I deliberately don’t read other recaps before I write mine, because I don’t want to accidentally plagiarize someone. There’s an argument to be made for the opposite approach, but so far this has been working for me. However, this week was the first time I doubted that policy– I’m dying to hear what everyone else thinks about Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant! Still, I will refrain until I’ve painstakingly extracted my thoughts on this episode, like a Housewife wriggling out of a wetsuit.
Here’s my theory on Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant (hereby abbreviated to ASIC): Aviva is trying to cast the show. She hired an image consultant so that she might have a chance in hell of rehabilitating her reputation and now she’s trying to make this woman a permanent cast member. Let’s face it: nobody likes Aviva or is on her side. Ramona and Sonja sort of are, for the moment, but Ramona’s support is half-hearted at best and Sonja’s is born of completely misunderstanding the situation. Also, Sonja might support you in an argument, but she’s not going to bust any heads on your behalf. Aviva needed a bruiser, and she got it in this ASIC ‘itch.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! This episode had way too much Sonja to dawdle, including lots of Sonja dawdling. Let’s get into the fourth episode of what is turning out to be a pretty damn entertaining season…
CHAPTER ONE: D.A.N.C.E.
We open on Ripley-Grier Studios, one of the ugliest rehearsal spaces in the city and also where half of Love & Hip-Hop is filmed. (Oh, yes, I’ve been there. You can’t forget a place like that. Their paint choices will confound you for the rest of your life.) Sonja is supposed to be rehearsing a dance for her “caburlesque,” an event she’s hosting in the Hamptons to raise money for an LGBT youth center, but she is an hour late, which means she essentially wasted $62. (Ripley-Grier is also expensive.)
Despite the shit-talking her back-up dancers and choreographer were doing just before she walked in, Sonja is a ham and it’s obvious that everyone is completely tickled to be working with her. And even though she utters the unforgivable “I love my gays,” it’s made up for by her delusional babble about how if this performance goes well, it’s going to “all the major cities.” Oh, honey.
That’s about when we join Carole and Kristen in a car and realize this is going to be a Hamptons episode! Just when I think she can’t get any cooler, Carole says she doesn’t like the Hamptons because “it’s like a big suburb.” HollaHeather joins the two other reasonable people on this show for surf lessons on the beach, with one surf instructor per Housewife. Was that necessary? The ladies struggle to get into their wetsuits like the bumbling lead of a romantic comedy. We find out that HollaHeather is in amazing shape, Kristen has incredible balance for someone so tall, and Carole is basically just boogie boarding. Good for her.
CHAPTER TWO: WINGIN’ IT
Sonja and half a dozen interns roll up to a location that is subtitled “Sonja’s Rented House” (shade, Bravo, shade, shade!!!). Their puttering model T backfires and the tail pipe falls off. Okay, no, but their car’s fresh out of storage and there’s a dead battery and no plates. I actually think I was being generous. This car is a perfect example of the mentality that is making Sonja broke. Why would any sane person think it’s necessary to hang onto a car that you use so little that you took the plates off of it? Not to mention how much it costs to store a car in the city. RENT, girl!
Also, we find out that Sonja doesn’t have hot water in her townhouse. Discuss.
Somehow, she drives her jalopy out to the airplane hangar where her caburlesque will be taking place, possibly peddling the ground like Fred Flintstone to get there. While the rest of the Housewives file in in varying degrees of flapper drag, Sonja makes a last-minute decision to forgo her back-up dancers and “wing it.” Other choice micro-Morganisms: “I Googled ‘burlesque moves;'” “So-so, oui oui, mothertrucker;” “I’m feeling rushed as usual.” (Well, of course you’re going to feel rushed when you’re an hour late for everything, you silly-billy.)
CHAPTER FOUR: ME AND PRINCESS C.
Out in the hangar, Kristen and ASIC are competing for most Halloween-y Gatsby costume, Carole is avoiding Aviva, and the Countess is making her first appearance of the season. Kristen introduces herself, and you can tell that the Countess is not loving it. I mean, it has to hurt: she was literally replaced with a younger… wait for it… model.
Aviva tries to recruit the Countess for her slanderous No Caroles Club by dishing that “Me and Princess Carole are in a bloodbath.” It’s so gross of Aviva to invoke “Princess.” She has this creepy habit of making a big deal of how impressed she is with something Carole is or does, then turning it around on her as a reason that she’s uppity. It’s a weapon that only a truly insecure person would develop.
Aviva’s issues with Carole are convenient for the Countess, who was terribly insulted last season when Carole insinuated she was not in fact Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States. “She’s not a girl’s kind of girl,” Countess vomits out of her mouth hole, and Aviva reacts like not only did that sentence mean anything, but it is in fact the meaning of all things. After watching “girl’s girl” being wielded so ineptly on RHOBH, I simply cannot condone this bullshit.
CHAPTER FIVE: LIFE IS A CABURLESQUE
The ladies take their seats after HollaHeather shuts down a situation that would have Carole next to Aviva with a swift place card rearrangement and a “That’s not happening.” Sonja does indeed wing her performance, and I have a feeling that what we got to see was edited down from about three hours with no intermission. ASIC makes a bunch of nasty comments about Sonja and menopause and nipple slips to whoever will pay her attention, which pretty much just comes down to Aviva, who is also paying her money. Yes, Sonja’s performance was probably a little cringeworthy, but ain’t nobody need to add to that embarrassment. Let her die on the battlefield like a warrior.
