‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: Cancelling the Culture

The Real Housewives of New York
“A High Rate of Interest”
May 19, 2021

It’s morning in the Hamptons, and there’s a slight worry that 197-year-old dog Coco might be dead in bed with Ramona and Sonja, but Ramona insists that her dog just sleeps very deeply. (Because she’s mostly-dead.) Sonja also discusses Eboni and how pleased she was that she opened up so much about her mother and also nearly-dead grandmother, that it was a big deal she was so willing to be vulnerable with them, a weird coven of rich white ladies that she didn’t know from Adam two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, The Countess swings by Eboni’s room on the pretense that she needs a nail file, but really to scold her for pulling an Irish goodbye the night before. Eboni insists she did have a good time, and explains it’s just that it was a lot of day for her, what with Ramona being low-key disrespectful towards Michelle, the nice catering lady. Eboni tells The Countess about Ramona calling Michelle by the wrong name and then sighing that she can’t keep “her help” straight. Eboni then goes on to explain that her grandmother was a domestic worker, and so she bristles at the term “help” as being demeaning. The Countess warns Eboni that everyone has their faults, and Ramona, in particular, has more than her share. Truth.

Ramona and Sonja get ready for the day, putting on their knee-length fur vests, headscarves, and floppy hats, so when Leah comes in wearing a tiger-striped crop top with some admittedly very loud pants that mix camo and leopard prints, and Ramona has the nerve to tell Leah that it’s too much outfit and demand that she go put on a plain white t-shirt, well … it’s a bold move. Leah refuses to change because Ramona is not the mistress of the fashion police and also SHE’S NOT HER MOTHER.

The ladies load up into a party bus — or they start to until Ramona realizes it’s 90 degrees outside and her ugly-ass purple fur vest is unnecessary and goes to change. The 90 degree-weather does not dissuade The Countess from wearing her ugly-ass brown fur vest that Sonja is convinced was made from Marley.


The Countess explains the day’s schedule: they will begin at a winery for a wine tasting; then go to Greenport where they will go shopping before going to a very cool hotel for dinner. And that all sounds great on paper, but in practice, starting the day guzzling rosé with these dingdongs is always a fatal error.

So they arrive at this winery but before the waitress can take their orders, The Countess is running back to the party bus to grab a bottle of her frauxsé so that she doesn’t feel left out. Leah worries that The Countess has only been sober for a month and that GOING to a WINERY might not have been the best idea. Ramona insists The Countess is fine, but Leah is pretty sure she’s just trying to prove something.

Eboni applauds Ramona for managing to remember their waitress’ name and asks if she can share why she found Ramona’s comment about “the help” triggering. Ramona at first tries to pull her “let’s do this privately” crap, but Eboni is not having it, and forces Ramona to sit there and listen. Eboni tells Ramona about her grandmother and reaffirms that “the help” just isn’t the best way to refer to another human being. Ramona at first defends it by saying that she hires people to help her, so she’s just being literal, but Eboni, calmly, explains that calling people “the help” can make people feel devalued.

And then the most amazing thing happens: Ramona seems to hear her and accepts this gentle correction with graciousness.

I can’t believe it either.

Somehow a toast of “hospitality assistants” becomes a toast to front-line workers, and how crazy this whole pandemic thing is, which leads us to Ramona once again declaring that she had the antibodies for COVID, something she found out at a testing site in Florida.

Leah asks about Ramona donating blood plasma, a claim she made to People Magazine over the summer, and Ramona’s like, “Yep. I did that. If I said it, I did it.” But Leah and Sonja aren’t buying it for a second, pointing out that donating plasma is not like donating blood but a very involved process, and, more damning: if Ramona had donated plasma, she certainly would have posted about it on Instagram.

Ramona repeats that she and her daughter and Mario “went to a center to get the antibody test,” and they tested positive and she wants to leave it at that. But of course, getting a test for antibodies and donating plasma are two entirely different things. Leah keeps pressing, accusing Ramona directly of lying about the donation to distract from her shitty oblivious behavior. This goes on for a while, Leah screaming at Ramona that she’s a lying liar and Ramona responding with “WHATEVER YOU SAY, LEAH,” while in an attempt to calm shit down, Eboni keeps insisting that Ramona admitted she didn’t donate plasma.

She did no such thing.

