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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: eating disorder

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 16 - The Countess Bride

Glenn Rowley

luann-de-lesseps-engaged

This week on The Real Housewives of New York City, Luann's engagement is the talk of the Big Apple, but Tom's romantic past with both Ramona and Sonja creates tension at the celebratory dinner in her honor. Plus, the 'Wives hit Mohegan Sun for a fun-filled weekend away, though Jules and Bethenny remain at odds. Read on for my full recap of the drama...

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After all the bonding last week on the party bus, it's finally time for some fun at Mohegan Sun! (Yes, for those of you wondering, this is indeed the same casino Kim Zolciak-Biermann did an appearance at last season on Don't Be Tardy. No, I can't get over it.) Once Ramona Singer "randomly" assigns rooms for all the 'Wives, Sonja Morgan asks Jules Wainstein how things are between her and Bethenny following their blow-up at Joanne Trattoria. The newbie finds it ironic (and not in the good way) that someone with a brand called Skinnygirl would be gossiping about someone's eating disorder behind her back. Jules doesn't want to have to worry about Bethenny mocking or belittling her at every turn going forward. Of course, in their room, Bethenny and Carole Radziwill are dissecting the drama as well, and conclude that Dorinda Medley must have got away with stirring the pot and riling Jules up against them. Either way, there doesn't seem to be much hope for a friendship between the newbie and the two vets any time soon. As far as Jules is concerned, she won't be sharing anything personal with Bethenny or Carole ever again.

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Dinner that night is light and bright. Now that Bethenny's made up with Sonja over the Skinnygirl vs. Tipsy Girl controversy, the 'Wives can focus on more important things like Dorinda's past as an aerobics instructor and Bethenny's ability to bust into a headstand before dessert is served. The women hit the casino and I daresay they're all actually having fun together. Sonja's not drinking, Jules is chanting in Hebrew to summon Lady Luck to the blackjack table and the weekend turns out to be entirely different from last season's drunken disaster in Atlantic City. In fact, the trip is so drama-free that it only takes up the first 12 minutes of the episode...and that's saying something!

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Back in the Big Apple, Carole and her boyfriend Adam Kenworthy are ruminating over the status of their relationship. The lovebirds may be struggling to write a cookbook together, but Carole opines that they actually have the healthiest, most normal relationship out of all her friends. (This is particularly ironic considering how much flak she took from Luann de Lesseps about dating a younger man.) Even if they were to hypothetically break up before The Reluctant Vegan hits shelves, both Carole and Adam figure that they can be amicable for the sake of the inevitable press tour. After all, that's what being adults is about, right?

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Meanwhile, Ramona is out shopping with Sonja and suggests putting together a dinner to celebrate Luann's engagement. Lady Morgan rightfully points out that neither she nor Ramona really has any business planning something for Luann - especially considering their respective pasts with her now-fiancé Tom D'Agostino. However, Ramona's already sold on the idea in her head and informs Sonja that since she couldn't get ahold of Luann, she decided to text Tom about the party. According to Sonja (who seems so full of good advice tonight), it's never a good idea to text another woman's man, but Ramona doesn't see the harm in it if she desperately needs to reach Lu. Note to the Singer Stinger, Girl Code 201 is as follows: do not text the guy you used to date who is now engaged to your fellow Housewife (and who also happened to be hooking up with Sonja for the past 10 years.) A love triangle involving three Housewives and the same guy is never agreat example of etiquette.

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The one 'Wife who won't be able to make Luann's celebratory dinner is Bethenny, who's taking off to Aspen with her daughter Bryn despite her doctor's recommendation to avoid unnecessary travel. Luckily, the Skinnygirl's trusty personal assistant Julia gives her a much-needed reality check that she needs to put her health first. However, in classic form, Bethenny refuses to change her plans and risk having to go to the Countess's engagement dinner instead. She does, however, promise to take it easy in Aspen and spend most of her time in bed while Bryn is in ski school. So let's call it a draw?

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Dorinda meets Ramona at Bistro Chat Noir to go over details about the dinner for Luann. Right away, however, Dorinda echoes Sonja's sentiments that Ramona probably shouldn't be the one hosting the dinner, and adds that the Countess seems to have an issue with Ramotional every time she comes up in conversation. Besides, shouldn't Dorinda be the one to throw the party since she was the person who set Luann up with Tom in the first place? That being said, I do think that Ramona's motivation is absolutely for the right reason - she simply wants to do something nice to celebrate Luann's big moment. Let's just get to the party, shall we? And for the record, I'm kind of in love Dorinda's yellow cable-knit sweater.

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Ramona settles on Black Barn as the venue for Luann's engagement dinner, which means it's the second event she's hosted there after her ill-fated holiday party. As the other 'Wives arrive, the dress code seems to subconsciously have been all-black. But Jules is rocking a crop top, Carole's bringing back the choker and everyone really looks fabulous. As they're waiting for the Countess to make her grand entrance, Dorinda brings up the need for a girls trip since the one to Mexico got cancelled and suggests the 'Wives jet off to Hawaii before busting out leis for everyone. But will we actually make it to the Big Island? (The answer is no.)

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Once Luann arrives - wearing bridal white, naturally - Carole gives her a little heart-shaped crystal to show just how genuinely happy she is for her former nemesis. Boy, have these two come a long way since the end of last season. (To be clear, by "a long way" I mean being able to be basically civil with each other thanks to Carole taking the highest high road there ever was...) The Countess proudly and giddily shows off her engagement ring from Tom, an eight-carat canary yellow diamond that Sonja describes as "murky," and is clearly thrilled to be the undisputed center of attention for an evening. However, the love triangle-shaped elephant in the room might be bringing out the jealousy in Sonja, who's having an understandably difficult time putting on a supportive face. With the Palm Beach wedding almost a year away, are there any bets for what might happen in the interim?

