Well, I had a good run (lol no I didn’t my entire life has been a nightmare but anyway) but I am now a cadaver in a coffin with too much foundation and a bad suit from the Merona section of Target and my lips visibly sewn shut like Madonna’s mom in that one video. I’m typing this from my grave because who knew, the silver lining of the afterlife (apart from being dead) is that there’s wifi.
I am a survivor. I’ve survived abuse, poverty, mental illness, two recessions, five lay-offs, swine flu, Avril Lavigne, Sarah Palin, the 2016 election, a drive-by shooting at my neighborhood Starbucks and the new and improved “Roseanne: Now With More Nazis,” or whatever that shit is.
Nothing could have prepared me for this.
My family had a dog once who survived licking up a huge puddle of garage-floor antifreeze but then died from eating a pair of my stepmother’s pantyhose. I am that dog. Dorinda Medley on last night’s “Real Housewives of New York” is my pantyhose.
Fun fact! Puerto Rico still doesn’t have electricity since they got blown back into the 1800s from last year’s goddamn hurrikin (I use British pronunciations whenever possible thank you). This is because our country is an indecent mockery run by people who are also indecent mockeries, which is why our government did basically nothing for Puerto Rico and then our “elected officials” (LOLWAT) mostly just let them and then went on MSNBC with the Mayor or San Juan to be like “THIS IS AN OUTRAGE HASHTAG RESIST” because this is what passes for governance in The Republic of Gilead or whatever the hell this place is as of January 20, 2017.
But! Thankfully, there is ONE person from the suppurating asshole that is mainland America who’s been stepping up to do shit for Puerto Rico on the scale that the government of the wealthiest (lol for now) and most powerful (lol for now) nation (lol for now) on earth should be doing, and because OF FUCKING COURSE IT IS, it is one of the stars of “Andy Cohen’s Gay Men Laughing at Misogyny Both External and Internal: A Variety Hour,” which was the working title of the “Real Housewives” franchise prior to finding distribution on a network that used to air taped operas.
I am, of course, talking of one Bethenny Frankel, God save her. This chick has leveraged her fame and insane rags-to-riches wealth to fly planeloads of aid over to Puerto Rico while our government continues tripping on their dicks and we citizens pass our days screaming at each other on the internet about whether the word “stupid” is ableist hate speech or whatever. *presses play on Whitney’s “Star Spangled Banner.”*
Peep this: in addish to supplies — food, water, toily papes, generators, all manner of stuff — B-Franx has also been flying down there with duffel bags stuffed full of DEBIT CARDS like a mafia boss, as Dorinda rightly points out. She hands them out to folks because that way the people not only get supplies, but also some modicum of dignity and autonomy, AND it stimulates the economy of the island! And like I’m sure some Berniebro named Travis will dip into the comments to explain how this is neoliberal globalist late-capitalist malarkey, and look, my degree is in goddamn Theatre and I voted for Hillary Clinton instead of picking up my toys and storming off to vote for a Russian-backed “doctor” who thinks vaccines cause lockjaw and night-vision or whatever, so what do I know? Travis might be right! BUT IT SOUNDS PRETTY DAMN GOOD TO ME. Bethenny’s a goddamn genius. And, I mean, talk about using your privilege.
Anyway, the time has come for Bethenny to take another trip to accompany some other extremely wealthy people who at some point did the most un-American thing you can do, which is take a look at all your heaps of money and be like “You know what? I think this’ll do” and pivot to charity work. And because she wants to inspire her friends to join her in doing good and also there are cameras and she’s under contract, Bethenny wants to take one of the Housewives along. As we learned during last season’s reunion, paragons of elegance and comportment Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan voted for Tr*mp, bosso profundo songstress Luann de Lesseps declined to answer the question which means she did too, and Tinsley Mortimer just vocal-fry rambled some shit about voting not being “my thing” because she is an anthropomorphized sheaf of 98-Bright Gloss Finish copy paper.
So B-Boz’s choices for travel companions who wouldn’t step off the plane and be like “Eew, do your hair Concepcion” were limited to outspoken Democrats Carole Radziwill, with whom Bethenny is maybe sort of probably on the outs, or Dorinda Medley, the only other normal person with a heart on this godforsaken progrum (British pronunciations when possible). So Dorinda it is.
