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Real Housewives

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 9 - December: Berkshires County

Glenn Rowley

rhony-dorinda-medley

The epic battle in the Berkshires continues this week on The Real Housewives of New York City! In one of the most iconic episodes in quite possibly the history of the franchise, the ladies duke it out over the secret life of the Countess, who's breaking the almighty girl code and who called who a pedophile. The episode comes across much like a one-act play (hence the title's play on August: Osage County by Tracy Letts), so I've structured this week's recap a little differently to follow along as the drama unfolds scene by scene. Read on and enjoy for my full breakdown and commentary of all the holiday insanity...

Scene 1 - From Slumber Party to Slaughter Party

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The scene in the Berkshires picks up right where we left off last week, with Bethenny Frankel and Luann de Lesseps getting into it over the dining room table at Blue Stone Manor. Just as the squabble dies down over who gets credit for coming up with the idea for Skinnygirl (for the record, it was 100% B), Luann tries asking about Bethenny's dating life - but B's not about to go there either. According to the Skinnygirl mogul, the Countess's questions always come with ill intent, so there's no way Luann gets to know anything about her personal life. However, an off-hand remark made by the Countess accusing Bethenny of copying her hairstyle is the insignificant straw (or hair) that breaks the camel's back and sends B into a rage. Seeing red, Bethenny rips into Luann for the double life she's been rumored to be living ever since the show started way back in Season 1 - from sleeping with married men and partying until 5 a.m. to starring in some twisted reimagining of Grey Gardens by moving into Sonja Morgan's townhouse. From B's perspective, Luann spends all her time hiding behind the arrogant Countess persona she's created, all the while lying about the way she really lives her life. 

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Luann tries to brush off the barrage of accusations by joking that she's apparently the Samantha Jones of the group, but Bethenny fires back that at least the Sex and the City character owned her promiscuous behavior. According to B, it's time for Luann to get called out on her hypocrisy and she's the only one willing to do the talking. Perhaps the most damning revelation of all is that Luann broke the holy "girl code" she preached about all last season by essentially stealing her boyfriend Tom D'Agostino out from under Ramona Singer. The Singer Stinger confirms this herself, explaining that she went on more than half a dozen dates with Tom before Luann swooped in and said "me next..." literally! Bethenny proceeds to let loose every bad thing she's thought about the Countess for the last eight years, calling her "a slut, a liar, a hypocrite and a snake" all in a single breath. Naturally, Carole Radziwill arrives right in the middle of the madness and hilariously assumes that Bethenny is arguing with a man. Well...it would be funnier if she hadn't already used that joke during the trip to Slutty Island in Season 5. 

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Following the confrontation, a furious Countess retreats to the house's patio for a smoke break with newbie Jules Wainstein. That's right, after eight years the producers have finally given us the gift of Luann de Lesseps smoking a cigarette on camera. I wonder if there's a chapter on the dangers of smoking in Class With the Countess... Poor Jules is in the midst of calling her father, who's in the hospital with pneumonia. Yet Luann doesn't seem to have a single ounce of empathy for the new girl, and turns the entire conversation into how horribly she's been slighted by Bethenny. As Jules says in her confessional, you're right Luann - being called a slut definitely trumps a sick dad, go right on ahead and talk about how hurt you are. Dorinda Medley comes out to check on the ladies and Luann promptly lays into the hostess for failing to step in and defend her against B. If she doesn't tell Bethenny to back off, the Countess threatens to leave. 

Scene 2 - Dorinda Made It Nice for You People!

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Here's where things take an even stranger turn. After hearing her threaten to leave, Ramona pulls Luann into the kitchen to try to talk her down. However, Lu continues to question why she's even in the Berkshires if she's going to be verbally attacked. And weren't the 'Wives supposed to be celebrating Dorinda's birthday with this sleepover? Luann points out the homemade cake Dorinda's mother made for her on the table as evidence of this theory, just as the hostess walks into the kitchen herself. Overhearing Luann poking fun at her mom's birthday cake, Dorinda loses her last shred of patience for this madness and epically flies off the handle at all of her guests. Dorinda put a lot of work into cooking, cleaning and decorating to make this Christmas sleepover nice, so if the rest of the 'Wives can't "BETAVE" themselves then they can just go home! Poor Dorinda. Every time the ladies come to her house in the Berkshires they seem to go berserk.

