Real Housewives of New York: The Hate Boat
Well, that happened. Last night's adventure through the astral planes of philosophical Housewife existence was perhaps the bumpiest, craziest episode we've ever had. Seriously, ever on this show. Ever.
It's very hard to even talk about this episode. How do I start? Where do I start? So very much happened. And yet, also, so very little happened. I just don't know what to do.
Well, OK, when in doubt, start with LuAnn.
Ohhh goodness LuAnn. She doesn't do a lot in most episodes of this show, but when she does, oh when Crackerjacks DeLesseps gets cookin', man does she get cookin'. The episode began with a wide-angle shot of a pickup rumbling across a scorched, scrubby desert. We heard the faint sounds of the Allman Brothers playing on the truck's stereo, saw the high fade of dust kicked up by its rattling wheels. LuAnn sat in the driver's seat, one arm hanging lazily on the window, cigarette dangling off her lip, one boot up on the dash. LuAnn was headed somewhere, somewhere grand. As it turned out, LuAnn was going to make a record.
Yes, a record. Well, a song at least. For now a song. She pulled up to a rundown shed and kicked the door open and said, "Let's do this thang." She was greeted by a bald, greasy fellow named Hitz St. Cloud, one of the most respected music producers in the music producing business. He made very certain that we knew exactly how big he was. He actually sat LuAnn down and said, "Now you know, I've worked with..." and then he blahed on with a series of names that no one really cares about. Well no one except LuAnn, who seemed impressed and giddy, itching to show us her chops. You see she's always wanted to be a singer, but things always got in the way. Something always came along, like kids, or her duties as a countess, or those six months she spent eating peyote with Charlie Huhn in Saskatchewan. But now here was her chance, and she was not gonna fuck it up.
Hitz St. Cloud asked her to sing and when she did it sounded like frogs crying and Hitz nodded his head, glassy eyes hidden behind round sunglasses, and said "Yeah baby, that's the stuff, that's the stuff. Stick with Hitz and you'll be on Solid Gold before you know it." LuAnn raised an eyebrow and said "Hitz, you know that Solid Gold hasn't been on in twenty-two years, right?" Hitz frowned for a second, adrift in time. "Really?" Lu lit a cigarette. "Yeah baby, not since 1988. You believe that?" Hitz shook his head. "Man, I thought '86 would never end." Lu let out a weary billow of smoke. "You and me both, kiddo. You and me both. Anyway, we layin' this down?" This music lingo talk snapped Hitz out of his time-lost stupor and he said "You know it!" and it was time to record "Money Doesn't Buy Class," or whatever that miserable ditty is called. There isn't much to say about it that hasn't already been said. I mean... it's the musical equivalent of a tumbleweed rolling, uninvited, into a fancy party. I don't know what else to say about it. I'm sorry, Countess. I'm sorry, readers. There's just nothing to be said about because it says it all itself. We all have aching want in our hearts, and that's what that song is about. About things both quiet and loud, about life being one long strand, no moments like islands, just beats in a measure. That's all.
When they were done recording, Hitz St. Cloud lit up a doobie and offered it to LuAnn, "You want a hit, it's schwag." Lu once again raised that eyebrow of hers and said "It smells like oregano." Hitz looked down sadly and nodded his head, "Probably. Probably." There was a small awkward silence, eventually broken by LuAnn saying, with a note of pity in her voice, "Hey, listen, Hitz. It was great working with you. If you ever... Look, if you ever need a place to stay..." Hitz put on a big fake grin. "A place to stay?? Baby you're talking to Hitz St. Cloud, quaalude king of the Pan Am preferred flyer's lounge! I'm doin' A-OK!" LuAnn nodded and smiled. "OK, sure, I know. I just saw the cot in the sound booth, and I thought... Anyway." Hitz took a toke of his oregano doobie, tried to hide the cough. "I think you should go." And so she did.
She was glad to, because she had a date that night. A date! A big honking, horking, slithering date. Remember Cort? Well, last week I sort of drew a picture of Cort that looked like a young fella in Daisy Dukes, a gay-ish hustler who finally gave in to LuAnn's feminine wiles. Well, that was mostly because I was a little... under the weather ... when watching the show last week and didn't really remember what Cort was like. But this week I was not so ... under the weather ... not quite as much, so I actually got to focus on what Cort is like. And Cort is... Holy clamdicks is Cort horrifying. He's a bit like the blue-eyed creeperson from The Firm, who keeps trying to kill Tom Cruise in Memphis. He's also basically the horrid witch lady from the only true Robin Hood movie, Prince of Thieves. You know, this broad. That is what Cort is like. He acts that way. That's the truly terrifying part. He acts so gross.
