We open the season 9 finale with Bethenny walking in on Carole talking to her cats. Carole and Bethenny scenes are always painfully boring but it did jog my memory that Bethenny had two new puppies introduced at the beginning of the season. Whatever happened to Biggie and Smalls? My assumption is they perished from internal trauma after being viciously kicked by Ramona in her heels. Bethenny calls Carole’s apartment a “pussy sauna” because that is the kind of “edgy” and “real” shit (along with those painfully lame dog names, btw) that has had basics worshipping her for a decade now. Carole prompts her to start talking about her apartment flipping woes and my mind drifts back to thoughts of dead puppies to entertain myself. Bravo loves a subtlety-free lead-in to a spinoff (see: Vanderpump Rules/RHOBH) and I refuse to dignify this particularly mind-numbing concept with any attention.
Thankfully we cut to the couple de la semaine: Luann and Tom. They are playing tennis while Luann narrates in her talking-head about how they have only known each other for a year and a half and are still in their honeymoon phase. It is deliciously cringeworthy considering the news cycle this week and I can’t get enough of it. Luann explains that they are competitive but there is no tension like how Ramona and Mario had when they played tennis, and then we are treated to a delightful flashback of Ramario fighting on the court. Lu and Ramona’s relationship is the only one to span all nine seasons of RHONY and it is a delicious rollercoaster of feuding and détentes, and I was glad to see Lu get another jab in there after Ramona was trashing her marriage all season. Pretty much this entire scene is constantly one-upping the most humiliating quote Lu can make given the timing of this episode airing and the divorce news breaking.
Ramona meets Sonja at her townhouse and she loves the way Sonja has switched up the room they are hanging out in. Sonja claims she never updated her home because she wanted to provide stability for her daughter. She’s grown and gone now though, and Frenchie told her it would look good this way. I don’t care about housewife interior décor usually but upon closer inspection this is the room that previously housed Sonja and her ex’s portraits that she finally put into storage in season 5.
Worry not, the rooster is eternal.
Ramona is so happy post-Mexico trip, especially since she and Bethenny are on good terms now. She informs Sonja that Tinsley is planning a thank you party because “she gives her gifts at the end” and yes that is deliciously passive aggressive so good job, Tins. Ramona thinks Tinsley is just very self-absorbed and only does what’s good for her, which makes sense considering how she selfishly withheld the best room in Mexico from Ramonja. Sonja doubts Tinsley is capable of throwing a party and Ramonja giggle about how her new Carole-arranged boyfriend Scott will probably do all the work.
Cut to Bethenny in her new vacant apartment with a toothless hockey player that she’s now dating. This dude is actually pretty cute compared to the usual losers she shacks up with so good job, B. I also appreciate Bethenny telling him about her friend who has dental issues which allows us to flashback to the fabulous Sonja scene in season 7 where she loses her tooth removing a man’s shirt orally. I prepare myself to die of boredom but then Dorinda walks out of the elevator and my spirit soars. Dorinda could even breathe life into a Cindy Barshop scene, if anyone remembered who or what that even is. B offers her some corned beef sandwich but Dorinda declines as one of the best street meat vendors is downstairs and she couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, I realize they are exploiting Dorinda’s star presence to compel me not to fast forward through this tour of Bethenny’s new real estate venture. I cross my fingers and hope this is our final scene to endure and RHONY season 10 will be Fredrik free.
Speaking of new homes, we move to “Tinsley’s Apartment” which is actually just a swanky suite in a hotel. She explains the commitment of an apartment is still too overwhelming and reminds us that Tinsley is very insane. While she’s on the phone planning the cake for her grand party the camera pans around to all the ridiculous monogrammed/personalized items in the room including her “T” pillow and notepad just in case you had yet to realize Tins is a 16 year old girl trapped in the body of a 41 year old woman.
She wants Sonja to know she’s pissed at her now but she will be eternally grateful to her, which does seem like a unique party theme. It’s always so hard to find something that hasn’t been overdone, so kodus to you, T.
And now for the reason I tune into RHONY each week: my erotic fanfiction come to life. Dorinda has John Madessian over to celebrate her empty-nester status now that Hannah has moved out. Since John doesn’t make any appearances nowadays unless he’s pimping out Madam Paulette, he brings a replica of a dress that Beyonce had cleaned and gives it to Dorinda. They drink champagne and dine and finally he gets Dorinda’s motor running by intensely Windexing her counter, presumably before banging her all night on it. I’m on such a high from their sexual chemistry I daze through the worthless scene that follows of Carole and Adam walking Baby the dog.
Tinsley’s glam squad arrives to get her ready for the party. She let’s them know that she is not afraid of makeup, so we now have one confirmed thing Tinsley does not fear. Cut to Sonja’s townhouse and Frenchie is packing to go to his hotel in France. I don’t think anything of note takes place in this scene but I can’t be certain since the only thing I can focus on is this painting in the background.
