The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
Eye on the prize, eye on the prize, eye on the prize, eye on the — oh, excuse me, didn’t see you there! I was just reciting my mantra to avoid a total meltdown waiting for the federal crime bonanza to start popping off on this beautiful hellscape of a television program. I’ve started to think that maybe we would be better off not knowing about “the incidents” to come. Everything after the first two minutes of episode one feels like that experiment they used to do on kids where each kid gets a marshmallow, and if they wait all nice and patient without eating it, they’ll be rewarded with two marshmallows. Except we grabbed that marshmallow, scarfed it down because we could see the rest of the stash sitting right there, and were immediately given the ol’ bait-and-vagina switch.
At this point, I don’t even need another marshmallow. I’ll take a crudités platter. Last year’s Halloween candy. A bagel left out all day in the Vida Tequila conference room with one of those foil-wrapped rectangles of shelf-stable butter. Any crumb of intrigue will do. What makes it more frustrating is that these ladies seem to have a few actual friendships between them that could be mined for content. Plus, they’re fucking bizarre. They may not have the long-haul character development potential of, say, Sonja Morgan, but there’s stuff in here that’s too weird to be made up. Give us more of that!
For instance, the opening clipsicles are yet again a carousel of fascination. According to the Powerpoint presentation Heather printed out to hang above the front desk at Beauty Lab + Laser, a “Chin to Win” is $850. What is the chin winning? I want it to be a chin talent show or some type of very close footrace, but my gut says it’s probably just the “hottest hottie in line for a fountain Diet Coke at the Park City 7-Eleven.” We also get a special continuity error courtesy of Seth’s facial hair. My guy FaceTimes Meredith to ask if her eyes are real, and he has a full beard. Was this then filmed before last week’s soul-patch reveal? Is the beard fake? Is the scruff biz-casual for Seth’s off-price retail acquisition career, and then the goatee is for when he pivots to life coaching? The temptation to burn my entire word count doing a deep dive into truly any of this instead of belaboring the same argument yet again is so strong, but the definition of “recap” is stronger.
Speaking of strong, Heather’s back at Beauty Lab serving up a hair situation that can only be described as “George Washington running late to happy hour with the marketing team.” Thanks to months and months of a devastating global pandemic, she’s doubled her business. There’s not much swimming around in pools of gold coins and Restylane, though, because soon-to-be billionaire Whitney Facetimes in. Heather explains that she and Jen are best friends again and says the resolve feels good, encouraging Whitney also to seek peace. I think this is a bad and pointless idea. Whitney is really great at like, four things: supporting someone in a 12-step program, being hot, pantomiming sex positions, and “chaos.” Just let her vibe, Heather!
Anyway, Jen pulls up in a Porsche to meet Lisa for snow-biking with their instructor, Coach David. Where is Coach Shah? Not necessarily here, but just generally? We saw him at Auntie Nani’s meet-and-greet, but otherwise? Jen explains that he’s been busy with work but also that he’s home all the time buying ladders at Home Depot and just doing stuff. Interrrrresting. What is his level of involvement in Jen’s business? Did the feds thoroughly check the rafters during their warranted search? Who was the wired-up Big Pussy Bonpensiero to Jen’s Tony Soprano? Is Jen even Tony in this metaphor? The people need to know!
Jen’s planning an adventure outing for the girls to get them out of their comfort zone. They’ll have to wear warm clothes and provide their full name, weight, eye color, hair color, height, SSN, iPhone passcode, debit PIN, mother’s maiden name, and an abridged list of their childhood traumas. Don’t worry, though; she’s “not stealing their identity!” The girls’ outing isn’t a case of fraud or a bottomless brunch at the DMV, but an ice fishing trip, and everyone’s invited, even Mary and Meredith. In case you forgot (I almost did), Lisa has beef with Heather and light beef with Whitney. Jen hopes they can all get to a better place.
We take a detour to grab grilled cheeses with board-certified gynecologist Mary Cosby, and oh wow. The U.S. Army is exploring some wild new roads for Gen Z recruitment. After a quick sex-ed lecture where she tells Robert Jr. to “wear a jimmy” because “you don’t want that thing coming home purple,” Mary gets right into the military-industrial complex propaganda. Grandpa-husband was in the army and supposedly is where he is today because of that, so Mary insists her son will be joining as well and that “he’s gonna love it — he’s gonna jump out of planes, go underwater, drown a little bit, do whatever he has to do.” Whew. If all you want is for your kid to jump out of a plane, go underwater, and grow up a bit, that can be arranged for $250, a trip to the public pool, and some conversations that don’t involve his dick. No one has to enlist against their will here!
In other parenting news, the Nguyens and the Gays are both having family time. Duy presses Jennie further about having more kids even though they have three kids who seem fun and well-adjusted and, more importantly, that she doesn’t want to have more kids after her nine miscarriages and three C-sections. (I could have stopped that sentence after “she doesn’t want to have more kids” because that’s reason enough, so her doctor husband pressing her with those additional risks is big big yikes.) Heather talks to her girls and is equally proud of her oldest for having the conviction never to go back to the Mormon church and her youngest for wanting to explore a return. It’s all more endearing than I’d like to admit.
Before we get too tangled in our coming-of-age heartstrings, it’s BLAZER-O-CLOCK. Yep, that’s right. Meredith invites her closest fashion friends and Mary Cosby to ogle the latest lewks. There is way too little playing dress-up and way too much rehashing Jen Shah’s Twitter likes. Are people regularly looking through that “Likes” tab on their frenemies’ accounts, or do they see this stuff organically? Have none of these women learned that you can stop retweets from appearing in your feed and sort Twitter chronologically again? Why does our current era of RH social media drama feel so much more dystopian and exhausting than the era of “the press/the blogs?” As someone who digitally lives in 1999, Mary is also exhausted and suggests Meredith use the ice-fishing trip to tell Jen that “she’s a grown woman in her 50s and this has to be stopped.”
After a moment of silence so Mary can fart and a few hours so everyone else can put on their wildest outfits, the gals show up to the frozen lake to sit in some camp chairs like they’re watching Jen and Meredith play a youth softball game instead of scream at each other about the same shit. Leveraging only a life jacket, a joke about drowning, and a quick hug, Whitney ends her feuds (for now) with both Jen and Lisa. Jen forces me to investigate when Real Housewives of Potomac filmed their confessionals until I remember that “Zen Wen” has her law degree and surely some THOUGHTS about “Zen Jen.” Lisa manages to segue flawlessly from whatever’s happening on this outing into an infomercial for Del Taco’s fish tacos. An impressive showing by all, especially so early in the race!
But wait! Is that Willy Wonka, sunglasses on, strutting across the ice like he just got a call from the dog sitter about an incident involving feces and the Roomba? If only! No, to exactly no one’s surprise, it is Meredith Marks ready to speak exclusively in therapy frameworks and confront Jen to her face. Meredith has receipts. Jen has excuses. But more interestingly, Jennie has game. She’s been here for seven collective minutes and immediately sidelines Lisa’s pathetic peacemaking. The real question is, “do you wanna be friends with her, or not?” and Jennie knows it’s a waste of everyone’s time to fight about it without establishing a baseline of reason, intention, and understanding. It almost works, but then Jen asks Meredith how she thinks her kids feel, and Meredith’s brain fully explodes at the logic. Meredith storms off and — “to be continued.”
See y’all next week for hopefully the end of this fight and the beginning of Mary’s home renovations! I’ve abandoned all expectations of witnessing criminal activity until at least episode eight. The bar has been lowered to subterranean levels!