Skip to Content
Cultural Capital

The Real Housewives of New York City Are Healing

This week, the girls try their best. Really.

The cast of the Real Housewives of New York City dressed for the season 14 cast reunion.
(Clifton Prescod / Bravo)

My past few entries in this column have been, I can admit, a bit doom and gloom. I thought the Real Housewives of New York was done for, doomed by a generally annoying and unexciting cast; I thought that I was done for if this season ended up being 20-plus episodes long. This week's episode, the 12th this season, finds the new RHONY cast back in New York City after a long and irritating Caribbean vacation—and, for the first time, I felt a glimmer of the RHONY legacy in these women. Am I converted? Absolutely not. Would I watch the rest of this season if I wasn't doing it for work? I don't think so—but at this point, I might tune in for the reunion. [Note to self: For love of God edit this part out so my coworkers don't make me blog the inevitable multi-part 'Real Housewives of New York City reunion, because that will break me.

So, what made me soften my stance (besides the fact that three really similar "I hate this show so fucking much" blogs in a row would make me a hack)? This episode, the cast members hit some classic notes that a real Real Housewives fan like myself cannot help but appreciate: Erin Lichy and Sai De Silva went on a double date with their husbands and talked shit about Jessel Taank's sex life; Ubah Hassan invited all the women to participate in a healing sound bath; Taank had a sexy staycation with her husband and wore lingerie on camera, while Jenna Lyons picked up digits from a younger woman at a lesbian bar; and Brynn Whitfield shopped for "rare books," because apparently that's something she's into. 

Cruel, on-camera speculation about another Housewife's relationship? Check. Alternative medicine that one of the cast members gets way too into? (Hassan cried mid-sound bath for like, no reason.) Checkaroo. Awkward, quasi-endearing sexploits? You betcha. A deeply weird, prohibitively expensive rich person interest? Let's go. Finally, the women have begun to bring it—12 weeks into what, I am elated to announce, is officially a 14-episode season (I called it, by the way!). I'm grateful, I guess…but I am still staunchly against doing this again if and when a second season with this cast airs, because I maintain that the lack of organic chemistry between these women continues to keep this reboot from greatness. I'm just marginally more willing to be proved wrong than I was three weeks ago, when I threatened to chew my leg off if I had to keep blogging about this show

Anyway! Here are this episode's New Yawk City-centric highlights.

Most authentic New York City moment: Brynn loves a good gay bar

Whitfield and Lyons have had a kind of off-putting inside joke the past few episodes that involves hamfisted flirtation of the "I just came back from the hot tub and I'm…wet" variety, but this episode, when the women went to a lesbian bar together, Whitfield wingmanned for Lyons—who continues to self-describe as scared and awkward in terms of dating—and it was genuinely pretty sweet. Whitfield also jumped up and down and shrieked enthusiastically when a drag performer brought Lyons onstage for a little lanky shimmying dance and stuffed money down the front of her friend's deep, deep V-neck without trying to get onstage herself, which is pretty good straight girl at the queer bar behavior, as far as that goes. That's because, as Whitfield says in a confessional, she's spent plenty of time in those kinds of spaces.

"I go to gay bars pretty often," Whitfield says. "I don't differentiate between straight or gay—if there's good looking people, I'm gonna be there, and I'm gonna be drinking." Spoken like a real NYC party girl.  

(Also, on a purely mean girl note, I'm getting tired of Lyons's little "I'm shy" routine when it comes to socializing. OK, you're so shy that you decided to become a main cast member on an extremely popular reality TV show about your life as a rich woman who lives in New York City? Totally!)

Least authentic New York City moment: Erin and Abe scandalize Sai

De Silva and Lichy spend a good portion of their double date quizzing their husbands on what the men would do if, like Taank and her husband, they didn't have sex for a year and a half. (Both men say something to the effect of "I'd cheat." At least they're being honest!) From there, the conversation takes a turn, and Lichy and her husband—who, it's critical to remember, is a lawyer and a DJ—reveal that in a decade or so, they think they're going to dip their toes into group sex to keep the relationship exciting. De Silva reacts in mock disgust, but is clearly taken aback. "What planet are we living on?" she asks Lichy. "Planet New York!" Lichy responds.

To be clear, I definitely believe this is De Silva's authentic reaction—she has generally displayed an extremely low tolerance for anything she thinks is weird, and let's be honest, swinging is generally perceived as weird behavior. But it's not that weird in New York City! C'mon! Modern Love! The Cut's Sex Diaries! The most dramatic coffee shop conversation you've ever eavesdropped on in your life—ethical non-monogamy in the air in the Big Apple. De Silva's incredulous response is a prudish reaction from a member of the cast that was supposedly picked to be au courant—and what's more au courant than some ENM action! Sorry De Silva, but if you can select for it on Hinge, it's not actual freak shit.

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

See all posts