Last night was Part Two of The War of the Grosses, alternately titled the Real Housewives of New York City reunion special. It was: ladies yelling in an echoing room while a gay dude sighed.
I don't really know how to "recap" two hours' worth of women sitting and shrieking, so maybe we'll just do a state of the union here. How does everything end?
Jill came out, mostly, roses in the reunion. Her various rages about tardiness and charity laziness were mostly valid, she made reasonable points. The finale blowdown between Zary and Bethenny seems to have been smoothed over, because those two dizzy broads are thick as thieves and no fight over branding can come between them. And then in the end Jill's wonderful momz was shown in a clip and everyone was reminded that life goes by "in minutes." And maybe somewhere someone sat in shorts on a couch, two weeks away from a scary birthday, the birds and thin bands of sun humming outside, and suddenly he knew exactly what she meant.
Poor Alex. The thoughtful scarecrow remained mostly mute for the reunion, eyes flicking back and forth like at a Mario tennis match, bewildered pile of hair sitting atop her head, scanning the horizon for any opportunity to swoop in and articulate some grand point. She tried to weigh in on the whole Kelly/Bethenny fracas, and ended up just criticizing Kelly, fairly, for being an idiot who can't do the verbal arithmetic of putting together a legitimate sentence. Everyone seemed to feel bad for Alex, and it made me like her, but who felt most bad was Simon. Simon was standing behind a curtain watching the whole proceedings, the bright glare of stage lights turning him into a crooked silhouette. He mouthed his own responses to the questions and feigned laughs and asides. To be a part of it! To be a real breathing, beating part of this thing! If wishes were horses, his heart would be Assateague. Full and heavy with galloping, snorts of breath, wild mane. A small trail leading down below the waistband, soft hungry-sad brown eyes, perfect plum lips, strong lean arms, a warm salty taste on his... Wait! Horses. Oh dear god, ha ha ha, he's thinking about horses. Nothing else. Absolutely no one, um, nothing else.
Bethenny emerges from the flames mostly unscathed. Not to say that she hasn't come off a bit too harping, a bit too snide. Just that she doesn't really seem to give a shit. She's got her girl J.Z. on her side, and a sort of half-willing ally in LuAnn. Fighting with Kelly is like fighting with a dying stand of pine trees or with a suspicious dog who is blind in one eye and you always see at the top of your street like he is waiting for something (maybe it's you) or with an old shoe that you found behind the bureau when you were moving or with a dead woodchuck. Which is to say, fighting with Kelly is pointless because you'll never get anything in return but frustration and emptiness, a vague sense that the world is playing a mean, strange trick on you. This person can't actually be real, you think to yourself. But she is. Oh, dear souls in heaven, she is. But brave Bethenny persists. She must be tired.
As stated above, Kelly is a mostly useless inanimate object. Or maybe inanimate isn't the right word. She's animate, but like an earwig is. An earwig doesn't feel pain or regret, an earwig doesn't make wry jokes over Bordeaux on a snowy night. An earwig is just pesky and kinda gross, and not worth spending more time on than the time it takes to scramble shrieking to the kitchen to get a paper towel so you can go blot the thing out, stuff it up in the paper and throw it in the trash and forget it. Kelly was evasive, as expected, about the twink bashing, and at one point was like "I have a question. Everyone's talking about this and that and this and that and going back and forth and, like... who cares?" Which was a ridiculous, annoying, holier-than-thou-but-in-a-really-dumb-person's-kinda-way thing to say on a reunion special for the goddamned reality show you were just goddamned on. Be of the world, Kelly! It's a way better place than the self-built netherrealm of mirrors that you've been existing in for the past year or so.
Speaking of other, fantastical worlds, Ramona took some time away from building her giant clock on the moon to beam down to New York for the reunion special. Mostly she gibbled and garbled and threw her purple features around the room, singing strange Barbados songs and making crazy eyes at everyone. Oh, crazy eyes. Countess Crackerjacks diagnosed Ramona with Oculum déménsium over and over and over again, each time Ramona's eyes getting even wider and crazier, while Andy Cohen felt a strange tingle creeping up his spine and then all of a sudden he couldn't speak and the room was growing swirly and oh god what was that horrible black light creeping up in the corner over there, who is it, why is it coming closer and closer and closer reaching out to him like some wraith of oblivion and oh god I should have been a doct—phew, Ramona blinked. All the bad sensations were gone. Andy sat there, trembling. "I'll tell you about crazy eyes," Ramona muttered. There was a strange silence, like the few seconds right after the sun has set on the wintry tundra. Finally Ramona smiled. She looked around the room. "Isn't Mario handsome?" They all nodded their heads, shivering.
