It’s finally come to an end. The eighth season of the Real Housewives of New York wrapped up Wednesday night and it lived up to the magnificence that was this entire season. If we’re talking about the New York franchise, every season must be compared to Season 3—when Bethenny and Jill’s relationship fell apart and, of course, Scary Island happened. Season 3 is my benchmark for peak beautiful lunacy, but it’s very possible this season surpassed has surpassed it. Join Jezebel in conversation about last night’s finale episode, where we discuss whether Jules should return and give thanks to the producers for cutting down John’s screentime.
Kara Brown: Ladies, we were all witness last night (and really, the entire season) to what can only be described as Masterpiece Theater. I know the Greeks wrote some good plays, but my god. First things first, we have to discuss THE DRAMA of the finale, which of course was Luann finding out via Bethenny that Tom cheated on her on camera. Let’s walk through that.
Gabrielle Bluestone: Not just cheated on her—cheated on her at THE REGENCY.
Ellie Shechet: In front of EVERYONE.
Madeleine Davies: Good point, Kara. This is Madea (the Greek one, not the Tyler Perry one), but good.
Kara: When Bethenny was sitting the bed rubbing her face over and over screaming for alcohol, I thought: “Nothing will ever be better than this.”
Madeleine: I like how she was able to work Skinnygirl into Luann’s trauma.
Kate Dries: Her fake swig of it was acting at its finest.
Ellie: I think Bethenny’s reaction was a little bit MUCH, I have to say. She was really working her moment as a “concerned friend.”
Kara: It was BONKERS.
Madeleine: It was absolutely too much. I also don’t believe that she didn’t revel in it...at least a little bit.
Gabrielle: “With god as my witness I’ll never go thirsty again” — Bethenny.
Kate: Bethenny literally crawled under the covers like she was ill.
Madeleine: I also liked how all of the action surrounded her bed. It made it very clear who’s running the show.
Kate: At first, I thought they weren’t going to show us the photo of Tom cheating. But did they EVER, continually referring to it and zooming in on the blurred out face of the woman.
Kara: True. So that’s important to note. Bethenny is a producer and was clearly fed that information from one of the other producers because WHAT? “A friend who happened to be at the Regency.” Ok girl.
Gabrielle: But also for someone running the show, Bethenny came off pretty unlikeable this season... First she reamed out poor drunk Sonja and then she kept calling Luann a slut.
Ellie: Hm, I have to disagree a little bit, Gabby. As much as Bethenny’s Queen Bee schtick bothers me, and as much as I loved watching her cry about her apartment renovation, I think she was totally allowed to yell at Sonja for trying to make money of Skinnygirl. And if I had to listen to Luann’s bullshit for a decade, who knows what I’d say???
Madeleine: One thing the reaction (from Luann and everyone else) to the cheating news proved to me is what I’ve suspected all season. Luann is upset because Tom was indiscreet, not because he cheated. From the beginning (of her life), Luann has always been about image and this engagement is really no different. As Sonja said in her one-on-one, Luann “just wants to get married.” It doesn’t really matter how sleazy the groom is, so long as she has a groom.
Kara: Let’s talk about some other highlights of the season.
Kate: How to pick!
Gabrielle: The dry cleaning party!
Kate: All I could keep thinking about how the drama with John feels like three seasons ago.
Ellie: Never forget Rey!
Kara: Crazy how John began with more camera time than he ever deserved and then got dropped hard and fast.
Kate: Dorinda’s relieved, we know that.
Ellie: My favorite moment was probably the time Ramona’s dog kept shitting on Dorinda’s floor and Ramona just ignored it and let other people clean it up. It felt very true to her essence. I also really enjoyed Luann’s slow descent into absolute madness.
Madeleine: The fight in the Berkshires was really beautiful.
Kara: That was my highlight. That was better than anything Shakespeare ever wrote. My god. Brava.
Madeleine: It was like watching an Anton Chekhov play, but again, not boring.
Kara: Replace all your Ibsen plays with that episode.
