I’d like to start out by saying that I feel so much closer to these women than ever before. Last Wednesday, I had the great honor of attending the Real Housewives of New York premiere party, which was hosted in a very dark sushi restaurant in Midtown. The attendees all appeared to be either 25 or 50. The party was sponsored in part by cheese.
The press room where the Bravolebrities were being slowly braised by a combination of bright lights and body temperatures raised by stress and desperation allowed me to have two lovely, albeit brief, conversations with Heather Thompson and Ramona Singer (both were excited about the upcoming season, and both agreed that the hiatus had been too long), as well as the opportunity to be personally blown off by Sonja Morgan. To be fair, it was really hot in that room. I was also able to gawk at Countess Luann and Kristen Taekman from afar (both were tall and gorgeous), and drink a complimentary glass of Ramona Pinot Grigio instead of rehydrating with actual water after leaving the press room (it was fine!).
The point is, the Housewives are now my close, personal friends, and I’m not sure if I can continue to report on them objectively. Just kidding.
Previously, on the premiere, Aviva drank a conciliatory shot of tequila, while Ramona drank hers with suspicion. Aviva also asked Carole for help editing her memoir. This will be important later. #BOOKGATE
Carole and Aviva meet in an empty restaurant to discuss this further. Aviva offers to set Carole up with one of the fifteen hot men currently moving boxes into her new apartment. She has also purchased the same glasses as Carole — or, to hear Aviva tell it, she “Single White Female-d her.” This is not a great look, but neither is Carole immediately being offended that Aviva stole her look, which is also not a good look. Still with me?
“I’ve been under a rock, writing a book,” Aviva says. “It’s a memoir.”
She pronounces the writing experience “a lot of fun,” which should be your first clue that this is not a masterpiece. There’s a pissing contest over how neither woman will allow herself to be edited, and then some pointed questions about hiring ghostwriters. Let me sum it up:
Carole: I’m a writer.
Aviva: I’m a writer.
Carole: I’ve been writing for 20 years.
Aviva: Did you hire a ghostwriter? Because I hate ghostwriters. I just write.
Carole: I’m a writer and a journalist. That’s, like, double the amount of writer.
It is an exhausting conversation that has probably been repeated verbatim by someone annoying who has an MFA talking to someone else at a party who has a WordPress blog (and is also annoying). Of course it’s galling to be a professional writer, or professional anything-creative, and constantly have dumb people say things to you like “I always fancied myself something of a [anything-creative] before I decided to go into finance and make piles of money” or whatever, but it’s one of the hazards of the job. Like never being appreciated enough as you think you ought to be, and never making any money.
Anyway, the scene ends and both women depart to spread the gospel of #BOOKGATE throughout New York City, like a case of the measles. The Aviva Apology Tour continues with Aviva meeting Ramona in a liquor store to get advice on buying wine. As long as all of their interactions consist of Aviva positively reinforcing Ramona’s love of booze, those two should be good! Then, the skies darken and the wind picks up as Aviva tells Ramona that she had a “disturbing” lunch with Carole.
Meanwhile, Carole meets Kristen and Heather to walk through Central Park in workout gear while holding Starbucks cups. Carole gives a different account of her lunch with Aviva. She thinks she’s “delusional.”
Back at the liquor store, Aviva has some hot goss. “Carole shopped her novel at my publishing house, and they passed,” she says. Juicy! She also heard a rumor that Carole did use a ghostwriter for her first book. Juicier!
Although I sympathize with Carole’s annoyance, she seems rather eager to mix it up with Aviva, and not a little defensive. Heather has a brilliant rebuttal to Aviva’s accusation: the book was a New York Times bestseller and Carole promoted it on Oprah. There you have it, folks.
“Is [the memoir] about her leg?” Kristen asks.
…This seems like a good point to dispatch with the episode’s filler so we can return to #BOOKGATE. Kristen has Heather and her husband over for dinner, and they bond over their young children’s health issues. Also, Aviva has a very intense-looking personal assistant whose real name, as far as I can tell, is Matt Dillon. She is also on great terms with her ex-husband Harry, who she says is both her husband’s brother in law and her fifth child. They get along so well that Aviva doesn’t even seem that freaked out when Harry tells her that he’s going out with Sonja later that night. Apparently she’s been texting him all day, trying to lure him to
Grey Gardens her scary house.
Speaking of scary houses, Sonja is hanging out in her shapewear with an uncommunicative bro who, the chyron tells us, is yet another intern. Sonja and Kristen are getting spray tanned in Sonja’s bathroom. If I hadn’t seen her with my own two eyes last week, looking fabulous and still using the expression “cray-cray,” I would be a little worried that Sonja was actually a ghost, forever doomed to wander around her house haunting the interns. Kristen gets sprayed first while Sonja languorously sips water and checks her out. It is as uncomfortable as it sounds.
Heather and Aviva get plot-advancing pedicures, so named because Aviva doesn’t realize that Heather is on a stealth mission is to expose her for using a ghostwriter.
“Is the book about your leg?” Heather asks, improbably becoming the second person to make the mistake of asking Aviva if she wrote a whole book about her leg.
“No one is going to know to buy your book unless there’s some kind of tragedy [to use as a peg [leg] [sorry]],” she adds.
Sonja and Henry go on their date and Henry immediately compliments her boobs, just in case we weren’t sure about where everyone was emotionally. Sonja tells Harry she can’t be with him because she has to launch her swimsuit collection. They leave the restaurant and Sonja invites him over to become imprisoned in her house forever.
“I won’t do anything I haven’t done before,” Harry says, creepily.
“That doesn’t leave much,” says Sonja. This is like a porn parody of Sex And The City, and I resent the show holding me hostage for it. I NEED MORE #BOOKGATE.
(Bizarre interlude alert: Sonja sometimes has an intern Sharpie the corners of her Chanel bags, which have apparently all been lightly toasted by votive candles at one point or another).
At Aviva’s climactic housewarming party Aviva tries to convince Ramona and Kristen that Carole used a ghostwriter for her memoir (which will prove…something? I still don’t understand), and Kristen is like, “No.” Ramona is skeptical, but fulfills her Housewifely duty by passing on the ghostwriting accusation to Carole.
“I feel like I took a bullet,” Carole says, which is a bit much. She immediately hauls Aviva into another room to argue about it. To invoke a classic reality TV/Housewives aphorism: this is not the time nor the place for an intellectual property battle. This is clearly something that ought to be hashed out passive aggressively over untouched plates of food in one of New York’s emptiest restaurants. Shame on you, Carole.
Carole feels insulted, Aviva feels condescended to, aaand the ghostwriting accusation is finally made to Carole’s face. Meanwhile, Sonja says that Carole told her it took her five years to write the memoir and she was “on the phone with her co-writer” constantly. Ramona’s eyes gleam like a wolf’s in the dark.
“If Carole says there’s no co-writer, there’s no co-writer,” Sonja says, because it literally doesn’t matter to her what comes out of her mouth from moment to moment.
And back at #Bookgate Ground Zero, it’s on: Carole has been working as a journalist for decades, she reminds us and Aviva. “What are you? You’re nothing. You’ve never had a job outside the home.”
Let the #MOMMYWARS commence.