The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
What an absolute bamboozlement. This episode was the visual equivalent of sauntering over to your drugstore of choice, picking up a bag of Starburst FaveREDS, and opening them back home to discover they’re exclusively yellow and orange. And not only that, inside every wrapper, there’s no candy, just Whitney’s disembodied torso pantomiming various sex acts and saying “vagina” in her “sweenger” accent. While usually, this would be a fun little laugh, we were promised the metaphorical red and pink starbursts of federal criminal activity and potential cult inner workings!! I had to rewatch the first two minutes of last week’s episode to keep my head in the game amidst all the vaginal updates.
Sidenote: This is not a criticism of the word vagina or vagina content! I’m actually impressed that almost all of these women can use the actual word without flinching instead of like, vah-jay-jay or whatever cutesy faux-coy nonsense is in vogue among Utah’s most chaste elite. There’s just so much MORE to dive into beyond vaginal filler (a medical procedure that is surely offered at Beauty Lab + Laser, and if it’s not — Heather, here’s a free idea).
Anyway, we open on my favorite part of every episode: “Three clipsicles” (not sold on this name yet, still workshopping). It’s where the editors sneak in a few appeteasers of ridiculousness to whet our collective whistle. How else would we know that Mary’s son is a Yoplait cat but still figuring out where he stands on Evian vs. Fiji, that Whitney is failing skinfluencer 101 by sporting merch bearing her brand’s dead name, and that all the Big Gulps in the world cannot cure John Barlow’s sadness (remember our mnemonic device: LiSA = Lost voice SAd husband)? Also, the younger Barlow spawn is clearly up to something. Nothing says diabolical plotting like playing with a vat of hair gel while sporting a fresh induction cut.
Over in Park City, we get yet another tour of the 2014 Barney’s Warehouse operating out of Shah Chalet. Stu Chainz makes his first appearance, expressing concerns about Jen’s growing shoe collection as if maybe she’s being a little too flashy about funds they may or not be fleecing off of innocent folks. Jen’s nephew, Dwayne, asks why she has all this stuff and it is a VALID QUESTION, SIR. Dwayne actually lives with Jen after she left him on read for months when he asked for help getting him and his mom out of South Central. She agrees to donate a pile of unwanted garb because Ramadan is coming up and she’s done a lot of praying and reflecting on the positive things in her life and is trying to push out the negativity. So naturally, she FaceTimes Heather to see if they can get together and maybe repair their friendship after Jen compared Heather to Shrek and a manatee. And Jen wonders why she has no friends?!
Speaking of Jen’s nemeses, Meredith is back on her bullshit. And by bullshit, I mean wearin’ blazers indoors, slurpin’ merlot out of goblets, and nuzzlin’ on the goatee Seth dramatically reveals after removing his Lana Del Rey x Donda errand look. They discuss how Jen still likes tweets about Brooks’ sexuality when his journey is none of her business. Seth thinks there may be a misunderstanding, and nope, this was not the answer to give Meredith, my guy. She gets riled up about how retweeting something is as good as saying it and that she’s going to unleash on Jen. Meredith promises that it’s going to end ugly for her, and wow, we’ve got a regular Tiresias on our hands. I’m tempted just to end the recap here and research allegorical precedents of Meredith potentially bringing on Jen’s legal trouble with this prophecy.
Alas, the show must go on because Mary Cosby is renovating her home, a project I’m earnestly excited about. Sure, contractor Cousin Joe may take six years to get the job done, but can y’all even imagine what this woman is going to do? I’m tempted to say you can only go up from Big Comfy Couch kitchens, dog-run living rooms, and the ghost of a 19th-century ballerina trapped in every lamp, but Mary continues to push the limits of horrifying interior choices. Imagine taking “Name One Thing In This Photo” and using an endless vat of untaxed church dollars to apply its aesthetic across 20,000 square feet. I’d watch an entire HGTV spin-off, extra credit if there’s a Righteous Gemstones-esque crookery exposure subplot. Back in “reality,” Mary is now a licensed gynecologist, upset her son won’t listen to her lessons anymore about vaginal flora and un-fishy girlfriends. No additional jokes are needed for this one.
