On last night's episode of this ever-crumbling lady soap, two new people were introduced to us. The tiny person that has leased Bethenny's womb for nine months and the newest Housewife, a dandelion tuft named Sonja.
But before we deal with that, before we handle anything new, we must first dispense with the old. The old silt and cobwebs of the previous few episodes, in which everyone fought. Bethenny fought with Jill, Jill fought with Ramona, Ramona fought with Kelly, Kelly fought with an earwig that had moved into her territory. On and on these eddies swirled, until we were all bedraggled and exhausted, not able to tell what was up and what was down, which flap of oranging skin belonged to which rattling skeleton. But I think we're mostly out of the woods now!
Jill had a chat with her husband Bobby about fights and things. She has this coal-black pit of rage in her chest and she wants to dig it out, but it's proving hard. She just likes being mad too much! It feeds her and gives her purpose and, most importantly, it gives her camera time. But even she could feel that the whole thing was getting pretty stale, so she had a chat with Bobby in which he kindly advised her to calm the fuck down and let it go. He hugged her tight and said, reassuringly, "It's all your fault. It's all your fault. It's all your fault." Jill nodded her head and felt better. But before she could truly let it all go, she had to consult with one more person, the epitome of manners, a grand artiste of social diplomacy. She needed to speak with Crackerjacks.
So they set up a date in the park, the central park, and Jill of course arrived first. She waited and waited until finally she heard a shuffle of feet and a sad squeaking of wheels. She looked up and there was LuAnn, wearing a stained Bud Light T-shirt, a miniskirt, and flipflops, being pulled along in a rickshaw. This is, apparently, how the Countless likes to arrive places, by horseless carriage. It's horseless because it's being pulled by a minority-type human. The poor fellow slowed down and LuAnn barked "Whoaaa boy, easy there." She hopped out and threw a few nickels his way and said "Thanks bunches, Short Round." The man, sweaty and breathing heavily, said "My name is Arnold." LuAnn looked at him quizzically for a moment and then burst into laughter. She turned to Jill, "I can never understand their funny chopstick language, can you? All right, adios B.D. Wong. C'mon Jillzy, let's get mama a hot dawwggg." So they ambled off and Jill told Lunz about the detente she was trying to enact and Lu nodded her head and said "Yup, yup, yup. Sure. I mean you got two options. Either you cut her brakes and let ol' mister gravity do his thang, or you just give it up, man. You know?" Jill nodded, happy for the sage advice. "Is it hard? I mean, it sounds difficult." LuAnn lit a cigarette, thought about the question for a moment. "Nah, it's fine. You just try to stop carin' about it so much, eventually you won't even remember what you were mad about." Jill shook her head. "No, I meant cutting someone's brake lines."
Meanwhile somewhere up in the pearly mists of the Upper East Side, Ramona was having a moment with her husband Mario. Mario is a large hunk of mortadella that Ramona found in a drawer once and they are deeply in love. So in love, in fact, that Ramona wants to renew their vows. Which, ugh, isn't that whole thing like the lame-geighest thing ever? It's just always so dopey. It's also kind of asking for trouble! "Everything's going great, we're the only people in Orange County/New York City still in love, so let's show everyone how true that is with a ceremony. That won't jinx it at all!" I dunno. I find the whole thing suspect. But what do I know about "love" and "relationships" and "not dying alone"? Nothing. So, Ramona put a little surprise together for Mario. She put some champagne on ice and then slipped into something more comfortable. What is apparently comfortable for Ramona is a slinky black sex dress that she stole off the body of that sexy Barbarella alien she killed in that alley fight a few years back. So she put that on, slit all the way up to the armpit and all, and waited on the couch for Mario to come home from his job at Jesus' Jewelry Junction.
