The Real Housewives of New York
“It’s a Clam Shame”
March 20, 2019
We pick up where we left off, with Sonja, Tinsley, and Ramona arriving at Barbara’s clambake, to which Dorinda and Ramona were explicitly NOT INVITED. Dorinda has the good social graces to not crash the clambake (but only after having a tantrum over it); Ramona, not so much. As the women wander into the backyard, The Countess and Bethenny cackle at Ramona’s gall, noting that of course she came: she wouldn’t miss the opening of an envelope — which is an old line, but still very funny, and very applicable to one Ramona FOMO Singer.
As for Ramona, she brings Barbara a pie for “her kids,” even though Barbara’s son is an adult who no longer lives at home, and Ramona explains in an interview that she was introduced to her not-hostess years ago, but that Barbara wasn’t her type of “girl”: too masculine. So, you know, again, WELCOME TO BARBARA’S HOUSE AND TO BARBARA’S BOOZE AND BARBARA’S FOOD, PERSON WHO WAS NOT INVITED IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Sonja begins babbling at Barbara about how her dog groomer’s shop is right across the street from Barbara’s house because this is just Very Important Information. Sonja explains that she was going to bring her dog to Barbara’s party, and why not, I’m sure the dog was just as much invited as Ramona. Sonja adds that the dog is back at the house with Dorinda. You know, Dorinda? your friend who you disinvited? And Barbara is all, “yeah, yeah, we can talk about that later.”
Tinsley is the first to approach the table where The Countess and Bethenny are standing and judging everyone, and she gives her condolences to Bethenny while also complimenting her on the comically large engagement ring (or “engagement” ring, as it remains unclear whether or not Bethenny actually accepted his proposal) that Dennis gave her.
The Countess, ready to scream at Ramona a while, invites her over.
“THAT’S RIGHT, RUN AWAY AND HIDE, RAMONA,” The Countess shrieks after her, and Ramona does, over by the food table. There, Ramona chides her not-hostess Barbara for disinviting Dorinda: had it only been 10 or 12 people, sure, Ramona could see how it would be awkward to have Dorinda hanging around, but there are 20 to 30 people here, and it would have made sense to allow The Countess and Dorinda to run into each other organically. Barbara argues that it would have been better to have Dorinda call The Countess, not necessarily to apologize, but just to say “hey.”
Yeah, that’s not what The Countess is looking for.
Barbara then gently brings up the fact that The Countess is plenty angry at Ramona, too, for spreading lies about her — particularly and especially at the reunion The Countess was unable to attend. Barbara makes it clear she was with The Countess at the party that Ramona claimed she had to be dragged out of, and that The Countess left both sober and of her own volition. Of course, facts aren’t going to faze Ramona “I Voted for Trump” Singer.
Ramona insists that there was this one hotel party that The Countess went to where The Countess got lit and passed out in one of Ramona’s friend’s laps, and she just needs to admit that she has a problem. Isn’t that the first step? Admitting you have a problem? Ramona is just worried for The Countess.
“BULLSHIT,” counters Sonja Morgan in an interview, “Ramona just wants to call The Countess a drunk on TV.” All hail Sonja Morgan.
Over in their corner of the party, Bethenny discusses with Tinsley how she’s accepted a dinner invitation from some dude, but that she’s worried she is going to burst into tears about her dead fiancé. Meanwhile, Sonja asks Ramona if she’s shared her condolences with Bethenny yet, and Ramona insists that of course she has — over text. That counts, right?
It’s around this time that the alarm on Sonja’s watch goes off, alerting the blonds that they have spent a polite-enough amount of time at the party and are free to leave now. Sonja and Ramona make a beeline for the lobsters, to “make a plate for Dorinda,” while Tinsley cringes in horror, explaining that she only takes doggie bags for her dog and that this just feels VERY RUDE. Plates assembled, Ramona approaches her not-hostess at Bethenny and The Countess’ table to thank her for the hospitality that she absolutely was not invited to enjoy.
As the blonds take their leave, Bethenny marvels at their audacity to take multiple lobsters. Why not a sofa? Or an end table? (Because, frankly, Barbara’s sofa and end tables are tacky? Just a thought.) And then everyone jumps into the pool fully dressed, the end.
The blonds return to Ramona’s house where Dorinda is surprised to see them back so soon, and they break open a bottle of wine to discuss what happened at the party — except for Ramona who BROUGHT WINE FROM THE PARTY WITH HER. I mean. Look, my family, we host a couple of parties a year, parties that are known to serve a ton of food, and I’ve had people take food home with them for other people who weren’t able to attend, it’s fine. But if I found out that bitches TOOK ALCOHOL HOME FROM MY PARTY?
There is some boring talk about how much Barbara owes Dorinda, and Sonja tries to argue that Barbara is just trying to protect The Countess during a vulnerable time. Dorinda counters that The Countess isn’t some innocent babe in the woods: she’s out there planting articles about how Dorinda also needs to go to rehab, so let’s stop acting as if this whole mess is one-sided. There are some snide comments about The Countess’ family lawsuit, to which Sonja explains that’s why they wanted Dennis to help The Countess, because he was a smart financial guy.
“How smart could Dennis be? I mean he was on drugs,” Ramona replies. And you can literally see the OH SHIT THEY HAVE THAT ON TAPE energy vibrate through the room.
