Substance unsurprisingly lacking in ‘Real Housewives’ reunion episode
Theater Review | 2.5 out of 5 stars
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 08:10
Season five of “The Real Housewives of New York City” wrapped this Monday with Part II of the season’s reunion. This is an episode fans looked forward to, giddily anticipating half−hearted — or heartless — apologies, quick zingers and a parade of Louboutins and statement dresses. But this season’s reunion left us wanting more. It felt like the reluctant gathering it probably was, as none of the women seemed particularly interested in rehashing old problems or reopening wounds.
The season brought many changes for “The Real Housewives of New York” series, with half the cast being swapped at the outset: Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Jill Zarin and Alex McCord were replaced by Heather Thomson, Aviva Drescher and Carole Radziwill, leaving the old guard of Sonja Morgan, Ramona Singer and LuAnn de Lesseps standing to break in the new women. Throughout the season, the new blood became just as contaminated as the old, resulting in countless nitpicky fights over capes, titles, wine and Aviva’s ex−husband — and ex−lover of at least half of the castmates — the infamous Harry.
At the reunion, the ladies seemed sedated, settling themselves in for a moment−by−moment dissection of the season past. Reunion shows are touted as the be−all and end−all, clearing the air of events that took place often months earlier while offering cast members the chance to make belated digs. Carole kicked off the night by promptly establishing herself as the most sane cast member: She admitted that, as a veteran journalist, she was drawn to joining the cast out of her interest in the spectacle of it all.
Aviva’s ex−husband Harry was next on the docket. Harry’s intimate knowledge of some of New York’s most elite women is no secret — it even extends beyond this particular group of ladies. LuAnn and Sonja both openly admitted to “dating” Harry in some capacity in the past, either before or after his relationship with Aviva.
But when it comes to add−ons, Aviva stole the show this season. The seventh Housewife may as well have been Aviva’s prosthetic leg — it was always a plot point. Prosthetics are no joking matter, but never has a piece of plastic and fiberglass received more airtime than Aviva’s perfectly tanned faux limb. Ever unforgiving and nosy, the classless Ramona proceeded to spend plenty of time telling Aviva how she should care for her prosthetic — because, you know, Aviva hasn’t dealt with it for years, and she doesn’t know the ins and outs of proper usage.
Attention then turned to Sonja, who touted Sonja Home, her still−unfinished line of household items, focusing most notably a toaster oven. Throughout the season, Sonja butted heads with Heather, a businesswoman who created a popular shapewear line, over the design for the toaster oven’s box and packaging. Two photo shoots, several screaming matches and one still−unavailable toaster oven later, Sonja sat on the couch and pulled out mock−ups for the logo, designed by “fans,” as if trying to belittle Heather’s creative work. Whoa, Sonja. That was actually a pretty rude move to make, especially towards Heather, who actually cared about Sonja’s brand enough to go in with her on this charade of business know−how.
LuAnn’s alleged affair with a hipster pirate — completely serious — in St. Barths made for interesting conversational fodder. On a vacation to the island of St. Barths, the ladies sans Aviva spent an evening at a dance club with a man known only as Tomas. As several castmates attested, Tomas came home with LuAnn that evening and [insert your own joke about pirates, sex and booty here]. After about a mile and a half of backpedaling with excuses, phone calls in foreign languages and outright lies about Tomas being there — he was, then he wasn’t, then he was an “Italian friend” — LuAnn finally came out with it and admitted that she lied to keep a bad−looking situation from getting any worse. Funny, since she was miked during all of her conversations and someone on the crew surely knew how to translate French. Better luck next time, Lu.