Unlike the novels of Jane Austen or the works of the great filmmaker Michael Patrick King, the story of The Real Housewives of New York City did not end neatly. This is not to say that there was not closure. At the charity event that marked the end of the episode, everyone in the cast seemed genuinely happy and at peace. Jill was exultant at having pulled off the charity event in a recession at a profit, and was looking forward to a cameraless vacation during which she would eat all the French fries she wanted. LuAnn was blissfully distributing dating advice and seduction tips to anyone who would listen. Ramona, fueled by Pinot Grigio, finally got up the gumption to twirl her crush, Simon, around the dance floor while his wife, Alex, looked on smugly, her face, as usual, suggesting that she was in the midst of a vigorous and satisfying session of Kegels. Even Bethenny and Kelly managed to stand next to each other and clink Champagne glasses to good health and cheer, without rolling their eyes or getting into a long, head-bending fight. But the scrolling text that appeared beside them, which apprised us of their post-filming statuses (one of which has already changed), was a stark reminder to us that these women's stories, unlike the other girlish romances we've enjoyed, will continue on. Their lives will all eventually get messy, as they face human events like heartbreak, illness, and death. This is not just reality television. This is life. Intense.
However, we can provide a happy ending in one respect. We have declared a winner of the season!
First, a review of all of the players:
Jill: It is a testament to the friendship between Jill and Ally that her daughter agreed to have a "birds and the bees" talk with her mom on-camera. "Do you know what 'It' is?" Jill asks the 15-year-old girl, nearly causing the poor child to perish, or at least self-neuter to escape the horror. But then things turn sweet, when Jill assures her: "I'll always tell you what I think, but I'll never judge you." Unfortunately, this is the last moment during the episode in which Jill is appealing. It's not so much that she made a fuss about the Frangelico ads, it's that she was so easily hoodwinked by Ramona, who so obviously wanted to cause a fight between the only other two women on the show who are nice to her. (Also, they didn't replace the ads with anything, which was just petulant.) Jill was also monstrous to Ramona over the credit-card situation, a harridan with Bethenny, and an ungracious host. Choice quote: "Tonight is about me." Also, we think maybe she's been using the word "charity" incorrectly (and far too much) this whole time.
Ramona: Ramona isn't necessarily wrong to say that it's tacky to put their own businesses on the marquee, but let's face it, the thing's already going to be featured on a reality show, which is about as "déclassé" as you can get. Plus, once she mentions the Social Register, she's done for. (When Jill asks her where it is, something amazing happens with her eyes — like you can actually see her dissociating from the moment.) There were, actually, a lot of reasons to like Ramona in this episode: We love her admitted addiction to a certain Italian fermented grape, and the endearing way she thought "limpnoodle" was one word, and pronounced "kudos" "kudooze." Her hair at the fashion show somehow had a life of its own, like it had heard about what Madonna was going to do at the Costume Institute but hadn't yet told Ramona. And her dance with Simon at the end was actually kind of touching. But overall, Ramona's incessant, Pinot Grigio–fueled anger was too much of a turnoff. During the pre-party prep, she looked like she had been attacked by bees, and maybe it was one such errant bee in her hair bonnet that caused her to snipe about Jill while she was asking the crowd to be quiet at the event. But whatever the case, we are not sad to see her go for the summer.
Kelly: After last week's madness, Kelly clearly knew she needed to lie low. Unfortunately, she was impossible to not notice, both in the first part of the episode, wherein she kept appearing in strange, corseted brown outfits that looked as though they had been stolen straight off the back of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, and later, in an electric-blue sheath that was so tight her breasts were forced to hide in her armpits. That said, she seemed to be making a real effort to be nice to everybody this time around: "There are so many people in New York who are like, 'I'm so rich, I'm so fabulous,' and Jill's not like that," she said, early on. Okay, we're not sure on what scale, but okay. She even found a way to compliment Simon on his fashion obsession: "He's like a little girl about it!" she said (we think she meant that in a good way). But the epilogue about her — which she clearly wrote herself — was just a little too real for our liking. "The courtroom drama driven by Kelly's latest breakup is finally over. She continues to focus on her beautiful children and her writing career." Yeah, that just made us cringe. Even LuAnn knew better than to write about her real-life problems.
