Real Housewives of New York: Au Revoir, Les Enfants

Once again Brian Moylan has provided me with some questions about last night's Housewives, the big old grand finale for the season. (Until the reunion.) Come remember with us, won't you?

Do you think that Jill Zarin was sincere during her lunch with Bethenny? Has Jill finally learned her lesson?
I think Jill was sincerely sad. Despite her dreadful behavior this season, Jill is still a human being who can experience human emotions. One of those emotions is: "sad." Like how Kim Jong Il probably sometimes sulks around his magical palace made of zircon, kicking at pebbles and saying "Hmpf, I don't want to dictate today." Villains can be sad! I think the real thing that Jill was crying about was that it's very frustrating for her when things happen because of how she acts. "I hate it when I act terribly and people punish me for it!! Why can't everyone just take it and then plead with me to be their friend again? Why can't everything be easy, always??" It's not unlike when kids do something bad and get in trouble and they cry — because they regret getting in trouble — and you feel bad, because it's just innate in us to feel bad for people who are crying. But don't be fooled! Despite her blubbering, Jill's motivations are still kind of sour and sharp. She just wants screen time and if no one on the show likes her, there goes screen time. I think she's afraid of getting Jeana'd. Remember Jeana from The Real Sea Monsters of Orange County? She started bitching everyone out all the time and then they all said "go away" and she went away to be with her Republican demon children. Same thing goes for Jill. Sure Limon Zerga's a hoot, but he doesn't bring her TV show fame. He just brings her upholstery swatches and tinted glasses. That's not enough for Jillzy, not in 2010!

Hitz St. Cloud rolled up to the premiere party for his masterwork "Money Can't Buy You Class" in a white Hummer limo full of girls. How did that happen?
Oh, Hitz. He's kind of the best character on this show, ever, isn't he? Poor Hitz. That Hummer limo was driven by a buddy of his, Ricky Garabedian, an Armenian guy he used to buy blow from in the late '80s. Ricky lives in the Hummer limo, actually. And those girls! That was just Milly the OTB cocktail waitress and her friends from the salon, where she works part time for extra money, sweeping up hair. In the limo on the way over, Hitz kept clapping his hands and saying "Oh yeah!" like in the Twix song. And he put on an old Doobie Brothers cassette tape and said "Hey girls, you heard this new record yet?" And everyone just sorta smiled and mumbled "No..." or "It's so good..." and then turned to stare out the tinted windows, while Hitz rocked back and forth to the music, nodding his head at every note he liked, which was most of them. As they were walking up to the event, Hitz turned to Ricky and said "Hey... that place looks big enough for two... If Hitz, y'know, ever needs a place to crash... Uh. Could I stay there a few nights, man? Once this record comes out I'll be swimming in it. But you know, gotta spend money to make money, right brutha?" Ricky sighed and looked at his old friend, wearing his sunglasses in the dark winter night. "Of course, Hitz. Of course." Hitz smiled. "Heyyyy, outta sight. C'mon , I'll buy you a bottle of bubbly." He bought him a bottle of Cook's, that'd he'd brought to the party in a plastic bag.

How did LuAnn meet her new boyfriend Jacques? Does he look more like Balki Bartokomous from "Perfect Strangers" or David Schwimmer?
Ha that is funny. I was saying to a friend I'd dragooned into having me over to watch (I just moved and have no cable or internet and it is killllinnggg meeee) that Jacques is actually the father of both David Schwimmer and Adrien Brody. He's a very talented baby maker! Most of his babies become famous actors! Some become Fraggles, but most become actors. Anyway. LuLu and Jacques met years ago, actually. He used to sail around Lake Powell wearing a suit coat and a captain's hat, grifting ladies with his fake French accent, getting them to sign over their boats or give him their jewels. Yeah, his accent is fake. His real name is Jackie Marbles, and he's from Tuba City, AZ. One day out on the wild waters of Lake Powell, Jackie was pulling his old "Mah fahzerr ees ... how you say ... a prince?" routine on some wine-guzzling Methodist lady from Albuquerque, and who should putter up in her little skiff that she used for making rum runs on the big moored yachts but one Lulu "Crackerjacks" De Lesseps. She saw what he was doing and gave him the international grifter wink and left him alone. Later, after he'd conned the Methodist wino out of the deed to her camper, he sidled up to Lunz at a bar in Page and she turned to him and said, with that scratchy bourbon voice, "I like your style." So they teamed up for a while, he playing a French noble, she his ditzy, mean girlfriend who the old ladies would always want to rescue him from. (Why, exactly, a French noble would be tooling around Lake Powell never seemed to trouble the old ladies for some reason.) They made a killing — jetskis, gold necklaces, kids' college funds, one time a houseboat that later burned down in a suspicious grease fire — but they never got physical. No, it was strictly business, strictly mutual respect and the love of the grift. Eventually they parted ways, gotta keep movin', keep reinventin', but then, many years later, old Jackie Marbles showed up on her doorstep. "You wanna be my gal again," he said with a raised eyebrow, showing her his captain's hat. Lu doesn't know what he's up to, isn't quite sure what the long con is, but she's dying find out. So she isn't blowing his cover. She just hopes she isn't the mark. She has a hunch it's Sonja.

