The Real Housewives of New York City recap: Facts aren't feelings
Each and every time I watch an episode of The Real Housewives of New York City, I get a secondhand hangover from watching these women get slur-level sloshed and then somehow wake up fresh as a daisy next morning. I get secondhand whiplash from watching them vacillate between unleashing an unholy rage on their friends for saying one sentence incorrectly and then, a short vodka-sleep later, pretending like nothing ever happened. And I most assuredly get a secondhand diagnosis from whatever WebMD page one of them has donned her auntie reading glasses in order to hold her phone a foot away from her face and read aloud about their friend who they are 100 percent sure is suffering from an anger problem, a drinking problem, a schadenfreude problem, or what have you.
Truly, who needs a life of their own when we can experience a month's worth of emotional ups and downs in an hourlong depiction of one single day in the life of the RHONY cast? Bravo is the strongest cure for quarantine boredom I've found.
There is nothing a RHONY woman loves more than to point out how sad their other friends' problems are while ignoring their own glaringly obvious issues. And like any good narcissist, they tend to choose their weakest friend in the area that they happen to be the strongest in. Ramona tends to not get quite as sloshed as the rest, so she calls Dorinda's drinking problem sad. Dorinda happens to have not been arrested, so she shames Luann for going to jail any chance she gets. Luann has actually displayed some growth this season, but at the mere suggestion that Sonja is talented, her eyes will go black and she will inform Sonja that she couldn't headline a cabaret if her sad little life depended on it.
For their part, Sonja and Leah seem a little less terrified that their flaws will be exposed, and therefore spend less time trying to exposed their friends' flaws first — but they're happy to play hype man to Ramona or Dorinda while they diagnose each other's problems and turn approximately 100 blind eyes to their own. If you're someone who loves to hate Ramona and Dorinda being total monsters, you're going to love this episode. If you're not, I suggest you try some of Dorinda and Ramona's very own blindfolds on for size.
The episode picks right back up at the disastrous Cancun ceviche dinner, with Ramona storming off because Leah wanted to know exactly what she did at Ramona's birthday party that was bad enough to warrant Ramona trying to shame her for having bipolar II disorder and accusing her of drinking on medication. Rather than answer, Ramona flees to the beach, saying she shouldn't have to explain it. Dorinda takes Sonja (who is beyond a mess) upstairs to bed, and then goes to the beach to see about Ramona. When Dorinda walks down, she mentions that she doesn't like when Sonja comes to dinner a mess, and Ramona responds casually, "But you've been a mess like that too before." And my heart stopped…
Because not only does Dorinda go unhinged at the suggestion that she drinks too much, she's also unable to tolerate the merest mention that she… drinks at all? Has even… been drunk? Ever???
Dorinda knows this is being filmed, right? How does she think she can tell us she only had three wine spritzes all night when we can hear her slurring, and watch her ordering vodka sodas? I'm not saying it's right for Ramona to always bring up Dorinda's drinking at the worst possible time, but Dorinda's delusion is almost unwatchable this episode. The moment Ramona suggests that Dorinda has ever been anything like Sonja — who Dorinda has been going on and on about being worried about while she herself has screamed and slurred through this entire season — Dorinda literally sits down and prepares to destroy Ramona's entire life.
"You've been a mess like that, and I've helped you, and I've never call you out on it," Dorinda bites right back at Ramona, which isn't really true, but she keeps reiterating: "a mess, an absolute mess." Ramona starts crying out that she can't be around these women anymore, waving her water bottle around and screaming, "DRINK SOME WATER, DRINK SOME WATER!" Not since the 2019 Golden Globes has Fiji Water had such a moment.
Dorinda tells Ramona that she needs to get her s— together, and Ramona snaps back, "You're the one with the drinking problem, you and Sonja, you should both go to AA — so sad, very sad, so sad." What it is it about Ramona that makes her speak exactly like Trump? There is a pathological connection there that I would love someone who has a degree in actually making diagnoses to make.