What did you think of this week's episode of RHONY? Should Ramona have hosted Luann's engagement dinner? Does Sonja have a reason to be jealous of the Countess and Tom? Will Jules and Bethenny ever be friends? Let me know in the comments section below!

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 15 - All Bets Are Off

Glenn Rowley

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The Real Housewives of New York City gets more real than ever as newbie Jules takes Bethenny and Carole to task for gossiping about her eating disorder, which ignites a new feud just as Bethenny is ready to put her bad blood with Sonja to bed. Plus, after weeks of gushing about how in love she is, Luann finally puts a ring on it! Read on for a full recap of the drama...

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We pick up right where last week left on, which is in the wake of Luann de Lesseps storming out of Dorinda Medley's ill-fated dinner party at Joanne Trattoria. As the Countess makes her angry escape, she runs right into Dorinda Medley and Jules Wainstein coming back from their smoke break. (Quick PSA: don't smoke.) Luann rails that she just can't understand why the other 'Wives can't simply be supportive of her relationship with Tom. If everyone else in her life can be happy she found her new "soulmate," why can't these bitches?? (Her words, not mine.) And with that, Lu is out. The Countess has dropped the mic and officially left the building. 

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Meanwhile, the rest of the women are still sitting around the table debating their frenemy's life. Is she back on her high horse? Can she help herself from pointing out that she's moved into Tom's penthouse? As her costars vent about Luann, frustration starts to build on Jules's face as she starts rushing to the defense of the absent Countess. The newbie points out that it's quite uncool to talk about your friend the second she leaves the table, and this segues into Jules confronting Bethenny Frankel and Carole Radziwill over talking about her behind her back. First, Jules takes Bethenny to task for constantly insinuating that she's stupid. All season long, the rookie hasn't taken kindly to any of Bethenny's jokes at her expense ("I need a verb," anyone?) and she's finally had it. With no bones about it, Jules calls the OG out for her "not nice" behavior, leaving all the 'Wives visibly stunned. No one in the history of RHONY has anyone ever stood up to Bethenny Frankel like this...

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Jules then brings up the fact that she's been very honest and genuine from day one with her new friends about everything in her life - from revealing her eating disorder to talking about her marriage. Therefore, to find out that Bethenny and Carole have been gossiping about her eating disorder was a major betrayal of trust. B counters that she's actively kept a distance from Jules and her eating disorder, considering her estranged mom's own history with the disease, but Jules doesn't let her off the hook one bit. Instead, she gets emotional as she tells Bethenny (and Carole by association) to stop talking about her behind her back, as it discounts all the work and years she's put into her recovery. Furthermore, the other women may be uncomfortable with how skinny she is, but Jules exclaims that she loves her body and hugs her bones every day in gratitude. All of this is the reason why Jules is so open about her eating disorder, to keep her accountable. An eating disorder stays with you for life and every day is a challenge - in fact, Jules admits that she threw up her food just a few days prior. It's a powerful, vulnerable moment for the newbie and I've never loved her more. So many people can be helped, educated and enlightened by Jules choosing to share such a vulnerable story on a platform like the Housewives.

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The next day, Luann meets Ramona for a walk-and-talk to clear the air from their dust-up at the Italian restaurant. With coordinated pops of red and blue against their winter black, the two vets go tit for tat over whether Ramona's really Luann's friend or if she's once again rearing her infamous Singer Stinger. Ramona can't believe Luann would even question her support after everything she's done to broker peace between her fellow OG and Bethenny and Carole. For the millionth time in this episode alone, Luann pulls out the "I'm in love and I'm getting married card," which prompts Ramona to point out that, while she may think she's in love, the relationship is rushing to the altar rather quickly. I mean, Luann and Tom only met a few months ago - after Ramona had dated him and he was still sleeping with Sonja. Icky. Ramona argues that there's no way Lu can really know the man she's supposedly ready to marry in such a short amount of time, but the Countess counters that when she knows, she knows. No matter how they met (did she or didn't she steal Tom away from a date with another woman at The Mark Hotel?) or who they dated in the past, as far as Luann's concerned it's all B.L. For someone who spent the entirety of Season 7 preaching about the girl code, the Countess seems to be eager to forget any code-breaking that may have happened "Before Lu."

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Meanwhile, another gossip session is occurring in the West Village as Dorinda and Bethenny converge at Carole's apartment to rehash the drama with Jules. Bethenny is still speechless over the newbie blowing up at her and isn't quite sure what to think of the entire ordeal. Carole points out that Jules's anger seemed to be directed solely at B, while everything she said about the OG talking about her eating disorder could've been pointed at Radzi as well. Bethenny insists that she's been very delicate around Jules thus far, specifically tip-toeing around the subject of her eating disorder altogether. The OG ventures a guess that the rookie is paranoid because she opened up about her marriage and shared some private information that she's now afraid will become public (i.e. the couple's divorce announcement since filming wrapped). Either way, Dorinda points out that Jules's eating disorder is clearly a touchy subject that everyone - Bethenny and Carole included - should just be a bit more respectful about. However, Bethenny claims that she is officially done with the newbie. It looks like Jules won't be getting any more of the Skinnygirl's time or attention from here on out.

