Bravo

The Real Housewives Of New York City Returns For Season 9 With A Little Nancy Drew

Find out who's in the penthouse and who's in the doghouse.

Finally, a new season of Bravo's gem The Real Housewives Of New York City! On paper, Season 9 runs the risk of undermining what appears to be its central drama, since it's already well known that, yes, Luann forfeited her title and married Tom this past New Year's Eve. Consider that a disclaimer, though, like when the friendly voice in a prescription drug commercial lists death as a side effect of nasal spray: relax, I don't think it'll be an issue.

Look no further than this premiere as proof. Even in an episode that consists almost entirely of filler, the women are so irresistibly watchable that the lack of anything substantial is never really an issue. (Sorry, Bethenny, your apartment's arc doesn't quite count -- more on that in a minute.) And that's what sets this member of the franchise apart from the others, as well as apart from the network's other shows that are cut from the same cloth.

Ranked worst to first, let's see how everyone fares in this week's premiere.

  1. Bethenny

    Since we last saw "B," her divorce has been settled and the apartment she purchased (which she constantly refers to as an "albatross" when it's really more like Moby-Dick) during their marriage is finally back in her possession. Great! Unfortunately, other than grainy video of her walking around it for the first time in years and sobbing like she's in a David Lynch short, there's no real catharsis or celebration of the win. Sure, we already experienced that during last season's reunion, but that's the problem.

    Nobody needs a three-minute TH of Bethenny crying. Waiting a full beat before sending Million Dollar Listing New York's Fredrik in to get his head bitten off because she thinks he listed the apartment on the lower end, however, would have been nice. Unloading the apartment for a record-setting price for the building, landing a cash offer for the exact amount she fought with Fredrik about, and doing so the day it goes on the market is a coup and an appropriate twist of fate. It may be the only real ending this story could ever have, but it's by no means a good look.

    Other items: teasing Sonja about the hoard she's actively trying to get rid of, especially since she's donating a lot to Dress For Success; complaining about Carole's obsession with the election, as if the Countess isn't Bethenny's version of Trump; naming her new puppies Biggy and Smallz.

    I really do think Bethenny sees the world from the POV of a first-person shooter video game. And I love that about her, truly. Just not this week.

  2. Luann

    Luann's getting married whether anyone likes it or not! Her scene with Ramona echoes some of her best moments over the years and hints at things to come. ("Apparently you've been doing a little Nancy Drew number. You're investigating and stirring things up [about Tom]; No more Nancy Drew....") In the meantime, she's just another blushing bride.

  3. Dorinda

    Dorinda Meddler does a lot of stage-setting as she schleps back and forth from Camp Countess to Camp Pinot Grigio. There's also her palpable hate of Sonja, whose name she refuses to say, as if it's Beetlejuice and she might leap out of one of the bushes in Central Park and start harassing her. (That does sound like something that could happen, though it would be a complete coincidence.) Something tells me she's really only pissed at Sonja because it's easier than being pissed at Bethenny, which is ironic given that last season she thought Bethenny came down too hard on Sonja after she unveiled Tipsy Girl.

    Dorinda doesn't do a whole lot on the surface, but goddamn does she help make this week's final moments nice.

  4. Sonja

    Sonja still seems to be on the right track: she looks the way she did last season when she stopped drinking, if not better; she's opening up her house to us; she's donating to charity items that, a few years ago, she probably would have requested to be cremated with; she's talking about selling the townhouse and finding a nice two-bedroom; she's starring in the Off-Broadway play Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man. All great things!

    Sonja's turned into a Comeback Kid of sorts, what with having to prove herself before each season finale the last few years. Here's hoping this is her best showing since she debuted in Season 3 and liberated Kelly from Scary Island. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, though.

  5. Carole

    The Real Housewives Of D.C. was an experiment that backfired and thrust the franchise into the news for all the wrong reasons. Since then, this genre of reality TV (at least as it's presented here) has been largely apolitical and self-contained aside from the stock market. However, the past year has seen a significant shift in its usual presentation thanks to Phaedra's activism on RHOAtlanta and the episode of Vanderpump Rules in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

    Setting aside how furious I am that Carole let a ton of foster cats rip up her apartment's statement necklace of a couch (a gift from Lee, no less; maybe it's just old, but still, reupholster it with the same fabric!): Carole's career as a journalist is going to be the thing that upends the Real Housewives paradigm as she deals with Trump first as a viable presidential candidate, and later as the next POTUS. And not just in the form of a one-off where she pretends to go to a protest, but intellectually, over the course of the season and to the annoyance of pretty much everyone around her, of which we get a taste this week.

    At least now Bethenny has something to complain about other than the fact that Carole's always late.

  6. Ramona

    The first time we see Ramona, she's answering the door in a facemask and slip for her contractor, MARIO. (Not her ex-husband; a different one.) One wardrobe change later, she's flirting with the idea of him as a viable sex candidate, while also listening to his thoughts on his and her sinks and cabinetry, of course, before dropping the idea -- the attraction and repulsion of his name being Mario neutralize things -- because it's just easier if sets her up on dates instead. Hey, a good contractor is hard to find.

    Then Ramona's late for the lunch date with Dorinda that she's hosting in her own home because she had a different, earlier lunch date with a MAN! They aren't even five minutes into their salads when she flees the table to stand in the middle of the room and scream that she's offended Luann didn't invite her to the bridal shower their mutual friend hosted, even though she thinks the marriage is bullshit and has allegedly been trying to derail it. Which brings us to her inevitable meeting with Luann for drinks in a passive-aggressive minefield, which she makes EVEN BETTER simply by holding her glass in front of the camera so it looks like she's yelling at Rocky Dennis.

    Luann sums this ranking up best, though: "Ramona is Ramona; when you turn on the tap you never know if you're gonna get hot or cold." To which I say thank god.

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