'Luann and Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake' sees the former 'Real Housewives of New York City' stars take on 'The Simple Life.'
"I know we are so similar, we are both small town girls who get a little fancy, but we can get our hands dirty," Sonja explains, sitting beside her former The Real Housewives of New York City co-star at the iconic Central Park Boathouse in New York City.
The two star in the new spinoff, Luann and Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake, a sort-of Schitt's Creek meets The Simple Life reality comedy that finds the two revitalizing the town of Benton, Illinois. Luann says she's the Paris Hilton to Sonja's Nicole Richie, a reference Sonja doesn't get because she's never seen the early aughts hit. "I only watch Snapped!" she offers to explain her pop-culture blind spot.
"We get things done," Sonja says, getting back to her point of why she thinks the show only works for her and Lu. "I really don't think another Housewife could do it seriously. Think about it!"
"I think Dorinda," Luann muses, referencing their RHONY castmate Dorinda Medley.
"D by day or D by night?" Sonja asks, laughing. "Then D takes out the knives!"
"It's a very small town," Sonja goes on to say, reviewing the city of Benton, which the pair spent six weeks renovating last summer, spurred by the impact of COVID on the area.
"We did build a whole playground, the jungle gym itself I think that thing was $140,000," Sonja rattles off. "I’m like, who do I have to f**k in this town to get a car? And who do I actually have to give a b**wjob to to get the jungle gym? Did I go out with that guy?"
"Yeah..." Luann confirms. It took Sonja less than 48 hours in Benton before she had her first hook-up with a local.
"Let's just say my reputation proceeds me," Sonja quips. "When I went to the firehouse, they were like, 'Oh! I don't think we've met yet...'"
"She didn’t get laid the whole time!" she points to Luann, who blushes, but admits, "I can wait..."
Sonja, on the other hand, needs some instant gratification. She even underwent liposuction just before the trip to look her best, popping a stitch during one of her motel room romps!
"Who gets lipo before you go on a trip like this?" Luann asks. "First of all, it's a thousand degrees over there. It's so hot! It's the only place I know, after it rains, it's hotter. I swear to god!"
"She made me get out of my garment, because I have to wear a tight, tight garment, and I did 360 lipo, and I was so bloated like a blowfish -- not a crappie fish!" Sonja rambles. The show gets its name from those fish, which populate one of the lakes in Benton. The two spend some time in those waters, as well as at the city's annual "testicle festival," where one can indulge in deep-fried bull gonads. Sonja wouldn't try the local delicacy, citing her fear of hair on food.
"You think they shave them?!" she scoffs. "Another reason I didn't want to eat the testicles off those cows? It's sweaty down there! Always sweaty, every day was sweaty."
Sonja carried around extra pairs of underwear in her purse, changing her undergarments up to four times a day to stay fresh. It made for a memorable first for her and Luann's friendship.
"Seeing Sonja's pretty kitty," Luann cracks, as Sonja wonders how often she went "commando" on their trip. The duo's Laverne and Shirley-style dynamic is on full display for the eight-episode series.
"You see how funny Luann is and how easygoing?" Sonja asks. "She's amazing now, after a night in jail, you change!"
"Oh, would you stop?" Luann hits back. "You've been to jail, too, so I'm gonna bring that up."
"I think I only went once, all my friends where there," Sonja replies. "Everyone was there, in South Hampton? All the girls!"
Luann and Sonja just returned from a non-jail-related reunion in St. Barts with their girls, Dorinda, Ramona Singer, Kelly Bensimon and Kristen Taekman, while filming the fifth season of Peacock's The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip. It's the first season to feature all women from one Housewives city, a sort-of make-good on a now "on pause" RHONY: Legacy show that would've seen stars from the series' original run return for a new docuseries.
"It's Scary Island, part two," Luann teases, referencing the infamous vacation the women of RHONY took in season 3, which seemingly spurred the whole concept of cast trips that now are a franchise mainstay. The episode "Sun, Sand and Psychosis" is in the hall of fame of Housewives, largely for Bethenny Frankel's "Go to sleep!" showdown with Kelly.
"We had Kelly with us," Sonja groans, with Luann confirming she's once again responsible for the trip going off the rails.
"You know, when you put a group of women together like that, there’s always gonna be some drama and always gonna be some flirting with pirates," Luann adds, hinting at a cameo from her and Sonja's possibly shared hook-up from season 5, a St. Barts local named Tomas Ribiero, who reminded Luann of Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean character, Captain Jack Sparrow.
As for whether Sonja and Luann think Legacy will ever happen in the way it was originally envisioned, they say they're happy with the idea of endless girls' trips instead.
"I think the OG New York girls, who are globetrotters, need to go somewhere else," Luann pitches. "We need to go somewhere else. Where do you want to go? Argentina, so we can dance with some Latin boys?"
"You didn't get to go that time, was it when you were arrested you couldn't go that time?" Sonja replies. Luann begrudgingly answers, "Yes."
RHONY returns next week for season 14, featuring an all-new cast of women. While Luann and Sonja don't know those ladies, they do have a message for viewers: be patient with them. The new RHONY will be Crappie Lake's lead-in starting on July 16.
"Listen, we have been around for how many seasons, 13 seasons? And so the fans really know us, they know our lives," Luann notes. "We have a history together. I think coming into a new show, and a new cast, it's going to take people a little bit to warm up. So, give them a chance, because that’s how we started, and we wish them luck... but, you know, they're not OGs!"
"It's going to take the viewers time to get to know them, because I know the reaction from the fans has been, 'Oh we're not going to watch!'" Sonja adds. "Just wait and see."
That said, Luann and Sonja do have a few women they'd rather not see in the future, both exposing Housewives they hope to never interact with again in a game of "Sip or Spill" with ET.
"Kelly Dodd!" Sonja blurts out, referencing the former star of The Real Housewives of Orange County. "Jesus! I will not do an appearance with that woman. Kelly sits there on a bench next to me, talking s**t..."
"Carole Radziwill," Luann conjures up, name-checking her one-time RHONY foe. "Bethenny, trashed our show."
"Disrespectful," Sonja chimes in. "We don't bite the hand that feeds us. We kiss the ring!"
See more from the game in the video above, and tune into the two-episode premiere of Luann and Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake, airing Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.