Before we get into the rest of the season finale of Real Housewives of DC, I have something that you guys need to read, if you haven’t already seen it. Jezebel writer Tracie Egan Morrissey, one of my favorite bloggers, has compiled a rather comprehensive list of the various lies, cons and scandals in which our Awful Twins, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, have been involved over the past decade or so. When you sit and read it in a bulleted list, the scope of their grifting is nothing short of epic.
The show’s finale was all about the aftermath of the White House party crash, and although it didn’t present a whole lot of new factual information, seeing the Salahis squirm under the weight of their own lies was both fascinating and nauseating.
Our episode opened just as last week’s episode closed – the Awful Twins were headed to the White House in the back of “their” limo, bragging about their “invitation” to Stacie via Blackberry. Tareq and Michaele, like anyone involved in a successful long con, are almost impressively convinced of their own lies, but their feigned excitement in the car read a little bit false. Perhaps that’s just a result of the convenience of hindsight, but they both seemed to have a layer of dread just below the surface.
My personal guess would be that they were a little worried that they were about to blow the whole operation in front of cameras and get arrested trying to sneak into the White House, but since I’ve never walked around inside of the dank, scary places that those two call brains, we’ll just assume that…okay, never mind. They both looked like they were about to soil their pants. For two people who are clearly so versed in crashing large events, you’d think they’d have better game faces. C’mon, guys, act like you’ve been there.
When they got to the first line of security – a PR girl with a clipboard, politics isn’t so unlike fashion after all – the Awful Twins’ names were nowhere to be found, of course. They were instructed to step aside and wait, and they did so with no argument, which surprised me. I would have expected them to get indignant and demanding like I imagine any self-important dignitary would if denied entry to an important event to which they had been invited, but they just kept walking. And walking. And apparently, they walked until they found a fence to hop, even though we didn’t see anything after their original attempt to gain entry.
Instead, we skipped straight to the next day. Michaele and Tareq were sitting in their hotel room, looking at pictures and being self-congratulatory about the whole evening. The Awful Twins put on a show of receiving a “message” about a “gossip columnist” creating “rumors” about them in order to give themselves an opportunity to pointedly deny the whole thing on camera, but of course they crashed the party. We all already know that.
Around DC, the news of the Salahis’ party-crashing was spreading. Stacie and Jason were eating up the drama in the newspapers and on Facebook, and when they called Cat to give her the news, well, she had already heard. She took great pleasure in telling everyone exactly how right she had been about the Awful Twins, and in fairness, she had been exactly right. This whole stunt was easily the greatest thing to happen to Cat all season, and it’s just so validating to be proven right when you think that someone is up to no good.
By now, the pictures from the evening are infamous – Katie Couric, Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel and President Obama himself were photographed with the couple, and you sort of have to give them credit. Once they managed to get in, the Salahis really went whole-hog. If you’re going to crash a White House party, open yourself up to potential legal issues and become a national joke, at least get some pictures with famous people while you’re doing it.
Later, Lynda, Stacie and Mary got together in the name of “damage control,” but as it turns out, that actually meant they were getting together to gossip about the subject of the hour and make a big show of their outrage (and tangentially, of their innocence). No new information came out of the conversation, but you could see the barely-contained joy in all of their faces. They didn’t like these people, and now everyone in America agrees with them. They tried to call Michaele to get her side of the story, but she didn’t answer. Shocker.
While most of the housewives were having a massive moment of schadenfreude, Cat was having actual problems as a result of the Awful Twins’ little stunt. Remember last week when Cat and her husband excitedly discussed being invited to the White House Christmas party? Well, as it turns out, Cat’s and Michaele’s mutual association with Real Housewives of DC meant that Cat was summarily disinvited from the party.
It also seems as though the White House disinvitation brought some of the tensions between Cat and Charles to a head. They had a rather tense conversation about the event that probably shouldn’t have happened while Cat was holding a knife, and her remark about how the knife just wasn’t “cutting it” seemed loaded, to say the least. I’m actually thankful that the season didn’t show more of the dissolution of Cat’s marriage, because that’s just too awkward to watch, even for a seasoned Real Housewives veteran like me.
Lynda, on the other hand, had a grand old time at the Awful Twins’ expense, hosting a small party with Cat, Mary and Paul to watch the C-SPAN broadcast of the Salahis’ Congressional testimony, during which Tareq asserted his fifth amendment right to avoid self-incrimination more times than perhaps anyone else in the history of the Constitution. They were hammered by their questioners, called stupid, egomaniacal and told that their actions encouraged terrorists. Tareq actually turned around to confer with his attorney when asked to confirm his own existence and presence in the room. That the American government and Real Housewives should ever cross paths is nothing short of completely surreal.
After the testimony, the Awful Twins and their attorney had a press conference outside the chambers that can only be described as People’s Courtian, during which they both stood behind their attorney and looked supremely inconvenienced by the entire thing. Over at Lynda’s Georgetown apartment, Mary (correctly) predicted that Michaele’s only choice after the dust settled would be to pose for Playboy, and Paul was made uncomfortable by the whole thing and said some snarky things about Lynda marrying well (which may be true, but does not necessarily negate the accuracy of the assertion that Michaele should divorce Tareq and get a real job).
At another, later meeting of the housewives at Lynda’s house, Stacie expressed no interest in the entire hoopla and only wanted to hear the story directly from the Awful Twins, although this seems to be one of those rare occasion where hearing both sides of the story isn’t really necessary to form an opinion. Cat referred to the Salahis as “celebrity terrorists,” and for some reason, Stacie questioned whether or not Cat would be willing to say that to Michaele’s face. Of course she would, has she met Cat? Stacie proposed having a meeting of all the housewives to confront the Salahis, but only Cat seemed interested in showing up for it.
Luckily for us, Cat is always more than willing to say exactly what she thinks, which was the only thing that was actually necessary to ensure the success of the confrontation. (Whatever “success” might mean in this scenario.) Cat didn’t get up to greet the Awful Twins at the door when they arrived and she mostly refused to acknowledge their presence in the room, but since the Salahis are used to being unwelcome and disliked, they just fake-smiled straight through the entire thing until Cat got up and walked out.
Before she left, though, she told the Salahis that she thought they were disgraceful, fake, artificial and unworthy of her or anyone else’s association. Then everyone did a weird little race around the middle of the house while Michaele pretended to gather up her coat to leave as well, but we all know that neither of those worthless wastes of oxygen will ever leave a room when there’s a TV camera in it.
Jason talked the Salahis into staying with little to no effort, and when they sat back down and Stacie explained that Cat was upset about her blacklisting from the White House Christmas party, Michaele showed absolutely no concern for the fact that her actions screwed over other people who weren’t even involved. It wasn’t long before Stacie tangentially mentioned the party crashing, and as soon as that happened, Michaele got up and demanded that they leave. She sat back down again, but once the conversation swung back around to the White House, Michaele shut down the whole thing for good. For some reason, Cat was still standing outside, and she was summoned back in to talk some smack after the Salahis snuck out the back. And that, as they say, was all she wrote.
Over the past two months, many of you have posited that perhaps Michaele is just along for the ride a manipulative, grifting husband who she isn’t strong enough to leave, and if anything, I think that this episode removes any and all plausibility that theory might have left. Tareq seemed willing to stay and have the conversation, but Michaele called the shots and said that the Turners weren’t their real friends if they dared to even mention the White House in front of them. She immediately snapped out of the flighty, passive character that she usually prefers to play, and for me, it was worth watching the entire episode just to see that. Michaele, it seems, is every bit as bad as her awful husband. Don’t get it twisted.