(This was also the only time I’ve heard it called a “wardrobe malfunction” when a skirt DOESN’T fall off. K, got that joke out, onward.)
The next day, Kristen invites the ladies over to help promote her designer friend’s “bathing suit cover-up line,” which is somehow not just jorts and oversized t-shirts. Weird. Kristen sees Sonja’s interns passing out rosé and observes that perhaps she should cash them all in for one paid assistant who has her own apartment and actually knows what she’s doing. It’s a nice sentiment, but when you cash in a bunch of checks for $0, you still have $0.
Despite the rumors that she’s Brandi Glanville’s best friend, I like Kristen. She seems to really doubt her own intelligence, and I find that sad, because she actually comes off very reasonable and perceptive on this show.
CHAPTER SIX: THE SUBURBS
Meanwhile, Harry, Reid, Aviva, and ASIC are having lunch and we’re forced to watch it, or at least to fast-forward through it. Amanda and Harry are dating, because of course. Amanda is pretty and looks like she fits in with the Housewives until she opens her mouth. Then this bruiser drunk chick voice scrapes out, and you go, Oh. I know this woman. I’ve seen her at parties. This chick cuts the whole line for the bathroom with a shove and a loud ‘Excuse me.’ This chick loses her earring and maybe a flip-flop by the end of the night. She sits on the ground to smoke a cigarette. She’s mean to other woman before she’s nice to them. And she hates all of her boyfriend’s exes without knowing anything about them.
For you see, all of ASIC’s nasty comments about Sonja at the show? Those were really about the fact that Sonja’s been hittin’ it with Dirty Harry, and ASIC hasn’t even seen that d yet. Obnoxious, meet oblivious.
CHAPTER EIGHT: CHECKERS
Finally, we come to the climax of the episode, and it’s not from seeing Kristen in a high cut bikini. LuAnn hosts a party at her house in the Hamptons for the cast she’s no longer a part of, which is mighty big of her. Kristen and Josh show up, and dude looks like Bert Cooper on vacation with his pink sport coat and contrasting pocket square. Harry and Amanda show up, even though there was a discussion of Harry not being invited. Sonja shows up with two of her interns. Carole shows up with HollaHeather’s trainer. What the hell was the theme of this party, Unlikely Plus Ones?
Carole sort-of apologizes to LuAnn for calling her Not Michelle Obama, and the Countess graciously accepts. This was a smart move on Carole’s part. LuAnn has a huge ego and is a little delusional, but she’s also not a cast member anymore. It was time for Carole to cut her losses on this argument, and she knew it. It’s like I’ve been saying: you don’t kick a bitch when she’s down.
Aviva sniffed around this apology like my cat with an order of buffalo wings, and her bean brain came up with a way to make it All About Her: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Carole is in a blow-up with me and all of a sudden she’s making up with LuAnn. I think she’s playing chess with a couple of different players.” EWW. She is such a Housewives superfan! The “chess player” accusation has been lobbed at Lisa Vanderpump on RHOBH, fairly unsuccessfully, I might add. If Aviva is going to emulate someone on these shows, she should aim higher than Kyle Richards.
CHAPTER NINE: I’M THE HOSTAGE
Aviva also keeps saying that Carole called her a bad mother, which is patently untrue, and when Sonja does what no one else is willing to do and listens to her side of things, she kisses her on the mouth. Sonja says that Harry “would’ve lost his load,” which is really convenient because I’ve been trying to debloat for a beach trip this weekend and now I will never eat again.
Eventually, all the ladies are in the same room, and Aviva turns the topic to #BookGate, which of course she named. HollaHeather says that Aviva tries to assassinate people’s characters, and she’s not going to wait around for her to pull that crap with her. Aviva screams at HollaHeather to lower her voice, because she tries to win arguments by yelling loudest and it’s the worst quality (though not her worst quality by far). Then everyone starts yelling at everyone else and it’s impossible to decipher what anyone is saying. I have a friend who worked on RHONJ recently and he said that getting clean sound was impossible with the way everyone talked over each other.
The Countess claps and yells, “I’m the hostess!” to try and restore order, then tells Aviva and Carole to go into the kitchen to work it out. Carole, who has three Emmys and a Peabody and fucked George Clooney, wisely declines to have that conversation in the same room as all the knives in the house. A big problem here is that Aviva is now claiming that Carole was unsupportive of her long email writing, when that’s just not true. It drives me crazy on these shows when people act like a reaction is the same thing as an unprovoked slight. Carole was perfectly supportive of Aviva’s book– until Aviva started spreading rumors that Carole used a ghostwriter. THEN Carole got angry and started pointing out all the ways in which this book is a total joke.
Next week: HollaHeather stalks Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant through LuAnn’s house and dares her to hit her, then calls Aviva a motherfucker. I love this new aggro Heather! We might have to change her nickname to MothaHeather. We’ll see. Until next week, I’ll be like Ramona: neither seen nor heard.
**If anyone’s interested in supporting an LGBT youth center in NYC like Sonja “Sexy J” Morgan, please check out The Center and The Ali Forney Center. I can’t tell which one Sonja was supporting but they’re both great.