‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: Social-lite Distancing

Real Housewives of New York
“Reunion, Part 1”
September 10, 2020

Welcome to our first Real Housewives reunion since the pandemic to be held actually in person and not over a Zoom call, to everyone’s great relief. Because while it’s still fun to yell at Denise Richards over a computer monitor, it lacks the same je ne sais quois of yelling at her when she’s six feet away. To make it clear that everyone is taking safety protocols VERY SERIOUSLY, the intro to the reunion features all of the women arriving fully dressed and made up and hair-did and MASKED, having their temperature taken, and being asked a bunch of questions about their general health — you know, essentially what we all went through just to take our kids to the orthodontist during this time (except minus the whole ball gown/fully stylized part … at least for me; I guess I can’t speak for how you went to the orthodontist).

Once inside, gone are the couches divided into blondes vs. brunettes (or in the case of this season of The Real Housewives of New York, blondes vs. slightly darker blondes and that one brunette), and instead, everyone is given their own chair spaced six feet apart — a concession that should have always been in place for every Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion.

Andy Cohen greets all of the women, and goes through his usual compliments, pausing with Sonja to address the facelift in the room. She admits that she did “lift the drapes again,” this time going for an “Ellen Barkin.”

She does! And good on her for it!

Andy Cohen then turns to the issue weighing on literally everyone’s mind for the past year — COVID-19. Andy Cohen asks the women how they spent quarantine: Leah spent it partially in Long Island; The Countess spent it working on her memoir (or rather, her ghostwriter spent it working on her memoir); Sonja spent a large part of it in Palm Springs shooting her ass full of colonics; and Ramona, most notably, spent it in Florida with Avery and Mario, furiously posting ridiculous, tone-deaf things on her Instagram.

Leah, for one, took Ramona’s flitting maskless around Florida before returning maskless to New York as evidence that she wasn’t taking the crisis sufficiently seriously, calling her behavior “despicable” and very “declassé,” in a video:

A viewer asks Leah who she was referring in the video to AS IF VIEWER DIDN’T KNOW, but before she can answer, Ramona begins shrieking that SHE TOOK ALL THE PRECAUTIONS! When she manages to get a word in edgewise, Leah clarifies that what she found particularly distasteful was Ramona’s social media presence. People are dying and having to say goodbye to loved ones via FaceTime, and all the while Ramona is posting fake workout photos:

Ramona argues that she would “wake up every morning at 4 and read the news about 100,000 people dying …”

(Oh you think that’s bad? Just wait, lady.)

“… and that is so scary. So all I can do is live my day the best I could with what I had. What am I supposed to do, cry all day?”

Leah points out that for starters, Ramona could have acknowledged the situation and also, too, not have lied about donating blood.

So, about that. Ramona apparently was sick in February with what she believed to be Lyme Disease and a sinus infection, so she did the obvious thing: she flew to Aspen for a ski trip. Later, when she decided to quarantine with Mario, she was tested for antibodies, it came up positive, and her doctor called her a “strong girl.”

Or, as Sonja interjects, “a petri dish.”

Anyway,  at some point, Ramona claimed that she donated blood once she realized she had survived COVID, but there’s no evidence that this actually happened. And you know if this bitch donated blood there would have been 37 pictures of it on her Instagram.

Leah points out that the fact Ramona survived COVID does not mean that she is exempt from the rules, to which Ramona heatedly screams, “I WAS ALLOWED TO COME BACK, BITCH,” before complaining about how rude Leah’s video on Instagram was, with the giving the finger and the whatnot.

It’s then revealed that keeping perfectly on-brand, Ramona attended the party Dummy Jr. hosted at Mar-A-Lago, a party after which his terrifying girlfriend tested positive. Ramona shrugs that she was at the afterparty — as if that is of any sort of meaningful difference. When people point out that no one should be gathering in big groups, Ramona sighs that she’s washing her hands, what more do you people want? ALSO, SHE HAD THE VIRUS IN FEBRUARY, SO BACK OFF. Andy Cohen points out that she can get it again, while Sonja snarks that the virus spreads in spit, “especially when you’re swapping spit with Dubin.”


Ramona, for some reason, begins screaming repeatedly that she doesn’t wear a mask in the ocean, and then Dorinda is screaming at Ramona that it’s not about her wearing a mask in the ocean, and then everyone is screaming at everyone else until Andy Cohen reaches his cohenpoint and has to scream at everyone to SHUT UP.

Andy Cohen then tries, calmly, to address Ramona, and point out that the images she was posting on her social media were not demonstrating behavior compliant with the CDC guidelines:


And this, my fellow Americans, is why we will never reach herd immunity.

The first segment dealing with the actual season is about Leah’s freshman turn on the show, and after playing the requisite montage, Andy Cohen notes that Our Blessed Mother of American Horror Story, Sarah Paulson, rated Leah a “25 out of 10.” Sarah Paulson is, indeed, The Supreme.

