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Recap: ‘The Real Housewives of New York,’ Pick Her Brain Edition

The Real Housewives of New York City - Season 5
Recap: ‘The Real Housewives of New York,’ Pick Her Brain Edition

I am fascinated. BravoTV just managed to make an entire episode of Real Housewives of New York about one topic: #BookGate. And it worked. Thousands (maybe millions?) of viewers were tweeting about it. Including me. Excellent social media marketing BravoTV!

And even though we had to sit through all sorts of other foreshadowing and soft-core porn to get to big moment, we got to see Carol give Aviva the smackdown! Whee!!! So that’s where we’re starting tonight.

Remember the teasers from last week where Aviva is saying she heard that Carol had somebody ghostwrite her best-selling book “What Remains” – that’s what it was allll about. And Aviva is playing mean and nasty and dropping names. Does she still have the same publishing house for her book after throwing them under the bus like that?

The show opens with Aviva and Carol having an extremely tense lunch. This is supposedly the lunch Aviva asked Carol for at Heather’s birthday party “to pick her brain.” But that’s not her motive. Aviva has heard “word on the street” that Carol used a ghostwriter and the whole thing is a setup/ambush. Uncomfortable even to watch, I can’t imagine being there.

Things start out badly in the beginning when Aviva pulls out the same eyeglasses that she complimented Carol on last season. “I single, white femaled you!” Aviva jokes. But Carol doesn’t think it’s funny. She’s creeped out.

“It’s a good look.” Aviva tries to defend herself when Carol suggests she could have bought the glasses in another color at least.

“It’s my look,” Carol replies. In interview, she explains it’s one thing for someone to copy you if they admire your look, but Aviva going out and getting the same glasses and wearing them to lunch is creepy. I agree.

aviva

Aviva describes writing her book as being like writing a “really long email” and Carol, as a career journalist and established writer, sees right through the bullshit. It’s obvious Aviva didn’t write most of her book herself because she can’t even have a decent conversation about the process. She embarrasses herself the same way in front of Heather later one.

I have to step in here and say that I, too, was offended by what Aviva said to Carol, and the way she dismissed her years in journalism as a foundation for writing a book. With as many blogs as I crank out, would she say the same thing to me? I remember when RHONJ Teresa got called out in a reunion because she didn’t know the meaning of the word “napalm” after using it in the blog she supposedly writes. Anybody wanna bet Aviva may be in for some “napalm” moments in the not terribly distant future?

Heather described discussing the writing and publishing process with Aviva as pointless. Aviva can’t explain who her audience is or the purpose of her book. Heather asks her what the hook is and Aviva just doesn’t even get it. Makes you wonder how many books she’s actually read.

“A conversation with Aviva is like circling the drain – you know what I mean. Send me down the chute already – I can’t take anymore!” Heather says.

But back to lunch where Aviva is doing her absolute best to piss Carol off. “Did you ghost your books?” she asks. Carol is truly horrified. “Are you kidding me?” Carol spends a bunch of time reprising her resume (15 years as a journalist) and explaining to Aviva that what she does for a living is actually write. But Aviva’s expression tells Carol she doesn’t believe a word.

That wasn’t enough for Aviva – she grilled Carol up one side and down the other. “What’s Aviva’s agenda?” Carol’s asking afterwards. In interview, she described the lunch as “awful and awkward and bizarre.” But Aviva didn’t stop there.

She systematically talks to all of the Housewives separately, one at a time, telling them the “word on the street” and trying to destroy Carol’s professional credibility while boohooing how Carol was “demeaning” and talked down to her.

Now that they’re besties again, Aviva starts with Ramona during a bullshit wine-tasting excursion inspired by their night of tequila shots and forgiveness last episode. Ramona doesn’t defend Carol, and by the time they leave together, Aviva’s joking she should buy a bottle of wine called “Bitch” for Carol as a gift.

While ostensibly choosing wines for a housewarming party for a new home she hasn’t yet moved into, Aviva unburdened her heart to her dear friend Ramona. “I felt completely one-upped and put down.” Aviva spins it like Carol attacked her, not the other way around. “She was just so condescending.”

Then Aviva drops the bomb she’s been holding. “You know Carol shopped her novel at my publishing house and they rejected it.” She says it’s because it had to be totally “overhauled” and her publisher told her it would take eight months.