He and LuAnn went to a bar. A really weird bar. And he was doing like that weird, sad thing where you're walking toward someone who is sitting down and you do like this sort of "Heyyyy" sexy dance as you're walking, a kind of kicky hip-bumping, finger snapping sort of thing? You know what I'm talking about. The, "Heyyy, here is your daiquiri, m'lady" walk-dance. That's all Cort was doing all night. "Cool cat, jazz cat," he kept singing. "This is a real hot joint." If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was related to Hitz St. Cloud. They come from the same sad stock. And poor LuAnn, poor lonely LuAnn, had to sort of entertain this fool. "Hey baby, I like youuuu," he would say, doing a little sing-song on the "you." And then he would lean in for a kiss and we'd all start screaming as our skeletons clawed themselves out of our skin and LuAnn would gently turn her head so he was kissing her on the cheek. I don't know if it's because I was feeling ... especially thoughtful ... last night, but was it not the most horrifying date you've ever watched on television? Sure something from Blind Date might be more outrageous, but this was just bleak. It was painful. Never get old. Never get lonely. That's the message, I guess.
One amazing thing that happened on the date was that Cort showed us his book. Cort was, as LuAnn said, "an intellectual," just like her. That's why they get along so well. Hm. Right. So Cort is a published author, which could be impressive, and could make him an intellectual. But then he showed us his book. Do you know what his book was? It was erotic fiction. It was cheaply printed, sexy dark shadow figures who might be vampires on the cover erotic fiction. It must have been printed in someone's basement. And of course, of Cort, this is what this published author intellectual has had published. He's published a book with passages that read like this:
The night was dark and sultry as Vivian made her way to the police station. What would Nichol say to her when she got there? Would he be angry at her because of the warehouse shooting? She didn't know. All she did know was that she missed his body pressed up against hers, the way he would cup her supple breasts in his hands, caress them like precious gems. He was the most sensitive lover she'd ever had, but oddly the most aggressive, too. She longed for the thrust of him as she hurried her pace toward the police station. She did not see Lorenzo lurking in the shadows of an alleyway, watching her...
Is that right? Is that what those books sound like? They're probably even worse than that. I don't know. ANYWAY. The date was just hysterically awful. Just the worst date you've ever seen. Poor Lu. She was just standing there in her ratty '70s jumpsuit trying to enjoy herself, chain smoking Merits, downing abandoned drinks and pouring cocktail cherries in her purse. And I don't know. I know a thing or two (or a million) about being a dateless wonder, and I kinda think that sitting at home alone would be better than being on that date with Cort. At least when you're home by yourself there isn't a lankier Gerard Depardieu with a weird front combover trying to kiss you on the mouth. At least there's that. I'm sorry LuAnn, I'm so so sorry.
Now we get to the tricky part. How to talk about What Happened On The Yacht. As is commonly known, most important things in life happen on yachts. They can happen on land too, but they're usually way more important if they happen on a yacht. Did you get married, and it was lovely? Would have been lovelier on a yacht. Did your kid graduate from Colgate and you felt really proud? Would have been even prouder if Colgate was on a yacht. Did you feel lost and guilty and helpless, like you could do nothing to fight time, when your mom called as you were waking up in your boyfriend's bed after a night of heavy drinking to tell you that your grandfather died? You would have felt even worse if you were waking up on a yacht. It's just how yachts work. They amplify emotion and feeling, to a fabulous degree.
So given the inherent drama of yachts and the inherent craziness of the Housewives, it doesn't take a rocket genius to guess that the two would go together like oil and firewater or lemons and lemonade or something. Basically shit hit the fan bigger than shit has ever hit the fan before. It was a huge, novelty-sized piece of shit and one of those big subway tunnel fans. Enormous, is what I'm saying. Just enormous. Yikes. It's hard to talk about.