When he did finally come home, Ramona was curled up asleep under the coffee table, doing her usual sleep-murmurs ("Ahhfrubfrubfrub... Ahhhhfrubfrubfrub... Ahhhhfrubfrubfrub...") He gently woke her up and with a start she crashed up through the glass table and blinked her eyes wildly. "Huh? Wha?" Eventually she focused and saw Mario and, sitting right there between the shards of glass, bits of it dancing in her hair like crystals, she said "Let's get remarried!" Mario seemed really thrilled by the idea. I think his exact reaction was "Umm... OK?" There ya go! He is into this, Ramona! Woot woot! So after that was decided they both made references to getting frisky and Ramona said "You wanna do it?" Mario nodded his head wolfishly and she said "OK. Get your helmet." Mario opened a drawer in a side hutch and pulled out a black motorcycle helmet. He put it on and tightly fastened the chin strap. He then faced Ramona and started backing up a few paces. Finally she stopped him and said "That should be enough." They were standing about 20 feet from each other in the living room, Mario's back to the wall. "You ready?" Ramona asked. Mario nodded his head, closed his eyes tight. Then suddenly the chandelier began to shake and there was a strange humming sound in the air and when we looked at Ramona she was trembling and a bright, bright light was emanating from her body. The light got brighter and brighter and brighter until Mario, in full football crouch at this point, yelled "Eyyyaaagghhhh!!!!" and then was sent crashing through the wall, landing on the dining table in the next room, dry wall and plaster raining down on him. The noise and light stopped and Ramona, a few hairs out of place, walked over the rubble to her husband. His limbs were all curled in toward his body like a dead spider, and he was twitching slightly. Ramona looked down at him, smiled a thin little smile. "Was it good for you?" she asked. Mario gasped and gulped, nodded his head. "Yeah. You?" Ramona shrugged her shoulders. "Eh, it was all right." They kissed delicately as an ambulance siren wailed in the distance.
While Ramona was making gentle love to Mario, Bethenny had started an exciting new job handing out sandwiches at the South Street Seaport. Yeah. Just... handing out sandwiches, down at the South Street Seaport. Apparently it had something to do with her career — she had made the sandwiches or something — so it was pretty professional business. And, I dunno. I guess when I heard that her whole SkinnyGirl thing was taking off and her food books were doing well, I thought maybe her endgame was little flashier than this. But who am I to judge? I mean, one man's TV cooking career is another man's handing out sandwiches at the South Street Seaport. So go own with your bad self, Bethenny. Hand out those sandwiches. At the South Street Seaport. ...
Anyway, when she was there Alex came by and they talked about sad things. Bethenny had flown to LA to see her estranged father, who was dying of cancer, and he refused to see her. So that's pretty awful. Alex once again seemed reasonable and appropriately sympathetic. (Her simple "Ah shit..." when Bethenny told her what happened was perfect, I thought.) There's not much else to say about this scene, so let's just get on the subway here with Alex and take it over to Brooklyn, where it was time for.... drumroll pleeeease..... BROOKLYN FASHION MOMENT.
Yes, the grand event was finally here. Alex was so busy setting up! She'd found an opium den that worked perfectly for the event, so she'd cleared the old Chinese men and Jill's gay house elf outta there and brought in some really high tech equipment. There were some folding chairs they'd picked up cheap from that bankrupt wedding supply company. A local puppeteer had lent them a few curtains to hang. And Alex hired some kids from the high school theater team to come over and put up some flats and stuff and maybe tape down some of those wires. It was a pretty elaborate affair. "I think the grease fire has a certain kind of flair," Simon said, assessing what was going on in one corner of the room. "I just like flaming things, I guess." Alex didn't hear him though, she was too busy stringing up crepe paper streamers and taking a pre-made Happy Birthday! sign and trying to turn it into a Happy Fashion! sign. Then it was almost time to start, so they unrolled the Slip 'n Slide runway and opened the door for their guests.
Most people were like totally whatever and Brooklyn about it, because that was the whole point maybe? I mean, it was the point for a lot of people who were there. But to the Housewives... well. Let's just say that when Jill arrived, she complained about the placement of the "Step and Repeat." Yes, Jill. Good work. "The place where everyone who loves me is going to take my fabulous picture was in the vicinity of garbage bags." Did you never stop to consider that the garbage bags might be a bit chagrined to be in the vicinity of Jill Zarin? I think not! But yeah, Jill was pretty snooty about it and, you know, it was pretty low rent. Ramona showed up with a satchel full of her own wine and some glasses from home, just strolled in there and put all her shit up on a table and began pouring. I suppose she was backstage, so all bets were off, but still. If Ramona Singer can just hop around and start an impromptu wine party wherever she wants, your function might not be quite as swanky and exclusive as you'd hoped.
