Everyone's A Bit Of A Loser In Part One Of The RHONYC Reunion
Find out who's on top in this week's rankings.
The first installment of RHONYC's three-part reunion is a good reflection of how uneven this season -- the show's ninth -- was. Then again, foregoing the usual clip packages of the women enjoying one another's company and diving right into the psychological abyss they represent may just be the next logical step after the tantalizing but unnecessary disclaimer that this was filmed in a pre-divorce world. Yes, shortly after this was filmed, Luann gently put the cap on Tommy's Cookies and filed for divorce from her husband of less than eight months.
Let's see where she and everyone fall in this week's rankings.
It's not uncommon for a new addition to be acknowledged at the top, then cast aside until it's time for questions aimed specifically at her. Which raises the question: if she weren't Sonja's roommate and the person capable of clearing up her claim that she was sober for ten months, would she have spoken at all? In fairness, she does get a word in here and there, and she's a pretty good reaction shot. But to what end? The truth is that in this setting, the first in which she's unable to get up and go make a drink in the kitchen or spend off-camera time in bed, it's immediately clear just how out of place and out of touch she is in relation to everyone else. Bound by the rules of the reunions, it seems as if she's Carole's intern, dragged there by her boss and making the best of it.
Truthfully I don't know what to say. Like her co-stars, viewers have known something was more than a little off about her relationship with Tom, a troll she found under a bridge in Central Park, since the beginning. For more than a year we watched him slither around parties talking to other trolls he's kissed in Central Park, California, The Regency, etc. while on the other side of the room Luann fought everyone off with a sharp stick like Brienne of Tarth in his defense. I can't speak for the other women, but boy does it suck being right. It was hard enough watching her sweat through a top bending over backwards as she made excuses for his existence and sold the idea of their contrived marital bliss at nondescript dinners and cocktail parties. It's ten times harder watching her do so here in one of the three wedding dresses she wore at their wedding knowing that the marriage was failing at the time and that they ultimately couldn't make it work.
Her filing for divorce aside, Luann would still find herself ranked second to last thanks to how greatly she miscalculated thinking she could waltz into the reunion in a dress she wore at the wedding she banned the majority of the cast from and live to tell the tale.
Tinsley could learn a lot from Carole, who manages to add texture to everything without technically being involved in anything. She doesn't wait for Andy to ask her about Adam or the cats, which is smart. Instead, she chimes in and reacts to everything regardless of whether or not anyone can hear or gives a shit, which is even smarter. The difference between her and anybody else, though, is that it's calibrated in a way that establishes her presence without taking away from what's actually going on. Too often a Housewife will steamroll the reunion to make up for a so-so performance that season and the result is, to quote Bethenny, "thirsty."
First off, she looked incredible; she was giving off Nicole Kidman in Valentino at the Oscars (you know exactly which dress I'm referring to) and I'm extremely into it and eternally grateful. Two big turnoffs, though, were the typical silent power struggle between her and Andy over who's running point, and the tone-deaf comment she made about how going high when they go low didn't exactly work for Hillary; small things that are to be expected, but that are annoying nonetheless. What's most disappointing is how her approach to reunions has changed in recent years. Sometimes we get the Bethenny of yore, the one who sits back and smiles while others talk and demolishes them in her own time. Other times -- which is to say more often than not -- we get her running around rattling everyone's cages and flexing her muscles for sport, which is always a crapshoot.
For instance, it's not great when she defends her and Jill both thinking Ramona is sad and alone because "a monkey would say the same thing," but it's great watching her tear into Andy for always asking if she and Jill could ever be friends again. It's a mixed bag.
I fully concede that Sonja doesn't make a whole lot of sense. When she does, though, it's a thing of beauty. Parsing her approach to language and the space/time continuum is part of the fun, for me at least. How great it is it that her definition of being sober for ten months is drinking less than usual over a period of ten months? And let's not forget about the revelation that she received a save-the-date to Luann's wedding, just not a formal invitation because their relationship was strained at that point. All it takes is a team of experts in a confined setting to figure out that she was actually invited to the wedding…until she wasn't. She doesn't have the biggest role in this chapter, but she makes every second count, whether she's staring into her lap listening from the sunken place or about to list everyone she's dated in the past years before she can be stopped. It's a privilege and a pleasure to watch her.
It remains to be seen whether or not Dorinda will live up to the levels of poise and compose she shows during this first hour. For now, before the subtitles are cued up and she's being led to the green room so some paramedic can wrap her hand after she picks up Ramona's wine glass from behind the couch and shatters it in her hand, she's doing great. Bright as ever in a gorgeous sequined butterfly dress (I love that everything she owns looks like it was taken from the wardrobe department of a Broadway musical; originally designed for a child; or should only be worn with ice or roller skates), she gets to the root of her on-again, off-again problem with Sonja without reliving it. Which is no easy feat considering she's really the only one who's formally confronted with having to relive a fight that happened this season and an embarrassing sizzle reel.
Some have wondered if this could be Ramona's final season. Judging by the difference between where she was emotionally during the season and where she is emotionally at the reunion, I'm going to go ahead and assume that's probably not the case, thank god. Her face has settled and so has the rest. That she can laugh about what a monster she was this season and apologize to Dorinda for screwing up the paint job in one of her bedrooms without trying to make a case for herself beforehand is a big deal. Sure, Bethenny is probably right about how she treats people that make under whatever Avery's starting salary is this year, but she's learning. And that's why I hope she never leaves. Ever.
Watching Ramona try to wrap her head around things like sympathy and empathy for the first time in her life at sixty years old is my version of whatever happened in Planet Earth 2. Really, though, I think she started the episode off strong and answered Andy's questions more honestly than maybe ever before. More than any of that growth stuff, I love that she hasn't really changed at all and told us the story about Tom allegedly meeting an ex at The Regency that she's been sitting on since last year's reunion. As she can stand to learn a thing or two about interpersonal relationships, so too can we learn from her.