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 7 (or if you don't mind spoilers).
You know that scene at the start of As Good As It Gets, when a woman emerges from her apartment with a smile on her face, and it wipes away as soon as she sees Jack Nicholson?
That's how I feel watching The Real Housewives of Vancouver. It was a rare gorgeous day in Vancouver today, giving me a dose of Vitamin D I thought would energize me for days. It took mere minutes of watching this show to wipe the happiness and good will away, with the key difference being these women are marginally less attractive than Jack Nicholson.
We pick up this week as the Housewives have been unfortunately foist upon the great city of Toronto (we're sorry). With the exception of Mary, they're there to cheer on the gilded gremlin Jody Claman as she guest judges on Top Chef Canada.
The episode begins with Jodie and her minions -- sorry, daughters -- Mia and Hannah taking their brother Josh on a shopping trip while he's off at university. Mia insists on making her brother a "sex stud," which Jody objects to. Mia says that Jody is a "typical Jewish mother" who wants to dress her boy conservatively so that he won't have any girlfriends, then he'll come right back to Mom and "smooch smooch smooch." (Let me just say: I've met more than a few Jewish mothers and none are as incestuous as that.)
Next we meet the resident Amazons, Ronnie and Robin, as they shop at Canopy Blue in Toronto's Yonge and Lawrence area. While shopping, the two discuss the events of an "epic" party, where Ronnie had an absolute breakdown over Mary and Jody's constant sniping. Ronnie realizes that every time the housewives get together, this happens.
Ronnie sees Robin wearing a shirt with two wolves on it and finds an occasion to tell the story of an "old... Indian... chief." The chief says there's a battle going on between two wolves: one is evil, full of resentment and lies, the other is good, full of hope. The chief's grandson asks, "Which will win?" The chief replies, "the one you feed."
Wow. I haven't heard a story that profound since... since... sorry, I'm just in such disbelief at Ronnie's attempts to sound smart that I can't finish that sentence. Robin later meets Amanda for lunch, where the Vampire Squid (named after her bloody facial injection a couple of episodes back) tries to bring the Texan over to her and Jody's side. Her pitch: "Here's the fence. You're either on this side, or on this side. But if you sit on the fence, you're going to get f**ked up the ass." Subtle!
Anyway, we come to the episode's climax early, and it's Ronnie and Mary having lunch at a revolving restaurant. The previous night saw Ronnie and Mary's friendship grind to a halt after Ronnie couldn't take any more of hearing Mary and Jody squabble like Canadian geese.
It's an epic scene that seems to go on forever, and when Mary arrives Ronnie looks like she's ready to eat her for lunch (she probably could). Mary doesn't feel that Ronnie has supported her in her music career, like when she sarcastically asked how many millions of records she sold. Mary then admits she hasn't sold a million records. At least she's honest...
Then Ronnie lays into her, and it's here that my information gap puts this recap at a disadvantage. What I gatther from the exchange is that Ronnie is accusing Mary of keeping her first marriage a secret from her own children. Mary says she told Ronnie not to tell anyone, but that her alleged friend went ahead and told her sister about it anyway, which Ronnie denies -- Mary telling her not to tell anyone, she claims, not the fact of her telling her sister.
At this point I'm inclined to believe Ronnie because Mary does nothing to deny it. But that's neither here nor there as the two continue to argue, talking over and down to each other before Ronnie accuses her of being a compulsive liar, who has to stack one lie on top of another just to keep them all propped up.
"You're not well," Ronnie finally tells her, before admitting she's upset that Mary accused her of drinking the previous night. Mary then tearfully apologizes for nothing in particular, but Ronnie thanks her for it nonetheless. Then Ronnie starts whimpering like a puppy, and the whole scene is just pathetic to watch.
Why, you ask? Because their moment of catharsis sounds like this: "I want to share the good times and the bad times. I want to go for our facelifts together." They cry, they reconcile, I cry, realizing the season is only half over at this point. (An amusing sidebar: watching Ronnie try to shed tears is akin to squeezing blood from a turnip -- it's a tall order.)
And that takes us to dinnertime, when the girls meet at upscale restaurant Brassaii. Amanda predicts "another evening of ordering delicious food, and not eating it! I like to call this the housewives diet!" You know, I don't have a lot of good things to say about Amanda Hansen, but she's right on point there.
Robin and Jody lightly chide Amanda for wearing a mesh shirt to dinner. This isn't just any mesh though, this is actual steel mesh that doesn't bother to conceal a tube top beneath. It's a fashion faux-pas that would offend some medieval torturers, or as Jody puts it, good enough for Henry the V.
Ronnie and Mary arrive, and Jody notices that Ronnie looks a little "glazed over." Robin says, "I thought that Ronnie and Mary were going to get a divorce today." "Nope, we're good," Mary responds.
