's not the point of a Countess track. "I think maybe Billy Stritch gave them a deceptively difficult line to sing," I generously theorized to my mother, with whom I watched the episode. Then I sang it myself, not unsuccessfully. My mom shook her head. "They made it sound difficult," she said. What more could we want for Christmas than that?
LOW POINT: Not-so-Zen Wen, RHOP
The years-old tension between Karen and Gizelle took a backseat this week as Wendy and Mia's brandnew conflict claimed center stage at the "pamper party" for Ashley, who is "our sunshine," I guess, which is why the balloons were yellow. Leading up to the event, Mia and her husband discuss her fraught relationship with her mother, her childhood in foster care, and what she perceives as Wendy being controlling over Eddie. Meanwhile, Wendy is still outraged that Mia had her hand in her face, and also tries really hard to nickname herself "Zen Wen," which I can only assume is a targeted rebrand tied to the launch of her candle empire with the one-paragraph business plan. When the pair reunite in the yellow-ballooned room, they both come in hot right away, and Wendy says she didn't want to start a fight in someone else's home, but she has time for it now — "so tick-tock, Mia!" In her confessionals, she says that Mia is a "flip-flopper" but she, Wendy, is loyal — that messiest of all manipulative words in the Housewives-verse. I like Wendy a lot, so this deeply anti-Zen display towards the new girl — an awkward position she should remember being in, just a year later — is a bit of a shame. Mia stands up to receive her spa treatments and Wendy cries out, with a smug smirk, "you're dismissed!" Wendy! She had already excused herself! Jiminy crickets is right!
WILDEST MOMENT: Here's to Ramonja, RHONY
What on earth was Ramona and Sonja's joint birthday party? Due to COVID or perhaps just hostess Luann's refusal to acknowledge Ramona's 45 other best girlfriends, the guest list consists only of the main cast, Bershan, and three or four attractive young men (including Kurt the nude model and Will, whom Leah insulted last season), who gallantly pretend this event is perfectly normal, despite having apparently been invited primarily to provide a mix of decoration and flattery. Halfway through the party, two male dancers arrive to grind on the birthday girls, though a mortified Ramona gets up and runs off. From there, the alternate reality of this strange event just unravels. Eboni invites the ladies (minus Bershan, awkwardly) to a "Black Shabbat," which infuriates Ramona, who still wants to pretend that race is irrelevant to culture, identity, or in fact human life at all. Leah and Luann resume their argument about whether Luann will make a pile of cash from her forthcoming holiday camp anthem. Ramona jumps to Luann's defense somewhat incomprehensibly, and Eboni says in her confessional that Ms. Mob is right. But let's just hug it out and dig into the genitalia-shaped cakes, which you can take a bite right out of, despite the deadly illness still ravaging the globe. Ramona is texting Will her address and all is right with the world. Happy birthday, Ramonja. Until next year.
👑 QUEEN OF THE WEEK 👑 Mia, RHOP
SOCIAL MEDIA POST OF THE WEEK: Rihanna supporting Leah is an instantly historic Housewives social moment, but this one goes to boxing coach and RHONY icon Martin Snow for posting a group selfie accompanied by a lengthy caption providing commentary on the cast and the new season. "Years from now people will look back on this season and marvel," he wrote (also noting that it's not the same without Dorinda). "The world is changing. It's not always easy. So f--- easy. We're New Yorkers. If we wanted easy we'd move to Miami." What a legend. I hope he does win an Emmy. And I miss Dinsdale, too.
SPELL CHECK: Did the screengrab from Gizelle's phone show her new RHOP castmate Mia Thornton saved as Mia Thorpe?
THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME: To find out if RHONY's Eboni and her possible half-sister Ashley are in fact related. I'm guessing RHONJ's Melissa is curious how this story will end, too.
SHE MAY BE A LOT OF THINGS, BUT: "Gizelle is not a host, she's not a dresser, she's not too good a wig-wearer. I'm just saying" — Karen, RHOP