‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: Leafing it all behind

The Real Housewives of New York
“If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of the Russian Bath House”
May 21, 2020

The day after the disastrous “scream at Tinsley for no good reason” “apple-picking” trip to the orchard, which ended the way it was always going to end: with Sonja puking on the party bus home …

Poor Tins.

… the women are in various states of recovery. Sonja, Ramona, and Dorinda choose to sweat out the toxins with a private lesson with Ramona’s trainer; while Tinsley, Leah, and The Countess enjoy lunch.

Team Tinsley, Leah, and The Countess.

After their workout, Ramona gently tells Sonja that she overdid it the day before, and Sonja is like, “Yeah, I think the bigger problem is that I overdid it in public.” Girl, that’s not the problem.

They also touch upon the Dorinda/Tinsley situation, and Dorinda complains about Tinsley’s whole “I’m just a little girl” attitude and persona, which, I agree is a bit much for a 45-year-old woman. Still! Dorinda doesn’t have to be such a monster with her!

Meanwhile, at their lunch, Leah and Tinsley are coughing up their lungs, all while insisting that it’s just some low-level bronchitis. LADIES, I KNOW THIS IS SEPTEMBER 2019, BUT Y’ALL NEED TO GO GET TESTED. GET THEM SWABS UP YOUR NOSES.

Leah explains that she has sympathy for Dorinda, she gets that she’s going through a lot right now with the house remodel and the breakup and the unresolved grief for the past 7 years, but she needs to pull her shit together and quit taking it out on Tinsley. The Countess doesn’t disagree, but argues that Tinsley’s reactions to Dorinda’s aggression are the real problem: she shouldn’t be so shrieky.


They then debate the best way for Tinsley to approach the situation: Leah suggests that Tinsley go “thug” on Dorinda and put her in her place; The Countess is all, “ABSOLUTELY NOT.” Leah then proposes that they have some sort of intervention, to which Tinsley and The Countess are like, “I know you barely know Dorinda, BUT HAVE YOU LOST YOUR DAMN MIND?” Instead, The Countess suggests, maybe they frame it as a “spa day?” As for Tinsley, she has a choice as to how she can handle Dorinda: Dalai Lama it or go Cardi B. on her ass.

As for the troublemaker herself, we sit in on a session with Dorinda and her “life coach,” a gentleman named “Dr. Daryl.”

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this because sitting in on therapy sessions always feels both too intrusive and manipulative, but the bottom line is Dorinda is going through some shit, she knows she’s going through some shit, she knows she needs to work on her shit, and yet, she has no regrets for taking out her shit on Tinsley.

Leah, inspired by The Countess’ suggestion that they go to a “spa,” decides to take the idea and put her own downtown spin on it, and books a day at Wall Street Bath & Spa 88, a VERY Russian bathhouse. It is way downtown, farther south than most of these ladies are comfortable going, and it is a wood paneling, plastic chair kinda joint. They’re going to hate it.

Leah arrives, followed shortly by Tinsley who, when offered a safe for her valuables, sneers at the counter lady that she is not going to let her steal her hoop earrings doesn’t need one, thankyouverymuch. It’s interesting: Tinsley is radiating distrust and disgust, but it’s the other women who get the Upper East Side snob edit — which they deserve! don’t get me wrong — but they aren’t the only ones looking down their noses at this place.

Tinsley finds Leah in the bar area, where they do shots of ginger vodka (which sounds awesome, honestly, and I’m not a flavored vodka kinda gal). Ramona is not far behind, and to her credit, she’s more than happy to stash her Cartier watch with the counter lady and to wear the goofball Russian sauna hat she is assigned. She’s actually being a remarkably good sport about the whole thing, which is not exactly what she is known for.

As Ramona is smearing wrinkle cream on her boobs, mostly to call attention to her boobs, Sonja, Dorinda, and The Countess arrive and try to pretend that they are cool with what is happening here in “Graffiti Land” as Sonja calls it.

The women strip down to their bathing suits and schvitz for a while before heading to the next room for their massages, and by “massages” I mean “beatings with branches performed by rejects from RuPaul’s Pit Crew.”

It’s very strange, and the women behave like a bunch of horny old grannies, embarrassing Leah who is not yet used to such behavior. Get used to it, honey.

Finally, after some foot scrubs, the women are escorted to a private dining room for some lunch. There, Leah toasts the women for making her feel welcome and they thank her for the “unique” experience. Ramona then begins burbling about their next trip: they’re going to go to Newport for the weekend.

Leah is irritated that they are already discussing their next trip before they’ve really dealt with what happened on the last, and says as much, explaining that they need to deal with the elephant in the room. Leah tells the women that she came home from the orchard trip and cried: they need to acknowledge what happened, Dorinda needs to acknowledge what happened.

And then Dorinda does that thing where she shuts down, smiles tightly, and says the thing people want her to say so they’ll stop talking about it: “I acknowledge it,” she says.

