So, have you missed "The Real Housewives of New York"? I think it was just long enough between seasons for me to shake the crazy squawk of Ramona's voice out of my brain, which makes hearing her again all the more painful. When we eventually get Ramona and Sonja together in a room, as we inevitably do, I have to resist the urge to either mute the television or claw desperately at my ears until I have nothing but bloody, senseless stumps on the side of my face. Luckily, I found the remote.

The good news is that the show is adding a new cast member, Kristen, to this mix this season. Though she prattles on about being dumb but pretty, she's a genuine weirdo who impresses Carole immediately. I'm with Carole -- Kristen has a truly off-kilter sense of humor (though she doesn't seem to be kidding about her Elvis obsession) and listening her joke around about her marriage is both depressing (because I think she really isn't sure the union will make it another year) and yet kinda impressive.

There's an incongruity in seeing a seemingly proper mother of two promise her husband blow jobs as he gives her elegant diamond jewelry, and the friction between Kristen and Josh seems to ripple through even happy moments, but their relationship gets a thumbs up from me for seeming slightly less scripted than everything else. But really, my standards for any new cast member aren't all that high. If she's not screaming right off the jump, she has a leg up on the rest of these lunatics.

Speaking of lunatics, even Carole is keeping her distance from Aviva this season, while Sonja and Ramona are actively avoiding her. I would think Aviva might just skulk in the other direction given how fractious things were between Aviva and a good chunk of the cast, but Aviva has turned a new leaf. Well, that or realized that she needs to initially make nice with Ramona and Sonja to be a core part of the show, and thus the Charming of Ramona (look for it in theaters near you soon) begins. Aviva doesn't just try to win Ramona over -- she sprays the woman with compliments and apologies like she's turned on the suck-up tap at full blast. 

Even though Ramona is fully aware she's being snowed, she can't help it -- she just loves to be complimented! And by the end of the episode, it seems Aviva has really done the impossible. Sonja and Kristen plead with Ramona to make nice with their former pal, and Ramona ultimately is willing to forgive, if not forget. I need to make note of this, because I'm thinking I might find some time shares to sell Sonja and Ramona and now know exactly how to do it. To Aviva the witch!

Every episode I see Sonja, I think it can only be a matter of time before she's institutionalized or at the very least diagnosed with some elaborately hard to pronounce psychiatric disorder, and this episode is no different. She surrounds herself with dimwitted interns who are somehow even more scatterbrained than she is, forgets to supply plates at her elaborate tea party, trots out her 23-year-old boyfriend and hopes that by not mentioning his age no one will notice he's only slightly older than her daughter, and invites a cray-cray "minister" in a ridiculous Kentucky Derby hat to her shindig to talk about positive affirmations and looking into Aviva's soul.

Oh, and she doesn't want to be too nice to her new dog, as she thinks this is some sort of betrayal to Millou. Because the dog understands when she's insulting him. Actually, he might, because he seems to be eating her rugs and likes to eat jam straight off the table. I think if Sonja ever sold that stupid toaster oven of hers, I'd be tempted to put my head into it if I had to listen to her stream-of-consciousness prattle for longer than a minute. 

The promo for next season suggests lots of tears, some sort of cowboy adventure, the usual fighting, and signs that Kristen is going to make herself useful by picking fights like all the other grown-ups. Ah, I think it's good to have you back, "Real Housewives of New York City," even if you remind me of a loudmouth taxi driver who's so loud and boorish I want to get out five blocks before I'm even within sight of my destination. 

Are you glad the show is back? What do you think of Kristen? Were you surprised Aviva won over Ramona?