The Real Housewives of New York
“Don’t Mansion It”
April 16, 2020
√ Go to a winery, get very drunk.
√ Once very drunk, go to some fancy Hamptons house — I’m sorry, MANSION — for a party hosted by one of Ramona’s rich friends, embarrass Ramona.
First up: the winery.
The Countess announces that she is going to the chiropractor after a terrible night of sleep in Ramona’s
dungeon basement, what with being attacked by spiders the entire time, and she will not be joining them for an afternoon of drinking.
Sonja, Ramona, and Dorinda are all, “YEAH, SHE’S GOING TO THE ‘CHIROPRACTOR’ AND NOT OUT ON HER BOAT, WHATEVER, EYEROLL EYEROLL EYEROLL.” But Leah is like, “Orrrrr, maybe the woman who is trying to stay sober after some struggles with alcohol doesn’t want to sit around watching the rest of you day drink.”
The women arrive at Wölffer Estates where they are seated at a large dining table and place their orders, and I’m sorry, did I just hear Sonja order a gin and tonic? AT A WINERY? What fuckery is this?
But no one else is as outraged as I am at Sonja’s choice of drink, because they’re making a huge deal out of the fact that Leah ordered a glass of Merlot. Leah tries to explain that she’s not SOBER sober, she’s doing her own thing, she’s going to drink when she feels like it, calm down.
Ramona then announces that they all have to go around the table and talk about something that makes them feel vulnerable because that’s the way you bond. I mean, yes, exposing your vulnerabilities to someone and having them accept you is how people connect, but true bonding comes organically, not from middle-aged lady drinking games.
Nevertheless, they go around the table with their middle-aged lady drinking game, beginning with Ramona:
She grew up in an abusive household and now she doesn’t know where her life is going and she cried for her mother the other day.
Tinsley is like, “WELL AT LEAST YOU HAVE A CHILD,” because we’re back on that old chestnut. Dorinda protests that there has to be more to Tinsley than this, and goes on to compare her to an iceberg in that she is white and cold I MEAN HAS UNSEEN DEPTHS. For instance, what’s this about a boyfriend? She has a new boyfriend is the rumor?
Tinsley tells them about this new guy and his passel of ex-wives and kids and how she’s not sure it’s going to work out because when she’s with him, she takes the back seat to kids’ birthday parties and hanging out with his friends and it’s never just the two of them alone. Leah says that he’s selfish and taking her for granted and is a “boy” and Sonja is all, “So he’s good in bed?”
Leah goes next and tells the ladies that when she was in high school, her parents sent her to rehab. When she was done there, they dropped her off at a halfway house run by nuns because she was such an asshole and they were done putting up with her shit. The other women are stunned, but Leah’s like, “Nah, it was for the best. It made me the person I am now, so it’s all good. Also, again, and I can not stress this enough, when I was a teen, I was a total. asshole.”
Dorinda uses her turn to tell the women that she is “scared every day” and not as tough as everyone seems to think she is. She has to be strong for everyone else: her daughter, her worthless boyfriend, her family and sometimes she just wishes she had someone to be strong for her. Is that so much to ask?
And then Sonja’s big vulnerable reveal is just a pointless ramble about plaster and wallpaper and nursing homes and onesies and catching dick.
The other ladies:
With that, Ramona announces that she is sending the women back to her house, and she is off to check out the venue for the party she’s sorta hosting tonight? But not really? Dorinda is like, “We’ll all go with you!” But Ramona is all, “NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. YOU GO HOME AND YOU STAY THERE UNTIL I SAY YOU CAN LEAVE.”
Second item: Party, embarrassment.
Some hours later, The Countess returns to Ramona’s lady prison in time to freshen up for the party, and to bitch about the basement some more. The Countess chooses to wear some sort of Laura Ashley frock, to Sonja and Ramona’s disapproval. Gonna have to side with Ramona and Sonja on this one because I checked with the calendar and it is not actually 1991. After only a few moments with Sonja, The Countess notes that she’s clearly been overserved at lunch — and considering she was drinking gin and tonics while everyone else was drinking rosé, “overserved” is probably an understatement.
Ramona reveals to Dorinda that she did NOT actually go over to the party location, but instead went on a date with some Persian gentleman, because God forbid she go five minutes without a date.
And it is revealed that Tinsley once went on a date with tonight’s host, one Joe Farrell, a Hamptons developer and Trump supporter who “is often credited with the surge in ‘megamansions’ throughout the East End.”
He’s also famous for the house where the party is being held, The Sandcastle: “The Sandcastle is a 17,000 square foot estate in Bridgehampton. Farrell’s family sometimes uses the Sandcastle as a primary residence, but have been known to rent to celebrities (including Beyonce and Jay-Z and Madonna) and other high-profile individuals. The mansion has been listed at different price points several times since it was completed. The Sandcastle has [a] laundry list of amenities including a baseball field, a planetarium and a 60-foot pool with an underwater sound system on its 11.5 acres.”
Anyway, Tinsley went on a date with this dude, and he took her to a basketball game, but didn’t bother with dinner or even overpriced concessions and I guess that is how he was able to afford The Sandcastle. He also went on a date with Bethenny but she’s no longer a part of the show and so we don’t know if he fed her or not.
The women load up in the cars: Tinsley, The Countess, Leah, and Sonja in one; Ramona and Dorinda in the other, which arrives first. Ramona and Dorinda note that the house is for sale — but from the sound of it, it’s perpetually on the market? Upon entering, Ramona admires a huge gaudy mirror in the entryway because obviously.
