Housewives and business. In 2015, the two go hand-in-hand. Virtually every Housewife from every city has tried using the show as a platform to promote her personal brand. On RHONY alone, we've seen True Faith Jewelry, Tru Renewal Skincare, the Countess Collection, Ramona Pinot Grigio, "Money Can't Buy You Class", "Chic C'est La Vie", all things Skinnygirl, Yummie Tummie, Zarin Fabrics and many, many books - ghostwritten or otherwise. And then there's Sonja Morgan, the 'Wife for whose businesses have become her primary storyline for the last three seasons, yet have failed to materialize into much of anything. Yet, she spends the majority of space in her Bravo blogs defending her business acumen and claiming the other women don't know what they're talking about. Now, that's not to say that Sonja has done nothing. Off the top of my head, she threw one official Sonja in the City party for Aviva Drescher's anniversary in Season 5, and there was that "Team Sonja" party that served as last year's finale (though I'm not sure that counts). However, the hard truth is that the legitimate line items on her resume are far outnumbered by the supposed business ventures viewers have never seen come to fruition. These invisible businesses under the Sonja Morgan umbrella include, but are not limited to: the Sonja Morgan Home Collection of tongs, mitts, and other kitchenware; a Nigerian football team, the Yellow and White Diamond Collection, Colombian lingerie, wigs, bags, shoes, skincare, perfume from Saudi Arabia and the failed John Travolta movie project that put her in dire financial straits in the first place. We spent 21 weeks in Season 5 watching Heather bang her head against a wall to design a marketing campaign for a toaster oven that never toasted anything.
Bethenny, having been gone for the past four seasons of the show, invited Sonja to lunch to get an idea of where her head's at. Being the most successful entrepreneur in the Bravo universe, as well as most of America, Bethenny cuts through the nonsense to give Sonja some sound advice: "Do one thing great." Simply saying you have a 'fashion/lifestyle brand' doesn't mean much without the product to back it up. Naturally, this advice goes right over Sonja with a sexy j's head. She's a real businesswoman, no matter what anyone else thinks!
In other parts of Gotham, we're treated to two separate one-on-ones. First up, Luann and Dorinda meet for pedicures to dish on John's surprise appearance at Beautique and Dorinda's fear of 'vagina slip-ups'. It's nice to see the Countess with an old friend like Dorinda, it brings out a better side to her personality. We also have Kristen and Carole out for dinner and girl talk about Adam the hot chef at Left Bank in the West Village. By the time Writer Girl shows up, Kristen is two drinks in and ready to hear the news of Carole's new romance. I have to say, I love Kristen and Carole's genuine friendship and that Carole can be completely honest about her new fling without fear of being judged. But is it really a good idea to keep her relationship with Adam a secret from Luann? The romance could easily spell trouble in the eyes of the Countess.
Ramonja get together for some juicing as Sonja commiserates to her BFF about how badly she's picked on by the other ladies about her businesses. Then, finally turning the subject to something other than herself in five episodes, she surprises Ramotional with a trip to Atlantic City for her first birthday as a single woman in 25 years. Get ready for the first trip of the season!
For a new Housewife, Dorinda sure is getting a lot of solo scenes, practically one per episode. With eight women in the main cast this year, it makes me wonder why the new girl is getting so much attention. If Bethenny is a "slow warm-up" like Dorinda claims, the producers are trying to get the audience to take to the new Upper East Side attitude by shoving her down our throats every chance they get. It's also kind of weird that Hannah is giving her mom advice about a long-term boyfriend she's only met a couple of times. I wonder what she thinks of Dorinda and her double lives.
On the opposite end of the business spectrum from Sonja, Kristen has actually started something we can see - a fashion blog called Last Night's Look. She's not doing the blog to make money - her focus is entirely on sharing her style with fans and having fun. Kristen also points out in her confessional that she's doing the entire blog with help from friends - no ghostwriter or team of interns doing the work for her. If that means having to change outfits in the middle of downtown Manhattan with nothing but coats to shield her, then so be it!
Meanwhile, Sonja has invited Bethenny to some sort of presentation on her upcoming fashion collection, which is supposedly ready to launch in just a few short months from nothing but a bunch of sketches. While Bethenny posits that this might be a case of the emperor having no clothes, one thing she certainly seems to have is a team of people with very fancy-sounding titles. Remind me why Sonja needs a CEO for a non-existent brand? The team does a fine job of putting on a show for Bethenny without actually giving her any information. Retailers? Can't talk about it. Manufacturing? Can't talk about it. Her questions are met with a stone wall of secrecy. I loved how Bethenny handily put the condescending 'VP' of Sonja's brand in her place. "You've been in the apparel business before?" Honey, you must literally have no idea to whom you are talking. Bethenny walks away from the meeting with no idea how Sonja conducts her business, and I don't understand it either. After that meeting, I'd be eating my feelings too.
Later, Dorinda is hosting a cocktail party at World Bar across from the United Nations. From the showroom invites to Sonja's grating voice throughout the evening, I can tell we're in for a strange one. I'm absolutely obsessed with Kristen's faux leather skirt and Carole's red fur shrug, which coincidentally happens to match Luann's outfit. Carole is finally ready to tell Luann about her dalliance with Adam the hot chef, but the Countess beats her to the punch: her niece, who's also Adam's ex-girlfriend, has already spilled the beans. Luann seems irritated by the news, and the question is: are her feelings justified or is she overreacting? Luann had her best season yet last year, in large part because she aligned herself with the more likable members of the cast (Carole, Kristen and Heather) and finally relaxed a little. Turning on Cool Carole for who she's dating will do nothing but make Luann look bad by blowing a happy situation fully out of proportion. In her own words as a warning, don't be uncool, Countess.