Back at Shahlet, we finally get Stewart and Lisa discussing a CBD deal and potential accomplicin’ caught on film and JUST KIDDING. Jennie and Lisa crash in with “AMERICA I LOVE YOU” yard signs and cat carriers full of sewing supplies. Lisa actually no longer poops, farts, or releases any other biological waste. She just gets a lil’ tummy rumble and out pops a Vida Tequila gift bag. So, of course, there are also some of those in tow, which is great because it’s time to rehash vagina-gate yet again. Lisa tells Jen about last week’s Shabbat in hopes Jen will agree to apologize to Meredith. Jen says there wouldn’t have been an issue if Brooks hadn’t said anything derogatory about her vagina and “she was just liking funny shit.” Lisa believes they can have healing, but Jen doesn’t like to apologize yet again to have said healing. There’s a supercut of Jen apologizing in the past, and I’m pretty sure those were all apologies for Jen telling people Meredith was cheating on Seth? Either way, for the sheer volume of mirrors everyone’s manse is spackled in, there appears to be shockingly limited self-reflection!
Quick vagina-update lightning round. Heather trades Whitney a free shopping spree in exchange for a gas-up before her meet-up with Jen and says her beaver hasn’t been knit in quite a while. Jennie explains that even though Duy wants more kids, she’s tired of doing everything but wiping his ass, and plus, if her family gets any bigger, her vagina would be roughly the size of a regulation volleyball. Duy even asks nine-year-old Karlyn if she wants a little sibling, and she says, “nope.” LEGENDARY. I stand with Karlyn (ugh, and I guess with Jennie’s vagina by proxy.) On the opposite end of the spectrum, Whitney’s vagina is not getting its proper fill. She’s clearly going through some big-time cognitive dissonance because her mind is saying, “Babe, I can’t right now, girl bosses don’t just build billion-dollar companies without equal parts hustle, time, and delusion,” and her vagina’s saying, “Mama turns into a horny grumplestilskin without her required DAILY dose of Justin.” Y’all, what do we have to do collectively for Esther Perel to make a guest appearance at the reunion? At this point, I’ll do it. We need interventions more or less across the board.
Finally, it’s time for Jen and Heather to waddle on into the last scene from The Shining so they can hash out their shit. Overall, Heather is upset that Jen is doing things behind her back, like calling her a racist, and wants to know why she “pulled that card in such a charged time.” Heather, no! If you’re going to show up ripe and ready to apologize, you could just say sorry about the microaggression incident that hurt your bestie, explain how you’ve educated yourself on the subtext of the word “aggressive” as it pertains to women of color, and then hear Jen out to make that specific issue right INSTEAD of getting all weird and acting like Jen’s walking around with a big scarlet R to tape on you any time she pleases.
Regardless, Jen appears to feel heard regarding the racial dynamics of their friendship. They may have hashed this out privately because, against all odds, these two seem to be actual friends — hope Heather’s lawyered up! But of course, it doesn’t end there because there are also allegations of Jen calling Heather a sea mammal/Honey Boo Boo. Heather has screenshots of Instagram DMs, and Jen is now EXTRA mad because Heather needs to trust her and not just believe anyone. So if Jen claims she didn’t do it, is she saying Stewart is being a lord of chaos in her account? Or that someone else is pumping out elaborate Photoshop jobs? Both are more plausible than I’d care to admit, but overall this looks like a real Occam’s Razor of blue check insults. Long story short, Heather says she loves Jen and promises to be her friend if she stops the backstab-y fat jokes. Jen promises to make changes in how she communicates and then throws some churros directly into an open flame. A metaphor? You decide.
As a parting gift, here are the archives of “Talking Facts of Life with Mary Podcast: Let’s Talk Real. Real facts about life in the real world.” I choked down four hours’ worth and didn’t hear Mary speak once, but I will continue praying to my higher power of choice that we’ll get to listen to her cry-praise out a breathless HelloFresh ad by the end of the season.