Oh good grief. The worms of the Big Apple came back for a fourth season last night, and boy were they awful! Some new sense of desperation seems to have descended upon the city's social non-elite, and it's not pretty.

I don't even know where to start with these people! I have to admit, just at the top, that I feel like I've run out of steam with these particular ladies. Are there jokes to be made anymore? Sad, small truths to be unearthed? I'm just not sure. Is everyone awful, is the planet dimming and dying? Yes, of course. So why keep saying it over and over again? Why bother with anything? Last night these Housewives provoked in me a maudlin, existential dread and now I am sharing it with you all. Don't blame me! Blame them. Blame them.

Blame them certainly for taking something like a marriage equality march and turning it into something all about themselves, about their beautiful levels of commitment to a cause. I know that people congratulating themselves and asking others to congratulate them for doing charity is no new meme on these shows, but this one seemed particularly egregious, considering Bravo's viewership, considering gay uncle Andy, considering New York. The gist: Alex, who came roaring back to the show with a weird and needley intensity, was on the board for the Marriage Equality Wedding March, a parade of sorts that goes across the Brooklyn Bridge. She had an idea that she and her "friends" should wear wedding dresses at the event, so at some sort of garden party type thing where everyone was glugging Ramona wine (Alex especially — didn't she seem to drink an inordinate amount of booze this episode?) Alex presented this idea and it was met with halfhearted "Yayyy"s. Well, from most people. It was met mostly with stony silence from Jill, who became Alex's enemy somewhere in the blur of last season, and who now gets very prickly whenever she's around the wispy blonde corkscrew.

So flash forward to a wedding. There was a wedding in the Hamptons that Ramona, Alex, and Jill were all invited to, only Jill didn't know Alex was invited. Ramona decided to keep mum about that fact, because the fun was in surprising Jill. Ramona's dumb and mean, whatever. She invited Alex and Simon to spend the night at her Hamptons house, so the morning of the wedding began with Ramona barking angrily for Alex to wake up and then trying, and completely failing, to cut a bagel in half. Just cutting a bagel in half was enough of a task that Ramona just couldn't do it. Ramona's hands are useless, leathery, wine-soaked bone bags, incapable of doing anything but snaking around the bulb of a wineglass. Alex finally emerged in "no-makeup makeup" and the four, Ramona's husband Mario was there, had an uneasy breakfast during which Alex once again brought up the fairy march. "It's funny that Jill doesn't think I'm coming," Alex said, "Because she told me she couldn't do the march, even though she's on the board, because she had a wedding to go to. Well I'm doing the march, and the wedding!! So why can't she??" This was Alex's major bone to pick for the episode, and when a tall, skinny tower of bones has an extra bone on hand for picking, it's gonna be a big bone. (Sense: Not making it.)

The members of the wedding then all descended upon some stony old Hamptons church and when Jill saw Alex her face spikes shot out, and you knew there was gonna be trouble. Everyone was very considerate of the bride to stage all this drama at her wedding, weren't they? These folks must be such good friends. At the reception, Alex gangled up to Jill and started hammering away, out of nowhere, about the march and why Jill wasn't doing the march and Jill said she was just an "honorary" board member, that she supported the cause and they'd asked her to lend her name, her valuable, valuable name, and that's all she'd done. That was her contribution! The Jill Zarin name. Oh brother. Oh please. Alex had a fair point in saying that Jill could go to the march if she really wanted to, but that's not really the tack Alex took. Rather she focused on Jill saying things about this wedding and the weekend and whatnot and it was aggressive dog barking that was a really unbecoming look for Alex. Why is she doing this? Why is anyone doing this? Jill just sat there and nodded while Alex launched her pointless attack, while Jill's two friends, who had earlier been whispering about Ramona and Alex wearing off-white to a wedding and how inappropriate that was (for what it's worth, I agree with them), sat back and nodded, their suspicions about this Alex person satisfyingly confirmed.