Is Ramona's daughter Avery difficult and contrarian because she is a teen or because she has had to deal with her mother Ramona for all these years?
Oh, Avery. She's just stumbling into those terrible teen girl years when nothing mom does is ever right, when mom is, without question, the most embarrassing person on the planet. That natural phase of life is made worse by the fact that her mother, Ramona Singer, actually is the most embarrassing person on the planet. So she's dumb and teenagery, but she's also right. It's a strange thing. The whole scene with the dog in the little blue dress was priceless. Why is the dog at the wedding? Dogs don't want to go to weddings. But more importantly, why is the dog in the wedding? Did they make the dog pay for its own dress? Did the dog plan the wedding shower? Did the dog have to take a Friday off of work and spend all this money on airfare to go to yet another friend's wedding? It made absolutely no sense, which is why it was beautiful. Do you ever wonder if maybe, years ago, Ramona and the dog switched places in some kind of Freaky Friday-style accident? Like there's actually a perfectly sane and rational woman trapped in the body of a pompadoured Shih Tzu who is forced to watch as the dog controls her own body, makes a total mess of Ramona's life? I think that's probably the most likely thing.

As Bethenny pointed out, there are clearly two teams the Ramona, Alex, and Bethenny squad and the Kelly, LuAnn, Jill side with Sonja and The New One as free agents. What does this mean, both in terms of how women act in social groups and for the future dynamics of the show?
Well, as happened on Orange County and will inevitably happen on the other franchises, crazy will win out. And while that sounds like fun, it's actually just miserable. Alex and Bethenny are the reasonably sane ones, so it follows that they'd team up. Ramona has no idea what's going on, ever, so she just kinda bumbles along, probably just gravitating anywhere where Jill isn't. The Kelly/LuAnn/Jill axis of Housewifery exists mostly because they all really seem to buy into the whole reality project. They're really into it, you know? And eventually they will win. Bethenny's leaving, Alex will leave, Ramona will finally return to her home planet. (On the way back to her home planet, Poochie Ramona died.) So they will rule with crazy fists and Red Sonja will become the slurring party favor, maybe a little Lynne-esque, but with a slightly less addled brain. The Other One is... I have no idea. She had one little bit of business last night where she was being all catty about the lack of food at the pre-wedding cocktail thing, saying "The problem is, everyone just gets drunk without food." And then we all realized that she, in fact, was drunk, so she was really speaking from the heart. It was kind of funny! I still stand by the theory that The Other One is one of those weird child-women who harbor deep sadness. I kind of feel bad about that, but what can you do. BUT ANYWAY. Yes, the crazy will take over and next season will be all shrieking and slurring, all the time. They should rename these shows. Shrieking and Slurring in [Name of City]. That's what they all eventually become.

Did you ever, in a million years, think that Alex, Ramona, and Bethenny would be the sane ones?
I'm not surprised about Bethenny. That was always the case. Alex is something of a surprise, but I imagine her turnaround happened because she is smart enough to have seen herself on previous seasons — the mortifying opera dash, the lean-to shambles they stayed at in the Hamptons — and said, "Oh man, I gotta cut the shit." Ramona... I dunno. She's not sane. She just happened to stumble into the sane camp while getting lost one night on the way to go poop in the woods. Pants around her ankles, little leaf toilet paper clump in her hand. "Oh, this isn't where I'm supposed to be. Oh well. I guess I'll stay." What I'm more surprised about is that Jill, who was pretty bland and normal in earlier seasons, has turned into such a gorgon. We met the lady and she seems perfectly nice, so it's not really a knock on Jill as A Person. It's just that she's really tap dancing as fast as she can on the show. I think she thinks she's creating entertainment, when all she's really doing is making us miserable with the constant bitching and bickering about the same non-existent thing. Coming from her, that's surprising and a little disappointing.

Which was worse, the dress Alex wore in the interview with the giant chain made of flesh or the half-skirt, half pants concoction that Simon wore to Ramona's "wedding?"
Second only to Hitz St. Cloud, Alex's chain shirt is perhaps the best thing ever done on Housewives. What in sweet merciful fuckery is that thing? She was just down on the docks one day and picked up this enormous chain, spray painted it pink, and wrapped it around her neck. She now has a maritime warrant out for her sea-arrest. It's truly magnificent. My mother used to have a silk scarf with a gold chain pattern on it that she wore sometimes and it makes me think of that, so it's oddly comforting. It's wayyy more ridiculous than the scarf, to be sure, but it reminds of it anyway. Simon's outfit wasn't surprising. He was just dressing as any 19th century opium addict living through the Boxer Rebellion would dress. And Simon is, in fact, a 19th century opium addict living through the Boxer Rebellion. So it fit perfectly. That creepy bit where Lunz sidled up to him and was like "What's with the getup, Nancy?" and Simon just sort of mumbled something about halfsies or something, thereby implying that he is half lady I think, was deeply unsettling, but other than that Simon was dressed completely normally for who Simon is. And I salute him for that.

