Remember how we spent most of 2016 reading, “Today is the day that Donald Trump became president?” Now, we keep saying, “This is when these went from women to Real Housewives.” After this episode, we are looking at a bunch of rage-honed fame beasts that we can recognize. Yes, they’ve become Housewives.
What is it about this episode? Not just one but two (2) ridiculous, stupid fights where everyone is right and wrong. (Even when Erin is right in my book, she’s still wrong, but we’ll give her this one.) Housewifery at its finest, I tell you.
The last episode ended with all the women going to dinner and Brynn staying home to eat half a box of pasta in her bed. This episode starts with Brynn getting the download about what happened at dinner from Erin, the 💁♀️ emoji come to life. Yes, the dinner is so boring we only get a recap the next morning. Erin says they confronted Jessel about whether or not she was helped out by her family to get to where she is today. This comes after the previous night’s dinner, where she told the women all about her family being thrown out of Kenya before she was born and how she suffered when she was a lowly fashion intern during her first days in New York.
Based on the flashbacks we get, Jessel was saying that her parents paid for her to go to King’s College, one of the top-ten schools in England, but they didn’t support her move to New York, so she had to live with her uncle while she was an intern and making no money. Erin thinks that Jessel hears Ubah, Brynn, and Sai’s stories about their difficult upbringings and wants a similar story. I think she’s right (ugh, don’t ever make me say that again), but I also hate how Erin has decided that she is the arbiter of truth and correctness for the entire group.
Here’s the thing about Jessel, though. She says that she doesn’t snore, and then Ubah, her bedmate for the trip, shows up at breakfast with a recording of Jessel making an ungodly rumble that sounds like a monster truck driving over an entire pallet of Pop Rocks. Then, while everyone titters over the recording, she still says, deadass, “I don’t snore.” Not only is Jessel entirely lacking in self-awareness, but she also has a penchant for choosing what truth she thinks is appropriate.
After breakfast, all of the women get on a boat, and they look over the side and see a sea turtle swimming through the ocean. It’s either that or the disembodied spirit of Ramona Singer coming to warn all aboard this vessel that Turtle Time is approaching and can’t be ignored. Instead of talking about this, Jessel tells Ubah and Brynn that Erin and Sai were coming after her the night before. Jessel says that Erin thinks she’s lying about not coming from anything. Girl, why can’t Erin just believe people? Why does Erin have to go around rubbing her Ralph Lauren Knits and pointed scowl all over everyone’s taints?
Everyone discusses this on the boat, and Jessel says that she really didn’t have anything when she moved to New York. She says she had $17 in her bank account plenty of times, and Sai says, “I lived in overdraft. It was always negative $498.” Ubah says that they were all poor when they first moved to New York; what is the difference? But there is a big difference, and I think this is where Erin is rrrr … Erin is rrrrrr ….. Erin is rrrrriiiight. (That tasted like barfing up last night’s Domino’s.)
Yes, Jessel was poor when she first moved to New York, as most young people who move to the Big Apple with nothing more than a hard-on and a dream usually are. The difference between Jessel and Brynn or Sai is that Jessel had her college education paid for. She had an uncle who had connections in the fashion industry and an apartment where she could stay while she interned. Yes, she had no money, but if things became really dire, she had a backstop; she could always go home or beg her parents for help.
So, yes, Jessel had it rough, but as rough as Sai or Brynn? As rough as someone who had to pay for their own education, had to pay for their own housing while they had shitty underpaid jobs and had no backstop? No, she did not have it that tough. That Jessel denies that and can’t see the difference is also why she can’t admit to snoring.
This is a fight where Jessel is right, the other women are right, and they’re all right in different shades and vagaries. Where Jessel is totally wrong is when she says we should call Erin the Queen of Assumptions because she assumes things about everyone. Okay, she’s right, but also, that is the cheesiest nickname outside of when Donald Trump coined Ron DeSanctimonious and became president on that very day. Jessel also gets mad that they didn’t want to hear about her whole family’s story. Yes, it’s a part of who she is and where she came from, but she shouldn’t share that at the expense of talking about where she’s really from, who she really is.
Jessel may not know who she is or how she behaves, but she can tell a great story. When the women finally settle into dinner that night, they decide to tell their most embarrassing stories. Jessel has the whole table rolling with a story about when she was in Cabo on spring break (a rich-girl story!) and fell into a grotto with her boobs out. She had the table howling. We hear about Brynn putting a tampon in the wrong hole, Jenna tumbling down the stairs at a fancy bar and being helped up by Ralph Fiennes, Sai shitting herself at a track meet, and Ubah trailing toilet paper throughout the club.
