The Real Housewives of New York – Leap Before You Look


“Since when did this become the Jill Zarin Show?” That was a question tweeted by a viewer at a commercial break during last week’s episode of The Real Housewives of New York City. That is a good question; one that is indicative of how far Jill has fallen.

At first we liked her; she seemed down to earth, despite her pathetic attempts to appear wealthy. Remember when she cajoled her Weeble-Wobble of a husband to rent a private plane to take her daughter 150 miles to fat camp? When Bobby paid $80,000 for the plane alone, just to send Allie to camp for one week, we knew we would have fun watching Jill bankrupt the Family Zarin. I enjoyed how she rented the plane to put us little people in our places and we were the ones who, in the end, felt superior. But then she cwied and cwied over Bobby, Jr. who had some mysterious disease and she was at the hospital everyday taking care of him. We liked her for that.

There was her relationship with Bethenny that seemed genuinely caring. She even tried to get Simon and Alex’s kids into private school. She put up with a perfectly zany decorator who all but lived with her and introduced us to her life advice spouting mother, Gloria, a Jewish Kwai Chang Caine (from the 70’s TV show Kung Fu, for those of you who miss the pop culture reference). Some of Gloria’s life advice had to do with insects. “You must listen to your heart. Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?” she asked Jill. “Yeah, do you want me to kill it?” Jill replied with bright, eager eyes. “It’s ugly and you are paying more attention to it than to me.”

So what happened to Jill this season? Maybe a recap of last week’s episode will help sort things out. But be forewarned. It’s really boring.

The first event of the evening was the oh-so-fun Cocktails and Couture party at Sonja’s house. If this is how rich people party, give me a poor people party any day. Of course, Jill was there with her twin sea snakes, Flotsam and Jetsam, who circled Alex causing her to break out in hives. Flotsam is the first to attack, “Who made you God? I thought Jill was God. She has all those arms and tentacles and spits venom and stuff.” Alex slugs her and downs her drink. “Who’s next?” she growls.

Well, it seems that old Weeble Wobble is next. Alex may slug him but don’t worry; Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. He just stopped by to harass Alex and beg her to talk to Jill. “Why would you do this to her? Are you sorry for what you did? You really hurt her. I can’t stand living with her anymore. Fix it! Please.” Alex graciously tells him that she and his wife have to speak, but what she really wanted to do was slug him and scream, “SHE’S HURT? What about all the shitty things she said to me?” Don’t worry; she is just waiting for the right moment. Meanwhile, Jill is bawling in the background, “I miss Bethenny, I really do,” until Jetsam reminds her that she was sabotaged. “That’s right! I was sabotaged! I hate her!”

Bethenny wasn’t in this episode much as she is getting ready for the move to her own boring reality show about getting married to a nice but boring guy and crying all the time. But she did have a rough time this week. Her father is dying and requested a last visit to set things right. Bethenny calls Ramona who really comes through for her with genuine sympathy and heartfelt advice. Her eyes were still super crazy, though.

The next oh-so-fun event of the night was Kelly’s Gotham Magazine party. Remember when Kelly was prancing around her neighborhood with a clipboard asking guys if they wore underwear? Well, her survey is complete and Survey says: YES. Kelly stood on a table to make a speech and announce the results. “I took a survey to see what people are really, really wearing. Accessories really, really define New Yorkers and all Americans. Accessories are how we navigate our lives. Really. Really. The End.” Here’s a question. Don’t these housewives know anybody but themselves? Kelly must have had only 20 people at her Gotham Party. Heck, if Gotham Magazine threw me a party I could come up with at least 30 people. Call me, Gotham.

Poor Alex goes to the party with her publicity starved husband. “You have my back tonight,” she tells him, “you are my wingman.” So much for husbandly devotion. Ten seconds in, he sits beneath Jill, Sonja and yet another housewife, caressing their legs and looking up their skirts. Even though Alex seems to have changed for the better this season, Simon hasn’t changed at all; he is still really sleazy. And when they got home, Alex slugged him.

“Alex, you’re having a great hair day,” Jill sidles up to her with Flotsam and Jetsam. Sensing that Jill has something up her sleeve, and totally and rightfully pissed at Simon, Alex leaves. “Bye Alex,” Jill sing-songs, surrounded by her posse of sea snakes.

I am skipping Ramona’s re-wedding dress scene except to say that a re-wedding dress should not look like your first wedding dress. Ramona could wear something truly remarkable but her bird brain is leaning toward the feathers. Will the Chicken Dance be their first of the night?

I am also skipping the staged, phony massage/yoga scene….except to say that I am tired of Sonja’s way of ticking things off on her fingers. Whether it’s her closets (Colorado, New York, Florida), what she misses about married life (the driver, the nanny, the housekeeper, the houses, the security guards) or the bad things about divorce (putting kids in their car seats alone, going to the bank alone). Someone put some mittens on her, please.

The last oh-so-fun party of the evening, thrown by the new housewife, was the scene of two big fights, both involving who else? When Ramona reads everyone the email from Bethenny that her father has died, Jill goes ballistic. Not because she is worried about Bethenny and knows how upset she must be. She cries and screams at Ramona, “Why didn’t you tell me? You should have emailed me.” Only Jill would make the death of someone’s father all about her. To her great credit, Ramona stood her ground. “You told Bethenny to get out of your life and hung up on her.” As usual, when someone dares to point out what a creature she is, Jill shrieks, “You know what, Ramona? You are not my friend.” Jill’s going to be awfully lonely soon with only Flotsam and Jetsam for company.

Jill doesn’t waste time. No sooner does she hear the news about Bethenny’s father than she locks herself into the pantry and sends out an email to the world with the news flash. Alex soon arrives and Jill puts on that phony smile she has been wearing all season. “Hi Alex, YOU look beautiful tonight,” she says through clenched teeth. “I got your email,” Alex says through her own clenched teeth, “How could you gossip about someone’s death?” And thus began what will no doubt be chronicled in the history books as “The War Between the Boroughs.” Jill, a master of deflection (Kelly taught her), turns to new housewife, pastes on her phony smile and says, “Look at all the drama she’s creating at your party, I’m sorry.” Jill must think she has people fooled. Poor Alex gets really blotchy and let’s loose. “You are in high school and you are a mean girl! You are in high school and I am in Brooklyn (which made me want to cry, but actually made Jill cackle with glee). I am trying to survive in this economy, raise my kids, work and am trying to make ends meet.”  Wowsers, I think Alex has a lot more going on in her life than just being picked on by Jill – that useless husband, for instance.

Jill fires back, never letting Alex get more than two words in at a time. Finally, and undeservingly, Jill gets the last word. Calmer now, Jill dismisses Alex like she is nothing more than a grasshopper to be squashed, “Fine, Alex. Consider yourself BANNED from the cafeteria table. Oh, and by the way, you can no longer wrun with my fabulous circle of friends.” Three people is a pretty small circle and I think Flotsam is getting ready to slink over to her newer and richer friend, Sonja.

So, yes, Jill is finally losing fans and getting more negative tweets and Bravo is finally posting them on the screen. As for the excuse that Bravo edits the clips to create most of the drama, I’d say Jill is making the editor’s life very easy this season. And I, for one, will never buy a Kodak anything ever again. Well, after I buy my photo printer I won’t.

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