The Real Housewives of New York City recap: Group text therapy
Ramona causes chaos with a group text in Mexico, Dorinda continues to instill fear in the hearts of all her friends, and Sonja launches her fashion line (again!).
This episode of The Real Housewives of New York City presents us with one of the most impossible dilemmas in the franchise's long and sordid run: Who do you find more insufferable, Ramona of Dorinda?
Now, I've definitely found one insufferable for longer. But I feel like the other could incapacitate me with the sheer force of her untamed rage should the opportunity ever arise that I say something to her as offensive as, "I'm working at this breakfast table right now." So it really is a tough call. And one I could never fully make throughout the hour, because in this episode we are all Sonja, who puts it best when she says directly to Ramona's face, "Your issue of being rude has nothing to do with her issue of anger management."
The war between Dorinda and Ramona starts, as most RHONY disasters do, with Ramona and Sonja putzing about their Cancun room in robes, reading their iPads with glasses preciously balanced at the very tips of their noses, and simultaneously talking about how to handle a delicate situation.
Have Ramona and Sonja ever noticed that any time they come up with a foolproof plan for how to confront a situation in whatever stale, towel-covered hotel room they happen to be staying in at the time… they almost always end up making said situation much, much worse? This time, they're plotting how to confront Dorinda about her anger on their final night in Mexico, which Ramona already tried to do just hours ago at lunch, and it ended with Dorinda fake-mock-crying at Ramona and Ramona fake-real-crying at Dorinda.
But Ramona is ready to take on this mantle again! In all the wisdom that Google has granted her, Ramona decides the very best solution is to text Dorinda 30 minutes before dinner with a link to the Healthline article that came up when she Googled "what causes anger." But not only does Ramona text Dorinda a random article about having anger issues, she group-texts Dorinda an article called "Do I Have Anger Issues?" including Sonja and Luann in the text as well.
Sonja is on her own bed muttering, "We're brainstorming, we're throwing s— out there," when Luann comes tearing into the room, saying, "You texted Dorinda on a group text!" She (reasonably) assumes Ramona included Dorinda by mistake. But as Ramona tries to explain that no, this is all part of an elaborate and well-considered plan, Dorinda starts firing back a few links of her own: "Ramona Singer Claims Sonja Morgan Is in a Difficult Place," "Ramona Singer and Margaret Josephs Got Into a Huge Fight," and more and more negative articles.
Luann seems legitimately fearful for the kind of havoc this is going to wreak on their last night in Mexico. Ramona shrugs in her bed and says, "I shouldn't have sent it, I guess," making it clear that the idea of this group text potentially not going well never once entered her mind. Luann complains that if she hadn't sent the text and gotten Dorinda on the defensive, they could have brought it up nicely with her at dinner. But Ramona sticks to her guns, saying she really "thought it would be good for her to be introspective and read it." Luann asks if she understands why a group text was a bad idea. "No, okay, I don't!" Ramona exclaims, in a moment as honest as it is absurd. And it's not a good idea to send your friend an article about a sensitive subject you are trying to confront her with in a group text, of course…
But to Ramona's ever so slight credit, Luann is equally delusional if she thinks bringing up Dorinda's anger "nicely" at dinner would have gone well either. Dorinda has proven time and time again that she is not open to listening to anything negative about herself, no matter how well-intentioned it may be. Which Luann is soon reminded when she tries to have this mythical level-headed discussion with Dorinda regarding how she hurt Luann when she threw her past arrest in her face on their first night in Mexico.
But first, Dorinda has to go into Ramona and Sonja's room to do a few rounds of mocking and fake-crying. She comes in ostensibly to drop something off to Sonja, and then starts cooing on her way out, "Those articles are great, aren't they? And they're still coming! I got two really great ones — keep it going, I double-dog-dare ya."
