‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: Flirting with Disaster

The Real Housewives of New York
“21st Century Sonja”
August 20, 2020

It’s our last night in Cancun, and because shit hasn’t been crazy enough, Ramona has decided it would be fun to toss some tequila onto an open flame by sending in a group text to Sonja, The Countess, and Dorinda (but not Leah because Leah still doesn’t rate as a real cast member in Ramona’s mind) an article about anger issues.

While The Countess exclaims, “OH MY GOD,” and believes that Ramona included Dorinda by accident, Dorinda, knowing EXACTLY what this is about, begins furiously replying with Page Six article after Page Six article detailing what a complete raging asshole Ramona has been over the years.

The Countess goes to Ramona and Sonja’s room where she is all, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, YOU LUNATIC?!” Ramona explains that she just thinks they all need to address Dorinda’s issues and this was her way of bringing it up, but The Countess informs her that this is not the way to bring it up AT ALL, and she is not wrong.

Dorinda, wearing a pair of pants that look like they were made out of your grandmother’s quilt, but somehow sequined …

… a pair of pants only Dorinda Medley could pull off (and which she does, by the way), she heads in to Ramona and Sonja’s room just as The Countess is leaving. There, smiling like a  hyena, Dorinda confronts Ramona for her passive-aggressive bufoonery. Ramona tries to explain that Dorinda is deflecting and needs to deal with her anger, while Dorinda claims that Ramona is using “deflecting” incorrectly and needs to educate herself.

Ramona points out that Dorinda is making everyone cry, and that she’s worse than Ramona’s abusive father, which is … maybe taking it a bit too far. Dorinda, still smiling through it — which is when Dorinda is the most dangerous — accuses Ramona of fake crying and calls them Ramona’s “turtle tears” which is pretty hilarious, actually.

They then accuse the other of being jealous of each other’s lives, and as Dorinda takes her leave, Ramona reveals to Sonja and the cameras, WITH VISUAL PROOF, that she pooped her robe out of sheer anxiety from the encounter.

I don’t know, maybe I have a lot of undiagnosed body shame or something, but the way these women exhibit ABSOLUTELY NO embarassment over soiling themselves never ceases to legitimately shock me even as it KEEPS HAPPENING. If I shat myself while being filmed, the last fucking thing I would be doing is ANNOUNCING IT PROUDLY ON CAMERA AND POINTING TO THE EVIDENCE.

Downstairs, The Countess sits Dorinda down and is like, “Listen, the group text is not the way that should have been handled, but we do need to have a conversation about your anger.” And Dorinda, in this setting, alone with a good friend, seems open to having that conversation — which is good! This is a start! Do not fuck this up!

The Countess then proceeds to fuck this up.

Here’s the thing: what The Countess should have done is not make it personal, to say something along the lines of how she knows Dorinda is going through a whole lot of shit — because she is — and that they have all had their challenges, so they all come from a place of understanding. The Countess should have assured Dorinda that if she needs a friend to talk to they are there for her, The Countess most especially.

INSTEAD, she brings up Dorinda attacking her for relaying what Ramona had said about Dorinda’s drinking, and suddenly we are spiraling again, with Dorinda becoming defensive and insisting that considering as much as she’s done for the other women, THEY SHOULD BE GRATEFUL TO HER. Oh has Dorinda hurt some people’s feelings? WELL, THEY’VE HURT DORINDA’S FEELINGS, TOO. IF THEY DON’T WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH DORINDA, THAT’S FINE.

It’s around this time that Leah shows up and discovers that these two are once again having the same damn conversation about how it was Ramona who criticized Dorinda’s drinking, not The Countess. Dorinda, exhausted and irritated that she is being forced to admit publicly that she jumped to the wrong conclusion about The Countess’ intentions, sighs resignedly and is like, “What do I have to say to end this discussion? That I’m sorry? Sure, I’m sorry. Can we move on?” But The Countess doesn’t find this apology sincere (because it isn’t) and keeps pressing until Leah is all, “Dude, let it go.”

Dinner is finally served, and after Ramona terrorizes the staff for a while over the wine selection, the group chat is brought up and Leah is like, “wait, what group chat?” But Leah’s irritation at being excluded has to be put to the side for a moment, the grandmas are arguing, again, about Dorinda’s anger issues.

Eventually, Dorinda says something about her daughter asking her if she was really OK, and Sonja, who God knows has been the target of Dorinda’s ferocious anger over the years:

… manages to find the grace and the forgiveness to recognize that Dorinda is in pain and that rather than feel that pain herself, she projects it onto other people. She tells Dorinda that she doesn’t have be so brave all the time, she can let them carry some of her frustration and help support her. And with that, the conversation and this cursed trip to Mexico is finally done.

