The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
I finally get it. No, not why Jen finally decided to apologize to Brooks, why Meredith stays with Seth, or why Lisa makes her voice sound exactly like a couple of raccoons mating inside a Net-a-Porter polybag. What I finally get is how First Lady Mary Cosby manages to convince people to slurp down whatever she’s serving up over at Faith Temple Pentecostal Church. Because this episode is a master class in sitting down and ironing shit out — the wives play musical chairs until nearly all feuds are squashed. So much happens! And somehow, my only real takeaway is that Mary Cosby’s manner of oral storytelling is both horrifying and unparalleled. The suspense? The twists? The social commentary and larger metaphorical value lurking just beyond the surface? I’ve never seen anything like it, and I watched six episodes of Squid Game before clocking into my li’l Salt Lake City internet job. Before I write a dissertation on the subversive narrative structure and the unexpected parallels between Mary and Agatha Christie, we should probably get into all the peace-brokering conversations on this here television program.
Over at the Barlow residence, Lisa and John sit down to debrief about “last night.” Lisa’s mad that she was ambushed (eh, not really), blindsided (maybe), and wasted a Gucci outfit (absolutely not — if nothing else, this entire situation was a big win for sequin-adorned titties). Rather than discuss Angie and the catering drama, the Barlows get into Whitney “injecting herself into a 24-year-old friendship.” Lisa seems considerably more disgruntled by Whitney drunkenly walking into a room than by Angie’s accusations of catering sabotage. John does not care about cousins or caterers. He’s all like, “Just to play devil’s advocate, maybe you guys can work it out so Justin and I can hang; I dunno, just a thought, totally no worries if not, xoxo.” Lisa says she can’t have toxic, unhealthy energy around her, and whew, I’ll let you fill in your own thoughts here about ordering fish from Del Taco.
Meanwhile, Mary struts over to Whitney’s with a Tupperware container of homemade cookies and a bucket full of delirium. She explains that she’s too tired to give a baking lesson. Why, you ask? Oh, don’t worry. I transcribed the entire scene, which is somehow not from a leaked screenplay of yet another Arrested Development reboot.
Mary: “I’m so tired. One of the members in our church, their daughter, like, had a crash!”
Whitney [shocked]: “When!?”
Mary: “Today, like last night. She was ejected from the sunroof. And fell downnnn to a neighborhood … 30 feet … drop off the freeway.”
Bobbi: “Is she still alive?”
Mary [shakes head while maintaining eye contact]: “No. I’m excited to be here.” [Open-mouth hip shimmy with hand raised] “Wear your seatbelt.”
MY JAW IS STILL ON THE FLOOR. WHAT A RIDE. Mary somehow comes right back to planet Earth and calls bullshit on Whitney not caring if Lisa likes her. Whitney admits that she needs Lisa’s respect or acceptance, and girl, no! I promise you do not need this mean lady to like you. Especially since the core reason behind her not liking you is general disgust at your perceived lack of intelligence and class. It’s a losing game with a forever-moving target — the only way to win is not to play.
At last, the day has arrived for the Jen and Brooks showdown. In Jen’s corner, we’ve got second assistant Murilo ready to do his best Fonzworth Bentley, and make sure not a single snowflake lands on Jen’s Gucci monogram moment. In Brooks’s corner, we’ve got Meredith lurking at the bar in a look that can only be described as “Joker stairs dance, now with 214 percent more boob!” Who will come out on top? The answer is no one. No drinks are thrown. No voices are raised. It’s a surprisingly earnest conversation that ends with Jen getting Brooks to comfort her after crying about needing to deflect from her “gigi.”