This is a point of fascination for me: yes, this is a “reality” show in that what these women say isn’t scripted, line for line. But there is definitely some scripting going on, in part by the producers who orchestrate scenarios in which these women will confront one another, and in part by the women themselves who all very well know the value of having a conflict with someone else on the show. Just look at the mess happening over on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, for instance, or the incessant bickering on this show about who said what to Page Six. The women also know the value of an arc: in having a fight with some of the other women that will potentially be resolved in some cathartic fashion later in the season or during the reunion. But every once in a while, the script falls away, and the women say or do something really real, as it does at this moment.
But because this is one of those real real moments, the other women immediately are like, “OH MY GOD WE MUSTN’T TALK ABOUT THAT TALK ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE AT ALL IMMEDIATELY CHANGE THE TOPIC CHANGE THE TOPIC CHANGE THE TOPIC.”
I should note that before this episode aired, Ramona tweeted an apology for making this comment, and reached out privately to Bethenny to say that she was sorry. YIKES.
And before we leave this topic, let’s just add that for all the talk about who are the shit stirrers in these shows, let us never forget who the real shit stirrers are: the producers, who, if they wanted to save Ramona from embarrassment or Bethenny and Dennis’ family from any pain, could have very easily edited that comment out, but chose not to because they know reality show gold when they see it.
Back in the city, we are given a brief glimpse of The Countess’ new apartment that she is renting with all of her cabaret monies. And if you felt bad about the fact that she was unable to buy that upstate house that she became weirdly obsessed with thanks to her UNGRATEFUL AND GREEDY CHILDREN, she’s found a different upstate house which she is in the process of buying, so SUCK IT, COUNT AND COUNTLINGS.
As for Bethenny, she channels all of her grief and natural energy and anxiety into helping the victims of Hurricane Florence. Though it was only a category one when it made landfall in North Carolina, it was a rainmaker and flooded the coast horribly. Bethenny passes out gift cards to people trapped in shelters and reminds herself that while she might be sad about Dennis, there are plenty of people out there worse off than she is. While I am a cynical monster with a heart as black as coal, and while I know these segments showing Bethenny doing this work with her charity are not without their public relations benefit, I will always be grateful for the work she did here in Houston after Harvey and will never say a bad word about her or this help she gives. It means something.
Dorinda and Barbara meet for lunch in the city, where Dorinda is all, “WHY ARE YOU TAKING THE COUNTESSES’ SIDE? I’M YOUR FRIEND, TOOOOOO!” Barbara reminds Dorinda that it wasn’t all that long ago that she was on The Countess’ bad side for talking shit about her doomed wedding, and it took Barbara a long time to rebuild trust with her. Therefore, she wanted to make sure to protect The Countess from elements that might compromise The Countess’ sobriety. ~cough~Dorinda~cough~
Dorinda thinks it’s laughable and insulting to think that she could somehow compromise anyone’s sobriety. Barbara is like, “Oh really? Well, what about heckling her at her cabaret performance?”
Dorinda insists that she did no such thing …
… before suggesting that she and The Countess need to meet one-on-one to solve this thing. Good luck with that, Dorinda! You’re not wrong, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon!
Finally, Sonja’s Paper Magazine party. Sonja was invited to be on the cover of Paper Magazine — which Bethenny helpfully and not-at-all bitchily points out is a real magazine, unlike some of her other modeling adventures we’ve been witness to — and she has a big party to celebrate.
Dorinda and Bethenny are among the first to arrive, and while Sonja cavorts with her gays, these two have their first conversation of the season, Dorinda sharing her condolences with Bethenny. Dorinda compares the loss of Dennis to the loss of her own husband, and Bethenny is like, “well, I’m not sure if he was my Richard, but a part of me did die with him.” Bethenny reveals that Dennis had proposed to her a few months earlier, an engagement they chose to keep secret so that it wouldn’t become a part of the circus that surrounds her, and Dorinda, like everyone, is shocked. But it’s when Bethenny reveals that Dennis bought Bryn a ring, too, when Dorinda chokes up. Bethenny explains that she knows that Dennis would want her to focus her energy helping people, and Dorinda commends her on being a strong survivor, a warrior who gets up the next morning, sharpens her sword and goes out into the world. Bethenny is genuinely moved and marvels that this wasn’t the same unhinged Dorinda she heard on the phone confronting Barbara for disinviting her from the clambake. And there you have an example of the forgiveness arc in action.
Elsewhere, Tinsley and her crazy-ass mother are talking to Sonja and Sonja’s psychic who, to Tinsley’s mortification, declares that Tinsley is going to have two children. THIS IS NOT FUNNY, Tinsley wails, to no avail. … I mean, it’s kinda funny.
Ramona arrives at the party wearing an alarmingly strappy dress because she feels the need to compete with the hostess, obviously. She’s followed in by The Countess and Barbara, who makes her way over to the bar to say hello to Dorinda and Bethenny. Barbara offers her two cents on how to make nice with The Countess, and Dorinda is not interested.
So Barabara rejoins The Countess and Sonja and tattles that Dorinda and Bethenny are talking about her. The Countess hisses that MAYBE SHE MIGHT NOT WANT TO GO TO THE BAR TO TALK TO DORINDA, HAS ANYONE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT? So of course, Bethenny starts yelling at The Countess to come over to the bar and talk to them.
Which is where this episode ends, with a TO BE CONTINUED! because yes, two middle-aged women talking to each other is definitely the kind of drama worthy of a cliffhanger. I swear, someone better hit somebody in the next episode because y’all are trying my patience over here.
The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo on Wednesdays at 8/9 p.m.