Author Note: Jesse Ferreras is the associate news editor for The Huffington Post British Columbia. He has never watched The Real Housewives of Vancouver before now.
Do not read on unless you've seen The Real Housewives of Vancouver Season 2, episode 1 (or if you don't mind spoilers).
Welcome. You've made it past the title so you've already earned my respect. To willingly subject yourself to the RHOV is to endure a pain threshold that rivals some medieval torture instruments. Nah, I'm kidding. The first episode wasn't too bad. But it certainly gave us a glimpse of the gathering storm that will blow these Botoxed baronesses onto our TV screens for the next two months. I envy those of you who don't have Slice.
Season 2 actually begins on a sombre note. We meet Ronnie Negus as she presides over a lavish property that looks out on to B.C.'s Howe Sound, the water body that separates the Lower Mainland from the Sunshine Coast. Ronnie's in a sentimental mood after revealing last season that her special needs daughter Remington nearly died after choking on a piece of steak. Ronnie wants to throw a barbecue for the emergency responders who saved her daughter's life ... and, in the process, bring the housewives back together.
And in walks Jody Claman (the noted "bitch" from last season), a shrill villainness in a leopard print jacket. I'm no fashion expert, but the leopard print jacket hasn't been cool since Edith Prickly wore it on SCTV. Wasn't cool then, either. Anyway, we meet Jody and her daughter Mia, who looks to have gotten a nose job in the off-season. In profile she looks a bit like Lady Gaga, with one key difference: it doesn't look out of place on Mother Monster's Face. Mia looks just plain monster.
Jody and Ronnie left on a bad note last season but they seem to have made up while no one was looking. Jody was there for Ronnie when Remington was in the hospital and Ronnie is intent on bringing her to the barbecue. Which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for...
Mary Zilba. This alleged former "pop star" (with cheek implants so obvious it looks like she's a chipmunk storing nuts for the winter) has an ongoing beef with Jody from the first season and she's reticent to confront her again. Ronnie, beginning to break down, convinces Mary to come. We then follow Mary as she goes to meet with art consultant Ioulia Reynolds, who just happens to be one of the new housewives! (Clever segueway there, producers!)
The two meet at Vancouver's Blanket Art Gallery, where Ioulia is showing off works by Heiltsuk artist Shawn Hunt. Hunt's paintings have taken traditional indigenous forms and warped them into pornographic imagery, like naked women and handcuffs. Ioulia seems to know what she's talking about when she describes the paintings in the fluid language of an art dealer. Conversely, Mary makes an ass of herself trying to match her intellect:
"Yeah it kind of gives a different texture or textile ... kind of ... um ... indigenous ... to their natural habitat, right?"
Points go to Mary for using the word "indigenous" over "Indian." But when she said "natural habitat" I hope she was gunning for "traditional territory." Otherwise, Ioulia's unimpressed reaction as she walked away is the only thing saving the Slice network from an Idle No More demonstration.
Then we're back to Ronnie again, who takes Remington riding at Vancouver's tony Southlands Riding Club. There she meets Robin Reichman (of course, another new cast member), a Texas transplant who calls her horse a "German gigolo." She mounts the thoroughbred using a Prada saddle she bought with the money from a divorce. So she's probably one of the few people who can tell you what it's like to squeeze a designer handbag between your thighs.
Ronnie and Robin hit it off after the latter relates her own struggle: Robin had twins born prematurely and one of them died shortly after being born. At 26 weeks, Remington was also born prematurely, and Ronnie connects with Robin right away.
I began to like Robin until the cameras show her in her own home. Her sole source of income is her ex-husband and it allows her to own a horse worth $130,000 - $200,000, a Humvee and a personal hot tub. The ekphrasis of her blonde, sun-charred body does little to win one's sympathy.
Finally, we meet Amanda Hansen, a friend of Mia's who's an alcoholic-turned-sex-addict ... in other words, she's turned in a thirsty palate for a hungry ... never mind. She meets with Jody for advice on running a tea business. Amanda wants to sell Kombucha tea, a blend of yeast and bacteria that has been promoted as a cure for conditions such as AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis, according to the American Cancer Society.
(That, by the way, is a more detailed summary of the tea than even Amanda can provide, who doesn't appear to have even done a Google search on her own product.)
Jody is unimpressed with her pitch but tolerates her nonetheless, needing an ally against the other housewives. Then it's off to the party. Slowly the housewives arrive at Ronnie's sprawling Howe Sound property and renew their petty rivalries. Jody's arrival is treated like that of a Nazgul in Lord of the Rings. She arrives like a stormcloud without saying anything controversial. Flowers seem to die, and bodies turn to stone in her presence.
Jody gets off on the wrong foot with Robin, telling her she has a friend from Texas.
"Oh, what part of Texas?"
Then Robin meets Amanda, the former alcoholic who treats her condition like it's a disease. Robin is unimpressed: "Alcoholic, eh, eh, stop drinking!" I'd love to hear her opinion on safe injection sites...
The housewives part on a (somewhat) happy note when Ronnie gives an emotional speech, thanking emergency responders for saving her daughter's life. The wives get even more emotional when Remy gives a speech of her own, telling her saviours, "you guys are my superheroes, and that's why I'm here today. Thank you."
And for a moment, all seems well in Lotusland as Ronnie remarks, "I have a feeling we're all going to get along just fine." It's a hope that dies very quickly when you see the catfighting to come in the next few episodes.
Stay tuned for more! I'm back every week to recap the ladies' wild antics. You can catch The Real Housewives Of Vancouver every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST on Slice.