I don't quite know where to begin. Last night's penultimate episode of Real Housewives of New York City was at turns so vile, appalling, oddly likable, and deeply hilarious that I'm again tempted to just post the whole damn episode without comment. This grand opera of vanity and inanity needs very little introduction or analysis. It simply is. But! That's not what I get paid for, so here goes. Maybe it's best to do this by character, as each had their own little arc.

Jill: Jill stayed mostly in the background this week, letting Bethenny host a dinner party at her house, looking appalled by Ramona's bad behavior, and trotting over to Greenwich Westport, CT where her sister, Lisa Wexler, was having a little celebration for her radio show. The sister-interviewing-sister moment was sort of nice, even if during the chat, about Jill's courageous struggle for success, the Housewife came across as simply a normal lady who married a rich guy.

Countess LuAnn: Ohhh LuAnn. I mean Mrs. de Lesseps! The Countess got very upset when Bethenny introduced her to a driver as LuAnn, rather than Mrs. de Lesseps. She was shocked! Just shocked! "It's a respect thing," she idiotically and hypocritically told Bethenny (who was admirably aghast at the whole situation). This is all delightful coming from some trash bag foreign TV hostess who happened to marry some old dude whose family purchased nobility while building the Suez Canal. Before the car incident happened, Bethenny and LuAnn (fuck her "respect") were having cocktails in the Chateau de Lesseps ("it's a house, not an apartment") when LuAnn's sad little son Noelle came down and asked if he could go to dinner with them. Of course not, replied LuAnn. Kids don't go to this restaurant. People would be scandalized. "It's taco night!" she reminded Noelle, referring, I'm sure, to the dinner that housekeeper Rosanna had prepared. He responded glumly: "You're never home for taco night."

Bethenny: Bethenny spent a lot of time this episode looking horrified. Whether it was in reaction to LuAnn's bullshit, Ramona's crazy lady antics, or Alex's raggedy rundown Brooklyn flop house, Bethenny perfected her flabbergasted stare. She is, happily, back together with her boyfriend and puttering along with her cooking career. I genuinely like Bethenny. She actually seems like a real person, with real smarts, who doesn't give a shit about "society." Her catch phrase of the evening, an incredulous yet sincerely curious "Who cares??", ably summed up the entire series.

Ramona: Ramona is a crazy person. When invited to Bethenny's dinner party (at Jill's house) she initially didn't want to go because "it's raining cats and buckets." But then she reversed gears and got all excited for a girls' evening (another kind of "taco night," if you will) and tromped on over to the party. But! Scandal! Alex, of course, invited her gay valet/husband Simon, making it not quite the girls' night that Ramona hoped for. And she let everyone know it, including Simon. "Why is he here??" she bellowed. Then during dinner, following a discussion about what it means to be "classy," she got up and left during the middle of the meal. A few days later, after drunkenly dancing at the Hawaiian Tropics Zone for some sort of Eligible Bachelor event, she apologized to Bethenny and explained that she'd forgotten to tell everyone that she had additional plans that evening. She and Bethenny (who, much to Ramona's delight, called her "tart but sweet, like a Pomegranate-tini") later bonded over more booze and a shared distrust of men. Ramona is pretty broken. That much is clear.

Alex: Alex and Simon, so pathetically and bizarrely honest about their social climbing, had $5,000 opening night tickets to the Met. Alex wore her hideous animal-print dress. The limo got stuck in traffic so they hoofed it on foot, only to arrive to uninterested red carpet photographers and missed "networking" opportunities. Later, the pair looked through the Sunday Styles section to see if Alex got a mention. "It's a big deal," Alex said of such a write-up. And yes, she was there. Well, a photo of her back at least. (And do you know, dear friends, who was on the front page of Sunday Styles that very week? Your dear old friend LolCait. Haha! Suck it, Alex!) Also in the episode, Francois had a birthday party and Bethenny was invited so she could get some experience around children (I guess?) Bethenny was indeed good with the children (mostly because she had no interest in hanging out with the adults) but was shocked at the ramshackle state of the McCord household. Bare floors, half-finished paint jobs, a weird gay Australian man. Just despicable. Alex ignored it and actually proceeded to have a somewhat meaningful conversation with Bethenny about love and children and sadness. Good for them.

What does next week's finale have in store for us? It looks as though Ramona may finally have to answer for her shitty behavior.