So all the girls were getting dressed and Ramona was really nervous. She was sausaged into some kind of horrible black tube dress and was very concerned about her walk. She went up to the two designers and said "How should I walk? I've been practicing. They said if you pull your butt in and stick your front out, that's how you're supposed to do it." She showed them and it was like how a pimp walks in an old cartoon from the '70s, legs stuck out ten feet in front of the torso, a curious and aggressive amble. The two designers shook their heads and said "No, no, please don't walk like that," and Ramona shrieked "But that's how I've been practicing all week!" Oh, poor Ramona. Been practicing her runway walking all week. Her big day. Her big thing.
Her confidence already rattled, Ramona then made the grave mistake of interacting with Jill. Jill looked her up and down and said "Is your brawr supposed to be showing? And that necklace does not go with that dress at awl." She then whispered to LuAnn, who was standing there in her quiet Medusa way, "She doesn't know that I know that it's one of her jewelry pieces." Wait... was she congratulating herself for being doubly mean? I don't get it. Ramona tried to shrug it off by telling us that Jill was just jealous that she wasn't walking in the big fancy fashion show. Behind her a big chunk of ceiling fell to the ground and an alley cat got too close to the grease fire and was engulfed in flames and we all thought yes, that must be it. She's jealous of all this.
But anyway, the music started thump-thumping and it was time to go walkin'! Kelly Bensimon was up first, in a yellow frou-frou dress that she didn't like because it was strapless. She said that strapless dresses make her shoulders look huge and, jumping junipers, she was right! She was more tan and broad shouldered than a Vanderbilt lacrosse player. Which made me sort of like her for a second, though not really in the way we're supposed to like Kelly (are we supposed to like Kelly?). She'd had some sort of fight about emails with Jill backstage, but Jill clapped for her from the audience anyway, while her daughter Ally gazed at the tall brown telephone pole with a strange kind of longing. Next up was Alex, who did a perfectly fine job. Simon gasped and clapped from the audience and said to someone "She remembered to turn!!" all giddy and jealous. Yes, she remembered to turn. That can be hard to remember in a fashion show. Lots of first-time models never turn at all, they just keep walking and walking and walking, straight out the door, down the street and into the river, never to be seen again. But Alex, she remembered. She's a natural.
Then came Ramona. Oh poor Ramona. Spurred by Jill's jewelry critique, she'd turned the necklace around so the front was the back and the back was the front, much like her life. And then there was her face. Her eyes bulged with a horrifying intensity. She looked like she was trying to seduce a Spanish warlock. "You think you are evil, senor? Well here I am, canasta-snapping evil incarnate! Gaze at my furious bolero walk of doom!" Everyone in the audience fell deadly silent as they succumbed to her spell, their minds suddenly going blank and black. Finally she was off the runway and safely backstage and everyone caught their breath and Ramona squealed, "Did I do OK???" In some ways, considering the event, she'd done perfectly. So all the gals hugged and cheered and it was the best day of their lives, their greatest achievement. They had been fashion models! Walking in a runway show is the most important thing you can do in the world, ever! And they had just done it! It's like doing an Eiffel tower on the floor of the UN general assembly! It is the most significant, dignified thing. These women can die happy. After everyone had congratulated each other, Ramona turned and noticed Jill fleeing the scene. She hadn't even come to congratulate her. Ramona vowed revenge. And she got it.
But before we get to that, we must talk about a new person. While the other girls were off at 1994 Sarajevo Fashion Week, LuAnn was taking a rickshaw ride over to a friend's house. The friend is our newest Housewife, a wispy-haired woman named Sonja Morgan. She used to be married to the scion of J.P. Morgan and is basically a younger version of the grandmother from The Addams Family movie. Sonja is a free-wheeling sexpot, she knows what she wants and she takes it. She lives in a mansion and has many servants, whom she orders around with giddy delight. She is wine-eyed and sad, clearly, but she hides it behind a veil of go-get-'em-ness and partygirl posturing. Of course she is a natural friend-fit for LuAnn, who recognizes something hard-edged and rusty shared between them.
