Real Housewives of New York: Breaking the Camel's Back

Last night on Princesses of Persia: The Sand of Time our reality royalty got in even more fights, the natural world rebelled against them, and everyone nearly pooped their pants. It's just another vacation with the Housewives.

We pick up the episode where we left off, with the rebel soothsayer Ashanti telling Ramona that there is another woman. Naturally that makes everyone think that Mario is having an affair, but then the psychic says that there is another woman thinking about her husband. Well, I can tell you for a fact that there is at least one man who thinks dirty thoughts about Mario. In fact, I'm sure there are tons of people who are fantasizing about him right now, because Mario is hot and, based on the fact that he's been with Ramona for 18 years, must be extraordinarily patient and forgiving. Can we all marry Mario? Just every damn one of us, and all of humanity can be like one giant episode of Sister Wives.

The funny thing about the whole "the psychic said Ramona's man was cheating" thing is that Ramona, crazy overreacting Ramona, didn't even think for a second it was true. This either means that she is so confident in her relationship with Mario that she knew he would never cheat on her, or she is so delusional that she doesn't believe it could happen. I'm going with option A, because I think that's sweet. Or option C, which is she thinks psychic are full of shit anyway.

But then some crazy Asian lady took Ramona into a hallway and was like, "What the fuck happened?" And Ramona was all like, "Pfft. The psychic said something stupid about a woman who wants to fuck my husband. It was probably LuAnn. She's been rubbing her cooch all up on my man for years. Fuck her." And then we overhear Jill saying she heard that they had been cheating on each other. I love when Jill does shit like that, "I don't know if it's true, but I heard Ramona is cheating on Mario." I do that all the time too. It's called being a good reporter.

The person who did take it badly was my girl Sonja, who just started weeping at the fact that Ramona's man was cheating, probably because, as was explained, Sonja's ex cheated on her and she was having sympathy pains for Ramona. Oh poor Sonja, she sat down on a couch, leaking from her eyes and nose, and just a juicy mess of a woman clamoring and shaking that someone else got some potential bad news from a psychic. And it was Ramona who had to comfort her. Things are so backward in Housewivestown. When she was calm and her face mostly dried (but still a little puffy) she got up from the couch and a giant fart erupted, splitting the night air and stopping the music. "Oh, we better leave!" Sonja said daintily, holding her nose.

The next morning they get up and are greeted by Mustafa, their jocular tour guide, wearing this amazing hooded poncho type thing, big sunglasses, and a smile that would melt a thousand suns. He seems like a blast. "Right this way ladies, I will show you all the wonders and joys of my country. Please, pile into the vans."

So, Sonja gets in and Crackerjacks puts her purse next to her and says, "I have to run to the loo, habibi, hold my seat." Sonja agrees, but then Cindy gets in and sits down and Sonja says, "That's LuAnn's seat." And Zombie Cindy, who hasn't had brains since they touched down in Marrakesh, was all grouchy and like, "God, Sonja, why do you have to tell me where to sit?" and got all pissy. Man, Cindy really gets on my nerves. She takes everything so damn personally and she can't take a joke to save her life. She just needs to unclench all of her hairless holes and just go with it. I know that's hard for her people (and by her people, I mean the undead) but that's what it takes to travel in a group.

They all roll into the souk and Mustafa says, "Right this way ladies. Would you like to buy a pig's head? Would you like to buy shoes or spices or knockoff handbags? Would you like to buy a purse or a caftan? It is all here? Welcome to the souk!" Jill has come to shop and, like everyone's Jewish mother, she is in her dumpiest outfit and fanny pack. She explains that she didn't want to look like a rich American so that no one bothers her or tries to rob her. That fucking fanny pack made me love Jill so damn hard. It was like all of last season was forgotten and I just shook my head and smiled and said, "Oh, that's the Jill I love."

Anyway, it was Sonja who was in for some trouble, and not because, like Jill said, she was dressed like a rich person, it was because Cindy had a hankering for her brains. She hatched a Zombie plan to get Sonja all worked up and angry and then corner her in one of the million alleyways of the souk and gnaw into her scalp. She would blame it on the Tuscan Raiders, the shouting sand people Sonja was afraid were going to jump out of a dune and rob and murder her at any minute.

