Welcome back to the statement necklaces and pubic tattoos of The Real Housewives of New York City! Welp, two episodes in and we already have #Bookgate. After #Magazinegate on RHOBH, I’m starting to think Andy Cohen’s promoting a secret Illiterati agenda (like the Illuminati, but for the publishing industry).
Oh, you guys. Sometimes this show hurts my soul. I told you how I fear for Carole Radziwill, the coolest person who has ever lived, that being surrounded by delusional and egomaniacal Bravolebrities will eventually cause her to stoop to their level. After this episode, I am so scared for her. But first things first!
CHAPTER 1: SINGLE WHITE FEMALE
Carole meets Aviva for lunch to discuss Aviva’s book, and they have a warm and friendly conversation during which Aviva shows Carole that she bought the EXACT same glasses as her and talks about how easy it was to write her “memoir.” Just in case you missed it last season, Aviva is an intense person. She comes off as the type of person who makes it impossible for you to say no when she asks you a favor, then asks even more of you while you’re doing it, and then complains to all your friends afterwards that you didn’t do enough. Super fun person to have in your life.
Aviva describes writing her book as “not that big of a deal” and “kinda like emailing.” You can literally see Carole’s stomach churn as Aviva is speaking. Meanwhile, I’m getting closer to a personality diagnosis of Avivz. Based on the email comment, I bet Aviva is one of those insane people who email their friends pages-long emotional rants on a weekly basis. I LOVE THOSE PEOPLE. Get me on her list!
For serious, though, you know this bitch isn’t a writer because a) she finds it easy and b) she puked up her book in less than a year. It’s not that writing a book quickly is so impossible– I did NaNoWriMo like the rest of us. However, my 50,000 words were so rambling and incoherent, they could’ve passed for On the Road, so I left that shit in the Google Doc where it belongs. Anyone who really cares about what they’re creating struggles with it for a hot minute, whether that’s in the planning, the doing, or the editing of it. (Yup, I have opinions on this one!!!)
Carole asks Aviva if she’s working with a ghostwriter, like virtually every other Housewife-turned-author in the history of time. Aviva bristles at the notion and explains that she’s a very experienced writer because she once wrote an essay for Chicken Soup for the Soul, which is my new life goal now that I know they’re still publishing. Veevs turns it around on Carole and asks her if she used a ghostwriter on What Remains, a New York Times Best Seller that was featured on Oprah. Carole, who has three Emmys and a Peabody and fucked George Clooney, says, “Ahem, a-no?”
CHAPTER 2: BITCH WINE
To further prove that alcohol is the self-adhesive in the false eyelashes that is their relationship, Ramona and Aviva meet at a wine store to pick out refreshments for Aviva’s upcoming housewarming party. Ramona, who is wearing a beaded curtain on her chest, gets to hear Aviva shit-talk Carole’s book, saying that her publishing house passed on it, it was ghostwritten by Bill Whitmill or Will Bittman or something, and that it was really bitchy of her to ask if Aviva was using a ghostwriter.
Whatever happened to the Aviva from last season who said you don’t mess with someone’s livelihood? Fun choice in personal growth! Meanwhile, Carole meets up with HollaHeather and Kristen to shit-talk Aviva, saying that it was really bitchy of her to ask if Carole used a ghostwriter because Carole’s been a journalist for 20 years. HollaHeather says, “What is she writing a book about, anyway? Is it about her leg?” which is exactly right.
CHAPTER 3: FORREST GUMP
Later, HollaHeather and her sexy Jewish husband come over to Kristen’s apartment to drink beer and talk about leg braces for Kristen’s toddler, which of course rolls back around to Jax’s liver transplant. As terrible as I feel about all of Jax’s medical ailments, HollaHeather needs to watch it because that topic is getting A LOT of screen time. She should be careful mocking Aviva’s leg story when this liver story might be matching it minute for minute. Relegless, at least we got to see HollaHeather’s sexy hollahusband again. Mrmph!