Also, John Oliver sang Leah’s praises, noting that the infamous tiki torch incident made him laugh harder than anything else in the past year. Admittedly, it’s been a rough year. Leah says she appreciates the feedback and that most of it has been positive. She notes that it’s a relief people have been so kind because if people had been attacking her while she was imprisoned with nothing to do but obsess over the opinions of strangers, it would have been a goddamned nightmare.

The Countess, Sonja, and Dorinda have nothing but kind things to say about Leah, calling her a “tough New Yorker” who was also vulnerable, and who brought a much-needed cool, downtown edginess to the show. Tinsley, as the former New Girl on the show, compliments Leah for coming onto the show from a position of strength, something that she wasn’t able to do, and thanks her for being someone who listened to her — because God knows in this group, that was hard for Tinsley to come by.

A viewer asks Leah about “age-shaming” the other women by saying she was the only one who still had her period, but even the other women are like, “Where’s the lie?”

Another viewer asks Ramona, Sonja, and Dorinda if they felt bad about shaming Leah for her tattoos and not making her feel welcome at first. They all protest that they were just not accustomed to tattoos and that they never meant to make her feel bad. (And not to defend them being assholes about her tattoos, but I do think based on things my own father has said, these women are all of a certain generation that grew up believing that people with tattoos were a particular type — dangerous, crass, low-class. Generation X and younger come to the tattoo conversation with far fewer judgments and presumptions about tattoos and those who have them, just because so many of us ourselves have them.)

Leah then interjects, noting that the only exchange about her tats that made her feel bad was when Sonja said she would never have sex with Leah because of her tattoos. Sonja’s response — which only makes things more uncomfortable — was that she had to break the sexual tension between the two of them somehow.

A viewer asks Leah about her “vagina wings” — which I think technically are her “pussy wings” because that’s not where the vagina is — wanting to know the story behind them. Leah explains that she was 17, high on LSD, she traveled to another dimension where she had purple wings and decided to commemorate the experience with a tattoo. “And what happens when men see it?” the other shocked women ask, to which Leah assures them men love it because of course the kind of men Leah would sleep with would love it, they’re not exactly the Harry Dubins of the world. 

Andy Cohen asks Leah if her family watches the show and what they think of it, and Leah explains that Kiki watches very little, Rob does watch and sometimes becomes a little jealous, her mother is scandalized, but her father loves it and has a crush on Sonja. All of this checks out.

A viewer asks Leah when she began drinking again, and Leah clarifies that she actually began drinking again about a year before the show began filming, so don’t blame the series for her falling off the wagon. And though she’s not drinking now, she has no regrets for spending 9 months getting trashed with the most fun bitches ever.

This leads Andy Cohen to his next montage: LOOK AT THESE DRUNKEN JACKHOLES.

A viewer asks all of the women if when watching the season back they ever feel like they need to address their “sloppy behavior,” and everyone is like, “I mean, have you watched the show? Yeah, it’s mortifying.”

Andy Cohen asks Dorinda specifically if she’s seen anything that might make her want to modify her behavior, and she’s like, “Of course, but at least I’m not out every single night whoring around like Ramona.” Ramona claims that she only drinks water, which is how she stays so thin, to which Dorinda assures her that she’s not that thin.


A viewer asks Leah what she meant when she told Elyse that she wishes she acted more like she did the night in Newport when she got shitfaced and insane, and Leah is like, “Yeah, I was just talking crap because I didn’t think it was Elyse’s place to criticize me. I didn’t mean it. THAT SAID, this double standard for behavior that I’m held to is some nonsense that I do not appreciate.”

Dorinda pipes in here, claiming that Ramona says terrible things about other people as a deflection, like when she called Leah a “tramp,” and said Dorinda was “angry” … But Ramona is OUTRAGED. She NEVER called Leah such a horrible thing, and Dorinda is a LIAR. Ramona then shrieks at Dorinda to “GO TO CHURCH,” and, I mean, listen, it couldn’t hurt any of these women.

Andy Cohen asks Leah what made her decide to stop drinking again and she explains that it was in part because of the pandemic: she needed to be at the top of her game for her daughter, and considering there was nothing to celebrate during lockdown, she knew she wasn’t going to be using booze in a happy way. I mean, it makes sense, but God bless her strength, as alcohol was the only thing that got me through the past year.

A viewer demands to know from The Countess if that on-camera sip of vodka was really her first taste of alcohol since she violated probation, and she insists it was. 

That said, The Countess really was the soberest, most in control cast member this season, so let’s give her that. As for her outburst in the Berkshires, yes, she explains, it gave her pause and yes it made her evaluate her “relationship” with the hooch.

We then move on to the platinum blonde elephant in the room: Dorinda. A viewer notes that no one else gets nearly as mean as Dorinda does when she drinks. Why is she so defensive? Dorinda begins talking shit about Ramona and how she attacks Dorinda’s drinking as “a zinger,” but as Andy Cohen points out, she’s not answering the question: why is she so defensive about her drinking?

Dorinda begins to go down that road, explaining that she is sensitive about her drinking, before turning on Ramona again, saying that she uses the critiques of her drinking as a “weapon.” But Andy Cohen will not let her pull the conversation off-topic: he wants to talk about Dorinda. But Dorinda? NOT READY TO TALK ABOUT DORINDA. And after a bunch of running in circles on this topic, Sonja blurts out that Dorinda has “been through a lot this year,” which she has, and we are forced to move on.