Watch the fight, it's totally ridiculous. Cindy was still chapped from the night before when drunk, leaky faced Sonja told a silly story about the last time Cindy tried to eat her brains. Between that and what happened in the car this morning, it's clear that zombies have a really hard time in moving vehicles—at least when Sonja is around. But Cindy just doesn't fight fair. Why does she care about the seat thing this morning? And why is she bringing Sonja's daughter into the fight? And why is she talking about Sonja's breeding? It's not like Cindy is the valedictorian of Miss Porter's School for Girls Class of 1932. (Which is when Cindy graduated high school. She's been reanimated and ambling around ever since she died sometime in the '60s.)

And then, just then, Cindy is about to throw a giant rug over Sonja and drag her off into a dark corner when Sonja clutches her giant purse toward her torso and hustles off in the way that only scared American women in foreign countries can. Off to safety, off to the rest of the group. Cindy, like a normal person, should have sensed the argument was over and let it die. But no, she keeps it going. She brings it to the rest of the group and they're all like, "What the fuck, Cindy? It's not the last seat on earth. Get over it." And Kelly, even crazy Kelly, reached into her Lisa Frank folder of a brain, and said, "Everyone, knock it off. We're on the trip of a lifetime. Just stop fighting!" Wow, give Kelly a Starburst. She's being a good girl.

They all leave the souk a complete shambles and there is an intense growling sound in the van on the way to their next destination. "What the hell is that?" Alex asked in the back of the van? "Oh, that's just my stomach," Cindy said. "I'm very, very hungry."

They get off in the middle of the dessert, and smiling Mustafa says, "Ladies, we are going to go on a camel ride. Please, choose a steed." They all pick an animal and are about to get on when a cold wind whips through the desert and some clouds roll over the sun. Cindy's hair goes flying back and her eyes get narrow as a dark glow, like a black light from under the ground, consumes her body as she starts to mumble the same words over and over in repetition, her arms raising in front of her, palms out, pointing at one of the camels. Then, suddenly, it was over.

"Wow, that was weird," Crackerjack's said. "Sonja, get on your camel." But Sonja didn't want to get on the camel, she was still afraid of falling off horses and Tuscan Raiders, and was just being a little bit rattled after her fight in the souk. "Ok, suit yourself," and Crackerjacks climbed on the camel that was meant for Sonja. "LuAnn, wait!" Cindy shouted. "Oh, actually never mind."

The camels start their prance across the wide desert and it's just like the natives do, but it's really more like the world's biggest pony ride at a petting zoo. Suddenly, Crackerjacks starts whooping and shouting. Her camel is having some sort of crazy seizure and trying to throw her off her back, not once, but three times! Mustafa runs off, all smiles and apologies and helps Crackerjacks off her camel. "You should try the other camel," Cindy says, with a chuckle. "I think your camel is cursed or something."

The camels finally get to this great big tent in the middle of the desert and the ladies eat dinner and get in a fight about something totally stupid that I don't quite understand and then tell each other something about each other that they don't know. It's all a little sweet and silly and sad and their answers made me want to both weep and laugh simultaneously, like that sort of food poisoning they got in Bridesmaids where it's coming out both ends at once.

Speaking of which, that is what Sonja and Ramona had in the morning. Apparently Ramona's was so bad that her bathroom had to be declared a Superfund site (they have that in Morocco too) and evacuated. Man, it smelled nasty. Like someone set a sewage treatment plant on fire and then put it out with rosewater. Like seven million cats pissed in a cedar closet and then a mouse died in it eating a wheel of camembert. Like three midgets ate 20 gallons of rainbow sherbet and then vomited it up into the corpse of a skunk. That's what Ramona's room smelled like.

Again, smiling Mustafa greets them at the vans and says he has a great surprise in store for everyone. He takes them to this very magical place, it's a sort of bathhouse that has been built on top of a magical spring. When I saw this place, I wanted to call a travel agent and book a ticket to Morocco just so I could go there immediately. It was like all the palaces in Aladdin but with spa treatments and a giant pool in the center filled with cool glowing water that bubbled with the light of the world. I just want to rent the place out for a night and fill it with 80 Moroccan men and just have ourselves a good old time. You know, exfoliating and the like. Totally innocent.

Like Mustafa said, this was a very special place. All the women bathed in the water and their aggression was washed away. Cindy's brain hunger subsided and she was nice and relaxed for a change. Sworn enemies Jill and Alex were peaceful once again. Everything was forgiven. It was like the world started anew. And eventually Ramona and Sonja joined too and they were cleansed, even of the green squiggly lines that followed the two of them everywhere. In the calm of the bubbling magic spring, Ramona and Jill thought it was a good idea to have a meeting later that night, to hash out all their troubles. In the glow of water, it seemed like it would be bliss, like their words would be ambrosia that the other would just eat and eat and eat until they were full of love and forgiveness.

