It was fight night on Harpies Island last night, and boy did those ladies fight. Well, they actually didn't so much fight as relentlessly berate one cast member, the apparently wicked Bethenny Frankel. It was brutal.
The trouble began right away, when Bethenny and brain-addled barn swallow Ramona Singer went for a little walking date. It was to be a pleasant stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge — pushing past the slow-shuffling tourists taking pictures every ten feet, dodging fast-moving jerky bicyclists (is there any other kind of bicyclist?) — but the watercolor gray clouds in the sky should have been recognized as a sign that disaster was imminent. They made it about halfway across the bridge in relative calm. Bethenny spoke of Bethenny things, books and diets and husbands and various things that annoy her, mostly Jill. Ramona crawled up the suspension wires and gnawed at them quickly, sucking the life-giving minerals from their metal cores. It was a normal walk, completely unremarkable, just another day.
But then halfway across Ramona turned her neck too many degrees, like an owl, and peered at Bethenny strangely. Bethenny stopped and stared back, she felt a cold dread creeping toward her heart. Something was not right. Something was seriously not right. Ramona's face flickered and seemed to grow brighter, harsher, more urgent. "You know, you're kind of terrible," she said to Bethenny in an oddly breezy way. It was the Jill stuff that had set her off I guess, and Bethenny looked thunderstruck. This old, horrid conversation topic had struck a nerve with someone? Unbelievable! Ramona, not done with her meal, continued on. "You're a fame whore and you don't have any friends. Who are your friends? You have Jason, but he'll probably leave you, just like everyone else does." That's what Ramona said to a lady she knows on a bridge once. Your brand-new fiance will someday leave you, because you are unlovable. She shrugged her shoulders and kept walking, as if nothing had happened. But Bethenny's face was doing sad shakes and she was about to cry. "What?" Ramona asked, eyes pulsating in her rubbery skull, mysterious winds billowing her hair. "I was just telling you how I feel." No big deal. So what? Who cayuhs? Bethenny cayuhs. Bethenny really cayuhs.
So it was sad and mean and terrible, but Ramona's lizardy heart was not penetrated but Bethenny's weeping, so she walked along cheerily, the Jehovah's Witness fortress looming in front of her, Bethenny a puddly mess behind. When they got to Brooklyn they were to meet Alex and Simon, the tattered borough's cultural ambassadors, for a spot of lunch. And, given that they'd been fighting, when the two women saw Simon lurching stork-like on the horizon, his Mr. Jamboree Jones-Bones top hat floppy and tall on his head, they had never seen something of more reassuring beauty. "Simon!!!" they both yelled in giddy delight and ran toward him. He looked a bit flabbergasted but was happy for the attention. "Well hello girls," he chuckled, his legs doing a little plinky-plinky jig, somewhere a xylophone playing. Then Alex tromped up and looked a bit confused and maybe a little hurt that she wasn't getting some love, but oh well. The girls explained that they'd been fighting and Alex & Simon laughed awkwardly and then it was off to lunch. It was the last time that Bethenny would talk to Ramona, she decided. Until the next time.
Next we got a reprieve from the fighting, but unfortunately it was in Kelly form. Doo doo do.. do do... went the music, like the Catch Me If You Can opening credits. You see Kelly was dressed like a robber, with skinny black clothing and a black ski cap placed jauntily on her head. Deet deet deet... she went tip-toeing down the street, hiding behind lampposts and mailboxes. What sneaky mission was she on? Well, it was fashion related. Yes Kelly was hired by a magazine that one of her daughter's made up on a rainy Saturday afternoon and she had a big assignment. She was to walk around downtown and ask people "What is Trendy?" This is a very important story. Finally, someone was going to find out what is Trendy. I don't know what is Trendy! I thought that chunky '80s sunglasses and threadbare T-shirts and tight peddle-pushers were the rage, but I think that might have passed by already! Are off-the-shoulder sweatshirts Trendy? Someone tell me! I'm still wearing carpenter jeans and a Jordache anorak. I need help! So thank you, Kelly, for investigating such a critical issue.
She darted and flitted across town, approaching strangers and asking them nonsensical questions. She boundered up to befuddled tourists and said "What is Trendy?" and they shook their heads and said "No, no," and ran away. She approached tired-looking locals and said "What is Trendy?" and they said "No, a bus, catching a... taxi! No." and ran away. She attempted to manipulate her camera to take a picture of some people she thought might be Trendy, but the black curtain wouldn't fit over her brittle hair and the enormous flashbulbs kept breaking, so she gave up. Kelly wasn't getting results, so she turned to the camera and told us what she thinks is Trendy. "Well, I'm wearing this black hat here, which is pretty neat. And I sewed these buttons onto my pants which makes for a pretty savvy look, I think. And these shoes were on sale. So..." There was a strange pause, a quivering silence, and she smiled in a curious way. Finally she said quietly, dejectedly, "What is Trendy..." and you knew then that she would never know, never ever. So she took off her sneak-hat and walked off toward home, head down like Charlie Brown. And what she didn't see, if she'd just stayed a minute longer!, were two perfect Trendy people walking down the street. Missed opportunity!
