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Real Housewives

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 8 - All the Countess's Men

Glenn Rowley

luann-engaged

It's Christmastime in the City! As The Real Housewives of New York City get into the holiday spirit, the fallout from last week's blow-out between Dorinda, John and Ramona lingers while Bethenny and Luann get into it in the Berkshires and Sonja finds herself on the outs. Read on for my complete breakdown of all the drama from the Big Apple...

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The morning after the major confrontation at her boyfriend John Mahdessian's Madame Paulette party, Dorinda Medley engages in some serious retail therapy at Jonathan Adler with Jules Wainstein. Dorinda has plenty to say about her fight with Ramona Singer, and since Jules ran away from the action, she gets to hear all about it. When it comes down to it, I'm still baffled that this blow-up was about some random ex-fling of Luann de Lesseps. (Hint: here's the first instance where the episode's title comes into play.) Why Ramona would insist on coming to the defense of her costar's creepy quasi-stalker is simply beyond me. The two 'Wives are also casually looking for presents to bring to Bethenny Frankel's upcoming Secret Santa holiday party. When Ramona spots a collection of jars with labels like "Uppers," "Quaaludes" and "Prozac," Dorinda suggests that Jules gets them for Ramona's gift. But don't worry Doris, Jules is already 90% done with her gag gift for the temperamental OG. 

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Speaking of Bethenny's holiday party, the Skinnygirl has her entire apartment decorated for the merry affair. She's even arranged  a giant spread of caviar to be served, although the Petrossian girl looks a bit more like Elsa from Frozen than a server at a holiday party. Before Dorinda shows up, Ramona rolls in with a bottle of pinot, ready to regale the room with the tale of her screaming match with Dorinda. However, as she lays out every salacious detail about Rey and reenacts John putting his hand in her face with the help of Carole Radziwill, Jules notes that Ramona conveniently leaves out any part of the fight that explains why Luann literally bolted from her deranged former paramour or makes her look bad. Just as Jules pipes up that there's another side to the story, Dorinda walks in and Ramotional promptly shuts down the entire conversation. 

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Thankfully, Bethenny manages to intercept Dorinda before she overhears and sits her down for an impromptu pep talk prior making her grand entrance. Still reeling from the night before, Dorinda is feeling particularly vulnerable and opens up to Bethenny about just how much all this drama between her boyfriend and her friends is affecting her. Tearfully, the usually tough Dorinda explains that she's feeling lost. This feud with Ramona triggered something inside her and has left her wondering if maybe she doesn't have her life as under control and put together as she thought. For the first time, she's acting out of fear and can't quite tell how to get a handle on it. Bethenny advises her to take some time alone to ensure that she's taking proper care of herself and putting Dorinda first. For once, it's not about John or Ramona or anyone else - Dorinda needs to take care of Dorinda. 

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The same night as the Secret Santa party, Luann de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan are out on the town, rehashing the dramatic events of the showdown on Second Avenue. (Neither of the 'Wives seem to have scored an invite to B's party.) According to the Countess, this guy Rey was just a summertime fling she happened to go on a trip to Ibiza with one time. She insists to Sonja that he wasn't ever her lover, but he wasn't exactly just a one-night stand either. Somewhere in between, I suppose. Nowadays, Luann has a rotating door of male paramours, though one man in particular seems to be winning the race for Luann's heart. And let it be known that this mystery man sure is less of a hot mess than poor Rey. However, she's keeping her lover's identity a secret for now, considering that both Ramona and Sonja happen to know him and she's not sure where exactly their relationship is going. 

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Conversation at the holiday party turns to the ladies' upcoming trip to Dorinda's house in the Hamptons. To mitigate the Tipsy Girl vs. Skinnygirl issue, Sonja won't be invited on the overnighter - though she doesn't know that yet. Carole remarks that she would rather not sleep under the same roof as Luann, but Dorinda insists that Blue Stone Manor is a big house and it should be easy for Writer Girl to avoid her nemesis over the course of the one-night trip. Carole may think she's over last season's drama with the Countess, but it's clear that she might not be. Ramona also takes a minute to apologize profusely to Dorinda for their latest fight, and quickly dismisses Doris's notion that maybe their relationship has changed. Ramona's not going anywhere and neither is Dorinda so forgiveness should be what's on the menu. The night ends on a positive note, as the women's Secret Santa gifts range from sentimental (Carole gives Dorinda a cute ornament for her tree) to downright hilarious (Bethenny's now the proud owner of a vibrating Thighmaster courtesy of Dorinda and Jules made Ramona an amusing kit to pregame with her wine.) Merry Christmas, and God bless us everyone?

