Real Housewives of New York Season 5 Premiere Recap: The New Girls Have Arrived
The Real Housewives of New York is finally back, with a whole new season and almost a whole new cast. The Season 5 premiere brought in three fresh new faces but that didn’t stop some old drama from bubbling up to the surface. Let’s get this recap started by looking at the new Housewives and then working our way down to the Classic Housewives.
Of all the newest additions to the cast, Aviva is the one the easily fits into the puzzle of $80 blowouts and cashmere shawls that is the Real Housewives cast. She’s got the look, she’s got the attitude, she’s got a few C-lister connection under her belt (Fran Drescher is her cousin by marriage), and she’s also got a slutty ex-husband whose boudoir exploits can provide plenty of eyebrow twitches and winks for Sonja. Oh, she also only has one leg (or three legs, depending on how you look at it). See, Aviva suffered a terrible accident when she was a child that caused her to lose one of her legs. She actually handles the whole situation very elegantly and with a lot of humor, which is good because she’d have to have a good sense of humor to mix in with these ladies.
Here’s some more about Aviva. She has anywhere from four to seventeen children (I really lost count at Victoria’s art party), a loving husband, and at least one ex-husband in her past who may or may not have slept with both LuAnn and Sonja. (“Not at the same time!” Sonja would chuckle while spilling over her glass of wine.) Her ex-husband is Harry Dubin, who is some sort of real estate-something or party whatchamacallit. You may know him as one of the background drunks from Sonja’s pantsless Marie Antoinette-themed party from a season or so ago. Whatever he is, he apparently was able to (allegedly) bed two Housewives, so make of that what you will.
Aviva really didn’t fit into this episode that much, except for a funny scene where she brought one of her fake legs to a nail salon to get a pedicure. Apparently, Aviva has both a flat leg and a high-heeled leg, and, like any glamorous, fabulous woman in New York, she wants to make sure she has expertly pedicured toes. So, this means she needs to get all three legs done up when she hits the salon. The more you know!
Despite Aviva’s lackluster debut appearance on the show, the season preview promises that this will be a delightfully Aviva-filled season. In various upcoming scenes, she calls Sonja and Ramona “white trash,” is called vain by another new Housewife, and gets into at least one other screaming match with a cast member. In short, Bravo struck Housewives gold with this one.
Housewife potential: 10 out of 10.
You know former Housewife Jill Zarin is sitting in her Zarin fabric-swathed home fuming that there is a new cast member with a real shapewear line. Heather in the founder and designer of Yummie Tummie, a shapewear line for women who don’t want to wear Spanx, apparently. Actually, the stuff looks pretty cute, and she seems to have done really well for herself, so kudos to Heather! She also has some serious fashion credentials, having designed for Calvin Klein and for various celebrity fashion lines through the years. Heather has actual A-lister connections, which scared me a little bit at first because people with actually famous friends are sometimes too image-conscious to actually cook up some entertainment on this show. However, Heather has also got some serious New York sass in her, and she has firmly planted herself as “Ramona’s new enemy” for this season.
The rift between Heather and Ramona first begins when Heather invites Ramona to her office to, I dunno, talk about working mom stuff, I guess? Anyway, Ramona opens by pulling out her Learning Annex brochure (“I made the cover!” her crazy eyes said) and things just kind of went downhill from there. Later, Ramona invites Heather to her home and Ramona and her husband Mario (“the new Simon”) attack her for interrupting people too much, or talking over them, or not asking enough questions, or whatever. It was a pretty dull moment, watching two Housewives argue over who talks too much, especially when Heather spent most of the time trying to deflect the crazy by saying “Oh I’m sorry.” Snoozeville.
While the fight and uncomfortable conversations weren’t that thrilling, these were all just the stepping stones to Heather realizing that she really hates Ramona. While Ramona can ride the anti-Countess train because she thinks that she is a better mother than her, she doesn’t really have a moral advantage on Heather, who is really just like a calmer, less twitch-y version of herself. The two would really be two peas in a pod if they could both stay quiet long enough to let the other one talk. Oh well.