It’s not good enough for Ramona, however, who declares what happened at the orchard a “shit show,” (which it was), and she scolds Dorinda: when she is upset with someone, she tends to go for the jugular, she hurts people and doesn’t even realize she does it.

Dorinda snaps back at Ramona that she should know, she does it all the time, before going off on Ramona for mentioning in front of the cameras other people that Fudgie the Whale was asking for ladies’ phone numbers, a wound that she’s clearly been nursing for weeks now, but is only now coming up.

(And I wish I had a secret in with one of the producers because I have a production question about this. Dorinda is making a reference to the scene at Ramona’s Hampton’s home where everyone became VERY drunk and a lot was happening. At the time, Ramona’s comments about Fudgie asking for phone numbers felt like it kinda came out of nowhere, and it’s hard to explain, but it didn’t feel like it fit in with the rest of what was going on [Leah yelling at Sonja about being Mrs. Morgan, Leah getting naked, Leah Leah-ing out in general]. So, when the season is being edited together, did the producers feel like they had to include the comment because it came back up later in this episode? Meaning: did Dorinda get mad at Ramona for making the comment on camera, but the only reason it made it on-air was that Dorinda brought it up in this fight, and the producers had to include it several episodes ago so that this would make sense? I guess I’m wondering: if Dorinda had just let it go, would the story of Fudgie asking for phone numbers have ever made it into an episode to begin with? Did Dorinda create a reality show paradox loop? I AM THINKING ABOUT THIS ENTIRELY TOO MUCH.)

Anyway, Dorinda’s point is that if Ramona has something to say to her, do it privately, not in a group, because as we all know, Dorinda is very considerate about not attacking people publicly.

Ramona and Dorinda continue to yell at each other for a while until Leah is like, “WHAT HAVE I UNLEASHED?” She says she didn’t mean to blow up the table and turning to Dorinda, she tells her that she respects her, but that she’s terrified of her: what if she does something to get on her bad side? Then there’s a lot of talk about respect and judgment and Tinsley tells Dorinda she respects her and does not judge her, and Dorinda lies that she respects and does not judge Tinsley, too, and then everyone leaves because honestly, the spa is super weird and it’s hard to enjoy your meal when you’re eating in a room with a hot tub that Wall Street douchebros definitely soaked in with prostitutes. 

Sometime later, we meet Leah’s sister, Sarah, when she visits Leah’s apartment to talk about their mother still being pissed at Leah for returning to drinking, and about the guy that Leah is dating, whom she refers to as “Pita Chip.” Leah goes on to explain that she is attracted to intelligence and humor, not looks, which, when combined with the story about how he was trying to forward a nude selfie she sent to him to a friend but accidentally sent it back to her, makes him sound like QUITE THE CATCH. Leah laughs off the whole sharing her nude as “corny” and just a “mistake,” and yeah, the mistake is that he sent it to you instead of some random friend of his. THAT’S NOT OK, GIRL.

Finally, there is a weird scene at Ramona’s: basically, she’s hosting a cocktail party for a bunch of randos we don’t know, and Dorinda and Sonja and no one else. Oh, and that Elyse woman too, but I’m still not really counting her. I don’t like her and you can’t make me like her.

Anyway, Sonja arrives with a dress from her collection in tow: apparently, Ramona had needed a larger size, so Sonja brought with her a LARGE dress, as she loudly announces repeatedly. Sonja herself only wears a MEDIUM, but clearly, Ramona needs a LARGE. When Dorinda arrives, we learn that Ramona had told Sonja in the Russian spa lockerroom that Sonja needed to lose ten pounds.

I’m going to get this as a tattoo.

As for Dorinda, she’s been stewing over the things Ramona said to her at the spa like a Wall Street douchebro in a Russian bathhouse hot tub. Dorinda begins by asking Ramona if she knows the meaning of the word “schadenfreude,” and goes on to say that Ramona enjoys other people’s misery. And then Dorinda just fucking explodes, yelling at a stunned Ramona that SHE NEEDS RAMONA TO SUPPORT HER RIGHT NOW, NOT ATTACK HER. Dorinda adds that Sonja called her crying after Ramona fat-shamed her, and there’s also something in there about Ramona always insisting on the best rooms when they go on trips — which yes, that is a thing that always happens, and it’s assholey for sure, but we’re getting a little off-track here.

Ramona, who as you might remember just accused Dorinda of going for the jugular in any fight, responds by telling Dorinda that she’s sorry the anniversary of Richard’s death is tomorrow and that their anniversary is coming up …

And Dorinda fires back that she’s sorry Ramona can’t “land a boulder,” and has so many men in her life come and go …

With that, Dorinda announces that SHE’S LEAVING and she and Sonja go running out of the apartment. That Elyse woman chases after them and stops them at the elevators, which is where Ramona joins them. Everyone begins screaming and crying and soon they’re hugging and forgiving one another and heading back to Ramona’s apartment to continue the “party.”

Meanwhile, Ramona’s neighbors:

They should get a discount on their rent, honestly.

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The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.

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