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That evening, Sonja throws a small dinner party at her townhouse on the Upper East Side - inviting only Dorinda, her boyfriend John Mahdessian and the Wainsteins. Never mind that this is the first time Dorinda has let her boyfriend around any of the 'Wives (or Bravo's cameras) in weeks, the big news is that Jules is setting Sonja up on a blind date. As Lady Morgan rolls out the fine china and a borrowed butler from her ex-brother-in-law, it turns out that she already knows the mystery man in question, who's a notorious Italian playboy named Rocco. (By the way, how many Roccos could Sonja possibly know? I mean, c'mon now...) The evening seems to be going well, with Sonja regaling the table with stories of her giant, 200-year-old napkins, but conversation inevitably turns to Jules and Bethenny's showdown at Joanne's. Both Sonja and Dorinda are proud that Jules stood up for herself, but the newbie swears that she'll never again trust Bethenny or Carole with any personal information about her life. 

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It's finally time to go to Mohegan Sun! For the drive to Connecticut, Ramona's organized a party bus filled with enough Skinnygirl alcohol and snacks to hopefully avoid any drama between the ladies. Yet despite Ramona's best intentions, the tension is palpable between Bethenny and Jules as soon as all the women board the bus. However, the most pressing item of business revolves around the one 'Wife who's M.I.A: Luann's officially engaged! Of course, all of the women had to find out in the press, rather than from the Countess's mouth, but they toast to her anyway. Looks like Luann is finally getting everything she wanted - I'm just surprised cameras didn't follow her to Vail to capture the big moment.

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Now that she's fighting with Jules, Bethenny is ready to make up with Sonja after months of silence surrounding their Skinnygirl/Tipsy Girl feud. With some time and distance, Bethenny recognizes that she was perhaps a bit harsh in completely cutting Sonja off, and she finally wants to make at least some sort of amends. The Skinnygirl admits that it's impossible not to love Sonja, and that under all her messy quirks, she's truly a good person. For her part, Sonja is both happy and relieved to finally get an apology from Bethenny, and admits there was wrong on her part as well. The Skinnygirl claims she's seen a positive change in Sonja lately and declares their drama officially over. But does this mean we won't see them argue over this at the reunion??

What did you think of this week's RHONY? Are you Team Jules or Team Bethenny? Can you stand hearing Luann say "B.L." or "soulmate" one more time? Are you happy she's finally engaged? Let me know in the comments!

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 13 - Steel Calzones

Glenn Rowley

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Everybody's got issues this week on The Real Housewives of New York City. While Jules feels targeted by some of the 'Wives over her eating disorder and Bethenny deals with the reality of her medical crisis, Ramona's efforts to play peacemaker between Luann and Carole don't go exactly as she planned. Read on for a full recap of all the drama...

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It's pizza night for the Big Apple 'Wives as they meet at farmhouse chic eatery Wild in the Meatpacking District. Jules Wainstein is still suffering on account of her vaginal injury, but she's braving the pain to make some pizzas with the girls. As the other ladies arrive, Jules tries to fill them in on her accident, but when she starts stumbling over her words, Bethenny Frankel points out that she "need[s] a verb" for the story to continue." After a quick debriefing on both Jules's and Bethenny's medical issues, the ladies put on their aprons and get busy rolling their dough. While her co-stars are all making regular pizzas, Jules takes her creation up a notch by concocting a calzone - preferably filled with Percocet and Lidocaine to deal with this uptight group of girls. The activity also prompts Carole Radziwill to bring up the newbie's eating disorder, and Jules explains that she never weighs herself, choosing not to focus on the number as part of her ongoing recovery. 

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While Ramona Singer leaves the party early (with one of the restaurant's plates in hand) and Jules and Dorinda Medley go outside for a smoke break, Carole brings up the newbie's "food issues" with Bethenny back at the table. The pair opine that, while Jules presents her eating disorder as something that's in her past, it seems like she's more affected by it in her day-to-day life than she lets on. In fact, the newest 'Wife's subconscious issues with food become readily apparent when the women dig into her calzone to discover she's baked a stainless steel knife, fork and sauce cup inside. As the pizza party wraps up, the subject comes up yet again when Jules reveals she takes Adderall, prompting Carole to remark that she shouldn't be taking the medication because it makes you lose weight. Jules reassures Radzi that she's completely fine in her recovery - she goes to two different therapists twice a week - but for a party that was supposed to be all about fun and food, it's seems all anyone could talk about was the new girl's eating disorder.

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The next day, Carole meets up with a friendly face we haven't seen in a while: former Housewife Heather Thomson! Holla! As the pair go ice skating in Bryant Park with their significant others, I can't help but think about how much I have missed seeing Heather on my screen every Wednesday night this season. After taking off their skates and sending the men away, the two BFFs sit down for a serious catch-up over hot chocolate. Carole explains that the cookbook she's writing with her chef boyfriend Adam Kenworthy, and when Heather mentions that Bethenny's been telling her about Jules off-camera, Radzi brings up the incident from the pizza night. To Carole, it's apparent that Jules has plenty of food rituals and she opines that the newbie might have put the silverware in her calzone as a way to avoid actually eating it. Whatever the reason, it's raised a red flag among the other women and now Carole is worried about Jules and her eating disorder.

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Meanwhile, Dorinda drops by Jules's apartment in the Flatiron District for a visit. The newbie is still bothered by Carole commenting on her "food issues" the night before and reiterates that if anyone has questions about her eating disorder, they can simply ask instead of dancing around the topic. Jules is also insulted by Bethenny's constant jokes at her expense and feels that the OG is trying to make her seem stupid and ditzy. From the newbie's perspective, both veteran 'Wives are being borderline mean-girlish and she's decided to have her guard up around them from now on. Besides, Jules is going through enough in her personal life - what with her dad in the hospital, her nanny suddenly quitting and the injury to her vagina - to have to deal with drama from the other 'Wives. There's an undercurrent of tension in the Wainsteins' marriage, and Jules breaks down in tears to Dorinda as she explains that Michael just isn't stepping up to the plate to help her. It's gotten so bad that Jules admits she was actually relieved to be in the hospital after her accident because she could just take a minute without all the pressure on her. 

