HASHTAG COUNTESS AND FRENEMIES (RHONY FINALE RECAP)
We made it folks. As the cabaret curtain closes on another season of RHONY, I can’t help but wonder if this is the last time we’ll see a great ensemble cast of any Real Housewives franchise. Carole’s on her way out; who knows if Bethenny will return given the tragic news of her BF’s death; and Luann is back in rehab after being sued by her children. Real Housewives are at their best when they know each other in real life and when they have a long torrid history. If Andy Cohen shoves a bunch of NY strangers together for some manufactured drama no one cares about, so help me god I’ll find the nearest prosthetic leg available and whip it at his gorgeous salt and pepper head.
But tonight we celebrate. We sing. We dance. We inadvertently flash Luann’s children. Tonight we cabaret. It’s the day of Luann’s cabaret debut: #CountessAndFriends. All of New York is abuzz. Or at least all of the ladies are wearing sequins. Luann pleads with Sonja, who has a small cameo, not to flash anyone since Luann’s mother and children will be in attendance. Sonja’s all “of course dear”, but then turns around and winks to the camera like she’s already wearing pasties and edible underwear.
Dorinda heads over to Tinsley’s hotel to drink excessively before the big night. She’s channeling Johnny Weir Olympic Glory pretty hard and I’m here for it.
Dorinda is pretty bitter because she secured all of Luann’s outfits for the show for free from a good friend Jovani, and yet Luann didn’t extend an invite to #CountessAndFriends to Dorinda’s boyfriend, John. Dorinda called Luann day of the show to find out if John could come and Luann, naturally flustered because she was probably doing vocal warm ups and beatboxing, tells her to buy a ticket. But then Luann commits the cardinal sin of inviting Tinsley’s boyfriend, Scott (though he’s out of town) and she doesn’t know Scott from Adam. (But a different Adam. Not Adam who makes sexy salads and dated her niece and then Carole...just like, a regular Adam.) Tinsley doesn’t know whether she should reveal this treachery to Dorinda, who is growing drunker by the second.
Tinsley doesn’t remain conflicted for long. As soon as she arrives at the venue, she spills the betrayal to Carole and Carole encourages Tinsley to tell Dorinda everything she knows. Why? Because Carole finally has a voice this season and that voice is meant to burn the bridges that light her way. Tinsley shows Dorinda the text she received from Luann inviting Scott to the show. First Dorinda gets sad. Then she gets mad. Then she gets drunk. Then she gets drunk angry. And now we’re three seconds away from Dorinda morphing into a slurring indestructible monster leaving everyone hurt, scared, and mostly confused about what she is trying to articulate.
#CountessAndFriends opens and it’s a joy. A true joy. The Countess’ voice, affectations, and style were only ever meant for Cabaret and I hope she solely communicates to the world through zingy one-liners and off key sing-talking from now until eternity. Luann tells a few self-deprecating jokes and everyone laughs except for Ramona who just yells “that’s funny” over and over because she can’t process joy like a normal human.
Rachel Dratch, some Tony Winners, and Bridget Everett show up for cameos as part of the “And Friends” portion of #CountessAndFriends and they are delightful. Their involvement makes me feel less vapid for watching this show for almost a decade. Meanwhile, Dorinda is lurching between death stares and shrieking the name of Jovani-the dress guy-as some sort of power move to get back at Luann. Yes, John should have been invited, but trying to sabotage Luann’s big night is about as classy as Luann shitting on a bed in Cartagena and leaving cleanup for the poor hotel staff.
As the show comes to a close, Luann invites Sonja onstage for a rousing rendition of Money Can’t Buy You Class and like true poetry, Sonja’s dress comes undone.
The room is electrified, save Dorinda, who is searching for her brass knuckles and blindfold. Nobody puts John the Dry Cleaner in the corner.
The ladies head to the after party and Bethenny and Carole are actually having a nice intimate conversation. It seems like old times and it’s so comforting. But that precious moment is ruined when Ramona saddles up to the two and Bethenny cruelly asks her to leave so they can continue their convo. Ramona is incredulous and howls that this is yet another example of Bethenny invalidating other women. Bethenny responds by telling Ramona to make an appointment with her secretary if she wants to chat so badly. It’s truly venomous. Meanwhile, Carole slips away to ensure Dorinda confronts Luann at the party while she’s still good and drunk. Bethenny suggests that perhaps Luann invited Scott because she realized she screwed up by not inviting John and didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Luann corroborates this but the time for logic is behind us. Dorinda facetiously congratulates Luann on a great show even though she invited Scott and not John. After some drunken back and forth, Dorinda stumbles out into the night, probably vowing to avenge this indignity, but no one can understand her when she drinks, so who knows really. In an earlier episode, Dorinda famously said “Say it, forget it; write it, regret it.” I’m starting to think that if Dorinda says anything with alcohol in her system she should definitely regret it, too. But now is not the time for regrets, it’s time for Cabaret.