Eventually, Ramona flees the table while calling Leah a “VICIOUS GIRL,” and Leah turns on the women at the table, complaining that they weren’t backing her up …

… Which suggests to me, there was some pre-show conversation between at least some of them about a plan to confront Ramona about plasma-gate.

That’s right, I just broke the biggest story in reality television: sometimes scenes are planned and manipulated. I’ll be waiting by my mailbox for my Pulitzer.

Eboni points out to Leah that she was never going to get what she wanted from Ramona — an admission and an apology — by approaching her that way, and that she needs to try to extract information with a more gentle touch. “You caught a bitch.” Sonja declares, and Eboni adds, “Now rest your case.”

Eboni is absolutely one thousand percent correct and is offering advice my own lawyer husband would give about conflict resolution. But here’s the thing: I would absolutely one thousand percent come at Ramona the exact same way Leah did because some of us are born into large loud drunken Catholic families who resolve conflict by screaming at the top of our lungs and there’s just nothing to be done about it.

Meanwhile, The Countess follows Ramona into the winery where she has locked herself into the bathroom. When The Countess calls out to her and asks if Ramona wants her to join her, Ramona declares loud enough for everyone inside to hear, “I’M ON THE TOILET, FOR CHRISSAKES. I AM HAVING DIARRHEA.” 


The Countess returns to the group to report that Ramona is literally shitting her pants. Ramona soon emerges from the bathroom but refuses to return to the table and instead wanders the grounds with Sonja. There, she insists that Leah has anger issues and that she’s not going to “succumb” to the bullshit, and Sonja agrees that it’s a “cancellation,” and that “everyone wants to cancel everyone” these days.

No, nope, that’s not what that means.

Ramona, who is wearing THIS:

Also has the AUDACITY to complain that Leah is wearing “10 prints.” God bless this oblivious asshole.

Sonja, to her immense credit, points out that Ramona is currently wearing a bunch of prints, too, and Ramona responds by letting out another primal scream. Because ultimately that’s the entire philosophy of this show — and really all of the Real Housewives franchises: when you’re caught being a hypocrite or a liar, just start screaming.

On their way back to the table, some man who was not asked compliments Sonja on her “amazing body,” which, my dudes, please don’t. But Sonja’s into it because she’s been having some body issues lately.

Eventually, they return to the other women, and Eboni, trying to make an undeserving Ramona feel more comfortable, tells her that she thinks they had a good conversation and that she appreciates that Ramona really listened to her. Ramona replies that she appreciates that Eboni was able to explain herself without BEING AGGRESSIVE, LEAH, and with that, they clink glasses, chug the remainders of their wine, fill their purses with leftover lobster rolls, and load back up onto the party bus.

It’s in the party bus that Eboni realizes that Sonja is drunk — SONJA DRUNK — and wonders if she missed Sonja doing 7 shots somewhere along the way. As The Countess is going on about new boyfriend Garth, Sonja keeps calling him Garrett and joking, but in a really hostile way, about him “riding The Countess’ ass across the plains.” So, it’s not much of a surprise when they arrive at Greenpoint for some tipsy shopping, Ramona pulls the glass of wine Sonja is trying to bring with her out of her hand, only to be called the “Wine Police,” by a belligerent Sonja.

We are only one-third of the way through the day’s activities.

They go to precious boutiques full of over-priced precious things, and in one store, Ramona jokes about buying some sage to purify the house before Heather arrives. In their interviews, Leah jokes/warns that Heather doesn’t know what she’s about to walk into and Ramona admits that she is second-guessing having invited Heather based on Leah’s reaction.

On their way between stores, the ladies discuss eating more oysters (because that is DEFINITELY what Ramona’s IBS needs, more raw seafood) and Eboni reveals that she was a Hooters waitress at one time. They joke about it being about her “big tits and big tips” but Eboni insists it was really about her personality. I don’t know how or why this might come back up again, but I have a feeling I need to stick a pin in it for later.

The women then go to yet another boutique, where Sonja seems to have somehow become even drunker? despite not having access to alcohol for the past hour or so? and she begins to loudly complain about Garth again. The Countess finds the black puffy sweater that she’s been wearing in her interviews and offers to buy one for Sonja, too, even as Sonja pouts that it looks so much better on The Countess. The women urge her to stop being so self-loathing while she goes on to declare that she “HATES GARTH. It’s just me and The Countess, NO GARTH.”