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While Dorinda helps Sonja Morgan declutter her basement Hoarders-style, Bethenny goes to a pre-op appointment for her fibroids issue, which are still causing a lot of bleeding. However, the appointment leaves Bethenny in tears as she tries to process the fact that the fibroids are going to require major surgery. With words like "living will" and "medical proxy" being thrown around, B is forced to confront the fact that she doesn't have any family to call in times of crisis. This reality leaves the Skinnygirl feeling more alone than ever as she considers what would happen to her five-year-old daughter Bryn if something were to happen to her. 

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Luann de Lesseps is still living in Lu-Lu Land and decides to throw a cocktail party at Hunt & Fish Club in the Theater District as an excuse to reconnect with the rest of the 'Wives. However, Ramona arrives at the party on a mission. Pulling Luann aside for a private chat, the Singer Stinger remarks that the Countess seems to be on the outs with both Bethenny and Carole. Luann points out that neither of her frenemies even bothered to RSVP for the cocktail party and declares that she's past the point of caring about either of them. Ramona tries to play peacemaker though, and simply wants Luann to make up with Carole once and for all. After sending an apologetic text in the Berkshires about calling Radzi a pedophile and extending an olive branch at her holiday party, Ramona points out that Luann seems to have stopped making any effort in a rather mixed metaphor about sports. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Ramona Singer?

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Ramona encourages Lu to reach out to Carole for some one-on-one time, whether it's a phone call or meeting up for coffee. However, the Countess announces that she's done apologizing for last season's drama and she "[doesn't] care what Carole RadziVILL thinks. Period." It appears the ship has sailed for Luann and Carole to ever really be friends again. Besides, the Countess is in love and doesn't have time for any more drama that will squash her bubble of love. In her annoyance, Luann suggests the ladies take a trip to Palm Beach to replace the cancelled vacation to Mexico, and it looks like neither Carole nor Bethenny are going to make the guest list for this one...

What did you think of this week's RHONY? Are Carole and Bethenny crossing the line about Jules's food issues? Were you happy to see Heather make a cameo? Do you love Ramona trying to play peacemaker as much as I do? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 6 - Tipsying Point

Glenn Rowley

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Things are beginning to get tipsy on The Real Housewives of New York City! While drama once again boils over between some of the 'Wives at an ill-fated psychic reading, another celebrates her birthday with a surprising announcement that may put her in the crosshairs of a business empire. #businessbyBravo, right? Read on for my complete break down of this week's episode...

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Over on the Upper East Side, Sonja Morgan starts her morning with a typical facial made out of human stem cell from the infamously gossipy Satoko Yamazaki. The facialist laments no longer being able to get human placenta from the black market, which might seem like something you don't want to admit on national TV, but Satoko has never been known for her subtlety. (Just ask the Countess.) Always the queen of multi-tasking, Sonja's busy planning her upcoming birthday party while she's laying on the massage table. Satoko doesn't make the guest list for the party, but for some reason Sonja assumes that even though some of her cast mates have yet to RSVP to the affair, they'll still be there. I may need to dust off my etiquette books from when RHOP ended, but I'm pretty sure that's the exact opposite of what an RSVP actually means...

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Meanwhile, Carole Radziwill has invited most of the other 'Wives to her chic apartment in the West Village for a good, old-fashioned psychic reading. After last season's hauntingly successful trip to the Turkish coffee grounds reader, Dorinda Medley is particularly jazzed about this next encounter with the paranormal courtesy of famed psychic medium Kim Russo. Based on numerous past experiences, otherworldly figures seem to positively adore our Dorinda. Bethenny Frankel and Jules Wainstein, on the other hand, are more than a little skeptical about the activity - what with the former being the most natural cynic of the bunch and the newbie's devout Jewish faith putting psychic readings strictly on the no-no list. As the ladies gather in Carole's living room, Kim Russo starts with Jules, picking up energy that the newbie is connecting with her life's mission to be a role model for other women. Jules is touched by this, explaining in her confessional that she hopes opening up about her past eating disorder can help make a difference in other people's lives. 

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However, Kim Russo quickly moves on to Dorinda with news that someone named John is trying to contact her. Turns out that Dorinda has more than a couple Johns in her life - including her boyfriend John Mahdessian, her father, her brother AND her grandfather just to name a few. In an instance of hilariously perfect timing, Ramona Singer arrives late, barging in and interrupting the reading before any John can get his message delivered. At this point, a pair of brothers reach out to Kim Russo, and they turn out to be Dorinda's late husband Richard and his brother Robert. After a touching moment where the psychic validates a promise Richard made to Dorinda before his death, she asks whether the gangster 'Wife wants to know what Richard thinks of John. Kim Russo then proceeds to tell Dorinda that Richard thinks her current boyfriend is "good for now" but can't provide her with the safety and security she needs long-term. She also predicts that Dorinda will one day get married again, but it won't be to John. This revelation prompts a classic, unfiltered response from the Ramonacoaster, who lets slip a relieved "thank God."

