While perusing the Real Housewives Of New York City Wikipedia page earlier this month, as one does, one tiny detail struck me: just how long Carole Radziwill has remained on RHONY. Uber Cool Downtown Chick Carole. Low Drama Carole. Chill Carole. Carole Radziwill, a still-working journalist with Kennedy family ties and a low tolerance for nonsense, doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of woman who would would stick around a boozy argument-fueled reality show for six straight seasons. And, yet, she has.
That is until Wednesday — mere days after filming the likely somber season 10 reunion — when the writer announced she is exiting RHONY ahead of a prospective season 11, telling People, “I’m thrilled to leave frenemies behind.” After seeing the New York episode that aired hours after her announcement, “Guess Who's Arguing at Dinner?,” it’s no surprise that Bethenny Frankel’s former BFF is leaving the series. “Dinner” was hell, especially for Carole Radziwill.
There is a darkness hanging over the New York ladies’ annual trip in season 10. It is unlike last year’s emotional vacation cloud, which grew from the immortal battle between Bethenny Frankel and Ramona Singer. Bethenny and Ramona, like Lost’s Jacob and Man In Black, will always be feuding, so their hostilities don’t actually mean anything. The same cannot be said for ex best friends Carole and Bethenny’s ineffable, claustrophobic tension. Or the obvious internal plight of Luann de Lesseps, a countess trying to enjoy herself despite the threat of possible felony charges and the difficulties of newfound, hard-fought sobriety. There’s even the issue of Dorinda Medley, a delightful, beloved woman who is apt to explode after one too many margaritas.
None of this is a superficial crisis. All seems to be weighing on Carole, who simply wants to enjoy a nice, chill trip to South America.
As we found out in last week’s “Wigging Out,” Bethenny is in the midst of a consistent panic attack over the fact that her restraining order against ex-husband Jason Hoppy is nearly up. She’s also stressed about her own over-scheduling, the general anxiety over her life, and the fact that she is no longer close with Carole. Carole, who calls Bethenny’s rare emotional display “unnerving,” clearly doesn’t want to deal with any of this, as she flatly tells Dorinda, “I can’t engage with someone who’s crying every time we have a conversation.”
The problem is the exact thing Carole doesn’t want to occur is precisely the essence of The Real Housewives Of New York. If it’s not Bethenny sobbing over her failed friendship, it will be Dorinda the morning after a late-night screed, or Tinsley Mortimer following a dust-up with Sonja Morgan, or Luann after someone brings up her legal troubles. RHONY is made of tears and tequila and pinot grigio and too-late apologies.
This fact becomes abundantly clear during the episode’s titular Cartagena dinner, which is a pure fiasco.
Carole attempts to clear the air with Bethenny, and it goes uncomfortably awry. One single exchange proves why this friendship can no longer work. Bethenny brings up the fact that Carole ignored her the previous evening when she was hysterically crying at post-dinner drinks. This is technically true, as the footage shows. But, because Carole was standing above Bethenny, who was turning directly away from her ex-ish friend, it legitimately appeared to Carole that Bethenny was purposefully refusing to say goodbye to her.
For Bethenny, Carole was, yet again, shunning her feelings. For Carole, Bethenny was, yet again, rudely avoiding her for no reason. Both women are correct in their perception and can never get over the other’s opinion on the series of events that occurred. Carole is obviously exhausted by the hamster wheel of trying to overcome this unavoidable truth, especially since her sit-down with Bethenny ends up running directly next to an upsetting blow up between Luann and Dorinda over alcohol consumption and jail time. It’s difficult to think of a reality TV dinner that seems more sad, or more serious, than this one.
The post-dinner debrief proves just how tired Carole was made by the entire debacle. Back at the house, she has a full conversation with Dorinda over her latter’s argument with Luann. Dorinda obviously has lipstick smeared all over the bottom half of her face. Carole doesn’t tell her, or seem to notice the cosmetic issue, until Bethenny comes downstairs and immediately attempts to clean off her friend’s face. “Poor Dorinda has a Joker mustache,” Bethenny complains as Carole claims nothing is wrong. After days of relentless tension, Carole is truly, understandably a little checked out.
If only the RHONY vacation turned around after The Great Dinner Meltdown. Instead, as previews tease, the boat ride from hell will arrive in next week’s episode. Who could blame Carole for getting the heck out of Dodge (and The Real Housewives Of New York City)?
Looking for more theories, recaps, and insider info on all things TV? Join our Facebook group, Binge Club. The community is a space for you to share articles, discuss last night’s episode of your favorite show, or ask questions! Join here.