“Trouble’s on the way,” announces Ramona in an interview, “and it begins with the big A, ALCOHOL.”

The women arrive at the restaurant where Sonja orders a glass of rosé out of sensitivity to her two friends who are not drinking, because that’s just logic. When they also order some oysters and shrimp, and Eboni winkingly jokes that she doesn’t want any “shrimps” Sonja starts yelling about how she doesn’t like a big dick because they are a “nuisance” at her age.

Eboni tells the women that she has had a great day with them, and notes that if she’s being honest, she’s not used to hanging out with this many white women. She then adds that she feels connected, and appreciates that they’ve made space for her.

And y’all? The Karens out on Twitter are SO MAD at her for this, calling her racist, to the point that Eboni had to address it on her Instagram.

Seriously. Learn what actual racism is, dummies.

Meanwhile, The Countess is struggling with the urge to have a drink, and goes outside for a smoke break, before returning to have another glass of frauxsé. Leah, who is having a “mocktail” of her own, notes that maybe it’s not a great idea for The Countess to be drinking non-alcoholic wine from a wine glass — that maybe it’s too confusing this early into her trying to give up drinking. But The Countess counters that Leah is doing the same thing by drinking a mocktail in a cocktail glass at a bar. And ladies! You’re both right!

The ladies then retreat to their private dining room to finally get some food in them and absorb all this booze. There, Miss “Big Penises are Nuisances” is now growling that she wants a “big bone” before wondering if that’s “P.C.” to say and worrying that she’s going to be canceled. The Countess is all, “Yes! Cancel culture, that was the phrase I was looking for earlier!” and Ramona, God bless her, asks — in all sincerity — why we would want to cancel culture. If she didn’t exist, we’d have to make her up.

Sonja starts rambling about how she wasn’t drinking but then she had a few drinks so she decided to start drinking again but it’s not because anyone pressured her to drink … and that’s when The Wine Police takes Sonja’s glass away from her for the second time in a matter of hours.

Leah then brings up the plan for Heather’s arrival the next day and begins reading out loud all the shit things Heather has said about the other women, including making fun of Sonja’s facelift and claiming that The Countess was doing hard drugs. Sonja, who as we have established is very drunk, doesn’t think one way or another about this revelation, but The Countess is pissed. And while she’s inclined to disinvite Heather, she decides, instead, that she wants Heather to say this to her FACE.

They then go over the actual plan for the day, which will begin with a workout led by The Countess’ new toy, Garth. This prompts The Countess to decide to show him off, and she  FaceTimes him there at the table, forcing him to say hello to all her drunk asshole friends.

Sonja, feeling left out, then FaceTimes some friend of hers? A guy named William? And shows off her puffy sweater while the other women stare on in amazement. After William hangs up on her, Sonja starts slurring that she has her own connections to “how things work,” and declares that we need to protect the poor “because stocks are going up and the poor are getting poorer and the homeless are getting homelesser …” And what I think Sonja is trying to say that this William guy is some sort of diversity head at J.P. Morgan, and she has worked with him on AIDS and other causes, but it’s admittedly hard to follow. Ramona starts stage-whispering to The Countess that Sonja is “out of it,” which only further infuriates Sonjaw who literally beings screaming, “I’VE RAISED MILLIONS FOR AIDS AWARENESS, MILLIONS FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY.”

As the food arrives, Sonja calls poor William back while also screaming at Ramona that she should SHUT THE FUCK UP, and poor William is left asking if Sonja is OK.

No, William, she is not.

Eboni takes the phone from Sonja and asks if William works for J.P. Morgan and Chase, and he affirms that he is the “Global Supplier for Diversity,” whatever the hell that is. Eboni notes that Chase has just pledged $30 billion towards closing the wealth gap — which I suppose is what Sonja was rambling about? — before adding that she just got her new mortgage through Chase. Ramona chirps that Wells Fargo has better rates, prompting Sonja to scream at her to SHUT THE FUCK UP again, but Eboni steps in, explaining calmly that Wells Fargo does have better rates, but that she appreciates what Chase is doing to make a difference, particularly in her community.

Sonja, however, is not placated, and shoves Ramona while screaming, “YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT WELLS FARGO! YOU INSULT MY FAMILY! IT’S NOT J.P. MORGAN! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”

But that and other questions must wait because this is …

The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.

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