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Naturally, this side comment sets Dorinda off, and she lets Ramona have it. Sick of hearing all the negativity about John, Dorinda points out that if Ramona was a good friend she would be supportive of their relationship, and tells her to keep her mouth shut. Furthermore, Dorinda informs Ramona that John isn't exactly her biggest fan either - in fact, he thinks she's nothing more than a "bitch." When will the Housewives learn their lesson? Do not say a bad word about John Mahdessian around Dorinda. It's really as simple as that. To drive the point home, Dorinda rather snidely hits below the belt, tauntingly reminding Ramona that Mario left her for a younger woman. Ouch. Kim Russo awkwardly moves on to Ramona, predicting that she'll also get married again and sending her a message from her late father, but the damage has been done and tensions remain high for the rest of the reading. Dorinda is clearly heartbroken by all the negativity and feels it's ruining her 20+-year friendship with Ramona.

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The next day, Carole visits Jules at her apartment in the Flatiron District to rehash all the surprising drama and revelations from the psychic reading. (Quick side note: apparently Jules doesn't know what an iPod is? Or how to make tea? Seriously?) Carole asks Jules if she understood what the medium was talking about when she said she'd be a role model to other women, and the newbie confides in Writer Girl about her past struggles with an eating disorder. In her confessional, Carole admits she isn't exactly surprised by this news - considering Jules's "unnaturally thin" frame and preoccupation with food. Even during this chat, she's set out an entire table's worth of food that the two of them couldn't possibly finish by themselves. Jules opens up to Carole that she hopes sharing her life experience can inspire the younger generation of girls who are struggling with their own eating disorders. Carole eloquently explains that everyone's mission in life essentially comes down to one thing: "to articulate your suffering in a way that emancipates you and empowers [others]." She then encourages Jules to think about how she wants to articulate her journey to others, whether that's through giving speeches, working with university students or even writing a book. And if she needs a good ghostwriter, Writer Girl might just be able to recommend one...

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Next, Dorinda meets John at Il Mulino Prime for a fancy dinner date. After being burned by the drama with Ramona at the psychic reading, Dorinda comes to the restaurant still feeling upset, and just wants John to be an empathetic ear she can vent to. However, as she opens up about what happened with Ramona, it quickly becomes clear that John's much more interested in making the drama all about him. As he repeatedly interrupts her story, Dorinda loses her patience and declares that she's officially done with the drama, storming out of the restaurant. As an unabashed fan of Dorinda, it's hard to watch her feel like no one is really on her side. In my recap of her very first episode as a Housewife, I specifically pointed out that she was empathetic and compassionate as she supported Ramona through her issues with Mario. She deserves the same type of respect and support back from the important people in her life.

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While Bethenny braves the rain to launch her new Skinnygirl Bars and Protein Shakes, the night of Sonja's birthday party arrives and all of the 'Wives show up other than B and Carole. (Because that's what it means when you don't RSVP.) As the party begins, Ramona gathers Sonja, Jules and Dorinda to regale them with the story of the re-gifted necklace Luann de Lesseps gave her on her birthday. Of course, the Countess manages to make her grand entrance just as the story is wrapping up and pulls Ramona aside with an entire different bone to pick with the Singer Stinger. Luann wants to know why Ramona's so opposed to the idea of her staying with Sonja, and Ramotional rather abruptly blurts out that the Countess moving in will turn Sonja's townhouse into a veritable brothel. Harsh, but true? An insulted Luann counters that her fellow OG is being hypocritical about her own Turtle Time, but I think Ramona has a point here. With the reputation Luann has developed as a major partier with a penchant for bringing random men home with her at all hours of the night - a la last season's trip to the Turks and Caicos - it's probably not the best environment for Sonja to bring into her home. However, the most hilarious part of this argument is Jules managing to eavesdrop on the conversation with the help of her husband.

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As the argument concludes, Dorinda asks Luann if it was about the necklace, at which point Ramona is forced to confront her over the gift in front of all the other girls. Luann can't believe what she's hearing, but Ramona thinks it was in awfully poor taste for her to present Bethenny with an engraved, monogrammed Carlos Falchi purse at the Ramonacoaster's own birthday party while she gave the actual birthday girl a necklace for the second time. In her confessional, the Countess amusingly points out that Ramona isn't even using the term "re-gift" correctly: it's actually when someone gives you a gift and you turn around and give it to someone else. But that's neither here nor there. Either way, Dorinda finds the conversation to be hilarious and so do I. Please never change, Ramona Singer. 

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At this point, John quiets the room for Sonja to make a birthday toast. However, Lady Morgan has more than just a speech up her sleeve. Raising her glass, Sonja announces that she's launching a new line of Prosecco as her latest business venture. She she says, anyone who knows her, knows she drinks an awful lot of the Italian sparkling wine. Oh, but that's not all! The name of the new Prosecco line is Tipsy Girl. Hmm...as Ramona and Jules are both quick to point out, Sonja's branding sounds an awful lot like Bethenny's Skinnygirl empire. And we all know how protective Bethenny is when it comes to the brand she's built. While Dorinda thinks there's room for everyone when it comes to starting companies and opines that Bethenny won't care, Jules asks Sonja point blank if she talked to the Skinnygirl before starting such a similar brand. I mean, Bethenny even has her own Prosecco! Sonja claims she can't wait to get the business maven's opinion and wishes she had come to the party, but we'll have to wait until next week to find out how Bethenny reacts to the news. (Hint: it's not going to be pretty.)

What did you think of this week's episode of RHONY? Do you believe in psychics or are you more skeptical? Do you side more with Luann or Ramona in the great re-gifting debate? How do you think Bethenny will feel about Sonja's new Tipsy Girl brand? Leave your thoughts and opinions below in the comments!

