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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: sonja

RHONY Ssn 7/Ep 13 - Sonja Island

Glenn Rowley

sonja-not-nice

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.

ramona-bethenny-heart-to-heart

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.

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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!"

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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

rhony-prank-ramona

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!

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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.

heather-martini-madness

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. 

RHONY Ssn 7/Ep 12 - Lord of the Manor

Glenn Rowley

bethenny-turks

Last week finished right in the middle of Luann's hotel suite pre-party, with Kristen storming out after her confrontation with Ramona. This week picks up right were we left off, with the return of the patented Singer Stinger. Ever the level-headed friend, Dorinda tries to explain to Ramona that what she just did to Kristen mean and unnecessary. Since Kristen isn't as naturally aggressive as some of these other women, it's good of Dorinda to look at the situation objectively and stand up for her. This can't be all that difficult for Ramona to understand. However, in something of a minor miracle, Ramona actually listens to Dorinda and admits that her delivery was wrong. As Dorinda says of her friend, Ramona's intentions usually come from a good place - in this case being protective of Bethenny - but her delivery is often horrible. We don't actually see Ramona offer any type of "in all sincerity..." apology to Kristen, but hey, any type of self-realization is progress for the new Ramona. 

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The pre-party then transitions into the actual party in the ballroom of the Warwick Hotel, and lo and behold, the first person to hit the red carpet is Sonja. Lady Morgan may have missed the entire pre-party for the girls, but she'll never pass up a good photo op. An ongoing bit that had me laughing was Ramona's seeming inability to understand anything at the noisy party: "fig" turned into "pig" and "side eye" turned into "cyanide" Doesn't that kill you?? Ramotional was definitely killing me in a more amusing way than by poison. Heather and Dorinda find Kristen to catch her up on everything that happened after her walk-off. Wrapping her head around Ramona trying to stand up for Bethenny, it doesn't make total sense to Kristen. If Bethenny had a problem with her at the photoshoot, the Skinnygirl wouldn't have hesitated to let her know. It's not as if Kristen specifically asking a question about the trip's schedule was what made set Bethenny off and made her cry. Besides, she probably didn't even know Kristen was there from way up on her veteran pedestal! Joking! Naturally, this is the obvious time for Bethenny to show up to the party and find out about Ramona's attack in the name of her honor from Sonja and Kristen. As she quipped in her interview, the Skinnygirl was walking into a pre-existing gong show.

Bethenny and Kristen finally take a minute to have the conversation the latter tried to initiate at AOA. Bethenny manages to hit on all the points she brought up to Ramona over pedicures, including Kristen's "sour puss" face. Now, Kristen's given us plenty of shocked faces over her two seasons on the show, but I don't really get where the sour puss thing is coming from. Also, I think I just really don't like that expression. Kristen explains that she wasn't looking to attack Bethenny at the AOA party, and that it would've been nice to get some business advice from the much more experienced Skinnygirl mogul rather than find out she was making disparaging remarks about Kristen's new company and intelligence. When she finally talked about it rather than walk away, Bethenny doesn't remember calling Kristen dumb. She merely pointed out to Carole that there was already a beauty company called Pop, and that Pop of Color probably wasn't the smartest name to use. According to her, it was just an opinion and she didn't feel the need to personally tell Kristen, someone she claims to not really know. I still find it strange that Bethenny felt the need to even comment on the issue if she really doesn't think about Kristen, but I broke down that argument quite a bit in last week's recap, so if you need a refresher, head over there. I also really appreciate that Bethenny said the exact same things to Kristen's face that she said to Ramona during their pedicures last week. There wasn't anything two-faced or disingenuous about what Bethenny had to say. The two women finally end the issue that's been building for weeks by agreeing to get to know each other better, and start the process by grabbing a drink.

