New York can be a scary place, especially if you're Sonja Morgan and you never venture downtown. Unless you count the time Cindy Barshop, the deservedly fired housewife, tricked you into going down there for lunch and shopping and then turned the whole thing into an afternoon of dentists and recriminations.
But last night on "The Real Housewives of New York" a very nice brunch, courtesy of Carole Radziwill, was to be had if only Sonja could convince herself to go back down there. So she got dressed, with or without panties, and lassoed a "sweet driver who knew his way around downtown" (wink, wink) to get her to SoHo. But the traffic was terrible.
Take the subway, you say?
Not if you're Sonja Morgan, as there are sure to be madmen waiting to push her onto the tracks, all of them related to the thieves from whom she zealously guarded her luggage last season in Morocco. Where it turned out that the only thieves were interested in stealing hangers, and that according to Cindy Barshop -- the very same.
Heather Thomson shows up for the brunch -- "Holla!" -- which probably set Jill Zarin twinging and seething in front of her Upper East Side apartment TV, and pretending not to be watching. Still without a hobby, she watches, as Heather's Yummie Tummie shapewear line -- "My success is built on making women look and feel their best," Heather boasts in her weekly intro. "Holla!" -- has made the world forget all about Jill's Skweeze line, as if the world thought about it at all.
Aviva Drescher drove down to Princess Carole's brunch, alighting there and begging her hostess for a crash course on the New York City subway system since the traffic was so awful, and it was apparent to her that if she was to be hanging with this crew, as it seemed she would be, she'd be expected to go downtown every once in a while.
No one hates Aviva, yet, but comments are drifting around about how crazy she was to take her 4-month-old son, who's now 4, to a shrink for trauma prevention because she changed his name (to Hudson from Brandon). Certainly a name change is not as traumatic as what Aviva experienced losing her leg when she was 6 in a barn conveyor belt accident, but better safe than sorry.
Though how crazy is it to change your kid's name in the first place? Aviva confided that she'd contemplated changing her baby daughter Sienna's name as well (unfortunately, she didn't say what she would have changed it to; Brandon?), but, "My husband wouldn't let me because he said that would make me officially crazy."
Aviva clings to crazy like a toasty blanket, noting that she has enough gas masks, getaway gear and Cipro to prove it, ready for every occasion.
"I'm deathly afraid of heights," Aviva told the gals at brunch, which was going to prove difficult because Carole planned to take them atop the James Hotel roof in SoHo, but luckily she summoned her husband, Reid, and he came at once.
"Reid helps to abate the anxiety during stressful situations," she explained, so I am sure that we'll be seeing a lot of him this season.
"One of my biggest fears is something happening to Reid," Aviva said. "I would not be able to breathe."
Up on the roof, Sonja told Aviva that Reid should be wearing a wedding ring, something Aviva didn't believe in, before that very moment, because "I think girls are more attracted to men wearing rings because they're unattainable."
The next day Aviva, fearing that Sonja was right, went ring shopping with Ramona, and we watch Ramona realize that she has not been invited to the group trip to London by Heather the Interrupter.
Since Ramona already hates the Countess, despite the truce they've supposedly called, why not add a new housewife to the hate list and go full throttle against Heather?
"This woman does not shut up!" Ramona said in one solo on-camera interview about Heather. Holla!
When Heather doesn't invite Ramona to tag along on her London business trip, Ramona devotes more energy to hating her.
"I think the problem Heather has with me is I'm a real secure person," Ramona says, sounding exactly like an insecure person. "I know exactly who I am, I know exactly where I'm going, I don't take shit and I don't play games. Everything Heather isn't." Holla!
Poor Ramona. She sounds just like a mother consoling her rejected child by telling her, "They're just jealous of you."
Later in the episode, Ramona began brewing another cup o' hatred, this one toward Carole when she decided that she was flirting with her husband, Mario, who was doing some flirting himself. But Ramona set her sights only on Carole, who ordered a beer after Mario ordered one and planned to have the same lunch, a tuna burger, and then tried to forge a link with Mario over their Italian backgrounds.
Ramona reminds the table (Carole) that she and Mario have been married 20 years -- we remember, we remember; who can forget Ramona's 17th-anniversary wedding vows renewal ceremony, thank you, Bravo. When Carole applauds such a lengthy tie that binds, Mario said, "You have to work at it."
At the beginning of the lunch, Ramona said, "I like when my girlfriends get along with my husband." But apparently not too well.
In her on-camera solo interview, Carole said, "If I listened to what people said about Ramona, I would think she's crazy." And that would be fine with her. "I grew up with crazy. I'm attracted to crazy."
She's in good company.
Sonja declined to order food at the brunch with Aviva and Carole -- "I'm embarrassed about the way I eat," she confesses, though that's never stopped her before -- and either from hunger or competitive thirst she made sure to tell Princess Carole, "I did live six years in Italy with a count."
Meanwhile, in the de Lesseps' royal house of horrors, the Countess was telling her 17-year-old daughter, Victoria, that she was thinking of having a baby with her mini-David Schwimmer boyfriend, Jacques.
What better way to prove to Ramona Singer that she is a good mother -- not one who deserves Ramona's insinuations, threats and/or blackmail -- than to ambush her teenager with unwanted and mortifying sexual information, sentencing her to a lifetime of weekly psychotherapist visits? (Carole will surely like Victoria too.)
"I would say," said Victoria, squirming under the camera's glare as well as her mother's, "go to a doctor and see if there are any risks."
Victoria politely mentioned the topic of her mother's advancing age -- the Countess admits to being 47 -- while looking for all the world that she'd rather be anywhere else, even anybody else.
And, by the by, as long as the Countess remains unmarried, she gets to keep her title.
To further repudiate Ramona's attacks on her motherhood, the Countess proceeds to humiliate her 15-year-old son, Noel, by hopping on a skateboard on an outing with him and mini-David Schwimmer, Baby Daddy-to be.
That'll show Ramona.
But Ramona has the last laugh when she appeared on Andy Cohen's "Watch What's Happening: Live!" on Bravo immediately after "Real Housewives" last night.
When Andy asked for her take on Countess LuAnn's pregnancy musings, Ramona said it all by spraying a geyser of pinot grigio from her mouth. When he brought up Ramona's pregnancy scare last season (unkind things were said at that time by the Countess), Ramona, who is 56, said that was completely different, because she merely missed her period and wasn't trying to become pregnant.
For the record, Ramona's teenage daughter, Avery, was none too thrilled when she learned about the possibility of a baby sister or brother. As any self-respecting teenager would be.
While staying as far from the subway as possible, Sonja decided to start a business, a catering and events business, and call it Sonja in the City. (Forget about her erstwhile toaster oven book venture.) Ramona, who taught her how to use a notebook last night to take notes, instead of making little notes on scraps of The New York Post, told Sonja not to show up in costumes in the course of her business.
Knowing Sonja as we all do, Ramona was probably afraid that she'd "forget" to wear her panties, as usual, and turn her business into what it should truthfully be called in the first place, Sex in the Sonja.
Profiles in courage, Sonja Morgan, left, with Carole Radziwill and Heather Thomson.