The Real Housewives of New York City recap: Show me the money
Luann is suddenly dabbling in podcasts, Sonja is venturing to New Jersey, and Ramona is the voice of reason — things are awry on RHONY!
Did you know? It's opposite day on The Real Housewives of New York City! Ramona is acting as the voice of reason to Leah; Dorinda is cosplaying The First Wives Club meets Sex and the City, whimsically twirling around the Upper East Side in a Chanel blazer; Sonja is riding out to New Jersey, for goodness' sake. And then there's Luann, former countess extraordinaire and lady about town who is now… guesting on podcasts and getting her friends and ex-boyfriends to come to her comedy sets like some sort of 22-year-old improv bro?
Really, the only people we can rely on to be utterly themselves this episode are those RHONY editors. They're acting their usual level of shady-as-hell, and thank goodness for that constant in these trying times.
You never can know what to expect from the women of RHONY, but if you had given me 1 million guesses as to what would happen in this episode, I never could have come up with Ramona explaining podcasts to us. As she tells it, "Podcasts have become really popular lately, but I really don't have time to watch." Between this vibe of listening to your aunt try to figure out how to use her iPhone, Ramona being an occasional voice of reason, and the many blasts from the pasts in the form of ex-boyfriends and speaking to former townhouses as though they're sentient, this episode really is bizarre. But it's mostly the intriguing kind of bizarre, like watching Midsommar (but with fewer drugs and more unfortunate dancing).
Right off the bat, we're faced with a reunion between Luann and Jacques, who are both still sporting very similar hairstyles. I could certainly believe that these two have remained friends, even with Jacques getting engaged to another woman, but again, if you had given me a million chances I never could have guessed that we'd be seeing Jacques on our screens once more because he's recently gotten into stand-up comedy and Luann is asking him to come on a live podcast performance she's cohosting for charity.
Luann tells Jacques about her new cabaret show, casually mentioning that she'll perform "Feelin' Jovani" in it. And when Jacques replies that he doesn’t know that song, Luann simply cannot believe it. She whips out her phone right there at Tavern on the Green and blasts "Feelin' Jovani" for all to enjoy.
"Now, who is Jovani?" Jacques asks after Luann has finished dancing to her own song. And Luann laaaaaughs and laughs, as though the idea of anyone not knowing her entire Jovani saga is as innocently adorable as a toddler asking, "But how many Septembers is it until Christmas?"
And there could not be a weirder transition from this scene of Luann talking about podcasts and dance tracks to Dorinda informing us that she's decided she's "going to go full-on Mrs. Medley for the day" and visiting all the old places she used to go with her deceased husband, Richard. It's reminiscent of the time Dorinda moved into her new apartment and toured herself around the Midtown neighborhood like it was the town from Beauty and the Beast — except now instead of telling an uninterested butcher that he'll be seeing a lot more of her, she's literally talking to inanimate objects. I guess Dorinda wanted to take this trip down memory lane solo, but she's also being filmed, so she's just saying things out loud to no one about how she can't believe the fence she put up at their former townhouse is still there.
I feel a little more at ease once Ramona, Sonja, and Elyse join Dorinda for lunch at Richard's favorite restaurant, but there is still just something up with Dorinda this season. She waffles so swiftly between being reflective and emotional with herself to mean and vindictive with others that I can barely keep up. Nonetheless, everyone is on their best behavior at lunch, and all remains very calm, likely less because the specter of Richard is looming large and more because Sonja is on her third day of a juice cleanse and hardly has the energy to speak.
On the fifth day, though, Sonja is back to her normal self, trying to avoid a nip slip as she exits a car in… New Jersey? It's never fully clear why Sonja had to go to Edgewood to meet with her CEO, Gaurav, but as she explains it, she needs Gaurav to "show [her] the money, so to do that, the books are in New Jersey." Unfortunately, Gaurav mostly shows Sonja that they have more money going out than they have coming in for Sonja Morgan Brands, but Sonja is confident the deal she's working on with Century 21 will change that. Perhaps if she tie-dyed that sweatsuit she tried to pawning off on Leah last week, she could reach the TikTok market.