“I heard from my publishing house that Carol had her first book ghostwritten.” And then she named the guy and, try as I might with the help of my DVR, I couldn’t catch it. Bill somebody or other. Okay, wait a minute here folks… did Aviva really say that? Did she say that Simon & Schuster, who published her new book “Leggy Blonde,” told her the inside skinny on Carol’s book?

If it’s true that someone said that, Aviva’s an idiot for repeating it. If it’s not true, she’s as loony as Carol thinks she is. Here’s my question: Did her publisher know about all the RHONY #BookGate nonsense when they released her book a few weeks ago at an event not attended by the majority of her co-stars. Please tell me this isn’t all just a publicity stunt to sell Aviva’s book? Anybody wanna take bets on that?

But then she does it again with Heather in the pedicure chair. She can’t explain what inspired her to write or who her audience is, but she can remember and repeat the “word on the street” about “Bill” the mystery ghostwriter of Carol’s book. Aviva’s a moron because all she’s doing is feeding Heather info to give Carol about what she’s saying about her. Heather only got together with Aviva to “sniff” out the situation.

Carol is sharing her side of the story too, but hers makes sense. “Suddenly I was having to defend my 20-year writing career to Aviva.”

“She’s asking me to buy into this delusion that she is a writer and she’s written this book in a hot minute. It doesn’t make sense,” Carol rants. “Did she just question my credibility and my integrity?”

Heather reminds Carol and new girl Kristen that Aviva was the original stalker when she first met Carol. “I think you’re the coolest thing ever” Aviva told Carol the first time she was introduced. She raved about her book. She was a huge fan. Heather has had enough. “Carol was on Oprah to promote it for God’s sake. She wrote the book. End of story.” Heather is convinced. So are the millions who put Carol on the New York Times’ best seller list.

Sonja is not to be left out of the melee, and when she and Kristen get together for a very bizarre, very naked, home spray-tanning session, she pumps her for information about the #BookGate debate. Of course, it’s hard to follow the conversation with Sonja looking at Kristen’s boobs and butt like she was going to have to go figure out where she hid that vibrator last week. It was really weird.

“Amazing butt!” Sonja comments in between observing her new friend’s usually invisible tattoos. Kristen informs us all she has “a mole on my hiney,” not helping us to think she’s smarter than she looks. But dumb as a rock or not, she knew Sonja was licking her lips watching her get sprayed down. “I have to say … it was very awkward,” she complained afterwards. But you did it Kristen. On camera. Ay Dios Mio.

Feeling horny doesn’t throw Sonja off her agenda though. “Maybe Carol wrote the book herself, maybe she didn’t. But that’s no reason for her to get snooty on Aviva.” And then she does a little “more power to ya girlfriend” about Aviva… since when are they friends? No wonder Ramona was annoyed at the tea party last week. What’s Sonja’s motive here? She only does things that she thinks will benefit her in the end.

Which is why she’s sleeping with Harry, yet again. And she thinks it’s getting serious and actually talking about having a future with him with Ramona, who manages to keep a straight face. But then, knowing from the teasers that he’s going to ditch her ass later this season with LuAnn, I almost felt sorry for her when they went out to dinner. And I don’t usually feel sorry for people I intensely dislike.

Sonja’s life is getting difficult because it’s hard to juggle her dates when things are heating up with more than one guy at a time. Especially when one of them is 23 years old and the other one is billionaire Harry. There’s some joking about her boy-toy, but Harry has his own arm candy that he plays with on the side so it’s all in good fun. Til it get serious.

“I think we should hang out… a lot,” Harry says to Sonja over dinner. She gives him a load of crap about how she’s so busy with a whole bunch of different business ideas… claiming she’s too involved to get involved and he calls her out for never finishing anything. That doesn’t deter her.

“You know I know the King of Saudi Arabia, right?” Sonja asks. Maybe you do, but does he know you’re throwing his name around on RHONY, Sonja? Ticky tacky. Then she gets on board before the ship sails into a younger port.

“We probably should just get married – you and I – because we’ve exhausted the list and those other girls are getting too young for you now.” So basically, Sonja, you’re saying you’ve both slept with everyone in New York who is willing to have either of you, so you may as well stick together. Is that like making a promise to your best friend at age five that you’ll get married if you’re both still single at 30? Just asking.

