RHONY Recap: S10, Ep. 4 – “Fashion No-ment”

We return to Luann’s brunch, where Dorinda is in the midst of storming out after her epic meltdown over Sonja’s nutjob-iness. Luann is pleading with Dorinda to cut Sonja some slack (since she’s a nutjob) but Dorinda is having none of it; Ramona is pleading with Sonja to apologize to Dorinda but Sonja–as usual–refuses to take any responsibility for her part in this mess.

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Dorinda gets in a last dig at Sonja, throwing out that if Richard were alive, he would still love and respect her, whereas Sonja threw her marriage away by cheating on her husband. Sonja denies she would have ever jeopardized her “beautiful marriage” like that, but Luann seems to confirm that Sonja’s fooling around in the South of France was indeed the reason for her divorce. I don’t doubt it–Sonja seems to have a hard time staying away from the D.

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As Ramona and a still-hysterical Dorinda drive away, Ramona gets down to the real problem here: she is having a dinner that night–seated! with one table!–and two of her guests may never speak to each other again. What is she going to do??! Ramona has some nerve. It’s a good thing she made that comment in a talking head, because since Dorinda was offended by the audacity of Sonja’s narcissism, hearing the audacity of Ramona’s narcissism might have sent her completely over the edge.

Over in Bridgehampton, Bethenny is showing Carole and Tinsley her new investment property. It’s an 8-bedroom, 6-bath property with an unfinished attic and therefore tons of potential. It’s also one of the few historic properties left in the Hamptons, because people keep knocking down older houses to build McMansions. Here is where there is a regional disconnect because, where I live, an 8-bedroom, 6-bath house IS a McMansion.

While the three of them are outside admiring the pool, Carole calls Dorinda in response to her distraught text. Naturally Carole, being a widow herself, sympathizes with Dorinda in the brunch debacle, while Bethenny, having been through the world’s nastiest divorce, can see Sonja’s point of view. Dorinda thinks divorce is a choice, while death is a tragedy. I’m not sure it’s that black and white–who’s to say what constitutes a tragedy in someone else’s life?

Ramona is discussing her investment philosophy with Dorinda as they get ready for the dinner party. She would rather have her money in a SOUTH of the highway Hamptons house that she can use and enjoy rather than in the stock market where it just sits there. Her house has appreciated seven times over and she can periodically rent it out tax-free. This actually makes sense. Ramona is so crazy, I forget she’s a business woman who has done pretty well for herself. Ramona likes to comment on her own success, which is kind of annoying, but she tempers that by pointing out that she came from nothing and built everything she has on her own. (With a little help from Mario, I’m sure). I loved that about Heather (holla!), too. It’s much better than Sonja pretending she was to the manor born all the time.

Everyone arrives, and as Bethenny points out, they all look ridiculous. Carole is the worst offender with her “fashion moment” tattoo body suit, but Bethenny, Bethenny’s boyfriend Dennis, Luann and Ramona are all tarted up like they’re on their way to a poor man’s Carnivale. And Tinsley is wearing yet another oversized bow.

Sonja and Ramona immediately get into it because Sonja is miffed Ramona didn’t stick up for her at Luann’s brunch. Tinsley hears their raised voices and wants to stay away from the fray, but Dorinda channels the “Meddler” and tells her she should jump in there with them. Before she can, Ramona calls everyone to the table, where it’s about to go down.

Carole is confused because she thought this was supposed to be a party celebrating her marathon run, but there it is just a family-style buffet with no marathon memorabilia. “Marathon memorabilia”-huh? What is she expecting? Ramona gives a nice toast congratulating Carole on her achievement, and that should be enough for Princess Radziwill.

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Luann, not realizing that Bethenny’s date is the “married man” she accused Bethenny of dating at the last reunion, tries to make polite small talk by asking how he and Bethenny met. An awkward moment ensues when everyone informs her that this is in fact THE Dennis, but the Countess recovers nicely, even, at Bethenny’s shrewish prompting, apologizing to him for her reunion comments. I remember a time when this little exchange would have devolved into a Berkshires-style throwdown, but in this case everyone lets is go and all–surprisingly–is well.

