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Real Housewives

RHONY Ssn 7/Ep 13 - Sonja Island

Glenn Rowley


Well, this week was certainly a ride on the Ramonacoaster, wasn't it? For the 100th episode of RHONY, it sure felt like a wild ride. The Turks and Caicos vacation picks immediately following the dinner at the end of last week's episode. As the other ladies head to bed, marvel over their magnificent shoe collections and commiserate over how much work Sonja can be, Ramona and Bethenny stay up for a late night heart-to-heart. Both admit that they're concerned over Sonja's apparent self-medicating with younger men and alcohol, and Ramona thinks that maybe together the two women can come up with a way to help their friend. Bethenny recaps what happened with Sonja during the ladies' dinner. Bottom line, she tried to gently tell Lady Morgan that she drinks too much, but readily admits that she's not a doctor and it's not her place to diagnosis someone like Sonja as an alcoholic. Bethenny further posits that Sonja's just lonely and doesn't know what the future holds - just like all the other women. Ramona agrees that Sonja probably misses having a significant other in her life, an honest and caring relationship, that universal need everyone has for fulfillment. Bethenny points out, though, that she doesn't have any magic solution to offer. In her interview, Ramona explains that while the Skinnygirl may come off as harsh and abrasive at times, Bethenny has a good heart and truly cares about Sonja's well-being.


Naturally, the conversation turns to Ramona's estranged relationship with Mario, and she tearfully admits that while her cheating husband may not be good for her, he's still a part of who she is. In the midst of her divorce with Jason, Bethenny's the perfect person for Ramona to open up to, the one who really truly understands what she's going through and gets where she's coming from. Through the separation with Mario, Ramona's lost an essential part of herself, and no matter how much people compliment her for being a strong, independent woman, the loss there is indescribable. In such a vulnerable moment, both women get emotional as Bethenny tries to comfort Ramona through tears. Ramona eventually collapses in Bethenny's arms, sobbing that all she wants is to fix Mario but she doesn't know how. This entire conversation was such a real, genuine moment between the two friends that it almost felt intrusive as a viewer to watch such a private moment unfold. And yet, I got choked up along with them. While Ramona may not know how to move forward, Bethenny offers up the reality check that the life her friend had with Mario for the last 25 years might not be the one she wants moving forward, no matter how good the good times were.


The next morning, the private chef is making omelettes for breakfast and Carole is requesting blueberries when David the dreadlocked yogi arrives to lead the ladies morning yoga session. Luann's already topless on the beach, but decides upon seeing David that he's cute enough to motivate her participation in some meditation with Carole and Bethenny while Kristen watches from the sidelines munching on breakfast. Meanwhile, Sonja's upstairs with Dorinda, still fired up from her intense conversation with Bethenny from the previous night. Dorinda digs in for a bit of a bedside therapy session, telling Sonja that she has the tendency to cater to Ramona's decisions and is just the girl who can't say no. As Sonja begins to loudly fill Dorinda in on her side of the story with Bethenny, all the girls doing yoga on the deck can hear what she's saying, and Bethenny and the Countess scurry upstairs to better eavesdrop. Sonja slams Bethenny for her approach the night before, saying the Skinnygirl lacks the education and manners to have a more civilized conversation. Dorinda counters that Sonja's passivity allows the other women to talk about her, and she needs to do a better job of standing up for herself and shutting the gossip down. In her confessional, Dorinda likens the other women to record keepers, constantly tallying scores and keeping track of minute details. Gaining angry momentum, Sonja points the conversation towards Heather, claiming that Ms. Yummie Tummie's smiling to her face while talking behind her back. As Sonja exits the room to find Bethenny and Luann at the door, she brashly informs the ladies that NO ONE will be talking about her tonight, got it? Ever the Greek chorus, Bethenny sarcastically asks "what fun would that be?" Without Sonja's problems on the docket, what else is there to talk about? 

