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Real Housewives

RHONY Ssn 7/Ep 12 - Lord of the Manor

Glenn Rowley

bethenny-turks

Last week finished right in the middle of Luann's hotel suite pre-party, with Kristen storming out after her confrontation with Ramona. This week picks up right were we left off, with the return of the patented Singer Stinger. Ever the level-headed friend, Dorinda tries to explain to Ramona that what she just did to Kristen mean and unnecessary. Since Kristen isn't as naturally aggressive as some of these other women, it's good of Dorinda to look at the situation objectively and stand up for her. This can't be all that difficult for Ramona to understand. However, in something of a minor miracle, Ramona actually listens to Dorinda and admits that her delivery was wrong. As Dorinda says of her friend, Ramona's intentions usually come from a good place - in this case being protective of Bethenny - but her delivery is often horrible. We don't actually see Ramona offer any type of "in all sincerity..." apology to Kristen, but hey, any type of self-realization is progress for the new Ramona. 

warwick-launch-party

The pre-party then transitions into the actual party in the ballroom of the Warwick Hotel, and lo and behold, the first person to hit the red carpet is Sonja. Lady Morgan may have missed the entire pre-party for the girls, but she'll never pass up a good photo op. An ongoing bit that had me laughing was Ramona's seeming inability to understand anything at the noisy party: "fig" turned into "pig" and "side eye" turned into "cyanide" Doesn't that kill you?? Ramotional was definitely killing me in a more amusing way than by poison. Heather and Dorinda find Kristen to catch her up on everything that happened after her walk-off. Wrapping her head around Ramona trying to stand up for Bethenny, it doesn't make total sense to Kristen. If Bethenny had a problem with her at the photoshoot, the Skinnygirl wouldn't have hesitated to let her know. It's not as if Kristen specifically asking a question about the trip's schedule was what made set Bethenny off and made her cry. Besides, she probably didn't even know Kristen was there from way up on her veteran pedestal! Joking! Naturally, this is the obvious time for Bethenny to show up to the party and find out about Ramona's attack in the name of her honor from Sonja and Kristen. As she quipped in her interview, the Skinnygirl was walking into a pre-existing gong show.

Bethenny and Kristen finally take a minute to have the conversation the latter tried to initiate at AOA. Bethenny manages to hit on all the points she brought up to Ramona over pedicures, including Kristen's "sour puss" face. Now, Kristen's given us plenty of shocked faces over her two seasons on the show, but I don't really get where the sour puss thing is coming from. Also, I think I just really don't like that expression. Kristen explains that she wasn't looking to attack Bethenny at the AOA party, and that it would've been nice to get some business advice from the much more experienced Skinnygirl mogul rather than find out she was making disparaging remarks about Kristen's new company and intelligence. When she finally talked about it rather than walk away, Bethenny doesn't remember calling Kristen dumb. She merely pointed out to Carole that there was already a beauty company called Pop, and that Pop of Color probably wasn't the smartest name to use. According to her, it was just an opinion and she didn't feel the need to personally tell Kristen, someone she claims to not really know. I still find it strange that Bethenny felt the need to even comment on the issue if she really doesn't think about Kristen, but I broke down that argument quite a bit in last week's recap, so if you need a refresher, head over there. I also really appreciate that Bethenny said the exact same things to Kristen's face that she said to Ramona during their pedicures last week. There wasn't anything two-faced or disingenuous about what Bethenny had to say. The two women finally end the issue that's been building for weeks by agreeing to get to know each other better, and start the process by grabbing a drink.