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Sonja is mad that she is relegated to the corner of the table when Dorinda, who she thinks started the brouhaha at the brunch, is “right in the middle” of the table. Not true–Dorinda is at the other end of the table, in the same seat Sonja is, but on the opposite side. Sonja starts babbling about Rocco to her “Hamptons friends,” and somehow Dorinda hears her from her end of the table, hollers that Sonja is not dating Rocco and calls her a “liar, liar, ho on fire.” Dorinda is obviously getting into the wine, and that can only bode well for the evening. Clip, clip.

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Sonja fires back that she IS dating Rocco and she’s not a liar. This is Tinsley’s cue to ask Sonja why she’s been going around town lying about her and her finances. Sonja maintains that she’s not lying about Tinsley, and her money is coming from somewhere–her boyfriend, her “mommy” –but not from Tinsley herself. She doesn’t believe Tinsley paid for the infamous gift card or anything else in her life, prompting Tinsley to jump up and yell at Sonja to close her mouth and close her legs. Good advice.

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Tinsley writes out a check to pay Sonja back for her room and board, but Sonja doesn’t want her money–she wants her love. Huh? Then maybe Sonja shouldn’t be telling Page Six that Tinsley is basically a high-class escort. She tries to return the check to Tinsley but Tinsley throws it back at her. Bethenny intercepts it and burns it over one of the candles on the table, thus ending that little bit of drama.

The caterers come out with a cake for Carole, and everyone congratulates her once again on the marathon.

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Still unsatisfied, Carole gives Ramona’s attempt at a “themed” marathon party an F. How gracious. Where did Carole get the idea this was supposed to be a theme party anyway? What’s wrong with getting friends together for a nice dinner in your honor? Obviously they threw better parties at ABC News when Carole worked there. Because she used to work at ABC News. In case you didn’t know.

The next morning, Dorinda and Ramona are having some hair of the dog while Ramona shows a nice text she received from, of all people, John Mahdessian. She asks Dorinda about the state of her and John’s relationship, and what Dorinda says without really saying it is that she has outgrown John. Interesting. And finally!

Ramona may have gotten a nice text from John, but she’s gotten a nasty text from her former BFF Sonja.

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It’s basically a verbose rehash of everything she said to Ramona at the party last night that ends with her calling Ramona an “unfeeling POS.” Neither Ramona nor Dorinda know what is going on with Sonja, but they’re both over her behavior.

As is Tinsley, who is rehashing the previous night with Carole over at the Topping Rose. The Sonja she used to know was fun and light-hearted, but the Sonja of today just seems dark and depressed. Everyone pretty much agrees that Sonja is, in Bethenny’s word, “imploding.” She’s actually been imploding for about 4 seasons now, but where she used to be merely pathetic, she’s now becoming pathetic and mean.

Tinsley and Carole hit up the bartender for place cards for yet another brunch–will these women never learn? (And of course the bartender at the fancy Topping Rose has a supply of place cards on hand.) They relegate Sonja to the end of the table again, far away from Tinsley and Dorinda, and place her across from Ramona, with whom they think she is still on good terms–they don’t know about the text yet. Ramona is not pleased with the placement and concocts a scheme to relocate to the other end of the table without making it seem she’s deliberately removing herself from Sonja’s presence.

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She pretends to consult Dorinda and Tinsley about a decorating project, while at the other end of the table Sonja is complaining about Ramona to Carole. She babbles about being the fun one at all the parties and then having to go home and be in the trenches. No one knows what she’s talking about and they all tell her she’s losing the “fun.” Ramona yells down the table that Sonja needs to learn how to listen, but before it can descend into yet another screaming altercation, the Countess steps in and asks for the check.  With that, another delightful Housewives brunch is in the can.