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The next day, the 'Wives are ready to jet off to the Turks and Caicos, if only they can escape the brutal New York winter first. After making it through the relentlessly falling snow and deicing the plane, they achieve takeoff. Finally arriving in the Turks and Caicos for a week of fun in the sun, it looks like paradise. They're staying in a gorgeous, modern house called Bella Vita Villa, complete with a gigantic pool and a hunky Scottish private chef. Carole's recording everything on a camcorder because, as she says in her confessional, something always happens that's worth documenting. Did Writer Girl forget that they're on a reality show, and happen to be traveling with a full camera crew to document the trip for them? That's supposed to be one of the perks of reality TV stardom, right? After complaining about the lack of air conditioning, Ramona and Sonja kick off the classic Housewives race to find the best room. Bethenny, who hasn't been on a cast trip since Season 3's Scary Island vacation, seems to have forgotten that 'Wives picking their rooms is second only to the running of the bulls or an episode of Supermarket Sweep when it comes to mad dashes. Ramona reminds her during the scramble that she and Sonja always share a room on vacation and everyone knows this. While it may be tradition for Ramonja to always bunk together, it has to be annoying for the other women who are traveling with them. Dorinda wisely states in her confessional that Frick and Frack are acting like kindergarteners. By this point, Ramona and Sonja now have two different rooms on hold, one upstairs and one downstairs, and are at a standstill over which to actually choose. As is typical, the Ramonacoaster is certain her room trumps all and Sonja eventually gives in, relinquishing her choice to one of the six other ladies who need a place to sleep in the house. The whole situation starts the trip off on an annoying foot, and Bethenny rightfully calls out Ramona on her "Lord of the Manor" attitude, though it doesn't seem to make any difference. At the end of the chaos, however, Luann secretly got the best room by laying low and the blonde Bobbsey Twins don't have a bathtub in their room, so karma is the real winner here. 

ramona-the-apologizer

Ramona once again requires help unpacking her suitcases, just like she has on every trip for the past four seasons; Kristen's the first one in the ocean, looking like a Bond girl and Luann and Bethenny retreat to the deck to discuss the nightmarish room-picking situation. There's no denying that Ramona has a terrible history when it comes to traveling on this show. The two veterans agree that when you go on a trip with the Ramonacoaster, you always want to strangle her within 10 minutes, and they predict that she'll come out shortly to offer a classic Ramotional apology for her bad behavior. Meanwhile, Ramona is ambling around the house in a bright yellow bikini and heels, and eventually wanders out to tell Bethenny she's sorry. A prophecy has been fulfilled and the Apologizer has struck again!

As night falls, Luann and Bethenny go paddleboarding, Sonja is straddling an inflatable whale in the pool and Ramona's working out in her bikini and hooker shoes with dumbells that she apparently checked in her carry-on bag? The women then gather around the pool as Dorinda points out in her confessional that they have about 50,ooo square feet of personality jammed into this 10,000 square foot house for the week. Expect the fireworks to start any time. Eventually, all the ladies get ready for dinner, and Ramona points out to her partner in crime that the last time she took a trip with Bethenny, it was right before her vow renewal with Mario (a.k.a. the Season 3 finale). Here she is single and Bethenny's back in the group. My how much can change in a few years.

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As the 'Wives start congregating for dinner, Luann's boobs and Dorinda's legs are on full display in their island resortwear, and Heather's giving away gift bags filled with Yummie Tummie. Bethenny tries to offer some unsolicited advice about Heather breaking into fitness clothing, which is an odd business tidbit for Ms. Yummie. Isn't that what she's already doing? Maybe Bethenny just doesn't want her to compete with the Skinnygirl shapewear line. Meanwhile, Sonja and Carole have cornered Ramona to question her about her dating life. Ramotional may look pretty fantastic in her macrame Michael Kors dress, but she says she's not looking for any action or mind/body/soul connection. Unlike Sonja, she doesn't see the need to jump into bed with every guy she flirts with. Kristen interjects that dating is a good step, and Ramona goes from calling her "dumb" to "the voice of reason" in just one episode. Opinions about her newly-single life are flying from every direction, but according to Ramona, Kristen is being so perceptive about her position that she can hardly believe it. Pretty Girl gets it! The forced hug and awkward grin on Kristen's face during the exchange had me laughing in my seat. Jumping under the covers simply isn't part of Ramona's M.O. and she's focused on taking things one step at a time. 

