As The RHONYC Reunion Gets Better, Tinsley's Dress Gets Worse
Find out where the dress and everything else falls in this week's rankings!
Part 2 of the RHONYC reunion is a much needed improvement after a shaky start. It's thin on content but each of the women shines throughout, which is a big deal when there's so much personality and Spanish moss in one room.
To the rankings!
- The Set
I purposely didn't comment on the set dressing last week because I couldn't find the right words to describe how polarizing it is. Whose bright idea was it to feature trees that the cast of Southern Charm would kill to have at their reunion, but which don't make any sense in the context of RHONYC? Did the people who designed it somehow not get around to watching the season? Were they only half-listening during the pre-production conference calls? Are there Post-Its somewhere that have "Florida Mexico" written on them? Where do these people think we are?
The weirdest thing, though, is that I would be into the Midnight In The Garden Of Good Andy Evil aesthetic were the stakes higher than they are. This isn't a bad hour of television by any means, but I can't help but feel Andy Cohen dropped the ball by not tearing up his cards the second he saw the set. He should have seen that Spanish moss and done everything in his power to produce the sweaty Southern gothic the set called out for even if it's not on-brand. Why wasn't this like The Paperboy or True Detective?
- The Election
For whatever reason, this season felt long. We're on Episode 21 and it feels as if we're on Ep 63. Seasons of the RH always span huge swaths of the year, but this one has made months feel like years. The fight between Sonja and Dorinda in the Hamptons feels like it's from a different season altogether. Whether or not this is a symptom of the 2016 election, I don't know. What I do know is that I almost forgot this season even featured the election.
Or I would have forgotten this season featured the election had Andy not dragged me back in and forced me to reconcile the fact that half the room voted for Trump and would absolutely do it again. It's uncomfortable watching everyone but Carole and Dorinda gush about their trips to Mar-a-Lago and how close they are with Ivanna or Ivanka. That this segment ends with Tinsley saying she didn't vote because it's "not really [her] thing" and that she missed her chance to vote via absentee ballot in Florida feels so incredibly right.
- Tinsley's Dress
Like the set, I couldn't form a proper opinion on Tinsley's spearmint baby doll cowboy dress until I saw more of it this week. Long story short, I absolutely hate it. It almost seemed -- and please let me know if you felt this way too -- as if it was growing. That it would shift with every new angle and close-up. Suddenly there would be a new flurry of rhinestones or weird sleeve to take in. I try not to talk about people's appearances physical or otherwise in these posts, but Tinsley's really put me through it. And for whatever reason, this sea-foam-green-tinted nightmare makes me yearn for the lace and satin collars of severe looks past.
- Everyone's Relationships
This speaks to a larger problem that the cast has more than the show does. As such, I don't feel any sort of way watching montages of Bethenny cavorting around her new loft with a hockey player she probably killed and turned into corned beef because it's easier than sharing some of herself. I also don't need the update on the winner of the Michael Dodd lookalike contest that she's dating right now. So you both had to walk across the hot coals of life to get to one another, big deal. Nor do I need to relive Carole and Adam railing against Lesbian Bed Death. And no one, not anyone, needed to spend as much time as we did on the package devoted to the hotelier cum actor cum conman Sonja's dating.
Yes, these conversations yield some great moments and offer insight into where the women were versus where they are now, like the theory that Frenchie was an actor hired to play Sonja's boyfriend or that Carole and Adam are on a break, but they're also a little inconsequential. Bethenny only talks about dating at reunions; Carole's on her second to last summer; Sonja is…we still don't really know what's going on, but that's the fun.
- The Penthouse
If you gave Luann a dollar she would run around town and tell everyone she has one hundred coins, and god bless, I love the way Luann turns limes into lemonade. More often than not it's unsuccessful and excruciating to watch as the others tear her limb from limb and shout "FRAUD" at the top of their lungs, but when it's good it's good. We already had the pleasure of watching Tinsley school Luann on the difference between Palm Beach and West Palm. Now we get Bethenny calling bullshit on the way she talks about "the penthouse." Nobody's right or wrong and that's what makes it so funny watching Luann be pretentious and get called out for being pretentious by Ms. Skinnygirl Real Estate Mogul, whose argument is "STOP REFERRING TO THAT ONE-BEDROOM AT THE TOP OF A BUILDING AS 'THE PENTHOUSE'!"
Dumb, circular logic is why we watch these shows. And in a season in which it was thin on the ground, this instance was extremely welcome.
- The Crew
The editing and camerawork are terrific this week. So good, in fact, that I was forced to turn away from ranking the women in particular because each has a moment she does something she doesn't think anyone noticed. Thankfully, the people behind the scenes did, and use them to great effect, even when they make me want to jump off the roof of my house, like when Bethenny was talking about Bryn's understanding of her and Jason's relationship (no comment; [Kristen Taekman "Delusional" voice]) and Sonja turns to Dorinda and very quietly says, "My daughter's sixteen and she's starting to know." That one in particular felt like an Oscar clip. Among my other favorites: Ramona's wild, dead-eyed stare when Tinsley's mug shot is dragged out; Dorinda turning and making a "this fuckin' guy" face when Bethenny says Carole gets on the loop like Sonja; the cutaway to Luann when Bethenny says she's looking for someone to be with who's addictive and doesn't just check a few boxes; Luann saying, "She can outdrink ME," about Tinsley.
Note: This does not apply to the cutaways of Bethenny nodding in a sage and approving way. Those can fuck off.
As much as I still think he could have tried harder to make this thing as gay, over the top, and southern as Kevin Spacey's accent on House Of Cards, I still think he did a fantastic job this time. What sets this time apart from the others, in my opinion, is the way he handles Bethenny toward the end. I was genuinely surprised when he wouldn't let her get out of talking about her ex-husband, and even more surprised when he was leading her down the dark path of, and I'm paraphrasing, your relationship with your ex could potentially damage your kid. I was really impressed he went there with her because he has a tendency to be a little bit softer on her than say, Luann, who was tied to a spit and being turned over a low flame by the end this week.
Speaking of Luann, am I alone in thinking he gifted her a nice arc for Season 10 (telling Carole that Adam is seeing other women)? I'm overthinking it, of course, but there was a twinkle in his wonky eye that said, "I'm not even kidding, listen to what I'm saying."
- Tinsley and Ramona
Tinsley and Ramona have my favorite lines of the night. It's no Oscar clip like Sonja's grim aside to Dorinda, but it's still pretty great. Asked by Andy if she has a drinking problem and if she was drinking at eight o'clock in the morning in Mexico, Tinsley racks her brain trying to remember if there were even awake by that point. "I was on vacation! I was in Mexico!" Then, rushing to her defense, Ramona just says, "She's a WASP, they like to drink."
Good times, good times.