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 5 - Birthday Bashing

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New York City, it's one OG's annual birthday celebration while the rookie of the group opens up about a shocking personal secret from her past. Read on to find out what the newest Housewife on the block revealed while trying to bond with Bethenny Frankel...

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While Bethenny packs for a trip with her five-year-old daughter Bryn, Carole Radziwill meets Dorinda Medley at Tasca Chino for tapas. As Carole sits down, she asks Dorinda if they can get catty for a moment. (Hello, of course you can, this is Housewives!) Radzi jokes that she didn't quite understand Jules Wainstein's house in the Hamptons - the newbie said it had been under renovation for years, but there was no equipment or construction tools to be seen. More importantly though, the brunch Jules held for everyone was full of nothing but tension and awkwardness. Jules arrives late to the meal and Carole immediately brings up the brunch and apologizes for her mean girlish behavior. However, Jules quickly brushes off Carole's behavior, choosing instead to pin the disastrous morning on Bethenny. After just a select few interactions with her, Jules hasn't come away with a positive impression of the Skinnygirl, and proceeds to air her multitude of grievances to Carole and Dorinda. Carole promises that Bethenny is better once you get to know her, but for now the newbie's not buying it. However, she's willing to give B a second chance to make a good first impression and decides to invite her to lunch one-on-one later in the week. 

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Meanwhile, Ramona Singer drops by Sonja Morgan's townhouse on the Upper East Side with big news: her divorce from Mario is final and she has the papers to prove it. Regardless of how much she and Sonja butcher the word "solemnize," her marriage to Mario is officially over. However, Ramona has more on her mind than just her newly-christened single status. When Sonja makes the excuse that she missed Bethenny's birthday BBQ in the Hamptons because she was away with her daughter, Ramona corrects her by informing her that she simply wasn't invited. Ouch. According to Ramona, Bethenny didn't want Sonja at the party because she's embarrassed by how drunk she gets and didn't want Lady Morgan causing a scene.

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All of a sudden, Ramona is staging an impromptu intervention for her bestie, explaining that she's tried to distance herself from Sonja lately because her drinking has gotten so out of hand. Sonja, however, is having none of this talk, and hilariously thanks Ramona for "sharing" her feelings. Lady Morgan then deftly changes the subject by filling Ramotional in on Luann de Lesseps' housing situation - or lack thereof. Apparently Sonja has agreed to let the Countess move in with her on a sort of trial run to see how it goes. Ramona thinks this is a terrible idea and opines that Luann will be a terrible influence on the Frack to her Frick. Keeping up with the Countess's hard-partying ways is the last thing Sonja needs.

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A few days later, Jules and Bethenny finally meet one-on-one for lunch. Bethenny goes into the meal knowing she needs to apologize for the brunch in the Hamptons, and cops to feeling uncomfortable because of the lingering tension with Dorinda's boyfriend John Mahdessian. Now, I'm not sure if Jules is just nervous about the meeting or intimidated by Bethenny but the newbie stumbles over her words and struggles to even form a sentence as she tries to tell Bethenny how offended she was by the Skinnygirl's comments about her home. In fact, it reaches a point where Bethenny is essentially helping the rookie construct her own argument against her - in the case of Frankel v. Wainstein, Bethenny turns into the lead prosecutor!

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As the two 'Wives finally begin to bond, Jules opens up about the fact that she never graduated from college despite going for seven years. Naturally, Bethenny asks why and the rookie reveals that throughout her teens and early twenties, she struggled with an eating disorder. Jules fight with the disease was so bad that she eventually reached a meager eighty pounds and questioned whether she would ever be able to have children because of it. It's true that you're never cured from an eating disorder, but 13 years later she's happy and at a healthy weight. The newbie confides in Bethenny that she's very open about the eating disorder because it helps keep her accountable and not fall back into old behaviors. Having watched her estranged mother battle an eating disorder for most of her life, this topic is right in Bethenny's wheelhouse and she tearfully empathizes with Jules while applauding her bravery for opening up about her struggle. These two got off to a rocky start, but it finally feels like they've bonded over something real, deep and genuine in their lives. 

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The next day, Carole and Bethenny join Ramona for lunch at her apartment while Jules meets Dorinda for pedicures on the Upper East Side. Naturally, the topic of conversation in both groups is a rehash of the aforementioned lunch. Both Jules and Bethenny feel much better about developing a relationship with one another and came out of the meal with a newfound mutual respect. Jules alludes to the fact that she was very forthright and honest in their conversation, but Bethenny doesn't say a word about the eating disorder - explaining in her confessional that it's absolutely not her secret to tell. Ramona's also anxious to discuss her upcoming birthday lunch - the storied, annual event that shuts down a restaurant on the Upper East Side and brings together her 60 closest girlfriends. The OG wonders if Carole will be OK with seeing Luann there since it's such a large group, and Radzi insists she will be more than fine. Bethenny, on the other hand, isn't quite as sure where she stands with the Countess. It turns out that when she hosted Kyle Richards and the rest of the RHOBH ladies at her house in the Hamptons over the summer, Luann badgered her endlessly to get an invite to the dinner party and accused her of being "uncool" when she explained that it wasn't her party to invite people to. While the two OGs bonded upon Bethenny's return to the series last year, the Countess has slipped back into her old slithery ways and B wants to keep her at a safe distance. 