Housewife potential: 7 out of 10
Oh Carole. Carole, Carole, Carole. What on Earth are you doing on this show? The thing is, Carole might be my favorite person that has ever strutted into Housewives history, and that’s exactly why she doesn’t belong on the show. She’s incredibly smart, stylish, funny, well-spoken, and actually a well-respected successful woman in a glamorous field. She laughs off the other Housewives’ ridiculous nonsense while literally sipping tea. Also, she takes the subway! And isn’t obvious or embarrassingly brag-y about it! She’s the anti-Housewife Housewife. Sadly, this puts a “one season” expiration date on Carole’s toned little hiney since she’ll eventually wise up and drop the show.
But oh, let’s enjoy her while we can. Carole is already the object of much ass-kissing by the Housewives since she was married to Lee Radziwill’s son, making her New York, and real life, royalty. (Lee Radziwill was Jackie O’s sister and married to a Prince.) Sadly, Carole’s husband died young after a battle with cancer. This led Carole to write What Remains, a New York Times bestselling memoir about her experience with her husband’s death.
Carole is also a working journalist, who, at least during filming time, was working as a freelance journalist for Glamour, interviewing the Kardashians and other fun things. She also broke a Housewives rule by daring to show up to a Housewives party not dressed like she’s the Mother of the Bride. (She wore black hot pants to Sonja’s party, in case you forgot.)
Housewife potential: 2 out of 10 (But oh, we really want you to stay Carole!)
LuAnn de Lesseps
The never-aging Countess has the misfortune of being involved in the main she-knows-what-she-did mystery drama of the season, which on the plus side means more camera time but also means that she’ll have to be doing a lot of head-shaking and finger pointing. See LuAnn is still upset with Ramona over THE THING RAMONA SAID, which was something about LuAnn being a “weekend mom.” LuAnn took Ramona’s comment poorly and started off the season with the Housewives Kiss of Death, which is demanding an apology from someone who has wronged you. (Has that ever worked out for someone on this show?) While the other, newer Housewives just think Ramona should apologize to LuAnn and move on, they don’t understand how this nutty little world works. Asking for an apology is basically admitting weakness in the weird, backwards world of Housewives drama. Ramona got her PhD in Drunk Finger-Pointing, so she already knows this. Don’t expect Ramona to apologize any time soon.
After LuAnn tries, and fails, to get an apology out of Ramona, she gets an off-camera phone call from Queen Turtle Time who, allegedly, threatened to tell “the world” (read: a handful of blogs and two celebrity weeklies) about something LuAnn’s children did. We don’t know what this blackmail-worthy offense is, but LuAnn tells a story about a teen who got blackout drunk at a party at her house. I don’t know if that was what Ramona was referring to, but even talking about the alleged mistakes of teenage girls who are clearly trying to deal with some stuff just makes me feel icky and weird. There really has to be a line drawn somewhere, and that’s where I’ll draw mine.
No matter how gross and sad it makes me to talk about children getting turned into manipulation ploys by adults, it looks like THE THING RAMONA SAID will fix in heavily to the plot of this season.
References to Native American Heritage: 1.5 (the ½ point being the lovely leather and feather duster she wore to Victoria’s art party) References to France: 4 Wrinkles on her Face: 0
Despite all the drama surrounding THE THING RAMONA SAID, we don’t really know what words were exchanged or what anyone meant by anything, and I really can’t buy Ramona as a villain. She’s too twitchy and quirky. There isn’t any malicious intent behind those wildly blinking eyes, she’s just, well, not good with people I guess? Ramona will say the first thing that comes to her mind, which makes her great for reality TV, but not great for making friends. Indeed, even though she was originally very open to the new Housewives, Ramona has already been labeled a troublemaker by most of them.
There isn’t much to add to Ramona’s story since everything that could be said about her was already mentioned. Her character this season revolves around being the villainess to New Girl Heather and Scorned Friend LuAnn. Aside from yelling at her poor maid about not knowing how to work her broken electric wine-opener, Ramona doesn’t really do that much else in this episode aside from getting into fights. Where’s our Turtle Time Ramona that we know and love?
Sonja is really shaping up to be the real hero of this season of Housewives. She expertly diffused a bubbling fight between Ramona and LuAnn at a party at her townhouse. She made at least a handful of inappropriate jokes. She drank wine and flittered around parties, jumping around from man to man in between checking up on her turkey meatballs getting slowly warmed in a toaster oven. In short, Sonja really won this episode of Housewives, which always a good way to start a season.
References made to toaster ovens: 5 Interns chided: 1 Shawls worn: 2