Introducing a new feature here on This Little Mama – reality recaps! We’ll be making a few changes to the site over the next few months, but we’re going live with my observations on reality tv, and how it deviates from real life, starting now with the new season of the Real Housewives of New York City. As Vicki would say, wahoo! Let’s get to it!
We have three new Housewives to spice things up this season:
* Aviva Drescher is a mother of four, an amputee, and married to a hedge fund manager named Reid Drescher. She describes herself as a philanthropist which Sonja disputes.
* Heather Thomson is also a married mother of a coupla kidlets, and is the founder of a shapewear line called Yummie Tummie.
* Carole Radziwill is the widow of Anthony Radziwill, son of Lee Radziwill, nephew of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and best friend and cousin of the late John F. Kennedy, Jr.. She has been a producer for ABC News and is currently a writer. No kids.
I missed the opening montage because my Tivo cut it off, thus abruptly found myself next to the pond in Central Park with Kountess LuAnn and our new friend, Aviva Drescher. Aviva seems equally surprised to be here and tells the Kountess she’s never brought her kids to the pond. How is that? I would expect every New Yorker spends endless leisurely hours sailing miniature motorized boats and feeding wildlife, just like in Stuart Little.
Anyway, the Kountess and Aviva are old friends, having met at a party years ago and looked at each other “as attractive women do”, per LuAnn. LuAnn finds Aviva to be “poised, graceful, and charming”, and can hardly believe she has a “handicap”. See, Aviva has a prosthetic leg after losing one of her feet in a freak farm conveyor belt accident at age 6. Do we still use the term “handicap”? Is that okay? Whatever, LuAnn does, so there it is. They are catching up, which gives us a chance to hear what’s new with the Kountess. Her daughter Victoria, age 16+ at this point, spent the summer in Paris and is looking at colleges, so the Kountess and her boyfriend Pepe Le Peu now only speak French to her at home. The Kount is dividing his time between Switzerland and Asia – roaming the continent, it would seem – but will be visiting next month and staying at the Kountess’ Hamptons home, because they have a civilized divorce like that.
Aviva, who is very blonde, has very large teeth, and is wearing an unflatteringly furry shoulder mantle, also has an ex-husband: his name is Harry Dubin, and in addition to being the father of her oldest child, Harrison, he has also dated LuAnn and Sonja, and appeared last season when Sonja threw a bargain-basement costume party and “forgot her panties”. Oops! LuAnn and Aviva agree that Harry is a good guy and “means well”. This requires repeating four or five times so we are clear.
Speaking of Sonja, she’s having a party tonight so she’s got to get rid of the weird lucite brochure displays tucked next to her fireplace, and teach her assistant about putting water in the flower vases. Sonja is racing around in tight jeans and a Pilgrim blouse, putting the Vicki Gunvalson “croissant” pillow fluffing technique to work. What’s the occasion? Who knows. The Kountess arrives dressed as a lawn jockey in skintight red pants. The newest new Housewives, Heather Thomson and Carole, arrive together.
Carole is wearing black hot pants and is painfully thin. A brush would help. Aviva is thrilled to meet her because she loved her memoir about the loss of her husband, his cousin, (JFK Jr.) and his wife (Carolyn Bessette Kennedy) all in the same summer. Carole receives her praise with lukewarm enthusiasm, as revisiting her widowhood requires her to “be the widow” again ten years after the fact. She also doesn’t like groups of mothers who only talk about their kids. I kind of get it, but that’s your life on this TV show, girl. Heather is wearing a red kimono with a strappy belt that looks like it came from this shop at the mall from my high-schoolerhood where everything was cotton knit separates with matching scrunchy tubes. I think it was called “Parts” or “Pieces” or something, and I had that kimono in black. The whole point is to give the world a good peek at her “Yummie stuff” – her glammed-up motion control devices underneath it all. Ramona, clad in her usual undersized sparkly Vanna White cocktail contraption, ogles the lacy scuba suit while Mario drools. Heather’s dad died last week, just as an aside.
SO: LuAnn is still furious with Ramona over the comments Ramona made in season 4 criticizing her detached parenting style, and then publicly revealing certain recreational activities LuAnn’s daughter Victoria had been publicly engaged in during the reunion show. And she is going to talk to Ramona about it. Right. NOW. Ramona desperately tries to dodge the Kountess, claiming she’s just too sick to endure a conversation at a party. LuAnn is having none of it and demands an apology. Ramona now runs around shrieking “help! help! I am under attack by the Kountess!” Aviva asks if she should call 911. Heather asks why it is so hard for Ramona to say she is sorry for hurting LuAnn’s feelings, which isn’t really what happened, but nevertheless Ramona can’t, won’t, and don’t. The end.