Sonja proclaims that Dorinda should start a new career as a life coach and the situation seems to have fizzled out. That is, until Ramona enters stage left in her hot pink bikini and pulls Sonja outside for an oceanside chat. You see, "as a friend," Ramona feels the need to fill Sonja in on all the chatter that was going on last night - starting with the accusation that all the women have concluded that she has a major drinking problem. Oh and by the way, Bethenny also called you an alcoholic...Just as Sonja's hit with this not-quite-true revelation, Bethenny paddleboards up to the beach just in time to get confronted by a very pissed off Lady Morgan. Taken aback, Bethenny tries explaining that this is the exact same thing she tried to talk to Sonja about the night before, albeit in a much subtler way. Sonja defensively denies having any sort of problem, and angrily tries to paint the picture that all the other ladies are in similar boats when it comes to their hard-partying ways. Reality paints a bit of a different picture, however. Bethenny points out that almost every woman in the group says that Sonja has gone after her guy at one point or another. Sonja flatly denies this - maybe because she can't remember her drunken actions - and tells Bethenny she can "take that theory and cram it!"


The argument quickly devolves into chaos. Sonja concludes that she's been to nice to all these fake friends and starts screaming for everyone to "get out of my sh**!", Bethenny's calling Ramona out for selling her down the river and Luann's jumping in to offer Lady Morgan homemade eggs a la francaise. Bethenny says via confessional that no one's being honest and points out how good the Ramonacoaster is stirring the pot while leaving out one key participant in the conversations about Sonja: herself. Sonja's now in full-blown attack mode, storming off to the house and threatening to start saying all the things she's never said about the other women. When Heather tries to calm the situation down, she's the next 'Wife caught in Sonja's crossfire. Heather's efforts to tell Sonja to cool off fall on deaf ears as Sonja undresses and delivers the epic "NICE DOESN'T WORK WITH YOU PEOPLE!"

Truth be told, this meltdown has been building up for several seasons now, and conveniently exploded on an island vacation. From Sonja's perspective, she's become the group punching bag and has had enough. But I think having been weekly viewers of the show for the past seven years, fans may have a different perspective. Yes there's constant concern about Sonja from the other women, but isn't it warranted? How many times have we seen her wasted out of her mind, flashing her vagina and talking slurry nonsense over the last few seasons alone? The 'Wives see the problem, the fans see the problem, but since her introduction to the show in Season 3, Sonja's been working overtime to give the impression that everything is just fine and fun in Lady Morgan's house. 

The fallout from Sonja's meltdown is practically immediate. Luann counsels that this isn't the time or place (famous last words on RHONY) to have this altercation, Bethenny feels bad that Sonja is feeling cornered while Heather's pointing out that the entire situation comes down to honesty and accountability. Sonja's not owning her behavior or her problems and until she takes a long hard look in the mirror, nothing will change. Bethenny puts the lid back on Pandora's Box by opining that the level of Sonja's delusion is above the women's pay grade. Then and there, Bethenny, Luann, Carole and Heather make a pact to not bring up Sonja's mental health or drinking for the rest of the trip. If they do, they have to donate $100 to the nonprofit Dress for Success. (Of course, five seconds later Heather has to contribute $300 to the jar. The pact is a work in progress, but at least Dress for Success will be happy). Needless to say, enough with the attention on Sonja, everyone has their own problems. With the fire finally somewhat contained, Bethenny points out to Ramona that she gets the credit for starting the whole gong show in the first place, but Ramotional feigns innocence. Either way, Sonja's still angry and won't be joining the ladies for their day out on the ocean


While Sonja decompresses at the house with a routine of dumbbells and calisthenics, the rest of the women skip out to spend the afternoon on a fabulous yacht. The time on the boat finally gives the women an opportunity for normal conversation, and Bethenny finally starts opening up to Kristen. The conversation consists of marriage issues and blowjobs -" the window to the soul" as Bethenny puts it - but there are definitely baby steps happening between the two. There's hope for the Pretty Girl and the Skinnygirl after all. The group bonds even more by pulling an ice bucket challenge prank on Ramona - who we all know LOVES to get her hair wet. The idea was originally Kristen's but Bethenny becomes a giddy ringleader as Carole lures Ramona out under the balcony to get soaked. The moment is a hilarious foil to the earlier drama, with Bethenny jokingly turning the ladies into the Housewives mafia ("no one goes against the family") and Ramona laughably confronting the women with her hair wrapped in a towel. The day out was a major bonding moment for all the ladies - minus Sonja, who's still pouting at the villa - and it was genuinely nice to see. What happens in the Turks and Caicos stays in the Turks and Caicos..(not). Turks and Cockos forever!