Oh LuAnn. Sure she's sad and getting divorced and who knows if she'll even have a title come the dissolution of the marriage. But she'll always be a Countess, always be our Crackerjacks, in our hearts. She got called out, mostly, for being stuck-up and condescending, and for not practicing what she preaches vis-à-vis her etiquette book. Kelly the Dumb was brave and stupid enough to flat out accuse Lunz of not reading her own book, which was met with hoots and hollers from the other ladies (well, not from Alex, whom I'm pretty sure had either fallen asleep or replaced herself with a dummy stuffed with straw and left at this point), because Kelly, m'dear, you might be right. But you're still the new, worst kid in town, so it'd behoove you to shut yer damn yap. Anyway. After a time Loony just sat back and lit up a cigarette "Can I smoke in here? I can't? Well too damn bad, I'm gonna anyway. You know, friendos, all this bickering. Man it reminds me of my early days in Cee Tee. We bounced around a lot. Up around Meriden for a while. Stayed in Storrs one fall, daddy's conning college students and mama the professors and the deans, threaten to show sexy snaps to their wives. So there was lotsa change, lotsa things stayin' in boxes for years n' years. And I dunno, you get tired, y'know? You get rundown. But you get used to it to, your legs don't feel like they're workin' unless they're movin', unless you got some good old ground goin' underneath your feet. So I guess that's why I went, y'know, why I kept on wenting. Idaho and Big Sky and all them shitty rainy towns they got up there in the State and Or'gon. But you do still keep hopin', you know, you still keep thinkin' this time I'm gonna slow down, this is it, this is the move, this is the little apartment above the laundromat or the chamber of goddamned commerce, this is the one that'll stick. But it never does until it do. Y'know what I mean, Andy? It never does until it do and I thought this one here, this fancy old strange life I'd got goin' over here in New York goddamned City, man, this was gonna be it. But it wasn't and it ain't and that's the breaks. So you over there sparkletits, Kelly or whatever the hell your name is, you can go take a long jog off a short pier. And Ramona, your eyes are crazy 'n you know it. You know it better'n all of us. You found those in some old magic cave about two hundred years ago and they're just keepin' you alive. I don't care. I don't care if you're Gumby wearin' a godammned people suit. I just wish you were honest about it. And you other three? Aw hell, you're all right. But mama, well... Well, mama's got to be goin'. So in closing,"
And then she lifted her leg and farted, long and loud. She cackled once, threw her head back and opened her mouth and sent the sound into the rafters, and then she was gone. Left the back door of the studio slamming shut. There was a revving of engines, and she'd disappeared.
After they'd wrapped up the reunion, Andy went to the bathroom to sob for an hour.
Alex and Simon went home and sat in their sex dungeon and watched their kids play with the antique iron maiden. What a strange life they'd found, strangest of all was that it fit so perfectly. Like a black leather glove.
Bethenny went home and put on her lab coat and her goggles and drew the blinds and went to work in the kitchen trying to concoct a Skinnygirl Cosmo. It was hard work, but she had a calling. There waiting on the mail table was a letter from Oslo. The Nobel committee. Would she be submitting again this year, they wanted to know. She would be. Oh yes, she would be.
Jill called her Mom from the car phone and they made a lunch date. After driving for another minute or two, she yelled "Oh holy Fuck." She pressed three on the speed dial and her little gay house elf friend answered. "Bubbz, I gotta cancel lunch on Thurdsay, I'm sawree." And Bubbz understood. He always does.
Ramona just kicked herself in the behind and flew away into the tinfoil dusk and we all knew, each and every one of us, but especially greedy Kelly the Once-ler, that we never should have cut down her Truffula Trees. Because it was a beautiful world that Ramona had, more beautiful than all the Thneeds in all the land. But now she's gone, and it's too late. Too late as always. So Kelly sits alone in her empty factory, wishing.
And Crackerjacks. They say sometimes that on a crisp night, one of those first crackling autumn nights in October, that you can hear her chuckling on the wind. If you smell an earthy whiff of leaves burning, maybe it's actually her curling cigarette wisps. If you taste the stinging-sweet taste of cooling air in your mouth, maybe it's one of her whiskey drinks. Just last week a small town paper in Muncie, Indiana ran a small article about a mysterious woman who wore a headscarf and rented an apartment above the stationery store. Everyone thought she looked vaguely familiar, but no one could quite place her. After a week, she left, but not before leaving a five hundred dollar tip at the local diner. The young waitress, a sad looking girl with fussy brown hair, was flabbergasted. But even more so when she read the note that the mysterious woman had left with the pile of cash. It read:
I'm you, baby. And you're me. So from one of us to another, a word of advice. Keep lookin' out, kid. Keep movin' on. Keep strong, keep wise, keep sane. And if you see an old rich dude at a bar somewhere nice, and he looks like he needs some company and you just might be the gal to give it to him, you take that chance, honey. You do it, you run with it, you do it all the way. Cause sure it ends, but everything ends. Everything in this rotten, wonderful old world is one day gonna leave you. But no one's gonna blame if you hang on tight for as long as you can.
It's a mechanical bull, baby. This whole thing called living. And, if ya got the thighs for it, it sure is a helluva ride.
Peace and chicken grease,