Last night's Housewives was all about the settling of scores, of clearing accounts, making payments. Last night we saw no cases closed, but many new ones opened.
What is that sound? It's like all the honeybees dying, like a choir of children in a terrible Sweet Hereafter-style bus accident. It's the sound of all the joy leaving the world, a crisp and leathery timbre, a piercing whine laid atop it. Why it's the sound of Kelly Killoren Bensimon, North America's entry in the World's Worst Person contest. Yes, Kelly Bensimon was big in this episode, hooting at us in her low throat-moan, constantly parting her hair with two fingers like a small child. A small child with helio-burnt skin, with menacing gem stones for eyes, with teeth the white of oblivion.
Kelly is posing for Playboy. We discussed this last week while my innards slowly dismantled and outside the dome of the sky ran streak-red with blood. But yeah, she's actually doing it and this terrible fact is not going away. Obviously the seventeenth and eighteenth people she wanted to consult about this were her two children. Yes, Kelly Bensimon has two human offspring, like Zeus mating with Io in terrible reverse, and they are now old enough to understand things like "nudity" and "breasteses" and "mother never loved us much." So she took them to Delicatessen on Spring St. (Kells, you were a stone's throw from the HQ, why didn't you stop by?) and they discussed matters. And aren't children the heartbreakingest? So frank and free and devoid of angle or guile. They just, for the most part, tell it like it is. So when Kelly brought up Playboy they scrunched their faces and called their mom old and then they tempered it with "you work so hard for us" and somehow that bothered Kelly. "How dare you suggest I work???" I guess Kelly would prefer the easy lap of luxury, the deign of charity once in a while, but mostly your afternoons are free. How dare her daughters imply, on precious precious camera, that Kelly's life is anything but easy and breezy and healthy. Kelly would like you to think her life is a tossed salad, maybe something wicked and delicious and bacon-y like a Cobb salad. But her life is not actually a Cobb salad. Kelly's life is a Reuben sandwich left in the back of an '86 Carolla for two days. It is something that was once bad for you, almost in a fun way, but has since become nothing, a tossaway artifact, a dream remembered briefly and forgotten.
And then we were moving along with Kelly, at her frenzied pace, jogging up Lafayette and into a photographer's studio or some such place. I think it was like prep work for her big nudie shots? Whatever it was, Kelly was sporting a pair of leather bunny ears and was talking about how wicked she's been. Do you know what Kelly Killoren Bensimon has been doing? Eatin' chicken wings and drinkin' beer. Yes, apparently Kelly is really into beer. Which... isn't that perfectly creepy? Isn't there something so fantastically off about Kelly's chosen drink being beer? And it wasn't even some bullshit she made up for this one segment. Later in the episode Jill or someone mentioned the beer thing. "Oh I know you only drink beer." Eugh! I'm sorry, there's just something so terrifically awful about that. Kelly Bensimon will have a beer, please. Beeeeer. Even that word. Her saying that word. It's downright chilling. Am I weird?
(Also, one should never fish for skinny compliments by talking about how much one just ate and drank. It's unbecoming and everyone knows what you're trying to do and will, hopefully, not indulge it.)
Continuing the Playboy storyline, Kelly had Jill over to her new bright, spacious apartment because Jill was curious about how exactly mummies live. Is it hot? Is everything a sarcophagus? Is Brendan Fraser constantly shooting you in the face? Lemme tell you. I'm on the early apartment hunt right now and there's some depressing stuff in my beloved East Village — dark, dank, crooked shitholes — and Kelly's apartment just made me so depressed. A Beggin' Strip with a pocketbook lives in a nicer apartment than I ever will. Quel dommage! Anyway, the main feature of Kelly's beautiful apartment was a big plastic horse in the middle of the living room. And then, standing next to Kelly, was a statue of a horse. (BADA ZAMBO!) Kelly mumbled that it was "from the Met," and I pictured her in all black, running down 5th Avenue in the still of the night carrying the horse, the museum's alarms ringing out through the cold dark park behind it. Jill hoisted herself up onto it and the ladies discussed the Playboy. Jill said "I think you're confused. You said it was for the 40th anniversary, but that was like ten years ago." Kelly smiled her brittle smile and said "Well, it's the 40th anniversary of something! Maybe the bunny costume. I don't know. My agent told me." (Pro tip from Kelly to all you aspiring superstars out there: If your potential agent's major qualification is "I was at a cocaine party with Dustin Diamond once," do not sign with him.)