So as we know Carole is a writer, so the next day (ostensibly) she’s visiting Glamour magazine to pick up her assignment for a feature story about the Kardashians. What a prestige piece! She’s also finishing up a novel or something about the rules of dating and sex for widows. One of the rules is that widows aren’t supposed to have sex for the first year, whereas divorcees are exhorted to get out there and DO IT as soon as possible. For someone who doesn’t want to be all about her widowhood she’s sure drawing attention to it. Anyway, anecdote complete. Carole is a working writer and now we know what we need to know.
Heather, who is very tall and has a perpetually thrilled expression on her face, runs her shapewear company, Yummie Tummie, after a long career in the rapper fashion industry. She’s mos def! Ramona met Heather backstage at the Home Shopping Network and is stopping by wearing her sunglasses indoors to learn more (and learn us) about her. And also tell us that Ramona is going to be teaching a Learning Annex class and is on the cover of the brochure! Heather helpfully explains to us that the brochures are distributed for free alongside trash cans throughout NYC, and she would be embarrassed if she was Ramona. And that’s just for starters on How Heather and Ramona Are Different; Heather thinks face time among her staff in the office is important; Ramona thinks running the office is what staff is for and she likes being out and about being Ramona. Heather’s six-month-old son had to have a liver transplant; Ramona thought Avery was born dead, after two hours of pushing and a lot of pulling with long forceps and the umbilical cord around her neck. But she wasn’t. Heather is nodding politely, Ramona is embarrassed by how intimate this conversation has become. Buckle up, ladies.
Elsewhere, Aviva the amputee is meeting Sonja, who may have been mounted by Aviva’s ex-husband, at a very expensive salon for pedicures. Aviva is carrying a large bag that Sonja recognizes from when Eric Clapton would meet her for lunch and then they would play pool. Oh, gosh, it’s not a guitar, it’s a prosthesis! Sonja totally forgot about that! She “didn’t have time to digest the multiple legs in Aviva’s closet”. ohmiword. Aviva’s having a pedicure on her real foot, and a polish change on her flat and high heeled legs. Will she get a discount, or have to pay more? “What leg do you wear for sex?” asks the ever-delicate Sonja. The aestheticians blush.
Business closes up, and we’re off to the Hamptons for the weekend, where Heather is meeting Ramona and Sonja for a glass of wine and another incredibly awkward interaction. Sonja’s also a Learning Annex garbage lady and will be teaching classes on how to get red-carpet ready in 20 minutes and toaster oven cooking. Klassy! Sonja compliments Heather on her great business logo, which looks like this: ).(, but Ramona will not tolerate this redirection of conversation to topics not Ramonacentric and announces she does not want to talk about business on weekends. Heather then shares, again, that her dad recently died after a series of health problems. Sonja expresses empathy. Ramona starts telling them how her crappy abusive
father was the reason she went into business and found herself running a successful multi-million dollar business at 29 (RMS Fashions, which I can’t find a thing about on the web – they are not BB accredited, I can tell you that) so she wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else. Heather is now tracking: Ramona can talk about business or death or whatever, but it’s inappropriate for anyone else to do so. Heather asks about the fight with LuAnn; Ramona freezes her out and won’t discuss it. It’s so over before it even got started.
Which will make it really fun for Heather to attend her new friend Ramona’s dinner party the next night, won’t it? Sonja’s in the kitchen making turkey meatballs that turn out yellow so they never even get served. Ick. That’ll impress the single guy Ramona invited for Sonja to meet, biblically. Aviva and her husband Reid arrive bearing pies from “Taste Pies”, and Ramona is so excited she announces that she is going to lock herself in the bathroom and binge. Heather arrives, alone, and after sizing her up Ramona asks whether she wants to hang her coat, or is it part of her ensemble? Heather keeps the coat so she’s prepared for a quick escape. After declining a glass of Ramona pinot, Heather is brazen enough to request scotch, which the Singers do not have. Mario looks shocked, like she’s asked for a bottle of Night Train in a paper bag. It’s SCOTCH. People drink it, even klassy ones. In lieu of scotch Heather accepts tequila on the rocks, so they all do shots. Heather says she hears tequila is the only alcohol that’s an upper, not a downer. Ramona looks personally offended. Easy, tiger!
