I have two major complaints with part one of the Real Housewives of New York reunion: First, there was no performance of “Money Can’t Buy You Class,” LuAnn’s terrible dance/spoken word song about proper upbringings. And second, there was no Sonja Morgan, my reason for waking up in the morning… or at least for sitting through an hour-long reunion special. Sonja can distract us from all of this crazy with her wild dancing and low-cut dresses. Though disappointed, I had my glass of Pinot Grigio ready to go (which was very necessary), and soldiered on.
The ladies were seated according to the “teams” this season ended with – Ramona, Bethenny, and Alex on one couch, and Jill, Clueless Kelly, and LuAnn on the other. Andy started things off by addressing an otherwise nonentity this season, Alex, and the “most memorable one-liner of the season”: “You are a mean girl and you are in high school, and while you’re in high school I’m in Brooklyn, trying to survive in this economy, working.” While Alex took a backseat towards the end of the season, early on she was in the middle of the Jill-Bethenny feud. Cue clips of Alex describing her role as the messenger of Bethenny’s missives to Jill, saying she had a “job to do,” as if Jacob himself had reached out and touched her, asking Alex to protect the warm light of the Island. To Andy, Alex asserted that she wasn’t a different person this season, but merely one that was no longer suppressing her emotions and opinions. She even challenged darling LuAnn, (“let me finish, dear” ) by calling her out on her hypocrisy, and continuing an assault of Jill throughout the night.
Onto the Renewed Ramona Coaster. The crazy-eyed blonde won me over this season with her haircut and unabashed love for her husband. Ramona explained that she regretted her harsh words to Bethenny on the Brooklyn Bridge: “If I had to erase one comment out of all my comments, that’s the one.” Kelly, out of nowhere, piped in: “Oh really, not that I’m stupid?” Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, go back to your gummy bears. You’re out of your league with these ladies! You just set yourself up for a verbal Singer smackdown that probably wasn’t even that much fun because it was so obvious:
Ramona: “I don’t know Kelly, I call my daughter stupid sometimes.”
Kelly: “Don’t call your daughter stupid.”
Ramona: “I really don’t, I just said that as an example to make you feel better.”
After the break attention turned to Bethenny, looking radiant a mere 12 days after her giving birth to a baby girl. She teared up when talking about baby Bryn, how lucky she and Jason had been, and how she really did have it all now. Discussing Bethenny’s post-baby weight, Jill awkwardly complemented the new mom multiple times. She spoke over Bethenny and Andy, trying to be heard – “It went back to normal like that! You look great!” – like a puppy beginning for a belly rub.
The central conflict of this season has been the monstrous fight between ex-best friends Bethenny and Jill. It divided the ladies and still is very much alive and unresolved. The back-and-forth she-said-she-said was excruciating to listen to. According to Bethenny, the central factor leading to the demise of their relationship was that Jill has let the “fame” and notoriety of the show change her for the worse (Kelly pointed out that the fame has gotten to everybody.). Of course these accusations were directed right back at Bethenny (who is choosing to document her pregnancy and marriage on her own reality show…).
To me, these fights are much less interesting than any frivolous fight about a Fashion Week seating or Hamptons dinner party invite. The downfall of the Real Housewives, particularly this season, has been that it is incredibly too self-aware. Yes, this is a reality show and the reality for these women is that bloggers like myself are writing about them, but it’s tiring to watch women bicker about who planted a story in Page Six over and over again. My initial attraction to the Housewives franchises and many others like it was the voyeuristic nature and the unknown world in which these “characters” lived. The Hills has strangely attempted to avoid the celebrity aspect of its cast members onscreen, which I have to say I like much more. Yes, it’s impossible to avoid that people will recognize the ladies on the street, but I miss the early days when they were worried about social obligations that only their New York circles were aware of, not two million others.
And in case you were wondering, Simon looks bloated because he quit smoking! (Good for him). Just how much weight did he gain? (Andy, you’re shameless!) A measly six pounds, but don’t worry, “He’ll be back in speedos next year,” said Alex. God help us.
Stay tuned for part two, PopWatchers! The drama continues as Kelly tells Ramona her “blood type is Pinot Grigio” (point for Kelly!), and Sonja finally arrives on the set. Are you tired of the Jill-Bethenny fight? Should Kelly come back for season 4? Let us know!