Off they go to Miami, where they’ll meet up with the other do-gooders before jetting to Puerto Rico the next morning. All is well, Dorinda is moved and impressed by Bethenny’s efforts, the people Bethenny is partnered with are amazing, and it’s all very cool and inspiring and also another stark reminder that our country has devolved into a disgusting toilet run by one of those turds that expands when it hits the toilet water into a terrifying mass that you regard with revolted disbelief, except it’s an actual human man you can’t just flush down the toilet and be done with because American Exceptionalism™
Anyway. The clan meets for dinner at some elegant Miami sushi bar. Bethenny and Dorinda show up and before she even speaks, we can tell what Dorinda we’re getting. I really don’t think there’s ever been a telly personality whose drunkenness was so distinctive. We’ve seen all the Housewives drunk at one time or another, letting loose and getting silly, but Dorinda’s drunkenness… I don’t know how else to describe it: it’s baroque, and it’s specific. There’s a specific movement of the body, a specific noodliness to the limbs, a specific slur to the words so resplendent that they stop being words at all. Most of all, there’s a demeanor. To know drunk Dorinda is to love drunk Dorinda because the moment you see that sway or hear those oral elisions, you know what you’re about to see is going to be fucking ICONIC BB.
Of course, a Housewife’s iconicness is measured in gifs. So consider, if you will, that “Dorinda drunk gif” returns over 150,000 results on Google. And then consider that those search terms return nearly ALL of Dorinda’s quintessential moments:
And, of course, the ne plus ultra:
The ONLY iconic Dorinda moment that does not involve intoxication and hence is missing here is the heart-wrenching moment when she goes to London, accompanied by Carole, to retrieve her late husband Richard’s ashes which holy shit I just discovered when I tried to Google an image for it that it was the other way around: it was Carole’s late husband’s ashes and Dorinda tagging along, so scratch this entire paragraph: ALL OF DORINDA’S ICONIC MOMENTS INVOLVE INTOXICATION.
“Dorinda and Intoxicating Imbibants” is one of the great duos of history, up there with, like, Bogie & Bacall and Liz & Dick and like I don’t know Pyramus & Thisbe or whatever.
We are not in some kicky Italian restaurant in the Bronx, or a Christmas party in the Berkshires, or one of Ramona’s tacky shitshows in the Hamptons. We are at a dinner for people who are literally saving lives no one else can be bothered to save. And Dorinda, while doing her best (seriously A for effort, D), is slurring and falling all over the table, she can’t figure out her chopsticks, she eats some shredded cabbage and half of it stays stuck behind in her lipstick, her hair is even kind of disshevelled. At a table of sober people soberly discussing saving lives while sober.
BUT THEN. That dude I mentioned earlier who was like, “This is enough money I’m going to help people now thanks” starts talking about his experiences in post-earthquake Haiti and how they relate to Puerto Rico, and Dorinda perks up. Her late husband, you see, was some kind of government figure who did a lot of work in Haiti before he died, so she’s an authority and has bones to pick. I’m not entirely sure — because she’s so drunk it’s essentially incomprehensible — but it seems like her bone of contention is the idea that Haitians have any hope of reclaiming self-sufficiency and, ergo, that Puerto Ricans have any hope of same either.
That’s bad enough on its face.
But Do-Gooder MacGillicuddy knows firsthand exactly what the post-earthquake Haitian landscape is, and what the post-hurrikin Puerto Rican landscape is, and both landscapes are essentially “Dorinda you do not know what you are talking about at all please eat some carbs and drink some water at once.” And when he gently explains such, Dorinda curtly interrupts him by slurring, “That’s not what I asked you.” It’s a moment you have to see to understand — if this were a hacky scripted series there’d have been a record scratch and a freeze-frame on everyone’s politely mortified faces before cutting to Bethenny imploding into a puff of humiliated dust that blows away on a draft from the HVAC system. It was the precise moment I crumpled in on myself in secondhand horror.
Oh also? It is only 7:00 at night.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Dr. DoGood and Bethenny politely push back on Dorinda, saying something along the lines of “What do we do then, just leave them all to fend for themselves?” (I’m paraphrasing) at which Dorinda angrily slurs some unintelligible comeback. Then Bethenny — who it must be stated is doing the finest job of keeping her cool I’ve ever seen, because I would have chewed open my wrist veins the moment Dorinda opened her mouth — tells Dorinda she doesn’t want her to go on the trip to Puerto Rico the following morning. The entire thing is done in that careful, walking-on-eggshells tone one takes with a loose cannon drunk liable to make a scene.
