The Real Housewives of New York City recap: Blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol
There are a few happenings on The Real Housewives of New York City that I simply have to stop and marvel at every single time they occur: (1) The sheer amount of plot this crew can traverse on a two-day weekend trip. (2) The fact that they can drink goblets of straight vodka from sunrise to sunset and seemingly not be hungover at all the next day. (3) The way that they can tear each other limb from limb at dinner, forgive each other at breakfast, and be right back to humpin' each other's legs by the next cocktail hour. And this episode contains every single one of those Three Housewife Wonders of the World within the first 20 minutes.
That is, of course, because it takes place at Dorinda's Blue Stone Manor, and we all know that the moment one crosses into the Berkshires, one loses all control of their faculties — both toilet and psychologically related. As you'll recall, we ended last week's episode with Luann unhinging her jaw to swallow Sonja whole at the mere suggestion that Sonja be paid for performing in her cabaret show. And yet somehow, that spotlight rapidly moves from Luann being a monster toward Sonja to Dorinda being a monster toward Luann. And then the next morning, they all sprint to each other's arms in the middle of a field and say they love each other, and they just want to be good again.
I simply don't understand how they do it. If any of my friends ever spoke to me the way these women speak to each other after funneling a magnum of Whispering Angel down their gullets, I would have to cry alone in a bathroom for no less than two hours, speak to my therapist for no less than two hours, and then have a very intense talk about feelings in order to be able to move past it. But that's why I write about RHONY instead of living RHONY. Asking anyone but these exact six women to live this life would be like asking a 4-year-old to race Usain Bolt in the Olympics. Not everyone is cut out for greatness; not everyone can plunge their own feces on national television.
So, let's get into it: After Luann storms off from the dinner table calling Sonja worthless and hissing, "You're done, you're done," over and over like a mob boss, this episode picks up with a title card…
40 MINUTES LATER
And I kid you not, everyone is emerging from their rooms for dinner like nothing has happened, with nothing but a taxidermy shark lying on the ground as evidence that something bad has happened here. And to reiterate: These women haven't even had dinner yet. Ramona meets Ben the delivery man at the door and begins monologuing to him in a way that makes me think she sees Ben as nothing more than a 6'5" blur — and that is enough for her. She tells him he'll have to carry the bags into the kitchen because "I'm a sloppy chick. I look good, but I'm sloppy." Hey, Ramona? I don't think Ben was stunned by this reveal.
On the way to the kitchen with Ben, Ramona describes the almond croissant that she spilled all over herself during her drive from the city, and once inside the kitchen she explains the size of her food order by saying, "I get hungry — I know I look thin, but I love to eat." Ramona: She's not like other girls. She loves pizza, and her blouses are simply covered in croissant.
The other women come down to eat dinner, and it quickly becomes clear that Ben is not the only person in danger in this house. Everyone seems to be on the verge of choking at any given moment — partially because they're screaming, partially because they're hammered, and partially because rice is a choking hazard for toddlers. While Luann and Sonja begin to address the thing where Luann freaked out at Sonja for divulging that she doesn't even pay her enough to cover her hair and makeup to be in her cabaret show, Dorinda and Ramona offer commentary from the other room, which includes Ramona saying, "Maybe Sonja should do her own show. I mean, she was doing cabaret before anyone did cabaret."
And just as I'm writing, "Dear Andy Cohen on high, I hope she doesn't say that in front of Luann," in my notes, Luann comes swooping into the dining room with a dangerous look in her eye, seeming to traverse 50 yards in two seconds flat. Luann demands to know what Ramon just said, so Ramona repeats that Sonja did a cabaret show before Luann did. Luann hisses back: "No, not cabaret — caburlesque." Ramona and Dorinda try to get Luann to at least admit that Sonja was good, and that it doesn't have to be a competition for who's more talented, but Luann won't do it. In the same shot, we see Sonja stuffing food in her mouth hole in the kitchen while the other three argue in the dining room, spewing food out of their mouth holes. The cinematography in this episode is, at times, gorgeous.
Sonja reiterates to Luann that she loves her, and Luann reiterates to Sonja that it's her show that she's the star of. Sonja sits down to eat, but Luann just keeps talking to Dorinda's housekeeper Len, telling her, "I have a professional cabaret show that's very successful!" Len suggests that Luann go eat her food, and I suggest that whatever Len is making, it needs to be quadrupled, and she better be getting full benefits.
At the table, Luann reiterates that Sonja is no longer invited to participate in her cabaret, and Dorinda finally goes into full mama bear mode… but like if the mama bear had deep-seated anger issues and a vodka enema. "SHAME ON YOU!" she screams at Luann. "She was with you when you were down and out!" Luann cuts Dorinda off, saying she doesn't know anything about this situation — and the lights switch off in Dorinda's eyes. It's just go time, and Luann is about to get the full Tinsley treatment.
"You're drunk," Dorinda slurs at Luann. "You drunken fool, you have a mugshot of your drunkenness."
