Do we really even need to talk about last night’s episode of Real Housewives of New York? It was another filler episode of stuff that didn’t advance the season’s plot at all, but Bravo threw in some pasties (not on a Housewife, thank you sweet baby Jesus) and a song-and-dance routine to keep us watching. Sadly, that only took up a few minutes.
We also revisited a few of the mother-daughter story lines from last week’s show and got another visit from the utterly delightful Chris March, but even that couldn’t save last night’s stinker of an episode. But let’s have a recap anyway, because I’m contractually obligated! Don’t worry, I threw in a couple of jokes.
We started by accompanying Ramona and Avery on a trip down to the Bowery to shop at Patricia Field for Sonja’s upcoming burlesque-themed charity party. After some contemplation, it struck me as slightly counterintuitive that Sonja would choose that theme; although it seems to make sense on the surface because Sonja likes to show everyone her naughty bits, burlesque is all about traditional lingerie. Sonja hates underwear! I’m not even sure she owns any. Anyway, Sonja was present for the shopping trip too, as was a store employee who looked a lot like her transvestite twin. Sonja and Ramona looked as some silly lingerie but mostly stayed clothed. Even then, Avery was appalled. Avery only has one speed, and it is “appalled.”
Elsewhere, Jill Zarin was setting out to Bronxville to visit her daughter Allie at college, which means that Allie is a Sarah Lawrence girl. Not only that, but Allie has managed to really become a Sarah Lawrence girl: She’s a vegetarian (sorta – did you know that the dark meat of a turkey comes from an animal and the white meat does not?) and interested in alternative sexual theory, which Jill found predictably horrific. Jill should have Googled Sarah Lawrence before she signed the tuition check, I’m thinking.
Allie’s taking classes on sexuality and everything, which allowed her to namedrop people that Jill has never heard of, like Freud and Kinsey. And even though Jill didn’t know who those people were, she was terrified that her daughter might be learning things about sex. Sex is scary! But Jill should relax! Allie will experiment with being a lesbian and perhaps then decide that she’s asexual while in college, but she’ll graduate and get a job in publishing and become normal and then quit her job to live on Long Island with a husband who works in finance and 2.5 perfect children. That’s kind of how going to Sarah Lawrence works.
Back in the city, Ramona and her daughter gathered to discuss how Avery wishes that Ramona and Mario spent more time at home. I never thought I’d hear a teenage girl complaining that she spends too much time unsupervised in New York City, but I guess truth is stranger the fiction. Avery then read Ramona an essay about how she’s her hero, and Ramona cried, and I yawned. It’s nice and all, but don’t all teenagers spend their entire lives waiting for that sweet moment when their parents leave the house? I know I did, and I get along really well with my parents. They aren’t nearly as nuts as Ramona. At least not in the same way.
In other mother-daughter news, LuAnn and her daughter were somewhere on Long Island, doing donuts in a Range Rover in an icy parking lot. LuAnn isn’t my favorite, but that certainly looked a lot more fun than essays and tears back in the city with Ramona. Even their cappuccinos were decaf. What you couldn’t see, though, was the emergency pouch of pinot grigio that Ramona has strapped to her abdomen at all times, just in case she should start to feel her blood-alcohol level start to dip below the legal limit.
Things were a little less somnolent at Sonja’s townhouse, where Chris March (Chris March!) had again shown up to do costume duty and breathe some life into this old dog and pony show. Sonja and her friend are going to do some kind of Black Swan burlesque routine at the party, because clearly that movie hasn’t been truly beaten into the ground until Real Housewives does it. Somehow, Sonja managed to get her entire outfit on backwards, which just goes to prove my earlier point: Sonja is not well-acquainted with underwear. Ramona also showed up to get her costume bedazzled, but as far as I remember, she didn’t actually say anything of note. Which, sadly, is kind of becoming a trend.
Our next stop was a bar with Kelly and LuAnn, who sipped cocktails and reminded us that Kelly only likes to drink beer. She also drives a truck instead of a luxury car and runs in the street, just in case we needed another reminder. It also gave LuAnn a chance to namedrop both the King of Greece and Prince William on camera for the entire country to see, which was a name-drop so resplendent that it probably made her sexually excited. She then used a complimentary glass of water to thin out her cocktail, all the while assuring Kelly that doing that was incredibly chic. Or at least I think she said “chic.” Maybe it was “cheap.” It should have been “cheap.”
Speaking of cheap, LuAnn’s next stop was at the office of her record producer, who had apparently been cryogenically frozen right after the last time we saw him and was thawed out for last night’s episode because he was wearing the exact same douchey outfit, including sunglasses indoors. Ladies, if you ever encounter a man wearing sunglasses indoors, feel free to go up to him an unceremoniously kick him in the balls. He deserves it. The universe wants you to do it. This guy deserves an extra kick for bringing another LuAnn original to our still-bleeding ears, and this time Jill also came to the listening session to make a few suggestions about how to make the track worse better. In addition to amateur dentistry and financial advising, Jill also dabbles in record producing.
It was finally time for the burlesque party, but before anyone could get naked, Simon and Jill had to sit down for a chit chat. At Jill’s request. Even though she thought it would be weird to sit down with Simon last week, when he was the one requesting that they clear the air. Anything is a great idea as long as Jill says it, and we’ve all been watching this show long enough to know that. We’ve also been watching this show long enough to recognize the kind of conversation that they had in their silly burlesque outfits – we’ll call it a “plot fulfiller.” It brings a conflict narrative to a temporary end so that we can all stop talking about it until Bravo brings it back up in the rotation. Nothing is actually solved or agreed upon; both parties merely deem the fight over.
After Real Housewives detente was declared, it was time for some burlesque. (And also time for Sonja’s hot boytoy Brian The Artist without a shirt on. Yowza. You go girl.) The entire cast came in costume, but it became quickly apparent that not all of them really had any idea what burlesque entailed. Ramona was sent into a pearl-clutching horror when one of the professional performers stripped down to her pasties, clearly unaware that pasties are to burlesque what bats are to baseball. For his part, Mario seemed exponentially less horrified, but his erection-covering reaction was also exponentially more horrifying. Mario, in general, seems like kind of a horrifyingly greasy person, which means that he and Ramona probably deserve each other. See? There is some kind of order to the universe. Comforting, I think.
The next performance was all Sonja (and a little bit her anonymous friend who stood in the background), and despite the fact that the words were a little bit cringe-inducing, it sort of…worked. Burlesque embraces cheesiness, and Sonja remembered everything she was supposed to say, didn’t seem flustered in front of an audience and kind of totally owned it. She made fun of herself and everyone else and while Cindy was looking miserable and muttering under her low-class breath about Sonja sucking on a golden dick (calm down honey, it’s not like she snatched it out of your mouth to suck on it), Sonja looked like she was having the time of her life. Never mind that Jill, the recipient of Cindy’s mutterings, seems to always forget that she’s married to her own golden dick.
I think that amateur burlesque is like karaoke in that way: Looking like you feel happy and confident doing it is half the battle when it comes to people thinking that you did a great job, and Sonja managed to both acknowledge her problems and laugh at them in front of a bunch of people who no doubt enjoy gossiping about her. She’s been kind of batty this season and not always likable, but in the past two episodes, I think Sonja’s gone a long way toward redeeming herself.
The show as a whole, on the other hand, isn’t faring quite as well. We’re well into the soft, gooey, flavorless midseason slump, and if normal Housewives scheduling tells me anything, it’s that the end is near. The cast filmed the reunion two weeks ago, and although the next episode isn’t the finale, perhaps the following one is. Let’s hope that the editors left some drama for the end.