There are some pop-culture artifacts that are so sought after, so holy, that they have become legends: Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, the Star Wars Holiday Special, and the Cats Butthole Cut. Now we have another one to add to the list: Gabby’s 29-page PDF of guys she’s dated, wants to date, has slept with, wants to sleep with, and may or may not have stalked after following them home from a fashion shoot. How can I get my hands on this? Lindsay? Paige? Mya? Someone, send it along, and while you’re at it, please attach Kyle’s 17-page email to the house we heard about in season three.
We find out about this, and so much more, at Ciara’s one-year-in-New York anniversary party. I’m sure many people at home are like, “WTF, how can you even celebrate this?” But this is a true milestone. It takes at least a year to adjust to life in Manhattan: the bustle, the train lines, the unrelenting stench that can be described as Cheetos and liquid fart boiled in rotten eggs. If you last a year, like Ciara, then you’re hooked. If not, welcome back to whatever shitty second-tier city you’re already from. Open up a dance studio and talk incessantly about your one year in the Big Apple to all your students because you won’t even get through the Lincoln Tunnel again.
Ciara has Rachel from Winter House do the flowers for the party. Paige’s boyfriend, Craig, shows up because he is in town. Chris is avoiding a girl he met at Kyle’s birthday party who later ghosted him but still shows up here for a bit of camera time. (That Jezebel!) Later in the episode, Andrea shows up at the house again. This reminds me of what so many of the successful Bravo shows have going for them right now: gigantic casts. These shows are so much more fun when there are just randos in the background that we already know. Think about Peter and Kristina Kelly (always both names!) on Vanderpump Rules. Think about Frank Catania and the rest of the dudes on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Think about The Real Housewives of Miami, with its three killer “friends of” to add to a cast of six. The more people we have, the more fun it is. Remember the last season of The Real Housewives of New York City with only five people? Deadly! We need dozens. We need casts of thousands!
Speaking of which, thank God we got some dudes back up in this piece. Kyle shows up without Amanda, who is at home nursing the dogs and probably mainlining Love Island without Kyle going, “Why do you even watch this crap?” while watching his third Red Sox game of the week. Kory is back because he is stuck in the vicelike grip of Sam’s inner thighs. Carl rolls in still in a hospital bracelet after a panic attack put him in the hospital, and Andrea, who didn’t even bother to pack one single shirt, shows up just to amuse us. Paige says, “There is no one who doesn’t get excited when Andrea walks in the door.” She is speaking for herself, her housemates, you, me, my mom, your horny coworker Linda who watches “the shows,” and basically just about everyone. This is the truest thing to ever come out of Paige’s mouth.
We also meet Lexi, whom we’ve heard so much about but never seen. She struts up to the house with a bob so blunt that it would tell you that you looked fat in that outfit without even asking. Lexi seems nice (and hotter than a sheep’s asshole in August), but she is not of the reality-TV world. I don’t think we need her on the show permanently, but we need to meet our old friend’s new girlfriend. Big cast! This is what I’m talking about.
The only awkward moment comes when Andrea asks everyone around the table to roast him and ask challenging questions now that his girlfriend is in the house. They ask how much sex they’re having, how good it is, blah, blah, blah. You know, spicy questions but nothing unusual for this group of edible-underwear enthusiasts. But then Chris asks what it’s like for Lexi to be at brunch with Paige, whom Andrea slept with.
This is tactless and stupid, but Andrea did ask for it. I give it up to Paige for scaling up the Green Monster and catching the line drive. It’s an amazing save when she says, “Oh, I was just a fling. Lexi is the real deal” or something like that. That is class, acknowledging that they had history but also downplaying it in the face of his new girlfriend. To his credit, Chris does apologize to both of them as they leave brunch, but really, bro?
I know that some of you in the comments section think that Chris is a creep, and, well, I see your point. I might be dazzled by his great smile and protruding pectorals, but he gives off vibes. Chris is the type of guy who will leave his two female friends midsentence to go hit on a girl he doesn’t remember meeting weeks ago. Chris is also the kind of guy who will have a salsa night with Danielle and then do absolutely none of the cooking.
I do love salsa night, though, mostly because I want to put as many empanadas as possible in my mouth simultaneously. (My record is three.) But another shout-out to Summer House for being the most seamlessly integrated of all of the Bravo shows. Not only do we get to hear about Danielle and Chris bonding over being Latina, but from Gabby and Mya about what it’s like being a woman of color and trying to date in mostly white scenarios. It’s not enough to have people of color on our shows; we need to hear them have conversations like this, to share their experiences with each other and their white castmates, and with the audience no matter what color they are.
I was ready to write Mya off after this season. She has given us nothing. Neither has Lexi, but at least she gave us severe editrix haircut. Then Mya shows up, speaks out at dinner, grills Kory about his intentions with Sam (he likes her!), shares the news with Sam that he wants to be exclusive (she creamed!), and then just figures out that Carl is going to propose, which sends Danielle into a kamikaze tailspin from which I don’t think she’ll ever recover. (I’m sure we will talk more about this next week.) Way to earn that paycheck and her invite back to next season in about eight hours. Paige better pay attention.
Yes, Carl is proposing, and it is not without its complications. The most complicated is that he totally freaked out about it at a concert and ended up going to the emergency room because he drank too much Red Bull and didn’t take his Lexapro. I’ve ended up in the hospital for stupider reasons (I once broke my finger taking off my sock), but this did seem to throw a little wrench into the works of his plan.
I love Carl, and I think the proposal was sweet, but it wasn’t the best plan. He says there will be a bonfire at the beach, and they must go early to “gather wood.” (I thought gathering wood is when you play with your junk a little bit so it’s ready for action. I’m sure Lindsay thought the same thing.) Carl gets Lindsay to the beach and walks her toward the water, where there are little signs that say “7 Years” and “Best Friends.” It’s the kind of Pinterest mood-board proposal that Lindsay has creamed her knickers about since she was 9 years old. Carl awkwardly gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him, and, of course, she says yes immediately.
You can see in Lindsay’s eyes (and the detail she put into her hair and outfit) that she knew this would happen before the filming year was out; she just didn’t know it would be like this. But you know it’s real, you can tell it’s real, because I have never seen Lindsay smile more, not even when she’s standing over the still-smoking corpses of her vanquished enemies. She doesn’t even look at the ring! Lindsay has been dreaming about the diamond, the setting, the karats, the color of gold for as long as she’s been shaving her legs, but she doesn’t care. She only wants to look at Carl; she only wants to bask in her love that is as constant and calming as the waves crashing just a few yards away from him. For a moment, it is beautiful. For a moment, it is perfect. For a moment, it is everything she ever wanted, but no good thing can last, and it looks like the rest of this weekend is going to totally ruin it.