Basically: Ramona is a crazy person with a family of Belgian foxes living inside her head so she decided that because she's doing that whole vow-renewal thing, she needs to have a bachelorette party. Yes, Ramona thinks that because they're redoing the the wedding, she needs to do everything else that comes with a wedding. Pretty soon she's going to stage a fight with Mario over a blender and will break into Steve Martin's house and he'll find her sitting in the kitchen and he'll say "Um, what the hell are you doing in here?" And she'll smile through her tears and say "Wanna play some basketball?" And then he'll call the police. That is what's going to happen. But for now, we have the bachelorette and, with that, the yacht. Ramona flew everyone down to the Voijin Islands and stuck them on a yacht together. Everyone is: Kelly Bensimon, Bethenny Frankel, Alex "Flapjacks" McCord, and Sonja Whyamionthisshow. That sounds like a really fun group of people to be stuck on a boat with, right? I would love to be stuck on a boat with those people. Yay groups!
Ramona didn't really much care who was there or what was going on, though. She had one goal in mind: pinot grigio. When Ramona woke up in the morning after her hours-long Rube Goldberg alarm clock had gone off, she sat bolt upright in bed and said "pinot grigio." She just puttered around the deck of the boat, muttering to herself over and over again, "pinot grigio pinot grigio pinot grigio." The lady really wanted to get herself crunk on some pinot grigio. And who can blame her. We've all had our own personal spring/summer of 2006. Uh, that was my personal pinto grigio time. But yeah, Ramona was really nervous about marrying the guy she's been married to for seventeen years, so just cut her some slack. While Ramona drank, everyone else fought. Not that Ramona was just some oblivious bystander to the fighting. No, Ramona kind of kicked things off, but once they got started she excused herself to go swim in the warm pinot grigio waters of the Wirgin Islands.
What Ramona started was this: She started telling a story about how Bethenny's dad died and who reacted properly. Yes these barking gargoyles had a conversation about who reacted to death the most correctly, right in front of Bethenny. Poor Bethenny (who was fantastic and funny in this episode, as was Alex) just put her head in her hands and tried to stay silent, but Kelly wasn't going to allow that. No, see... well... let's just say that Kelly spent a lot of time disappearing to the bathroom and then would come back out all jumpy and mean. What does that sound like to you? So, yeah, that's what was going on. So she was jibber-jabbering like crazy, clacking her jaws like a cartoon skeleton and saying horrible things. On this go around she was defending Jill for acting a fool during Bethenny'sdad'sdeadgate, because why the hell not. I don't remember what she was saying, but it doesn't really matter. It was basically a strange rattly honk, peppered with bizarre malapropisms and things about "Making lemonade out of lemons." Kelly somehow used this expression when talking about turning a situation bad. Like, Kelly didn't understand that expression? I don't know. It was so confusing. Eventually Bethenny asked Kelly to leave and Kelly tried to leave but she couldn't figure out the yacht's magic doors so she just stayed there for a long, long time, bumping up against the door over and over again, until one of the ship's slaves came by and pressed a button and the door slid open. A beautiful metaphor for Kelly's life.
After that there was sort of a lull and Bethenny and Alex made fun of Kelly, which was a great little scene. The island sky was purple behind them and they were just laughing on a yacht, which, as we all know, makes laughing better. But of course it had to get ruined again. Ramona went streaking by, yelling "HiI'mmarryingpinotgrigioandI'mgoin'totheHootersboatbyeeee," and then Sonja and Kelly came bumbling up after her. Alex decided to go to the Hooters boat (moored next door) with Ramona, because she though it was a boat full of owls, and that sounded interesting, so that left Bethenny, Sonja, and Kelly alone. They traveled down to the bowels of the boat and sat in a living room area. Sonja was hilariously wine-drunk. Her eyelids were even more purple and hooded than usual, and she was doing that sort of hand-fitzing drunk talk. That's really hard to describe, but like you know when people are drunk and they sort make these quick, dismissive movements with their hands while saying something, and usually they talk kind of fast. Like, "But forgetaboutit, you know, iss fine, [hand fitz]." She was that lovely kind of drunk. So she was tottering over there on an ottoman and Bethenny looked like she wanted to shoot herself because she was pregnant and couldn't drink (why on Earth did you go then B???) and Kelly was just marching in place to the tune of the Bolivian national anthem. And then, of course, a fight broke out. Basically Bethenny started talking about her dad and about how she was sad but glad it was over and all this stuff, and then Kelly tried to butt in and say something about like, I don't know, how Bethenny's dad probably felt about his daughter before he died or something? It was really bizarre and I couldn't follow it, mostly because Kelly was speaking backwards, in tongues. Sonja was shocked. "Kelly, whatre'youdoing, c'mon [hand fitz]." Bethenny just shook her head. But Kelly wasn't done. She decided to stand up and clap her hands very loudly several times and say "Woo! Woo! I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight! Wooo! Bethenny! You're horrible! Woo! You make me feel like dancinnnn'! Woo!" She carried on like that for a while, saying more bad things about Bethenny and finally Bethenny was like "I'm out, I'm going to Hooters."