Oh, did you think we would be all finished with private parts thanks to the vaginagate saga coming to an end? Well, buckle up, baby, because the candles are lit, the animal throws are laid, and the guys are out at some place called BODEGA. John orders everyone tequila old-fashioneds because Lisa will take away his allowance and make him live in the mailbox if he forgets to slip VIDA® into the conversation somehow. Coach Shah wants to pal around and not talk about the ladies. Seth takes that as an invitation to tell Justin his marriage looks like the best and then make a rape joke about his own wife. BAD. VERY BAD. Then the bros try to figure out a way for their sweet ladies to make peace but are interrupted by a haunting from the ghost-wives of episodes past, fully losing it in various states of unhinged blackout. It’s a doomed unionization attempt because all the optimism in the world doesn’t change how Bravo does numbers. No more drama = no more show = no more paycheck and no more sponsored ho-down-bro-down.
In continuing the feud that only exists in my head between Valter’s Osteria and every other Italian restaurant in Salt Lake City, Whitney and Jennie head on over to Cucina Toscana to chat about business, babies, and Barlows. Whitney says she has way too much on her plate, having ordered a heaping plate of lasagna classica alla Bolognese with a side of buying out her business partner while secretly praying for a vasectomy-failure pregnancy. But “she loves it.” Sounds like a total girl-boss nightmare to me, and Jennie seems to agree, having already sold most of her business to spend more time with her kids. Jennie also rattles off a list of Lisa’s redeeming qualities, which include: being fun, not talking about people, and making sure she has the facts before opening her mouth. At this point, I’m assuming that either Lisa is an entirely different person off-camera or that every one of her friends is given an endless stream of VIDA Añejo, Kit Kats, and 7-Eleven gift cards in exchange for spewing this propaganda. Preferably the latter, and Lisa would be wise to get the verisimilitude to a passable level by adding a few talking points about her incredible hair.
Okay, I must know. Did anyone figure out the source material of Heather’s sexual awakening? I did a deep dive into both “chicken sex pop-up book” and “Taps boob scene” and came up empty. (Heather, if you’re reading this, please DM me on the social-media platform of your choice with the chicken book info, or I’ll never again know peace. Thanks!) On a more relevant note, Heather’s daughter Ashley got into her dream school, UCSB, so Meredith swoops in to teach Heather an important lesson. No, not about how to maintain a monotone affect regardless of the situation or how to turn blazers into loungewear against all odds. But about how to go from “mom who is horrified by sex” to “mom who is horrified by abstinence.” Aside from the weird hatred of Capri Sun, Meredith seems to give great advice. I’m no expert, but perhaps Mary and her fishy-jimmy-purple-thing nonsense would benefit from watching these tapes back.
From John Barlow’s whispery li’l lips to God’s ears, Whitney and Lisa sit down to hash shit out over pie and goblets of gin. When Lisa thinks of gin, she thinks of new beginnings. Girl, I guess? I need to know who’s writing confessional jokes this season, because gin is way more of an “internal reckoning and a trip to anonymously sit in a circle at your local church basement” new-beginnings situation than a “to us and only us” new-beginnings situation.
To kick things off, Whitney flat-out asks Lisa why she has a problem with her, and Lisa’s just all, “No, no, nope, no problem, all misunderstanding.” Whitney then lists out half a dozen rude things while Lisa internally cackles with pride, insisting she didn’t mean any of them that way. What way was it meant, then? Is there an alternative reading to “do not claim her as your cousin?” The people need to know. After a whole lot of word salad, Lisa wonders where they go from there. Hypnotized by Lisa’s spindly fingers dunking a hunk o’ cheddar into pecan goo that could send her into anaphylaxis, Whitney suggests they leave the past in the past and move on. The Sag and the Libra fly freely off into the sunset, giving John and Justin another 15 minutes each of allotted screen time to text each other fantasy-football minutiae or bad takes on Dave Chappelle or, I don’t know, what do straight men even talk about? Do we think John is more of a dude, bro, man, or buddy type of gent? Is there a group text? What’s it called?
Anyway, see y’all next week for aerial classes, double dates, and Duy coming for Michael Darby’s crown as the worst house-husband of all time!