Upon returning home, Leah has a meeting at her streetwear business, Married to the Mob, where they talk about some upcoming designs for t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, and boy howdy, lady, I say this in all sincerity: 2020 IS GOING TO BE YOUR YEAR.

Later, Leah’s mother comes to her apartment after having taught Leah’s daughter’s religion class. Turns out when I described Leah’s mother as being a WASP, I got that shit all backwards: she is a good Irish Catholic lady, but I was thrown off by all of the Connecticutness and the fact that her name is “Bunny” for Chrissakes, and not Margaret or Catherine or Rose or any other proper Irish Catholic woman’s name.

Anyway, Bunny stops by Leah’s apartment where they discuss the party Leah is throwing for Married to the Mob’s 15th anniversary, and how Bunny will be there. They then move on to the topic Leah really wanted to tackle that day: how Sarah told her their mother said she doesn’t like Leah. To Bunny’s credit, she cackles at this revelation and is like, “I mean, yeah, I said that. And it’s true: I don’t like you sometimes, but I always love you.” There’s crying and Leah talking about how she was a bad teenager and her mother assures her that she pulled her life together and that she’s proud of her, she just wishes she wouldn’t drink. Also, maybe she and Sarah shouldn’t share everything between each other because it’s making Bunny look like an asshole, the end.

Elsewhere, Ramona visits with her psychologist, an individual of whom this is the first we’ve ever heard. But that’s hardly the weirdest part of this entire visit. In fact, I’m not sure which of these things is the weirdest, so in no particular order:

  • The session is taking place in the dead of night (and I know it is winter and it starts turning dark at 3:30 p.m. in New York in December, but it’s still super weird)
  • She’s in a cocktail dress

  • She openly flirts with her therapist who appears to be young enough to be her son

Ramona’s entire session is spent talking about how great her dating life is going, showing her psychologist how she bats her eyelashes at men like a 1940s cartoon character, and then complaining that she doesn’t just want people to like her for her “sensual body.”

It’s so weird, y’all. I hope Dr. DidNotAskForThis is charging overtime.

The Countess’ new cabaret show, “Marry, F, Kill,” is fast approaching and she and her team have a walkthrough of the script, a rehearsal she expected Sonja to attend. Except Sonja does not show up, irritating The Countess. When she FaceTimes Sonja to find out when she can expect her, Sonja is in her bathrobe, and is all, “NOT TODAY, BITCH!” And in Sonja’s defense, she actually has an excuse: that evening is her big Century 21 party, celebrating the launch of her clothing line. She doesn’t have time to go to The Countess’ dumb rehearsal just to memorize three lines, she’ll wing it. Sonja then invites The Countess’ producer, Ben, to her Century 21 party, but he explains he has a Fire Island reunion party to attend. And to Producer Ben, I say, “OH MY GOD, THAT SOUNDS SO MUCH BETTER THAN CENTURY 21, CAN WE PLEASE GO WITH YOU INSTEAD?”

Also, call me a cynic about this entire scene, but it sure seems staged. In real life, The Countess would just shoot Sonja a text: “Where are you?” But instead, we have the whole visual of Sonja defiantly at home, in a bathrobe, demonstrating no intention to show up whatsoever. The whole thing feels very TV to me.

As for this Century 21 party, that evening, Leah is a good sport and puts on a Sonja by Sonja Morgan dress and goes to the store for the big event. Dorinda and Ramona also arrive wearing the brand and, h’oh boy, Ramona.

The Countess also arrives, sniffing that even though Sonja snubbed her rehearsal, “two wrongs don’t make a right” because yes, Sonja’s big debut at Century 21 is exactly the same thing as a rehearsal for The Countess’ cabaret preview that is happening next week.

After arriving and prancing around in the adoration for a while, Sonja delivers a speech, only to have Ramona’s phone go off in the middle of it. Instead of just ignoring the fact that Ramona is texting in the middle of her moment, Sonja calls attention to it (again, can’t help but feel like some made-for-TV shenanigans are happening here …) grousing that Ramona doesn’t know how to turn off her phone and that she clearly has a hot date. Sonja then manages to finish her speech, thanking everyone for their love and support.

She’s come a long way from failed toaster ovens — here’s to 2020 being the kind of year that mass-produced sparkly lamé cocktail dresses fly off the shelves!

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The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.

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