By ANDREA HIGBIE
Aviva Drescher is this season's Kelly Bensimon, ever off the beam and on the wrong page, even without the aid of Gummi Bears.
Until Kelly was fired from "The Real Housewives of New York" last year after the fourth season, this former model and occasional man-beater could be counted on to be erratic and always late, even to her own parties. She was so consistently incompetent that her young daughters had to rescue the pancake batter from her.
On her best days, Kelly rarely made sense. On her worst days, well.... Her nickname for St. John was Scary Island, for what she believed the other women were doing to her on the trip. If only she'd had a sense of humor or irony, things might have been different.
Aviva may be missing a leg, but what really throws her off-kilter is her sense of timing. Last night, apropos of nothing, she scolded the Countess for using Ramona Singer's Ramona Pinot Grigio at Pepe Le Pew's blind wine-tasting event. The wine won no accolades, not even from Ramona.
"My gut tells me that LuAnn wanted Ramona to fail," Aviva said. "That whole scenario is really below a countess's behavior."
It's all well and good to scold the Countess, and, God knows, she deserves it, but the wine thing was back in Episode 8, three very long episodes ago. Last night's Episode 11 seemed an eternity later, weeks and weeks later in real time.
Aviva is trying so hard to fit in that it nearly hurts. She scampered right over to Ramona to tell her that she tried, she really tried, to show the Countess how wrong she was, but to no avail.
Ramona has the game down pat. "She's not the brightest woman, you know that," she said of the Countess.
Aviva, who was brought in with Heather Thomson (holla!) and the People's Princess, Carole Radziwill, replacing the purged Kelly, Jill Zarin, Alex McCord and the vajazzling Cindy Barshop, anointed herself Ramona's apologist (a very timid apologist) after Heather refused to invite Ramona to London back in Episode 3. (As you recall, Aviva was invited but she had to beg off because of, you know, the fears and phobias.)
The shark-toothed Heather inspired Ramona's ire, once again, last night, finding herself where she always lands, as Ramona's target.
Heather then sidled over to Mario, telling him, "Your crazy wife is over there, screaming her head off at me again."
Having already chided the Countess, Aviva moved on to Heather.
"You can't tell Mario his wife is crazy," Aviva informed her. "That's not nice."
No, it was not nice, but at least it happened just moments before and not weeks and weeks ago, so congratulations go to Aviva.
Who may well be feeling now that all this sticking up for Ramona is in vain. At the Princess's little castle last night there was some chitchat about going to St. Bart's. The Princess announced that she'd finally finished her manuscript (four-plus years in) about widowhood and dating, and a celebratory trip was in order. (Thanks, Bravo!)
On cue, Aviva trembled, mumbling about planes, boats and girl trips.
"Reid is my best friend," she said about her husband. "I hate to leave him." Move over, Kelly Bensimon, for shades of Alex McCord.
"I don't know if I can summon the strength to go and make it without Reid."
And here Ramona distinguished herself with her wisest observation in five seasons, about Aviva's "mixed messages."
"She'll say to me," Ramona said of Aviva, "'I don't want to be noticed for my disability. I don't want to be noticed for my anxieties. And yet, then all of a sudden, she'll make everything about her disability and her anxieties."
For someone who's always putting her foot in her mouth, this was very well said.
Much less well said was everything out of Sonja Morgan's mouth last night, including her boasts about having a "young uterus."
Sonja, her young uterus and a toaster oven
Arriving over an hour late for the photo shoot for the toaster ovens she's hoping will become the toast of the town and pausing only to sniff her underarms, Sonja announced: "I gotta go to the bathroom, and change my tampon. This is why I'm so crazy; I lose a lot of blood."
(Trust me, that's not why.)
"If we threw Aviva's leg in here, and my blood, they'd be like, 'Murder!'" Sonja said.
They might be like "Murder!" but Heather was like, "You ungrateful bitch."
Unfortunately, she didn't say that, but resentment rose around her in waves. Sniffing her armpits would be redundant.
Although Heather was helping (ie. doing everything for) Sonja with her new business, bringing in a photographer and designer along with assorted stylists and a male model (see photo), as well as setting up a studio, Sonja continued to treat her as if she were one of her unpaid interns.
"I feel like I care more about this brand than she does," Heather said, although it is clear that what she cares about has everything to do with herself, her own company (Yummie Tummie, an off-brand Spanx, like Jill Zarin's Skweeze) and her own public exposure.
Which is neither here nor there, and who cares, anyway? The fun was in watching Heather & Co. try to control Sonja at the photo shoot, as easily done as herding cats.
Another reward? Sonja gossiping behind Heather's back.
Next Monday's "Real Housewives" will feature Daddy Dearest's reappearance (cock-a-doodle-doo!) and Aviva's displeasure with Sonja for failing to attend her charity event. (And that after setting Sonja up with Daddy!)
What charity, you ask. Take a guess.
Says Aviva, "It's about the children who are missing legs."