Gabrielle: At some point we also need to talk about the schmear in the half-built Hamptons house.
Kate: Hm I think maybe the lingerie party was my favorite moment? Or Sonja crying as Bethenny berated her. Not because I like watching Sonja in pain, but because it was so telling of their personalities.
Kara: This season was like a Russian Doll. I loved all the side trips they had to take to each other’s country homes since their actual vacation kept getting cancelled.
Kate: Let’s not forget that half this season was about Bethenny’s broken vagina.
Kara: The bleeding!
Kate: So many descriptions of blood pouring
Kate: Actually, you know what? I think my favorite part of the season is Bethenny’s driver Kevin with whom she has a very Driving Miss Daisy-relationship that she does not realize is inappropriate at all.
Kara: Ok another question. Should Jules come back next season?
Gabrielle: YES. All of these women are nuts but Jules’s crazy is like a sweet, sad benign kind that doesn’t affect anyone else. I’m rooting for her.
Ellie: Yes, definitely.
Kate: At the beginning of this season I would have said no, but now definitely yes.
Madeleine: I think we can all agree that career-wise, Michael cheating is the best thing to happen to Jules. She would not be invited back if it wasn’t for that.
Ellie: I’m really hoping she gets her eating disorder under control though, I have to say it. It’s awful watching her encouraging everyone to “nosh.”
Madeleine: When I saw the news of his cheating, I literally whispered, “There’s your second season” out loud.
Kate: As we saw in the preview for the reunion, Bethenny essentially implies that Jules went on the show to get divorced and that will be great to see.
Madeleine: I think that’s probably true, Kate. The way the edits have been so unfavorable to Michael implies that they knew something was going on.
Kate: They were really smart about Jules, setting it up at first like she had this happy home. And then as the news leaked, slowly shifting her narrative.
Ellie: Happy home albeit with a horrible half-finished indoor pool… That entire house was a disaster.
Kara: Jules will be back. And I am tentatively happy about it.
Madeleine: I thought both Bethenny and Carole came off as very nasty this season. Like, you two aren’t better than this situation, obviously, so stop acting like it.
Ellie: Their little clique with Ramona was pretty annoying.
Kara: I did however LOVE Ramona this season. I love Ramona every season. She is unhinged and so good at this.
Ellie: She’s amazing and also the worst person alive?? The thing about refusing to go to “Sandbar.”
Madeleine: Ramona is a veteran and it definitely shows. The way she waltzed into drama this season, basked in it, then floated away unscathed was very impressive. I wouldn’t want to go to the Sandbar either, honestly. Why would I want to kayak to get a hot dog when I could sit in a restaurant?
Ellie: It was so definitive of who Ramona is. She loves to travel, but everywhere she goes, she would like to be in an air-conditioned room that looks exactly the same.
Kate: What’s interesting to me is how much Dorinda stirred shit. Also in the reunion we see she is finally accused of doing drugs, not just drinking too much.
Kara: YES. Dorinda was sort of terrible most of the season. She ended on an OK note but whew, the beginning of the season was very ugly for her.
Madeleine: Bethenny referred to Dorinda as the Village Idiot and usually I’d disagree, but she definitely came off as a buffoon over the past several episodes. Her drunken speeches were, first and foremost, delightful to watch, but also very embarrassing. Where she found the nerve to call Sonja an alcoholic is beyond me.
Ellie: Dorinda is so bizarre to me, she seems like such a caring and thoughtful friend, but she always seems shocked to discover everyone’s personalities! How was she so surprised that Luann’s engagement was a joke?
Gabrielle: Sonja was also very clearly not drinking this season which made for an awkward scene with Luann forcing that glass of champagne on her.
Kate: Sonja has never come off better than this season. Despite all the Tipsy Girl shit.
Ellie: I loved watching Sonja reemerge from the hallucination she has been living in for the past several seasons. She’s actually wonderful and I had forgotten!