Here’s what we are to divine from the real estate arrangements in the Hamptons: the Singers own, so they have status. LuAnn also owns, but she got it in the divorce so does that count? The Dreschers rent May through November which is an extended season because they don’t want the upkeep responsibility, so they are established, but lesser. Sonja does not own or rent, so she’s a hanger-on. The Thomsons rent in the Berkshires so they are hillbillies.
Heather and the Singers get into a discussion about the Berkshires, because Ramona was also raised in the area. Heather makes what to my ears and eyes appear to be all the usual conversational overtures of appearing interested and engaged in the conversation. Mario tells her she’s interrupting him, and Ramona says “yeah, bitch, you need to listen up!” Heather is a little shocked, and so am I. “You just keep talking about what you want to say,” Ramona tells Heather. “You need to have an exchange.” She then turns black and portly and the pinot inside reaches an instant boil.
Extricating herself from the beration, Heather heads over to Aviva who commiserates. Talk turns to Heather’s son’s health challenges, and Aviva shares that she understands what it is like to be a child with compromised health because of her leg. Heather can’t believe there’s a wooden leg inside that fabulous boot. Aviva is amused by the reactions she gets – “it’s not like I am telling them I have a penis or something.” Certainly not, but it’s not every day you meet a strapping gal with a wooden leg.
At dinner, Heather is seated next to bossy Uncle Mario, who gives her a big lascivious wink. She scoots just slightly out of reach. Someone asks Aviva how she and Reid met, and she tells the story about their chance encounter with their kids at Bed Bath & Beyond. Of all places! And now they are “five years married”. The sentence structure these bags employ is so peculiar. Sonja starts to talk about her 13 or whatever years she was married to her husband, when Ramona lowers the boom that she cannot call him her husband anymore! He is her EX and she needs to use the right terminology. Sonja, who is never embarrassed by anything, seems embarrassed. Ramona, Ramona…
So LuAnn, who wasn’t invited to this dinner deal and wouldn’t have come anyway, is also in the Hamptons (because that’s where she lives – she really only visits NYC these days which begs the question whether she’s geographically unqualified to continue this contrivance) and is giving an art show for dear talented and dark Victoria in her exceptionally clean and presentable garage. Aviva arrives with her husband and three of her four children, oh and her prosthesis because you know she’s an amputee. Heather comes with her snuffleupagus husband wearing the most perfectly hideous stonewashed denim blazer and I can hardly believe it. It’s the same one Justin Timberlake wore to an awards show when he was dating Britney, I swear it. Sonja was invited, but she’s not coming because she’s in residence at the Singers and can’t extricate her head from Ramona’s ass. The artwork is…. interesting. Have you ever seen “Work of Art”? Every season there’s one relatively attractive chick who does very dark sexual stuff. This is pretty much advanced beginner stuff along the same lines – skull totem poles, naked women with their heads coming off. Not the sort of still lives I like in my own home, personally.
The weekend is over, and as Carole stayed in the city to write she and some of the gals get together to gossip. Carole orders a diet soda and Aviva informs her – the widow of the man who died of cancer far too young – that artificial sweeteners cause cancer. Carole remarks that everything causes cancer, even air, which is pretty much my philosophy. Nonetheless she changes her order to an iced tea and I bet puts a Splenda in it.
LuAnn rolls up, parks it, orders a decaf cappuccino (why?), and lays into a crazy story about Ramona calling to blackmail her. It seems that LuAnn had a 50th birthday party for some chap and a teenage guest or nonguest or passerby or something got herself so forshnicked that she ended up passed out cold in the bushes and had to be removed by ambulance. Ramona knows this, because she has spies in the Hamptons says LuAnn, and tells LuAnn that she will stop demanding an apology or else Ramona will spill. “I know things about your children and I will tell the world,” she supposedly warned LuAnn. Egads! Aviva still can’t understand why these two bitches can’t just tell each other they are sorry about their words. Having delivered the blackmail anecdote on camera, LuAnn prances off down the street, and Carole feels like she just witnessed a drive-by. Me too, me too! Heather arrives late and misses the whole thing. The three newbies agree they are not going to be mean girls engaging in this sort of high school behavior. Famous. Last. Words.
Next week: the two mob bosses meet in the park. Who will make it out alive? Until then: visit me tomorrow at Reality Steve to recap OC, and we’ll be back here next week. Toodles!