Throughout the entire conversation, Dorinda keeps saying these dramatic exit lines, walking two steps out the door, then hearing what Ramona is saying and zipping back in to say one more thing. Ramona tries to tell Dorinda that she made Luann cry the other night, and Dorinda mocks back, "Traumatized, traumatized — go cry your turtle tears." It's one of the most annoying conversations I've ever witnessed between two people, so I understand why Sonja stays on her iPad the whole time, halfheartedly offering agreement with both parties at various times. Dorinda tells Ramona she's jealous of her a bunch of times and then exits the room, at which point Ramona tells Sonja, "I think she made me poop my pants, she got me so upset."
I assumed that Ramona was speaking in hyperbole…
Which was about as educated an assumption on my part as Ramona sending that group text… because after the last few seasons of RHONY, I know better. I should have expected Sonja to point to two different areas of the room (including the rug beneath her feet) and indicate that Ramona had already pooped in those places that day. But I really don't think I ever could have expected Ramona to go into the bathroom, open her robe to reveal what I believe was her fully nude body, and then peek her head back out with a shy smile and say, "I did — I pooped my pants."
We might actually have to ban international trips on RHONY. These women simply do not have the bowels to handle it.
Dorinda and Luann reconvene outside while they wait for the others to, uh, clean themselves up, and at first it seems like they're just going to roll their eyes at Ramona's misguided text and move on. But then Luann says the four words I most fear when directed at Dorinda (other than "Tinsley"): "Let's have the conversation." Luann thinks that because they're sitting by themselves, and because she's approaching Dorinda calmly — and maybe because any approach would be better than Ramona's — that she might be able to actually get through and make Dorinda listen to her. But there is no approach careful enough to make Dorinda listen.
Luann says she wants to talk through this because she loves her, "and I want everything to be cool with the girls." Dorinda cuts in immediately and says she doesn't need everything to be cool with the girls: "All I do is give and give — the house in the Berkshires, any contact they need, my closet's an open door, and then you guys focus on one thing, and I think it's wrong."
And I think this one statement is kind of the Rosetta Stone for deciphering Dorinda's whole deal recently. My guess is Dorinda is an Enneagram 2, who has disintegrated all the way down into aggression and outrage over her perception that she's only criticized, and never recognized for how much she gives to her friends. The way she constantly reminds people of how much she's done for them in the past any time they try to express how she's hurt them is unnerving. But I think Dorinda still perceives herself as be this happier, healthier version who used to be praised and revered for her generosity, so she can't understand that the reason she's no longer received like that by others is because of a change in her own behavior…
That, or she's just a stone-cold narcissist and used to hide it better — either way!
And just as I'm making these astute observations — I'll take my psychology degree from the Bravo Institute for Human Behavior by mail, thank you — Dorinda has the nerve to tell Luann, "If you live in the past, you go nowhere," for bringing up the time that Dorinda screamed at her two days ago. Yet in her testimonial, Dorinda says she's "uncomfortable with this conversation because it has to be a monologue about me, with zero history about Luann."
So is context only unfair when it's about you, Dorinda?!
Every time Luann tries to address that Dorinda blew up at her the other night, Dorinda just says they've already forgiven each other in the past and she's not going to have conversations about "the minutiae." Someone who is this unwilling to have a mere conversation with a close friend is someone who is scared to face the truth of their own actions. It's… really frustrating! Eventually Leah comes out, and even though Dorinda has already condescendingly told Luann, "Thank you so much, I'm good," to stop the conversation dead before Leah comes over, Luann makes one more try. And Dorinda seems a little less willing to act like a monster in front of Leah, the only person who still sees her as this generous and benevolent Miss Honey that she perceives herself to be.
Leah backs up that Luann never said anything about Dorinda's drinking the other night, and Dorinda offers a very condescending apology, saying, "Okay, so can we move on, I'm sorry, can we move on… I said I'm sorry, what do you want me to do?" All the while, she keeps grinning and rolling her eyes at Leah, like, can you believe this?
Leah is mostly confused for the entire night because, of course, she was not included on the group text message that kicked it all off. Ramona and Sonja come outside for dinner, and Ramona is doing everything possible to avoid Dorinda, including going so far as complimenting the staff. But it can't last. Within the next five minutes, she is berating the waitress pouring the wine, grabbing the bottle and demanding to know why it's cold, and then complaining that the wine is — get this — too old. As Sonja says, Ramona is more of a 2020 pinot grigio girl.
