Luann de Lesseps' Divorce Debriefing Is a Bizarre Artifact of Reality Television

Luann de Lesseps recently parted ways with her shiny bald husband of seven months, Tom D’Agostino, after persistent cheating rumors and a public row that ended in either a “slap” or a “face hold,” depending on who you ask.


Luann’s incredibly smug marriage was, during its brief tenure, a big source of tension on The Real Housewives of New York City, as one cast member (Sonja) had considered Tom her “lover,” and another (Bethenny) showed Luann pictures of Tom making out with a woman in the Regency, of all places. Now, it is fodder for a special edition of Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live! This technically aired a couple days ago, but it is, in my opinion, still worth our attention.

The conversation itself is not particularly shocking, if you’re familiar with these sorts of things. Andy, who somehow always gets away with being rude as fuck, asked things like: “Did you give back your 8 carat engagement ring?” and “Does any part of you feel like a chump?” and “Do you think in retrospect that you were more excited about the marriage than he was?” and “Why were you so cocky about your marriage on the show?” Luann answered dutifully and with characteristic evasiveness, wearing a generally placid expression that indicates this was all to be expected.

The intro, though—the intro is weird. It almost reads like a parody of a reality TV special that would run on an episode of 30 Rock—there’s dramatic music, and a staged knock on the door, and the announcement that this is being filmed “on location” in Sag Harbor, New York, as though Andy Cohen is stepping bravely through the debris of a bombed out city. Are they making fun of Luann? Themselves? Is this supposed to be entirely serious? If its dissolution looks this campy, are we still supposed to believe that the marriage itself was authentic? Does Andy realize how dumb he looks in that polo?

I have nothing but questions. Please take a look above, and help me out.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.



The real tragedy here is the lack of a statement necklace.