I have never liked Luann. Back in the first few seasons, she was an insufferable snob. Then, as her marriage fell apart before our eyes, she was a primary perpetrator in the demise of Bethenny and Jill’s friendship – the “Laverne and Shirley” of the show. This lead to Bethenny’s status as show MVP and to Jill becoming so hated, that a reality television blog named itself, “I Hate Jill Zarin.” Luann only got worse, as the seasons wore on. And then she finally, thankfully, got booted off the show.
But then she came back. At first, it wasn’t terrible. She was a bit boring, perhaps, aside from the occasional scandal (I’m looking at you, Johnny-Depp-pirate). But she wasn’t terribly offensive. That outrage was reserved for the true crazies, like prosthetics-throwing Aviva with the smutty-talking father.
And now, Luann has gone back to being insufferable. She may be a Countess (and even that is debatable), but she’s certainly the queen of delusion. And it’s not the kind of delusion where your heart goes out to them, where they are struggling with an awful reality they cannot handle. It’s more sinister than that. It’s craftier, more cynical, even a bit evil.
So we find ourselves back in Miami, back to Luann having heart palpitations over this alleged photo of Tom making out with another woman. It literally all played out like a soap opera:
Luann demanding to see the photo. Luann coughing and gagging as she looks at the photo. Luann running into her room and pretending to throw up in the bathroom. Bethenny crying into her pillow as her “crew” walks in to comfort her. Luann collapsing on the floor as her “crew” rushes to her side. Bethenny taking comfort in a bottle of – what else? – SkinnyGirl vodka. Luann knocking on the door of Bethenny’s room. Bethenny having her “crew” exit stage left so that she could converse privately with Luann. Luann reading aloud her texts to Bethenny. Tom calling and Lu swishing off in her maxi dress to Bethenny’s bathroom to take the call. Luann flouncing out to deliver the ultimate soap opera line, “I knew it was too good to be true.” Luann flouncing back in to Bethenny’s room, demanding her Bloody Mary. Bethenny’s hand shaking violently as she sipped her vodka. A+ performance everyone! Brava! Your daytime Emmy nomination should be in any day now.
As the other women went back and forth between the rooms, like an endlessly shifting tide of gossip and empathy, interesting facts emerged. The incriminating photo took place on the previous Wednesday night, a night that Luann had gone out to dinner with Tom at the exact same place the alleged makeout sesh took place. Bethenny called the bar to make sure that this actually happened (a little much perhaps, but with delusional Lu, you need to have as many facts on your side to cut through all that). Lu apparently has more money than Tom, and the last girlfriend he had was very rich. And, finally, I’m not sure this was actually said, because Lu was stuttering over this a bit, but it sounded like Lu was about to admit that she would never actually give up her Countess title (so she was never planning on marrying him?)
Even as this drama went down, Luann (in cahoots with her partner-in-crime Dorinda), began making excuses for him. He was drunk, it probably didn’t mean anything, maybe it happened months ago. And Dorinda did her part to fuel the delusion.
Dorinda, as usual, used this opportunity to pit herself against Bethenny, to play the game of “true friend.” She questioned Bethenny’s motives for saying over this information now, even questioning whether this information could possibly be true. But what Bethenny did, and the way she did it – waiting until their trip was nearly over, until they had a quiet moment together, was the best possible scenario for giving Luann this information. But apparently that wasn’t gentle enough for her. See Dorinda has a hidden agenda – demonize Bethenny because she dared to skip out on her itinerary and ruin Dorinda’s chances of being seen as head bitch in chief.
It’s also Dorinda’s attempt to save her own ass. Dorinda really doesn’t want any of this to be happening, perhaps even more so than the scorned woman herself – Luann. After all, Dorinda set Luann and Tom up. This is her pride and joy. The source of her greatest storyline. The link that will ensure that she will be on camera next season, maid of honor duties fully in place.