Then Ioulia the blunt Russian arrives, and all is well. You have to at least give this woman credit for showing up by herself. She sits down and sets right to work on the housewives, telling Amanda she was hurt to find out that she "rubs her the wrong way." Then she turns to Robin, who has started crying.
Robin: "I was so worried about you last night, you weren't returning my texts or anything."
Ioulia: "Well apparently I rub you the wrong way, too."
Robin: "I know, because I did say that." Well, DUH, lady!
Ioulia doesn't understand why the women burst into tears so quickly. "Maybe it's menopause."
In Soviet Russia, face lifts YOU!
Then Amanda gets all up in the action and accuses Robin of trying to kiss Ioulia's ass. Then the money shot: "Well maybe we should all be on some Ativan and then maybe life would be a whole lot better!"
It must take all of Ronnie's willpower not to fly across the table and vacuum all the blood injections out of Amanda's face. You see, Ronnie takes Ativan, it's a drug for anxiety disorders. Amanda eggs her on further, but curiously, the Amazon doesn't respond in any meaningful way. It was just a few episodes ago that Ronnie was ready to destroy the amateur gremlin, but maybe she's been beaten into submission.
Since no party would be complete without it, Jody starts egging Mary on, telling Ronnie that she should shun Zilba for five years just like she did before. Mary tries fighting back and Jody responds, "You're so rude! Don't be so unkind!"
Then Mary gets up to leave, motioning for Ronnie to come with her. The two make a show of being friends, but Jody has clearly performed an enhanced form of inception on the Amazon and this just won't end well for her and Mary's friendship.
Jody is back in the spotlight soon enough, as she and the Top Chef Canada crew host a garden party at a mansion on Toronto's tony Bridle Path (it's actually in North York, but Torontonians like to claim that part of the suburbs as their own). Jody is in awe of the house with its heritage design, its swimming pool and its tennis courts. "I'm sure an Ahmed lives here," she says. And I feel it incumbent upon me to remind her that a "Jody" doesn't live here. You wish you belonged among Toronto's elite, but you don't. Sorr-EE! >:)
The girls (minus Mary) soon join her there, and Robin also cops out at the last minute because she drank too much the evening prior. Ioulia rightfully chides her for this, saying a hangover is never a good excuse to miss anything. The rest of them greet Jody, only to find that she's dressed like her own grandmother. Ronnie hands her a bouquet of flowers that her husband sent to her room. You can only snicker when Jody cries at the gift's thoughtfulness.
Amanda, amateur shit-disturber that she is, tells Ronnie that it's time for her to take a break from Mary. See, Ronnie apparently got a call from her husband telling her that Mary isn't actually her friend. I'm so bored at this exchange, so for the sake of brevity, let's just say that Ronnie starts to go back on her reconciliation with Mary, and that Ioulia has a point when she says that the Amazon is starting to sound like a broken record.
Ioulia: "I think Ronnie and Mary is a lot more complicated than Ronnie and the booze. At least she likes the booze!"
The show reaches its merciful final act when the ladies meet at Origin, a restaurant in Liberty Village. Ronnie is an emotional wreck, and a delusional one when she begins to compare her situation to Maximus in the film Gladiator. "Tonight, I am Maximus," she says.
Amanda is simply bored at hearing the story, but that's probably because her feeble brain can't process a complicated story like Gladiator. I imagine Amanda would have trouble comprehending a Danielle Steel novel.
Robin and Mary arrive first, followed by the rest of the crew save for Jody. The gremlin's absence does nothing to stave off conflict though, as Ioulia throws Ronnie and Mary's issues right out on the table ... for her own amusement, it seems. Ronnie says she needs to take a break. Mary says she's OK with that, then Ronnie posits the possibility that Mary doesn't actually like her. I can certainly see why.
And it carries on like this for a few minutes more, before Mary decides to leave and Robin chases after her. Mary has probably lost 15 pounds over the course of the season given the number of meals she has passed up on, and I begin to wonder whether the dinner table meltdowns are just a cover for a bad case of bulimia.
Robin nevertheless comforts her, saying, "Of course I go after Mary because she's like an angel that fell out of Heaven and has to be put back, or something." Oh gawd, MORE FALSE PROFUNDITY! At least Robin redeems herself somewhat when she says, "You wanted me off the fence, Amanda, here we go."
The episode redeems itself at the very end, showing Amanda left all alone at the table after everyone has left. Totally alone, she's forced to call Jody in the hopes that the gremlin can brave sunlight and come and save her.
You can watch Real Housewives Of Vancouver on Slice every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
From L - R: Ronnie, Robin, Jody, Amanda, Mary, and Ioulia
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