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 this season.
Do not read on unless you've seen The Real Housewives of Vancouver Season 2, Episode 2 (or if you don't mind spoilers).
"I'm still here, you bastards!" - Steve McQueen, "Papillon"
I'm proud to say that after enduring two episodes of this show, it's been enough to help me develop a deeper understanding of these haute couture hags and their many "perils." It's a season-long glimpse into a world I've lost interest in learning about.
This week we follow the housewives' travails as they prepare for a drag party to take place in concert with Vancouver's Pride Parade.
We first meet Robin and Mary at Sciue, a great little downtown Italian place. They're discussing the barbecue from last week's episode that functioned as a reluctant reunion for the housewives and their new recruits, Robin among them.
Robin says that Jody was nice to her -- a surprising assessment of the show's villainess, given that last week she mistook Oklahoma for a region of Texas. Perhaps Robin finds philistinism charming. Mary, naturally, isn't impressed to hear her supposed ally saying nice things about her enemy. She's desperate to get someone on her side after last season's allies, Christina and Reiko, didn't return for a second go-around. They're already the smartest of the first season's bunch.
Anyway, Robin says she's going to audition to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a grand prix show-jumping event, and asks Mary if she'd like to sing "O Canada." Mary is excited about the opportunity... until she finds out she has to audition for it. (With all due respect, Zilba, you probably should have to audition for an opportunity like that if your name isn't Sarah McLachlan.)
Amanda Hansen (the alcoholic-turned-sex addict, in case you can't recall), who's invited Jody over to try her Kombucha tea, makes you wonder whether she learned a thing or two about her own product since the last episode. Jody seems impressed, but in an interview compares one of the ingredients to her placenta. Ew. Why!?
Amanda outlines to Jody how she has it out for Ioulia, who she believes is a Russian spy: "I don't know what they import out of Russia. Except wives! And vodka!" And methanol, and arms, and... well, Amanda's concerns may not be without foundation here. (To learn more about Russia, click here.)
And this forms a fitting segue to... Ioulia, who's introduced to us by way of a string theme that sounds like a riff on the music from Tetris. She and her husband Damien are having their stepkids over for breakfast. Ioulia admits she's not a "kitchen goddess," which would logically set us up for a hilarious sequence where she burns down her kitchen trying to make toast.
But the show breaks one of the cardinal rules of drama (never introduce a gun unless you plan to use it) and she buys waffles for the two young men. Damien, a big-money investor, casually drops that he has to take off for London and Australia for three weeks, and hasn't told his wife yet.
No matter -- Ioulia actually likes this, because it gives her time to check in with herself. That doesn't seem difficult for the housewives on an average day. And then we're back to Robin. She and Ronnie meet at the Carrington shop, where you can buy riding stuff like saddles, boots, jackets... and you know, horse shit.
Robin says she enjoyed the barbecue but admits it felt a little high school-like. As Ronnie opens up she seems to be very ambivalent about Mary, who had to be psychologically dragged to the barbecue when she found out Jody would be there. I'm not one for predictions, but these two are headed for a major falling out.
Next, Jody's daughter Mia (of ye olde nose job glory) goes to see Amanda and invites her to a drag party, forcing the latter into the awkward position of explaining to her young daughter what that is. In interview, Mia says she's "Queen Fag Hag," and brags that she's going to wear a see-through dress to the party. It seems of very little practical use to a straight woman at a drag party unless her sole goal is looking outrageous, but hey, what do I know?
Robin and Mary go to practice their vocals at the latter's studio. The producer, Adam H., seems a little taken aback that Robin has never done any vocal training. But she isn't half bad when she tests her chops at the mic, struggling a bit with the high octaves on "The Star-Spangled Banner." It was actually easier to listen to than hearing Mary belt out "O Canada" in the studio as though she were singing to a crowd at the Super Bowl.
Ioulia meets Amanda for coffee in an attempt to straighten things out between them. In doing so she proves that, at 26 years old, she is the most mature of the bunch. Amanda, failing to explain why she has a problem with this woman to begin with, explains how offended she was at hearing Robin make light of alcoholism. (A bit like Larry David when he couldn't get over being prohibited from using a phone in a doctor's office.)
Amanda then gets emotional as she describes an alcoholic friend who committed suicide recently: "You don't understand that this is a disease that kills people." I'm not sure that Ioulia is the one she should direct the comment to, but no matter. Ioulia wants to be a good friend. She gives her a hug and the two let bygones be bygones.
"I don't think she's a Russian spy anymore." Yes, that's just what they want you to think!
And finally it's time for the party. Jody's hosting the party dressed like a Disney princess, though to be honest she looks a little more like Ursula from "The Little Mermaid." Which makes sense, because that's probably her closest cousin in the Disney universe. Robin sits in a pink limo with drag queens, remarking that they look like linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys. She gets the best line of the show when she says, "If my mom could see me now, she would fly up here with a preacher."
Mary also shows up the party despite (allegedly) not being invited. Jody confronts her about this in a rather disappointing exchange that just doesn't get scandalous enough. Jody asks why she's there, Mary says the club owner invited her, and that's that. Ioulia plays peacemaker. LAME.
And then we reach our climax: the moment when doe-eyed Amanda sets a hulking Texan straight in her views on alcoholism. "I'm not going to beat her up but I definitely have to set her straight." That's because you wouldn't stand a chance, honey.
The two argue until Amanda says she's an alcoholic herself, blowing Robin's assumptions out of the water. She says alcoholics usually have red faces and just reek of booze, that Amanda is just not what she pictures when she thinks of one. And that's probably the nicest thing anyone will say about the budding villainess for the rest of the season.
The two make up and don't even take advantage of their nearly-matching dresses. Point deduction for missing an opportunity for an epic catfight (that would be a sexist remark elsewhere, here it just seems appropriate).
As Robin might say, incomplete pass, and that's game.
You can watch Real Housewives Of Vancouver on Slice every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST/PST.
From L - R: Ronnie, Robin, Jody, Amanda, Mary, and Ioulia
Follow Jesse Ferreras on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jesseferreras