The RHONYC Touch Down In Mexico Like A Swarm Of Locusts
This angry, drunken blob of a trip is shaping up to be among The Real Housewives' best.
This week bypasses the usual pre-trip montage. No, we don't get to see Bethenny arrive at the airport two hours early and complain about how everyone else is late. There's no seeing Sonja chase Tinsley up and down Chex Morgan because Connor's misplaced her passport and she thinks the two are related. Not only are we spared Carole bidding her menagerie adieu, we're spared seeing Ramona torture whichever poor soul had the misfortune of driving her to JFK. This trip being more than a year in the making, Bravo and Bethenny aren't fucking around. And thank god for that, because minutiae has never been more compelling.
To the rankings!
Where to begin? For starters, I love that she got a chemical peel even though she knows what happened to Samantha Jones. Because you're kidding yourself if you don't think Ramona finds time to watch Sex And The City from beginning to end at least once a year. She knows damn well what happened to Samantha Jones and she didn't care. She expected science to have caught up in the time since that episode aired; that a person could burn his or her skin off with abandon and board a plane thirteen hours later without looking like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. As we learned tonight, that is not the case.
An act of fate, it's incredibly right that she looks and acts like a demon from an episode of Charmed as she haunts the halls of La Vida Dulce and tortures its guests for having better rooms than her. The room stuff isn't surprising in and of itself. What is surprising is the Robert Durst impression it yields as she burps asides into Sonja's ear to wind her up. And then there are her muted reactions to Luann's falls -- yes, plural -- which pretty much confirm her soullessness. The way she calmly tells Luann that she should have gone the other way while Luann tries to get up and run away even though her ankle's shattered is the stuff of nightmares.
Dealing with Sonja and the shiny, inflamed dermis known as Ramona is the most fired up Carole's been since "Bookgate." A few good shit-stirring moments and typically on-point talking heads aside, she once again shrinks in comparison to the monolithic empty Patrón bottles that make up the rest of the cast. And let's be real: Ramona and Sonja are late to dinner (Were we expecting something different? Why is this still a thing?), but she and Tinsley only just slightly less late, so spare me.
It's disappointing to see Dorinda being such a stick in the mud. She looked like a corpse they were transporting in the scene in the SUV with Bethenny, Ramona, and Sonja where they played "Fuck, Marry, Kill," a delightful turn of events she was unmoved by. She spars with Ramona and Sonja a bit, and she's living her best life popping balloons in the closet with Carole, but there's a heaviness that swallows her up this week. To be frank: I'm extremely disappointed that she couldn't get it together enough to attend dinner. And while we're here, I'd like this trend of the cast having autonomy to stop. Someone should have shaken her awake, handed her a balloon that wasn't Richard, and sent her off in the direction of the dining room when things started escalating.
We should have known things wouldn't be too great for Sonja the second she stayed behind and took a giant sip of the margarita the man forced to greet these monsters was holding on a tray. It was all over the second she took that giant sip and followed it up by saying, "Is this alcohol? I'm not drinking," and strutting away as if she'd just pulled the greatest con of her life. Yes, in retrospect that should have been a huge red flag. But who could have known she'd start molting into Ramona's image the second she stepped into La Vida Dulce? I, for one, thought there'd be more time.
A three-part miniseries where Sonja and Ramona's trip-related brainwaves are mapped out would be very much appreciated. I want to know what it is about the word "trip" that transforms them from Upper East Side ladies who lunch into bloodthirsty H.R. Geiger designs. I also want to know where that little bit of light behind their eyes goes and what it does while they're tearing people limb from limb over rooms and fighting over twenty-somethings and married men. More than that, I want to know what it is about Tinsley that makes Sonja's blood boil. Because right now, compelling as it is, I'm at a huge loss.
Tinsley is finally starting to get a handle on her surroundings. She's still darting out of rooms to watch herself cry in a mirror, but after two minutes she comes right back. Vocal-fry baby-voice aside, I like that she's starting to confront things head-on and advocate for herself. Do I still think this season ends with her and Sonja involved in a deeply strange murder-suicide? Absolutely. And right now I'm happy as a clam watching it unfold.
Bethenny has become one of her own severe, structured blazers or slate-colored mohair sweaters. Still, she gets major props first bringing us to Mexico, second for being the most rational person on the trip even if she uses it to bully people into taking her position, and finally, for not throwing a single Skinnygirl-branded thing in our faces the entire episode. Not once did we get a shot of the estate with a Skinnygirl-branded blimp in the background or a shot of a cabana overflowing with Skinnygirl towels and beach balls. That alone justifies her position in this week's ranking. Moreover, she's dealing with a touch of the flu and the only one who's willing to give it right back to Ramona or show up to dinner on time. Sure, the "90 minutes late to dinner" routine is tired and obnoxious, but it's what gets us to Tinsley screaming in Sonja's face and Sonja swatting at Tinsley's logic and emotion like they're fruit flies. So I'm fine with it -- for now.
The flu's a good color on her.
It took nine years to get Luann drunk on camera, and boy was it worth the wait. In last season's trip to the Berkshires, Luann refers to herself in the third person and dubs herself Teflon. "You can't burn me, baby," she says before wondering aloud if Teflon even burns and laughing it off. That perfectly describes Drunken Luann, a force that won't be stopped even if a piece of bone is shooting out of one of its kneecaps. Unlike the rest of the monsters, Drunken Luann just wants to party and have fun; she's harmless. Like when she falls into the bushes and decides that's her life now. Those bushes are her new home and she's perfectly fine staying there until she dies of exposure.
I cannot get enough of Drunken Luann. And if I have to wait another nine years to see her, well, so be it.