 

 

 

 

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RHONY Recap: Til Brunch Do Us Part

It’s Veterans Day weekend, and everyone is headed to the Hamptons for Bethenny’s birthday. Bethenny is a Scorpio–that explains a lot. Sonja as usual is a flustered mess trying to pack, and ends up dragging the equivalent of the contents of three bag ladies’ grocery carts plus her dog onto the Hampton Jitney.

 

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It would be a nightmare to be seated next to Sonja on the Jitney, or a plane–anything really–and have to endure her harmless but inane chatter for the entire trip. But is she really harmless? The other ladies aren’t so sure.

Dorinda is driving Tinsley and Carole out East and they spend the drive ripping on Sonja.

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They all agree that Sonja is “nasty nice,” couching her digs in seeming compliments. Tinsley is mad at her for saying Scott pays for Tinsley’s life, which, as Tinsley indignantly points out, is ridiculous because she has always lived in the style to which she is currently accustomed–she was a debutante and grew up in the biggest house in Richmond, for God’s sake! (And this was before she married a Mortimer and ruled the Manhattan social scenes.) Tinsley doesn’t really have a problem with being a kept woman, but the point is that she doesn’t have to be one in order to maintain her lifestyle. I love Tinsley–she’s a Lu in training, mugshot and all.

Lu stops into a lovely little cheese shop in Sag Harbor to order a gift basket for Bethenny. She fills it with wine, cheese, aged balsamic vinegar and other specialty products from the area. I would LOVE to receive one of Lu’s gift baskets, but I’m pretty sure Bethenny will find something hateful to say about it–she just can’t help herself.

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While the gift basket is being prepared, Lu heads over to the local hardware store to begin fulfilling her weekend house guest Sonja’s list of demands. Sonja is juicing, so to begin with, she needs a blender. I wonder why Luann doesn’t already have a blender, but apparently she doesn’t. I also wonder how regular people like hardware store workers and cheese shop owners can afford to live in the Hamptons–either they have long commutes, are independently wealthy, or their families have lived there for generations and bought land when it was going for about ten cents an acre–which probably means that by now they are independently wealthy.

Bethenny seems mildly miffed that Carole is staying in a hotel with Tinsley instead of with her, but thinks it could be for the best since her daughter Brynn is at the house this weekend. Just to make sure, she calls up one of her trusty sycophants–this one is identified as “Meghan–Brand Manager”–who naturally validates this notion by telling Bethenny that she needs her space. I feel like most of the people who work for Bethenny bear vague, courtesy titles like “Brand Manager” or “Product Specialist,” but are really only there to alternately stroke her ego and talk her off the ledge. I guarantee you they are earning every dime they make.

Ramona has a fancy new car that she thinks is sexy, powerful and energetic–just like her. She is revamping her Hamptons home and has purchased some new art for it. The artist and his friend for some reason are standing in her driveway when she arrives, and she immediately ropes them into helping her carry in her luggage, move her new furniture around and fix her TV. As Ramona herself points out, she is not one to let an opportunity for underlings (Ramona perceives pretty much everyone as an underling) to do her bidding go by.

I wonder if the editors are as over Sonja as Tinsley and Dorinda are, because, after showing us Luann’s sporty new 2-seater Mercedes and Ramona’s Maserati or whatever it is, they show Sonja pulling up to Luann’s house in her circa 1997 Mercedes, baggage and dog in tow. She neglected to tell Lu she was bringing her dog, but the Countess takes it in stride. I’m sure Lu is long-resigned to the fact that Sonja is the rudest, most exhausting house guest on the planet. (Well, next to Ramona, but since Ramona has her own Hamptons house, she doesn’t have to inflict herself on her friends.) Lu and Sonja hang out in Lu’s charming kitchen and dish about Tinsley and Carole.

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Oblivious as usual, Sonja thinks she and Tinsley are fine even though she hasn’t heard from Tinsley, and Sonja and Luann are both annoyed by Carole’s terse responses to their congratulatory emails regarding the marathon. Luann got an actual “Thanks,” while Sonja only received a “Thx.”