Scene 3 - Feeling Zings Now?

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Back in the Big Apple, Sonja Morgan is left to entertain herself after being uninvited from what she thinks is a fabulous time at Dorinda's house. So, while her friends are at each other's throats in the Berkshires, Lady Morgan is putting in time for some essential cosmetic maintenance. Since we're talking about Sonja, this is code for resurfacing her vagina. In the TMI moment of the episode, Sonja gets what's called a FemiLift, a new laser procedure that tightens the walls of her vajayjay. And it involves a gigantic probe being inserted into Lady Morgan's lady parts...Being a gold-star gay man, this is more than I ever really wanted to know about vaginal rejuvenation, but at least I'm learning it from the Housewives amiright? Thanks, Sonja!

Scene 4 - How Do You Spell "Pedophile?"

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After a glorious flashback of the early conflicts between Luann and Bethenny, the conflict turns to the ongoing cold war between the Countess and Carole. Up to this point, Writer Girl has spent the whole season avoiding Luann but now that they're stuck under the same roof, she vents to Ramona that she can't believe Lu had the audacity to invite her to an upcoming holiday party. In what world would she go to the Countess's party after being called a pedophile by her last year for dating Adam? When Ramona brings this up to Luann, Carole grabs Jules and bolts for the nearest closet so she can eavesdrop. The newbie, however, turns out to be a rather terrible spy as she's more interested in inspecting the wallpaper inside the closet than actually letting Radzi hear what Luann is saying about her. Hilarious. (According to Carole, a wallpapered closet is the mark of a truly wealthy person. Good to know for my future penthouse.) Back in the dining room, Ramona encourages Luann to end the animosity once and for all by dictating a carefully worded apology text to send to Carole. The text reads as follows: "Sorry I called you a pedophile, hope you can come to my next holiday party." I'm using that sentence from now on for every invitation I send to all my future parties.

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After that text goes out to Carole, Luann decides to keep the apology tour going by composing one to Bethenny. Out of everything they just sparred about, the Countess apologizes if Bethenny thought she was trying to take credit for coming up with the idea for Skinnygirl and maintains that she didn't mean it like that at all. However, to be honest I'm much more interested in the earlier texts we can see that Luann sent both of the women - the one to Carole references her making an appearance on WWHL with Andy Cohen (presumably last season) and the one to Bethenny asks her out to lunch with the promise of no cameras. Fascinating stuff, really, to get a tiny peek into what goes on behind the Bravo curtain between the 'Wives. Obviously, neither of these apologies via text make any kind of impression on either Carole or Bethenny since they both end up giggling about it in one of the bedrooms together just a few feet away from Luann. Nice try, Countess but you're going to have to do much more than that if you really want to fix things.

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Magically, Luann manages to change into her third top in as many hours as the women get ready for a festive dinner of Dorinda's famous lasagna. The hostess asks her what happened with Ramona, and Luann defensively explains her position in the argument over Tom. According to Luann, he just happens to like her better than Ramona, so sorry not sorry Singer. However, she still can't believe the blow-up with Bethenny and claims that the Skinnygirl seems to be on some sort of twisted mission to burn every bridge she can - first it was Dorinda's boyfriend John Mahdessian, then it was Sonja, now it's Luann. Yet right in the middle of Lu's tirade to Dorinda, Bethenny walks into the conversation (in a onesie!) and demands to know whether this little monologue is supposed to be part of the apology text she received just moments before. As the two OGs ramp up for round 2 of their Berkshires battle, the moment is interrupted by another "To Be Continued..." and it looks like we'll have to wait until next week for the conclusion of the drama. 

What did you think of this week's episode of RHONY? Are you Team Bethenny or Team Luann? Should Dorinda ever invite these girls to the Berkshires again? Leave your thoughts and opinions below in the comments!