But that hope was soon squashed when she realized that Luann would try to use her as her shield. After they all arrived home from Miami, Dorinda got a call from Luann, who then proceeded to hand the phone to Tom, who then told her that it’s Dorinda’s job to take the bullet for them and make it right. And if she didn’t, she wouldn’t be invited to the wedding – essentially threatening Dorinda’s golden ticket.
And there’s one thing Dorinda won’t stand for – being used by others. She gets enough of that from Slimy Johnny. So it makes sense that she would then blab to all the ladies about the way Tom spoke to her, the way the couple tried to get her to make some kind of excuse or statement on their behalf. It was her way of sticking it to Luann, by doing what she does best: shit-stirring. I think the threat of not being filmed, of not partaking in the wedding, pushed Dorinda to the edge. So she, naturally, backstabbed Luann.
As for Luann’s shady relationship with Tom, it all makes sense now. Luann didn’t say, “I’m hurt by you.” She said, “Why did you have to do this in front of everyone we know?” Because Luann doesn’t care that it happened. She cares that everyone knows, that he embarrassed her. Which lends credence to my theory that they do have an open relationship. But because Luann thinks that such things are anti-romantic and more than a little shameful, she doesn’t want to admit the truth.
Sonja – who has really become the voice of reason and sanity on this show – speaks for all of us when she says that Luann doesn’t want to deal with the fact that there is an issue, because she just wants to get married. Full stop. As I’ve written before, Sonja has blossomed right before our eyes. And, as someone who has battled delusion her whole life, she doesn’t just understand Luann, she has lived it. She knows that the preservation of this image of happiness is vital, and that Tom’s indiscretion was just that – an inconvenient indiscretion that just needs to be managed so that Tom and Luann could just reach the finish line: the wedding.
So they need to spin the incriminating information to Luann and Tom’s favor (much like politicians do). She booked a hotel room in lieu of running back to him, knowing how humiliating that would be. Instead, she uses that time to come up with a narrative. A narrative starring her as the heroic woman, overcoming this horrible offense, like the brave and noble woman she is.
So, while prepping for the contractually obligated fiesta finale party (hosted by Bethenny), she gave us the official “story” in her talking head (since Dorinda refused to be her messenger). She called the kiss stupid, saying Tom was devastated, that it meant nothing. And then proceeded to make up a story about how the night of the kiss they got into a fight. Tom then miraculously discovered a woman at the bar who could take away all that pent-up man pain, and passively “fell” into the clutches of a woman “who was ready, willing and able.” The fight sounds about as real as Ramona’s boobs. And, predictably, Luann re-affirmed her love for him.
After weeks of staying on the down-low, Slimy Johnny made a reappearance at the party looking as sweaty and swarmy as ever. Half the women wore sexy jumpsuits, to Andy Cohen’s delight. Dorinda got confronted on her bullshit by Bethenny. They all took photobooth pics wearing cheesy sombreros and holding other ridiculous props. And, just as Bethenny was telling the women that there was $10,000 of jewels in the piñata, Luann stomped over in her Herman Munster shoes and threatened to leave unless Bethenny stopped talking about her.
But, unfortunately for Luann and her carefully planned-out confrontation, they weren’t. She assumed that the women would be talking about Tom – which isn’t such a crazy assumption in reality television land. Seeing the women grouped together, one would assume that would be the moment to discuss THE hot topic. And since Luann has decided to shape the story in a way where Bethenny is the villain, and she and Tom are the victim of her nefarious scheming, it makes sense that she would impose a confrontation that would further put viewer sympathy on her side. Unfortunately for Luann, Bethenny did not allow Luann to take her victim status and run with it. She called her out, rightfully so. Realizing that she was outmatched, that she had no sidekick to help her go for the kill, Luann stalked out of the party. Good riddance.
And just like that, Real Housewives of NYC is officially over for the season. Thank you all so much for reading and commenting as I recapped these crazy kiddos. Don’t worry, I will still be recapping the reunion next week – where nothing will happen except a bunch of over-dressed, crazy-eyed women will be yelling over each other. Fun.