Last night was Bravo's Short Cuts-esque episode of previously unaired Housewives vignettes from this season. Come, let's look at these 22 (well, not 22) short stories about the real bridge trolls of New York Island.
I don't really know how to talk about the non-narrative episode (or if it's even worth talking about) in any linear way, so let's just zoom in on individual moments. If you can divine any overarching story, then good for you!
...Bethenny unveiled her PETA nudie poster and billboard. The billboard's butt was covered but the poster's wasn't. It was fairly risque. Alex and Simon were there, huddled together in winter coats, happy that Alex was no longer the only nude one. They did not know then about Kelly's Playboy, about Ramona's (unfilmed) naked sailor turtle time in the Virgin Islands. Red Sonja was there too, eyes burning like coal, so jealous was she that it wasn't her up there, that she wasn't being gazed at by confused Dutch tourists slogging through Times Square. Sonja, ever brave and honest, copped to being jealous, just said it aloud to the cameras. So honest! Good for her. Red Sonja seems to be one of the good ones. Still ridiculous, but with at least one foot on the ground.
...Sonja had Kelly over to her bedroom so they could talk about bodies and exercise and things. Sonja had just gotten her liposuction and Kelly disapproved. "It's not about being healthy, it's being healthful," she told us sagely. Sonja insisted that she does work out sometimes, but Kelly shook her head. "No you do not Sonja Morgan. No. You. Do. Not. You don't work out like thiiiiss..." and then she got off the bed and started doing some bizarre combination of the running man and jumping jacks. "Tell me Sonja Morgan, do you exercise like thiiiis?" she sang. "Can you do the backways splits?" And then she kicked one leg up and, with a mechanical clanking of gears, it began spinning on the socket, around and around at increasing speed. "Tell me Sonja Morgan do you smile like thiiiis / Do your feet hurt when you're breathing / and will you give mama a kiiiissss." She did her strange exercise jig for a while, Sonja shaking her head and giving half-amused, half-worried looks to the camera. "Sometimes when Kelly's talking, I just don't listen, I can't understand what she's saying," she told the interview camera. Then Kelly crashed through the wall of the interview room and said "Tell me Sonja Morgan can you do the jelly bean," and she did a weird jiggling dance for a long, long time, while Sonja blinked at the camera and Rachmaninoff began to play.
...Ramona decided to breeze by some sort of fashion show party where Alex was doing the catwalk. She was there with some mysterious blond friend and they were being ladies about town. They had to go to this party and that so really they were just stopping by. Ramona told Alex this in a rambling monologue about time and plans and what time people made plans, about her childhood at the balloon factory, about the dog she saw once, at the end of her street, how it stared at her and for a moment she felt she knew it. "Grampa?" she'd said tentatively, thinking it might be him, coming back to check on her. She told Alex all these things and Alex just shook her head. She didn't care! All she cared about was that Ramona wasn't going to stay to see her walk because, you know, when Alex had gone to Ramona's Fourth of July wine saloon party and Ramona had asked her to stay instead of going to Jillzy's, Alex had stayed. Ramona owed her the same courtesy now. So Ramona did stay, and when Alex filly-trotted out in her purple bejeweled dress everyone clapped except Ramona and her friend. Ramona turned to the friend, then to Simon, and said "She looks very nervous. She can't walk. Look how nervous she looks," and we all just shook our heads and wondered just what it is about this woman that makes her incapable of understanding the idea of tact, of biting one's tongue. Maybe it was all those lonely days in the balloon factory as a child, when the only people she could talk to were herself and Theodore, the old toothless balloon blower-upper who didn't like to speak much. But she'd try, all afternoon sometimes, trying to say anything to get a reaction out of him, in the distance that old dog standing on the hill, under the hickory tree, watching.
...Speaking of the Hamptons, Kelly had LuAnn and Sonja over for a wine and cheese party. Kelly's house was frustratingly nice. She had lots of wine and tiny bits of cheese and, there on the hors d'oeuvres tray was... a bowl of jellybeans! Ohhh jellybeans. All the girls sang a song and recorded it and put it on YouTube:
After they had sung their song and done their Jumping Jellybean dance, Kelly poured them champagne (didn't they seem to go through a lot of wine at the "party"? Even Kelly, who doesn't drink?) and said that she now felt good about hosting. She could have a gentleman over and not feel awkward! LuAnn shook her head and did not approve of this. "Can't have a man over the house lest you're plannin' on doin' the jellyroll Kelly roll with the fella. That's in the rule books, I'm pretty certain." Kelly frowned. "But..." LuAnn shook her head. "Buts are for cigs and sailors, m'dear. I don't wanna hear 'em in this fancy ol' house. Now pass me them jellybits."
