“The Real Housewives of New York City,” the best city of the franchise, returned Wednesday to the silver screen with grace and class.
What makes this city so great is that all of the women are insane, like “Grey Gardens” meets “Misery” meets your divorced aunt who drinks margaritas before 11 a.m. What makes it even better is that they all know they’re crazy too. Some accept it and run with it (see Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan). Others try to hide it but inadvertently unleash it all too often because they just can’t help themselves (see Luann de Lesseps and Dorinda Medley).
What you see is what you get with these garbage monsters. There are no behind-the-scenes deals that are so transparent in other cities. If Singer says she saw Morgan get blackout drunk at a gay club in Chelsea and flash her beaver to a bunch of displeased gays, then Morgan did indeed do all those things. It is refreshingly simple and fun, unlike the chess games played in Beverly Hills. New York was veering toward that territory in season four, when Jill Zarin tried to make backdoor deals. Luckily, that was squashed when she got fired.
Last season of what may well have been called “The Escaped Inmates of Arkham Asylum” was an instant classic — one that will go down in the prestigious history of “The Real Housewives.”All good things must come to an end, however, and Heather Thomson and Kristen Taekman both quit. Zarin still has not been asked back.
We open the season with bankruptcy-free Lady Morgan, my fun-loving floosy, who now owns her crumbling townhouse next to a parking garage. She has a new intern, Juliona, who has large shoes to fill in the absence of Pickles.
Luann de Lesseps, countess of the trash bin in the alley behind Stonewall Inn, sold her Manhattan home and lives full time in the Hamptons, where she probably spends weekends with Ina Garten of “The Barefoot Contessa.” So when de Lesseps needs to be in the city, she crashes at Morgan’s place.
Newly single Singer remains a complete lunatic, blessedly. She’s going out every night, prowling the Manhattan bars for men to suck the will to live from. Recently, she went to a bar where they played reggae, which she pronounces “ree-gay.” She also goes out with her now 21-year-old daughter, Avery, who has somehow beaten the odds and become a nice, normal woman despite having a Real Housewife for a mother.
Ramona thinks this new chapter in her life has relaxed her. Singer is only relaxed when she is needling Zarin to reveal her true colors as the fourth Sanderson sister.
“I feel more relaxed. Do I look more relaxed?” she asks, her eyes bulgy as ever.
“Not really,” Carole Radziwill shoots back without missing a beat. Bless.
Radziwill is still with her much younger boyfriend. The producers clearly didn’t want to dwell on this, and neither do I.
Bethenny Frankel seems much happier in her second season back. She’s refocused and ready to bring her A-game. I am so jealous of her gorgeous new Skinnygirl office. The exposed brick distracted me during Bethenny’s “make Skinnygirl great again” speech.
Unfortunately, her soap opera divorce is not yet finalized. Frankel filed for divorce so long ago, Lady Gaga was relevant. The divorce has taken its toll on her love life, or so she claims. But when we see Frankel on her lunch date with Medley, there’s an attractive man she’s been casually dating. For the second time this episode, I am jealous of Frankel.
Speaking of Medley, she is still dating half-man-half-woodchuck John, who everyone still hates. Frankel literally cringes at the thought of another conversation about dry cleaning and partying with John. I don’t blame her. This man is going to be a major source of drama this season. Men aren’t worth fighting over, girls. They’re selfish, greedy and boring. Diamonds and wine are much better.
There’s also a new Housewife, Jules, who I suppose I have to talk about. She’s continued the long “Real Housewife” history of claiming to be so stressed and busy raising kids when she has a full-time nanny and housekeeper. She also likes to talk about being Asian and Jewish. She lives with her husband — whom Frankel christens R2-D2 because of his height — in the Flatiron District, which I didn’t think was allowed in “The Real Housewives of New York.”
This season looks like more booze- and antic-filled fun. The New York Housewives are back and better than ever.