"Yeah we met in... oh man, must'a been '92," LuAnn told us in an interview segment, stubbing out a cigarette and quickly lighting another, flicking her Zippo open on her leg. "I'd just come back from a stint in the Orient, learnin' all about rickshaws and working as a go-go girl for some Golden Triangle bigwigs, and she was workin' 41st and 8th right outside the Port Authority. I needed help carryin' my luggage (man them Chineses look small, but they are heavy, I tell ya) so I asked her what her day rate was. She was all 'For you, thirty-five bucks and a coupla them cigarettes.' So I said yeah, what the hell and we dropped my luggage off at the room I was rentin' at Bellevue and went and got ripped on tequila & OJs down at this old bar used to be around there, The Nut House. Party's kept goin' ever since. Sonja's a hell of a gal, helluva gal. Crazier'n a Bard sophomore, but fun as fuck."
I can't make up my mind about Sonja just yet. I mean, she has the LuAnn stamp of approval which is important. But, I don't know. We'll need to give her more time. One thing that is funny about her is that she dated, nay "discovered," Kelly's old foreign boysqueeze Max, that fella who liked her pink boots the night she got in her first big fight with Bethenny. So, that's kind of wonderful. Apparently Sonja snatched him up while he was visiting as a tourist. Red Sonja works fast, man. Watch out.
Speaking of Kelly, for some reason she had the unfortunate job of babysitting Simon while he went giggly clothes shopping. Yeah, I don't know, it was very peculiar. Basically Simon brought a bunch of fancy outfits into the dressing room and would pop out wearing one, strike a pose, bat his eyelashes, and trill "How do I look??" Kelly would kind of just move her mouth slowly and wordlessly and Simon would just ignore her and go run to try on a new outfit — a pair of jodhpurs and a sailor's vest, a houndstooth muumuu cinched at the waist with a silk obi, a marabou peignoir with a pair of English hunting boots. At one point he dashed out wearing no pants and I really felt bad for Kelly as she stood there and her skin melted off of her skull and our own eyes burned like they'd just had rancid lemon juice squirted into them, while Simon jagged and jiggled in his little black underpants. So that was something that happened for no clear reason. At the end of the segment Simon put on a fetching little chapeau and contorted himself into an old-timey movie kissy-kissy pose and our hearts did mournful jumping jacks. Shanti.
Now, onto Ramona's Revenge. As Bethenny is embarking on her new sandwich career, Ramona is renewing her astral marriage vows, Kelly is learning how to become a mannequin stylist, and LuAnn is turning out a new girl, Jill has a burgeoning work endeavor as well. She is, in some extremely vague capacity, some sort of brand spokeswoman for Kodak, that company that used to make the fun picture machines that now does... I don't know. Digital stuff I guess? Anyway, Jill was having a big Kodak party and wanted as much attention as possible, so she invited the Houseys and the cameras and hoped all would go well. How foolish she was! I mean, everything was going fine, people meeting Sonja and thinking I know her from somewhere, some hazy memory from a particularly cokey dinner party years ago. But then Ramona showed up. She had that same manic intensity in her eyes and was acting in that dangerously breezy, jerking kind of way that she does when, I think it's fair to suspect, she's been drinking. Over she tromped to Jill and immediately started airing grievances to Jill about the jewelry thing and about how Jill hadn't stayed to congratulate her. Jill apologized, lied and said she'd enjoyed Ramona's walking routine, and that was that. But then timespace tilted slightly and one long low cello note began to play and Ramona looked at Jill and said "Businesswoman to businesswoman," and you thought she'd be asking Jill for career advice, knowing that that would make Jill feel really good and superior and they would be friends again. But no. "Businesswoman to businesswoman... why Kodak? Isn't that a dying brand?" Thud. Clunk. Whump. Wallop. On camera. At Jill's Kodak party. Dying brand.
