Ok, I need you to level with me here, PurseBloggers. This particular recap of Real Housewives of DC has politics in it. I don’t like writing about politics any more than you guys like reading about it, but in this instance, I either had to write about gay marriage or post a bunch of LOLCats in the giant chasm that would have been created by omitting the subject from this post. As much as I like LOLCats, that’s not really what I get paid to do.
So if you’d rather avoid political discussion, you won’t hurt my feelings if you skip this one. Also, feel free to disagree, both with me and with each other – we only ask that you do so respectfully. If you’d like to continue reading, you know where to click. If not, we have some lovely posts over at TalkShoes today, and I hope to see you back here next week.
Our episode started with Cat and her husband discussing her book cover, and the casual, intimate photograph Charles wanted to use would have actually been a great choice. Cat liked something that looked less like a real book cover than something a college student would come up with in a publication design class (believe me, y’all, I know of which I speak), and her lack of enthusiasm for his professional opinion eventually degenerated into them talking glumly of his upcoming business trip.
Next, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone but her, Michaele decided to claim that she used to be a Washington Redskins cheerleader. That didn’t pass the truth sniff test for me from the beginning, and yet when she showed up in the stadium’s parking lot to practice for a homecoming (Do they have homecoming in the NFL? That’s the only time we ever had old cheerleaders in college.) routine with other people from her “cheering days,” a few of them seemed to recognize her! Were they paid to recognize her?
Just because people knew who she was, though, doesn’t mean she demonstrated any sort of skill that would seem to indicate prior experience in cheerleading, dance or choreographed group activities of any kind. She also can’t count, which was probably less surprising than it should have been. Someone got so irritated with Michaele’s lack of rhythm mid-routine that she actually stopped and moved her to the periphery so she wouldn’t throw the entire group off the beat. The only thing that Michaele is good at is being blonde.
Luckily we didn’t have to spend too much time with Michaele at Old Lady Cheerleading Camp, because soon it was time for a completely out-of-context ice cream party at Stacie’s house. Was there an explanation for this get-together that I missed, or have we completely dispensed with all attempts to rationally explain why these women have so many forced meetings? Anyway, Cat, Lynda and Mary came and brought their kids, who were completely well-behaved, compared to the adults.
All of the women sat down away from the children to talk about rumors and gossip and gay marriage (ugh, we’ll get to that in a second), and none of them believed that Michaele had ever been a Redskins cheerleader either. Mary brought up the fact that Michaele used to sell her makeup for approximately the 49857894th time, and it still wasn’t relevant – Michaele claimed to have been on the squad in the 80s, Mary knew her in the 90s. Close, but no cigar.
When talk turned to Mary’s daughter quitting her job, Cat had some fairly valid criticisms (as did everyone else in the room), and Erika called Cat mean for the second time in a span of approximately ten minutes. She followed up that outburst by bringing up the whole Tyra Banks kerfuffle from god knows how many episodes ago, and let’s be real here: I don’t like Tyra either. Tyra is crazy, and I don’t know how you could watch more than a couple of seasons of America’s Next Top Model and still think that she’s an admirable, praise-worthy person. She’s repugnant. It’s reality TV, repugnancy is why she’s good at it.
I’ll grant that Cat is annoying on a whole variety of levels and in as many ways as I have fingers for counting, but everyone was sitting around and talking about Lolly living at home and quitting her job, so I’m not sure why Erika chose that moment in particular to get on her Cat The Meanie high horse and bring up Tyra Banks. Cat left the room crying, and considering that we know her marriage was in trouble and her friend had just killed himself during this portion of filming, I probably would have been crying too. Sometimes stuff just piles on.
Speaking of piling on, as Cat was in tears and trying to leave with her children, Erica came back out to “apologize” and then tell her not to stand a certain way or act a certain way or whatever. She had already reduced the woman to tears in front of her children, was that not enough? I know Cat is a loud-mouthed, back-talking, snarky sourpuss. That’s clear to everyone. But that whole scene was unnecessary from every angle, and why was Erika carrying around so much residual Tyra rage? Does she have a hidden shrine to Ty-Ty in her closet? Someone go check, I bet she does.
Next, it was time for Mary’s family to display its various flaws and problems, and as always, they revolved around Lolly. Lolly quit her job because the warm glow of her new desk and business cards suddenly wasn’t enough for her when she realized that she would be required to do actual work in order to take home a paycheck, and she wanted to stay home for a bit longer to save up more money. Mary’s husband wasn’t all that psyched about letting Lolly hang around for longer while she tried to make it as an artist instead of having a real job, but Mary was fine with letting Lolly stay while she communed with her paintbrushes or whatever it was she was planning to do.