After that we were back to the main event, the unfortunate dismantling of Bethenny. Alex — somehow suddenly the sanest of all of them — was still planning big things for the enormously popular Brooklyn Fashion Week. Well, actually, it had been downgraded to Brooklyn Fashion Weekend. Soon it will be Brooklyn Fashion Afternoon. And then Brooklyn Fashion Minute. But for now, it's still Weekend. Last week Alex picked the fashions — lovely bits of fabric cut into fun zig-zag shapes like wall art at the Max — so this week it was time to pick the models! Simon had agreed excitedly to help her select the male models — to, you know, be the standard by which Alex could measure good physiques — but he'd been called away to the hotel at the last minute so, after wiping up Simon's disappointed tears, Alex decided to invite Bethenny.
When she showed up she was not doing so hot. There was some real-life stuff about her estranged father's health that was upsetting her, so she cried softly to Alex, who put on her worried Grimace grimace and tried to console her. Bethenny eventually cleaned herself up and said "OK, models!" and out creaked a parade of sad-looking waifs and naifs and hotbods. At one point a model came out that was so dessicated and unearthly looking that Alex immediately said "No! Go back! Return to where you came from, foul beast!" but she was making a mistake, because it was Kelly. She had recently killed Falcor and was wearing his mane as some sort of vest. I guess she had found her Trendy! Trendy is wearing a tauntaun suit over a floral-print silk shirt. Edifying. Anyway, a Kelly appearance was the last thing the already-frazzled Bethenny needed, but she was stuck. So the three ladies looked at the models and at the end Alex frowned and said "Nope... I think I'm gonna have me and Ramona do it." Yes, Ramona and Kelly will be walking during Brooklyn Fashion Second, after all that. The whole thing was a ruse! An elaborate, terrible ruse.
After that was done Alex went home and we got to see the progress of her Brooklyn townhouse renovations. Despite the decor being Romanian Bordello, the place looked great! I mean it wasn't a crumbling shambles anymore. There were walls and pieces of furniture and the hobos had all been swept up and put out into the yard and, it's possible, the Floor People were finally gone. The children looked well-rested and didn't have those looks of worry on their faces. So that was good. But then all of the blessed calm and peace was ruined when Stormin' Jill the Pill came ovah to tawk about thinguhs. Man, she's been a real beast this season, huh? Just awful. So she bitched and moaned about Bethenny and Alex said "Well, she's having a hard time with her dad..." and of course Jill dismissed it and then breezed out and hurried back over to New York Island where she needed to attend to a houseguest.
Yes, yet again LuAnn is staying at Jill's while she looks for a new flophouse in the shitty city. Jill has put her in a room that LuAnn kept calling relaxing because it just "blocked all the light out." This was, I think, a passive aggressive way to tell Jill that she was not happy that her bedroom had no windows. Oh these ladies! LuAnn was reading a Louis L'Amour novel and Jill wanted to tawk some morah so she crawled into bed and the two cats sat there, meowing at each other while at home our faces melted from tedium. This season of the show should be called "Who Can Have the Same Conversation the Most Times" and they should make it a competition series. Because that's all anyone's doing. All anyone is doing is talking about a voicemail that someone left for someone many months ago. I rarely say this about the Housewives shows, but man I am ready for some new blood up in this bitch.
Anyway. LuAnn puffed away on her Dorals while Jill bitched and moaned and eventually fell asleep. Once she was deep in sleep, LuAnn gingerly moved her arm and pulled off the covers to reveal a sparkly minidress rolled down to the waist. She pulled it up over her cans and hoisted herself out of bed. She was headed for a night on the town, unbeknowst to Jill. "Catch ya on the flip, dip," she said to the sleeping Jill. And with a cackle, she was gone.
When Jill woke up and walked into the living room LuAnn was passed out on the couch with a man's phone number written in permanent marker on her cheek and her underpants around her ankles, and Ramona was hovering in the window, like David Arquette in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "Jillll," she said in a ghostly moan. "Want to come over to my houseeee?" Jill wasn't doing anything so she figured sure, what the hell, and shook LuAnn awake to see if she wanted to come too. "The fuck?" LuAnn croaked. "Ramona's? Sure, lemme get cleaned up here." She tottered down the hallway toward her room, one heel on, coughing up cigarette butts.