Jill was, of course, furious. Well, I think she got furious. At first she didn't even know what to do so just started sputtering out her branded talking points about some nonsense Kodak website and stuff. But Ramona held firm and just wouldn't give up the bone so eventually Jill's eyes leaked smoke and she decided to just walk the fuck away. Well, she told Ramona to leave first, which she knew Ramona wasn't going to do, but otherwise she just turned away and ignored her. Good move. But... ugh, then of course LuAnn, smelling blood from miles away like a shark, had to swoop in and give Ramona a little lecture about Time and Place and Context, but Ramona wasn't listening. She was too busy downloading new information from the Higher Power, now that Operation Zarin Zap was pretty much complete. Frustrated that she wasn't getting through to her, LuAnn said "Tape 'n tuck it, motherfuck it," blasted down her martini in one sip, and said "C'mon Sonjs, let's go get Kentuckyed." Ramona stood alone for a while, eyes blinking individually, one after the other.
It was then time for Jill to give her big speech about why Kodak is amazing and what exactly Jill Zarin has to do with the brand. She seemed nervous, but she was powering through it, until there was a rowwrrr! and a rustle of bushes and tall jungle grass and someone yelling "Shoot her! Shooooot her!" (thanks commenter whose name I forget for mentioning that line earlier this week). See, Ramona had decided to approach Kelly right in the middle of Jill's speech. Just, you know, start a fight during the quietest part of the whole event. Blump. Bam. Boom. I don't even remember what the argument was about really — it was brought about because of what Ramona said to Jill — but it was just embarrassing and gross and ugly. Ramona seemed stony and deaf to everything around her and just kept yipping at Kelly. I couldn't really tell if Kelly was trying to get Ramona to stop or what, but if she was, she was not doing a very good job. So their voices kept getting louder and louder and louder and Jill had just plain stopped talking at this point, standing there on stage looking horrified and embarrassed, suddenly wondering if any of this was ever a good idea. What was I thinking? Well, you weren't thinking, Jill. You just weren't.
Finally Ramona said "I don't want to talk to you Kelly! You have nothing in your head!" Which, burn. If Ramona Singer can discern that you are dumb... I mean, every time Ramona flushes the toilet she says "Sorry, mermaids..." Ramona once went to bed in New York and woke up in the middle of the night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Ramona thinks she can smell ideas. (And she can.) So if Ramona can look right at you and discern that you are not the butteriest biscuit in the batch, well... sucks to be you.
So that was that and Jill was furious and Ramona will continue her campaign of terror next week. Also at the Kodak party was a scene of sexual terror in which Red Sonja met Kelly. Lunzy, being a hilarious bitch about it, was like "Well Sonja, you know Max." And then everyone coughed and stuttered for a while and Sonja started talking about how she plucked him up off the street and Kelly tried to laugh and be Fun like she didn't care, because she's a fun breezy who cares kinda gal, but you could see the rage and disappointment festering inside her otherwise hollow chest. The awkward moment mostly past, the ladies all exchanged pleasantries about what they were wearing (oh how they talk about this, so much, all this designer brand naming and preening and peacocking — it's terrifically embarrassing for all of them) and then it was time to go home. Ramona had left a little while earlier, whisked outside in her black cloak, a serene look of completeness on her face. She yelled "Taxi!" into the gray sky and invisible forces reached down out of the clouds and pulled her up and away. She travels around on her own kind of Floo Network, a wormhole transit system created by a mucusy substance she secretes from her thorax.
After that we got a shot of Bethenny sitting on the john, peeing onto a stick. Yes, she was testing to see if she was pregnant. I kind of think this moment was authentic, because she did seem to actually freak out when she got a positive result and call Jason a million billion times. He wasn't answering, so she called her friend, who told her to just take a deep breath and keep on living. That's all she could do. It was good, friendy advice. How nice for Bethenny. She gasped a few times and put her head down and knew, there on the humble bathroom floor, that nothing would ever be the same.
Sonja got home and stared for a long, long while in the hallway mirror, primping her hair and pouting her lips. One of her housekeepers knew to put on her favorite post-party song, "Goodbye Horses," and Sonja began dancing. She stripped off her clothes, watching herself in the mirror. She grabbed a silk robe, put it on, held it open like wings. She danced and danced. She leaned in toward the mirror. "Will you fuck me?" she murmured. "I'd fuck me." She danced some more. A scream and a whimper rang out from the basement. She danced.
