It’s impossible to deny that Dorinda Medley has been one of the biggest characters ever to be part of the Real Housewives of New York City and perhaps in the franchise as a whole. Her razor-sharp ad-lib observations of the other women, as well as her outspoken and often aggressive approach to conflict resolution, have certainly been memorable (and occasionally infuriating) to watch, which is why it’s such a shame to hear that Dorinda is actually leaving the show.
That’s not to say, of course, that this isn’t the right decision because as most sane, logical viewers will agree, it most certainly is. Season 12 marked an extreme change that turned Dorinda into the fun though occasionally messy loudmouth to someone who was downright cruel at times and completely incapable of confronting, owning, or even accepting her own behavior. Her off the cuff remarks and drunk diatribes went from being amusing enough even when problematic to being cringeworthy and genuinely terrifying, and she was no longer much fun to watch.
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, August 25, Dorinda announced that while the show was a “great outlet to heal when [her] late husband Richard passed away,” it was time for her to move on from RHONY, though she stopped short of explaining why. (Page Six reports that Dorinda was fired for being a “mean drunk.”) It’s hard not to wonder whether her exit wasn’t the direct result of the reality of her actions finally sinking in. It’s possible that she realizes that the only way to truly work on herself and do more of that “healing” is to step away from the cameras and into some serious therapy.
Many of the observations that the other women made about Dorinda on the show may have been delivered insensitively and in the wrong setting, but that doesn’t make them untrue. Does Dorinda have a drinking problem? The drinking certainly has a problem with her, turning her confrontational and sometimes downright nasty towards the women who are supposed to be her friends. (How many times was she going to throw LuAnn’s arrest/alcoholism in her face?) Does Dorinda have anger issues? It’s impossible for anyone to bring up any issues they might have with anything she’s said or done without her immediately exploding and deflecting, so you decide the answer to that question. Is Dorinda a bully? She constantly had Tinsley in tears until the poor woman was basically forced to move out of state and leave the show to escape her. Is Dorinda still hurting over the loss of her late husband and perhaps even her dysfunctional relationship with John Madessian? I mean, is the sky blue?
All of these characteristics and behaviors aren’t necessarily unique, but they are problematic, and they’re not ones that can be dealt with completely while starring on a Bravo reality series. While Dorinda did appear once or twice on the series with some lifestyle guru who was apparently in charge of helping her get into a good place, her best bet is getting booked in with someone with actual qualifications in psychology and psychiatry that can help her look into what’s really going on beneath the surface. A few sessions of Dorobics and meditation a week just isn’t going to cut it.
One thing Dorinda has repeatedly said about herself does ring true: she is a giver, and beneath the myriad issues she has — and to be clear, she’s far from the only cast member with problems — it’s clear that she is a loving, thoughtful, loyal friend and person. However, the problem is that on reality TV, editing is not your friend, and if you keep kicking off and acting out, that’s the side viewers are going to get to see of you most often and all the good stuff will fade into the background. Sadly, that seems to be what’s happened here, especially during Season 12, so an exit feels somewhat inevitable.
All that aside, Dorinda will certainly be missed, as she was one of the most consistently hilarious and straight-up of all the women, never afraid to tell it like it is even while “making it nice” and always up for a laugh (except when she was raging, of course). Her place in the show is as important as her place in the group of women she’ll leave behind on it. Who else will Ramona shed her crocodile tears for? Who else will step up to defend Leah when Ramona lashes out at her again? Who else will remind LuAnn about her rap sheet? Those are some big shoes to fill and that won’t be easy, but who knows? Maybe Dorinda will come back for Season 14 feeling refreshed and ready to be a little more carefree.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor from New York who cares too way much about fictional characters and spends her time writing about them.