Oops Update: I totally forgot to mention that Kelly talked about fur. See, she loves to wear fur. And she has some weird obsession with the fact that Bethenny is involved with PETA. So naturally those two things clashed together on a New York City street and Kelly said that she doesn't want to abuse animals, she just wants them killed and their skin pulled off so she can drape it her around her dessicated frame to look regal and pretty. That's like saying you don't support serial killing, you just like having the severed heads of circuit boys in your refrigerator.
Jill raised her eyebrows as she does, always, and that was the end of that. Goodbye Kelly! Helloooooo Alex. It's natural in life to switch from a tall squawking brown stalk of a thing to a tall squawking blonde stalk of a thing, so we'll move on to Alex. She'd been mostly absent from the show this season, until this week. I mean, she wasn't that present this week either, but at least she had some screen time. Mostly she and Simon went to a bigtime Ungaro fashion party (hosted by LuAnn, attended by the Lohans Dina and Lindsay) and they brought the gay mole they'd dug up in the garden that morning. "Here, this is our mole," they said, proudly showing off their discovery. "It's gay." The gay mole was wearing five different outfits at once, and all on the wrong parts of the body. He had a shirtsleeve lashed around his midsection like a bandage, he had a skirt billowing up around his neck, and he had a spangled belt cinched around his head. "Isn't he faaaabulous," Simon purred. Alex's wooden eyeballs rotated feverishly inside her skull and Jill, also at the party, looked at them with concern. Eventually the gay mole burrowed on home and Simon and Alex were left by their lonesome, stuck with their boring old kids.
I'm not one of those "Oooo look at the beeebeee" types. I mean I am with cats and dogs ("Hiiiiii puppeeeeeee"), but not with human children. But Simon and Alex's kids? Those little raggamuffins are kind of adorable. We saw them at Simon and Alex's remodeled house (the kitchen looks great, guys) and Francois or Johan or Abernathy or Dilettante or whatever his name is was sitting on the counter while mom made a pizza. "D'ya like pizza," the tape player in Alex's back asked. And yes, Vosges does enjoy pizza. He and mum were talking about this very fact when suddenly it was time to make Simon a drink. Alex chased Manet aout of the kitchen and then Simon came trundling up out of his "work room," where his "assistant" Tyler lives, drenched in sweat and panting, a happy look on his face. "Real workout today," he said. Alex handed him his drink. Simon took it gladly. "I let something go on for too long and then it just blew up in my face." Alex frowned. "Oh that's too bad." Simon smirked slightly behind his glass and said "Yes. Bad..."
Then a strange silence filled the kitchen and Guillotine and Emile scampered off to be away from it and Alex sighed and threw a dish towel onto the counter and said "Well, dinner is ready."
Another thing Alex is doing is being mad at Jill. Or at least being confused by her. Jill (and LuAnn) is very supportive (on the outside) of Kelly doing Playboy, and yet when it was revealed that Alex had done some nude pictorials, everyone was in a frenzy. But, see, Alex... Playboy is one thing. Some creepy guy in a flowy shirt named Gaspard, and only Gaspard, telling you to take your shirt off for his "collection," is another. The Playboy story ends with a party and maybe an appearance on Chelsea Handler. Gaspard's photoshoot ends in food sex or a snuff film. Ah well.
Speaking of Jill. Jill-Z is having problems with Bethenny. We've known this since day one. We've known this since Jill walked into the Gawker offices and said awkward things about Bethenny to us, complete strangers. Jill is mad about a particular voicemail. The heart can hold small things and let them fester and rot into nasty grudges, like sand and a pearl only with an ugly outcome. So Jill is upset because Bethenny told her to "get a hobby," which is the worst thing you can ever say to someone, and, in true Jill fashion, she won't shut up about it. On and on and on she yammers about this hobby thing, to anyone who will listen. She grumbled to Simon & Alex, she yipped to LuAnn, she honked to Kelly. It's all she can ever talk about these days. Bethenny and her hobby comment. How dare she. How rude.
So Jill talked about it at a fashion show and then Bethenny showed up and it was kind of super awkward. Bethenny was all Breezy Ouisie but Jill had issues (well, an issue, a hobby issue) to yell about and Bethenny's eyes bugged out and she got all "Who, me?" defensive like she always does and Jill just sighed and threw up her hands and LuAnn interjected and gave Beth a talking-to, because LuAnn is apparently Jill's advocate now.
