We’ve had a nice long vacation from the New York City “ladies” but, alas, they’re back and haggier than ever (some more haggy than others). We’ve lost Bethenny (can you blame her for leaving?) and there’s no sign of Jennifer Gilbert, the bland-as-a-boiled-potato party planner. When we last saw the ladies, Ramona had been renewed and revamped, Jill had morphed into the Devil, Alex had found her voice, and LuAnn faced Countlessness (plus the realization she didn’t have a voice). Kelly, we learned, was not just insane but mean, stupid, and hate-filled. Sonja was the glue that kept it all together.
Season 4 begins with the last bits of summer and a welcoming in of autumn in New York at a rooftop cocktail party hosted by Ramona.
Let’s break the episode down, one hag at a time.
Ramona (Teetering Hag): “If people can’t handle the truth, it’s really not my problem.”
Ramona is Ramona. We love her, “as is.” Ramona, it seems, has spent the summer stomping grapes for her new Ramona Pinot Grigio. (By the way, WomanAroundTown.com predicted a Ramona wine back in August 2010 here.) The rooftop cocktail party, turns out, is a coming out event for the new vino. At the party, tensions are apparent between Alex and Jill but nothing overly dramatic transpires. Ramona is infused with Ramona (the wine) and looks like she feels pretty darn good.
Back at work, Ramona interviews young ladies, fresh out of college, for assistant jobs. Clearly, none of these young ladies possess the chops to deal with Ramona. There’s a shy, fidgety girl, there’s sensitive Tunisia (named for the country), and another mortified young lady Ramona deems in desperate need of Tru Renewal, Ramona’s skin care line. That’s plugs for two of Ramona’s products, so far. Ramona admits to these girls she’s tough, bitchy, a control freak, and hard to deal with. No surprises.
Later, Ramona pulls a fast one on Jill by hosting Alex and Simon at her posh Hamptons house the night before the wedding of someone we’ve never heard of. Jill gets caught in a fib (she told Alex she couldn’t participate in a charity event because she was going to an “out of town” wedding – yes, out of town – in the Hamptons). Ramona’s gesture is in line with her and Jill’s long-time frenemy status, but you know, Jill can only dish it out. We’ll get to that later.
LuAnn (Hagless): “I thought I had it good before but I’m just getting started!”
Luann, still dating Jacques, has worn a dress with two complete shoulders and armholes! No more Wilma Flintstone dresses, Halleluiah! And thank you, LuAnn, for not singing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! You’re redeeming yourself and we’re happy! But, can you keep it up?
Sonja (The Anti-Hag): “I have a taste for luxury and luxury has a taste for me.”
Did Sonja appear in this episode? Yes. Barely. Maybe she’s keeping a low profile fresh from her June DWI bust in the Hamptons (she has a taste for luxury and liquor) and recent bankruptcy filing in New York (bye bye luxury). Even so, Sonja is the least haggy of all and we hope she gets more air time.
Alex (Hag-on-the-Brink): “I’ve always had opinions but now people know it!”
Alex is emerging, albeit in a dark horse kind of way, and we’re very, very afraid. It appears that neither she nor Simon hold down jobs these days. Alex has jumped from job to job in the last few seasons and now works in a tiny, depressing, basement-like work space with Simon, whom we learn, has left the hotel to start a new social media company. Hmmmm. When we catch up with the pair, they are negotiating office-sharing rules and discussing Alex’s pending modeling career. Says Alex, “Maybe it sounds arrogant, but when I look in the mirror, I like what I see.” From the conversation with the modeling agent, it comes across that the pair is in desperate need of money. I guess we won’t be seeing extravagant shopping sprees this season. Alex’s and Simon’s open and vocal social climbing efforts, which began in Season 1, have backfired to these ends.
Moving on, Alex has (rightfully) a leftover bee in her bonnet for Jill. Unfortunately, this bee hasn’t mastered the art of the sting. When it comes to Jill, Alex is not picking her fights, just fighting. She’s mad at Jill for dodging a charity walk for gay marriage rights and won’t drop it. She brings it up at Ramona’s Pinot party and carries it through the episode until it boils over at the Hamptons wedding party. Watching Jill squirm is entertaining and wethinks there’s a lot more where that came from. It can only get worse and we can’t wait to watch it happen.
Jill (High-Queen of the Hags): “Good or bad, I know who I am. And I OWN IT!”
Let me preface this with a word-for-word quote direct from the mouth of Jill Zarin: “I have changed. And no matter what anyone does. I will always be nice and kind.”
In this episode, Jill, aka Satan, spends an inordinate amount of air time marketing herself as a “nice” person. She’d had a busy and rough Season 3 driving Bethenny away with her burning jealousy (Jillousy, as Ramona calls it), alienating Alex with her fiery sarcasm and criticism, and stomping on Ramona, generally, with her tacky, designer-clad cloven hooves. (Did anyone else pickup on Jill’s Season 3 attempt at showcasing her ice skating prowess, only to fall on her hot pink butt, presumably to pick up a spot on ABC’s Skating with the Stars? Too bad Bravo didn’t capture Jill’s reaction when she found out Bethenny Frankel got a spot on the show. Or maybe they did? At least we hope so.)
In this episode, Jill goes out of her way to prove her niceness and kindness, for example, by referring to Alex as, “That f@#king bitch, Alex McCord.” (Translation: “I will never be nice and kind.”) She further illustrates the point with, “She’s a bitch. Look at her socializing at a party that’s so above her.” (Translation: “I will NEVER be nice and kind.”)
Jill is promoting a new line of cheesy “shape wear” as seen on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. According to Jill’s website, the shape wear will be sold in department stores nationwide. Listen up Jill Zarin from Lawn Guyland: if you’re marketing your wares to real women who shop in actual department stores, you might consider the concept that insinuating you and your ilk are socially above others is a giant turn off. I’ll keep my Spanx, thanks.
Anyway, Ginger doesn’t seem as bitchy this season, right?
Cindy (Hag-in-Training): “I have everything I ever wanted and it’s all on my own terms.”
Cindy is the newest New York City house hag. Frankly, calling Cindy a hag at this point is premature since we’ve only just met her, but my gut tells me Cindy has great hag potential (I may owe an apology down the line, but we’ll see how we go). We don’t know much about new Cindy other than she’s the brunette replacement for Bethenny (though there is no replacement for Bethenny), she’s “downtown,” has a set of twins she’s birthed and is raising on her own (aided by brother, Howie, and a passel of nannies), and is the owner of the Completely Bare hair removal salons. Oh, and she once had a bikini area so hairy, she had to create an entire salon (actually eight) to deal with it (she’s the mother of invention and twins). So far, so good.
Kelly (The “Ho Hag”): “I’m living the American dream, one mistake at a time.”
Last and certainly least, Kelly has spent the summer straining herself thinking up a new word. OMG, she’s been “Ramona’d” and it stings like effing Pinot Grigio on an open wound.
Kelly still prides (imagines) herself as being smart, P.C., and nice. Then she says (re: Alex), “Being a model is defined by being photogenic. Period. It does not mean that you’re pretty.”
Stay tuned. House Hags are forever! Or is that Herpes?
Photos courtesy of BravoTV