And so our long national nightmare is over. The televised lobotomy known as Real Housewives of New York City came to the close of its third season last night, and it was as anticlimactic everyone sort of knew it would be. The episode actually had nice moments, and we know that’s not supposed to happen. There is no room for positivity or sanity in Real Housewives, sort of like there’s no crying in baseball.
A bunch of random stuff happened and none of it was connected. It’s hard to write about stuff that’s mostly non-narrative, but because it’s my job and I’d like for it to continue to be my job, I’m going to give it a the ol’ college try anyway. Why are Housewives finales always so decidedly blah?
We’ll start with the conflict on which this entire season has hinged: Jill and Bethenny. They finally sat down together to have lunch and talk about a peace treaty, and Bethenny did not look at all thrilled from the get-go. Jill apologized and swore that she didn’t want to dredge up the past, but still managed to say she had been ambushed when Bethenny came to talk to her at Ramonas house. That’s the past, right? Or do all of these events happen simultaneously in Jill’s head, making Housewives sort of similar to Lost? That would sort of blow my mind.
Jill kept talking, for some reason, and claimed to have never gossip about Bethenny, which is verifiably not true. Anyone with even a passing interest in this show knows that it’s not true. Bethenny said that Jill had been disloyal (and probably some other stuff too, but I was too busy trying to mentally catalog all of the different times we saw Jill gossip about Bethenny), Jill cried. She seemed a little angry in the confessional interviews that Bethenny didn’t automatically fall at her feet at the offer of forgiveness. Latkes didn’t fix it.
The takeaway from the entire lunch was that Jill has finally figured out that she has screwed up her relationships with everyone but sycophantic LuAnn and certifiable crazyperson Kelly, which seems to be most of her motivation for trying to create a Survivor-style alliance with Bethenny. For her part, Bethenny did not seem thrilled with that prospect, but she accepted the Latkes of Detente anyway.
Next, LuAnn! LuAnn had to wait until the season finale, but she actually got a decent chunk of time dedicated alllllll to her. It’s the debut of her “single” (scarequotes intentional), and not only is she excited about that, but her magic J man that the psychic predicted like eight episodes ago also managed appeared. Alex, Bethenny and Ramona didn’t show because, well, why would they? All of them seem to have some modicum of sense and little allegiance to the Countess.
LuAnn got up and sang and at first, I was a bit impressed that they were autotuning her live performance. Quickly, however, it became clear that LuAnn is the worst lip-syncer this side of Britney Spears and she was merely waving her arms about and holding a microphone while the guy with the mohawk played the song off of his iPod. Everyone danced and pretended to be in to it, Jill was kind enough explain the meaning of the song to Kelly (who now appears to be officially too stupid to continue breathing on her own), everyone was happy! Even that French J person didn’t seem completely horrified. Stealth Housewife Jennifer compared it to early Madonna. Madonna isn’t dead yet, but when she is, she will certainly remember that comment and take a moment to roll in her grave for it.
Naturally, because these women can’t be together in any significant numbers without talking about past drama, conversation turned to the trip to St. John when LuAnn got offstage. Sonja tried to be diplomatic but made the mistake of expressing a negative opinion about Jill’s sudden appearance on the trip, and we all know what happens when you say something negative about Jill. Everyone piled on, including Stealth Housewife Jennifer who very much had no idea what was going on or who might have been right. But! That certainly didn’t stop her from having an opinion. She’ll do well on this show. Sonja, to her credit, managed to quiet down everyone and say what she thought without LuAnn fainting or Jill’s head swiveling around a la The Exorcist. It was kind of amazing. Sonja has totally won this entire season, despite only appearing on half of it.
Did anyone else sort of forget that Ramona was going to have a vow renewal and that was the whole reason that they went on the trip to Crazy Island? Am I the only one? Because the renewal was used as the traditional “end of season” party, I’m betting that producers put her up to it, which makes me hate the whole idea a little less. Who would have guessed that Ramona would emerge from this season looking relatively sane and reasonable? And when I say “relative,” I mean relative to the one that appears to actually think that Bethenny is trying to kill her, in a literal sense.
Anyway, Ramona took Avery to Oscar Blandi to have her hair cut for the vow renewal, and then it was back to the Pierre for Ramona to advise Jill on how to no longer act like Jill while she was getting ready. Downstairs, guests were arriving and it seemed like Ramona actually had sort of a nice turnout. Jill even managed to behave herself when both Alex AND Bethenny showed up, which is a miracle major enough that someone should probably be contacting the Vatican. Sonja, in her infinite fabulosity, showed up in a dress slit halfway down her torso, gesturing grandly with a glass surely filled with some sort of alcohol. (Sidenote: I hope that everyone drank pinot grigio for the entire party in honor of Ramona.)
And then Kelly showed up, and the two groups were forced to split off and talk amongst themselves. Also, Kelly didn’t RSVP but showed up anyway, which she somehow thought made her the “bigger person” in the Ramona-Kelly conflict, which I wasn’t actually aware existed. As far as her being the “bigger” anything, well…I just…I can’t. I’m physically unable to conceptualize how Kelly has arrived at any opinion that she has ever held.
Before the ceremony started, there was some dispute over whether Ramona’s dog needed a leash to walk down the aisle, and then there was a dispute over the seating arrangement. Of course. Jill had to make sure that everyone noticed that the two “teams” had been seated separately, which only seems prudent on the part of Ramona’s wedding planner. Finally, everyone had to shut up so that the officiant could talk about Mario’s fondness for Ramona’s butt, after which things got slightly more normal and the ceremony was actually kind of sweet.
Was the whole thing a bit contrived? Of course. But I’m of the personal opinion that almost all wedding-type things are slightly contrived, so that might just be me being cynical (that’s what happens when you’ve worked in the wedding industry!) Both Jill and Bethenny approached Ramona afterward to say nice things to her, and the whole thing was just sort of oddly nice and positive for an episode of Real Housewives. Particularly this season. There weren’t even any shots of Kelly in the corner, trying to directly inject high fructose corn syrup into her bloodstream. I’m pretty sure it happened, however.
At the end of the show, we got the little “what they’re doing now” blurbs for all of the women, which seemed a little silly for a group that’s so regularly in the tabloids. They told us that LuAnn has an apartment and is still seeing Jacques, the French guy who can apparently stand to be around her. Good for those two! Ramona went on a safari without Mario instead of a second honeymoon. Sonja is writing a novel. Kelly continues to love lollipops, rainbows and unicorns (presumably cartwheels as well, although they weren’t mentioned specifically). Alex has a parenting book, as we all know. Jill is doing absolutely nothing. Bethenny got married, had a kid and has her own show. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Blurb War winner.
Despite a finale that lacked some of the drama and insanity of the show as a whole, this still may be my favorite season of Housewives of all time. As such, I will be recapping their reunion next week, which is sure to be as insane as anything we’ve seen from them this season.