A recent dinner party on The Real Housewives of New York went left, as they tend to do, when Sonja Morgan drunkenly brought up her fears about being a “cancellation consolation,” whatever that means. Soon all the women were chiming in with their fears and anxieties, most memorable among them Ramona Singer, who asked: “Why would we want to cancel culture?”
But I want to focus on Sonja at this moment because there is a darkness lingering inside of her and I’m not sure we should be watching it crawl out and prance around on television.
Let me set the scene: The women were out at dinner somewhere in the Greater Hamptons. Lu was insistent on the place because she wanted to expand the women’s horizons beyond Southampton and Sag Harbor. Predictably, Sonja got extremely intoxicated, while the other women fawned over Lu’s new man. While sitting just off-camera, the women suddenly heard her exclaim, “I don’t want to be a cancellation consolation.”
I’m still unsure about what that means, exactly.
Of course, it’s totally unsurprising that a gaggle of rich white women—save newcomer Eboni, who is a total godsend this season—might have some anxieties about cancellation, especially when one of them is most famous for partying with the Trumps during quarantine. Add in Lu’s many strange comments about class, or Leah’s totally disturbing respect for Jordan Peterson, not to mention that downright absurd essay in which she wrote that Harvey Weinstein couldn’t have raped Asia Argento because “she went on to have a consensual relationship with Weinstein for several years.” The skeletons are practically clamoring to bust out of their collective walk-in closet.
Even still, Eboni left room to surprise me. Earlier in the day, she had explained to Ramona why she shouldn’t call her employees “the help,” explaining that “my grandmother worked her whole life as a domestic,” and that “historically in our country” describing people in the service industry as “the help” is totally fucked up. Ramona then condescendingly responded in a confessional that she loved how Eboni explained it to her “in a non-condescending way.” Back to the dinner party. Over swordfish and wine, Eboni intervened when Ramona asked “why would we cancel culture?” She explained that “in this group,” she’d prefer it if they could talk amongst each other and work out their feelings, rather than “cancellation.” I was surprised at the amount of grace and professionalism she afforded Ramona in that moment. I certainly couldn’t have done the same for someone so clearly bigoted.
Sonja, meanwhile, had been stewing in the corner. Suddenly, she once again busted out another befuddling series of exclamations, this time about poverty and the unhoused crisis happening in New York City and everywhere, really. “People don’t understand, we need to protect the poor because stocks are going up, the poor are getting poorer, the homeless are getting homeless-er.” After she rambled a bit more, Sonja delivered the sucker punch: “I’VE RAISED MILLIONS FOR AIDS AWARENESS... MILLIONS FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY.” Eboni sat stunned, barely able to contain the shock painted across her face.
Ridiculous diatribes from wealthy white women about poverty aside, it’s become frighteningly clear that Sonja needs a break from reality television. Her friends seem incapable of helping her control her behavior in public or private. Not to mention the level of drunkenness is personally horrifying, as a sober person who understands the amount of alcohol one might ingest to get to this point.
Her continued inclusion in the cast is more troubling when you consider the “official” reason both Dorinda Medley and the network gave for her exit after Season 12. According to official reports, she was drinking excessively and terribly mean. Sonja might not have venom in her words, but what sort of standard is Bravo measuring this behavior against, if Dorinda was given a hiatus from the spotlight for what appears to be the same thing? It’s clear that unlike Dorinda, Sonja drives ratings. Any reputable Real Housewives viewer can rattle off 10 instances in which she made the show comedic gold. As a newcomer back in Season 3, she felt fresh and exciting: rich and just ridiculous enough to root for her in her many post-divorce tribulations.
But in the last decade, she hasn’t been on an upward climb to success. Instead, she seems to be tumbling into the abyss. Worst of all, she’s picking up speed.