What Jill didn't realize was that Ramona had planned an ambush. She had also invited Bethenny over so the two girls could hash things out like adults. This involved shoving them into a room and saying "Talk! Kiss! Make pretty!" and then peering in, mostly hidden from behind the doorway. Bethenny was flustered and didn't understand why Ramona cared all of a sudden and Jill was just mad as hornets, spitting and spittling and fuming, her red hair the color of raw anger. She barked about all the old, boring things — Bobby and hobbies and flowers and phone calls. Bethenny said correct things about how Jill is always just waiting for people to fail and that she was resentful of things that Bethenny was doing. And I think that's really the heart of it. Jill and the other ladies simply cannot stand that Bethenny has parlayed the show into her own personal success story, that she has well-selling books and her own upcoming TV show and an exciting new boyfriend/fiance/husband when the rest of them are stale and bored and hawking books that no one will ever read and recording mortifying songs. They hate watching other people succeed, even more than they love to do well themselves. They are a cruel race, these Housewives people. Jealous as vipers, dim as low watt light bulbs.
Of course Bethenny's dad stuff made this all worse and she just seemed exhausted and done, so she started crying, but this did not deter Jill. She kept haranguing Bethenny over stupid things that mean nothing and are centuries old and, to make matters worse, the other girls got in on the action. Well, Ramona was just juggling bananas with her mind and singing a slow song about a cockatoo, but LuAnn sidled up and blew some smoke in Bethenny's face. "Listen here, Skittle tits. Don't mess with my girl J-Z here, because I will string you up like the front of a stripper's dress."
Bethenny didn't know quite what to do or say and LuAnn seized the moment of hesitation and continued.
"You ever hear of a girl named Marly Milton? 'Course you haven't, 'cause she got in my way one day and now she's... well, she's god only knows where. We were in the joint together — oh don't look so shocked, it was only for a night or thirty — and we got to be friends, right? After we were out she got us both jobs at Max's Minx Hut, a no-fur dancing joint outside'a Puyallup. And we were makin' good money, workin' the after-work rush hour shift, all these guys with ties 'n briefcases just dreadin' goin' home to the little missus, you know? Well it turns out I had a particular skill, did a particular thing, that the fellas seemed to think made up for the fact that we had to keep our drawers on. So I was gettin' real popular and all the guys are askin' for me, 'Where's Lu?, When's Lunny comin' on?', that kinda thing. And Marly man, she just hated it, y'know? She wasn't doin' too bad, but I was makin' hander over fisting, you know? So one day I'm heading to work, walkin' to my car from the little bungalow I was livin' in and alls of a sudden I hear these feet runnin' and then there's just this crazy pain in my knee and I realize that some dude just whacked the shit out of it with what musta been a crowbar or somethin'. Yeah I got Nancy'd before I'd even introduced Tonya to Jeff, you dig? I was the original. So anyway I'm lyin' there and my knee's all busted up, which means I can't do my particular thing no more, and I just know who's behind it. Marly's always been the jealous type, ever since back in the joint when Big Martha picked me to be her sweetheart 'stead'a Marles. So I talk to a coupla guys, maybe run my mouth a little too much one night at the Pull-'Em-Up trucker saloon they got out there, and next thing I know this guy Rico I was boffin' says 'Don't worry Lunny, Ima take care of it.' And two days later Marly don't show up for work and no one ever sees her again. My gal Trixie down in Ruston tells me she saw her one time workin' the morning shift at Donny's Doggie Door (lemme tell ya, at that place, you can show everything), but I don't know if it really was her. I don't think it was. Not the way Rico works."
She shrugged her shoulders and poured herself a shot from a bottle of Jack Daniels she'd pulled out of her purse.
"My point is, knobby knockers, you might not want to get on my bad side, you know? Might not end too well for you. So why don't you put that in your party pipe and blow on it real hard, curly cunt. Come on, Jillzy, we're outta here."
Bethenny shook her teary head and said "No, I'm going to leave, bye, goodbye," and stormed out. Jill looked a bit lost and she said "Do you think I was mean? Were we mean?" And LuAnn put her arm around Jill's shoulder and said "Naw babes, you were just fine. Just fine." But it didn't matter because then Jill started crying anyway, some strange exhausted cry (is crying Trendy?), and Ramona had somehow gotten herself stuck inside a player piano, making it play an eerie ragtime. LuAnn and Jill — best friends now, I guess? — left the apartment and the Ramona Song ended and that was that.
And the only question that remains really is when is Bethenny's breaking point? When will she have had enough of all this pesky bullshit? We know she's going to leave the show sometime this season, and I for one am hoping it's soon. Not because I don't like Bethenny, I think she's just fine, but because she'll be saner and we'll be happier because we won't have to talk about Bobby's hobby anymore and the recaps will be fun again. Oh, and there will be new, horrible people to poke at and upset! I'm ready for that. I'm ready for a new Trend. I hope we're almost across that bridge.