This week’s episode started out with a Housewives gathering for a cocktail party at Zarin Fabrics, where Ramona’s husband Mario started yet another psycho-tirade about tennis. “Mario’s ego is so big that there isn’t room for two opinions,” Jill commented, just before Mario laid into Simon about his outfit on the court last week, saying he looked like something out of “seventh-grade gym.”

Thankfully the miner-of-the-one-liners Bethenny stepped up to the plate to add some much-needed humor, sharing her new rules for dating: “Think of my vagina as a vase, and if you’ve had sex with me it’s time to send flowers,” she told Jill.

And then in walks Kelly. “I hear that familiar chirp of ‘Hey, hi, hi,’” Bethenny said, mocking her arch-rival’s voice. Kelly arrived with her Eurotrash boy toy Max, and the two started having a pillow fight in the back of the store. Away from the party, Ramona was working on her skincare line — that is, when she wasn’t busy referencing her “chronological age.” Is there any other kind of age?

We then tagged along as Bethenny promoted her Bethenny Bakes cookies and muffins at an A&P in Connecticut. But no one wanted to sample her goods!

At LuAnn’s Upper East Side townhouse, we joined the Countess as she started working on her book, Class with the Countess, which is hitting stores April 16 … – nice timing, Bravo! Very subtle.

It was all the more odd to see LuAnn’s husband, Count de Lesseps, in the interstitials between segments knowing that they separated after the show stopped filming. Even stranger was the moment later in the episode at her publisher’s office, listening in on a conversation about her fairy tale “dream come true” of meeting and falling in love with the Count in Europe.

All of a sudden in the next scene we cut to L.A. where Kelly flew off to work on her jewelry line. Isn’t she a journalist? She was going on about the celebrities that wear her designs. “My new collection of jewelry is awesome, period,” she said. We then watched Kelly running in traffic in L.A. Back in New York, she was shown running in her little black short shorts in traffic, down the middle of the street, for exercise or exhilaration… or something.

Kelly and Jill then went to pick out a custom bag for Jill’s birthday. Kelly’s daughters came along, and were pretty well-behaved for being stuck in that stuffy environment. Jill suggested Kelly give parenting lessons to the Simon and Alex as she picked out a $16,000 handbag. And she actually said it was a low-priced birthday present from her husband compared to last year’s jewelry.

Things seemed like they were finally going to get a little spicy when Ramona dissed Bethenny for being the “underdog” as a businesswoman and single lady. But Bethenny was quick to forgive and we got right back to yammering about the positive effects of Ramona’s skincare line, before going to the photo shoot for Bethenny’s book Naturally Thin.

After a while the episode just deteriorated into one long advertisement for all of the Housewives’ side-projects and products. Where are Simon and Alex and their shopping expeditions when you need them?

Finally, the pair showed up for more than a blip in this episode. Simon was waiting on a corner with flowers, leading Alex into her surprise birthday date. The evening started with champagne at a jewelry studio and a purchase of $6,300 earrings. Then, in the car on the way to their next stop, Simon freaked out and snapped into a profanity-laden outburst because the car made a wrong turn. And the big surprise that got all screwed up? Going around an extra turn just to throw Alex off because they were going home to celebrate with their kids. –Mark Dagostino

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