The Real Housewives of Miami
I love that this entire episode is basically framed by witchcraft, because the Miami women have been casting a spell on us this whole season. It opens with Julia and Adriana at a botánica, a Cuban shop where you can buy spiritual, magical, and medicinal items. The white-people equivalent is one of those stores where it’s just some girl in a shawl talking about her coven and selling overpriced crystals and tarot cards where Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the central character in each drawing. It’s usually called My Parents Money.
At the store, Julia and Adriana get little rocks with words printed on them, like peace and friendship, to combat the evil they are getting from people like Alexia and Larsa while filming. But wait, Julia is Russian, and Adriana is Brazilian … should they even be messing with this kind of magic? Is using another culture’s spirituality so that you can excel at a reality-television program cultural appropriation? It just reminds me of every horror movie where some white people show up in an ancient land and some native mystic tells them, “You are playing with powers you don’t understand.” Next thing you know, everyone is murdered by, like, a voodoo doll named Annabelle or some shit.
While we’re on the topic of cultural appropriation, what about Larsa’s box braids for their trip to the Bahamas? You can tell she’s already defensive about them in her confessional, when she’s like, “What? I had braids my whole life. I’ve had braids since I was a kid. My grandmother is Moroccan.” Well, I’ve liked Bill Cosby for most of my life; does it make it right to still like him now? Larsa’s family is from Syria and Lebanon. Her grandmother may be African because she’s from Morocco, but that’s not the Africa those braids come from, sister. Is she Bo Derek–ing those braids or is it allowed? Should we cancel Larsa even while the Countess, who did literal blackface, still has a job? Life is complicated.
We hear about these braids as everyone is going from the airport to the hotel. Well, not everyone. Chronically late, Lisa is on the next flight, and Marysol couldn’t make the trip because she tested positive for COVID. This is actually a really interesting case study on what happens to the dynamic of a cast when you remove an influential player from the roster. Without Marysol, Alexia has no one to blindly back her bullshit. She actually needs to get along with the other women. Without Marysol, Larsa also needs to find new allies among the cast. Without Marysol, Alexia and Adriana can talk about their issues (that mostly stem from being on the show). Without Marysol, Alexia is actually a good time and seems to have a great time hanging out with the Sex and the City fun girls: Dr. Nicole, Kiki, and Guerdy.
The four meet up with André, the “water park butler,” at the Baha Mar resort. This is the best job title and perhaps the best job description I have ever heard in my life. Could I sign up for a Water Park Butler correspondence course at DeVry? Because I feel like this may be my calling and I need to get certified. The four women go down a waterslide in a giant flower-shaped floatie with five seats. The problem is there is one empty seat, and it’s filled by some random white dude in a swimsuit with a GoPro. Please tell me this is a production staffer who got the best job of the day, because if they just assigned some random dude from the line to go into their float to keep the line moving or keep the floatie evenly balanced, I will just lose it. Who gets so lucky that they just get to sit with the Housewives on a water ride? One day, when I am known as Water Park Jeeves, that will be me in my trunks and GoPro.
The other ladies are the Golden Girls, even though Larsa has never seen the show. That makes total sense because Larsa is not a friend. She would not travel down the road and back again. Her heart is not true; she is neither pal nor confident. [Key change] AND IF SHE THREW A PARTY … okay, okay. I’m done now. Larsa, Julia, Adriana, and Lisa, are sitting around talking about, what else, Lenny, the nose that smells the fingers that were just in a woman’s panties without her permission. Oh, the tedium and exhaustion of this man. Like, I get it, and I love that Nicole instituted the L-word take-a-shot rule, and the dutiful editors kept a tally for us.
Lisa also complains that she doesn’t know what to do with a “new D” once she finds one. Let me tell you something, sister, I’ve been with more new ones than old ones, and it’s not that hard. Well, I hope it’s at least a little hard because no one likes looking like a bird trying to pull a limp worm out of the ground.
While she’s in her hotel room, Julia puts some of the protective herbs that the brujería (that’s Spanish for witchcraft) sold her. Immediately the curtains start to move. She calls Adriana in and tells her that it’s already working. The spirits are doing something. Really? Has this high-end gay never stayed in a nice hotel before? That’s not witchcraft, honey, that is luxury. That isn’t black magic, it’s technology.
At dinner that night, Alexia tells the table that Marysol thinks she tested positive for COVID because of witchcraft. In her confessional, Marysol, with two golden wands attached to her fingertips, tells us that she thinks she’s been cursed. She hasn’t been feeling well. She gained some weight. She can’t get out of bed. Um, Marysol, that’s just COVID. The evil eye didn’t make you test positive, the Omicron did. (Here’s me singing “the Omicron’s gonna get you,” like it’s a Gloria Estefan song.)
Both Alexia and Marysol say that they believe in the evil eye and dark vibrations and all that shit. They say that people thinking evil thoughts about you can affect your life. I don’t know, girls. Maybe it’s just karma. Maybe bad things keep happening because you treat a lot of the women around you like shit and won’t apologize when you make up and spread rumors about them. Maybe you don’t need to kill a live chicken to lift the curse. Maybe you just need to, I don’t know, be nicer?
After Alexia’s comments about Marysol and the witchcraft, Julia and Adriana tell everyone about their trip to the botánica and pass out their rocks. Everyone is very excited about them, except for Alexia, who doesn’t think they should mess with powers they don’t understand. At first, I want to be like, “Serious, bro? They could have bought these at an airport gift shop. Calm down.” But then I get her point. As she says, she doesn’t know what their intentions were when they were shopping in the witchy department of The Webster. They could have been thinking nice things when they touched that rock or evil things. And Alexia was right. They were thinking evil things about her. She was right to be suspicious.
The rest of the dinner is fun, light, and easy, as the whole trip has been so far. It’s such a good time watching these women have fun, because most of the trips we’ve seen lately have had about as much glamour and cast enthusiasm as a Salesforce convention in Missoula. Nicole brings out one of those card games where you ask people questions. This usually ends in tears, but the ladies engage lightheartedly, as the game intends to be played. When Adriana starts talking about her porn consumption, she says she likes to watch DP. (If you don’t know, now you know.) Julia immediately starts shouting, “What is DP? What is DP!” As Julia points out, English isn’t her first or second language. She probably can’t even guess what the initials are. Also, she’s a lesbian. There hasn’t been one D in her bed in a long time, nonetheless two. Please, someone, take pity on the Russian lesbian and just tell her! (I know that Julia may not identify as a lesbian per se, but for the sake of this joke, she does.)
The next day the witchcraft talk bubbles up a little bit with all of the women talking about how Alexia felt and how Adriana felt and what she intended with her gift and blah, blah, blah. Just as they’re starting to get somewhere good with their feelings, who shows up? Marysol M-er F-er Patton to yank that dynamic back where it belongs. She shows up with a bullhorn, shouting at all of the women and making a scene in the kid-free part of the resort. Yeah, bullhorns don’t usually work for our women. Look how it turned out for Kenya Moore. Maybe they’re cursed. Maybe Marysol is. Wait, has Marysol been the witch all along?