Dorinda goes back up to the house and tells Luann and Leah that Ramona told her she needed to go to AA, and they're appalled. Leah says in her testimonial, "There's a difference between telling someone, 'Hey I'm concerned about you,' and saying they need to go to AA, which is obviously just a patronizing, nasty thing to say to somebody." To be clear, you also could not successfully tell Dorinda that you were concerned about her, but Leah is correct. Dorinda says that you just don't say that to a friend, and then turns to Luann and says, "You could be wacked out of your mind, and you know I wouldn't say that to you." The editors resist flashing to two weeks ago when Dorinda screamed at Luann that she's a drunken fool with a mugshot to prove her drunkenness…but that's because they have a much more delicious display of hypocrisy coming our way.
Luann goes down to speak to Ramona, who immediately starts monologuing that she's drinking water because she doesn't want to end up like some of these other girls, and she and Luann are the only ones who are restrained. Luann stays neutral and just suggests that Ramona not attack Dorinda for drinking when they've only just arrived in Mexico. Ramona complies.
Just kidding, she screeches, "Well she is drinking too much, she shouldn't be drinking, I'm sorry, okay, she has a drinking problem, I'm sorry, she doesn't wanna admit it, but she has it, okay, she does, I'm sorry." You guys… I'm not sure if Ramona is actually sorry! Lounging across a beach chair, swinging her water bottle around, having just hours ago tried to weaponize Leah's mental health against her, Ramona says: "Dorinda, she likes to play holier than thou, but she never likes to put any light on her face." It is rich. And speaking of faces: The one Luann makes when Ramona says, "I know I'm not perfect," is her most entertaining performance yet, all cabarets included.
"I know I'm not perfect, and I'm trying to work on certain things, but Dorinda is bitter and angry," Ramona says. Luann shrugs, saying they all have issue, and Ramona tells her that, no, they're both normal. Another excellent face from Luann.
So after defending Dorinda against Ramona's many attacks, Luann walks back up to the house and tries to avoid telling Dorinda and Leah what Ramona was said by saying everyone is just tired. Dorinda's hackles go all the way up, I guess thinking Luann is making excuses for Ramona. And I would now love to give you an exact transcript of the awful conversation (using that word loosely) that happens between Dorinda and Luann next, because it will come up again later, and it sure as hell better come up at the reunion because I'm sick of Dorinda getting a pass on being absolutely nasty to people:
Dorinda: "Did you ask Ramona about me?"
Luann: "Well, you know, she was judging you on your drinking."
Dorinda: "Judging me on my drinking? You went to jail for your drinking! She doesn't judge you? You went to jail on your drinking. You faltered your probation and almost went to jail again."
[Editors flash back to 15 MINUTES AGO, Dorinda: "The point is you don't say that to a friend and a woman. You could be out of your mind, and you know I wouldn't say that to you, Luann."]
Luann: "Well, I cleaned up my act and I'm in control of myself now."
Dorinda: "Yeah, I don't have any act to clean up. I'm up every day at 6, there is no drinking. That's a false pretense she's saying, I can promise you. I didn't go to jail, I don't go on probation, I don't break probation."
Luann: "Dorinda, that's not very nice of you to bring up."
Dorinda, pointing her finger in Luann's face: "Don't YOU bring it up."
Honestly, Dorinda better hope she was drunk to say all that to a friend who simply dared to answer the question that Dorinda asked her. (For the record — she is, and she will never admit it.)
The next morning, when everyone wakes up with not an undereye bag in sight, Leah attempts to inform Dorinda that she misunderstood Luann the night before. That goes nowhere fast because Dorinda immediately gets defensive, insisting that Luann was endorsing Ramona's comments about drinking, and said something along the lines of, "God knows in the past you have drank." Now, even if Luann said that, I ask you, where is the lie? But she also didn't say that — she barely got two words out of her mouth before Dorinda started throwing her arrest in her face again. I think Leah realizes she's dealing with someone who's living in an alternate reality and should leave it alone at the moment Dorinda says, "You know what's so funny is I actually wasn't drunk at all last night because I was only drinking spritzers."