You’ll remember this portrait was painted by some artist she was banging in season 4 and unveiled at the party she threw Alex Mccord out of in her S&M dress (thanks, Lu).
And now, to Lovage for the party we’ve been anticipating all episode. What, was Beautique not available for filming? Lu really hit the nail on the head with Money Can’t Buy You Class because damn, this bougie Manhattan party is tacky as fuck.
Every housewife franchise tends to showcase the tastelessness of wealth, but RHONY has always been a touch chicer than its more gauche counterparts. Tinsley’s aesthetic is here to erase that, which I guess is how you can tell she’s not a real New Yorker.
Slowly everyone starts streaming into the party and we get some notable tertiary Upper East Siders like Harry Dubin and Missy “Ramona’s friend/Tom’s ex” that usually guarantee a good time. Turns out Tins employed Ramona to invite Sonja’s friends which she took to mean “invite your friends and also Harry Dubin.” Never change. As the wives start chatting with each other we slowly learn who is on Team Tins and who is Team Sonja. Ramona says she doesn’t know if Sonja is even coming because she thinks the party is just one big “fuck you”. Bethenny is not having any of this party as Ramona’s renewal parties of past have led her to believe all parties are now bullshit.
Turns out the panic is for nothing as Sonja has dragged herself out of bed, thrown on a fur and made it to her party. Sonja still doesn’t believe any of this is real because Tinsley would have shown that she cared while she was actually living with her. She mocks the cake and is disgusted with the Sonjatini cocktail since it is “bar liquor” and Sonja Morgan can’t just drink anything.
Oh good, I knew there was a reason Missy was introduced to us. While Lu is chatting with Dorinda and Bethenny, Tom is off in the background flirting with Missy and another blonde while miced. This scene is edited brilliantly with it flashing back and forth between the girls talking about how Lu has changed so much and given up her title for Tom with Tom joking around with public enemy Missy then removing his mic before telling some story. The one two punch of “de-mic” and “I’m happy to be Mrs.” Glad the producers are enjoying humiliating Luann as much as possible to punish her for selling the wedding as a People exclusive.
Bethenny is really enjoying riling up Sonja and gleefully lets her know the cocktail is made with “Doublecross” vodka. This is par for the course this season with B. She has never been Team Tins. Any reasonable person knows that living with Sonja is akin to a waking nightmare but Bethenny refused to acknowledge the psychosis Sonja had been raining down on Tins in Vermont. She gives Sonja credit for not blabbing about what a giant alcoholic Tinsley is and that she’s been hitting the Tito’s cranberry (what a teenage girl drink, btw) at 8am. I think the show has made it pretty clear the last few episodes that Tinsley drinks a lot but I’m still going to assume that she was a better houseguest than Sonja is a hostess. Sonja defines a deep relationship as farting or talking while on the toilet, and that is just not somewhere she will be going with Tinsley.
Even Noel de Lesseps shows up to this party. He hugs Ramona in greeting and one of her friends thinks he is her new boytoy. Luann is not amused. I’ve never been hot on Noel the way some of my Luannaholic companions are, but he is really growing into the count’s face.
Tinsley gathers everyone and brings Sonja up to bestow her with presents and a toast. She says she doesn’t want either and slams Tins’s “sherbert dress.” Dorinda, ever the perfect woman, chides her for not being gracious. Maybe Bethenny was right and this entire party was a disingenuous plot for Tins to plant a Page Six revenge article about Sonja being an ungracious party guest. Tinsley gives her a pretty generic thank you speech but apparently it is the perfect amount of public groveling for Sonja because she now believes this party is truly to appreciate her.
Tins then gives Sonja a framed photo of them together which Ramona helpfully points out has Tins featured much more prominently while Sonja is off in the background. She can’t help that photographers love taking photos of her when her hair is curled!
It’s fun seeing this framed photo knowing that it will still be sitting in Sonja’s townhouse’s basement 10 years from now, should we survive nuclear winter. Then again, the townhouse seems to appear in some timeless vortex that makes it probably the perfect place to survive catastrophe. Sonja handles the faux pas gracefully, and I’m pretty sure it’s forgotten the minute Tins hands her a $5000 gift card to Bergdorf’s. Sonja celebrates by shoving it inside her vagina.
We end the episode with the expected freeze frame end cards. Tinsley and her rich but normal dude boyfriend are co-habitating and also Bravo couldn’t bother to spell check her name.
Carole is preparing for the New York Marathon, Bethenny has found her “laugh” although it appears bureaucracy will have the last laugh since she can’t get the permits to renovate her new apartment. Kill me. Dorinda is enjoying the unmarried life and John will not be moving in. Bravo quickly edited in a new freeze frame for Luann announcing her divorce from Tom immediately after she utters “there’s nothing better than love.” Ramona is still single, Sonja is still juggling Frenchie and Rocco.
And so we draw to a close on another season of RHONY. Was Jill Zarin right? Was this the most boring season ever? We still have three reunion episodes to anticipate before the final season assessment can be made.