As for the other fashion designer of the crew, Leah, she's both excelling and struggling. Professionally, she's taken to this RHONY cast like a shark to water. She really brings out a new side to a lot of these women, and she's simultaneously relatable and entertaining. But part of that entertainment included her over-imbibing in the Hamptons, which she told her mother about, and now her mother is refusing to speak to her. In the car on the way to Luann's podcast event (I still can't get over that), Leah rides with Ramona and — I can't believe I'm saying this — Ramona gives her some really solid advice. And she doesn’t even pat herself on the back about it!
Ramona previously encouraged Leah to go see her mom in person, and after hearing that Leah texted her again instead, Ramona tells her: "Mothers need respect — they may not always be right, but she is your mother."
Leah actually breaks down at this, saying that her mom's reaction to her choice to drink again feels judgmental: "All of my achievements have outweighed my failures, and I should not be judged on my failures, Ramona." It might be the most genuine display of emotion I've seen on RHONY in quite some time, and — again, I cannot believe I'm saying this — Ramona handles it really well. She tells Leah that her mother is upset precisely because Leah has achieved so much, and she's scared that Leah could potentially throw it all away again by drinking. And the only way for Leah to reassure her mother that's not the case is to go talk to her in person.
"Ramona and my mom are complete opposites, but having Ramona's attention in this maternal way is really comforting right now," Leah tells the camera. And after hearing Ramona and "maternal" be believably used in the same sentence, I truly believe that whoever cast Leah on this show should be in charge of casting every single Bravo entity.
Luckily, following Leah and Ramona's emotional car ride, it's time for some uplifting comedy! Just kidding, Luann has the comedic timing of a toaster oven, and the entire show is very awkward.
But it is raising money for an anti-bullying philanthropy, which allows the producers to slip Jacques $20 in return for asking Ramona and Dorinda if they've ever bullied anyone… and gives the editors the opportunity to roll out a montage of them being absolute nightmares after they both respond that of course they've never bullied anybody. There's Ramona berating a cab driver, and telling Bethenny she has no friends, and chanting to Tinsley that she looks old for her age; there's Dorinda slurring at Sonja that she should just put an EZ pass on her vagina, and taunting Luann for her mugshot, and just three weeks ago, screaming at Tinsley about getting on the bus to go to kindergarten. Y'know, all the major hits!
The main action at the comedy show doesn't wind up being on stage, but off stage when Luann is chatting with the women about how she hasn't had a drink since her probation was lifted. "I've said it before, I'll say it again, you're not an alcoholic," Dorinda yells. "Tom drove you to drink — literally!"
And something is just up with how frustrated Dorinda gets any time it's so much as insinuated that Luann has a problem with alcohol or may continue to not drink, as if the mere act of Luann not drinking is a personal attack on Dorinda's own drinking. Things only gets weirder when Luann asks if a cup on the table is ice water, Ramona tells her that it's vodka, and Luann very deliberately takes a sip. And Dorinda practically rejoices, crying out, "There you go, it's over now, let the curse be lifted!" The curse of her friend… abstaining from alcohol.
I've mostly been avoiding mentioning Elyse because she has sort of a… dark energy that makes me a little nervous, but I agree with what she says in her one random testimonial: "I know Dorinda and Luann are drinking buddies, but she did just get out of AA and off probation… If I were Luann's buddy, I would be pulling the drink out of her hand." Luann can make her own decisions, but I don't think I would want my friend cheering me on to make one of those important decisions impromptu, and at an amateur comedy podcast event, of all places.
At said comedy event, Luann's one big joke is screaming that she "DIDN'T F— THE PIRATE" right before Jacques comes on stage… and the editors' one big joke is replaying the phone call where she's trying to keep the pirate coming over the night before a secret by speaking Italian. And finally, after all that fun comes the drinking wherein Dorinda takes three tequila shots and does that thing where she provokes Tinsley, and then mocks Tinsley for being scared of her. Which Tinsley inevitably insists she's not — but why wouldn't you be scared of someone who's that unpredictable and clearly dislikes you?
Perhaps we'll find out how this lunch Dorinda has planned with Tins and Leah goes next week. Or perhaps we'll never find out because I spotted a corn maze in the "next week on," and there's simply no way this cast is making it out of that alive. They belong to the corn now; it was fun while it lasted.
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.