CHAPTER 4: SPRAY IT AROUND
Kristen comes over Sonja’s townhouse, my favorite place on Earth, to get spray-tanned for no reason. Seriously? The obsession with esthetics in this franchise is a full-blown fetish at this point. How many times have we had to endure seeing Housewives waxed, threaded, injected, exfoliated, lipo-suctioned, or put under for plastic surgery? I’m even sick of the mani-pedis. Enough! This scene was hilarious though because as a new cast member Kristen has not been indoctrinated with the urge to make these rituals “outrageous” and “fun” by blurting out sexy bon mots. Instead Sonja just smiled silently and stared at Kristen’s blurred out nipples while leaning against a wall and holding a drink. “It was awkward,” Kristen said, finally.
Kristen also spread the news of Aviva and Carole’s ghostwriters-in-the-sky fight, which is apparently now at crisis level. This is what sucks about the beginning of the season: there’s no real drama yet, so they just rehash the same micro-slights over and over again until someone has a nervous breakdown on vacation. Sonja tells Kristen that she wishes she could spend five years writing a book like Carole: “Downtown, smoke a doob, write a book, spin those eight-track records.” This is exactly my writing process except that Brooklyn is the new downtown.
(By the way, even though the show is much less uncomfortable now that Alex and Simon are gone, I do miss their hilariously futile attempts to convince these women that life exists outside of upper Manhattan. It’s amazing the way they complain about doing anything downtown, like there’s nothing down there but one lame townie bar with a condom machine in the bathroom.)
Next, we go see Aviva and HollaHeather getting pedicures. (WHAT DID I JUST SAY????) HollaHeather blurts out “So is the book about your leg, or what?” Aviva tells her no, but yes, and claims that she didn’t use a ghostwriter, she just “had an editor help her organize it.” I don’t know if Aviva did or didn’t write this book and I don’t care. She could have written every word and it could still be terrible, or wonderful, I’m not going to read it. But having someone “organize” your book could mean many different things, and structure is just as important to writing as word count, so she shouldn’t be actin’ all self-reliant because she thinks writing a book is like emailing your exhausted friends. Also, add me to that mailing list already.
CHAPTER 5: AN ENCHANTED EVE-EN-ING
Finally, Aviva is all moved into her insane two-floor apartment that proves there is no justice in the universe and it’s time for her housewarming party. The elevator is broken and they’re on the 17th floor, but somehow that’s immediately dismissed as a not a problem? I don’t care if you’re my best friend in the world, I’m not walking up more than six flights for you. Still, somehow everybody gets to Aviva’s apartment without sweating all over themselves, especially her new best friend/Image Consultant. Has anyone noticed that this lady just attends parties with Aviva now, and nobody talks about it? Very unsettling.
Sonja brings Harry Doobin’ into his ex-wife’s bedroom and they start joke-rolling around on the bed and joke-pretending like they’re totally going to have sex on it and then Aviva joke-mentions that she and Harry have already had sex in that bed because it’s their marriage bed and Reid joke-fires back that he has sex with her now in it and I’m with Ramona, this is super weird. I’m glad they all get along, but seriously, you own two floors, you should just get a new bed. On the other hand, Ramona is so clearly uncomfortable with even the concept of divorce that this scene was like catnip for me.
Carole shows up, hears how Aviva’s been telling everyone that Bill Pullman ghostwrote her memoir, and takes Aviva aside into a pre-lit room with a window A/C unit and c-stand in the corner. (I’m sorry, but I found it very interesting that Aviva doesn’t have central air.) Carole and Aviva start yelling at each other and Aviva goes into her weird, plagiaristic fight mode. This time she reverse Kelly Bensimons Carole by screaming, “You’re up here, I’m down here.” (Gotta say though, Carole’s talking head comment about it was definitely ghostwritten by the producers.) She also yelled at Carole, a reporter who once spent six weeks embedded with an infantry unit in Afghanistan, “You’ve written one book. What do you think you are, John Grisham? Stephen King?” And then Aviva ran out of names of authors she knew. That’s when Carole dropped the knowledge that brought the party to a halt: “What are you? You’re nothing. You’ve never had a job outside the home.”
Now. Work in the home is absolutely valid and all women’s stories are important and beautiful and meaningful. This was not a cool thing to say and Aviva definitely deserves an apology for that one. However, I get how pissed Carole is at this woman for acting like a Housewife who manages to get a book deal is the same thing as someone who spends decades building a career as a journalist. I am still #TeamCarole in #Bookgate, but I am so, so scared for her. Until next time, I’ll be over here in Brooklyn, smokin’ a doob, playing my records, and tragically, writing these recaps myself.