Karen Valby
May 13, 2009 AT 06:44 PM EDT

I laughed! I cried! I was proud of Simon for remaining backstage, though I suspect some Bravo underling was tasked with distracting him with pretend questions about the cut of his pants and designer of his shoes!

Bravo’s Andy Cohen was completely at home with the New York ladies, relaxed and unwilling to coddle or sweet-talk them. I always thought I would kill for the chance to have these broads in one room, so that I could force them into accountability. But he did a damn fine job. Whether telling Ramona she had a big mouth or forcing her to stop blabbering and acknowledge Bethenny’s tears or admitting that he had passed on an offer to see Jill’s reduced breasts backstage. (Andy’s two missteps: I could have gone without the images of Bobby diddling in Jill’s playground or Silex in heat.)

First, some revelations: Jill has gone from a 32G to a DD, but wantsto mellow into a D. Bethenny had to account for her swimmies from thegreen bikini scene (a lift). Andy wondered with a straight face ifKelly was like the female version of Chris Brown. She spoke of anobsessive boyfriend who has tried to ruin her name, then she startedcrying and refused a tissue. Then she mashed some words together thatprobably had sounded good when she said them to her mirror the nightbefore, but brought to mind something I might have overheard at a Phishconcert sophomore year in college: “The grass isn’t always greener. Itreally isn’t. It doesn’t matter how much fertilizer you have.” Then shemade it sound like she really did swipe the idea for her owl charmsfrom a woman at Elle, despite her claims that as a daughter of a lawyershe would never enter into a verbal agreement. (Also, let’s all notethe irony that Kelly, whose job was covering parties or something forthe New York Post, claims the New York Post printed these horrible untruths about her.)

Bethenny couldn’t resist slipping in some ill-advised digs duringKelly’s dream sequence. Let the woman hang herself, dear. Dole out yourquips judiciously. But she acquitted herself well throughout the restof the hour. When Alex, who said all of 25 words but used them wisely,called her out on her tendency to give people a blank face but thensnark nastily to the cameras, Bethenny took it and admitted someregret. And then when Andy read aloud a squib from Ramona’s blog whereshe made a mean-spirited dig about Bethenny’s lousy love life, Bethennytold her how that had hurt her. Poor Ramona, who does not have it inher to ever accept responsibility gracefully, started shrieking thatBethenny had hurt her feelings by dismissing her dating rules asancient. Jill took Bethenny’s hand and held on tight. Then Andy read asnippet from an article where Kelly blasted Bethenny for being acrybaby. So Bethenny started crying a little and said so what? So whatif I’m sad sometimes? And Kelly started growling/gasping/whining thatBethenny is a fox and don’t cry over some man!

Enter LuAnn, who I may become a Facebook fan of today. She askedKelly in all seriousness if the woman had many female friends. Kellyseesawed from the fact that she has a ton of girlfriends to she hasthree girlfriends. Everyone agreed that Kelly probably doesn’t havegirlfriends. Good question LuAnn! The Countess described a 16-yearmarriage ending over email, and her suspicion that the rumor that theother woman was a princess was manufactured by the cheating couple. Iadmit to tearing up when she described the chilliness of her longseparation with the Count. “I’m always out by myself. I want somebodyto hold onto me and hug me and love me,” she said, her face flushing.(“And you deserve that,” soothed Jill.) She’ll keep her title forever,and she’ll move on. What about moving on to the charming Philippe, whoBethenny is no longer seeing? Bravo, put it together!

Ramona was a disaster for much of the reunion. She just can’t shutup. She can’t ever say I’m sorry without rolling her eyes. She can’tlisten. But I’ll give her this: I feel like she spoke movingly abouther childhood as an explanation for her skittish aggressiveness. Hermom was verbally abused her whole life by her Dad. As a defense, shelearned to shut down. “A lot of time i’m very glib in social situationsbecause I’m used to that,” she said, stunning everyone with her raremoment of coherent self-awareness. “But I do the best I can.” Mama BearJill was moved. “Good answer,” she said approvingly. But then Ramonahad to go and be a ding dong when Alex was asked to address Simon’scuckoo pop goes the weasel moment in the back of the cab. “I grew up inan abusive household,” Ramona said. “Does he abuse you emotionally andphysically?”

Alex stayed mum throughout most of the episode. But that woman issmart as a whip. When Ramona called out the behavior of les petiteoeufs, she admitted she had rambunctious young boys on her hands. Butthey had enough good manners to know that it’s unkind to say cruelthings to another person. That shut everyone up for a good second.

The star of the reunion, the star of my television, the daughter of Gloria: Jill, ladies and gentleman.
Herewith, her best lines of the evening:

“Where do you think Brooklyn is? Ohio?”
“No one’s suing me!”
“You took it literally that you’re older than the telephone?!”
Explaining Ramona’s dance number with Simon in the finale “Too much pinot grigio!”
And, when LuAnn reminds Ramona that sent her a magnum of champagne tomake up for their scuffle at the Cancer Society, Jill piped up not oncebut twice in the background: “That I paid for by the way and you neverpaid me back!”

What did you all think PopWatchers? Will you show back up for Part 2on Thursday? Did Kelly’s tears soften your hearts? Did LuAnn’s? Did youenjoy Andy Cohen as much as I did?

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