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‘Crappie Lake’ Is Crappie in a Good Way

By Emma Chance | TV | July 10, 2023 |

By Emma Chance | TV | July 10, 2023 |


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First there was Laverne and Shirley, then Thelma and Louise, Big Edie and Little Edie, Nicole and Paris, and now Luann and Sonja.

“The feng shui, the astrology, the numerology is working in this place,” a disheveled Sonja Morgan said of her room at the Benton Motel in Benton, Illinois. She was there with her friend and former Real Housewives of New York cast member, Luann de Lesseps for their new show, Luann and Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake. The ladies were sent to small-town Illinois to build playgrounds and put on variety shows and generally attract tourism.

The whole thing started like most things these days, with Covid. The pandemic walloped the Benton economy, but, luckily, one of the Real Housewives producers went to high school there and still has family there, so he cooked up a plan.

The townspeople weren’t told exactly who was coming to their rescue, only that someone was. They lined up with welcome signs at the airport, hoping to see the likes of Jessica Alba or Vin Diesel.

“Oh my god they’re waving at us,” Luann said when she saw the crowd. She was just as surprised as the people of Benton, most of whom knew nothing of the stars, assuming they were from Beverly Hills or Hollywood.

The next 20 minutes were a lot of “There’s no air conditioning?” and “Wow!” In the second episode, Sonja left the local watering hole with a man from New Orleans who had his last name tattooed across his shoulders.

“Richard?” Luann asked when she saw the ink. “Who is Richard?”

The real triumph of the premiere, and the best indication of what’s to come, was the trip to the namesake lake for a day of “noodling.” Essentially, catching catfish with one’s bare hands.

The spectacle of Luann de Lesseps, the countess turned cabaret singer, emerging from the murky water, waving a catfish the size of a cocker spaniel over her head like it was a Tony Award, is something that can only be seen to be believed. Sonja, like all of us, was agape and a little proud.

Hopefully, we get to see them at the “Testicle Festival” next.