Was Ramona's vow renewal, as Kelly said, "concocted" or did they seem sincere?
Oh Kelly is a crazy person and says crazy things. Of course the vow renewal was "concocted." In that Ramona actively planned it and made it happen and wrote vows. I think the emotion on display was, against all odds, actually genuine. See, Kelly lives in a dimension that's about one foot to the left of the rest of us where everyone has viper heads and lies all the time and there are no cars on the street so she can go jogging and gummi candy is a vegetable. Kelly doesn't exist in the same place that we do. So she says weird hydra things about things that are "concocted" as if she has any functional barometer of what's real and what's not. Kelly needs to stop implying that she has a grasp on our reality, because she so clearly doesn't. There's nothing wrong with that! I wish she'd just live her reality and let us live ours and there would be peace, in both worlds.

Was the season as a whole about Jill Zarin's fall and eventual redemption, LuAnn's transformation from sad divorcee to a pop star, Bethenny's journey from young business lady to mature mother, Alex finally growing a pair, Ramona unquenchable thirst for pinot grigio? All of these? None of these? What does it all mean?
This season was about Jill falling down. I don't know that I can put it any more succinctly. Jill skated out there in her outfit, wanting everyone to watch, demanding everyone watch, and then she fell down. And then she didn't even continue to skate. She just limped off the ice and went to go sulk. I think that's a pretty accurate sum-up of the whole season. Jill fell down. And we all came tumbling after.

They always end the season with those little blurbs about what the women are doing now. What do you wish those blurbs really said?
Sigh.

"Red Sonja continues to need egg crates to sound proof her basement so people will stop complaining about all the screaming. After some torrid affairs with men — one of whom, a supposed French noble, somehow got his hands on her priceless antique musket collection — Sonja and The Other One got drunk one night on the hood of a car in Southampton and fell deeply in love. Unfortunately on the way home Sonja rolled a stop sign and was arrested for drunk driving. After doing a background check, the police realized that she was connected to a string of unsolved disappearances, stretching out over the last twenty-five years. Red Sonja senses that she might be in deep, deep trouble, though she is resigned. Everyone gets caught eventually. The Other One has promised to wait for her, though Bloomies just got a new shipment of patent leather Mary Janes, and she reeeally wants to go buy some."

"Bethenny Frankel quit the show and got married and had a baby and a different reality show and now she doesn't talk to them anymore and she'll soon be driving a SkinnyGirl mobile through a town near you. Sometimes she wakes with a start in the middle of the night, clutching her neck and yelling "Kelly! Kelly!" and Jason will stir in bed and put a hand on her shoulder to calm her down and she'll go to sleep, hoping the night terrors have passed."

"Ramona Singer was last seen chasing a car down the road, bounding over a hill and fading from view. Mario still fills her water bowl every day, still keeps treats in his pocket, hoping that one day she'll return. In the meantime, he and the dog have become strangely close. The dog really gets him."

"Kelly Bensimon was chased out of the walls by the Orkin man and now spends her time using her dimensional powers to go strangle Bethenny in her sleep on occasion. Soon she will come for you, and the last thing you will see will be claws. Terrible, terrible claws."

"Alex McCord is on the run from angry sailors who want their enormous chain back. Her last known whereabouts was the island of St. Barth's, where she left her husband and his half-skirt to lie on the beach and smoke precious opium all day. She's moving slow (that thing is heavy), but she's moving."

"Jill Zarin works every day to try not to fall down. It is hard work, but despite some minor tumbles, she has mostly been successful. Every day she doesn't fall down feels like another brick laid in the rebuilding of her reality TV life."

"LuAnn De Lesseps is touring Europe this summer, where she will be drag queen lip-syncing to her various hit songs — "Money Can't Buy You Class," "Chic, C'est La Vie," "Voulez-vous Hump In An Old VW Hatchback Avec Moi (Ce Soir)?", and "Chumps-Élysées" (about grifting people in Paris, TX with Jackie Marbles and a desperate Hitz St. Cloud). She claims to have quit the smokes, gotten back on the booze, and then taken up the smokes again. What does she care, she's lip-syncing! She's doin' nothin' and they're payin' her in delicious cocktail olives. It's a fuckin' brilliant con."

That it is, Lunny. That it all is.