rhony-choosing-rooms

The next day, the 'Wives are ready to jet off to the Turks and Caicos, if only they can escape the brutal New York winter first. After making it through the relentlessly falling snow and deicing the plane, they achieve takeoff. Finally arriving in the Turks and Caicos for a week of fun in the sun, it looks like paradise. They're staying in a gorgeous, modern house called Bella Vita Villa, complete with a gigantic pool and a hunky Scottish private chef. Carole's recording everything on a camcorder because, as she says in her confessional, something always happens that's worth documenting. Did Writer Girl forget that they're on a reality show, and happen to be traveling with a full camera crew to document the trip for them? That's supposed to be one of the perks of reality TV stardom, right? After complaining about the lack of air conditioning, Ramona and Sonja kick off the classic Housewives race to find the best room. Bethenny, who hasn't been on a cast trip since Season 3's Scary Island vacation, seems to have forgotten that 'Wives picking their rooms is second only to the running of the bulls or an episode of Supermarket Sweep when it comes to mad dashes. Ramona reminds her during the scramble that she and Sonja always share a room on vacation and everyone knows this. While it may be tradition for Ramonja to always bunk together, it has to be annoying for the other women who are traveling with them. Dorinda wisely states in her confessional that Frick and Frack are acting like kindergarteners. By this point, Ramona and Sonja now have two different rooms on hold, one upstairs and one downstairs, and are at a standstill over which to actually choose. As is typical, the Ramonacoaster is certain her room trumps all and Sonja eventually gives in, relinquishing her choice to one of the six other ladies who need a place to sleep in the house. The whole situation starts the trip off on an annoying foot, and Bethenny rightfully calls out Ramona on her "Lord of the Manor" attitude, though it doesn't seem to make any difference. At the end of the chaos, however, Luann secretly got the best room by laying low and the blonde Bobbsey Twins don't have a bathtub in their room, so karma is the real winner here. 

ramona-the-apologizer

Ramona once again requires help unpacking her suitcases, just like she has on every trip for the past four seasons; Kristen's the first one in the ocean, looking like a Bond girl and Luann and Bethenny retreat to the deck to discuss the nightmarish room-picking situation. There's no denying that Ramona has a terrible history when it comes to traveling on this show. The two veterans agree that when you go on a trip with the Ramonacoaster, you always want to strangle her within 10 minutes, and they predict that she'll come out shortly to offer a classic Ramotional apology for her bad behavior. Meanwhile, Ramona is ambling around the house in a bright yellow bikini and heels, and eventually wanders out to tell Bethenny she's sorry. A prophecy has been fulfilled and the Apologizer has struck again!

As night falls, Luann and Bethenny go paddleboarding, Sonja is straddling an inflatable whale in the pool and Ramona's working out in her bikini and hooker shoes with dumbells that she apparently checked in her carry-on bag? The women then gather around the pool as Dorinda points out in her confessional that they have about 50,ooo square feet of personality jammed into this 10,000 square foot house for the week. Expect the fireworks to start any time. Eventually, all the ladies get ready for dinner, and Ramona points out to her partner in crime that the last time she took a trip with Bethenny, it was right before her vow renewal with Mario (a.k.a. the Season 3 finale). Here she is single and Bethenny's back in the group. My how much can change in a few years.

ramona-kristen-hug

As the 'Wives start congregating for dinner, Luann's boobs and Dorinda's legs are on full display in their island resortwear, and Heather's giving away gift bags filled with Yummie Tummie. Bethenny tries to offer some unsolicited advice about Heather breaking into fitness clothing, which is an odd business tidbit for Ms. Yummie. Isn't that what she's already doing? Maybe Bethenny just doesn't want her to compete with the Skinnygirl shapewear line. Meanwhile, Sonja and Carole have cornered Ramona to question her about her dating life. Ramotional may look pretty fantastic in her macrame Michael Kors dress, but she says she's not looking for any action or mind/body/soul connection. Unlike Sonja, she doesn't see the need to jump into bed with every guy she flirts with. Kristen interjects that dating is a good step, and Ramona goes from calling her "dumb" to "the voice of reason" in just one episode. Opinions about her newly-single life are flying from every direction, but according to Ramona, Kristen is being so perceptive about her position that she can hardly believe it. Pretty Girl gets it! The forced hug and awkward grin on Kristen's face during the exchange had me laughing in my seat. Jumping under the covers simply isn't part of Ramona's M.O. and she's focused on taking things one step at a time. 

