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Real Housewives

RHONY Ssn 7/Ep 16 - Awfully Charitable

Glenn Rowley

kristen-speaking-smile-train

I loved how much this episode focused on the emotional and heartwarming things in life. The past several weeks have been chock full of conflict and arguments, so it was nice to take a relative break from the fighting for a week. So far the season has expertly navigated the balance between humor, drama and heartwarming moments, and the episode added to that overall balance really nicely. But let's not get ahead of ourselves! Let's start from the top.

bethenny-carole-shrug

We opened with Bethenny eager to show Carole her new apartment, which is still being furiously renovated. Don't worry though, the bedroom may not be done but the storage shelves have already been painted Skinnygirl red. My favorite part of this scene has to be the ladies' outfits. As Carole was regaling B with tales of what she missed at the end of Kristen's decorating party, I couldn't help dying over B's gorgeous white coat and Carole's periwinkle fur shrug. The two buddies were the very essence of the difference between uptown and downtown, and I loved it. Hanging out on Bethenny's new bed, Carole caught the Skinnygirl up on the drama that went down between Luann, Heather, Dorinda and her as the glue guns and bedazzlers were being put to rest. According to Writer Girl, Luann made a dreadful fool of herself, and when Bethenny asks whether she's biased about the confrontation, Carole points out that she had to stick up for herself against the pearl-clutching ("How DARE you!") and holier-than-thou attitude demonstrated by Luann. Carole proclaims the Countess officially back, but Bethenny's sitting firmly in the middle of the road on this one. Look who's the new Switzerland!

rhony-smile-train-event

Kristen's Smile Train event has arrived and the Pretty Girl is ready to lose her charity event virginity. The Denim and Diamonds party looks equal parts elegant and fun, with appetizers being served in pairs of jeans and a Yummie denim pop-up boutique in the middle of the showroom. The women all arrive in their best denim and bling - Carole's working a pair of overalls and borrowed diamonds - and Kristen is positively rocking this event, doing press on the step and repeat and taking pictures with the ladies and Smile Train execs. With charity in the air, Dorinda pulls Heather aside and asks to talk about their tiff at the decorating party. In her confessional, Dorinda admits that she doesn't like being at odds with people, and that she usually just chooses to cut such frenemies out of her life, but she doesn't want to do that with Heather. Once seated away from the rest of the women, Dorinda apologizes for the constant dust-ups between the two and cites all the "outside noise" (from filming the show) as a negative influence on their previously pure friendship. Heather accepts the apology, but thinks that Dorinda seems to have a lot of anger built up towards her and she doesn't know why. I'm hoping this peace between the Berks buddies lasts, but judging by Dorinda calling Heather arrogant in her confessional immediately after the truce, I won't hold my breath. 

ramona-carole-heather-lackey

Eventually, the program starts and Kristen makes her way to the podium to give her speech. Naturally, Ramona and Sonja can't help from talking through the Pretty Girl's heartfelt remarks, and Ramona gets fired up when she notices that the True Faith logo for the necklaces she donated is nowhere to be seen at the event. These necklaces retail for $80, people! Where's the credit for Ramona's good works? Immediately, the Ramonacoaster stomps over to where Heather and Carole are sitting and demands to know how much Yummie denim retails for. (The answer is "much more than the $40 you predicted Ramona"). Once the Singer Stinger starts going on the attack about being left off the event signage for the six necklaces she'd brought two nights prior, Heather is having none of it and tells her to take a walk. Girl, bye. But Ramona's not done, and when Carole steps in to defend her friend, the Singer Stinger then turns on her, saying Carole needs to stop acting as Heather's lackey. In her confessional, Ramona goes so far as to accuse Heather of controlling both Carole and Heather, saying Ms. Yummie is just so insecure about her life. This accusation is a hilarious double standard. Wasn't Ramotional defending Bethenny's honor to Kristin at the Countess Collection launch party, yet the two real BFFs on the show can't stand up for each other? Get with it, Ramona. Eventually, Dorinda, Sonja and Luann come break up the tension - though the Countess can't help but take yet another dig at Carole about her relationship with Adam the hot chef. Never mind that the event was really about how Kristen's work with Smile Train is going to change the lives of hundreds of children. Way to go, Pretty Girl!

