The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
Since last week’s majestic premiere, there’s been so much to think about: grandpa-husbands, the meaning of self-made, whether the gals use wipes or a double cleanse to power-wash those smoky eyes before bed each night. But the real brainworm for me has been the truly haunting score. I couldn’t figure out where I recognized it from until I was on hold with the dentist, and bam! My higher power came through with a sign: The RHOSLC theme has an eerily similar energy to that default Verizon ringback everyone had for a week in 2005. Not necessarily the melody but the aggressively triumphant vibe. Anyway, I’ll spare y’all the rest of my research on the history of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir because we’ve got another episode of utterly remarkable mess to explore.
We left off at Shah Chalet with Jen and Heather discussing the hospital sniffing incident and debating whether Mary’s getup more closely resembles a Christmas tree or a loofah. Jen screeches about how you wouldn’t tell a little baby with cancer that they smell like cancer, and I remain completely in awe of everyone’s olfactory abilities here. There has to be a more productive, community-focused use for these super-smellers and their cancer-detection noses than this feud. But it’s Bravo, so of course Mary comes in to “check on” Jen instead of just waiting to send her an Edible Arrangement apology the next day like a normal person. Luckily, Meredith sashays in to save us all from more odor-gland discourse and encourage the dueling noses to hug it out.
The party isn’t over, though. We find out that Lisa gave Whitney two bartenders and “enough tequila for 500 people” as a wedding gift. Whitney tells Lisa the bartenders both got drunk, broke a bunch of glass, and drank her husband’s whiskey from Ireland. As the baroness of a multi-brand tequila empire, wouldn’t Lisa welcome (and be used to) this kind of feedback so she could perhaps improve her employee-training programs in the future? Of course not! How dare Whitney look a gift horse in its fully veneered mouth. Can’t wait for Lisa to use this conversation that should have been an email as fuel for more of her classist vitriol.
Alas, the pot must be stirred with a different spoon, so the producers tell Heather to set up a ski trip and FaceTime Meredith about it, even though it’s unclear if they’ve ever spoken before this very moment. In preparation, Lisa rants to her husband about potentially losing their liquor license over a certain someone’s “basement wedding” and promises she’s going to shut down any drama if Whitney brings it up again. He asks, “Do you want listening or any feedback,” and wow, I am saving that line for future use — it’s somehow both emotionally mature and passive-aggressive at the same damn time!
Heather and Whitney are also getting ready for the trip by bonding over their shared Lisa issues. Am I the only one who completely forgot about Lisa snubbing Heather in the midst of the great smell skirmish? Plus, a classic “I don’t know her” cold shoulder is nothing when we’ve got an “If you keep coming after my entities, I’m going to tell everyone you and your husband are swingers” threat on the table. It turns out Whitney does indeed have “a history of plural marriage in the family,” like it’s high blood pressure or spina bifida, although it remains to be seen why that’s even relevant to the swinging discussion at hand. I’m no expert, but last I checked, Joseph Smith-ian polygamy and ethical non-monogamy are not the same thing. And honestly, whatever Whitney and Justin want to do in their spare time as consenting adults with other consenting adults does not fall into Lisa’s moral-authority jurisdiction.
Speaking of moral authority, here comes a rude awakening about how devastating it can be to struggle with addiction in a community that mostly views said addiction as a personal failing instead of a disease. Whitney’s dad, Steve, pops by for a visit that mostly just serves as a lesson in personal restraint, because the jokes about the lord of a “self-made salon empire” having that situation on his head write themselves. But Steve has been struggling with a painkiller addiction for a decade, and Whitney is the only one who’s still there for him. I just earnestly want the best for them at this point.
Lest you think for a second this is a space where straight men are getting sympathetic edits, it’s time for Meredith and the Disney villain she married to slurp down some hamachi crudo and show us how toxic their relationship is. Seth opens up with a bouquet of negs about how Meredith is always on her phone instead of his dick, then proceeds to ask whom she has told about their separation and whether she thinks their relationship is built to last. Meredith dishes out some icy platitudes about growing together and communicating, and Seth dives in with “Tell me something I don’t know about you. I’m so transparent, it’s crazy.” At first, I thought he was talking about his acid mantle, because my dude’s looking like he kept on that red peeling solution from the Ordinary for longer than the recommended ten minutes and then took a quick nap on the surface of the sun. Next, he tries to make Meredith read EVERY MESSAGE ON HER PHONE and claims she doesn’t care about him when she politely declines because she has boundaries. Someone please direct this man to a therapist and a hydrating serum before he finds his local incel community.
Finally, the day of the ski trip has come. Mary’s running late because she was waiting for FedEx to deliver her lewk, which consists of Chanel pants (because they’re “the only brand that doesn’t give you wedgies”) and an actual Pomeranian to perch atop her skull. While Lisa, Jen, and Mary flail around with some ski instructors, Heather and Whitney go to the top of the black diamond to ask Meredith to shed some light on their various beefs with her bestie, Lisa. Meredith insists that Lisa always acts out of big-sister kindness (sure, Jan) and that Whitney should just talk to Lisa herself about how she’s feeling. Wow, what an excellent idea — and further evidence that Meredith may just be a producer in disguise.
Three and a half hours later, dinner is just popping off as the ladies discuss how Whitney plans to bring her dad to Mary’s church since she’s positive it will help him. I have a feeling Mary’s church doesn’t offer the specific flavor of basement meetings that I and many others have found helpful in circumstances like these. The conversation quickly turns to judgment, specifically to Whitney telling Lisa she felt threatened and judged. Lisa comes back with “I don’t judge you. I don’t care enough to judge you.” Apparently someone has been studying up on their fellow Lisa’s history.
Heather tags in and asks if Lisa is comfortable with everyone thinking she’s dismissive and arrogant. No one is comfortable here, Heather! Mary and her fingerless gloves are not comfortable. The waitstaff are not comfortable. And it just keeps getting more uncomfortable as Lisa tells Heather to figure out what she triggers in her and then tries to land a weird callback burn to some text-message exchange they had. The entire group gets into a rousing debate about whether one thumbs-up or two is the universal emoji code for “fuck you.” These women are the gift that keeps on giving. Finally, Lisa shrieks a blanket apology, promising a clean slate where she won’t talk about it anymore. I mean, maybe that’s a possibility? If those vocal nodules get any worse? With bated breath, we wait.