Now, it feels weird to defend Luann against vile comments from her close friend, given that Luann was spewing vile comments at a different close friend just moments ago. But what's so stark about Dorinda slurring that Luann is a drunk fool with a mugshot is that Dorinda is hammered while doing it, and the only thing keeping her from a mugshot of her own is a whole heap of privilege and a little dumb luck. Leah also recoils at Dorinda's hypocritical attack, saying in her testimonial: "It sucks to hear this coming out of Dorinda's mouth because, lets be honest, we're all one drink away from a mugshot in this group." It should be noted that this voice of reason comes from a skintight Guy Fieri shirt that's been stretched into a dress, with gloves. Leah really has no middle ground with her at-home testimonial looks.
Luann flees the table and heads upstairs, where she begins packing her suitcase and doing the kind of sobbing that you did as a dramatic teenager. Y'know, the kind where you keep looking in the mirror to make yourself cry more because you're not ready to be done crying. Dorinda happens to be walking through the foyer as Luann makes it to the door with her suitcase and Jovani brand tote in hand, and she sneers: "Feeling Jovani! I gave it to you, keep wearing that s—… and you never said thank you." Luann tells her to get over it and that she's a sick human being, and Dorinda physically prevents her from closing the door, calling after her, "Thank God ya had it, because you had nothing!"
Leah very sweetly goes outside to speak to Luann, who is clutching her chest and dry-sobbing, "My friiiiend." But when Leah suggests they go to a local pub to get her mind off it, those already nonexistent tears somehow stifle even further; our girl is ready to party. Later, Leah says they went to a jazz club where it seemed like Luann really wanted to get on stage and sing, but that no one else at the club seemed to have an equally vested interest in that idea…
And, reader, this is when I tell you that after the others leave and Sonja and Elyse head upstairs to bed, they announce that it is… 8 p.m.
When Dorinda wakes up the next morning and realizes Luann isn't there, she tells Ramona that perhaps she got more involved than she needed to. I always want to know exactly what these women remember from the night before, because given the tumbler of straight vodka we saw Dorinda pour herself after the fight, I can't imagine it could be much. Also, complete blackouts are just about the only explanation for Luann and Dorinda getting on the phone and completely forgiving each other, no questions asked. But maybe Luann was so quick to forgive because Dorinda says one of the single funniest lines of this very funny episode during her sort-of-apology: "I swear to God, I don't use liquor as an excuse, but can I for this one time?"
It is a stunning moment. And the fact that Luann lets her get away with it thrills Dorinda to no end. She keeps making jokes about how all their "mindsets were rosé" the night before… and yet no one else called their friend of 20 years a drunken fool, mocked the darkest time in their life, and yelled them out of the house.
The other women seem to recognize that by continuing to forgive Doridna when she acts this way, it's only going to enable her to continue down this dark path. But also… no one wants to be on the receiving end of her pointer finger, or anywhere within in rice range, if they try to tell her that she needs to sort out her anger and/or drinking issues. So instead, they just all let it go and reconvene in a field for a group hug, then go shopping together! Leah tells everyone in a cheese shop about how she dated a prince for a week and peed on him at least once during that time, and then it's time to head back to Dorinda's, where everyone basically makes it through the rest of the day unscathed.
I mean, we do have to watch Ramona physically remove turds from a toilet she's clogged, Leah makes out with most of the humans in the house (gah, I hope Len went to bed), and everyone gets just as smashed as the night before. But perhaps because Dorinda's fancy friend Colin Cowie — you may remember him as the one whose sink Sonja once broke having sex atop it, but not with Colin — has agreed to host a dinner party at her house, she keeps all her screams buried down deep, to be unleashed at a later date.
At dinner, Dorinda makes a random toast to Leah, saying that she's really impressed with her as a businesswoman and a mother. It's nice, and Leah really appreciates it, but I'm cautious about Dorinda's sudden welcoming of Leah into the fold. It's not that I don't think Dorinda genuinely likes Leah, but a lot of her appreciation of her seems to be tied up in viewing Leah as a younger version of herself. And that just feels like a recipe for Dorinda to eventually feel threatened by Leah and turn on her — and the idea of seeing those two at odds makes me want to crawl under one of Dorinda's many jewel-tone couches and hide away forever.
But for now, Dorinda is so high on Leah she lets her invite the bartender she met at the jazz club the night before over to Blue Stone Manor. In fact, there are a lot of young men at this party, one of whom casually mentions online dating in front of Ramona, which is all the intro she needs to lean over and whisper to him that she's in the 1 percent, so online dating just really isn't an option. Because men simply cannot get an erection if they know they make less money than her…
Who's gonna tell her?
Oh wow, and I haven't even mentioned that Heather "Holla" Thompson is at this dinner party, throwing out "hey mamas" left and right, as is Dorinda's sister Melinda, who seems completely at ease with Leah talking about being desperate for dick, etc. Mostly, it just seems like a fun, joyous evening, and we need to savor while we can because it looks like next week Ramona is going full "cut the cameras, deadass." I will see you — my 50 closest girlfriends — there!
Ramona, LuAnn, Sonja, Carole, Heather, Kristen, and Dorinda — and oh, yes, Bethenny — are in a New York state of mind.