Then Ramona gamboled over and tried to defuse the situation with her slurry mania, and it mostly worked. As all the witches creaked up to go mingle, Ramona remarked that the cake was melting in the sun. She then stuck her finger into the cake and grabbed some frosting with her finger. I'll remind you, ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about someone's wedding cake. Someone who is supposedly a friend to these women. Ramona just stuck her finger into what is hopefully the only wedding cake this couple will ever eat and then laughed about it in a conspiratorial "Oh I'm so bad" kind of way. I don't even have a joke for that. Ramona, you are bad. You are a bad person. Bad, Ramona. Bad. No. No. Later Ramona said, in reference to the now-meaningless march, "Even if you don't approve of the gay lifestyle, you should still let them get married," and then she garbled something that led her to the grand conclusion "Just because you're gay, you still have a choice," that Alex toasted to. What? What is anyone talking about here? Did Ramona just say she doesn't approve of the "gay lifestyle," or was she talking generally? I don't understand. Shut up, everyone. Just shut up.

Ugh! So Alex and Jill will be enemies this season, mostly because Alex keeps poking her bones at Jill at inopportune times. Speaking of Alex's bones, it seems she's trying to find work arranging those bones into artful positions for money. No, she's not going to be a part of the "Bodies" exhibit. She's trying to be a model! Mmhhmp. Someone approached her about being a model and she was like "I'm just going to treat this like a business. It's about making money, it's not 'Oh tee hee, I'm a model,' it's just work, that's it." It was sort of a #HumbleBrag kind of thing, wasn't it? Anyway, like any good modeling career, Alex's is starting in a dingy basement in Brooklyn with a man in a pink shirt and pink slippers. Yes! Alex and Simon are now sharing a home office in their Brooklyn leather dump, and it's an odd couple pairing! All Simon wants to do is have tea time, parading around with his little silver tray in his pink booties, swanning around like some sort of character in a Richard Brinsley Sheridan play. Meanwhile Alex wants to have serious modeling conversations with her modeling manager, but how can she do that while Little Lady Fauntleroy behind her is ringing his tea bell and pulling at his sausage curls like some sort of country milkmaid? It's just not gonna work! Something's gotta give, amirite Nancy Meyers? In the middle of all this, the cameras cut to Kelly Beensomeone saying "Modeling is all about being photogenic. Doesn't mean yer pretty." Now, hm, I don't know if she was actually saying that about Alex or if Bravo just edited that in, out of context, but either way it was brutal. End of scene. Let's move on.

Did Kelly do anything else this episode? Not really, I don't think. She's still just rattling that jaw of hers, scratching at her skin itches, doing her jellybean dances. Later on in the season we're going to see her lie down in the sand and make a sand angel, so we have that to look forward to. But otherwise I suspect this might be a more tempered Kelly season. After all, she is, as she says in her new opening credits line, "Living the American dream, one mistake at a time." Haha. What the fuck does that even mean? It means: "Sorry I'm crazy, but at least I'm rich." Is what that means. Oh Kellybelly.

There's a new lady in town who everyone seems suspicious of. Her name is Cindy and she's an old woman with twin babies born via IVF and she owns a company that puts jewelry on your noonoo. I'm not going to use the "v-jazzle" word because I don't like it, but just know that if you're in New York (or LA or Atlanta or Dallas) and want your hair taken off and replaced with rhinestones, and I'm talking about down where your sissy is, then Cindy is the person to go to. Just walk up to her on the street and say "Can you put some jewels on my front-fanny?" and she will do it for you, right there on the street. She's that good. But yeah, she was introduced to everyone at some art party that was for an artist who's Lisa Frank's brother or something, and Jill immediately starting giving her the third degree about her two babies. God Jill! Jill, who wouldn't stop talking about how changed she is, how she's a different person, is still the same nagging, seethingly jealous person she always was. I guess the difference is that she's honest about it now? I mean, she was at least honest about wanting to steal Cindy's babies in the still of the night. When the Bethenny subject came up, she would not cop to wanting her own show, just like Bethenny or instead of Bethenny, so badly that she would crawl out of her own skin to get it. She didn't admit to that. Oh well.

But yeah, Cindy. Cindy is whatever. Cindy lives in the West Village, which she described as "rock & roll." Ha. Yes. Totally rock & roll, that West Village these days. I can't decide what's more rock & roll, Sushi Samba or Magnolia Bakery. Which do you think? You know what's rock & roll? Well, nothing, really. Because the minute you call it rock & roll it immediately ceases to be. ANYWAY. At the party everyone took their shoes off and helped the artist guy, who I'm pretty sure designs Trapper Keepers for his main job, and it was just an excuse for everyone to brag about what brand of shoes they were wearing. "Oh no, what about my Jimmy Choos!" "What will happen to my Manolo Blahniks!" "What the fisted fuck am I supposed to do with these clodhoppers? Found 'em out behind a Red Robin in '86 and I've been wearin' 'em ever since. Love these fuckers, man."

