It's officially Season 7 of The Real Housewives of New York City and the B is back! The B in this case being star Housewife Bethenny Frankel, who returns to the Bravo universe after having left RHONY at the end of season 3. Bethenny accomplished quite a lot in her four years away: two Bravo spinoffs, a husband, a baby, an eponymous now-cancelled talk show, the disintegration of her marriage and oh, earning a literal fortune with her Skinnygirl brand. And now she's returning to the show that made her a household name.
It's interesting because, while Bethenny's renewed Housewife status is being hyped as a return, she's almost a completely different, new person joining the cast. In her first three seasons on the show, Bethenny was the scrappy single underdog, always ready with a barbed one-liner, who served as a type of witty Greek chorus for viewers regarding the other 'Wives 'higher' socialite status. She brought us all back down to reality. As the underdog, she was easy to root for, particularly as she came out on top in her epic season 3 falling out with Jill Zarin. In the interim, she's had a veritable lifetime's worth of experiences - experiences where she has succeeded hugely, and failed just as hugely. She's become a self-made business mogul running a lifestyle empire. The real question at the heart of Bethenny's return is "what happens when an underdog becomes an alpha?" Time will tell.
Let's dive into the episode, shall we? First thing's first - there are eight Housewives. Eight housewives and no Friends of. If that seems like a lot, that's because it is. An unprecedented lot. Beverly Hills usually has seven. Orange County and New Jersey operate best when there are five. So we'll see how this goes. You'd think they could've made at least one or two of the women Friends, but let's just trust the producers that all eight of the ladies deserve to hold that golden apple. Still, Bethenny's the only one holding her apple with both hands...
Best tagline goes to Kristen. Confession: J'adore Kristen Taekman. And I really like that her tagline ("Pretty...is smarter than you think!) builds off of her one from the previous season ("I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I'm pretty"), which she received a lot of flak over. This is called reality TV character development, people!
Quick thoughts on the others: I feel like Writer Girl has more work ethic than her tagline gives her credit for. Sonja, no one cares about your yacht or your boat or your ship. Yay for Ramotional progress! I actually really love Dorinda's too, it memorably packs a punch for a newbie Housewife. Hopefully we see her follow through on its promise. The Countess gets points for being clever, but leave it to her to namedrop herself... Heather's is strangely generic - I wouldn't know it was her tagline if the 'Holla!" was tacked on to the end. And Bethenny's gets to the core of the entire franchise, but I think I would've liked "I'm not a Housewife, but I'm always real" a bit better.
In addition to B, we're also getting a re-upped Countess Luann and a new, single Ramona this season, in terms of the NY OGs. The Countess is getting as much airtime as Bethenny so far, which I find a little surprising. Can we also agree that the Countess has a history of the most 'blah' interview looks out of any Housewife? It can't just be me who thinks that. She always seems to be going for that Native American chic thing she's into. They're never over-the-top offensive but they're never good - which, let's be honest, is probably more of a crime in the land of Housewives.
It's also surprising to me that we're only seeing Ramona - make that Ramonja - after we've already caught up with all the other returning ladies. And yet it wasn't edited as some sort of big reveal, just sort of getting around to Ramona's new life. Strange. This new Ramona certainly seems more vulnerable and grounded in the wake of her divorce from Mario, and the longer hair from seasons 1 and 2 is also back. Ramona's always been the OG of NYC and it's refreshing to see this new, humbled side to her after six seasons of crazy-eyed Ramona-coastering. It's only been three minutes and I'm already tired of Sonja's self-absorbed scatterbrained schtick. Instead of being a supportive friend, she's managing to turn Ramona's divorce into a comparison to her. No thank you, Team Sonja.
Carole seems to be playing the role of a real-life Sex and the City character this season. Which I for one am more than happy to watch.
Newbie Dorinda seems to be the antithesis of Sonja - actually listening to and comforting Ramona as she vents about her divorce rather than playing a game of one-up. Her intro package has me feeling optimistic too. She definitely seems like a modern-day Zsa Zsa Gabor of the Upper East Side with no filter and a quirky home life, luxury dry cleaning-boyfriend included. But we'll all form more educated opinions on Ms. Medley in the episodes to come.
I'll let Sonja's own words speak for themselves: "I used to be classy, now I'm trashy." No comment.
The premiere ends with Bethenny crying in the back of a car to fellow Bravolebrity Fredrik Edlund of Million Dollar Listing NY, while looking for a new apartment. It's safe to say it's going to be an emotional season - she's the second Housewife in tears this episode alone. And though Bethenny may be a self-made multimillionaire, her tears are over the same things anyone wants in life: stability and the best life possible for her and her daughter. Here's to hoping the wealthiest homeless person in NYC can find that as much as the rest of us.
Watch what happens with me this season,
That Housewives Guy