There’s a key to the success of The Real Housewives of New York City this season, and I think her name is Aviva Drescher. If you’ve been watching so far, you may have been impressed, as I have, by the producers’ ability to stretch small conflicts into whole episodes. We’ve gotten little glimpses of Ramona Singer‘s crazy eyes and Sonja Morgan‘s sexual over-sharing, but none of the big blow-outs that they’ve had in previous seasons, and it’s because of the changes they’ve made to the cast. Without Jill Zarin, no one cares quite enough what Ramona says to get in her face about it. It bothers LuAnn, obviously, and it definitely rubs Heather Thomson the wrong way, but those two ladies aren’t volatile enough to start screaming matches about it. Heather will stand her ground if confronted, but ultimately she’s not trying to maintain a friendship with Ramona the way Jill was, so she’s able to let a lot of stuff roll off her back. Bottom line, I can’t imagine any of these women crying in the middle of a party — except maybe Sonja — so I was starting to worry about the future of the RHONY franchise.
Until along came Aviva. Aviva is the perfect little guardian angel who protects me from a boring season. She’s like a bee pollinating the flowers. She takes a big pile of gossip-pollen from Heather and flies it over to Ramona, makes a little conflict flower grow, and then flies back to Heather with more gossip-pollen. She’s single-handedly growing a miraculous scandal garden and come next week, I think we’re gonna get our first harvest of throwdown-berries. (Okay. I think I’m done with that metaphor now.) Nothing really blew up this week, but the preview of the rest of the season had me short of breath with excitement. We have fights between Heather and Sonja, between Ramona and LuAnn, and most importantly, between Aviva and everybody. She’s at the root of this, you see. She’s the one putting all the work in, and we’re the ones who get to reap the rewards.
This week was just about priming the pump. Aviva invited Sonja and Ramona down to her house in Florida, hypocritically excluding Heather, LuAnn, and Carole Radziwill, as Heather pointed out. She’s also trying to set up Sonja with her sex addict father, so that’s some good groundwork as well. And finally, she’s poking the Ramona-bear, trying to wake up that crazy beast. LuAnn and Jacques held a wine party and had everyone do a blind tasting of Ramona Pinot Grigio, including Ramona, in the hopes that she’d trip up and reveal that she didn’t know anything. Ramona wasn’t too bothered by this in the moment, so Aviva took it upon herself to remind her at dinner, getting her more and more riled up about the prank until it’s almost certain to come up again next week.
Bottom line, as annoying as she probably is in real life, and as much as I wouldn’t want to hang out with her, thank god she’s here. She’s the medic that this suffering show needs to send a jolt of adrenaline to its heart…and not a moment too soon. I see bare breasted Sonjas and cheating LuAnns and dirty-talking Heathers in my future, and they can’t come quickly enough.