dorinda-heather-medium

The next day, Carole's in the mood for a spiritual reality check, and takes Heather and Dorinda to see a Turkish coffee grinds reader in Queens. Sema, the medium, is an adorable little Turkish lady who lives in an adorable little house and serves the ladies an approximation of what Dorinda referred to as "coffee mud."  After swirling their cups around three times and flipping them upside down on the saucers, Sema was ready to read their grinds. Every single thing she talked about was eerily on point - from Carole's relationship with Anthony and the impending operation on Heather's son to the story about Dorinda and the balloon after Richards death - and turned the ladies into true believers. Even the little details, like the scratch on the side of Anthony's black Jeep, were right down to the fine print, and the Jeep story in particular was something Carole had never written about or told anyone publicly. All three 'Wives were moved to tears by the experience and Carole was finally ready to go pick up Anthony's ashes in London. Sema certainly served as a stark contrast to the vague medium who tried to help Vicki this week in the OC.

bethenny-therapy

Later, Bethenny's meeting with her therapist, Dr. Amador, yet again. After discussing her impending move and relationship with all the women, the topic of business comes up and the good doctor calls B out. Apparently, business is the one issue she's refused to talk about in the past, feeling she has it completely under control. However, Dr. Amador points out that he can see the fear beneath the arrogance that Bethenny masks as confidence. I don't think anyone else on this show could give the Skinnygirl such a blatant reality check.

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Carole's throwing a dinner party in the apartment she's lived in for a decade before she goes to London, so she goes shopping with Adam the hot chef at Dean and Deluca. I've never been happier to see Adam back on my TV screen. That man is delicious and Carole seems smitten. Apparently the perks to dating a chef include that he's very nurturing and is always feeding her, so Carole never goes hungry. Plus, he's easy on the eyes. Seriously Adam, if you decide to swing the other way, I volunteer...Carole's so smitten by the hot chef that she mistakes cilantro for parsley and tries to buy pre-made olive tapenade, but Adam's not having it. Fresh mixed olives, please!

carole-dinner-party

Her dinner party is the first time Carole's really bringing Adam around any of the other 'Wives, and she points out in her confessional that life doesn't ever unfold as you would expect it to. Here she is having her boyfriend cook dinner for her friends and the next day she'll be flying to London to pick up the remains of her late husband. The Thomsons and Kristen (sans Josh) arrive and the food looks delicious, though I'm too distracted by Adam's perfect hair to pay more attention to the hand-rolled gnocchi. As the guys are washing dishes, Carole gets a call from Dorinda to confirm their flight the next day. She doesn't open up much about her relationship with Anthony to Adam, but he's reading her first book, so he's starting to understand her past. When asked by the girls, Carole admits she doesn't know what she's going to do with the urn, but either way, Kristen can't wait to "meet" him!

dorinda-airport

The next day, Carole arrives at the Delta lounge to jet off to London with Dorinda in tow. She asked Dorinda to come along because, out of all the other women, Dorinda can relate to Carole's experience through their shared widowhood. Dorinda's a bit nervous for the trip, as it's the first time she's been back to London since Richard's passing. The city used to be their town, where they married and Hannah was born. Carole fills Dorinda in on her backstory, including the time surrounding Anthony's passing and the deaths of her closest friends JFK, Jr. and his wife Carolyn. It's not something Carole discusses publicly very often, but needless to say, the summer of 1999 was one of the most difficult times in her life. Both women share how they cut everyone off following the deaths of their respective spouses and expect that this journey to the UK will help them come full circle in their experiences. However, the episode ends as they board the plane, and we'll have to wait until next week for what is sure to be an emotional journey for both.