Oh yeah, Crackerjacks and J-Z are the bestest of friends now. They hang out all the time and do lots of fun things together, like bitching about Bethenny and griping about Bethenny and complaining about Bethenny and, oh!, talking to psychics. (About Bethenny.) Yeah, Jill has a very trusted psychic that she's been working with for years (did she predict the horrible hobby comment????) and she's finally decided to invite LuAnn into her inner sanctum. (Mind outta the gutter there.) LuAnn walked warily into Jill's apartment and cased the scene. She stopped and lit a cigarette and said "All right, all right. I can dig it. I've seen a psychic before." And it's true, she had. Jill went into the bathroom and LuAnn raised her voice a little so Jill could hear her.
"I ever tell you about the time I was workin' pickpocket out in Roswell? Yeah, I was there, oh 'bout six, seven months'r so, on my way outta one place and over to another. And there's Roswell, just sorta stuck out there in all that middle, y'know? Anyways, I'm shackin' up with this guy I know, Ransom. How you like that name, huh? Ransom. I always said he should be on a soap opera or somethin' but he never listened. Man oh man. Ransom. There's a name I ain't said in a while."
She paused for a moment, took a pensive drag, let the smoke out slowly.
"Anyway, he's got me doin' the pickpocket down at the laundromats and the local fairs and all them alien tourists who like to come on through. When they got into town they'd figure out pretty quick that it's just a regular old boring place only it's got a buncha alien shit tacked up on the walls, y'know? Even got little alien head flags on the lampposts. But anyway, they brought money, so we're doin' that, makin' a good little livin' at it too. And then this one day I'm out at the UFO United convention or some such shit, held out in one'a them grassy fields they got in that part'a New Mexico, and I'm doin' pretty good, goin' at a pretty good clip, y'know? Just a little dart 'n yank, real quick like, you'd never notice. So I'm goin' and goin', dartin' and yankin', and then alls of a sudden there's this hand just grabbin' on my wrist and I look up and I'm starin' at the bluest eyes you ever saw. I'm not talkin' pretty blue either, I mean these fuckers were blue, real like creepy blue, deep deep ocean blue, y'know? Almost black they're so blue. And this lady — it's a lady — she's lookin' at me real intense with those fuckin' creepy ass gemstone eyes'a hers and I'm about to yell somethin' or reach for the butterfly knife I was keepin' in my back pocket in those days but before I do any of that she says to me, real low and clear, "LuAnn, I don't want you in this life anymore." And then she just let go'a my arm and walked away and it was like I couldn't catch my breath for a while, like things had gone cold and dark, y'know? I was practically seein' stars.
But I'll tell ya, I never picked a pocket another day. And you know what happened just a week later? Ransom's out at the Close Encounters Corral or one'a those bullshit bars, and he's workin the pockets, same as I'da been if I hadn't retired, and this dude — we kinda knew him, just from around y'know, name was Randy Bourbon, like the chicken — catches him. And then everyone else starts noticin' that they ain't got their wallets and Ransom's just got this big ol' bulge in his jacket and, well."
She lit another cigarette with the still-burning old one. Flicked the butt into a potted plant.
"They knew it was him cause'a dental records, I guess. He got his teeth cleaned 'n xrayed once. I never seen him go to the dentist, but I guess he went. Once at least. And that was enough."
She pressed at spot on the carpet with her toe. Then looked up at the ceiling.
"'I don't want you in this life anymore.' Imagine that? Like she knew. That was a psychic, man. Saved my life. I don't know though. Lately I been thinkin' maybe she meant somethin' different. Maybe she meant like she don't want me in any life, y'know? Like. Maybe she wanted me dead or somethin? Shoot, I don't know. What I do know is about two weeks after Ransom was killed I just got the fuck outta Dodge. Packed my little white duffel and took Ransom's Oldsmobile, what'd he need it for, and just flew on outta there. You ever been to Carlsbad Caverns? I was there for a while. Just livin'. Eventually I ended up in Waco, crashin' with my friend Dave. And, well, we all know how that ended up."
She laughed a little to herself. Jill had finished up in the bathroom and was flipping through a magazine. "Were you saying something hun?" she asked. LuAnn smiled, a little sadly. "Aw hell, am I ever sayin' anything? C'mon, let's go fix a drink and meet this psychic, huh?"