LAST CHANCE IF YOU WANT TO BAIL OUT BEFORE POLITICS
From parenting issues to marriage issues, most of the cast and their satellite friends got together to talk to a DC city councilman about gay marriage for reasons that were never made entirely clear (and we all know that when the reasons aren’t entirely clear, it’s because the whole thing was a producer’s idea). The housewives were very split on the issue, and surprisingly, Stacie and Jason were against gay marriage. They were okay with civil unions, and apparently semantics are very important to them.
Naturally, Paul took serious offense at their stance and wondered if he should still be friends with them, and it was just uncomfortable and awkward all around. Mary said she didn’t really care about it because it didn’t affect her, which Paul also found odd (and so did I) – some of her dearest friends are gay, and she’s had no problem parading them around on this show for extra camera time. Shame on her for reaping the benefits of the gay bestie without having concern for how the world treats her friends.
In a later dinner, Stacie admitted that she knows “separate but equal” is never really equal, and yet she still seemed a bit…what’s the word…grossed out over the whole subject. Lynda, who continues to surprise me in ways that are in turn either delightful or horrifying, hit one out of the park with me by putting semantics aside and supporting marriage equality wholeheartedly, in spite of her conservative upbringing and personal sexuality.
I don’t even have anything particularly insightful or funny to say about that whole conversation, except that it disappointed me to hear Stacie and Jason, two people whom I have enjoyed very much so far, espouse that particular opinion and compare being called a homophobe for not supporting gay marriage to being harassed on the street with slurs just for being a gay man in public. (Those two things? Not comparable.) The entire week, I had been hoping against hope that their comments in the previews for the episode had been taken out of context; alas, they were not. Bravo has dashed my hopes once again. Why must they toy with me so? I certainly don’t think they’re bad people because of their politics, but I can’t deny feeling a bit let down.
Luckily, all of these people would rather talk about each other than about political issues, so the conversation quickly turned to Mary and Stacie gently reprimanding Erica at dinner for attacking Cat inappropriately at Stacie’s party. At a separate meeting, Lynda and Paul also talked about Cat and how her personality has changed since her husband has been away for business. Not only was it refreshing to see people identify inappropriate behavior and address it as such, but Lynda and Paul both managed to by sympathetic and sensitive about the things that might be making Cat particularly abrasive. Nuance? Empathy? ARE THESE ALIEN HOUSEWIVES?
Just when people were seeming fallible and reasonable and maybe even a little bit tolerable, the producers brought out Michaele and her Pom Poms of Insanity again to talk about being a cheerleader and a “brick house” and needing boobs to “finish” her. Some mention was also made of butt implants, but at that point I had completely glazed over in the face of such idiocy and was no longer able to process sentences or create thoughts.
And then, things just got worse. Or better, depending on how you look at it. The Salahis were meeting with their, uh, delegate to lobby him about some kind of new legal restrictions on family wineries, and Michaele intimated that they could possibly go bankrupt. Again. They were already bankrupt? Where’s the story on that? Now that is something I’d read.
Back at Mary’s house, Mary managed to redeem herself a little bit on gay marriage by admitting that she shouldn’t have said that gay marriage doesn’t effect her in any way. Lolly, much to my surprise, spoke about the issue eloquently and fairly, and also schooled her mom a little bit. I’m tempted to make fun of Mary for not being able to quote from the Constitution, but let’s be honest – I’m guessing most people can’t.
That’s not where discussion of the issue ended, though. Cat and the other Jason (the gay-married one) got together to have a cocktail and talk about his future desires to foster GLBT kids. Can Jason and his husband get a reality show? Please? That would be great. From there, the subject quickly changed to Cat’s hate for her neighborhood, and we found out that she lives in the suburbs instead of within the Washington, D.C. She feels isolated and alone out there, and it must be a big change from running around London. I’ve never met a suburb that I wanted to spend much time in, and if she’s from another country and doesn’t know many people, it must be particularly isolating. From being a clear villain at the beginning of the season, Cat seems to be making something of a sympathetic comeback. As it turns out, Real Housewives redemption apparently does exist. Just as Alex McCord.
We went straight from the practical concerns of location and friendship to things that aren’t even rooted in reality – the Salahis wanted to write a book. Well, “write.” They met with a writer to discuss the details of having the book written for them, and they wanted to call it Wine, War and Roses. Gag. Tareq’s main concern was making sure that they found a publisher who would give them an advance, of course. They discussed the story a bit, and Michaele emphasized the importance of making sure that the story had a happy ending. Nevermind the fact that the story was supposed to be true – The Awful Twins are so far removed from objective reality that neither of them would know the truth if it punched them in their throats.