Dorinda, Tinsley and Carole arrive at Ramona’s after spending 5 hours driving approximately 95 miles–why don’t these people just take the train?–and all of them head out for Bethenny’s birthday dinner. Despite being 12 minutes late, Bethenny is the first to arrive at the restaurant. This of course sends her into a fit of anxiety so she stamps her well-shod foot in frustration and–wait for it–makes one of her obligatory, tired “quips”–it’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to. Good one, Bethenny.

Everyone shows up pretty soon after Bethenny does, and this will be a typical Housewives dinner. The first problem is that Tinsley doesn’t want to sit next to Sonja. Bethenny points out that the table is the size of a postage stamp so pretty much everyone is going to be sitting next to Sonja. The next problem is that Sonja refers to Carole’s new ash-blonde hair color as gray. Nasty nice? Or just nasty?

While Sonja settles in at one end of the postage stamp, at the other, Dorinda and Carole are complaining about her to Luann. Luann is noncommittal, and before Sonja can overhear the conversation she goes in on Carole for the “Thx.” Carole is not having it and basically tells Sonja to zip it–something more people should tell Sonja more often. But Sonja isn’t the only one who feels offended by Carole’s lack of communication. Bethenny texted her throughout marathon day and claims to never have received a response. This prompts Carole to pull out her phone to prove that Carole did indeed respond to Bethenny’s texts, which prompts Bethenny to pull out her phone to prove that she didn’t. This petty exchange goes back and forth, with Bethenny calling Carole defensive and Carole claiming she’s just “correcting” Bethenny (which amazingly doesn’t send Bethenny into apoplexy).

This fight is not about whether Carole responded to Bethenny’s texts about the marathon; it is an excuse to release the tension that has arisen between these two because their friendship is not what it used to be. Bethenny feels replaced by Carole’s new BFF Tinsley, and Carole has a new BFF because she was tired of being Bethenny’s meek little yes-man.

Ramona is just happy that Carole has found her voice and is using it to stand up to Bethenny. Usually Ramona is the only one with the balls to contradict her, and she’s always ending up in “the hot water” for doing so. Ramona doesn’t end up in “the hot water” for contradicting Bethenny, she ends up in the hot water for saying things like Bethenny slept her way to the top, has no friends and will inevitably screw up every relationship in her life. That’s not really contradicting someone; that’s going for the jugular. Bethenny is no stranger to such tactics, so I don’t feel bad for her when Ramona does this, but…semantics.

Next we move on to Luann and Tom. Lu tells Bethenny she wishes she would have listened to her, but she was blinded by love and refused to see what was right in front of her face. Bethenny is not satisfied with this meager mea culpa and needs Luann to tell her she was right, which Luann does. “You were fucking right,” she says–not once but twice, and all is well with Bethenny and Lu.

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Luann tells the table she is tired of talking about Tom and feels she doesn’t need to, since the whole tawdry business was splashed all over the tabloids. She just wants to move on. Sonja chimes in that Luann doesn’t live in the past–which she doesn’t, and I applaud her for it–but Ramona wants Lu to know that her friends want to talk about it with her so they can support her through it. It’s a kind, articulate, un-Ramona-like thing to say, and I’m proud of her for saying it. When Tinsley adds that she wasn’t trying to be mean when she lambasted Lu over her marriage at their lunch, Lu tells her she was kind of mean, then, having made her point, masterfully turns the conversation around to the Tinsley/Scott situation. Tinsley would have gladly packed up and moved to Chicago if Scott had asked, but he didn’t ask.

Despite all the conflict at the table, the dinner ends well with Luann rasping a Marilyn Monroe-ish rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Bethenny, and all the ladies dancing around the restaurant. Can I just point out that this scene depicts every restaurant worker’s nightmare? The place has completely emptied out except for this one VIP table that lingers and lingers, oblivious to the fact that most of these people just want to get the fuck out of there and go home, or to the club, or wherever else. I hope they tipped well enough to justify keeping the restaurant open and making the staff stand around and twiddle their thumbs until they deigned to leave.