Leah finally asks what the hell is going on, and they tell her about the article. Leah looks Ramona dead in the face and says, "Why wasn't I included on the text message, Ramona?" I have to assume Leah is just trying to annoy Ramona at this point, because who on earth would want to be included on that text message? In fact, I know Leah is trying to rattle Ramona because she looks Ramona dead in the face again and says, "So you think Dorinda has anger issues?"
In that innocent little voice Ramona uses after she's sent a text message from her dark, dank room and then has to come out in the light and own up to it, she starts saying that she loooves Dorinda, and Dorinda has helped her through so muuuuch, and everyone just starts freaking out. Luann gets especially angry, saying Ramona is so fake and it's freaking her out right now.
Honestly, the vibe of this entire dinner is kind of freaking me out, so let's just get back to Manhattan as quickly as we can. But not before Sonja actually says something constructive and Dorinda actually, sorta, kinda hears it. After everyone turns on Ramona, I guess Dorinda suddenly feels comfortable enough to be a little vulnerable, and she tells the table that her daughter Hannah recently asked her if she was really doing okay or just saying she's doing okay, because sometimes it seems like she's not. Sonja finally speaks above a mutter for the first time all night and tells Dorinda that they're there for her too: "I think you always put on a brave face, and you take care of her, and you take care of me… so then of course you're gonna have a short fuse. But you have to think about you, and let us know how you're feeling too."
In her testimonial, Sonja says she's been the recipient of her fair share of Dorinda's rage, and the editors helpfully roll flashback clips of Dorinda calling Sonja a ho, and screaming that she f—ed her way around France, and telling her that she should put an EZ Pass on her vagina since it's basically the Holland Tunnel. And then Sonja finishes the testimonial statement: "I've always just understood that she's going through pain, and rather then feel it herself, she's projecting it — if you don't get that, you're an imbecile."
Listen, Sonja understanding why Dorinda acts the way she does doesn't mean she has to put up with being called a whore thrice annually — but for now, she is, and that's really kind of her.
This is Sonja's episode, top to bottom. Even when she didn't show up to the Luann's cabaret rehearsal, I didn't really see why she should have — Luann is paying her $250! And asking her to show up on the day of her own Century 21 launch party, the source of her actual income? I don't think so.
But before we get to that party, two quick things to address: Ramona goes to therapy wearing a skintight dress with fishnet sleeves covered in rhinestones, and within her lengthy monologue about how much she's grown in the last three months is this line: "I have more substance to me than just this sensual body — and I so think I am very sensual." I do not blame that therapist for basically being like, Indeed, it does sound like our work here is done, no need to do anymore sessions, you've fixed yourself.
Leah's mom, Bunny — perhaps the least Bunny-like Bunny I've ever encountered — also comes over to Leah's place to eat some broccoli and rice cakes and discuss the fact that Leah's sister told Leah that Bunny doesn't like her. Bunny is unfazed, confirming that she's probably said she doesn't like Leah at some point or another, but she doesn't have to like Leah every day — she loves her every day. These two.
Finally, the women get to feast their eyes on all those Sonja by Sonja Morgan by Century 21 fashions, and things really do look good. Sonja's display has come together, and Ramona, Dorinda, and Leah are all looking quite fresh in their Sonja by Sonja Morgan by Century 21 ensembles.
Of course, the speech Sonja gives is a little all over the place and does briefly include the phrase "truffles up their chickens' ass." But by RHONY standards — need I remind you of the Birdie/Bridie speech that took three to five years off my life — it's basically an Obama-level oration that leads Leah to say Sonja is glowing like she's never seen before. It's sweet how supportive everyone is, and I really do hope the best for Sonja's and Sonja's future paychecks. See you back here next week, potentially in a pair of those sequin pants!
The Real Housewives of New York City
Ramona, LuAnn, Sonja, Carole, Heather, Kristen, and Dorinda — and oh, yes, Bethenny — are in a New York state of mind.