This is the point at which my breathing stopped.
Then Dorinda says something else unintelligible, stands up and storms out while declaiming, “You always ruin everything,” leaving Bethenny behind to explain to her offended colleagues that this is not representative of who Dorinda is and she is actually a very intelligent and compassionate person, all of which is true, and this is the moment at which I went into cardiac arrest and went to be with Jesus goodbye.
I mean… the sheer horror of being Bethenny in this situation! I’ve lived a lot of places and so I have several disparate circles of friends, and when one of them comes to town the thought of introducing one circle to another, let alone actually doing it gives me an actual anxiety attack. My best friend from LA came to visit during Hallowe’en (British pronunciations) two years ago and I took him to a party at some friends’ house, and the entire time I thought I was going to blow a torrent of nervous diarrhea through the back of the “LGBT for Hillary” t-shirt I wore because I don’t do Hallowe’en, because what if LA friend thought Chicago friends were dumb Midwestern rubes or Chicago friends thought LA friend was some coastal asshole snob and hence they saw the truth of me, which is that I am a dumb Midwestern rube who thinks he’s a coastal asshole snob? And like in the end, it worked out fine and LA friend had a great time and Chicago friends loved LA friend and it was all totally okay and even fun, but also there were Naked Hallowe’en Gays™ there and I looked really fat in that Hillary t-shirt and Hallowe’en is stupid and just the entire thing was an actual nightmare.
This Bethenny and Dorinda thing is all of that except quintupled and instead of Hallowe’en at a delightful Chicago apartmenthouse it’s a fancy dinner about saving actual human lives left to languish by a nakedly racist shambles of a government rapidly devolving into autocracy on an island recently destroyed by a hurrikin and instead of your drunk New York friend and your Miami humanitarian friends getting along like a house afire the former actually insults the latter and then storms off while slurswearing and the latter are like “Ay yo the fuck is this bitch’s actual deal B?”
It’s been hours and I’m still not over it.
The next morning, of course, Dorinda is up and at ’em and ready to go to Puerto Rico because she has self-awareness and is not actually a trashperson. (I mean, you know Ramona’s ass would have already hitchhiked up I-95 back to New York rather than face her responsibilities and Sonja would still be where we left her the previous night sexually harassing a busboy and Tinsley would be flipping her dumb hair talking about how she’s Eloise for the 487th time and Luann would just be in New York bosso profundo-ing about her 45-minute marriage because she would never have bothered coming on this trip in the first place.)
But then Bethenny confronts Dorinda — as a true friend would — about how she thinks Dorinda’s an alcoholic, and then Dorinda feels double embarassed and admits that she’s actually really struggling in her life and not over her husband’s death and really not sure about her relationship with If Paul Sorvino Was a Dry Cleaner (I forget his actual name and can’t be bothered to Google) and, man, I just really love Dorinda a lot and I’m sad that she’s sad. Legit. I’m glad she and Bethenny made amends and could go do some good together, but man. Hashtag Hugz4Dorinda.
So anyway, this was an emotional rollercoaster that was surprising even by RHONY standards. Or maybe it’s just my social anxiety talking. IDK.
Anyway since this is ostensibly a recap, some other shit happened in this episode too.
Tinsley, a 42-year-old woman who still calls her mother “Mommy” which makes me want to leave the Earth, has lunch with Carole, who talks about her troubles with Adam’s big-nosed sexy ass (he’s like Adrien Brody but sexier), and Tinsley IDK just sits there I guess, I honestly don’t remember because I just glaze over every time she comes onscreen unless she’s yelling at Sonja.
Speaking of whom, Sonja’s trying to rent out her decaying townhouse and spends the entirety of her screentime sexually harassing the gay photographer taking her listing photos and who cares.
Luann meets her daughter Victoria for wine and Victoria asks for ice for her rosé and Luann is perfectly fine with this, despite the fact that she likes to lecture the other women about their etiquette and front like she’s Martha Stewart, but I guess that makes sense since she is actually a nurse who married for money and got so drunk last season she walked off a ledge into a creosote bush.
And Ramona shows up for mani-pedis with Carole and Tinsley (I think? Who remembers) talking about how she’s dressed for the gym even though LOL she knows she’s going to end up blowing off the gym and I’m not kidding that was literally her entire storyline.
That Dorinda shit though. *checks self for restored corporeal form* Nope, still dead!