Before we get into the second week in a row when Summer House woke up and chose absolute chaos, we need to check in on our ongoing episode of Unsolved Mysteries about the whereabouts of Alex, a puppy so boring that apparently the producers took him to a Barry’s Bootcamp upstate where he would have lots of room to do treadmill sprints and all the whey protein powder he could force down his gullet. At the start of the episode, Andrea says that he slept “in Alex’s” because his bed is slightly bigger. We all know that Alex is there in the house based on social-media posts, but why don’t we see him? Then, the following weekend, they say that Alex isn’t there, but how can we believe them? They told us that last weekend, and he was there. Did they pull some mirror trick or photo editing to remove him from the group dinner around the table? I wanted Alex off my TV, but I didn’t want him unceremoniously deleted from history!
After Lindsay’s party, the episode picks up with Alex snoring soundly in his bed and probably spooning Andrea, both in their black briefs. Hold on. I just need to savor that image for a few more seconds before talking about Austen slapping Kyle on the ass and talking about how firm it is multiple times. Now I need to savor that image before talking about Luke and Austen arm wrestling. Mmmm. (Oh, and sorry to Austen. Last week when describing the scene, I said he was some “random jamoke,” but it was indeed Austen. I’m sorry, I guess with his trucker hat, flip-flops, free T-shirt advertising some craft brew, and casual disregard for the feelings of women, he looks just like every other white boy.)
Of all the sexiness that was on display that night, let us not forget about Luciano, Lindsay’s “new” friend, who is as hot a slab of Argentine beef as you could get at any steakhouse. And good on Lindsay getting it in both that night and the next morning. I didn’t really appreciate the slut-shamery happening from Ciara and Paige in the next room, which seems to have to do more with Lindsay’s behavior toward Ciara than it does with her getting her back broken by a foreign national on her birthday weekend. Paige and Ciara are lying in bed (as if they do anything else) and saying that this is disrespectful after everything with Lindsay and Austen the day before. I think that Lindsay making out with Austen and then picking up another guy in front of him should have just illustrated to them how little Lindsay regards what happened between her and Austen.
We’re going to pick this continued argument in a bit because first, we have to talk about the other things that happen in this episode. Kyle asks Amanda about a prenup and blames it on some “investors” “asking” “about” “a prenup.” That investor is Kyle’s dad and every sane person in the audience. Amanda is against it, which seems ridiculous to me. She keeps saying she hasn’t even decided if there will be a wedding. If you think things are so shaky, why not have an insurance policy in case they end up like the money in a strippers thong: singles? Amanda says it is “preparing for separation.” Yeah, it is the same way that buying life insurance is “preparation for death.” You don’t want it to happen, but you have a coin flip’s chance of needing it. I feel like every marriage certificate should come with one, especially if you are Teresa Giudice.
From an established relationship, we then get a first date with Mya and Oliver, which is very cute, except Mya gives us the body language of someone who is about to go to the bathroom and then makes an exit like my heritage: Irish. We find out Oliver lives in Jersey, which is when I would have been like, “Do you know where the restroom is?” But then he redeemed himself by saying that he hates all white condiments: mayo, ranch, blue cheese, sour cream. Okay, you redeemed yourself.
The next weekend at the house, Andrea makes an Italian dinner for everyone to celebrate Ferragosto, which is basically like Italian Labor Day. It’s also conflated with the Assumption of Mary, which is when the mother of the Catholic Jesus went to heaven, so you’ll often see religious processions. It’s held on August 15, and literally every Italian person is on vacation, and it’s kind of the best. I’ve been in Italy for it several times, and all you do is go to parties on boats, eat pasta on the shore, and then wash it down with a delizia al lemone, a creamy dessert that looks like boobs. Drunk Americans have already appropriated St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and even Bastille Day. I think it’s time we add some Ferragosto to the mix.
Anyway, at the dinner, everyone goes around and says what they think love means, which is an interesting question even though it leads to far too much abstract speech instead of narrative possibility. The first thing you learn in creative-writing class is “show, don’t tell,” and this is showing me a bunch of single people talking about “respect” and “communication” and having no idea what it really means. The one who gives the best speech is my eternal lover Kyle J. Cooke who says that his love for Amanda makes him get up in the morning and have purpose, and it brings a tear to her eye.
Andrea talks about how to love but won’t tell anyone he’s really lonely because some girl Lexi just dumped him after he tried to rekindle things with Paige, who dissed Andrea for Craig Conover, a Jell-O shot hangover so bad that it clawed its way out of a sorority girl’s skull and became a man. Lindsay says that she thinks love has four pillars, “trust, communication, respect, and love.” Okay, love cannot be a pillar of itself. Imagine love as a roof being held up by those four pillars. Does that mean that love has to grow a pseudopod to prop itself up on one side? That doesn’t look so much like a roof as a doorstop with an erection.
When it’s Ciara’s turn, she takes the opportunity to conflate love and friendship and really go after Lindsay for what she did the weekend before with Austen. She has been hyped up by all the other girls over the course of the week and just a little bit earlier when Mya went up to her room and told her that Lindsay was taking no responsibility for what happened last weekend with Austen. Lindsay also told Mya that if Ciara had a problem with her and Austen, she should have said something. Thank you to the brilliant editors for replaying the bit of the party when Lindsay hid under a woodpile in the poolhouse rather than talk to Ciara about Austen.
The fundamental problem with this argument is that it isn’t really about Austen. As Ciara made clear in her lunch with Paige and Amanda, she is upset that Lindsay continues to disrespect her and disregard her. This is something that the Austen incident laid bare but is not the only component in their gripe. Lindsay thinks this is just about her making out with Austen, and if Ciara doesn’t like that, she can just get over it. We all agree that Austen is the villain here and the one who really instigated things between Lindsay and Ciara that weekend, but Ciara seems to be saying she has a large problem with Lindsay.
I agree that Austen can be the problem and that Lindsay was really blameless in how he disregarded Austen’s feelings. But I can see how Lindsay was right in that interaction, but it is symptomatic of a negative way that Lindsay was treating Ciara since Vermont. Both of these things can be true simultaneously, but Lindsay needs to be made aware of this second thing if Ciara expects her to discuss it.
When Ciara starts talking at the dinner, she goes in hard on Lindsay, but only about the Austen stuff. She says she has to “isolate her victims to be affectionate toward them,” which is a low blow, then says that she paraded those moments around to hurt her. Um, wasn’t it Austen who brought this up to her? Isn’t he the problem? Ciara only talks about the Austen stuff in her speech to Lindsay. Everyone else weighs in, and it gets heated, and only then does Ciara get out of her chair and shout at Lindsay and Danielle, who has joined the fray, and says, “Even before Austen, you disrespected me on so many levels.”
Then it’s too late. Craig and Paige have butted in with their opinions; Danielle is heated to defend her friend and, just like Nene Leakes, is like, “Now why am I in it?” What results is a The View–style crosstalk mêlée where you can’t hear anyone or understand what is going on until Ciara stands up, throws her wine and glass at Danielle, who retaliates with some flying flatware of her own, and we are all sitting around waiting for next week to see what happens when they are taken to their separate corners and have to face what happened. They’re surely not going to hold Austen accountable, but I guess a classic reality-show brouhaha is the next best thing.