A viewer then asks why the women were so much more concerned about Sonja’s drinking this season compared to seasons past (because let’s be honest, this is not a new Sonja problem) and they help clarify something that is not immediately apparent from the show: the big difference between Sonja’s drunken shenanigans this season compared to previous seasons is that she was becoming drunker faster — behavior that would usually take 17 drinks was coming out after only one. This is also why there was some talk at the end of the previous season that Sonja was “on pills,” which she readily admits: she was! They were diuretics! And that’s why she became so drunk so quickly: she was dehydrated! And it has nothing to do with the handfuls of Xanax or antidepressants she might also be on!

Dorinda backs her up on this, claiming diuretics are also why she seemed so drunk and angry all the time. Why, she’s on them right now! Ramona asks if the pills make her need to pee a lot, and Dorinda is like, ABSOLUTELY. I NEED TO PEE RIGHT NOW.

But she does not get to go pee because our next segment is all about Tinsley and her unhealthy fairy tale relationship with Scott. After the montage, Andy Cohen asks how she and Scott are doing and she insists they are getting married (they are not), flashes her engagement ring around, and says she’s “going to Chicago tomorrow to see him,” which is a strange turn of phrase that if she already lives with him in Chicago … Why wouldn’t she just say she’s going home to him tomorrow?

I am aware that I am overthinking this, thanks.

The other women, with the exception of Dorinda, tell Tinsley that they are genuinely happy for her and ask how it’s going during the pandemic. Tinsley insists that it’s great and that they are finally in a normal situation, living a normal life. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Yeah, no.

A viewer asks Tinsley how ironic it is that she had to leave The Real Housewives of New York to become the only real housewife of the group, which isn’t really a question, but sure. While Dorinda tries to keep her eyes from rolling out of her skull, Tinsley discusses the charity work with animals she’s been doing in Chicago, in an attempt to demonstrate that she’s not just an empty vessel or something, I honestly don’t know what her point is.

Andy Cohen asks how it felt to watch back and see what the other women were saying about her relationship, and Tinsley is like, “Yeah, it sucked to not have any real support from anyone except Leah.” Ramona and The Countess tell Tinsley that they feel terrible and embarrassed that they weren’t more supportive, but that she has to understand they were skeptical considering how many times she and Scott had reunited and broken up. (AND AS IT TURNS OUT THEY WERE RIGHT TO BE SO BECAUSE WE HAD ALL SEEN THIS SHOW BEFORE AND WE ALL KNEW HOW IT WAS GOING TO END.)

A viewer asks Tinsley if the real reason she left the show was that Scott gave her an ultimatum, but she insists he didn’t. The show was an issue, of course, but before she can really finish her thought, Dorinda is yelling at her that the show is HOW THEY MET, so how can he “hate” them? Tinsley continues to answer the original question, that of course she could have finished the season, but she chose to be with him in Chicago instead. And for at least Ramona, The Countess, and Sonja, they agree that they’d leave the show for a man who was willing to put a ring on it, too.

Andy Cohen notes that he assumes Tinsley and Dorinda have not spoken since she left New York and Andy Cohen assumes correctly! And as for that mean turkey baster comment Dorinda made at Tinsley’s expense, she’s sorry, she meant it as a joke. Tinsley asks Dorinda if she would have said something similar to Andy Cohen, who also had a baby via IVF, and Andy Cohen agrees with Tinsley — he thought it was mean. But Dorinda shrugs that the others laughed, too.

The final question of this hour is from a viewer who asks Dorinda what her issue is with Tinsley: after all, Dorinda used to live a similar lifestyle when Richard was alive. And Tinsley, not Dorinda, has an ILLUMINATING answer. Apparently, when the group went to Miami in season 11, off-camera, Tinsley mentioned to Dorinda that Scott had given Fudgie some money, a loan that Dorinda apparently did not know about. Dorinda was FURIOUS with Fudgie but took it out on Tinsley. In fact, Dorinda was so completely out of control, the producers did not want Tinsley to stay in the same house with her, because they were worried for her personal safety.

Furthermore, while we don’t have any footage of the fight that broke out between Tinsley and Dorinda, there is footage of Dorinda calling Fudgie and screaming at him about how SHE DOESN’T WANT HIM TALKING TO SCOTT and HE BETTER FUCKING LISTEN TO HER.

Tinsley then tells Dorinda that she’s done nothing to earn Dorinda’s hatred and jealousy and that Dorinda needs to move on. SPEAK YOUR TRUTH, TINS. (Just don’t be surprised when Dorinda indulges in a bit of schadenfreude a few months from now.)

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The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.

2 thoughts on “‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: Social-lite Distancing

  1. Thank you! Thank you! I thought you gave up recapping my favorite loons! You are the best.
    At one time there was a writer or two that
    had the comedic touch like you. No more.
    It’s dull boring play by play, no wonderful snarky twist…which is part of the fun of watching!
    Thanks again…you always make me laugh!

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