Kelly lay in bed and tried to fall asleep. But every time she closed her eyes she saw him running at her, the black material tight around his groin, that wild look on his face. When she finally did slip into a restless slumber, she dreamed that he was chasing her, chasing her forever. She ran and ran and ran as fast as she could, but she could always hear him just behind her, feel the cologney heat pulsing out in waves from his willowy chewing gum body. In the dream she reached the very end of the Earth and knew that she could not run any further, so she closed her eyes and waited for the inevitable. It never came. She waited and waited and waited, hearing the raspy sound of his breathing approaching, but he never got there. She woke up. She wondered what it meant. Of course, she couldn't figure it out.
Jill got home late, flushed and exhausted yet full of adrenalin after her big work function. She padded around the house to make sure everyone was asleep. Once she was sure they were, she went and got a small wooden box from a high shelf in the kitchen. She took it down, opened it up and rummaged around. Finally she found what she wanted. A single, tightly rolled joint. She tip-toed over to the living room window and opened it, as quietly as she could. She fumbled with the lighter but finally got the thing lit and stood there taking a few deep drags. She looked out over the city, ever moving but imbued with that cool hush of night. She sighed. She whispered to herself, "Just calm down. You just need to calm down." She stood there in the faint blue light, red hair in the wind dancing like fire.
At home Ramona flitted up to the rafters and clung to a beam, dangling upside down and falling into an immediate and deep sleep. She had a dream that she was a hunter, clad in a pith helmet and armed with a long silver elephant gun, searching for game at some far corner of the world. She crouched and waited for what felt like days, putting her hand to the ground to see if it was trembling with movement. And finally, after a long long while she saw Kelly, running at a crazy tear. The poor girl was terrified, Ramona realized. And when she ran headfirst smack into the End of the Earth, Ramona saw Kelly curl into a ball and close her eyes. There was a rattle of bones and the sound of a million frogs croaking. Ramona saw on the horizon that Simon was approaching, running toward Kelly in just his underwear and a poet's blouse. Oh God, thought Ramona, realizing what was going on. She raised her gun. She aimed at Simon. But then she pivoted and aimed at Kelly. She couldn't decide. She turned back and forth, back and forth, not knowing who to take out. Back and forth she went like that, until morning.
Like Jill, LuAnn couldn't sleep. She always had a hard time sleeping these days. "Fuckin' menopause," she muttered as she made herself another rum & milk. "Fuckin' life." She flopped down on the couch, put her head back, closed her eyes. She could see little Albert, her rickshaw driver. Cute kid. Where was he from? Vietnam maybe? Vietnam. There was a kid she knew back home, way long time ago. Tim Jolson, from down the road. She was younger'n he was, by a few years at least. But he'd always been kinda sweet on her and she remembers one day at the high school, she was an about-to-drop-out freshman and he was a senior and he was all shy and came up to her at her locker and asked her out on a date. Like a date, date. A real proper date. LuAnn had been a little skeptical about it, seemed a little square. But he was standing there all nervous behind those glasses, so she'd said yeah, sure. Friday night.
But then of course Friday came around and Danny Gorman and all those bad guys were having a vodka vomit out in the woods and asked if she wanted to come along. So she did, and she stood poor Timmy up. Knew he'd be waiting there at the restaurant, wondering what'd gone wrong. And then it was spring and then he graduated and then suddenly he was gone, off faraway on some fool's errand and got himself blown up. Right there, right at the end of all that. 1975. What a stupid year to die over there. On some no name island. Koh Tang. Dumb thing. Dumbest thing ever.
LuAnn wondered if maybe Albert's daddy coulda known Timmy over there. Maybe they got a beer once. Talked about things they had in common. Maybe everyone knows everyone else from a past life, maybe everyone is connected by single small moments. She thought about Sonja. How the hell was that all gonna work? How in the hell was that gonna go? Old world mixing with the new. Lu smelled trouble. She sighed.
"What's the matter?"
She looked up and Noelle was there, standing in his pj's, half asleep. LuAnn shook her head. "Nothin' baby, go back to bed, huh?" He nodded. "OK." Shuffled off. LuAnn smiled. Gulped her drink. Lit a cigarette.
She heard firecrackers outside. Or gunshots. Or Ramona making love. LuAnn laughed at that idea. She laughed and laughed. "Boom!" she said to no one, to the night.