We found out a surprising fact this week on The Real Housewives of New York City: it actually is possible to be too crazy on this show.
As a result of her nutty antics, Kelly Bensimon packed up and left early from the group's trip to the Virgin Islands. How did producers ensure the craziness continued in her absence? THG's Real Housewife correspondent is here with a recap and the answer...
Our beloved housewives have been on a luxury vacation in the Virgin Islands for the last few episodes. Ramona planned the trip as part of her “renewal” and to celebrate the fact that she and husband Mario will soon be renewing their vows. Kelly, Bethenny, Alex, and new housewife Sonja came along. This vacation looks truly fabulous:
First lounging about on a well-staffed yacht; then parking at an exotic and enormous villa and spending the next few days there eating chef-prepared food in costly bikinis.
Unfortunately, the bliss was an illusion because no one was having that great of a time. Kelly packed a big bag full of crazy and opened it up to share with everyone else. Initially the target of her rage and insanity was pregnant Bethenny but, after awhile, anyone seemed poised for a nonsensical attack. Kelly truly was acting like she was having a breakdown.
It makes me wonder if this is how the show was edited or if Kelly really is that nuts. After days and days of endless fighting these women looked like they were having just as much fun on their vacation as Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio were at the end of Revolutionary Road. Not pretty.
After watching Kelly come apart at the seams for a few days, the other women decide they are dealing with a truly sick individual. They agree to do their best to calm and reassure Kelly as opposed to arguing back when she says psycho stuff. “Ladies, this is us picking on a woman who needs help,” says Sonja. The other housewives agree and the drama cools. Kelly eventually leaves the trip early, to the relief of the other women. Sonja sums up the feelings toward Kelly when she says:
“I felt bad for Kelly. This woman at this point had lost the run of herself. I’d never been around that before and it was pretty scary.” Scary is right. Kelly was alternately laughing diabolically, crying, running like a linebacker through the villa, stuffing jelly beans in her mouth, and talking trash.“Finally Kelly’s gone. We’re ready to have a party, at last!” says Alex. It’s the opposite, actually. Without Kelly the party is over. As soon as she left and the insanity calmed down, the show was nowhere near as fun.
I understand that these housewives are actually women leading real lives (more or less) and that they probably don’t want constant drama, bickering, screaming, and fighting going on around them. But as a selfish viewer, I love the craziness and unpredictability more than anything. Without Kelly around the women do yoga, go swimming, get massages, and get manicures and pedicures: not exactly riveting stuff.
It makes sense then that Jill showed up on the scene when she did. Honestly, did the producers of the show force this woman to “surprise” her frenemies? It seemed sort of random and totally staged. Jill didn’t want to go on that trip to begin with. Why would she suddenly change her mind? I really think that the producers were like, “Oh crap! Kelly is gone and now we have nothing to film except rich women hanging out in a nice house. They even like each other! Quick, someone do something to make them all freak out again.”
So Jill enters and, of course, this goes over like a lead balloon. She is there under the guise of surprising everyone while on her way to her own vacation in the Virgin Islands. Please. Of course Alex, Ramona, Bethenny, and Sonja all happen to be seated near each other when Jill enters so they are close enough to exchange sideways glances and to reach out and comfort each other in this moment of extreme stress. Are we the viewers expected to believe this was just a coincidence? I know that we must suspend reality to a certain degree while watching a “reality show” but this went beyond even that.
Upon seeing Jill saunter out onto the patio where everyone is neatly assembled and getting pedicures Ramona says, “You have to be f-ing kidding. Jill just walked in. I don’t get it. I don’t know what to say.” Everyone is agape and Alex is trembling and hyperventilating. Why? I am not sure exactly; she never really explains in a way that is understandable and relatable. Perhaps because this sort of terrified behavior made the moment more dramatic? Jill notices the tension too, obviously. It was impossible to ignore.
“I walked in and said ‘surprise!’ and it was as if someone died when they saw me. It was as if they saw a ghost and not a good ghost, not a friendly ghost,” says Jill. Jill and husband Bobby quickly realize they are not welcome and skedaddle back to their private jet to make a fast getaway.
A few days later, back in New York, all the women join together for various lunches and charity events. These get-togethers give them plenty of time to chat about what went down on the vacay. “After I left the Virgin Islands it took me awhile to, you know, recover from that because I was really shell-shocked from everything that had happened,” says Kelly to LuAnn and Jill. LuAnn is inclined to believe Kelly but she too notices Kelly’s erratic behavior just while talking about the trip. Both LuAnn and Jill think Kelly is acting strangely and immaturely. “I don’t know what happened to her,” says Jill. Join the club, girlfriend.
Later when Bethenny is together with LuAnn she sums up the trip perfectly when she says, “You missed a beautiful, beautiful yacht. You missed a beautiful, beautiful home. And filled with psychotic drama. It was terror on the high seas and then it was ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’” If anyone on this show shoots it straight, it’s Bethenny. As a big fan of this show I truly do like all these women, as crazy as they are. But Bethenny is a special favorite because she really is honest and straightforward as well as being totally hilarious.
She calls it like it is and she’ll be the first to admit if she has done something wrong or if she needs to apologize. She knows when she is creating drama and when she is trying to calm the drama down. For me, this makes her version of events and her take on situations believable above anyone else’s. Jill and Kelly are so irrational and seem to have no idea that they are the ones responsible for all the insanity they have in their lives. They see themselves as victims of this insanity rather than the perpetrators of it. If there was ever a group of people who needed intensive, daily therapy, here they are.
The show ends with Jill hosting a holiday party near a skating rink. Evidently she loves to skate. This comes as a surprise to all of us, most especially Kelly. She says of Jill, “I’ve never even heard her ever talk about anything sporty in my whole life. The only thing I’ve heard her talk about is hot chocolate.” Which makes me realize: Kelly is like Brittany from Glee, isn’t she? Always saying something funny and dumb and not realizing it.
At this party there is more talk about the Caribbean Trip From Hell but the important piece of information is that Jill wants to reconcile with Bethenny. This seems odd and, again, staged because Bethenny tried to make nice with Jill several times before and Jill always shut her down.
Why now is Jill willing to bend over backwards to apologize to Bethenny? Is it because there needs to be a “dramatic showdown” to end this season on a high note and to make us hungry for the next season? I am guessing so. Jill says, “I want to start over. I really do. I don’t want to have a fight with anybody.” However, on the promo for next week’s episode we see her engaging in yet another brawl with her “friends.” Some things will never change.