I am very grateful for this episode. Yes, there are some important discussions happening around mental health and addiction. There’s also an absolutely magical moment of Heather reviewing the pronunciation of “Godiva” to her daughter (it’s not “go, diva,” much to my dismay). But what I’m most grateful for is the near absence of Mary Cosby. Sure, she comes in for a second to shimmy into the fashion show, her congregation’s hard-earned money dripping from her bedazzled epaulets. Other than that? Basically nothing. It’s a wonder what 43 minutes without full-body cringing can do for chronic back pain.
Alas, we pick up right where we left off at the inaugural Park City Fashion Week, where Brooks is showcasing his “line” of five identical black sweatsuits. The show itself is anticlimactic. Brooks debuts the lederhosen version of his tracksuit, and Meredith sashays down the runway giving “youth pastor at the Agent Provocateur sample sale” energy. Even the worst of it is only 30 percent Ramona Singer, so I’d call it a smashing success. Seth FaceTimes in from a Super 8 somewhere that surely smells like the Cuyahoga River and then has the audacity to ask Meredith and Brooks if they’ve been abducted. Brooks is predictably upset that Seth didn’t demand a play-by-play and shower him with praise. Seth’s eyes nearly burst out of his head as he tells Brooks the conversation is giving him anxiety and to just send a handwritten note because the LTE coverage is bad in Ohio or whatever. Meredith feels partly responsible, which is sort of true because of the whole “you asked for space” thing, but also not true at all because Seth is a grown-ass man who spent his entire career traveling and should be able to communicate with his children from afar at this point.
Bravo usually does a breezy li’l vignette interlude sometime after the first scene, and this week’s no different. It’s a gift every time! Lisa touts her vaguely phallic, crystal-covered tequila bottles as a kosher delicacy. Brooks drinks mashed goo out of a grapefruit half with a metal straw when the Vitamix is no more than 18 inches away in the ultimate display of privilege. And finally, Mary Cosby asks Robert Junior and his Gucci trapper hat why they came home late. Is there any context? Of course not! We can only imagine that 15 minutes before air, someone at Bravo realized they better throw another Mary scene in for contractual reasons, and this was the only footage that didn’t require drawing a family tree straight out of a George R.R. Martin tome.
At Beauty Lab + Laser, Whitney comes in to get a facial and fully dissociate while Heather rehashes the divorce stuff. After asking about Whitney’s dad, Heather makes a very questionable comparison of his addiction struggles to her divorcée struggles. They talk about how hard it is in general to live under the judgment of the Mormon church, especially as women. Heather goes on to detail the conflict she feels between societal expectations, what she wants for her daughters, and what she wants as her own person. Whitney reassures her that she’s a great mom, and I would really love to fast-forward through these conversations so we can watch Heather go to town with her flirty innuendo on all the hot and available men Bravo can scrounge up in the tristate area. Hell, spin it off into a dating show! If Becca Kufrin’s boring ass can carry an entire season of The Bachelorette, can you even imagine what Heather would do with 30 beefy hunks and an infinity pool of tequila soda?
Anyway, some exciting things are happening at Shah Chalet. No, it’s not a diamond-encrusted step and repeat or the initiation of a seventh assistant, but a big helping of mental-health discourse. Jen picks at a breakfast plate after taking anxiety/depression meds, discussing her journey in a confessional. We find out that after her dad passed away, she was in a bad place and scared to address it for fear of looking weak. Although Sharrieff told her she didn’t need medication, just prayers (uggghhhh, my guy, we were rooting for you …), her son Rafi eventually stepped in and said that he loves her no matter what and that medication is nothing to be ashamed of. Amen. If ya need ’em, take ’em!
