Please imagine you’re a single mother of one going to a casual dinner with your closest friends and frenemies. Everything starts off well. Yet, before anyone can even finish their first drink, you’re asked if any of your six-year-old daughter’s classmates have shown her extremely old "soft porn" photos of you topless. Surprised, you react with sarcastic jokes, because this is all so bizarre, but you’re not actually embarrassed — just confused. By the time the salad comes, your verbal attacker is accusing you of being an awful friend with an awful attitude.
This is what happened to Bethenny Frankel on last night’s Real Housewives Of New York.
In season 9's "A New Low," resident truth-teller Bethenny sits sits down for a bite with actual friend Carole Radziwill, sometimes-friend Ramona Singer, reunion enemy LuAnn De Lesseps (now D’Agostino), and Countess sidekick Dorinda Medley. While we should expect fireworks between Bethenny and LuAnn, Ramona is, bafflingly, the one who lights the match.
"Has anybody approached Bryn with anything? You’re in the press now being naked and doing soft porn. Has anybody approached your daughter? Have you explained to her the situation?" Ramona grills a wide-eyed Bethenny about her six-year-old. The former Bethenny host doesn’t get upset and simply fires back with a joke, saying, "Diane Sawyer came to her school yard and actually approached her."
Bethenny then calmly clarifies what Ramona’s going on about, explaining she was in 1990s B-movie Hollywood Hills 90028 where she played a murderer. In the 1994 flick, the now-business mogul has a topless sex scene, like countless other actresses out there. The former would-be starlet even admits she was joking about it with Carole earlier and the so-called scandal is "great, because it shows that [her] boobs were big."
Ramona responds to Bethenny’s eye rolls about her nudity inquisition with a long tirade involving 10-year-olds showing first-graders nude photos, Bethenny’s new dogs, and Hillary Clinton. Despite Ramona’s strange defense of her behavior, her mommy shaming victim perfectly captures what was wrong with the conversation. "Ramona attempting to embarrass me through my daughter, who is in first-grade, is low for Ramona" Bethenny says in a talking head interview. Even LuAnn and Dorinda note how poorly Ramona handled everything.
The problem with the conversation is that Ramona wasn’t trying to have a serious parenting conversation with Bethenny. That’s proven when Bryn’s mom repeatedly asks her interrogator if she brought up 90028 ’s famous scene as a "positive" thing and she avoids the question completely. Instead, Ramona clearly meant to shame her "friend" and criticize her mothering skills.
The Turtle-Timer’s need to mom shame continues when Carole defends Bethenny. Ramona dismisses her because the former journalist isn’t a mother. "You don’t have a daughter so you don’t understand," Ramona tells her latest target. "You can’t relate." Carole correctly points out she can still have empathy for a friend, whether or not she’s given birth.
In an applause-worthy moment, Bethenny leaves all of this madness behind after Ramona calls her "weird," "stupid," "wicked," and "a witch" for standing up for herself, her parenting tactics, and her daughter. Well, we can assume Ramona won't be babysitting Bryn any time soon.
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