Madeleine: I think that Sonja is way smarter than she lets on. There was a moment in the yacht during Luann’s engagement celebration where Ramona was almost heckling Sonja about losing Tom (who, despite being engaged to Lu, has also dated Ramona and Sonja), saying, “You’re sad, you must be sad, are you sad?” And you could see this revelation behind Sonja’s eyes, like she decided, in that very moment, “I’m going to act sad and it will be a very sympathetic look for me.” And she was right!
Kate: It was funny how desperate Tom was to distance himself from her and Sonja, because he was embarrassed. Which is laughable—Tom’s embarrassing!
Ellie: I have a theory that Ramona really did only go on one date with Tom. She did not care at ALL, and I think she would have made a much bigger fuss if it had actually been a thing. I also don’t believe that Ramona would go on more than one date with someone and not have sex with them, sorry.
Madeleine: Sonja was cool as a cucumber. She came off looking great.
Ellie: Can I also say that I think Bethenny’s parties are bad?
Kate: And racist!
Ellie: Yes, that too. But they are so tightly planned and organized and it’s kind of like she’s planning an event for like her Sim City family or something. She doesn’t really fully understand other humans.
Madeleine: I’d like to address the moment at Bethenny’s “fiesta” when they were discussing the piñatas and Luann charged up and said, “If you don’t stop talking about me, I’m leaving” out of NOWHERE.
Kate: And they literally weren’t talking about her. For once!
Gabrielle: That’s how I like to enter most rooms honestly.
Ellie: Luann was so amped to start SHIT at that party.
Kara: That was exquisite.
Madeleine: It’s very indicative of the Countess’ character—which is to say it was delusional and nuts.
Kate: “You’re doing your own therapy together? What with alcohol, at the Regency?” - Good line from Ramona.
“It’s tragic” - Carole
“Think how bad I feel—I set them up!” - Dorinda
Everyone made it about them! It was beautiful. Luann is so self-involved she thought when Ramona was saying this reminds her of her situation she was talking about dating Tom not Mario.
Ellie: Okay, so, if I’m being 100% honest, I did not watch this entire season. The middle part got very boring for me, but then when Luann got engaged I was all in. I have never seen a more perfect, incredible villain than Luann de Lesseps, she really defined the season for me. That time she tried to talk about herself to Jules when Jules was crying about her dad in the hospital…shoving her horrible canary diamond in everyone’s face…literally HOPPING around the yacht and hoarsely shouting about her happiness...
Madeleine: I’d be interested in hearing everyone’s MVPs of the season.
Kara: My MVP is Ramona. Always Ramona. I honestly have no idea why these women continue to put up with her and, dare I say, continue to like her, but I dream of that level of emotional manipulation. Plus, her boobs look great.
Kate: Bethenny is always my MVP. She plays to win.
Ellie: MVP for me was Luann.
Madeleine: My MVP is Sonja. One, she looks fucking gorgeous. Two, she really carefully curated her narrative into a redemption story and came off looking the most sympathetic and together. That type of skill is remarkable to me. (That said, I will always love Luann because of her ability to only hear the answers she wants to hear and only accept the reality that she wants to accept—I am going to start living my life that way. Look out.)
Gabrielle: Dorinda. She made it nice.
Kara: Last thoughts? Takeaways? Lessons? Fears?
Kate: I’m fearful about the reunion. As some of you may know, when things get too mean I start to get stressed. I’d watch a show that was just peaceful tours of their closets
Kara: I am being very serious when I say that this season should be nominated for an Emmy. Few things on television have entertained me to the degree this show has over the past few months.
Madeleine: Walking away from this season has given me a bone-deep appreciation for the women of New York. They’re so devoted to their cause (entertaining me) and—apart from the Cindy blip of season four—have never let the audience down. Do they know the gift they’re giving us? I hope so and if I ever see any of them on the street, I will weep in gratitude at their feet. And if I know my NY ‘wives, I think they’ll accept my gesture like they’re used to it.
Kara: That’s beautiful.
Madeleine: P.S. Like Dorinda jonesing for a martini, I actually got the shakes watching the trailer for the reunion. I cannot wait.