Meanwhile, the other car arrives, but have to wait for security clearance. Tinsley, The Countess, Sonja, and Leah realize that they all have mugshots — they could be there all night.
Eventually, they are allowed inside, which Leah IMMEDIATELY regrets, what with all the old and middle-aged white dudes wandering around, she’s half-convinced she’s just walked onto the set of Eyes Wide Shut. FAIR.
Sonja hits the bar looking for another gin and tonic, only to be informed that Joe Farrell is providing vodka, tequila, and wine — no gin. “HE LIVES IN A $30 MILLION HOUSE AND HE CAN’T SPRING FOR SOME GIN? HE SHOULD INVITE US TO HIS REAL HOUSE WHERE HE KEEPS HIS REAL LIQUOR,” Sonja declares and as a gin drinker, I concur, but also too maybe she’s already had her daily allotment of gin?
Sonja finds something to drink, don’t worry, and then begins grousing at Ramona for being so formal around the other guests. Ramona insists that she’s just in “party mode” but Sonja is all, “Nah, you’re acting differently because you’re in a $30 million house…”
“$39 million house,” Ramona corrects her.
“Alright, let’s pretend we’re in your $7 million house, instead,” Sonja dings back.
Quick reminder that the median home price in the United States this year is $320,000.
Ramona, in the middle of a conversation with some of the guests about their visit to Wölffer, glances at Leah and asks in horror, “ARE YOU CHEWING GUM?”
“NOPE!” replies Leah before swallowing her gum and making a break for the backyard clearly in the grips of a nun flashback.
Ramona and Sonja then apologetically explain to the other guests that their “new
cast member girlfriend” is a lovely girl but is a little rough around the edges.
Tinsley, making small talk with her former bad date Joe Farrell, is interrupted by Ramona who very literally throws — HURLS — herself at the host. She notes that she loves the dual fireplaces in the room, and Joe Farrell offers that he lit them for her, causing Ramona to squeal, “LIGHT MY FIRE,” while Tinsley’s gorge rises.
Joe Farrell then offers to give the cast a tour of the house and leads them down to the basement.
LEAH WAS RIGHT! RUUUUUNNNN!
Instead, they are shown the basement bowling alley, which causes the now quite drunk Sonja to declare “HOLY SHIT!” and announce that Joe Farrell is suddenly much hotter.
Gold diggers gonna dig.
Joe Farrell then takes Ramona into another room that contains, so embarrassingly, a half-pipe for skateboarding and a DJ booth, which I GUARANTEE his three kids used maybe once? and only at the prodding of their father. It’s there that Ramona gets into a suspended chair that Joe Farrell lifts to the ceiling via remote control while she squeals in delight.
“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”
Joe Farrell then shows Ramona the hot tub/massage room, where she purrs he could keep her captive there if he wanted. Joe Farrell seems shocked by this, “Do you want me to keep you captive?” he asks, genuinely perplexed.
Meanwhile, out in the bowling alley, Sonja has her own thoughts about Ramona and Joe:
As for Dorinda, she can’t believe how tacky this whole thing is. A TOUR OF THE HOUSE? How American.
The women are joined by some woman, a friend of Ramona’s named Elyse, who we are told is married to a “hedge fund guy” and is a “girl about town.” Someone asks Elyse what she’s wearing and she replies a very old Cavalli, that she’s a bargain shopper. Sonja starts yammering about how her husband used to make her buy expensive clothes and it was SO EMBARRASSING, to which Elyse shrugs that she was his accessory.
“DON’T SAY THAT. I WAS NOT A TROPHY WIFE. I WAS NOT AN ACCESSORY. I DON’T SHAVE MY PUSSY. TINSLEY WAS A TROPHY WIFE BUT I’M NOT ARM CANDY.”
Note: Tinsley met her first husband at boarding school, and they got married before they had graduated. Sonja met her husband while working as a cocktail waitress. He is 33 years older than her.
At some point, the women find themselves sitting around a kitchen table where Sonja rants about Ramona wanting to impress her rich friends, shrieks that they order pizza, yells about her amazing vagina, and demands to see a twenty-something’s drivers’ license to make sure he’s old enough to have sex with her.
Note: He does not want to have sex with her.
At this point, the women decide it’s time to drag Sonja’s drunk ass home. After running a gauntlet of other old white guys that she molests on the way out the door, they manage to get Sonja into a waiting car. “SHE’S GETTING BETWEEN ME AND MY VAGINA,” Sonja yells about Ramona. “FUCKING BOSSY BITCH.”
The next morning, Dorinda wakes Ramona up a few minutes shy of 10 a.m. with an “uh-oh.” Sometime in the night, The Countess texted them both a very passive-aggressive message, “thanking” Ramona for her hospitality in the spider-filled, dog-piss-smelling basement. BUT SHE THINKS SHE SHALL NOW TAKE HER LEAVE, which she did at 1 a.m.
Ramona calls The Countess and leaves a message hoping that The Countess made it home safe and apologizing if she made The Countess feel isolated, adding that she hopes she’ll come back so that Ramona can make it up to her. Which is a considerably more generous response than what I would have given. (A Tyler Perry quote.)
Sonja, who miraculously made it through the night, does a dramatic reading of The Countess’ text, before everyone stomps downstairs to get a look for themselves at the spider-filled dungeon.
They all agree it is actually pretty nice.
The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.