Last week, American’s entire Bravo-watching population smugly said in unison, “I knew it,” as Real Housewives Of New York star LuAnn (de Lesseps) D’Agostino confirmed she had filed for divorce from her husband Tom D’Agostino. The former "Countess" and her "reformed" playboy had been married for just 216 days when the announcement came. Although we all now know the controversial couple’s marriage is currently over, we’re still living in the past when it comes to RHONY season 9, which concluded Wednesday night on Bravo. Namely, we're living in early March 2016, as Instagram photos prove. The massive changes to LuAnn’s life over the last five months make the season finale, "Thank You And Good Night," all the more awkward to watch.
Although LuAnn spends much of her first appearance gushing about her husband — "We’re still in our honeymoon phrase and he’s just added so much to my life! And [he] makes it complete!" — the truly uncomfortable part comes when she starts talking about co-star Ramona Singer’s now-ended marriage with Mario Singer. The scene is built around LuAnn and Tom playing tennis and the pair pretending not to be competitive about the sport, despite the fact they’re placing bets and "playfully" arguing about the score. "It’s not tension like when Ramona and Mario used to have tension when they played tennis," LuAnn swears in a talking head interview. It’s clear the implied statement in here is, "Tom and I are actually compatible on the court and off. Unlike some people." Now that we now both Ramona and LuAnn’s relationships didn’t work out, this kind of unnecessary, and seemingly unprompted, dragging of the Singers looks all the more petty, especially considering the surprise attack Ramona suffered earlier this season over her divorce.
The cognitive dissonance between LuAnn’s real-life and the televised, five-months-old version gets even worse when the former countess and Tom arrive at Tinsley Mortimer’s "Thank You, Sonja" party. The new Mrs. D’Agostino has a surprisingly cordial conversation with Dorinda Medley and Bethenny Frankel where everyone heaps praise on the new marriage. "One thing about Bethenny is she says [it] the way it is, good, bad, or otherwise, okay? She said yesterday, ‘I gotta tell you something, I’m checking the box for LuAnn this time,’" Dorinda tells a beaming LuAnn, who is happy people finally respect her relationship, despite the months of cheating allegations trailing behind it. The trio agrees there’s tons of proof LuAnn’s marriage should work, including the facts she "gave up" her Countess title, now lives in a one-bedroom, and avoids most of her "socialite" obligations. Dorinda finishes, "There’s love here," as LuAnn insists, "That’s right. And very happily … I’m happy to be ‘Mrs.’"
This entire exchange would be lovely if Tom wasn't back to his suspicious behavior in another corner of the party. As LuAnn continues her campaign to prove the legitimacy of her marriage, her husband is saying thinly veiled flirty comments to Missy, his ex-girlfriend and Ramona’s friend, who has been a center of intrigue throughout RHONY season 9. Missy, who apparently has no last name à la Madonna, has claimed she was still dating Tom when he began a relationship with LuAnn. In fact, Ramona’s pal said she ran into Tom at the Regency Hotel and still believed they were an item. However, he was there with LuAnn. Since then, local drama king Harry Dubin insinuated during Ramona’s housewarming party Tom and Missy kissed after the former got engaged to LuAnn. Missy neither confirmed nor denied the story.
Keeping all of that information in mind, Tom’s comments to Missy couldn’t be more inappropriate. When he runs into Missy, he coughs and she asks if he’s sick. "No, no, no, I’m fine," the businessman responds. "I get all choked up when I see you." Missy continues the flirting, saying, "The feeling’s mutual." RHONY gives us short snippets of Tom’s conversation with Missy and friends, revealing she was "walking off" the last time they saw each other. When an unseen friend wants Tom’s "side of the story" about the mysterious encounter, he becomes red-faced and starts laughing uncomfortably. "Alright. I’ve got to unplug this," he says, turning off his mic to tell his tale. Whatever happened the last time Tom and Missy got together, it’s apparently so suspect, the Bravo team can never hear it.
While everything about LuAnn’s relationship in the finale falls somewhere between uncomfortable to cringeworthy — Tom, why are you so inconsiderate towards your wife? — this does give me hope for a new-and-improved Countess for season 10. Most of LuAnn’s season 9 storyline came from her relationship with Tom, which many of the housewives disapproved of due to the string of infidelity rumors that plagued the longtime bachelor. Her first argument with Ramona? About the pinot grigio fan’s instance on finding proof Tom cheated. Her Palm Beach wedding? It basically took up an entire episode and had a New York-set post-party. Even on the ladies’ vacation to Mexico, LuAnn said "Tom," who was in no way present, was the best part of her trip. With LuAnn finally rid of Tom, her tagline doesn't have to be about becoming a "Mrs." Instead, her next storyline can focus on becoming her own woman, free from the trappings of any man.
LuAnn's first Instagram photo post-divorce announcement, a solo photo of herself hiking in Switzerland, proves she's on well on the way to living her best life, single-lady style. If she keeps this up, I just might actually be excited for Real Housewives Of New York season 10.
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