“Sonja, you’re timeless… you know I love you” She loves him too… and they’re off to her house for hanky panky. “I love the cat and mouse game. I love to have a little mystery” she claims. When??? There are no mysteries at all with this woman – everyone in American (and her interns) has seen everything already. Remember Ramona’s “get the milk for free” joke. It’s true.

Harry is a dirty dude, and he and Aviva have a totally inappropriate conversation about Sonja in front of their son Harrison. The kid appeared embarrassed, but used to it. God, what a warped set of parents to have. I feel so sorry for him. Wonder how his mom’s book about his-grandfather-the-sex-addict is spicing up his therapy sessions?

Harry tells Aviva he going out with Sonja and “we could rekindle this thing,” all in front of their son. Aviva says “I’m pretty immune to it at this point.” But does your young teenage son need to have this sort of parental role modeling? I didn’t think it was funny when she asked him “Do we approve of Sonja as your stepmother?”

We don’t have to ask what happened to family values anymore. At least in this household, they don’t exist. And did I hear a joke about Reid, Aviva’s current husband, being Harry’s brother-in-law? Is that something I’ve missed or was it a joke? Way too incestuous if you ask me – and I live on an island with less than 10,000 people.

I’m going to skip discussing the first half of Aviva’s housewarming party in the half-painted, not-unpacked house with the icky flocked yellow wallpaper because doing so would mean I’d have to acknowledge the whole bedroom scene where we find out that Aviva and Reid’s bed was Harry’s wedding gift to Aviva. Mario said it perfectly – “Too many bedfellows in this room.”

The inevitable blowup finally occurred at the party because Ramona went around stirring the pot, talking about the situation, egging Aviva on, and then eventually jumping into the conversation with Carol and telling her that Aviva was running around telling everyone that somebody named “Bill” ghostwrote “What Remains.” Carol couldn’t ignore it anymore and she asked Aviva to go talk to her upstairs.

We didn’t get to see the whole fight (that’s next week) – but it gets nasty fast. “That someone would make up such complete ridiculous lies and fabrications. It was like a Twilight Zone,” Carol says. “The woman is literally deranged.”

Carol rips into her for talking about her behind her back and discrediting her writing. And she makes it clear that she’s giving Aviva very few minutes to explain herself, but Aviva doesn’t get it and wants to talk about how Carol made her feel bad about her book when they had lunch.

“I felt very belittled,” Aviva said. But then she switches to the offensive again. “The word on the street is that you had “What Remains” ghostwritten by Bill, big guy from the…” And Carol finally blows up on her.

Aviva tries to tell Carol what she claims Simon & Schuster said about her, and Carol is as incredulous as I was to hear the budding author throwing her own publishing house under the bus. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Carol finally yells and loses her ever-present cool. “Your own publishing company doesn’t want to work with you.” Aviva looks shocked, and hurt. I just think maybe the editors these ladies are working with need to edit more and gossip less. But then none of tonight’s drama would have gone down at all.

Always the victim, Aviva doesn’t get that she is being defamatory. “She just simply wasn’t supportive. She just simply wasn’t kind,” she whines about her lunch with Carol. Meanwhile Carol is on the warpath, justifiably so. “I would never make up such vicious and stupid lies about anyone else’s career.”

Ramona says she feels bad she started the fight but all of us who were watching know that’s not true. She baited first Aviva, then Carol, in turn. And then set them loose on each other like hungry wild animals. She knew exactly what would happen. I bet she’s just sorry she couldn’t be in the room for the showdown. Ramona has been dying to see this episode.

Believe it or not, there were a few noteworthy moments on the show that didn’t have to do with Harry or #BookGate, but they were few and far between. I need to double back to my concern about these “interns” Sonja has working for her. She had them using Sharpies to fix her black purses today. And she was trying on lingerie in front of a young man who works for her (I don’t know if he’s gay or not, but that’s inappropriate no matter how you cut it if he’s doing an “internship”). What the hell is she teaching them? Just say they’re your personal assistants and call it a day.

Heather and Kristen shared a deep moment over their children’s health issues, with Heather’s experience putting things more in perspective for Kristen, whose little girl needs to wear leg braces. But that’s not the only thing imperfect in Kristen’s little world, despite her assertion she’s “the most amazing mother ever.” The teaser for next week shows Kristen and Josh having their first on-camera argument. That didn’t take long, did it?

Sandy Malone is a reality TV star, expert wedding planner, and internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast's BRIDES and The Huffington Post, in addition to Monsters... read more
Sandy Malone

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