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At last, Ramona's yearly birthday luncheon is upon us and, much to her chagrin, many of the 'Wives show up in varying shades of her signature Ramona Red. As Ramotional's off-camera girlfriends fawn over her eight-month-old haircut, Bethenny makes the hilarious observation that it appears these Upper East Side ladies who lunch seem to have put themselves on ice for the last year. They literally look exactly the same as they did at Ramona's birthday lunch last season! Luann arrives bearing two separate gifts - one for the actual birthday girl and one for Bethenny, since her present apparently wasn't ready on the day of her party. This is less-than-ideal gifting etiquette to begin with (especially for a birthday diva like Ramona), but the situation gets worse when the two 'Wives open their gifts next to each other. The Countess decided to get Bethenny a monogrammed Carlos Falchi purse while regifting Ramona a necklace from her Countess Collection that she had to get fixed. I wonder what Class with the Countess has to say about this birthday faux pas...

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Pulling her aside, Luann tells Bethenny in her most heartfelt voice that she wanted to give her the handbag as a way of telling her how much she loves her and considers her family. Bethenny, however, is somewhat perplexed by the gift and points out that Luann has given her incredibly mixed signals as of late. One minute she's chewing the Skinnygirl out over text for not including her in filming with the RHOBH women and the next she's buttering her up with an expensive purse at another 'Wife's birthday party. Bethenny then pointedly accuses the Countess of constantly failing to own her behavior - in her on-camera life or otherwise. Luann seems blindsided by Bethenny's issues with her and argues that her fellow OG has had over four months to bring them up with her. Further, when it came to Kyle and the other Beverly Hills 'Wives coming to the Hamptons, Luann explains that she merely wanted to be included. After all, with her younger son Noel off to college, she's officially become an empty and it gets lonely. Even now, she doesn't have an apartment in the city and is living out of a suitcase. Eventually the pair manage to hug it out, but it seems that Bethenny isn't quite ready to buy into a renewed friendship with the Countess, engraved Carlos Falchi bag included.

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As the gaggle of women sit down for lunch, Sonja and Luann corner Dorinda for the details on her life. Remember how they haven't been involved with any of the season's drama yet? Dorinda briefly gives them the rundown on the drama between the other 'Wives and John, and throws out that her costars must be putting her boyfriend through the ringer because they're just jealous that she's in a happy, committed relationship. Hmm...based on Ramona and Bethenny's reactions to this comment, I'm not sure that assertion holds much water. Dorinda stands to address the roomful of Ramona's closest girlfriends and gives a heartfelt toast to the birthday girl that's chock full of subliminal messaging. As Ramona happily looks on, Dorinda toasts to friendships with women who support and uplift each other, and are there no matter what. Dorinda has made it clear in her confessionals and other scenes that her 20+ year friendship with Ramona has permanently changed because of the drama with John at the lingerie party. Maybe now the OG will get the message? Either way, cheers to the ladies who lunch!

What did you think of this week's episode? How does Jules's eating disorder revelation change your perception of her? Does the Countess need to take a page from her own book when it comes to gifting etiquette? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

RHONY Ssn 8/Ep 4 - BBQ, Brunch or Bust

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New York City, we're in the Hamptons for a weekend of BBQs, brunches and awkward confrontations. Whether it's Bethenny vs. John, Carole vs. Luann or a newly brewing feud between the Skinnygirl and newbie Jules, this wasn't exactly the relaxing celebration some of these 'Wives had in mind...

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It's the weekend of Bethenny Frankel's tailgate-chic birthday BBQ and all the 'Wives are in the Hamptons to celebrate. Dorinda Medley and her boyfriend John Mahdessian are staying with Jules Wainstein and her husband Michael at their Water Mill home, and Dorinda's still anxious about the residual fallout between her boyfriend and B. As they get ready for the party, Dorinda says point blank that John needs to apologize to Bethenny for his drunken assault at the bra party earlier in the week. However, Jules has perhaps the best solution for an conflict that may arise at the BBQ: just stuff your face with food.

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Meanwhile, Bethenny's prepping for the party at her gorgeous house in Bridgehampton. (For the record, the Skinnygirl mogul's house is literally my dream home. And Bethenny, if you're reading this, can I really come over any time I want?) In between setting up the giant mobile BBQ and the fire pits, Carole Radziwill arrives with her dog Baby. Sitting on the front porch, she and the birthday girl commiserate over their respective dramas with Luann de Lesseps and John.  Carole's plan is to maintain a friendly distance with her nemesis throughout the afternoon, but seeing as this is the first time Luann will be joining the rest of the Housewives at an event this season, things are bound to get interesting. 

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The rest of the Housewives arrive and the party gets into full swing with an open bar of Moscow Mules and Spiked Hot Chocolate (featuring Skinnygirl liquor, of course.) Ramona Singer's in a cowboy hat and there's a whole lot of plaid going on, but when Dorinda and John arrive with Jules and Michael, it quickly becomes apparent that Bethenny is in no mood to have any kind of conversation with Dorinda's dry cleaner boyfriend at her party. In fact, she avoids him at all costs, telling some of the other partygoers that it feels like there's an obstruction in her home that she has to move around. With the hostess refusing to give him so much as a greeting, John is left to sulk in the corner with his Skinnygirl-branded cup, looking like an awkward, lonely puppy dog.

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Always one to make an entrance, Luann arrives fashionably late and saunters into the party with a hula hoop on her arm. She's quick to bust out her hula-hooping skills and all I can wonder is "how has she not used this party trick before?!" Carole, however, is less than impressed with the Countess's ploy for attention and thinks she should've left the hula hoop at home. Carole immediately flees the scene and now this party has two low-speed chases going on: John's after Bethenny and Luann wants to force a conversation with Writer Girl. In fact, at one point the Countess's path crosses with the show's resident voice of reason like two ships passing awkwardly in the night, and point blank tells Carole she can't keep avoiding her forever. Hilariously, Carole's response is that actually...she can. 