Back from their yacht excursion, the ladies get ready for a night out with naps and massages. Sonja's still carrying on about being judged by the ladies, but even Bethenny and Heather are officially friends now. As the prepare to leave for their dinner reservation at Fire and Ice, Dorinda's in another romper, the Countess is decked out in a white jumpsuit and drinking necklace and Kristen's rocking a very cool padlocked necklace with her own all-white ensemble. However, upon reaching the restaurant, a confrontation between Dorinda and Heather comes out of nowhere. I've watched it back three times and still don't understand exactly what went down. It seemed to be over Heather not waiting for Dorinda on the beach so they could all walk into the restaurant together. Does this have to do with the camera crews? I really don't know. But Dorinda starts crying nonetheless and tells Heather she's acting like a bitch. Heather says in her interview that she doesn't know if this is 'martini madness' talking or just plain madness but somehow she's apparently in the middle of it. Either way, she looks great in her bright yellow dress. At the table, Heather apologizes and the two Berkshires buddies put the issue behind them with Dorinda admitting in her confessional that the constant back and forth between all the women is exhausting for her newbie self. I'm not going to lie, I still don't understand what exactly happened, but let's chalk it up to 'martini madness' and be done with it.


Dinner at Fire and Ice looks delicious and the conversation turns to girl talk about the women and their prospective hubbies. As Heather asks about Ramona's Mario problem, Ramotional points out that one thing the two women have in common are husbands whose personalities maybe aren't as strong as theirs. Opposites attract, after all. However, what first drew Mario to Ramona seems to now be pulling the two apart. Men are like babies, she says, and need to feel appreciated. Dorinda, having known the Singers for a long time, claims that Mario and Ramona were the quintessential Upper East Side couple that all their friends looked up to, that they were always the first ones on the dance floor and the first ones in the church pew. (Ramona in church? How have we not seen that in the last seven years?) Bethenny applauds any couple who can stay together for 25 years, even with an affair or two. After all, it's a milestone the other ladies' relationships have yet to achieve. However, a couple of affairs are still a couple of affairs, Kristen's quick to say. Ramona explains to the women that she feels like she's suffering from PTSD with Mario constantly playing with her head and emotions. This diagnosis actually makes sense. In one of her few (and possibly only?) confessionals of the night, Carole likens divorce to a death, except that you have to see your ex every so often around town - but preferably not with his young mistress. Heather toasts to love sometimes not being enough and all the single ladies agree that love just sucks.

The next morning - I think we're on day three - Ramonja are bumbling their way around the kitchen figuring out the confusing coffee selection and the Countess is topless in the ocean for the second time this episode. According to her, there's nothing like swimming in the ocean without clothes on. A little later in the day, Bethenny's preparing lunch for the girls. (Remember when she was a simple natural foods chef pre-Skinnygirl empire?) However Ramona has the brilliant idea that the ladies should go out to lunch instead, and chooses to inform Bethenny of this literally as she is elbows deep in slicing vegetables. As she so eloquently puts it in her interview, apparently God walked in and decided she wanted to go out to lunch. As Ramona tries to press the issue, Bethenny flees the scene, calling Ramona manic and saying she doesn't feel like having a full-blown therapy session over lunch plans. In her umpteenth reality check of the week, Bethenny calls out the Ramonacoaster for constantly having to make everyone bend to her wishes. According to Bethenny, "me" is Ramona's favorite word, so much so that her brand should really be called True Me instead of True Faith. It's always Ramona's world and everyone else is just living in it. And with that, we're left with an ominous "TO BE CONTINUED..." warning, our second of the season to be exact. So far, this vacation is turning out to be worth every minute of airtime and I can't wait for what next week's shenanigans will bring.