...Ramona had a horrifying de-armpitting procedure. It was so horrifying. The only person that could stand to watch was, of course, the blood-drenched Red Sonja. And even she got a little sick. Ramona must have been on local anesthetic, right? Please jesus tell me that was the case and that she wasn't just sitting there like it wunt no thang while a doctor or nurse or masseuse or something jammed a suction tube into her armpit and sucked out armpit goo. She was so bizarrely calm. I would have been shrieking and peeing and weeping. I would have been dead. I would never have that procedure, actually. Have you ever heard of such a procedure? Getting armpit liposuction? For sweat glands? Like, is that a thing that people do? To their armpits? UGH. It was so gross. Too gross to think about. Ramona just sat there, humming her Barbados song, like she was just getting a haircut or a manicure. Nothing wrong. Sssssuuuckkkk Everything's fine. Ssssslllorrrrrppp. Sonja passed out, her viking helmet clattering to the ground.
...After she got the adamantium infused to her armpit bones, Ramona had a birthday party. The festive event was held at Bistro Chat Noir, an overpriced Upper East Side hideaway that Ramona likes because it makes her think of kittycats and when she thinks of kittycats she gets the "warm tumblies," a specific Ramona feeling that she's gotten when she's happy ever since she was a little girl and living in a hay loft above a sugar mill. The warm tumblies is Ramona's favorite feeling. So why not have the warm tumblies on her birthday, at the Kittycat Cafe? Of course Jill and Kelly had to come and ruin the warm tumblies. They didn't like where she'd sat them, because they were next to non-famous or "uncamera'd" people, as they call them. Kelly bellowed into the interview room "It's a birthday party! You can sit wherever you want!!!" as if that's some hard and fast rule. Well, Kelly, it's not your birthday party, it's someone else's. If she wants assigned seating, she can have it. Because it's her birthday party. There aren't some ancient and sacred birthday party bylaws. Well, maybe there are in Kelly's world. Some old, heavy, leather-bound book. Kelly reads it every night, chewing on jellybeans, feeling the gummi worms crawling around in her intestines, her Starburst heart beating brightly.
...Of course we had to show something from Monster Island, when everyone went crazy and blood poured down the walls. It wasn't a fighting scene, obviously. They would never cut a fighting scene. Well, I guess it was sort of a fighting scene. Kelly and Ramona were working out. Ramona with her little weights and determined look, Kelly doing high steps on the treadmill. Kelly was making some strange claim about Ramona not really working out or something, saying "I could go on the treadmill five hours a day and not feel sweateeee. Oh Ramona Singer, can you tell me if you sweatttttt / Ima bet / you sweat / Ramona Singerrrrr. Woo! Woo! Mama's got a hard body, hard body. Hearts racin'. Teeth are movin'. Mama feels good tonite!!!" And Ramona just sort of blinked at her, opening and closing her mouth silently, no words coming out. She never knew what to say to Kelly. Is there ever anything to say to Kelly?
WHAT ELSE? Ramona and Mario made love in a dressing room, Ramona's warm tumblies warmer and tumblier than ever before. Jill distracted her daughter's tutor. Yawn. Bethenny went to some fashion event or something with poor Jason in tow and Simon was there and he felt Jason's broad pectorals and got the "thin whispers," which is his feeling of... Well, it's a feeling that Simon gets. We'll just leave it at that. I don't know. I don't what else to say.
Finally, finally, finally... we are done. There are no more reunion specials to look at, no more lost footage, nothing. Andy is silent for now. Everyone has been loaded into the freezers and left for later. Someday not terribly far off, Andy will look out at the sky, feel the winds changing direction, see the birds flying in telltale patterns, and he will know that it's time again. To shuffle down to the basement with his big ring of keys and unlock them. Lay them out on the chamber tables to defrost. Well, some he will leave in the freezer forever, their hearts slow and cold. But others he will thaw out, breathe life back into again, stroke their hair, whisper "Welcome back. Welcome home. Did you have any dreams?" Someday that will happen again, and we too will notice the signs. Notice eddies swirling in new ways, see the plants bending toward a different light. And we will know.
But for now there is just silence. The gauzy hush of a summer in New York City. All the green disappearing into yellow, into brown. Bethenny is, yes, getting married. There is no question. There is no mystery. All our questions have been answered, we are satisfied, closed, already moving on. Moving like sharks, still alive. That old dog watching us, knowing something eternal that we don't. Well, not just yet, at least.