While they were doing that, Bethenny was out practicing her comedy routine. Yes, it's true! Bethenny has become an amateur stand-up comedian. Her first big gig was at U.S. News & World Report's number one ranked annex, The Learning Annex. Yeah it was nice, they put up a brick wall facade and a mic stand and Bethenny did the comedian jog out there in jeans and a blazer with the sleeves pushed up. She told jokes about saying swears and dating guys named Jason and yukked it up about her book and about weight loss and publicly outed a poor guy who was just asking her a cooking question and she made some really hilariously dead-on observations about how women are and how men are and then it was eleven and it was time to watch the news and Chet & Natalie were still married and you still lived at home. It was the early '90s and it was wonderful.
So that was weird. I know they didn't show the bulk of Bethenny's big Learning Annex talk, but it seemed to go really terribly? I don't know. It was just awkward. She should stick to her day job. Stand-up is not exactly her forte.
Feeling flushed from getting all the guffaws, Bethenny decided to throw a party for her boyfriend Pebbles. It was Pebbles' birthday and she wanted his party to not be about her and her career, but about him. So she invited the camera crew. Terrific. She also called Pebbles "cheesy" or something and then said that was fine, because she "had a little rollerink" in her. I liked that. I like someone describing themselves like that.
You know who has a lot of rollerrink in her? Our beloved LuAnn. Early in the episode she was driving in the car
with her daughter, and the girl was talking about Kelly's Playboy shoot and LuAnn arched an eyebrow and said "What would you say if I posed for Playboy?" And the girl shrugged her shoulders and said "I don't know. I guess I wouldn't be embarrassed. My friends would think it was funny. The guys think you're hot." LuAnn tried not to swerve into traffic or slam on the breaks and struggled to appear casual. "They...do? What..uh.. what do they say?" And the girl told her. Inside LuAnn's head, fireworks were whistling into the air and exploding into hot, glorious light. "Which... hm, which boys?" The girl looked at her a little curiously and said "Uh, Dixon and Carter and Wyatt and my friend Tyler, but we haven't seen him in a while. He was supposed to help this creepy scarecrow man clean out his basement in Brooklyn for like fifty bucks and that's the last anyone saw of him." LuAnn nodded vigorously. "Mmhmm, mhmmm. Wyatt, huh? Wyatt with the shaggy dirty-blonde hair and the ass like a Jell-o mold?" "Mom!!!" "Sorry, sorry. You know I'm kidding. I'm just kidding." LuAnn decided it was probably not the best time to tell her daughter about those Beaver Trapper Quarterly photoshoots she'd done that one summer she was living in Colorado City so they just sped on to Manhattan, where more adventure awaited them.
You know who wasn't in this episode, strangely? Ramona. Where the hell was Ramona? Was she stuck in the basement with Tyler? Was she off with her swami turban pretending to be a psychic somewhere? It's such a mystery. There was a Ramona-shaped hole in last night's episode and no one would explain why.
I like to imagine that she actually was in this episode, you just couldn't really see her.
There she was peering in the window during Simon & Alex's family kitchen time. Making strange, glassy googly-eyes at Citroen as the child stared at her and mind-melded with her. Days later he would begin doing weird space dancing and talking in bird language and Alex would say "Beret, where did you learn that?" And Depardieu would just shrug his shoulders and I say "Je ne sais pas, mama. The window lady?" And Alex would murmur to herself "The window lady..." And later that night she would say to Simon, before they put on the harnesses and began making love, "Honey, I think the Floor People might be migrating." Simon would look at her, terrified for a brief second, but then shrug his shoulders. "We'll deal with it in the morning." And then with a great ruffling of goose feathers and the sound of a European ambulance siren, love would be made.
There Ramona was sitting quietly in the very back row at Bethenny's comedy routine. Opening her mouth wide and shaking in eerily noiseless laughter. After the show was over, she told a pigeon that she lovess "that Jerry Steinfeld."
Look again, Ramona was there as Jill found out that Limon Zerga is safely cancer free. She was hiding behind a curtain, a blonde and alien Polonius, crying relieved tears of simple syrup. "Why is the floor sticky?" Jill asked a few hours later. "What is going on in this house?" She eventually detected the source and looked behind the curtain, but Ramona had jumped out the window and air-skittered away long before.
Ramona was there at Kelly's house too, inside the horse, curled up like a clueless Greek, wondering how she got there, afraid of what she will do when the horse is cracked open and she is released.
And there Ramona was, peering down through the moonroof, watching as LuAnn learned that Wyatt has a total boner for her. LuAnn's eyes beady and fixed on the horizon, her daughter absentmindedly turning a stiletto heel over in her hands. They raced on, the two in the car and Ramona on the roof, the trees dying and getting shorter until they gave way to nothing but buildings, a sea of people heaving and breathing, a city that, with these three additions, was finally complete.