But when they met later that night, they were dry and the magic glow had warn off. When Jill went into Ramona's room, they both had the best intentions, but you know how these things always end. Ramona is mad at Jill for being two-faced, but says that Jill doesn't own it. Jill does own it, however, so we're not sure what Ramona is talking about. And then Ramona does the most annoying Housewife thing of all. She keeps saying, "You're not listening to me. You're not listening to me," while Jill is trying to speak, so neither of them can communicate. It's like when Harry Potter and Voldemort are standing on a bridge, their wands aimed at each other and hot streaks of power are lighting up the sky completely negating each other and neither of them are gaining any traction. It's just like that, but their wands are their mouths.

Then there finally is a breakthrough. This fight isn't about being two-faced or Jennifer's wedding or yelling at each other at the wine party. It's not about any of that. This is still about Crazy Island. This is about Ramona dissing Jill and Jill's deep-seated hurt at never making up with Bethenny. It seems that is the one thing Jill really regrets about her decisions, that she was too proud to rebuild a relationship that was important to her. The ghost of Bethenny haunts her, even this far away in this strange place. When Jill stood up and shouted at Ramona, I really felt genuinely sorry for her, like she was a character in a Tennessee Williams play forced to relive her shame over and over and never building past it, never growing.

Here she is trying to grow and Ramona shuts her down. Ramona ends it because the talk isn't being productive, because both she and Jill are hurt and think they're right and can't neutralize the slights large and small that pile up between people who have been friends for decades. And as Jill leaves, Ramona collapses on the couch and has nice shaking cry, quaking like a cursed camel. She says she wants to open up more, to have these women understand her. But that's not possible. First of all the unrestrained id of Ramona singer is just about as open as you get. She's like a box that lost its lid, or flipped it. But they'll never get her, they never get each other, because they're all too fixated on their own points of view.

And as Ramona shook, Jill ran, full of chest pains, like a heart attack, the chilly night closing around her like her own personal tornado. She just ran, a weepy jog out to the front of the house where Mustafa was leaning against the vans, smoking a cigarette and gibbering in Arabic with the chauffeurs. "Take me," Jill pleaded. "You have to take me back."
"To where?" He asked, as the circle of men around him parted.
"To the bath. To the spring. You have to take me!" she said, more firmly this time.
He took one last deep drag and threw his butt on the ground, "Alright. We will go," he said, the smoke coming out his nose and mouth with the words.

The got into the van and Mustafa drove, his smile and sunglasses gone, and underneath his headscarf he was handsome and a little chubby. Jill looked at his profile, barely illuminated in the dark night, with the dust of the road kicking up all over them. She didn't know where they were going or how long it would take to get there. She never knows those kinds of things, but as she bumped along in her seat, she thought of Bethenny, sitting at home without Jill. She couldn't call, it was too late. There are some wounds that can never heal, some scars that never stop hurting.

As the car took the twists and turns as they entered the town, Jill started to get a little nervous, not sure she was in the right place, not sure how she would explain her absence, not sure any of it was worth it. She thought she should just let Mustafa take her wherever he wanted, do whatever he would. Rob her fanny pack and leave her out in the desert to eventually wander her way home. She deserved that, she guessed. And then the car stopped.

"We are here," Mustafa said. He got out of the car and lit another cigarette hanging back. Jill opened the door and stepped out slowly at first, like the ground was going to open beneath her and swallow her up. But then she ran, she ran for the big wooden door pointed up to heaven. It was locked. "Let me in," she yelled. "I need to get in the spring. I need...Open up!" She banged and banged, but there was just hollow thumping.

Finally, that is when she started crying. Weeping, more like, her shoulders shaking back and forth and the stars above started circling and she realized she was so far from home, that nothing could be fixed, that she was stuck here with all her mistakes. It was over. "I'm sorry," she said. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." And she shallowed herself down onto the ground, hating her Moroccan garb, hating the sandy street, hating herself for even being there. How stupid, how stupid she'd been, running off into the night with a strange man hoping for some sort of magic that wasn't there.

"Come," Mustafa said, appearing suddenly and offering his hand to her. "This is no place for you." He was right, it wasn't. And Jill dusted herself off and got back into the van. She squeezed the last of her tears out with her finger, and was sure she's going to be better. This time she would be better. She would find the magic on her own.