In other family bonding news, Lisa would rather die than play Monopoly (I mean, same), so they gear up for a totally normal family night of writing their goals on poster boards. Young Henry has grand plans to get his first kiss at 15, have triplets, and meet Post Malone. Can’t decide if it’s more interesting that the smooch has such incredible time specificity or that the most immediately attainable goal here involves Post Malone. Either way, older spawn Jack is gonna pass his drivers test, get shredded, and become a LADYSLAYER. I do not like that last thing one bit, and beyond being a bit barf-worthy, surely it must go against Mormon doctrine? John’s goals involve taking the boys on camping trips, coaching their sports teams, and listening without interrupting. Either he slipped a fat stack of Vida Tequila cash to the editors or John may actually be a good dude? To exactly no one’s surprise, Lisa’s goals are expanding her business, pushing the bar higher, and saying “no” when things aren’t aligned, which she immediately reneges later that evening after her husband seems slightly enthused about it. Devoid of any form of auditory, visual, or physical attention, John shrivels back into his husk until next week.
Hoping to get more information about “the whore phase that everybody has the second they separate from their spouse,” Jen and Heather butter Meredith up with rounds of Belvedere and an order of meatballs. It doesn’t work. Her lips stay firmly clamped and every dating life question is met with evasive platitudinal nonsense. While this is great for Meredith’s therapist and media trainer (so much footage for their portfolios!), it doesn’t exactly work for a gossipy dinner on Andy Cohen’s dime. Luckily for us, Jen hints to knowing that there’s more to the story, and since she studies her “how to be a Real Housewife” playbook seven hours a day, you already know she’ll be spilling the beans posthaste.
In what may be the last footage in human history of a busy trampoline park, Whitney and her dad, Steve, take her kids for a bit of bounce-around so they can get to know their grandpa a bit better. It’s all well and good (albeit a little stressful knowing my guy’s hair situation may not be able to withstand so much jostling) until Steve starts talking about wanting to leave sober living. He tells Whitney that he’s stronger and clearer and has done the work and it’s time to “get this badass out there and make some money.” She’s understandably worried that he wants to leave the program after only 21 days instead of the allotted 90 and tells him she’s afraid he’ll lose the progress he’s made. This is all so hard and I genuinely hope Whitney has her own support system, because at least from what we’ve seen, she’s done a tremendous job being there for her dad.
At Heather’s house, things are also getting vulnerable. While helping oldest daughter Ashley make a poster to ask her boyfriend to the sweethearts dance, the entire family has a very real talk about Heather’s pent-up divorce feelings. It’s basically what we’ve heard before, and her three daughters are reassuring as hell, telling her how much she’s taught them about choosing their own paths and to not blindly conform, as well as how they all support each other no matter what in chasing whatever makes them happy. They don’t explicitly say it, but all signs point to Heather and her girls mutually deciding to leave the Mormon church?!?! At this point, is anyone on this show all-in, 100 percent Mormon? Were they ever? What are Lisa’s thoughts on this? Actually, scratch that — the world does not need another second of moralizing from someone who eats Wendy’s, Sonic, and Taco Bell in the same meal. But maybe as a compromise, we can ditch the sweeping temple shots and haunted choir music? At least until they cast some Mormon IG influencer next season?
Finally, Jen pops on over to Whitney’s house to play on the pole and gossip about Meredith. As Whitney demonstrates some basic moves, Jen reports that although she may not “get the dick” that often, she’s totally fine because she has the Hitachi Magic Wand. Oh yeah, and also that just as she craves attention and will look for it elsewhere when she’s not getting enough, Meredith may also be poking around outside the home. In another doomed confessional look that’s somewhere at the intersection of Marilyn Monroe and SpongeBob SquarePants’s driving instructor, Whitney feigns shock and says Jen better be able to back up these allegations. Not to worry! Jen was in New York for Meredith’s trunk show, where there was a gentleman who proclaimed Meredith was the love of his life and that he was going to marry her before consequently “making sure she gets upstairs.”
Happy holidays, and see you next week to investigate how Meredith’s Botox holds up in the face of these salacious rumors!