Last night’s Real Housewives opened with (shock horror) a scene that looked relatively (a) real, and (b) housewive-y. Yes, it was in Lynda’s multi-million-dollar condo in Georgetown, but even so, mad props to her for cooking and spending some endearing quality breakfast time with her family. Between the bacon and Stacie’s heartfelt discussion with her friends about her Caucasian birth mother, it almost felt like this was going to be a feel-good episode. But of course this is Bravo, so the warm fuzziness didn’t last longer than the first five minutes. Here are the big wins and epic fails from episode four.
Winner, Product-Placement Division: Costco, or wherever else the Salahis managed to find 18 crates of red grapes to stomp on (“It’s not messy!” Michaele declared, rictus grin faltering for only an instant. “It’s fun!”). What exactly was the whole point of this mythical wine stomp anyway? Michaele seems to think that she and Tareq do it every year, which is by no mean surprising—we can absolutely envision the pair of them, dressed in togas, stomping on grapes in the privacy of their own home. And frankly, that would’ve made much better television.
Loser, Ugly-Apparel Division: Tareq’s sweater. You can say what you want about Michaele, but at least she (for the most part, brown-leather jumpsuits aside) has style. So how on earth she let Tareq go out in a sweater that looked more like the upholstery from a 1970s Moldovan Airways plane is beyond us. We tried and tried to figure out what Tareq’s vision of blue ugliness was about, but it’s simply inexplicable. Also, when you’re feeling threatened by your mother/the paparazzi/some unnamed sniper who Cat seems to think is out to get her, why make yourself such an obvious target? Wear something burgundy so you blend in with the Costco grapes, at least.
Winner, Shameless-Stereotyping Edition: Bravo. There are lots of gay men in DC, Bravo. Some of them are even Republicans. So why do you feel compelled to show everyone that the gay demographic in the most powerful city in the world consists of overwhelmingly bitchy hair stylists? We like Paul Wharton because he’s funny and he has hair that looks different every minute of the day, and he’s such an obvious stirrer-upper that we almost don’t mind the two-facedness. But Ted Gibson, whose only claim to fame is introducing Washington to the $800 haircut, can go back to New York and take mean old Jason with him. Jason’s lip stud looks like something he ate got stuck to his chin, and it’s profoundly irritating.
Loser, Awkward-Situation Edition: the Turners. To be fair, they did the best to change the subject during the world’s most awkward dinner scene ever (at the Salahi “vineyard”). Stacie tried to smooth things over when Michaele and Mary seemed intent on destroying each other with blank, frozen expressions, and Stacie’s husband, Jason, even intervened at one point in defense of someone or other (we can’t remember who because the whole argument took us so vividly back to high school that at one point we could feel the braces). Michaele doesn’t like people talking about her behind her back. Mary doesn’t talk about people behind their backs. This could have gone on forever, but thankfully Bravo ran out of time and had to lead us on to next week’s episode, which apparently continues with the world’s most awkward dinner—now additionally awkward because it seemingly has no end.
Winner, Bizarre-Screaming-Banshee Division: Cat. Yes, we know, Cat’s outspoken, blah blah blah, we should give her a chance, she only says what she thinks and it’s refreshingly honest, yarda yarda yarda. At some point, there’s a difference between a refreshingly outspoken person and a demented person screaming “bollocks!” over and over again. And I should know, because Cat reminded me more than ever last night of various certifiable members of my family who’ve overindulged on sherry. Cat did a good job redeeming herself last week, but we knew it was too good to last. “I can’t stand bossy people; I never boss anyone around,” she said, which may be the most flagrant lie reality television has ever seen. Anyway, we never thought that some of the most likeable characters in this show would end up being the Salahis. Maybe their Vulcan mind-meld extends through the TV. Who knows?
We can’t wait for next week, when Mary apparently breaks into hysterics (besting this week’s unbelievably unattractive expression at the grape stomp), Tareq knows something about the FBI, and Cat insults someone. Probably.