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 3 (or if you don't mind spoilers).
The third episode of The Real Housewives of Vancouver starts the morning after the drag party as Jody picks up Mia on the way to the office -- and her daughter has a mean hangover.
Instead of chiding her daughter or giving her a glass of water, Mommy actually eggs on her bad behaviour: "Not all of us can drink a pound of tequila, Mia!" Nice. Jody reminds me of that shrill friend who can't stop talking the morning after a massive party. You know, the one who keeps bombarding you with their voice when your head is pounding from too many Jägerbombs. In Jody's case, you wouldn't need much of a hangover to feel those pangs of annoyance, but I can't imagine how awkward it is for Mia.
Speaking of awkward, Mary is forced into the uncomfortable position of explaining to Robin that she got the call to sing the national anthem at a Grand Prix event and Robin didn't. She asks the organizer what happened with Robin's audition, and the person on the other end of the call says they're "looking at other options."
In this instance, a true friend would tell the organizer that they're not doing the show if their friend doesn't also get the chance. That's not what Mary does. Mary feels bad for having to explain to Robin that she didn't get the nod, but her thoughts never gravitate to the possibility of not doing it herself. Wow, some friend...
The real star of this week's episode is newcomer Amanda Hansen, and boy, does she deliver. She's partaking in a bikini fashion show put on by Yaletown's Opus Hotel and she's asked Russian beauty Ioulia to come along with her. Ioulia's not very comfortable in swimsuits (seriously, how is that possible when this woman wears sky-high skirts and low-cut tops?), so Amanda sees an opportunity to one-up someone who's prettier than she is.
It's a lousy move initially. Ioulia completely outshines Amanda in the audition, flaunting a gorgeous body for the show director, while Amanda basically has to be taught how to walk a runway. But hang tight, these two aren't done.
Robin goes to visit Mary, who she knows has some bad news for her. Mary struggles to find a way to tell her, and you can sense Robin's annoyance at that classic Vancouver passive-aggressiveness. (You know, the kind where you can't just spit out what you mean, and when you do, you still haven't conveyed your full meaning. It's our answer to Toronto straight-talk, and it's one big reason why these cities hate each other.)
Mary finally finds the words and Robin looks gutted. Mary is sympathetic, but again, not enough to withdraw from the gig herself. Just as Amanda reminded me of Larry David last week, this week Mary reminds me of Ricky Gervais in The Office, when his character David Brent told his employees that their jobs were being cut but that he himself was being promoted.
And then we're back to Jody, who invites Ronnie with the aim of making her closer to Amanda. Like Satan gathering fallen angels to plot revenge against ... oh God, did I just make a John Milton reference in relation to the Real Housewives of Vancouver? I'm sorry.
Anyway, Jody's gambit doesn't quite pay off. Amanda starts talking about how Ioulia completely outshone her at the audition and Ronnie up and calls her a "bitch." You know, like a spade. Amanda, of course, denies this, which is always the first step towards rehabilitation. And Amanda knows all about rehabilitation.
Next, Robin calls Ronnie over to vent about not getting the chance to sing the national anthem. She prepares them a nice lunch, including bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. What does Ronnie do? She dips her hands in the olive oil and starts rubbing it on her skin. Forgive the first of a couple of Seinfeld references, but Cosmo Kramer did the same thing with butter and it didn't work out so well for him. I guess she's lucky she's in Vancouver, where it never gets hot enough to cook anything...
Next, Amanda goes over to Ioulia's house so they can get an in-home spray tan. Amanda, naturally, breaks the first rule of hospitality and tells the Russian beauty that she was "thrown off" at how she dominated the audition process: "You went in for the f**king kill, girl!"
Ioulia just laughs it off, proving herself the most likable character on the program. Then we're treated to the second-most awkward moment of the episode when Amanda gets the spray tan on Ioulia's balcony. She strips down to a bikini bottom and gets a full-body job that makes her look like a blander version of an Oompa Loompa.
"I'm not a big fan of getting naked and having someone spray me with wet, brown stuff," she says, which, I suppose, rules out a career in German scheisse porn.
We next meet the two as they prepare for the fashion show itself, and it's here that the two begin to act out a Darwinian scenario. You see, men and women act like pack animals among their own kind. Males try to one-up each other with insults, punches, even full-on fights.
With women it's a little different. They also try to one-up each other, but they level the playing field as best they can by keeping someone around to make themselves look prettier, or stronger, or more plentiful. I don't mean to suggest that Amanda's ugly; she's not. She just lacks any special characteristics, and that forces her to up the "bitch" factor so she can play with the alphas.
This is on display most when she and Ioulia are getting their hair and makeup done in preparation for the show: Ioulia has three or four people attending to her at any given time and Amanda only has one, provoking jealousy.
She gets a leg up on Ioulia when her boyfriend Kyle arrives from Seattle, but Ioulia gets her back when she emerges from the dressing room wearing the bikini that Amanda wanted. In Soviet Russia, bikini wears YOU!
The fashion show comes along and it's a big enough deal to cordon off a block of Yaletown. Ioulia, surprisingly, is nervous. The response is muted when she hits the catwalk, in contrast to Amanda who comes out in a black one-piece and gets a wave of cheers and high-fives. The housewives rightly point out that Amanda had more of a bounce in her step. Amanda wins this little battle but it becomes clear later that she hasn't won the war.
She hosts a dinner at Yaletown's Blue Water Cafe to thank the housewives for coming out and supporting her. But being Amanda, she can't let this night go by without erupting in drama. In a desperate attempt to bury her opponent, she tells the housewives that Ioulia "stole" her swimsuit. But Ioulia has the perfect retort. She looks at Amanda with a condescension that only Europeans can attain and with a gleam in her eye she says, "OK, where's my alcohol?"
Point, set, and match! LOVE this one! At this point, Ronnie, sick of Amanda's antics, steps in and tears her a new one: "You seem very cantankerous and you like to fight, and I"m a lady, and I'm doing everything in my power not to come over there and kick your ass."
THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!
Amanda shows her true nature at this point, stepping out and crying on the phone to Kyle. The housewives depart. Ronnie leaves, followed soon after by Mary and Robin. Ioulia continues to laugh the whole thing off, just enjoying her food while the other animals fight over scraps, ignoring Jody and Amanda, who laugh at the calamities they've created. You get the sense that Amanda has made a Faustian deal with Jody to make her as strong as the others.
Good grief, another classical reference. I'm out.
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