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The next morning, Luann and Sonja go full Grey Gardens in Lady Morgan's townhouse, waltzing into the kitchen for breakfast literally draped in furs. Luann spent the evening at a sleepover with her mystery man, but before Sonja can get any details out of her the Countess shrieks that they're in the New York Post! Turns out that the paper's infamous gossip column has picked up the drama from the Madame Paulette party, though it quickly becomes clear that with John described as a "dry cleaning magnate" and painted as the hero for kicking Ramona out on the street that the mafioso boy toy most certainly leaked the story himself. 

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Later, Sonja meets Dorinda for a walk, and the latter breaks the news to Lady Morgan that she won't be joining the rest of the 'Wives on the trip to the Berkshires. Couching it in the excuse that the other women might gang up on Sonja, Dorinda explains that it's just not the right time for Sonja to go away with the rest of the Housewives. Instead, Dorinda proposes that the women are going to come up for one night and she'll invite Sonja up for some quality time one-on-one. Sonja is naturally confused and hurt by the dis-invitation. After all, wasn't Ramona the one Dorinda was screaming at the other night for making a giant scene at John's party? Plus, she argues that the other girls love having her around! She's the life of the party! The straw that stirs the drink! But her argument falls on entirely deaf ears - straw or no straw, Sonja is getting excluded from the weekend away.

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Before the rest of the 'Wives head to the Berkshires, Luann is hosting an intimate dinner at Empire Steak House to introduce her new man to some of her friends. In her confessional, Luann explains that out of everyone in the group, she's only invited Dorinda and Jules with their significant others because she knows they're the two 'Wives who won't judge her. Plus, Dorinda happens to be the one who set her up with her new love! As the Countess arrives, it's revealed that the new man in her life is Tom D'Agostino Jr., a dashingly handsome bald guy who happens to share a romantic history with both Ramona and Sonja. (It turns out that "knowing" the two veteran Housewives meant much more than just being socially acquainted.) Tom seems lovely as he enthralls the table with the story of how Dorinda introduced him to Luann and Dorinda opines in her confessional that the two newly minted lovebirds are absolutely perfect for each other. Score one for Dorinda's matchmaking prowess!

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The overnighter to the Berkshires is finally upon us and Dorinda has decorated her house top to bottom to be as festive as possible for the Christmas season. Ramona is the first to arrive, and Dorinda promptly reminds her that she wants this weekend getaway to be as calm and relaxing as possible - after all, Blue Stone Manor is her sanctuary away from the world. However, once Luann and Jules arrive, the Countess immediately begins chiding Dorinda for excluding Sonja - who's back in the city licking her wounds - from the trip. Dorinda's reasoning holds water for me, and technically as the hostess she's allowed to invite or not invite anyone she wants. Ramona agrees, arguing that Sonja shouldn't be around any drinking and really needs to take some time to work on herself, "spiritualation" included. Besides, it's just one night. How much drama can realistically happen? 

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The answer to that question turns out to be "a lot." Bethenny is the next to arrive, and as she joins the other women at the table, Luann happens to mention that she's temporarily living with Sonja and trying to mentor her. Bethenny finds the assertion that the Countess can mentor anyone, let alone Sonja, to be hysterical, and Luann bristles at her suggestion that it would be like "the blind leading the deaf." Is that really what Bethenny thinks of her? Luann doesn't find this sentiment to be amusing at all, but when she shoots back that Bethenny has issues with Sonja over the Skinnygirl vs. Tipsy Girl controversy, B shoots her down. In fact, the Skinnygirl mogul found Sonja's latest business idea to be nothing more than a joke - she was just offended that Lady Morgan used her to stir up gossip about Tipsy Girl and drag her through the press.

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Bethenny argues that Sonja can't play smart one minute by claiming she has a major "international lifestyle brand" and then stupid the next by playing dumb to the fact that Tipsy Girl sounds an awful lot like Skinnygirl. According to Bethenny, Sonja should've named the new Prosecco line "Stupid Girl" or "Drunk Girl" to be more on brand. No one pulls one over on Bethenny Frankel, sweetheart. As Bethenny points out that more than one person (and Housewife) has copied her business model for Skinnygirl, she jokes that Luann still thinks it was her idea way back in Season 2. The Countess maintains that she and Bethenny tossed the idea around late one night and B decided to run with it and make it happen. However, before the brewing tension can escalate into a full-on argument, we're left with a "To Be Continued..." cliffhanger and have to wait until next week to watch what happens. 

What did you think of this week's RHONY? How does this season just keep getting better and better? Leave your thoughts and opinions below in the comments!