Five episodes to watch while your social media intern pulls the oven away from the wall to look for your tooth.
Welcome back to The Essential…, where I propose five episodes that embody the perfect madness of one special Housewife. Today, I steel my nerves and venture into the liminal horrorscape of Sonja’s townhouse. I’m tying a rope around my waist. If I tug three times, that means pull me out.
S05E11: “This Party Is Toast”
Sonja Morgan is a very legitimate businesswoman who created a very legitimate toaster oven. This episode features Heather Thomson as the Aronofsky heroine tasked with conducting a photo shoot for the oven that never was, and ends with her dead body impaled on a sexy J, culprit still at large.
S05E14: “Slutty Island”
The Ramona/Sonja bond is one of the show’s most troubling, codependent and toxic. That is to say, it’s a hilarious shit show and the closer proximity these two are in, the better. In this excellent episode, Ramonja double team Aviva Drescher at the height of her unlikeability. Bonus points for the grim spectacle of Sonja courting LuAnn’s sloppy seconds as she seduces Thomas the pirate into an evening of anal ecstasy.
S06E04: “Holla in the Hamptons”
Like any great entertainer, Sonja needs a stage now and then. In “Holla in the Hamptons,” Sonja gifts us with a caburlesque — her self-invented medium where she scats ’20s-themed slang while jiggling around in a poorly fitted bustier. Lots of great character touches in this one, including Sonja’s Borrowed House, the revelation that the interns need to screw the license plates on and off any time she wants to drive, the moment where she fires all of her back-up dancers because they’ll make her look bad onstage, and the fantastic throwaway line, “It’s probably all the aluminum in my blood.”
S06E12: “Requiem for a Poodle”
In perhaps the greatest masterstroke of dark absurdism in Housewives history, Sonja holds a memorial for her dead dog, Millou. This segment will forever be my argument for Real Housewives as high art masquerading as low, nailing just the right blend of camp, pathos, comedy, and surrealism.
S07E06: “Double Down On Delusion”
It feels weird to isolate a specific “rock bottom” for Sonja Morgan, a woman who might as well be prospecting for oil the way she keeps digging, but if I had to choose: Sonja uses a girls’ trip to Atlantic City to cycle through all Seven Duffs, humiliating herself in the process. But we learn a lot: Sonja has been in PR her whole life; she parties with John John Kennedy to this day; and Carole Radziwill is not an artist, she’s a fucking correspondent.
S04E02: “March Madness”
Sonja hijacks a marriage equality march.
S06E13: “Win, Place or Sonja”
Sonja’s day at the track goes terribly wrong.
S07E13: “Sonja Island”
Sonja’s madness consumes the cast vacation to Turks and Caicos.
S08E07: “Airing Your Dirty Laundry”
Bethenny does not react to Sonja’s “Tipsy Girl” idea as hoped.