‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: Welcome to the jungle

The Real Housewives of New York
“Back in the NY Groove”
April 4, 2020

WELCOME TO SEASON 12. (Yes, I know season 12 is about to end, and we are on reunion eve, but cut me a break. Time has no meaning in 2020.)

We begin the season with the old-timers: The Countess, Ramona, Sonja, and Dorinda learning that Bethenny would not be joining them this season. And honestly, who can blame her? Last season she was dealing with a dead ex-boyfriend, a new boyfriend in a different state, a contentious custody battle, business crap, a charity, and The Countess’ cabaret show. Any one of those things would be too much, and I think we can all agree eight seasons of this nonsense is at least seven seasons too many.

While Dorinda and Sonja are bummed at this news, The Countess and Ramona can barely contain their delight that they now have a shot at becoming the HBIC of the series. (We’ll see about that.)


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First bit of business to get to: The Countess’ legal situation. She and Sonja leave a courthouse following a hearing that officially ends The Countess’ probation. There’s laughing and crying and hugging and then they grab a cup of coffee and sit in a nearby park.

There, the Countess talks about how supportive her children have been through all of this, and Sonja’s like, “UH, WE HAVE BEEN SUPPORTIVE, TOO.” Sonja then picks at old scabs, reminding The Countess that she got too big for her britches with the whole cabaret thing and how she treated them like shit, to which The Countess is all, “Nu-uh.”

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The Countess demands that Sonja and the others “stand by” her as friends, and Sonja’s like “Look. I’ve always been there for you, and I NEED YOU TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.” And then they eat bagels.

Next: Meet the New Housewife — Leah McSweeney.

Leah is introduced as Tinsley’s “friend,” one that she only met two months ago.

And let’s just pause here for a second and talk about this nonsense. I understand the Real Housewives series do what they can to not break the fourth wall (or third world …)

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… but I find it almost comical that they continue to pretend these women are added to the show organically through real relationships and aren’t actually cast. (In fact, according to Leah herself, it was Bethenny who suggested she be cast, not because they were friends or even knew each other, but because Bethenny liked her Instagram page.)

But whatever: the producers introduced Leah to Tinsley a couple of months before filming began, now they’re “friends,” and Tinsley will serve as her introduction to the series and to the other women.

To that end, Tinsley meets Leah at a boxing club where Leah is taking a lesson from a very intimidating gentleman named Martin. As she gets into the ring with Martin, Tinsley complains that having to take off her large hoop earrings is like losing a part of herself, to which Martin replies, “aaaaand … nobody gives a fuck.”

I am in love.

While she spars with Martin, Tinsley fills us in on her life since we last saw her: she has her own lash line, she’s been seeing someone new, she has two new poodles she adopted from China (???), and she’s really focusing on herself.

As for the new guy, he’s twice divorced, has kids and she has not convinced herself that she’s head over heels in love with him (because she’s not). But she is convincing herself that maybe this whole step-kid thing is the way to go — no diapers, and she gets to send them home at the end of the day.

Somehow, I think Dale will require more convincing.

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As for Leah, she’s newly single since the last time she saw Tinsley. Apparently, on the return flight home from a romantic vacation in France with her most recent romantic interest, she asked him the status of his divorce, and he told her it was “on hold.” So she explained in that event, her “pussy was on hold, too.”

I am in love.

Over at Dorinda’s new apartment, we learn that she is recovering from a hip injury suffered at the hands of one Carson Kressley.

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As a result, Fudgie has been around more and helping out, for which Dorinda is simultaneously grateful and VERY IRRITATED. In fact, this entire scene is just Fudgie making her lasagna while she stands over him and criticizes every move. At one point, Fudgie grabs a pan that has just come out of the oven with his bare hands, and Dorinda just laughs and laughs that she knew he was going to do it but didn’t bother to even try to stop him.

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They briefly talk about the party that Dorinda is hosting at the end of the episode and note that The Countess is finally off of probation, SO LET THE ALCOHOL FLOW.

In Ramona’s world, she’s hanging out with her actual friends at TBar, getting lit on vodka tonics, and sobbing to anyone who will listen about how badly she wants to be in a relationship.

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So same ol’, same ol’.

We spend a little time with Leah and her 12-year-old daughter Kier, or “Kiki.” Leah explains that Kiki’s father was her first love, she thought she’d be with him forever, but instead, they broke up when Kiki was only 2 (they never married). Still, they remain best friends and the three of them have dinner together three times a week.

Other things to know about Leah: she has her own clothing line called “Married to the Mob” (which is mostly just t-shirts and sweatshirts with saucy things on them. I’m not hating — I’d happily wear a “Bitch” sweatshirt or a “Resting Bitch Face” face mask — just pointing out that this isn’t exactly a “fashion” line), and she was born and raised right there in New York City, unlike the rest of these assholes.

As for Sonja, Ramona stops by Sonja’s now (completely predictably) cluttered apartment with Coco, whom Sonja’s dog Marley furiously humps. Sonja starts going on about … something, but Ramona is like, “Stop it. You and I both know why I’m here: to discuss your daughter going off to college. Let’s not get sidetracked, I’ve got vodka tonics waiting for me at TBar that aren’t going to drink themselves.”

Sonja confirms that despite her best efforts, she was emotional at drop-off for her daughter …

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… and that her daughter warned that she’s not coming home for a while. Ramona shrugs this off and suggests that Sonja just go visit her, but Sonja calls her the worst and suggests that maybe Ramona constantly inserting herself into her daughter’s social life is maybe not the healthiest thing.

