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Bring the ‘Real Housewives of New York’ Back to New York

I'm getting kind of sick of the Hamptons.

11:25 AM EDT on August 3, 2023

(Bravo / Canva)

I think this makes me sound like a bad person, but I don't really care—the new RHONY cast doesn't drink enough, and it's making the show a little boring. The new cast is playing the hits, but they just don't sound the same. This week, the drama peaks when Erin Lichy committed a mortal Housewives sin: she perpetrated a "double standard" by forgiving Jenna Lyons for making an Irish exit in the middle of the night faster than she forgave Brynn Whitfield for ditching her [redacted] restaurant reservation. This comes out at a dinner party at Lichy's Sag Harbor home, but is resolved pretty quickly—probably because most of the dinner attendees are relatively sober, or at least sober enough to laugh at whatever conflict Whitfield is trying to alchemize into being. (Plus, it's obviously ruder to ditch an uncool dinner with friends than to try to get some sleep on a group trip—Lyons had a work call at 6:30 a.m.! She's not Eric Adams! That's stressful!)

Unfortunately, these women are generally too reasonable, too even-keeled, and ultimately too image-conscious to stretch any of these minor dramas into real knock-down, blow-out conflicts. Maybe I'm expecting too much—it's still extremely early in the season, which means resentments have yet to solidify, alliances have yet to crystallize, and we haven't even gotten a scene where one of the girls does cringey new-age sexual therapy with her husband yet (sorry Jessel, but we can all see it coming). I don't know. I'm just hoping for some action. In the meantime, here are the most and least authentic "Only in New Yawk!" moments I spied. (Sadly, we must note once again, the ladies are still in the Hamptons—which, having two of your first three episodes not take place in the city we're supposed to be seeing through fresh eyes with this new cast? What's up with that?)

Most authentic NYC moment: Brynn Whitfield versus Luxury Fridge

"Siri, open the door. Oh shit. Fuck. I hate the Hamptons. Alexa? Fuck. How do you open this shit? God. White people are so weird." It's a throwaway scene, but Whitfield struggling with Lichy's inscrutable, fancy fridge—designed to look like another white, handleless panel in her kitchen—is the realest 30 seconds of this entire episode. I don't know when "refrigerator that looks like a regular cabinet" came into vogue, but it's the interior design feature that most easily translates to, "Oh, someone who lives here is loaded!"—it's the saltwater pool of the kitchen, if you will. I generally only spot it when I'm in situations like the one Whitfield is in—being asked to grab drinks in an unfamiliar luxury domicile in FiDi or TriBeca or some fake neighborhood like Seaport that I'll probably never be allowed to hang out in again.

Most authentic NYC moment (runner-up): Dollar store talk 

After Lichy off-handedly mentions that some cups the women are using are from the Dollar Store, which she says is "so much fun," she, Lyons, (who also "loves a dollar store") and De Silva have a frank conversation about what it means to go into a discount shop as a lark versus shopping there when you have no other option. "I don't think you bitches grew up poor. When you grow up poor, you don't like a dollar store," De Silva says, before recounting a story about her father setting up a tiny, dollar-store Christmas tree every year for the holidays before talking about her general upbringing, which the other women are politely receptive to.

Honestly, this scene had a scripted vibe to me, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It definitely felt like it was in service to the "real" and "diverse" New York thing Andy Cohen and Bravo were looking for from the reboot.

Least authentic NYC moment: That weak-ass personal trainer workout

It was great to see the new cast continuing the time-worn RHONY tradition of ever-so-lightly sexually harassing a male employee while on vacation. This episode's victim: a personal trainer named David, who treks out to Sag Harbor to lead the girls in a workout that, in my opinion, falls short of boutique fitness. Granted, most of the personal training session screen time is devoted to Whitfield and Ubah Hassan flirting with David—it's not really about the exercise routine—but what we do see on camera looks surprisingly wimpy. I mean, a resistance band jog in place? Standing side crunches? What kind of YouTube video shit is that? It's a workout for 20-somethings who went to NYU with minimal loans and got fine line tattoos and moved to East Williamsburg and work in marketing—not for women who have planted their flags at the summit of Mount Girlboss, no matter how hot the personal trainer is.

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