The focus of the conversation then shifts to Sonja, who claims that she may flirt a lot, but that doesn't mean she sleeps with everyone. Fair point. However, the other ladies are quick to point out that Sonja apparently tried to make out with the boyfriend of one of Luann's friends just the other night at Beautique. (This goes back to the girls night out that was discussed during the 'broads' dinner' in Queens last week - the one where Sonja got plastered and couldn't be left alone). According to Ramona, her BFF was slobbering over every guy available that night, as well as the unavailable ones too. For some reason, the events of this night at Beautique happened off-camera, so we have no way of verifying anyone's story. Sonja naturally starts getting defensive. Does she like to go out and drink? Yes. Are the other women her doctors and therapists? No. They're supposed to be her girlfriends, not her judges. Sonja takes their comments as hits below the belt and claims she's starting to feel like the group punching bag. For some reason, Bethenny steps in to try to talk Sonja down. She starts the conversation calmly, but when Sonja refuses to let her get a word in, she says she needs to level with Lady Morgan roughly seven times.

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According to Bethenny, Sonja may come across as silly and fun, but she's acutely aware of the things people have been saying about her. Bethenny is trying to empathize with her rather than judge, but Sonja's becoming more and more defensive. "I'm a smart girl," Bethenny says, begging Sonja to really listen. "Do you think I got here by being dumb?" Lady Morgan, of course, takes this as an insinuation that Bethenny's calling her dumb. Then, the real talk starts when Bethenny tells Sonja that, yes, she's acting stupid. Doing all the talking and none of the listening does not demonstrate Sonja being reasonable. The conversation is starting to escalate as Bethenny gets a testy edge in her voice - she's saying something but she doesn't know what translation it's going through to get to Sonja's brain. When Sonja accuses her of giving the other ladies' opinions credibility, Bethenny finally loses it, with a "SHUT THE F*** UP!" heard 'round the island. Hearing the screaming, Luann and Ramona each try separately to get the fighting friends to join the rest of the 'Wives at dinner, but this conversation isn't over. Bethenny points out that Sonja has a ton on her plate, and reiterates again and again that she's trying to help her friend, not attack her. Sonja just needs to really listen and recognize that no one is against her, least of all Bethenny. All the women genuinely want what's best for her well-being and see a pattern of behavior that perhaps isn't the healthiest choice. As a viewer, I see it too. I've seen it for the past nearly five seasons. At some point, something in Sonja's life has to give. 

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Meanwhile, conversation outside at the dinner table naturally turns to the reality check being attempted in the kitchen. The other women see Sonja's behavior circling the metaphorical drain, a concern that's been voiced many times by each of them. Heather wants all the ladies - Ramona in particular - to simply stop enabling their friend and give her a dose of tough love. Yet somehow, Sonja manages to turn the conversation with Bethenny around in her mind, claiming that this must just be Bethenny projecting her own issues onto Sonja. In a deja vu moment to Atlantic City, their hard chat ends in a hug, but I'm left wondering if anything actually got through to Sonja at all. Bethenny comes to the dinner table looking slightly traumatized, and explains that while it's often challenging to get to the end of a conversation with Sonja, she thinks she may have done it. As a viewer, I'm not so sure about that, though I can't blame it on Bethenny's lack of trying. The reality and responsibility for the situation rests solely on Sonja's shoulders. I've had an increasingly difficult time with her as the seasons have progressed, and the repetitively self-destructive behavior and lack of awareness is hard to stomach. As much as any of the other Housewives can try to help her, she can't start progressing until she sees that some of her behavior is a problem. With the heavy topics out of the way, the dinner conversation turns to sex and boys, which is exactly what should be discussed on a girls trip in paradise. Newsflash: apparently Luann's been liberated and no longer feels the need to rely on a man. I half expected the ladies to break out into "Independent Woman: Pt. 2" by Destiny's Child at that pronouncement. The episode ends full of boisterous girl talk, but from the looks of next week's episode, the hard topics are far from over.