The focus of the conversation then shifts to Sonja, who claims that she may flirt a lot, but that doesn't mean she sleeps with everyone. Fair point. However, the other ladies are quick to point out that Sonja apparently tried to make out with the boyfriend of one of Luann's friends just the other night at Beautique. (This goes back to the girls night out that was discussed during the 'broads' dinner' in Queens last week - the one where Sonja got plastered and couldn't be left alone). According to Ramona, her BFF was slobbering over every guy available that night, as well as the unavailable ones too. For some reason, the events of this night at Beautique happened off-camera, so we have no way of verifying anyone's story. Sonja naturally starts getting defensive. Does she like to go out and drink? Yes. Are the other women her doctors and therapists? No. They're supposed to be her girlfriends, not her judges. Sonja takes their comments as hits below the belt and claims she's starting to feel like the group punching bag. For some reason, Bethenny steps in to try to talk Sonja down. She starts the conversation calmly, but when Sonja refuses to let her get a word in, she says she needs to level with Lady Morgan roughly seven times.

bethenny-turks-2

According to Bethenny, Sonja may come across as silly and fun, but she's acutely aware of the things people have been saying about her. Bethenny is trying to empathize with her rather than judge, but Sonja's becoming more and more defensive. "I'm a smart girl," Bethenny says, begging Sonja to really listen. "Do you think I got here by being dumb?" Lady Morgan, of course, takes this as an insinuation that Bethenny's calling her dumb. Then, the real talk starts when Bethenny tells Sonja that, yes, she's acting stupid. Doing all the talking and none of the listening does not demonstrate Sonja being reasonable. The conversation is starting to escalate as Bethenny gets a testy edge in her voice - she's saying something but she doesn't know what translation it's going through to get to Sonja's brain. When Sonja accuses her of giving the other ladies' opinions credibility, Bethenny finally loses it, with a "SHUT THE F*** UP!" heard 'round the island. Hearing the screaming, Luann and Ramona each try separately to get the fighting friends to join the rest of the 'Wives at dinner, but this conversation isn't over. Bethenny points out that Sonja has a ton on her plate, and reiterates again and again that she's trying to help her friend, not attack her. Sonja just needs to really listen and recognize that no one is against her, least of all Bethenny. All the women genuinely want what's best for her well-being and see a pattern of behavior that perhaps isn't the healthiest choice. As a viewer, I see it too. I've seen it for the past nearly five seasons. At some point, something in Sonja's life has to give. 

sonja-turks

Meanwhile, conversation outside at the dinner table naturally turns to the reality check being attempted in the kitchen. The other women see Sonja's behavior circling the metaphorical drain, a concern that's been voiced many times by each of them. Heather wants all the ladies - Ramona in particular - to simply stop enabling their friend and give her a dose of tough love. Yet somehow, Sonja manages to turn the conversation with Bethenny around in her mind, claiming that this must just be Bethenny projecting her own issues onto Sonja. In a deja vu moment to Atlantic City, their hard chat ends in a hug, but I'm left wondering if anything actually got through to Sonja at all. Bethenny comes to the dinner table looking slightly traumatized, and explains that while it's often challenging to get to the end of a conversation with Sonja, she thinks she may have done it. As a viewer, I'm not so sure about that, though I can't blame it on Bethenny's lack of trying. The reality and responsibility for the situation rests solely on Sonja's shoulders. I've had an increasingly difficult time with her as the seasons have progressed, and the repetitively self-destructive behavior and lack of awareness is hard to stomach. As much as any of the other Housewives can try to help her, she can't start progressing until she sees that some of her behavior is a problem. With the heavy topics out of the way, the dinner conversation turns to sex and boys, which is exactly what should be discussed on a girls trip in paradise. Newsflash: apparently Luann's been liberated and no longer feels the need to rely on a man. I half expected the ladies to break out into "Independent Woman: Pt. 2" by Destiny's Child at that pronouncement. The episode ends full of boisterous girl talk, but from the looks of next week's episode, the hard topics are far from over.