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It’s the next morning and the titular brunch is up next. Before that, I have to point out a pet peeve. Carole is talking about how she doesn’t bother to lock doors while Tinsley does, and says, “that’s the difference between Tinsley and I.” Everyone makes this mistake, but Carole is a writer and should know better. In this context, it’s “Tinsley and me.”

There are two brunches going on simultaneously. In Bridgehampton, Brunch 1 consists of Carole, Tinsley and Bethenny. Bethenny is irritated on arrival as Carole and Tinsley are too engrossed in their conversation about Tinsely’s frozen eggs to care that Bethenny is going to use the restroom.

In Sag Harbor, Brunch 2 begins with Sonja shuffling downstairs in a caftan wearing Luann’s slippers. She is happy she’s not at Dorinda’s because here, she can go “shopping” in her hostess’ closet without repercussions. Sonja is so rude. I cannot wait for the Dorinda smackdown. Speaking of Dorinda, when she and Ramona arrive everyone starts rehashing last night’s dinner until Sonja has to start babbling about herself. She can eat and drink anything she wants and remain thin; she’s only gained weight because of the antidepressants she’s on. She insists she’s not depressed but rather riddled with anxiety because of all the stresses in her life. Blah, blah, blah.

Dorinda is over it. She is sick of Sonja thinking she’s the only one who’s experienced hardships in life–she’s not the only mother whose kid has gone to boarding school and is worried about what college she’ll get into, she’s not the only person who’s been divorced, and she’s not the only person who’s had financial problems. As usual, Dorinda is right. Look out Sonja, because the Dornado is gathering righteous steam.

The ladies at Brunch 1 are also rehashing the previous night, and Tinsley explains why she’s mad at Sonja. She thinks that Sonja saying she moved to New York to find a rich man to take care of her is tantamount to calling her an escort. Bethenny thinks that since Tinsley’s claim to fame is being a socialite, becoming a kept woman is the next logical step and that there’s no difference between a kept woman and a trust fund baby. Um, there is. Kept women have to work for their money. The three of them leave the restaurant to go tour Bethenny’s new house, but we’re going to have to wait until next week for the real estate porn, because over in Sag Harbor, Dorinda is about to go off.

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Sonja makes some crack about Ramona using guys then dumping them–most recently her contractor, Mario–which upsets Ramona because it’s not true. Dorinda tells Sonja this is where she gets herself into trouble and she needs to stop making sweeping generalizations about people about whom she knows nothing. Ramona tries to make peace by saying they should make a pact to be more thoughtful about how they talk about each other, and I have to say that this has been a good episode for Ramona. Who is this rational, mature woman?

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Sonja is still sputtering that what she’s saying about Ramona and her discarded men is true when Luann tries to divert her by saying Sonja’s been through a lot. That is all it takes for Dorinda. She is sick of people making excuses for Sonja. Sonja is not the only person who has been through a lot and everyone is tired of hearing about how bad Sonja has had it. Sonja is still whining about her divorce when the marriage ended 12 or 15 years ago and it is beyond time to move on. Dorinda BURIED her husband and she’s managed to move on. Sonja says she’s sick of hearing about Richard all the time, which is a terribly insensitive thing to say for someone who was just blathering about how sensitive she is to everyone around her.

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Terribly insensitive and really stupid, because Dorinda rises out her seat to point in Sonja’s face and drive home the fact that Sonja’s husband LEFT her and Dorinda’s husband DIED. She tells Sonja not to compare her “fucking marriage,” which ended because Sonja was “fucking around” in the South of France, to Richard’s death. YES, Dorinda! Let’s hear the dirt about the real reasons why Mr. Morgan left Sonja!

Dorinda takes things to Defcon 4, but she is absolutely right most of the time. Sonja is really insufferable and it’s time people called her on her shit. When she was a drunken mess, her behavior could be attributed to alcohol; now that she doesn’t drink, it’s become obvious she’s a self-centered weakling who has no idea what it means to be a grown woman or a friend. “Nasty nice,” indeed.

Dorinda’s not done yet–the tirade continues next week.