That last exclamation was from dear old Crackerjacks herself, the Countess LuAnn. Yes, LuAnn is back for another go-around, and this time she's not alone. LuAnn is dating a Frenchman named Francois or something else French, and they are totally in amore! They do lots of French things like eat pizza and ride in gondolas, and they are so happy together. Lu's thinking maybe this could be husband number, aw who the hell knows! Number infinity, who cares. But she wants outside confirmation. So she set up a double date with Red Sonja, wine-eyed lady of the night (who made a crack about her arrest last year that was actually pretty funny), and her manfriend, a bald person named who knows. They went to some fancy faggy bistro-type place that gives Lu the heebies, but Franky France over there sure does love it, so what the fuck. The dinner was mostly a competition between the two couples to see who is more sexy and in love, with Francois saying embarrassing things ("I know two things, I love New York, and I love LuAnn") and LuAnn telling the romantic story of how they met.

"I tell you this, Sonja? Stop me if I told you this. So I'm working a pretty good gypsy con down at the JFK airport, y'know playin' this whole 'Me so lost, please help' game that a real gypsy witch name'a Marina taught me back in my carnival days, and I'm makin' pretty good scratch. People don't want to be mean to an old gypsy who don't know where she is, 'specially one at the airport who's just tryin' to get home, you know how it is. So I'm doin' that, earnin' my keep as it were (last summer I was livin' in the sleeper cab of a trucker buddy's semi), and alls of a sudden who comes right smack walkin' into me, but this fancy frog here. I get to doin' my routine, sayin' they said I was gonna be a secretary in You Ess of Ay, but 'stead they had me bonkin' dudes in a flop house on the BQE, y'know, that old story, so could he please help me get back to wherever the fuck I'm supposed to be from. And then this fruity fucker starts talkin' gypsy to me like I know a word of that jibberish! So I had to cop to it, lit a butt and said 'Aw hell, Pepe, I ain't no gypsy, I'm just an American gal with a drop'a Injun in her lookin' to make a buck.' And ya know what happened? 'Stead'a calling airport poh-leece, he laughs and says 'Come, I will buy you wine.' Sweetest words I heard since Sammy Hagar said I had an ass like a chicken pot pie, years ago one early morning behind the Troubador. Anyway, we been slappin' skins ever since. That frilly accent gets on mah nerves a bit, but vive la France, this fucker can last. And that's romance, little Sonja. So stick that in your bong and blow on it."

Romantic, huh? I think Lu and Franky France are going to be very happy together for a long, long time. Sonja, for her part, doesn't seem to have quite the same emotional connection to her man. Mostly she just thinks he's cute and hot. Both hot and cute. Which is important. But it does not a love affair make. Oh well. Who really cares about Sonja anyway? I suspect nobody.

Lastly, we circle back to Ramona, who is looking for an assistant. Ramona's life and career are shooting rockets headed for deepest space, so she needs some help with the day-to-day. So she decided to interview potential girl Fridays and have it filmed. And ohhhh holy god. Well, there's video above, you can see it. But jumping jack flash is Ramona awful. Not even funny awful! Just a miserable eye-demon from Crazington Corners. "You're dressed terribly and you need skin cream. Here's some skin cream." Nearly everyone we saw interviewed left the office about to burst into tears, and Ramona kind of knew it. When confronted about it by... who, another assistant maybe, no one could tell, Ramona at first acted indignant "I have a skin care liiiine, I was just giving her skin care!" but then laughed, because of course she knows she was being horrible, but she doesn't care. Why would she care? She doesn't process human emotions the same way we do. Ramona is, actually, mentally impaired. How am I to joke about that? How??

Or Ramona's an alien. Or maybe they're all aliens. Maybe they're all devils and we've all been cursed. Sigh. I feel like every year we descend further and further into hell, and now the doorway is starting to close behind us. Our guide, noble Virgil, is starting to get scared himself now, clutching our hand, wondering if this was worth it.

I'm beginning to worry about what we'll find at the bottom of all this. I imagine teeth and hair and claws. I imagine hissing and scratching. I imagine dread and blackness and blades of brown Hamptons grass.

Mostly, though, I imagine Jimmy Choos.