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Eventually, the two 'Wives come face-to-face over the fire pit, where everyone except Luann is roasting s'mores (the Countess does not eat marshmallows, darling). With Luann eyeing her from across the fire, Carole shoots out "I don't know what you're looking at, Lu," which finally opens the door for a confrontation between the two former friends. The Countess wants to have a conversation away from the group, but Carole insists that whatever she has to say can be said in front of everyone. When Luann tries to start by saying how nice it is to finally see Radzi after such a long time, the latter shoots back that of course it's been a long time - the last time they were together, they were screaming at each other at the Season 7 reunion. Luann claims that the pair said quite a few hurtful things to each other last year, but Carole immediately counters that there's no "we" in this situation. From her perspective, Luann was the one who had a lot of hurtful and nasty things to say about everything from her relationship with Adam to herself as a person. To prove her point, Carole challenges the Countess to come up with one single thing the writer said about her, and Luann dismisses the idea by insisting she doesn't want to rehash the past. 

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Switching gears, Luann brings up the lengthy social media war the two engaged in as their drama played out on TV, but again Carole points out that she was only trying to defend herself. After all, the Countess was the one who accused her of being a pedophile, made up stories about her relationship with Adam and claimed that the chef had still been dating her niece when Carole "broke them up." Luann insists she wants to move forward, but Carole simply has no intention of being friends with her erstwhile pal again. As the conversation continues to go in circles, the two Housewives refuse to see eye-to-eye and eventually just agree that they'll never be friends again, but to be polite when they see each other. I mean, they do have a show to film over the next several months right? They might as well get used to being forced into interacting once in a while...The big secret here is that if Luann had just given Carole a genuine apology and said "I'm sorry," I think their confrontation could have had a much more positive outcome. Maybe they can try again at Jules's brunch the next day?

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With the disastrous party winding down, Bethenny finally agrees to give John five minutes of her time for Dorinda's sake, but the conversation doesn't exactly go well either. John attempts to apologize for barging into his girlfriend's lingerie party and attacking Bethenny, but the Skinnygirl points out that he probably has very little recollection of what he actually did or said that night. She pointedly reminds him that he came into the party thinking he had a giant smoking gun to take her down by accusing her of stealing her brand's name from the founder of Skinny Cow. But here's the thing: when you attack Bethenny's business, the claws are going to come out. Not only were John's allegations incorrect, they were flat-out uneducated and ignorant. John defends himself by claiming that he was just trying to protect Dorinda after all the horrible things Bethenny had said to her about him, but the Skinnygirl once again puts him in his place by pointing out that he doesn't even know what she said to Dorinda. Was telling Dorinda to stop selling John so hard to the other ladies such an awful thing to say? However, John goes back to his excuse that he was just protecting the woman he loves and the discussion ends with a petulant apology. 

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Obviously, this wasn't how Dorinda envisioned the conversation going between her boyfriend and her friend, and comes close to breaking down in tears that the situation somehow just keeps getting worse. As Luann and Jules attempt to calm an emotional Dorinda down, Bethenny realizes that she has to put aside her feelings about John for the sake of her budding friendship with her cast mate. I personally love Bethenny and Dorinda together so I'm relieved that the Skinnygirl wants to make this difficult situation work so they can continue being friends. At some point a petty feud with a boyfriend isn't worth all the anguish and tears it's causing for poor Dorinda. As she states in her confessional, Bethenny has to find a way to wrap this giant problem up into some kind of bow so that her guests stop crying and don't spend the evening in a mental institution. So, she marches right up to John and pronounces that they can be completely fine from here on out for the sake of his girlfriend. The clean slate is all for Dorinda. And with that, the most awkward BBQ birthday party in the history of Bravo finally comes to an end.

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The next morning, Jules and Michael host a brunch at their expansive home in Water Mill for most of the other 'Wives except Ramona, who went back into the city for a date. Mario who? Needless to say, after all the awkward confrontations at the BBQ, Bethenny and Carole are less than thrilled to be there and vow to duck out as quickly as possible. Upon arrival, Bethenny doesn't make the most gracious impression on her hosts, offering her unsolicited opinions on the massive construction projects going on in their home. Getting a taste of B's know-it-all tendencies rubs Jules the wrong way, and the new 'Wife demands to know in her confessional who gave Bethenny the right to judge her house. Stay in your lane, B. However, Bethenny sees more than just the seven-year construction zone the Wainsteins seem to be living in. The Skinnygirl takes note that Jules doesn't seem to be eating anything at the schmear, opting instead to push copious amounts of food onto her guests. The new 'Wife's ultra-skinny stature has come up more than once already this season, and Bethenny sees this behavior as a textbook red flag that there might be a serious issue with Jules and an eating disorder. Yikes, I have a feeling we've heard far from the end of this subject and there is no way it can end well.

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Once Luann arrives with a date in tow, Carole is ready to hit the road and she and Bethenny plan a quick escape from the Wainsteins' schmear. Taking a quick tour of the room that will eventually house an indoor pool, B and Radzi make a beeline for the exit, avoiding nails, sawdust and dog poop on their way out. This mean girl escape doesn't sit well with Jules, who wonders openly to Dorinda why Bethenny had to be such a Debbie Downer during the whole meal. As Bethenny and Carole drive away giggling, it would appear that perhaps battle lines are being drawn between the new girl and the OG. Watch out Jules, the Skinnygirl is not a foe you want to mess with...

What did you think of the episode? Was that just the most awkward BBQ and brunch you've ever seen? Leave your thoughts in the comments below...