LuAnn: Speaking of which! Every single moment of the show in which the count appeared with his countess, we were paralyzed with anus-clenching awkwardness. "He's passionate about hearing," LuAnn explained about her royal husband. "No, he's passionate about an Ethiopian 20-year-old," Chris's roommate replied. And it was true! We were briefly distracted from thinking about the disintegration of this royal marriage when she told the cameras that she'd once lived in Milan and worked with Italian designers. What kind of small economy-car designers was she talking about? we wondered. Then we started thinking about how those people partially own America's auto industry now, and we got sad. And then she brought her husband to the charity event, and the producers superimposed her talking about the "art of seduction" over pictures of her posing with him, and we were reminded, once again, that she makes us sad. Oh, well, LuAnn. Better luck next season. Maybe you can inherit Max from Kelly — he seems to really like pretending to like cougars, and even we could grow to ignore that abdominal scar.
Alex: Unfortunately for Alex, she was overshadowed by Simon this time around. We couldn't bring ourselves to care about the fact that she hadn't sold any tickets, even though if she'd called us we probably would have gone because we have a speeding-train-wreck fetish. But then Simon wore those red pants that explicitly and shinily outlined his choad, and we could pay attention to nothing else. Seriously, how is New York supposed to sleep at night knowing now that Silex's wang is wider than it is long?? Everything after that, from "BURBERRY PRORSUM" to his "Little Jerry" dance moves, could not distract us.
Bethenny: Bethenny starts the episode with her familiar desperation about dating, asking the once-married mother-of-four Rosie for love tips. "Anyone who will listen!" she explains. "I'm going to start talking to François and Johann about dating." Her self-deprecation during the Moroccan fashion show was less appealing (we're thinking specifically of her "phonetic pronunciation" of "Mohamed" and her cultural stereotyping about multiple wives). Also, we were a little startled when, in her first dress, we nearly got a glimpse of her curtained harem. LuAnn was proud of Bethenny's catwalk, claiming that the way she "sashayed down the runway" was "cuter than words." But if we, or RuPaul, had been there, we might have suggested that she "sashay away." The main point about Bethenny, and what actually led her to win the episode, was that she was completely right during the fight about the signs. The liquor company that donated $20,000 in booze deserved to have a few signs up behind the bar, and after Jill and Ramona were done, there were none. Even so, Bethenny made a point to apologize nicely to Jill and help her calm down before her speech — even though no one once apologized to her. And these are all reasons why Bethenny wins not just the episode, but the season. Well, those and the fact that out of all of the women, Bethenny is the only one we can imagine not only tolerating, but actually really wanting to be friends with.
Auxiliary Winners: Jewelry designer Jeri Cohen. Because she assessed Kelly the second she walked into the store and said to her the exact thing she knew she wanted to hear: "When you take enough Percocet, you have freedom, because there is no more pain." Also, her interactions with her dog reminded us of that amazing scene with Eartha Kitt in the Isaac Mizrahi documentary Unzipped. God, we loved that movie. Jeri Cohen's dog: Because howling "I love you," at a woman that terrifying couldn't have been easy. For a split second, he made the exact face people in hostage videos make. Caterer Andrea "Not a Gold Coast Snobby Bitch" Correale: For correctly guessing that Bethenny would be pissed about the signage, and making an effort to stop Ramona and Jill from taking it down. Rosanna: Because she has a hot older boyfriend who loves her. Also, because she used the phrase, "Meeeeesss Bethenny." R. Couri Hay: Because, unlike Lori Levine, this particular power publicist managed to not have his name printed anywhere during the episode. Franky L'Official: Sorry, we just still think he looks so cute! Artist Hunt Slonem: For the free publicity for one of his endless bird paintings. The Charity Gay With the Eyebrows: Seriously, he was like the Evil Baby on The Simpsons, but smiley.