Perhaps more shocking than that statement — although it really shouldn't be, given the last [checks watch] 12 seasons — is that Ramona wakes up the next day totally ready to bury the hatchet with Leah. So she pulls Leah asides and says she's realized that she has these very specific feelings about Leah that make her have certain expectations of her, and maybe she's holding her to too high of a bar. She says they had talked about Leah coming to her party and "kind of putting your 30-year-old self away, and being a little more demure, and when you weren't, I was just a little hurt, and those were just my feelings."
While I'm rolling around on my couch, screeching about how there's no way in hell Leah would have had agreed to whatever this made-up conversation Ramona is quoting from, Leah has a much more succinct and perfectly cutting response: "Well, facts aren't feelings."
Leah says she still doesn't understand the facts of what she did that made Ramona angry enough to bring up her mental health issues the way she has. Ramona swerves that question by treating Leah to her very first official Ramona Apology Tour, telling Leah she's sorry that she made her feel uncomfortable, and she's sorry she let her "expectations affect everything," and she just wants to move forward. Leah hugs her, and then she looks Ramona right in they eye: "Don't do that again."
So with Ramona and Leah on a better page, and Luann waiting until the right time to tell Dorinda that she hurt her feelings, breakfast turns out to be the perfect time for Sonja to inform the group that she's figured out why she was acting like a drunk, nude zombie the night before. Apparently, she googled the "water pill" she takes every day, and it gives people "drunken sailor syndrome" when taken with alcohol. And everyone just… receives that information! No questions!
Then we're treated to quite a bit of physical comedy out and about in Cancun, mostly at the expense of Luann. First the women go camel riding, which means the editors deploy the flashback of Luann getting bucked around on a camel in Marrakech not once, but twice. Then while having lunch afterward, Luann and Ramona head over to the volleyball court, where Luann joins in on a game with some men and manages to spike the ball directly into the net, which then bounces back and hits her in the face, knocking her to the ground.
This episode really is not to kind to Luann, except for the fact that it's… maybe the most likable Luann has ever been? Because she's just the only person in the entire episode who is right. She decides that after their nice camel ride and lunch, this is the right time to pull Dorinda aside and tell her that the things she said to her the night before were really hurtful.
The moment Dorinda sits down, she turns it all the way to 100, and with no prompting says, "About lat night, you come back and start talking about drinking and stuff, and it's like, you're not deflecting here." Luann tries to explain that she was just relaying what Ramona said, but she makes the mistake of saying Dorinda might not remember what happened, and Dorinda freaks out, saying, "You stop that right now, because I had three wine spritzers, I remember everything that happened." This is… a wild thing to say about a night that was filmed. Especially because Dorinda then informs Luann that she made a comment about, "You know, in the past, you actually have gotten drunk."
Let's just say this was true. It's not, but let's just say it was: Is Dorinda suggesting that Luann saying Dorinda has been drunk in the past would be reason enough for Dorinda to then yell at Luann over and over about the most shameful time in her life, which she's worked quite hard to recover from?
Dorinda says Luann doesn't need to be the messenger about Ramona's comments, so Luann reminds Dorinda that she asked her what Ramona said, and she literally told her, and then Dorinda attacked her. "No, you made a comment," Dorinda sneers. Luann says she did not "make a comment," and Dorinda shrugs: "Well you did, so that's your truth, now this is my truth." It is exhausting, and they just leave it at that… for now. I am actually getting hives at the thought of whatever kind of half-assed intervention appears to be happening next week.
For dinner, Dorinda puts together a fun surprise in downtown Cancun to celebrate Sonja. And you know, I do enjoy the side of Dorinda that loves to put on a set of huge fake boobs to make her friend laugh, but it's getting harder and harder to appreciate that side of Dorinda when the other side includes storing all the most hurtful things she knows about her friends inside the cleavage of those giant boobs and deploying them the minute one of them says something she doesn't like.
Anyway, also at dinner, Ramona continues to treat Leah like she's a rebellious daughter, Leah continues to act like Ramona's rebellious daughter in response, and Luann dances with man who is a full two feet shorter than her, and honestly, they look kind of good together. And with that: Buenas noches, mis amigos.
Ramona, LuAnn, Sonja, Carole, Heather, Kristen, and Dorinda — and oh, yes, Bethenny — are in a New York state of mind.