So then the party moved to Hooters, and boy was it a partee. Ramona was wearing an old-timey deep sea diver's outfit full of pinot grigio and was hitting on the captain of the S.S. Hooters. Alex looked disappointed because the boat wasn't full of owls (she'd only found two so far). When Bethenny and Sonja showed up, Ramona took off her helmet and said "Hey guys, want some pinot grigio," and just leaned over and some wine sloshed out of the suit's neck hole. Bethenny then told everyone about the crazy Kelly encounter and then Kelly showed up and there was more yelling. Honestly I can't remember what it was they were fighting about. Basically Kelly and Bethenny just really hate each other. Kelly keeps calling Bethenny... something, and Bethenny keeps calling Kelly dumb. And then someone tries to say "making a mountain out of a mole hill," but they get it wrong, because they always do on this show, and will forever. Making moles out of hill mountains. Making hills out of mole mountains. I don't know how they say it, but it's not right. It's a very lemons/lemonade kind of thing. It doesn't reflect well on anyone.
So basically there was just so much fighting. Oh gosh there was so much fighting. Sonja the strange silent observer, a Guildenstern, swayed in a corner and said "Why somuchfighting? Juss stopit, c'mon [hand fitz]." Bethenny stood there looking so so tired and broken down and you knew exactly why she is leaving this wreck of a television show. Kelly kept punching her fists through walls and finally the little old captain had to say "Miss, please, I beg you, stop destroying our vessel. We're just a humble Hooters yacht, just here to have a nice time with our friends and families. We don't want to bother anyone. We just want to go on our way, just us, the little Hooters yacht." Kelly shot him in the face and clapped again and said "Woo! Woo! That. Felt. Good. Bang Bang, Clang Clang. Woo! Bethennyyyyyy! Ya suck! Ya really do. Woo do. That woo do that you doo, woo. I feel like Charles Lindbergh! Kelly's flying! Gimme some more of the white stufffff." Eventually Ramona put an end to the whole thing by accidentally shooting Kelly with a flare gun. Kelly looked down at the flaming thing sticking out of her chest and after a second burst into maniacal laughter and yelled "Hey now! I'm a rock star! I'm the Fourth of July! Bethennyyyy! Ima kill you tonite! Woo!" Then Sonja took her to bed and that was that. The other girls went dancing, awash in lasers, the thump of the music drowning out the pain in Bethenny's heart, sending the wine sizzling through Ramona's veins.
Nothing really ended last night. We still have another episode of the Virgin Islands debacle. I'm honestly kind of happy! It's clearly the most exciting storyline the show's had all season, because Kelly is such a crazy wackadoodle. Even she knows it. And Ramona's unquenchable lust for pinot grigio is like watching a force of nature, a drunk volcano. So next week I assume we'll get the "go to bed, Kelly!" moment we've been waiting for forever, so yay for that. Yay for all things like that.
But no yay for poor LuAnn. Stuck up in the dusty old States with Cort when she coulda been sunning herself and bettin' on the cat fights down in the ol' VIs. Like she did that one summer with that shifty white-Aruban businessman who was always taking a prop pontoon plane over to the Caymans to "use the ATM." It was a good summer, lots of pina coladas and lying around topless on the bow of some yacht, feelin' sexy, feelin' young, feelin' dangerous. Back in those days she'd never have looked twice at a guy like Cort. But how times changed. How indeed they did.
Back in those days Cort hadn't yet dropped out of Middlebury, he still wanted to be a serious author. Back in those days he had a full head of hair, didn't have to comb anything over anything else. Back in those days Cort had been a pretty cool name. Back in those days the lawns were always green, or covered in perfect white snow.
Back in those days Hitz was just getting to the brief peak of his game, went to parties with people like Lisa Lisa, ate lots of shrimp because he could afford it. Back in those days he was Hitz St. Cloud. Yessir. Back in those days that meant something.
Back in those days old Pablo was watching his stuff disappear across the border, headed for the big city, and Kelly-Kelly Bensimon didn't know what was about to hit her. Back in those days we were all a little bit younger.
Back in those days we were all on yachts, racing across limitless ocean, destination unknown.