It’s Erin’s turn to share, and before she even opens her mouth, I think, There is no way she is going to have a good story. Erin has never been embarrassed, uncomfortable, or in the wrong her entire existence. Then she talks and says, “My kid wouldn’t stop crying on a plane once.” Not only is that story not embarrassing at all, but even if it was, it wouldn’t be embarrassing to Erin; it would be embarrassing to the kid. Yeah, this is not a game where Erin will excel.
Another game that Erin is not good at is pranks. The day before, Ubah pushed Erin into the pool, and Erin decides that she is going to prank her back. She says she has four siblings, and they pranked each other all the time. Once, she didn’t say, because I made this all up, we all told my brother that he didn’t have brown hair, that he was a blond. And we just kept calling him a blond for like weeks and weeks, and, well, he never believed it. But that was a funny prank, right? That was hilarious!
When all the women get home from dinner, their van driver tells Erin that Ubah left her phone in the car. Erin takes the phone but tells Sai not to tell Ubah because she will play a prank on her. Okay, this is actually a good prank and one I do to my husband all the time because he leaves his phone everywhere. I pick it up from a restaurant table, wait about 20 minutes, and then ask him the time, ask how old Melanie Griffith is, or ask him to show me an entire Instagram page of rugby dudes wearing Speedos. (These are literally the only three things my husband uses his phone for.) Then he goes to find the phone, and you get to watch a mini-freak-out where he figures out that he doesn’t have it, tries to triangulate where it is, and attempts to hatch a plan to get it back. Then I swoop in like a savior, put his machinations to rest, and am the prank victor.
Erin does not do this. She takes Ubah’s phone and then says she is going to prank Ubah back by throwing her in the pool. She then waits until Ubah is a good two meters from the water and tries to strong-arm her in. Erin is a five-foot-six woman living on celery juice and recriminations. Ubah is an 11-foot-73 woman who lives on bananas and serving cunt. There is only going to be one victim here. Sai then drinks Erin’s milkshake when she comes out of nowhere and clears Ubah from the pool deck as she dips her toe in the water. That is how you do it.
After this, everyone goes to bed, and Erin still has the phone. All the lights are off, and Jessel and Ubah (an unlikely but wonderful dynamic duo) are wandering around the house looking for it. Sai tells Jessel that Erin has it, so they go to Erin’s room, and she relinquishes it to Ubah. That is not a prank, that is being an asshole. Or maybe it is a prank, but just a really bad one. Either way, it went on way too long. Even though Erin texted the group with the 🤔 emoji, which she erroneously thinks is the universal symbol for “I have your phone,” she never gave it up.
I get Ubah’s point. What if her family wanted to check in or something? Yes, sure. This is a little hyperbolic, but I get the point. This is a combination of Erin bungling the prank (was she going to keep the phone overnight?) and Ubah overreacting about the sanctity of having one’s phone in a protected villa in Anguilla. Both right, both wrong, both fully formed Housewives. Welcome.
In the morning, Ubah is acting wonderfully petty, ignoring both Erin and Sai, even though Sai is the one who ended this unfun game and let Jessel know where Ubah’s phone was. Still, Ubah’s pissed because Sai didn’t immediately rat Erin out, making an unfunny prank even unfunnier. Or, as Brynn says, “Erin thought she was being funny. Erin, leave the funny to me.” This is when it all kicks off. Ubah says something innocuous like, “Erin was right here,” and Erin tells her not to say her name when she’s not around, which is the dumbest request I have ever heard, but I have a feeling that Erin could make a case for any ridiculous request that you could come up with. Ubah grabs the sunglasses off Erin’s face, and she says, “Don’t grab me,” which she doesn’t, she grabs at her glasses, but her point is taken. Ubah gets right up in her face, and Erin yells at her to get away from her because Erin has never been confronted with the repercussions of her actions in her entire life until she decided to put that life on full view of the public so we’re here to do the yelling, shouting, and shaming that her parents, the girls from her private Manhattan school, and her simpering ex-boyfriends should have done long ago. These are Erin’s repercussions, and thank God these women morphed into Real Housewives just in time to give them to her.