Then the dogs hump some more, the end.

Finally, Dorinda’s party. Dorinda goes to the space, explaining that of all of the cast, she’s the best entertainer — a dubious claim that I think she only feels comfortable making now that Bethenny has left the show.

As she has her hair and makeup done, Dorinda returns to her weird, vague complaints about Tinsley, that she doesn’t open up to the other women enough and something something Scott something.

Tinsley, meanwhile, is also having her hair and makeup done, and worries about seeing Dorinda again, what with all her conspiracy theories about her relationship with Scott. Tinsley speculates that something is going on in Dorinda’s life that is upsetting her and she’s projecting her bullshit onto Tinsley, which is as good a theory as any because let’s be honest: Dorinda’s thing with Tinsley is WEIRD.

Tinsley picks up Leah and Sonja with whom Leah will either have a natural connection with or an immediate rivalry, I honestly have no idea. They arrive at the party and head straight to the bar, where Tinsley orders pinot grigio, and Leah orders a Red Bull, explaining that she’s only started drinking against about six months ago after taking a nine-year sober break.

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Ramona arrives, sees Tinsley and Sonja at the bar, and sneaks behind them to go find Dorinda without saying hello in what might be my favorite moment in the entire episode. It’s so rude and it’s so Ramona.

The Countess arrives and says her hellos and confirms that she is finally off of probation and ci drink but is not going to drink. At least tonight.

Tinsley introduces them all to Leah, and after some boring Hamptons talk, Dorinda announces to the entire party that she has a “special guest.” She then brings out drag queen Chelsea Piers to perform “Feelin’ Jovani” for the crowd, to The Countess’ and Ramona’s delight.

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Meanwhile, Leah is like, “What the fuck is ‘Jovani?'” She literally looks it up on her phone and is all … “Wait, it’s a clothing line?

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After, the women continue their get-to-know-her chat with Leah, asking her where she’s from. “Chelsea,” Leah responds. “No, where were you born and raised?” Ramona clarifies. “Chelsea,” Leah responds again, surprising the other women.

She also offers that she has a 12-year-old daughter, and is still friends with her daughter’s father whom she never married. In fact, she never sees herself getting married, she doesn’t want to be tied down. Ramona sighs that she wants a partner, and The Countess, trying to appear cool with this woman 20 years her junior, dismisses Ramona as being “old-school.”

Leah asks The Countess about her probation and when The Countess explains that she had been arrested, Leah is all, “ME TOOOO!” Leah then goes on to explain that back in 2002, she was making out with a guy on the street when suddenly the cops jump him and begin beating him up. Leah just reacted, she explains, and threw a half-full water bottle at the back of one cop, who turned and punched her in the face, before slamming her face into a subway grate three times and knocking her teeth out. She was arrested for obstruction of justice and attacking a police officer, but the joke was on them because she sued and won $75,000. She used that money to start Married to the Mob and now she’s on The Real Housewives of New York City. The universe works in mysterious ways.

Later, Leah and Sonja are talking to William, a younger gentleman who apparently was “friends” with Ramona.

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Sonja hits on him shamelessly while Leah, TO HIS FACE, says that he looks like the kind of guy who would be admiring himself in the mirror while you were having sex with him. And reader, he totally, totally does.

I am in love. (With her, just to be clear.)

Elsewhere, Tinsley approaches Dorinda intending to ask if they can meet up sometime later and talk about whatever is going on between them.


When she asks this — which is a perfectly reasonable ask — she says she wants to discuss Dorinda’s “conspiracy theories.”


The thing is, Dorinda has been, for whatever reason, spoiling for a fight with Tinsley, and she’s been drinking, but even on a good sober day, Dorinda has that Italian temper and I’m not victim-blaming here, but maybe the term “conspiracy theory” wasn’t the best to use with Dorinda at this moment.

Because right on cue, Dorinda begins yelling at Tinsley that it’s NOT a conspiracy theory: SHE DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT TINSLEY. SHE WANTS TINSLEY TO BE MORE TRANSPARENT.

Tinsley protests that Dorinda is calling her a liar and Dorinda fires back that Tinsley shouldn’t try to be tricky with her. Tinsley is all, “OOOH, YOU’RE SO TOUGH,” and Dorinda is like, “I AM TOUGH,” and Tinsley is like, “SO AM I.”

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When Dorinda says that she doesn’t really give a shit what Tinsley thinks, Tinsley is all, “Oh, so you don’t want to be my friend?” But Dorinda fires back that she just wants to know who Tinsley is. With that, Dorinda gets up, tells Tinsley that she looks beautiful and her lashes look great, and Tinsley hisses back that Dorinda is a “sweet woman.”

Dorinda goes to Ramona and The Countess to bitch about Tinsley, but Tinsley follows, and soon Dorinda and Tinsley are yelling at one another over the other women, Dorinda ordering Tinsley to “lower the dolly voice.”

Leah joins the group just in time for Dorinda to start yelling at Tinsley, “KINDERGARTEN IS STARTING! BETTER GO CALL MOMMY!”


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Dorinda then begins to totter away, but catches her heel on something, prompting Tinsley to yell after her, “DON’T TRIP, DORINDA.” Dorinda spins around and retorts that yes, her heel got stuck, but the difference is, she bought them. She never laid on her back for them.

As Tinsley calls yells at Dorinda that she’s “a jealous bitch, bitch,” Leah begins to wonder what, exactly, she has gotten herself into, and if she can take another look at that contract she signed.

The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.

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