As fast as the producers of The Real Housewives of New York City can drag some — any! — outside characters onto the show, the Housewives scorch them away with the blue fire of their own internal rage, like some sort of urban bug zapper. In this episode, real-life publicist Alison Brod is nearly thrown across the room after accidentally wandering between the dangerously standoffish Kelly and Bethenny. Flamboyant society fashion designer Zang Toi is untethered and allowed to float off after Jill has finished having him help her seem popular. We pitied the random women who agreed to co-chair Jill Zarin's fund-raiser for Alzheimer's. All that was left of them after the explosion of tension that occurred when Kelly declined to be named on the invite were smoldering lumps of metal and plastic. Collateral damage, we suppose. Because what were they doing there in the first place? By now, it should be clear to anyone that there is simply not enough room on this show to contain anything other than the insane, childish, sometimes frightening rage the women have for each other!
Such scorched-earth battles do not always produce a clear victor. But someone won this week's episode by playing fair and acting decent, for a change. Let's assess our players.
Jill: Mother hen Jill made a strong showing in this episode. She strategically showed up to Zang's studio in a white garbage bag so that when she tried on his dresses (some of which were lovely, and some of which looked like they had decidedly un-lovely giant pink caterpillars on them), she looked surprisingly skinny and glam. We were in fact a little surprised that his studio had dresses lying around that would fit her, and completely didn't believe him when he said one dress was a "runway size 2." His tiny Asian assistants could not keep their eyes inside their heads when Jill squeezed not one, but two enormous boobs into dresses that were meant for little-boy bodies like theirs. Jill also handled Kelly's monstrousness with a medium amount of grace, but she lost points when she undermined Bethenny during a confessional, indicated she was aware she was giving her daughter an eating disorder and then kept doing it, and asked for a Diet Coke because she "needed some sugar." Come on, hello?
Ramona: Ramona had been doing so well this season. But she fell off the righteous path when she couldn't just laugh at Simon the way everyone else does, and instead took him seriously by saying what she Really Thinks, which is never good. We know Simon has no depth and is feminine. That's why the producers showed him checking out one of the male model's asses at the fashion show and included the awkward bit where he said "I'm certainly not getting you pregnant" to Alex and then awkwardly tried to pretend it was because of a vasectomy. Anyway the point is that judging the people on the show is the viewer's job, not the cast's. Also, the spastic wiggle that she does at the beginning of the show, when they introduce the cast, is starting to give us a headache. (What is that? Is her heel broken?)
Alex: In this episode, Simon claimed to have broken free from his wife, becoming his own man. "I'm no longer Mr. Alex McCord!" he crowed. This, of course, is bad for him and good for Alex, as now we don't tar her with the same brush. We liked that Alex knew about Brooklyn design team Christopher Dean and Sophia Eugene because she found them by walking around her neighborhood. Unfortunately, Simon's weirdness in this moment and in many subsequent others overshadowed Alex and her poor, if brave and interesting, fashion choices.
Bethenny: Oh, Bethenny. She usually does so well at this game! Unfortunately, this week she was unable to control her simmering anger over a time two years ago when Kelly ignored her at a party and hit on her photographer ex-boyfriend. Hello, have you seen the way Kelly talks? If she doesn't flirt, she seems weirdly mopey and blinky. Had Bethenny not aggressively frozen out Kelly at the Jill Stuart fashion show early in the episode, her anger at the charity-board meeting would have seemed righteous, not bitter. And although her conversation with Jill about the placement of Kelly's boobs was hilarious, Bethenny's line that she's "not fabulous enough" for Kelly indicated that the problem was actually hers. Which is a shame, because Kelly definitely deserves to be bitch-slapped by a worthy opponent.
Kelly: Without question, Kelly is the loser of this show. Near the end, Chris's boyfriend woke up from his slumber on the couch just long enough to ask, "Why does her skin keep changing color?" But it wasn't just her physical problems, which could have been ameliorated by the mere glimpse of her fantastic legs in the Malo store. It was everything that came out of her mouth, too. Like:
• When she said she didn't like to put her name on charity lists because she's "a very private person." We wonder if the Bravo reality crew who follows her around all day had to re-record that line because they burst out laughing.
• Or when she implied that she made a living on her "journalism," which apparently consisted only of writing her occasional column for Page Six Magazine, a publication that no longer exists and that, in its heyday, could not possibly have paid her more than $1,000 every three weeks.
• Or when Jill told her that Allie, her daughter, has arthritis, and Kelly responded, "Oh, that's so cute."
• Or when she told LuAnn that she didn't have enough time for her "own charities," and then when LuAnn asked her what charities she worked with, she said she didn't work with any, because she was so busy. (See above re: not having a real writing job.)
• Or when she didn't say anything at all but just mimed a conversation with two unaware people beside her at the fashion show so she wouldn't have to join the fight between Ramona and Simon. (Well, that was kind of awesome.)
• Or when she caused a scene about not wanting her name on Jill's charity event. She says she goes to parties for a living. Doesn't she know "Honorary Chairpeople" don't actually have to do anything?
• Or when she said "I'm not in this business to be cunning." Really?
LuAnn: The Countess took us by surprise this time around, mostly because she didn't do anything gaudy or stupid. She tolerated Kelly's unwillingness to do anything fun or interesting, but did not cut her any slack when she tried to bullshit her way out of the charity discussion. She looked better in that wrap sweaterdress than Kelly did, but let her take it. She even looked less shiny than normal. Thus, we declare her the winner of the episode! Yay, LuAnn!
Auxiliary Winner: That old lady behind Bethenny and Kelly at the Jill Stuart show who was wearing a crown and holding a scepter.