There are a great many things I watch on TV about which I feel guilty and the experience of which is unpleasurable, but in terms of guilty pleasures, I’m a Real Housewives of Melbourne fan, loud and proud. I haven’t been writing recaps because I just love to luxuriate in its pretentious boganism, plus I try not to drink on a school night, and even for the most avid fans, it’s easier to get through it with wine.
But it’s not a school night tonight (thank you, Jesus for dying and then getting better), so there’s a major obstacle cleared.
Mostly, I need to write because Gamble and Rick got married last week and tonight’s the reception episode. Who doesn’t love a wedding reception? The beautiful bride, the elaborate cake, your best friends screaming at each other to get fucked…
How could I resist? I’m only human.
Gamble has changed into a chic little cocktail frock. Pettifleur is still cross-dressed…like The Princess Diaries meets The Golden Girls. Thankfully, after the whole wedding-invitation-Frisbee debacle, attempting to upstage the bride in the fashion stakes is about as controversial as Pettifleur gets at the reception.
The party is briefly threatened by a cake collapse that would have engulfed the entire resort if not for the timely intervention of Chyka, and we get to witness the genuinely touching speeches: Luke loves Rick and Gamble, Rick loves Luke and Gamble, Gamble loves Luke and Rick. The new Wolfe pack is totally loved up.
Then Gamble drags Rick onto the dance floor where he shuffles about like he’s bought his shoes from Kmart and has forgotten to snip the piece of plastic that keeps the pair together, before Gamble admits that they are both crap dancers and they are better off sticking to drinking expensive liquor.
Formalities out of the way, attention can be squarely fixed on Brian, Janet’s ex-husband of seventeen years and her “plus one”. This unusual choice of date has the women suspecting that Janet may want to take Brian back.
“Did you ever have an affair when you were married to Janet?” they chorus.
Brian denies this, but he does admit that he had a “happy ending” in Thailand. I’ve never been to Thailand, but by all the affronted gapes on the faces of the women, I’m guessing this didn’t involve the masseuse reading Possum Magic. Lydia is appalled. This must be because she understands how Asian women have to accept all sorts of demeaning jobs just to eke out a living…or she’s wondering if Joanna has remembered to feed Figaro.
While Brian is getting probed (apparently not for the first time), Janet has her own mystery to solve: the curious case of “Apprentice-gate.”
This all began two nights before, and that there is an issue at all falls squarely on the shoulders of Gamble, who thoughtlessly planned her wedding in the same week as Gina’s debut on The Celebrity Apprentice. Having announced at the wedding eve-eve drinks that she would be hosting a screening of CA in her room, Gina follows-up by excusing herself from the wedding eve drinks at precisely 8:34 pm, giving her exactly six minutes to get back to her room, boot up the organic vegetarian Byron Bay tellie and luxuriate in the vision of herself.
This would all be great cross-promotion if The Celebrity Apprentice hadn’t aired six months ago and we didn’t already know that Gina had to pull out in the fourth episode and make some heartfelt apology wearing silk pyjamas from her “hospital room.”
Janet is on to her, despite the story that she fed to Gamble about having to leave early to have birthday cake with her son.
Janet enlists the help of Chyka, who knows a thing or two about cake.
“Why,” asks Janet, “didn’t you have the cake until 11:00 pm?”
“Go fuck yourself!” replies Gina.
Fast forward and the ladies are back in Melbourne. Janet and Jackie have lunch where Jackie admits to feeling nauseous, denies being pregnant and then doesn’t want brie. Janet is on to something here.
But before she can stick her nose any further into Jackie’s business, she has Suzie’s budding relationship with Marcello to sabotage.
Suzie is the Toorak dwelling Victorian president of the CWA (no I don’t get that either) and Marcello is the Italian who bought her a drink in Byron and is now rocking up to Melbourne for a visit. Janet jumps at the chance to be her wingman. Finding an excuse for a new frock and organising herself a date, she orchestrates an elaborate safety signal system of earlobe pulling before Marcello (who has splashed out on a brand new pair of white sneakers) and Janet’s date, Christopher, arrive for the date at the local pub.
Soon all four of them are awkwardly sitting at the table. Someone decides to make small talk and asks Christopher what he does for a crust.
“I do a lot of things, but the main thing I do is make infant formula,” Christopher responds.
Janet looks at him like he makes the formula out of new-born babes. Suzie glares at him like one of those breast-feeding Nazis who holds infant formula responsible for obesity, ADHD and the rise of ISIS. I’m just left wondering, when you offer this as the main thing that you do, what in hell are the other things?
In any case, this all leads to a series of unfortunate events. Christopher starts blithering on about vitamins, lactation and breasts. At the mention of breasts, Marcello starts smearing his bread six inches thick with butter and shoots a quick glance at Suzie’s chest. Janet sees him perving and calls him out on it. Suzie starts tugging like she hasn’t had to since she was married, and Janet fails to notice.
Oblivious, the men continue their awkward small talk. Christopher asks Marcello what he likes in a woman.
“I like the attractive ones for the sex and the ugly ones for the relationship.” (Or something like that. I had to translate from Italian-English.)
Suzie’s tugging has reached earlobe bleeding intensity. She is finally able to drag Janet away from the table into the next room.
“He’s a sexist, arrogant butter-wasting, fast-eating, white sneaker wearing pig!” she retorts.
Janet and Suzie bid a retreat and Chris and Marcello continue the date without them. We never find out whether Marcello found Christopher attractive or not.
Next day, Gina rocks up to an aged-care facility to visit her father. Sadly he suffered a stroke some time back and has developed dementia. But every cloud has a silver lining, and he will have no memory of ever appearing on the RHOM. Gina reminds him of how the nurses let him watch her guest appearances on Neighbours and Celebrity Apprentice and then presents him with an autographed copy of her autobiography (and presumably a Chemist Warehouse gift card so that the nurses can nip out and get some Gina scent to spray around the room). She’d like to visit her father more, but her life gets in the way. Curiously though, her actual job never seems to get in the way of anything.
Family issues abound for the housewives. Having previously shown no remorse for damage she did to her father’s car, Bruce and Chyka’s indulged brat of a daughter, Chessie, rocks up to announce that uni is no good for her because she knows everything and is bored. That’s probably not the last we’ll hear about that.
Back to Gina’s place where we are led to believe that she has been peeling spuds all day. I’d like to have a look at her PA Josh’s hands right now. But the main thing that has kept her busy is preparing her son Myles’ favourite birthday dish – cremated lasagne – for his birthday party.
What’s that? Wasn’t Myles’ birthday a few days ago in Byron Bay? Wasn’t it such an important day that Gina had to leave Gamble’s pre-wedding drinks, even though she was the celebrant?
None of this is lost on Lydia and Pettifleur, the only two of the women invited to the party, and the only two worse than Janet in letting things go.
And that means that “Apprentice-gate” is anything but dead and buried.
It’s school holidays next week. I’d better stock up on the wine.